Anarchism as a political philosophy and set of movements has a long history, including a specific history in North America, especially via the IWW (see labor movements). In the 19th century, anarchism frequently contended with Marxism around the issue of state power, and whether power vested in even the most liberation-oriented politics could ever devolve toward true freedom for all. Anarchists believed (and believe) that only a movement that embodies liberation in its own non-hierarchical structures can produce a liberated society.
The anarchists of the Spanish Civil War inspired many subsequent groupsThere were strong anarchist strands in the Civil Rights movements, especially in SNCC; much anarchist spirit in the New Left of the 1960s; important strands of anarchism in the anti-nuclear direct action movement of the 1970s and 1980s. In the last two decades, anarchism has entered a new phase in the Global Justice, Occupy Wall Street and other movements, and has arguably eclipsed Marxism, or blended with the more libertarian strands in Marxism, as the most vibrant political position on the left.
Documents, Articles and Sites on History of Anarchism in the United States
- Anarchism and American Traditions. Voltairine De Cleyre.
- Anarchy in Interpretation: The Life of Emma Goldman.
- The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter (Atlantic Magazine, 1927).
- Centralia Massacre, 1919. Documents on the battle between the IWW and reactionary forces in Washington state.
- Chronology of IWW History.
- Emma Goldman Papers. Excellent site from University of California, Berkeley on the most famous anarcha-feminist.
- Industrial Workers of the World (IWW - aka, the Wobblies). Wikipedia intro.
- IWW Pamphlets online. Numerous original IWW documents.
- The I. W. W. - What It Is And What It Is Not (1928).
- The Last of the Anarchists. Paul Berman. Profile of an Italian-American anarchist in Slate magazine .
- The Legacy of the IWW. by Paul Buhle (2005).
- Lucy Parsons (1853-1942): The Life of an Anarchist Labor Organizer.
- The Never-Ending Wrong. Katherine Anne Porter. Novelist's perspective on the Sacco and Vanzetti case (Atlantic, 1927).
- Seattle General Strike, 1919. Strike in which the anarcho-syndicalist IWW played a prominent role.
- Solidarity Forever: A Look at Wobbly Culture.
- Surrealism in the United States Surrealism is closely aligned with cultural anarchisms.
- Vanzetti's Last Statement.
- Working Class Culture By Arthur J. Miller
Contemporary Sites About Anarchism
- A-Infos. A multi-lingual news service by, for, and about anarchists.
- Anarchist Archives. Online works of Bakunin, Kropotkin, Goldman and other prominent anarchists.
- Anarchism and the Arts. Intro from
- Anarchist Artists
- Anarchist Comics
- Anarchist Fiction
- Anarchist Films
- Anarchy List. Excellent set of resources.
- Art as Anarchy. from Spunk Library.
- Critical Resistance. One of the most vital current anti-authoritarian movement groups focused especially on the prison-industrial complex.
- Diggers Archive. Important 1960s anarchist group in Bay Area.
- Institute for Anarchist Studies. Grant-giving org in support of anarchist writings of various kinds.
- JustSeeds Collective of 30 artists creating and promoting anti-authoritarian graphic arts.
- Liberty for the People. Very rich set of resources.
- Love and Rage Amor Y Rabia (Anarchist Newspaper).
- Murray Bookchin's Collected Works. A major modern anarchist's writings.
- nothingness.org Includes resources on the Situationinsts, a major international anarchist tendency.
- Prominent Anarchists and Left Libertarians. Good brief biographical sketches.
- Questions and Answers About Anarchism. Fine introduction to anarchism (from the 1979 edition of Reinventing Anarchy).
- Russian Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism.
- Situationism: An Anarchist Perspective
- Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm by Murray Bookchin.
- TAO Anarchives. Toronto anarchist media collective.
- Tyranny of Structurelessness. Jo Freedman. Classic early feminist article on mistaking anarchy for lack of organization.
- What It Is To Be a Girl in an Anarchist Boys Club. Anarcha-feminist essay.
Selected Books and Articles on Anarchism, Art and Culture
Antliff, Allan. Anarchist Modernism: Art, Politics, and the First American Avant-Garde. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001
--. Anarchy and Art: From the Paris Commune to the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Vancouver, BC: Arsenal Pulp Press 2007.
Dixon, Chris. Another Politics: Talking Across Today's Transformative Movements. Berkeley: UC Press, 2014. Rich interview-based analysis of key currents of contemporary anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist organizing.
Graeber, Dave. Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology.. Prickly Paradigm Press, 2004.
---. Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion and Desire. Oakland: AK Press, 2007.
Holloway, John. Changing the World Without Taking Power. Pluto Press, 2002. Ambitious attempt to rethink anarchist and libertarian Marxist traditions.
Macphee, Josh and Erik Reuland. Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority. Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2007.
Marshall, Peter. Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. London: Fontana, 1993. Superb, lively and wide-ranging history of the many strands of anarchist thought and practice.
Porton, RIchard. Film and the Anarchist Imagination. London: Verso, 1999.
Sakolsky, Ron and Franklin Rosemont, eds. Surrealist Subversions: Rants, Writings and Images by the Surrealist Movement in the United States. NY: Autonomedia, 2002. US surrealists were part of or were tied to several anarchist movements, from the 1920s to the present.
Salerno, Salvatore. Red November, Black November: Culture and Community in the Industrial Workers of the World. Albany: SUNY Press, 1989. The best analysis of the role of art and culture in the IWW branch of anarchism.
Schmidt, Michael, and Lucien van der Walt. Black Flame. Oakland: AK Press, 2009. Combines history and political theory in a brilliant analysis of various strands of anarchist thought and action.
Sonn, Richard. Anarchism and Cultural Politics in Fin-De-Siècle France. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989.
Tucker, Kenneth. Workers of the World,Enjoy! Aesthetic Politics from Revolutionary Syndicalism to the Global Justice Movement. Philadelphia: Temple U Press, 2010. As the subtitle suggests, this study compares anarchist cultural politics from several historical periods.
Woodcock, George. Anarchism: A History. Cleveland: Meridian Press, 1962. The classic study up to the 1960s.
- Anarchism: The Unfinished Revolution. Very extensive bibliography on anarchism.