Anti-capitalism


Anti-capitalism

Anti-capitalism describes a wide variety of movements, ideas, and attitudes which oppose capitalism. Anti-capitalists, in the strict sense of the word, are those who wish to completely replace capitalism with another system; however, there are also ideas which can be characterized as "partially" anti-capitalist in the sense that they only wish to replace or abolish certain aspects of capitalism rather than the entire system.

Notable ideologies, viewpoints, and trends

Anarchism

Anarchist philosophies argue for a total abolition of the state, with many anarchists opposing capitalism on the grounds that it entails social domination (through inequalities of wealth), involuntary relations and coercive hierarchy (through the perceived pressure on individuals to engage in wage labour). Some forms of anarchism oppose capitalism as a whole while supporting some particular aspects of capitalism, such as markets (supported by some mutualists) and some even go as far as supporting private property (supported by some individualist anarchists).

Ecofeminism

Ecofeminists criticise capitalism for defining the natural world as simply a body of resources to be exploited and reshaped to serve human purposes and interests. They also see it as inherently sapping the relationship between humans to one another and to the natural world. Ecofeminists see capitalism as a patriarchal construction "based on the colonization of women, nature, and other peoples." [cite book|last=Mies|first=Maria|coauthors=Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva|authorlink=Maria Mies|title=Ecofeminism|pages=298|year=1993|id=ISBN 1-85649-156-0]

Fascism

According to Stanley Payne, one of the world's leading experts on Fascism [Roger Griffin. "The Nature of Fascism". Routledge. 1993. p. 6] , the common aim of all fascist movements is elimination of the autonomy or in some cases complete existence of large-scale capitalism. [Not necessarily in conflict such as the well known quote by Mussolini that the facist state is the corporate state (should it turn out to be attested). In this case what is referred to are the smaller corporations of corporatism rather than powerful large scale capital formations.] [Payne, Stanley (1996). "A History of Fascism". Routledge. ISBN 1857285956 p.10] This view is supported by right-wing libertarians who argue that fascism is a form of anti-capitalism because fascist governments made private corporations and other private individuals who owned the means of production to work to serve national interests, thus undermining property rights, and to employ more labor on the workers than is profitable for the employer. Italian Fascism is marked for anti-capitalism the law of "socialization". [Calvin B. Hoover, "The Paths of Economic Change: Contrasting Tendencies in the Modern World", The American Economic Review, Vol. 25, No. 1, Supplement, Papers and Proceedings of the Forty-seventh Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association. (Mar., 1935), pp. 13-20.] Fascism protected the land owning elites and is regarded as a reaction against the rising power of the working class. [Fascism Encyclopedia Britannica] The Nazis, due to a belief in a Jewish conspiracy, were particularly vocal in their opposition to finance capitalism, interest charging, and "profiteering." [Frank Bealey & others. Elements of Political Science. Edinburgh University Press, 1999, p. 202] Some writers argue that fascism represented a "third way" between Marxian socialism and capitalism. [Peter Davies and Dereck Lynch. Routledge Companion to Fascism and the Far Right. Routledge 2003, p. 101] Fascists upheld the ownership aspect of private property - including private property over productive capital and the means of production [A private statement made by Hitler on March 24, 1942. Cited in "Hitler's Secret Conversations." Translated by Norman Cameron and R.H. Stevens. Farrar, Straus and Young, Inc. 1953. p. 294] - but said that property was to be regulated to ensure that "benefit to the community precedes benefit to the individual." [Richard Allen Epstein, "Principles for a Free Society: Reconciling Individual Liberty With the Common Good", De Capo Press 2002, p. 168] Hitler stated in "Mein Kampf" that "the attitude of the State towards capital would be comparatively simple and clear. Its only object would be to make sure that capital remained subservient to the State" and also made a clear distinction between "capital which is purely the product of creative labour and ... capital which is exclusively the result of financial speculation" [Adolf Hitler, "Mein Kampf", Murphy translation] .

The quote famously attributed to Bennito Mussolini "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power" is probably apocryphal [ [http://www.publiceye.org/fascist/corporatism.html "Mussolino on the Corporate State" Chip Berlet] ] .

Marxists argued that fascism is a form of government control instituted to protect capitalism during a period of crisis or revolution. [Daniel Guerin, "Fascism and Big Business", excerpted at http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/guerin/1938/10/fascism.htm] Fascists have operated from a Social Darwinist view of human relations. Their aim has been to promote "superior" individuals and weed out the weak. [Alexander J. De Grand, "Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany", Routledge, 1995. pp. 47] In terms of economic practice, this meant promoting the interests of successful businessmen while destroying trade unions and other organizations of the working class. [Alexander J. De Grand, "Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany", Routledge, 1995. pp. 48-51] Lawrence Britt suggests that protection of corporate power is an essential part of fascism. [Britt, Lawrence, 'The 14 characteristics of fascism', "Free Inquiry", Spring 2003, p. 20.] Historian Gaetano Salvemini argued in 1936 that fascism makes taxpayers responsible to private enterprise, because "the State pays for the blunders of private enterprise... Profit is private and individual. Loss is public and social." [Salvemini, Gaetano. "Under the Axe of Fascism" 1936.] Economic liberals, such as Ludwig von Mises, contend that fascism, an offshoot of socialism, was collectivist and anti-capitalistic. According to Mises, fascism maintained an illusion of respecting private property, since individuals could not use their property how the wished because the government frequently enacted regulations (on behalf of government allies in the business sector) that were not in line with the functioning of a free market. [von Mises, Ludwig. "Socialism" 1951.] Historian Robert Paxton contends that fascists' anti-capitalism was highly selective. Even at their most radical, the socialism that the fascists wanted was a "national socialism": one that denied only foreign or enemy property rights (including that of internal enemies). They did, however, cherish national producers. [cite book | last = Paxton | first = Robert | title = The Anatomy of Fascism | publisher = Knopf | location = New York | year = 2004 | isbn = 1400040949 ]

