Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates self-governed societies based on voluntary, cooperative stateless societies, rejecting hierarchies they view as unjust. Anarchism holds capitalism, the state, and representative democracy to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful. Anarchism specifically entails opposing authority or hierarchical organisation in the conduct of all human relations. Anarchism does not offer a fixed body of doctrine from a single particular world view. Many types and traditions of anarchism exist, ranging from collectivism to individualism, not all of which are mutually exclusive.
Anarchism has existed as a philosophy almost as long as philosophy itself. Classical Greek philosophy had Cynicism and Stoicism, Classical Chinese philosophy had Taoism. Anarchist philosophies were practised by early Abrahamic sects across the Mediterranean, and in Basra during the Islamic Golden age. But it wasn't until the emergence of Capitalism that the philosophy we know as 'Anarchism' was first formalised. There emerged three distinct schools of thought within this sphere; Individualist Anarchism, Mutualism and Social Anarchism (Which evolved from Collectivist Anarchism into Anarcho-Communism).
Anarcho-Communism advocates the abolition of the state, capitalism, wage labour and private property in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy, cooperativism, equal distribution of valuables, and a horizontal network of workers' councils with production and consumption based on the guiding principle: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”.
Mutualism is an economic theory that advocates a society with free markets and occupation and use, or usufruct property norms. Mutualism is based on a version of the labor theory of value holding that when labor or its product is sold, in exchange it ought to receive goods or services embodying “the amount of labor necessary to produce an article of exactly similar and equal utility”.
Individualist anarchism refers to several traditions of thought that emphasize the individual and his will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions and ideological systems. Individualist anarchism is not a single philosophy, but it refers to a group of individualistic philosophies that hold “if the individual has the right to govern himself, all external government is tyranny”.
Anarcha-feminism generally views patriarchy and traditional gender roles as a manifestation of involuntary coercive hierarchy that should be replaced by decentralized free association. They believe that the struggle against patriarchy is an essential part of class conflict and the anarchist struggle against the state and capitalism, and vice versa.
Anarcho-pacifism rejects the use of violence in the struggle for social change, the abolition of capitalism and the state. Anarcho-pacifists criticize the separation of means and ends, they also tend to see the state as 'organised violence' and so they see that “it would therefore seem logical that anarchists should reject all violence”.
Green Anarchism is a school of thought within anarchism which puts a particular emphasis on environmental issues. A green anarchist theory is normally one that extends anarchist ideology beyond a critique of human interactions, includes a critique of the interactions between humans and non-humans as well, and argues that the hierarchical domination of nature by human stems from the hierarchical domination of human by human.
Religious anarchists view organised religion mostly as authoritarian and hierarchical that has strayed from its humble origins. The original messages to live a simple life, to share the wealth of the earth, to treat each other with love and respect, to tolerate others and to live in peace invariably gets lost as worldly institutions take over. Religious leaders accrue power to themselves, draw up dogmas, and wage war on all who dissent. They seek protection from temporal rulers, bestowing on them in return a supernatural legitimacy. As a result, in nearly all cases organised religions have lost the peaceful and tolerant message of their founders.
Post-anarchism is an anarchist philosophy that employs post-structuralist and postmodernist approaches. Post-anarchism is not a single coherent theory, but rather refers to the combined works of any number of post-modernists, post-leftists and post-structuralists.
Post-colonial anarchism is a re-envisioning of anarchism in an explicitly anti-imperialist framework. Where traditional anarchism is a movement arising from the struggles of proletarians in industrialized western European nations - and thus sees history from their perspective - post-colonial anarchism approaches the same principles from the perspective of colonized peoples throughout the world.
Queer anarchism advocates anarchism and social revolution as a means of queer liberation and abolition of homophobia, lesbophobia, transmisogyny, biphobia, transphobia, heteronormativity, heterosexism, patriarchy and the gender binary.
Agorism is a philosophy that advocates creating a society in which all relations between people are voluntary exchanges by means of counter-economics, thus engaging with aspects of peaceful revolution. The goal of agorism is the agora; the society of the open marketplace as near to untainted by theft, assault, and fraud as can be humanly attained is as close to a free society as can be achieved. And a free society is the only one in which each and every one of us can satisfy his or her subjective values without crushing others’ values by violence and coercion.
Anarcho-Transhumanism is the recognition that social liberty is inherently bound up with material liberty, and that freedom is ultimately a matter of expanding our capacity and opportunities to engage with the world around us. It is the realization that our resistance against those social forces that would subjugate and limit us is but part of a spectrum of efforts to expand human agency—to facilitate our inquiry and creativity.
Anarcho-syndicalism is a theory of anarchism that views revolutionary industrial unionism or syndicalism as a method for workers in capitalist society to gain control of an economy and with that control influence in broader society. Syndicalists consider their economic theories a strategy for facilitating worker self-activity and as an alternative co-operative economic system with democratic values and production centered on meeting human needs.
Insurrectionary anarchism is a revolutionary theory, practice and tendency within the anarchist movement that emphasizes insurrection within anarchist practice. It is critical of formal organizations such as labor unions and federations that are based on a political programme and periodic congresses. Instead, insurrectionary anarchists advocate informal organization and small affinity group based organization. Insurrectionary anarchists put value in attack, permanent class conflict and a refusal to negotiate or compromise with class enemies.
Platformism is a tendency that stresses the need for tightly organized anarchist organizations that are able to influence working class and peasant movements. “Platformist” groups reject the model of Leninist vanguardism. They instead aim to “make anarchist ideas the leading ideas within the class struggle”. According to platformists, the four main principles by which an anarchist organisation should operate, are ideological unity, tactical unity, collective responsibility and federalism.
Synthesist anarchism is a form of anarchist organization which tries to join anarchists of different tendencies under the principles of anarchism without adjectives. It is the main principle behind the anarchist federations grouped around the contemporary global International of Anarchist Federations.