Today we have a cautious attitude towards anarchism. On the one hand, it is considered destructive and chaotic, and on the other hand, even fashionable. Meanwhile, this political ideology is only trying to get rid of the coercive power of some people over others.
Anarchism tries to give the person maximum freedom, to eliminate all types of exploitation. Public relations should be based on personal interest, voluntary consent and responsibility.
Anarchism calls for the elimination of all forms of power. Do not assume that such a philosophy appeared in the XIX-XX centuries, the roots of such a world view are still in the works of ancient thinkers. Since then, there have appeared many prominent anarchists who developed the theory and clothed it in modern forms. About the most outstanding philosophers of this kind and will be discussed. Diogenes of Sinop (408 BC-318 BC).
This philosopher appeared in a wealthy family in the town of Sinop on the Black Sea coast. Being expelled from his hometown for fraud, the 28-year-old Diogenes arrived in Athens, then the center of world philosophy. The future thinker became the most famous student of the school of Antisthenes, striking everyone with his refined speeches. The teacher recognized only that state, which consists of good people. After the death of Antisthenes, his views were developed by Diogenes, who radicalized the views of the Cynics. But this teaching denied slavery, laws, the state, ideology and morals. The philosopher himself preached asceticism, wore the simplest clothes and ate the simplest meal. It was he who lived in a barrel, not needing more. Diogenes believed that virtue is much more important than the laws of the state. He preached the community of wives and children, ridiculed wealth. Diogenes could even admire Alexander the Great himself, asking him not to block the sun. The school of cynics laid the foundation of anarchism, and it existed in the Roman Empire until the VI century, becoming fashionable in the II century. Despising the same power, private property and the state of Diogenes, became in fact the first nihilist and first anarchist thinker.
Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876).
Bakunin was born into a wealthy family, but his military career did not work out. After moving to Moscow, young Bakunin began to study philosophy and actively participate in the salons. In Moscow, the thinker became acquainted with the revolutionaries, with Herzen and Belinsky. And in 1840 Bakunin left for Germany, where he met with the Young Hegelians. Soon in his articles the philosopher began to call for a revolution in Russia. Bakunin refused to return to his homeland, since he was waiting for a prison there. The philosopher urged people to get rid of everything that prevents them from being themselves. It is no coincidence that Bakunin became an active participant in the European revolutions of the mid-19th century. He was seen in Prague, Berlin, Dresden, he played an important role at the Slavic Congress. But after the arrest, the anarchist was sentenced first to death, and then to life imprisonment. From the Siberian exile the thinker fled, having reached London through Japan and the USA. The anarchist inspired Wagner to create the image of the Zigfrid, Rudin Turgenev wrote with him, and Stavrogin personified Dostoevsky’s Bakunin in The Devils. In 1860-1870 the revolutionary actively helps the Poles during their uprising, organizes anarchist sections in Spain and Switzerland. Bakunin’s active work led to the fact that Marx and Engels began to intrigue against him, fearing the loss of influence on the workers’ movement. And in 1865-1867, the revolutionary finally became an anarchist. The exclusion of Bakunin from the International in 1872 caused a sharp opposition to the workers’ organizations in Europe. Already after the death of the thinker, the anarchist movement of the continent received a powerful impetus. There is no doubt that Bakunin was an important figure in world anarchism and the main theorist of this trend. He not only created a single worldview, but also formed independent organizations.Bakunin believed that the state is the most cynical denial of all human, hindering the solidarity of people. He hated communism because he denied freedom. Bakunin opposed the parties, authorities and power. Thanks to his work, anarchism has spread widely in Russia, Italy, Spain, Belgium, France. Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921).
This theorist succeeded in creating a world movement of anarcho-communism. It is interesting that Kropotkin himself came from an ancient princely family. As a young officer, he took part in geographic expeditions in Siberia. At 25 years of retirement, Kropotkin became a student of St. Petersburg University, publishing about 80 works in the field of geography and geology. But soon the student was carried away not only by science, but also by revolutionary ideas. In an underground circle Kropotkin met in particular with Sofya Perovskaya. And in 1872 the man went to Europe, where his anarchist views developed. The prince returned with illegal literature and began to form his program of the new system. It was planned to create anarchy, consisting in the union of free communes without the participation of power. Fleeing from the persecution of the authorities, the prince left for Europe. As a member of the International, he is under the supervision of the police of different countries, but at the same time he is defended by the best minds of Europe – Hugo, Spencer. Being a scientist, Kropotkin tried to substantiate anarchism with the help of scientific methods. He saw in this the philosophy of society, proving that mutual assistance underlies the development of life. In the years 1885-1913 Kropotkin’s main works are published, in which he spoke about the need to accomplish a social revolution. Anarchist dreamed of a free society without a state where people would help each other. In February 1917, the philosopher returned to Russia, where he was enthusiastically welcomed. However, Kropotkin did not dip into politics, refusing to cooperate with like-minded people. Until recently, the prince persuaded the ideals of good, faith, wisdom, trying to call for the softening of revolutionary terror. After the death of the philosopher, tens of thousands of people came to take him to the last path. But under Stalin his followers were dispersed.
