Political philosophy and movement
Anarchism is a political philosophy and movement that rejects all involuntary, coercive forms of hierarchy. It radically calls for the abolition of the state which it holds to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful.
The timeline of anarchism stretches back to prehistory when people lived in anarchistic societies long before the establishment of formal states, kingdoms or empires. With the rise of organised hierarchical bodies, skepticism towards authority also rose, but it was not until the 19th century a self-conscious political movement was formed. During the latest half of 19th and the first decades of 20th century, the anarchist movement flourished in most parts of the world and had a significant role in worker's struggles for emancipation. Various branches of anarchism were espoused during those times. Anarchists took part in several revolutions, most notably in the Spanish Civil War, where they were crushed by the fascist forces in 1939, marking the end of the classical era of anarchism. In the last decades of the 20th century and into the 21st century, the anarchist movement has been resurgent once more.
Anarchism employs various tactics in order to meet its ideal ends; these can be broadly separated in revolutionary and evolutionary tactics. There is significant overlap between the two legs which are merely descriptive. Revolutionary tactics aim to bring down authority and state, and have taken a violent turn in the past. Evolutionary tactics aim to prefigure what an anarchist society would be like. Anarchist thought, criticism and praxis has played a part in diverse fields of human society.
Criticism of anarchism mainly focuses on it being internally inconsistent, violent and utopian.
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