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Social anarchism

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Social anarchism, socialist anarchism,[1] socialistic anarchism,[2] anarcho-socialism, anarchist socialism,[3] anarchistic socialism,[2] communitarian anarchism[4] anarcho-communitarianism,[5] collectivist anarchism,[6] collectivistic anarchism[7] or anarcho-collectivism (sometimes used interchangeably with libertarian socialism, socialist libertarianism, left-libertarianism,[8] left-wing libertarianism, left-anarchism,[9] or left-wing anarchism[9]), is an umbrella term used to differentiate two broad categories of anarchism, this one being the collectivist, with the other being individualist anarchism. Where individualist forms of anarchism emphasize personal autonomy and the rational nature of human beings, social anarchism sees "individual freedom as conceptually connected with social equality and emphasize community and mutual aid."[10] Social anarchism is used to specifically describe anarchist tendencies within anarchism that have an emphasis on the communitarian and cooperative aspects of anarchist theory and practice. Social anarchism includes (but is not limited to) some forms of libertarian socialism such as anarcho-collectivism, anarcho-communism, mutualism,[11] market anarchism,[12] anarcho-syndicalism and social ecology.

In the United States, the term "social anarchism" is used by the circle involved in publishing the Social Anarchism journal and has been promoted by the late Murray Bookchin. Bookchin identifies social anarchism with the "left," by which he refers to the "great tradition of human solidarity and a belief in the potentiality for humanness," internationalism and confederalism, the democratic spirit, anti-militarism, and rational secularism. However, religious anarchists and those on the Religious Left in general would object to identifying the left with "rational secularism" as there are and have been many powerful left-wing religious movements such as Liberation theology and the Civil rights movement. Social anarchism aims for "free association of people living together and cooperating in free communities."[13]


  1. Ostergaard, Geoffrey. "Anarchism". The Blackwell Dictionary of Modern Social Thought. Blackwell Publishing. p. 14.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Masaryk, T.G. (1919). The Spirit of Russia: Studies in History, Literature and Philosophy, p. 426, The Macmillan company.
  3. Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph (1893). What is Property?, p. 118
  4. Morris, Christopher W. 1998. An Essay on the Modern State. Cambridge University Press. p. 74
  5. J., (2003). "The Dialectic of Radical Ecologies," Capitalism Nature Socialism, 14, 75-87.
  6. Morris, Christopher W. 1998. An Essay on the Modern State. Cambridge University Press. p 50 (uses "collectivist" and "communitarian" synonymously)
  7. Brooks, F.H. (1994). The Individualist Anarchists: An Anthology of Liberty (1881-1908), Transaction Publishers.
  8. Bookchin, Murray (1995). Social Anarchism Or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm, AK Press.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Thagard, Paul. 2002. Coherence in Thought and Action. MIT Press. p. 153
  10. Suissa, Judith(2001) "Anarchism, Utopias and Philosophy of Education" Journal of Philosophy of Education 35 (4), 627–646. doi:10.1111/1467-9752.00249
  11. A Mutualist FAQ: A.4. Are Mutualists Socialists?
  12. cited by Peter Marshall, Demanding the Impossible, p. 390
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