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Expecto Patronum: Lessons from Harry Potter for Social Justice Organizing

by Chris Crass

Have you daydreamed about being a member of an intergenerational social justice organization like the Order of Phoenix? Do you want Dumbledore to be your mentor?

Have dementors ever burned you out to the point where you doubted your ability to take on the Voldemorts of our world? Do you find yourself analyzing Dumbledore's Army for lessons on developing liberatory vision, culture, leadership, and organization?

Me too. Let's develop our magic, build our liberation movement, and defeat the Voldemorts in our world. I'll meet you in the Room of Requirement, and until then, here are my top lessons from Harry Potter for social justice organizing.

1. The Voldemort Principle of Systems of Oppression and Getting Free

Voldemort and the Death Eaters suck and they want to impose pure-blood supremacy in the magical world as a means to consolidate their power. Their strategy follows a familiar logic. Organize society into classes according to socially perceived biological differences. Criminalize those on the margins, those born of muggle parents, like Hermione. Position themselves as the defenders of Tradition and the Natural Order. Divide society according to socially perceived biological differences and political loyalty. Use fear and hate to weaken the bonds of solidarity throughout society, while simultaneously uniting the right. Fight the Left, take power, and remake the world in their own image. Dismal? But there's more, and here's where the insight lies. [Read More]

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Against Patriarchy: Tools for Men to Further Feminist Revolution

For all of us who are men who believe in social justice, who want healthy and beautiful lives for our loved ones, and who are working for positive change in the world, let us commit or re-commit to making feminism central in our lives, values, and actions. Black feminist scholar bell hooks writes, “When women and men understand that working to eradicate patriarchal domination is a struggle rooted in the longing to make a world where everyone can live fully and freely, then we know our work to be a gesture of love.” [ Read more ]

In Defense of Leaderless Revolutions

Cihan Tugal (“The End of the “Leaderless” Revolution” July 10, 2013) effectively picks apart the populist and premature claims of a successful revolution in Egypt. Yet he goes further to use the evident flaws in the leaderless revolutions that have been a hallmark of the early 21st century to discredit the very concept of leaderless revolution. In doing so, he opens the way for an amnesiac backslide to the much more flawed authoritarian revolutions of the 20th century, in the process committing some of the same errors that must be criticized in the ongoing revolts. [ Read More ]

Fukushima Crisis News

The Fukushima nuclear crisis continues over a year after the initial disaster. The reactors are still at risk from more damage from earthquakes and tsunamis. Some experts think that further damage to the damaged reactors could lead to widespread radioactive contamination of Japan and the rest of the world. [ Read More ]

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Planetary climate change and global warming are being caused by humans at rates that have become increasingly alarming. Even climate change skeptics are becoming convinced of the realities of climate change. From the rapid melting of glaciers to extreme droughts around the world, climate change has become all pervasive. [ Read More ]

Mao: The Curse of the Mummy

“Mao 30 Years After His Death, in China and in France” is an essay topic that teachers of 12th grade history classes will opportunely propose to their students next month. The recent publication of Mao une histoire méconnue by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, and this week’s broadcast on Arte of the recent documentary by Philipp Short, informed by official Chinese sources, will facilitate such directed scholarly study. Read more

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  • Anarchism

    Anarchism is a generic term describing various political philosophies and social movements that advocate the elimination of imposed social hierarchy, including the state and Capitalism. These philosophies use 'anarchy' to mean a society based on voluntary cooperation of free individuals. Philosophical anarchist thought does not advocate chaos or anomie — it intends "anarchy" to refer to a manner of human relations that is intentionally established and maintained. As Benjamin Tucker put it, anarchism is the philosophy that "all the affairs of men should be managed by individuals or voluntary associations, and that the state and should be abolished".


    One common use of the English word anarchy is "a state of lawlessness or political disorder", otherwise known as anomie. This use of the word implies a broad definition: usually, any situation where there is no internationally recognized government is considered anarchy. The current political situation in Somalia, for example, is ''referred to'' as a state of anarchy using this definition, since it is in a state of "chaos" [].

