A Users' Guide to Marxism: Anarchism

Socialism 2017

August 15, 2017
With Coco Smith

The basic premise of anarchism—notwithstanding all its different strands—is opposition to all authority, and especially the state. For most anarchists, the kind of movement we build today should completely prefigure the society we want to create. But that only goes so far. In an unequal, class-divided society, authority can't simply be "abolished." If striking workers renounced the authority of the majority over the minority, for example, then they would have to renounce the strike as a weapon. Marxists also want a stateless society. But to achieve it, authoritarian acts—such as revolutions—are necessary. But they must be the conscious act of masses of people acting collectively—not the elitist actions of the few trying to “prod” the masses into action, as Black Block anarchists insist. This session will examine what Marxists and anarchists agree—and disagree—on, and why these debates matter.

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