Contemporary anarchism

Anarchism is a political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, or harmful.[1][2] However, others argue that while anti-statism is central, it is inadequate to define anarchism solely on this basis.[3] Therefore, they argue instead that anarchism entails opposing authority or hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations, including, but not limited to, the state system.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10] Proponents of this form of anarchism advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical free associations.[5][11][12][13][14]

Since the last third of the 20th century, anarchists have been involved in student protest movements, peace movements, squatter movements, and the anti-globalization movement, among others. Anarchists have participated in violent revolutions (such as in Revolutionary Catalonia and the Free Territory) and anarchist political organizations (such as IWA-AIT or the IWW) exist since the 19th century.


There is no doubt that 60s anarchism was libertarian and linked to the sexual revolution, liberation of the erotic instincts and what Herbert Marcuse called "nonrepressive sublimation". Yet, contemporary anarchism can be seen as a powerful critique of the pseudo-libertarianism of contemporary neo-liberalism, where the sexual revolution has turned the culture industry into the sex industry - ask yourself, is there today anything less transgressive and more normalizing than pornography? One might say that contemporary anarchism is about responsibility, whether sexual, ecological or socio-economic; it flows from an experience of conscience about the manifold ways in which the West ravages the rest; it is an ethical outrage at the yawning inequality, impoverishment and disenfranchisment that is so palpable locally and globally.[15]
Simon Critchley, Infinitely Demanding

Anarchism was influential in the Counterculture of the 1960s[16][17][18] and anarchists actively participated in the late sixties students and workers revolts.[19] In 1968 in Carrara, Italy, the International of Anarchist Federations was founded during an international anarchist conference held there in 1968 by the three existing European federations of France (the Fédération Anarchiste), the Federazione Anarchica Italiana of Italy and the Iberian Anarchist Federation as well as the Bulgarian federation in French exile.[20]

In the United Kingdom in the 1970s this was associated with the punk rock movement, as exemplified by bands such as Crass (pioneers of the anarcho-punk subgenre) and the Sex Pistols.[21] The housing and employment crisis in most of Western Europe led to the formation of communes and squatter movements like that of Barcelona, Spain. In Denmark, squatters occupied a disused military base and declared the Freetown Christiania, an autonomous haven in central Copenhagen. The relationship between anarchism, punk, and squatting has carried on into the 21st century.

Members of the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist trade union CNT marching in Madrid in 2010

Since the revival of anarchism in the mid 20th century,[22] a number of new movements and schools of thought emerged, well documented in Robert Graham's Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, Volume Two, The Emergence of the New Anarchism (1939-1977). Although feminist tendencies have always been a part of the anarchist movement in the form of anarcha-feminism, they returned with vigour during the second wave of feminism in the 1960s. The American Civil Rights Movement and the movement against the war in Vietnam also contributed to the revival of North American anarchism. European anarchism of the late 20th century drew much of its strength from the labour movement, and both have incorporated animal rights activism. Anarchist anthropologist David Graeber and anarchist historian Andrej Grubacic have posited a rupture between generations of anarchism, with those "who often still have not shaken the sectarian habits" of the 19th century contrasted with the younger activists who are "much more informed, among other elements, by indigenous, feminist, ecological and cultural-critical ideas", and who by the turn of the 21st century formed "by far the majority" of anarchists.[23]

Around the turn of the 21st century, anarchism grew in popularity and influence as part of the anti-war, anti-capitalist, and anti-globalisation movements.[24] Anarchists became known for their involvement in protests against the meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Group of Eight, and the World Economic Forum. Some anarchist factions at these protests engaged in rioting, property destruction, and violent confrontations with police. These actions were precipitated by ad hoc, leaderless, anonymous cadres known as black blocs; other organisational tactics pioneered in this time include security culture, affinity groups and the use of decentralised technologies such as the internet.[24] A significant event of this period was the confrontations at WTO conference in Seattle in 1999.[24]

International anarchist federations in existence include the International of Anarchist Federations, the International Workers' Association, and International Libertarian Solidarity. The largest organised anarchist movement today is in Spain, in the form of the Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT) and the CNT. CGT membership was estimated at around 100,000 for 2003.[25] Other active syndicalist movements include in Sweden the Central Organisation of the Workers of Sweden and the Swedish Anarcho-syndicalist Youth Federation; the CNT-AIT in France;[26] the Union Sindicale Italiana in Italy; in the US Workers Solidarity Alliance and the UK Solidarity Federation. The revolutionary industrial unionist Industrial Workers of the World, claiming 10,000 paying members, and the International Workers Association, an anarcho-syndicalist successor to the First International, also remain active.

