Alan Ritter, Anarchism: A Theoretical Analysis (1980)



It is as critics of established institutions that anarchists receive the most acclaim. Even commentators who condemn their vision of future society find in their attack on the present one a certain appeal. For no matter how misguided the anarchists may be as visionaries, they point to defects in the existing order which tend to be overlooked.1

While the depth and penetration of the anarchists' criticism have long been acknowledged, its coherence has remained in doubt. For if liberty is regarded as the goal they are seeking, their choice of what to criticize is bound to seem confused. Anarchists whose .chief goal was liberty would subject everything that curtails it to unlimited attack. Yet they refrain from utterly condemning features of the existing system such as authority and punishment, which interfere with liberty, and even incorporate versions of these coercive institutions into their model of an ideal regime. The thesis which serves as the main theme of this study, ascribing communal individuality to anarchists as their ultimate goal, serves to dispel the impression of incoherence in their criticism by giving all of their objections to existing institutions a justified place. The nuances and qualifications in their attack on the established order, which otherwise seem aberrant, are revealed as enjoined by their chief value, once its true character is recognized. Seeing the anarchists as seekers of communal individuality brings out their theory's coherence not only as a plan for social reconstruction, but also as a work of criticism.

Although each of the anarchists whose thought we are examining criticizes aspects of the existing social system that the others spare, all four agree that institutions usually taken for granted as integral parts of modern society deserve to be attacked. Legal government is, of course, the institution they most categorically condemn. Their opposition to authority, punishment and social inequality, while more limited, is just as intense. They all also find fault with industrial technology, though here their condemnation is remarkably nuanced. It is by analyzing their objections to these five institutions that the structure of their social criticism can most easily be revealed, for the anarchists use similar arguments, similarly qualified, to denounce all objects of their collective wrath.


Since the anarchists' view of legal government was examined in detail when it was compared with their view of censure no more is needed here as an account of their objections than a brief sketch. This section is less concerned to describe these objections than to clarify how far they extend. What it seeks to establish is whether anarchists call for the abolition of legal government no matter what its type, or whether, as some have thought, there is one type they accept.

It is of course as a hindrance to self-development and mutual awareness that anarchists condemn legal government. The generality and permanence of its controls, the remoteness of its officials and its use of physical coercion as its method of enforcement combine, say anarchists, to engender a distrust, resentment and impersonality that stifle individuals and break communal ties. Yet Robert Paul Wolff has argued that anarchists must accept one type of legal government as consistent with their conception of a good society. This is unanimous direct democracy.2

In a unanimous direct democracy everyone deliberates and votes on legislative proposals, and only those approved by everyone have force of law. One main reason Wolff thinks anarchists must support this form of government is because it dispenses with physical coercion. Since the subjects of other governments disapprove on occasion of following the law, they must sometimes be forced physically to do what it directs. But whenever the citizen of a unanimous direct democracy follows a law, he carries out an action which he personally approves. The esteem of all citizens for the laws they must obey makes sanctioning them with physical force unnecessary.

Even if anarchists endorsed government, provided it did not physically coerce, they still would reject unanimous direct democracy, because such a government, despite what Wolff says, resorts on occasion to physical force. A person who turns against enacted legislation is no less forced to comply with it by a unanimous direct democracy than by other governments. The fact that he once voted for a law he now opposes and that he can repeal it when it comes up for review does not exempt him from coercion for the period, however short, while it remains in effect. Nor are persons unable to get their legislative proposals enacted exempt from coercion, since they are forced by their government to do without the laws they want.

But let us suppose that a unanimous direct democracy can dispense with physical force. Even then it can have no place in a complete anarchy, for it has other features besides physical coercion that anarchists contest.

One is the deliberation through which the citizens of a unanimous direct democracy decide what laws to enact. It may seem surprising that the anarchists, who so prize personal deliberation, should oppose the collective deliberations of a unanimous direct democracy. They reach this conclusion by condemning the special kind of deliberation that occurs under such a government as lacking in rationality and hence in worth.

In a unanimous direct democracy all citizens deliberate as equals in the legislative assembly. Anarchists argue that the great size of an assembly in which everyone participates inhibits forthright communication, invites rhetorical pandering, and relieves citizens of personal responsibility for their decisions, all of which prevent the independent scrutiny of arguments and evidence on which rational deliberation rests. As Godwin complains, 'A fallacious uniformity of opinion is produced, which no man espouses from conviction, but which carries all men along with a resistless tide.'3

Membership in a unanimous direct democracy could of course be limited so that the rationality of deliberation in the legislative assembly was not impaired by excessive size. But anarchists contend that deliberation, even in a unanimous direct democracy that is very small, remains pernicious. The fact that deliberation among legislators cannot always continue until a consensus is reached, but must often terminate with a vote, is enough to rob it of rationality. Where voting is used to end deliberation, says Godwin, 'the orator no longer enquires after permanent conviction, but transitory effect. He seeks rather to take advantage of our prejudices than to enlighten our judgment. That which might otherwise have been a scene of patient and beneficent enquiry, is changed into wrangling, tumult and precipitation.'4

Requiring the vote which enacts legislation to be unanimous further diminishes deliberative rationality by discouraging dissent. Godwin points out that where, to use Proudhon's words, 'the assembly deliberates and votes like a single man', 'the happy varieties of sentiment, which so eminently contribute to intellectual acuteness, are lost'.5 The deliberating citizens, sensing the need to legislate, tend much more than in a majoritarian democracy to vote for whatever proposal seems most apt to win.

Nor must it be forgotten that the point of deliberation in a unanimous direct democracy is to legislate. Hence unanimous direct democracy suffers from the same defects, except perhaps physical coercion, as anarchists find in law. To anarchists, the equality of participation in a unanimous direct democracy is only dangerous, for it cannot rid the law which the assembly enacts of permanence, or generality. And it poses a danger of its own. As legislators, the assembled citizens must view proposals disinterestedly, from the impartial standpoint of the social whole. They must, in Godwin's words, 'sink the personal existence of individuals in the existence of the community [and] make little account of the particular men of whom the society consists'.6 An assembly composed of citizens as anonymous as these is certainly not an individualized community. Its members may be bound together, but not so as to advance their self-development. And it easily degenerates into what Bakunin calls 'a sacrificer of living men,. . .where the real wills of individuals are annulled in that abstraction called the public will'. The diffusion in any democracy, but especially in a unanimous direct one, of a homogenizing spirit 'restrains, mutilates and kills the humanity of its subjects so that in ceasing to be men they become nothing more than citizens'.7

There is one main objection to the conclusion to which this analysis points, that anarchists would abolish legal government of every type. Some anarchists support the use of legal government where the conditions are lacking for anarchism's success. In such situations, they argue, legal government may be a necessary safeguard for domestic peace. Moreover, if it takes the form of a decentralized participative democracy, it may even advance the cause of anarchy through its educational effects. But the support of anarchists for legal government in adverse situations does not impugn the conclusion being defended here, which states only that in a mature anarchy legal government has no place. Since even unanimous direct democracy, which is the one form of government that anarchists might conceivably accept, receives their harsh strictures as repugnant to their ultimate ideal, they must certainly be regarded, despite the provisional support they give to legal government, as denying it any place whatever in an anarchist society that is complete.


