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Anarchism (from Greek ἀν (without) + ἄρχειν (to rule) + ισμός (from stem -ιζειν), "without archons", "without rulers") is often defined as a political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, or harmful. Some anarchists have argued that while anti-statism is central, it is inadequate to define anarchism. While opposition to the state is central, anarchism specifically entails opposing authority or hierarchical organisation in the conduct of all human relations. Anarchism is usually considered a far-left ideology and much of anarchist economics and anarchist legal philosophy reflects anti-authoritarian interpretations of communism, collectivism, syndicalism, mutualism or participatory economics. In particular, it includes opposition to religion and capital, resulting in the famous anarchist proclamations "Property is theft!" and "No gods, no masters!" Proponents of anarchism, known as "anarchists", advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical free associations.

Anarchism does not offer a fixed body of doctrine from a single particular world view, instead fluxing and flowing as a philosophy. Many types and traditions of anarchism exist, not all of which are mutually exclusive. Anarchism as a mass social movement has regularly endured fluctuations in popularity. The central tendency of anarchism as a social movement has been represented by anarcho-communism and anarcho-syndicalism, with individualist anarchism being primarily a literary phenomenon (which nevertheless did have an impact on the bigger currents, including the participation of individualists in large anarchist organizations). Many anarchists oppose all forms of aggression, supporting self-defense or non-violence (anarcho-pacifism), while others have supported the use of some coercive measures, including violent revolution and propaganda of the deed, on the path to an anarchist society.


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Here, within the ring of hills, Bors had constructed an accurate and detailed reproduction of a society two centuries gone. The world as it had been in the old days. The time of governments. The time that had been pulled down by the Anarchist League.

Philip K. Dick, "The Last of the Masters"

"The Last of the Masters" (aka "Protection Agency") is a science fiction novelette by Philip K. Dick. The original manuscript of the story was received by the Scott Meredith Literary Agency on July 15, 1953,[1] and the story was published by the Hanro Corporation in the final issue of Orbit Science Fiction in 1954. It has since been reprinted in several Philip K. Dick story collections, beginning with The Golden Man in 1980.

"The Last of the Masters" depicts a society 200 years after a global anarchist revolution has toppled the national governments of the world (the exact year is unstated). Civilization has stagnated due to the loss of scientific knowledge and industry during the now-legendary revolt. Elsewhere, the last state, governing a highly centralized and efficient society, conceals itself from the Anarchist League, a global militia preventing the recreation of any government. When three agents of the League are sent to investigate rumors of the microstate's existence, the government arranges for them to be killed, leading to the death of one and the capture of another. Tensions rapidly escalate after the agents of the state realize that the third has escaped. Assuming he will report the state's existence, the government mobilizes for total war. In actuality, the surviving anarchist elects to attempt his comrades' rescue and assassinate the head of state: the last surviving "government robot".

The primary theme of the story is the conflict between anarchism and statism, the political and ethical dimensions of which are explored through the characters' dialogue. Though the attention the story received was limited prior to the author's death in 1982, it has since seen greater circulation in Philip K. Dick story collections, and has been reviewed and analyzed for its postmodern critique of technology and its political implications. (read more...)

References

  1. ^ Rickman 1989, p. 389

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Katie Sierra in the Land of the Free by Carlos Latuff
Credit: Carlos Latuff

Katie Sierra in the Land of the Free by political cartoonist Carlos Latuff. The Katie Sierra suspension controversy occurred in 2001 when anarcho-pacifist Sierra faced harassment for opposing the 2001 War in Afghanistan; anarcho-pacifists reject violence and militarism, and seek non-violent social revolution.

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Johann Most
Johann Most, The Social Monster, 1890

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