The Theory of Anarchism

By Karl Diehl (1911)

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Untitled Anarchism The Theory of Anarchism

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(1864 - 1943)

Anarchist Professor and Theorist in Hitler's Germany

: Even in the stifling atmosphere of the Kaiser's Germany, however, Karl Diehl stood up to look at the ideology behind the movement, to dispell the untruths spread by the government, and to bring the theories of this important portion of man's political philosophy to the world of academia. (From: Anarchy Archives.)
• "The common justice and the opposing interests of different people can be dealt with better between equal citizens than under laws and regulation sent down from the government." (From: "The Theory of Anarchism," by Karl Diehl.)
• "Anarchism is the system of extreme political and economic liberty. It is the teaching, that a harmonious society can only be produced through complete freedom. This theory is in direct opposition to Socialism and social democracy, both of which place a very rigid obligation upon each individual and require a much stricter compulsory organization than does the existing arrangement." (From: "The Theory of Anarchism," by Karl Diehl.)
• "Through the establishment of the monetary system, the working men are given a heavy burden to carry. As long as money is the only medium of exchange, every craftsman, who is dependent upon the yield of his work to survive, must wait until he finds someone who has the sufficient money to pay for his goods." (From: "The Theory of Anarchism," by Karl Diehl.)

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The Theory of Anarchism

This essay is contained in the book Anarchismus, Kommunismus, und Sozialismus (Anarchism, Communism, and Socialism) by Karl Diehl.

 Photo by Gwendal Uguen, CC BY-NC-SA License

Photo by Gwendal Uguen,
CC BY-NC-SA License

Essay Six: The Theory of Anarchism


The Theory of Anarchism

Why is it that in times of late

Anarchy suits me so well?

Each lives in pursuit of his wishes,

That is also my goal.

I leave to each his endeavors,

In order that I might be able to pursue mine.

In these verses, Goethe has characterized the essence of the anarchist movement in a strikingly accurate manner.

Anarchism intends to create a society in which there is the greatest possible human freedom. To begin with, two sorts of prevalent errors regarding the means and intents of the anarchists must be dispelled.

The anarchist movement is often mixed up with the criminal anarchist actions, which, in recent times, have been the primary interest linked to anarchism and, because of which, many believe that anarchism is only a criminal sect which violates every social or political norm. This is completely inaccurate. We must draw a distinction between the social-philosophical system of anarchism and those propagandized 'anarchist' actions. Only these propagandized anarchist actions have anything to do with criminal conspiracy, of which I have previously spoken, whereas the anarchist social theory is a social-philosophical aim. As we will see later, anarchist theory supports peaceful social reform.

The second error is the belief that anarchism is nothing more than the furthest extreme of socialism. It is a very widely circulated opinion, that the anarchists have the same goals as the socialists, they only represent the radical wing of socialism; they want to obtain through violent means what the socialists want to obtain through the path of gradual political actions. This interpretation is completely in error. Anarchism and socialism are toto ceolo different. They are the greatest possible opposites.

In the first essay on Anarchism, I will set the boundaries around anarchist thought on the whole and also describe the most important social-philosophical models of anarchism. In the next essay, I will delineate the propaganda of the state against anarchism and also give a short critique of the anarchist theories.

Anarchism is the system of extreme political and economic liberty. It is the teaching, that a harmonious society can only be produced through complete freedom. This theory is in direct opposition to Socialism and social democracy, both of which place a very rigid obligation upon each individual and require a much stricter compulsory organization than does the existing arrangement. While for the socialist society the sphere of freedom for the individual is kept limited, for anarchist individual freedom is given the most latitude possible. Anarchism is the extreme of that belief, which desires to afford the state the smallest possible influence on economic life. In present political thought, it is believed that it is essential that the state should guarantee the interests of the citizen through and through. Anarchism goes a step further and holds that even these state duties as superfluous. Instead of this, the individual deals with his individual concerns; separate public establishments in protection of the citizen are not important. Anarchist are unanimous in their desire to have no legal constraints. But, you will ask, how can everyone do what he wishes, because people certainly require others. The people certainly must buy, rent, etc. from each other. They want schools, streets, and trains to be built for their collective use. They want to be married and such. In each of these cases, people rely on their relationships with others. How else than through a system of laws are these relationships to be established and defined?