Anarchists are often thought to hold that in their good society no one ought to exercise authority.8 On this view, their opposition to authority is just as categorical as their opposition to the state. It is not only legal authority that receives their condemnation: they would abolish authority of every sort. There are statements by the anarchists that make them sound like authority's unrelenting foes, but the textual evidence is ambiguous enough to justify giving their attitude a close look. Do anarchists reject authority altogether, or are there some types they support? If they do support some, on what ground does their backing rest?

Authority can be exercised over belief as well as conduct, and in the private realm of groups and families, as well as in the public, social realm of life. Analysis of the anarchists as critics of authority must focus on their view of its application to public conduct. Concentrating on this narrow issue brings out what is distinctive in their attitude toward authority, which is anything but original so far as it applies to belief or private conduct.9

Authority, as applied to conduct, is a way to secure compliance with a directive, distinguished by the ground on which the directive is obeyed. You exercise authority over my conduct if you issue me a directive, and I follow it because I believe that something about you, not the directive, makes compliance the proper course. This something about you that elicits my compliance is something I attribute either to your position or to your person. I may submit to your authority because I think your position (say as president) makes you an appropriate issuer of directives, or because I think you are personally equipped (perhaps by advanced training) to direct my acts with special competence.10

Although anarchists accept personal qualities as sometimes entitling an issuer of directives to authority over private conduct, they deny that it ever entitles him to authority over conduct in the public sphere. We all lack the competence to do many private things and may be entitled in such cases to follow the direction of experts.11 But since public conduct lies 'equally within the province of every human understanding', the personal qualities of those who direct it give them no right to be obeyed. In acting publicly, 'I am a deserter from the requisitions of duty, if I do not assiduously exert my faculties, or if I be found to act contrary to the conclusions they dictate, from deference to the opinions of another.'12

Though anarchists spurn personal qualities as a warrant for public authority, this does not mean that they would abolish public authority altogether. For they hold that under anarchy one still should sometimes obey issuers of directives that apply to public life out of regard for their position. The claim that they believe this faces several objections, which need to be rebutted before it can be effectively sustained.

What need to be considered first are statements by the anarchists which mock claims to public authority conferred by position. The clearest such statement is Godwin's, where he asks why one should obey another 'because he happens to be born to certain privileges; or because a concurrence of circumstances... has procured for him a share in the legislative or executive government of our country? Let him content himself with the obedience that is the result of force.'13 Though this statement certainly condemns authority conferred by inherited or governmental position, it gives no basis for condemning positional authority altogether. That anarchists endorse authority in a state of anarchy, where its position can have different attributes, remains possible.

More troublesome as evidence against calling the anarchists supporters of positional authority is their repeated denunciation of authority in general. They must of course rule out authority conferred by position if they rule out authority of every type. This objection can be best allayed by noting that the anarchists' use of the term, 'authority' is ambiguous. They often use it in the way described above, to designate a way to secure obedience based on an obeyer's belief about the one he obeys. But they also use 'authority' in a different sense to mean obedience procured by the rightful threat or use of physical force. To say that when they denounce authority they are always using it in the latter sense might seem reckless, but this contention is well supported by the texts.14 Since what anarchists are denouncing when they attack authority is legitimate physical coercion, that they give positional authority a place in anarchy remains possible.

There is one more ground to doubt that anarchists embrace positional authority -- its incompatibility with action based on reasoned argument. Action, to be commendable for anarchists, must rest on arguments and evidence that the deliberating agent judges for himself. 'The conviction of a man's individual understanding is the only legitimate principle imposing on him the duty of adopting any species of conduct/15 Though anarchists do not systematically ask how authority affects the rational basis of action, this effect is easy to describe.

Whenever an authority issues a directive to a subject who concludes from his own assessment of arguments and evidence that the act the authority prescribes for him is wrong, the authority prevents him from following his conclusion. For a subject cannot obey an authority and also follow his own conclusion, when the courses prescribed by the authority and his conclusion conflict. Since all authority sometimes keeps its subjects from following their rationally based conclusions about the merit of the action it prescribes, and since anarchists think the basis of one's action should be one's own rational assessment of its merits, it would seem that they must exclude positional authority, as much as personal, from regulating public conduct under anarchy.

The weak point in this argument is its assumption that for anarchists the value of reasoned argument is always overriding. If anarchists believed this, then they would indeed lack any normative basis in their theory to justify authority. But they do not believe it. As earlier chapters of this study show, the value of reasoned argument, while great for anarchists, is less than ultimate. It is a means to, and a part of, communal individuality, but is not itself supreme. Hence the fact that authority sometimes prevents action from resting on reasons leaves open the issue whether it has a place in anarchy. To resolve that issue the relations among authority, communal individuality and reasoned argument must be explored.

In deciding on the scope of reasoned argument, the anarchists are guided by their commitment to communal individuality. They support reasoned argument so fat as they think it serves communal individuality, and they reject it so far as they think it causes communal individuality harm. The most obvious way reasoned argument harms communal individuality is by endangering social peace, as when it proves unable to ward off physical conflict. We have seen already that anarchists admit the frailty of reason and in cases of danger endorse controlling misbehavior with rebuke. What must now be added is that rebuke in a state of anarchy is a last resort. Against the insufficiency of reason and internalization to control misbehavior, authority is the anarchists' first defense; rebuke plays the role of a back-up, only to be inflicted when obedience to authority fails. Thus Proudhon and Bakunin call on 'opinion' and 'public spirit', not only to control misbehavior directly, but as means to enforce authority's decrees.16 Godwin is more specific about how authority forestalls rebuke. When reason fails in a state of anarchy, most participants 'readily yield to the expostulations of authority'. But sometimes an authority's title to obedience is challenged. If the challengers disobey the authority, then and only then are they rebuked.' Uneasy under the unequivocal disapprobation and observant eye of public judgment', they are 'inevitably obliged. . . either to reform or to emigrate.'17

The anarchists use authority, rather than rebuke, as the first defense against dangerous misconduct in order to protect communal individuality. Since rebuke, as the most coercive of censure's three aspects, can cause communal individuality much damage, it is important to anarchists that its use be minimized. If it was the first defense against misconduct, it would have to be invoked whenever reasoned argument or internalization proved ineffective. But as a back-up to authority, it need be invoked only on the few occasions when authority fails. As for the harm caused to communal individuality by authority, anarchists argue that if the authority is positional and properly restrained, this harm is slight.

