What is Anarchism?

Anarchism is a longstanding political, economic, and social tradition based in struggle against top-down systems and institutions, such as states, capitalism, and racial and gender domination.

Watch more at Sub.Media’s A is for Anarchy series

Anarchists aim to build an ecologically sustainable and deeply participatory society in which all people have access to the things they need, decisions are made by those most directly affected by them, and all people are free and equal.

Some of the core tenets of anarchism are mutual aid, direct action, voluntary association, decentralization, and self determination.

“Anarchy” is often attributed to Greek words meaning “without rulers.”

To learn more information about anarchism and anarchist ideas check out some of these introductory materials from others in the movement:


  • Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism – Peter Marshall
  • Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction – Colin Ward
  • Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870-1940 – Steven Hirsch and Lucien van der Walt
  • ABC of Anarchist Communism – Alexander Berkman
  • Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism – Lucien van der Walt
  • The Dispossessed – Ursula K Leguin
  • The Operating System: An Anarchist Theory of the Modern State – Eric Laursen
  • Against the Day – Thomas Pynchon
  • The Fifth Sacred Thing – Starhawk
  • Anarchy Alive – Uri Gordon