Anarchism
   A radical libertarian theory that attained political popularity in the nineteenth century. Derived from the Greek words áí (“without”) and áñ÷íá (“rulers”), anarchism connotes a system of thought and action based on the belief that government is not only unnecessary, but also detrimental. The term anarchist was first used by the French Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1808–1865), the first declared anarchist and a precursor of mutualism, in What Is Property? Or, an Inquiry into the Principle of Right of Government, published in 1840, in which he made the famous statement that “property is theft.”
   Whereas in the first half of the nineteenth century anarchist thought gravitated around individualism, in the second half anarchist theory turned towards collectivism, mainly under the influence of Russian anarchist philosopher Mikhail Bakunin (1814–1876), founder of the Social Democratic Alliance in 1869 and considered one of the “fathers of anarchism.” In The Red Association (1870) he stated that, “Political Freedom without economic equality is a pretense, a fraud, a lie.” Karl Marx regarded Bakunin as a “sentimental idealist.” Anarchist communism also emerged under the initiative of Peter Kropotkin (1842–1921), a Russian prince known as the “Anarchist Prince.” Both Bakunin and Kropotkin participated in the International Workingmen’s Association, also known as the First International, an organization initially made up of British trade unionists, French socialists, Italian republicans, and anarchists. The Association was founded in 1864 in London and was led by Karl Marx. In 1872, at the Hague Congress, due to a dispute between Marx and Bakunin, the “Bakuninist” anarchists were expelled from the association. This was the origin of the perpetual conflict between Marxists and anarchists.
   Anarcho-syndicalism, a variation of libertarian communism, was developed late in the nineteenth century. The general strike was regarded as a main strategy in the pursuit of the anarchist revolution and influenced political life in the United States through the activities of the early labor unions, themselves influenced by anarchist immigrants from Central or Eastern Europe. Although political violence was generally regarded as a necessary revolutionary practice, many anarchists thought riots, bombings, assassinations, and even insurrections were ineffective. Particularly noteworthy is nonviolent Christian anarchism, such as professed by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. Anarchist leaders, such as Bakunin and the Italian Errico Malatesta (1852–1932), by contrast considered violence indispensable. William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States, was shot in Buffalo, New York, on September 6, 1901, by Leon Czolgosz, a registered Republican who claimed to have been influenced by the writings of Emma Goldman (1869–1940), a prominent anarcho-communist and feminist born in Lithuania.
   See also <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Ward, Colin. Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004;
    Wolff, Robert Paul. In Defense of Anarchism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.
   GEORGIA TRES

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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  • anarchism — [an′ər kiz΄əm, an′ärkiz΄əm] n. [ ANARCH(Y) + ISM] 1. the theory that all forms of government interfere unjustly with individual liberty and should be replaced by the voluntary association of cooperative groups 2. resistance, sometimes by… …   English World dictionary

  • anarchism — /an euhr kiz euhm/, n. 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 …   Universalium

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