The Russian father of the communist type of anarchism known as collectivist anarchism was Mikhail Bakunin who, had also been related to other collectivist anarchists such as Pierre Joseph Proudhon and Karl Marx. According to Bakunin, “No theory, no ready-made system and no book that has ever been written will save the world; I cleave to no system, I am a true seeker”. In fact, Bakunin had first introduced the idea of anarcho-collectivism using some of Proudhon`s and Karl`s thoughts. His anarcho-collectivism was actually different from both individualist anarchism and mutualism in various ways, yet it varied from Marxist communist beliefs in certain areas too. Though communism welcomed the social collective ownership in order to achieve better results in production, the idea of anarcho-collectivism did not actually represent the full fundamentals of communism since it permitted labour’s remuneration. Mikhail Bakunin’s work towards a full achievement of an anarchist society had created variety in collectivist anarchism after his life such as: anarcho-communism and anarcho-syndicalism. Collectivist anarchist thoughts had spread and became the main form of social communist beliefs which also included: mutualism, anarcho-syndicalism and anarcho-communism. Accordingly, Bakunin has been highly criticized by Murray Bookchin, the American libertarian socialist, as he believed that Between the socialist pedigree of anarcho-syndicalism and anarcho-communism, and the basically liberal, individualistic pedigree of lifestyle anarchism, there exists a divide that cannot be bridged unless we completely disregard the profoundly different goals, methods, and underlying philosophy that distinguish them. Therefore, collectivist anarchism developed mainly from socialist ideas by taking socialism to the absolute limit.
Collectivists consider human beings as being subjected to mutual aid and by working together; they can achieve better results than individually. “The primitive man`s ignorance and fear made life a continuous struggle of man against man, however, by joint effort and mutual aid, they could accomplish more than strife and enmity” stated Berkman. They stress on the fact that human beings are capable to work for social solidarity since they are sociable and cooperative creatures. They hence believe that individuals do not need to be governed because authorities oppose freedom and social solidarity is far from being achieved as Bakunin believed that ” Social Solidarity is the first human law, freedom is the second”. Commonly, collectivist anarchists share a social relation with Marxist socialism. They both oppose capitalism as a way of ruling because it creates social disorder and structural injustice. In addition, they both consider revolution as the best path to achieve a perfect society and both support largely the collective ownership of wealth and adequate distribution of resources in a social community, but they see property as a corrupting influence on the individual supporting Proudhon`s statement: “Property is a theft” and consequently seek the abolition of private property in exchange for mutual cooperation and common ownership under the means of production and fertility. As such, Property would hinder the activity of men and obstruct the development of humanity; it would be the death of progress, it would be suicide. Instead of private property, Proudhon proposed an equal distribution of power and wealth in his work “Du principe fédératif et de la nécessité de reconstituer le parti de la revolution” (The Federal Principle/ 1863)). He based his theory on the beliefs of both mutual cooperation and individual freedom. He also supported the abolition of private ownership, which, he argued, benefit from the payments of workers.
Moreover, political commentators argue that despite the common similarities the communism of Karl Marx and the anarchism of Proudhon, the examination of society provided by both theorists vary in many aspects. Yet, Proudhon’s thoughts had actually influenced the Russian theorists Mikhail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin. Even though Bakunin believed in collectivism anarchism and brutal revolution as a necessity to an anarchist community, he was largely in agreement with Proudhon in his anarchist views and goals. Similarly, many of Proudhon`s views in La Conquête du pain (The Conquest of Bread/1892) which aimed to develop a theory of anarcho-socialism, were adjusted by Kropotkin in his book “Vzaimnaia pomoshch, kak faktor evoliutsii “(Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution/1902), where he analysed the behaviour of the human being which would factor into a free anarchist society as well as presenting a plan for a communist federation. Additionally, collectivist anarchists and Marxist socials also believe that a reasonable anarchist society is the fruit of the collapse of any communist regime.
Besides, they suppose human nature can order their lives without the need of a national state since their nature allows them to be responsible and reasonable; the individual is the most potent factor towards an endeavour, aspirated and self-realised social order. Yet, anarchism differs from socialism in many ways. For instance: some socialists (mainly parliamentary socialists) no longer consider revolution the best way to achieve a well structured social society as Marxists and anarchists believe. They also believe that the existence of national state is positive because it is the only structure that can humanise capitalism and make it more suitable for social needs. Anarchists, on the other hand, see that the expansion of a state power will only lead to the demolition of individual`s freedom. One of the major arguments occurring between collectivist anarchism and Marxist socialists is the path through which communism can be uploaded. Marxists call for the immediate achievement of communism through the dictatorship of the proletariat which also suggest the use of arms in case of revolutions. Anarchists, in contrast, consider the state as an unnecessary evil, hence; there is no difference between bourgeoisie and proletarian states. Therefore, successful revolution does not require withdrawing state powers, political organisations and capitalism, but rejecting them completely.