History of anarchism

The term history of anarchism is as ambiguous as the word anarchism itself. Scholars find it hard to define or agree on what anarchism means, which makes outlining its history difficult. There is a range of views on anarchism and its history. Some feel anarchism is a distinct, well-defined 19th and 20th century movement while others identify anarchist traits long before first civilisations existed.

Prehistoric society existed without formal hierarchies, which some anthropologists have described as similar to anarchism. The first traces of formal 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 live free from coercion. During the Middle Ages, some religious sects espoused libertarian thought, and the Age of Enlightenment, and the attendant rise of rationalism and science signalled the birth of the modern anarchist movement.

Modern anarchism was a significant part of the worker's movement, alongside Marxism 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. Major schools of thought of anarchism sprouted up as anarchism grew as a social movement, particularly anarcho-collectivism, anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, and individualist anarchism. As the workers' movement grew, the divide between anarchists and Marxists grew as well. The two currents formally split at the fifth congress of the First International in 1872, and 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 played a historically prominent role during the Spanish Civil War, when anarchists established an anarchist territory in Catalonia. Revolutionary Catalonia was organised along anarcho-syndicalist lines, with powerful labor unions in the cities and collectivised agriculture in the country, but the war ended in the defeat of the anarchists and their allies and the solidification of fascism in Spain.

In the 1960s, anarchism re-emerged as a global political and cultural force, particularly in association with the New Left. Since then, anarchism has influenced social movements that espouse personal autonomy and direct democracy. It has also played major roles in the anti-globalization movement, Chiapas conflict, and Rojava conflict.


Τhere has been some controversy over the definition of anarchism and hence its history.[1] One group of scholars considers anarchism strictly associated with class struggle. Others feel this perspective is far too narrow.[2][3] While the former group examines anarchism as a phenomenon that occurred during the 19th century, the latter group looks to ancient history to trace anarchism's roots.[4] Anarchist philosopher Murray Bookchin describes the continuation of the "legacy of freedom" of humankind (i.e. the revolutionary moments) that existed throughout history, in contrast with the "legacy of domination" which consists of states, capitalism and other organisational forms.[5]

The three most common forms of defining anarchism are the "etymological" (an-archei, without a ruler, but anarchism is not merely a negation); the "anti-statism" (while this seems to be pivotal, it certainly does not describe the essence of anarchism); and the "anti-authoritarian" definition (denial of every kind of authority, which over-simplifies anarchism).[6][7] Along with the definition debates, the question of whether it is a philosophy, a theory or a series of actions complicates the issue.[8] Philosophy professor Alejandro de Agosta proposes that anarchism is "a decentralized federation of philosophies as well as practices and ways of life, forged in different communities and affirming diverse geohistories".[9]


Early history

Many scholars of anarchism, including anthropologists Harold Barclay and David Graeber, claim that some form of anarchy dates back to prehistory. The longest period before the recorded history of human society was without a separate class of established authority or formal political institutions.[10][11] Long before anarchism emerged as a distinct perspective, humans lived for thousands of years in self-governing societies without a special ruling or political class.[12] It was only after the rise of hierarchical societies that anarchist ideas were formulated as a critical response to, and a rejection of, coercive political institutions and hierarchical social relationships.[13]

Taoism, which developed in ancient China, has been linked to anarchist thought by some scholars. Taoist sages Lao Tzu and Zhuang Zhou, whose principles were grounded in an "anti-polity" stance and a rejection of any kind of involvement in political movements or organisations, developed a philosophy of "non-rule" in the Tao Te Ching and the Zhuangzi. Taoists were trying to live in harmony with the nature.[14][15] There is an ongoing debate whether exhorting rulers not to rule is somehow an anarchist objective.[16] A new generation of Taoist thinkers with anarchic leanings appeared during the chaotic Wei-Jin period. Taoism and neo-Taoism had principles more akin to a philosophical anarchisman attempt to delegitimise the state and question its moralityand were pacifist schools of thought, in contrast with their Western counterparts some centuries later.[17]

Some convictions and ideas deeply held by modern anarchists were first expressed in ancient Greece.[18][19] The first known political usage of the word anarchy (Ancient Greek: ἀναρχία) appeared in plays by Aeschylus and Sophocles in the fifth century BC.[20] Ancient Greece also saw the first Western instance of anarchy as a philosophical ideal mainly, but not only, by the Cynics and Stoics. The Cynics Diogenes of Sinope and Crates of Thebes are both supposed to have advocated for anarchistic forms of society, although little remains of their writings. Their most significant contribution was the radical approach of nomos (law) and physis (nature). Contrary to the rest of Greek philosophy, aiming to blend nomos and physis in harmony, Cynics dismissed nomos (and in consequence: the authorities, hierarchies, establishments and moral code of polis) while promoting a way of life, based solely on physis.[21][22] Zeno of Citium, the founder of Stoicism, who was much influenced by the Cynics, described his vision of an egalitarian utopian society around 300 BC.[23] Zeno's Republic advocates a form of anarchic society where there is no need for state structures. He argued that although the necessary instinct of self-preservation leads humans to egotism, nature has supplied a corrective to it by providing man with another instinct, namely sociability. Like many modern anarchists, he believed that if people follow their instincts, they will have no need of law courts or police, no temples and no public worship, and use no money—free gifts taking the place of monetary exchanges.[10][24]

Socrates expressed some views appropriate to anarchism. He constantly questioned authority and at the centre of his philosophy stood every man's right to freedom of consciousness.[25] Aristippus, a pupil of Socrates and founder of the Hedonistic school, claimed that he did not wish either to rule or be ruled. He saw the State as a danger to personal autonomy.[21] Not all ancient Greeks had anarchic tendencies. Other philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle used the term anarchy negatively in association with democracy which they mistrusted as inherently vulnerable and prone to deteriorate into tyranny.[26]

Middle Ages

In Persia during the Middle Ages a Zoroastrian prophet named Mazdak, now considered a proto-socialist, called for the abolition of private property, free love and overthrowing the king. He and his thousands of followers were massacred in 582 CE, but his teaching influenced other Islamic sects in the following centuries.[27] A theological predecessor to anarchism developed in Basra and Baghdad among Mu'tazilite ascetics and Najdiyya Khirijites. This form of revolutionary Islam was not communist or egalitarian. It did not resemble current concepts of anarchism, but preached the State was harmful, illegitimate, immoral and unnecessary.[28]

In Europe, Christianity was overshadowing all aspects of life. The Brethren of the Free Spirit was the most notable example of heretic belief that had some vague anarchistic tendencies. They held anticleric sentiments and believed in total freedom. Even though most of their ideas were individualistic, the movement had a social impact, instigating riots and rebellions in Europe for many years.[29] Other anarchistic religious movements in Europe during the Middle Ages included the Hussites, Adamites and the early Anabaptists.[30]

20th-century historian James Joll described anarchism as two opposing sides. In the Middle Ages, zealotic and ascetic religious movements emerged, which rejected institutions, laws and the established order. In the 18th century another anarchist stream emerged based on rationalism and logic. These two currents of anarchism later blended to form a contradictory movement that resonated with a very broad audience.[31]

Renaissance and early modern era

With the spread of the Renaissance across Europe, anti-authoritarian and secular ideas re-emerged. The most prominent thinkers advocating for liberty, mainly French, were employing utopia in their works to bypass strict state censorship. In Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532–1552), François Rabelais wrote of the Abby of Thelema (from Koinē Greek: θέλημα; meaning "will" or "wish"), an imaginary utopia whose motto was "Do as Thou Will". Around the same time, French law student Etienne de la Boetie wrote his Discourse on Voluntary Servitude where he argued that tyranny resulted from voluntary submission and could be abolished by the people refusing to obey the authorities above them. Later still in France, Gabriel de Foigny perceived a utopia with freedom-loving people without government and no need of religion, as he wrote in The Southern Land, Known. For this, Geneva authorities jailed de Foigny. François Fénelon also used utopia to project his political views in the book Les Aventures de Télémaque that infuriated Louis XIV.[32]

