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Glossary of anarchism

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The following is a list of terms specific to anarchists. Anarchism is a political and social movement which advocates voluntary association in opposition to authoritarianism and hierarchy.


The negation of rule or "government by none". While "anarchy" refers to the absence of a hierarchical society-organizing power principle, "acracy" refers to the absence of coercion; the condition of acracy is one of voluntary order. Derived from the Greek α- [no] and κρατία [system of government].
A form of organic organization according to which different parts of an organization are temporarily assembled to meet the requirements of that particular point in time.[1]
Affinity group
A small non-hierarchical collective of individuals who collaborate on direct action via consensus decision-making.[2]
Coined by Ernst Jünger, this refers to the ruler (i.e. individual) in a state of anarchy analogous to the monarch in a state of monarchy, a conception influenced by Max Stirner's notion of the sovereign individual.[3]
Anarchism without adjectives
A form of anarchism which does not declare affiliation with any specific subtype of anarchism (as may be suffixed to anarcho- or anarcha-), instead positioning itself as pluralistic, tolerant of all anarchist schools of thought.[4]
Derived from the Ancient Greek ἀν (without) + ἄρχειν (to rule) "without archons," "without rulers".[5]
Social disorder and civil war in an absence of government, used to separate anarchy as in social order and absence of government.
Clipping of anarcho-socialism and/or anarcho-socialist used in informal discourse, particularly in blogs or other internet forums.
Anti-systemic library
A library which is not organised hierarchically and that has no catalogue. The concept is influenced by the ideas of the Situationists.
A set of radical left-wing political movements in Western Europe which emerged in the late 20th century.
A Greek word meaning "ruler"; the absence of archons and archy (rule) defines a state of anarchy. Derived from the Ancient Greek άρχων, pl. άρχοντες.


Biennio rosso
The "two red years" of political agitation, strikes and land occupation by Italian workers in 1919 and 1920.[6]
Black anarchism
A political philosophy primarily of African-Americans, opposed to what it sees as the oppression of people of colour by the white ruling class through the power of the state.[7]
Black bloc
An affinity group, or cluster of affinity groups that assembles during protests, demonstrations, or other forms of direct action. Black blocs are noted for the distinctive all-black clothing worn by members to conceal their identity and for their intentional defiance of state property law.[8][9]
Bourse du Travail
A distinctively French form of working class organization of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, bourses du travail promoted mutual aid, education, and self-organization amongst their members.[10]


Consensus decision-making
A participatory decision making process for collectives that seeks the resolution or mitigation of minority objections (according to the principle of inclusivity) as well as the agreement of the majority of participants.[11][12][13]
Cost the limit of price
A maxim coined by individualist anarchist Josiah Warren (1798–1874) to express a normative conception of the labor theory of value—that is, that the price of a good or service should never exceed its cost.[14]
Abbreviation of "counter-establishment economics", a concept in agorist theory of the use and advocacy of black and grey markets and the underground economy to erode the moral authority of and the perceived necessity for the state.


…When a revolutionary situation develops, counter-institutions have the potential of functioning as a real alternative to the existing structure and reliance on them becomes as normal as reliance on the old authoritarian institutions. This is when counter-institutions constitute dual power.

Dual power is a state of affairs in which people have created institutions that fulfill all the useful functions formerly provided by the state. The creation of a general state of dual power is a necessary requirement for a successful revolution…

Love and Rage, Love & Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation New York Local Member Handbook; June, 1997.[15]

Dispute resolution organization (DRO)
A private (or possibly cooperative) organization specialized in resolving disputes that would arise in an anarchical society (similar to a PDA).[16]
Diversity of tactics
A united front of solidarity between participants who disagree on specific choice of tactics. For instance, during a protest action, demonstrators can create zones with varying degrees of tactical risk, rather than imposing a single code.[17]
Dual power
The concept of revolution through the creation of "counter-institutions" in place of and in opposition to state power.[15] Used in anarcho-communist discourse, it is distinct from the earlier use of the phrase by non-anarchist communists such as Vladimir Lenin.
Dumpster diving
Physically searching through the discarded belongings in a dumpster or other trash receptacle, with the intention of salvaging useful material such as food or information.[18]


