[CHAPTER] van der Walt, 2017, “Anarchism and Marxism” (in ‘The Brill Companion to Anarchist Philosophy’)

Lucien van der Walt, 2017, “Anarchism and Marxism”, in N. Jun (ed.), The
Brill Companion to Anarchist Philosophy, Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden,
pp. 505-558.

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This paper provides an analysis of the relationship between Marxism and anarchism, developing a systematic exposition of the strategic and theoretical diffferences between the anarchist and Marxist traditions that goes beyond the Karl Marx-Mikhail Bakunin conflict in the 1870s, considering a wider range of periods, writers and debates. The focus is on the evolving tradition of classical Marxism — the main historical Marxist tradition, running from the Communist League through the pre-war German Social Democratic Party, and  from there to the Communist Parties and their Trotskyist rivals — in relation to anarchism, and on debates over historical materialism, the role of the states, the nature of class struggle, the peasantry, stages theory, and social change.  A major thrust of the argument is that anarchism’s social analysis is far richer than often recognized and that this may be illustrated through a proper exposition of the Marxism/
anarchism conflict. The paper looks at classical Marxists beyond Marx, including Marxist-Leninists, examines how strategic diffferences between the two traditions are linked to distinctive analyses of economy, society, and history, and aims to move beyond the usual “non-debate” marked by caricature, misunderstanding and sectarianism.

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