I wanted the subject to read Informal discussion on classical left vs. right, socialism and anarchism but it wouldn't fit.
OK, I was going to write this as a reply to this comment but it was getting way too long and off topic for the original journal entry, espcially since it belonged to someone else. So I decided to move the conversation, or at least this comment to my own journal.
I intend to write a more formal essay on these issues, but then volumes of books have been written on any one of these subjects. However, If I could communicate in a few pages what others have written books about then maybe that would be accomplishing something. Whatever.
In another person's journal Cyberdyne wrote:
Interesting; you seem to take the French axiomatic assumption that the government has some role to play in everybody's lives, so the political decision is about how much control over the government each person has?
No, I would simply say that the "Classic Leftist" wants is for everyone to have a say, or a vote, in how their government is run. How much of an affect that government should have over your lives is another question entirely. It is ultimately, more of a philisophical aspect than a practical aspect of government.
Difficult to reconcile with the definition of socialism; Google produces many entries like this: "an economic system in which the means of production are controlled by the state".
From what I read the original definition was "an economic system in which the means of production are controlled by the workers." This was back in the 19th century, and there were lots of arguments between "Left wing socialists" who did not like the idea of government control, and "right wing socialists" who thought the answer was to take over the government, and have a strong centralized government force companies to share more of the wealth.
This idea eventually turned into communism, where the government had absolute control over everyones lives, and acted without any accountability to those they ruled. The rulers in effect became the new aristocracy. They abused their rule terribly, and anyone who complained could be tortured, or killed or both.
There was a lot of arguments about this being the result at the turn of the 19th century.
To re-iterate the above, I guess the left-wing socialists would prefer deceneralized methods for the workers to gain control over means of production. Say a trade-union where everyone has a say, and lots of accountibility to those in authority, rather than the stereotypical bad union where the leaders are fat cats who control the lives of the union members.
Up until at least WWII there were also lots of anarcho-syndalist trade unions. The Spanish Civil War happened because an anarchist trade union, the CNT, also had a militia. When Franco started his Coup, the CNT militia seized control over enough armories and strategic locations to give those that opposed him a fighting chance. There was an uneasy alliance between anarchists, socialists and communists, which ultimately ended in the communists stabbing the anarchists and socialists in the back, and then losing control to Franco. (I really need to read Hemingway's account of it someday.) However, it did at least cause enough trouble for Franco that he wasn't of much use to his fascist allies Hitler and Mussolini. (Hey, we are back on topic now.) (sorta)
Anarchists generally like the idea of democracy, but there are some issues of which the believe are absolute. Individual anarchists might argue over what these are but for an example, nearly all would believe in practically absolute freedom of speech. (I just have to qualify absolute.) Also, the word anarchy means without rulers, so Rule by the People is technically inconsistent with Anarchism.
Generally speaking, anarchists are governmental minimalists, who believe that authority is a possition of responsibility and accountibility, more of a burden than of privilage, and that we should not create positions of authority except where neccessary.
I've read more theory than experienced these things in practice. That's the tricky part of these ideoligies, they are very difficult to impliment. I guess they would work through consensus management. I haven't seen much but of what I have seen it is a slow and frustrating proccess for any significantly large group. It is very difficult to make any decisions and get anything done.
This is probably what attracted people to right-wing socialism and communism. They got fed up and instead of wanting to be part of the proccess, would rather give over control to a "leader."
These concepts are difficult to explain and I would still consider myself to have a sophmoric knowledge of anarchism, and less of classical socialism. Even though I am a governmental minimalist, I don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater of the last 100 years of right wing socialism, because I also believe there are situations where a collective effort can be more effective. And yet, I am also a big believer in individual choice, so I don't fit into any one specific politicial/economic ideology.
(And once again this is a lot longer than I intended to write here. I never intended to write this much on ideology in someone else's journal.)
(Oh, and can someone tell me how many run-on sentences I have in this comment?)