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.


[edit] Anarchism

Anarchists argue for a total abolition of the state, with many anarchists (including proponents of left anarchism, social anarchism and anarchist communism) 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 institutions associated with capitalism, such as markets (supported by some mutualists) and some even go as far as supporting private property (supported by some individualist anarchists).

[edit] Conservatism and traditionalism

There are strands of conservatism that are uncomfortable with liberal capitalism. Particularly in continental Europe, many conservatives have been uncomfortable with the impact of capitalism upon 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.

Paleoconservatives and other traditionalist ideologies are often in opposition to capitalist ethics and the effects they have on society as a whole, which they see as infringing upon or decaying social traditions or hierarchies that are essential for social order. Some of these ideas are intertwined with religious communism. More nationalist-oriented groups believe that aspects of capitalism, such as free trade infringe upon national sovereignty, that domestic industries and national traditions must be safeguarded, and that preserving this is of greater importance than profit for business.

[edit] 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."[1]

[edit] Fascism

According to Stanley Payne, fascism is characterised a corporatist approach to economics; the subordination of the economy to the needs of the state, while preserving private property.[2] Payne writes that fascist movements had in common the aim of "eliminating the autonomy (or, in some proposals, the existence) of large-scale capitalism and major industry".[3]

Some writers argue that fascism represented a "third way" between Marxian socialism and capitalism.[4] Fascism protected the land-owning elites and is regarded as a reaction against the rising power of the working class.[5] Fascists upheld the ownership aspect of private property - including private property over productive capital and the means of production[6] - but said that property was to be regulated to ensure that "benefit to the community precedes benefit to the individual."[7]

The Nazis were vocal in their opposition to finance capitalism, interest charging, and profiteering.[8] Adolf 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". Hitler made a clear distinction between "capital which is purely the product of creative labour and ... capital which is exclusively the result of financial speculation."[9]

Hitler met Gottfried Feder in summer 1919, and Feder became his mentor in finance and economics. He inspired Hitler's opposition to "Jewish finance capitalism.".[10] Marxists argue that fascism is a form of state capitalism that emerges when laissez-faire capitalism is in crisis and in need of rescue by government intervention.[11][12] Fascists have operated from a Social Darwinist view of human relations. Their aim has been to promote "superior" individuals and weed out the weak.[13] In terms of economic practice, this meant promoting the interests of successful businessmen while destroying trade unions and other organizations of the working class.[14] Lawrence Britt suggests that protection of corporate power is an essential part of fascism.[15] 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."[16]

Classical liberal economist Ludwig von Mises argued that fascism was collectivist and anti-capitalistic. According to Mises, fascism maintained an illusion of respecting private property, since individuals could not use their property how they 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.[17]

Historian Robert Paxton contends that fascists' anti-capitalism was highly selective; the socialism that the fascists wanted was National Socialism, which denied only foreign or enemy property rights (including that of internal enemies). They did, however, cherish national producers.[18]

[edit] Participatory economics and inclusive democracy

Participatory economics, often abbreviated as Parecon[citation needed], 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 Fotopoulos, 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.[19]

[edit] Religion

Christ drives the Usurers out of the Temple, a woodcut by Lucas Cranach the Elder in Passionary of Christ and Antichrist.[20]

The Catholic Church forbids 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 accepted some forms of interest-charging, allowing for some societal changes after feudalism was replaced by other forms of government.[citation needed]

Christianity has been the source of many criticisms of capitalism, particularly its materialist aspects. Many early and pre-socialist movements[21] 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. 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 banks have developed ways to make a profit in transactions that are traditionally arranged using interest. These include profit sharing (Mudharabah), safekeeping (Wadiah), joint venture (Musharakah), cost plus (Murabahah), and leasing (Ijarah).

A Soviet anti-capitalist poster (1920).

[edit] Socialism and communism

Socialism includes various theories of economic organization that advocate public or direct worker ownership and administration of the means of production and allocation of resources, and a society characterized by equal access to resources for all individuals, with an egalitarian method of compensation. [22][23][24] Socialists argue for cooperative/community or state control of the economy, or the "commanding heights" of the economy,[25] with democratic control by the people over the state, although there have been some undemocratic philosophies. "State" or "worker cooperative" ownership is in fundamental opposition to "private" ownership of the means of production, which is the defining feature of capitalism. Most socialists argue that capitalism unfairly concentrates power, wealth and profit, among a small segment of society that controls capital and derives its wealth through exploitation, stifling technological and economic progress by maintaining an anarchy of production.

