April 7, 2021
From The Anarchist Library

Anarchism developed as a distinctive strain within radical and
revolutionary thought in the mid-19th century. The political theory,
often associated with Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (b. 1809–d. 1865), Michael
Bakunin (b. 1814–d. 1876), and Peter Kropotkin (b. 1842–d. 1921),
appeared in parallel with a worldwide, international movement that
shaped anarchist practices and that gave expression to a critique of
capitalist exploitation, state tyranny, and an idea of rebelliousness
that has been influential in sociopolitical, economic, and cultural
realms. Contemporary anarchists argue about both the continuities and
the discontinuities between the historical and modern movements and the
antecedents of European anarchism, but there is a strong consensus that
anarchism cannot be reduced to a single set of principles, conceptual
arrangements, or theoretical positions that might be applied in
practice, analysis, or critique. Because canonical approaches to the
history of anarchist ideas are typically resisted, and because the
ideological boundaries of anarchism remain contested, anarchist
approaches to sociological issues are distinguished by their diversity
and are difficult to pin down. However, the anarchists’ traditional
opposition to processes associated with state formation, and their
interrogation of the complex relationships between these processes and
capitalism, society, technology, and culture, are important frames for
the discussion of perennial themes, notably, domination, organization,
and transformation. Reflections on the rise of the modern European state
and the possibility of nonstate organization have long encouraged an
interest in anthropology, supporting strongly normative accounts of
mutuality, cooperation, and reciprocity. In the anticapitalist
mainstream, anarchism supports a rich tradition of thinking about
self-regulation, self-management, and decentralized federation. The
anarchists’ principled rejection of authority has fostered an interest
in systems of education, law, punishment, concepts of crime, and the
institutionalization of love in heterosexual relationships, generating
cultural practices and literatures that are at once subversive and
utopian. Anarchist utopianism is in turn an important strain in urban
design, art, and ecology. The anarchist eschewal of institutional
politics and advocacy of direct action have focused attention on issues
of struggle, protest, and violence as well as the theorization of direct
action and prefigurative change. Notwithstanding anarchist suspicions of
the elitism and complicity of academic institutions, anarchism has had
an influence on mainstream sociology and is equally influenced by
critical strains within it. The relationship with Marxism, though often
unhappy, has provided one route into sociology. Max Weber’s engagements
with anarchism have provided another; and, in late-20th– and
early-21st-century history, anarchists have begun to develop approaches
to sociology that resonate with both traditions.

General Overviews

Since the anarchistic nature of the global protest “movement of
movements” in the late 1990s and the overtly anarchist politics of
anticapitalist currents within it, recent waves of social movement
activism have renewed scholarly interest in anarchism, resulting in the
appearance of a number of introductory texts.
presents a dedicated sociological analysis that
treats anarchism as a philosophy and movement. The other introductions
included here are edited collections that usefully map the ground of
anarchist activism and also apply anarchist social theory to an
ever-expanding range of research areas. In the thirty years between the
student protest movement and emergence of the global social justice
campaigns, little work of this kind was available: introductions tended
instead to be historical and designed to explain or defend the ideas of
a movement considered to be moribund.
(originally published in 1979) was an exception, and the revised
edition remains an important statement of anarchist practices and
philosophy that brings together articles by a number of leading writers,
from Bob Black to Colin Ward. One of the themes probed in Ehrlich’s
collection is the relationship of historical to contemporary anarchism
and the degree to which the protest movements of the 1960s renewed
anarchist traditions or even encouraged a metamorphosis. These themes
were revived in the 1990s.
argues that anarchist practices had altered radically
in the late 20th century and that this change demanded a revision in
anarchist thinking. This work’s approach brought postmodernism and
poststructuralist theory to bear on anarchist analysis in order to
challenge what the authors saw as the class bias of anarchist theory.
The trend in anarchist theory that Purkis and Bowen encouraged is now
well established in a body of work referred to as postanarchism, and it
is difficult to make sense of modern anarchism without engaging with
postanarchist ideas about history, philosophy, and method (see
provides an excellent critical guide. Although
postanarchism is one of the main currents within anarchist theory, it is
not the only marker of the increasing scholarly interest that has been
shown in anarchism since the early 1990s. Two others are the application
of anarchist critique in political and sociological analysis and as a
contribution to social transformation. The collections
, on the one hand, and
, on the other, are exemplars. In addition,
presents a pioneering analysis of anarchist and
sociological traditions. Scholars continue to debate the history of
anarchist ideas and probe the boundaries of anarchism as an ideology:
survey contemporary anarchism and also address the issues of
continuity and discontinuity that the explosion of late-20th-century
research in anarchism has provoked.
develops a novel framing of anarchism as an ideology,
using Michael Freeden’s conceptual-morphological approach.
combines historical and conceptual approaches to
explore the distinctiveness of anarchism.

  • Amster, Randall, Abraham DeLeon, Luis A. Fernandez, Anthony J.
    Nocella II, and Deric Shannon, eds. 2009. Contemporary anarchist
    studies: An introductory anthology of anarchy in the academy
    . London
    and New York: Routledge.

    An important collection of contemporary writing, bringing together
    articles on theory, methodology, pedagogy, praxis, and thinking about
    the future.

  • Ehrlich, Howard J., ed. 1996. Reinventing anarchy, again.
    Rev. ed. Edinburgh and San Francisco: AK.

    Originally published in 1979, as Reinventing Anarchy: What Are
    Anarchists Thinking These Days?
    (London and Boston: Routledge and
    Kegan Paul). The revised and updated collection, by leading writers
    from a variety of traditions, is organized into eight sections that
    consider approaches to anarchism, the state and organization,
    movements toward anarchy, anarchafeminism, work, culture,
    self-liberation, and tactics.

  • Franks, Benjamin, Nathan Jun, and Leonard Williams, eds. 2018.
    Anarchism: A conceptual approach. New York and London: Routledge.

    Divided into three sections, the collection outlines anarchism’s
    core, adjacent, and peripheral concepts to construct an ideology of
    anarchism. Chapters are written by leading scholars and are intended
    as stand-alone contributions to conceptual debates as well as
    elements of a larger whole. The editors’ intention is to highlight
    the stability of the six core concepts (anti-hierarchy,
    prefiguration, freedom, agency, direct action, and revolution) while
    showing how their interrelationship with adjacent and peripheral
    concepts, including horizontalism, intersectionality, and
    ecocentrism, resist doctrinal rigidity.

  • Jun, Nathan J., and Shane Wahl, eds. 2010. New perspectives on
    . Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

    A collection of issue- and practice-based essays in philosophy,
    social and political science, history, culture, religion, and
    ecology, written by an international group of activists and scholars,
    from a range of methodological and political perspectives.

  • Kinna, Ruth, ed. 2012. The Continuum companion to anarchism. New
    York: Continuum.

    A research guide intended to survey debates in particular fields of
    anarchist research. Includes a collection of essays that examine
    contemporary methods of analysis in anarchist studies and the
    relationship of anarchism to art, sociology, geography, gender,
    history, literature, ecology, social movements, social
    transformation, and ethnicity.

  • Levy, Carl, and Matthew S. Adams, eds. 2018. The Palgrave handbook
    of anarchism
    . London: Palgrave Macmillan.

    A mammoth collection organized in four sections: core problems, core
    traditions, key events, and applications. The volume includes
    analysis of concepts including freedom and the state as well as
    strands within anarchism, notably anarchist feminism and green
    anarchism; historical snapshots of anarchism in 1890s France and in
    1968; and analysis of anarchism and ethics, art, and the wave of
    occupations in the early 21st century.

  • Purkis, Jon, and James Bowen, eds. 1997. Twenty-first century
    anarchism: Unorthodox ideas for a new millennium
    . London and New
    York: Cassell.

    This groundbreaking collection highlights a shift in theory and
    practice from historical anarchist traditions, aligning anarchism
    with a range of horizontal movements. The authors followed this
    collection, in 2004, with Changing Anarchism: Anarchist Theory and
    Practice in a Global Age
    (Manchester, UK, and New York: Manchester
    Univ. Press).

  • Rousselle, Duane, and Süreyyya Evren, eds. 2011. Post-anarchism: A
    . London and New York: Pluto.

    A guide to one of the most influential theoretical currents within
    anarchist scholarship, which examines work by postanarchists and
    their critics. The introduction is a masterful survey of the
    arguments and debates.

  • Shantz, Jeff, and Dana Williams. 2013. Anarchy and society:
    Reflections on anarchist sociology
    . Boston, MA: Brill.

    Explores the intersection of anarchism and sociology from Weber and
    Marx; presents the sociological theory of key anarchists including P.
    -J. Proudhon, Emma Goldman, and Colin Ward; and highlights the
    transformative dynamic of anarchist social theory.

  • Shukaitis, Stevphen, and David Graeber, eds. 2007. Constituent
    imagination: Militant investigations, collective theorization
    Oakland, CA: AK.

    An exercise in militant research, this book consciously challenges
    conventional scholarship by sharing experiences, ideas, and
    understandings in order to contribute to social transformation.

Reference Works

There are a number of anarchist readers and reference books available in
print, but the most accessible, comprehensive sources are online.
Anarchism has a strong web presence, and sites usefully hold valuable
information about infoshops, discussion forums, archives, organizing,
and publishing. Most have blogrolls and hyperlinks to other anarchist
sites: new users learn easily how to navigate anarchist networks. Sites
typically have information about the host group, which helps users
situate the selection of sources in the spectrum of anarchist politics.
The sites listed here include some of the best-known sources for
reference materials and excellent coverage of anarchist political
theory, politics, and movements. The
specializes in contemporary anarchist writing, though it also
holds historical texts: the collection is constructed by free, open
subscription, and it is fast becoming the most significant repository
for anarchist scholarship. The collection is mainly, but not
exclusively, English language. The
offers access to research in French, Spanish, and
English, with links to and information about film, music, and
literature. The
collects and preserves anarchist materials and
produces publications based on original research. This site is an
invaluable source of information for researchers working on anarchist
movements. The has a rich collection of historical materials, commentaries,
articles, and original translations of work by Proudhon and Bakunin.
is a growing digital archive collecting materials from the
anarchist communist movement. The
is a static site but serves as a contemporary movement archive
for the period 1992–2000. The
is particularly useful for those interested in the history of
anarchist and anticapitalist actions.

  • An extensive and growing library of anti-state and anticapitalist
    writings, by anarchists and of interest to anarchists. Includes
    contemporary and historical texts and is easy to search.

  • A repository for historical materials relating to class-struggle
    anarchisms. The online library has useful reviews and extensive
    information about anarchist history and the international movement.

  • A multilingual online archive and database that provides access to an
    enormous range of full-text materials, essays, academic papers, and
    dissertations by leading authors and contemporary historians of
    anarchism. This site has an online discussion forum and carries news
    about contemporary events.

  • A repository for zines, pamphlets, posters, books, and journals—UK
    and international.

  • This project ran from 1997 to 2000 and was last updated in 2002, but
    it remains an incredibly rich resource for English and
    non-English-language materials. The site offers access to an
    extensive library of anarchist and radical writings, images, and
    links to resources.

  • An archive of photos, books, and pamphlets documenting anarchist
    history and popular struggles (such as women’s campaigns,
    particularly in Ireland) and also covering the Zapatistas and


There are a significant number of bibliographies available online.
Support for those new to anarchism can also be obtained through a number
of academic anarchist groups, notably, the
and the . Requests for help are readily met by members,
and a number of subject-specific reading lists have been created and are
available on the ASN site. For a consolidated bibliography, including a
guide to work in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Danish,
Norwegian, Finish, German, Chinese, Russian, and Italian, see
(cited under
). The
is an excellent starting point for online historical
research. The site is easy to navigate, and the bibliographies are
linked to particular writers, movements, and events.
is still an invaluable guide, particularly for those new to
are organized alphabetically,
excellent for browsing and for finding publishing details of books and
pamphlets. The latter includes links to some online material and
contains Robert Goehlert’s “Anarchism: A Bibliography of Articles,
1900–1975,” a guide to academic scholarship on anarchism. The
lists works by author and theme and has links to online
French-language texts.

