Issues in anarchism

Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful[1][2] as well as opposing authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations.[3][4][5][6][7][8] Proponents of anarchism, known as anarchists, advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical[3][9][10] voluntary associations.[11][12] While anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful,[13] opposition to the state is not its central or sole definition.[14] Anarchism can entail opposing authority or hierarchy in the conduct of all human relations.[15][16][17][18]

Anarchism is often considered a far-left ideology[19] and much of its economics and legal philosophy reflect anti-authoritarian interpretations of communism, collectivism, syndicalism, mutualism, or participatory economics.[20] As anarchism does not offer a fixed body of doctrine from a single particular worldview,[21] many anarchist types and traditions exist, not all of which are mutually exclusive.[22] Anarchist schools of thought can differ fundamentally, supporting anything from extreme individualism to complete collectivism.[23] Strains of anarchism have often been divided into the categories of social and individualist anarchism or similar dual classifications.[24] Other classifications may add mutualism as a third category while some consider it part of individualist anarchism[25][26][27] and others regard it to be part of social anarchism.[28][29]

There are many philosophical differences among anarchists concerning questions of ideology, values and strategy. Ideas about how anarchist societies should work vary considerably, especially with respect to economics.[30] There are also disagreements about how such a society might be brought about, with some anarchists being committed to a strategy of nonviolence while others advocate armed struggle.[31][32][33][34][35]