3.4. A Society of Free Equals (communism)

"We do not, after all, differ with the Anarchists on the question of the abolition of the state as the aim." These words were written by Vladimir Il'ich Ulyanov, Lenin, in September-October 1917 and the date is no accident. This is to show that as far as the type of society which it is intended to realize, there is no apparent contradiction between the various currents of the revolutionary left. Following a long phase of uncertainty during the mid-19th century between Socialism ("to each according to their merits") and Collectivism ("to each according to their labour"), Communism ("from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs") became the common arena for all those class elements which have developed throughout the history of the workers' movement. There also exists a common view of the communist society which would develop (without, however, going into excessively detailed plans, given the acceptance of the fact of the enormous self-organizational abilities of the masses once they are free of the bourgeois yoke!): a federative basis, with freely-accepted rules for social life being developed from below - in other words the model sketched out by the Paris Commune. There can be no communism (equality) without liberty (self-determination); there can be no liberty without communism.

Though there may be agreement between all the various revolutionary currents which have appeared in the workers' movement over the years on the social framework which will be realized with communism (we could just as easily say "with anarchism", since no-one denies that it is impossible to separate economic equality from the liberty of the individual), opinions do diverge, and noticeably so, on two fundamental issues: what sort of action is required now, in the bourgeois State, and the timescale and methods of the passage from the initial revolutionary phase to the construction stage of the society that we all aspire to.

4. Why Anarchist: what divides us from the left