    However, in anarchist philosophies, ''anarchy'' means an "anarchist society", that is, a society where individuals are free from coercion. Few anarchists would point to Somalia as an anarchist ideal, or even as an example of "anarchy" in the first place. They would argue that the warlord system that is dominant in Somalia is ultimately another face of despotism, characterized by brutal use of force by self-appointed rulers. Anarchists do not believe, as Jean-Francois Revel wrote in ''Democracy against Itself'', that "... anarchy leads to despotism ... despotism leads to anarchy ..." [] -- that may or may not be true of "anarchy" in the sense of disorder, but anarchists do not believe that it is true of "anarchy" in the sense of anarchism.

    Anarchist theories have a fundamental critique of government, a vision of a society without government, and a proposed method of reaching such a society. The details of the politics|political, economics|economic, and society|social organization of an anarchist society vary among different branches of anarchist political thought, as do the proposed means to achieve a society organized along those lines, but all anarchists oppose capitalism and the state.

    Historically, the word "anarchist" has been applied to political opponents as a insult|derogatory term with the meaning of "advocating chaos". For instance, the Levellers of the English Civil War and the Enragés of the French Revolution were referred to as ''anarchists'' by their opponents. These left-wing politics|leftist parties advocated social equality and universal suffrage. Still today, social movements may be dismissed as "anarchist" without further comment, and the term still inspires in many an image of a black clad "mad bomber", terrorist, or other troublemaker. Although such anarchists do exist, anarchists also include a number of intellectual and philosophical anarchists, including many who abhor the use of violence.

    Schools of anarchist thought

    From William Godwin's utilitarian anarchism to Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's mutualism, to Max Stirner's egoism, to Benjamin Tucker's radical individualism, to Peter Kropotkin's libertarian socialism|anarchist communism, to Errico Malatesta's voluntarism, the roots of anarchist thought in modern political philosophy are varied, with many different views of what a society without government should be like. Primitivism, advocating the dissolution of civilization, is reminiscent of, if not inspired by, the early 19th century Luddite movement. Some would argue that ecoterrorism is a form of anarchism. There are also a number of feminist anarchist theories, including anarcha-feminism, eco-feminism, and individualist feminism.

    That said, grouping these together in one category is a difficult endeavor at best. For instance, there are very few similarities in belief between an anarcho-syndicalist and an anarcho-primitivist. Indeed, the two groups are probably more radically different from each other than either one is from mainstream political thought.


    See Main Article: Anarcho-Syndicalism

    Anarcho-syndicalism is the anarchist wing of the labor union movement. Its primary aim is the end of the wage system. It functions on principles of workers solidarity, direct action, and self-management.

    Workers' solidarity means that anarcho-syndicalists believe all workers, no matter what their race, gender, or ethnic group are in a similar situation vis-a-vis their bosses. Furthermore, it means that, within capitalism, any gains or losses made by some workers in their relation to bosses will eventually impact all workers. Therefore, it says that in order to gain liberation, all workers must support one another in their struggle against bosses.

    Anarcho-syndicalists only believe in direct action -- that is, action directly designed to confront a problem. Direct action can range from traditional strikes to active sabotage.

    Furthermore, anarcho-syndicalists believe that workers' organizations -- the organizations which struggle against the wage system and which, in anarcho-syndicalist theory, will eventually form the basis of a new society--should be self-managing. They should not have bosses or "business agents"; rather, the workers should be able to make decisions which effect them amongst themselves.

    The International Workers Association is an international anarchosyndicalist federation of various labor unions from different countries. The Industrial Workers of the World, a once-powerful, still active, and again growing labor union, is considered a leading organ of the anarcho-syndicalist philosophy in the United States. The Spanish Confederación Nacional del Trabajo played a major role in the Spanish civil war. Other major anarcho-syndicalist organizations include the Workers Solidarity Alliance, and the Solidarity Federation in Britain.

    Ecological anarchism

    See Main Article: Ecological anarchism

    There is a significant anarchist element to the environmental movement, including those that are known as eco-anarchism|eco-anarchists and green-anarchists. These two, though similar, are not quite the same because the political label 'Green' has implications beyond ecology (see Green Party). Green anarchists accept some restrictions on individual freedom as a means of preserving natural capital (for example, farmland and water) and often promote limited forms of social ecology. Eco-anarchists, by contrast, advocate a sort of fusion with nature (''see also'': eco-village and primitivism). Green anarchism, in North America at least, is also linked with anarcho-primitivism. Eco-feminism is also sometimes considered a form of anarchism.

