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Present and Historical Anarchist Movements

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See also List of anarchist communities

Historical and Present Anarchist Movements and Societies.

Since the beginnings of anarchism there have been countless attempts to manifold anarchist theory into social structures. The few major anarchist-style societies that have arisen in the late centuries, have been fairly short lived. However the increasing popularity of anarchist philosophy and the global trend towards left-leaning thought has produced a wide variety of anarchist experiments, although the importance and impact of these are negligible. As more and more people in various communities decide to organize their world under principles of self-management and mutual aid, cooperation and direct democracy, Anarchism has the potential for a reemergence as a popular political philosophy.

Examples of projects and other movements with anarchist qualities[edit]

Icelandic Commonwealth (930-1262)[edit]

Main article: Icelandic Commonwealth

Anarcho-capitalists cite this as an example of society where police and justice were guaranteed through a free market. They also cite the law merchant, international trade law, some traditional justice systems (as in Somalia) and other historical examples of order happening outside of government (and sometimes against government). Most anarchists reject the claim that there is anarchism in Somalia, given that there exist proclaimed states who are governed by local war-lords. Further many anarchists contend that anarcho-capitalist communities are not truly anarchistic in nature, and that the "anarcho-" part of the name is a misnomer.

Holy Experiment (Quaker) Pennsylvania (1681-1690)[edit]

When William Penn left his Quaker colony in Pennsylvania, the people stopped paying quitrent, and any semblance of formal government evaporated. The Quakers treated Indians with respect, bought land from them voluntarily, and had even representation of Indians and Whites on juries. According to Voltaire, the Shackamaxon treaty was "the only treaty between Indians and Christians that was never sworn to and that was never broken." The Quakers refused to provide any assistance to New England's Indian wars. Penn's attempt to impose government by appointing John Blackwell, a non-Quaker military man, as governor failed miserably. [1]


The "/b/," or random, board on many Chan Imageboards exhibits anarchist qualities. While they have formal leadership (moderators), they rarely exert any of their authority over users, other than, for example, shutting down a thread that contains child pornography, which could get the board shut down by the government or ISP. Most users choose to post anonymously, making it nearly impossible for one user to gain a higher position than another, even socially. The lack of an overall focus for the board makes it entirely unstructured.

Squatter Movements[edit]

Many of the squatter movements around the world and throughout history have been founded on anarchist principles with the simple goals of land and freedom.

Free Software Movement[edit]

The Free Software movement is an example of an emergent movement with anarchist characteristics. The nature of the GPL and many other Open Source licenses is such that there is a collective sharing of resources (in this case, source code) between all developers, thus some anarchists see this as putting into practice their perspective on private property and economic organization.

Galt's Gulch (Frontierist) Movements[edit]

Some people seek to avoid existing States by setting up societies that are hidden or far enough away from power centers to be relatively safe from statist attack. (Cf: March region.) The term "Galt's Gulch" comes from Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged." Traditional anarchists are more likely to call this "frontierism" due to their rejection of capitalism. One of the more well-known attempts was Laissez Faire City, which attempted to buy 100 square miles from a third-world country along the Hong Kong model.

Counter Economic Movements[edit]

Counter Economics is a theory advocated and practised by Agorists that proposes to bring about an Anarchist society through the use of black and grey markets. Movements, predominately agorism, state that counter economics can be used to wither away the power of the state by depriving of it of the tax money it needs to survive. In this way counter economic movements seek to establish a new society within the shell of the old.

Data Havens, Cyberspace, and Permanent Travelers[edit]

With the advent of computers, the internet, and strong cryptography, a demand for servers and data storage not subject to statist regulation and expropriation developed. One such data haven, Sealand, is an entity in the English Channel. The official site and the Wikipedia article both clearly claim that Sealand is a monarchy, but it is sovereign from outside statism.

These technologies also made anonymous digital currency practical. With redundant servers in many non-public locations, digital money provides protection from taking and regulation, statist or otherwise. In "The Sovereign Individual, Davidson and Rees-Mogg argue that technology now favors freedom, allowing people to ignore the State. They predict an evolution to smaller States competing for customers (tax-payers) by offering various services and citizenship programs. As States get more competitive in pricing and the cost of switching to a new "product" declines, there will be de-facto anarchy, i.e. the States will essentially evolve into anarchist PDAs (Private Defense Agencies.)

Some anarchists live as PTs (permanent travelers, perpetual tourists, prior taxpayers) by residing in one State, holding wealth in a second State, and if necessary holding a passport from a third, with none of these three being the State attempting to tax them. This is also called the Four Flag strategy. States with liberal residency or tourist requirements, like Costa Rica or the island of Roatan, are popular expat havens. (See for an example of a PT information site.)