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Mutualism is an anarchist school of thought and economic theory that advocates a libertarian socialist society based on free markets and usufructs, i.e. occupation and use property norms.One implementation of this scheme involves the establishment of a mutual-credit bank that would lend to producers at a minimal interest rate, just high enough to cover administration. Mutualism is based on a version of the labor theory of value holding that when labor or its product is sold, it ought to receive in exchange goods or services embodying "the amount of labor necessary to produce an article of exactly similar and equal utility".
Anarchism is an anti-authoritarian political and social philosophy that rejects hierarchies deemed unjust and advocates their replacement with self-managed, self-governed societies based on voluntary, cooperative institutions. 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's central disagreement with other ideologies is that it holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful.
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.
Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.
Mutualism originated from the writings of philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Mutualists disagree with the idea of individuals receiving an income through loans, investments and rent as they believe these individuals are not laboring. Although opposed to this type of income, Proudhon expressed that he had never intended "to forbid or suppress, by sovereign decree, ground rent and interest on capital. I think that all these manifestations of human activity should remain free and voluntary for all: I ask for them no modifications, restrictions or suppressions, other than those which result naturally and of necessity from the universalization of the principle of reciprocity which I propose".Insofar as they ensure the worker's right to the full product of their labor, mutualists support markets and property in the product of labor, differentiating between capitalist private property (productive property) and personal property (private property). As a result, they argue for conditional titles to land, whose ownership is legitimate only so long as it remains in use or occupation (which Proudhon called possession), a type of private property with strong abandonment criteria. This contrasts with capitalist non-proviso Lockean sticky property, where owners maintain title more or less until they consent to gift or sell it.
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a French politician and the founder of mutualist philosophy. He was the first person to declare himself an anarchist, using that term and is widely regarded as one of the ideology's most influential theorists. Proudhon is even considered by many to be the "father of anarchism". He became a member of the French Parliament after the Revolution of 1848, whereafter he referred to himself as a federalist.
A market is one of the many varieties of systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange. While parties may exchange goods and services by barter, most markets rely on sellers offering their goods or services in exchange for money from buyers. It can be said that a market is the process by which the prices of goods and services are established. Markets facilitate trade and enable the distribution and resource allocation in a society. Markets allow any trade-able item to be evaluated and priced. A market emerges more or less spontaneously or may be constructed deliberately by human interaction in order to enable the exchange of rights of services and goods. Markets generally supplant gift economies and are often held in place through rules and customs, such as a booth fee, competitive pricing, and source of goods for sale.
Property, in the abstract, is what belongs to or with something, whether as an attribute or as a component of said thing. In the context of this article, it is one or more components, whether physical or incorporeal, of a person's estate; or so belonging to, as in being owned by, a person or jointly a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation or even a society. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property has the right to consume, alter, share, redefine, rent, mortgage, pawn, sell, exchange, transfer, give away or destroy it, or to exclude others from doing these things, as well as to perhaps abandon it; whereas regardless of the nature of the property, the owner thereof has the right to properly use it, or at the very least exclusively keep it.
As libertarian socialists, mutualists distinguish their market socialism from state socialism and do not advocate state control over the means of production. Instead, each person possesses a means of production, either individually or collectively, with trade representing equivalent amounts of labor in the free market.Benjamin Tucker said of Proudhon that "though opposed to socializing the ownership of capital, he aimed nevertheless to socialize its effects by making its use beneficial to all instead of a means of impoverishing the many to enrich the few [...] by subjecting capital to the natural law of competition, thus bringing the price of its own use down to cost".
Market socialism is a type of economic system involving the public, cooperative or social ownership of the means of production in the framework of a market economy. Market socialism differs from non-market socialism in that the market mechanism is utilized for the allocation of capital goods and the means of production. Depending on the specific model of market socialism, profits generated by socially owned firms may variously be used to directly remunerate employees, accrue to society at large as the source of public finance or be distributed amongst the population in a social dividend.
State socialism is a classification for any socialist political and economic perspective advocating state ownership of the means of production either as a temporary measure in the transition from capitalism to socialism, or as characteristic of socialism itself. It is often used interchangeably with state capitalism in reference to the economic systems of Marxist–Leninist states such as the Soviet Union to highlight the role of state planning in these economies, with the critics of said system referring to it more commonly as "state capitalism". Libertarian and democratic socialists claim that these states had only a limited number of socialist characteristics. However, Marxist–Leninists maintain that workers in the Soviet Union and other Marxist–Leninist states had genuine control over the means of production through institutions such as trade unions.
