Capitalism and Anarchists Essay

Submitted By Girly21
Words: 3766
Pages: 16

ANARCHISM-vs-CAPITALISM
FUNDAMENTALS OF ANARCHISM
WHY ANTI-AUTHORITARIAN?

ANARCHISM-vs-CAPITALISM

Historically and currently the Anarchist Movement has consisted overwhelmingly of socialists. Today for instance there are Anarchist organizations of over 10,000 members that are also trade unions in Sweden and Spain. There are many other organizations with memberships in the hundreds in most countries world-wide. All of these organizations are explicitly anarchist, revolutionary and Anti-Capitalist.
When we come to looking at North America however we find a curious thing. Since the mass expulsion and criminalization of Anarchists in the period during and after the first world war there has been no major Anarchist movements in Canada or the US.
This has created a curious situation where Pro-Capitalist utopians feel comfortable calling themselves “Libertarians” (e.g. the Libertarian Party, a Neo-Liberal political party in the United States which advocates Laissez Faire Capitalism with a “Caretaker State”), “Anarchists”, “or Anarchist Capitalists”. These people seem to be particularly dominant in the white, university-educated Upper Middle Class and as such have a voice far outweighing their support due to the presence of agitation from corporate funded right-wing “think tanks.” (Access to universities is now dominated by the Middle and Upper Middle Class due to cuts in student grants and tenure for faculty is influenced by increasing dependent on corporate donations, although there are exceptions to this). It is strange that they would call themselves Libertarians because in the rest of the world this word is most commonly followed by the word socialist or communist. The term “Libertarian” was adopted by the French Anarchist movement after the French government outlawed the use of the term “Anarchist.” It is also strange that they would use the term “Anarchist” since Anarchists have always fought against Capitalism and for working people and their families.
Now I find the use of the term “Anarchist” by these people to be insulting to all that Anarchists have stood for and continue to fight for. It is the case that Capitalism has killed, imprisoned or executed at least one million Anarchists from the aftermath of the Paris Commune of 1871 to the concentration camps of Lenin, Hitler, Mussolini, Franco and Mao. Lets also not forget those Anarchists who have died fighting Capitalism in Mexico, Japan, Korea, Argentina, Chile, Britain, France and even the USA. The use of the term Anarchist by these so-called “Libertarians” spits in the face of all these people and in the face of the tens of thousands of Anarchists fighting Capitalism today.
Now the only way of stopping the misuse of this term is to build a real Anarchist movement in North America so that the word Anarchism becomes fused once more to the idea of revolutionary Anti-State Anti-Capitalist ideas. They will stop using the label pretty fast then. In the meantime lets expose the contradictions between Anarchism and Capitalism.
Anarchism as political movement grew out of the International Workingmen's Association or the 1st International. Immediately before this came into being a Frenchman called Proudhon played a part in the conception of Anarchism when he asked the question "What is Property" and answered it with the simple slogan "Property is Theft". This in a nutshell is the revolutionary socialist theory of how the mechanism of Capitalist exploitation works. It was of course late expanded and formalized by Marx in the Labor Theory of Value (he did actually credit Proudhon too!).
The argument is simple. In order to live under Capitalism it is necessary to work to earn money in order to live. However, due to automation and the high price of machinery as well as the "ownership" of land by an elite few it is not possible to own the tools by which you work. Therefore most workers are forced to work for somebody else who has ownership of factories, offices,…