The black flag means negation, anger, outrage, mourning, beauty, hope, and the fostering and sheltering of new forms of human life and relationship on and with the earth. This book aims to destroy many of the assumptions and stereotypes about anarchism, anarchists, and anarchist movements. It introduces Mario Diani's definition of a social movement: networks of individuals and organizations, united by some shared identity, that engage in extra-institutional action with the interest of changing society. Social movements must be composed of individuals. The book provides new insights into individual participants in anarchist movements by investigating what the micro-level characteristics of contemporary anarchists are, and how these characteristics differ from those of anarchists in past movements. The anarchist movement can be interrogated from many vantage points (especially macro- and meso-analyses), in both longitudinal and cross-sectional contexts. The book explores the usefulness (or lack thereof) of social movement theories for understanding anarchist movements. It challenges the assumption that the state is a strategic location of opportunity from the perspective of radical, anti-state movements. The essential dimensions of "new social movement" (NSM) theories are discussed, with highlights on the differences between the contemporary anarchist movement and other NSMs. The book also explores ideas from major social capital theorists, and considers the value of social capital. Whereas most sociological research on anti-authoritarian diffusion and isomorphism has focused on mainstream organizations or reformist social movements, anarchist movements pose a particular challenge to the earlier findings focused on the non-anarchists.
Revisiting the epistemology of anarchist movements
Dana M. Williams
definition one cares
to use for “social movements” – unless, of course, one presumes that movements must always seek state power, be large, win regularly, and so forth.
Those obtuse criteria are not employed for any other movement, thus to
hold anarchism to that standard is absurd. Social movement scholars’ consistent avoidance of anarchist movement analyses illustrates both a preference for state-oriented subject matter and a confusion and frustration with
explaining anti-statemovements via typical frameworks. Like other movements, anarchist movements are composed of
Anti-state political opportunities
Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based
on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners. (Edward Abbey)
States and context
This chapter challenges the assumption that the state is a strategic location
of opportunity from the perspective of radical, anti-statemovements.
Routine social movement behaviors that petition, protest, or lobby governments to change or adopt certain laws or
, and focus on the defense of civil society against
6 New identities: a principal concern is with creating new identities via
an expressive politics that promote self-realization and the right to
NSMs value living out lifestyle changes and acting on expressive identity
politics. I expect that current anarchist movements are strongly akin to
NSMs and that – in many ways – anarchism is an excellent example of the
ideal type NSM. Later, I further develop an extension to Sutton and Vertigans’ typology that is more applicable to radical, anti-state