I see that R. P. Wolff has a blog, The Philosopher's Stone. His post Anarchism and Marxism caught my eye. In it he addresses the question of the logical consistency of his anarchism and his Marxism. The answer of course depends on how Wolff employs these terms.
First of all, when I call myself an anarchist, I mean just exactly what I explained in my little book In Defense of Anarchism. I deny that there is or could be a de jure legitimate state. That is the sum and substance of what I call in that book my "philosophical anarchism." This is a limited claim, but not at all a trivial one. [. . .]
My Marxism, as I have many times explained, is not a form of secular religious faith, but a conviction that Marx was correct when he argued that capitalism rests essentially on the exploitation of the working class.
Clearly, *A de jure legitimate state is impossible* and *Capitalism rests essentially on the exploitation of the working class* are logically consistent propositions. So if these propositions capture what is meant by 'anarchism' and 'Marxism,' then one can be both an anarchist and a Marxist.
So far, so good. But suppose one accepts the second proposition. Wouldn't one naturally want to bring about political change and eliminate capitalism and with it the exploitation of the working class? (As Marx wrote in his Theses on Feuerbach, "The philosophers have variously interpreted the world, but the point is to change it.") Now the implementation of this change and the maintenance of a a socialist order requires the coercive power of the state and with it the violation of the autonomy of all those who resist.
This fact brings us to a much more interesting consistency question: How could an anarchist (in Wolff's sense), consistently with his anarchism, be a Marxist in any full-blooded sense of the term? In a full-blooded sense, a Marxist is not one who merely maintains the thesis that capitalism by its very nature exploits workers, but one who works to seize control of the state apparatus for the purpose of implementing the elimination of capitalism. The following two propositions are plainly inconsistent: *The state as such lacks moral justification* and *The state possess moral justification when its coercive power is employed to eliminate capitalism and usher in socialism.*
Now that is the inconsistency that bothers me. Wolff appears to address it at the end of his post:
I can see no conflict whatsoever between philosophical anarchism and Marxian socialism. The citizens of a socialist society, were one ever to come into existence [Gott sei dank!], would have no more obligation to obey the laws of that state, merely because it was socialist, than they have now to obey the laws of the United States, merely because America is (let us grant for the sake of argument) democratic. Both groups of citizens would stand under the universal duty of judging for themselves whether what the laws command is something that on independent grounds it is good to do. There is no duty, prima facie or otherwise, to obey the law simply because it is the law.
There is something unsatisfactory about this answer. Wolff obviously wants a socialist society. But good Kantian that he is, Wolff must appreciate that to will the end is to will the means. The end is a socialist order; the means is the imposition of socialism and the eradication of capitalism by means of the coercive power of the state. (You would have to be quite the utopian off in Cloud Cuckoo Land to suppose that socialism could be brought about in any other way. And of course once the socialist state has total control, it won't "wither away.") So it seems Wolff must will and thus find morally acceptable the state apparatus that enforces and maintains socialism. But then his Marxism contradicts his anarchism. For these two propositions are logically inconsistent: *No state is morally justified* and *States that enforce and maintain socialism are morally justified.*
The bit about there being no duty to obey the law simply because it is the law seems not to the point. The point is that if socialism is morally superior to capitalism, and the only route to socialism is via the state's exercise of its coercive power, then one who wills and works for the implementation of socialism must will and work for and find morally acceptable the existence of a socialist state.
Or maybe Wolff's position just boils down to the triviality that whatever order comes about, whether capitalist, socialist, mixed, or anything else, there would be no duty to obey the law simply because it is the law. But then he hasn't shown the consistency of anarchism and Marxism in any full-blooded sense of these terms.