Free association (Marxism and anarchism)
Free association, also known as free association of producers, is a relationship among individuals where there is no state, social class, hierarchy, or private ownership of means of production. Once private property is abolished (distinctly not personal property), individuals are no longer deprived of access to means of production, thus enabling them to freely associate without social constraint to produce and reproduce their own conditions of existence and fulfill their individual and creative needs and desires. The term is used by anarchists and Marxists and is often considered a defining feature of a fully developed communist society.
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The concept of free association becomes more clear around the concept of the proletariat. The proletarian is someone who has no property nor any means of production and therefore to survive sells the only thing that they have, namely their abilities (the labour power) to those owning the means of production. The existence of individuals deprived of property and livelihood allows owners (or capitalists) to find in the market an object of consumption that thinks and acts (human abilities), which they use in order to accumulate increasing capital in exchange for the wage that maintains the survival of the proletarians. The relationship between proletarians and owners of the means of production is thereby a forced association in which the proletarian is only free to sell their labor power in order to survive. By selling their productive capacity in exchange for the wage which ensures survival, the proletarian puts their practical activity under the will of the buyer (the owner), becoming alienated from their own actions and products, in a relationship of domination and exploitation. Free association would be the form of society created if private property were abolished in order to allow individuals to freely dispose of the means of production, which would bring about an end to class society, i.e. there would be no more owners neither proletarians, nor state, but only freely associated individuals. For instance, Karl Marx often called it a "community of freely associated individuals".
The abolition of private property by a free association of producers is the original goal of the communists and anarchists and it is identified with anarchy and communism itself. However, the evolution of various trends have led some to virtually abandon the goal or to put it in the background in face of other tasks while others believe free association should guide all challenges to the status quo. Advocates of anarchism and council communism promote free association as the practical basis for the fundamental transformation of society at all levels, from the everyday level (such as the search of a libertarian interpersonal relationship, critique of the family, consumerism, criticism of conformist and obedient behavior) to the level of world society as a whole (such as the fight against the state and against the ruling class in all countries, the destruction of national borders, support for self-organized struggle of the oppressed, attacks on property, support to wildcat strikes and to workers and unemployed autonomous struggles).