State ownership is the ownership of an industry, asset, or enterprise by the state or a public body representing a community as opposed to an individual or private party. Public ownership specifically refers to industries selling goods and services to consumers and differs from public goods and government services financed out of a government's general budget. Public ownership can take place at the national, regional, local, or municipal levels of government; or can refer to non-governmental public ownership vested in autonomous public enterprises. Public ownership is one of the three major forms of property ownership, differentiated from private, collective/cooperative, and common ownership.
Although similar to the economic doctrines of the 19th-century American individualist anarchists, mutualism is in favor of large industries.Mutualism has been retrospectively characterized sometimes as being a form of individualist anarchism and as ideologically situated between individualist and collectivist forms of anarchism as well. Proudhon himself described the liberty he pursued as "the synthesis of communism and property". As a result, some consider mutualism to be part of free-market anarchism, individualist anarchism and market-oriented left-libertarianism while others regard it to be part of social anarchism.
Anarchism in the United States began in the mid-19th century and started to grow in influence as it entered the American labor movements, growing an anarcho-communist current as well as gaining notoriety for violent propaganda of the deed and campaigning for diverse social reforms in the early 20th century. In the post-World War II era, anarchism regained influence through new developments such as anarcho-pacifism, the American New Left and the counterculture of the 1960s. In contemporary times, anarchism in the United States influenced and became influenced and renewed by developments both inside and outside the worldwide anarchist movement such as platformism, insurrectionary anarchism, the new social movements and the alter-globalization movements.
Individualist anarchism refers to several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasize the individual and their 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".
Free-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 19th-century American individualist anarchism. 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 American mutualists and left-libertarians such as Kevin Carson and Gary Chartier, who consider themselves anti-capitalists and identify as part of the socialist movement.
As a term, mutualism has seen a variety of related uses. Charles Fourier first used the French term mutualisme in 1822,although the reference was not to an economic system. The first use of the noun mutualist was in the New-Harmony Gazette by an American Owenite in 1826. In the early 1830s, a French labor organization in Lyons called themselves the Mutuellists.
François Marie Charles Fourier was a French philosopher, influential early socialist thinker and one of the founders of utopian socialism. Some of Fourier's social and moral views, held to be radical in his lifetime, have become mainstream thinking in modern society. For instance, Fourier is credited with having originated the word "feminism" in 1837.
Robert Owen was a Welsh textile manufacturer, philanthropic social reformer, and one of the founders of utopian socialism and the cooperative movement. Owen is best known for his efforts to improve the working conditions of his factory workers and his promotion of experimental socialistic communities. In the early 1800s Owen became wealthy as an investor and eventual manager of a large textile mill at New Lanark, Scotland. He initially trained as a draper in Stamford, Lincolnshire, and worked in London before relocating at the age of 18 to Manchester and going into business as a textile manufacturer. In 1824, Owen travelled to America, where he invested the bulk of his fortune in an experimental socialistic community at New Harmony, Indiana, the preliminary model for Owen's utopian society. The experiment was short-lived, lasting about two years. Other Owenite utopian communities met a similar fate. In 1828, Owen returned to the United Kingdom and settled in London, where he continued to be an advocate for the working class. In addition to his leadership in the development of cooperatives and the trade union movement, he also supported passage of child labour laws and free, co-educational schools.
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was involved with the Lyons mutualists and later adopted the name to describe his own teachings.In What Is Mutualism?, Clarence Lee Swartz gives his own account of the origin of the term, claiming that "[t]he word "mutualism" seems to have been first used by John Gray, an English writer, in 1832". When Gray's 1825 Lecture on Human Happiness was first published in the United States in 1826, the publishers appended the Preamble and Constitution of the Friendly Association for Mutual Interests, Located at Valley Forge. 1826 also saw the publication of the Constitution of the Friendly Association for Mutual Interests at Kendal, Ohio .
Clarence Lee Swartz (1868–1936) was an American individualist anarchist, whose best-known work, What is Mutualism? (1927) is a book explaining the economic system of mutualism.
The plat for the town of Kendal, in Stark County, Ohio was entered on April 20, 1812. It was named by its founder, Thomas Rotch (1767–1823), after the town of Kendal, in Cumbria, England. Kendal was absorbed into the town of Massillon, Ohio in 1853.
