A non-hierarchical society in which private property and the division of classes is abolished and the world is comprised of autonomous collectives containing no authority.
Anarchism differs from other ideologies on the left such as socialism, specifically in terms of how the social transformation from capitalism - which in Marxism theory is the last stage of class society - to a communistic society will actually occur.
Proponents of the anarchist doctrine look to the immediate abolition of the state as essential towards the transformation from class society to anarchist society, in which only then can true human liberation and democracy flourish. This often comes in the form of abstention from mainstream political engagement altogether. This usually leads to the rejection of electoralism or parliamentarianism as a means of achieving change. Most anarchists seek to create an immediate version of what human society is supposed to look like in the future. This often comes in the form of non-hierarchical organizations, communes, affinity groups, and so on. Socialists on the other hand see the existence of a revolutionary workers party as indispensible towards building a new society. Socialists also favor parliamentarianism as a tool towards heightening the consciousness of the worker.
There are different versions to the anarchist doctrine such as anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-libertarianism, anarcho-communism, etc.
Anarchism as an ideology is said to have gone back to as far as the early 18th century with thinkers such as William Godwin. Other following theorists such as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Mikhail Bakunin, Emma Goldman and most recently Murray Bookchin have all added a substantial amount of knowledge to the anarchist tradition.
There are hardly any mass anarchist organizations in the US currently, although there has been a recent revival in anarchist ideas, predominantly among student activists. Groups such as Students For A Democratic Society, and the recent creation of the NYMAA (New York Metro Anarchist Alliance) are all signs of a new wave of anarchist activity to come.
Anarchism in times of dormancy, can become confined to its lifestyle variations. Vegans, vegetarians, consumer boycotters, and individuals comprising the animal liberation and anti-globalization movements tend to look to anarchist ideas as a way to shape society.
Throughout history, the anarchist doctrine has always been a idea espoused by people who were generally outside of the realms of mass industrial production such as doctors, lawyers, craftsmen, artisans, etc. These days, anarchism has seen its revival in the punk rock movement, which contains mostly white middle class surburban teens and young adults. It has never really deterred from that particular socio-economic level, at least not in the advanced capitalist countries.
Anarchism reflects the politics of impatience.
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