    Social anarchism

    Main Article: Social anarchism

    Social anarchism is a term self-applied by some anarchists of the libertarian socialist thread of anarchism including (but not limited to) anarcho-communist, anarcho-syndicalist, and social ecology to the distinguish themselves from what they see as a personalistic ideology of social accommodation that presents no threat to the existing powers, what they refer to as lifestyle anarchism. 'Social anarchist' is used in contrast to the often derogatory 'lifestylist', a classification usually denied and rejected by those labeled as 'lifestylists'.

    Social ecology

    Main Article: social ecology

    Social ecology is, in the words of its leading exponents, "a coherent radical critique of current social, political, and anti-ecological trends" as well as "a reconstructive, ecological, communitarian, and ethical approach to society". Social Ecology is a radical view of ecology and of social/political systems.

    The movement and theory is associated with the ideas and works of Murray Bookchin, who has been writing on ecological matters since the 1950s and, from the 1960s, has combined these issues with revolutionary social anarchism. His works include Post-Scarcity Anarchism, Toward an Ecological Society, The Ecology of Freedom and a host of others.

    Technological anarchism

    Some anarchists see information technology as the way to replace hierarchy, defeat monopoly, and prevent war, and support culture jamming in particular as a way to do so. Some writers -- particularly Iain M. Banks, who has written quite extensively in the science fiction genre about The Culture, an futuristic society which has disposed of government -- have theorised that anarchism would be inevitable with the technological advances that would make space travel| travelling and living in space plausible [].

    It has also been argued that the free software movement is an example of anarchist organization, this being an example not of hierarchical business, but of voluntary association for the production of a good.

    The term "cryptoanarchism" (sometimes used interchangeably with "cypherpunk", which however has a narrower scope and may be considered a reference to the "cypherpunks" mailing list) indicates an opinion, based on anarchist leanings, that thwarting powers of surveillance, censorship and other coercive/manipulative practises applicable to information, by guaranteeing privacy and by making strong anonymity easy to attain (while also offering ways to authenticate and convey reputation without compromising the above), are essential to overcoming state and oppression.

    To this end, cryptoanarchists propose direct solutions based on cryptography (as opposed to indirect solutions based on regulation). A number of crypto-anarchists have been involved in the creation of anonymity networks, some have also taken interest in digital cryptographic currency.


    See Main Article: Anarcha-feminism

    Some feminist anarchists - specifically of the left-anarchist kind - talk specifically of anarchofeminism (or anarch'''a'''feminism). They characterise government and the state as male dominated and biased institutions, and many advocate anarchistic forms of matriarchy. A variant, known as "tribal feminism", combines feminism with the eco-village.

    Other flavors

    • Anarchism without adjectives
    • Social anarchism
    • Libertarian municipalism
    • No label anarchists
    • Anti-authoritarians
    • Nihilist Anarchy
    • Situationist
    • Syndicalism

    Conceptions of an anarchist society

    Many political philosophers justify support of the state as a means of regulating violence, so that the destruction caused by human conflict is minimized and fair relationships are established. Anarchists argue that pursuit of these ends do not justify the establishment of a state, and in fact many argue that the state is incompatible with those goals. Much effort has been dedicated to explaining how anarchist societies would promote these values. While anarchists recognize that the use of violence is ultimately an individual decision, some have proposed mechanisms by which an anarchist society could influence that decision.

    Anarchists who have renounced violence in all forms have the simplest answer. Since the state relies on violence to enforce all of its laws, even those that promote its own survival such as taxation, if a large proportion of a society ceases to provide moral or material support to any use of violence, then the state would inevitably collapse, resulting in anarchy. Since this view of anarchy presupposes the renunciation of violence by the bulk of a society, the problem of discouraging the use of violence is not an issue. From this perspective, the main challenge facing anarchists is not to devise institutions, but to convince individuals to renounce the use of violence.