By 1846, Proudhon was speaking of mutualité in his writings and he used the term mutuellisme at least as early as 1848 in his "Programme Révolutionnaire". In 1850, William Batchelder Greene used the term mutualism to describe a mutual credit system similar to that of Proudhon. In 1850, the American newspaper The Spirit of the Age, edited by William Henry Channing, published proposals for a mutualist township by Joshua King Ingallsand Albert Brisbane, together with works by Proudhon, Greene, Pierre Leroux and others.
Proudhon ran for the French Constituent Assembly in April 1848, but was not elected, although his name appeared on the ballots in Paris, Lyon, Besançon and Lille. He was successful in the complementary elections of June 4 and served as a deputy during the debates over the National Workshops, created by the 25 February 1848 decree passed by Republican Louis Blanc. The workshops were to give work to the unemployed. Proudhon was never enthusiastic about such workshops, perceiving them to be essentially charitable institutions that did not resolve the problems of the economic system. He was against their elimination unless an alternative could be found for the workers who relied on the workshops for subsistence.
Proudhon was surprised by the French Revolution of 1848. He participated in the February uprising and the composition of what he termed "the first republican proclamation" of the new republic. However, he had misgivings about the new provisional government headed by Jacques-Charles Dupont de l'Eure (1767–1855), who since the French Revolution in 1789 had been a longstanding politician, although often in the opposition. Proudhon published his own perspective for reform which was completed in 1849, Solution du problème social (Solution of the Social Problem), in which he laid out a program of mutual financial cooperation among workers. He believed this would transfer control of economic relations from capitalists and financiers to workers. The central part of his plan was the establishment of a bank to provide credit at a very low rate of interest and the issuing of exchange notes that would circulate instead of money based on gold.
Mutualism has been associated with two types of currency reform. Labor notes were first discussed in Owenite circles and received their first practical test in 1827 in the Time Store of former New Harmony member and individualist anarchist Josiah Warren. Mutual banking aimed at the monetization of all forms of wealth and the extension of free credit. It is most closely associated with William Batchelder Greene, but Greene drew from the work of Proudhon, Edward Kellogg and William Beck as well as from the land bank tradition.
Mutualism can in many ways be considered the original anarchy since Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was the first to identify himself as an anarchist. Although mutualism is generally associated with anarchism, it is not necessarily anarchist. Historian Wendy McElroy reports that American individualist anarchism received an important influence of three European thinkers. One of the most important of these influences was the French political philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, whose words "Liberty is not the Daughter But the Mother of Order" appeared as a motto on Liberty 's masthead. Liberty was an influential American individualist anarchist publication of Benjamin Tucker. For American anarchist historian Eunice Minette Schuster, "[i]t is apparent [...] that Proudhonian Anarchism was to be found in the United States at least as early as 1848 and that it was not conscious of its affinity to the Individualist Anarchism of Josiah Warren and Stephen Pearl Andrews. [...] William B. Greene presented this Proudhonian Mutualism in its purest and most systematic form".
After 1850, Greene became active in labor reform.He was elected vice-president of the New England Labor Reform League, the majority of the members holding to Proudhon's scheme of mutual banking; and in 1869 president of the Massachusetts Labor Union. He then publishes Socialistic, Mutualistic, and Financial Fragments (1875). He saw mutualism as the synthesis of "liberty and order". His "associationism [...] is checked by individualism. [...] "Mind your own business", "Judge not that ye be not judged". Over matters which are purely personal, as for example, moral conduct, the individual is sovereign as well as over that which he himself produces. For this reason, he demands "mutuality" in marriage—the equal right of a woman to her own personal freedom and property".
Tucker later connected his economic views with those of Proudhon, Warren and Karl Marx, taking sides with the first two while also arguing against American anti-socialists who declared socialism as imported, stating:
The economic principles of Modern Socialism are a logical deduction from the principle laid down by Adam Smith in the early chapters of his "Wealth of Nations," – namely, that labor is the true measure of price. [...] Half a century or more after Smith enunciated the principle above stated, Socialism picked it up where he had dropped it, and in following it to its logical conclusions, made it the basis of a new economic philosophy. [...] This seems to have been done independently by three different men, of three different nationalities, in three different languages: Josiah Warren, an American; Pierre J. Proudhon, a Frenchman; Karl Marx, a German Jew. [...] That the work of this interesting trio should have been done so nearly simultaneously would seem to indicate that Socialism was in the air, and that the time was ripe and the conditions favorable for the appearance of this new school of thought. So far as priority of time is concerned, the credit seems to belong to Warren, the American, – a fact which should be noted by the stump orators who are so fond of declaiming against Socialism as an imported article.
