The Role of Anarchism in Contemporary Anti-Systemic Social Movements
by Morgan Rodgers Gibson, December 2009
Radical, or what will here be referred to as ‘antisystemic’ social movements – since their emergence in both ‘national’ and ‘social’ forms during the nineteenth century – have gone through a transformation from ‘state-centric’ movements, to movements that, for a range of reasons, reject the state as an agent of change. As such, many emerging antisystemic movements are now “deeply suspicious of the state and of state-oriented action”, but are also inclusive, participatory, democratic and non-hierarchical in that the “basis of participation is a common objective… and a common respect for each [individual]’s immediate priorities” (Wallerstein 2002: 35, 37). This essay, in line with this and much of the academic literature on the subject (see Gordon 2007 or Graeber 2002), will argue that an anarchistic praxis – though not a doctrinaire ideological programme – has become the principle point of reference for radical, antisystemic movements and that this can be seen, in many ways, as a response to the failure of ideologically motivated, ‘state-centric’ versions to bring about substantial, transformative social change once assuming power.
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