Certainly, answers the anarchist, people often rely on their relationships with one another and need common markets for various goods, but where and when these take place, should be determined solely by the desires of freely-determined collectives and manifest (social/economic) contracts. The people, if they pursue similar aims and purposes, should thus attach themselves to a collective, but secession from the collective is, for everyone at every time, a free choice, with no legal coercive power binding the people to the collective. As they want to buy, rent, and sell, so all of these personal transactions will transpire through freely determined means, to which they are bound only by their reciprocal nature.

Will a collective want to build a street, bridge or school, or does more of the collective wish to construct a railroad, they must agree among themselves to such common institutions through contractual negotiations, but there should be no national or societal force to participate in the decisions being made by the free individuals. If two people wish to be married, in order that they may form an intimate union; they mutually agree to their rights and responsibilities, but some guarantees and privileges, which they previously possessed, are agreed to be no longer valid.

In my portrayal of Anarchism up until now I have focused on the political portion of the anarchist goals and not the economic programs. I have done so for the reason that the essence of anarchism lies almost completely in the notion of a free common society without external coercive powers. The economic reform plans, however, differ greatly between each individual anarchist and as such show a great degree of variance.

That, which Anarchism strives to reach, is characterized as such; they wish that society bring about free collectives arranged into federal units, but without the coercive powers of modern government. In order that these free human collectives can function, they must address the question of private property. They let this concern be answered through uniform dispersion of the property and capital needed to produce a living, but do not concern themselves with those purely personal possessions that do not represent an unjust usurpation of property meant to be available to all. It can be observed, that the majority of the anarchists and likewise the ideas that are consequents of them, are staunch proponents of private property, while the socialists themselves are hostile to it. Private property should be freed only from certain unjust circumstances, with which it is today imprisoned. It should be changed in moderation, widening the liberation only in order that a foundation of economic rights, greater than in today's social laws, may be built. This is founded in the very essence of anarchism. A theory which wishes to give the individual the greatest portion of his 'sphere of freedom' must also give him the possibility, through private property, to apply this freedom.

We will, of course, later become familiar with the aims of anarchism, the so-called communist anarchism, which a requires a certain amount of property. But regardless, in the objectives of the Communist anarchism there seems to be something contradictory contained within. It is noticeable, that, in this theory, property should only be carried inside small, local autonomous collectives, which should be permitted to be self-sufficient and proceed freely. In opposition to communism, in which we have already discovered the possibility for a large degree of centralization, and therefore an always growing constraint upon the population through increasing centralization of property, communist anarchism wishes for the greatest decentralization. Here the only communist principle that is common is the desire for small autonomous collectives.

As both anarchism and communism are so opposite in desires, it is equally true that they spring from out of the same natural rights roots, as a source of a great portion of their social theories. In the manner of how the ethical socialists draw inferences from natural right theory, so is it also the case with the anarchists. Out of the teachings of the same 'rights of man', the socialists and communists have derived the right for equally standing. Anarchism construes the teachings to mean that every individual has the right to full personal freedom.

The anarchist social philosophy regards three famous teachers; William Godwin from England, Pierre Joseph Proudhon from France, and Max Stirner from Germany. The first founder of theoretical anarchism is the Englishman William Godwin. Born in 1756 to the son of a Dissenting church minister in a small provincial city, he is well-known due to his marriage to the famous fighter for women's rights in England, Mary Wollstonecraft. Over each of their lives, they expounded their social philosophies. In Godwin's 1793 masterpiece: Enguiry concerning political justice and its influence on morals and happiness Godwin laid the basic foundation for his anarchist theories. This work holds a certain renown in literary history as well as commanding a following in anarchist circles. Godwin insists that there is injustice in the present societal system, stating that "the present societal system strangles children in the crib." To the supposed scarcity of resources, he states that "Myriads of centuries could pass with steadily increasing populations and still the soil could nourish the people."

One observes in this work how much Godwin was influenced by the French revolution. Doubtlessly, Godwin is strongly influenced through the writings of Rousseau, Helvetius, and also through French renaissance philosophy. This does not diminish the influence that English philosophers, such as Locke, Hume, A. Smith, and Bentham also have on Godwin.

