Anarchist FAQ

Section A - What is Anarchism?

Section B - Why do anarchists oppose the current system?

  • B.1 Why are anarchists against authority and hierarchy?
    • B.1.1 What are the effects of authoritarian social relationships?
    • B.1.2 Is capitalism hierarchical?
    • B.1.3 What kind of hierarchy of values does capitalism create?
    • B.1.4 Why do racism, sexism and homophobia exist?
    • B.1.5 How is the mass-psychological basis for authoritarian civilisation created?
    • B.1.6 Can hierarchy be ended?
  • B.2 Why are anarchists against the state?
    • B.2.1 What is main function of the state?
    • B.2.2 Does the state have subsidiary functions?
    • B.2.3 How does the ruling class maintain control of the state?
    • B.2.4 How does state centralisation affect freedom?
    • B.2.5 Who benefits from centralisation?
    • B.2.6 Can the state be an independent power within society?
  • B.3 Why are anarchists against private property?
    • B.3.1 What is the difference between private property and possession?
    • B.3.2 What kinds of property does the state protect?
    • B.3.3 Why is property exploitative?
    • B.3.4 Can private property be justified?
    • B.3.5 Is state owned property different from private property?
  • B.4 How does capitalism affect liberty?
    • B.4.1 Is capitalism based on freedom?
    • B.4.2 Is capitalism based on self-ownership?
    • B.4.3 But no one forces you to work for them!
    • B.4.4 But what about periods of high demand for labour?
    • B.4.5 But I want to be "left alone"!
  • B.5 Is capitalism empowering and based on human action?
  • B.6 But won't decisions made by individuals with their own money be the best?
  • B.7 What classes exist within modern society?
    • B.7.1 But do classes actually exist?
    • B.7.2 Does social mobility make up for class inequality?
    • B.7.3 Why is the existence of classes denied?
    • B.7.4 What do anarchists mean by "class consciousness"?

Section C - What are the myths of capitalist economics?

  • C.1 What is wrong with economics?
    • C.1.1 Is economics really value free?
    • C.1.2 Is economics a science?
    • C.1.3 Can you have an economics based on individualism?
    • C.1.4 What is wrong with equilibrium analysis?
    • C.1.5 Does economics really reflect the reality of capitalism?
    • C.1.6 Is it possible to a non-equilibrium based capitalist economics?
  • C.2 Why is capitalism exploitative?
    • C.2.1 What is "surplus value"?
    • C.2.2 How does exploitation happen?
    • C.2.3 Is owning capital sufficient reason to justify profits?
    • C.2.4 Is profit the reward for the productivity of capital?
    • C.2.5 Do profits represent the contribution of capital to production?
    • C.2.6 Does interest represent the "time value" of money?
    • C.2.7 Are interest and profit not the reward for waiting?
    • C.2.8 Are profits the result of entrepreneurial activity and innovation?
    • C.2.9 Do profits reflect a reward for risk?
  • C.3 What determines the distribution between labour and capital?
  • C.4 Why does the market become dominated by Big Business?
    • C.4.1 How extensive is Big Business?
    • C.4.2 What are the effects of Big Business on society?
    • C.4.3 What does the existence of Big Business mean for economic theory and wage labour?
  • C.5 Why does Big Business get a bigger slice of profits?
    • C.5.1 Aren't the super-profits of Big Business due to its higher efficiency?
  • C.6 Can market dominance by Big Business change?
  • C.7 What causes the capitalist business cycle?
    • C.7.1 What role does class struggle play in the business cycle?
    • C.7.2 What role does the market play in the business cycle?
    • C.7.3 What role does investment play in the business cycle?
  • C.8 Is state control of money the cause of the business cycle
    • C.8.1 Does this mean that Keynesianism works?
    • C.8.2 What happened to Keynesianism in the 1970s?
    • C.8.3 How did capitalism adjust to the crisis in Keynesianism?
  • C.9 Would laissez-faire capitalism reduce unemployment?
    • C.9.1 Would cutting wages reduce unemployment?
    • C.9.2 Is unemployment caused by wages being too high?
    • C.9.3 Are "flexible" labour markets the answer to unemployment?
    • C.9.4 Is unemployment voluntary?
  • C.10 Is "free market" capitalism the best way to reduce poverty?
    • C.10.1 Hasn't neo-liberalism benefited the world's poor?
    • C.10.2 Does "free trade" benefit everyone?
    • C.10.3 Does "free market" capitalism benefit everyone, especially working class people?
    • C.10.4 Does growth automatically mean people are better off?
  • C.11 Doesn't neo-liberalism in Chile prove that the free market benefits everyone?
    • C.11.1 Who benefited from Chile's "economic miracle"?
    • C.11.2 What about Chile's economic growth and low inflation?
    • C.11.3 Did neo-liberal Chile confirm capitalist economics?
  • C.12 Doesn't Hong Kong show the potentials of "free market" capitalism?

Section D - How does statism and capitalism affect society?

