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Up to date as of January 23, 2010

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Section A - What is Anarchism?

Section B - Why do anarchists oppose the current system?

  • B.1 Why are anarchists against authority and hierarchy?
    • B.1.1 What are the effects of authoritarian social relationships?
    • B.1.2 Is capitalism hierarchical?
    • B.1.3 What kind of hierarchy of values does capitalism create?
    • B.1.4 Why do racism, sexism and homophobia exist?
    • B.1.5 How is the mass-psychological basis for authoritarian civilisation created?
    • B.1.6 Can hierarchy be ended?
  • B.2 Why are anarchists against the state?
    • B.2.1 What is main function of the state?
    • B.2.2 Does the state have subsidiary functions?
    • B.2.3 How does the ruling class maintain control of the state?
    • B.2.4 How does state centralisation affect freedom?
    • B.2.5 Who benefits from centralisation?
    • B.2.6 Can the state be an independent power within society?
  • B.3 Why are anarchists against private property?
    • B.3.1 What is the difference between private property and possession?
    • B.3.2 What kinds of property does the state protect?
    • B.3.3 Why is property exploitative?
    • B.3.4 Can private property be justified?
    • B.3.5 Is state owned property different from private property?
  • B.4 How does capitalism affect liberty?
    • B.4.1 Is capitalism based on freedom?
    • B.4.2 Is capitalism based on self-ownership?
    • B.4.3 But no one forces you to work for them!
    • B.4.4 But what about periods of high demand for labour?
    • B.4.5 But I want to be "left alone"!
  • B.5 Is capitalism empowering and based on human action?
  • B.6 But won't decisions made by individuals with their own money be the best?
  • B.7 What classes exist within modern society?
    • B.7.1 But do classes actually exist?
    • B.7.2 Does social mobility make up for class inequality?
    • B.7.3 Why is the existence of classes denied?
    • B.7.4 What do anarchists mean by "class consciousness"?

Section C - What are the myths of capitalist economics?

  • C.1 What is wrong with economics?
    • C.1.1 Is economics really value free?
    • C.1.2 Is economics a science?
    • C.1.3 Can you have an economics based on individualism?
    • C.1.4 What is wrong with equilibrium analysis?
    • C.1.5 Does economics really reflect the reality of capitalism?
    • C.1.6 Is it possible to a non-equilibrium based capitalist economics?
  • C.2 Why is capitalism exploitative?
    • C.2.1 What is "surplus value"?
    • C.2.2 How does exploitation happen?
    • C.2.3 Is owning capital sufficient reason to justify profits?
    • C.2.4 Is profit the reward for the productivity of capital?
    • C.2.5 Do profits represent the contribution of capital to production?
    • C.2.6 Does interest represent the "time value" of money?
    • C.2.7 Are interest and profit not the reward for waiting?
    • C.2.8 Are profits the result of entrepreneurial activity and innovation?
    • C.2.9 Do profits reflect a reward for risk?
  • C.3 What determines the distribution between labour and capital?
  • C.4 Why does the market become dominated by Big Business?
    • C.4.1 How extensive is Big Business?
    • C.4.2 What are the effects of Big Business on society?
    • C.4.3 What does the existence of Big Business mean for economic theory and wage labour?
  • C.5 Why does Big Business get a bigger slice of profits?
    • C.5.1 Aren't the super-profits of Big Business due to its higher efficiency?
  • C.6 Can market dominance by Big Business change?
  • C.7 What causes the capitalist business cycle?
    • C.7.1 What role does class struggle play in the business cycle?
    • C.7.2 What role does the market play in the business cycle?
    • C.7.3 What role does investment play in the business cycle?
  • C.8 Is state control of money the cause of the business cycle
    • C.8.1 Does this mean that Keynesianism works?
    • C.8.2 What happened to Keynesianism in the 1970s?
    • C.8.3 How did capitalism adjust to the crisis in Keynesianism?
  • C.9 Would laissez-faire capitalism reduce unemployment?
    • C.9.1 Would cutting wages reduce unemployment?
    • C.9.2 Is unemployment caused by wages being too high?
    • C.9.3 Are "flexible" labour markets the answer to unemployment?
    • C.9.4 Is unemployment voluntary?
  • C.10 Is "free market" capitalism the best way to reduce poverty?
    • C.10.1 Hasn't neo-liberalism benefited the world's poor?
    • C.10.2 Does "free trade" benefit everyone?
    • C.10.3 Does "free market" capitalism benefit everyone, especially working class people?
    • C.10.4 Does growth automatically mean people are better off?
  • C.11 Doesn't neo-liberalism in Chile prove that the free market benefits everyone?
    • C.11.1 Who benefited from Chile's "economic miracle"?
    • C.11.2 What about Chile's economic growth and low inflation?
    • C.11.3 Did neo-liberal Chile confirm capitalist economics?
  • C.12 Doesn't Hong Kong show the potentials of "free market" capitalism?

Section D - How does statism and capitalism affect society?