Some Reformation currents (like the radical reformist movement of Anabaptists) are sometimes credited as the religious forerunners of modern anarchism. Even though the Reformation was a religious movement and strengthened the state, it also opened the way for the humanistic values of the French Revolution.[33] During the English Civil War, Christian anarchism found one of its most articulate exponents in Gerrard Winstanley, who was part of the Diggers movement. He published a pamphlet, The New Law of Righteousness, calling for communal ownership and social and economic organisation in small agrarian communities. Drawing on the Bible, he argued that "the blessings of the earth" should "be common to all" and "none Lord over others".[10] William Blake has also been said to have espoused an anarchistic political position.[26]

In the New World, the first to use the term "anarchy" to mean something other than chaos was Louis-Armand, Baron de Lahontan in his Nouveaux voyages dans l'Amérique septentrionale, 1703 (New Voyages in Northern America). He described indigenous American society as having no state, laws, prisons, priests or private property as being in anarchy.[34]

The Quaker sect, mostly because of their pantheism, had some anarchistic tendencies, values that must have influenced Benjamin Tucker the editor and publisher of the individualist anarchist periodical Liberty.[35][36]

Development of classical anarchism

From the Enlightenment to the French Revolution and 1848

Modern anarchism grew from the secular and humanistic thought of the Enlightenment. The scientific discoveries that preceded the Enlightenment gave thinkers of the time confidence that humans can reason for themselves. When nature was tamed through science, society could be set free. The works of Jean Meslier, Baron d'Holbach, whose materialistic worldview later resonated with anarchists, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (mainly the Discourse on Inequality and his arguments for the moral centrality of freedom) had a strong impact on anarchism in many ways. Rousseau affirmed the goodness in the nature of men and viewed the state as fundamentally oppressive. Diderot's Supplément au voyage de Bougainville (The Supplement to the Voyage of Bougainville) was also influential.[37][38]

The French Revolution is a landmark in the history of anarchism. The use of revolutionary violence by masses has remained in the imaginations of anarchists of later centuries, with such events as the Women's March on Versailles, the Storming of the Bastille and the Réveillon riots seen as the revolutionary archetype.[39] In his Manifeste des Égaux (1801) (Manifesto of the Equals), Sylvain Maréchal looked forward to the disappearance, once and for all, of "the revolting distinction between rich and poor, of great and small, of masters and valets, of governors and governed".[10] Anarchists came to identify themselves with the Enragés (lit."enraged ones") who expressed the demands of the sans-culottes (lit."without breeches"; commoners) who opposed revolutionary government as a contradiction in terms. Denouncing the Jacobin dictatorship, Jean Varlet wrote in 1794 that "government and revolution are incompatible, unless the people wish to set its constituted authorities in permanent insurrection against itself".[10][40] The French Revolution came to depict in the common subconscious of anarchists that as soon as rebels seize power, they would become the new tyrants. This was something that was evident by the state-orchestrated violence of the Reign of Terror. The proto-anarchist groups of Enragés and sans-culottes were ultimately executed by guillotine.[41]

The debate over the effects of the French Revolution on the anarchist cause continues to this day. To anarchist historian Max Nettlau, French revolutions did nothing more than re-shape and modernise the militaristic state.[42] Russian revolutionary and anarchist thinker Peter Kropotkin, however, traced the origins of the anarchist movement to the struggle of the revolutionaries.[43] In a more moderate approach, independent scholar Sean Sheehan points out that the French Revolution proved that even the strongest political establishments can be overthrown.[44]

William Godwin in England was the first to develop an expression of modern anarchist thought.[45][46] He is generally regarded as the founder of the school of thought known as philosophical anarchism.[47] He argued in Political Justice (1793) that government has an inherently malevolent influence on society, and that it perpetuates dependency and ignorance. He thought the spread of the use of reason to the masses would eventually cause the government to wither away as an unnecessary force. Although he did not accord the state with moral legitimacy, he was against the use of revolutionary tactics for removing a government from power. Rather, he advocated for its replacement through a process of peaceful evolution.[48][49] His aversion to the imposition of a rules-based society led him to denounce, as a manifestation of the people's "mental enslavement", the foundations of law, property rights and even the institution of marriage. He considered the basic foundations of society as constraining the natural development of individuals to use their powers of reasoning to arrive at a mutually beneficial method of social organisation. In each case, government and its institutions are shown to constrain the development of one's capacity to live wholly in accordance with the full and free exercise of private judgement.[50]

Europe was shocked by another revolutionary wave in 1848 which started once again in Paris. The new government, consisting mostly of Jacobins, was backed by the working class but failed to implement meaningful reforms. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Mikhail Bakunin were involved in the events of 1848. The failure of the revolution shaped Proudhon's views. He became convinced that a revolution should aim to destroy authority, not grasp power. He saw capitalism as the root of social problems and government, using political tools only, as incapable of confronting the real issues.[51] The course of events of 1848, radicalised Bakunin who, due to the failure of the revolutions, lost his confidence in any kind of reform.[52]

Late 19th century to early 20th century: classical anarchism as a worker's movement

The last decades of the 19th and the first of the 20th centuries, constitute the "belle epoque" of anarchism. Anarchism played a prominent role in working class struggles, along with Marxism, not only in Europe but in North and Latin America, Asia and Australia.[53][54] Modernism, mass migration, the railroads and access to printing all helped anarchists to advance their causes.[55]

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Max Stirner

Frenchman Pierre-Joseph Proudhon is regarded as the founder of modern anarchism, a label he adopted in his groundbreaking work Qu'est-ce que la propriété? Recherche sur le principe du droit et du gouvernement (What is Property? Or, an Inquiry into the Principle of Right and Government) published in 1840. In it he asks: What is Property?, a question that he answers with the famous accusation "Property is theft".[56] Proudhon's theorymutualismrejects the state, capitalism, and communism.[57] It calls for a co-operative society in which the free associations of individuals are linked in a decentralised federation based on a "Bank of the People" that supplies workers with free credit.[58][59] He contrasted this with what he called "possession", or limited ownership of resources and goods only while in more or less continuous use. Later, Proudhon also added that "Property is Liberty" and argued that it was a bulwark against state power.[60]

Mutualists played an important role in the First International, especially at the first two Congresses held in Geneva and Lausanne, but diminished in European influence with the rise of anarcho-communism. Instead, Mutualism found fertile ground among American individualists in the late 19th century.[59]

In Spain, Ramón de la Sagra established the anarchist journal El Porvenir in La Coruña in 1845 which was inspired by Proudhon's ideas.[61] The Catalan politician Francesc Pi i Margall became the principal translator of Proudhon's works into Spanish.[62] Later, he briefly became president of Spain in 1873 while leader of the Democratic Republican Federal Party.[62] When Margall came into power for a brief period, he tried to implement some of Proudhon's ideas.[61]

An influential form of individualist anarchism called egoism or egoist anarchism, was expounded by one of the earliest and best-known proponents of individualist anarchism, the German Max Stirner.[63][64] Stirner's The Ego and Its Own, (German: Der Einzige und sein Eigentum; meaningfully translated as The Individual and his Property, literally as The Unique and His Property) published in 1844, is a founding text of the philosophy.[64] Stirner was critical of capitalism as it creates class warfare where the rich will exploit the poor, using the state as its tool.[65] He also rejected religions, Communism and liberalism, as all of them subordinate individuals to God, a collective, or the state.[66] According to Stirner the only limitation on the rights of the individual is their power to obtain what they desire, without regard for God, state, or morality.[67][68] He held that society does not exist, but "the individuals are its reality".[69] Stirner advocated self-assertion and foresaw unions of egoists, non-systematic associations continually renewed by all parties' support through an act of will, which proposed as a form of organisation in place of the state.[70][71] Egoist anarchists claimed that egoism will foster genuine and spontaneous union between individuals.[72] Stirner was proposing an individual rebellion, which would not seek to establish new institutions or whatever resembled a state.[66]

First International and collectivist anarchism

The creation of the International Workingmen's Association (IWA, also called the "First International") in 1864, the clash between two different currents (Marxists and anarchists), and the final split in 1882 marked the latest decades of the 19th century and highlighted the opposing perspectives of Marxists and anarchists towards the revolution and the emancipation of the working class.

