Instructions: This assignment should be written as a coherent essay of approximately three to four typed double-spaced pages with one-inch margins and carefully reviewed before submission of spelling, grammar, content and style.
The readings for this assignment are:
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Eric Hobsbawm, How the Change the World, Chapter 3
Noam Chomsky, A Brief History of Anarchism, 2014
Mikhail Bakunin, “The State and Marxism,” 1872
The modern Left in countries of developed capitalism has since the middle 19th centuury been deeply divided between Anarchists and Marxists (among others) with Anarchists claiming that the Marxists wish to seize state power and use that power to impose their vision of socialism that would inevitably become another form of repression and dictatorship precisely because it would depend on this this state power. Examine Eric Hobsbawm’s discussion of Marxist views of the state in chapter 3 of How to Change the World, Noam Chomsky’s A Brief History of Anarchism, and Mikhail Bakunin’s “The State and Marxism.” Assess what you see as the strengths and weaknesses of the Anarchists’ claims about the dangers presented by state power in general and about the Marxists’ desire to seize that power in particular.
The Anarchists’ hostility to the state is based on their theory that in a genuinely free society without forms of coercion most people would choose a rational and cooperative organization of their own work, their communities and of public affairs without the need of force and other forms of domination to compel them. To what degree do you see this claim as viable or as contrary to practical realities. In other words, does “human nature” require that most people be supervised, controlled, policed, and punished for bad behaviors or is it at least theoretically possible for people to organize their lives through rational, voluntary and cooperative ways? Be specific about your claims and the basis of your reasoning about how people.