Classless society

Last updated

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.

Society group of people related to each other through persistent relations

A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Societies are characterized by patterns of relationships between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent of members. In the social sciences, a larger society often exhibits stratification or dominance patterns in subgroups.

Social class Hierarchical social stratification

A social class is a set of subjectively defined concepts in the social sciences and political theory centered on models of social stratification in which people are grouped into a set of hierarchical social categories, the most common being the upper, middle and lower classes.

The distribution of wealth is a comparison of the wealth of various members or groups in a society. It shows one aspect of economic inequality or economic heterogeneity.

Contents

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] However, class organised societies rarely follow this structure, suggesting that a classless society might be better.

A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. Hierarchy is an important concept in a wide variety of fields, such as philosophy, mathematics, computer science, organizational theory, systems theory, and the social sciences.

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.

Anarchism is an anti-authoritarian political philosophy that advocates self-governed societies based on voluntary, cooperative institutions and the rejection of hierarchies those societies view as unjust. These institutions are often described as stateless societies, although several authors have defined them more specifically as distinct institutions based on non-hierarchical or free associations. Anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful.

Communism socialist political movement and ideology

In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.

Libertarian socialism form of left-wing anarchism

Libertarian socialism is a group of anti-authoritarian political philosophies inside the socialist movement that rejects the conception of socialism as centralized state ownership and control of the economy. Libertarian socialism is close to and overlaps with left-libertarianism and criticizes wage labour relationships within the workplace, instead emphasizing workers' self-management of the workplace and decentralized structures of political organization.

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.

Commune community of people living together, sharing common interests

A commune is an intentional community of people living together, sharing common interests, often having common values and beliefs, as well as shared property, possessions, resources, and, in some communes, work, income or assets.

Kibbutz collective settlement in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories

A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. The first kibbutz, established in 1909, was Degania. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism. In recent decades, some kibbutzim have been privatized and changes have been made in the communal lifestyle. A member of a kibbutz is called a kibbutznik.

Paris Commune revolutionary city council of Paris 1871

The Paris Commune was a radical socialist and revolutionary government that ruled Paris from 18 March to 28 May 1871. The Franco-Prussian War had led to the capture of Emperor Napoleon III in September 1870, the collapse of the Second French Empire, and the beginning of the Third Republic. Because Paris was under siege for four months, the Third Republic moved its capital to Tours. A hotbed of working-class radicalism, Paris was primarily defended during this time by the often politicised and radical troops of the National Guard rather than regular Army troops. Paris surrendered to the Prussians on 28 January 1871, and in February Adolphe Thiers, the new chief executive of the French national government, signed an armistice with Prussia that disarmed the Army but not the National Guard.

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.

Social anthropology is the dominant constituent of anthropology throughout the United Kingdom and Commonwealth and much of Europe, where it is distinguished from cultural anthropology. In the United States, social anthropology is commonly subsumed within cultural anthropology.

Ethnocentrism is the act of judging another culture based on preconceptions that are found in the values and standards of one's own culture. Ethnocentric behavior involves judging other groups relative to the preconceptions of one's own ethnic group or culture, especially regarding language, behavior, customs, and religion. These aspects or categories are distinctions that define each ethnicity's unique cultural identity.

Axiology is the philosophical study of value. It is either the collective term for ethics and aesthetics, philosophical fields that depend crucially on notions of worth, or the foundation for these fields, and thus similar to value theory and meta-ethics. The term was first used by Paul Lapie, in 1902, and Eduard von Hartmann, in 1908.

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.

Social justice is a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society. This is measured by the explicit and tacit terms for the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity, and social privileges. In Western as well as in older Asian cultures, the concept of social justice has often referred to the process of ensuring that individuals fulfill their societal roles and receive what was their due from society. In the current global grassroots movements for social justice, the emphasis has been on the breaking of barriers for social mobility, the creation of safety nets and economic justice.

The upper class in modern societies is the social class composed of people who hold the highest social status, usually are the wealthiest members of society, and wield the greatest political power. According to this view, the upper class is generally distinguished by immense wealth which is passed on from generation to generation. Prior to the 20th century, the emphasis was on aristocracy, which emphasized generations of inherited noble status, not just recent wealth.

