Politics in Minutes (2016)


The roots of the word ‘anarchism’ lie in the Greek anarchos, meaning ‘without a ruler’. It is a political doctrine that seeks radical social change, particularly the replacement of the state with some form of non-government, non-hierarchical voluntary cooperation between free individuals, sometimes described as mutual aid. With many different schools, ranging from collectivism to libertarian individualism, anarchism can be difficult to place on the political spectrum. It is usually described as a radical left movement. Though ideas of ruler-less societies stretch back to classical antiquity, anarchism as a visible movement emerged in the mid-19th century, its theoretical roots being planted by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon who stated, ‘As man seeks justice in equality, so society seeks order in anarchy.’ Anarchism spread worldwide during the early 20th century, particularly in Spain. Quashed during the Spanish Civil War, anarchism re-emerged with the 1968 student rebellions. Today its ideas and practice influence anti-capitalist, anti-war and anti-globalization protests.