What is anarchism and who can be considered an anarchist?

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What is anarchism and who can be considered an anarchist?

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An anarchist doesn’t want any form of government as they consider them to restrict a persons freedom of action.

Anarchism at it’s core is a political philosophy which believes in the abolition of all unjust hierarchies, usually considering the state to be one.

Of course, I am an anarchist so my description may be a bit biased.

How you define the state is where things get tricky though, because anarchy doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of authority (some hierarchies are just, like parent-child authority).

An example of a state would be the Commonwealth of Australia, with the Australian government being a governemtn, and Australia being both a land mass and a Nation (which is a piece of land inhabited by a mostly homogenous ethnicity)

I’ll quote David Graeber, an anarchist, who wrote this ELI5-perfect “[Are You An Anarchist? The Answer May Surprise You!](https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/david-graeber-are-you-an-anarchist-the-answer-may-surprise-you)”:

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>Many people seem to think that anarchists are proponents of violence, chaos, and destruction, that they are against all forms of order and organization, or that they are crazed nihilists who just want to blow everything up. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Anarchists are simply people who believe human beings are capable of behaving in a reasonable fashion without having to be forced to. […]

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>• If there’s a line to get on a crowded bus, do you wait your turn and refrain from elbowing your way past others even in the absence of police?

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>If you answered “yes”, then you are used to acting like an anarchist! The most basic anarchist principle is self-organization: the assumption that human beings do not need to be threatened with prosecution in order to be able to come to reasonable understandings with each other, or to treat each other with dignity and respect. […]

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>• Are you a member of a club or sports team or any other voluntary organization where decisions are not imposed by one leader but made on the basis of general consent?

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>If you answered “yes”, then you belong to an organization which works on anarchist principles! Another basic anarchist principle is voluntary association. This is simply a matter of applying democratic principles to ordinary life. The only difference is that anarchists believe it should be possible to have a society in which everything could be organized along these lines, all groups based on the free consent of their members, and therefore, that all top-down, military styles of organization like armies or bureaucracies or large corporations, based on chains of command, would no longer be necessary. […]

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>• Do you believe that most politicians are selfish, egotistical swine who don’t really care about the public interest? Do you think we live in an economic system which is stupid and unfair?

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>If you answered “yes”, then you subscribe to the anarchist critique of today’s society — at least, in its broadest outlines. Anarchists believe that power corrupts and those who spend their entire lives seeking power are the very last people who should have it. Anarchists believe that our present economic system is more likely to reward people for selfish and unscrupulous behavior than for being decent, caring human beings. Most people feel that way. The only difference is that most people don’t think there’s anything that can be done about it, or anyway — and this is what the faithful servants of the powerful are always most likely to insist — anything that won’t end up making things even worse.

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>But what if that weren’t true? […]

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I consider myself a very pragmatic anarchist. I do believe that people are capable of behaving rationally without the threat of punishment, which is what the law currently is; “Do right or else.”

I don’t think we can do it TODAY. Not by a fuckin’ long shot. But it is a goal.

You might be interested in the subreddit r/anarchy101, which is full of people more knowledgeable than me, but I’ll do my best to answer any follow-up questions you may have.

Anarchism is a type of socialist political philosophy that originated in the 1800s. The main distinction between anarchism and Marxism, and this is an oversimplification but a useful one, is that Marx wanted the proletariat to take control of the state and let it wither away while anarchists want to abolish the state immediately.

Anarchism is the belief that there shouldn’t be any governments or money, and instead regular people should sort those things out themselves. Anarchists are anyone who believes in this.

Well 2020 has totally disproved the basic premises of this philosophy! Anarchism is definitely not a possible form of governance.