From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
The anarchy symbol. If you see this, there may be edgy teens who know all the solutions dangerous anarchist terrorists out and about. (Hey, why does their symbol use a capital letter?)
It doesn't stop
at the water's edge

Icon politics.svg
As usual
Country sections
Flag of the United States.svg
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Warning icon orange.svg This page contains too many unsourced statements and needs to be improved.

Anarchism could use some help. Please research the article's assertions. Whatever is credible should be sourced, and what is not should be removed.

Not to be confused with the state of anarchy.
please do not say "top notch" to me unless you want to spend hrs explaining what the fuck these notches are & who determines their hierarchy
—wint embraces anarcho-notchism[1]

Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates some form of political anarchy, direct democracy, or hyper-egalitarianism in decision making as preferable to hierarchical government, usually excepting decisions of individual rights, which are enshrined as unchangeable to prevent mob rule or the squelching of minority rights. Modern anarchists argue that all governments exist only to perpetuate their power, and apply this maxim equally to both democracies and dictatorships. While most anarchists have a specific conception of how a stateless society should be organized, some instead seek to replace the current system with what is sometimes called "Panarchism", which is basically a system where individual communities are free to create their own political system (a similar idea exists called "meta-utopia").[2] Under Panarchism, a community could be Anarcho-Communist, and bordered by Anarcho-Capitalists and Anarcho-Primitivists. Theoretically, a fascist state which allows people to enter and leave freely could also be considered Panarchist. The question is, would anyone other than the fascist dictator join the state at all, and would fascist states really let people go free? By the way, any information relating to anarchists should be reported to your local police.Do You Believe That?[note 1]

Anarchism was historically associated very strongly with the labor union movement, as many anarchists saw organized labor as being an ideal tool for the overthrow of 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 active suppression of the anarchist movement throughout much of the 20th century devastated their support among organized labor (especially in Spain, where the CNT, formerly the largest anarchist organization in the world with nearly two million members, was outlawed and its members executed, imprisoned, or forced underground, and the United States, where the IWW was heavily repressed during the red scare with its members jailed and tortured). Most anarchist trade unions have either collapsed or abandoned all traces of their former anarchist politics, though there are still exceptions such as the IWW, FAU and CNT, although both are nowhere near the same size as they were in the 20th century.

Types of anarchism[edit]

Anarchists differ from Marxists, who believe that the state and class rule are synonymous, and a tool of the enforcement of one class' rule over another. Marxists feel a transitional state (the "dictatorship of the proletariat") is necessary to safe-guard the revolution until it has been finalized and will then wither away to a stateless, classless society, or communism. Anarchists by contrast favor going directly to a stateless society, arguing that a dictatorship of the proletariat will inevitably be a repressive, self-perpetuating state and will not wither away. Mikhail Bakunin, a Russian anarchist who founded the anarcho-collectivist tendency, engaged in an ideological struggle with Karl Marx and his supporters in the 1870s inside of the International Workingmen's Association (the First International.) Marx won control, but the criticisms Bakunin leveled at Marx (such as its "transitional" absolute state becoming very permanent, with the danger that (pseudo)scientific "socialists" would become a new ruling class), have obviously proven extremely prescient.

Market anarchism[edit]

Market anarchists view the government as interfering with a truly "free market", believing that both government bureaucrats and corporations stand in the way of smaller businesses and distort prices. They would prefer producer and consumer coops and self-employed professionals to wage-labour. It is less popular than social anarchism.


Mutualism was the anarchist school of thought starting with Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, 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.

Even though it is based on the same theory of value that communism has, 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.

Egoist anarchism[edit]

Egoist anarchism, or simply Egoism, originated with Max Stirner in his 1844 book Der Einzige und sein Eigentum (in English, The Ego and Its Own; other translations include The Individual and His Property and Me and My Own). He argued for a rejection of all things which limits the individual, rejecting 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. He used the Protestant Reformation as a case study in this, arguing that the Protestants' rejection of the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, far from liberating them, merely enslaved them further, as they still bound themselves to the faith and morality espoused by the Church. The forces of Christian tyranny were only strengthened by growing more local and personal; secular rulers claimed spiritual power by establishing and supporting state churches, religious leaders claimed secular power, and religious conscience became a personal force that repressed people's natural desires. Stirner's work was little known in his time (though he was a friend of Marx and Engels, who critiqued The Ego and Its Own in their early book The German Ideology,[5]), only being rediscovered later in the 1890s.