In his works, Godwin attempts to explore which form of political community best serves the public welfare. He attempts to answer the question: How can the individual and his related actions be best protected in life in society? How can the security, which everyone requires regarding the position of his life, needs, and talents, be guaranteed to the utmost? How can one best maximize the happiness of the people?

Above all, Godwin believes that we should not be permitted to forget, that the government is an evil, a meddler in the private actions and the individual consciousness of humanity, and that, once we notice this, it is therefore an evil for us to recognize the legitimacy of this institution. We, as friends of reason and humanity, must keep intrusions by this institution to a minimum at least, if not to dissolve it to the absolute. Every government contains within itself a certain level of tyranny. As economic liberalism has cheerfully accepted the restrictions on economic freedoms, likewise the restrictions of personal freedom have also been accepted. Today one knows that trade blossoms best where it is free from government restrictions. Because of this, we may infer that government restrictions on political and economic life represent restrictions on humanity itself. Nothing compares to the irrationality of the belief that one does not abandon the natural rights of humanity when supporting the restrictions of government.

According to Godwin, the government can have but two 'legitimate' objectives, one the suppression of the injustices contained within the society and the second the protection from incursions from outside. However, no government can limit itself to these two concerns. For the first goal it is enough for an association, which can decide cases of grievances between members and property conflicts. Small communities, which Godwin suggested to be called 'parishes', are sufficient to deal with this concern; it must be established, however, that each of these small communities will support the judgment of another when considering those criminals who stray beyond one's jurisdiction.

As for punishment, the criminal should be punished, so that he is invited to give up his criminal activities; If, however, the criminal does not come to this conclusion, he will be strengthened in his resolve and hardened in his beliefs, in opposition to the best wishes of society. For this reason, it is important not to use the means of punishment used by present society, and instead develop more effective means than the dungeons. Punishment for Godwin should only be a temporary restraint and the criminals should not be treated without compassion, as this is the root of the evil in the present societies system of punishment. As for statutes, these 'parishes' would not require written laws, instead dealing with each instance on a case by case basis.

The common justice and the opposing interests of different people can be dealt with better between equal citizens than under laws and regulation sent down from the government. A true politician must also autonomous collective strive: large enough for proper dispersion of property and. This is the one overriding concern. There also is a need for some sort of national assembly, which would convene only in extreme cases and which would consist of members sent by each of the collectives. This assembly would not represent any central authority except in the times of emergency.

Godwin explains, that anarchy should not be a proponent of disorder, instead it is the proponent of mutual forbearance. The anarchist doctrine is the consequence of the individualist principles. The person, explains Godwin, is a species whose essence depends on his individuality and that this cannot be limited unless it is dangerous to others; There is no reason for government, and therefore government is in all cases an evil. The end goal of the autonomous collectives should be as such; the disentaglement of the society in individual affairs: " If the juries no longer decide, instead only issuing summons,... would we not find a day, that juries and all other offending regulations are no longer necessary?"

"With what joy," declares Godwin, " must every friend look forward on the happy period of the dissolution of all political societies, these encroaching machines, which are an affront to the sensibilities of every man."

Godwin believes that the question of property runs parallel with the question of government. In this manner, the period in which the systems of force and repression will come to an end, will also correct the problem of property on an equitable basis. In illustrating this Godwin calls property a patent, on the basis that property comes from the work of others. "It is a severe deception, which the people have been given, if property is said to be hereditary. Property is created through the daily work of those who are now alive. Everything, which one's ancestors have created, is but a moldy patent." Because of this, Godwin wants property and the individualist economic state not to coincide: "without everyone's collective work, there is no property that can exist. Property is held in common by everyone and is valuable to all."

He anticipated that the social reform will also alter mankind in the moral respect: being against all that is revolutionary, instead dealing with social philosophy, he expected that all changes would result from the effects of the spreading of new ideals for justice. Eventually, political bodies would dissolve as the people realize that society would be bettered if every man was left free and minded his own individual concerns.

He hopes, that there will someday be a time when people will see it as an injustice to be rich if others are left starving and unable to participate in the riches: as long as someone is of the opinion that it is just to place in the hands of some more than in the hands of others, so will it be that the person will, of his own volition, relinquish these rights to others.

