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Spreadanarchy.png is to research how anarchy can work. Coming from Greek words an (without) and archos (ruler), Anarchy refers to situations without coercive hierarchy. Here are many examples of anarchy in practice. Looking for anarchy beyond self-proclaimed anarchist movements (though we're interested in those too), we respond to Maia Ramnath's call to "locate the Western anarchist tradition as one contextually specific manifestation among a larger-indeed global-tradition of antiauthoritarian, egal­itarian thought/praxis".[1] We take our name from Colin Ward's 1973 book Anarchy in Action.

This wiki is done entirely by volunteers, and we encourage you to check our work and help us to constantly improve it. If you see misinformation, please contact us right away so that we can either fix it or assist you in setting up an account so you can edit the page directly. See the About page for more information. Additionally, if you are a member of an organization or another group described on this website, please feel free to send us information on current campaigns, and we will include it so that our readers will know how to get involved or participate in solidarity efforts.

Anarchist banners at World Conference Against Racism, Durban, 2001.[2]
"Fifth Sacred Thing" by Jessica Perlstein, portraying San Francisco (The Fifth Sacred Thing).
Clifford Harper portrays an anarchist commune in Radical Technology
Les chataigniers a Osny (1888) by anarchist painter Camille Pissarro.
ancient San artwork


"Once we leave Europe, in fact, we discover that statelessness and the desire for self-government are not eternally receding utopias, but are principles that for millennia have structured communities in every part of the world." -Silvia Federici[2]

"[T]here are also concepts such as anti-authoritarian or egalitarian forms of organizing. Although this differs in degrees from one Indigenous nation to another, it is, overall, a fairly strong part of our traditional culture (with some exceptions)." -Gord Hill[3]

"Egalitarian cities, even regional confederacies, are historically quite commonplace."-David Graeber and David Wengrow[4]


Nestor Makhno with members of the anarchist Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine
Collectivized textile factory in Barcelona, Spain. From Sam Dolgoff's The Anarchist Collectives.

Revolutionary Spain, 1936-9, 3.2 million people

Revolutionary Ukraine, 1918-1921, 7 million people

Shinmin Prefecture, 1929-1931, 2 million people


San peoples

Abahlali baseMjondolo, 115,000 members as of 2022



Argentinian horizontalidad




Catholic Worker



El Alto neighborhood councils, 2000s CE

Cayonu, 7200 to ca. 4200 BCE




Crianza Mutua (Colombia)

Crianza Mutua (Mexico)

Cucuteni–Trypillia civilization, 1 million people, 4800 to 3000 BCE


Early Uruk, 4000-3200 BCE

Early Neolithic Southern Levant, 10,500 to 6000 BCE

Global Ecovillage Network




Indus Valley Civilization


Itoiz villages

Jenne-jeno, 250 BCE-1400 CE, 11,000 people


Kuna people

La Solana villages

Late Taosi

Longo Maï


Mapuche, 1 million people in sixteenth century



Minoan Crete, 3000 BCE-1100 BCE


Oceti Sakowin (Sioux)

Nayaka people

Niitsitapi (Blackfoot)



Peiligang culture, 7000-5000 BCE

Rojava, 2012-present, 2.5 million people

San (including !Kung)


Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement

Semai people

Seminole people

Taborite communes, 15th century

Vikalp Sangam (India)


Zapatista-run Chiapas, 1994-present, 120,000-300,000 people

Zomia, present, 100 million people



Aboriginal Australians

Canela people

Early Christians

Early Israelites

Early Uruk

Highland Madagascar


Landless Workers' Movement



Medieval commune


Parisian sections


Sea Peoples

Revolutionary Syria



Castile confederation

Essenes, 4,000 people

Paris Commune, 1871, 2 million people

South Carolina Commune

Maluku archipelago


Swiss confederal leagues



Tlaxcala (Postclassic)

Venezuelan communes


Pnyx Hill, the meeting place of the ecclesia in the Athenian polis.