In 1864 the IWA united diverse revolutionary currents including socialist Marxists, trade unionists, communists and anarchists.[76][77] Karl Marx was a leading figure in the International and a member of its General Council. Proudhon's followers, the mutualists, opposed Marx's state socialism, advocating political abstentionism and small property holdings.[78][79]

Four years later, in 1868, the Russian revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin joined the First International with his collectivist anarchist associates who advocated for the collectivisation of property and revolutionary overthrow of the state.[80] Collectivism anarchism is a type of anarchism that advocates for ownership of the means of production by the community with the final product, or payment, distributed to workers depending on factors that the community will agree upon.[81] Bakunin started corresponding with other members of the International. He sought to establish a loose brotherhood of revolutionaries who would ensure that the (forthcoming) revolution would not to take an authoritative course, in sharp contrast with other currents that were seeking to get a firm grasp on state-power. Bakunin's energy and writings about a great variety of subjects (such as education and gender equality) helped him to increase his influence within the IWA. His main line was that the International should try to promote a revolution without aiming to create a government of "experts". Workers should seek to emancipate their class with direct actions, using cooperatives, mutual credit, and strikes but avoid participation in bourgeois politics.[82] At first, the collectivists worked with the Marxists to push the First International in a more revolutionary socialist direction. Subsequently, the International became polarised into two camps, with Marx and Bakunin as their respective figureheads.[83] Bakunin characterised Marx's ideas as centralist. Because of this, he predicted if a Marxist party came to power, its leaders would simply take the place of the ruling class they had fought against.[84]

Meanwhile, the Paris Commune was proclaimed in March 1871. An uprising after the Franco-Prussian War, it was greatly influenced by anarchists and also had a great impact on anarchist history. Anarchists had a prominent role in the Commune, next to Blanquists and to a lesser extent Marxists.[85] Radical socialist views, like Proudhonian federalism, were implemented to a small extent. Most importantly the workers proved they could run their own services and factories. After the defeat of the Commune, anarchists like Eugène Varlin, Louise Michel, and Élisée Reclus were shot or imprisoned.[86] Socialist ideas were persecuted from France for a decade. Leading Internationalists who managed to survive the bloody suppression of the Commune fled to Switzerland where they formed the Anarchist St. Imier International.[85]

In 1872, the conflict climaxed. Since 1871, Marx had proposed the creation of a political party, which was unacceptable to anarchists who were appalled by such a prospect. Various groups (Italian sections, the Belgian Federation, the Jura Federation and others) rejected Marx's proposition at the Hague Congress 1872. They saw it as an attempt to create state socialism that would ultimately fail to emancipate humanity. In contrast, they proposed political struggle through social revolution.[87] Finally, anarchists were expelled from the International. In response, the federalist sections formed their own International at the St. Imier Congress, adopting a revolutionary anarchist programme.[88]

Emergence of anarcho-communism

Anarcho-communism developed out of radical socialist currents after the French Revolution[90] but was first formulated as such in the Italian section of the First International.[91] It was the convincing critique of Carlo Cafiero and Errico Malatesta that paved the way for anarcho-communism to surpass collectivism. The main argument was that collectivism would definitely end in competition and inequality.[92] With the aid of Peter Kropotkin's optimism and persuasive writing, anarcho-communism was the major anarchist current in Europe and abroad—apart from Spain where anarchosyndicalism prevailed.[93] The theoretical work of Kropotkin and Errico Malatesta grew in importance later as it expanded and developed pro-organisationalist and insurrectionary anti-organisationalist sections.[94] Kropotkin elaborated on the theory behind the revolution of anarcho-communism by saying, "it is the risen people who are the real agent and not the working class organised in the enterprise (the cells of the capitalist mode of production) and seeking to assert itself as labour power, as a more 'rational' industrial body or social brain (manager) than the employers".[94]

There were other anarchists active in the 1848 Revolution in France, including Anselme Bellegarrigue, Ernest Coeurdero and the early anarcho-communist Joseph Déjacque, who was the first person to call himself a libertarian.[95] Unlike Proudhon, Déjacque argued that "it is not the product of his or her labour that the worker has a right to, but to the satisfaction of his or her needs, whatever may be their nature".[88] Déjacque was also a critic of Proudhon's anti-feminism and mutualism, adopting an anarcho-communist position.[10] Returning to New York, he was able to serialise his book in his periodical Le Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement social.[96] The French anarchist movement, though self-described as "mutualists", started gaining pace during 1860s as workers' associations began to be formed.[97] Between 1880 and 1890, as Alain Pengam notes, the perspective of a revolution was thought to be closed. Anarcho-communists were opposing political and trade union struggles (such as the eight-hour day) as being overly reformist. Apart from that they had an anti-organisational tendency, and in some cases they favoured acts of terrorism.[94] Finding themselves increasingly isolated, they opted to join the worker's movements after 1890.[94]

Organised labour and anarcho-syndicalism

Anarcho-syndicalism's main tenet, that economic struggles come before political ones, can be traced back to Proudhon.[98] It was the same issue that led to the schism of the First International as Bakunin was insisting on an autonomous worker's movement.[99] As Marshall notes when discussing the French anarcho-syndicalism, the slogan adopted in the First International was: "The emancipation of the workers shall be the task of the workers themselves." Its anti-authoritarian sections became the precursors of the anarcho-syndicalists.[100]

Chicago had been the centre of the American anarchist movement since the 19th century, due to a high influx of European immigrants. On 1 May 1886, a general strike was called in several United States cities, with the demand of an eight-hour work day. Anarchists allied themselves with the worker's movement even though they considered the objective as reformist. Events escalated on 3 and 4 May, in Chicago's Haymarket Square.[101] On 3 May, in Chicago, a fight broke out when strike-breakers attempted to cross the picket line. Two workers died when police opened fire on the crowd.[102] The next day anarchists staged a rally at Chicago's Haymarket Square.[103] A bomb was thrown from a side alley.[104] In the ensuing panic, police opened fire on the crowd and each other.[105] Seven police officers and at least four workers were killed.[106] Eight anarchists, directly and indirectly related to the organisers of the rally, were arrested and charged with the murder of the deceased officers. They became international political celebrities in the labour movement. Four of the men were executed and a fifth committed suicide before his execution. The incident became known as the Haymarket affair and was a setback for the labour movement and the struggle for the eight-hour day. In 1890 a second attempt, this time international in scope, to organise for the eight-hour day was made. It had the secondary purpose of memorialising those workers killed as a result of the Haymarket affair.[107] Although it had initially been conceived as a one-off event, by the following year, the celebration of International Workers' Day on May Day had become firmly established as an international worker's holiday.[108]

