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The anarchy symbol. Fun fact: the circle is actually a Capital "O" and together the symbol stands for the slogan "Anarchy is Order"
Smash the state
Icon Anarchism.svg
It's not anarchy
It's anarchism!
Domestic terrorists?
I'm not a fascist, I like...
Actually fascism is cool

Anarchism is a political philosophy that aims to create a society without involuntary or coercive political, economic, or social hierarchies to maximize individual liberty and social equality.[1][2]

Anarchism was historically associated very strongly with the labor union movement, with many anarchists seeing organized labor as an ideal tool for overthrowing the twin evils of the state and capitalism. However, the "success" of the Russian Revolution, the failure of several attempted anarchist revolutions (most notably in Ukraine[3] and Catalonia),[4] and the general backlash and heavy suppression following a number of high profile assassinations throughout much of the 20th century devastated their support among organized labor.


Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the first self-labelled anarchist.

In 1793, William Godwin published An Inquiry into Political Justice, in which he presents his view of a free society based on equality and justice, alongside a critique of the government. Although he never used the term "anarchism," Godwin is considered the first anarchist and the forebear of utilitarianism.[5] It would not be until Pierre Joseph-Proudhon published What is Property? in 1840 that the term "anarchist" was adopted as a self-description.[6] In 1844, Max Stirner published The Ego and His Own, giving birth to individualist anarchism.[7]

By the mid-19th century, a series of events shook anarchism. First, in 1857, the French communist Joseph Déjacque coined the term "libertarianism,"[8][note 1] whose use became widespread in the late 1880s due to the anti-anarchist laws in the French Third Republic.[9] The second event was the Paris CommuneWikipedia. In the aftermath of the Franco Prussian War, a large number of soldiers and members of the public revolted against the French rule and took over Paris. As can be expected of a government dealing with rebellion, the French Third Republic cracked down on the rebels hard, culminating in "The Bloody Week" leaving thousands of Frenchmen dead. The story of the Communards had deep long-term philosophical effects on the nascent Marxist movement.[10]

Even if justified, violence often breeds more violence. The Communard fiasco arguably led to the third huge event, or rather, period of events, the Propaganda of the deedWikipedia era. Anarchists began to bomb and assassinate world leaders, for the purpose of "inspiring" others to join the anarchist cause. In terms of killing world leaders, they were rather successful, assassinating quite a few heads of state. In terms of inspiring an anarchist revolution, considerably less so. The bombings and murders caused the public at large to reject anarchism out of hand, and for governments of the world to become extremely hostile to anarchist thought.

Simultaneously, the anarchists and Marxists began to split further and further apart, the first great split in the radical left,[note 2] with the collapse of the International Workingmen's Association in 1876.[11]

From the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, the most successful anarchist ideology was anarcho-syndicalismWikipedia. Anarcho-syndicalist organizations like the Industrial Workers of the World and Confederación Nacional del TrabajoWikipedia were founded and gained a surprising amount of membership in a relatively short amount of time and even rebounded from the First Red ScareWikipedia.[12] However, from the late 1920s to the late 1930s, the anarcho-syndicalist movement would suffer from splits and suppression, finally collapsing into irrelevancy by the end of the Second World War.[13]

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the anarchist movement was weakened but would suffer a temporary revival in the New Left. The rise of the New Right and the appropriation of anarchism by right-wingers, however, was the most notable event of anarchist history in the second half of the 20th century.[14]


Nestor Makhno with leaders of the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine.

There have been several attempts at establishing an anarchist society. Most of them ultimately did not survive, but anarchists argue that these movements were crushed by fascists (CataloniaWikipedia and, arguably, KoreaWikipedia) and Soviet communists (UkraineWikipedia, KronstadtWikipedia and TambovWikipedia) and that this might have less to do with the unworkability of anarchism than with the relative power of anarchists' historical enemies. A common criticism levied by more conventional Marxists is that anarchism's emphasis on the "free individual" makes fledgling anarchist societies easy pickings as they lack the discipline to unite effectively in the face of opposition. This, in the eyes of more authoritarian Marxists, justifies crushing them as their self indulgent tendencies make them a liability to their "comrades."

Other lay explanations for failed anarchist revolutions include an alleged "inherent lack of organisation," but this is somewhat lacking in both historical and theoretical merit. Anarchist literature such as Emma Goldman's essay "Anarchism: What It Really Stands For"[15] makes the case for anarchism on the grounds that it represents order in contrast with the chaos of capitalism and the warring nation state, while Michael Bakunin's famous boot-maker analogy offers a well-known (in anarchist circles) defence of qualified expertise:[16]

Does it follow that I reject all authority? Far from me such a thought. In the matter of boots, I refer to the authority of the bootmaker; concerning houses, canals, or railroads, I consult that of the architect or engineer. For such or such special knowledge I apply to such or such a savant. But I allow neither the bootmaker nor the architect nor the savant to impose his authority upon me.