  • Multilingual bibliography of books, articles, Internet sites, and
    audio and video material.

  • Bibliography produced by the anarchist-communist FAQ Editorial
    Collective. There are some gaps in the publication details, in the
    process of revision, and the list is usefully subdivided into four

  • An extensive online research center and archive for historical
    anarchism, with bibliographical information about a wide range of
    writers and movements, periodicals, and key events and a selected
    general bibliography.

  • Lots of downloadable documents, historical and contemporary. The old
    site included entry points for French, English, Chinese, Castilian,
    and Catalan readers but is in redevelopment.

  • Nursey-Bray, Paul, ed. 1992. Anarchist thinkers and thought: An
    annotated bibliography
    . Bibliographies and Indexes in Law and
    Political Science. New York: Greenwood.

    Bibliographies for and about selected figures, with sections for
    those “on the margins” of anarchism (Ivan Illich, William Morris,
    Murray Rothbard). Movement histories are subdivided by country. There
    are useful sections for theses; journals, both historical and
    contemporary; and other bibliographical sources and an index of
    authors and activists.


Readers looking for insight into anarchist history and practices have a
choice of three important documentary collections.
provides a guide to the development of the European libertarian
outlines a broader history of anarchist ideas extending
beyond Europe. Graham’s volumes examine the relationship between
self-identifying anarchists and other antiauthoritarians and draw from a
range of anarchist currents: anarcho-communists and anarchafeminists,
class-struggle anarchists, and art activists.
is a unique introduction to art activism and grassroots
organizing. The materials this work brings together have been gathered
from the Canadian movement, but the scope of the activism and the
creative, playful approaches are indicative of wider trends.

  • Antliff, Allan, ed. 2004. Only a beginning: An anarchist anthology.
    Vancouver, Canada: Arsenal Pulp.

    A collection of Canadian materials that demonstrate the interlacing
    of art, protest, and community activism, examining a wealth of
    contemporary issues, including racism, patriarchy, squatting,
    wandering, and antiwar protest.

  • Graham, Robert, ed. 2005–2013. Anarchism: A documentary history of
    libertarian ideas
    . 3 vols. Montreal: Black Rose.

    These volumes are the standard reference, in the early 21st century,
    for the history of anarchist ideas. The material is drawn from
    diverse historical and cultural contexts.

  • Guérin, Daniel, ed. 2005. No gods, no masters: An anthology of
    . Translated by Paul Sharkey. Oakland, CA, and Edinburgh:

    English translation of Ni Dieu, ni maître: Anthologie de
    , originally published in 1970 (Paris: Maspero). A rich
    collection of historical documents, letters, manifestos, and reports,
    collated by a leading figure in the French left-libertarian movement.


Anarchism is well served by scholarly journals, though a greater number
of exchanges are conducted through a range of insightful and provocative
magazines and periodicals produced in activist communities.
(cited under
(cited under
) both contain extensive lists of contemporary and historical
activist journals.

Peer-Reviewed Journals

There are a number of active and historic peer-review journals.
encourages work that leans toward
cultural studies and cuts across disciplinary boundaries.


similarly encourage theoretical innovation and work that is politically
engaged. Both publications are scholarly but seek to challenge academic

is not explicitly anarchist but presents innovative work in
organizational studies and is open to anarchist approaches;

stresses anticapitalist activism and alternative community and group
provide an outlet for multidisciplinary
scholarship on socialist anarchism; the latter principally publishes
online and is explicitly committed to social theory relevant to
anticapitalist activism.
also supports activist scholarship and has a particular
interest in issues of social justice.

is a French-language journal, offering cutting-edge research that is
usually themed.

  • Linked to Richard J. F. Day’s Affinity Project, this journal
    publishes peer-reviewed papers, with a particular focus on
    alternatives to neoliberal capitalism and the exploration of
    alternative, sustainable, nonhierarchical ways of living and
    indigenous struggles. Last issue on the site is 2015.

  • An international, peer-reviewed, online and print copy, open-access
    journal, with an interdisciplinary emphasis and interest in
    challenging anarchist orthodoxies. Issues appear occasionally, the
    most recent is 2018.

  • An international, peer-reviewed print journal, publishing work from
    across the political spectrum, in a wide range of disciplinary

  • A peer-reviewed open-access journal, with an interest in conceptual
    and theoretical questions of organization and in organizational

  • The journal of the Transformative Studies Institute is an
    interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal designed to promote dialogue
    about research on social justice and the interrelationships of theory
    and practice.

Anarchism in Non-Anarchist Academic Journals

A number of nonanarchist journals have published a substantial body of
anarchist research, notably, the Journal of Political Ideologies,
International Review of Social History, and Antipode. A selection of
special issues on anarchism is provided here. Each has a particular
disciplinary focus. Antipode is a journal for radical geographers, and
this special issue
() explores anarchist theory and practice using concepts of
spatiality and territoriality familiar in the field. The collection
includes articles on contemporary activism, indigenism, and pedagogy.
Contemporary Chinese Thought publishes translations of articles from
Chinese sources, principally scholarly journals, and the special issue
explores the work of the writer and political activist
Ba Jin (Li Yaotang, b. 1904–d. 2005). The Contemporary Justice Review
() is an interdisciplinary journal that looks at issues of
restorative justice, and it has an activist learning. This issue
includes essays written from anarchist perspectives.
, a special issue of the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies, is
devoted to the study of periodicals, modernist or otherwise, between
1880 and 1950. The Journal of Political Ideologies offers scholarly work
in the field of ideologies and examines the methodological issues raised
by the study of ideology and this special issue
() explores themes of utopianism and servitude. The Journal for the
Study of Radicalism
() is a scholarly journal devoted to the discussion of
radical social movements and their histories. The 2010 and 2011 special
issues were stimulated by the attention anarchism attracted as a result
of the global justice movement. The 2016 issue has a historical focus.
Working USA
() also has a movement focus but encourages the
analysis of labor movements through cross-disciplinary social science
methods. Millennium is a journal that publishes work in international
relations, and this issue
() includes seven papers that discuss issues of globalization and
protest as well as anarchist-informed theoretical approaches to
international anarchy. SubStance is a journal of literature and culture,
though the special issue on anarchism
() studies postanarchist politics.

  • Antliff, Allan, ed. 2014. Special issue: Anarchist modernism
    in print. Journal of Modern Periodical Studies 4.2.

    The issue explores the dovetailing of anarchism and modernism. The
    focus is on critiques of European nationalism, capitalism,
    industrialization, postivisitic scientism, and doctrines of
    progressive evolution. Patricia Leighten, Kathy Ferguson, Mark
    Antliff, Theresa Papanikolas, Nina Gourianova, and James Gifford
    explore avant-garde aesthetics and subversion in anarchist-modernist
    subcultures, and Allan Antliff provides a helpful introductory

  • Hutchens, Benjamin, ed. 2007. Special issue: The future of
    anarchism. SubStance

    Includes essays by Allan Antliff, Lewis Call, Saul Newman, and Todd

  • Larabee, Ann, and Arthur Versluis, eds. 2010. Special issue:
    Anarchism, part 1. Journal for the Study of Radicalism

    The first of two consecutive issues devoted to anarchism; Part 2:
    issue 5.1 (2011). A further special on anarchism, edited by Andrew
    Hoyt, appeared in 10.2 (2016).

  • Issue 10.3 (1978) is dedicated to social anarchism; issue 17.2–3
    (1985) has the section “Anarchist Leanings.” A special issue,
    Anarchist Geographies, was published in 44.5 (2012). The journal
    has a long history of publishing anarchist-inspired research.

  • Newman, Saul, ed. 2011. Special issue: The libertarian impulse.
    Journal of Political Ideologies

    The journal has published a substantial body of work on anarchism,
    libertarianism, ecoanarchism, and utopianism and essays by anarchist
    scholars, including Benjamin Franks; Uri Gordon; Carissa Honeywell;
    and, in this issue, Carl Levy and Saul Newman.

  • Papers examine the concept of “anarchy” in international relations
    from an anarchist perspective and consider the significance of the
    global protest movement in international politics.

  • Rapp, John, and Daniel M. Youd, eds. 2015. Special issue: Ba Jin as
    anarchist critic of Marxism. Contemporary Chinese
    Thought 46.2.

    An introduction to Ba Jin (b. 1904–d. 2005) and translations of texts
    on Marxism and the dictatorship of the proletariat, Lenin, Kropotkin,
    and the Russian Revolution.

  • Special issue: The rebirth of labor’s militant legacy: Anarchism,
    syndicalism, and class struggle
    . 2009. Working USA 12.3.

    Includes essays by Jeffrey Shantz, Heather Gautney, and Uri Gordon.

  • A mini symposium on community, including discussions of anarchism and

Anarchist Literatures

When anarchism developed as a distinctive and recognizable current
within revolutionary and radical movements in the late 19th century,
leading figures within them made strenuous efforts to explain and
propagate anarchist ideas. These ideas remain influential, and packaged,
as “classical theory,” they continue to provide a springboard for
contemporary anarchist theory (see
However, the political, cultural, and historical parameters of anarchist
ideas are contested, and anarchists are resistant to the canonization of
ideas and to the scholarly reification that sometimes results from
sustained academic scrutiny. For this reason, there is no consensus
about core ideas and no single body of work to which anarchists refer as
a touchstone to elaborate their ideas. The following sections have been
chosen to provide an indicative guide to anarchist debates, particularly
those in which anarchist interests touch on sociological themes, and to
outline some of the important theoretical and political strains within
the contemporary anarchist movement. The commentaries indicate when
crosscurrents within the anarchist movement have affected the framing of
debates. The list does not include major works in anarchist history or
in political theory, for example; for this and other literatures, see

Anarchafeminism/Anarchism and Feminism

Anarchism has attracted a number of feminist voices: Louise Michel (b.
1830–d. 1905), Emma Goldman (b. 1869–d. 1940), Voltairine de Cleyre (b.
1866–d. 1912), and Lucy Parsons (b. 1853–d. 1942) are the best known,
but there were important non-European voices, too.
documents the activism of Japanese anarchists, and
is an excellent introduction to early-20th-century Chinese
feminism. The historical record of anarchist feminism is contested.
investigate the issues in the European context, the deeply
antifeminist bias of leading anarchist writers, notably, Pierre-Joseph
Proudhon (b 1809–d. 1865) and the sidelining of topics of particular
interest to women, in mainstream anarchist campaigning. A number of
writers have observed that 19th– and early-20th-century American
anarchist feminists were often attracted to individualist ideas.
Goldman, for example, was sympathetic to Friedrich Nietzsche, and de
Cleyre mapped American anarchism to concepts of self-reliance familiar
to homestead, frontier thinking. Although many feminists such as Goldman
identified as communists (de Cleyre refused labels), the division of
anarchists into individualist and communist schools presents significant
challenges for the interpretation of synthetic philosophies. The
libertarian influences acting on anarchist feminisms, sometimes
sidelined in anarcho-communist histories, are discussed in
. McElroy’s research also examines the efforts that anarchist
feminists made to bring about social transformations by changing their
own behaviors. The work of Judy Greenway, offered on her website
(), explores similar themes and considers some of the utopian
experiments with which anarchist feminists were involved. She also
brings a contemporary interest in gender politics and anarchist
methodology to the research (see also
). Anarchafeminism emerged as a powerful current in
anarchism in the late 20th century. The roots of the contemporary
movement are often said to lie in so-called second-wave feminism.
, which first appeared in the 1970s, is an
excellent starting point for those unfamiliar with anarchafeminism and
usefully distinguishes this current of anarchism from other nonanarchist
socialist forms.
is another useful guide for the analysis of sex, race, and class.
, a study of Emma Goldman, is a challenging and novel contemporary
feminist analysis of anarchism. Further information on anarchafeminism
can be found through the
. See also

  • A resource for anarchafeminist news, articles, images, and discussion
    that is intended to create a space for the many voices captured by
    the intersection of anarchism and feminism, inclusive of all genders,
    ethnicities, sexual orientations, ages, and abilities.

  • Bowen Raddeker, Hélène. 1997. Treacherous women of
    imperial Japan: Patriarchal fictions,
    patricidal fantasies. London: Routledge.

    A study of the activism of Kanno Suga (b. 1881–d. 1911) and Kaneko
    Fumiko (b. 1903–d. 1926), executed for conspiring to assassinate the
    Japanese emperor.

  • Brown, L. Susan. 1993. The politics of individualism: Liberalism,
    liberal feminism and anarchism
    . Montreal and New York: Black Rose.

    Brown’s argument is that the individualist currents in anarchist
    feminism are consistent with anarchist communist politics.

  • Dark Star Collective, ed. 2012. Quiet rumors: An anarcha-feminist
    . 3d ed. Edinburgh: AK.

    A reader, bringing together a set of historical and contemporary
    essays and articles, that articulates a range of anarchist-feminist

  • Gemie’s essay investigates the double paradox of the patriarchal
    politics of historical antiauthoritarian anarchism and the minority
    feminist cultures of the predominantly male movement.

  • Hemmings, Clare. 2018. Considering Emma Goldman: Feminist political
    ambivalence and the imaginative archive
    . Durham, NC, and London:
    Duke Univ. Press.

    Hemmings develops new perspectives on Goldman’s life and her politics
    by thinking through her contribution to feminism and anarchism. The
    result is a challenging analysis of Goldman’s feminism, through the
    lens of contemporary feminist theory.

  • James, Selma. 2010. Sex, race, and class: The perspective of
    winning; A selection of writings 1952–2011
    . Oakland, CA: PM Press.

    James’s work chimes with anarchist feminism and is particularly good
    on women’s strikes and sex workers’ struggles.

  • Online access to writings on anarchism, feminism, 19th-century
    anarchist and feminist movements and ideas, utopianism, and the
    politics of gender and sexuality.

  • Liu, Lydia H., Rebecca E. Karl, and Dorothy Ko. 2013. The birth of
    Chinese feminism: Essential texts in transnational theory
    . New York:
    Columbia Univ. Press.

    A study of the feminism of He-Yin Zhen (b. 1884–d. 1920?) and
    translations of some of her key texts.

  • McElroy, Wendy. 2001. Individualist feminism of the nineteenth
    century: Collected writings and biographical profiles
    . Jefferson,
    NC: McFarland.

    McElroy’s work focuses on anarchists who identified as
    individualists, often critical of communist anarchist traditions, and
    highlights the ways in which feminists in these traditions tackled
    issues of marriage, child care, and self-ownership.


The desire to challenge the claim that the state is the most desirable,
inevitable, or sophisticated form of human organization, or a
combination of these, underpins anarchist interests in prestate and
nonstate societies. This interest extends back to the 19th century,
notably, to
(originally published in 1902), which drew on Victorian
anthropological research and is sometimes identified as the pioneering
work in the field.
is a classic modern statement of anarchist anthropology that
examines the practices of leaderless communities to support a critical
analysis of state theory.
has provided a fresh, anarchist-friendly anthropology of
resistance to state processes.
offers a good, concise guide to historical and modern
literatures, setting Kropotkin’s work in context and highlighting the
ways in which anarchism has resonated with academic anthropologists.
examines the relationship between European anarchist thought
(notably, Proudhon’s ideas), classical anthropology, and indigenous
thinking. In some anticivilization and ecoanarchist literatures (see
), anthropology is employed in the
critique of civilization and, especially, work practices. Whereas
Kropotkin drew on anthropology to illustrate his concept of mutual aid
and cooperation,
looks at a plethora of anthropological studies to support a
critique of work and advocate its abandonment for leisure. As well as
exploiting anthropological findings, anarchists have also studied
anthropological methods and, more recently, a growing number of radical
theorists have borrowed the ethnographic techniques widely adopted by
cultural anthropologists to engage with contemporary protest cultures.
promoted this approach as a way of understanding anarchism from
the inside, avoiding both the imposition of analytical frameworks that
distort activist ideas and the objectification of anarchism as a
discrete field of study. The influence of Graeber’s ethnography is
detectable in discussions of Occupy, with which Graeber is also strongly
associated. The essays collected in
all apply anthropological insights and approaches
creatively to deal with anarchist actions.

  • Barclay, Harold. 1990. People without government: An anthropology of
    . Rev. ed. London: Kahn and Averill.

    Originally published in 1982. Barclay’s seminal study of nonstate
    societies does not claim all for anarchy but shows that anarchist
    critiques of the political theory of the modern state are well

  • Black, Bob. 1992. Primitive affluence: A postscript to Sahlins. In
    Friendly fire. By Bob Black, 19–41. New Autonomy. New York:

    Uses anthropological studies to critique work and advocate leisure.

  • Falleiros, Guilherme Lavinas Jardim. 2018. From Proudhon to
    Lévi-Strauss and beyond—a dialogue between anarchism and indigenous
    America. Anarchist Studies 26.2: 56–79.

    An analysis of the complex interconnections and discontinuities
    between Proudhonian anarchism, Claude Lévi-Strauss’s dialectics, and
    the ways of life and thought practiced by A’uwe-Xavante people in

  • Graeber’s short discussion brings anthropological insights to bear on
    contemporary activist interests in anticapitalist, anti-state

  • Juris, Jeffrey S., and Maple Razsa, eds. 2012.
    . Cultural Anthropology

    A collection of essays by anthropologists and ethnographers,
    considering the mass occupations, democratic practices, use of social
    media, and contradictions and critiques emerging from Occupy.

  • Originally published in 1902. Kropotkin’s classic critique of social
    Darwinism and his discussion of mutual aid. The book was central to
    Kropotkin’s mature thought, and he used the idea of mutual aid in his
    sociology of the state, his ethics, and his methodology to challenge
    socialist teleology.

  • Morris, Brian. 2005. Anthropology and anarchism: Their elective
    . Goldsmiths Anthropology Research Papers 11. London:
    Goldsmiths College.

    A really useful survey of the literature in the field, from the 19th
    century onward, highlighting key texts and attending to the
    intellectual affinity between anarchist traditions and
    anthropological analysis.

  • Scott, James C. 2009. The art of not being governed: An anarchist
    history of upland Southeast Asia
    . Yale Agrarian Studies. New Haven,
    CT: Yale Univ. Press.

    A study of the ways in which peoples in the zone designated Zomia in
    Southeast Asia have resisted the organization and encroachment of
    formal state structures, sympathetic to anarchist critiques of the

Capitalism, the State, and Alternatives

The critique of capitalism and the state and the power relationships
that capitalist states foster is central to anarchist thinking.
Kropotkin and Rudolf Rocker (b. 1873–d. 1958) provide two classic
statements of state formation:
. Both contest liberal political theory, dismiss notions of
contract and consent, and argue that the origin of the state rests on
force. For Kropotkin, the state claims sovereignty at the individual’s
expense, and the coercive power of religious, military, and political
elites combines to enforce a particular set of government arrangements
and economic power relations that undermine cooperation and popular,
organic organizational arrangements, institutionalizing exploitation in
the process. Rocker relates a similar story but introduces a cultural
dynamic to the analysis of state power, discussing issues of nationalism
and the tendency of state power to extend to all areas of moral and
social life.
develops a critique of consumerism; suburban development; the
ghettoization of poor, usually black, communities; and the rule of
“science” in technocracy. The sociological trends pointed to a loss of
community and the creation of what the author calls “the empty society.”
Fredy Perlman’s poetic sociology of the state brings yet another
dimension to the account of state repression by charting the rise of the
“megamachine,” a term borrowed from Lewis Mumford (b. 1895–d. 1990) (see
). In this critique, state expansion is associated with
economic exploitation, but the strongly militaristic aspects of state
development are linked to the development of technologies and processes
of domestication predicated on the destructive domination of the natural
, highly influential in ecological and anticivilization anarchist
circles, is both a functional analysis of exploitation and an
organization critique of domination in all its forms. This work also
chimed with observed changes in capitalist production and the decline of
industrial capitalism between the late 19th and 20th centuries.
outlines this shift, offering a strategic anarchist response
based on riotous rebellion. Bonnano has produced a rich and influential
body of work, and in light of the emergence of the global justice
movement, this essay appears prescient. Following the banking crisis of
the first decade of the 21st century, anarchists have begun to examine
the socioeconomic practices supporting capitalist exchanges.
highlights the coerciveness of monetary economies and the social
and cultural impact of global capitalism. Noam Chomsky gives the
best-known anarchist/libertarian left critique of the international
state system. His work, some of which is available on his website
documents a postwar history of state terrorism and, in particular, of US
state and corporate power. Anarchists have explored a number of
alternatives to capitalism. Some of these are available on the
includes a number of proposals and sketches, alongside
critiques of global exploitation, and
advances a complex anarchist theoretical model of the
state to consider strategic initiatives.

  • Bonnano, Alfredo M. 1998. From riot to insurrection: Analysis for an
    anarchist perspective against post industrial capitalism
    . Translated
    by Jean Weir. Anarchist Pocketbooks. London: Elephant.

    Analysis of postindustrial capitalism and the implications for
    anarchist practice.

  • Site allows access to books, articles, videos, and interviews by and
    with Chomsky, America’s most prominent anarchist intellectual.

  • Glasberg, Davita Silfen, Abbey S. Willis, and Deric Shannon. 2018.
    The state of state theory: State projects, repression and
    multi-sites of power
    . Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

    The book situates anarchism as a tradition of sociological thought
    and examines the state as institution and actor and site of
    multipower. Chapters examine concepts of racial formation,
    intersectional oppression, and heteronormativity.

  • Originally published in 1960, Goodman’s study of male youth
    delinquency established Goodman as a leading spokesperson for the New
    Left. The book examines sociological trends explaining fragmentation,
    anxiety, disillusion, and despair.

  • An anthropological analysis of the development of monetary economies,
    presenting a critique of modern capitalism and the principles of free
    market exchange, on which is it based.

  • Kropotkin, Peter. 1997. The state: Its historic role.
    Rev. ed. Translated by Vernon Richards. London: Freedom Press.

    Originally published in 1897. A classic anarchist-communist account
    of the state’s development and a critique of the self-regarding
    practices fostered by centralization and authoritarianism. The essay
    explores the principle of mutual aid and the idea of decentralized
    federalism that Kropotkin associated with it (see
    , cited under

  • Perlman, Fredy. 1983. Against His-story, against Leviathan! An
    . Detroit: Black and Red.

    Perlman’s inventive, extraordinary analysis has a number of facets:
    he looks at the process of militarization and the religious
    orthodoxies that support the domination of the earth and the growth
    of destructive, exploitative civilizing practices. Moses is cast as
    the first Leninist. Complicity is also a powerful theme in Perlman’s
    account of the state.

  • Rocker, Rudolf. 1998. Nationalism and culture. Translated by Ray E.
    Chase. Montreal and New York: Black Rose.

    Originally published in 1937. Rocker’s exhaustive discussion of the
    state interweaves an account of state theory in the history of ideas
    with sociological developments in state power. He provides a critique
    of fascism, as a state form as well as a particular political
    practice, and an analysis of cultural domination, with special
    reference to nationalism. This is a classic but neglected anarchist

  • Shannon, Deric, Anthony J. Nocella II, and John Asimakopoulos,
    eds. 2012. Accumulation of freedom: Writings on anarchist
    . Oakland, CA: AK.

    A collection of anarchist writings on economics, containing
    historical and contemporary critiques, alternatives to capitalism,
    and resistance strategies.

  • Site hosts a range of projects for an alternative participatory
    economics (parecon), including a magazine, media center, and blog.

Class-Struggle Anarchisms

Class-struggle anarchism describes a current in the international
movement, advanced by two major federations of anarchists. The
parameters of class-struggle anarchism have come into sharp definition
as arguments about the historical discontinuity of contemporary
anarchism with 19th-century traditions (see
have evolved.
is a classic early statement of the position.
Class-struggle anarchists disagree about the overlap between their own
positions and contemporary currents of anarchism but agree that
anarcho-communism and anarcho-syndicalism occupied the main ground of
historical anarchism and that these movements were principally concerned
with addressing issues of worker exploitation, economic injustice, the
organization of labor, and the process of production. There is a degree
of common ground between class-struggle anarchism and nonanarchist
socialism, including forms of Marxist socialism, and these are discussed
by the contributors to
, but as
argues, class-struggle anarchists typically reject Karl Marx’s
theory of history and, uniformly, the adoption of Leninist vanguard
strategies. There are two international federations of class-struggle
anarchism. The
(IFA), which traces its roots to the
19th-century Anarchist International and the

(IWA-AIT), an organization of syndicalist and libertarian socialist
groups. Global communication between class-struggle groups and
individuals is also facilitated by the

site. Class-struggle anarchists resist the suggestion that the focus on
class exploitation precludes consideration of nonclass cleavages, such
as gender or forms of oppression extending from colonialism and racism.
Franks’s examination of British class-struggle anarchism outlines the
politics of the constituent groups and offers a rigorous analysis of
underlying theoretical principles.
recovers a history of class-struggle activism to
configure anarchism ideologically as a class-struggle movement,
challenging histories of ideas that focus on key writers or individuals.
Organization is a central theme in class-struggle anarchism, and
is seminal to these debates. Makhno’s legacy, platformism,
remains a live tradition in anarchist activism, and the South African

is a leading exponent.

  • A news space and discussion forum designed to encourage cooperation
    and exchange between networked platormists, libertarian communists,
    anarchist communists, and social anarchists who identify with
    Anarkismo.net’s published goals.

  • Christie, Stuart, and Albert Meltzer. 1970. The floodgates of
    . London: Kahn and Averill.

    A classic account of anarchism by two leading UK activists. The first
    chapter discusses class struggle, and this becomes the lens for the
    analysis of anarchism.

  • Franks, Benjamin. 2006. Rebel alliances: The means and ends of
    contemporary British anarchisms
    . Edinburgh: AK.

    An introduction to postwar British anarchism that outlines the
    ideological parameters of class-struggle anarchism through the
    philosophical analysis of core concepts examined in the context of
    activist engagements. Franks studies the intersections of
    class-struggle anarchism with politically engaged aspects of
    poststructuralist thinking.

  • Anarcho-communist federation, with international affiliates, that
    traces its heritage to the Anarchist International, established in
    Saint-Imier in 1872. The site includes a statement of principles as
    well as information about current actions and discussion of politics.

  • Revolutionary unionist/anarcho-syndicalist libertarian communist
    federation, with international affiliates (including the Solidarity
    Federation) (see
    , cited under
    ). The site contains a statement of principles as
    well as information about current actions and discussion of politics.

  • Makhno, Nestor. 1996.
    . Edited by Alexandre
    Skirda. Edinburgh and San Francisco: AK.

    Mahkno provides the classic statement of platformism, an
    organizational tendency within class-struggle anarchism, and these
    essays look at questions of revolutionary organization in the context
    of his active engagement in the Russian Civil War.

  • Prichard, Alex, Ruth Kinna, Saku Pinta, and David Berry, eds. 2017.
    Libertarian socialism: Politics in black and red. Oakland, CA: PM

    This volume discusses the tensions and overlap between forms of
    Marxism and anarchism. Chapters concentrate on particular figures and
    groups, tracing a history of European revolutionary socialism.

  • Schmidt, Michael, and Lucien van der Walt. 2009. Black flame: The
    revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndicalism
    Counterpower. Edinburgh and Oakland, CA: AK.

    A global history of anarchist communist and syndicalist movements
    that sets the ideological parameters of the “broad anarchist
    tradition” of class-struggle anarchism through the account of
    movement actions.

  • Southern African federation of individuals, not groups, who subscribe
    to platformism and anarcho-communism. The site allows access to a
    range of historical and contemporary resources; a journal; and links
    to other international and African communist, syndicalist, and labor
    groups and movements.

Community and Local Activism

Community activism is important to anarchists because it supports
grassroots, bottom-up initiatives, facilitates direct action outside the
formal power structures, and provides a locus for the development of
caring social relationships and networks that are considered central to
the construction of alternative, anarchist ways of living. The
examinations by Colin Ward (b. 1924–d. 2012) of the possibilities of
community resistance, social networking, and local activism have
inspired generations of activists.
(cited under
was an important influence on
: the last two chapters of this book highlight the vitality of
nonstate organizations and cooperative ventures from which anarchists
still take inspiration when advancing alternatives to statist and
for-profit systems. The book also gives a classic account of the ethics
of community activism.
present two 20th-century restatements, the former drawing
explicitly on Kropotkin’s work. For many activists, issues of ethical
practice are intimately connected with the creation of alternative, or
autonomous, spaces, or what Hakim Bey calls temporary autonomous zones
(). Working outside formal structures, anarchists are involved in
Anarchist Black Cross, Copwatch (see
), and Food Not Bombs as well as a range
cooperatives, independent media organizations, and cultural activities
(music, publishing, education). In the context of labor organizing,
local activism is sometimes identified as one prong of a two-pronged
strategy. Members of the UK Solidarity Federation
() are members not only of the industrial network, but also,
primarily, of local groups. Locals organize actions within workplaces
and communities in support of members and in solidarity with groups
fighting against sexism, racism, homophobia, and other forms of
domination. One of the distinctive features of anarchist engagement in
community initiatives is the practices that anarchists adopt. These are
described as direct and prefigurative, indicating, as
details, that the actions anarchists engage in are consistent
with the changes they seek to realize. Within or without TAZs, the
process of decision making is an important aspect of community activism
and prefigurative change.
examines how networks of local grassroots feminist movements have
challenged liberal democratic theory and contributed to the
reconstruction and reshaping of decision making (see also
). Democratic processes and consensus decision
making within collectives, firmly established in the early 21st century,
as part of anarchist practice are outlined in
, an online resource, and

  • Ackelsberg, Martha A. 2010. Resisting citizenship: Feminist essays
    on politics, community, and democracy
    . New York: Routledge.

    A collection of essays that examine issues of grassroots, direct
    activism, from an anarchist-feminist perspective.

  • Originally published in 1971 (Chicago: Aldine). A discussion of
    anarchist ethics that deals with the state’s exploitation of ethical
    capital and the potential to organize anarchist alternatives by
    recapturing the values of community.

  • Bey’s discussion of the TAZ injects anarchist practice with
    carnivalesque, playful activity and extends the principle of local
    social networking to the construction of virtual, global networks.

  • Milstein, Cindy. 2010. Anarchism and its aspirations. Anarchist
    Interventions. Oakland, CA: AK.

    A succinct exploration of anarchist activism and principles that
    details the continuities with historical anarchism and highlights the
    shifts of emphasis that have taken place in the late 20th century.

  • A practical online resource, downloadable as a pdf, discussing the
    practicalities, benefits, and skills necessary for effective decision
    making by consensus.

  • van Duyn, Roel. 1972. Message of a wise kabouter. Translated by
    Hubert Hoskins. London: Duckworth.

    English translation of De boodschap van een wijze kabouter,
    originally published in 1969 (Amsterdam: Meulenhoff Nederland). A
    countercultural, subversive critique of authoritarianism, by an
    activist of the Dutch anarchist movement, heavily indebted to
    Kropotkin’s theory of mutual aid (see
    (cited under

  • Ward’s classic statement of community activism. He painted it as an
    updating footnote to
    (cited under
    but it is an original work that extends Kropotkin’s insights into
    practical activism. This remains an important text, particularly for
    ecoanarchists and those involved in cooperatives and radical
    community networks.

Democracy and Decision Making

One of the distinctive features of anarchist politics is the rejection
of parliamentary, electoral politics and the principle of
representation. Four critiques,
, and
, are included to illustrate the historical continuity of the
critique and the different perspectives that anarchists have brought to
the analysis of liberal democratic models. As
argues, anarchist approaches to democracy typically
prioritize society, rather than the state, as the locus for decision
making and root analysis in lived practice, rather than abstract models
of citizenship.
, one of the most influential models of pro-democracy communalism,
synthesizes anarchism with classical democratic theory to rework
decentralized federalism in an age of environmental degradation and
class decomposition. Anarchists also discuss democracy and decision
making in the context of protest and activism. In
, questions of decision making are tackled in
a discussion of social defense, nonviolence, and social change. In
addition, Martin presents a critique of representative democracy and
electoral systems and outlines an alternative process, demarchy.
has also outlined an alternative consensual process of decision
making by drawing on the experience of the New York Occupy movement.
uses the author’s involvement in Occupy in Ireland and San
Francisco to examine democracy in social movements.
presents a conflict in Stockholm to reflect on the relationship
between democracy and anarchy. As well as being interested in the
processes of decision making, anarchists have reflected on the
organizational context best suited to anarchist principles:
decentralized federalism.
is a classic. See also

  • An eighteen-point critique of democracy and majoritarianism, designed
    to reveal the limits of democratic government in order to expose the
    flaws in the principle of government.

  • A succinct account of Bookchin’s understanding of the nature of the
    modern crisis, the potential of radical change, and the importance of
    municipalism and communalism: the foundations for democracy.

  • Clark, Patricia, and Sharif Gemie. 2003. Anarchism and democracy. In
    Understanding democratic politics: An introduction. Edited by
    Robert Axtmann, 261–270. London and Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

    Sets out the methodological perspectives supporting anarchist
    analyses of decision making and critiques of statist models.

  • CrimethInc. Ex-Workers Collective. 2016. From democracy to freedom.
    Salem, OR: CrimethInc.

    A trenchant critique of democracy that critically examines the
    pro-democracy activism of Occupy.

  • Graeber, David. 2013. The democracy project: A history, a crisis, a
    . London: Allen Lane.

    Maps a history of the economic crisis to a critique of corporate
    democracy in America and charts its rise against the expression of
    alternative, egalitarian, and consensual models, situating the
    processes adopted by Occupy in a tradition of popular, grassroots
    social organization.

  • A brief critique of the bureaucratic tendencies of socialist party
    organization and of the German Social Democratic Party in particular,
    presaging the analysis developed by Robert Michels. Unlike Michels,
    Landauer associates the oligarchic pressures of organization with
    statist forms, rather than organization as such.

  • Lundström, Markus. 2018. Anarchist critique of radical democracy:
    The impossible argument
    . Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Explores the tensions in democracy, using Jacques Rancière as a
    theoretical point of departure and anarchist histories of ideas to
    construct a genealogy that dovetails with the experience of democracy
    in a protest action.

  • Access to a wide range of published work on decision making,
    democracy, and activism, both in theory and in practice.

  • Issues of decision making are discussed toward the end of the book,
    which considers the relationship between nonviolence, protest, and
    radical transformation.

  • Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph. 1989. General idea of the revolution in the
    nineteenth century
    . Translated by John Beverley Robinson. London:

    An outline of anarchist free exchange and mutuality, based on the
    spontaneous organization of labor associations and elaborated in the
    aftermath of the 1848 revolution as a critique of Jacobinism and
    “constitutional despotism,” or parliamentary democracy.

  • An analysis of the crisis of liberal democracy and the democratic
    practices of Occupy, the book argues that social movement actions
    transform our understanding of democracy.

  • Wilson, Charlotte. 2002. Social democracy and anarchism. In Quiet
    rumours: An anarcha-feminist reader
    . 3d ed. Edited by Dark Star
    Collective, 69–73. Edinburgh: AK.

    A critique of democracy and an attempt to debunk the promise of
    social democracy as a means of achieving social transformation. Looks
    at the psychologies of power and greed integral to electoral systems.

Ecology, Social Ecology, and Green Anarchism

There are multiple currents within the anarchist ecological movement,
and no single philosophy. Murray Bookchin (b. 1921–d. 2006) is often
identified as a pioneer of ecoanarchism, and in Our Synthetic
Environment (New York: Knopf), published under the pseudonym Lewis
Herber, in 1962, he outlined the principles of social ecology. To
Bookchin’s disappointment the book was eclipsed by Rachel Carson’s
Silent Spring, published that same year (Boston: Houghton Mifflin), and
was not widely read. Bookchin subsequently explored social ecology in
several other books:
is one of his most accessible statements and is regarded as
pioneering. Bookchin’s is not the only account, however.
draws on different philosophical influences, notably, Daoism (see
Religious Anarchisms) and, within anarchism, the work of the
19th-century geographer Élisée Reclus (b. 1830–d. 1905). Social
ecologists have been accused by deep ecologists and biocentrists of
wrongly attaching priority to social transformation in tackling
environmental problems. An important debate between Bookchin and Dave
Foreman, the cofounder of the anarchistic Earth First!, divided
anarchist opinion, exposing the gaps between social and deep ecology.
The cleavages are set out in
. Social ecology has also been challenged by
antitechnology/anticivilization and primitivist anarchists (see
Ted Kaczynski’s outline of antitechnologist ideas attracted public
interest largely because of the violence of his activism. Also known as
the Unabomber, Kaczynski published his manifesto,
, as part of his ecological campaign (see
John Zerzan is one of the best known writer-activists to promote
antitechnologist anarchist ideas, and
is one of several collections of essays in which he sets out the
principles of his primitivist anarchism. Ecoanarchism is linked with a
variety of activist practices, such as veganism, animal liberation,
anti-road-building, cycling, the protection of wilderness, and climate
camps. The final issue of Do or Die (see
) is an excellent guide to
the range of ecoanarchist concerns and the inventiveness of militancy.
details the ways in
which green anarchism informs an approach to anarchist activism and, in
particular, questions of ethical practice (see
). Eco- and green anarchists typically regard
Kropotkin as an anthropocentric thinker and technologist. Yet, his
proposals for the integration of agriculture and industry in
decentralized communes, in addition to his elaboration of the principle
of mutual aid, remain influential. The ideas contained in
were, moreover, taken up by subsequent generation of thinkers,
notably, Mumford, who provided a bridge between 19th– and 21-century
anarchist traditions (see
presents an important analysis of “individualist” anarchist
environmental history and shows why it is still relevant in contemporary

  • Bookchin, Murray. 2004. Post-scarcity anarchism. 3d ed. Working
    Classes. Edinburgh and Oakland, CA: AK.

    Originally published in 1971 (Berkeley, CA: Ramparts). A collection
    of essays in which Bookchin discusses the radical social
    transformations he believed necessary for ecological well-being and
    presents a critique of Marxism.

  • A collection of essays by Bookchin, Graham Purchase, Brian Morris,
    and Rodney Aitchtey that deal with the work of the deep ecologist,
    Arne Næss and Bookchin’s social ecology.

  • A manifesto originally published, under threat, in the Washington
    and New York Times, outlining the critique of civilization
    that resulted in Kaczynski’s mail bombing campaign.

  • Kropotkin, Peter. 1912.
    . Rev. ed. New York and London: Thomas

    Originally published in 1898. Kropotkin presents a critique of the
    international division of labor, showing how production for local
    consumption, based on the integration of agriculture and industry in
    local communes, makes anarchist communism a realistic economic

  • Ryley, Peter. 2013. Making another world possible: Anarchism,
    anti-capitalism and ecology in late 19th and early 20th century
    . London and New York: Bloomsbury.

    A detailed investigation of individualist currents in British
    anarchism and a defense of the nonviolent, anti-corporate,
    anti-neoliberal principles.

  • Considers the place of green anarchism in a historical context and
    details the ways in which green principles offer an interpretative
    frame for the application of anarchist ideas in everyday life. This
    is a discussion document and a contribution to activism, written to
    be accessible to activists.

  • This is the final issue of a now defunct journal that appeared
    between 1992 and 2003. It documents the struggles of grass-roots
    frontline ecologists across the globe.

  • Zerzan, John. 2002. Running on emptiness: The pathology of
    . Los Angeles: Feral House.

    Zerzan’s essays examine issues of violence, self-harm, social
    collapse, and the causes of environmental destruction in civilization
    and give a defense of the wilderness. The book includes a reflection
    on Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, that seeks to understand rather than
    condemn his campaign.

Education and De-skooling

Anarchism’s philosophical defense of independent judgment and the
rejection of authority as command helps explain both the profound
interest in pedagogy and schooling and the existence of a history of
educational writing and experimental practice in anarchist activism. A
number of leading anarchists were educationalists: Louise Michel,
Voltairine de Cleyre, and Francisco Ferrer. Anarchist interest is
manifest in three areas: the critique of institutional learning,
proposals for alternative practices and experiments in free schooling
(sometimes spelled “skooling”), and the analysis of the role of
education in anarchist theory.
sets out some of the concerns about orthodox educational methods
and, in particular, the institutionalization of learning in schools.
Herbert Read and Colin Ward advanced similar critiques, contrasting
education with schooling (for Herbert Read, see
). Ward’s ideas are examined in
. The concerns of Read and Ward dovetailed with a
critique that extends back to the 19th century and was profoundly
influenced by the work of Francisco Ferrer (b. 1859–d. 1909). Resistance
to and complicity in institutionalized educational practices and
repression remains a live topic in contemporary anarchism, and the
emergence of a small but significant body of academics in university
posts has encouraged reflection on the role and scope of activism in
bring together some leading voices to discuss
the issue and examines the effects of the terror attacks of 11 September
2001 on academic freedom (see also
, cited under
, an open challenge to the authority of the Spanish church and
state, led to Ferrer’s trial by military tribunal and execution in 1909.
Nevertheless, his work provided a model that was adopted in Europe and
gives a detailed historical account of free-school experiments in
the United States between 1901 and 1960 and an evaluation based on the
participants’ reflections of the experiences.
considers the history of anarchist engagements in education and
looks at alternative educational practices and learning spaces and the
role these play in collective actions.
debunks the idea that anarchy is rooted in a naive concept of
human nature and offers an analysis that not only probes the nature of
anarchist education in the context of the philosophical arguments
anarchists have presented on issues of freedom, authority, and justice,
but also shows the distinctiveness of anarchist free-school traditions.

  • Avrich, Paul. 2006. The modern school movement: Anarchism and
    education in the United States
    . Edinburgh and Oakland, CA: AK.

    Originally published in 1980 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press).
    An account of the modern school movement, from the death of Francisco
    Ferrer, in 1909, to 1960.

  • The collection examines Ward’s conception of education and
    socialization, his pedagogy, and practical suggestions for education

  • Ferrer, Francisco. 1913.
    . Translated by Joseph
    McCabe. London: Watts.

    Sets out Ferrer’s quite prescriptive views of the modern school
    curriculum, based on giving precedence to principles of rationalism
    and science over religion and inherited belief and on the benefits of

  • Goodman, Paul. 1964. Compulsory mis-education and The community of
    scholars. New York: Vintage.

    Goodman attacks the regimentation and drudgery of US education and
    the socializing role that schools play in preparing children for a
    world of alienated labor, meeting the imperatives of commerce and
    consumption capitalism.

  • Haworth, Robert H. 2012. Anarchist pedagogies: Collective actions,
    theories, and critical reflections on education
    . Oakland, CA: PM.

    This collection evaluates the experiences and practices of the
    free-school movement and, developing lessons from these experiments,
    looks at the potential for advancing egalitarian education, not just
    in higher education, but at all levels of learning as well, in and
    outside the classroom.

  • Nocella, Anthony J., II, Steven Best, and Peter McLaren, eds. 2010.
    Academic repression: Reflections from the academic-industrial
    . Edinburgh and Oakland, CA: AK.

    This collection examines the culture of academic institutions and the
    socioeconomic forces acting on them. Contributors study the limits on
    academic freedom and the barriers to free expression and critical
    thinking, drawing on personal experience.

  • Nocella, Anthony J., II, and Erik Jurgensmeyer, eds. 2017. Fighting
    academic repression and neoliberal education: Resistance, reclaiming,
    organizing, and Black Lives Matter in education
    . New York: Peter

    A collection that critiques neoliberal educational trends and
    considers how these might be contested and resisted.

  • A classic study of the role that art plays in stimulating creativity
    and the centrality of art practice in education.

  • Suissa, Judith. 2010. Anarchism and education: A philosophical
    . 2d ed. Oakland, CA: PM.

    Explores the political philosophy supporting anarchist experiments in
    education and highlights the insights of anarchist pedagogies and
    educational alternatives.

Gender and Sexualities

Anarchist explorations of sexuality have evolved, in part, through
analysis of internal and external constraint and, in part, in connection
with the exploration of anarchist ethics (see
examines sexual practice as self-liberation and social subversion
through the work of the Marquis de Sade. Walter’s claim that anarchists
have as much reason to treat Sade as a worthy, though flawed, precursor
of anarchism, like William Godwin, opens up the history of anarchist
thought to review and also questions the wisdom of reading anarchist
ideas within a narrowly philosophical analytical framework. The thorny
question of limits to freedom that Walter considers in Sade were
discussed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by the anarchist
John Henry Mackay, specifically with reference to homosexuality and
pederasty. Mackay popularized the ideas of Max Stirner (b. 1806–d. 1856)
to defend what Mackay, publishing under the pseudonym Sagitta, called
man–boy love.
, set in interwar Berlin, is a remarkable analysis of a
relationship and the shifting power dynamics between the two
, a study of Mackay’s life, shows how his sexuality shaped his
politics and lent it a particular, individualistic coloring. Daniel
Guérin (b. 1904–d. 1988) also acknowledged the influence that Stirner’s
thinking exercised on his thinking about anarchism and sexuality, and
homosexuality in particular. In challenging the puritanical, often
aggressively heterosexual norms of the predominantly male libertarian
movement in
, Guérin incorporated insights from the work of Wilhelm Reich and
Alfred Kinsey into his anarchism and contended that sexual freedom was
as important to revolutionary transformation as the struggle for social
justice. As
asserted, some anarchists have long championed the freedom of
individuals to define their sexuality without prohibition, but as Guérin
discovered, resistance to personal liberation and, specifically
experiments in same-sex relationships, has come from within the
anarchist movement as well as from outside it. Kissack’s work, a
recovery of the history of anarchist sexual politics and the battles
that sexuality provoked, addresses issues that contemporary anarchists
continue to wrestle with (see also
). Broader ethical
questions about hierarchy, domination, and sexual practices as well as
anarchist feminist perspectives on sexuality are explored both in the
Dysophia 2010 collection
and in the essays in
. The latter collection also looks at issues of activism and
provides another excellent overview of contemporary
anarchist activism and debate on gender and sexual politics (see also

  • Guérin’s wide-ranging essay presents an appreciation of Wilhelm
    Reich, the Austrian psychoanalyst, and Charles Fourier, the utopian
    socialist and advocate of women’s liberation and sexual desire, and
    debunks myths about homosexuality in the process.

  • A special issue covering the ways in which anarchist discussion of
    sexualities fosters new ways of thinking about relationships and the
    construction of transformative behaviors. The essays deal with
    questions of theory and history as well as contemporary activism.

  • Heckert, Jamie, and Richard Cleminson. 2011. Anarchism and
    sexuality: Ethics, relationships and power
    . Social Justice.
    Abingdon, UK, and New York: Routledge.

    A collection of essays, reflection, and poetry designed to open up
    spaces for creative interchanges and debates about the relationship
    between anarchism and sexual politics.

  • Kennedy, Hubert. 1983. Anarchist of love: The secret life of John
    Henry Mackay
    . New York: Mackay Society.

    An appreciation of Mackay’s defense of pederasty contextualizes this
    exploration of sexual freedom and the repression of homosexual

  • Kissack, Terence. 2008. Free comrades: Anarchism and homosexuality
    in the United States, 1895–1917
    . Oakland, CA: AK.

    A detailed and intricately documented account of the battles against
    sexual repression in the US movement.

  • A study of an illicit and tortured relationship between a feckless,
    beautiful boy seeking his fortune in Berlin and the man who falls in
    love with him. The last sections of the book offer a dramatic defense
    of egoism, as Mackay understood it.

  • This collection looks at issues of love and sex, patriarchy, and
    economic power and discusses anarchist responses as a contribution to
    building constructive, trusting, and open alternative relationships
    in the present.

  • Walter, Nicholas. 2009. Sade and sadism. In The anarchist past, and
    other essays
    . Edited by David Goodway, 51–59. Nottingham, UK: Five

    Walter’s argument is that Sade’s work serves as an interpretative
    lens for reviewing the contribution of philosophical anarchism,
    particularly the work of William Godwin, in the anarchist canon and
    shows how the defiance of conventional moralities and celebration of
    passion are central to anarchism.


Postanarchism is a theoretical current within anarchism associated with
a number of authors who have different philosophical perspectives but
who have advanced a common critique of historical anarchist traditions.
The anarchism that postanarchists move beyond is labeled “classical
anarchism,” and it describes the political theory of the canonical
thinkers in the historical movement: Proudhon, Bakunin, and Kropotkin.
Postanarchists endorse the politics of classical anarchism, particularly
the critique of revolutionary elitism, but they argue that theoretical
foundations of classical thought limit the scope, impeding the
development of a truly libertarian, emancipatory project. At the heart
of Newman’s postanarchist critique is the claim that classical
anarchists mistakenly identified power exclusively with the state and
believed, as a result, that it might be abolished in a transformative
moment of revolution, providing an escape from exploitation and
oppression and leading to harmonious anarchy. His critique has softened
over time and his recent statement (see
) is more focused on situating postanarchism in the longer history
of ideas than in substantiating the postanarchist rupture of historical
anarchist traditions. For this reason, classical anarchism is sometimes
associated with a form of blueprint utopianism (see
), a conception of history that is teleological and an idea
of freedom that naively draws on an essentialist understanding of human
nature. The emergence of postanarchism has been linked to the rise of
the campaigns for social justice and sometimes represented as a
theoretical expression of the fluid horizontalism of the protest
movements (see
). This claim has encouraged historicism, in the sense that
the 19th-century movement tends to be identified with a narrow form of
class-struggle politics (see
). However, postanarchists reject the claim that they have
treated postanarchism itself as the result of historical shifts. Indeed,
the critique of classical epistemology has highlighted the existence of
postanarchist currents within the 19th-century movement. Stirner and
Gustav Landauer (b. 1870–d. 1919) are frequently celebrated, in the
early 21st century, as forerunners of postanarchist thinking.
predates the emergence of postanarchism, but this study of
poststructuralism and its affinity with anarchism laid the foundation
for the epistemological critique developed in
. Some studies challenge the assumptions of postanarchist theory,
the originality of its insights, and the construction of the classical
anarchist tradition, such as
. Yet, postanarchist approaches in political theory chime with a
number of activist movements, though not, typically, those that identify
with class-struggle anarchisms. For an overview of the debates, see
(cited under

  • Presents a fluid, flexible history of ideas that maps political
    theory, science fiction, cinema, and classical sociology onto a
    matrix to describe anarchism.

  • Franks, Benjamin. 2007. Postanarchisms: A critical assessment.
    Journal of Political Ideologies 12.2: 127–145.

    Franks’s essay unpacks the “post” in postanarchism and maintains that
    it represents a change of emphasis, rather than a transcendence of
    classical anarchism.

  • May, Todd. 1994. The political theory of poststructualist
    . University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press.

    An analysis of continental political theory that highlights the
    affinity with anarchism.

  • Newman has championed postanarchism as a departure from historical
    traditions and argued that it provides a theoretical approach that is
    consistent with the principles of anarchist practice. Stirner is a
    central influence on his work. This book is a statement of Newman’s
    thinking in the early 21st century.

  • This book reprises some of Newman’s leading arguments against
    metanarratives and sets out a defense of disobedience, developing a
    history of ideas from Étienne la Boétie to Foucault.

Postcolonial Anarchism, Indigenism, Race, and Intersectionality

Critical reflection on anarchist history, on the establishment of a
canon within the history of ideas, together with the emergence of
indigenous resistance movements, notably, the Zapatistas, as well as
groups in North America and the Antipodes, has stimulated discussion of
postcolonial anarchism. As Roger White argues in
, postcolonial anarchism has a number of dimensions,
touching on issues of culture, nationalism, and race; concepts of
universalism and internationalism; and understandings of what it means
to be antiauthoritarian (see also
). His analysis suggests that anarchism, as an ideological
construct with roots in European history, adopted perspectives that are
deeply problematic and colonial. The practical implications of colonial
thinking and the tension between Eurocentric anarchisms and indigenous
movements are discussed in
. As
shows, these tensions are not resolved by the adoption of
critical postanarchist or post-left anarchy approaches. What is
required, instead, is a negotiation of traditions, and this essay sets
out a theoretical framework for the task. The accounts of history and
political theory on which postcolonial anarchism has drawn are
contested, and
presents a picture of non-Western European
anarchist syndicalist activisms to highlight anarchism’s anticolonial
and anti-imperialist dimensions.
considers the anarchistic quality of African
communalism, and
looks at the overlaps between anarchism and Indian
anti-colonialism. The relevance of anarchism to black liberation
struggles and the possibility of building an anticapitalist mass
movement based on principles of mutual aid and solidarity,
notwithstanding the failures of predominantly white anarchist movements
to attract nonwhite engagement, are outlined in
. Ervin adopts a class-struggle approach to anarchism (see also
). Intersectional approaches acknowledge the intractability
of the tensions between different activist perspectives and forms of
domination, notably, race, gender, and class (see also
), while still working on the development of shared
strategies of resistance.
explores the role that anarchist feminism has played in
the articulation of intersectional struggle. The essays offered on the
deal with intersectionalism in the context of
antiracism, as well as gender activism, in order to reflect on anarchist
practice, movement building, and the development of effective resistance

  • Aguilar, Ernesto, ed. 2004.

    A collection of essays and interviews examining issues of
    intersectionalism, antiauthoritarianism, and anarchism; antiwar
    activism; and police brutality.

  • Identifies principles of Eurocentric anarchism and compares them with
    those of indigenous activism in order to expose the limitations of
    the former, in contemporary resistance struggles.

  • Analysis of grassroots liberation struggles and movement building.
    Writings cover antiwar and gender activism as well as racism, black
    liberation, and colonialism and the relationship of anarchism to

  • Ervin, Lorenzo Komboa. 1994.
    . Philadelphia:

    This essay looks at the relationship between capitalism and white
    supremacy and argues for a form of class-struggle anarchism that
    rejects all forms of domination.

  • Hirsch, Steven, and Lucien van der Walt, eds. 2010. Anarchism and
    syndicalism in the colonial and postcolonial world, 1870–1940: The
    praxis of national liberation, internationalism, and social
    . Studies in Global Social History. Leiden, The
    Netherlands: Brill.

    This comprehensive collection is designed to recover a lost history
    of libertarian movement activism in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and
    Eastern Europe. The book demonstrates the significance of class
    struggle activism and challenges the idea that anarchism was
    primarily a European movement. The authors argue that the ebbs and
    flows of the organizing of European anarchist movements distort both
    the history of anarchism and the understanding of the global forces
    in which anarchists operate.

  • Mbah, Sam, and I. E. Igariwey. 1997. African anarchism: The history
    of a movement
    . Tucson, AZ: See Sharp.

    The authors discuss the absence of organized anarchism in African
    history and the anarchistic culture of African social forms. They
    also reflect on colonialism and the failure of African socialism to
    address its legacy.

  • Motta, Sara. 2012. Leyendo el anarchism a través de ojos
    latinoamericanos: Reading anarchism through Latin American eyes. In
    The Continuum companion to anarchism. Edited by Ruth Kinna,
    252–277. New York: Continuum.

    This essay shows that tensions between anarchisms and indigenous
    movements and are not resolved by the adoption of critical
    postanarchist or post-left anarchy approaches

  • Outlines a history of Indian anticolonial struggles, nationalism,
    internationalism, and the relationship to anarchism.

  • This essay outlines the principles of intersectionality by exploring
    anarchist feminist practice. The essay asserts that intersectionality
    supports anarchist struggles against domination and hierarchy and
    that it is essential to mutual aid and solidarity.

Post-left Anarchy

Post-left anarchy is a current that emerged as a critique of the
objectification of anarchism as an ideology and of the class-biased
leftism of dominant groups within the anarchist movement. Post-left
anarchists are attracted to ideas of self-emancipation, individual
autonomy, and creative self-expression and are defiantly resistant to
norms and abstract ideas, anarchist or otherwise. The construction of
social relationships and the ability to resist the regulatory pressures
of commercial culture (in marking time, organizing work, and patterning
consumption) are some of the central concerns of post-left anarchy
explored by Bob Black. Refusing to conform to the values, goals, and
principles of others, Black has been attracted to the egoism of Stirner
). In this, though little else, post-left anarchy dovetails with
some forms of postanarchism (see
Themes of individual rebellion are also central to
. Bey’s communiqués talk about revolution
and insurrection, dreaming, chaos, and surrealism and highlight the
loveless, dull, deadening reality of middle-class living and
consumerism. His enduring contribution to anarchism is the idea of the
temporary autonomous zone (TAZ) (see
). Post-left anarchist thinking is sometimes also
associated with playful subversion, influenced by situationism, and with
the celebration of the wild and wilderness; however, leading voices
within this current, particularly that expressed in
, are nonprimitivist anticivilizationists (see also
and the provocative, militant and anticorporate activism of
(CWC) has a distinctly urban tone.

  • A notable critic of Bookchin, Black has produced a substantial body
    of work (see
    , cited under
    , cited under
    ) that has helped define post-left anarchy.
    Black’s essay “The Abolition of Work” is widely read and has
    exercised a powerful influence on contemporary anarchist antiutopian

  • Provides essays from the journal Rolling Thunder that explore
    themes such as history and escape, love as resistance, the boredom of
    normality, and conventional politics. The site usefully lists
    selected key texts.

  • An extensive collection of essays and writings that deal with themes
    of individual rebellion, antiorganization activism, and poetic
    terrorism. Hakim Bey is a pseudonym for Peter Lamborn Wilson (see
    Available at .

  • Situationist- and surrealist-inspired antipolitical post-left
    anarchy. This is a collection of writings published as zines between
    1996 and 2006.

Prisons, Policing, and Criminality

argues, anarchist criminology been shaped by a strong sense of
the value of disobedience and resistance and a general belief that the
enforcement of compliance to laws is not only unjust, to the extent that
law is designed to uphold and protect the interests of particular
elites, but also destructive of the social ties that forge community
(see also
). Indeed, in a seminal work, originally published
in 1950,
used the anarchist conviction that anarchy is order and that
state rule is organized chaos as a springboard for illuminating the
criminality of government. The same approach is adopted in the film The
Corporation (DVD, 2005; Zeitgeist) to reveal the psychopathic tendencies
of corporations, and it informs anarchist responses to the actions of
law enforcement to control not only protests, which
discuss (see also
but also the everyday policing of local communities. For this reason,
anarchists are actively involved in Copwatch, a network established to
document and challenge police misconduct (see also
discusses the violence of policing and presents a history. While
anarchists have helped pioneer critical approaches to criminology, they
have also produced a considerable literature about the operation of
prison systems, typically informed by personal experience.
is a well-known account, celebrated both because Berkman
reflected on the dehumanizing effects of incarceration and his own
activism and because he documented his reflections on his sexuality (see
). The creation of the Anarchist Black Cross, an active
prisoner support network, is a practical outcome of the intimate
experience of imprisonment and the politicization of criminality (see
). The outlawing of anarchism, resulting from a
tradition of actual illegal practice and from the principled
disobedience that the rejection of authority suggests, has helped forge
a cultural identity between anarchists and groups that mainstream
society stereotypes as outcasts: pirates, tramps, gypsies, hobos, and a
range of folklore rebels, for example, the Molly Maguires and Ned Kelly.
, a study of the labor organizer and songwriter Joe Hill, provides
insight into this aspect of anarchist criminality and the lethal
persecution associated with it.

  • Berkman’s account of his imprisonment, following his unsuccessful
    attempt to assassinate Henry Frick. Berkman explores the dehumanizing
    effects of imprisonment and his relationships with his fellow
    inmates; he also reflects on his actions and details his activism.

  • Originally published in 1950, as Authority and Delinquency in the
    Modern State: A Criminological Approach to the Problem of Power

    (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul). Applies methods from criminology
    to analyze leadership and political power and expose the delinquency
    of government.

  • Fernandez, Luis A. 2008. Policing dissent: Social control and the
    anti-globalization movement
    . Critical Issues in Crime and Society.
    New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press.

    Examines how dissent is controlled by state law enforcement agencies,
    analyzing the legal, physical, and psychological dynamics of policing
    in the context of the alterglobalization protests.

  • Ferrell looks at contemporary radical criminology in the context of a
    history of anarchist dissent and rejection of law.

  • Originally published in 1965. The story of Joe Hill’s activism in the
    International Workers’ of the World (IWW) and his arrest, trial, and

  • Shantz, Jeff, ed. 2012. Protest and punishment: The repression of
    resistance in the era of neoliberal globalization
    . Durham, NC:
    Carolina Academic Press.

    A collection of essays that explore the repression of dissent in
    liberal democracy, based on discussion of theory and practice.

  • Williams, Kristian. 2015. Our enemies in blue: Police and power in
    . Oakland, CA: AK.

    Theorizes policing as the state’s primary mechanism for social


Anarchism boasts a rich protest literature, and most of it has emerged
from active involvement in protest movements. One strain of this
material deals with the forms that anarchist protest might take.
, a discussion of anarchist participation in post–World War II
antinuclear movements, examines the idea of revolution, principles of
protest, and relationship between protest and revolutionary change.
Having emerged from the same movement,
outlines the principles of direct action as it was practiced
within the peace, unilateralist and New Left movements, the traditions
of protest from which these movements drew, and the place of direct
action in democracy (see also
considers the prefigurative ethics that inform anarchist
engagement (see also
). Another strain of the literature considers the
diversity of anarchist tactics. In the global justice campaigns sparked
by the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organization (WTO) protest, the black
bloc, discussed in
, attracted considerable attention from the mainstream
media. Yet, as
argues, carnival was an equally prominent feature of anarchist
actions, inspired both by situationism and by Hakim Bey’s poetic
terrorism (see also
). Still another strain of the material documents the
experience of protest and anarchist engagement in mass actions (see also
, and the documentaries produced in
have all emerged from early-21st-century events, specifically
the global banking crisis and Occupy and the antiausterity and
prodemocracy campaigns with which Occupy is associated.

  • Aragorn!, ed. 2012. Occupy everything: Anarchists in the Occupy
    movement, 2009–2011
    . Berkeley, CA: Little Black Cart.

    A collection of essays by participants in a range of Occupy
    movements, explaining motives and methods and drawing lessons from
    the experience.

  • Independent documentary films that cover Occupy and global
    antiausterity and democracy movements, including protest actions in
    Greece, Portugal, and Egypt.

  • Campagna, Federico, and Emanuele Campiglio, eds. 2012. What we are
    fighting for: A radical collective manifesto
    . London: Pluto.

    Essays exploring activist responses to and analyses of the global
    banking and financial crisis.

  • Situates the protest movements of the 1960s in the context of a wider
    history and the politics of nonconstitutional activism, looking at
    issues of violence and nonviolence and the legitimacy of direct
    action in imperfect liberal democracies.

  • Franks considers the prefigurative ethics of direct action and
    highlights the parallels between activism and some forms of
    postanarchist thinking.

  • Grindon, Gavin. 2004. Carnival against capital: A comparison of
    Bakhtin, Vaneigem and Bey. Anarchist Studies 12.2: 147–161.

    A discussion of the prefigurative elements of carnival protest.

  • In collaboration with editors from N+1, Dissent, Triple Canopy, and
    The New Inquiry, a collection of short essays discussing the
    occupations, with contributions from Angela Davis, Rebecca Solnit,
    Jodie Dean, and Judith Butler, among others.

  • Walter, Nicolas. 2011. Non-violent resistance: Men against war. In
    Damned fools in utopia, and other writings on anarchism and war
    . Edited by David Goodway, 23–78. Oakland, CA: PM.

    Examines the relationship between anarchist revolution and a range of
    principles of protest, from direct action to civil disobedience, to
    antimilitarism, to anarchist pacifism.


There are pronounced anticlerical and atheistic currents in anarchism.
Bakunin’s reversal of Voltaire’s dictum, if God were necessary, it would
be necessary to abolish him, captures this mood. The strictly
rationalist curriculum developed by Ferrer is another tangible
reflection of the struggle that anarchists have entered into with church
authorities (see
). Yet, it is precisely the irrationalism and
utopianism of religious thinking that appeals to contemporary writers
such as Peter Lamborn Wilson (also known as Hakim Bey; see
is a history of religious practices designed to think about
intentional dreaming. In the history of anarchist ideas, Landauer
integrated mystical and religious ideas into his anarchism. His
conception of soul and spirit, outlined in
, were central to his critique of Marxism and to his understanding
of individual rebellion and relational change, and they also shaped his
rejection of industrial capitalism (see also
). As
argues, it is also possible to identify a religious dynamic in
apparently rationalist anarchisms, to isolate antiauthoritarian
principles and practices in a range of nonconformist religious
movements, and to trace a history of dissent that unites political and
religious activists. The Christian anarchism of
is a central focus of discussions of religious anarchism, not
least because Tolstoy’s critique of 19th-century anarchist terrorism led
him to expound a principle of nonviolent resistance that influenced
Mohandas Gandhi and that has since been a significant factor in the
development of anarchist nonviolent and pacifist activism (see also

Yet, as
demonstrates, not all religious anarchisms are Christian.
notes the productive interplay between anarchism and Daoism.
Indeed, this informs Clark’s philosophical conception of social ecology
(see also
). This relationship is examined in
, a collection of the writings of the Buddhist Uchiyama Gudō.
has also explored the resonances of Daoism and Western anarchism
and highlighted the richness of religious traditions for anarchist

  • Bender, F. L. 1983. Special issue: Taoism and western anarchism.
    Journal of Chinese Philosophy
    10.1: 5–26.

    A special issue dedicated to the topic of Daoism and anarchism.

  • Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre J. M. E., ed. 2009. Religious
    anarchism: New perspectives
    . Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars.

    A collection that examines the positive relationship between religion
    and anarchism and that looks at a range of different religious

  • Clark, John. 2005. Anarchism, Religion and Nature. In Encyclopedia
    of religion and nature
    . 2 vols. Edited by Bron R. Taylor, 49–56.
    London and New York: Continuum.

    Discusses and contests the association of anarchism with atheism and
    studies the overlaps between anarchism and ancient Chinese
    spirituality. Available online under the title

  • Landauer, Gustav. 1978. For socialism. Translated by David J.
    Parent. Saint Louis, MO: Telos.

    These articles present Landauer’s critique of Marxism not only as a
    political doctrine, but also as a mechanistic, materialist theory
    that lacks spirit or soul.

  • Rambelli, Fabio. 2013. Zen anarchism: The egalitarian dharma of
    Uchiyama Gudō
    . Berkeley, CA: Institute of Buddhist Studies.

    The introductory chapters give an account of Uchiyama Gudō’s life and
    work and his involvement in the plot to assassinate the Japanese
    emperor in 1911 (The High Treason Incident), which resulted in his
    execution. These chapters contextualize the essays that appear in

  • Rapp, John A. 2012. Daoism and anarchism. Critiques of state
    autonomy in ancient and modern China
    . Contemporary Anarchist
    Studies. London and New York: Continuum.

    A detailed discussion of ancient Chinese beliefs that compares
    currents of ideas within radical antiauthoritarian Daoism with those
    found in Western anarchism.

  • Tolstoy, Leo. 1894. “The kingdom of God is within you”: Christianity
    not as a mystic religion but as a new theory of life
    . Translated by
    Constance Garnett. New York: Cassell.

    A classic statement of Tolstoy’s religious conviction, his critique
    of violence, and his understanding of transformation as a process of
    individual liberation and religious awakening.

  • Wilson, Peter Lamborn. 1996. “Shower of Stars”dream and book: The
    initiatic dream in Sufism and Taoism
    . New York: Autonomedia.

    A study of dreaming and the imagination, drawing on a wide variety of
    religious and cult traditions.

Social Movements

The appearance of the global justice movement prompted a number of
authors to develop new theoretical approaches to the analysis of protest
and to consider how best to capture the practices and organizational
features of the movement of movements.
, and
offer very different alternatives, but each provides a framework
for the analysis of contemporary anarchism and horizontalism.
analyzes the movement tactic, black bloc (see
New works, such as
, on anarchism and social movement activism have been stimulated
by the experience of Occupy. Collections such as
examine recent protest waves through the lens of
critical geography.
offers a different view of movement activism, focusing on culture
and aesthetics.

  • Chesters, Graeme, and Ian Welsh. 2006. Complexity and social
    movements: Multitudes at the edge of chaos
    . International Library of
    Sociology. London and New York: Routledge.

    A sociological analysis of the global justice movement, designed to
    capture its fluidity and to demonstrate how the processes of
    networking that activism encourages challenge neoliberal capitalism.

  • Day, Richard J. F. 2005. Gramsci is dead: Anarchist currents in the
    newest social movements
    . London and Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto.

    Day’s analysis of social movements is influenced by Landauer’s
    anarchism, though Day discusses other 19th-century anarchists, and is
    an attempt to escape from the logic of class hegemony, popularized by
    Gramscian thought.

  • Dupuis-Déri, Francis. 2014. Who’s afraid of the black blocs? Anarchy
    in action around the world
    . Oakland, CA: PM Press.

    This is a comprehensive account of the history of the tactic and its
    deployment in protest actions, and it looks at the question of
    violence and the reputation black bloc has gained.

  • Gerbaudo, Paolo. 2017. The mask and the flag: Populism, citizenship
    and global protest
    . London: C. Hurst.

    Outlines a conception of anarcho-populism to investigate
    organization, protest, and patriotism in contemporary social

  • Gordon, Uri. 2008. Anarchy alive! Anti-authoritarian politics from
    practice to theory
    . London and Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto.

    A political theory of horizontal activism that highlights the
    anarchist principles of contemporary protest movements and that uses
    liberal theory to illustrate their power and creativity. Gordon’s
    approach to political theory is informed by a desire to avoid
    abstraction and the imposition of conceptual frameworks, alien to
    activists, in order to explore the ideas of the contemporary protest
    movement. The methodological problem he identifies in political
    theory is resolved through the adoption of participant observation.

  • Grattan, Laura. 2016. Populism’s power: Radical grassroots democracy
    in America
    . Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

    Situates Occupy as an anarchistic, horizontal movement in a longer
    history of American radicalism.

  • This collection focuses on the conceptual framing of resistance

  • Shukaitis, Stevphen. 2016. The composition of movements to come:
    Aesthetics and cultural labor after the avant garde
    . London and New
    York: Rowman & Littlefield.

    A history of art movements from the Situationists and examined
    through an autonomist Marxist lens, Shukaistis looks at art and
    culture as transformative practices.

  • A collection that situates recent activism in Greece, Turkey, and
    elsewhere in a history of resistance actions.

Sociology and Social Policy

In its discussion of anarchism and sociology,
argues that scholarly traditions in sociology have not provided a
fertile ground for anarchism and that anarchist research is more easily
conducted outside than inside academic institutions. The potential for
the development of an anarchist sociology, rooted in critique and
ethical principles of anarchist practice, is similarly the concern of
(see also
). Yet, notwithstanding the constraints of academic
research cultures (see
), there is a history of sociological engagement with
anarchist ideas, as
indicates, and anarchists have long framed their anarchism
sociologically. Proudhon used Auguste Comte as one of the springboards
for his anarchism. A substantial part of Ward’s work
) was directed toward the anarchist analysis of sociological
problems and issues in social policy, from transport, housing,
squatting, and homelessness to leisure, play, childhood, and federalism.
has integrated cultural, social, and political theory, influenced
by autonomist critique, to rethink the role of imagination in radical
thinking, a distant echo of C. Wright Mills’s anarchist-friendly
approach to sociology and imagination. One of Weber’s worries about
anarchism was that Tolstoyan conviction discouraged political
responsibility (see
Other classical sociologists, especially Michels, concentrated instead
on the viability of anarchist alternatives to bureaucratic state
organization. Organization is a thorny issue in anarchist thinking,
because blanket acceptance or rejection has become a fracture line
between some class struggle and post-left anarchists (see
). Two important essays, by Jo Freeman and Cathy Levine, on
organization and structurelessness, respectively, appear in
(cited under
). However, as
asserts, there is scope for the development of anarchist
sociology of organization, as an alternative to liberal and Marxist
approaches. Indeed, as
contends, the critique of elitism, alongside the
defense of nonhierarchical alternatives to organizing, remains a central
concern for radical political sociologists (see also

  • Ehrlich, Howard J. 1996. Anarchism and formal organizations. In
    Reinventing anarchy, again. Rev. ed. Edited by Howard J. Ehrlich,
    56–68. Edinburgh and San Francisco: AK.

    A short sociological study of organization, from an anarchist

  • Glasberg, Davita Silfen, and Deric Shannon. 2011. Political
    sociology: Oppression, resistance and the state
    . Thousand Oaks, CA:
    Pine Forge.

    Written as a monograph that can also be used as an introductory
    course text, this book analyzes multiple forms of oppression,
    concepts of power, and the relationship between the state and

  • Purkis, Jonathan. 2012. The hitchhiker as theorist: Rethinking
    sociology and anthropology from an anarchist perspective. In The
    Continuum companion to anarchism
    . Edited by Ruth Kinna, 140–161. New
    York: Continuum.

    Purkis employs a critical examination of sociological traditions to
    develop an alternative model for anarchist research, using
    hitchhiking as an exemplar of methodological practice.

  • Shukaitis, Stevphen. 2009. Imaginal machines: Autonomy and
    self-organization in the revolutions of everyday life
    . London: Minor

    A reflection on the possibilities of social transformation and the
    problem of recuperation that uses the idea of the imaginal machine
    and the productivity of its breakdown as a way of framing resistance.

  • In this short collection of lectures, Ward explores challenging
    issues of welfare, mutual support, and the gift relationship.

  • Ward, Colin. 2011. Autonomy, solidarity, possibility: The Colin Ward
    . Edited by Chris Wilbert and Damian F. White. Oakland, CA:

    A posthumous collection of essays, spanning the range of Ward’s
    published work.

  • A collection of essays treating Weber’s involvement with avant-garde
    anarchists in Ascona, Switzerland, before the outbreak of World War
    I: his concerns about Tolstoyan anarchism and anarchist practices as
    well as the impact of the encounters on his subsequent thought.

  • Williams, Dana M., and Jeff Shantz. 2011. Defining an
    anarchist-sociology: A long-anticipated marriage. Theory in Action
    4.4: 9–30.

    An attempt to advance an anarchist approach to sociology, subjecting
    mainstream traditions to critical anarchist review.

Urbanism and Utopias

The relationship between urbanism and utopia is explained by the
influence that late-19th-century radicals, particularly William Morris
(b. 1834–d. 1896) and Kropotkin, exercised on a subsequent generation of
urban planners, including Patrick Geddes (b. 1854–d. 1932) and Mumford
). Observing the spread of urban
living and the social problems associated with city life, a number of
20th-century anarchists argued that planning offered a means of creating
environments conducive to the expression of alternative ways of living,
bringing the utopian ideals of the 19th-century anarchists into a new
framework, of urban design.
is an early example that integrates the discussion of
technology, education, work, and leisure into the planning process.
looks at the city from a child’s perspective, to consider issues
of community. Ward wrote separately on the subject of utopia and, like
, he maintained that the ability to think beyond the
apparent reality of existing social and political arrangements is an
important part of resistance;
is an anarchistic example of an anticapitalist and overtly
utopian text. Similarly, as
shows, the potential to structure everyday life according to
utopian ideals through the construction of intentional communities can
be transformative. Landauer, as Buber recognized, was a utopian in this
sense and an important influence on anarchist communitarianism (see
claim that there is a strong element of utopianism in anarchism.
Yet, this utopianism has a particular form, which Berneri described as
nonauthoritarian. Contemporary anarchists talk instead about resistance
to blueprint planning, but the idea is similar. Postanarchists,
especially, are not only suspicious of blueprints, but also critical of
19th-century classical anarchists, whom, they assert, either provided
detailed outlines of anarchy or believed that anarchy described a fixed
condition, set by the realization of a specific idea of human
flourishing (see
). Divorcing themselves from blueprint utopianism,
postanarchists advocate a form of utopianism that is open-ended and
without definite content. The claim that classical anarchists were
blueprint utopians is contested, and the debates, together with a
discussion of a broad tradition of anarchist utopian thinking, are
rehearsed by contributors to the collection

  • A history of utopian ideas, written from an anarchist perspective.

  • Buber, Martin. 1996. Paths in utopia. Translated by R. F. C. Hull.
    Syracuse, NY: Syracuse Univ. Press.

    Originally published in 1949 (New York: Macmillan). A critical
    analysis of socialist utopianism in which Buber discusses Vladimir
    Lenin, Marx, Proudhon, and Kropotkin. Buber’s appreciation of
    Landauer’s anarchism serves as the basis for the call for a return to

  • Davis, Laurence, and Ruth Kinna, eds. 2009. Anarchism and
    . Manchester, UK, and New York: Manchester Univ. Press.

    A collection that examines fictional and nonfictional utopianism and
    the intersections with anarchism as well as the role that utopianism
    has played in developing anarchist ideas of liberation.

  • Goodman, Percival, and Paul Goodman. 1990. Communitas: Means of
    livelihood and ways of life
    . 2d ed. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

    Originally published in 1947 (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press). An
    illustrated discussion of city planning and the principles of city
    building, directed toward the realization of a new spirit of
    community. The text includes an overtly utopian master plan for the
    development of New York.

  • Horrox, James. 2009. A living revolution: Anarchism in the kibbutz
    . Edinburgh and Oakland, CA: AK.

    A study of intentional communities and of the anarchist currents in
    the early kibbutz movement. Horrox evaluates the practices and
    principles of the communities in order to reflect on the
    possibilities of contemporary experimentation.

  • Parker, Martin, Valérie Fournier, and Patrick Reedy. 2007.
    Dictionary of alternatives: Utopianism and organization. London and
    New York: Zed.

    A dictionary designed to challenge the neoliberal doctrine “There is
    no alternative.”

  • Originally published in 1983. An extraordinary picture of a utopian
    world offering community and autonomy.

  • Ward, Colin. 1990. The child in the city. Society Today.
    Rev. ed. London: Bedford Square.

    Looks at city life from the perspective of children to consider the
    benefits as well as the shortcomings of cities.


It is not unusual to see analyses of anarchism open with a discussion of
violence or a denial that anarchism is a necessarily or unusually
violent doctrine, or both. The reputation that anarchism has for
violence derives, in part, from a 19th-century wave of individual
anarchist acts of terror. These reached their height in Europe and
America between 1892 and 1900 and resulted in a number of high-profile
assassinations. The adoption of terrorist methods by radical groups in
the 1960s, though not all anarchist, cemented this association.
Moreover, anarchism is associated with violence because of the conduct
of anarchists in protest actions. Neither property damage nor the
willingness to engage in physical resistance is the exclusive preserve
of anarchists, but the popular association of anarchy with chaos,
combined with the anarchists’ rejection of authority (see
), explains the ease with which the generic
descriptor “anarchist” is sometimes applied. These caveats are important
because arguments about the principled rejection of violence have long
divided anarchists, and the use of violence and terrorist methods are
defended by groups within the movement; it would be difficult to make
sense of these debates if anarchism were simply dismissed as a form of
aggression. The list here includes discussion of terrorist methods and
protest violence.
brings together articles published in the London journal Freedom
in the aftermath of an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Hendrik
Verwoerd, the architect of South African apartheid, and in response to
the editorial “Too Bad He Missed.”
is a classic rejection of
terrorist methods. The involvement of anarchists in post–World War II
antiwar and antinuclear movements encouraged the adoption of nonviolent
strategies of protest (see
In this the doctrine of nonresistance, advanced in
, was and remains a key influence (see also
For anarchists such as Ostergaard, nonviolence committed anarchists to
pacifism. He outlines his reasons in
. Not all anarchists agree, and, following the principle of civil
disobedience advanced by Henry David Thoreau (b. 1871–d. 1862), some
root the determination of conduct in individual conscience. Thoreau
outlined his position in
. Kaczynski adopted Thoreau’s position to support his ecological
campaign (see
). The concept of “tactical
diversity” that encompasses this view is outlined in
. In the context of the alterglobalization movement protests,
arguments about violence are strongly linked to the principle of
tactical diversity, discussed in the activist collection
, written in light of criticisms of the black bloc, confronts
condemnations of property damage with a counterblast on policing.

  • Feigenbaum, Anna. 2007. Death of a dichotomy: Tactical diversity and
    the politics of post-violence. Upping the Anti 5.1.

    A succinct discussion of the divisions within the anarchist movement
    on the question of protest violence.

  • Green Mountain Anarchist Collective. 2001. On fire: The battle of
    Genoa and the anti-capitalist movement
    . Edinburgh: One-Off.

    A book produced by militants, including Starhawk, Michael Hardt,
    Antonio Negri, involved in the 2001 anti-G8 (Group of Eight)
    demonstrations in Genoa, which was marked by the killing of a
    protestor, Carlo Guiliani, and a notorious police raid on the
    Indymedia Centre.

  • Libertarian Socialist Organisation, Libertarian Workers for a
    Self-Managed Society, Monash Anarchist Society, and Adelaide
    Libertarian Socialists. 1985.
    . San Francisco: Arcata.

    Originally published in 1978. A statement opposing terrorist violence
    as theoretically wrongheaded and politically counterproductive.

  • McQuinn, Jason. 2001. “Stop the violence”: Policing the
    antiglobalization movement. Anarchy, no. 52.

    The editorial for this issue of the journal was written as a response
    to the mainstream media treatments of the antiglobalization actions
    in Gothenburg and Genoa. The article reflects on the ways in which
    the critique of violence is used to demonize protesters and deflect
    attention from deployment of state force.

  • Ostergaard, Geoffrey. 1982.
    . Studies in
    Nonviolence. London: Peace Pledge Union.

    Ostergaard presents an anarchist critique of the state that links the
    principle of sovereignty to warfare to show that antistatism is
    necessarily antimilitarist, antinationalist, and pacifist.

  • Captures the cleavages between pacifists active in the campaign for
    nuclear disarmament and nonpacifist supporters of nonviolent direct
    action. Includes critiques of state violence in order to
    contextualize traditions of resistance within anarchist and other
    popular movements.

  • Tolstoy, Leo. 1990. Government is violence: Essays on anarchism and
    . Edited by David Stephens. London: Phoenix.

    A selection of essays on anarchist themes, illustrating the limits of
    Tolstoy’s identification with political anarchism and setting out the
    basis of his critique of the state and his rejection of violence.

Source: Theanarchistlibrary.org