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Anarchism (from Greek ἀν (without) + ἄρχειν (to rule) + ισμός (from stem -ιζειν), "without archons", "without rulers") is often defined as a political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, or harmful. Some anarchists have argued that while anti-statism is central, it is inadequate to define anarchism. This traditional notion of anarchism entails opposition to all authority or hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations, including, but not limited to, the state system. In particular, it includes opposition to religion and capital, resulting in the famous anarchist proclamations "Property is theft!" and "No gods, no masters!" Proponents of anarchism, known as "anarchists", advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical free associations.

Anarchism as a mass social movement has regularly endured fluctuations in popularity. The central tendency of anarchism as a social movement has been represented by anarcho-communism and anarcho-syndicalism, with individualist anarchism being primarily a literary phenomenon (which nevertheless did have an impact on the bigger currents, including the participation of individualists in large anarchist organizations). Many anarchists oppose all forms of aggression, supporting self-defense or non-violence (anarcho-pacifism), while others have supported the use of some coercive measures, including violent revolution and propaganda of the deed, on the path to an anarchist society.

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Libertatis Aequilibritas, symbol of anarcho-capitalism

Anarcho-capitalism is a form of individualist anarchism that advocates the elimination of the state and the elevation of the sovereign individual in a free market. Anarcho-capitalists argue for a society based in voluntary trade of private property in order to maximize individual liberty and prosperity. In the place of the state's tax-funded, centrally controlled security, infrastructure, banking and other services, an anarcho-capitalist society relies on individuals to voluntarily fund socially desirable services through the self-regulated free market.

Developed by Murray Rothbard in the latter half of the 20th century, anarcho-capitalist thought is derived from the American individualist anarchism of people like Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker, the neo-classical economic theory of people like Gustave de Molinari and Ludwig von Mises, and the anti-imperialist ideas of people like Albert Jay Nock and Frank Chodorov. Some, particularly anti-propertarian anarchists, deny that anarcho-capitalism is a type of anarchism at all. (read more...)

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Black Bloc demonstrators taunting liberal protesters at a 2005 protest
Credit: Ben Schumin

Black Bloc demonstrators taunting liberal protesters at Malcolm X Park during the January 20, 2005 counter-inaugural protest. The tactic of black bloc affinity groups advocating direct action instead of nonviolent resistance was pioneered by European autonomes in the 1980s.

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Anselme Bellegarrigue, Anarchy is Order (1850) 58

Anniversaries for September 25

  • 1938 – Former Black Army chief of military intelligence and later Cheka operative Lev Zadov is executed by the Stalin regime during the Great Purge
  • 1973 – Spanish anarchist and anti-fascist revolutionary Salvador Puig Antich is detained by police and injured in a shootout, after which he is tried, condemned to death and executed by the fascists

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