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Antiestablishmentarianism (or anti-establishmentarianism) is a political philosophy that views a nation's or society's power structure as corrupt, repressive, exploitive or unjust.

Antiestablishmentarians adhere to the doctrine of opposition to the social and political establishment. Their purpose is to subvert from within. This doctrine holds that establishments lose connection with the people and have their own agendas that frequently blindly destroy whatever they fail to address.[citation needed]

Antiestablishmentarianism has ties to anarchism and should not be confused with antifederalism or antifeudalism.


The modern use of the anti-establishment label became widespread in the 1960s.[citation needed]

The mindset this label describes prospered under the anxiety and frustration/anger with the United States government during the Vietnam war, as well as many other national governments during that time. Anxiety over The Draft led to doubts concerning the implicit purpose of the war effort and the moral legitimacy of that implicit purpose. The same attitude of doubt and independent moral scrutiny was, during this time period, applied to many established institutions of the day: race relations, gender relations, sexuality, cultural norms, musical expression, drugs and drug prohibition, as well as various socio-economic concerns.[citation needed]

Retroactive usage[edit]

In this connotation, the phrase has at times been applied retroactively to historical phenomena that occurred before the 1960s, for example, the attitudes of both the German Nazi and Communist parties in the early 1930s and the Radical movements in Modern Art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[citation needed]

Relationship with antidisestablishmentarianism[edit]

In a country with an established religion (e.g. England), "antiestablishmentarianism" can mean support for the end of the special status of the established religion.[dubious ]

In the 19th century, an English countermovement, opposed to the movement to disestablish the Church of England, which was exclusively recognized by the government as the official religion of the country, became known as antidisestablishmentarianism.


A group who called themselves Hungryalists, writers and painters in India during the 1960s also known as the Hungry Generation, were the most important contributors to antiestablishment literature.[citation needed]

See also[edit]