Anarchism has a bad connotation – no authority, chaos, animal kingdom, survival of the strongest, etc. Any anarchist does not think we can live alone like orangutans. So, what does it mean when there is no central government, and how do human beings actually live together?
There are a couple of approaches to establish an anarchistic society.
The first one is an individualistic anarchism, also called egoism. It is also called associationism in terms of how individuals form a group.
Individualistic anarchism is represented by the book “The Ego and its Own” – Der Einzige und sein Eigentum– (1844) by Max Stirner. Egoism’s main idea is that individual self-realization rests on each individual’s desire to fulfill their egos. Even though ego is considered indefinable, “I” is unique and irreducible to realities in which we try to imprison it.
Social life is a meeting of freely and voluntarily associated egoists, which is called associationism.
The next version is mutualism, promoted by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.
Mutualism is rather an economic theory that influenced Marxist ideas. Mutualism is based on the labor theory of value: workers exchange their labor with money, goods, or services equal in economic value. Proudhon suggested that labor be paid in the form of labor bonds. Moreover, loans, investment, and rent are not labor. Therefore, they cannot be an income.
The system establishes a mutual-credit bank that would load producers to cover administration costs.
The important aspect of mutualism is the conditions of an anarchist society should be sought through economic transformation. It is easy to deduct their arguments from their motto, “Property is theft.”
Mikhail Bakunin was more radical in terms of the scale but based on reason. He proposed the progressive humanization through reason based on atheism, anti-clericalism, and anti-authoritarianism.
According to federalism, all individuals freed from economic, political constraints could participate in common affairs. It is base on free federated entities:
- Individuals in communes
- Communes in provinces
- Provinces in nations
Anarcho-communism advocates the abolition of the state, Capitalism, and private property and establishes the common ownership of the means of production.
The theoretical work of Peter Kropotkin took an essential role in providing an ideological background. Rather than emphasizing a labor-based value system, anarcho-communists put forth the mechanism of distribution. Goods are distributed according to the individual’s needs through the horizontal network of voluntary associations rather than the value labor. It requires high morality to work.
Going from here
I have briefly summarized a couple of historical approaches of anarchistic movements. There are more real-life approaches and try/errors; some are radical, and some seek the small communities inside the current system.