Rojava Sewing Cooperative
Rojava is supporting efforts for workers to form cooperatives, such as this sewing cooperative.

Anarchist ideas have been influential in the development of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS), more commonly known as Rojava, a de facto autonomous region in northern Syria.[27] Abdullah Öcalan—a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) who is currently imprisoned in Turkey—is an iconic and popular figure in the DFNS whose ideas shaped the region's society and politics.[28] While in prison, Öcalan corresponded with (and was influenced by) Murray Bookchin, an anarcho-communist theorist and philosopher who developed Communalism and libertarian municipalism.[28] Modelled after Bookchin's ideas, Öcalan developed the theory of democratic confederalism. In March 2005, he issued his "Declaration of Democratic Confederalism in Kurdistan", calling upon citizens "to stop attacking the government and instead create municipal assemblies, which he called 'democracy without the state'".[28]

Post-classical schools of thought and movements

Whilst the classical schools of anarchist thought remain popular and relevant to the modern world (for example, anarcho-syndicalism, a movement within anarchism that seeks to organize society along economic syndicalism, has proponents that include Noam Chomsky, who said it is "highly relevant to advanced industrial societies), anarchism continues to generate many philosophies and movements, at times eclectic, drawing upon various sources, and syncretic, combining disparate concepts to create new philosophical approaches.[29]

  • Post-left anarchy is a recent current in anarchist thought that promotes a critique of anarchism's relationship to traditional Left-wing politics, such as its emphasis on class struggle, social revolution, labor unions, and the working class. Influenced by anti-authoritarian postmodern philosophy, post-leftists reject Enlightenment rationality and deconstruct topics such as gender. While a few advocate for armed insurrection, most advocate for creating spaces and affinity groups to act freely within current society rather than fighting for utopian ideal. In the United States, CrimethInc., Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, and Green Anarchy are associated with post-leftism, as many post-left anarchists advocate for Anarcho-Primitivism. CrimethInc, which is influenced by Situationism, anarcho-punk, and green anarchy, argues for a DIY folk approach to everyday life, including refusal of work, escaping gender roles, and straight edge lifestyle.[45]
  • Post-anarchism is a revision of classical anarchism through influence of Baudrillard, Deleuze, Foucault, Lacan, and Nietzsche. Critics argue that this theory work ignores principles of economic exploitation and class warfare and does not produce political action.[46]
  • Queer anarchism is a form of socialism which suggests anarchism as a solution to the issues faced by the LGBT community, mainly heteronormativity, homophobia, transphobia and biphobia. Anarcho-queer arose during the late 20th century based on the work of Michel Foucault The History of Sexuality.
  • Left-wing market anarchism is associated with scholars such as Kevin Carson, Roderick T. Long, Charles Johnson, Brad Spangler, Samuel Edward Konkin III, Sheldon Richman, Chris Matthew Sciabarra and Gary Chartier,who stress the value of radically free markets, termed "freed markets" to distinguish them from the common conception which these libertarians believe to be riddled with statist and capitalist privileges. Referred to as left-wing market anarchists or market-oriented left-libertarians, proponents of this approach strongly affirm the classical liberal ideas of self-ownership and free markets, while maintaining that taken to their logical conclusions these ideas support strongly anti-corporatist, anti-hierarchical, pro-labor positions in economics; anti-imperialism in foreign policy; and thoroughly liberal or radical views regarding such cultural issues as gender, sexuality, and race. This strand of left-libertarianism tends to be rooted either in the mutualist economics conceptualized by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, American individualist anarchism, or in a left-wing interpretation or extension of the thought of Murray Rothbard.
  • Free-market anarchism, usually referring to anarcho-capitalism, is a political philosophy advocating property rights and the non-aggression principle. While not considered to be a form of anarchism by the majority of anarchists, due to its connection with capitalism, it is most common in the United States.[47] It is "based on a belief in the freedom to own private property, a rejection of any form of governmental authority or intervention, and the upholding of the competitive free market as the main mechanism for social interaction."[48] Anarcho-capitalists advocate for all services, including law enforcement and security, to be performed by multiple private providers all competing for business, rather than by a monopolist state agency funded by taxation. Anarcho-capitalism's proponents include Murray Rothbard, David D. Friedman, Hans-Hermann Hoppe and Walter Block
  • Anarcho-transhumanism is a recently new branch of anarchism that takes traditional and modern anarchism, typically anarcho-syndicalism and combines it with transhumanism and post-humanism. 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)".

