Classless society

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Classless society refers to a society in which no one is born into a social class. Such distinctions of wealth, income, education, culture, or social network might arise and would only be determined by individual experience and achievement in such a society.

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Helen Codere defines social class as a segment of the community, the members of which show a common social position in a hierarchical ranking. [1] Codere suggest that a true class-organized society is one in which the hierarchy of prestige and status is divisible into groups each with its own social, economic, attitudinal and cultural characteristics and each having differential degrees of power in community decision. [1]

Since determination of life outcome by birth class has proved historically difficult to avoid, advocates of a classless society such as anarchists, communists and libertarian socialists propose various means to achieve and maintain it and attach varying degrees of importance to it as an end in their overall programs/philosophy.

Classlessness

The term classlessness has been used to describe different social phenomena.

In societies where classes have been abolished, it is usually the result of a voluntary decision by the membership to form such a society to abolish a pre-existing class structure in an existing society or to form a new one without any. This would include communes of the modern period such as various American utopian communities or the kibbutzim as well as revolutionary and political acts at the nation-state level such as the Paris Commune or the Russian Revolution. The abolition of social classes and the establishment of a classless society is the primary goal of anarchism, communism and libertarian socialism.

Classlessness also refers to the state of mind required in order to operate effectively as a social anthropologist. Anthropological training includes making assessments of and therefore becoming aware of one's own class assumptions so that these can be set aside from conclusions reached about other societies. This may be compared to ethnocentric biases or the "neutral axiology" required by Max Weber. Otherwise conclusions reached about studied societies will likely be coloured by the anthropologist's own class values.

Classlessness can also refer to a society that has acquired pervasive and substantial social justice where the economic upper class wields no special political power and poverty as experienced historically is virtually nonexistent as it cannot be achieved.

According to Ulrich Beck, classlessness is achieved with class struggle: "It is the collective success with class struggle which institutionalizes individualization and dissolves the culture of classes, even under conditions of radicalizing inequalities". [2] Essentially, classlessness will exist when the inequalities and injustice out ranks societies idea of the need for social ranking and hierarchy.

Social classes in present day

The state of social classes in society today is disputed. If the actual development is taken by the discussion,[ citation needed ] then Western society has moved past classes to a classless society.[ citation needed ] This is reinforced by the statement from Becker and Andreas Hadjar: "The weakening of class identities is also postulated by Savage (2000, p. 37), who assumes that although individuals may still refer to social class, class position no longer generates a deep sense of identity and belonging". [3] Some say that society today has not completely abolished classes, but that distinctions can be only attributed to experience and success (meritocracy).[ citation needed ] Others maintain that the class system remains in place, e.g. by showing that children's success in education correlates with their parent's wealth, and wealth being inherited. [4]

Marxist definition

In Marxist theory, tribal hunter-gatherer society, primitive communism, was classless. Everyone was equal in a basic sense as a member of the tribe and the different functional assignments of the primitive mode of production, howsoever rigid and stratified they might be, did not and could not simply because of the numbers produce a class society as such. With the transition to agriculture, the possibility to make a surplus product, i.e. to produce more than what is necessary to satisfy one's immediate needs, developed in the course of development of the productive forces. According to Marxism, this also made it possible for a class society to develop because the surplus product could be used to nourish a ruling class which did not participate in production.

Libertarian socialism

Libertarian socialism, also called left-libertarianism, social anarchism, social libertarianism and socialist libertarianism, is a group of anti-authoritarian socialist political philosophies that rejects socialism as the centralised state ownership and control of the economy, which they regard as state capitalism. Political philosophy is the study of fundamental questions about the government, state, justice, politics, liberty and the enforcement of a legal code by an authoritative body. According to Charles Larmore, the second approach sees political philosophy as the freedom to discipline one-self from the basic features of the human condition that make up the reality of political life. [5]

Libertarianism is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle. [6] Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association and individual judgment. [7] [8] [9] Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing political and economic systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions. [10]

Past and present political philosophies and movements commonly described as libertarian socialist include anarchism (especially anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, [11] collectivist anarchism and mutualism) [12] as well as autonomism, communalism, participism, guild socialism, [13] revolutionary syndicalism and libertarian Marxist [14] philosophies such as council communism [15] and Luxemburgism [16] as well as some versions of utopian socialism [17] and individualist anarchism. [18] [19] [20] [21]

See also

Related Research Articles

Anarchism is a radical political movement that is highly skeptical towards authority and rejects all involuntary, coercive forms of hierarchy. It calls for the abolition of the state which it holds to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful. Anarchism advocates for the replacement of the state with stateless societies or other forms of free associations.

