Alan Carter

Marxists, by considering the use of state power or in advocating a revolutionary vanguard (which would eventually form a new state power) as acceptable means toward equality and freedom, advocate courses of action that, as the State-Primacy Theory reveals, would perpetuate the extensive inequalities Marxists ostensibly oppose. And they are uncritical of such courses of action because their theory overlooks the fundamental importance of the state and, especially, state power. The result of this is the promotion of a strategy that inadvertently perpetuates unfreedom and inequality. Consequently, the State-Primacy Theory indicates that anarchists are indeed correct to oppose all statist and vanguardist approaches to revolutionary change. In this respect, the State-Primacy Theory provides anarchism with the theory of historical transition it requires.

So, an anarchist theory of history can be developed that offers the promise of being at least as effective as Marxist theory in explaining technological, economic, and political developments but that has the added advantage, by drawing attention to the tremendous power that the state can exert, of predicting accurately the outcome of statist and vanguardist revolutions. This is in stark contrast with Marxist theory, which, through underemphasizing the power of the state because of an unbalanced stress on the economic, has created such a dangerous pitfall for the Left. By stressing the technological and the economic, Marxists have distracted attention from the state. This proved disastrous in the Russian Revolution, the Chinese Revolution, and numerous revolutions in the Third World and will do so time and time again until Marx’s theory of history is eventually abandoned by the Left.

Alan Carter, ‘Analytical Anarchism: Some Conceptual Foundations’, Political Theory, vol. 28, no. 2. (April, 2000)