    However, other anarchists believe that violence is an unfortunate but inevitable part of human existence. These anarchists emphasize that violence is only justified in self-defense, though the definition of self-defense can vary widely. Various institutions have been proposed to ensure that aggressive violence is met with an overwhelming response. These institutions seek to encourage the community to intervene on behalf of the wronged person, or at least not intervene on behalf of the aggressor. For civil disputes, jury|juries or mediation|mediators may be called upon to rule on the dispute. Refusal to submit to the decision of the jury or mediator would reflect poorly on that individual.

    Larger conflicts would be addressed with larger organizations. Confederation is a popular model for such organization. Any such organization would have a “bottom up” structure, recognizing the right of individuals and small groups to leave the larger group at any time. In such a situation, it is unlikely that everyone in a country would decide to participate in the same organization. Anarchists hope that this would result in the co-existence of multiple associations with individuals changing their associations as the saw fit. Robert Paul Wolff represents those who argue for a unanimous consent democracy.

    Anarchist social organization

    By rejecting existing political structures, anarchists also reject many of the practices that have been designed with the intent of promoting social cohesion. How anarchists propose that an anarchist society would replace these practises varies widely. Some anarchists believe that the society only needs to be concerned with the use of violence. Others believe that more extensive rules of conduct are necessary, but that these should be enforced by passive punishments, such as economic or social exclusion. Still others take a deontology|deontological stance on the issue, arguing that the practical tasks of promoting social cohesion are beside the point, and that anarchism is a moral imperative that should be pursued regardless of consequence.

    Anarchist economic organization

    The modern state is deeply involved in the economic activities of its society, ranging from the protection of [private] property, to the regulation of markets, and even the provision of goods. While Individualist Anarchists view anarchy largely as an opportunity for existing economic institutions to operate without interference by the state, others view anarchism as necessitating a radical restructuring of existing economic systems. For example, Bob Black proposed that anarchy would allow for "the abolition of work"[].

    Social anarchists advocate the use of collectives and co-operatives for organizing small-scale production. These units would be co-ordinated by voluntary associations that could range from market arrangements to tightly co-ordinated confederacies. An example of a large-scale communist system is "The Industrial Commonwealth" proposed by the Industrial Workers of the World. Workers, through their unions organized by type of product, would democratically govern productive output. The model assumes that benefits arise by organizing workers based on the type of good produced (health, agricultural goods, communication, domestic labour). Means and tools of production would be held in common, through the possession of relevant unions. The Industrial Commonwealth was initially focused on the six sectors of Agriculture, Transport, Construction, Manufacturing, Government Services and Non-Government Services: a model which omitted to recognise particular industries like domestic labour or sex-work. The contemporary model of the Industrial Commonwealth more explicitly recognises this work.

    In terms of its model of social change, the new "Industrial Commonwealth" economy was to grow within the belly of the old capitalist one. As unions became more powerful, and more workers worked in worker controlled industries, society would be gradually transformed by a constant struggle.

    While the day to day methods of accounting and resource allocation for the Industrial Commonwealth have never been proposed, the IWW's suggestion that workers learn how to run their factories indicates that much of the contemporary economy's management and allocation strategies at the firm level would largely be taken over.

    Anarchism and Marxism

    The International Workingmen's Association, at its founding, was an alliance of socialist groups, including both anarchists and Marxists. Both sides had a common aim (stateless communism) and common political opponents (conservatives and other right-wing elements). But each was critical of the other, and the inherent conflict between the two groups soon embodied itself in an ongoing argument between Mikhail Bakunin, representative of anarchist ideas, and Karl Marx himself. In 1872, the conflict in the First International climaxed with the expulsion of Bakunin and those who had become known as the "Bakuninists" when they were outvoted by the Marx Party at the Hague congress.

    Arguments surrounding the issue of the state

    Marxism has a very precise definition of the state: that the state is an organ of one social class|class's repression of all other classes. To Marxists any state is necessarily a dictatorship by one class over all others. Within this definition the idea of a "dictatorship of the proletariat" can mean anything from the monopoly of force by armed working people's councils, through to a monopoly of force by a party composed of intellectuals claiming to be the leadership of the working people. Within Marxist theory, should the differentiation between classes disappear, so too will the state disappear.