Types of organization

Facciamo breccia 2008 by Stefano Bolognini18
Contemporary members of the Italian Anarchist Federation marching in Rome in 2008 in an anti-catholic church manifestation. The text translates as "free from dogmas, always heretics"

New Anarchism

"New Anarchism" is a term that has been notably used by Andrej Grubacic, amongst others, to describe the most recent reinvention of the anarchist thought and practice. What distinguishes the new anarchism of today from the new anarchism of the 1960s and 1970s, or from the work of US-UK based authors like Murray Bookchin, Paul Goodman, Herbert Read, Colin Ward and Alex Comfort, is its emphasis on the global perspective. Essays on new anarchism include David Graeber's "New Anarchists" in A Movement of Movements: is Another World Really possible?, ed. Tom Mertes (London: Verso, 2004) and Grubacic's "Towards Another Anarchism" in World Social Forum: Challenging Empires, ed. Jai Sen and Peter Waterman (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 2007).[23][55] Other authors have criticized the term for being too vague.[56]

See also


  1. ^ Malatesta, Errico. "Towards Anarchism". MAN!. OCLC 3930443. Archived from the original on 7 November 2012. Agrell, Siri (14 May 2007). "Working for The Man". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 16 May 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2008. "Anarchism". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. 2006. Archived from the original on 14 December 2006. Retrieved 29 August 2006. "Anarchism". The Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy: 14. 2005. Anarchism is the view that a society without the state, or government, is both possible and desirable. The following sources cite anarchism as a political philosophy: Mclaughlin, Paul (2007). Anarchism and Authority. Aldershot: Ashgate. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-7546-6196-2. Johnston, R. (2000). The Dictionary of Human Geography. Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-631-20561-6.
  2. ^ Slevin, Carl. "Anarchism." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics. Ed. Iain McLean and Alistair McMillan. Oxford University Press, 2003.
  3. ^ "Anarchists do reject the state, as we will see. But to claim that this central aspect of anarchism is definitive is to sell anarchism short."Anarchism and Authority: A Philosophical Introduction to Classical Anarchism by Paul McLaughlin. AshGate. 2007. pg. 28
  4. ^ "Authority is defined in terms of the right to exercise social control (as explored in the "sociology of power") and the correlative duty to obey (as explored in the "philosophy of practical reason"). Anarchism is distinguished, philosophically, by its scepticism towards such moral relations-by its questioning of the claims made for such normative power- and, practically, by its challenge to those "authoritative" powers which cannot justify their claims and which are therefore deemed illegitimate or without moral foundation."Anarchism and Authority: A Philosophical Introduction to Classical Anarchism by Paul McLaughlin. AshGate. 2007. pg. 1
  5. ^ a b "IAF principles". International of Anarchist Federations. Archived from the original on 5 January 2012. The IAF - IFA fights for : the abolition of all forms of authority whether economical, political, social, religious, cultural or sexual.
  6. ^ "Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations." Emma Goldman. "What it Really Stands for Anarchy" in Anarchism and Other Essays.
  7. ^ Individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker defined anarchism as opposition to authority as follows "They found that they must turn either to the right or to the left, — follow either the path of Authority or the path of Liberty. Marx went one way; Warren and Proudhon the other. Thus were born State Socialism and Anarchism ... Authority, takes many shapes, but, broadly speaking, her enemies divide themselves into three classes: first, those who abhor her both as a means and as an end of progress, opposing her openly, avowedly, sincerely, consistently, universally; second, those who profess to believe in her as a means of progress, but who accept her only so far as they think she will subserve their own selfish interests, denying her and her blessings to the rest of the world; third, those who distrust her as a means of progress, believing in her only as an end to be obtained by first trampling upon, violating, and outraging her. These three phases of opposition to Liberty are met in almost every sphere of thought and human activity. Good representatives of the first are seen in the Catholic Church and the Russian autocracy; of the second, in the Protestant Church and the Manchester school of politics and political economy; of the third, in the atheism of Gambetta and the socialism of Karl Marx." Benjamin Tucker. Individual Liberty.