The General Confederation of Labour (CGT) was one of Europe's most prominent syndicalist organisations and was heavily influenced by anarchism while rejecting illegalism.[109] As a grassroots organisation and lab for revolutionary ideas, its structure was exported to other like-minded European organisations. The organisation took a reformist path after 1914.[110]

In 1907, the International Anarchist Congress of Amsterdam gathered delegates from most European countries, the United States, Japan and Latin America.[111] A central debate concerned the relation between anarchism and syndicalism (or trade unionism).[112] Errico Malatesta and Pierre Monatte strongly disagreed on this issue. Monatte thought that syndicalism was revolutionary and would create the conditions for a social revolution, while Malatesta did not consider syndicalism by itself sufficient.[113][114] He thought the trade-union movement was reformist and even conservative, citing as essentially bourgeois and anti-worker the phenomenon of professional union officials. Malatesta warned that the syndicalist's aims were perpetuating syndicalism itself, whereas anarchists must always have anarchy as their end goal and consequently must refrain from committing to any particular method of achieving it.[115]

In Spain, anarcho-syndicalism grew significantly during the 1880s but the first organization that was close to anarchism didn't flourish. In 1910 through the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (National Confederation of Labour or CNT) was founded and later on moved close to anarchism.[116] The CNT was affiliated with the International Workers Association, a federation of anarcho-syndicalist trade unions founded in 1922.[117] The success of the CNT stimulated the spread of anarcho-syndicalism in Latin America. The Federación Obrera Regional Argentina reached a quarter of a million members, surpassing social democratic unions.[118]

By the early 20th century, anarcho-syndicalism and anarchism were spread across the world, from Latin America to Eastern Europe and Asia. Most of its activity was actually taking place outside Western Europe.[119]

Propaganda of the deed and illegalism

Propaganda of the deed, meaning the use of violence to achieve political ends, was employed by a small, but influential, part of the anarchist movement in the 1880s and continued for about four decades.[120] It was a time when anarchists were oppressed and revolutionaries were becoming more isolated.[121][122] State repression (including the infamous 1894 French lois scélérates ["villainous laws"]) of the anarchist and labour movements following a few successful bombings and assassinations may have contributed to the abandonment of these kinds of tactics, although state repression may have played a role in these isolated acts in the first place. The dismemberment of the French socialist movement into many groups and, following the suppression of the 1871 Paris Commune, the execution or the exile of many communards to penal colonies, favoured individualist political expression and acts.[123] But the greatest contributing factor to the rise of propaganda of the deed must have been the writings of Bakunin and Sergei Nechaev who were too eager to prompt a revolution. It is also true that modernity, industrialisation and extreme injustice of the time were other determinants.[124]

It was Paul Brousse, a medical doctor and active militant favouring violent insurrection, who popularised propaganda by the deeds.[125][97] In the United States, Johann Most advocated publicising violent acts of retaliation against counter-revolutionaries because "we preach not only action in and for itself, but also action as propaganda".[126] Russian anarchist-communists employed terrorism and illegal acts in their struggle.[127] Numerous heads of state were assassinated or attacked by members of the anarchist movement.[128] In 1901, the Polish-American anarchist Leon Czolgosz assassinated the president of the United States, William McKinley. Emma Goldman, who was erroneously suspected of being involved, expressed some sympathy for Czolgosz and incurred a great deal of negative publicity.[129] Goldman also supported Alexander Berkman in his failed assassination attempt of steel industrialist Henry Frick in the wake of the Homestead Strike, and she wrote about how these small acts of violence were incomparable to the deluge of violence regularly committed by the state and capital.[130] In Europe, a wave of illegalism (the embracement of criminal acts as a way of life) spread throughout the anarchist movement, with Marius Jacob, Ravachol, intellectual Émile Henry and the Bonnot Gang being notable examples. The Bonnot Gang in particular justified illegal and violent behavior by claiming that they were "taking back" property that did not rightfully belong to capitalists.[131][132] In Russia, Narodnaya Volya ("People's Will" which was not an anarchist organisation but nevertheless drew inspiration from Bakunin's work), assassinated Tsar Alexander II in 1881 and gained some popular support. However, for the most part, the anarchist movement in Russia remained marginal in the following years.[133][134]

As early as 1887, important figures in the anarchist movement distanced themselves from both Propaganda of the deed and illegalism. Peter Kropotkin, for example, wrote in Le Révolté that "a structure based on centuries of history cannot be destroyed with a few kilos of dynamite".[135][136] Early proponents of Propaganda of the deed, like Alexander Berkman, started to question the legitimacy of violence as a tactic. A variety of anarchists advocated the abandonment of these sorts of tactics in favour of collective revolutionary action through the trade union movement.[137][138][139]

By the end of the 19th century, it became clear that propaganda of the deed was not going to spark a revolution. Even though it was employed by a small minority of anarchists, it gave anarchism a violent reputation, and it isolated anarchists from broader social movements.[140] It was abandoned by the majority of the anarchist movement after the beginning of the 20th century.[141]

Revolutionary wave

Makhno of Ukraine, Flores Magón of Mexico

Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were two Italian anarchist migrants to the United States who favoured an armed insurrection. They were allegedly involved in an armed robbery and convicted of the murders of two people in 1920. After a controversial trial and a series of appeals, they were executed on 23 August 1927.[142] Since their deaths, critical opinion has been overwhelming that the two men were convicted largely because of their anarchist political beliefs and unjustly executed.[143] After the Sacco and Vanzetti case, and despite worldwide protests and headlines in mainstream media, anarchism as a movement in the United States faded.[142][144]

Anarchists participated in the failed October 1905 Russian Revolution and even though the revolution failed, support to anarcho-syndicalism started mounting.[133] Anarchists also participated in both the February and October revolutions alongside the Bolsheviks and were initially enthusiastic about the Bolshevik revolution.[145][146] Lenin had hailed anarcho-syndicalism before the revolution.[147] Anarchist objections to the revolution quickly arose. They opposed, for example, the slogan, "All power to the Soviet".[147] However, the Bolsheviks soon turned against the anarchists and other left-wing opposition. The dictatorship of the proletariat was incompatible with the libertarian views of the anarchists.[148] The co-operation between anarchists and Bolsheviks did not last for long. The Bolsheviks crushed the anarchists after they stabilized their grasp of power.[149] This conflict culminated in the 1921 Kronstadt rebellion (Kronstadt is a city in the north of Russia next to Baltic Sea, sailors and citizens formed a movement and demanded more freedoms and reforms), which the new government repressed. Anarchists in central Russia were either imprisoned, driven underground, or joined the victorious Bolsheviks; the anarchists from Petrograd and Moscow fled to Ukraine.[150] There, an area of four hundred square miles with a population of seven million (approximately) was organised based on anarchist principles- it was named as Free Territory. Anarchists who had fought in the civil war against the Whites (a grouping of monarchists and other opponents of the October Revolution) also fought the Bolsheviks, Ukrainian People's Army, and the Germans and Austrians who were there under the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.[151] Resistance to the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine led by Nestor Makhno, who had established an anarchist society in the region for a number of months, continued until August 1921 when it was crushed, the Kronstadt sailors, by the state.[152][153]

Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, who had been deport from US to Russia in 1917, were amongst those agitating in response to Bolshevik policy and the suppression of the Kronstadt uprising before they left Russia. Both wrote accounts of their experiences in Russia, criticising the amount of control the Bolsheviks exercised. For them, Mikhail Bakunin's predictions about the consequences of Marxist rule that the rulers of the new "socialist" Marxist state would become a new elite had proved true.[84] Piotr Kropotkin in a Message to the Workers of the West was explaining the false path of state socialism which was doomed to fail.[154] Disappointed with the course of events, Goldman and Berkman fled the USSR in 1921, the same year Kropotkin died. By 1925, anarchism was banned in the Bolsheviks' regime.[155] The victory of the Bolsheviks in the October Revolution and the resulting Russian Civil War did serious damage to anarchist movements internationally. Many workers and activists saw the Bolshevik's success as setting an example; Communist parties grew at the expense of anarchism and other socialist movements. In France and the United States, for example, members of the major syndicalist movements of the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) and Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) left these organisations to join the Communist International.[156]

From the collapse of Anarchism in the newly formed Soviet Union, two anarchist trends arose. The one was the platformist, which was propagated by Dielo Truda, a group of Russian anarchist exiles, which included Nestor Makhno. Their main objective, as proponent Piotr Arsinov wrote, was to create a non-hierarchical party that would offer "common organisation of our forces on a basis of collective responsibility and collective methods of action".[157][155] They considered that a lack of organisation was a basic reason why anarchism failed. Platformism had the purpose to provide a strategy for class struggle, as Bakunin and Kropotkin had suggested before.[158] The other trend emerged as an organisational alternative to platformism, since it had similarities to party structure. Voline was one of the most notable opponents of platformism, and he pointed toward to what is today known as synthesis anarchism.[159]

The revolutionary wave of 1917–23 saw varying degrees of active participation by anarchists. In the German uprising known as the German Revolution of 1918–1919 the Bavarian Soviet Republic the anarchists Gustav Landauer and Erich Mühsam had important leadership positions within the revolutionary councilist structures.[160] In Italy, the syndicalist trade union (with anarchist tendencies) Unione Sindacale Italiana, had half a million members. It played a prominent role in events known as the biennio rosso ("two red years') and settimana rossa ("red week"). In the latter, the monarchy was almost overthrown.[161]

In Mexico the Mexican Liberal Party was established. During the early 1910s it led a series of military offensives leading to the conquest and occupation of certain towns and districts in Baja California. Under the leadership of anarcho-communist Ricardo Flores Magón, its slogan was Tierra y Libertad ("Land and Liberty").[162] Magón's journal Regeneracion had a significant circulation, and he helped urban workers to turn to anarcho-syndicalism. He also influenced the Zapata movement.[163] Anarchism's firm anti-imperialism stance was formulated through the debates at the First International as a large part of the world was under colonial rule during the late 19th century.[164]

Rise of fascism

Italy saw the first struggles between anarchists and fascists. Italian anarchists played a key role in the anti-fascist organisation Arditi del Popolo (AdP) (The People's Daring Ones), which was strongest in areas with anarchist traditions. They achieved some success in their activism, such as repelling Blackshirts in the anarchist stronghold of Parma in August 1922.[165] AdP saw growth after the Socialist Party signed the pacification pact with the fascists.[166] AdP consisted of militant proletarians, anarchists, communists and even socialists. It numbered twenty-thousand members in 144 sections.[167] The veteran Italian anarchist, Luigi Fabbri, was one of the first critical theorists of fascism, describing it as "the preventive counter-revolution".[168] Italian anarchists Gino Lucetti and Anteo Zamboni nearly assassinated Benito Mussolini but failed. Italian anarchists formed various partisan groups during World War II.[169] In France, where the far-right leagues came close to insurrection in the February 1934 riots, anarchists divided over a united front policy: , one tendency was for the creation of a pack with political parties while others objected.[170]

In Spain, the CNT initially refused to join a popular front electoral alliance. Abstention by their supporters led to a right-wing election victory. In 1936, the CNT changed its policy and anarchist votes helped bring the popular front back to power. Months later, the former ruling class responded with an attempted coup causing the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939).[171] In response to the army rebellion, an anarchist-inspired movement of peasants and workers, supported by armed militias, took control of Barcelona and large areas of rural Spain where they collectivised the land.[172] However, even before the fascist victory in 1939, the anarchists were losing ground in a bitter struggle with the Stalinists, who controlled the distribution of military aid to the Republican cause from the Soviet Union. Stalinist-led troops suppressed the collectives and persecuted both dissident Marxists and anarchists.[173]

In Germany, the Nazis crushed anarchism upon seizing power.[160] Apart from Spain, nowhere else could the anarchist movement provide a solid resistance to various fascist regimes through Europe.[174]

Spanish Revolution

The Spanish Revolution of 1936 was the first and only time that libertarian communism was about to become a reality—or had become so to some degree. It stood on the ground of a strong anarchist movement in Spain that dated back to the 19th century. Anarchist groups enjoyed broad social support particularly in Barcelona, Aragon, Andalusia, Levante and elsewhere. Anarchism in Spain leaned towards syndicalism and this yielded to the formation of the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) in 1910.[175] The CNT declared that its aim was a libertarian communist society and was organising strikes all over Spain.[176] The Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI) was founded later to keep CNT on a pure anarchist path amidst dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera's crackdown on labour movements.[175][177] The Second Republic was pronounced in 1931 and brought to power a Republican–Socialist alliance. But instead of the high hopes of the CNT (mostly among gradualists) and others, the repression of the labour movement continued. FAI gained more control of CNT[178]

In 1936, the Popular Front (an electoral alliance dominated by left-wingers) won the elections and months later the former ruling class responded with an attempted coup causing the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939).[171][179] In response to the army rebellion, an anarchist-inspired movement of peasants and workers, supported by armed militias, took control of urban and large areas of rural Spain where they collectivised the land.[180] Barcelona was the site of the most dramatic change, as workers broke bourgeois habits and even gender hierarchies. Newly formed anarcho-feminist group Mujeres Libres (Free Women) had an active role in the social transformation in Barcelona. This rebellious culture impressed visitors such as George Orwell. Enterprises and farms were collectivised. Working conditions improved drastically. In rural Aragon money was abolished and the economy was collectivised.[181][182] Villages were run by popular assemblies in a direct democratic fashion, without forcing individuals to join.[183] Anarchist militia columns, fighting without martial discipline or military rank, despite shortages in military materials, made significant gains at the war front.[184]

Anarchists of CNT-FAI faced a major dilemma after the coup had failed in July 1936: Either continue their fight against the State or join the anti-fascist left-wing parties and form a government. They opted for the latter and by November 1936, four members of CNT-FAI became ministers in the government of the former trade unionist Francisco Largo Caballero. This was justified by CNT-FAI as a historical necessity since war was being waged, but other prominent anarchists disagreed, both on principle and as a tactical move.[185] In November 1936 the prominent anarcho-feminist Federica Montseny was installed as minister of Health—the first woman in Spanish history to become a cabinet minister.[186]

During the course of the events of the Spanish Revolution, anarchists were losing ground in a bitter struggle with the Stalinists, who controlled the distribution of military aid to the Republicans received from the Soviet Union.[187] Spanish Communist Party-led troops suppressed the collectives and persecuted both dissident Marxists and anarchists.[173] The fight among anarchists and communists escalated during the May Days, as the Soviet Union sought to control the Republicans.[187]

The Spanish Revolution was quelled in 1939, marking the end of libertarian traditions in Spain and abroad in terms of organisation forms and anarchist thought.[188][189] In light of continual anarchist defeats, one can argue about the naivety of 19th century anarchist thinking. The establishment (state and capitalism) was too strong to be destroyed. According to political philosophy professor Ruth Kinna and lecturer Alex Prichard, it is uncertain whether these defeats were the result of a functional error within the anarchist theories, as New Left intellectuals suggested some decades later, or the social context that prevented the anarchists from fulfilling their ambitions. What is certain, though, is that their critique of state and capitalism ultimately proved right, as the world was marching towards totalitarianism and fascism.[190]