    Anarchism has a broader series of definitions of the state, varying from the bourgeois state formation of army, bureaucracy and representative parliament through to an idea of the state as a monopoly of violence. Left wing anarchists disagree amongst themselves if democratic workers councils with a monopoly of violence constitutes a state or not.

    While anarchists and Marxists both agree on the desirability of a stateless Communism, they have deep arguments about phases of a revolution between now and that ideal. Many anarchists wish to "smash" the state, replacing it with workers' councils, syndicates and/or other methods of organisation that are not a governmental body as such. Other anarchists argue for political change that makes the state irrelevant, arguing that the state can only be eliminated when people "kill the policeman in their heads." Marxists argue that the bourgeois state will eventually wither away, but they wish to replace it with a new kind of state run by the workers. This Marxist desire is often referred to as "seizing state power." These arguments are often seen as critical, because they involved the autonomy of workers councils, the existence of secret police, and the transparency of justice. As the argument between these conceptions often hides an argument about whose ideas lead the revolution, Anarchists and Marxists have on a number of occasions tried to eliminate each other during revolutions.

    The issue of the state, and the idea of seizing the state for a party, brings up the issue of political party|political parties, which also often divides Anarchists and Marxists. In general, anarchists refuse to participate in governments, and so do not form political parties. Marxists, on the other hand, see political parties as tools for seizing power, which they believe is necessary to effect any meaningful political change.

    Arguments concerning the method of historical materialism

    Marxism uses a strong and persuasive form of dialectical analysis of human societies called historical materialism. At the crux of historical materialist analysis is the idea that people find themselves in a predetermined material world, and act to produce changes upon that world within the limits of what changes they can conceive of. An example of historical materialism would be that a feudal peasant would find themself with a lord above them, and imagine religious, instead of political, solutions to the problem of their unfree status. Underlying these processes is an idea that contradictions and opposed social groups will naturally form and drive social progress.

    However, Marxism also contains another method of analysis called dialectical materialism. This method claims that all physical and non-physical elements of the world have contradictary properties within them, driving things forward through change. Dialectical materialism claims that all natural phenomena, not simply human society, are governed by dialectics. This analysis is more tenuously established than historical materialism, and is often associated with Frederick Engels and Stalinism.

    Anarchists use a wide variety of tools of social analysis. However, most anarchists recognise the value of historical materialism as a tool for social analysis. Some anarchist organisations like the Irish Workers Solidarity Movement make agreeing with the historical materialist method's value a central point of unity. Anarchists use historical materialism for the same reason that Marxists do: it gives them a materially supportable insight into how society currently works.

    Anarchists were one of the first groups to criticise the dialectical materialist trend, on the basis that it dehumanises social and political analysis, and is not sustainable as a universal methodology. Anarchists have, however, pointed out when dialectics seem to govern the behaviour of natural phenomena, as Peter Kropotkin does in Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution regarding the structure of bee hives and rabbit populations.

    Points of political commonality

    Marxism and anarchism are not always incompatible. At the beginning of the 20th century many Marxists and Anarchists were united within syndicalist movements for militant revolutionary trade unions (see: De Leonism, IWW). More over, a large number of political groups attempt a synthesis of Marxist and Anarchist traditions with the aim of a liberated workers society.

    Anarchism and the arts

    See Main Article: Anarchism and the arts

    Like socialism, communism and even fascism, Anarchism has a plethora of imagery and symbolism which have become associated with a variety of groups and movements, and co-opted (or situationist| "recuperated") by capitalism|capitalist industry. The influence of anarchism is not always directly a matter of specific imagery or public figures, but may be seen in a certain stance towards the liberation of the total human being and the imagination.

    Anarchism had a large influence on French Symbolism of the late 19th century, such as that of Mallarme, who was quoting as saying "''La vraie bombe c'est le livre''" (the true bomb is the book) and infiltrated the cafes and cabarets of turn of the century Paris (see the Drunken Boat #2).

    More significantly, anarchists claim that 'strains' may be found in the works of the Dada group, whose anti-bourgeois art antics saw them wreaking havoc in war neutral Switzerland during World War I. However on closer analysis the Dadaists were much closer to the Council communism|Council Communists, having much of their material published in Die Aktion.