Nestor Makhno (1888-1934).
Peasant son from early childhood was used to the most difficult and dirty work. In his youth, Makhno joined the union of grain-grower anarchists and even took part in terrorist acts. Fortunately, the 22-year-old guy did not dare to execute the authorities, sent to hard labor. While in prison in Butyrka, Nestor Ivanovich met with prominent Russian anarchists – Anthony, Semenyuta, Arshinov. After the February Revolution, the political prisoner Makhno was released. He returns to his native Gulyaypole, where he expels state organs and establishes his own power and redistribution of land. In the fall of 1918 Makhno, having united several partisan detachments, was elected father and began to fight with the invaders. By December 1918, under the authority of an anarchist, there were already six volosts that formed the republic of Makhnovi. And in February-March 1919 Makhno actively fights against the Whites, helping the Red Army. But by spring the conflict with the Bolsheviks was over, since the father refused to let the Chekists into his free zone. Despite the hunt, the anarchist, by October 1919, managed to create an army of 80,000 people. The guerrilla struggle against the Reds continued in 1920. And in 1921, finally defeated, the father went to Romania. Since 1925 Makhno lived in France, where he published an anarchist magazine, published articles. Here he established contacts with all the leading leaders of this movement, dreaming of creating a single party. But heavy wounds undermined Makhno’s health, he died, and did not finish his work to the end. In the conditions of the revolution, the great anarchist managed to challenge the dictatorships of the parties, monarchical and democratic, in Ukraine. Makhno created a movement that intended to build a new life on the principles of self-government. Makhnovshchina became the antithesis of Bolshevism, which could not reconcile with this.
Pierre Proudhon (1809-1865).
Proudhon is called the father of anarchism, because it was this social figure and philosopher who in fact created the theory of this phenomenon. In his youth, he dreamed of becoming a writer, having gained a small experience in printing. The main work of his entire life, about property and the principles of government and public order, published in 1840, was met with coolness. At this time, Proudhon gets acquainted with intellectual intellectuals who dream of a new society. His constant interlocutors are Marx and Engels. The thinker did not accept the revolution of 1848, condemning him for his unwillingness to change society and for compromise. Proudhon is trying to create a people’s bank, becoming a member of the National Assembly is trying to change the tax system. In publishing the newspaper Le peuple he criticized the order in the country and even the new president Napoleon. For his revolutionary articles Proudhon was even imprisoned. The new book of the philosopher “On Justice in the Revolution and the Church” forced him to flee their country. In exile, Proudhon wrote treatises on international law, on the theory of taxes. He argues that the only possible form of social organization is a free association with the observance of freedoms and equality in the means of production and exchange. At the end of his life, Proudhon acknowledged that his anarchist ideals remained unattainable. And although the philosopher formed a new worldview, his model of society did not provide for such a terror habitual for revolutions. Proudhon believed that humanity could move on to a new world gradually and without upheavals. William Godwin (1756-1836).
This English writer at one time had a very strong influence on the formation of anarchism. William was originally prepared for a career in the clergy. However, much more theology interested him socio-political problems. In the 1780s and 1790s, under the influence of the works of the French Enlightenment Godwin in England formed a school of social novelists. In 1783, his final break with the church occurred, in London the writer became the ideological leader of social novelists. In the era of the French Revolution, Godwin was able to introduce new trends into the political alphabet of the country. Members of his circle sympathized with the events in the neighboring country, he himself in his treatises began to consider the problems of inequality and the possibility of introducing a fair anarchy. That work of the writer even became the subject of consideration of the government and was withdrawn from circulation. Godwin’s ideas are similar to the views of the communist anarchists of the early twentieth century. The writer believed that the existing system of society is the main source of world evil. According to Godwin, the state simply helps one people oppress others, property is a matter of luxury and satiety. According to the philosopher, the state brings degeneracy to mankind, and religion only helps to enslave people. The reason for all human misfortunes is ignorance of the truth, the discovery of which will help to achieve happiness. On the way to a brighter future Godwin proposed to abandon violence and revolutions. In the last part of life, because of the reaction in England and material problems, the philosopher left literature and occupation with public problems.
Max Stirner (Schmidt Kaspar) (1806-1856).
This outstanding thinker is credited with the creation of anarchism-individualism. After receiving a diploma in philology, the young teacher begins to visit the Hippel beer hall in Berlin, where the liberal youth of the “Free Group” gathered. Among the regulars, we can mention at least Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Caspar immediately plunged into disputes, began to write original philosophical works. From the first steps he declared himself as a nihilist individualist, severely criticizing democracy and liberalism. For his high forehead, the anarchist was nicknamed “Lomb”, and soon he took the pseudonym Stirner, which literally means “lobasty”. In 1842, the thinker noted his articles on education and religion. The main work of his life, “The only and his property,” was published in 1844.In this work Stirner developed the idea of anarchism. In his opinion, a person should seek not personal freedom but personal freedom. After all, any social transformation is aimed at satisfying someone’s selfish plans. In 1848, a revolution broke out in Germany, its philosopher took a cool, not joining not one of the unions. Stirner sharply criticized Marx, communism and the revolutionary struggle, and his ideas significantly influenced Bakunin and Nietzsche. The anarchist with a grin wrote about the participants in the uprising, who bought into another lie and then restored what they themselves destroyed. The philosopher died in poverty and obscurity, but in the late 1890’s his writings became relevant, he began to be considered a prophet of left nihilism. In the views of the anarchist, society is a union of egoists, each of which sees in the other only a means to achieve its goals. It is important that a person competes in a society, and not capital, as it is now.