Epistemological anarchism
A theory in the philosophy of science advanced by Paul Feyerabend which holds that there are no useful and exception-free rules governing the progress of science, and that the pragmatic approach is a Dadaistic "anything goes" attitude of methodological pluralism.[19]


Food rescue
The practice of retrieving edible food that would otherwise go to waste and distributing it to those in need.[20]
Free school
A decentralized network in which skills, information and knowledge are shared with neither the social hierarchy nor the institutional environment of formal schooling.
Free soviets
Following the Russian Revolution, the concept of workers' councils (soviets) that were self-governing and free from party control.[21]
An anti-consumerist lifestyle according to which participants attempt to restrict their consumption of natural resources and participation in the conventional economy to using salvaged and discarded goods.[22]
A monetary system in the Freiwirtschaft theory, according to which units of currency retain their value or lose it at a certain rate, making inflation and profiting from interest impossible. Freigeld is a German phrase with the literal meaning "free money".[23]


Give-away shop
Second-hand stores where all goods are free. An example of a gift economy.[24]
Guerrilla gardening
Nonviolent direct action whereby disused plots are converted to gardens without seeking the permission of the putative property owners.[25] Related: squatting.


Haymarket Martyrs
The seven anarchists tried and executed for the murder of a Chicago policeman during the Haymarket affair.[26]
Haymarket Tragedy
See Haymarket Martyrs
See social hierarchy
Horizontalidad (also Horizontalism)
A form of non-hierarchical social organization which utilises direct democracy and consensus decision-making.[27]


Interior of the Left Bank Books infoshop in Seattle, Washington, in 2006. An infoshop is a nexus for information exchange among anarchists.
A doctrine which rejects all moral obligations and governmental law in favour of the satisfaction of one's own desires.[28] Pioneered by the Bonnot Gang in France and heavily influenced by the individualist anarchist philosophy of Max Stirner.[28]
A philosophy which demands the embracing of immediate social interactions with people as a means of countering the antisocial consequences of consumerist capitalism.[29]
Individual reclamation (reprise individuelle)
A form of direct action that advocates for criminal acts in service of a cause. Influenced by Bolshevik theory.[30]
A space (often a social center) that serves as a node for anarchists involved with radical movements and countercultures for trading publications (typically books, zines, stickers and posters), meeting and networking with similar individuals and groups.[31] The primary directive of an infoshop is the dissemination of information.[32] Related: zine library.
Invisible dictatorship
A vanguardist organisation of revolutionaries first proposed by Mikhail Bakunin.[33]


Jurisdictional arbitrage
Exploitation of differences in national laws and regulations[34] to maximise liberty. Related: dynamic geography, panarchism.


Dutch anarchists influenced by Peter Kropotkin who sought to promote awareness of alternatives to authoritarian and capitalist solutions to social problems in 1960s Amsterdam.[35]


Land and liberty
A slogan expressing the desire of freedom from landowners originally used by the revolutionary leaders of the Mexican Revolution. Spanish: Tierra y Libertad, Russian: Земля и Воля Zemlya i Volya.
Law of equal liberty
A doctrine asserting that each individual has the right to assert their fullest liberty to act so long as it does not extend them greater liberty than any other individual. Named by Herbert Spencer.
Anarchists who prioritize cultural and identity protest over class struggle politics. Associated with Murray Bookchin's 1995 essay in pejorative reference to anarcho-primitivists, poststructural anarchists, and individualists/egoists.[36]
Lois scélérates
A pejorative term for a set of French laws passed during 1893–1894 restricting the freedom of the anarchist press in the aftermath of an outbreak of propaganda of the deed.