Anarchists, at least in theory, support an organised society; Emma Goldman even went as far as to argue that Capitalism isn't organised enough. Historically, as short-lived as most anarchist societies are, they have tended to exist for a period of time that would be impossible to maintain without at least some level of organisation and have in the past been able to field military forces of a reasonable size organised with delegated 'officers' for a chain of command. [17] Honorary mention of course goes to the Iron Cross, a less successful anarchist militia consisting of recently freed convicts -- a terrible plan that turned out exactly as you might think it would.[18]

Overview and tactics[edit]

Proponents of Anarchism aren't particularly limited in their tactics. Some of these are relatively non-violent such as "Direct Action", which include obstructive sit-ins, labor strikes, workplace occupations, street blockades and hacktivism, along with more violent approaches such as sabotage, vandalism and destruction of property. The last one is often picked up by the media to demonize protestors.[19] These are known as diversity of tacticsWikipedia.

Violence and terrorism[edit]

Washington Times coverage of the 1919 spree of anarchist bombings in the United States.
It is true that the State is not a window, but neither is it just an abstract concept. Breaking windows is not a revolutionary act and neither is any other act if taken out of context and presented as an abstraction, ignoring the intentions and strategy of those who break the windows. The State or Capital or colonialism cannot be attacked as abstractions. They can only be attacked in their material forms, their social relations and their institutions.
—Oshipeya, No action is sufficient in itself[20]

Violence is a form of coercion, and at least in theory, anarchists oppose coercion. For many, however, the ends have justified the means, and anarchists are no exception. While anarchists of today tend to be much less violent than the anarchists of yesteryear, there are arguments, under the theory of diversity of tactics, about the role violence should play in revolutionary actions,[21][22] particularly considering that the mass media can (and will) cover any violence that occurs in a protest almost to parodic levels.[23]

The role of violence has become an important topic due to recent events, including the Ferguson protestsWikipedia and the fact that many leaders in the unrest were found dead years later under suspicious circumstances.[24] Examples include Darren Seals found dead in a burning car[25] and Edward Crowfard, subject of a famous photograph, being dead from an allegedly self-inflicted gun wound.[26] This also ties up with the political rise of the Alt-Right and Antifa, particularly with the argument of whether it is acceptable to punch people with repugnant views.[27][28]

Terrorism was an infamous tactic of insurrectionary anarchists around the turn of the century, based on the idea of propaganda of the deedWikipedia, which involved targeting the ruling classes themselves and making a big show of it.[29] But the more Anarchist bombings and assassinations occurred, the more the State clamped down upon Anarchist organizations, such as the execution and exile of the French communardsWikipedia and violent strike-breaking in the United States, which led to more violence from Anarchist movements, and then more state suppression.[30] The circle of violence is like that.

Someone wise once said, "If you come at the King you best not miss". Anarchists often didn't miss. Infamous killings include:

This... didn't have the desired effect. Murdering a few world leaders neither brought about the collapse of the hierarchy to be replaced with an egalitarian paradise, nor did it endear anarchism to the masses. By 1887, various important figures in the anarchist movement rejected this tactic,[32] but the high profile nature of the attacks attracted various "lone wolfs" and other attention seekers, which led to more attacks regardless of what the more intellectually-oriented anarchists wanted.[33] As one would expect after the successful assassination of several heads of state, many of whom were actually popular with the majority of people, the various governments of the world cracked down on anarchists hard. It resulted in state repression such as the Lois scélératesWikipedia("villainious laws") in the French Third Republic that banned all anarchist propaganda and the American criminal syndicalismWikipedia laws which were used to crack down on "radical" labor unions.

Pacifism and non-violence[edit]

As violence is a form of coercion, or perhaps having learned from the failure of violence in bringing about anarchist goals, most anarchist groups have ostensibly renounced violence. However, as anarchists often view private property as illegitimate, many anarchists do not see property damage as an inherent problem or even a form of violence,[34] which conflicts with virtually everyone else.

Regardless, "Pacifism" and "Passive" are not the same thing. Many Anarchist groups are based on the principle of direct actionWikipedia, in which political activists leverage their power (economic, political and even social privilege) to reach certain goals. Elections are not considered to be direct action per se, except as a way to discredit electoral politics as political parties betray their constituents in pursuit of ill-thought policies.[35] Examples of direct action includes striking (labor strikes, rent strike, student strike, prison strike, etc.), squatting, sit-ins, and demonstrations. It favors community organizing and spurns participating in elections and political parties.[36] Dual powerWikipedia, on the other hand, seeks to build institutions to confront and eventually replace capitalism including people's assemblies, cooperatives, credit unions, labor unions and others. Libertarian socialists favor dual power as a way of building up participatory democracy and challenging both capitalism and the state.[37][38]

Anarchism and law enforcement[edit]

Anarchist groups that espouse violence often tend to clash with the police.[39] Anarchists subscribe to the idea that A.C.A.BWikipedia, according to which there's no such thing as "good cops" because (they believe) the police system itself serves to protect the interests of businesses and capital over people, and law enforcement has an unavoidable corrupting effect on the people who are a part of it.

Police officers have to enforce all laws, including unjust laws such as anti-homelessness legislationWikipedia, which in the United States are used to punish people for "choosing to be homeless",[40] racial segregation, home evictions, discrimination on the basis of sexuality, gender, ethnicity and creed. While these laws are indicative of the society that created them, that the police are the means by which the State enforces these unjust rules makes the police "bastards" in the eyes of Anarchists.

Furthermore, American law enforcement has been infiltrated by white supremacists[41] and the Republican Party is welcoming white supremacists to join the military as well.[42]

Mutual aid[edit]

The other common tactic amongst anarchist groups is mutual aidWikipedia, which is based on voluntary and reciprocal exchange of resources and services, an idea that is appealing to anarchists.

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, citizens and a few anarchists founded the Common Ground CollectiveWikipedia and the Common Ground Health ClinicWikipedia,[43] with the aid of various other humanitarian organizations such as Veterans for Peace, to make up for the abysmal lack of government response. It received a lot of volunteer aid from young whites, something that was noticed by the media at the time.[44]

The loose federation of collectives called Food Not BombsWikipedia is another notable mutual aid group which is a sharing franchise based on freely sharing food with others. The group has particularly involved in controversies relating to municipal bans on homeless feeding.[45] In Orlando, Florida, volunteers were arrested but the charges were later dropped.[46] In 2012 FNB provided relief in Long Island after the Superstorm Sandy,[47] and in November 2014, members were arrested for violating the feeding ban in Fort Lauderdale, Florida,[48] resulting in a media circus.[49]

In 2017, Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria[50] and the government was once again beyond useless[51] with Trump's antics being lambasted[52] and the territory being decimated by austerity policies.[53] In response, an anarchist group called Mutual Aid Disaster Relief send a team to Puerto Rico[54] to help built a solar-based electric grid[55], which the local authorities have tried to undermine[56] in favor of natural gas.

Anarchist schools of thought[edit]

Anarchism has always differed from Marxism on two points:

  • To anarchists, the state and class rule are synonymous and a tool of the enforcement of one class's rule over another, and seek the immediate abolition of the state. Marxists, particularly those inspired by Lenin, believe that there must exist a transitional state during the revolution until the latter is finalized and then the state will wither away. This transitional state is called the dictatorship of the proletariat, the process in which the proletariat seizes the state and harnesses its power to suppress resistance to the socialist revolution.[57] However, libertarian Marxists criticise Leninists for their support of vanguardism, which would result in a one-party state. For libertarian Marxists, the dictatorship of the proletariat exists to expand democracy rather than to implement a minority rule.[58]
  • While Marxist schools of thought always had a individual founder (Leninism, Trotskyism, Stalinism, Maoism etc), anarchist schools of thought emerged based on organizational principles or forms of practise.[59]

Much like Metal and Punk music, it can seem that there's more sub-sub-genres of Anarchism than actual groups, which makes a certain kind of sense considering how many of those bands claim to be Anarchist.

Classical anarchism[edit]

Classical anarchism emerged out of the traditions of secular Enlightenment thought, drawing on the political and moral philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and its heavy focus on notions of freedom, justice, equality and a utopian vision of the "general will" expressed through the sovereignty of people’s assemblies under direct rather than representative democracy. It inspired the anarchist revolutions in Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War, as well as the anarcho-communism spread by Nestor Makhno's Black Army in Ukraine after the Russian Revolution, both of which were crushed by state socialists.[60]

Individualist anarchism[edit]

Individualist anarchism is a sub-sect of anarchism that emphasises the individual and their free will over any dominant groups including the state, religion, society, traditions and ideology.


Mutualism was the anarchist school of thought starting with Pierre-Joseph ProudhonWikipedia, the first to call himself "anarchist" (though earlier thinkers had ideas much like his). In 1840, he wrote the book What is Property?, a critique of property-rights ideas that contains the famous declaration "Property is Theft." However, he also stated that property is freedom, rationalizing it by distinguishing two kinds of property: property earned by labor, which he stated was justified and essential to liberty, and property earned by coercion, which he stated was unjustified and would lead not to liberty but to tyranny. Seeing as the state is, by his definition, inherently coercive, it made the state illegitimate. Proudhon advocated mutual banks or a Bank of the People (similar to a credit union) for wage workers and independent craftsmen (in his time being driven out by mass production) to fund themselves. His mutualism supports what he called the "anti-capitalist free market", one with cooperative businesses competing and trading, while having a different conception of property based on the labor theory of value, namely possession, or active occupancy and use, instead. This definition of property led him to mark the state as illegitimate, along with income earned through loans, investments, and rent.[61] Even though it is based on the same theory of value as communism, it stands alone in the field with its stance on private property. As mutualist Clarence Swartz said:

One of the tests of any reform movement with regard to personal liberty is this: Will the movement prohibit or abolish private property? If it does, it is an enemy of liberty. For one of the most important criteria of freedom is the right to private property in the products of one's labor. State Socialists, Communists, Syndicalists and Communist-Anarchists deny private property.

Mutualism effectively ceased to exist as an organized movement in the early 20th century but has recently been revived as sort of a middle position bridging the gap between anarcho-socialist tendencies on the left and the market anarchism of the libertarian movement, with Kevin Carson as its best-known modern theorist. Many mutualists support the idea of "possession," that one ceases to own land if one is not actively using it or residing upon it, thereby skirting around the inevitable issues surrounding private property.[62]

The Mondragon corporation is a co-operative in Spain with over 80,000 employees (2012) that presents some idea of how workers can manage their workplaces successfully and competitively in a capitalist economy. Another example is the John Lewis chain of department stores in the UK, which had 84,700 employees in 2013. Neither of these two examples had much to do with anarchism, however, as they are hierarchical cooperatives with substantial pay differentials and managers having the power to hire and fire underlings.