Emma Goldman (1869-1940).
There were women among anarchists. Emmy Goldman, although born in Kaunas, became famous as a famous American feminist. Emma joined radical ideas even in her youth, living in Russia. In America, she fell into 17 years, having experienced an unsuccessful marriage, divorce and heavy factory work. In 1887, the girl went to New York, did not get acquainted with a group of anarchists. In the 1890s she actively traveled around America, giving lectures. For such propaganda of radical views, the woman was repeatedly arrested and even imprisoned. Since 1906, Emma has been publishing the magazine Mother Earth, where she publishes her works on anarchism, feminism, and sexual freedom. Together with his friend Alexander Berkman, she founded the first school of intimate education. Thanks to the activity of anarchists in America, communist red ideas became popular, Emma openly called for a riot and disobedience to the state. It raised trade unions to fight capitalists. As a result, the authorities simply took and deported 249 most radical activists from the country, sending them to Russia. But under the new regime, the anarchists felt uncomfortable, quickly disappointed in the Bolsheviks. American guests openly criticized the totalitarian methods of the new government, as a result of which they were expelled from Russia. In the 1930s, Emma traveled to Europe and Canada with lectures about the women’s issue, she was allowed to go to America only if she refused political topics. “Red Emma” for 30 years did not leave the pages of newspapers. A brilliant speaker, critic and journalist, she managed to shake the foundations of American statehood.
Rocker Rudolph (1873-1958).
In his youth, Rudolph understood what it meant to be an orphan and a beggar, and felt the inequality that prevailed in society. At the age of 17, the young man actively joined the work of the Social Democratic Party, but in 1891 he left it, joining the anarchists. In 1892, Roker moved to Paris, where he joined the society of European radicals. And in 1895, the anarchist, persecuted by the authorities, moved to London, where he became a disciple of Kropotkin himself. Here the German entered the Federation of Jewish Anarchists of Great Britain, one of the most influential organizations of this kind in Europe. By the end of the 1890s, Rudolph led the Jewish workers’ anarchist movement in England. He learned Yiddish so well that he even began to write on it. Jews recognized this German as their spiritual leader. Almost 20 years Rudolph released an anarchist newspaper “Friend of workers”, until it was closed by the police for anti-militaristic views during the First World War. In the early 1900’s, Roker opened an anarchist club, printed brochures, becoming a prominent theoretician of this movement. In 1918, after arrests and prison in England, Rocker moved to Germany, where he actively joined the revolutionary events. The anarchist criticizes the dictatorship revolution in Russia and calls for building a new society in Germany, by seizing the economic power by the syndicates.But in the 1920s the activists of the Berlin International were subjected to repression, and by 1932 no one supported anarcho-syndicalists in Germany. Rocker fought against fascism, criticized Stalinism, and then moved to the US, where he continued to publish. However, in the 1940s, the activity of the anarchists began to decline, and Roker could no longer revive this movement in Europe.
Errike Malatesta (1853-1932).
And this prominent theorist of anarchism worked in Italy. Already at the age of 14, Errika was under arrest because of his letter to the king, complaining about the injustice of life in the country. In 1871, a novice revolutionary met Bakunin, who inspired him with his ideas. Thus, Malatesta became an ardent supporter of anarchism and a member of the International International. In 1877, together with several like-minded people, the Italian with arms in hand opposes the king and even announces the overthrow of power in several villages of Campania. Having fled the country, the anarchist propagandizes his teaching in different countries of Europe, struggles with the colonialists of Egypt, creates a grouping in Argentina. The life of Malatesta resembles an adventure novel – the chases of the authorities, arrests, shoots, shootings. In 1907, the Italian is recognized as one of the leaders of the International Anarchist Conference in Amsterdam, a recognized theoretician, like Kropotkin and Bakunin. After the next arrests on charges of robberies and murders, Malatesta returned to Italy, where he took an active part in anti-government demonstrations. The first world war, unlike Kropotkin, did not accept Malatesta. Surprisingly, he predicted that there would be no clear victory for either side, and after the loss of resources a shaky peace would be established. Countries will begin to prepare for a new, more murderous war. His words became prophetic. In 1920, Italy was on the verge of a social revolution – workers began to seize the factories. However, indecisive trade unions turned the strike. Since 1922, Malatesta has joined the struggle against Mussolini. In 1924-1926, fascist censorship even allowed to go legally to an anarchist journal. Until the last years of his life, Malatesta participated in the work of his life, publishing articles and pamphlets in Geneva and Paris.