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Anarchism (from Greek ἀν (without) + ἄρχειν (to rule) + ισμός (from stem -ιζειν), "without archons," "without rulers") is often defined as a political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, or harmful. However, others argue that while anti-statism is central, it is inadequate to define anarchism. Therefore, they argue instead that anarchism entails opposing authority or hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations, including, but not limited to, the state system. Proponents of anarchism, known as "anarchists", advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical free associations.

Anarchism as a mass social movement has regularly endured fluctuations in popularity. The central tendency of anarchism as a social movement has been represented by anarcho-communism and anarcho-syndicalism, with individualist anarchism being primarily a literary phenomenon (which nevertheless did have an impact on the bigger currents, including the participation of individualists in large anarchist organizations). Many anarchists oppose all forms of aggression, supporting self-defense or non-violence (anarcho-pacifism), while others have supported the use of some coercive measures, including violent revolution and propaganda of the deed, on the path to an anarchist society.

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Cover of the 1925 edition of Berkman's The Bolshevik Myth

The Bolshevik Myth (Diary 1920–1922) is a book by Alexander Berkman describing his experiences in Bolshevist Russia from 1920 to 1922, where he saw the aftermath of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Written in the form of a diary, The Bolshevik Myth charts Berkman's recollections after having been deported from the United States along with Emma Goldman and over two hundred socialists, anarchists and other leftists.

The book describes how Berkman's initial enthusiasm for the revolution faded as he became disillusioned with the Bolsheviks and their suppression of all political dissent. Berkman recounts the economic scarcity in the cities of Petrograd and Moscow, his meeting with Lenin and his intercessions with the Bolshevik leadership on behalf of anarchist political prisoners. Berkman and Goldman learn of the anarchist Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine fighting the Bolsheviks in the Free Territory, and of the Kronstadt rebellion against the regime in Russia. In a climate of increasing repression of anarchists, they leave the Soviet Union for the last time in 1921. The Bolshevik Myth was published to positive reviews in 1925, following Goldman's My Disillusionment in Russia (1923) and My Further Disillusionment in Russia (1924). (read more...)

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Portrait of French anarcho-syndicalist and free lover Benoit Broutchoux

Portrait of Benoît Broutchoux, French anarcho-syndicalist. Broutchoux was active in the French trade union movement and was among the Parisian bohemians arguing for free love at the turn of the 20th century.

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