  8. ^ Ward, Colin (1966). "Anarchism as a Theory of Organization". Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  9. ^ Anarchist historian George Woodcock report of Mikhail Bakunin's anti-authoritarianism and shows opposition to both state and non-state forms of authority as follows: "All anarchists deny authority; many of them fight against it." (pg. 9) ... Bakunin did not convert the League's central committee to his full program, but he did persuade them to accept a remarkably radical recommendation to the Berne Congress of September 1868, demanding economic equality and implicitly attacking authority in both Church and State."
  10. ^ Brown, L. Susan (2002). "Anarchism as a Political Philosophy of Existential Individualism: Implications for Feminism". The Politics of Individualism: Liberalism, Liberal Feminism and Anarchism. Black Rose Books Ltd. Publishing. p. 106.
  11. ^ "That is why Anarchy, when it works to destroy authority in all its aspects, when it demands the abrogation of laws and the abolition of the mechanism that serves to impose them, when it refuses all hierarchical organization and preaches free agreement — at the same time strives to maintain and enlarge the precious kernel of social customs without which no human or animal society can exist." Peter Kropotkin. Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal
  12. ^ "anarchists are opposed to irrational (e.g., illegitimate) authority, in other words, hierarchy — hierarchy being the institutionalisation of authority within a society." "B.1 Why are anarchists against authority and hierarchy?" in An Anarchist FAQ
  13. ^ "ANARCHISM, a social philosophy that rejects authoritarian government and maintains that voluntary institutions are best suited to express man's natural social tendencies." George Woodcock. "Anarchism" at The Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  14. ^ "In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to substitute themselves for the state in all its functions." Peter Kropotkin. "Anarchism" from the Encyclopædia Britannica
  15. ^ Simon Critchley (2007). Infinitely Demanding. Verso. p. 125
  16. ^ "These groups had their roots in the anarchist resurgence of the nineteen sixties. Young militants finding their way to anarchism, often from the anti-bomb and anti-Vietnam war movements, linked up with an earlier generation of activists, largely outside the ossified structures of ‘official’ anarchism. Anarchist tactics embraced demonstrations, direct action such as industrial militancy and squatting, protest bombings like those of the First of May Group and Angry Brigade – and a spree of publishing activity.""Islands of Anarchy: Simian, Cienfuegos, Refract and their support network" by John Patten Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Farrell provides a detailed history of the Catholic Workers and their founders Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. He explains that their pacifism, anarchism, and commitment to the downtrodden were one of the important models and inspirations for the 60s. As Farrell puts it, "Catholic Workers identified the issues of the sixties before the Sixties began, and they offered models of protest long before the protest decade.""The Spirit of the Sixties: The Making of Postwar Radicalism" by James J. Farrell
  18. ^ "While not always formally recognized, much of the protest of the sixties was anarchist. Within the nascent women's movement, anarchist principles became so widespread that a political science professor denounced what she saw as "The Tyranny of Structurelessness." Several groups have called themselves "Amazon Anarchists." After the Stonewall Rebellion, the New York Gay Liberation Front based their organization in part on a reading of Murray Bookchin's anarchist writings." "Anarchism" by Charley Shively in Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. pg. 52
  19. ^ "Within the movements of the sixties there was much more receptivity to anarchism-in-fact than had existed in the movements of the thirties...But the movements of the sixties were driven by concerns that were more compatible with an expressive style of politics, with hostility to authority in general and state power in particular...By the late sixties, political protest was intertwined with cultural radicalism based on a critique of all authority and all hierarchies of power. Anarchism circulated within the movement along with other radical ideologies. The influence of anarchism was strongest among radical feminists, in the commune movement, and probably in the Weather Underground and elsewhere in the violent fringe of the anti-war movement." "Anarchism and the Anti-Globalization Movement" by Barbara Epstein
  20. ^ London Federation of Anarchists involvement in Carrara conference, 1968 International Institute of Social History. Retrieved 19 January 2010