Godwins work posed the first scientific basis of the anarchist theory; however, it has not been much of an influence on the actual anarchist movement. In its time, his works were read very widely and introduced many new arguments, but they had no lasting success and were later forgotten. However, hindsight finds that what he wrote was nothing less than the manifesto of the ultra-radical political liberalism. The extreme liberals have gladly drawn from his works, but for the development of the anarchist world of ideas, it has never played a major role.

The proper founder of anarchism, in the form that resulted in a lasting anarchist movement, is P. J. Proudhon. He was the first to firmly ground anarchist theory, and similarly started a lively agitation and through the combination of these had a great influence on the anarchist social movement.

Proudhon (1809-1865), the son of poor French peasants, was forced to work until he was twenty-two as a type-setter to earn a living. Eventually, he was able to gain an education at the Academy at Besancon through a scholarship and in exchange for his work on the Sabbath. When the academy presented a essay contest, he entered a piece that caused quite a stir in the community.

He gave his work the title Qu'est-ce-que-la propriete and it contained, among others, the famous answer: "La propriete, c'est le vol." On this basis of this statement, Proudhon was often understood to be a communist, due to his opposition of private property. However, through closer inspection of his writings, we find that the exact opposite is true, namely, that Proudhon is an energetic proponent of private property, but that he wishes to give access for all people to private property, and that he holds individual freedom of the people so high that he chooses to preach anarchy.

Anarchy for Proudhon is the consequence of his beliefs in justice. As Stahl began the history of the philosophy of human rights with the words :"Rights-philosophy is the empirical science of rights"; Proudhon could also unite the founding ideas of his social philosophy through notion of social justice. The only major difference between Proudhon and the German rights-philosophers is that the Germans perceive justice as a divine directive, while Proudhon believes that it is purely a concern of mortal men.

Proudhon's studies of the French, English, and German philosophical literature are evident as great influences on his works. From the French he draws especially for Voltaire, Diderot, Volney, D'Alembert, from the English Shaftesburn, Hutcheson, Butler and from the Germans Kant, Hegel, and Feuerbach. None of the named philosophers suited Proudhon as a dogma to champion, so he went his own way and his restless spirit never took it upon itself to seize upon one certain system of beliefs to uphold.

In order to identify the necessary reforms required to correct society in accordance with anarchist philosophies, he presented the questions: How can mere political reform attempt to better the economic situation of the people? In a loose association of men, how can the situations of the masses of people experience an improvement in an economic respect? In answering these questions, Proudhon finds that political reforms should only be undertaken in conjunction with a much deeper reform of the entire social system. First, if the two despots of social life, namely money and taxes, are supported, then political despotism is also upheld. Concerning the reforms, Proudhon is not of the same, naive opinion as Godwin, that the oppressors will spontaneously and freely give up the property they possess and therefore free the property from its hardship.

Proudhon believed that the basis of all social distress is not derived from the sphere of production of goods, but instead out of the sphere of circulation of the goods. Two establishments of the private capitalist system, through which the majority of humanity is kept in perpetual distress and dependency, are the systems of minted money and the taxes of the lending system.

Through the establishment of the monetary system, the working men are given a heavy burden to carry. As long as money is the only medium of exchange, every craftsman, who is dependent upon the yield of his work to survive, must wait until he finds someone who has the sufficient money to pay for his goods. It would be much simpler, better, and easier if all goods were used as media for exchange, if all goods were not judged through the monetary worth, but instead through the natural worth, which individuals put in the item as well as the amount of work involved in the production of the good and how much it cost to produce the good. All goods are then able to be exchanged, and the privilege of money would be eliminated.

A second heavy burden is found in the tax of the lending institutions. Many people who wish to undertake some venture can not because they lack the capital to do so and in order to receive that capital are forced to pay a severe tribute in the form of interest to the capitalists.

Proudhon thus believed it was necessary to destroy the two despots in order to bring about the free private economic productions means to stay free; private property would then be unified; the universal basis for the social system, private property, could therefore be freed from the injustices which today constrain it.

