The of the socialist movement; there was

The purpose is the analysis ofthe anarchist ideas in Fight Club, through the view of Andrew Heywood.I will start by firstcharacterizing anarchism in the view of Andrew Heywood, and then selecting afew passages from Fight Club, and making an analysis of how the ideas can beapplied to the text. Andrew Heywood starts hisanalysis of the term anarchism bygoing back to its origin as “without rule” in Greek. Although initially used ina negative sense, referring to a disintegrating society, or being understood as”chaos and disorder”, it was later associated with a more positive meaning,starting with Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.

He was the first to declare himself ananarchist, in “What is Property?”, where “the word was clearly associated witha positive and systematic set of political ideas”.  The term started being properlyused with the introduction of the anarchist principles, by William Godwin, inthe “Enquiry Concerning Political Justice”, even though Godwin “never describedhimself as an anarchist”. Later, anarchism became part of the socialistmovement; there was also an association with the Marxists – however, it did notlast because of the disagreement of the two. With the help of syndicalism,anarchism became “a genuine mass movement in the early twentieth century” in Europeand even in Latin America. But it did notattain greater power or success than that, as it was undermined by “the spreadof authoritarianism and political repression”.  The goal of anarchism – a societywithout a state – is regarded as unrealistic, improbable, even “a utopiandream”, due to the fact that any form of political influence and power isdismissed as corrupt.  The fundamental characteristicsof the anarchist movement are the opposition and the rebellion against thestate, the institutions of law and government.

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In its pursuit for a statelesssociety, anarchism finds itself to be a paradoxical term, referring, both tothe disobedience against power, and, at the same time, focusing on the moralaspect of the human beings, freedom and autonomy of the individual (Heywood151-152). Moreover, Heywood argues thatanarchism represents an overlapping of the “rival ideologies” of liberalism andsocialism, both ultimately opposing the state; these are all characterized byprinciples, out of which the most important are anti-statism, natural order,anti-clericalsim, and economic freedom. The state is perceived as anoppressive force that puts a limitation to the life of the individual,offending his freedom, subjecting him to inequality and slavery, depraving himof rights, of property. The anarchists have a “highly optimistic if not utopianview of the human potential”, regarding human beings as either good or bad,depending on their social, political, or economic background. But they areeasily corruptible and susceptible to demoralization if exposed to any type ofpower coming from the state, which is considered a pure form of evil (Heywood153-155). Regarding the principle ofnatural order, anarchists believe in a kindness that exceeds everything, in theinclination of individuals towards a rational and moral life, and in the”perfectibility” of each, through volition and education. Jean-JacquesRousseau’s idea expressed in the following words – “Man was born free, yeteverywhere he is in chains” – is adopted by anarchists, who argue that thesocial order should “arise naturally and spontaneously”, with no requirement oflaw, order, power or authority.

However, a slight paradox also lies in thisview of human nature – the individual has a rather complex nature, with twoextremes; based on this, one could be “selfish and competitive as well associable and cooperative” (Heywood 156-157). It is not only the state thatanarchists rebel against, they also deny the power and authority of the Church.God represents the supreme being, who has control over everything and standsfor the ultimate authority.

So, the abolition of the state should go hand inhand with the abolition of the church, in order to obtain the desired freedomfor both the individuals, and the society as a whole (Heywood 157). Anarchists are also “interestedin challenging the structures of social and economic life”. Political power isseen as an integral part of wealth. Class terms are what define capitalism –there is a ruling class, which dominates over the masses.

This leads to the identificationof three major groups in a society – a majority who are exploited; a minoritywho are taken advantage of, but who also abuse others; and a small part, called”the supreme governing state”, that is simply represented by “exploiters andoppressors”. Moreover, two opposite anarchist traditions are distinguished  


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