Communism vs Anarchism
Anarchism is a political ideology which is based upon the principle of individual liberty of citizens. According to the believers of anarchism, the ideal society should be one which would be bereft of any government, any constitutional authority, any law, or for that matter any police, or any other authority that could monitor or control or influence individuals or collective thoughts and actions of citizens. Thus the core of the doctrine of anarchism is opposition and rejection of any state authority over the will of the citizens. Rather anarchists believe in freedom and authority of individuals. The first anarchist philosopher and writer, Max Stirner declared in his famous book The Ego & His Own, “For me there is nothing above myself”.
Communism or Marxism, also known as Dictatorship of Proletariat as propagated by Karl Marx assisted by Friedrich Engel, is a historical as well as a political and an economic theory. The theory believes in historical materialism, which states that, the physical relationship between the factors of production builds the political and economic structure of the society, which ultimately shapes the cultural thought process of the people. As the relationship is manipulated by the owners of the capital and resources, other than the owners of labour, to earn more profit by exploiting the work-force, revolution led by the work-force is bound to happen, which would overthrow the capitalist-friendly government, and would establish a government where the state, run by a competition-less single political party, would own all the factors of product, undertake designing and implementing economic plans and would ensure equitable distribution of goods. This state of political system is what communists call dictatorship of proletariat.
Methodology: Marx has based the concept of the state reflecting dictatorship of proletariat, on the doctrine of historical materialism. According to Marx historical materialism is the driving force of the society. Anarchists, on the other hand views historical materialism as a tool among other tools for analysing the society. Some of the anarchist philosophers like Murray Bookchin dismisses historical materialism as not only untestable, but also for dehumanising human beings as agent of history.
Anarchism & Communism
Existence of Government: Anarchists believe an ideal society should not have any government or constitutional authority to rule thoughts and actions of individual citizens. Thus anarchists do not believe in existence of state, no individual is supposed to think of any authority to curtail her/his freedom rather people would be ruled by self governance. Communists on the other hand believe in a government run by only one communist party, and that the state should own all resources leaving nothing for private ownership. Communists firmly believe in a state ruled by proletariat through the party.
Ownership of Property: Communists believe the state that would be formed after revolution would abolish private ownership of property, and there would be collective ownership of property in the hands of the state. Anarchists, on the other hand believe in revolution to end state authority and private ownership of property.
Distribution of Resources & Goods: In communism it is believed that resources & output would be equitably distributed among the people based upon needs of individual persons. Anarchists are of the view that resources and output would be enjoyed by individuals based upon need as well as choice, and would stand on individual capacity.
Religious View: Pure communism as Marx and Engel envisaged is free from any concept of god and religion. Violent opposition to religious practices have been encouraged by communists at many places and times. However communists with faith in God and religion can be seen all over the world. Anarchists on the other hand have never shunned religion. They are against oppressive religions but welcome egalitarian religions. Many anarchist communities like Bauls in Hindus and Sufis in Islam are firmly religious. However some anarchists dream of a religion-free society, where as others view religion as distinctly private matter and has nothing to do with the society.
Nationalism: Anarchists believe nationalism divides people and is detrimental to equal freedom. They believe revolution would wipe out the geographical boundaries of states, and most ideal form of socialism would be internationalism. Communists, on the other hand firmly believe in separate states with international ideology of dictatorship of proletariat. Many communist states like China and Vietnam have indulged in imperialistic activities with the objective of expanding geographical territory.
Anarchism & Communism
Ways of Revolution: Communists propagate proletariat working class-led movement to oust capitalist government, in cases by armed revolution, and establish a class-less society, and the party-run government with absolute power. Anarchists, on the other hand, led by Bakunin reject any collective political organisation with centralised power to lead the movement for establishment of individual liberty based society. Bakunin proposed a selective team of 100 anarchists to work on international platform and spread the concept and thus build up revolution. This is the reason anarchism has been criticised by many as being suspicious and secretive theory of revolution.
(i) Communists believe historical materialism brings forth revolution. Anarchists discard this as untestable and consider it as a tool to analyse society.
(ii) Communists propagate class-less society and party-run government. Anarchists do not believe in necessity of states and governments.
(iii) In a communist state all resources would be owned by the government or state. Anarchists want private property to be owned by individuals.
(iv) In communism output to be distributed among the people according to need. In anarchism individuals will have right to output according to need as well as choice.
(v) Pure communism does not believe in God or religion. Anarchists view these as personal choice and appreciate egalitarian religion.
(vi) Communists believe in geographical states and specified boundaries. Anarchists believe in internationalism with no geographical boundaries.
(vii) Communists suggest working-class based political party led movement to up-root capitalist government with the objective of establishing a class-less society. Anarchists reject political party and suggest spreading revolution by a secret team of chosen anarchists.