Anarchy Essay Research Paper Anarchy Anarchy Anarchism

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Anarchy Essay, Research Paper Anarchy Anarchy Anarchism seems to be defined many ways by many different sources. Most dictionary definitions define anarchism as the absence of government. A leading modern dictionary, Webster’s Third International Dictionary, defines anarchism briefly but accurately as, “a political theory opposed to all forms of government and governmental restraint and advocating voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups in order to satisfy their needs.” Other dictionaries describe anarchism with similar definitions. The Britannica-Webster dictionary defines the word anarchism as, “a political theory that holds all government authority to be unnecessary and undesirable and advocates a society based on voluntary cooperation

of individuals and groups.” William Godwin was the first proclaimed anarchist in history and the first to write about anarchism. Godwin published a book called Political Justice in 1793 which first introduced his ideas about anarchism, Godwin was forgotten about, however, and after his death Pierre Joseph Proudhon became a leading anarchist figure in the world. His book What is Property? incorporated greater meaning to the word anarchism; anarchism became not only a rejection of established authority but a theory opposing ownership of land and property as well. Anarchism fully blossomed as a defined theory when Russian anarchists Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876) and Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921) started to write and speak. Bakunin had a major influence in the world and introduced

anarchism to many people. Kropotkin was one of the many people inspired by Bakunin. Kropotkin wrote many books on anarchism, including Muitual Aid, Fields Factories and Workshops, and The Conquest of Bread, and greatly aided in the evolution of the theory of anarchism. As the 20th century emerged anarchism began to peak and the definition of anarchism became concrete with the growth of new anarchist writers and movements. The execution and imprisonment of eight anarchists in Chicago in 1886 sparked anarchism’s growth in the United States. The “Haymarket Eight” flourished anarchists such as Voltairine de Cleyre and Lucy Parsons. Parsons was born into slavery and later became an anarchist and an ardent speaker and working class rebel; the Chicago police labeled Parsons,

“…more dangerous than a thousand rioters.” Although the word anarchism is understood by many in its classic sense (that defined by dictionaries and by anarchists of history), the word often seems to be misused or misunderstood. Anarchism, because of the threat it imposes upon established authority, has been historically, and is still, misused by power holders as violence and chaos. The claim that anarchism is chaos was refuted long ago by Alexander Berkman when he wrote: ?I must tell you, first of all, what anarchism is not. It is not bombs, disorder, or chaos. It is not robbery or murder. It is not a war of each against all. It is not a return to barbarianism or to the wild state of man. Anarchism is the very opposite of all that.? So, what is anarchism? All of the

pro-anarchy sources I found say that, basically, anarchism is a political philosophy that embraces democracy and freedom, and seeks to destroy all forms of coercion and oppression. The root of human oppression is seen as authority and inequality. This is why they think it is the perfect ideological guide for destroying poverty, racism, and sexism. All these oppressions are systems of power based on hierarchy. Hierarchy means top-down, like a pyramid. Hierarchical constructions of power create positions of relative privilege and relative oppression. Capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy (male supremacy) are also top-down constructions of power. Anarchism conceptualizes power differently. Instead of power over, anarchism proposes power with, cooperation. This means that