  21. ^ McLaughlin, Paul (2007). Anarchism and Authority. Aldershot: Ashgate. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-7546-6196-2.
  22. ^ Williams, Leonard (September 2007). "Anarchism Revived". New Political Science. 29 (3): 297–312. doi:10.1080/07393140701510160.
  23. ^ a b David Graeber and Andrej Grubacic, "Anarchism, Or The Revolutionary Movement Of The Twenty-first Century Archived March 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine", ZNet. Retrieved 2007-12-13. or Graeber, David and Grubacic, Andrej(2004)Anarchism, Or The Revolutionary Movement Of The Twenty-first Century Retrieved 26 July 2010
  24. ^ a b c Rupert, Mark (2006). Globalization and International Political Economy. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-7425-2943-4.
  25. ^ Carley, Mark "Trade union membership 1993–2003" (International:SPIRE Associates 2004).
  26. ^ Website of the Confédération Nationale du Travail - Association Internationale des Travailleurs
  27. ^ McHenry, Keith; Bufe, Chaz; Hedges, Chris (29 September 2015). Anarchist Cookbook. See Sharp Press. p. 85. ISBN 9781937276782.
  28. ^ a b c Enzinna, Wes (24 November 2015). "A Dream of Secular Utopia in ISIS' Backyard". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 28 February 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  29. ^ Perlin, Terry M. Contemporary Anarchism. Transaction Books, New Brunswick, NJ 1979
  30. ^ a b c d "Some Notes on Insurrectionary Anarchism" from Venomous Butterfly and Willful Disobedience
  31. ^ a b c ""Anarchism, insurrections and insurrectionalism" by Joe Black". 19 July 2006. Archived from the original on 6 December 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
  32. ^ MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base
  33. ^ "Bologna mail blocked after bombs". BBC News. 31 December 2003.
  34. ^ "Italy acts over EU letter bombs". CNN. 31 December 2003.
  35. ^ "Daily Times".
  36. ^ Associated Press. "Rome Embassy Blasts Wound 2; Anarchists Suspected". National Public Radio. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  37. ^ David Pepper (1996). Modern Environmentalism p. 44. Routledge.
  38. ^ Ian Adams (2001). Political Ideology Today p. 130. Manchester University Press.
  39. ^ Diez, Xavier. "La insumisión voluntaria" (PDF) (in Spanish). Acracia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  40. ^ "Anarchism and the different Naturist views have always been related.""Anarchism - Nudism, Naturism" by Carlos Ortega at Asociacion para el Desarrollo Naturista de la Comunidad de Madrid. Published on Revista ADN. Winter 2003
  41. ^ EL NATURISMO LIBERTARIO EN LA PENÍNSULA IBÉRICA (1890-1939) by Jose Maria Rosello Archived September 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ Ostergaard, Georfrey. "RESISTING THE NATION STATE the pacifist and anarchist tradition". Peace Pledge Union. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  43. ^ a b George Woodcock. Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements (1962)
  44. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 2–4. Locating Christian anarchism...In political theology
  45. ^ Marshall, Peter (1992). "Post-left Anarchy". Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. London: HarperCollins. pp. 679–680. ISBN 978-0-00-217855-6.
  46. ^ Kinna, Ruth (2010). "Anarchism". In Bevir, Mark. Encyclopedia of Political Theory. SAGE Publications. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-5063-3272-7.
  47. ^ Sargent, Lyman Tower. Extremism in American: A Reader, NYU Press, 1995, p. 11; Also, Tormey, Simon, Anti-Capitalism, A Beginner's Guide, Oneworld Publications, 2004, p. 118-119 "Pro-capitalist anarchism, is as one might expect, particularly prevalent in the U.S. where it feeds on the strong individualist and libertarian currents that have always been part of the American political imaginary. To return to the point, however, there are individualist anarchists who are most certainly not anti-capitalist and there are those who may well be."
  48. ^ "anarcho-capitalism." Oxford English Dictionary. 2004. Oxford University Press
  49. ^ a b c d "J.3.2 What are "synthesis" federations?" in An Anarchist FAQ Archived October 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  50. ^ "The remedy has been found: libertarian communism."[1]Sébastien Faure. "Libertarian Communism"
  51. ^ IFA-IAF pagina oficial
  52. ^ Dielo Trouda group (2006) [1926]. Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft). Italy: FdCA. Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2006.
  53. ^ Anarkismo, 2012, "About Us" |url= |accessdate=5 January 2012|
  54. ^ Common Cause/Linchpin
  55. ^ Leonard Williams, "The New Anarchists," paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia, PA, August 31, 2006, online, pdf, 2008-05-07
  56. ^ Teoman Gee, "New Anarchism", Alpine Anarchist Productions, 2003.