Anarchism in the colonial world

As empires and capitalism were expanding at the turn of the century, so was Anarchism which soon flourished in Latin America, East Asia, South Africa and Australia.[191]

Anarchism found fertile ground in Asia and was the most vibrant ideology among other socialist currents during the first decades of 20th century. The works of European philosophers, especially Kropotkin's, were popular among revolutionary youth. Intellectuals tried to link anarchism to earlier philosophical currents in Asia, like Taoism, Buddhism and Neo-Confucianism. But the factor that contributed most to the rise of anarchism was industrialisation and the new capitalistic era that eastern Asia was entering.[192][193] Young Chinese anarchists in the early days of the 20th century voiced the cause of revolutionary anarcho-communism along with humanism, belief in science and universalism in the journal Hsin Shih-chi. Anarchism was growing in influence until the mid-1920s when Bolshevik successes seemed to indicate the way to communism.[194] Likewise in Japan, anarcho-communists (like Kōtoku Shūsui, Osugi Sakae and Hatta Shuzo) were inspired by the Works of westerners philosophers and were opposed to the state and capitalism. Shuzo created the school of "pure anarchism". Because of the industrial growth, anarcho-syndicalism also arose for a brief period, before Communists prevailed among workers.[195] Tokyo had been a hotspot for anarchist and revolutionary ideas which were circulating among Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese students who travelled to Japan to study. Socialists by then were enthusiastically supporting the idea of "social revolution" and anarchists were in full support of it.[196] In Korea, anarchism took a different course. Korea was under Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945 and in the early phases of that period, anarchists took part in national resistance, forming an anarchist zone in Shinmin Manchuria from 1928 to 1931. Kim Chwa-chin was a prominent figure in that movement.[197][198] In India, anarchism did not thrive, partly because of its reputation for being violent. The fragile anarchist movement developed in India was more non-statist rather than anti-statism.[199]

Anarchism travelled to the eastern Mediterranean along with other radical secular ideas in the cosmopolitan Ottoman Empire. Under the spell of Errico Malatesta, a group of Egyptian anarchists imported anarchism to Alexandria. It was in a transitional stage during that era, as industrialisation and urbanisation were transforming Egypt. Anarchist activity was spread along with other radical secular ideas within the Islamic Empire.[193] In Africa, anarchism appeared from within the continent. A large part of African society, mainly rural, was founded on African communalism which was mostly egalitarian. It had some anarchist elements, without class divisions, formal hierarchies and access to the means of production by all members of the localities. African Communalism was far from being an ideal anarchist society. Gender privileges were apparent, feudalism and slavery did exist in a few areas but not on a mass scale.[200]

Anarchism travelled to Latin America through European immigrants. The most impressive presence was in Buenos Aires, but Havana, Lima, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Sao Paulo as well saw the growth of anarchist pockets. Anarchists had a much larger impact on trade unions than their authoritarian left counterparts.[197][201] In Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, a strong anarcho-syndicalist current was formed—partly because of the rapid industrialisation of these countries. In 1905, anarchists took control of the Argentine Regional Workers' Federation (FORA) in Argentina, overshadowing social democrats. Likewise, in Uruguay, FORU was created by anarchists in 1905. These syndicates organised a series of general strikes in the following years. After this the success of Bolshevik anarchism gradually declined in these three countries which had been the stronghold of anarchism in Latin America.[202] It is worth noting that the notion of imported anarchism in Latin America has been challenged, as slave rebellions appeared in Latin America before the arrival of European anarchists.[203]

Anarchists became involved in the anti-colonial national-independence struggles of the early 20th century. Anarchism inspired anti-authoritarian and egalitarian ideals among national independence movements, challenging the nationalistic tendencies of many national liberation movements.[204]

Individualist anarchism during the 19th and 20th century

Individualist anarchism in the United States

American anarchism has its roots on religious groups that fled Europe to escape religious persecution during the 17th century. It sprouted towards individual anarchism as distrust of government was widespread in North America during the next centuries. In sharp contrast with their European counterparts, american anarchism was leaning towards individualism and was mainly pro-capitalist, hence described as right wing libertarianism. American anarchist justified private property as the safeguard of personal autonomy.[205] Henry David Thoreau was an important early influence on individualist anarchist thought in the United States in mid-19th century. He was skeptical towards government; in his work Civil Disobedience he declared that "That government is best which governs least". He has frequently been cited as an anarcho-individualist, even though he was never rebellious.[206][22] Josiah Warren at late 19th century was a prominent advocate of a variant of mutualism, equitable commerce, a fair trade system where the price of a product is based on labor effort instead of the cost of manufacturing.[207][208] Benjamin Tucker, also influenced by Proudhon, was the editor of the prominent anarchist journal Liberty and a proponent of individualism.[209][208]

In the shade of individualism, there was also anarcho-christianism as well as some socialist pockets, especially in Chicago.[210] It was after Chicago's bloody protests in 1886 when the anarchist movement became known nationwide. But anarchism quickly declined when it was associated with terrorist violence.[208][211]

An important concern for American individualist anarchism was free love. Free love particularly stressed women's rights since most sexual laws discriminated against women, for example, marriage laws and anti-birth control measures.[212] In New York City's Greenwich Village, bohemian feminists and socialists advocated self-realisation and pleasure for women (and men) in the here and now. They encouraged playing with sexual roles and sexuality[213] and the openly bisexual radical Edna St. Vincent Millay and the lesbian anarchist Margaret Anderson were prominent among them. Discussion groups organised by the Villagers were frequented by Emma Goldman, among others.[214]

A heated debate among American individualist anarchists of that era was the natural rights versus egoistic approaches. Proponents of naturals rights claimed that without them brutality would prevail, while egoists were proposing that there is no such right, it only restricted the individual. Benjamin Tucker, who tried to determine a scientific base for moral right or wrong, ultimately sided with the latter.[215]

The Modern Schools, also called Ferrer Schools, were schools established in the United States in the early 20th century. They were modelled after the Escuela Moderna of Francisco Ferrer, the Catalan educator and anarchist. They were an important part of the anarchist, free schooling, socialist, and labour movements in the United States intended to educate the working-classes from a secular, class-conscious perspective. The Modern Schools imparted day-time academic classes for children and night-time continuing-education lectures for adults. The first and most notable of the Modern Schools was opened in New York City in 1911. Commonly called the Ferrer Center, it was founded by notable anarchists—including Leonard Abbott, Alexander Berkman, Voltairine de Cleyre and Emma Goldman.[216] The school used Montessori methods and equipment, and emphasised academic freedom rather than fixed subjects, such as spelling and arithmetic.[217]

European individualist anarchism and anarchist influence in bohemia and the arts

European individualist anarchism proceeded from the roots laid by William Godwin and Max Stirner.[220] Many artists, poets and writers interested in freedom were exploring different aspects of anarchism.[221][222] Anarcho-individualists were more interested in personal development, challenging the social norms and demanding sexual freedom (free love) rather than engaging in social struggles.[223]

In France, an individual-anarchist trend was shaping a new cultural movement in the new century, which was more a personal rebellion against norms rather than having a social component.[224] Impressionists and neo-impressionist painters were attracted by anarchism, most notably French Camille Pissarro.[225] Modernist writers having anarchist tendencies, such as Henrik Ibsen and James Joyce, led to the impression that "modernism itself can be understood as the aesthetic realisation of anarchist politics".[226] Dadaism arose from individualists aiming to use art to achieve total freedom. It influenced other currents such as surrealism, and proponents played a significant role in the Berlin rising of 1918.[227] One of the main individualist anarchist journals in France, L'Anarchie, was established in 1905.[228] A notable individualist was Stirnerist Émile Armand who was a defender of polyamory and homosexuality.[229]


