Der Anarchismus: Versuch einer sozialhistorischen Ortsbestimmung

Anti-state tendencies have been around for thousands of years, since states behaved as protection rackets. This began to change during the “long nineteenth century” when states – while retaining their predatory characteristics – began to intervene in working conditions, education, poor relief, housing, communications, and transportation. These developments required a fundamental reorientation of the emerging labor movements and the socialists closely associated with them. Anarchism as an ideology is the product of the “hinge time” in which the receiving state was still strongly in everyone’s consciousness and the giving state was not yet fully developed. Anarchism had its greatest influence in the international labor movement between about 1870 and 1940. Anarchist influences waned and eventually almost entirely disappeared: where the “giving” state prevailed, anarchism had no chance in the long run. Since the 1960s anti-state tendencies have returned, albeit in a different form. There is a gradual weakening of both the giving and the taking state, because it is redefining its areas of intervention and having more and more tasks regulated supranationally. Under these conditions, (social) anarchism could well become an important stimulus for new social movements. However, a 100 percent return to classic anarchism will most likely only be of interest to marginal groups and alternative strategies will no longer be able to completely do without statehood.
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