Mutualist ideas found fertile ground in the 19th century in Spain. In Spain, Ramón de la Sagra established the anarchist journal El Porvenir in A Coruña in 1845 which was inspired by Proudhon's ideas.The Catalan politician Francesc Pi i Margall became the principal translator of Proudhon's works into Spanish and later briefly became president of Spain in 1873 while being the leader of the Democratic Republican Federal Party. According to George Woodcock, "[t]hese translations were to have a profound and lasting effect on the development of Spanish anarchism after 1870, but before that time Proudhonian ideas, as interpreted by Pi, already provided much of the inspiration for the federalist movement which sprang up in the early 1860's". According to the Encyclopædia Britannica : "During the Spanish revolution of 1873, Pi y Margall attempted to establish a decentralized, or cantonalist, political system on Proudhonian lines". Pi i Margall was a dedicated theorist in his own right, especially through book-length works such as La reacción y la revolución (Reaction and Revolution from 1855), Las nacionalidades (Nationalities from 1877) and La Federación (The Federation from 1880). For prominent anarcho-syndicalist Rudolf Rocker, "[t]he first movement of the Spanish workers was strongly influenced by the ideas of Pi y Margall, leader of the Spanish Federalists and disciple of Proudhon. Pi y Margall was one of the outstanding theorists of his time and had a powerful influence on the development of libertarian ideas in Spain. His political ideas had much in common with those of Richard Price, Joseph Priestly [sic], Thomas Paine, Jefferson, and other representatives of the Anglo-American liberalism of the first period. He wanted to limit the power of the state to a minimum and gradually replace it by a Socialist economic order".
According to historian of the First International G. M. Stekloff, in April 1856 "arrived from Paris a deputation of Proudhonist workers whose aim it was to bring about the foundation of a Universal League of Workers. The object of the League was the social emancipation of the working class, which, it was held, could only be achieved by a union of the workers of all lands against international capital. Since the deputation was one of Proudhonists, of course this emancipation was to be secured, not by political methods, but purely by economic means, through the foundation of productive and distributive co-operatives".Stekloff contines by saying that "[i]t was in the 1863 elections that for the first time workers' candidates were run in opposition to bourgeois republicans, but they secured very few votes. [...] [A] group of working-class Proudhonists (among whom were Murat and Tolain, who were subsequently to participate in the founding of the (First) International issued the famous Manifesto of the Sixty, which, though extremely moderate in tone, marked a turning point in the history of the French movement. For years and years the bourgeois liberals had been insisting that the revolution of 1789 had abolished class distinctions. The Manifesto of the Sixty loudly proclaimed that classes still existed. These classes were the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The latter had its specific class interests, which none but workers could be trusted to defend. The inference drawn by the Manifesto was that there must be independent working-class candidates".
For Stekloff, "the Proudhonists, who were at that date the leaders of the French section of the International. They looked upon the International Workingmen's Association as a sort of academy or synagogue, where Talmudists or similar experts could "investigate" the workers' problem; wherein the spirit of Proudhon they could excogitate means for an accurate solution of the problem, without being disturbed by the stresses of a political campaign. Thus Fribourg, voicing the opinions of the Parisian group of the Proudhonists (Tolain and Co.) assured his readers that "the International was the greatest attempt ever made in modern times to aid the proletariat towards the conquest, by peaceful, constitutional, and moral methods, of the place which rightly belongs to the workers in the sunshine of civilisation".According to Stekoff, the Belgian Federation "threw in its lot with the anarchist International at its Brussels Congress, held in December, 1872. [...] [T]hose taking part in the socialist movement of the Belgian intelligentsia were inspired by Proudhonist ideas which naturally led them to oppose the Marxist outlook".
