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(en) France, Alternative Libertair #219 - Anarchism: The Anarchist criticism of the state (fr) [machine translation]

Date Thu, 25 Oct 2012 16:14:47 +0200


Criticism of the state is often considered as the main line to define anarchism. Some come in thus no longer distinguish it from the ultra-liberal to the point of melting both in the concept of anarcho-capitalism. Yet it would be a mistake. ---- The anarchist notion is used especially in the French Revolution as an insult. This is partly out of bravado that Proudhon denominates the form of social organization that advocates "anarchy." The principle of authority and take their form of government models, according to him, in the patriarchal family. The state is especially criticized by Proudhon as it occupies vis-Ã-vis the company a place similar to that transcendent God in relation to the community of the faithful. [1] ---- Resorption in economic policy --- The struggle against the state is a fight against absolute royal absolutism which was one of the events.

The State is not a simple political superstructure, which finds its economic base in the capitalist system, it implies its own relations of domination and economic exploitation. How the tax is collected and used in the state constitutes an illustration for Proudhon.

This is in particular General Idea of ââthe Revolution in the nineteenth century (1851) it produces a first political theorizing. The 1848 revolution by introducing universal suffrage has made a political revolution, but not a social revolution. Proudhon, who became famous for his criticism of the property, however, is suspicious vis-Ã-vis communism which seems to be compatible with a form of authoritarian organization: he has in mind in particular the historical example of Jesuit missions in Paraguay. It also has in mind another against authoritarian model is that of the Terror during the French Revolution. He sees in The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau political theorizing that served as a model for mountaineers. He also complains that it has excluded the social issue of his political theory.

Idea in general, Proudhon makes a critique of all political regimes which have been made: neither universal suffrage, nor the imperative mandate not find favor in his eyes. This is to eliminate the State is necessarily a draconian institution and reduce the political economics. What seems only possible to guarantee the freedoms of everyone, this is the contract. But not as a contract for Rousseau once and for all. It is contrary to all economic and social activities, individuals contract with each other. Proudhon hopes in this way, in the same movement, set both the problem of political tyranny and social issues.

Federalism and mutualism

However, in 1863, in The Principle federation, Proudhon back on this issue and produced another theory of political organization. Indeed, it appears that contractualism general, he advocated before, is ultimately very different from the supporters of economic freedom. It is then no longer to absorb the political economics, but to propose a form of political organization that is an alternative to the state. It is characterized by a centralized, hierarchical and organized from the top down. Again, Proudhon is based on a version of contractualism that wants an alternative to the theory of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Contract involves unique Jacobinism, Proudhon opposes a multiplicity of contracts. But this time, the freedom and autonomy that guarantees the contract is balanced by the solidarity that requires the federation. However, the form of federalism that offers Proudhon differs from those we know. In legal terms, it is a confederation that is to say, an organization in which local still has more power than the higher level.

However, the development proposed by Proudhon is not completed. Indeed, federalism is an attempt to find a balance between autonomy and solidarity, but only at the political level. In one of his last books, From the political capacity of the working classes, Proudhon's mutualism for the economic policy of federalism. Mutualism guarantee economic autonomy both production units and solidarity between workers.

Elaborations anti-statist Proudhon, inspired themselves in the world labor practices especially regarding mutualism, is a reference to a number of militant labor movement actors: for the current mutualist First International, for which Bakunin's collectivist one of the main figures in the anarchist movement which can locate the birth as such at the Congress of St. Imier in 1872, for trade unionists such as Pelloutier and more generally revolutionary syndicalists. All these common resume Proudhon the importance of organizing form in which federalist autonomy of grassroots groups and decision-making power is guaranteed.

Criticism of the vertical division of labor

There is another dimension of criticism that Proudhon had an influence on the state by anarchists, but that Proudhon does not develop, however, in the context of this subject is the question of the division of labor between tasks designs and executions. Indeed, Proudhon makes a critical introduction of machines in the production process because they lead to reduced worker craftsman status to that of a simple tool unintelligent.

This theme is echoed in particular between the wars, as pointed out Simone Weil, philosopher and militant syndicalist. In a text from 1933, it emphasizes the growing importance both in capitalist production in the state organization, reports technocratic. The capitalist system is characterized by parsseulement oppression of those who own the means of production, but also a division between those who run the machine and those in his service. Similarly, the State, whether in capitalist societies in the USSR or totalitarian regimes is characterized by bureaucratic domination exercised by those who are responsible for coordinating functions. This topic is resumed in the post-war period, and particularly during the 1970s, a number of anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists, such as Louis Mercier Vega-through the critique of techno-bureaucracy.

Irene (AL Paris North East)

[1] For the recovery of this theme Bakunin, see "heavenly kingdom and state apparatus" in AL No. 208, Summer 2011.
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