Market anarchism[edit]

Also referred as Free market anticapitalism,[63], market anarchism is a school of anarchism that wish to create a truly "free market" without capitalism and the state, with an economy controlled by worker co-operatives and self-employed workers competing in a functional market economy. It's inspired by Pierre Joseph-Proudhon's ideas of mutualism, which espoused a free market controlled by cooperative businesses competing for trade and with a definition of property based on occupancy and use.[64] A modern branch called left-wing market anarchism has also risen based on the homestead principleWikipedia in recent years.[65]

Egoist anarchism[edit]

Also known as anarcho-egoism, egoist anarchism is inspired by the ideas of Max Stirner, who argued for a rejection of all things which limit the individual. He rejected not only the usual anarchist bêtes noires (hierarchies, the state, capitalism, organized religion, nationalism, etc.), but also conventional morality and values and all "higher ideals" (such as obligations), seeing them as products of the ruling authorities that existed to uphold their legitimacy. It was supplanted by social anarchism, but a translation by socialist Benjamin Tucker[66] made the movement ascendant, and its influence spread to anarcho-communism.[67]

Social anarchism[edit]

Social Anarchism or anarcho-socialism is a broad category that distinguishes itself from individualist anarchism by favoring a communal solution to social problems and favoring a free society that protects individual liberty, contrasting the individualists' emphasis on personal autonomy and the rational nature of human beings. Of the two, social anarchism was the more popular and widespread category of classical anarchism.[68]


Also known as Collectivist Anarchism, this ideology was begun by the Russian anarchist Mikhail BakuninWikipedia. While naming Proudhon as "the father of us all," he felt mutualism was not a step far enough, particularly as capitalism and the state had both expanded in the time since. Bakunin was also opposed to religion, declaring that "the idea of God denies humanity. God being everything, man is nothing," and "if God really existed it would be necessary to abolish him," turning Voltaire's dictum on its head. More generally, he opposed organized religion (one of his most notable works being God and the State (1882)), a position held by many anarchists who view the church as another oppressive hierarchy alongside the state. Bakunin's anarcho-collectivism criticized Marxism as leadng to a new ruling class party hierarchy while advocating full collective worker management of production, a doctrine later expanded on by the anarcho-communists and anarcho-syndicalists. The primary difference between anarcho-collectivism and anarcho-communism is that anarcho-collectivism would preserve wage labor as the method of distribution of goods while anarcho-communism would seek to abolish money and have free consumption for all.[69]


Anarcho-syndicalism is an Anarchist tendency of revolutionary syndicalismWikipedia, which seeks to organize workers in revolutionary trade unions, federated or not, that would overthrow capitalism, eventually establishing a free society run through cooperative confederations called syndicates managing the economy in which profits are distributed amongst the workers.[70] Revolutionary syndicalism is marked by its political neutrality, seeking to unite the working class without being bogged down in inefficient and often disappointing philosophical debates.[71]

Anarcho-syndicalism takes those aims steps further, organizing the working class in explicit revolutionary politics. While syndicalists organize workers in the workplace, anarcho-syndicalists organize communities, rent strike and unemployment organizations as well seeking to abolish the wage system and the state both.[72]

Anarcho-syndicalism has some similarities to De Leonism, with the main difference being that De Leon rejected anarchism and would have the state re-organized as a "dictatorship of the proletariat" rather than abolished entirely. In terms of absolute numbers, anarcho-syndicalism has historically been the largest and most politically active anarchist tendency, particularly in the 1920s and 1930s,[73] during which various anarcho-syndicalist organizations throughout the world collectively claimed well over ten million active members. Among the various anarchist traditions, anarcho-syndicalism also has a fair bit of academic prestige associated with it, and in modern times is associated with western intellectuals such as Norman Spinrad and Noam Chomsky.

Historical of modern anarcho-syndicalism are the CNT and CGT in Spain, CNT in France, and IWW in the USA — still highly active, though numerically diminished compared to their heyday. The anarcho-syndicalist strategy is to form workplace resistance groups amongst employees in workplaces controlled by capitalist firms, not to form cooperatives, although most anarcho-syndicalists would not be hostile to the cooperative idea, seeing it as a useful complement, especially for blacklisted workers. During the Spanish Civil War, anarcho-syndicalists established free communes in which production and innovation were reported to have increased fairly dramatically, up to even 50% according to Emma Goldman's memoirs, and were distributed in an egalitarian manner to all. Workers seized control of the factories, peasants the farmland, free schools were set up to teach in new ways, and universal literacy began to be achieved. They were eventually undermined by lack of funding due to the hostile Soviet Union controlling their money supply, attacks by the Stalinist-controlled Spanish Republican government, and finally the victory of fascist dictator Francisco Franco, supported by many in the West. This was helped by infighting of the groups on the Republican side, plus lack of support.


