Anarchist Movements

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

Contemporary Sites About Anarchism

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.

Further Research