What is Anarchism?

‘WHAT IS ANARCHISM?’ This one of the most asked questions in the political landscape. Unfortunately, the term is hugely misunderstood by many, partly because of its diverse way of thinking, one that may not be characterized by simple party lines of slogans. In fact, if you try to get the definition of anarchism from 20 anarchists, there is a high probability of getting 20 different answers. Anarchism, without a doubt, is more than a political ideology; it can be understood as a way of life encompassing pragmatic, political, and personal aspects.


You are probably asking yourself what could be the right definition of anarchism. The answer is simple: anarchism’s basic tenet is that hierarchical authority (be it patriarchy, church, state or economic elite) is not only unnecessary but also inherently bad to the realization of the maximum potential of humans. Anarchism is derived from the premise that institutionalized enforcement and power, mostly in state form, is a bad method of creating and making social cohesion in the society. It entails rejection of practice and principle of government and radical critique of an exercise of power and authority.


Generally, anarchists believe that human beings are able to manage their own affairs based on the corporation, creativity, and even mutual respect. The anarchists believe that power corrupts and authorities are always concerned with the increasing their power and self-perpetuation than they are with their subjects.


By and large, anarchist claim that ethics is a personal issue and it should always be based on the concern for other people and society’s well-being, instead of the laws imposed by religious or legal authority. Most anarchist philosophers hold that people are responsible for how they behave. Some paternalistic authorities promote a dehumanized mindset that makes people expect elites decide for them and even met their individual needs, instead of acting and thinking for themselves. In a situation where authorities give itself right to overruling most critical moral decisions—like abortion or military conscription—human freedom will be diminished immeasurably.


Anarchists say that there are differences between different oppression forms (which include national chauvinism, classism, heterosexism, racism, and sexism); and focusing on a single injustice while ignoring the rest is not good. The ways one should use to change the world should be in agreement with the ends that one wants to achieve. Even though the anarchist will agree about the tactics and strategies, which include having formal organizations and using violence to overthrow the current violent institutions, many of them agree that we should destroy the current order and establish another, which will be more humane with rational alternatives.


In summary, a diverse and broad political ideology that has been adopted different groups and individuals, many of whom do not necessarily call themselves anarchists. Anarchism may have importance to every face of an individual existence. A fair definition to anarchism should emphasis on freedom, personal responsibility self-determination, the creation of cooperative and voluntary alternatives, and direct action. In other words, an anarchist ideology has the flexibility and vision of providing a better way of transforming a person’s life, while trying to work for a lasting and radical way to change the world.

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