What is the actual difference between anarchism and communism?

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anon (not verified)
What is the actual difference between anarchism and communism?

I'm having a discussion about this somewhere else, and wanted to get input from forum members here.

If you were to steel man the communist position in its most idealistic form (i.e. apart from real world examples like Soviet Union), what would be your definition of communism? Does communism have any essential definition?

Same for anarchism.

Communism, for the person I've been arguing with somewhere else, basically boils down to sharing of resources and common ownership of means of production. In other words, communism is at base, an economic ideology. But sharing and common ownership is also an anarchist policy. Hunter gatherers have been called both anarchist societies and also primitive communists.

So where does that leave the question?

anon (not verified)
crudely and lazily put,

crudely and lazily put, sentiments and concerns respectively:


no authority, no rulers

no gods, no masters

until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest

Hurry comrade, shoot the policeman, the judge, the boss. Now, before a new police prevents you. Hurry to say No, before the new repression convinces you that saying no is pointless, mad, and that you should accept the hospitality of the mental asylum. Hurry to attack capital before a new ideology makes it sacred to you.

fuck you, i won't do what you tell me


goods are commons

to each according to their need; what's mine, is yours

seize the means of production

distribute resources equitably


Now I have a question for you: If any anarchists reading this forum would want to visit a communist forum to post an innocent request for communists to steel-man anarchist positions for them and to consider them earnestly, where would that be? Please link, thanks.

Doug (not verified)
anarchism and communism

Seems to make sense. Communism tends to be more of an economic philosophy and anarchism a social philosophy. Anarchism doesn't really have a well defined body of economic theory. Anarchism tends to borrow most of its economic ideas from communism.

Le Way. (not verified)
"Communism tends to be more

"Communism tends to be more of an economic philosophy"
I would debate this broad statement and posit that it is actually an intense totalitarian-esque psychological indoctrination to a theoretical society which cannot exist without enforced obedience,

lumpy (not verified)
oh, you mean just like

oh, you mean just like capitalism?

funny joke. everybody laugh. roll on snare drum. climate apocalypse.

anon (not verified)

so is 1984 the entirety of your understanding of communism?

anon (not verified)
although these different

although these different aspects can be discussed separately, they cannot be separated in practice. with regards to work and the economy, the anarchist stance is to destroy them, not manage or improve them

anon (not verified)
there is cake

there is cake

communist: let’s share it equally

anarchist: watchu want me to do with this? eat it? HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE GROUND!!! I threw the rest of the cake too! Welcome to the real world, jackass!

primitivist: the cake is giving you cavities and diabetes and what its production and transportation entails is part and parcel of ongoing ecocide

nihilist: the cake is a lie

anon (not verified)

anarchist: Every day is cake day. But also, DIY your own fucking cake or steal it from somewhere.

anon (not verified)
no that’s a bakery that

no that’s a bakery that incorporates theft into its business model

Umm...one of the co-founders of modern anarchy

Was an economic theorist. PJP of course. From him through Carson there's plenty of economic ideas.

Doug (not verified)
Yeah, but Proudhon's economic

Yeah, but Proudhon's economic philosophy was a synthesis of communism (common property) and capitalism (individual property).
Anarchists have leaned towards one or the other over time. However, unlike with communism, a single distinctive economic framework unique to anarchism has never really emerged.

Pëtr Kropotkin (not verified)
Act For Yourselves

A question which we are often asked is: “How will you organise the future society on Anarchist principles?” If the question were put to Herr Bismarck, or to somebody who fancies that a group of men is able to organise society as they like, it would seem very natural. But in the ears of an Anarchist it sounds very strangely, and the only answer we can give to it is: “We cannot organise you. It will depend upon you what sort of organisation you will choose.”

anon (not verified)
"a single distinctive

"a single distinctive economic framework unique to anarchism has never really emerged."

I'd say that's the best anarchists can hope for since economics is a pseudoscience of servitude that arose with statecraft to keep track of debts and trade. "trade is something people do to their enemies." - Fredy Perlman

Pëtr Kropotkin (not verified)
Communism and Anarchy

With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible. Without it, it necessarily becomes slavery and cannot exist.

The key differences

A crude bias toward communism as opposed to property and reifying or affirming collectivity is what communism is. Anarchism began as a neutral position between communism and property as well individual vs collective. Over time it cleaves towards one side or the other in both polar values.

anon (not verified)

from each according to their ability, to each according to their need. (1875)


my wants are unique, my needs are unique, everything about me is unique.

anon (not verified)
Silly ID pol, Stirner weeps.

Silly ID pol, Stirner weeps. These are always the weakest ID pol-based attempts at bastardizing Uniqueness to justify being an asshole. You are not a Unique snowflake, snowflake. Not in the way you're thinking.

anon (not verified)
What u want/need

You want to be a “thought leader”, and you need to stop posting and touch grass. Ain’t nothin unique about either of those bro

anon (not verified)
This is not true, externally

This is not true, externally our appearances are unique just as our personalities and dreams are unique, even enslaved within a totalitarian ideology/religion, there exists a glimmer of uniqueness fighting to get out!