    Many American artists of the early 20th century were influenced by anarchist ideas, if they weren't anarchists themselves. The Ashcan School of American realism included anarchist artists, as well as artists such as Rockwell Kent and George Bellows that were influenced by anarchist ideas. Abstract expressionism also included anarchist artists such as Mark Rothko and painters such as Jackson Pollock, who had adopted radical ideas during his experience as a muralist for the Works Progress Administration. Pollock's father had also been a Wobbly.

    In the late 20th century, anarchism and the arts could primarily be associated with the collage works by James Koehnline, Freddie Baer, Johan Humyn Being, and others, whose work was being published in anarchist magazines, including Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed and Fifth Estate. Freddie Baer is noteworthy for her work as a book designer for AK Press and for her contributions to the feminist science fiction milieu. Baer has contributed art to the annual WisCon conference, a convention featuring feminist science fiction which awards the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. Freddie Baer has been nominated several times for the Hugo Award for her work as a fan artist.

    In the 1990s, anarchists were involved in the mail art movement, which can be described as "art which uses the postal service in some way." This is related to the involvement of many anarchists in the zine movement. And many contemporary anarchists are involved in making art in the form of flyposters, stencils, and radical puppets.

    =Anarchism and Language

    Anarchists have made some notable contributions to the field of linguistics and concepts related to language. The most notable example is the breakthrough work of Noam Chomsky. John Zerzan has also written on the topic of language and communication. Additionally, anarchists have played significant roles in the development of Esperanto.


    As anarchism has traditionally emphasized the liberation of the imagination and subjectivity from the constraints of the present social order, many anarchists are attracted to the work of the surrealists, even though few surrealists advocate anarchism. The most popular surrealist, Salvador Dali, was openly in support of fascism, the idelogical enemy of anarchism.

    Surrealism is both an artistic and political movement aimed at the liberation of the human being from the constraints of capitalism, the state, and the cultural forces that limit the reign of the imagination. The movement developed in France in the wake of WWI with Andre Breton as its main theorist and poet. Originally it was tied closely to the Communist Party. Later Breton, a close friend of Leon Trotsky broke with the Communist Party.


    A number of performers and artists have either been inspired by anarchist concepts, or have used the medium of music and sound in order to promote anarchist ideas and politics.

    Punk rock is one movement that has taken much inspiration from the often potent imagery and symbolism associated with anarchism and situationist rhetoric, if not always the political theory. In the past few decades, anarchism has been closely associated with the punk rock movement, and has grown because of that association (whatever other effects that has had on the movement and the prejudiced pictures of it). Indeed, many anarchists were introduced to the ideas of Anarchism through that symbolism and the anti-authoritarian sentiment which many punk songs expressed.

    Anarcho-punk, on the other hand, is a current that has been more explicitly engaged with anarchist politics, particularly in the case of bands such as Crass, Poison Girls, Chumbawamba, The Ex, Flux of Pink Indians, Riot/Clone, etc. Many other bands, especially at the local level of unsigned groups, have taken on what is known as a "punk" or "DIY" ethic: that is, Doing It Yourself, indeed a popular Anarcho-punk slogan reads "DIY not EMI", a reference to a conscious rejection of the major record company. Some groups who began as 'anarcho-punk' have attempted to move their ideas into a more mainstream musical arena, for instance, Chumbawamba, who continue to support and promote anarchist politics despite now playing more dance music and pop influenced styles.

    Major conflicts within anarchist thought

    Violence and non-violence

    Anarchists have often been portrayed as dangerous and violent, due mainly to a number of high-profile violent acts including riots, assassinations, and insurrections involving anarchists. Since the 1970s, the punk image of irresponsible youths has also been associated with anarchist symbolism, so furthering the association with violence.

    The use of terrorism and assassination, however, is condemned by most anarchist ideology, though there remains no consensus on the legitimacy or utility of violence.

    Some anarchists share Leo Tolstoy's Christian anarchist belief in non-violence. These anarcho-pacifism|anarcho-pacifists advocate non-violent resistance as the only method of achieving a truly anarchist revolution. They often see violence as the basis of government and coercion and argue that, as such, violence is illegitimate, no matter who is the target. Some of Proudhon's France|French followers even saw strike action as coercive and refused to take part in such traditional socialist tactics.

