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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?)
Smash the State
Icon Anarchism.svg
It's not anarchy
It's anarchism!
It's not fascism, it's just:
It's just fascism:
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 aims to create a society without political, economic or social hierarchies with the the goal of maximasing individual liberty and social equality.[2][3]

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[4] and Catalonia)[5] and the active suppression of the anarchist movement throughout much of the 20th century devastated their support among organized labor.


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 along with being the forebear of utilitarianism.[6] It would not be until Pierre Johnson-Proudhon published What is Property? in 1840 that the term anarchist was adopted as a self-description[7] In 1844 Max Stirner published The Ego and His Own giving birth to individualist anarchism.[8]

By the mid 19th century, a series of events shook anarchism. First in 1857 the french communist Jospeh Déjacque coined the term libertarianism[9][note 1] whose use became widespread in the late 1880s due to the anti-anarchist laws in the French Third Republic.[10] The second event was the brutal repression of the short-lived Paris CommuneWikipedia's W.svg by the French Third Republic which had deep long-term philosophical effects on the nascent marxist movement.[11]

Finally, one of the biggest events was the split between anarchists and marxists, the first great split in the radical left,[note 2] with the collapse of the International Workingmen's Association in 1876.[12]

From the late 19th century to the mid 20th century, the most successful anarchist ideology was anarcho-syndicalismWikipedia's W.svg. Anarcho-syndicalist organizations like the Industrial Workers of the World and Confederación Nacional del TrabajoWikipedia's W.svg were founded and gained a surprising amount of membership in a relatively short amount of time and even rebouded from the First Red ScareWikipedia's W.svg.[13] 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.[14]

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the anarchist movement was weakened but would suffer a temporary revival in the New Left. However the rise of the New Right and the appropriation of anarchism by right-wingers was the most notable event of anarchist history in the second half of the 20th century.[15]

Overview and Tactics[edit]

The anarchist philosophy has a variety of methods to employ. Some of these it shares with the non-violent resistance tendency, which is direct action. Direction action includes obstructive sit-ins, labor strikes, workplace occupations, street blockades and hacktivism, along with sabotage, vandalism and destruction of property. The last one is often picked up by the media to demonize protestors.[16] These are known as diversity of tacticsWikipedia's W.svg which allows anarchists groups to not restrict themselves to one specific tactic for all ocasions.

Violence and Terrorism[edit]

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[17]

Violence is one of the many tools of the anarchist movement. However there are arguments, under the theory of diversity of tatics, what role violence plays in revolutionary actions and in the persuit of resistance to state repression[18][19] and particularly in view of the fact that the capitalist media will demonize any violence that occurs in a protest almost to parody levels.[20]

The role of violence has become an important topic due to recent events, including the Ferguson protestsWikipedia's W.svg and the fact that many leaders in the unrest were found dead years later under suspicious circunstances.[21] Examples include Darren Seals found dead in a burning car[22] and Edward Crowfard, subject of a famous photograph, being dead in an allegadly self-inflicted gun wound.[23] This also ties up with the political rise of the Alt-Right and Antifa, particularly with the argument of whether or not is ok to punch people with repugnant views.[24][25]

Terrorism is also another tactic favored by some anarchists. Based on the idea of propaganda of the deedWikipedia's W.svg which is about publicitizing violent actions of retaliation against the ruling class.[26] This tactic grew as a backlash against state repression towards the labor and socialist movements, such as the execution and exile of the French communardsWikipedia's W.svg and the violent strike-breaking in United States.[27] Famous killings done of propaganda of the deed include:

The propaganda of the deed largely backfired. Killing specific powerful men did not brought about the collapse of capitalist society but only served to demonize the anarchist movement. By 1887 various important figures in the anarchist movement rejected this tactic[28] but it also resulted in state repression such as the Lois scélératesWikipedia's W.svg("villainious laws") in the French Third Republic that banned all anarchist propaganda and the American criminal syndicalismWikipedia's W.svg laws which were used to crack down "radical" labor unions.

Pacifism and non-violent resistance[edit]

For more, see below
While some anarchists have and continue espouse violent and coercive means to achieve the revolution, other rejected these methods. The anarchist attraction to pacifism is clear, as violence is seen as violent and authoritative and contrary to anarchist principles.

Pacifism transcends tendencies in the anarchist movement as it was anarcho-syndicalist Bart de Ligt that gave one of the sharpest criticism of "bourgeois pacifism" in that any attempt to make capitalism pacificistic is doomed to failure.[29]

Anarchism and Law Enforcement[edit]

Anarchist groups that espouse violence often tend to clash with the police.[30] In fact anarchists have a seething hatred for the police, due that they subscribe to the idea of A.C.A.BWikipedia's W.svg which is based on the idea that there's no such thing as "good cops".

Police officers have to enforce all laws including injust laws, such as anti-homelessness legislationWikipedia's W.svg, which in the United States are used to punish people for "choosing to be homeless",[31] racial segregation, home evictions, discrimination on the basis of sexuality, gender, ethnicity and creed along with dirty police tactics such as entrapmentWikipedia's W.svg and racial profiling makes law enforcement as a clear agent of oppression.