Proudhon had suggested a plan to establish a so-called Exchange Bank in order to facilitate the removal of money and the elimination of taxes. The exchange bank should open an account with every producer who wants to exchange his product for exchange bonds. He could then use these exchange bonds to acquire a product from the bank of the same value. In this arrangement the price would be given for the wares according to the time involved and expenditures incurred, but would not involve profit. The prices would be controlled through appraisers at the bank. It was Proudhon's hope that the bank would gain an ever increasing participants, so that finally it would contain every producer and consumer. Then money would become superfluous, and all transactions would be handled through exchange bonds. The heavy and oppressive profit of the middle men would also be destroyed. Through this exchange bank the inequality of loans would be solved. The customers of the bank would extend loans to other customers free from interest. In this manner the taxes of the capitalists would waste away- Because all of the members of the bank are united through the same service, Proudhon's system has become described as Mutualism. -In this manner every producer was guaranteed the right of placing one's product and receiving a loan.; from the tyranny of money and capitalism were freed and, at this point, the people would have come to the point in time where they are able to remove the tyranny of all forms of government and all of its subsequent restrictions.

The basic idea of Proudhonian anarchism, which he put forth in his works: Les confessions d'un revolutionnaire (1849) and Idee generale de la revolution au XIX siecle (1851) is as follows: the whole government system exists only for one reason; in order that the privileges of the upper classes may be protected from any incursions on the part of the lower classes. In a situation where the previously mentioned reforms have been emplaced, especially the removal of the inequality of loans, authority in the form of government is superfluous; then every one can provide for themselves and place their own restrictions. Proudhon's anarchy is not disorder, instead it is an attempt to reach the greatest possible harmony and order of all members of society. Laws and contracts as are understood today would be unnecessary because of the development of the individual economic groups, communes, societies, corporations, associations on the basis of free exchange of products and the free loans.

Proudhon, however, did not hold tight to his anarchist teachings. In his 1863 work: Du principe federatif he explains that anarchy is only a ideal, but can never be truly implemented. With this taken into account, the right form of government would be federalism. In other words a government decentralized as much as possible. This political organization should establish many small groups with much more control over individual issues.

In Proudhon's teachings and his political operations, the anti-socialist character of anarchism is especially noticeable. Proudhon's world was at the same time of the February revolution and he took it upon himself as a primary concern to fight against the proletarian-socialist tendencies to infringe upon personal freedom. In a time when all of the possible socialist and communist parties and communes sprung as though seeds out of the earth, Proudhon took it upon himself to struggle against the theories of the communists and socialists by providing alternative theories of equal governance.

Perhaps Proudhon's philosophy can be best expressed as this; "Freedom" writes Proudhon in a letter to Bastiat, "this is the first and last word of social-philosophy."

Just as Godwin, Proudhon was also an opponent of the revolutionary actions with the purpose of establishing of the anarchist ideas. He is of the opinion that through his proposed economic reforms and through the enlightenment of the people on the free path to best share in their portion. The outbreak of the February revolution came highly unwanted to him, because it hampered his attempts to carry out his plans of reform, and forced him to distance himself with revolutionaries. In an article in his newspaper "Peuple" he argued that the revolution was endangering itself by only paying token attention to the evils of capitalism, which threatened to make it little more than a divergent species of the current government. Ironically, he could say that "J'urais pu arriver a mon but en dinant tous les jors avec le perfet de police."

In the 40's of the previous century a circle of men collected themselves in the bars of Berlin, who belonged to the political beliefs of the extreme left and therefore were called "the Free". Among these men were both the brothers Bauer (Bruno and Edgar), Dr. Eduard Meyen, and a couple of the heads of the free-trade movement, Julius Faucher and John Prince-Smith. In this circle, the noted thinker Caspar Schmidt also participated, and in 1844 published a book using the pseudonym Max Stirner with the title The Individual and Property , in which he gave a inspired explanation of anarchism.

Stirner was born in 1806 as the son of a Bavarian instrument maker; he lived as a girl's school teacher in Berlin and died in destitution in 1856 and was, for most intents and purposes, forgotten. Stirner's philosophy is the extreme wing of Jung-Hegelian philosophy, whose philosophies both of the Bauer brothers and Ludwig Feuerbach tried to emulate in their struggle against every godly and worldly authority. Starkly influenced by Feuerbach, Stirner proposed in his criticism of all forms of authority that every power which places restraints upon the people is in fact a form of slavery. When Feuerbach stated his belief system in the famous quote: God was my first conception, reason my second, and humanity my third and last. This would not hold with Stirner, because this would insinuate the creation of a new form of cult, namely the cult of humanity. There should not be any abstract concept of humanity, instead every individual should place what is most important for themselves first. The idea of humanity places the people yet again in dependency, while every display of moral constraint placed a harsh shackle upon the individual. The self in the context of a larger society should not be held as the ideal, instead the "ego" of the individual must be the foundation and departure point of all social philosophies.

