In 1976, the Sex Pistols released their debut single: “Anarchy in the U.K.”. By the 2000s, frontman John Lyndon (a.k.a Johnny Rotten) was starring in butter commercials and proclaiming “I never preached anarchy. It was just a novelty in a song. I always thought anarchy was a mind game for the middle classes, really. Impractical.”.
Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates free association in voluntary, self-governing societies. It is an anti-authoritarian ideology, and rejects state hierarchies. The earliest advocates of anarchism include the French political philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and the Russian revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin.
Attempts have been made to implement anarchism in practice, though most have been communes operating at a very local level (though exceptions exist, such as the so-called “Free Territory” of seven million people formed in 1918 during the Ukrainian revolution, or “Rojava” in northeastern Syria).
Still, could stateless, free societies work everywhere? How would the division of labour work? Who would volunteer to collect the garbage? Could an anarchist collective really protect its borders from neighbouring states over the long-term?
Could anarchism ever work in practice? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!