The Anarchist Specturm

In the anarchist community there are several different “flavors” of anarchism discussed. Though it seems like some have seemingly irreconcilable differences, for instance the varying views on property rights by anarcho-communists and anarcho-capitalists. Generally it seems most of the differences are not so much differences in substance, but differences in approach. It was pointed out well by Karl Hess that there really is only one kind of anarchist and he is a voluntarist, one broadly opposed to the use of the coercive means.

There is something to be said here for the traditional right-left paradigm as it applies to anarchism. Broadly I would categorize those who use as their main justification for anarchism equality, self-sufficiency, peace, or respect for diversity on the left. I would then categorize those who favor anarchism as the most economically efficient system, or that most respectful of property rights and the non-aggression principle on the right. One of the best ways to see the distinction is to attempt to categorize the thinking of certain people.

Some might justly argue that we shouldn’t be trying to divide ourselves further. That talking about differences we have as anarchists, even if they are only in approach and not in result, does more harm than good. They might be right! However, there is a strong counterpoint, that being a strengthening of our arguments by debating with each other. Personally, I started out on the right side of the anarchist spectrum, but have come to have a great appreciation for the arguments and methodologies of leftward anarchists (Karl Hess, SEK III etc.), and I probably prefer that style now.

I have heard it said by Stefan Molyneux and others that anarcho-capitalism would allow for anarcho-communism, while the reverse would not work. I think that in a truly voluntary society people would enter into the kind of arrangements that are suitable for them. If a group finds more satisfaction or productivity in a commune they would of course be allowed to form one, if still others found it more useful to have and enforce universal property rights that would also be allowed. I think that great diversity of anarchy is something that we should celebrate rather than bicker over. Also broadly I think any conflict between these two different styles of voluntary association would be attempted to be resolved in as peaceful a manner as possible, adhering to some form of the non-aggression principle.

Here is my sampling of where I place certain anarchists in the ideological spectrum:

Left:

Centrist:

Right:

There are many individuals and groups who remain uncatagorized above, but I think I have given a descent sampling across the community. Of course there are some specific elements of the thinking of certain people which falls in one category while another part falls on the opposite side, so it is hard to really come up with an accurate picture. I would love to work toward getting together resource pages on this site for the great thinkers above, and many others.

An essay by Murray Rothbard interesting look at the political spectrum especially how it relates to libertarian and anarchist thought. Roderick Long has given some presentations attempting to look at Rothbard’s paradigm in a more modern context.

I do think that it will be the easiest to reach the non-academic left, which as evidenced by the Occupy Wall Street movement, is very concerned with government granted privilege to business. A convincing argument could be developed that in order for the OWS protesters to be consistent in their ideology they would have to oppose state action more broadly.

Advertisements

0 Responses to “The Anarchist Specturm”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Archives

Twitter!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


%d bloggers like this: