Portal:Anarchism

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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.[1][2] However, others argue that while anti-statism is central, it is inadequate to define anarchism.[3] 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.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10] Proponents of anarchism, known as "anarchists", advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical free associations.[5][11][12][13][14]

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[15] which nevertheless did have an impact on the bigger currents[16] and individualists have also participated in large anarchist organizations.[17][18] Many anarchists oppose all forms of aggression, supporting self-defense or non-violence (anarcho-pacifism),[19][20] 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.[21]

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Alexander_Berkman, 1892

Alexander Berkman (November 21, 1870 – June 28, 1936) was an anarchist known for his political activism and writing. He was a leading member of the anarchist movement in the early 20th century.

Berkman was born in Vilnius in the Russian Empire and emigrated to the United States in 1888. He lived in New York City, where he became involved in the anarchist movement. He was the lover and lifelong friend of anarchist Emma Goldman.

In 1892, Berkman attempted to assassinate Henry Clay Frick as an act of propaganda of the deed. Though Frick survived the attempt on his life, Berkman served 14 years in prison. His experience in prison was the basis for his first book, Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist.

After his release from prison, Berkman served as editor of Goldman's anarchist journal, Mother Earth, and he established his own journal, The Blast.

In 1917, Berkman and Goldman were sentenced to two years in jail for conspiracy against the newly instated draft. After their release from prison, they were arrested—along with hundreds of others—and deported to Russia. Initially supportive of that country's Bolshevik revolution, Berkman quickly voiced his opposition to the Soviet use of violence and the repression of independent voices. In 1925, he published a book about his experiences, The Bolshevik Myth.

While living in France, Berkman continued his work in support of the anarchist movement, producing the classic exposition of anarchist principles, Now and After: The ABC of Communist Anarchism. Suffering from ill health, Berkman committed suicide in 1936. (read more...)

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An upmarket Audi automobile with the license plate "ANRCHST"
Credit: Vards Uzvards

An upmarket Audi automobile with the license plate "ANRCHST". Anti-capitalist anarchists consider anarchism and anarcho-capitalism to be mutually exclusive, rejecting anarcho-capitalism's acceptance of consumerism and hierarchical labor as fundamentally unanarchistic.

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Amilcare Cipriani

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Lucy Parsons
Anarchists know that a long period of education must precede any great fundamental change in society, hence they do not believe in vote begging, nor political campaigns, but rather in the development of self-thinking individuals.
Lucy Parsons, The Principles of Anarchism, ca. 1890s.

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