Social Anarchism

Social Anarchism is a development of anarchism which sees individual freedom as being dependent on mutual aid; community and social equality.

It blends anarchy with socialism.

Social Anarchism envisions societies built on anarchist and socialist principles.

Social anarchist thought emphasizes community and social equality as complementary to autonomy and personal freedom. Social anarchism favors decentralized federalism, balanced with freedom of association.

It calls for the conversion of private property into social property, to offer individual empowerment through a sharing of the commons and open access to information and tools, while retaining respect for personal property.

The term is used to describe the theory that places an emphasis on the communitarian and cooperative aspects in anarchist theory while, also, opposing authoritarian forms of communitarianism associated with groupthink and collective conformity, and instead favouring a reconciliation between individuality and sociality. Illegitimate authority is removed through inspection and vigilance. While self-determination is asserted, as is worker's self-management, and education and empowerment emphasized, both individually and through interaction with the community. A do-it-youself (DIY) mentality is combined with educational efforts within the social realm.

The term "social anarchism" is often used interchangeably with "libertarian socialism", "left-libertarianism" and "left anarchism". It emerged in the late 19th century as a distinction from individualist anarchism.

Social Anarchism is an umbrella term that includes:

Alexander Berkman:

"There are revolutions and revolutions. Some revolutions change only the governmental form by putting a new set of rulers in place of the old. These are political revolutions, and as such they are often met with little resistance. But a revolution that aims to abolish the entire system of wage slavery must also do away with the power of one class to oppress another. That is, it is not any more a mere change of rulers, of government, not a political revolution, but one that seeks to alter the whole character of society. That would be a social revolution."

Criticisms of Social Anarchism

Individualist anarchists, including various anarchists that focus on environmental issues and / or are primarily concerned with indigenous rights are sceptical of socialism as it maintains many of capitalism's shortcomings, including a workerist and industrialist philosophy. Post-left anarchists maintain that socialism's totalitarian, collectivist underpinnings make it ill-suited for the successful pursuit of autonomy from organized structures that have historically been upheld with authoritarianism and coercive concepts of 'morality'. Green anarchists argue that industrial ideologies pollute the planet and exploit its inhabitants for financial gain, regardless of who controls the means of production or whether or not the system is moneyless or presents itself as 'equal'.

The charge of workerism is often levelled at socialists, communists and syndicalists (as well as capitalists and fascists) because of their emphasis on the productivity of manual laborers in an industrial system; thus measuring all people by their ability to successfully function within said system. Industrial societies with their commodity-based values are often seen by critics as giving rise to social stratification, coercion, alienation and overpopulation.

Beyond Workerism, Beyond Syndicalism points out:

In an expanding industrial society the trade union moves from instrument of struggle to instrument supporting the productive structure itself. Revolutionary syndicalism has also played its part: pushing the most combative workers forward but, at the same time, pushing them backwards in terms of capacity to see the future society or the creative needs of the revolution. Everything remained parceled up within the factory dimension. Workerism is not just common to authoritarian communism. Singling out privileged areas of the class clash is still today one of the most deep-rooted habits that it is difficult to lose.