Empire, Power, and People with Andrew Gavin Marshall- Episode 21

What is Anarchism?

Anarchism is often thought of as synonymous with "chaos" and "disorder," which is a far cry from its original philosophy and actions. As one of the first anarchist philosophers articulated, "Anarchy is Order."

Articulating a philosophy and envisioning a society free of hierarchical organization and domination, anarchy has set itself against all established and institutional forms of power and structure. Various strands of anarchistic thought can be found through human history, dating to ancient Chinese Taoists, in ancient Greece, and through the peasant rebellions of the Middle Ages, but it was not until the late 18th and early 19th centuries that anarchism came to be defined as a distinct ideology and the word began to be used. Emerging organically in different places at different times, anarchy represents a reaction against all forms of repression and domination. It has strong rootss in Jewish emigration following the anti-Semitic pogroms of Czarist Russia, and was a major factor during the Russian Revolution. The greatest example of an anarchistic success and failure was during the Spanish Revolution and Civil War in the 1930s, when a massive anarchist movement threatened the very survival of the state, leading to foreign interventions on the part of the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, and the Western liberal democratic states, all of which battled against and ultimately destroyed the most powerful movement in Spain, the anarchists.

This strain of thought is re-emerging today, in different contexts and with different tactics and ideas, but it is again making itself a force to be reckoned with.

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  1. Hal 9000 says:

    Some good points here. Thanks.

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