Anarcho-Communism, also known as Libertarian Communism or simply Ancom, is a strand of communism that seeks to abolish the State and the system of wage labor and money, implementing instead a system of collective ownership of the means of production through the use and establishment of voluntary associations.[74]
Important figures in the ancom movement were Errico Malatesta of Italy, Nestor Makhno of Ukraine, Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman in the United States and Piotr Kropotkin in Russia. Kropotkin is often seen as the leading influence in the ancom movement, outlining his economic views in his famous work The Conquest of Bread (1892) and Fields, Factories and Workshops (1899) and his social views in Mutual Aid:A Factor of Evolution (1902) in which outlined that cooperation was more benefical than competition.
Anarcho-communism florished in the Ukranian Free TerritoryWikipedia in which free communes operated under the protection of Nestor Makhno's Revolutionary Insurrection Army. However the Free Territory would soon come under attack by the Bolsheviks forces, whom slandered the Makhnovites as anti-semitic and refusing to send food to the urban centers. This include various assassination attempts on Nestor and the ultimately destruction of the Free Territory by the Red Army.[75]

Contemporary anarchism[edit]

Contemporary anarchism refers to the tendencies that developed in the aftermath of the Second World War and during the Cold War to the present day. Contemporary anarchism rose from the ashes in the post-WWII world inspired by the philosophies and social critique of post-modernism, feminism, environmentalism and the neo-Marxism of the Frankfurt school, all of which have their own critiques of bourgeois society.[76]


Not a separate tendency per se, this was partly based on the works of Emma Goldman, herself a dedicated feminist who advocated rights to birth control, abortion, free love, and open relationships along with equality for women in general long before such issues were considered acceptable to discuss, let alone to enact. Goldman argued prominently that voting rights for women by themselves would change nothing, that equality had to come along with a broader social revolution. Anarcha-feminists have followed her reasoning, critiquing sexism as simply another form of hierarchy (patriarchy or matriarchy here) while struggling for the same goals as other anarchists, especially devoted to making sure women have the same rights in anarchist movements and the idea of gender equality receives focus along with the rest. Free love advocacy and women's liberation have a long history within anarchism, going back to individualist anarchists Ezra Heywood and Moses Harman, whose freethought periodicals The Word and Lucifer the Light-Bearer were persecuted by Anthony Comstock under the Comstock Act for their open discussions of birth control and denunciation of marital rape[77]. It continued to be influential through the writings of Emma Goldman and Ben Reitman, who were also prosecuted under the Comstock Act, with Reitman sentenced to prison for advocating birth control.[78]

Queer anarchism[edit]

Like above, not a seperate tendency but a school of thought that believes queer liberation can only occur through a social revolution. There are many early writers that advocated socialism and LGBT rights, such as Oscar Wilde[79], who published in 1891 his most political work The Soul of Man Under Socialism[80]; individualist anarchist Adolf Brand, who published the first gay magazine Der EigeneWikipedia from the late 19th century to the rise of Nazi Germany; and the bisexual anarchist Daniel Guérin.[81]

Today, queer anarchist support for Bash Back!Wikipedia, an anarchist network opposing assimilationism within the LGBT movement and police brutality.[82][83]

Green anarchism[edit]

Green anarchists believe an ecological society living in harmony with the earth is incompatible with either capitalism or the state. They often look to Kropotkin's communal ideas as a potential model for an ecological society while also absorbing other influences ranging from individualist anarchism to anarcho-syndicalism to distributism. Most green anarchism divides between those following Murray Bookchin's Kropotkin-influenced writings and those who tend more toward Edward Abbey's less well-defined (and probably more libertarian and individualist anarchist) preference for direct action over theory. This is sometimes portrayed as a divide between the "garden" or "urban village" model of environmentalism (Bookchin) and the "wilderness" model (Abbey).[84]


Anarcho-primitivists go even further than green anarchists, viewing civilization itself, from modern labor-saving technologies to language, as an anti-ecological, hierarchical institution. They advocate the complete abolition of industry, capitalism, and even agriculture, returning to a hunter-gatherer mode of life which they argue is more leisurely, free, and in tune with nature. They believe wilderness and wildlife have a right to exist for their own sake, and therefore, endorse such a lifestyle that they see as least destructive. John Zerzan is probably the most prominent thinker of the primitivist tendency, although Bob Black also contributes greatly. The methods of how to achieve this primitive back-to-nature society are contentious. The British anarcho-primitivist magazine Green Anarchist once praised Unabomber Ted Kaczynski (arguably close to anarcho-primitivism in his views, although his manifesto was rooted far less in environmental concerns) and the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan who released Sarin gas in the Tokyo subway. Needless to say, most green anarchists and those of other tendencies reject anarcho-primitivism.