Also American law enforcement has been infiltrated by white supremacists[32] and the Republican Party is welcoming white supremacists to join the military as well.[33]

Mutual Aid and Media[edit]

The other common tactic amongst anarchist groups is mutual aidWikipedia's W.svg 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's W.svg and the Common Ground Health ClinicWikipedia's W.svg,[34] with the aid of various other humanitarian organizations such as Veterans for Peace, to make up for the abysmal lack of government response. It recieved a lot of volunteer aid from young whites, something that was noticed by the media at the time.[35]

The loose federation of collectives called Food Not BombsWikipedia's W.svg is another notable mutual aid group which is a sharing franchise based on freely sharing food with others. The group has particularly involved in controversives relating to municipal bans on homeless feeding.[36] In Orlando, Florida, volunteers were arrested but the charges were later dropped.[37] In 2012 FNB provided relief in Long Island after the Superstorm Sandy,[38] and in November 2014 members were arrested for violating the feeding ban in Fort Lauderdale, Florida,[39] resulting in a media circus.[40]

In 2017 Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria[41] and once again the government was beyond useless[42] with Trump's antics being lambasted[43] and the territory being decimated by austerity policies.[44] In response an anarchist group called Mutual Aid Disaster Relief send a team to Puerto Rico[45] to help built a solar-based electric grid[46] which the local authorities have tried to undermine[47] 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' rule over another. Marxists, particularly those inspired by Lenin, believe that there must exist a transitional state during the revolution until it's finalized and then the state will whither away. This transitional state is called as dictatorship of the proleteriat which is the proces in that the proletariat siezes the state and harnesses its power to suppress resistance to the socialist revoltion.[48] However libertarian marxists criticise lennists for their support for vanguardism, which would result in a one-party state. For libertarian marxists, the dictatorship of the proleteriat exists to expand democracy rather than to implement a minority rule.[49]
  • While marxist schools of thought always had a individual founder (Lennism, Trotskyism, Stalinism, Maoism etc), anarchist school of thought emerged based on organizational principle or form of practise.[50]

There are two types of anarchism: classical anarchism, which developed between mid 19th century to Second World War, and contemporary or post-classical anarchism which developed from post-war period to the modern day. One thing

The are two types of anarchism, classical anarchism and contemporary anarchism. Contemporary anarchism rose from the ashes in the post-WWII inspired by the of 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.[51]

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.

Individualist Anarchism[edit]

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

  • Market Anarchism, also referred as Free market anticapitalism,[52] 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 business competing for trade and with a definition property based on occupancy and use.[53] A modern branch called left-wing market anarchism has also risen based on the homestead principleWikipedia's W.svg in the recent years.[54]
  • Egoist anarchism or anarcho-egoism is inspired by the ideas of Marx Stirner in which 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. It was suplanted by social anarchism but a translation by Benjamin Tucker, a socialist,[55] made the movement ascendant and its influence spread to anarcho-communism.[56]

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 emphasazing personal autonomy and the rational nature of human beings. Of the two, social anarchism was the most popular and widespread category of classical anarchism.[57]


Contemporary Anarchism[edit]


  1. Fake News!
  2. the second great split was the one between the pro-bolshevisk and anti-bolshevisk factions after the Russian Revolution


  2. Craig, Edward, ed (2005). The Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. ISBN 978-0-415-32495-3. 
  3. What is Anarchism? FAQ
  4. Revolutionary Ukraine, The Nestor Makhno Archive
  5. The Catalan anarchist revolutionaries were immortalized by George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia.
  6. William Godwin in the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  7. Pierre Joseph-Proudhon and anarchism
  8. Max Stirner in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  9. Joseph Déjacques letter to Pierre Jospeh-Proudhon (in french)
  10. The Week Online interviews Noam Chomsky
  11. The Paris Commune, a 140 years later
  12. First International in the Encyclopedia Britannica
  13. They didn't suppress the Wobblies
  14. The collapse of the Wobblies
  15. Demanding the Impossible: A history of Anarchism by Peter Marshall, Chapter 36: The New Right and Anarcho-Capitalism
  16. Hong Kong protests turn violent; Ferguson: calmer scenes after night of violence; Is it OK for protestors to damage property?
  18. Anarchism and Violence, 1896 by L S Bevinton
  19. Correspondence about revolutionary strategy, 2009
  20. Reporters flock to burning DC garbage can
  21. Death of six activists tied to Ferguson protests alarm activists
  22. Ferguson protestor, Darren Seals, found dead in a burning car
  23. Edward Crowford found dead in an apparent suicide
  24. Is it Ok to punch a nazi?
  25. What are the ethics of punching a nazi
  26. Action as propaganda by Johann Most
  27. The Day Wall Street Exploded excerpt
  28. "Violence as a Social Factor," (1895) by Errico Malatesta
  29. An Anarchist FAQ
  30. Anarchists clash with police in Greece
  31. Criminalization of homelessness in US cities
  32. 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
  33. GOP-controlled Senate deleted "white nationalist" from plan to screen military recruits
  34. Anarchists providing medical aid in New Orleans
  35. Common Ground volunteers bridge racial divide
  36. Food Not Bombs say they will not let authorities stop them from feeding the homeless
  37. Charges dropped against Orlando Food Not Bombs arrestees
  38. Food Not Bombs provides relief to Long Island
  39. Eight protestors arrested for trying to meet city official over homeless laws
  40. More homeless feeding attack amid national backlash
  41. Puerto Rico's Hurricane Maria death toll could exceed 4,000 according to new study
  42. Ten months without power: Puerto Ricans still without electricity
  43. Trump throws paper towels into crowd in Puerto Rico
  44. Naomi Klein on Puerto Rico, austerity and the left
  45. (Solar) Power to the People
  46. Anarchist groups in rural Puerto Rico help reboot the power grid
  47. Officials in Puerto Rico are undermining a rooftop solar movement
  48. Dictatorship of the proletariat by Encyclopedia Britannica
  49. "Democracy and Dictatorship" by Rose Luxemburg
  50. Anarchism by David Graeber and Andrej Grubacic
  51. Contrasting classical and contemporary anarchism
  52. Free market anticapitalism, the unknown ideal
  53. "What Is Property?'" from the Marxist Archives
  54. Markets, Not Capitalism
  55. State Socialism and Anarchism (1886)
  56. Communist society
  57. What types of anarchism are there?