Requiring authority to be positional rather than personal diminishes the harm it causes communal individuality by giving rational deliberation a wider scope. When I obey a personal authority, I refrain from evaluating the merit of the action he prescribes. Believing that some personal quality, such as special knowledge or insight, gives him the competence I lack to direct my conduct, I obey him without inquiring whether what he bids me to do is right. This inquiry is allowed by positional authority; for my obedience to such an authority does not depend on my assuming the correctness of his prescribed act. Since I believe that I ought to obey him because he occupies an entitling position, whatever the merit of his directives, I am free to assess them fully, so long as I follow them if my verdict is adverse. It is obvious, from this comparison, that positional authority allows rational deliberation more scope than personal authority does. And since rational deliberation is an intimate part of the anarchist ideal of communal individuality, it is also obvious that by requiring authority to be conferred by position the anarchists give their ideal significant support.

Even though positional authority does less damage to communal individuality than personal authority does, it still does damage. For even it requires subjects to do what they judge wrong. To alleviate the threat to their ideal that even positional authority presents, anarchists place restraints on it, designed so that it interferes as little with deliberation as is consistent with the need to maintain domestic peace. The restraints anarchists suggest for doing this specify who may fill positions of authority and how authority must be exercised.

It is usually by holding a specially designated office that one gains title to positional authority. Anarchists oppose giving authority to holders of special office. Thus Proudhon would 'eliminate the last shadow of authority from judges', and Bakunin rejects 'all privileged, licensed, official authority'. Rather than being confined to holders of designated offices, authority in an anarchy is, in Godwin's words, 'exercised by every individual over the actions of another'. All members of society must have a right to wield authority before its directives can deserve to be obeyed.18

To defend the legitimacy of authority exercised by all, anarchists rely on the comparison with legal government which they also use to defend censure. Wielders of authority who hold designated positions are like government officials in being too few to know the details of their subjects' situations. Hence they must treat them as an undifferentiated group. Such treatment must often seem mistaken to the subjects, who, more familiar with their situations, are apt to conclude that circumstances unknown to the authorities make it wrong to act as they direct. But if everybody has authority, it can obstruct deliberation less because then its wielders, being the same people as its subjects, but in different roles, can have more intimate knowledge of particulars. Equipped with this knowledge, they can bring their directives and the deliberations of their subjects into closer accord.

Besides requiring that authority in a state of anarchy be shared by everyone, anarchists also insist that its directives be concrete, not bound by or embodied in general rules, but flexible and specific.19 Their argument for concrete authority borrows again from their comparison between censure and legal government. Authority which issues general directives, like government which issues general laws, impedes deliberation, even if its wielders are very numerous, because general directives, applying to broad classes of action, and hence unable to adjust much to specific circumstances, are often opposed by subjects for failing to take these circumstances into account. An authority whose directives are particular, being more able to consider individual situations, can better avoid contradicting the deliberations of its subjects about the merit of its prescribed acts.

Two conclusions are unmistakable from the analysis in this section. It is clear, for one thing, that, contrary to prevalent opinion and to what may be their own denials, anarchists give public- authority a place in their good society. The authority they favor is extraordinarily limited, to be sure, but it is still authority, for it is a way to control behavior based on the subject's belief that something about the issuer of a directive gives him a right to be obeyed. The other noteworthy conclusion emerging from this analysis is that the anarchists' commitment to communal individuality easily explains both why they denounce most forms of authority and why they endorse their own distinctive type. Aware that authority obstructs rational deliberation, they fear it as a threat to their ideal. Unwilling to rely on reasoned argument alone as a behavioral control, they refuse to dispense with authority altogether. It is as an attempt to resolve the dilemma posed by these considerations that anarchists endorse the limited authority this section has described.


If one uses nothing but the anarchists' explicit judgments as evidence of their attitude toward punishment, one must conclude that they condemn it unequivocally, for they denounce it with extraordinary force. Godwin, for instance, proclaims that 'punishment can at no time. . . make part of any political system that is built on the principles of reason', and Proudhon calls for the 'complete abolition of the supposed right to punish, which is nothing but the emphatic violation of an individual's dignity'.20 This section argues for counting anarchists as punishment's supporters, despite statements like the foregoing in which they sound like unrelenting foes. Anarchists harshly oppose most forms of punishment, but they give a place in anarchy to one special kind. Their attacks on punishment are misread if taken as signs of utter condemnation.

There are three standard ways of justifying punishment: as retribution for the offender, as a means of reform by weakening his desire to misbehave, or, through the fear evoked by his suffering, to deter him from repeating, and others from committing, crimes. Godwin, who may here be taken as spokesman for all anarchists, opposes each of these justifications of punishment for warranting too many bad effects. Retribution is easily disposed of in this way since it fails to consider effects at all. Punishment is justified by retributivists because it is deserved, regardless of its consequences, which thus may cause considerable harm. Arguments for deterrence and reform, being based on consequences, need more elaborate rebuttal. Godwin weighs the likely effects of punishing for these reasons and finds that on balance they are bad.