Curiously absent is the answer to the question of which of the 7 billion people would have to die to make this dream a reality; the simple fact is that even if we all went vegetarian, without modern farming practices and the chemical industry we simply could not grow enough food for everyone. There is a reason that Britain, which now has 60 million people, only had a few million in medieval times yet even then people routinely starved. However, anarcho-primitivists' concerns about agriculture are not without reason, with Desert's critiques of how permaculture is unsustainable[85] now being reality with scientists warning that the UK's farmland has only 100 harvests left in it in 2014[86] and others giving warning of 30-40 years [87] before the soil becomes difficult if not impossible to grow crops on. However, this comes from only one peer-reviewed study that has had no calculation, prediction, or hard evidence to support that this is the case as well.[88]

Insurrectionary anarchism[edit]

Insurrectionary anarchism is a recent innovation and seems to be influenced by postmodern philosophy, nihilism, guerrilla warfare tactics, and anarcho-primitivism with some Kropotkin and Stirner thrown in. It is a murky area that is difficult to understand for those not already steeped in postmodernism. Insurrectionary anarchists tend to define themselves in contrast to organizational anarchists such as anarcho-syndicalists. Any form of organization at all is suspect (conveniently ignoring the fact that Homo sapiens are social and tribal by nature), probably at least proto-statist if not explicitly so, and deserving of deconstruction through the lens of postmodernism. In practice, this means that a permanent revolution and never-ending guerrilla insurrection, in the form of ever-shifting affinity groups that never coalesce into anything permanent, is needed.

Some notable insurrectionary anarchist literatures include The Coming Insurrection and 'Armed Joy; modern organizations include the Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei, the now-repressed Iberian Federation of Libertarian Youth, and many informal groups throughout Greece and other countries.

Post-left anarchism[edit]

Post-left anarchism, while preserving many characteristics of left-anarchism (such as opposition to hierarchies and oppression), abandons the moralistic critiques that left-anarchism employs. Post-left anarchism is often influenced by either anarcho-primitivists such as Zerzan or at times accelerationism through thinkers like Mark Fisher or Nick Land, as well as Deleuze. Post-left anarchists reject grand narratives that are often used by Marxists (such as dialectical materialism) but retains many critiques that Marxists made, especially the more unorthodox Marxists like the Situationists.

It’s neither a political program nor an ideology. It’s not meant in any way to constitute some sort of faction or sect within the more general anarchist milieu. It’s in no way an opening to the political right; the right and left have always had much more in common with each other than either has in common with anarchism. And it’s certainly not intended as a new commodity in the already crowded marketplace of pseudo-radical ideas. It is simply intended as a restatement of the most fundamental and important anarchist positions within the context of a disintegrating international political left.[89]


Anarcho-transhumanism is a recent branch of anarchism that takes traditional and modern anarchism, typically drawing from anarcho-syndicalismWikipedia, left-libertarianismWikipedia or libertarian socialism and combines it with transhumanism and post-humanismWikipedia. It can be described as a “liberal democratic revolution, at its core the idea that people are happiest when they have rational control over their lives. Reason, science, and technology provide one kind of control, slowly freeing us from ignorance, toil, pain, disease and limited lifespans (aging)", Some anarcho-transhumanists might also follow technogaianismWikipedia as well.


Some anarchists consider themselves "anarchists without adjectives", not desiring to follow any one tendency but claiming to welcome all ideas. "Anarchism without adjectives" was founded as a response to the sectarian infighting among other schools of anarchist thought and began with the premise that all anarchist tendencies are equally valid. AWA is seen by some as a modern version of synthesis anarchism which extends to models other than the three (Syndicalism, Communism and Individualism) that are embraced by standard synthesis anarchists. "Anarchists without adjectives" generally focus on delegitimizing the state rather than on one particular conception of an anarchist society, believing that all else will naturally follow and a world without government will likely be heavily mixed.

Not anarchism[edit]

National anarchism[edit]

See the main article on this topic: National anarchism

National anarchism is a batshit crazy ideology which seeks the same aims of fascism but argues that a stateless society would achieve them better than a state ever could. National anarchists seek the establishment of 'National Autonomous Zones' which would be "racially pure," "traditional" in terms of gender relations, anti-capitalist, and ecologically sustainable. Unlike most other anarchists, national anarchists do not oppose hierarchy. Instead, they seek a hierarchy that arises "naturally" rather than the current hierarchies of the capitalist system, which are based on exploitation. National anarchists share some common ground with pan-archists as they argue that 'if you don't like it, you can just leave', join an existing society based on other values or even start your own. For the most part, national anarchists are despised by other anarchists, provided they have even heard of them; national anarchism is a fringe movement even compared to anarcho-capitalism. They have a habit of showing up uninvited to anarchist book fairs, getting run off by angry Antifascist Action affinity groups, and whining on the Internet about it.


Invented one day by a Swede who didn't understand political theory, anarcho-fascism‎‎ bears no relationship to anarchism.


See the main article on this topic: Anarcho-capitalism

Over the course of centuries of pressure from labor organizations and democratic institutions, the various states of the world have implemented a varying amount of worker protections, pollution controls, and various other regulations to prevent the worst excesses of Capitalism. An Anarcho-Capitalist is someone who thinks that these regulations shouldn't have even been possible in the first place, and seeks to replace government with a pure Kleptocracy Plutocracy. The government's role in providing even the basic services of national defense and the police force would instead be provided by mercenaries. But simply disbanding the government doesn't make a society anarchist; anarchism traditionally views the hierarchy of wealth as inherently oppressive, and most anarchists view lassaiz-faire capitalism as incompatible with anarchism.[90] [91] Handing over the entirety of the legal system over to the wealthy is anathema to anarchism, or really just about anyone, and no other anarchist group considers An-Caps to be anarchist. As such, An-Caps have managed to accomplish the seemingly impossible; proving that it is possible for anarchists to unanimously agree on something.

