Basics of Anarchism

Women chase the Boss from their Workplace, Barcelona 1936 - Illustration by Clifford Harper.

What is anarchism? Who are anarchists and what do they do? Who are some notable anarchists? Isn’t anarchy about violence? Is anarchism a viable alternative to the current political system? Are anarchists really against the government?

If you have any of these questions about anarchism and anarchists, or are interested in learning more about these topics, this page provides a quick overview of the subject. has hundreds of pages, news stories and features that explain the basics of anarchism and much more. There are hundreds of websites and blogs about anarchism, as well as hundreds of books about the subject.

Beginner Guides

One good online source for beginners is An Anarchist FAQ which is very comprehensive. The scope of the FAQ is very wide-ranging, so beginners might want to pay attention to the first half dozen sections.

Core Concepts

Anti-authoritarian, class war, collective, consensus decision-making, cooperation, direct action, direct democracy, freedom, freedom of association, general strike, mutual aid, propaganda of the deed, revolution, solidarity, voluntary association, wage slavery, working class

Notable Anarchist Thinkers

Basic Books

About Anarchism by Nicolas Walter
Anarchism by Sean Sheehan
Anarchism: A Documentary History Of Libertarian Ideas—Volume One: From Anarchy To Anarchism (300CE to 1939) edited by Robert Graham
Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction by Colin Ward
Anarchism (Broadview Encore Editions) by George Woodcock
Anarchist Portraits by Paul Avrich
Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice
Bakunin: The Creative Passion
Days of War, Nights of Love by CrimethInc
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Anarchism, But Were Afraid To Ask… by Simon Read
Expect Resistance by CrimethInc
Getting Free by James Herod
No Gods No Masters edited by Daniel Guerin

Magazines and Journals

Anarchy – A general interest anarchist magazine that covers theory, dissent and culture. Widely know for its stance against ideology and the home of post-left anarchism.
Anarcho Syndicalist Review – A long-running magazine on work struggles, organizing, syndicalism, and the IWW.
Fifth Estate Magazine – One of the oldest anarchist magazines published in the U.S. An eclectic magazine that covers anarchism, dissent, social struggles, radical culture and contemporary issues.
Green Anarchy – A feisty magazine about anti-civilization, environmental activism, and militant struggles around he world.

Websites – A good source for material on anarcho-feminism and more.
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