The extreme beliefs of the Hegelians eventually led to their extolation of the ego as that which all philosophies should address.

Stirner, however, does not agree with the concept of the absolute ego. When Fichte says: the ego is everything, it is not in agreement with Stirners ideas: "the ego is not alone everything, instead the ego destroys all, only the unraveled ego, the never existing ego, the final ego is actually ego. Fichte talks of the absolute ego. The ego, of which I speak, is the past ego." Stirners work could be called the Song of Solomon of egoism. Never before was such a radical support of the individuality proposed as the basic foundation of all societal life. Egoism, which related to the conceptions of morality, springs from the welfare of all.

In an essay concerning school regulations, Stirner in his exam pro faculte docendi, makes the characteristic statement: "The university is only in a very figurative sense higher schooling; instead of the teachers placed the science of the I as exercise and the province of freedom." In his opinions, during the whole history of the world the people of the world have not lived freely, always having authority held over them; because of this the best possibilities have been prevented. Antiquity and Christianity have brought no acknowledgment of the ego, because antiquity has always seen the primary moral fundamentals as the state and the justice system and Christianity has always looked to God as the eternal source of justice. Every form of the cult of state, the cult of God or the cult of humanity are sins against the concept of the self as is proposed by the egoists. "Whether what I think and do," said Stirner, "is Christian, why is it a concern of mine? - Whether it is human, liberal, or humane, or to the contrary, why do I question it? If it fulfills, what I want, if I act to satisfy myself, then cover it with predicates as you will, it means the same to me."

Stirner does not mean in any way, as though through all the liberal parties and institutions, as democracy, people's sovereignty and as the postulates of the political liberalism suggest, also only the humble would be bettered, because also the so-called people-friendly laws place yet again a new, which the individual must worship.. The political liberalism perhaps has created a free people, however never free individuals; what was previously was absolute monarchy, is now named 'the people' or 'the nation', and yet again is one always forced to acquiesce to the totality. It is also by this political liberalism that a cult of state is driven: "The state should be a community of free and equal people, and every person should dedicate themselves to the welfare of the state, to be completely incorporated into the state, the states goals should be held as the personal ideals. State! State! So sounds the common cry and henceforth one searches for the right system of government, the best constitution, accordingly the best formulation of government. The thought of the state creeps into the hearts and wakes enthusiasm ; to serve it, this worldly God, that is now the new church and cult. The true political era is born." The state or the nation serves, the state's interests, which become the ideals toward which the people strive. In this manner the other interests and personal matters are minimized and those of the state held in the forefront. "One must surrender oneself and only the state lives."

Every state is an instance of despotism, it may be either one or many despots, or is also, as in many republics, all the gentlemen, because it is inevitable that laws are made and through these the individual is suppressed.

Even sharper than against political liberalism Stirner opposes socialism and communism. In these cases, the potential for the suppression of the individual will is placed at the highest potential: "In opposition, communism me through the relinquishing of private property to see that one is placed into dependency on another, namely from the collective, and although it may be named otherwise, it is again still a state, a status, something which holds supreme over me.. Against the pressure, which I suffer from the individual property, communism, in the right, protests against; however it is far worse for the entity, which single-handedly forces equality upon all..." than the present system.

"If we give up private property, then no one has anything, then everyone is a vagabond: In front of the highest master; the sole commander, we were once equal, equal people, which means nothing; in front of the highest property we will all be equal scoundrels. For now is one in the view of another a scoundrel and have-not, but also belong to this: we are altogether scoundrels and as part of the communist society we can name ourselves, collectively, riffraff."

To Stirner, all enduring rights are foreign rights, the only correct right is that which one gives to oneself. Instead of today's system of society, humanity should undo itself and form collectives of egoists. "Currently, we are, both the state and the self, enemies. As I am an egoist, I do not take the welfare of this 'human society' to heart, I do not sacrifice for it, I employ it only in order that it may be completely utilized, I annihilate it so that the Society of Egoists may be built in its place. No power is accorded to this Society, everyone may belong to it, and likewise may exit it at will."

