This is the second of two essays I submitted for university this week. For this one the question prompt I chose was “Does socialism always tend towards authoritarianism?” Short answer was no, but I had to write about 1799 more words so this is the long answer talking about the State, Russia, Spain, and anarchism and a bit of democratic confederalism. Title is iffy and unimaginative because screw putting effort into that. All references are down the bottom. Enjoy
Socialism is a school of thought most simply defined by its opposition to capitalism (Heywood 2021: 75). This is, however, an extremely broad range of ideas and there has been much conflict within and between nations, parties and movements about what, and who, constitutes true socialist ideals. Perhaps the greatest of these is the antagonism between democratic and authoritarian visions of socialism. The Twentieth Century saw the rise of authoritarian socialism, manifested primarily through the Russian Revolution in October 1917 and the horrors of the Stalinist regime, and in China under Mao’s Communist Party.
Continue reading “Authoritarian Socialism and the Anarchist Alternative” →
When I refer to the language used in academic circles as a “barrier”, I don’t intend it to be entirely negative. As someone who has graduated from university and has taken an avid interest in probably too many topics beyond my formal studies, I have no trouble understanding the complexity that oft times permeates academic prose, and I am somewhat exaggerating my point by throwing some relatively mild examples right here because I am guilty of the same. But another may read the same text and be overwhelmed by it, which is problematic when the ideas you are expressing are of great import to the wider populace.
Continue reading “The Language of Academia as A Barrier” →
I finished two books today. The first was The ABC of Anarchism by Alexander Berkman, which I’ve referenced in a few of my recent posts – well worth reading if you want to understand anarchist (specifically communist anarchism) ideas. The second, which was half the size and a much quicker read – hence finishing it within a few hours of the day – was Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto by Jessa Crispin. The title intrigued me, and rightfully so – it was also fascinating, although I admit it threw me in the deep end on feminist writing and thought. Both books had some rather similar suggestions and themes, which I thought were worth discussing.
Continue reading “Free Speech, Understanding, and Growth: Anarchism and Feminism” →
I have slowly been reading through Alexander Berkman’s The ABC of Anarchism and it’s been quite interesting thus far. Reading the chapter on the reformer and politician, however, I come across one of the few disagreements with his ideas. It’s a relatively small point, but he condemns the reformer for essentially not being radical enough, suggesting that only major movements or revolution could make the necessary changes. I do agree, to an extent, but reforms shouldn’t be so easily dismissed.
Continue reading “In Defence of Reforms” →