These answers are helpful. I’ll try to get at what they don’t, the scoop, what you’d find if you joined these groups as an activist. In practical terms for the last half-century, leftists feel they are opponents of liberals. And many anarchists do not see themselves as leftists, but non-aligned on the continuum of political ideology. In part this is because they share particular views outside right and left ideologies but some overlapping with liberal and conservative views. I find myself in this category.
Those who label themselves anarchists usually tend toward communitarianism, anti-authoritarianism (though this is also an independent stance) and anti-capitalism/corporatism. A surprising number of them are vegans in not wishing to subjugate or murder animals. They agree with leftists in opposing strong private property rights. Those who label themselves libertarians are usually pro-market capitalism (laissez-faire capitalism (though anti-monopolists) and governmental minimalists (minarchists) championing individual rights, especially the private property right, which they claim over their own bodies.
Why anarchists disdain liberals is because they’re compromisers with the things they oppose, moving too far toward centrism. They also mask the evils of capitalism thinking that reforms is all the system needs. The same with the state, the large state. Get a lot of large social programs going and the authoritarianism of the state is balanced. Get enough regulations in place as well, and serious authoritarianism is banned. This comes from a Marxist analysis as do many of their views at the source. However, they favor the early Marx humanist.
Real democracy must be direct democracy, within small groups say anarchists. Representative democracy where you vote the man, not the policy, is a joke. Politicians are in the pocket of large donors, especially corporations. Large politically democratic states, like the capitalist economies they serve, can not avoid the centralization and accumulation of power, nor will they avoid secrecy and propaganda.
- WIll the election in Alabama be the harbinger of the collapse of the Sixth Party System and the formation of the Seventh?
- King Salman of Saudi Arabia ousted the crown prince and replaced him with his son, Mohammed bin Salman. What do you think about this?
- While extremely unlikely, if the Democrats win back both houses in 2018, what would be the mid/long term political ramifications of them voting to impeach and remove President Trump?
- What would be involved in creating a third political party? Many pundits, whom I respect, moan about our 'two party system' and it does seem that this 'populist' movement has some traction. Can this be done?
- Le 14e amendement rend-il illégal de remettre en question la dette publique?
Anarchists are surprisingly pacifist. But as Black Bloc has shown recently, too often confused with Antifa, they use violence in assertive self-defense and to some degree offense against fascists/Nazis/rabid racists. This is because they see these groups and their hate-ideologies and speech as delivering slow-motion violent blows against the rest of us, which have to be stopped along the way somewhere, before it is too late to avoid them striking, to avoid their blows. The same is true with the corporatist state. It always looks like it is stable, at most slightly infringing on our liberty, ignoring our will, but it is in slow-motion oppression of us. And while we sit passively apathetically by, feeling no particular policy merits violent fightback, we are actually losing a war. That it is a slow-motion war, winning by slow encroachment, indoctrination, letting us get used to oppressive changes, it is a war nonetheless. And often a slow-motion, tepid response alongside is not enough to compete, stopping its course.
The American public can not understand this, partly because anarchists especially do not explain it. Neither do socialists on the left, much less democratic socialists who are liberals to the left and to anarchists. This is largely because anarchists and liberal do not have a public voice beyond the Occupy Wall Street Movement for a moment. Even when they get one, they haughtily fail to use it, assuming the general population won’t be able to grasp their views or perspective-take their outlook. Black Bloc is especially dismissive this way and self-destructively unconcerned with their appearance to the public. They usually refuse to talk even to the press. Everyone seems their enemy.
The real left, socialists and communists are still considered enemies by Americans as polls show that ask “Would you vote for a socialist?” The answer is a resounding no. Conservatives try to sink proposals like Obamacare merely by saying they are socialist. This is why some see Bernie sander’s strategy of calling his reform capitalism and liberalism by its European name, democratic socialism, seemed a poor and misleading one. But it does serve to get the public used to these terms, developing positive associations. It might be a good longer term strategy.
There is a lively socialist community in the US but it is very small. And its voice can barely be heard except by searching it out. I agree with the answer that says equality is the key principle distinguishing it, just as equality is what distinguishes liberalism most, though its original tradition brought us individual rights. It is now champion of the large welfare state and strong social obligations, especially to the poor and disenfranchised. It remains the voice of social compact, the idea that we are all in this together as a society, each pulling for each other in a system of mutual respect.