The Modern School in New York City, circa 1911–12. Anarchist philosopher and radical historian Will Durant stands on the steps with his pupils.
Mass movement to establish anarchist-communism in Ukraine, led by the Ukrainian anarchist revolutionary Nestor Makhno (1888–1934) and his followers in the Revolutionary Insurgent Army of Ukraine.
Modern School
American schools formed in the early 20th century based on the ideas of educator and anarchist Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia and modelled after his Escuela Moderna.[37]
Mutual aid
The voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources and services for mutual benefit. Related: gift economy, voluntarism.


Low-intensity social conflict employing a network structure for organisational control and communication.[38] Related: Security culture.
Non-aggression Principle (NAP, also Non-aggression Axiom)
A prohibition against the initiation of force, or the threat of force, against persons or property (usually referred to as aggression or coercion).


Panarchy (political philosophy)
Participatory politics
Polycentric law
Prefigurative politics
Used interchangeably with anarcho-primitivist.
Propaganda of the deed
Property is theft!
Punk house


Radical cheerleading
Really Really Free Market
A free market based on the principle of gift economics whereby participants bring gifts and resources to share with one another, without money being exchanged.[39] Related: participatory economics, voluntary association.
Refusal of work
Responsible autonomy
Revolutionary spontaneity
Reprise individuelle


Samizdat—the production of literature banned by the former communist governments of eastern Europe; the term is a play on the term for the Soviet state press, and translates to "self-publishing." Throughout the greater part of the twentieth century, the best literature, philosophy, and history in the Soviet Union and its satellite states was copied by photo-reproduction and distributed through underground channels—just as it is here in the United States today.

Rolling Thunder, Issue 4[40]

The creation of permanent dwellings on the ocean, analogous to homesteading on land. A seastead is a structure meant for permanent occupation on the ocean.[41] Related to Permanent Autonomous Zones.[42]
Security culture
Secrecy practiced by an affinity group which engages in illegal activities, and its precautions to avoid surveillance or infiltration by law enforcement.[43] Related: direct action, netwar
Social center
Social ecology
Social hierarchy
Social revolution
Spontaneous order
Street reclamation


Acronym coined by libertarian science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress for "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch". Used to express scepticism towards socialist economics.[44]
Tragic Week
The name given to a series of violent confrontations between the Spanish army and the anarchist-backed working classes in Catalunyan cities from July 25-August 2, 1909.[45]
Trial of the thirty
A show trial in 1894 in Paris aimed at legitimizing the lois scélérates passed in 1893–1894 against the French anarchist movement and at restricting press freedom by proving the existence of an effective association between anarchists.[46] French: Procès des trente


The political philosophy of veganism (more specifically animal liberation) and anarchism, creating a combined praxis as a means for social revolution.
The use of or reliance on voluntary action to maintain an institution, carry out a policy, or achieve an end.[47]
A political philosophy which advocates voluntary association as the foundation of society, and opposes coercion and aggression.


The abolition of wage slavery has been a stated goal of unions like the Industrial Workers of the World.
Wage slavery
A term which asserts a similarity between slavery—the ownership and control of one person by another—and wage labour.[48]
Workers' self-management
A form of workplace decision-making in which the workers rather than professional managers decide on issues related to the operation of the business.[49]