Following the end of the Spanish Revolution and World War II, the anarchist movement was a "ghost" of itself, as proclaimed by anarchist historian George Woodcock.[230] As he was looking the history of anarchism in 1962, he wrote in his Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements that after 1936 it was "a ghost that inspires neither fear among governments nor hope among peoples nor even interest among newspapermen".[231] Capitalism was growing during the post-war years, despite predictions from Marxist scholars that it would soon collapse because of its own contradictions, so the surge of popular interest in anarchism in the 1960s came as a surprise. The most likely reasons for this were the gradual demystification of the Soviet Union and the climax of the Cold War.[232][233] The New Left, which arose in the 1950s, was a libertarian socialist movement that was closer to anarchism. Prominent thinkers such as Herbert Marcuse, Wright Mills were critical of United States and Soviet Marxism.[234]

A wave of protests and demonstrations confronted the right-wing government of Charles de Gaulle in France in May 68. Even though the anarchists had a minimal role, the events of May had a significant impact on anarchism.[236][237] There were huge demonstrations with crowds in some places reaching one million participants. Strikes were called in many major cities and towns involving seven million workers—all grassroots, bottom-up and spontaneously organised.[238] Various committees were formed at universities, lyceums, and in neighbourhoods, mostly having anti-authoritarian tendencies.[239] Slogans that resonated with libertarian ideas were prominent such as: "I take my desires for reality, because I believe in the reality of my desires."[240] Even though the spirit of the events leaned mostly towards libertarian communism, some authors draw a connection to anarchism.[241] The wave of protests eased when a 10% pay raise was granted and national elections were proclaimed. The paving stones of Paris were only covering some reformist victories.[242] Even thought, with the 1968 events a new confidence on anarchism arose as worker's management, self-determination, grassroots democracy, antiauthoritarianism, spontaneity- all anarchist tenets- became relevant once more. 1968 marked the revival of anarchism, either as a distinct ideology or as a part of other social movements, once again after decades of pessimism.[243]

After the events of May 1968, Situationist International sprang up. Their main argument was that life had turned into a "spectacle" because of the corrosive effect of capitalism.[244] They dissolved in 1972.[245] The decade of 1960 saw the flourish of anarcha-feminism. It attacked the state, capitalism and patriarchy and was organized in a decentralised manner.[246] As the ecological crisis was becoming a greater threat to the planet, Murray Bookchin developed the next generation of anarchist thought. In his social ecology theory, he claims that certain social practises, and priorities threaten life on Earth. He goes further to identify the cause of such practises as social oppressions. Libertarian municipalism was his major advancement of anarchist thought—a proposal for the involvement of people in political struggles in decentralized federated villages or towns.[247]

Contemporary anarchism

The anthropology of anarchism has changed in the new era, as the traditional lines or ideas of the 19th century have been abandoned. Most anarchists are now younger activists informed with feminist and ecological concerns. They are involved in counterculture, Black Power, creating temporary autonomous zones, and events such as Carnival Against Capital.[248][249] These movements are not anarchist, but anarchistic.[249]

Mexico saw another uprising at the turn of the 21st century. Zapatistas took control of a large area in Chiapas. They were organised in an autonomous, self-governing model that has many parallels to anarchism, inspiring many young anarchists in the West.[250] Another stateless region that has been associated with anarchism is the Kurdish area of Rojava in northern Syria. The conflict there emerged during the Syrian Civil War and Rojava's decentralized model is founded upon Bookchin's ideas of Libertarian municipalism and social ecology within a secular framework and ethnic diversity.[251] Chiapas and Rojava share the same goal, to create a libertarian community despite being surrounded by state apparatus.[251]

Anarchism grew in popularity and influence as part of the anti-war, anti-capitalist, and anti-globalisation movements.[252] Maia Ramnath described those social movements that employ the anarchist framework (leaderless, direct democracy) but do not call themselves anarchists as anarchists with a lowercase "a", while describing more traditional forms of anarchism with a capital "A".[253] Anarchists became known for their involvement in protests against meetings such as the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999, Group of Eight in 2001 and the World Economic Forum, as part of anti-globalisation movement. 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 during this period include security culture, affinity groups and the use of decentralised technologies such as the Internet.[252][254]

According to anarchist scholar Simon Critchley:

[C]ontemporary anarchism can be seen as a powerful critique of the pseudo-libertarianism of contemporary neo-liberalism [...] 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 disenfranchisement that is so palpable locally and globally.[255]