Athenian polis, 594-431, 404-403 BCE, 40,000 male citizens

Kibbutzim, 1919-present, 120,000 members in 2011

New England town meetings

Tribal Arabia

Tonga people


South American Indians

Land Dayaks

La Paz Zapotec, nearly 2,000 people


New Guinea indigenous peoples

Northwest coast indigenous peoples

Nubian people




Dinka people


"The primary aspiration of all history is a genuine community of human beings -- genuine because it is community all through." - Martin Buber[5]

"Strong communities make police obsolete." -police-abolitionist slogan


Guangzhou commune, 1921-1923


Entrance to Christiania
Police dismantling a blockade of protesters at Faslane Peace Camp.
Woodcut from a Diggers document by William Everard

Christiania, 1971-present, 900 people

Faslane Peace Camp, 1982-present

Free Republic of Wendland, 1980, 5,000 people

George's Hill (Diggers), 1649, 40 people

Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp, 1981-200

Life and Labor Commune, 1921-1930, nearly 1,000 people

Village Alternatif, Anticapitalist et AntiGuerres, 2003, thousands of people


Kuzbass Autonomous Industrial Commune, 1922-1926

Pocasset, 200 families



Taita Hills

Ghana shantytown

Minnehaha Free State

Mexican colonial proletarias

Peruvian 'barriadas

Tunisian gourbivilles

Indian bus tees

Turkish gecekondu

Venezuelan ranchos

King Hill hostel squat

Movements and Uprisings

"If we had surrendered, if we had sold ourselves, we would no longer have been poor, but others would have continued to be so." -Subcomandante Marcos[6]

"People have done horizontal, or non-hierarchical, organization all their lives. It is already there in my culture and the way Palestinian activism has worked." -Beesan Ramadan[7]

"We take inspiration from the Luddites, Levellers, Diggers, the Autonome squatter movement, ALF, the Zapatistas, and the little people -- those mischievous elves of lore." -Earth Liberation Front[8]


Chicago anarchists advanced the cause of the 8-hour day and started May Day. See The Haymarket Martyrs.

The Haymarket Martyrs

Conspiracy of Cells of Fire

Informal Anarchist Federation

Anarchists in the Russian Revolution

Anarchists in the Italian Factory Occupations

Anarchism and the Spanish Revolution

Anarchism in the Mexican Revolution

Manchurian Revolution

1999 Seattle WTO shutdown

Modern schools

2008 Greek insurrection

US Galleanists

1911 Lima-Callao general strike

1919 Peruvian general strike


National Guard deployed during the Los Angeles Rebellion of 1992
Community taro patches run by indigenous and non-indigenous farmers across Hawaii

Abalone Alliance

Alcatraz occupation


Alter-globalization movement

Anarchy in the German Revolution

Anarchy in the Russian Revolution

Anarchy in the Haitian Revolution

Animal Liberation Front

Anti-Shell actions


BDS Movement

Cascadia Free State, 1995-6

Cathars, 11th to 14th centuries

Catholic Worker movement

Community taro patches

Clamshell Alliance

Earth First!

Earth Liberation Front

English food riots in eighteenth century

English Peasants' Revolt of 1381

German Anti-Fascism

Italian Anti-Fascism

Italian Autonomia

John Brown's raids

Kurdish democratic confederalists

Kronstadt rebellion

Los Angeles Rebellion of 1992

Mapuche Struggle

Movement of the Free Spirit

Oaxaca rebellion

Occupy movement

Oka Crisis

Unist'ot'en Camp

US anti-nuclear movement

US Green movement

School of the Tillers

Sexual revolution

Standing Rock Uprising

Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty

Texas KXL blockade

The May-June Revolt in France, 1968

Watts Rebellion

Yellow Turban Rebellion

Zone to Defend (ZAD), 2012-present


Woman confronts soldiers during the First Intifada.