19th-century mutualists considered themselves libertarian socialistsand are still considered libertarian socialists to this day. While oriented towards cooperation, mutualists favor free market solutions, believing that most inequalities are the result of preferential conditions created by government intervention. Mutualism is something of a middle way between classical economics and socialism of the collectivist variety, with some characteristics of both. Modern-day mutualist Kevin Carson considers mutualism to be free-market socialism. Proudhon supported labor-owned cooperative firms and associations, for "we need not hesitate, for we have no choice. [...] [I]t is necessary to form an association among workers [...] because without that, they would remain related as subordinates and superiors, and there would ensue two [...] castes of masters and wage-workers, which is repugnant to a free and democratic society" and so "it becomes necessary for the workers to form themselves into democratic societies, with equal conditions for all members, on pain of a relapse into feudalism". As for capital goods (man-made, non-land means of production), mutualist opinions differs on whether these should be commonly managed public assets or private property.
Mutualism also had a considerable influence in the Paris Commune. George Woodcock manifests that "a notable contribution to the activities of the Commune and particularly to the organization of public services was made by members of various anarchist factions, including the mutualists Courbet, Longuet, and Vermorel, the libertarian collectivists Varlin, Malon, and Lefrangais, and the bakuninists Elie and Elisée Reclus and Louise Michel".
Kevin Carson is a contemporary mutualist and author of Studies in Mutualist Political Economy . In its preface, Carson describes this work as "an attempt to revive individualist anarchist political economy, to incorporate the useful developments of the last hundred years, and to make it relevant to the problems of the twenty-first century".Contemporary mutualists are among those involved in the Alliance of the Libertarian Left and in the Voluntary Cooperation Movement.
Carson holds that capitalism has been founded on "an act of robbery as massive as feudalism" and argues that capitalism could not exist in the absence of a state. He says that "[i]t is state intervention that distinguishes capitalism from the free market".Carson does not define capitalism in the idealized sense, but he says that when he talks about capitalism he is referring to what he calls actually existing capitalism. He believes the term laissez-faire capitalism is an oxymoron because capitalism, he argues, is "organization of society, incorporating elements of tax, usury, landlordism, and tariff, which thus denies the Free Market while pretending to exemplify it". However, he says he has no quarrel with anarcho-capitalists who use the term laissez-faire capitalism and distinguish it from actually existing capitalism. Carson says he has deliberately chosen to resurrect an old definition of the term. However, many anarchists including mutualists continue to use the term and do not consider it an old definition of the term.
Carson argues that the centralization of wealth into a class hierarchy is due to state intervention to protect the ruling class by using a money monopoly, granting patents and subsidies to corporations, imposing discriminatory taxation and intervening militarily to gain access to international markets. Carson's thesis is that an authentic free-market economy would not be capitalism as the separation of labor from ownership and the subordination of labor to capital would be impossible, bringing a classless society where people could easily choose between working as a freelancer, working for a fair wage, taking part of a cooperative, or being an entrepreneur. As did Benjamin Tucker before him, he notes that a mutualist free market system would involve significantly different property rights than capitalism is based on, particularly in terms of land and intellectual property.
The primary aspects of mutualism are free association, reciprocity and gradualism, or dual power. Mutualism is often described by its proponents as advocating an anti-capitalist free market. Mutualists argue that most of the economic problems associated with capitalism each amount to a violation of the cost principle, or as Josiah Warren interchangeably said, the cost the limit of price. It was inspired by the labor theory of value which was popularized—although not invented—by Adam Smith in 1776 (Proudhon mentioned Smith as an inspiration). The labor theory of value holds that the actual price of a thing (or the true cost) is the amount of labor that was undertaken to produce it. In Warren's terms, cost should be the limit of price, with cost referring to the amount of labor required to produce a good or service. Anyone who sells goods should charge no more than the cost to himself of acquiring these goods.
Mutualism holds that producers should exchange their goods at cost-value using systems of contract. While Proudhon's early definitions of cost-value were based on fixed assumptions about the value of labor-hours, he later redefined cost-value to include other factors such as the intensity of labor, the nature of the work involved and so on. He also expanded his notions of contract into expanded notions of federation. As Proudhon argued:
I have shown the contractor, at the birth of industry, negotiating on equal terms with his comrades, who have since become his workmen. It is plain, in fact, that this original equality was bound to disappear through the advantageous position of the master and the dependent position of the wage-workers. In vain does the law assure the right of each to enterprise. [...] When an establishment has had leisure to develop itself, enlarge its foundations, ballast itself with capital, and assure itself a body of patrons, what can a workman do against a power so superior?