Individualist anarchism is the branch of anarchism that emphasize the individual and their will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions and ideological systems. Although usually contrasted to social anarchism, both individualist and social anarchism have influenced each other. Mutualism, an economic theory particularly influential within individualist anarchism whose pursued liberty has been called the synthesis of communism and property, has been considered sometimes part of individualist anarchism and other times part of social anarchism. Many anarcho-communists regard themselves as radical individualists, seeing anarcho-communism as the best social system for the realization of individual freedom.

Individualism moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the moral worth of the individual

Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the moral worth of the individual. Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance and advocate that interests of the individual should achieve precedence over the state or a social group, while opposing external interference upon one's own interests by society or institutions such as the government. Individualism is often defined in contrast to totalitarianism, collectivism, and more corporate social forms.

Libertarian socialism, also referred to as anarcho-socialism, anarchist socialism, free socialism, stateless socialism, socialist anarchism and socialist libertarianism, is a set of anti-authoritarian, anti-statist and libertarian political philosophies within the socialist movement which rejects the conception of socialism as a form where the state retains centralized control of the economy. Overlapping with anarchism and libertarianism, it criticizes wage labour relationships within the workplace, emphasizing workers' self-management of the workplace and decentralized structures of political organization.

Free-market anarchism, or market anarchism, also known as free-market anti-capitalism and free-market socialism, is the branch of anarchism that advocates a free-market economic system based on voluntary interactions without the involvement of the state. A form of individualist anarchism, left-libertarianism and libertarian socialism, it is based on the economic theories of mutualism and individualist anarchism in the United States. Left-wing market anarchism is a modern branch of free-market anarchism that is based on a revival of such free-market anarchist theories. It is mainly associated with left-libertarians such as Kevin Carson and Gary Chartier, who consider themselves anti-capitalists and socialists.

Anarchist economics is the set of theories and practices of economic activity within the political philosophy of anarchism. With the exception of anarcho-capitalists who accept private ownership of the means of production, who aren't considered anarchists by most who adhere to the philosophy, anarchists are anti-capitalists, with anarchism usually referred to as a stateless system of socialism. They argue that its characteristic institutions promote and reproduce various forms of economic activity which they consider oppressive, including private property, hierarchical production relations, collecting rents from private property, taking a profit in exchanges and collecting interest on loans. Capitalists, landlords, and headmasters are seen as the primary rulers of society, by anarchism, with workers' self-management, democratic education, and cooperative housing seen as removing such authority. Anarchists endorse possession-based ownership rather than propertarianism.

The nature of capitalism is criticized by anarchists, who reject hierarchy and advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical voluntary associations. Anarchism is generally defined as the libertarian philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful as well as opposing authoritarianism, illegitimate authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations. Capitalism is generally considered by scholars to be an economic system that includes private ownership of the means of production, creation of goods or services for profit or income, the accumulation of capital, competitive markets, voluntary exchange and wage labor which has generally been opposed by anarchists historically. Since capitalism is variously defined by sources and there is no general consensus among scholars on the definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category, the designation is applied to a variety of historical cases, varying in time, geography, politics and culture.

Left-libertarianism, also known as egalitarian libertarianism, left-wing libertarianism or social libertarianism, is a political philosophy and type of libertarianism that stresses both individual freedom and social equality. As a term, "left-libertarianism" is used for several related yet distinct approaches to political and social theory. In its classical usage, it is an anti-authoritarian varieties of left-wing politics such as anarchism, especially social anarchism, whose adherents simply called "libertarian". In the United States, it represents the left-wing of the libertarian movement and the political positions associated with academic philosophers Hillel Steiner, Philippe Van Parijs and Peter Vallentyne that combine self-ownership with an egalitarian approach to natural resources. This is done to distinguish libertarian views on the nature of property and capital, usually along left–right or socialist–capitalist lines.

