Difference between Anarchism and Socialism
Both anarchists and socialists aim to overthrow capitalism, to create a society where oppression no longer exists. The main difference between them is the strategy how to get there. Anarchism is a political theory that regards government and other forms of central authority as harmful and unnecessary. Although anarchism is often linked with violence and chaos, advocates of pure anarchism claim that it is the opposite. They believe that power corrupts and that those in power eventually place their own interests before those of the people they are supposed to serve.
According to anarchists, a free and just society is possible only when government is abolished and individuals freely cooperate as equals. Further, anarchism is a belief that every form of regulation or government is immoral, and that restraint of one person by another is an evil which must be destroyed.
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Later anarchism proposed a social organization that was based on common ownership and free agreements, but its disciples differed themselves in methods and forms. Pierre Joseph Proudhon of France, often called the father of Anarchism, became the first to make anarchism a mass movement.
Anarchism enjoys a complex relationship with ideologies such as Marxism, communism and capitalism. Anarchists may be motivated by humanism, divine authority, enlightened self-interest or any number of alternative ethical doctrines. Meanwhile, socialism refers to economic and political arrangements that emphasize public or community ownership of productive property. This is in contrast with the belief in the ownership of production by private individuals. Productive property includes land, factories, and other property used to produce goods and services.
There are many types of socialism. They vary in the amount of public ownership desired and in their methods of operation. In some countries, the government controls all forms of production. In others, state control over the economy is less complete, usually involving ownership of banks, transportation, and public utilities. Many countries adopted socialist policies that included government control of the economy and the establishment of vast social programs to the needy. The early socialist saw community ownership as an answer to poverty, great inequalities of wealth, and social unrest.
The main difference of anarchism and socialism is that, anarchism promotes the ownership of production by individuals, while socialism promotes the ownership of production by the government. Anarchists believe that each individual have their own capacity to govern themselves and achieve progress and development in their own way. They oppose the government’s rule over the lives of each individual. Socialists, on the other hand, believe that the government can make the lives of the people better by equally governing their properties.
Furthermore, anarchism believes in the right of the Individual to govern himself. Anarchists believe that man is manifestly destined to be master of himself and his surroundings, individually free. His capacity for achievement has shown itself practically boundless, whenever and wherever it has been permitted the opportunity of expansion; and no less an ideal than equal and unfettered opportunity -that is to say, individual freedom–should satisfy him. On the other hand, socialism believes that one must be governed by others, specifically the government in order to attain progress.
Socialists believe that the government has the means to govern its people and they have the capability to make decisions that will make the life of its people easier. They believe that they need a leadership not only to instruct them but to govern them and channel their energies in the right direction. Also, anarchists believe that the methods use to do something will affect the result. That is what they mean when they say means and ends are linked. Obviously, the manner in which they organize is influenced by the society they want to create.
Anarchists want, not only to abolish capitalism but they also want to abolish all relationships that involve subordination and domination. Their aim is a truly classless society that isn’t divided into bosses and workers, or order givers and order takers. Anarchism opposes hierarchy. On the other hand, socialists believe that in a community, somebody in authority should dominate the people to lead them to the path where they should go in order to attain progress. They claims that society is graded into classes and all life’s business conducted by people are orders issued by the superior or dominating group.
Moreover, Anarchists believe that after the revolution the people should immediately “smash the state” because any form of government is oppressive. They view government as a corrupt and fraudulent entity that will just destroy and hamper the freedom of the people comprising a certain community. They believe that the people themselves can be able to make progress in their own capacities and they needed to be free from all forms of government or any authority in order to do what they want for their own selves.
Anarchists hate the State because they believe that it deprives men of their personal responsibility, robs them of their natural virility, takes out of their hands the conduct of their own lives, thereby reduces them to helplessness, and thus insures the final collapse of the whole social structure. On the contrary, socialists argue that the state is a product of class divisions and exists to maintain the dominance of a particular class. A revolution will not abolish classes overnight and therefore a state is necessary to reorganize society in the interests of the majority.
Socialists believe that the people comprising the community cannot be able to attain progress without the aid of the government or without somebody who will govern and lead them to the right path towards unity and progress. Basically, socialists are interested in the welfare of the majority. They think of the community as one entity whose properties and well-being should be governed and directed because the community alone cannot stand without anybody leading the people. In addition, anarchists believe on private ownership or capitalism.
However, socialists oppose capitalism, which is based on private ownership of the means of production and allows individual choices in a free market to determine how goods and services are distributed. As a summary, anarchism and socialism are two ideologies with the same goal but have different strategies in dealing with solving problems of the state and attaining progress. Anarchism believes that it is the right of the Individual to govern himself, while socialism believes that he must be governed by others.