Perp000000 (not verified)
Communism is a belief

Communism is a belief technique (ideology/religion) which binds diverse perps together with a faith in the benefits of a hive mentality.
From the climb out of primitive tribalism to bronze iron and now, plastic, the Enlightenment kicked off the first psuedo communist modern forms, but one must always remember that in Spartacus and beyond, to intra-indigenous violent uprisings 10,000 years ago, a Manichean theme
seems to emerge, and suddenly one realises and understands total anarchy, the individual free of the negative yoke of collectivism.

anon (not verified)
Cool alt-right propaganda bro

Cool alt-right propaganda bro, tell me more about how you want to negate those primitive savages via the Individual who just happens to appear at the emergence of western Christian colonial capitalism.

Perp000000 (not verified)
Gonna simple this down for

Gonna simple this down for you and say how ----- By instructing youth in the art of critical thinking and the pleasures of thinking for oneself--- Yep, its that easy to tap into self-awareness and divert the tendency for herd thought. This doesn't mean that ---÷the commune--- is dead, it means only that the various phantoms of uniform thinking patterns are scattered to the wind. A good analogy would be comparing the menagerie of diversity in people to a herd of cloned automatons lined up in a hall all saluting the same idol.

anon (not verified)
Not simple enough, I don’t

Not simple enough, I don’t know what you think you’re saying, except that you’re a special snowflake and you have a whole ideology protecting you from the idea that you’re not.

anon (not verified)

- from each according to ability, to each according to need
- common property
- sharing
- no state
- a mostly materialist economic ideology

- no rulers
- no state
- anarchist economics could be either private property or common property, depending on type of anarchism

- no rulers
- no state
- common property
- sharing
- a blend of a materialist economic ideology of sharing resources, and a social ideology of non authority

Renzo Novatore (not verified)
Between the Two Anarchies

Above the two Anarchies of Reason and Good—glorious and triumphant—I raise the banner of the Anarchy of Instinct and Evil.

lumpy (not verified)
oh renzo! presumably you

oh renzo! presumably you wrote that before you got shot... it's just a bit impractical to wage war on the entire world, isn't it? so big!

anon (not verified)
which why it's pretty

which why it's pretty practical to shipost on the internet? renzo did just that, but on paper since that was the medium at the time. not much different from you, then. and getting shot, it could happen to anybody

lumpy (not verified)
well i'm sure all 3 of us

well i'm sure all 3 of us have done other things too

anon (not verified)
Show me an anarchist who hasn

Show me an anarchist who hasn't had a cop pull a gun on them and told to put their arms up and I'll show you a crypto-capitalist!

anon (not verified)
shit, that happened to me

shit, that happened to me twice in one day. within an hour actually. cops from two different jurisdictions. fun times

anon (not verified)
Wow, what is it about you,

Wow, what is it about you, are you black, or always drunk, or walk around waving your arms around with a menacing look on your face?

anon (not verified)
not black, not a drunk, not

not black, not a drunk, not menacing. got mistaken for a murder suspect and walking to the bus on the way to work got stopped by the sheriff and the highway patrol. at least I'd had a decent breakfast that morning

anon (not verified)
Yeees, once they realize they

Yeees, once they realize they have stopped a well-fed workerist, they leave you alone, or maybe even give you a ride to your workplace if its in their precinct. How sweet :)
In my case the car I was a passenger in was being driven by a known black felon, soooo, you can guess the rest, pointed gun, hands on roof of car, full frisk, empty out pockets etc

anon (not verified)
uh, never got offered a ride

uh, never got offered a ride after I was ruled out as a suspect. you're an idiot

anon (not verified)
Anon 12:20 hits the jackpot!

Anon 12:20 hits the jackpot! 50 dollars for this blatant attack upon lateral thinking renzo!

anon (not verified)
my wants are unique, my needs

my wants are unique, my needs are unique, everything about me is unique. now to gas up my Chevy Suburban.

anon (not verified)
Another anon here, it is

Another anon here, it is possible that out of the 7 billion people there is one, just one unique individualist who was given a brokendown Chevy Suburban and repaired it, and occasionally gassed it up to drive to autonomous zones every year.
And there only has to be one to create the whole concept of lawless freedom, the lone ball of self-sustaining living energy unleashed.

Dafi (not verified)
Does a self-employed visual

Does a self-employed visual "artiste" who fuels up their Toyota Prius once a week to drive to an "artistes" retreat qualify as a truly free "anarchiste" because of the visual insurrection they unleash upon the senses?

Luke from DC (not verified)
Big centralized economies never work well

The Soviet Union's so called "communism" had trouble producing anything. The US's capitalism (with nearly as much business-state interdependence as the Soviets or even under fascism) can produce enough to glut markets, then is unable to distribute it. There have been times where seemingly enough food to make the whole world obese rotted in warehouses while elsewhere people starved under capitalism. During Great Depression #1 they even plowed harvested crops into the ground covered in diesel fuel so they would not drive down prices of food being sold to people who had no money with which to buy it.

