Anarchy in Action

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

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 are 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. ^ "Colin Ward obituary". The Guardian. 22 February 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  2. ^ Ward, Colin (1982). Anarchy in Action - Colin Ward. ISBN 9780900384202. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  3. ^ Colin Ward (1973). "Preface". Anarchy in Action. George Allen & Unwin. p. 11. ISBN 0043210163.
  4. ^ "Colin Ward | Politics Obituaries". The Daily Telegraph. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2012.