Anarchism: Core Ideas

Anarchism: Core Ideas


  • Anarchists regard the state as the central source of unjustified authority and aim to eliminate it completely.
  • They believe that the state is inherently authoritarian. Even democratic states, they argue, exercise coercion and control over individuals.
  • They propose self-governing communities who regulate their affairs through mutual agreement as a replacement for the state.

Direct Action

  • In an anarchist society, changes and decisions are made through direct action, which may involve strikes, protests or even sabotage.
  • Direct action allows individuals to exert power without relying on intermediaries like politicians.
  • This form of action challenges traditional democratic practices, inherently illustrating an anarchist society’s resistance against hierarchical structures.

Mutual Aid

  • Mutual aid is a strategy in which members of a group assist each other, without expectation of personal gain. It is understood as a primary mechanism for survival in anarchist philosophy.
  • Anarchists believe that cooperation for mutual benefit leads to more free and equal societies.
  • Concepts of community and solidarity are inherent to this idea.

Individual Freedom

  • Anarchists emphasise individual freedom, seeing it as fundamental to human nature.
  • They argue that the individual should be free to do as they please, as long as their actions do not harm others. This is also called the non-aggression principle.
  • Anarchists extend this concept to economic freedom, advocating for voluntary exchange of goods without state interference.

Anarchist Socialism

  • Anarchist socialism combines elements of both anarchism and socialism, arguing for the abolition of both the state and capitalism.
  • Anarchist socialists believe that all individuals should have equal access to resources, with society organised collectively around common ownership.
  • Those who subscribe to this ideology propose economic models based on cooperative labour and mutual respect, as opposed to competition and exploitation.


  • Anarcha-feminism is a fusion of anarchism and feminism which targets patriarchy as an oppressive system in tandem with the state.
  • Anarcha-feminists assert that gender inequality is a form of authoritarianism and argue for the need to dismantle both patriarchy and state systems.
  • They see how structures of domination and hierarchy often leave women marginalised within the political sphere, thus advocating for gender equality as an essential aspect of their revolutionary goals.

Environmental Anarchism

  • Environmental anarchists view the environmental crisis as a product of hierarchical and authoritarian systems.
  • They advocate for sustainable, egalitarian societies where humans live in harmony with nature.
  • Concepts like ‘deep ecology’ and ‘social ecology’ come into play here, noting how humans are not superior beings but part of the wider ecological system.