Further reading

External links

Against His-Story, Against Leviathan

Against His-Story, Against Leviathan! is a 1983 book by Fredy Perlman, for which he is best known. It is a personal critical perspective on contemporary civilization and society. The work defined anarcho-primitivism for the first time, and was a major source of inspiration for anti-civilization perspectives in contemporary anarchism, most notably on the thought of philosopher John Zerzan. In 2006 the book was translated into French under the title Contre le Léviathan, contre sa légende and into Turkish as Er-Tarih’e Karşı, Leviathan’a Karşı.


Anarchism is an anti-authoritarian political philosophy that advocates self-governed societies based on voluntary, cooperative institutions and the rejection of hierarchies those societies view as unjust. These institutions are often described as stateless societies, although several authors have defined them more specifically as distinct institutions based on non-hierarchical or free associations. While anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful, opposition to the state is not its central or sole definition. For instance, anarchism can entail opposing authority or hierarchy in the conduct of all human relations.Anarchism is often considered a far-left ideology and much of its economics and legal philosophy reflect anti-authoritarian interpretations of communism, collectivism, syndicalism, mutualism, or participatory economics. As anarchism does not offer a fixed body of doctrine from a single particular world view, instead fluxing and flowing as a philosophy, many anarchist types and traditions exist, not all of which are mutually exclusive.Anarchist schools of thought can differ fundamentally, supporting anything from extreme individualism to complete collectivism. Strains of anarchism have often been divided into the categories of social and individualist anarchism, or similar dual classifications. Other classifications may add mutualism as a third category, with some consider it part of individualist anarchim and others regard it to be part of social anarchism.

Anarchism in the United States

Anarchism in the United States began in the mid-19th century and started to grow in influence as it entered the American labor movements, growing an anarcho-communist current as well as gaining notoriety for violent propaganda by the deed and campaigning for diverse social reforms in the early 20th century. In the post-World War II era, anarchism regained influence through new developments such as anarcho-pacifism, anarcho-capitalism, the American New Left and the counterculture of the 1960s. In contemporary times, anarchism in the United States influenced and became influenced and renewed by developments both inside and outside the worldwide anarchist movement such as platformism, insurrectionary anarchism, the new social movements (anarcha-feminism, queer anarchism and green anarchism) and the alterglobalization movements.

Anarchist schools of thought

Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds ruling classes and the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations. Proponents of anarchism, known as "anarchists", advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical voluntary associations. However, anarchist schools of thought can differ fundamentally, supporting anything from extreme individualism to complete collectivism. Strains of anarchism have often been divided into the categories of social and individualist anarchism or similar dual classifications.Anarchism is often considered a radical left-wing ideology and much of anarchist economics and anarchist legal philosophy reflect anti-authoritarian interpretations of communism, collectivism, syndicalism, mutualism or participatory economics. At some point "the collectivist, communist, and liberal and individualist strands of thought from which anarchists drew their inspiration began to assume an increasingly distinctive quality, supporting the rise of a number of anarchist schools". Anthropologist David Graeber has noted that while the major schools of Marxism always have founders (e.g. Leninism, Trotskyism and Maoism), schools of anarchism "almost invariably emerge from some kind of organizational principle or form of practice", citing anarcho-syndicalism, individualist anarchism and platformism as examples.


Anarchy refers to a society, entity, group of people, or a single person that rejects hierarchy. The word originally meant 'leaderlessness', but in 1840 Pierre-Joseph Proudhon adopted the term in his treatise What Is Property? to refer to a new political philosophy: anarchism, which advocates stateless societies based on voluntary associations.

In practical terms, anarchy can refer to the curtailment or abolition of traditional forms of government and institutions. It can also designate a nation—or anywhere on earth that is inhabited—that has no system of government or central rule. Anarchy is primarily advocated by individual anarchists who propose replacing government with voluntary institutions.

Andrej Grubačić

Andrej Grubačić is a US-based Anthropologist, Balkan federalist, and university Professor with a Yugoslavian background who has written on cooperation and mutual aid in world history, world systems theory, anarchism and the history of the Balkans. He is the grandson of Ratomir Dugonjić, Yugoslav partisan leader and communist revolutionary. An advocate of an anarchist approach to world-systems theory, Grubačić is one of the protagonists of "new anarchism",

and a prominent member of the now defunct antiglobalization or global justice movement. He is also a member of the International Organization for a Participatory Society. His writings and interests range from comparative world history of exilic ("non-state") spaces and exilic societies to the neo-marxist world-systems analysis, and from the sociology of stateless democracy to the history of mutual aid.

Bob Black

Robert Charles Black Jr. (born January 4, 1951) is an American anarchist. He is the author of the books The Abolition of Work and Other Essays, Beneath the Underground, Friendly Fire, Anarchy After Leftism, and Defacing the Currency, and numerous political essays.

Chaz Bufe

Charles Bufe, better known as Chaz Bufe, is a contemporary American anarchist author. Bufe primarily writes on the problems faced by the modern anarchist movement (as in his pamphlet "Listen, Anarchist!"), and also on atheism, music theory and intentional community.