Compound of zen and "archy". The social order which arises from meditation. As a doctrine, zenarchism is the belief that "universal enlightenment" is a prerequisite to the abolition of the state.[50]
A low-circulation, non-commercial periodical of original or appropriated texts and images. Usually reproduced via photocopier on a variety of colored paper stock.
Zine library
A repository of zines and other associated artifacts, such as small press books. Zine libraries are typically run on a minimal budget, and have a close association with infoshops and other forms of DIY culture and independent media.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alvesson, Mats (1995). Management of Knowledge-Intensive Companies. Walter De Gruyter Inc. p. 93. ISBN 978-3110128659.
  2. ^ Recipes for Disaster, p.28-31
  3. ^ Warrior, Waldgänger, Anarch: An essay on Ernst Jünger's concept of the sovereign individual Archived 2008-06-09 at the Wayback Machine by Abdalbarr Braun. Retrieved 22 December 2007.
  4. ^ Esenwein, George Richard "Anarchist Ideology and the Working Class Movement in Spain, 1868–1898" [p. 135]
  5. ^ Anarchy Merriam-Webster's Online dictionary
  6. ^ Macdonald, Hamish (1998). Mussolini and Italian Fascism. Trans-Atlantic Publications. p. 17. ISBN 978-0748733866.
  7. ^ Daquan, Bridger (2007). Delusion Addiction. Trafford Publishing. p. 118. ISBN 978-1425117696.
  8. ^ "Blocs, Black and Otherwise". Crimethinc.com. CrimethInc. 20 November 2003. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  9. ^ ACME Collective, A communique from one section of the black bloc of N30 in Seattle.
  10. ^ Ogg, Frederic Austin (1917). Economic development of modern Europe. New York: The Macmillan company. p. 464. OCLC 603770.
  11. ^ Cohn, Jesse (2006). Anarchism and the Crisis of Representation. Selinsgrove Pa.: Susquehanna University Press. p. 207. ISBN 978-1575911052.
  12. ^ Graeber, David (2007). "The Twilight of Vanguardism". In Macphee, Josh (ed.). Realizing the Impossible. Stirling: AK Press. ISBN 978-1904859321.
  13. ^ Antliff, Allan (2004). Only a Beginning. Arsenal Pulp Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-1551521671.
  14. ^ Tucker, Benjamin R., "State Socialism and Anarchism Archived 1999-01-17 at the Wayback Machine", Individual Liberty, Vanguard Press, New York, 1926
  15. ^ a b Jarach, Lawrence (Winter 2002–2003). "Anarcho-Communists, Platformism, and Dual Power: Innovation or Travesty?". Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed (54). Retrieved 2008-08-02.
  16. ^ Molyneux, Stefan (October 24, 2005). "The Stateless Society". LewRockwell.com. Retrieved 2008-08-02.
  17. ^ Starr, Amory (May 2006). "' (Excepting Barricades Erected to Prevent Us from Peacefully Assembling)': So-called 'Violence' in the Global North Alterglobalization Movement". Social Movement Studies. 5 (1): 61–81. doi:10.1080/14742830600621233. ISSN 1474-2837. S2CID 146798880.
  18. ^ Dubrawsky, Ido (2007). How to Cheat at Securing Your Network. Syngress. p. 50. ISBN 978-1597492317.
  19. ^ Feyerabend, Paul (1993). Against Method. London: Verso. ISBN 9780860916468.
  20. ^ Levinson, David, ed. (2004). Encyclopedia of Homelessness. Thousand Oaks. p. 286. ISBN 978-0761927518.
  21. ^ Graziosi, Andrea (1996). The Great Soviet Peasant War: Bolsheviks and Peasants, 1917–1933. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-916458-83-6. OCLC 40684852.
  22. ^ Kurutz, Steven (June 21, 2007). "Not Buying It". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-06-21. the small but growing subculture of anticonsumerists who call themselves freegans — the term derives from vegans, the vegetarians who forsake all animal products, as many freegans also do