It is the physical coercion imposed by punishment that Godwin sees as the source of its worst effects. Being coercive, punishment arouses fear in those it threatens. They are apt to do as they are told because they dread the suffering that might result from disobedience, rather than because they think what they are told to do is right. Obeying for this reason seems disastrous to Godwin, as to all anarchists, for whom the basis of self-development and communal solidarity lies in independent thought. 'Coercion first annihilates the understanding of the subject on which it is exercised, and then of him who employs it. Dressed in the supine prerogatives of a master, he is excused from cultivating the faculties of a man.'21

No matter how severe the bad effects of punishment may be, they cannot by themselves defeat the case for reform and deterrence, which claims that the bad effects are outweighed by the good. Thus Godwin must show not only that punishment is costly, but that its reformative and deterrent benefits are less valuable or less certain than they seem. The main benefit of reformative punishment is to weaken the desire to misbehave by evoking contrition and remorse. Godwin argues that the coercion punishment imposes prevents it from achieving this result. It 'cannot convince, cannot conciliate, but on the contrary alienates the mind of him against whom it is employed'.22 Far from weakening criminal inclinations, punishment strengthens them, by making its victims resentful, not contrite. Reformative punishment thus fails to achieve its intended benefit because those subject to it become more anti-social than they were before. A similar argument is applied by Godwin to deterrent punishment, which is intended to reduce misconduct by overpowering criminal impulses with fear. Deterrent punishment can certainly make its victim more fearful of committing crime, but since it also arouses his hostility, it does not make him less likely to misbehave. Nor does the example of his punishment frighten others into eschewing crime. The spectacle of his suffering only makes them indignant, and more inclined to misbehave.23

By vigorously denouncing retribution, deterrence and reform, the anarchists certainly give the appearance of being utterly opposed to punishment. How can they support it, when they oppose the three main arguments deployed on its behalf ? They do so by relying on a different argument, which justifies rebuke as punishment to prevent offenders from committing further crimes.24 Even under anarchy there remains some danger of misconduct, which authority sanctioned by rebuke prevents. Though anarchists do not call this rebuke punishment, it is easy to show that they should.

Following common usage, anarchists conceive of punishment as a special type of suffering. For one thing, it must be imposed for a misdeed. The putting to death of a man 'infected with a pestilential disease' does not fall 'within the import of the word punishment' because the victim of such treatment has done no wrong.25 Furthermore, the suffering called punishment must be imposed by an authority. That is why anarchists refuse to count as punishment acts of vengeance or of force applied in self-defense.26 Though no anarchist gives punishment an explicit definition, the evidence just presented shows how for them it is implicitly defined. Anarchists, like most thoughtful writers on penal matters, define punishment as suffering imposed by an authority on an offender for his offense.

This definition gives the basis to establish that anarchists must classify the rebuke which occurs in their good society as punishment. Authorities in a state of anarchy are certainly the only persons who impose rebuke; for since, as the previous section indicated, no one in an anarchy lacks authority, any member who imposes rebuke must have it. It is equally obvious that under anarchy rebuke falls only on offenders for their offenses, because an anarchist authority may only rebuke a disobedient subject for a wrong he has done. Since the rebuke anarchists favor has the characteristics they quite sensibly identify as punishment's defining traits, calling it punishment seems a judgment they are forced to make.

They give two main arguments for refusing to make this judgment. Godwin refuses to make it by claiming that because rebuke controls without resort to 'whips and chains', it lacks the defining characteristic of punishment which consists in causing suffering.27 The flaw in this argument is its assumption that the only kind of suffering is physical. Since the suffering rebuke causes, though purely mental, still is suffering, the anarchists, by justifying it, are justifying punishment.

Proudhon argues for denying that rebuke is punishment by claiming that under anarchy an obdurate offender, the only type who deserves rebuke, is not a human, but an animal: 'He has fallen to the level of a brute with a human face.'28 No punishment befalls such an offender, no matter how severe his rebuke, because he is an animal, and animals, unlike humans, cannot be punished. This argument would work if Proudhon called obdurate offenders animals on the ground that their criminal behavior was involuntary. For punishment applies only to persons who can choose to stop committing crimes. But Proudhon believes that the obdurate criminal acts voluntarily. This 'ferocious soul' has 'placed himself outside the law' and can obey it if he tries.29 His animality arises not from irresponsibility but from viciousness. By tracing his animality to this source, Proudhon removes the ground for denying he is punished when rebuked. For while it is impossible to punish offenders whose involuntary behavior makes them animals, there is no logical bar to punishing offenders whose animality comes from being vicious. The suffering rebuke causes such offenders, being imposed on them by an authority for their voluntarily committed crimes, must be accounted punishment by anarchists.

It becomes easy to understand how anarchists justify punishment once one sees that they are backing it when they advocate rebuke. The punishment anarchists favor is distinguished from all others by both its method and its aim; and it is on proof that what distinguishes it from other sorts makes it superior that their justification rests. Anarchist punishment is distinctive in method because it works entirely through rebuke and not at all through physical force. This gives it the advantages, described in prior chapters, that anarchists find in rebuke, of which the most crucial in the present context are its comparative mildness and its lesser tendency to illicit resentment. Anarchist punishment is distinctive in aim because it is imposed for none of the three standard reasons, but only to prevent offenders from repeating their crimes. Imposing it for this purpose avoids much cruelty justified by the standard aims. Retribution calls for punishment, even if it will do harm. Deterrence requires savagery, if it will frighten its victim or other possible offenders into refraining from crime. Deterrence and reform both warrant causing the innocent to suffer, either as an example or as therapy. The freedom of prevention from these shortcomings makes it markedly less offensive as the aim of punishment.

The anarchists resort to punishment of a limited kind, despite serious misgivings, in an attempt to resolve a dilemma much like the one that leads them to endorse a limited authority. Unwilling to rely on authority as a last resort to prevent misconduct, even under anarchy, where criminal inclinations would, in Godwin's words, 'be almost unknown', they insist on giving authority a penal sanction.30 Fearful of the threat posed by this sanction to the integrity of their ideal, they hem it in with limitations designed to make its interference with communal individuality minimal. Thus punishment, like authority, far from being at odds with anarchy, is one of its integral parts.


Though anarchists are sometimes called radical egalitarians, against all differences of treatment, this view of them is even less persuasive than the view that they utterly reject authority and punishment.31 Anarchist responses to the scourge of inequality are various, ranging from Godwin's plea for little more than equal opportunity to Kropotkin's scheme to redistribute advantages according to basic need. But since even Kropotkin's egalitarianism allows differences in benefits, it, no less than the others, is less than radical. This section makes sense of anarchist views on inequality of wealth and prestige by showing how their similarities and differences derive from a shared ideal. The anarchists' commitment to communal individuality confines their attacks on inequality to a limited range; differences in this commitment, along with special circumstances, explain why, within this range, each of their attacks has a separate place.