See also


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  6. Levy 2011, p. 6.
  7. McLaughlin 2007, pp. 27-29.
  8. de Acosta 2009, p. 26.
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  10. Graham 2005, pp. xi-xiv.
  11. Ross 2019, p. ix.
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  14. Marshall 1993, p. 55.
  15. Rapp 2012, p. 6.
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  18. Woodcock 1962, p. 38.
  19. Long 2013, p. 217.
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  22. Fiala 2017.
  23. Schofield 1999, p. 56.
  24. Marshall 1993, pp. 70–71.
  25. Marshall 1993, p. 67.
  26. Goodway 2006, p. 5.
  27. Marshall 1993, p. 86.
  28. Crone 2000, pp. 3, 21–25: Anarchist historian David Goodway is also convinced that the Muslim sects e Mu'tazilite and Najdite are part of anarchist history. (Interview in The Guardian 7 September 2011)
  29. Marshall 1993, pp. 86–89: Marshall mentions the English Peasants' Revolt in 1381, the Hussite Revolution in Bohemia at Tabor in 1419–1421, the German Peasants' Revolt by Thomas Munzer in 1525, and Münster rebellion in 1534"
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  84. Bakunin 1991: Michael Bakunin wrote in 1873: "These elected representatives, say the Marxists, will be dedicated and learned socialists. The expressions "learned socialist," "scientific socialism," etc., which continuously appear in the speeches and writings of the followers of Lassalle and Marx, prove that the pseudo-People's State will be nothing but a despotic control of the populace by a new and not at all numerous aristocracy of real and pseudo-scientists. The "uneducated" people will be totally relieved of the cares of administration, and will be treated as a regimented herd. A beautiful liberation, indeed!"
    ; Goldman 2003, p. xx: Emma Goldman wrote in 1924"My critic further charged me with believing that 'had the Russians made the Revolution à la Bakunin instead of à la Marx' the result would have been different and more satisfactory. I plead guilty to the charge. In truth, I not only believe so; I am certain of it."
    ; Avrich 1970, pp. 137-128: Paul Avrich wrote "But if Bakunin foresaw the anarchistic nature of the Russian Revolution, he also foresaw its authoritarian consequences..."
    ; Marshall 1993, p. 477: Peter Marshall writes "The result, anticipated so forcefully by Bakunin, was that the Bolshevik revolution made in the name of Marxism had degenerated into a form of State capitalism which operated in the interests of a new bureaucratic and managerial class."
    ; Mbah & Igariwey 1997, pp. 22-23: Igariwey and Mbah write "As Bakunin foresaw, retention of the state system under socialism would lead to a barrack regime..."
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  99. Marshall 1993, p. 264:
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  114. Graham 2005, pp. 206–208.
  115. Skirda 2002, p. 89.
  116. Zimmer 2019, p. 358.
  117. Woodcock 1962, p. 375.
  118. Woodcock 1962, p. 426.
  119. Schmidt & van der Walt 2009.
  120. Bantman 2019, pp. 371–372.
  121. Woodcock 1962, p. 315.
  122. Graham 2019, p. 340.
  123. Anderson 2004.
  124. Bantman 2019, p. 373:Bantman dates those writings between 1869 and 1891
  125. Graham 2005, p. 150.
  126. Marshall 1993, p. 415.
  127. Pengam 1987, The Reformulation of Communist Anarchism in the 'International Working Men's Association' (IWMA).
  128. Bantman 2019, p. 373
  129. Marshall 1993, p. 398.
  130. Marshall 1993, p. 404.
  131. Woodcock 1962, p. 316.
  132. Marshall 1993, p. 439.
  133. Marshall 1993, p. 470.
  134. Ivianski 1988, p. 49.
  135. Billington 1999, p. 417.
  136. Marshall 1993, p. 633: Marshall also quotes Kropotkin:"Personally I hate these explosions, but I cannot stand as a judge to condemn those who are driven to despair". Elsewhere hew rote: "Of all parties I now see only one party - the Anarchist - which respects human life, and loudly insists upon the abolition of capital punishment, prison torture and punishment of man by man altogether. All other parties teach every day their utter disrespect of human life."
  137. Marshall 1993, pp. 411 and 635:Marshall names Bart de Ligt, Randolph Bourne, Tolstoy
  138. Graham 2005, pp. 193–196:Graham mentions that the anarcho-syndicalist, Fernand Pelloutier, argued in 1895 for renewed anarchist involvement in the labor movement on the basis that anarchism could do very well without "the individual dynamiter"
  139. Woodcock 1962, p. 15:Woodcock also mentions Malatesta and other prominent Italian anarchists in p 346
  140. Marshall 1993, pp. 633–634.
  141. Marshall 1993, pp. 634–636.
  142. Marshall 1993, p. 501.
  143. Montgomery 1960, p. v.
  144. Woodcock 1962, p. 467.
  145. Dirlik 1991.
  146. D'Agostino 2019, p. 423.
  147. Marshall 1993, pp. 471–472.
  148. Marshall 1993, p. 471.
  149. Marshall 1993, pp. 472–473.
  150. Avrich 2006, p. 204.
  151. Marshall 1993, p. 473.
  152. Marshall 1993, p. 475.
  153. D'Agostino 2019, p. 426.
  154. Marshall 1993, p. 476.
  155. Marshall 1993, p. 477.
  156. Nomad 1966, p. 88.
  157. Skirda 2002, pp. 122–123.
  158. Skirda 2002, pp. 123–124.
  159. Skirda 2002, p. 123.
  160. Marshall 1993, p. 482.
  161. Marshall 1993, p. 450.
  162. Marshall 1993, pp. 510–511.
  163. Woodcock 1962, p. 427.
  164. Laursen 2019, p. 152.
  165. Holborow 1993.
  166. Pugliese 2004, pp. 55–56.
  167. Pugliese 2004, pp. 55–58.
  168. Graham 2005, p. 408.
  169. Goodway 2013, pp. 73–74.
  170. Berry 1999, pp. 52-54.
  171. Beevor 2006, p. 46.
  172. Bolloten 1984, p. 1107.
  173. Birchall 2004, p. 29.
  174. Woodcock 1962, p. 473.
  175. Yeoman 2019, pp. 429–430.
  176. Marshall 1993, p. 455.
  177. Marshall 1993, p. 458.
  178. Yeoman 2019, p. 430.
  179. Yeoman 2019, pp. 430–431.
  180. Bolloten 1984, p. 54.
  181. Yeoman 2019, pp. 433–435.
  182. Marshall1993, p. 461.
  183. Marshall1993, p. 462.
  184. Yeoman 2019, p. 436.
  185. Yeoman 2019, pp. 438–439.
  186. Thomas 2001, p. 458.
  187. Marshall 1993, p. 466.
  188. Kinna & Prichard 2009, p. 270.
  189. Yeoman 2019, p. 441.
  190. Kinna & Prichard 2009, pp. 272–273.
  191. Levy 2011, pp. 18-19.
  192. Dirlik 2010, pp. 134–135.
  193. Levy 2011, p. 19.
  194. Marshall 1993, pp. 519–523.
  195. Marshall 1993, pp. 523–525.
  196. Dirlik 2010, p. 133.
  197. Levy 2011, p. 23.
  198. Marshall 1993, pp. 527–528.
  199. Marshall 1993, p. 528.
  200. Mbah & Igariwey 1997, pp. 28–29 & 33.
  201. Laursen 2019, p. 157.
  202. Marshall 1993, pp. 504–508.
  203. Laursen 2019, pp. 157-58.
  204. Laursen 2019, p. 162.
  205. Marshall 1993, pp. 496-497.
  206. Fiala 2013, Emerson and Thoreau on Anarchy and Civil Disobedience.
  207. Wilbur 2019, p. 220.
  208. Marshall 1993, p. 499.
  209. Wilbur 2019, pp. 220-222.
  210. Marshall 1993, p. 498.
  211. Wilbur 2019, p. 222.
  212. Ryley 2019, p. 232.
  213. Sochen 1972.
  214. Katz 1976.
  215. McElroy 2003, pp. 52-56.
  216. Avrich 2005, p. 212.
  217. Avrich 2005, p. 230.
  218. Roslak 1991, p. 381-83.
  219. Hutton 2004.
  220. Woodcock 1962, p. 20.
  221. Goodway 2006, p. 9.
  222. Conversi 2016, p. 7, Bohémiens, Artists, and Anarchists in Paris.
  223. Bookchin 1995, 2. Individualist Anarchism and Reaction.
  224. Marshall 1993, p. 440.
  225. Conversi 2016, p. 8:Conversi also mentions Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Signac, Steinlen and Maximilien Luce
  226. Conversi 2016, p. 8: Conversi also mentions Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Matthew Arnold, Henry James, Hugo Ball, and Luis Buñuel
  227. Marshall 1993, pp. 440–441.
  228. Woodcock 1962, pp. 315–316.
  229. Long 2013, p. 223.
  230. Evren & Kinna 2015, p. 47.
  231. Woodcock 1962, p. 468, epilogue.
  232. Marshall 1993, p. 539
  233. Thomas 1985, p. 4
  234. Marshall 1993, pp. 540–542
  235. Marshall 1993, p. 547.
  236. Marshall 1993, p. 548
  237. Berry 2019, p. 449.
  238. Berry 2019, p. 453.
  239. Berry 2019, p. 455.
  240. Marshall 1993, p. 548.
  241. Marshall 1993, pp. 546–547:Marshall names Daniel Guerin, Tom Nairn, Jean Maitron
  242. Marshall 1993, p. 546:Peter Marshall makes a pun, commenting on the protestors: "They had failed to uncover the beach under the paving stones of Paris."
  243. Berry 2019, pp. 457-465.
  244. Marshall 1993, p. 551.
  245. Marshall 1993, p. 553.
  246. Marshall 1993, p. 557.
  247. McLaughlin 2007, pp. 164-65.
  248. Graeber & Grubacic 2004.
  249. Kinna & Prichard 2009, p. 273.
  250. Dupuis-Déri 2019, pp. 471–472.
  251. Ramnath 2019, p. 691.
  252. Rupert 2006, p. 66.
  253. Dupuis-Déri 2019, p. 474.
  254. Dupuis-Déri 2019, p. 478:Dupuis-Déri also mentions "Washington (April 2000), the Summit of the Americas in Québec (April 2001), the European Union meeting in Gothenburg (June 2001), the G8 Summit in Genoa (July 2001), the G20 summit in Toronto (2010) and the G20 summit in Hamburg (2017)."
  255. Critchley 2013, p. 125.


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