Thank you for your reply. I waited nearly all day to respond to you so my response would be rational instead of emotional.
I ask that because I can rarely find an intelligent person on the “left” to ask these questions.
Right away I feel you are assuming an elitist, I’m-smarter-than-those-on-the-left attitude that exposes your feigned interest in any of the principles of anarchism. That may not have been your intend. That’s just how it comes across to me. I sincerely hope I am wrong.
Not really knowing your true intentions, I’m going to restrict my response to a few points in your post and my responses will be brief.
Definition of Anarchism
“I must tell you, first of all, what anarchism is not. It is not bombs, disorder, or chaos. It is not robbery or murder. It is not a war of each against all. It is not a return to barbarianism or to the wild state of man. Anarchism is the very opposite of all that.”
– Alexander Berkman
[Anarchism is] the name given to a principle of theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government — harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of the needs and aspirations of a civilized being, In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to substitute themselves for the state of its functions.
– Peter Kropotkin
“Anarchism … teaches the possibility of a society in which the needs of life may be fully supplied for all, and in which the opportunities for complete development of mind and body shall be the heritage of all … [It] teaches that the present unjust organisation of the production and distribution of wealth must finally be completely destroyed, and replaced by a system which will insure to each the liberty to work, without first seeking a master to whom he [or she] must surrender a tithe of his [or her] product, which will guarantee his liberty of access to the sources and means of production … Out of the blindly submissive, it makes the discontented; out of the unconsciously dissatisfied, it makes the consciously dissatisfied … Anarchism seeks to arouse the consciousness of oppression, the desire for a better society, and a sense of the necessity for unceasing warfare against capitalism and the State.”
― Voltairine de Cleyre
I’m rabidly (complete with the foaming mouth and rolling eyes) opposed to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Obamacare, food stamps, mandated minimum wage, welfare and a number of other things. I would assume that an anarchist would also be against these type of things.
I’ve seen self described anarchists that also demanded the fruits of government. They demanded a guaranteed income, free healthcare, education and a forced “equality” that can only come from a totalitarian state.
… maybe you can help me understand these apparent contradictions of anarchism.
Wow, you covered a lot of territory in a few sentences.
What appears to you as “apparent contradictions” appears that way because there are two different periods and systems that come into play:
- Our current period of time and system under capitalism, and
- A socialized society under the principles of anarchism.
While our society is currently under capitalism in which the capitalist elite ruling class (or just capital, in short) is stealing the surplus value (profit) from the labor (physical and mental) of the actual generators of the surplus value, social programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. are needed to compensate for the surplus value that was stolen from the working class needing those programs.
If you do not like these programs, then stop the theft from the working class that is inherent under capitalism. Capital is worthless without labor. Labor is the component that adds value. Capital sitting idly is nearly worthless. Labor is what brings capital to life and creates the opportunities and potential for capital.
Hey, if you don’t like the social programs, then create a society in which they aren’t needed. It really is just that simple!
In regards to how your body convulses of social programs, I can relate. That is exactly how my body reacts to the theft, exploitation and oppression of capitalism.
In regards to “forced” equality, that a false narrative and I believe you know it.
Anarchists are dedicated to social equality because it is the only context in which individual liberty can flourish. However, there has been much nonsense written about “equality,” and much of what is commonly believed about it is very strange indeed. Before discussing what anarchist do mean by equality, we have to indicate what we do not mean by it.
Anarchists do not believe in “equality of endowment,” which is not only non-existent but would be very undesirable if it could be brought about. Everyone is unique. Biologically determined human differences not only exist but are “a cause for joy, not fear or regret.” Why? Because “life among clones would not be worth living, and a sane person will only rejoice that others have abilities that they do not share.” [Noam Chomsky, Marxism, Anarchism, and Alternative Futures, p. 782]
That some people seriously suggest that anarchists means by “equality” that everyone should be identical is a sad reflection on the state of present-day intellectual culture and the corruption of words — a corruption used to divert attention from an unjust and authoritarian system and side-track people into discussions of biology. “The uniqueness of the self in no way contradicts the principle of equality,” noted Erich Fromm, “The thesis that men are born equal implies that they all share the same fundamental human qualities, that they share the same basic fate of human beings, that they all have the same inalienable claim on freedom and happiness. It furthermore means that their relationship is one of solidarity, not one of domination-submission. What the concept of equality does not mean is that all men are alike.” [The Fear of Freedom, p. 228] Thus it would be fairer to say that anarchists seek equality because we recognize that everyone is different and, consequently, seek the full affirmation and development of that uniqueness.
Source: Why Are Anarchists in Favor of Equality?
Under a Socialized Society Built Upon the Principles of Anarchism
Social programs (safety nets) would not be needed under a socialized society built upon the principles of anarchism because:
Production and the surplus value generated would be for the use and benefit of society in its entirety … not to further enrich a select few, and
Any special needs would be met through Mutual Aid.
Detailed information and answers to your inquiry can be obtained on my primary website: Beyond Socialism