Politics in Minutes (2016)

Anti-statism

Opposition to the state, or anti-statism, is fundamental to all forms of anarchism and is a key element distinguishing it from Marxism and socialism. For anarchists, the state in all its forms – governments, authority, hierarchical and power structures – is the enemy. It is harmful because it controls people’s lives, and unnecessary because people are capable of governing themselves. Anarchists seek to abolish the state, an aim that applies not only to authoritarian regimes but also to representative democracies.

Anarchists do not want to take over the state; they want to abolish it. They eschew the parliamentary process, they do not support or form political parties and refuse to vote on the grounds that by doing so they contribute to the very system they oppose. Like Marxists they seek social revolution and have long been linked with working-class action, but they oppose the socialist model, which they regard as the dictatorship of the proletariat, merely exchanging one power structure for another.

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Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) wrote ‘that government is best which governs not at all’. This entails a rejection of all authority and political structures.