Anti-capitalism is a political movement that challenges the current economic system, capitalism. It is based on the understanding that capitalism is an unjust system that creates inequality, concentrates power in the hands of a few individuals and corporations, and exploits workers and resources for profit.
One alternative to capitalism proposed by anti-capitalists is socialism. Socialism advocates for public or direct worker ownership and control of the means of production, as well as an equal distribution of resources and an egalitarian method of compensation. This would lead to a society where all people have access to resources and decision-making power.
Socialists argue that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and derives wealth through exploitation. That capitalism generates wasteful industries and practices that exist only to create demand for products, which contributes to environmental degradation and the overconsumption of resources. Socialists contend that private ownership of the means of production imposes a tremendous waste of material resources.
Anarchism and libertarian socialism are two closely related ideologies that share a common goal of creating a stateless, classless society, organized along democratic and egalitarian principles. Both of these ideologies have their roots in the 19th century, when the Industrial Revolution was transforming society and capitalism was becoming the dominant economic system.
At its core, anarchism is a philosophy that rejects all forms of hierarchical authority, including the state, capitalism, and organized religion. Anarchists believe that people are capable of governing themselves through direct democracy and voluntary cooperation, without the need for a centralized authority to tell them what to do. Anarchists also reject the idea of private property, which they view as a tool of oppression that allows a privileged few to control the resources and means of production that are necessary for life.
Libertarian socialism is a more specific form of anarchism that emphasizes the importance of collective ownership and control of the means of production. Libertarian socialists believe that workers should control their workplaces, and that economic decision-making should be decentralized and democratic. They reject the idea of a vanguard party or a centralized authority that would guide the revolution or manage the economy after the revolution.
One of the central criticisms of capitalism from the anarchist and libertarian socialist perspective is the concept of wage slavery. This refers to the idea that workers are not truly free because they depend on wages to survive, and because their labour is exploited by capitalists who profit from their work. Their lives being dictated by the market and a small group of wealthy individuals.
Anarchism and libertarian socialism have a rich history of theory and practice. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, anarchism was associated with militant activism, such as the Haymarket Affair in Chicago in 1886, which resulted in the execution of several anarchist labor organizers. The anarchist movement was also involved in the Spanish Civil War, where anarchist militias fought against fascist forces.
In recent years, anarchism and libertarian socialism have experienced a resurgence of interest, particularly among young people who are disillusioned with the current political and economic system. Some contemporary anarchist and libertarian socialist movements include the antiglobalization movement of the last 30 years, Zapatista movement in Mexico, the Rojava Revolution in Syria.
These movements offer a powerful critique of capitalism and state power, and they provide a vision of a world where people are free to govern themselves, work collectively to meet their needs, and create a more sustainable and equitable world.
Marxism is a social, economic, and political theory developed by Karl Marx in the mid-19th century. It argues that capitalism is an unjust and unstable system that will be replaced by socialism. Marxism sees capitalism as a historical stage that was once progressive, but has now become stagnant due to internal contradictions. Marx claimed that the capitalist mode of production creates a class struggle between the bourgeoisie, who own the means of production, and the proletariat, who must sell their labour to survive.
Marx believed that the contradictions inherent in capitalism would eventually lead to a political revolution, where the proletariat would overthrow the bourgeoisie and establish a socialist society. In this society, the means of production would be owned by the workers, and wealth would be distributed more equally.
Contemporary anti-capitalist movements are often influenced by Marxist thought. Anti-globalization and alter-globalization movements also criticize capitalism, particularly neoliberalism and pro-corporate policies that have spread internationally.
However, the space for anti-capitalism has shrunk significantly since the end of the Cold War and the globalization of capitalism. Postmodern philosophers pushed the mess, of identitie politics. Many on the left have shifted their focus to multiculturalism and partisan culture war issues, leading to capitalist realism – the idea that capitalism is the only viable political and economic system.