Definition of anarchism in English:



mass noun
  • 1Belief in the abolition of all government and the organization of society on a voluntary, cooperative basis without recourse to force or compulsion.

    • ‘To begin with he showed much of the elitism which often characterises anarchism - he despised his fellow prisoners because they were only interested in themselves and not in ‘the cause’.’
    • ‘Orwell was, in fact, a maverick on the Left and his ideas were a curious mixture of anarchism and Labour Party reformism.’
    • ‘To me, his main point is that the great clash of civilisations is over - socialism (in all its forms, whether sydicalism, anarchism, communism or national socialism or other) has been consigned to irrelevance.’
    • ‘I used to be very enthused about the aspects of anarchism and Marx's work that looked forward to a society in which everyone participated in both work and the process of government.’
    • ‘As a young office worker, then a proofreader, he was attracted to anarchism before becoming a syndicalist.’
    • ‘He fancied himself a poet and Bohemian, smoked and drank every night, held court on politics and literature, took home a lengthy succession of women, and dropped Day's anarchism, pacifism and religion, in that order.’
    • ‘Albert's reference point is the theories he sees as having been the main contenders in the battle for ideas in the 1960s and 1970s: Marxism, feminism, anarchism and nationalism.’
    • ‘Libertarian, or individualistic, anarchism is grounded in the laissez-faire theory of the capitalist economy.’
    • ‘Politically speaking, the groups that organized the street protests were heavily influenced by a combination of anarchism, anti-consumerism and hostility to technological development.’
    • ‘In formulating a rather mild-mannered anarchism, which promises no windows will be broken, the filmmakers, probably unwittingly, have tailored their work to the present conformist climate.’
    • ‘Gary, who has come to embrace anarchism, believes the terrorist act will spark a de-politicised working class to rise up against their oppression.’
    • ‘It is the story of an anarchist, Jon Wilde, who founds the Space and Freedom Movement at the time of humanity's expansion into space, promoting his vision of anarchism in artificial space habitats.’
    • ‘In the Romantic era one finds numerous anticipations of Marx and his sociopolitical critique, as well as early versions of socialism, communism, anarchism, and social democracy.’
    • ‘To be honest, I did flirt with anarchism for a while; I've seen both sides and Marxists are the ones who tend to be the nicest, the most civilized while still of course committed passionately to their views.’
    • ‘While El Socialista and other socialist periodicals were appealing to working-class Spaniards, anarchism, intent on capturing the same audience, was also taking root in Spain.’
    • ‘Eclectically drawing from elements of anarchism and Maoism, their group favoured ‘gut politics’ and were hostile to any far-reaching theoretical considerations.’
    • ‘Ronald Reagan made communism look a lot less like the wave of the future and a lot more like another misbegotten nineteenth-century ideology, such as syndicalism or anarchism, that was destined for the ash heap of history.’
    • ‘In Dostoyevsky's day, urban radicals influenced by Marx and emboldened by Bakunin went out into the countryside proclaiming the doctrines of socialism and syndicalist anarchism, to little effect.’
    • ‘As prelude to his main argument, he rejects both Marxism and anarchism as potential solutions to the world's problems.’
    • ‘I am really frustrated that I never got to argue with him about, for example, anarchism, which is something I always wanted to do.’
    1. 1.1 A political force or movement based on belief in anarchism.
      ‘socialism and anarchism emerged to offer organized protest against the injustices of Spanish society’
      • ‘At the same time, however, other regular contributors to ITT favor some form of third party politics or anarchism.’
      • ‘McKay's introduction is a useful example of the limitations of a liberal anarchism to a movement struggling to understand what capitalism is and how to oppose a social relationship.’
      • ‘Anarchism does actually offer people a way of creating a better society that doesn't give power to anyone - neither outside nor inside this world.’
      • ‘Though mistrust of the state and a desire for cheap and limited government is a commonplace in the British political tradition, formal anarchism has received little support.’
      • ‘The by-now venerable tradition of Italian anarchism - and the example of neo-fascist terrorism already grimly in evidence during the 1960s - supplied the model.’
      • ‘It seems that younger people who are attracted to Left politics today are drawn more to the politics of anarchism than to the politics of socialism.’
      • ‘Utopian movements in the 19th century found expression in a number of ways, most notably as cooperative societies and through anarchism and socialism.’
      • ‘It is not surprising therefore that, before 1919, anarchism was more popular than socialism among young radicals.’
      • ‘Chomsky uncritically defends the role of Spanish anarchism, whose leadership played a part in the suppression of the Spanish Revolution in the 1930s.’
      • ‘To one historian of the movement, American anarchism had a ‘double tradition.’’
      • ‘He says that it was the politics of socialism and anarchism learned from ‘the radical Jewish community in New York’ that drew him to linguistics.’
      • ‘Politically, they range from mainstream liberalism to anarchism.’
      • ‘I no longer think that socialism, or anarchism, will solve the world's problems.’
      • ‘In general, anarchism plays a big role in American radical politics and countercultures.’
      • ‘This allows defenders of sweated labour to imply this is a fight between capitalism and some non-alternative like anarchism or communism.’
      • ‘Obviously trying to recruit from the anti-globalisation movement, they yet again try to rubbish anarchism.’


Mid 17th century: from Greek anarkhos ‘without a chief’ (see anarchy) + -ism; later influenced by French anarchisme.