How should it deal with property? On this matter Stirner answers: "My property is everything which my dominion provides: That property to which I am entitled. To everything which I seize. The property right is given to me by myself, in that I take for myself property or the power of property, by giving myself the authorization to do so. Now then, that decides the dominion over property, and I will expect everything from my dominion."

Through the characterization of the several authors I have given a meaningful representation of anarchism, in the case that it deals with a social-philosophical system, to be known. These men have not found followers as numerous as in the case of communism, but have left their imprint upon revolutionary philosophy forever. The true strength of anarchism has never been derived from groups, but instead has always been derived from the individuals who have sought to continue the teachings of these men. For example: the Swabian doctor Mulberger, the Scott John Henry Mackan, and the American Josiah Tucker. Mackan, who gave a good explanation of the anarchist ideals in his book "The Anarchists", is a follower of Proudhon. He believes, that Proudhon's project is perhaps the most meaningful and well-conceived that a human brain has ever conceived. In America, Tucker assembled a Proudhonian community around himself. He seized upon the most important writings of Proudhon and worked tirelessly to bring life to the idea; he summarized his beliefs in a writing in 1881 in the newspaper 'Liberty' in New York, which served as a means to spread propaganda about anarchist theories. The full title is a quote from Proudhon: "Liberty, not the daughter, but the mother of order." As his motto, he selected the verse: "For always in thine eyes, o liberty, Shines that high light, whereby the world is saved. And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee."

Frequently we find also individual anarchist reasoning by authors, who in actuality have nothing to do with anarchism as a movement, but stumble on or incorporate the concepts of anarchism into their philosophies. Others intend their tracts to overtly support the anarchist movement.

Occasionally, we find an attempt to give a religious foundation for anarchism. For instance, Harnack believes that the love of God for those on earth suggests that Christianity and the order of rights are not in opposition with each other. He advances the notion, that the teachings of Christ are completely compatible with the concepts of natural rights, only permitting that the earthly rights do not become higher than godly justice; he also borrows from the words of Jesus concerning rights and laws concerning rights, which state that his children should not be ruled under regulations, but instead should unite through love.

It is true, however, that there are beliefs of the church that represent a certain contradiction; the church rights teacher Sohm held that, for purposes of the religious life, privileges are incompatible with the ways of the church. Tolstoy, on the other hand, believes that interpretation of the gospel should be the guidelines for life and that religion is not incompatible with justice. Although Stirner viewed rights from an anti-religious standpoint, Tolstoy states that interpretation of Christian doctrine not only does not require the negation of personal rights, but rather necessitates the defense of basic human rights and equality. His beliefs are anarchistic because he believes that, eventually, man will outgrow the need for government. Renan also believed that Jesus was an anarchist, saying that "Jesu a quelques egards est un anarchiste, car il n'a aucune idee du gouvernement civil. Ce gouvernement lu sumble purement et simplement un abus." For Tolstoy is the whole fundamental of his teaching the Christianity. The work, in which this Russian philosopher primarily laid his teachings on state is "What should we do now?" "The Regime of God is in all, Christianity is a way of life, not a mystical teaching."

Especially frequently Freidrich Nietzsche is frequently described as a champion of Anarchism. For instance, Vorlander spoke of Nietzsche's aristocratic anarchism in his book History of Philosophy. It appears to an observer, that, due to the original nature of Nietszche"s philosophy, it would be extremely difficult to stamp a pattern from it. It must be conceded, that his train of thought appears to have much in common with anarchism. His opposition to the state is often drawn on as proof of his support for anarchist ideals. For instance, when he says in his work Thus Spake Zarathustra: "The state is the coldest of all cold monsters... It is a destroyer."

In positive aspects, he positions himself with anarchism through his elevation of the will of the individual as the source of power and the meaning of individuality of the individual human and 'super-human'. Unfortunately, in his works he does not address a critical point of anarchism, namely the formation of a society of united individuals. Because of this, he may be considered to be only a philosopher whose works are proximate to anarchist thought, but which do not represent a true anarchist doctrine.

It is against this described anarchist social philosophy that the so-called anarchist "propaganda of the deed" is intended to combat. The means and goals of this form of anti-anarchist propaganda will be described in the next essay.

From : Anarchy Archives


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