Anarchism is usually used by people who feel like they are really edgy calling for abolishing the government. However, anarchism is a rich and varied political philosophy, comprising many branches and schools of thought. These are some of the uncommon anarchist philosophies that will be shocking to most people. It is important to remember that anarchism does not mean lawless chaos. Instead, it is a philosophy of citizens taking control of their society and is associated with socialist revolutions and left leaning politics.
One of the newer anarchist philosophies is inclusive democracy. At first glance this does not seem like an anarchist philosophy since it has democracy in the name. However, inclusive democracy takes a lot of ideas from modern anarchist philosophers, falling under the group of libertarian socialism, similar to the type of society advocated by Noam Chomsky. Still, it does not fall directly under the normal conception of anarchy. Overall, the main proponents of inclusive democracy look to extend the ideas of democratic self-determination to all aspects of society and take down powerful government leaders.
Inclusive democracy extends to four main areas: political, economic, social, and ecological. In the political realm, inclusive democracy would center all elections on the local level, giving people the ability to vote directly for who they want to represent them on every level of society. Economically, inclusive democracy looks to take control of production from the ultra-rich and form collectives of the people, directly controlled by the people they elected. The self management spreads to the social sphere, where advocates of inclusive democracy want the people to totally control all the schools, arts, and production means in society. Lastly inclusive democracy includes the idea that people should try to live in harmony with nature, and that the people should abolish anything harmful to the natural world.
In this way, inclusive democracy takes ideas from collectivist ideologies and classic libertarianism. So far, inclusive democracy remains a niche political ideology, but it fits in nicely with modern anarchist thought. Political thinker Takis Fotopoulos is the main voice and founder of the movement and continues to present his ideas as the remedy for the political malaise in our world.
Thousands of years ago the human species moved from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to an agrarian lifestyle. This change allowed humans to settle down and for complex civilization to develop. Most people view this change as a good thing, but philosopher and current anarcho-primistivist leader John Zerzan believes that becoming agrarian was a terrible mistake. Zerzan is among the most stringent anarchists. Not only does he want to get rid of the government, he wants to get rid of everything in modern society and return to our hunter-gatherer roots.
Anarcho-primitivism started in the 1980s when a group of scholars got together to write a critique of technological civilization from an anarchist perspective. During their study, these scholars, known as the Fifth Circle, determined that all power relations develop as a result of modern civilization. In order for the people to truly live freely, civilization itself needs to die. These earlier anarcho-primitivists looked at other anarchist philosophies as reform policies. According to the Fifth Circle, other anarchist ideologies did not go far enough with their plans. All other philosophies just make changes within the context of modern society, but anarcho-primitivists want to completely remake the human race.
In practice, anarcho-primitivism is pretty straight forward. They do not advocate a centralized revolution, but personal changes, with people destroying their own means of production or technology and getting together to live off the land in interdependent communes. However, sometimes groups that espouse similar ideologies are violent. An example is Ted “the Unabomber” Kasczinski. During his trial John Zerzan confided with Kasczinski, finding that they had shockingly similar ideologies. Today Zerzan denies any real connection of kinship with the Unabomber.
One of the newer and more vague anarchist philosophies is post-left anarchy. This recent development in anarchist thought is a reaction to the authoritarian practices of other left-wing groups, including other anarchists, who tend to fall on the left of political issues with their militant socialism and collectivism. Post-left thinkers no longer believe that the mainstream left can enact real lasting social change and is indistinguishable from right-wing ideologies.
Post-left anarchism is less of a fully developed ideology but more a reaction to leftist ideals. Thinkers in this school of thought are well aware that many leftist ideas have failed in practice. They look at the world and see that the lofty goals and ideals of left-wing politicians are often subordinated to the pressures and necessities of the political landscape. In practice, left-wing governments are just as repressive and authoritarian than their right-wing counterparts. They also wish to distance themselves from Leninism and other authoritarian ideas masquerading as leftist policies.
Thus, post-left anarchists get beyond the anarchism of Marxism and move towards a future concept of anarchy that really encapsulates the ideas of leftism. Many anarchists are coalescing around the ideology, including the anarcho-primitivists mentioned above. While there is not yet a clear idea about what post-left anarchy actually believes, it is a generally a re-dedication to the ideas of freedom and social change that used to characterize the left. As the ideas develop, it is clear that post-left anarchism will offer a major force in developing anarchy in the 21st century.
Our world is divided into a variety of countries, states and cities, each of which has different government systems. While many organized governments in the world do not differ greatly, there is a huge variety of government ideologies that a person could want to see implemented. This list alone shows a few. But while a plethora of political ideologies abound, a citizen usually must live under their country’s government with the only way to change it being an all-or-nothing election or in some cases revolution. Panarchists want to change that.
Panarchists believe that a person should have the right to freely associate with whatever political entity they see fit. The key idea behind panarchism is the philosophy of volunteerism, which means that the only free society is one where people chose to join the political entity. In a panarchist society people are not subject to any government other than the one that they directly chose for themselves. They would also have the freedom to start their own government if necessary. This would transform the world from a series of countries to small autonomous political entities whose leaders only have jurisdiction over those citizens who picked them.
It is easy to see what this idea is so appealing. In most countries elections are winners take all. Once a president or prime minister gets elected, the people who voted for the defeated candidates are out of luck. They have to live with the leader that they did not pick. Under panarchism, these citizens could just make their own government and chose not to associate with the government that they did not choose. They differ in many ways from traditional anarchists who attempt to use anarchism to build collectives. Instead, they advocate split-up societies. Panarchist thinkers also tend to advocate laissez-faire economies, since they oppose centralized governments.
Veganism (the lifestyle of avoiding consumption of all animal products) is a philosophy that extends beyond just dietary restrictions and avoiding eating leather. It has a very important political component that is not as obvious to outsiders. Since vegans want to completely end animal suffering, their ideology addresses ideas about how to bring about the animal liberation. One of those main ideologies in veganarchism.
First popularized in the 1990s, veganarchism looks at ways to destroy the oppressive parts of society with the focus being animal liberation and ecology. Veganarchism starts with idea of sentientism, a philosophy that looks to respect animals’ sentience and point out the evil of human animal consumption. Veganarchists point out that the governments have led people to think about animals as lesser than humans. By abolishing the hierarchies that hold animals in subjugation (including government protection of animal industries), veganarchists want to free both humans and animals. They view any anarchist thinker who still participates in consuming animal products hypocritical, since they can not call themselves advocates for freedom while still subjugating other living beings for food or clothing.
A key part of this ideology is that reform measures are not enough. Vegans instead should focus on total abolition of animals, leaving the reforms for liberals and progressives. This has led to the call for vegans to conduct direction actions against the animal industry. In practice, that has led to groups like the Animal Liberation Front, which conducts attacks and vandalism against industry targets. While veganarchism is a political ideology most people do not think about, it is becoming more mainstream among animal rights activists.