Dual power is the process of building alternative institutions to the ones that already exist in modern society. Originally theorized by Proudhon, it has become adopted by many anti-state movements like autonomism and agorism. Proudhon described it as such:
Beneath the governmental machinery, in the shadow of political institutions, out of the sight of statemen and priests, society is producing its own organism, slowly and silently; and constructing a new order, the expression of its vitality and autonomy.
Dual power should not be confused with the dual power popularized by Vladimir Leninas it was also theorized by Proudhon and it refers to a more specific scenario where a revolutionary entity intentionally maintains the structure of the previous political institutions until the power of the previous institution is weakened enough such that the revolutionary entity can overtake it entirely. Dual power as implemented by mutualists and agorists is the development of the alternative institution itself.
Mutualists argue that association is only necessary where there is an organic combination of forces. For instance, an operation that requires specialization and many different workers performing their individual tasks to complete a unified product, i.e. a factory. In this situation, workers are inherently dependent on each other—and without association they are related as subordinate and superior, master and wage-slave.
An operation that can be performed by an individual without the help of specialized workers does not require association. Proudhon argued that peasants do not require societal form and only feigned association for the purposes of solidarity in abolishing rents, buying clubs and so on. He recognized that their work is inherently sovereign and free. In commenting on the degree of association that is preferable, Proudhon said:
In cases in which production requires great division of labour, it is necessary to form an association among the workers [...] because without that they would remain isolated as subordinates and superiors, and there would ensue two industrial castes of masters and wage workers, which is repugnant in a free and democratic society. But where the product can be obtained by the action of an individual or a family, [...] there is no opportunity for association.
For Proudhon, mutualism involved creating industrial democracy, a system where workplaces would be "handed over to democratically organised workers' associations. [...] We want these associations to be models for agriculture, industry and trade, the pioneering core of that vast federation of companies and societies woven into the common cloth of the democratic social Republic".He urged "workers to form themselves into democratic societies, with equal conditions for all members, on pain of a relapse into feudalism". This would result in "[c]apitalistic and proprietary exploitation, stopped everywhere, the wage system abolished, equal and just exchange guaranteed". Workers would no longer sell their labour to a capitalist but rather work for themselves in co-operatives.
As Robert Graham notes: "Proudhon's market socialism is indissolubly linked to his notions of industrial democracy and workers' self-management".K. Steven Vincent notes in his in-depth analysis of this aspect of Proudhon's ideas that "Proudhon consistently advanced a program of industrial democracy which would return control and direction of the economy to the workers". For Proudhon, "strong workers' associations [...] would enable the workers to determine jointly by election how the enterprise was to be directed and operated on a day-to-day basis".
Mutualists argue that free banking should be taken back by the people to establish systems of free credit. They contend that banks have a monopoly on credit, just as capitalists have a monopoly on the means of production and landlords have a monopoly on land. Banks are essentially creating money by lending out deposits that do not actually belong to them, then charging interest on the difference. Mutualists argue that by establishing a democratically run mutual bank or credit union, it would be possible to issue free credit so that money could be created for the benefit of the participants rather than for the benefit of the bankers. Individualist anarchists noted for their detailed views on mutualist banking include Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, William B. Greene and Lysander Spooner. Some modern forms of mutual credit are LETS and the Ripple monetary system project.[ citation needed ]
In a session of the French legislature, Proudhon proposed a government-imposed income tax to fund his mutual banking scheme, with some tax brackets reaching as high as 331⁄3 percent and 50 percent, which was turned down by the legislature. This income tax Proudhon proposed to fund his bank was to be levied on rents, interest, debts and salaries. Specifically, Proudhon's proposed law would have required all capitalists and stockholders to disburse one-sixth of their income to their tenants and debtors and another sixth to the national treasury to fund the bank.
This scheme was vehemently objected to by others in the legislature, including Frédéric Bastiat.The reason given for the income tax's rejection was that it would result in economic ruin and that it violated "the right of property". In his debates with Bastiat, Proudhon did once propose funding a national bank with a voluntary tax of 1%. Proudhon also argued for the abolition of all taxes.