Godwin's objections to social and economic inequality are so emphatic, that if one considered nothing else, one might think his egalitarianism radical. He regards the evils of legal government as 'imbecil and impotent' compared to the evils of unequally distributed prestige and wealth.32 The latter not only obstruct communal individuality, but are a main cause of legal government. For they so disrupt men's character and mutual relations that legal government must be imposed as a cohesive force. Social inequality for Godwin thus stands doubly condemned: both for impairing communal individuality by making it necessary to endure a state and for impairing communal individuality in its own right. It is by examining his account of the latter, direct impairment, that the main lines of his attack on inequality are easiest to grasp.

Predictably, he finds the harm done to character by economic inequality to lie in discouragement of rational independence. The poor, in an economically stratified society, even if they live comfortably, are burdened by a servility and by a compulsion to work, both of which 'benumb their understandings'.33 The rich fare no better. Their rational capacities are sapped either by 'vanity and ostentation', by 'dissipation and indolence' or by 'restless ambition'.34 Unequal prestige compounds the damage caused by unequal wealth. A society with ranks engenders deference and arrogance against which reason's counsel is unable to compete.35

Godwin also shows how inequality shatters the conversational relations which are for him the substance of community. 'The spirit of oppression, the spirit of servility, and the spirit of fraud', which are 'the immediate growth' of economic differences, are ample to disrupt men's unity as equals who honestly share their considered thoughts. The members of a society with economic differences too often harm their neighbors in order to get more wealth.36 As for differences of rank, these, by making esteem depend on the prestige of one's position, create the same disruptive struggle in social interaction as differences of wealth create in economic life.

Besides opposing economic inequality for harming communal individuality, Godwin also condemns it as unjust. To allow differences of income or wealth, even without poverty, is to grant 'a patent for taking away from others the means of a happy and respectable existence'. It involves saying to the advantaged, 'you shall have the essence of a hundred times more food than you can eat and a hundred times more clothes than you can wear'.37 Here we see a theme in Godwin that his successors stress more: benefits must be allocated in proportion to need.

Yet though Godwin denounces inequality with remarkable vigor, he draws back from urging an equal distribution of prestige and wealth. 'The treatment to which men are entitled is to be measured by their merits.' 'The thing really to be desired is the removing as much as possible of arbitrary distinctions, and leaving to talents and virtue the field of exertion unimpaired.'38 Far from backing radical equality, Godwin here urges that benefits be distributed unequally, according to desert. Hierarchy, he implies, is perfectly acceptable, so long as its advantages are earned. The only equality he here seems to support is the equal opportunity to excel.

The disparity between Godwin's attack on unequal treatment and his support for inequality proportionate to desert is explained by his beliefs about private property and distributive justice. He sees each of these as requiring an abatement of the radical egalitarianism that his attack on inequality would otherwise suggest.

Godwin believes that the rational individuality which equality helps produce is also much encouraged by private ownership. Rational individuals need a wide area of action in which to carry out their own decisions. The area of their discretionary action can be extended, and its boundaries secured, by making them property owners, conceived as allowed to use their holdings as they alone decide.38 There is nothing in Godwin's commitment to private ownership that requires him to reject complete economic equality. Equal wealth can coexist with private property, if each individual has the same amount. But Godwin believes that wealth is in fact always unequally distributed where private property is held.40 It is this empirical belief that prevents him from pursuing the egalitarian possibility that private ownership allows.

His conception of distributive justice also prevents him from pursuing it. Godwin's conception of distributive justice is a mixed one, which recognizes the claims of both productive contribution and basic need. The claim of need, we noted earlier, favors (though it does not mandate) radical egalitarianism by forbidding treatment that unequally meets the needs of life. Resources in a society governed by the claim of need are distributed unequally to be sure, but since the basic needs of individuals are similar, benefits to persons, in the form of need-satisfaction, are much the same.41 The claim of contribution cuts against radical egalitarian-ism more sharply. Since the contributions of individuals vary more than their basic needs do, a society which rewards contribution not only allocates resources less equally than a society which rewards need, it also allocates personal benefits less equally. Thus Godwin's acceptance of productive contribution as a legitimate claim of justice helps - along with his beliefs about the effects on rational individuality of private ownership - to explain why his opposition to inequality is less radical than his denunciations make it seem.

The ambivalence of Godwin about the merit of equality is expressed in his view of its place in anarchy. He provides the equality that he thinks communal individuality and the claim of need demand by establishing a floor of basic goods. Each member of his anarchy, regardless of desert, receives a sufficient and equal supply of life's necessities.42 The inequality that he thinks private ownership and the claim of contribution require is provided by the unequal distribution of luxuries and prestige. Once the claim of need is satisfied, the members of his anarchy receive economic benefits proportionate to 'the produce of [their] own industry', while esteem is meted out to them for 'the acquisition of talent, or the practice of virtue, or the cultivation of some species of ingenuity, or the display of some generous and expansive sentiment'.43

Godwin's successors are torn by the same conflicting considerations in their criticism of inequality. But, committed to more solidaristic conceptions of communal individuality, ownership and distributive justice, and having designed more egalitarian institutions, they come closer to supporting radical equality.

The objections to unequal wealth and prestige as bars to communal individuality, which Godwin was the first anarchist to raise, are repeated by all three of his successors. Where they differ from him is in gradually ridding anarchism of its anti-egalitarian, meritocratic elements. Proudhon retains some considerable commitment to private ownership and the claim of contribution, but these commitments are effaced in Bakunin's work and gone almost entirely from Kropotkin's. Thus, whereas Bakunin had still backed private ownership of goods used for consumption, though not production, and had proposed as the principle of economic distribution payment according to the number of hours worked, Kropotkin would have both consumption and production goods owned by the public and wants income to be distributed almost purely according to the claim of need.

As one argument for rejecting the claim of contribution and accepting that of need Kropotkin cites the technical difficulty of measuring how much any specific individual contributes to the value of economic goods. He takes the example of a coal mine and asks who among those involved in its operation adds most to the value of the coal. The miner, the engineer, the owner and many others, including those who built the railroads and machines that serve the mine, all contribute something to its final product, but it is impossible to say how much. 'One thing remains, to put the needs above the works.'44

He uses a similar technical argument to undermine the claim to private ownership. The distinction between instruments of production and articles of consumption is impossible to draw. 'For the worker, a room, properly heated and lighted, is as much an instrument of production as the tool or the machine.' His food 'is just as much a part of production as the fuel burnt by the steam engine'. His clothes 'are as necessary to him as the hammer and the anvil'.45 Hence property arrangements, which make ownership of the means of production public, while leaving articles of consumption in private hands, cannot be established. Both kinds of property must be either publicly or privately owned. Faced with these alternatives, Kropotkin has no doubt which anarchists will select. Exclusively private ownership is too divisive; hence completely public ownership must be their choice.