Egoism and Stirner has been argued to be a major influence on Friedrich Nietzsche by thinkers such as Deleuze[6]. Stirner also was a significant influence on the anarchist Emma Goldman. More recently, Ayn Rand appropriated the Egoism label for her own philosophy, which she later named Objectivism. Rand's egoism has little to nothing to do with Stirner's other than sharing the term, in fact Rand's egoism stands in opposition to Stirner's egoism as Stirner staunchly criticized spooks such as property that Rand abides by. It's probable that Stirner would have poured milk on her head if they ever met. On the more countercultural side, Anton LaVey's rejection of Christian morality, and his rationalization for such, was also framed in words very similar to Stirner's (albeit a fair bit more vulgar).

Individualist anarchism[edit]

Individualist anarchism was originated by American thinkers in the mid-19th century, around the time Proudhon and Stirner were writing. They held similar ideas to mutualism, although they were more anti-collectivist than Proudhon. They were primarily supportive of independent craftsmen in opposing rising industrial capitalism, which at that point had not yet fully taken over so much as in Europe. Josiah Warren, Stephen Pearl Andrews, William Greene, Benjamin Tucker, and Lysander Spooner were the prominent thinkers here.

Historians locate individualist anarchism as a mainly American phenomenon, and the two classic histories on the subject, Native American Anarchism by Eunice Minette Schuster and Men Against the State by James J. Martin, trace its roots back to early American experiments in utopian living such as Modern Times and New Harmony, and further back to the thought of people like Henry David Thoreau and Thomas Jefferson. Schuster also found its roots in non-conformist Christian groups during the colonial era, who went in the same anarcho-pacifist direction later taken by Tolstoy. (This view was not shared by Martin, who, as an Egoist, rejected Christianity out of hand as being in any way compatible with anarchism.) The anarcho-capitalist theorist Murray Rothbard tends to agree with Schuster here, and points to the few successes in people living peacefully without government in early American history mostly being Quakers.

Individualist anarchism, much like egoist anarchism and mutualism, barely exists as an organized tendency in the 21st century, though some of its principles were adopted by later anarchist movements.


See the main article on this topic: Anarcho-capitalism

Perhaps the most controversial of all of the movements listed here -- even to the point of many calling it "not Anarchism" (see below) -- anarcho-capitalism is exactly what it says on the tin: extreme laissez-faire capitalism taken to its logical conclusion with the elimination of government altogether. Anarcho-capitalists, or "an-caps", believe that an anarchic system of competing private contractors can perform all of the functions of government better than a coercive government can without that system becoming coercive itself. Many social anarchists will hesitate or refuse to classify it as a type of anarchism at all, and instead see it as an oxymoron, since they usually reject capitalism as another form of hierarchy and as something that exists only because of the state.[7] [8] Their greatest objections come from what they see as anarcho-capitalists' obsession with replicating the most heinous and coercive aspects of the state (law enforcement, national defense), and the things they most want to abolish, in the market via private defense agencies and private courts and prisons. Long story short, an-caps want to shuffle the deck until they have the best cards. Watching them interact is like seeing cavemen first discover basic things about civilization. They hate history like they do the other humanities ("soft" sciences), so they'll have to re-learn everything.[note 2]

There is a "market anarchist" tendency on the left wing of the modern libertarian movement who agree with this model but reject the capitalist label, instead using terms like autarchist, agorist, or mutualist to describe themselves. For them, a completely laissez-faire free market, which would emerge in the absence of the state, is not the same thing as capitalism, which exists by the grace of the state through such things as corporate personhood and gunboat diplomacy. Many market anarchists also reject trying to replicate the most coercive functions of the state in the free market.

