Portal:Anarchism

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THE Anarchic a-white.svgNARCHISM PORTAL

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Anarchism is an anti-authoritarian political and social philosophy that rejects hierarchies deemed unjust and advocates their replacement with self-managed, self-governed societies based on voluntary, cooperative institutions. These institutions are often described as stateless societies, although several authors have defined them more specifically as distinct institutions based on non-hierarchical or free associations. Anarchism's central disagreement with other ideologies is that it holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful.

Anarchism is usually placed on the far-left of the political spectrum, and much of its economics and legal philosophy reflect anti-authoritarian interpretations of communism, collectivism, syndicalism, mutualism, or participatory economics. As anarchism does not offer a fixed body of doctrine from a single particular worldview, many anarchist types and traditions exist and varieties of anarchy diverge widely. Anarchist schools of thought can differ fundamentally, supporting anything from extreme individualism to complete collectivism. Strains of anarchism have often been divided into the categories of social and individualist anarchism, or similar dual classifications. Read more...


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Emma Goldman, ca. 1910

Emma Goldman (June 27, 1869 – May 14, 1940) was a Lithuanian-born anarchist known for her political activism, writing, and speeches. She was lionized as a free-thinking "rebel woman" by admirers, and derided as an advocate of politically-motivated murder and violent revolution by her critics. Goldman played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in the United States and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. Although she distanced herself from first-wave feminism and its efforts toward women's suffrage, she developed new ways of incorporating gender politics into anarchism. She spoke and wrote on a wide variety of issues, including prisons, atheism, freedom of speech, militarism, capitalism, marriage, and free love. After decades of obscurity, Goldman's iconic status was revived in the 1970s, when feminist and anarchist scholars rekindled popular interest about her life.

Born to an Orthodox Jewish family which forbid her from further education, Goldman read voraciously and educated herself about the politics of her time. She moved to New York in the United States at the age of sixteen, married briefly in 1887, and moved to New York City. Attracted to anarchism after the Haymarket Riot, Goldman was trained by Johann Most in public speaking and became a renowned lecturer, attracting crowds of thousands. She also became the lover of Alexander Berkman, who became her lifelong intimate friend and comrade. Together they planned unsuccessfully to assassinate Henry Clay Frick, as an act of propaganda of the deed. Goldman herself was imprisoned several times in the years that followed, for "inciting to riot" and illegally distributing information about birth control. Goldman published an anarchist journal called Mother Earth. Following her deportation to Russia in 1919, Goldman lived in England, Canada, and France, before eventually traveling to Spain to participate in that nation's civil war. She died in Toronto on 14 May 1940. (read more...)

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Radicals in Ellis Island awaiting deportation
Credit: Corbis Images for Education database

Anarchists and other radicals awaiting deportation from Ellis Island on January 3, 1920, after being rounded up in raids the previous night in New York City. The passage of Anarchist Exclusion Acts by the United States Congress resulted in the deportation of dozens of illegal immigrants from the United States as a result of their political beliefs.

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Amilcare Cipriani

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John Zerzan
John Zerzan, Running on Emptiness, 2008

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