It's almost the end of the year, and, given how much I have pontificated on this blog, it is perhaps incumbent on me to say what I mean when I say "anarchism". So..here goes...
I have usually defined "anarchism" as "a form of socialism that, instead of having enterprises owned by the state that they be owned and controlled by the workers who are employed in them or by local communities that are governed by direct democracy". Furthermore I believe that "socialism", or at least "my socialism" means that the "government" be devolved down to local democracy such that every person can have a direct say on what will be the policy of the neighbourhood. Is this enough of a definition ? In some ways yes; in some ways no.
It is first of all a definition that places anarchism in the "continent" that it has always been in ie 'socialism", an ethical project that attempts to abolish class differences. This is the "continent" that "anarchism" lives in in every country other than the USA today. In the USA there are "derivatives" of anarchism that say that this central point is irrelevant , and that such things as "abolishing civilization" are the central point of "anarchism". In other countries, amongst the small number of anarchists influenced by such imperial ideology this idea has an echo, but, in the "civilized world", anarchism continues to have its historical meaning of an end of class society.
All that is neither here nor there. Most of us are disgusted by the American ideologies, primitivist, post-anarchist or whatever name they chose to call themselves at this second, giving as they are so much dependent upon fashion.. In the end they are pitiful.The important point is what we decide to call ourselves. What is "socialism" ?
What is "socialism" ? Obviously, if we want to, as Molly does. claim the label for our own views, we have to have a definition that encompasses both the statist terms that are in more common use and also the alternative definition that "libertarian socialists" might like to put forward. Given the limitation that any definition must encompass both socialisms I would proffer the following:
""Socialism" is an ideal that says that society should be much more egalitarian and that the decisions about how the society should be organized should be decided by democratic processes".
What exactly does this mean ? Is the 'democratic process' one of the workplace or one of the local community ? perhaps, as Molly believes, a combination of both that may vary from place to place and item to item.
Quite f4rankly I don't know how democracy will be embodied in any future libertarian society. All that I do know are that there are very many efforts towards such a libertarian society today, and that I am determed to support each and every one. Whether they be workers' self management or local control, the form is irrelevant to me because I don't know the eventual form of a libertarian society, only those efforts towards it.I can, however, judge which things bring a liberation society closer and which put it off. I may indeed be wrong in various judgements, and I hope that others may correct me when I fail in my judgement.
There is no doubt that "anarchism" is much more than a simple synonym for "socialism", though I think that the resemblance should be the major point of how anybody defines anarchism in a "global" as opposed to an American sense. I will give other points about anarchism later, points that are secondary to how I define anarchism but are still important. Till then.....
There is still much more to define "anarchism", and it will be defined in further posts.