  • D.1 Why does state intervention occur?
    • D.1.1 Does state intervention cause the problems to begin with?
    • D.1.2 Is state intervention the result of democracy?
    • D.1.3 Is state intervention socialistic?
    • D.1.4 Is laissez-faire capitalism actually without state intervention?
    • D.1.5 Do anarchists support state intervention?
  • D.2 What influence does wealth have over politics?
    • D.2.1 Is capital flight really that powerful?
    • D.2.2 How extensive is business propaganda?
  • D.3 How does wealth influence the mass media?
    • D.3.1 How does the structure of the media affect its content?
    • D.3.2 What is the effect of advertising on the mass media?
    • D.3.3 Why do the media rely on government and business "experts" for information?
    • D.3.4 How is "flak" used as a means of disciplining the media?
    • D.3.5 Why is "anticommunism" used as control mechanism?
    • D.3.6 Isn't the "propaganda model" a conspiracy theory?
    • D.3.7 Isn't the model contradicted by the media reporting government and business failures?
  • D.4 What is the relationship between capitalism and the ecological crisis?
  • D.5 What causes imperialism?
    • D.5.1 How has imperialism changed over time?
    • D.5.2 Is imperialism just a product of private capitalism?
    • D.5.3 Does globalisation mean the end of imperialism?
    • D.5.4 What is the relationship between imperialism and the social classes within capitalism?
  • D.6 Are anarchists against nationalism?
  • D.7 Are anarchists opposed to National Liberation struggles?
  • D.8 What causes militarism and what are its effects?
  • D.9 Why does political power become concentrated under capitalism?
    • D.9.1 What is the relationship between wealth polarisation and authoritarian government?
    • D.9.2 Why is government surveillance of citizens on the increase?
    • D.9.3 What causes justifications for racism to appear?
  • D.10 How does capitalism affect technology?
  • D.11 Can politics and economics be separated from each other?
    • D.11.1 What does Chile tell us about the right and its vision of liberty?
    • D.11.2 But surely Chile proves that "economic freedom" creates political freedom?

Section E - What do anarchists think causes ecological problems?

  • E.1 What are the root causes of our ecological problems?
    • E.1.1 Is industry the cause of environmental problems?
    • E.1.2 What is the difference between environmentalism and ecology?
  • E.2 What do eco-anarchists propose instead of capitalism?
  • E.3 Can private property rights protect the environment?
    • E.3.1 Will privatising nature save it?
    • E.3.2 How does economic power contribute to the ecological crisis?
    • E.3.3 Can capitalism's focus on short-term profitability deal with the ecological crisis?
  • E.4 Can laissez-faire capitalism protect the environment?
    • E.4.1 Will laissez-faire capitalism actually end pollution?
    • E.4.2 Can wilderness survive under laissez-faire capitalism?
  • E.5 Can ethical consumerism stop the ecological crisis?
  • E.6 What is the population myth?

Section F - Is "anarcho"-capitalism a type of anarchism?

  • F.1 Are "anarcho"-capitalists really anarchists?
  • F.2 What do "anarcho"-capitalists mean by freedom?
    • F.2.1 How does private property affect freedom?
    • F.2.2 Do Libertarian-capitalists support slavery?
  • F.2 Why do "anarcho"-capitalists place little or no value on equality?
    • F.3.1 Why is this disregard for equality important?
    • F.3.2 Can there be harmony of interests in an unequal society?
  • F.4 What is the right-"libertarian" position on private property?
    • F.4.1 What is wrong with a "homesteading" theory of property?
  • F.5 Will privatising "the commons" increase liberty?
  • F.6 Is "anarcho"-capitalism against the state?
    • F.6.1 What's wrong with this "free market" justice?
    • F.6.2 What are the social consequences of such a system?
    • F.6.3 But surely market forces will stop abuses by the rich?
    • F.6.4 Why are these "defence associations" states?
  • F.7 How does the history of "anarcho"-capitalism show that it is not anarchist?
    • F.7.1 Are competing governments anarchism?
    • F.7.2 Is government compatible with anarchism?
    • F.7.3 Can there be a "right-wing" anarchism?
  • F.8 What role did the state take in the creation of capitalism?
    • F.8.1 What social forces lay behind the rise of capitalism?
    • F.8.2 What was the social context of the statement "laissez-faire?"
    • F.8.3 What other forms did state intervention in creating capitalism take?
    • F.8.4 Aren't the enclosures a socialist myth?
    • F.8.5 What about the lack of enclosures in the Americas?
    • F.8.6 How did working people view the rise of capitalism?

Authors

The following self-proclaimed anarchists are (mostly) responsible for this FAQ:

  • Iain McKay (main contributor and editor)
  • Gary Elkin
  • Dave Neal
  • Ed Boraas

We would like to thank the following for their contributions and feedback:

  • Andrew Flood
  • Mike Ballard
  • Francois Coquet
  • Jamal Hannah
  • Mike Huben
  • Greg Alt
  • Chuck Munson
  • Pauline McCormack
  • Nestor McNab
  • Kevin Carson
  • Shawn Wilber
  • ...and our comrades on the anarchy, oneunion and organise! mailing lists.

Adoption of An Anarchist FAQ Copyright (C) 1995-2008 The Anarchist FAQ Editorial Collective: Iain McKay, Gary Elkin, Dave Neal, Ed Boraas; originally released under the terms of the GFDL version 1.1 or any later version of the licensed published by the Free Software Foundation

Last modified on 5 January 2013, at 09:57