Social anarchism[edit]

The more popular form of anarchism is called "social anarchism", which advocates a more collectivized, locally-planned economy run by workers. As such, they are to the left of market anarchists. Depending on the system, money may or may not be abolished, and while they all agree on egalitarianism, it can differ between "perfectly equal" and allowing some differences based on jobs performed and/or hours worked, so long as said differences in wages are agreed on in a democratic manner by workers.


Anarcho-collectivism was begun by the Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin (mentioned above). 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 since who view the church as another oppressive hierarchy alongside the state. Bakunin's anarcho-collectivism criticized Marxism as something that would lead 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. Anarcho-collectivism no longer exists as a distinct tendency but was an important ancestor of the anarcho-communist and anarcho-syndicalist movements.


Anarcho-communism was founded by Prince Pyotr Kropotkin of Russia (who dropped his noble title at the age of twelve). His vision was of a moneyless gift economy made up of free communes in an equal society, following the same dictum as Marx of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs", albeit in a voluntary, democratic manner. Other thinkers like Emma Goldman and Errico Malatesta expanded upon anarcho-communism. Kropotkin's anarcho-communism refers more to voluntary communal living in communes and free sharing of everything, as opposed to the Marxist-Leninist conception of a dictatorship of the proletariat. Kropotkin's book Mutual Aid: A Factor In Evolution posits an equal role for cooperation in driving evolution as opposed to competition alone, and can be seen as a salvo against social Darwinism. Stephen Jay Gould felt he was onto something here.[9]

Christian anarchism/anarcho-pacifism[edit]

Leo Tolstoy, the Russian known for writing great literature such as War and Peace, was also a dedicated anarchist who helped to organize peasant communes (mirs) and free, democratically-run schools for their education, among many other things. His book The Kingdom of God is Within You set forth his own radical interpretation of the Christian Gospels, believing that Jesus wished to liberate people from oppression peacefully and redistribute wealth back to the hands of its creators, essentially an earlier version of liberation theology. However, Tolstoy also opposed violence absolutely, even in self-defense or to defend others, which influenced Gandhi later. Other anarchists, while admiring Tolstoy's great work in helping Russian peasants and his compassionate moral code, believe this is an overly idealistic view that would require a "community of saints", arguing that failing to protect innocents by force if absolutely necessary is itself a moral evil. Many would agree that nonviolence is still a good tactic, even that it should be the first used, but do not go so far as Tolstoyans.

Some religious groups, most notably the Anabaptists (Hutterites, Amish, and Mennonites), are very similar in their beliefs to Tolstoy's pacifism, along with holding possessions in common. They are not strictly anarchist, however, and they usually believe the state is legitimate and ordained by God but that Christians are to be a separate people and not participate in its functions except as strictly required (i.e. paying taxes, etc).


Anarcho-syndicalism is an Anarchist school of thought which believes that direct democratic trade unions could overthrow capitalism and the state (possibly with a general strike), afterward federating among themselves freely to create a non-hierarchical society. Anarcho-syndicalists view industrial unionism as the vehicle through which the state can both be overthrown, and around which society would be organized after the revolution. Production would thus continue without disruption, with workplaces democratically managed by workers and collectively owned. 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,[10] during which various anarcho-syndicalist organizations throughout the world collectively claimed well over ten million active members. Among the various anarchist traditions, anarcho-syndicalism 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.

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 anarcho-syndicalism, however, as they are hierarchical cooperatives with substantial pay differentials and managers having the power to hire and fire underlings. Better examples 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.


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 for discussion, 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,[11]. 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.[12]

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).[13]

Lifestyle anarchism[edit]

Probably the most easily noticed group, these anarchists may not be in the majority of the anarchist community, but they tend to take up a disproportionate amount of attention considering how extreme and obnoxious they tend to be in their beliefs. They largely define themselves as simply opposing modern culture and government, and tend to have nihilistic views that are more informed by postmodernism than traditional leftism. They tend to mix their beliefs with a lot of New Age woo and try to make statements through counterculture-esque acts. They are loathed by other anarchists (to the point of some, such as Murray Bookchin, denying they are even anarchists) because they are usually more interested in making a provocative statement than actually organizing and trying to improve society, and tend to scare people away from "Anarchism" by associating it with kooks. Rightly or wrongly they are usually characterized (not least by other anarchists) more as middle-to-upper class kids going through a rebellious stage than actually caring about anarchist theory, instead using it as a shallow excuse to fight "The Man".