1848 revolutions

1968 revolutions

1919 Seattle general strike

2007 Lakota declaration of independence

2013 Mi'kmaq anti-fracking struggle

American Revolution and Anarchy


Barcelona en Comú

Black Reconstruction

Bolivia Water War

Cuban Revolution and Anarchism

First Intifada

French Revolution and Anarchy

German Peasants' War

Jewish armed anti-Nazi resistance

La Via Campesina


Mexican Revolution and Anarchy

Nat Turner's rebellion

Pirate anarchy

Pueblo Revolt

Red Cloud's War

Seminole Wars

Syrian Revolution


Karaite Judaism





Prague Spring

Hungarian Revolution of 1956

1903 Macedonian revolt

1905–1907 Russian Revolt

1910 Mexican revolution

1960 student revolts


Parisian urban gardeners

Cantonalist Revolt of 1873-1874


"SNCC without knowing about anarchism as philosophy embodied the characteristics of anarchism." -Howard Zinn[9]

"The real question at issue is not organization versus non-organization, but rather, what kind of organization. What different kinds of anarchist organizations have in common is that they are developed organically from below, not engineered into existence from above." -Murray Bookchin[10]

Active Anarchist/Anti-Authoritarian

Historical Anarchist/Anti-Authoritarian



Everyday Anarchy

''I think we have to talk about educating the people for critical consciousness about what anarchy is. I would also say that, in practice, many more Americans are anarchists than would ever use that term." -bell hooks.[11]

"If there’s a line to get on a crowded bus, do you wait your turn and refrain from elbowing your way past others even in the absence of police? If you answered 'yes', then you are used to acting like an anarchist!" -David Graeber[12]

"How would you feel if you discovered that the society in which you would really like to live was already here, apart from a few little local difficulties like exploitation, war, dictatorship and starvation?" -Colin Ward[13]



Really Really Free Market

Mumbai community dog care



Stonehenge Free Festival, 1972-1985 (one month a year), 30,000 people

Woodstock Festival, 1969, 40,000 people

Pioneer Health Centre

Little Commonwealth

Vienna Psychoanalytic Society's child guidance service

Horizontal organization in British architecture

Global postal service

International railways

Swiss city planning

Emdrup playground

The Yard


Mexican colonial proletarias

Peruvian 'barriadas

Tunisian gourbivilles

Indian bus tees

Turkish gecekondu

Venezuelan ranchos

Prestolee School

Institueion Libre de Enseiianza

Residential College for Students

1960 student revolts

Freetown playground

Skrammellegeplad playgrounds

Robinson Crusoe playgrounds

Brixham fishing cooperative

Brora mining cooperative

Standard tractor factory

Durham worker-managed mines

Gheel mental health care


Claimant's Union

Eyes on the street

Open source


Nonhuman Anarchy

"Everything is connected, absolutely everything. There are many aboriginal groups that will tell you stories about how all the species in the forests are connected, and many will talk about below-ground networks." -Sm’hayetsk Teresa Ryan[14]

"The basic premise in the ontology of wildness translates into anarchy, where the raison d'etre of everything and everyone - living or non-living, human or nonhuman, child or adult, male, female, intersexual, bisexual, or asexual, whatever the species, ethnicity, or race (all of which are important classifications for civilization only) is simply to be and to enjoy being. In wilderness, the world exists for its own reasons, its space and time uncontrolled, solely its own, regardless of whether it was created by an external divine will or generated through its own exploded forces." - Layla AbdelRahim[15]

"As I watch the Robins and Cedar Waxwings fill their bellies, I see a gift economy in which abundance is stored “in the belly of my brother.” Supporting a thriving bird community is essential to the well-being of the Serviceberry and everyone else up the food chain. That seems especially important to an immobile, long-lived being like a tree, who can’t run away from ruptured relationships. Thriving is possible only if you have nurtured strong bonds with your community."-Robin Wall Kimmerer[16]

