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.