Communalism is a term with three distinct meanings according to the Random House Unabridged Dictionary'.' These include (1) "a theory of government or a system of government in which independent communes participate in a federation". (2) "the principles and practice of communal ownership". There is no indication whether communalism (sense 2) would apply in the "independent" communes described in the definition of communalism (sense 1). However, in practice, many experiments in utopian socialism such as that of the Spanish anarchists did implement internal rules of communalist property ownership in the context of federated communalism. Spanish anarchism distinguished itself from communism and that anarchists who practice communalism are frequently at odds with communists. It is at least theoretically possible for a federation of communes to include communes which do not practice communalist rules of property, which is to say, that the overall national government may be a federation of communes, but that private property rather than communalist property is the order within each such commune. Karl Marx, often viewed as the founder of communism, criticized other socialists of his era, and made particularly blistering criticisms of utopianism which was generally conceived along communalist principles, both federational communalism and local property communalism.
Communalism in history
Communalist experiments throughout history have often developed bitter animosities as the parties disputed about the exact issues underlying the confusion over definitions discussed above. The Paris Commune was one such case.
Communalism as ethnic allegiance
The third definition is "strong allegiance to one's own ethnic group rather than to society." For reasons which have not been explicated[dubious ], the term is associated with events in South Asia, but it is unclear what distinguishes the ethnic conflict there from ethnic conflicts in other parts of the world. India is largely English-speaking, but there does not appear to be any published research establishing that or any other fact as a basis for the pattern by which the term is applied to South Asian inter-ethnic strife rather than to events elsewhere.
In the Indian subcontinent, the term communalism has taken on a very different meaning, namely that of a religion—and, more specifically, ethnicity-based sectarianism promoting communal violence, espoused by many political movements.
Communalism as a political philosophy was first coined by the well-known libertarian socialist author and activist Murray Bookchin as a political system to complement his environmental philosophy of social ecology.
While originally conceived as a form of social anarchism, he later developed Communalism into a separate ideology which incorporates what he saw as the most beneficial elements of left anarchism, Marxism, syndicalism, and radical ecology. Politically, Communalists advocate a stateless, classless, decentralized society consisting of a network of directly democratic citizens' assemblies in individual communities/cities organized in a confederal fashion.
This primary method used to achieve this is called libertarian municipalism which involves the establishment of face-to-face democratic institutions which are to grow and expand confederally with the goal of eventually replacing the nation-state. Unlike anarchists, Communalists are not opposed in principle to taking part in parliamentary politics -especially municipal elections- as long as candidates are libertarian socialist and anti-statist in policy.
Economically, Communalism favours a form of libertarian communism and the principle "from each according to ability, to each according to need."
- ^ What is ------->Communalism? The Democratic Dimension of Anarchism by Murray Bookchin
- ^ Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition,1998, New York
- ^ The Collected Works of Karl Marx, Moscow
- ^ Organizing independence: the artists federation of the Paris Commune and its ... By Gonzalo J. Sánchez
- ^ RH Webster
- ^ http://www.countercurrents.org/communalism.htm
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