The term "anarcho-capitalist" is slowly being appropriated by the far-right, following in the ideas of thinkers like Hans-Hermann Hoppe (who thought having a king is compatible with anarchism, the "king" being someone who contractually owns all land in a given area). The far-right demographic within the anarcho-capitalist diaspora apply Hoppe's theories on anarcho-capitalism supported by complex webs of contractual agreements to propose all-White ethnostates free of "degenerate" behaviour (very pro-freedom).

The Large-Scale Problem[edit]

Perhaps the biggest issue facing Anarchism is, well, implementation on the large scale. Humans are neither ants nor bees[citation NOT needed], and are only capable of maintaining around 150 relationships. This is known in Academia as "Dunbar's Number"[92], or on the intertubes as "The Monkeysphere". Beyond this 150, other people cease to be "people" and simply become "other creature". For almost all of human history, humans lived in small tribes of 100-200 other people, and when the tribe grew too large, the tribe would split. These tribes varied in terms of structure, but as everyone was friends with everyone else, these tribes were often far more egalitarian than the civilizations that immediately replaced them.[93] With the rise of agriculture, small societies began to form, but the formation of factions and other "cliques" was unavoidable. Conflict and animosity was inevitable, and humans needed a way to keep the peace and allow the villages to survive and grow.

Historically, the solution to this problem was the various systems of hierarchies that Anarchists seek to eliminate. As inefficient as the various forms of Capitalism, Socialism or Feudalism may be, Anarchism does not offer a proven solution for anything beyond small niches.[94] There has been no successful "experiment" of Anarchists running a large city, let alone an entire country. The overwhelming majority of Anarchist experimentsWikipedia "collapsed" back into a hierarchal society, and the few with any significant duration tend to be made up of relatively like-minded individuals living within the framework of a larger, non-Anarchist society.

Antisemitism among Anarchists[edit]

Among well-known proponents of Anarchism, such as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon,Wikipedia antisemitism was an issue. In 1847, in what Proudhon titled "On the Jews",[95] he wrote:

Jews. Write an article against this race that poisons everything by sticking its nose into everything without ever mixing with any other people. Demand its expulsion from France with the exception of those individuals married to French women. Abolish synagogues and not admit them to any employment. Demand its expulsion Finally, pursue the abolition of this religion. It’s not without cause that the Christians called them deicides. The Jew is the enemy of humankind. They must be sent back to Asia or be exterminated. H. Heine, A. Weill, and others are nothing but secret spies ; Rothschild, Crémieux, Marx, Fould, wicked, bilious, envious, bitter, etc. etc. beings who hate us. The Jew must disappear by steel or by fusion or by expulsion. Tolerate the elderly who no longer have children. Work to be done – What the peoples of the Middle Ages hated instinctively I hate upon reflection and irrevocably. The hatred of the Jew like the hatred of the English should be our first article of political faith. Moreover, the abolition of Judaism will come with the abolition of other religions. Begin by not allocating funds to the clergy and leaving this to religious offerings. – And then, a short while later, abolish the religion.

This isn't to say that Anarchists are like Nazis, but they surely are able to perpetuate bigotry as well, often perpetrating antisemitism even beyond the cultural background hatred of Jews at the time by blaming the Jews specifically for their role in capitalism.[96]

However, in spite of the antisemitism shown by early European anarchists, anarchism was later popular amongst both secular and religious Jewish communities.[97] Currently, Jewish interest in anarchism has grown due to work of organizations such as the Treyf Podcast,[98] Jewdas,Wikipedia and the YIVO group.[99] In Israel, there was the libertarian socialist kibbutz movement.[100]

Anarchist organizations[edit]

A layperson may be forgiven for believing that an "anarchist organization" is a contradiction, but this is not the case. Anarchists believe that human beings can organize themselves along non-hierarchical lines, and anarchist organizations ostensibly strive for a maximal degree of direct democracy and the accountability of officers to the rank and file.

North America[edit]



United States[edit]



South America[edit]


Allegedly Anarchist[edit]

  • RojavaWikipedia (or North Syria Federation) is a region of Syria mostly controlled by Kurds and allied fighters. As Rojava has some Anarcho-Communist influences to it, along with the Kurds being the "good guys" when compared to ISIS (not that that's a difficult accomplishment), many Anarchist groups have tried to claim the Kurds as one of their own. The reality is that the Kurds' goal is Kurdistan, not Anarchism. The region has compulsory military service, a state and local governance structure, good relations/direct military cooperation with other governments, and for all the progress made there still are various patriarchal, Capitalist, or ethno-nationalist structures in the region, things which are antithetical to an Anarchist society.[101] That isn't to say Rojava has just as strict a hierarchal structure as your typical Mid-east dictatorship, but it's a far cry from a true Anarchist experiment.