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was one of the most famous philosophers who articulated thoughts on the nature of property. He is known for claiming that "property is theft", but is less known for the claims that "property is liberty" and "property is impossible".According to Colin Ward, Proudhon did not see a contradiction between these slogans. This was because Proudhon distinguished between what he considered to be two distinct forms of property often bound up in the single label. To the mutualist, this is the distinction between property created by coercion and property created by labor. Property is theft "when it is related to a landowner or capitalist whose ownership is derived from conquest or exploitation and [is] only maintained through the state, property laws, police, and an army". Property is freedom for "the peasant or artisan family [who have] a natural right to a home, land [they may] cultivate, [...] to tools of a trade" and the fruits of that cultivation—but not to ownership or control of the lands and lives of others. The former is considered illegitimate property, the latter legitimate property. Proudhon argued that property in the product of labor is essential to liberty while property that strayed from possession ("occupancy and use") was the basis for tyranny and would lead a society to destroy itself. The conception of entitlement property as a destructive force and illegitimate institution can be seen in this quote by Proudhon:
Then if we are associated for the sake of liberty, equality, and security, we are not associated for the sake of property; then if property is a natural right, this natural right is not social, but anti-social. Property and society are utterly irreconcilable institutions. It is as impossible to associate two proprietors as to join two magnets by their opposite poles. Either society must perish, or it must destroy property. If property is a natural, absolute, imprescriptible, and inalienable right, why, in all ages, has there been so much speculation as to its origin? – for this is one of its distinguishing characteristics. The origin of a natural right! Good God! who ever inquired into the origin of the rights of liberty, security, or equality? [ page needed ]
In What Is Mutualism, Clarence Lee Swartz says:
It is, therefore, one of the purposes of Mutualists, not only to awaken in the people the appreciation of and desire for freedom, but also to arouse in them a determination to abolish the legal restrictions now placed upon non-invasive human activities and to institute, through purely voluntary associations, such measures as will liberate all of us from the exactions of privilege and the power of concentrated capital.
Swartz also states that mutualism differs from anarcho-communism and other collectivist philosophies by its support of private property, arguing: "One of the tests of any reform movement with regard to personal liberty is this: Will the movement prohibit or abolish private property? If it does, it is an enemy of liberty. For one of the most important criteria of freedom is the right to private property in the products of ones labor. State Socialists, Communists, Syndicalists and Communist-Anarchists deny private property". However, Proudhon warned that a society with private property would lead to statist relations between people, arguing:
The purchaser draws boundaries, fences himself in, and says, 'This is mine; each one by himself, each one for himself.' Here, then, is a piece of land upon which, henceforth, no one has right to step, save the proprietor and his friends; which can benefit nobody, save the proprietor and his servants. Let these multiply, and soon the people [...] will have nowhere to rest, no place of shelter, no ground to till. They will die of hunger at the proprietor's door, on the edge of that property which was their birth-right; and the proprietor, watching them die, will exclaim, 'So perish idlers and vagrants.'
Unlike capitalist private-property supporters, Proudhon stressed equality. He thought that all workers should own property and have access to capital, stressing that in every cooperative "every worker employed in the association [must have] an undivided share in the property of the company".This distinction Proudhon made between different kinds of property has been articulated by some later anarchist and socialist theorists as one of the first distinctions between private property and personal property, with the latter having direct use-value to the individual possessing it.
In Europe, a contemporary critic of Proudhon was the early libertarian communist Joseph Déjacque,who was able to serialise his book L'Humanisphère, Utopie anarchique (The Humanisphere: Anarchic Utopia) in his periodical Le Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Social (Libertarian: Journal of Social Movement), published in 27 issues from 9 June 1858 to 4 February 1861 while living in New York. Unlike and against Proudhon, he argued that "it is not the product of his or her labor that the worker has a right to, but to the satisfaction of his or her needs, whatever may be their nature". In his critique of Proudhon, Déjacque also coined the word libertarian and argued that Proudhon was merely a liberal, a moderate, suggesting him to become "frankly and completely an anarchist" instead by giving up all forms of authority and property. Since then, the word libertarian has been used to describe this consistent anarchism which rejected private and public hierarchies along with property in the products of labour as well as the means of production. Libertarianism is frequently used as a synonym for anarchism and libertarian socialism.
One area of disagreement between anarcho-communists and mutualists stems from Proudhon's alleged advocacy of labour vouchers to compensate individuals for their labor as well as markets or artificial markets for goods and services.Peter Kropotkin, like other anarcho-communists, advocated the abolition of labor remuneration and questioned "how can this new form of wages, the labor note, be sanctioned by those who admit that houses, fields, mills are no longer private property, that they belong to the commune or the nation?". According to George Woodcock, Kropotkin believed that a wage system in any form, whether "administered by Banks of the People or by workers' associations through labor cheques", is a form of compulsion.
