"The most absurd apology for authority and law is that they serve to diminish crime.

Aside from the fact that the State is itself the greatest criminal, breaking every written and natural law, stealing in the form of taxes, killing in the form of war and capital punishment, it has come to an absolute standstill in coping with crime. It has failed utterly to destroy or even minimize the horrible scourge of its own creation." - Emma Goldman

this emma goldman quote explains perfectly the anarchist motive, to fight what they consider the worst of the worst criminal, The Government.

Anarchy is defined by dictionary.com to be 1. a state of society without government or law. 2. political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control: The death of the king was followed by a year of anarchy. 3. a theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal and that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society. 4. confusion; chaos; disorder: Intellectual and moral anarchy followed his loss of faith. Anarchism is defined by dictionary.com to be 1. a doctrine urging the abolition of government or governmental restraint as the indispensable condition for full social and political liberty. 2. the methods or practices of anarchists, as the use of violence to undermine government.


"While the popular understanding of anarchism is of a violent, anti-State movement, anarchism is a much more subtle and nuanced tradition then a simple opposition to government power. Anarchists oppose the idea that power and domination are necessary for society, and instead advocate more cooperative, anti-hierarchical forms of social, political and economic organisation." [The Politics of Individualism, p. 106]

This kind of summarizes the whole anarchist philosophy, because anarchism according to most anarchist beliefs and the beginning theories isn't about chaos and violence. The main theory behind anarchism is that a society without a centralized government will not lead to disorder but to absoulute liberty and absoulute individual rights The philosophy goes on to say that humans are social beings and as social beings they will gather into societies that share their views, and even though they have no government the people will live by a moral and ethical code that will allow them to stay in that society. thus creating order

The Origin of Anarchism

Anarchism emerged during the enlightenment era William Godwin Edmund Burke A Vindication of Natural Society

centered particularly around the ideals of William Godwin although William Godwin was inspired by some of the ideas Voiced by Edmund Burke in his essay A Vindication of Natural Society In Which, Edmund Burke asserts that the rise of civil society is often accompanied by misery and suffering he upholds his opinions by contrasting it to the enlightenment notion of a natural society. a natural society by enlightenment views was basically the romantic view of nature made to fit humans

Godwin's focus unlike Burke's was on creating a doctrine which outlined a social structure unlike anything else, his doctrine which would later become known as anarchist philosophy was to outline the creation of a society that was run without government structure or any kind of formal authority.

Edmund Burke (Jan,12,1729-July,9,1797)
-Edmund Burke was born in Dublin (Ire) -He was philosopher, political theorist, and author -After relocating to England, he became a member of the Whig party and served in the House of Commons where he came to be the leading figure in the conservative section of the Whig party -He opposed the French revolution -Praised by both Conservatives and Liberals -Said to have written the first anarchist essay called A Vindication of Natural Society

In truth the only reason he is important at all is because of his essay.

William Godwin (March,3,1756 - April,7,1836)
-English journalist and political philosopher -He is considered the one of the founders of philosophical anarchism for his books: An Inquiry Concerning Political Justice which attacked political institutions Things as They Are or The Adventures of Caleb Williams which attacked the aristocracy and aristocratic privilege -Because of the success of hist two books he was praised in the more radical sections of London -Married feminist Mary Wollstonecraft in 1779

i n An Inquiry concerning Politcal Justice he argued that government is a corrupting force in society, perpetuating dependence and ignorance, but that it will be rendered increasingly unnecessary and powerless by the gradual spread of knowledge.

and in He might sound familiar, because his daughter was mary Godwin later to become mary shelley

Pierre Proudhon (Jan,15,1809 - Jan,19,1865)
-Was a French politician, and philosopher -Was the first person to call himself an anarchist -He is considered one of the most influential theorists and organizers of anarchism -He is most well known for his writings What is Property? Or, an Inquiry into the Principle of Right and Government in which he asserts that Property is theft, and that anarchy is order

Peter Kropotkin (Dec,9,1842 - Feb,8,1921)

-One of Russia's foremost anarchists -Born into a royal family, known as the anarchist prince because of his title -Was a supporter of anarcho-communism -He was described by Oscar Wilde as "a man with a soul of that beautiful white Christ which seems coming out of Russia." -He was arrested and imprisoned in Russia for handing out revolutionary propaganda.

he escaped from prison and went to live in switzerland before going on to England then France were he was arrested and sent to prison for being a socialist, he was later released

Emma Goldman (June,27,1869 - May,14,1940)
-Born in Russia but immigrated to America -Was a leading Anarchist in the anarchist movement of the early 20th century -Was also a leading Feminist during the same time -She was a well known lecturer on anarchist philosophy and womans rights, her lectures attracted crowds in the thousands -She and Alexander Berkman tried to assassinate Henry Flick who was named one of Americas most hated CEO's -Her writing and lectures spanned a wide variety of issues, including prisons, atheism, freedom of speech, militarism, capitalism, marriage, free love, and homosexuality. -she died in Toronto on may 14 194

George Woodcock (May,8,1912 - January,28,1995)
-Was a Canadian Writer and founder of the journal of Canadian literature -He wrote many books on the subject of anarchism -As an anarchist he went about creating charities and in Tibet, India, and Canada -He was granted many awards for his efforts but he only accepted those from his peers even going so far as to turn down the order of Canada when it was offered to him.

Parallels In Time
already written [Anarchy for the most part is something a country falls into and not necessarily something that a country does on purpose as such many countries have experienced a form of anarchy at one point in their history (When there is no real government order because the past government was overrun or the last leader killed). For instance this happened in France after the French revolution, in Russia after the massacre of the Czar. and in the Spain during the civil war.] Although Anarchy has mostly been experienced when a country falls into a leaderless state there have been a very few times that countries and societies have been made into or have just developed into a anarchistic society. For instance most tribal hunter gatherer societies are or were anarchistic in nature because they had no formal leadership. Closer to modern world there was: Libertatia (late 1600s)

Libertatia is pirates isle [The] pirates were anti-capitalist, opposed to the dispossession that necessarily accompanied the historic ascent of wage labor and capitalism. They insisted that "every Man was born free, and had as much Right to what would support him, as to the Air he respired." They resented the "encroachments" by which "Villains" and "unmerciful Creditors" grew "immensely rich" as others became "wretchedly miserable." They spoke of the "Natural right" to "a Share of the Earth as is necessary for our Support." They saw piracy as a war of self-preservation. [They redefined the] fundamental relations of property and power. They had no need for money "where every Thing was in common, and no Hedge bounded any particular Man's Property," and they decreed that "the Treasure and Cattle they were Masters of should be equally divided." Rhode Island

Links To Today
Today anarchists are active at almost every political protest and at human rights rallies. and In recent history Afghanistan fell into a form of anarchy when the Taliban was thrown out by the US

any others that you can think of?

Tutorial Questions
1. Do you think there is ever a chance of an anarchist society actually working in the modern age? 2. Do you think there will ever be a time when humanity doesn't need a centralized government infrastructure?

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.