  • D.1 Why does state intervention occur?
    • D.1.1 Does state intervention cause the problems to begin with?
    • D.1.2 Is state intervention the result of democracy?
    • D.1.3 Is state intervention socialistic?
    • D.1.4 Is laissez-faire capitalism actually without state intervention?
    • D.1.5 Do anarchists support state intervention?
  • D.2 What influence does wealth have over politics?
    • D.2.1 Is capital flight really that powerful?
    • D.2.2 How extensive is business propaganda?
  • D.3 How does wealth influence the mass media?
    • D.3.1 How does the structure of the media affect its content?
    • D.3.2 What is the effect of advertising on the mass media?
    • D.3.3 Why do the media rely on government and business "experts" for information?
    • D.3.4 How is "flak" used as a means of disciplining the media?
    • D.3.5 Why is "anticommunism" used as control mechanism?
    • D.3.6 Isn't the "propaganda model" a conspiracy theory?
    • D.3.7 Isn't the model contradicted by the media reporting government and business failures?
  • D.4 What is the relationship between capitalism and the ecological crisis?
  • D.5 What causes imperialism?
    • D.5.1 How has imperialism changed over time?
    • D.5.2 Is imperialism just a product of private capitalism?
    • D.5.3 Does globalisation mean the end of imperialism?
    • D.5.4 What is the relationship between imperialism and the social classes within capitalism?
  • D.6 Are anarchists against nationalism?
  • D.7 Are anarchists opposed to National Liberation struggles?
  • D.8 What causes militarism and what are its effects?
  • D.9 Why does political power become concentrated under capitalism?
    • D.9.1 What is the relationship between wealth polarisation and authoritarian government?
    • D.9.2 Why is government surveillance of citizens on the increase?
    • D.9.3 What causes justifications for racism to appear?
  • D.10 How does capitalism affect technology?
  • D.11 Can politics and economics be separated from each other?
    • D.11.1 What does Chile tell us about the right and its vision of liberty?
    • D.11.2 But surely Chile proves that "economic freedom" creates political freedom?

Section E - What do anarchists think causes ecological problems?

  • E.1 What are the root causes of our ecological problems?
    • E.1.1 Is industry the cause of environmental problems?
    • E.1.2 What is the difference between environmentalism and ecology?
  • E.2 What do eco-anarchists propose instead of capitalism?
  • E.3 Can private property rights protect the environment?
    • E.3.1 Will privatising nature save it?
    • E.3.2 How does economic power contribute to the ecological crisis?
    • E.3.3 Can capitalism's focus on short-term profitability deal with the ecological crisis?
  • E.4 Can laissez-faire capitalism protect the environment?
    • E.4.1 Will laissez-faire capitalism actually end pollution?
    • E.4.2 Can wilderness survive under laissez-faire capitalism?
  • E.5 Can ethical consumerism stop the ecological crisis?
  • E.6 What is the population myth?

Section F - Is "anarcho"-capitalism a type of anarchism?

  • F.1 Are "anarcho"-capitalists really anarchists?
  • F.2 What do "anarcho"-capitalists mean by freedom?
    • F.2.1 How does private property affect freedom?
    • F.2.2 Do Libertarian-capitalists support slavery?
  • F.2 Why do "anarcho"-capitalists place little or no value on equality?
    • F.3.1 Why is this disregard for equality important?
    • F.3.2 Can there be harmony of interests in an unequal society?
  • F.4 What is the right-"libertarian" position on private property?
    • F.4.1 What is wrong with a "homesteading" theory of property?
  • F.5 Will privatising "the commons" increase liberty?
  • F.6 Is "anarcho"-capitalism against the state?
    • F.6.1 What's wrong with this "free market" justice?
    • F.6.2 What are the social consequences of such a system?
    • F.6.3 But surely market forces will stop abuses by the rich?
    • F.6.4 Why are these "defence associations" states?
  • F.7 How does the history of "anarcho"-capitalism show that it is not anarchist?
    • F.7.1 Are competing governments anarchism?
    • F.7.2 Is government compatible with anarchism?
    • F.7.3 Can there be a "right-wing" anarchism?
  • F.8 What role did the state take in the creation of capitalism?
    • F.8.1 What social forces lay behind the rise of capitalism?
    • F.8.2 What was the social context of the statement "laissez-faire?"
    • F.8.3 What other forms did state intervention in creating capitalism take?
    • F.8.4 Aren't the enclosures a socialist myth?
    • F.8.5 What about the lack of enclosures in the Americas?
    • F.8.6 How did working people view the rise of capitalism?


The following self-proclaimed anarchists are (mostly) responsible for this FAQ:

  • Iain McKay (main contributor and editor)
  • Gary Elkin
  • Dave Neal
  • Ed Boraas

We would like to thank the following for their contributions and feedback:

  • Andrew Flood
  • Mike Ballard
  • Francois Coquet
  • Jamal Hannah
  • Mike Huben
  • Greg Alt
  • Chuck Munson
  • Pauline McCormack
  • Nestor McNab
  • Kevin Carson
  • Shawn Wilber
  • ...and our comrades on the anarchy, oneunion and organise! mailing lists.

Adoption of An Anarchist FAQ which is released under the terms of the GFDL version 1.1 or any later version of the licensed published by the Free Software Foundation



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