Collectivist anarchist Mikhail Bakunin was an adamant critic of Proudhonian mutualism as well,stating: "How ridiculous are the ideas of the individualists of the Jean Jacques Rousseau school and of the Proudhonian mutualists who conceive society as the result of the free contract of individuals absolutely independent of one another and entering into mutual relations only because of the convention drawn up among men. As if these men had dropped from the skies, bringing with them speech, will, original thought, and as if they were alien to anything of the earth, that is, anything having social origin".
Criticism from pro-capitalist market sectors has been common as well. Economist and Objectivist George Reisman charges that mutualism supports exploitation when it does not recognize a right of an individual to protect land that he has mixed his labor with if he happens to not be using it. Reisman sees the seizure of such land as the theft of the product of labor and has said: "Mutualism claims to oppose the exploitation of labor, i.e. the theft of any part of its product. But when it comes to labor that has been mixed with land, it turns a blind eye out foursquare on the side of the exploiter".This is due to the different conception of property rights between capitalism and mutualism, with the latter supporting free access to capital, the means of production and natural resources, arguing that permanent private ownership of land and industry entails to monopolization, if there is not the equal liberty of access; and that a society with capitalist private property inevitably lead to statist relations between people.
Libertarian socialism, also referred to as anarcho-socialism, anarchist socialism, stateless socialism 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. Libertarian socialism is seen as a synonym for anarchism and libertarianism and it criticizes wage labour relationships within the workplace, instead emphasizing workers' self-management and control of the workplace and decentralized structures of political organization.
Anti-capitalism encompasses a wide variety of movements, ideas and attitudes that oppose capitalism. Anti-capitalists, in the strict sense of the word, are those who wish to replace capitalism with another type of economic system.
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.
The nature of capitalism is a polarizing issue among anarchists, who advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical voluntary associations. 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. 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, or left-wing libertarianism, is a political philosophy which stress both individual freedom and social equality. As a term, it refers to several related yet distinct approaches to political and social theory. In its classical usage, it was a synonym for anti-authoritarian varieties of left-wing politics such as anarchism. In the United States, left-libertarianism refers to the left-wing of the modern libertarian movement and more recently to 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.
Libertarianism, or libertarism, 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 judgement.
"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. For instance, anarchism can entail opposing authority or hierarchy in the conduct of all human relations.
Individualist anarchism in the United States was strongly influenced by Benjamin Tucker, Josiah Warren, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lysander Spooner, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Max Stirner, Herbert Spencer and Henry David Thoreau. Other important individualist anarchists in the United States were Stephen Pearl Andrews, William Batchelder Greene, Ezra Heywood, M. E. Lazarus, John Beverley Robinson, James L. Walker, Joseph Labadie, Steven Byington and Laurance Labadie. The first American anarchist publication was The Peaceful Revolutionist, edited by Josiah Warren, whose earliest experiments and writings predate Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.
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.
Individualist anarchism in Europe proceeded from the roots laid by William Godwin, Individualist anarchism expanded and diversified through Europe, incorporating influences from American individualist anarchism. Individualist anarchism refers to several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasize the individual and his or her will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems.
Individualist anarchism in France has developed a line of thought that starts from the pioneering activism and writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Anselme Bellegarrigue in the mid 19th century. In the early 20th century it produced publications such as L'EnDehors, L'Anarchie and around its principles it found writers and activists such as Emile Armand, Han Ryner, Henri Zisly, Albert Libertad and Zo d'Axa. In the post-war years there appeared the publication L'Unique and activist writers such as Charles-Auguste Bontemps. In contemporary times it has found a new expression in the writings of the prolific philosopher Michel Onfray.
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, 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, [should] never destroy and absorb them", or simply 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, Roderick T. Long, Charles W. Johnson, Brad Spangler, Sheldon Richman, Chris Matthew Sciabarra and Gary Chartier, 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 cultural issues such as gender, sexuality and race.
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.
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.
Proudhon made the bright suggestion, in his periodical Le Représentant du peuple (April 28, 1848), that the mass democracy of the clubs could become a popular forum where the social agenda of the revolution could be prepared for use by the Constituent Assembly—a proposal that would essentially have defused the potency of the clubs as a potentially rebellious dual power.