CrimethInc., also known as CWC, which stands for either "CrimethInc. Ex-Workers Collective" or "CrimethInc Ex-Workers Ex-Collective", is a decentralized anarchist collective of autonomous cells. CrimethInc. emerged in the mid-1990s, initially as the hardcore zine Inside Front, and began operating as a collective in 1996. It has since published widely read articles and zines for the anarchist movement and distributed posters and books of its own publication.CrimethInc. cells have published books, released records, and organized national campaigns against globalization and representative democracy in favor of radical community organizing. Less public splinter groups have carried out direct action (including arson and hacktivism), hosted international conventions and other events, maintained local chapters, sparked riots, and toured with multimedia performance art or hardcore anarcho-punk musical ensembles. The collective has received national media and academic attention, as well as criticism and praise from other anarchists for its activities and philosophy. CrimethInc. has an association with the North American anarcho-punk scene due to its relationship with artists in the genre and its publishing of Inside Front as well as, more recently, the contemporary anti-capitalist movement.

From Bakunin to Lacan

From Bakunin to Lacan: Anti-Authoritarianism and the Dislocation of Power is a book on political philosophy by Saul Newman, published in 2001. It investigates the essential characteristics of anarchist theory, which holds that government and hierarchy are undesirable forms of social organisation. Newman seeks to move beyond the limitations these characteristics imposed on classical anarchism by using concepts from post-structuralist thought.

By applying post-structuralist theory to anarchism, Newman presents an account of post-anarchism. His post-anarchism is more substantive than that of earlier thinkers, and has influenced later approaches to the philosophy. Released in a climate of an anarchist movement hostile to postmodern philosophy, From Bakunin to Lacan was criticised for its poor understanding of and engagement with contemporary anarchism.

Grazhdanskaya Oborona

Grazhdanskaya Oborona (Russian: Гражданская Оборона, [ɡrɐʐˈdanskəjə ɐbɐˈronə]), Russian for Civil Defense, or ГО, often referred to as ГрОб, Russian for coffin) were one of the earliest Soviet and Russian psychedelic/punk rock bands. They influenced many Soviet and, subsequently, Russian bands. From the early 1990s, the band's music began to evolve in the direction of psychedelic rock and shoegaze, and band leader Yegor Letov's lyrics became more metaphysical than political.

Green anarchism

Green anarchism (or eco-anarchism) is a school of thought within anarchism which puts a particular emphasis on environmental issues. A green anarchist theory is normally one that extends anarchist ideology beyond a critique of human interactions, and includes a critique of the interactions between humans and non-humans as well. This often culminates in an anarchist revolutionary praxis that is not merely dedicated to human liberation, but also to some form of nonhuman liberation, and that aims to bring about an environmentally sustainable anarchist society.

Important early influences were Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy and Élisée Reclus. In the late 19th century there emerged anarcho-naturism as the fusion of anarchism and naturist philosophies within individualist anarchist circles in France, Spain, Cuba, and Portugal. Important contemporary currents (some of which may be mutually exclusive) include anarcho-primitivism, which offers a critique of technology and argues that anarchism is best suited to uncivilised ways of life, Green syndicalism, a Green anarcho-socialist political stance made up of anarcho-syndicalist views, and veganarchism: which argues that human liberation and animal liberation are inseparable; and social ecology, which argues that the hierarchical domination of nature by human stems from the hierarchical domination of human by human.

Harry Kelly (anarchist)

Harry May Kelly (1871–1953) was an American anarchist and lifelong activist in the Modern School movement.

History of anarchism

The history of anarchism began with the first humans walking on earth. Prehistoric society existed without formal hierarchies, close to anarchist principles. The first traces of anarchist thought can be found in ancient Greece and China where numerous philosophers questioned the necessity of the state and declared the moral right of the individual to decide for themselves. During the Middle Ages few religious sects espoused libertarian thought, and in the Age of Enlightenment the rise of rationalism and science signaled the birth of the modern anarchist movement.

Modern anarchism was a significant part of the worker's movement at the end of the 19th century. Modernism, industrialisation, reaction to capitalism and mass migration helped anarchism to flourish and to spread around the globe. The major tendencies of anarchism as a social movement have been represented by anarcho-collectivism, anarcho-communism and anarcho-syndicalism, with individualist anarchism being primarily a literary phenomenon. As the workers' movement grew, the clash between anarchists and Marxist communists was becoming inevitable. The two currents split at the fifth congress of the First International in 1872. The events that followed did not help to heal the gap. Anarchists participated enthusiastically in the Russian Revolution, but as soon as the Bolsheviks established their authority, anarchists were harshly suppressed most notably in Kronstadt and in Ukraine. Anarchism's most salient moment was the Spanish Civil War which ended in the defeat of the anarchists and their allies. Anarchism as a movement seemed dead after World War II. However, in the 1960s it re-emerged in various forms, particularly within the anti-globalisation movement.