Participatory Economics and Inclusive Democracy

Participatory economics, often abbreviated as Parecon, is a proposed economic system that uses participatory decision making as an economic mechanism to guide the production, consumption and allocation of resources in a given society. Proposed as an alternative to contemporary capitalist market economies and also an alternative to centrally planned socialism or coordinatorism, it is described as "an anarchistic economic vision", although it could be considered a form of socialism as under Parecon, the means of production are owned by the working class. It emerged from the work of activist and political theorist Michael Albert and that of radical economist Robin Hahnel, beginning in the 1980s and 1990s.

Inclusive Democracy as envisaged by Takis Fotopolous, can be viewed as a form of participatory economics. Here, all decisions are taken by the demos, and basic economic needs could be met for all based upon a certain amount of work. Additional non-necessary items could be earned by contributing above the minimum required to meet society's needs. This approach is markedly anti-capitalist as well as anti-market, including an absence of ability to accumulate wealth, where each person earns for himself only, thereby avoiding the imbalance of power inherent in a capitalist system. [Takis Fotopolous "International Journal of Inclusive Democracy" vol.4 no.2, [http://www.inclusivedemocracy.org/journal/vol4/vol4_no2_takis_finnish_interview.htm] (2008).]

Religious anti-capitalism

The Catholic Church traditionally forbade usury but with the Reformation and its revolt against Papal dogmatic teaching and then the Enlightenment and its rejection of Papal moral teaching, "Christian Europe", over time, abandoned identifying lending at interest as usury. Christianity has been the source of many criticisms of capitalism, particularly its materialist aspects. Many early and pre-socialist moverments [Diggers,Levellers, etc.] as well as later ones drew principles from the Gospels (see Christian socialism and the Social Gospel movement) and against the "values" of profiteering, greed, selfishness and hoarding. Most Christians do not oppose capitalism entirely but support a mixed economy in order to ensure "decent" labour standards and relations, as well as economic justice.Fact|date=September 2008 Today there are many Protestant denominations (particularly in the United States) who are reconciled with or ardently in favour of capitalism, particularly in opposition to secular socialism.

Islam forbids lending money at interest, the mode of operation of capitalist finance. However, Islamic banking has been developed to allow Muslims to avoid this problem.

Socialism

Socialism argues for collective/community or government control of the economy, [ [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9109587 "Socialism"] "Encyclopædia Britannica". 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.] which may or may not be associated with democratic control by the people over the state (there are both democratic and undemocratic philosophies which call themselves socialist). In addition, socialism advocates some degree (depending on the type of socialism) of economic equality and the eradication of poverty and unemployment. Many confuse the term Marxism, though Marxism is not the only type of socialism. For example, most anarchist schools of thought are socialist as well.

Marxism argues for collective ownership of the means of production and the eventual abolition of the state, with an intermediate stage, of indeterminate length, in which the state will be used to eliminate the vestiges of capitalism. Marxism is the foundation of several different ideologies, including many forms of communism and certain types of socialism. Some states that identified themselves with Marxism claimed to have abolished capitalism, although some Marxist theorists describe them as state capitalist, rather than anti-capitalist. [Friedrich Pollock, "State Capitalism: Its Possibilities and Limitations," Studies in Philosophy and Social Science, IX, 2 (1941), 200-255.] [Tony Cliff, [http://www.marxists.org/archive/cliff/works/1955/statecap/index.htm "State Capitalism in Russia"] (1955).]

Other aspects

There are also strands of conservatism that are uncomfortable with liberal capitalism. Particularly in continental Europe, many conservatives have been uncomfortable with the impact of capitalism on culture and traditions. The conservative opposition to the French revolution, the Enlightenment, and the development of individualistic liberalism as a political theory and as institutionalized social practices sought to retain traditional social hierarchies, practices and institutions. There is also a conservative protectionist opposition to certain types of international capitalism.

ee also

*Anti-Globalization
*Capitalism
*Corporatocracy
*Critique of capitalism
*Fascist socialization
*Post-capitalism

External links

* David E Lowes (2006) [http://zedbooks.co.uk/book.asp?bookdetail=3837 The Anti-Capitalist Dictionary] , Zed, London. Explains concepts and issues from an anti-capitalist perspective and shows how they have changed over time.
* Summit Sieges and Social Forums; a Rough Guide to the Anticapitalist Movement, D., Stockton and R., Brenner, et al, London, 2004
* [http://www.infoshop.org/ Infoshop.org] - Anarchists opposed to capitalism.
* [http://www.marxists.org/ Marxists Internet Archive] - Archive of Marxist and anti-capitalist literature.
* [http://www.mises.org/etexts/mises/anticap.asp] "The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality" book by the economist Ludwig von Mises
* [http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/w/x/wxk116/antic/ "Anti-Capitalism: Modern Theory and Historical Origins"]
* [http://libcom.org/library/anti-capitalist-aufheben-10 Anti-Capitalism as an ideology... and as a movement]
* [http://www.tidsskriftcentret.dk/index.php?id=142 Anti-Capitalism : A Guide To The Movement] Directory of Groups and Organisations, June 2001.
* [http://www.studiesinanti-capitalism.net Studies in Anti-Capitalism]

References


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