Other links[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. originally used by anarcho-communists to distinguish anarcho-communism from tendencies like Mutualism
  2. the second great split was the one between the pro-Bolshevisk and anti-Bolshevisk factions after the Russian Revolution


  1. Craig, Edward, ed (2005). The Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. ISBN 978-0-415-32495-3. 
  2. Anarchism, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  3. Revolutionary Ukraine, The Nestor Makhno Archive
  4. The Catalan anarchist revolutionaries were immortalized by George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia.
  5. William Godwin in the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  6. Pierre Joseph-Proudhon and anarchism
  7. Max Stirner in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  8. Joseph Dejacque on the human being male and female
  9. The Week Online interviews Noam Chomsky
  10. The Paris Commune, a 140 years later
  11. First International in the Encyclopedia Britannica
  12. They didn't suppress the Wobblies
  13. The collapse of the Wobblies
  14. Demanding the Impossible: A history of Anarchism by Peter Marshall, Chapter 36: The New Right and Anarcho-Capitalism
  16. Bakunin's bootmaker.
  19. Hong Kong protests turn violent; Ferguson: calmer scenes after night of violence; Is it OK for protestors to damage property?
  21. Anarchism and Violence, 1896 by L S Bevinton
  22. Correspondence about revolutionary strategy, 2009
  23. Reporters flock to burning DC garbage can
  24. Death of six activists tied to Ferguson protests alarm activists
  25. Ferguson protestor, Darren Seals, found dead in a burning car
  26. Edward Crowford found dead in an apparent suicide
  27. Is it Ok to punch a nazi?
  28. What are the ethics of punching a nazi
  29. Action as propaganda by Johann Most
  30. The Day Wall Street Exploded excerpt
  31. Anarchism, Terrorism Studies, and Islamism
  32. "Violence as a Social Factor," (1895) by Errico Malatesta
  33. What we forget from Anarchists, The Graniaud
  34. Direct Action by Voltairine de Cleyre
  35. Anarchism: Voting
  36. Why direct action
  37. Dual Power
  38. Waging non-violence
  39. Anarchists clash with police in Greece
  40. Criminalization of homelessness in US cities
  41. even the FBI thinks police has links to white supremacists; How US law enforcement is failing to police itself; Report connects hundreds of law enforcement officers to online hate groups
  42. GOP-controlled Senate deleted "white nationalist" from plan to screen military recruits
  43. Anarchists providing medical aid in New Orleans
  44. Common Ground volunteers bridge racial divide
  45. Food Not Bombs say they will not let authorities stop them from feeding the homeless
  46. Charges dropped against Orlando Food Not Bombs arrestees
  47. Food Not Bombs provides relief to Long Island
  48. Eight protestors arrested for trying to meet city official over homeless laws
  49. More homeless feeding attack amid national backlash
  50. Puerto Rico's Hurricane Maria death toll could exceed 4,000 according to new study
  51. Ten months without power: Puerto Ricans still without electricity
  52. Trump throws paper towels into crowd in Puerto Rico
  53. Naomi Klein on Puerto Rico, austerity and the left
  54. (Solar) Power to the People
  55. Anarchist groups in rural Puerto Rico help reboot the power grid
  56. Officials in Puerto Rico are undermining a rooftop solar movement
  57. Dictatorship of the proletariat by Encyclopedia Britannica
  58. "Democracy and Dictatorship" by Rose Luxemburg
  59. Anarchism by David Graeber and Andrej Grubacic
  60. What types of anarchism are there?
  61. "What is Property" from the Marxist Internet Archive
  62. "A look at mutualism" - Mark Stoval
  63. Free market anticapitalism, the unknown ideal
  64. "What Is Property?'" from the Marxist Archives
  65. Markets, Not Capitalism
  66. State Socialism and Anarchism (1886)
  67. Communist society
  68. What types of anarchism are there?
  70. Syndicalism - an introduction
  71. Syndicalism - What Is It? , by Gaylord Wilshire, May 1913
  72. Fighting for Ourselves
  73. Consider Wikipedia's category of prominent anarcho-syndicalists, most of whom were born after the Civil War and died sometime after the Second World War
  74. Anarchist Communism - An Introduction
  75. Nestor Makhno - Timeline of biography archived
  76. Contrasting classical and contemporary anarchism
  77. McElroy, Wendy: XXX: A Woman's Right to Pornography, St. Martin's Press, 1997
  78. PBS American Experience, People & Events: Ben Reitman (1879-1942)
  79. The Soul of Man Under...Anarchism
  80. Soul of Man Under Socialism, full transcript
  81. For a dialectic of homosexuality and revolution
  82. Bash Back! makes a point at Gay Pride
  83. Be Gay Do Crimes - An Introduction
  84. Bookchin, Murray and Foreman, Dave: Defending the Earth: A Dialogue Between Murray Bookchin and Dave Foreman, South End Press, 1991
  89. Jason McQuinn (10 december 2009). "Post-Left Anarchy, Leaving the Left Behind". The Anarchist Library. Retrieved 9 april 2021. 
  90. Anarchy 101
  91. Are anarcho-capitalists anarchists?
  92. Why we can only maintain 150 relationships, BBC
  93. Early men and women were equal
  94. The pipe dream of anarcho-populism
  96. Nancy L. Green: Socialist Antisemitism, Defense Of A Bourgeois Jew And Discovery Of The Jewish Proletariat
  97. Jewish participation in the Anarchist movement in the Russian Empire (in Russian)
  98. Treyf Podcast
  99. A YIVO conference finds new audience for Yiddish anarchism
  100. Personal Influences interview with Noam Chomsky
  101. The Libertarian Myth of Rojava, Al Jazeera