    Other Non-Violent anarchists advocate Marshall Rosenberg's non-violent communication that relates to peoples fundamental needs and feelings using strategies of requests, observations and empathy yet providing for the use of protective force while rejecting pacifism as a compromising strategy of the left that just perpetuates violence.

    Other anarchists, such as Mikhail Bakunin and Errico Malatesta saw violence as a necessary and sometimes desirable force. Malatesta took the view that it is "necessary to destroy with violence, since one cannot do otherwise, the violence which denies [the means of life and for development] to the workers" (''Umanità Nova'', number 125, September 6, 1921[]).

    Between 1894 and 1901, individual anarchists assassinated numerous heads of state, including:

    • French President Marie Fran�ois Sadi Carnot|Sadi Carnot (1894);
    • Empress Elisabeth of Austria (1898);
    • King Umberto I of Italy (1900); and
    • United States President William McKinley (1901).

    Such "propaganda of the deed" was not a popular tactic among anarchists, and many in the movement did condemn the tactic. For example, McKinley's assassin, Leon Czolgosz, claimed to be a disciple of Emma Goldman, but she disavowed any association with Czolgosz.

    Goldman included in her definition of anarchism the observation that all governments rest on violence, and this is one of the many reasons they should be opposed. Goldman herself didn't oppose tactics like assassination until she went to Russia, where she witnessed the violence of the Russian state and the Red Army. From then on she condemned the use of terrorism, especially by the state, and advocated violence only as a means of self-defense.

    Depictions in the press and popular fiction (for example, a malevolent bomb-throwing anarchist in Joseph Conrad's ''The Secret Agent'') helped create a lasting public impression that anarchists are violent terrorists. This perception was enhanced by events such as the Haymarket Riot, where anarchists were blamed for throwing a bomb at police who came to break up a public meeting in Chicago.

    More recently, anarchists have been involved in protests against World Trade Organization (WTO) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings across the globe, which have often turned violent (being described by some as "riots"). Traditionally, Mayday in London has been a day of marching, but in recent years the Metropolitan Police have warned that a "hardcore of anarchists" are intent on causing violence. Anarchists often respond that it is the police who initiate violence at these demonstrations, with the anarchist intent being only to defend themselves. The anarchists involved in such protests often formed ''black blocs'' at these protests and some engaged in property destruction, vandalism, or in violent conflicts with police, though others stuck to non-violent principles.


    Pacifism, referring to opposition to the practice of war, is considered by most anarchists to be inherent in their philosophy. Some anarchists take it further and follow Leo Tolstoy's belief in non-violence (note, however, that these anarcho-pacifism|anarcho-pacifists are not necessarily Christian anarchism|Christian anarchists as Tolstoy was), advocating non-violent resistance as the only method of achieving a truly anarchist revolution.

    Wars are often portrayed in anarchist literature as an activity of the state in which the state seeks to gain and consolidate power, both domestically and in foreign lands. Many anarchists subscribe to the view expressed by Randolph Bourne that "war is the health of the state"[]. Anarchists believe that if they were to support a war they would, by default, be strengthening the state — indeed, Peter Kropotkin was alienated from other anarchists when he expressed support for the British side in World War I.

    Just as they are very critical and distrustful of most government endeavours, anarchists often view the stated reasons for war with a cynical eye. Since the Vietnam War protests in North America and, most recently, the protests against the war in Iraq, much anarchist activity has been anti-war based.

    Sexual relations

    For most anarchists, marriage and Human sexual behavior|sex are private matters to be resolved between consenting adults. In their opinion, authorities like governments, lawmakers, churches, mullahs, etc., have no business meddling with private affairs of individuals who do not voluntarily desire to follow their commands — at which point they are no longer authorities and have no power to command those who dissent, only the opportunity to advise those who consent.

    Others, however, believe that the concept of marriage is a fundamentally coercive institution, pointing to the wealth of assumptions about what gender pairings can be acceptable partners, the number of people that can be involved in a relationship, and the proper roles for members of a relationship to have. They argue that marriage is ultimately a heteronormativity|heteronormative concept, and that it is a particularly subtle form of control.