Behind his technical objections to private ownership and to paying producers according to their contribution lies Kropotkin's more fundamental argument that these practices harm communal individuality. Even if particular contributions could be measured, even if private ownership of consumption but not production goods could be arranged, Kropotkin would still reject these practices as incompatible with the unique individuality and the solidaristic community it is his purpose to achieve. Both payment for contribution and private ownership encourage personal acquisition, the first by rewarding it, the second by assuring the acquirer exclusive use of whatever he obtains. These practices also encourage a book-keeping mentality, according to which one gives in order to get. Society becomes 'a commercial company based on debit and credit'.46 Acquirers who insist on equivalent exchange are unlikely to develop into benevolent, emotionally sensitive individuals, united by empathetic ties. Only by 'producing and consuming without counting each individual's contribution' and by 'proclaiming the right of all to wealth - whatever share they may have taken in producing it', can the communal individuality Kropotkin seeks be reached.47

Why do his predecessors, most notably Godwin, disagree? Mainly because their conceptions of individuality and community are different. Their conceptions of individuality, being more rationalistic than Kropotkin's, are more congenial to the separateness engendered by private property and by contribution as the criterion for pay. An independent thinker needs more protection from others than does a singular, emotionally developed self, for whom others' acts are more apt to be encouragements than incursions. The concept of community shared by Kropotkin's predecessors, being less solidaristic than his, helps further to explain why they disagree with him on the merit of the contribution standard and private property. The earlier anarchists are suspicious of solidarity as a danger to self-development. For Kropotkin, however, solidarity is one of the self's parts. Hence the sympathetic ties that so frighten his predecessors, and which they use the contribution standard and private property to combat, are for him essential to community. Viewing solidarity in this light, Kropotkin can not only do without the contribution standard and private property but must consider them abhorrent.

Besides having a basis in theory for his more radical egalitarianism, Kropotkin also has one in projected practice. His plan for anarchy -- the agro-industrial commune -- differs from earlier plans by building all the activities that normally occur in a large, industrial society into numerous, diverse, but small and internally unspecialized units. In a society so organized, benefits can be more equally distributed than in one composed of the more internally specialized, larger and more uniform units envisaged by Proudhon or Bakunin.

Yet, though Kropotkin's criticism of inequality is more sweeping than that of other anarchists, not even his is radically egalitarian. Radical egalitarianism, it will be recalled, is the thesis that everyone should be treated alike. There are at least two reasons why Kropotkin must reject it. His commitment to need as the criterion of distribution, while favoring movement toward radical egalitarianism, prevents him from accepting it completely, because needs cannot be satisfied without treating people differently. To satisfy the need for health, for instance, one must give more medical attention to the sick than to the well. The other reason why Kropotkin must reject radical egalitarianism stems from his conception of communal individuality. His conception, even more than that of the other anarchists, emphasizes a particularity which cannot possibly be achieved by treating everyone alike. Rather, it calls for individualized treatment, aimed at bringing out what in each person is singular.

Since even Kropotkin is kept by the fundamental principle of anarchism from radically condemning inequality, there must be a more accurate way to characterize his opposition. Calling Kropotkin, or any anarchist, a radical egalitarian is profoundly misleading, because it obscures a distinction in anarchist theory that is of great importance. Treating everyone alike ends two kinds of inequality which anarchists appraise differently. It not only eliminates the inequalities of rank, which all of them deplore, but wipes out the diversity that they regard as indispensable. What gives anarchist criticism of social inequality its special interest is that it focuses on hierarchy, not difference.48 Each anarchist attempts, within limits set by his preconceptions, to diminish inequalities of rank while increasing those of kind. The hazards of this project explain why anarchist criticism of inequality is somewhat tentative. Since a richly differentiated society cannot be entirely free of ranks, it is no wonder that anarchists, though among the harshest critics of hierarchy, are still forced to put up with some.


Technology, for the anarchists, consists of the organization and machinery that transformed the productive process in their time. As modern industry developed, they grew more aware of how it undermined the social and psychological prerequisites for communal individuality. But even Godwin, who wrote when the industrial revolution was just starting, saw the main ways it threatens the advent of anarchy.

He, no less than his successors, believed that the division of labor, which was adopted by modern industry at an early stage, disrupts the intimate, fluid relations on which communal individuality so largely rests. He was also alarmed by mechanization, which, following on the heels of divided labor, separated skilled from unskilled workers, made unskilled labor even more routine, and put further barriers between ever more fragmented kinds of skilled work. Industrial technology is also feared by anarchists as a cause.of social hierarchy. Besides dividing producers by their occupations, it widens disparities of prestige and wealth. Proudhon's image of industrial society, which well captures its inequality, is accepted by all anarchists. Such a society is like 'a column of soldiers, who begin marching at the same time, to the regular beat of a drum, but who gradually lose the equal spacing between their ranks. They all advance, but the distance between the head and the foot of their column continuously grows; and it is a necessary effect of this movement that there are laggards and strays.'49

But what most concern anarchists about technology are its psychological effects. Both the occupational fragmentation and the inequality that industrial technology promotes are blamed by anarchists for causing insincerity, disrespect and malevolence, the exact opposites to anarchy's mediating attitudes. The exhausting monotony of so much industrial labor is also feared by anarchists as psychologically dangerous. Armies of unskilled workers, who spend long days at repetitious, enervating tasks, have a stunted sensibility that makes the growth of empathic attitudes difficult.

Besides fearing technology's social and psychological virulence, the later anarchists also dread its political effects. Proudhon's apprehension was that the managerial authorities the new technology was creating would use their expertise to dominate their subordinates in the workplace. Bakunin anticipated something more ominous: that as technology became more complicated and more difficult to understand, and as each industry grew more dependent for its efficiency on its relations with the rest, technical managers would gain such political ascendency that everyone would fall under their control. What threatened was nothing less than 'the reign of scientific intelligence, which is the most aristocratic, despotic, arrogant and contemptuous of all regimes. A new class, a new hierarchy of real and fraudulent experts will arise; and the world will be divided into a minority, dominating in the name of science, and a vast majority, reduced to ignorance.'50 y One might expect that since industrial technology so frightens anarchists, they would condemn it absolutely and in their good society would give it the smallest possible place. But they are far from being Luddites. Rather than campaigning to destroy technology, they seek to harness it, so that as it develops, it gives to communal individuality increasing support. Their verdict on technology as compared to the other institutions they qualifiedly condemn is thus more positive. Whereas they resign themselves to some authority, punishment and hierarchy as necessary evils, they welcome industrial technology as an unruly but promising servant. It is only untrammelled technology that they deem virulent; appropriately controlled technology is for them a growing source of hope.

