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in its simplest meaning is society organized without a central authority imposed from above. From the Greek word anarkhia [an (without) + arkhe (power, rule, reign)] meaning without rule, without ruler or contrary to authority.

The term anarchism has been commonly been used in a negative sense and has been equated with chaos, entropy and confusion. In modern times, it has been associated by media and governments with punks dressed in black wearing masks and throwing stones at police or storefronts.

For all believers in anarchism the establishment of a central government is the source of most all society's problems. The central state is un-necessary and harmful to the health of individuals and society as a whole. 

From that basic agreement there are many philosophical and political debates that arise regarding how a society should be organized. Many anarchists believe a revolution or social disaster is needed before an anarchist society can be established, others think differently. German anarchist Gustav Landauer declared: "The state is not something that can be destroyed by a revolution, but is a condition, a certain relationship between humans beings, a mode of human behavior; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently."  The thing that links all threads of anarchist thought is a rejection of external authority. For more online information about Anarchism, visit this Infoshop FAQ:

Sources and References:
Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction, Colin Ward, Oxford University Press 2004
Anarchism, Daniel Guerin, Monthly Review Press, 1970

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