ANARCHIST COMMUNISTS: A QUESTION OF CLASS
Why Anarchist Communist: what distinguishes us from anarchists
Throughout its evolution, anarchism has taken on many forms, an enormous quantity of different roles. Anarchist Communism is clearly distinct from these various incarnations, and this chapter will set out its distinguishing features and point out the differences from the other schools of thought. Of these, we will not be considering two - the Educationalists and the pure Individualists, as neither can be considered revolutionary currents.
The former, as Malatesta noted, hold that education can suffice to change man's nature, even before changing the material conditions of existence. Obviously, by arguing against this, we are not saying that the educational problem is not essential; we simply believe that a good programme of education is not enough to arrive at communism, simply by dint of the fact that everyone becomes convinced that it is the only rational system of social organization.
The evolution of Individualism merits brief treatment as it is most instructive. Its prime theoretician, Johann Kaspar Schmidt (better known as Max Stirner), was a mild-mannered teacher in a secondary school for girls and his explosiveness existed only in the radicalness of his writings. He was harshly criticized by Marx and Engels in the Saint Max chapter of their book "The German Ideology", together with the rest of the Hegelian left. The basic idea, later developed philosophically by Friedrich Nietzsche and which became the standard of Individualist Anarchists, was that the measure of freedom was equal to the amount of the individual's independence, which showed a total lack of regard for the fact that Man is a social animal. All Man's achievements (including those which made it possible for abstract thought, and therefore Stirner's fantasies, to develop) were obtained only thanks to human society. They are the fruit of billions upon billions of anonymous contributions to the creation of the well-being and evolution of the species. Humankind today lives in such a thick web of relations between all its past and present members, that the total freedom of one isolated being as a single individual is a philosophical category which is totally removed from reality. Starting with this improbable supposition, the individualists began to cut themselves off from all social groupings and to despise the masses (whom they thought slavishly obeyed power) and ended up considering Anarchism as a fight against authority and the State and not as a struggle for a egalitarian society. Social equality disappeared from their theories in favour of a furious search for the liberty of the individual which often broke out into a struggle of each against the other, something which had previously been theorized by that founder of Social Liberalism, Thomas Hobbes, and is so dear to the aggressive capitalists of the period in which we now live. It is not by chance that theoreticians of extreme liberalism and competition as the only font of social progress, such as the early 20th century Austrians Friedrich August von Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, are classified as Anarchists. Neither is it by chance that in the United States there has developed a current of so-called Anarcho-Capitalists (Friedmann) whose only enemy is State centralization which is perhaps guilty in their eyes of limiting the possibilities for enterprise by the most unscrupulous individuals (thereby damaging the vast majority of their equals), who see the solution to every social problem in entrusting to the private sector (lured by profit) every economic initiative, every form of collective service, every aspect of human existence. Individualists, or rather a majority of them, end up fighting not against the exploitation by one over another, but against any obstacle placed in the path of this exploitation. Others, albeit few, have remained actively militant among the proletariat and despite their lack of structure have contributed and continue to contribute much.