  23. ^ Zweig, Ferdynand (1934). The Economics of Consumers' Credit. London: P. S. King & Son. p. 7. OCLC 5358381.
  24. ^ Logs : micro-fondements d'émancipation sociale et artistique. Maisons-Alfort, France : Ére, [2005- ]. ISBN 2-915453-04-7 OCLC 60370621 p.20
  25. ^ Notes from Nowhere (2003). We Are Everywhere. London: Verso. p. 150. ISBN 978-1859844472.
  26. ^ Foner, Philip S., ed. (1969). The Autobiographies of the Haymarket Martyrs. New York: Pathfinder Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0873488792.
  27. ^ Sitrin, Marina (2006). Horizontalism. Stirling: AK Press. ISBN 978-1904859581.
  28. ^ a b Parry, Richard (1987). "From illegality to illegalism". The Bonnot Gang. London: Rebel Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0946061044.
  29. ^ Bey, Hakim (1994). Immediatism. AK Press. ISBN 978-1873176429.
  30. ^ Armstrong-Myers, Katy (1989). "Review of THE BONNOT GANG". Socialist Lawyer (9): 20. ISSN 0954-3635. JSTOR 42950027.
  31. ^ Filippo, Roy (2003). A New World in Our Hearts. Stirling: AK Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-1902593616.
  32. ^ Curran, James (2003). Contesting Media Power. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 57. ISBN 978-0742523852.
  33. ^ Clark, John P. (2004). Anarchy, Geography, Modernity. Lexington: Lexington Books. pp. 63–64. ISBN 978-0739108055.
  34. ^ Williams, P. (2001). "Transnational Criminal Networks" (PDF). Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy. Retrieved 2008-06-23.
  35. ^ Woodcock, George (2004). Anarchism: a History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. Peterborough: Broadview Press. p. 371. ISBN 978-1551116297.
  36. ^ Morris, Brian (2014). "The Political Legacy of Murray Bookchin". Anthropology, Ecology, and Anarchism: A Brian Morris Reader. PM Press. pp. 169–170. ISBN 978-1-60486-986-6.
  37. ^ Brennan, Elizabeth (1998). Who's Who of Pulitzer Prize Winners. Phoenix: Oryx Press. p. 257. ISBN 978-1573561112.
  38. ^ Arquilla, J.; Ronfeldt, D. (1996). The Advent of Netwar. RAND Corporation. ISBN 978-0833024145.
  39. ^ Recipes for Disaster, p. 241
  40. ^ "Glossary of Terms, part IV". Rolling Thunder (4): 6–8. Spring 2007.
  41. ^ Friedman, Patri (14 April 2008). "A Brief Introduction to the Seasteading Institute". Seasteading.org. Seasteading Institute. Retrieved 2008-06-23.
  42. ^ Friedman, Patri. "Hakim Bey on Permanent Autonomous Zones". Seasteading.org. Seasteading Institute. Retrieved 2008-06-23.[permanent dead link]
  43. ^ Starr, Amory; Fernandez, Luis A.; Scholl, Christian (2011). Shutting Down the Streets: Political Violence and Social Control in the Global Era. NYU Press. pp. 114, 142. ISBN 9780814741009. Retrieved 4 May 2019.; Anonymous (2005). Recipes for Disaster. Crimethinc.Workers Collective. p. 461. ISBN 978-0970910141.
  44. ^ Stover, Leon (1987). Robert A. Heinlein. Boston: Twayne Publishers. ISBN 978-0805775099.
  45. ^ Bookchin, Murray (1997). The Spanish Anarchists. Stirling: AK Press. p. 129. ISBN 978-1873176047.
  46. ^ Jean Maitron, Le mouvement anarchiste en France, Tel Gallimard (first ed. François Maspero, 1975), tome I, chapter VI, "Le Procès des Trente. Fin d'une époque", pp.251-261
  47. ^ "Voluntarism". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. Archived from the original on 2009-02-08. Retrieved 2008-09-18.
  48. ^ Malachowski, Alan (2001). Business Ethics. New York: Routledge. pp. 98–99. ISBN 978-0415184625.
  49. ^ Taras, Ray (1984). Ideology in a Socialist State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 89–92. ISBN 978-0521262712.
  50. ^ Gorightly, Adam (2003). The Prankster and the Conspiracy. Paraview Press. p. 155. ISBN 978-1931044660.