Lucien van der Walt, 2017, “Anarchism and Marxism”, in N. Jun (ed.), The
Brill Companion to Anarchist Philosophy, Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden,
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This paper provides an analysis of the relationship between Marxism and anarchism, developing a systematic exposition of the strategic and theoretical diffferences between the anarchist and Marxist traditions that goes beyond the Karl Marx-Mikhail Bakunin conflict in the 1870s, considering a wider range of periods, writers and debates. The focus is on the evolving tradition of classical Marxism — the main historical Marxist tradition, running from the Communist League through the pre-war German Social Democratic Party, and from there to the Communist Parties and their Trotskyist rivals — in relation to anarchism, and on debates over historical materialism, the role of the states, the nature of class struggle, the peasantry, stages theory, and social change. A major thrust of the argument is that anarchism’s social analysis is far richer than often recognized and that this may be illustrated through a proper exposition of the Marxism/
anarchism conflict. The paper looks at classical Marxists beyond Marx, including Marxist-Leninists, examines how strategic diffferences between the two traditions are linked to distinctive analyses of economy, society, and history, and aims to move beyond the usual “non-debate” marked by caricature, misunderstanding and sectarianism.