history of anarchism


The history of anarchism began with the first humans walking on earth. Prehistoric society existed without formal hierarchies, close to anarchist principles. The first traces of anarchist thought can be found in ancient Greece and China where numerous philosophers questioned the necessity of the state and declared the moral right of the individual to decide for themselves. During the Middle Ages few religious sects espoused libertarian thought, and in the Age of Enlightenment the rise of rationalism and science signaled the birth of the modern anarchist movement. Modern anarchism was a significant part of the worker's movement at the end of the 19th century. Modernism, industrialisation, reaction to capitalism and mass migration helped anarchism to flourish and to spread around the globe. The major tendencies of anarchism as a social movement have been represented by anarcho-collectivism, anarcho-communism and anarcho-syndicalism, with individualist anarchism being primarily a literary phenomenon. As the workers' movement grew, the clash between anarchists and Marxist communists was becoming inevitable. The two currents split at the fifth congress of the First International in 1872. The events that followed did not help to heal the gap. Anarchists participated enthusiastically in the Russian Revolution, but as soon as the Bolsheviks established their authority, anarchists were harshly suppressed most notably in Kronstadt and in Ukraine. Anarchism's most salient moment was the Spanish Civil War which ended in the defeat of the anarchists and their allies. Anarchism as a movement seemed dead after World War II. However, in the 1960s it re-emerged in various forms, particularly within the anti-globalisation movement.
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main subject: history of anarchism


The Spanish Anarchists

1976 book by Murray Bookchin

author: Murray Bookchin


The Anarchists

book by the historian James Joll

author: James Joll


The World That Never Was

book by Alex Butterworth


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