"An Anarchist FAQ" is a FAQ written by an international work group of social anarchists connected through the internet. It documents anarchist theory and ideas and argues in favor of social anarchism. It also explores other debates internal to the anarchist movement and counters common arguments against anarchism. It has been in constant evolution since 1995. While it was started as a critique of anarcho-capitalism, by the time it was officially released it had become a general introduction to anarchism.

Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful as well as opposing authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations. Proponents of anarchism, known as anarchists, advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical voluntary associations. While anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful, opposition to the state is not its central or sole definition. Anarchism can entail opposing authority or hierarchy in the conduct of all human relations.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to anarchism, generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations. Proponents of anarchism, known as anarchists, advocate stateless societies or non-hierarchical voluntary associations.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to libertarianism, a political philosophy that upholds liberty as its principal objective. As a result, libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association and the primacy of individual judgment.

Anarchy State of a society being without a governing body

Anarchy is the state of a society being freely constituted without authorities or a governing body. It may also refer to a society or group of people that totally rejects a set hierarchy.

Types of socialism include a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production and organizational self-management of enterprises as well as the political theories and movements associated with socialism. Social ownership may refer to forms of public, collective or cooperative ownership, or to citizen ownership of equity in which surplus value goes to the working class and hence society as a whole. There are many varieties of socialism and no single definition encapsulates all of them, but social ownership is the common element shared by its various forms.

Social anarchism is the branch of anarchism that sees individual freedom as interrelated with mutual aid. Social anarchist thought emphasizes community and social equality as complementary to autonomy and personal freedom. It attempts to accomplish this balance through freedom of speech maintained in a decentralized federalism, with freedom of interaction in thought and subsidiarity. Subsidiarity is best defined as "that one should not withdraw from individuals and commit to the community what they can accomplish by their own enterprise and industry" and that "[f]or every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them", or the slogan "Do not take tools out of people's hands".

Left-wing market anarchism is a strand of free-market anarchism and an individualist anarchist, left-libertarian and libertarian socialist political philosophy and economic theory associated with contemporary scholars such as Kevin Carson, Gary Chartier, Charles W. Johnson, Roderick T. Long, Chris Matthew Sciabarra, Sheldon Richman and Brad Spangler, who stress the value of radically free markets, termed freed markets to distinguish them from the common conception which these libertarians believe to be riddled with statist and capitalist privileges. Proponents of this approach distinguish themselves from right-libertarians and strongly affirm the classical liberal ideas of self-ownership and free markets while maintaining that taken to their logical conclusions these ideas support anti-capitalist, anti-corporatist, anti-hierarchical and pro-labor positions in economics; anti-imperialism in foreign policy; and thoroughly radical views regarding issues such as class, gender, sexuality and race.

Anti-statism is any approach to social, economic or political philosophy that rejects statism. An anti-statist is one who opposes intervention by the state into personal, social and economic affairs. In anarchism, this is characterized by a complete rejection of all hierarchical rulership.

Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds ruling classes and the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations.

Collectivist anarchism, also referred to as anarchist collectivism and anarcho-collectivism, is a revolutionary socialist doctrine and anarchist school of thought that advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production as it envisions in its place the means of production being owned collectively whilst controlled and self-managed by the producers and workers themselves. Notwithstanding the name, collectivism anarchism is seen as a blend of individualism and collectivism.

