An Introduction to Anarchism

CREAGH, Ronald (1929 - ....)Document original spécialement rédigé pour le site "Recherche sur l’anarchisme"

Anarchism has, needless to say, a very bad name. Representatives of the establishment and reporters in the mass media habitually use it as an insult, or as a description of any condition of disorder or widespread violence. This is true even when turmoil or terrorism is the result of individuals or groups who have absolutely no relation to the anarchist movement or by states which are, in essence, precisely what anarchism seeks to abolish.

To avoid such perpetual brainwashing, it is desirable to see what anarchists themselves have said and how they in fact behave. This website presents some evidence concerning the realities of anarchist thought and action.

Anarchism has no single founder, no simple slogan, no party line. It is not an "ism", an ideology, because it views the world as a creative process to which it responds in many ways, according to the infinite range of forces that are generated by a vast diversity of historical conditions, cultural traditions, intimate relationships, beliefs and convictions.

Its distinctive approach consists in the creation of free societies, liberated of all forms of economic, political or social domination and contributing to the never-ending struggle for personal emancipation.

It therefore rejects state systems, including representative democracy and it forges alternative organizations such as free federations etc.

It elaborates alternative forms of possession based on practical usage instead of economic systems such as capitalism which are based on private property and therefore legal and hereditary inequality.

It excludes patriarchy, based on domination over women and children, seeks a comprehensive view of all the possibilities for personal and collective emancipation and strives for the realization of these possibilities.

Throughout history, its participants have elaborated various frames of reference within which particular philosophical, ethical, political, artistic, cultural, organizational and social perspectives and choices may be developed. The movement cannot therefore be appreciated in terms of its success in incorporating its participants into the existing political or economic structure. It aims instead to create free and organic ways of living together without stifling dissenting voices and developing new possibilities.

This is how anarchism is perceived on the present website. But there are many other definitions and approaches.

A more concrete approach would be to undertake a study of the anarchist saga throughout history. But it is important to distinguish between people who have merely on occasion expressed certain anarchistic ideas and those who have devoted their lives to the struggle for human emancipation.

One must add, finally, that even a careful investigation of anarchist writings is no substitute for meeting people and groups who are consciously trying to live the ideals of anarchism.

Ronald Creagh