Communism and revolutionary Marxism disagrees with capitalism and economic liberalism on a fundamental basis, in that communism advocates communal ownership over the means of production and economic decision-making of a society, with the abolishment of private property and government. Friedrich Engels, one of the founders of modern socialist theory, advocated the creation of a society that allows for the widespread application of modern technology to rationalise economic activity by eliminating the anarchy in production of capitalism.[26][27] Marxism argues for collective ownership of the means of production, the elimination of the exploitation of labor,[28] 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. Some Communist states claimed to have abolished capitalism, although some Marxist theorists describe them as state capitalist, rather than anti-capitalist.[29][30]

[edit] Anti-globalization movement

The anti-globalization movement is a worldwide activist movement that is critical of the globalization of capitalism. Anti-globalization activists are particularly critical of the undemocratic nature of capitalist globalization and the promotion of neoliberalism by international institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank without much regard to the often devastating effects of global capital on local conditions. Meetings of such bodies are often met with strong protests.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Mies, Maria; Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva (1993). Ecofeminism. p. 298. ISBN 1-85649-156-0. 
  2. ^ Roger Griffin. The Nature of Fascism. Routledge. 1993. p. 6
  3. ^ Payne, Stanley (1996). A History of Fascism. Routledge. ISBN 1-85728-595-6 p.10
  4. ^ Peter Davies and Dereck Lynch. Routledge Companion to Fascism and the Far Right. Routledge 2003, p. 101
  5. ^ Fascism Encyclopdia Britannica
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ Richard Allen Epstein, Principles for a Free Society: Reconciling Individual Liberty With the Common Good, De Capo Press 2002, p. 168
  8. ^ Frank Bealey & others. Elements of Political Science. Edinburgh University Press, 1999, p. 202
  9. ^ Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Murphy translation
  10. ^ Ian Kershaw, Hitler: A Profile in Power, Chapter I (London, 1991, rev. 2001)
  11. ^ Grant, Moyra. Key Ideas in Politics. Nelson Thomas, 2003, p. 63
  12. ^ Daniel Gurin, Fascism and Big Business, excerpted at
  13. ^ Alexander J. De Grand, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, Routledge, 1995. pp. 47
  14. ^ Alexander J. De Grand, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, Routledge, 1995. pp. 48-51
  15. ^ Britt, Lawrence, 'The 14 characteristics of fascism', Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, p. 20.
  16. ^ Salvemini, Gaetano. Under the Axe of Fascism 1936.
  17. ^ von Mises, Ludwig. Socialism 1951.
  18. ^ Paxton, Robert (2004). The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Knopf. ISBN 1400040949. 
  19. ^ Takis Fotopolous International Journal of Inclusive Democracy vol.4 no.2, [1] (2008).
  20. ^ The references cited in the Passionary for this woodcut: 1 John 2:14-16, Matthew 10:8, and The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 8, Of the Church
  21. ^ Diggers, Levellers, etc.
  22. ^ Newman, Michael. (2005) Socialism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280431-6
  23. ^ "Socialism". Oxford English Dictionary. "1. A theory or policy of social organisation which aims at or advocates the ownership and control of the means of production, capital, land, property, etc., by the community as a whole, and their administration or distribution in the interests of all. 2. A state of society in which things are held or used in common."
  24. ^ "Socialism".Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary
  25. ^ "Socialism" Encyclopdia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopdia Britannica Online.
  26. ^ Socialism: Utopian and Scientific at
  27. ^ Frederick Engels (1910). Socialism: Utopian and Scientific. C.H. Kerr. pp. 92-11. Chapter III: Historical Materialism
  28. ^ "Cuba: Historical Exception or Vanguard in the Anticolonial Struggle?".  speech by Che Guevara on April 9, 1961 "The people are weary of being oppressed, persecuted, exploited to the maximum. They are weary of the wretched selling of their labor-power day after day – faced with the fear of joining the enormous mass of unemployed – so that the greatest profit can be wrung from each human body, profit later squandered in the orgies of the masters of capital." - Che Guevara, Marxist revolutionary, 1961
  29. ^ Friedrich Pollock, "State Capitalism: Its Possibilities and Limitations", Studies in Philosophy and Social Science, IX, 2 (1941), 200-255.
  30. ^ Tony Cliff, State Capitalism in Russia (1955)

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