‘Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners’ – Edward Abbey
Anarchism as a distinct political movement and idea dates from the 1800s, but its routes go back a lot further. In essence it is the rejection of all unjustified authority, of the necessity of dividing the world into the ruler and the ruled, the wealthy and the worker.
It’s not just an idea printed in books, written in songs, and shouted about in the streets. There have been, and are, real living examples of anarchism in action. From the smallest of scales such as individual buildings, all the way up to the largest historical examples in Spain, Ukraine and the Korean peninsula.
Anarchists want to create a world where communities come together to decide how to run themselves, where decisions aren’t made by distant politicians, CEOs and bureaucrats. Where individual people hold real power over their lives rather than having to give it up to a boss, a landlord or city council.
We’re not content just waiting for this world however. We fight injustice in the here and now, build new communities, change existing ones and fight the oppression that we suffer or create.
You can read (much) more about some of the currents of Anarchism here:
AFed.org.uk – Short Introduction to Anarchist Communism
Prole.info – Work, Community, Politics, War (clickthru version)
Freedom Press – What is Anarchism?
Libcom – Anarcho-Syndicalism an Introduction
an Anarchist FAQ, if you have a question it is likely the answer is here along with hundreds of others.
‘Does it follow that I reject all authority? Far from me such a thought. In the matter of boots, I refer to the authority of the bootmaker; concerning houses, canals, or railroads, I consult that of the architect or the engineer. For such or such special knowledge I apply to such or such a savant. But I allow neither the bootmaker nor the architect nor the savant to impose his authority upon me. I listen to them freely and with all the respect merited by their intelligence, their character, their knowledge, reserving always my incontestable right of criticism and censure. ‘ – Mikhail Bakunin, 1871