Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 5

anarchism - Origins, Schools of Anarchist Thought, Anarchism as a Social Movement, Issues in anarchism

based society political voluntary

A generic term for political ideas and movements that reject the state and other forms of authority and coercion in favour of a society based exclusively upon voluntary co-operation between individuals. To anarchists the state, whether democratic or not, is always seen as a means of supporting a ruling class or elite, and as an encumbrance to social relations. However, they differ in their view of the nature of their future society, their proposals ranging from a communist society based on mutual aid to one based on essentially self-interested voluntary exchange. They reject involvement in political institutions, and support civil disobedience action against the state, and on occasions political violence. Anarchist movements were most prevalent in Europe in the second half of the 19th-c and early 20th-c, but virtually died out apart from fringe groups after the Spanish Civil War.

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