Unlike other forms of anarchy, which are often very clearly on the political left, these forms of anarchy have a weird tendency to be so "out there" that it ends up in the weird space in between where the far-left bends into the far-right. For instance, Ted Kaczynski (see below) is fanatically opposed to leftism, yet is a primitivist, and has been admired by more left-wing primitivists nonetheless.


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.

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.

An obscure insurrectionary anarchist manifesto from France, The Coming Insurrection, became an unlikely best-seller in the U.S. because of Glenn Beck mentioning it several times and calling it the most evil book he has ever read. Glenn Beck's sneaky promotion-through-denunciation of this book probably has something to do with the fact that he agrees with its profoundly nihilistic opposition to liberalism, though not with its proposed solution.

Post-left anarchism[edit]

Post-left anarchism is a philosophical tendency within anarchism that takes the idea of rejection of all authority and hierarchy to its extreme conclusion and rejects all forms of social organization and economy altogether, including all other forms of anarchism. It is mostly defined in terms of what it stands in opposition to, rather than what it supports. Post-leftism opposes all forms of industrial production, all forms of economics and exchange (including both market capitalism and socialism), all forms of mass social organization including democracy, all forms of religion and morality, and all the various flavors of identity politics — feminism, gay and transgender rights movements, civil rights movements for racial minorities, class-struggle narratives, etc. This rather adversarial outlook on the world generally makes them extremely unpopular with other anarchists of all stripes, with the occasional exceptions of the insurrectionary anarchist and anarcho-primitivist communities, both of whom overlap somewhat with post-leftism.

Due to their rejection of organization and political participation, they have a fairly minimal presence in the wider anarchist movement, though, there are always one or two of them at every anarchist book fair.


Anarcho-transhumanism is a recent branch of anarchism that takes traditional and modern anarchism, typically drawing from anarcho-syndicalismWikipedia's W.svg, left-libertarianismWikipedia's W.svg or libertarian soclialism and combines it with transhumanism and post-humanismWikipedia's W.svg. 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's W.svg as well.

Modern anarchism[edit]

A few modern anarchists believe that humans can best live their lives without being told what to do by anyone, and oppose democracy. They generally have no idea how things like abortion and scientific-based policy would be decided and oppose all rules. There is also a "lifestyle anarchist" tendency for whom anarchy has more to do with "radical acts" like the punk culture, veganism, shoplifting, and squatting, and a more puerile "kiddie anarchist" tendency for whom anarchy means things like hacking, phreaking, The Anarchist Cookbook (and its many derivatives), and the Unabomber manifesto. Both tend to appeal mainly to teenagers, who either eventually make the leap to more serious anarchist theory or just grow out of it.

The reality is that the various military industrial complexes have filled the world with AK-47s and the like, making it much more difficult to achieve those ends because one heavily-armed warlord can make it very difficult for 1,000 anarchists to do their own thing. But, as Bloody Mary sings in South Pacific, "If you don't have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?"

Some are called "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. Most modern "without adjectives" anarchists have abandoned this and instead argue that only their conception of anarchism is valid. People who subscribe to any other school of thought can expect to be told that without-adjectives anarchism is the only 'true' anarchism. "Anarchists without adjectives" generally focus on de-legitimizing 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.

Because most modern anarchists are not interested in forcing their ways on others, they tend frequently to blend into the background, living their anarchist lives happily out of the spotlight. Well, except for the free skool movement and various communes and revolutions. The prime example would be the establishment of anarchist communes starting in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War, in which production and innovation were reported to have increased fairly dramatically. 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. The 19th century anarchist belief in the "propaganda of the deed" (such as tossing a bomb or shooting some Royal Person) has largely fallen into disrepute, though it was very common at the turn of the last century with several heads of state assassinated this way, giving us the "bomb-throwing" anarchist stereotype, which is unfortunate.