Poverty state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money

Poverty is the scarcity or the lack of a certain (variant) amount of material possessions or money. Poverty is a multifaceted concept, which may include social, economic, and political elements. Absolute poverty, extreme poverty, or destitution refers to the complete lack of the means necessary to meet basic personal needs such as food, clothing and shelter.

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

Individualist anarchism several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement

Individualist anarchism refers to several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasize the individual and his will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions and ideological systems. Individualist anarchism is not a single philosophy, but it refers to a group of individualistic philosophies that sometimes are in conflict. Benjamin Tucker, a famous 19th century individualist anarchist, held that "if the individual has the right to govern himself, all external government is tyranny".

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.

Free-market anarchism, or market anarchism, includes several branches of anarchism that advocate an economic system based on voluntary market interactions without the involvement of the state. A branch of market anarchism is left-wing market anarchism such as mutualists or Gary Chartier and Kevin Carson, who consider themselves anti-capitalists and self identify as part of the socialist movement.

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, anarchists are anti-capitalists. 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. They generally endorse possession-based ownership rather than propertarianism.

Anarchism is 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. The nature of capitalism is a polarizing issue among anarchists, who advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical voluntary associations. 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. Furthermore, 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.

The terms left anarchism and left-wing anarchism distinguish social anarchism from anarcho-capitalism and anti-state right-libertarian philosophies.

Anarchism without adjectives, in the words of historian George Richard Esenwein, "referred to an unhyphenated form of anarchism, that is, a doctrine without any qualifying labels such as communist, collectivist, mutualist, or individualist. For others, [...] [it] was simply understood as an attitude that tolerated the coexistence of different anarchist schools".

Left-libertarianism, also known as left-wing libertarianism, names several related yet distinct approaches to political and social theory which stress both individual freedom and social equality. In its classical usage, left-libertarianism is a synonym for anti-authoritarian varieties of left-wing politics such as libertarian socialism which includes anarchism and libertarian Marxism among others. Left-libertarianism can also refer to 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.

Libertarianism is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association and individual judgment. 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.

Anarchism is 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 based on non-hierarchical voluntary associations.

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. Thus, libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association and the primacy of individual judgment.

Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production as well as the political theories and movements associated with them. Social ownership may refer to forms of public, collective or cooperative ownership, or to citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, though social ownership is the common element shared by its various forms. Socialist economic systems can be further divided into non-market and market forms. The word socialism thus refers to a broad range of theoretical and historical socioeconomic systems and has also been used by many political movements throughout history to describe themselves and their goals, generating numerous types of socialism. Different self-described socialists have used the term "socialism" to refer to different things, such as an economic system, a type of society, a philosophical outlook, a collection of moral values and ideals, or even a certain kind of human character. Some definitions of socialism are very vague while others are so specific that they only include a small minority of the things that have been described as socialism in the past. There have been numerous political movements which called themselves "socialist" under some definition of the term—some of these interpretations are mutually exclusive and all of them have generated debates over the true meaning of socialism.

Social anarchism is a non-state form of socialism and is considered to be the branch of anarchism that sees individual freedom as being interrelated with mutual aid. Social anarchist thought emphasizes community and social equality as complementary to autonomy and personal freedom through norms such as freedom of speech maintained in a decentralized federalism, balanced with freedom of interaction in thought as well as incorporating the concept of subsidiarity, namely "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, [should] never destroy and absorb them", or simply the slogan "Do not take tools out of people's hands".

Benjamin Tucker American journalist and anarchist

Benjamin Ricketson Tucker was an American 19th-century proponent of individualist anarchism which he called "unterrified Jeffersonianism" and editor and publisher of the American individualist anarchist periodical Liberty.

Anti-statism opposition to state intervention into personal, social, and economic affairs

Anti-statism is opposition to state intervention into personal, social and economic affairs. Anti-statism means opposition to the state and any artificial form of government and it differs from traditional anarchism which means the opposition not only to the state, but to any form of rulership.

Anarchist schools of thought

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. Proponents of anarchism, known as "anarchists", advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical voluntary associations. However, anarchist schools of thought can differ fundamentally, supporting anything from extreme individualism to complete collectivism. Strains of anarchism have often been divided into the categories of social and individualist anarchism or similar dual classifications.

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