Issues in anarchism

Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations. Proponents of anarchism, known as anarchists, advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical voluntary associations.There are many philosophical differences among anarchists concerning questions of ideology, values and strategy. Ideas about how anarchist societies should work vary considerably, especially with respect to economics. There are also disagreements about how such a society might be brought about—with some anarchists being committed to a strategy of nonviolence, while others advocate armed struggle.

Libertarian socialism

Libertarian socialism (also known as socialist libertarianism) is a group of anti-authoritarian political philosophies inside the socialist movement that rejects the conception of socialism as centralized state ownership and control of the economy. Libertarian socialism is close to and overlaps with left-libertarianism and criticizes wage labour relationships within the workplace, instead emphasizing workers' self-management of the workplace and decentralized structures of political organization.Libertarian socialism often rejects the state itself and asserts that a society based on freedom and justice can be achieved through abolishing authoritarian institutions that control certain means of production and subordinate the majority to an owning class or political and economic elite. Libertarian socialists advocate for decentralized structures based on direct democracy and federal or confederal associations such as libertarian municipalism, citizens' assemblies, trade unions, and workers' councils. All of this is generally done within a general call for libertarian and voluntary human relationships through the identification, criticism and practical dismantling of illegitimate authority in all aspects of human life. As such, libertarian socialism seeks to distinguish itself from both Leninism/Bolshevism and social democracy.Past and present political philosophies and movements commonly described as libertarian socialist include anarchism as well as autonomism, communalism, Democratic Confederalism, participism, guild socialism, revolutionary syndicalism and libertarian Marxist philosophies such as council communism as well as some versions of utopian socialism and individualist anarchism.


Libertarianism (from Latin: libertas, meaning "freedom") is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association and individual judgment. Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing political and economic systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions.Traditionally, libertarianism was a term for a form of left-wing politics. Such left-libertarian ideologies seek to abolish capitalism and private ownership of the means of production, or else to restrict their purview or effects, in favor of common or cooperative ownership and management, viewing private property as a barrier to freedom and liberty. Classical libertarian ideologies include—but are not limited to—anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, mutualism and egoism, alongside many other anti-paternalist, New Left schools of thought centered around economic egalitarianism. Modern right-libertarian ideologies, such as minarchism and anarcho-capitalism, co-opted the term in the mid-20th century to instead advocate laissez-faire capitalism and strong private property rights such as in land, infrastructure and natural resources.

Sociology of Jewry

The sociology of Jewry involves the application of sociological theory and method to the study of the Jewish people and the Jewish religion. Sociologists are concerned with the social patterns within Jewish groups and communities; American Jewry, Israeli Jews and Jewish life in the diaspora. Sociological studies of the Jewish religion include religious membership, ritual and denominational patterns. Notable journals include Jewish Social Studies, The Jewish Journal of Sociology and Contemporary Jewry.

Uri Gordon

Uri Gordon (Hebrew: אורי גורדון‎; born August 30, 1976) is an Israeli anarchist political theorist, activist and journalist.

He is a teaching fellow at Durham University, and formerly at the University of Nottingham, Loughborough University in the UK and the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies in Ketura, Israel. One of several anarchist theorists to come of age during the anti-globalization movement at the turn of the 21st century, his work on contemporary anarchism has been translated into 13 languages.Gordon has worked with radical groups and movements including Indymedia, Peoples' Global Action, and Anarchists Against the Wall. Active primarily in Britain and his native Israel, Gordon has participated in protests at international summits across Europe, and played a part in the 2011 Israeli social justice protests. He has recently published critiques of prefigurative politics, nationalism and multiculturalism, and edited a collection of writings by activists in Anarchists Against the Wall. His first book Anarchy Alive!, based on his PhD research at Oxford University, was well received by reviewers.Gordon's work has also appeared in newspapers and magazines including The New Internationalist, Haaretz,, and The Jerusalem Post which featured Gordon's "Right of Reply: Anarchy in the Holy Land!" as an op-ed in its June 12, 2007 edition.

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