Authoritarian Socialism and the Anarchist Alternative

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.

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Free Speech, Understanding, and Growth: Anarchism and Feminism

24/11/2019

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.

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Capitalism Hasn’t Changed

09/11/2019

I’ve recently started reading The ABC of Anarchism (originally Now and After and What Is Communist Anarchism) by Alexander Berkman, and while a lot of the references made do show the age of the book, published in 1929, there are still many relevant observations and similarities to the modern age. The main one, with its many facets, is that capitalism hasn’t really changed much over the years, other than finding more efficient methods of concentrating even more wealth into fewer hands.

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