Anarchism: an Introduction
(psst! here, put on some Chopin while you read. It'll help you relax. Bring it up in a new tab or window)

Anarchism is a semi-utopic political and social perspective against domination and oppression and for the social and economic equality of all.
As an anarchist and a radical, I align against the following: capitalist economics and wage slavery, the state (let not "the state" become confused with social organization in general - I am only against politically alienating representation and hierarchical "leader" structures so far removed from their constituencies as to be completely out of touch with their actual interests) standing armies, prisons, patriarchy, gender binary, and of course, the constant alienation and subjugation of the creative impulse within contemporary world society. Anarchism does not mean chaos, but rather horizontality.

Nevertheless, because i do not believe in dominating hierarchical structures, and consider that each geographic environmental and political situation is distinct, I think it imperative that communities organize locally and specifically to meet the needs of their particular situations. Because of this analysis, I am uninterested in offering a total fix-all solution, but prefer case-by-case situational responses in general accordance with anti-authoritarian principles.

I hope that this web page can act as a kind of Crash Course in Anarchist Texts and Contexts, Historical Summaries, Theoretical Tracts and Processes, Quotations, Other Media [mp3s, books on tape, youtube videos, film, digital anarchist libraries, news sources], and references, to kindle an understanding of and interest in an anarchist perspective. Please engage with in in whatever way you are most comfortable - plow through, jump around, write back, speak forward, do as you wish.*

Audio Media:
Emma Goldman's "Anarchism and other Essays" is one of the best read projects on Librivox, offered in chapters.
Bakunin's "God and the State" is another Librivox audiobook worth the trouble.
Kropotkin's Conquest of Bread and Mutual Aid are also available in audio, but through sometimes difficult accents.

Circle A Radio is a phenomenal program on KBOO out of Portland, Oregon that really strikes a nerve and gets it right covering a pretty wide array of topics and geographies. The Old Mole Variety Hour and Air Cascadia News are also brilliant programs with mostly sound analyses on the station.

Radio 4 All is a web based project with a variety of good recordings and archived conferences
Audio Anarchy is a contemporary resource of texts, criticism and conversation around anarchist issues.
Howard Zinn [links run down the right side of the page]


Noam Chomsky's Introduction to Anarchism:
a pretty basic seven minute summary. There's another, extended version here.

Vivir la Utopia
is a primary documentary film about the collectives in the Spanish Civil War.

Post-Anarchism Between Politics and Anti-Politics
is a great lecture by Saul Newman; very current.

This Means War
is a sound introduction to Derrick Jensen's analysis of Civilization and a decent starting place of jumping point for Primitivist critiques.


was a hugely influential Anarcho-Pacifist band from 80s Britain; check out their other songs; it's difficult to choose just one, and their oeuvre covers an enormous ideological breadth. Be sure to read the lyrics. Also, here is an interesting retrospective documentary interviewing some of the founders called "There Is No Authority But Yourself".

Tchkung! was a Seattle band who were active leading up to the WTO protests and whose members evolved to work in some important activist marching bands around the world.

Can Dialectics Break Bricks was a brilliant Situationist film, detourning an old Kung-Fu movie with May '68ish rhetorics. Hilarious, engaging etc. These are excerpts. You can find the whole thing here on Ubu Web.

(in the traditional sense)
Excerpt from Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
a text file
How Nonviolence Protects the State by Peter Gelderloos a PDF of the book
The Coming Insurrection by the Invisible Committee
a PDF of the text
Introduction to Rhizome, Chapter 1 of A Thousand Plateaus, Capitalism and Schizophrenia by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari a PDF of the text
T.A.Z. by Hakim Bey a PDF of the text
Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism - An Unbridgeable Chasm by Murray Bookchin an html text
God and the State by Mikhail Bakunin a PDF of the text


Create a response or conversation critiquing, complicating, or otherwise opening discourse around the text; juxtaposition and comparison of arguments across authors is especially encouraged, and work in non-written, non-verbal, non-narrative media is also accepted.

Outline the Genesis and Development of Anarchism in Punk Rock Communities. Be sure to map in Nihilism, Street-Cred, And Radical Fashion.

Explore the Concept of the Anarchist Traveler and its place withing a wider loose-net International community of Anarchists. Consider Bookchin's Lifestyle/Social Anarchist Analysis and its critiques as well as Communities of Radical activism that surround Anarchist affiliates (e.g. the E.L.F. etc)

Create a map of the "Secreting" of Anarchism as a Hidden History: What developments occurred and were necessary to deny the Anarchist position in wide-spread cultural discourse? How might they be evaded, counteracted, and turned against themselves?

Consider the differentiations between anarchism and Marxist Communism, Socialism, and other typically Left groups, explaining the historical divisions, and how the differing critiques have played out.

Reconcile Primitivism with other discourses within a doctrinally anarchist politic: What elements of a primitivist analysis are salient and useful to the wider anarchist community - which are ultimately essentialist and alienating?

Art And Anarchism: track the connections between radical anarchist politics and art throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. How have the two played and counterspun one another? What have been particular artists' compromises in subjugating or elevating their art towards dissemination or radical political perspectives? 

Synthesize an anarchist platform of your own. What are the essentials, where must emphasis be lain? (e.g. Anti-Capitalism, Global Solidarity, etc?)

(Please understand that in the interests of brevity and accessibility, I am not doing near justice to any of these ideas, which are immensely more complex that these reductive paraphrases.)


[There are Many Strains and Stripes]
- Focuses on Union and Labor Organizing as the ignition point of class warfare and utopian social projection.
Anarcho-Communism: - Views anarchism as the ultimate end of a social communist struggle
Anarcho-Primitivism: - Considers civilization (ranging in scale from language, farming and complex technology) as an intrinsic ill, automatically loaded with the problems of oppressive capitalism.
Anarcha-Feminism: - Bases anarchist critique on patriarchy and gender oppression as the root of the wrong.
Anarchism-without-Adjectives: (sometimes also Platformism) - Aims to establish a united front for all anarchists.
Colors: Black-and-Green = Ecology Associated. Black-and-Red = More Socially Associated

\\GLOSSARY OF PERSONS// (wikipedia them if you care to)
Nestor Makhno - Ukranian Anarchist Guerrilla Leader. Credited with inventing Platformism.
Emma Goldman - Russian-American Anarchist Rhetorician and Thinker. Editor of Mother Earth Journal.
Joseph Proudhon - French Anarchist Intellectual. Coined "Le Propiete C'est Le Vol" ["Property is Theft"]
Mikhail Bakunin - Russian Contemporary of Marx. Wrote God and The State. Ideological Front of Anarchist in the Second International.
Buenaventura Durruti - Military hero and icon in the Spanish Civil War.
Peter Kropotkin - Russian-American Scientist and Anarchist intellectual. Coined Mutual Aid and developed concepts of anarchism in the so-called natural world.
Noam Chomsky - Famous US linguist and syndicalist.
Other Anarchos and potentially associated people of note: Ursula LeGuin, Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, William Goodwin, Josiah Warren, Max Stirner, Alexander Berkman, John Zerzan, Edward Abbey, Hakim Bey, Murray Bookchin, William Blake, Jesus Christ, Sacco and Vanzetti, Gilles Deleuze & Feliz Guattari, Mother Jones...


Perpetual Revolution: against the stasis of a conceptual revolutionary plateau, the revolution must be ongoing, constantly creative, and everyday.
Direct Action: rather than attempting to navigate a treacherous politic to approach on-the-ground results three of four steps down the line, going for the jugular, attempting the immediate approach of goals through action) e.g. destroying a meat factory farm or occupying a hospital to provide health care rather than lobbying governments etc.
Mutual Aid: sometimes linked to the idea of a Gift Economy, this is the establishment of symbiotic economies not necessarily based on reciprocation.
Property is Theft: that all property is mired in a complex web of oppressive class relations and extortionism.
Step Up Step Back: means taking responsibility, but not taking over to dominate a situation or group dynamic
Solidarity Not Charity: allyship against the missionary impulse and destructive, colonial benefactoring; asking what is needed rather than imposing condescending "help" onto the so-called "needy"
Anti-Authoritarianism: a doctrine of resistance and denial of domination and absolute one-sided power.
Infoshop: A generally anarchist reading room, library, bookstore and often social center where ideas are propagated and radical intellectual discussions fostered.
Squat: An (generally derelict, out-of-use) building occupied often both residential and communal, whose inhabitants claim a right to the space based on its utility and previous disuse.
Non-Hierarchy: relationships based outside of pyramidal power structures, often using consensus or other grass-roots decision making forms.
Class War:
demands an honest frontal approach to the fundamental contradictions between the interests of different social classes.
Hidden History: the concept that a history has been deliberately obscured and erased from the collective memory, presumably in an attempt to quell the potential struggles it might inspire or spark.

The Spanish Revolution:
during the Spanish civil war of 1936-1939, approximately a million Spaniards took part in a massive social uprising, collectivizing factories and farmland, raising militias, pursuing women's liberation, and occasionally outlawing money in their communities, but were eventually overrun and defeated by Hitler and Mussolini-supported Franco.
Medieval Iceland: from the 8th to the 11th centuries CE, Iceland was organized by nearly consensus based council groups.
1999 WTO "Riots":
sometimes seen as an instance of the Temporary Autonomous Zone, the protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle marked a beginning for many of the radical struggles over the following years.
May '68: radical students and protectors created enormous social upheavals focused in France but felt across the world,
List of Anarchist Communities: this is actually a very salient and interesting article

Other Resources and Indices:
The Anarchist FAQ
is an extremely comprehensive and detailed tome that delves into almost every nook.
The Anarchopedia
an anarchist encyclopedia.

*please email any and all suggestions and/or critique of this page to kalan dot sherrard at gmail dot com. i would love to hear from you and find ways to make this page better.