" From autocatalytic chemical processes to cells, from living bodies to galaxies, we find a universe filled with structures exhibiting self-organizing dynamics... [A]n atom is a self-organizing system as well. Each atom is a storm of ordered activity. This invisible power assembling the energy into a particular constellation is the atom's identity. A galaxy, too, is an autopoietic system, organizing its stars into a nonequilibrium process and drawing forth new stars from its interstellar materials." -Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry [17]

"The forest has always been my teacher in peace, in diversity in democracy. Diverse life forms, small and large, moving and immobile, above ground and below, with wings, feet or leaves, find their place in the forest. The forest teaches us that in diversity lie the conditions of peace, the realization of democracy." -Vandana Shiva[18]

"If we recognize that every ecosystem can also be viewed as a food web, we can think of it as a circular, interlacing nexus of plant-animal relationships (rather than a stratified pyramid)...Each species, be it a form of bacteria or deer, is knitted together in a network of interdependence. A predator in the web is also prey, even if the 'lowliest' of organisms merely makes it ill or helps to consume it after death." -Murray Bookchin[19]

Animal Societies

Acorn woodpecker



Central American squirrel monkey


Domestic cat


Gorillas dismantling traps

Gray wolf

Groove-billed ani




Earth and Ecology

Appalachian forests


Earth system

Evolution of eukaryotes

Evolution of green hydra

Evolution of horse

Evolution of sea slugs

Evolution of translucent worms

Human body and anarchy

Mimosa-beetle symbiosis

Mycorrhizal network

Utricularia-algae-zooplankton feedback

Cosmos, Physics, and Chemistry

Chemical clock

Bénard convection


Physics and anarchy

Solar system's planets


Fictional Anarchy

"We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings." -Ursula K. LeGuin[20]


Anarres (The Dispossessed)

Mars (Mars trilogy)

San Francisco (The Fifth Sacred Thing)




Fraggle Rock

Haudenosaunee (The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson)

Kesh (Always Coming Home)

Nowhere (News from Nowhere)

The Shire (The Lord of the Rings)


Umuofia (Things Fall Apart)

  1. Maia Ramnath, Decolonizing Anarchism: An Antiauthoritarian History of India's Liberation Struggle (AK Press, 2011), 6.
  2. Silvia Federici, "Global Anarchism: Provocations" in No Gods, No Masters, No Peripheries: Global Anarchisms, ed. Barry Maxwell and Raymond Crib, (Oakland: PM Press, 2015), 350-351.
  3. "Gord Hill, Indigenous Artist and Anarchist," Crimethinc, 1 August 2017,
  4. David Graeber and David Wengrow, "How to change the course of human history, Eurozine, 2 March 2018,
  5. Paths in Utopia (Boston: Beacon Press, 1958), ch. 10.
  6. Subcomandante Marcos, "Why We Chose the Weapon of Resistance" in Our Word is Our Weapon (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2001), 160.
  7. Joshua Stephens, “Palestinian Anarchists in Conversation: Recalibrating anarchism in a colonized country,” Institute for Anarchist Studies, 19 July 2013,
  9. Howard Zinn, "Anarchism Shouldn't Be a Dirty Word," AlterNet, 16 May, 2008,'t_be_a_dirty_word.
  10. Murray Bookchin, "Anarchy and Organization",,
  11. bell hooks, "How Do You Practice Intersectionalism?", The Anarchist Library,
  12. David Graeber, "Are You an Anarchist? The Answer May Surprise You!", The Anarchist Library,
  13. Colin Ward, Anarchy Works.
  14. Ferris Jabr, "The Social Life of Forests", New York Times, 2 December, 2020,
  15. Layla AbdelRahim, Children's Literature, Domestication, and Social Foundation (New York: Routledge, 2015), 3-4.
  16. Robin Wall Kimmerer, "The Serviceberry: An Economy of Abundance," Emergence Magazine, 2020,
  17. Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry, The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era - A Celebration of the Unfolding of the Cosmos (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1992), 75.
  18. Vandana Shiva, "Foreword" in Derrick Jensen and George Draffan, Strangely Like War: The Global Assault on Forests (White River Junction: Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2003), vii.
  19. Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy (