Anarchy in Action

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Anarchy in Action
Anarchy in Action - Colin Ward - 1973.jpg
Front cover of Anarchy in Action by Colin Ward (1973 Allen & Unwin edition)
AuthorColin Ward
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenrePolitical Science
PublisherGeorge Allen & Unwin and Freedom Press (UK), Harper & Row (US)
Publication date
Pages157 pp (first edition)
LC Class73169626

Anarchy in Action is a book exploring anarchist thought and practice, written by Colin Ward and first published in 1973.[1]

The book is a seminal introduction to anarchism but differs considerably to others by concentrating on the possibility of an anarchism rooted in everyday experience, and not necessarily linked to industrial and political struggles. His ideas were heavily influenced by Peter Kropotkin and his concept of mutual aid. Ward bases his text on evidence from sociology, anthropology, cybernetics, industrial psychology, and from the experience of housing, town planning, education, work, play and social welfare. Ward argues for anarchist alternatives to the universal governmental and hierarchical systems of social organisation.[2] This bucks a number of conventional trends of the socialist left, because he is quite critical of the welfare state.


"The argument of this book is that an anarchist society, a society which organizes itself without authority, is always in existence, like a seed beneath the snow, buried under the weight of the state and its bureaucracy, capitalism and its waste, privilege and its injustices, nationalism and its suicidal loyalties, religious differences and their superstitious separatism."[3][4]


  1. ^ Worpole, Ken (2010-02-22). "Colin Ward obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2023-01-24.
  2. ^ Ward, Colin (1982). Anarchy in Action. London: Freedom Press. ISBN 9780900384202. Retrieved 2023-01-24.
  3. ^ Ward, Colin (1973). "Preface". Anarchy in Action. London: George Allen & Unwin. p. 11. ISBN 0043210163.
  4. ^ "Colin Ward". The Daily Telegraph. 2010-03-29. Retrieved 2023-01-24.