Each anarchist has a somewhat different plan for exploiting technology. The most instructive is Kropotkin's, because it uses his predecessors' main devices as well as new ones of his own design to harness the more complex technology of the late nineteenth century.

His starting point is Godwin's proposal to divide production between a subsistence sector, to which everyone devotes the same short period of time, and a luxury sector, to which they devote what time they like.51 Godwin had claimed that this way of dividing production allows work to be completely mechanized without causing individuality or community harm. They cannot be harmed by work in the luxury sector, because it is satisfying and voluntary. Nor can they be harmed by work in the subsistence sector, which Godwin thought would take only a half hour to complete and which all would share equally. Kropotkin buttresses these claims of Godwin's by saying more about how the divided economy they both favor should be arranged.

Luxuries, for Kropotkin, are not only produced voluntarily, they are also for the most part produced by their consumers. A person wanting a luxury is not to be supplied with it by someone else, but is to join with others who desire it so that together they can produce it for themselves. This cooperative method of producing luxuries is seen by Kropotkin as fostering individuality by enabling each producer to acquire diverse tastes and skills, and as fostering community by enabling those who share these tastes and skills to cultivate them in concert.52

Since Kropotkin, with much actual experience of industrial production behind him, believes that subsistence work must take about five hours per day, rather than the half hour Godwin had expected, he cannot depend as much on its insignificance to prevent it from harming communal individuality. To overcome the threat to the anarchist ideal that five hours of daily routine labor pose, he relies partly on the comprehensive education and occupational mobility introduced into the anarchist tradition by Proudhon. He repeats Proudhon's reasons why these practices alleviate not only the psychological and social damage caused by industrial technology, but also its political damage. Managerial technicians in an anarchist economy, aware, because of comprehensive education, that everyone can do their job, and because of occupational mobility, that their job is temporary, have neither the ability nor the desire to use their positions as means of technological domination.

Besides citing his predecessors' arguments for comprehensive education and varied work, Kropotkin adds a new one, drawn from his assessment of productive trends. As technology develops, he says, the efficiency of monotonous, specialized labor declines. 'Humanity perceives that there is no advantage for the community in riveting a human being for all his life to a given spot, in a workshop or mine; no gain in depriving him of such work as would bring him into free intercourse with nature, make of him a conscious part of the grand whole, a partner in the highest enjoyments of science and art, of free work and creation.'53 Educating producers comprehensively and giving them varied work have always served efficiency by encouraging technical innovation. Not even learned scientists can innovate more fruitfully than knowledgeable workers. Until recently, Kropotkin admits, the advantage for innovation of a broad education and unspecialized work was outweighed by the efficiency of specialized training and divided, routine work. But technical trends have finally tipped the balance in favor of more integrated production. Electric power, hand-held machine tools and mechanical farm implements are the most telling of the innovations he cites as enabling an advanced industrial economy to operate efficiently, though run by comprehensively educated producers, doing varied, unspecialized work.54

Kropotkin does more than show the growing practicality of the anarchist plan for harnessing technology: he adds provisions to make technology a still better servant. One is the organization of industry into small productive units, for the more intimate relations in small workplaces and the less specialized nature of their jobs make them superior as supports for self-development and mutual awareness to impersonal, monotonous production in large factories. Another new provision of Kropotkin's plan is the uniting of industry with agriculture. Bringing farm and factory together, so that producers can spend time in each, gives them a more varied choice of jobs than they would enjoy without mobility of occupations between the industrial and agricultural sectors.55 The last of Kropotkin's new provisions is economic self-sufficiency. The members of his anarchy themselves produce the goods that they consume. He devotes great ingenuity to showing how contemporary technical developments make self-sufficiency easy to achieve. Yet its main advantage for him is not its practicality, but its wider choice of occupations. A self-sufficient economy, provided that, like anarchy's, it is a large one, offers more varied work than does a specialized economy, because its complement of industries is fuller.

It is tempting to conclude from the foregoing analysis that anarchists rely so much on technology as to warrant including them among its venerators. This conclusion overlooks the qualifications in their support. Nineteenth-century venerators of technology, whether Marxists or free-enterprisers, trusted in its untrammelled growth.56 Anarchists, in contrast, counted on technology only if it was controlled stringently. By repudiating most organizational aspects of industrial technology, while exploiting its mechanical aspects, anarchists offered a vision of its future that in the nineteenth century was already engaging. In light of the disappointment with free technical development that is so widely felt today, the anarchist course between Luddite contempt and scientistic celebration has even more appeal. For how, except by limiting technology, while also working for its selective growth, can communal individuality in an industrial society possibly be increased ?


This chapter has confirmed the longstanding appreciation of the anarchists as unusually severe critics of modern society. Their utter condemnation of government and law is endorsed by no one else. Nor have theorists gone further than the anarchists in subjecting authority, punishment and inequality to attack. But something else emerges from the analysis in this chapter besides reaffirmation of a well-known truth. By tracing the anarchists' social criticism to its source in their commitment to communal individuality, this analysis has put to rest the doubts about its coherence which are prompted by its failure to condemn categorically all restrictive institutions. The qualifications in favor of authority, punishment and inequality which anarchists introduce into their social criticism stand forth not as symptoms of confusion, but as faithful expressions of their thought. Had the anarchists failed to make these qualifications they would have been inconsistent, for had they given full vent to their critical impulses, by categorically denouncing everything they abhor, they would have disregarded the imperatives of their chief value. Their commitment to communal individuality thus not only explains why, to be consistent, anarchists qualify their social criticisms, but also accounts for why their criticism, while severe, is not extravagant. The goal of anarchism, being composed of norms whose merger is precarious, enjoins a social criticism that has nuance and balance.


1 See, for instance, Gerald Runkle, Anarchism: Old and New (New York, 1972), p. 168; James Joll, The Anarchists (London, 1964), p. 278; George Woodcock, Anarchism (New York, 1962), p. 469.