Another working example of anarchism is the Ukranian Free Territory which existed for about three years before being destroyed by the Bolsheviks, though they had managed to successfully hold off the Whites. Current day Chiapas is an other example of functional anarchism that is still in existence.

Not types of 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. Rather they seek a hierarchy that arises 'naturally', not 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'. They said you can just join an existing society based on other values or even start your own. For the most part, National anarchists are despised by other anarchists. That is 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.


See the main article on this topic: Anarcho-fascism‎‎

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

In spite of its name, anarcho-capitalism is not related to the other anarchist movements more than the abolishing of the state. It is a far-right ideology which advocates a laissez-faire free market. Anarchism traditionally means not simply the abolition of the state but also all hierarchies, which are viewed as inherently oppressive. Since capitalism is hierarchical few, if any, leftist-anarchists view anarcho-capitalism as anarchism.[14] [15] However, ancaps simply view anarchism as the abolition of the state, so they view capitalism (and other hierarchies for that matter) and anarchism as compatible.

In short, in the ancap's mind anarcho-capitalism is anarchism, in every other anarchist's it's not.

Anarchist organizations[edit]

Those who make no effort to understand anarchism generally suppose that the very term "anarchist organization" posits a hierarchical structure which is anathema to the egalitarian virtues of the anarchist worldview. This is not the case. Anarchists believe that human beings can organize themselves along non-hierarchical lines. Anarchists are not against organization, but rather oppose hierarchy, and do not advocate the 'lawlessness' and disintegration of society which the term 'anarchy' conjures. Anarchist organizations strive for a maximal degree of direct democracy and the accountability of officers to the rank and file.

North America[edit]



United States[edit]



  • Rojava (or North Syria Federation) is a region of Syria mostly controlled by Kurds and allied fighters. It could reasonably be considered an anarchist region; it incorporates several elements of anarchism including egalitarianism, decentralization, and self-determination. However, there are certain things about Rojava that some say would disqualify it, namely that it has an army of 50,000 troops alongside compulsory military service, a state governance structure, and good relations/direct military cooperation with other governments. But even if it isn't anarchist, it's still libertarian socialist, a broader political umbrella that includes anarchism among other philosophies/systems.


South America[edit]


Other links[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Anarchy
  • Libertarianism, a term originally used by anarchists, such as "libertarian socialism", to distinguish it from authoritarian versions. Now used by radical classical liberals and supporters of laissez-faire capitalism. The former use is now ironically seen as an oxymoron by them, just as anarchists feel about such "right"-libertarian ideologies.
  • Mobocracy
  • Socialism


  1. This is a joke in reference to the Westminster, U.K. police issuing a memo stating just that.
  2. Maybe not all is lost for them, then? Just wait a couple of centuries.


  2. Also known as 'exactly the same system we already have', if you consider countries to be communities.
  3. Revolutionary Ukraine, The Nestor Makhno Archive
  4. The Catalan anarchist revolutionaries were immortalized by George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia.
  5. Marx, Karl, and Engels, Friedrich: The German Ideology, 1846
  6. Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, translated by Hugh Tomlinson, The Athlone Press, 1983, pp. 153–154
  7. Anarchy 101
  8. Are anarcho-capitalists anarchists?
  9. Gould, Stephen Jay: "Kropotkin Was No Crackpot", Natural History 106, June 1997, p. 12-21
  10. Consider Wikipedia's category of prominent anarcho-syndicalists, most of which were born after the civil war and died sometime after the second world war
  11. McElroy, Wendy: XXX: A Woman's Right to Pornography, St. Martin's Press, 1997
  12. PBS American Experience, People & Events: Ben Reitman (1879-1942)
  13. Bookchin, Murray and Foreman, Dave: Defending the Earth: A Dialogue Between Murray Bookchin and Dave Foreman, South End Press, 1991
  14. Anarchy 101
  15. Are anarcho-capitalists anarchists?