Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cindy Milstein: Anarchism’s Promise for Anti-Capitalist Resistance

Milstein had some great comparison between anarchism and socialism. They both share the idea of anti-capitalism, but “anarchism evolved out of socialism to indicate an opposition not just to capitalism but also states and other compulsory, interlinked institutions.” Capitalism is just a part of what anarchism focuses on, but it’s the whole thing socialism against. Thus, “all anarchists are socialists, but not all socialists are anarchists.” Anarchism is inherently anti-authoritarian, but socialism in practical could be extreme authoritarian. From Milstein’s view, anarchism even seems more practical than socialism, because “anarchists maintained that people could attempt to build the new world in the shell of the old through self-organization rather than passively waiting until some post-revolutionary period.” Socialism kind of collapsed before the real revolution of capitalism to come, while anarchism blossoms in tons of NGOs.

Though Milstein wrote “anarchists had been able to structure the demonstration along libertarian principles,” and anarchism as well as liberalism both ask for liberty and equality, I think they’re fundamentally different in terms of state and central power. No matter how liberals are anti-authoritarian, they’re trying to give reasons for the existence and legitimacy of a state (such as Locke’s social contract theory), or provide a better structure of the state. They never think of a nation without government, but how to make the government perfect. However, anarchism has doubts for any kinds of centralization, no matter how great it is. Just like Milstein observed the phenomenon after WWII, “it appeared the two political choices were ‘democracy’ (free market capitalism) or ‘communism’ (state capitalism). Lost in the equation was the questioning of authority and concurrent assertion of utopia posed by anarchism.” Both choices were developed based on the state, while there’s still no actual example of anarchist state, and maybe it never will.

But in some way, globalization is helping anarchism to actualize its dream. As Milstein said, “globalization is structurally undermining of the centrality of states,” which is exactly the goal anarchists want to reach, and “anarchists have long dreamed of the world without borders made potentially feasible by the transformations now underway.” The voice of anti-globalization is more and more impossible, which is definitely to the pleasure of anarchists.

1 comment:

Paul said...

I like the connection between socialists and anarchists, that anarchist are the next step, really believing that humans are able to be productive on their own, and that they will be able to prosper without limitations. I'm not sure how much globalization could help communism, i think that itis more of a dying idea in some places, because people are comfortable where they are and wit what they have, some feelno need to question the ocntrol theyre under. But who knows whats ahead