References

  1. 1 2 Codere, H. (1957). Kwakiutl Society: Rank without Class. American Anthropologist , 59(3), 473–486. JSTOR   665913
  2. Beck, U. (2007). Beyond class and nation: Reframing social inequalities in a globalizing world. The British Journal of Sociology , 58(4), 679-705. doi : 10.1111/j.1468-4446.2007.00171.x
  3. Becker, R. and Hadjar, A. (2013), “Individualisation” and class structure: how individual lives are still affected by social inequalities. International Social Science Journal, 64: 211–223. doi : 10.1111/issj.12044
  4. Of course class still matters – it influences everything that we do, Will Hutton, The Guardian , January 10, 2010
  5. Larmore, C. (2013). What is political philosophy? Journal of Moral Philosophy , 10 (3), 276-306. doi : 10.1163/174552412X628896
  6. Boaz, David, David Boaz (January 30, 2009). "Libertarianism". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved February 21, 2017. ...libertarianism, political philosophy that takes individual liberty to be the primary political value.
  7. Woodcock, George (2004). Anarchism: A History Of Libertarian Ideas And Movements. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview Press. p. 16. ISBN   9781551116297. for the very nature of the libertarian attitude—its rejection of dogma, its deliberate avoidance of rigidly systematic theory, and, above all, its stress on extreme freedom of choice and on the primacy of the individual judgment
  8. Boaz, David (1999). "Key Concepts of Libertarianism". Cato Institute. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  9. "What Is Libertarian?". Institute for Humane Studies. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  10. Long, Joseph.W (1996). "Toward a Libertarian Theory of Class." Social Philosophy and Policy. 15:2 p. 310. "When I speak of 'libertarianism'... I mean all three of these very different movements. It might be protested that LibCap ["libertarian capitalism"], LibSoc ["libertarian socialism"] and LibPop ["libertarian populism] are too different from one another to be treated as aspects of a single point of view. But they do share a common—or at least an overlapping—intellectual ancestry."
  11. Sims, Franwa (2006). The Anacostia Diaries As It Is. Lulu Press. p. 160.
  12. A Mutualist FAQ: A.4. Are Mutualists Socialists? Archived 2009-06-09 at the Wayback Machine
  13. "It is by meeting such a twofold requirement that the libertarian socialism of G.D.H. Cole could be said to offer timely and sustainable avenues for the institutionalization of the liberal value of autonomy..." Charles Masquelier. Critical theory and libertarian socialism: Realizing the political potential of critical social theory. Bloombury. New York-London. 2014. pg. 190.
  14. "Locating libertarian socialism in a grey area between anarchist and Marxist extremes, they argue that the multiple experiences of historical convergence remain inspirational and that, through these examples, the hope of socialist transformation survives." Alex Prichard, Ruth Kinna, Saku Pinta and Dave Berry (eds) Libertarian Socialism: Politics in Black and Red. Palgrave Macmillan, December 2012. pg. 13.
  15. "Councilism and anarchism loosely merged into ‘libertarian socialism’, offering a non-dogmatic path by which both council communism and anarchism could be updated for the changed conditions of the time, and for the new forms of proletarian resistance to these new conditions." Toby Boraman. "Carnival and Class: Anarchism and Councilism in Australasia during the 1970s" in Alex Prichard, Ruth Kinna, Saku Pinta and Dave Berry (eds). Libertarian Socialism: Politics in Black and Red. Palgrave Macmillan, December 2012. pg. 268.
  16. Murray Bookchin, Ghost of Anarcho-Syndicalism; Robert Graham, The General Idea of Proudhon's Revolution.
  17. Kent Bromley, in his preface to Peter Kropotkin's book The Conquest of Bread , considered early French utopian socialist Charles Fourier to be the founder of the libertarian branch of socialist thought, as opposed to the authoritarian socialist ideas of Babeuf and Buonarroti." Kropotkin, Peter. The Conquest of Bread, preface by Kent Bromley, New York and London, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1906.
  18. "(Benjamin) Tucker referred to himself many times as a socialist and considered his philosophy to be "Anarchistic socialism." An Anarchist FAQ by Various Authors
  19. French individualist anarchist Émile Armand shows clearly opposition to capitalism and centralized economies when he said that the individualist anarchist "inwardly he remains refractory – fatally refractory – morally, intellectually, economically (The capitalist economy and the directed economy, the speculators and the fabricators of single are equally repugnant to him.)""Anarchist Individualism as a Life and Activity" by Emile Armand
  20. Anarchist Peter Sabatini reports that in the United States "of early to mid-19th century, there appeared an array of communal and "utopian" counterculture groups (including the so-called free love movement). William Godwin's anarchism exerted an ideological influence on some of this, but more so the socialism of Robert Owen and Charles Fourier. After success of his British venture, Owen himself established a cooperative community within the United States at New Harmony, Indiana during 1825. One member of this commune was Josiah Warren (1798–1874), considered to be the first individualist anarchist". Peter Sabatini. "Libertarianism: Bogus Anarchy"
  21. "It introduces an eye-opening approach to radical social thought, rooted equally in libertarian socialism and market anarchism." Chartier, Gary; Johnson, Charles W. (2011). Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty. Brooklyn, NY: Minor Compositions/Autonomedia. Pg. Back cover.