Introduction to Political Theory

(Marvins-Underground-K-12) #1

Chapter 11



Much is made in the press about the frequent anti-capitalist protests happening
in various cities throughout the world, and it is argued that anarchists are
behind these demonstrations. The word ‘anarchist’ is often used as a term of
abuse, and is sometimes misused – but what exactly does it mean? What does
it stand for, and why have some argued that anarchism has enjoyed a
resurgence in recent years? On the face of it, it seems an absurdly self-
defeating philosophy, so why does it remain influential? Who does it attract
and why?

To answer these questions, in this chapter we will try to establish what
anarchism is, and how different varieties of anarchism advocate different
strands of argument (see Chapters 1, 8 and 10, on the State, Liberalism and
Socialism, respectively).

Chapter map

In this chapter we will explore:

  • The overlap with other ideologies while
    grasping the distinctive character of

  • Philosophical anarchism and free-
    market anarchism, while noting their

  • The views of anti-capitalist anarchists
    such as Proudhon, Bakunin and

  • An actual experience of anarchism,
    during the Spanish Civil War.

    • The problem of violence, and what role
      it plays in the new social movements.

    • The problem that organisation poses
      for anarchism.

    • The difficulties that arise when the
      distinctions between the state and
      government and force and constraint
      are ignored.

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