Under capitalism today, manufacturing becomes so specialized that nothing is made from simple precursors under one roof. Instead intricate supply chains micro-divide labor. When it runs well this system gluts the shelves with cheap junk and expensive luxuries alike. Throw in a pandemic or even bad weather closing a port, and the whole thing collapses into chaos. This is how people end up wiping their ass on the newspaper's predictions of a rosy future-there is no toilet paper on the shelves. Small village capitalism with small shops making finished goods directly from raw materials is a more resilient economy even if less productive. Same as microgrids keep delivering electricity when big grids fail.

Real communism was (and is) practiced in tribal societies where everyone knows everyone else, and knows who will suffer if they slack off or overconsume. If you are hunting for your tribe but decide to go rock climbing instead, you know the faces of those you will be leaving hungry that night. They will also know who's lazy ass left them hungry. Also you won't be eating either.

I see the key to anarchism (absence of a monopoly of force e.g a state or a dominant cartel) as being a balance of power. If nobody can seek to dominate other social groups without encountering resistance doing more damage than the value of their planned aggression, than such domination will usually be deterred and hopefully be defeated the rest of the time. This can block concentrations of power from ever forming.

Anarchism is a political system: any political system that does NOT rely on a generally recognized and accepted monopoly of armed force. Capitalism and communism by comparison are economic systems, methods of arranging production of goods beyond what can be made in the home workshop or subsistance farm.

anon (not verified)
yep. small-scale human

yep. small-scale human organization such that everybody knows at least by sight, everyone else in their community. to me, that is the ONLY way humanity sustains itself.

anon (not verified)
Anarchy, communism, etymology

Anarchy is a NEGATIVE term: an+arche, without arche (origin, principle, sovereignty, or for simplicity’s sake rule). Disagreement about what constitutes the “rule” to be negated is why the prefix “anarcho-“ can be found affixed to almost every ideology : capitalism, nationalism, communism, etc. It’s why this site itself exists relative to a large and disparate constellation of “anarchists” who often disagree bitterly about what the word (& ideology it labels) means.

Communism is a POSITIVE term, and I mean something syntactic by negative/positive: communism is defined not by negation but by the affirmation of the materially common and proposes its equitable sharing.

If you want to really understand these words there is a long history of their use to parse. I do think it’s important to go to the root meanings of these words as we continue to take them up and redefine them. It’s always uncomfortable for ideological partisans to realize the slippery and ambiguous relationships between language, life and politics.

Can anarchy and communism coexist? Can they do without each other? Can either really exist at all or are they ideals? Do you define them by their history and a sort of globally flattened usage, or do they consist of particular constellations of meaning according to which you’ve constructed your understanding of them? It’s important to realize there is no eternal, universally valid or absolute meaning to these words but they are redefined throughout centuries of conflict about their meaning and application, by partisans both for and against. Etc!

Dr.Benway (not verified)
historically communism was indeed a reaction against

newer capitalist modes of production, it can't ever really become what capitalism has. even though states will frequently try emulate it in order to maintain political loyalties.

anon (not verified)
You’re thinking of Marxism,

You’re thinking of Marxism, dear

Dr.Benway (not verified)
so, communism did not come from

Marxism? Marxism did not come from Karl Marx?

Dr.Benway (not verified)
Here's the problem with your arrogant history lessons:


it all came from pretty much the exact same time period, and it was all a revolt against the tyranny of private property.

anon (not verified)
Not a history lesson dear.

Not a history lesson dear. Not exactly- Etymology is the history of words and their meaning

communism property and anarchy

It's good to remember that anarchy began as not having a negative as such position on property. Proudhon wanted a balance between communism and property, Stirner wanted to personalize property and communism(union).

Communism is a biased position towards collective ownership and reified collectivity, a position anarchy does not share.

anon (not verified)
Weird how you think

Weird how you think “collectivity” is “reified” but “property” is not! Oh well, I’m sure that’s a very special unique thought from your precious little noggin and not like, something “spooky” that this capitalist society is constantly reinforcing and reifying for us through education, media, consumption, politics and basically everything else

Of course property is reified

I qualified Stirner’s use of the term which is based on personal possession and ability to hold it. I’m not talking about the bourgeois form.

Dr.Benway (not verified)
taunting always makes an argument more substantive

and interesting.

anon (not verified)
Oh really? How dumb and ugly

Oh really? How dumb and ugly you must be!

anon (not verified)
Communism from the start

Communism from the start asserts a specific model for a social order or at least social relationship...

Whereas anarchism asserts none. Despite what the annoying Chumpskyists and Krap-o-tkinists claim. Nowhere it says it should be yet another (but better!) socialist model, or a way to make big money outside of the big banks. Okay, anarcho-communism sounds fine on paper, but that's STILL NOT ANARCHISM.

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