2 Robert Paul Wolff, In Defense of Anarchism (New York, 1976), pp. 22-7. The conflation of anarchism and radical democracy is common; for an elaborate example see Richard T. DeGeorge, 'Anarchism and Authority', in J. Roland Pennock and John Chapman (eds.), Anarchism: Nomos XIX (New York, 1978), pp. 91-110. In his 'Reply to Reiman' Wolff takes back his claim that anarchism and unanimous direct democracy are compatible (In Defense of Anarchism, p. 88).

3 Godwin, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (Toronto, 1946), I, 297.

4 Ibid., II, 204.

5 Proudhon, Du principe federatif (Paris, 1959), p. 344; Godwin, Political Justice, I, 297.

6 Godwin, Political Justice, II, 145.

7 Bakunin, OEuvres (Paris, 1895-1913), IV, 476, cf. I, 156.

8 See, for instance, W. D. Handcock, 'The Function and Nature of Authority in Society', Philosophy, 28 (April 1953), p. 101.

9 Proudhon, for instance, takes a patriarchal stand reminiscent of Filmer on the issue of domestic authority, while Godwin and Bakunin follow Plato in defending the authority of experts over private action and belief. Godwin, Political Justice, I, 236; Proudhon, De la Justice dans la Revolution et dans l'Eglise, IV, 322; Bakunin, OEuvres, III, 55.

10 For evidence that anarchists accept this understanding of authority see Godwin, Political Justice, I, 121; Proudhon, Justice, II, 312; Kropotkin, Revolutionary Pamphlets (New York, 1968), p. 217.

11 Godwin, Political Justice, I, 227, 234; Bakunin, OEuvres, III, 55.

12 Godwin, Political Justice, I, 235; cf. I, 215 and Kropotkin, Pamphlets, pp. 58-9.

13 Godwin, Political Justice, I, 234-5.

14 Ibid., I, 121, 212; Proudhon, Justice, II, 226, 310; Bakunin, OEuvres, III,49-54; Kropotkin, Pamphlets, 147, 217.

15 Godwin, Political Justice, I, 181; cf. Bakunin, OEuvres, V, 313; Proudhon, Justice, I, 326, IV, 350; Kropotkin, Pamphlets, pp. 167, 285.

16 Proudhon, Justice, II, 218; Bakunin, OEuvres, III, 69n.

17 Godwin, Political Justice, II, 211, 340.

18 Proudhon, Justice, II, 218, 262; Bakunin, OEuvres, III, 60; Godwin, Political Justice, II, 496. A situation where everybody has public authority over everybody else is difficult to grasp. What happens, for instance, if two members of an anarchy issue contradictory directives? Which one has the right to be obeyed? The anarchists evade answering this question. Perhaps all that can be said is that since directives in an anarchy are only issued to correct serious misconduct, which is infrequent, and obvious, to all, conflicts among directives are unlikely.

19 Godwin, Political Justice, II, 294, 399-400.

20 Ibid., II, 363, Proudhon, Justice, IV, 373.

21 Godwin, Political Justice, II, 334.

22 Ibid., II, 340-1.

23 Ibid., II, 345.

24 Ibid., II, 379. For more detail on this point see Alan Potter, 'Godwin, Proudhon and the Anarchist Justification of Punishment', Political Theory, 3 (February 1975), p. 83.

25 Godwin, Political Justice, II, 322; cf. Proudhon, Idee generate de la revolution au dix-neuvieme siecle (Paris, 1923), pp. 31112, Justice, IV, 371.

26 Godwin, Political Justice, II, 349 on vengeance, II, 322, 334, 365-6 on self-defense; Proudhon, Idee generale, p. 311 on vengeance.

27 Godwin, Political Justice, II, 199.

28 Proudhon, Justice, IV, 377.

29 Ibid.

30 Godwin, Political Justice, II, 361, cf. II, 340.

31 Writers who call anarchists radical egalitarians include Isaiah Berlin, 'Equality as an Ideal', in Frederick A. Olafson (ed.), Justice and Social Policy (Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1961), pp. 141-2, and Felix Oppenheim, 'Egalitarianism as a Descriptive Concept', American Philosophical Quarterly, 7 (April 1970), p. 144.

32 Godwin, Political Justice, II, 453.

33 Ibid., II, 430,454,461.

34 Ibid., II, 460, 465.

35 Ibid., I, 23.

36 Ibid., II, 463.

37 Ibid., II, 429.

38 Ibid., I, 147.

39 Ibid., II, 422, 450.

40 Ibid., II, 93.

41 For a developed argument that the criterion of need is egalitarian see Gregory Vlastos, 'Justice and Equality', in Richard B. Brant (ed.), Social Justice (Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1962), pp. 42-3.

42 Godwin, Political Justice, II, 423-4; cf. I, 448.

43 Ibid., II, 433, 428.

44 Kropodcin, The Conquest of Bread (New York, 1969), pp. 230-1; cf. p. 8.

45 Ibid., pp. 63-4.

46 Ibid., p. 233.

47 Kropodcin, 'Communisme et anarchie', in Science moderne, p. 166; Kropotkin, The Conquest of Bread, p. 227. For a more thorough analysis of Kropotkin on justice see David Miller, Social Justice (Oxford, 1976), pp. 209-52.

48 'Equality does not imply the leveling of individual differences, nor that individuals should be made physically, morally or mentally identical. Diversity in capacities and powers,.. .far from being a social evil, constitutes on die contrary, the abundance of humanity.' Bakunin, 'Revolutionary Catechism', in Dolgoff (ed.), Bakunin on Anarchy, pp. 87-8.

49 Proudhon, Systeme de contradictions economiques, 2 vols. (Paris, 1923), I, 191.

50 Bakunin, OEuvres, IV, 477.

51 Kropotkin, The Conquest of Bread, pp. 127, 136-9.

52 Ibid., p. 153. Kropotkin would not confine consumption of all luxuries to their producers; some, such as books, though cooperatively produced by everyone, from author to pressman, who helped create them, would be available to all. Kropotkin does not say how to distinguish between luxuries which should be open to general consumption and luxuries which should be consumed by their producers only.

53 Kropotkin, Fields, Factories and Workshops (New York, 1909), pp. 3-4; cf. pp. v-vi.

54 Ibid., pp. 161, 178, 180.

55 Ibid, (enlarged edn, New York, 1968), pp. 358-60.

56 Industria technology should only be controlled, according to Marxists, when it becomes a fetter, after capitalism has ceased to be progressive. To control it before then, as anarchists suggest, would only delay the advent of the socialist revolution by arresting the development of productive forces.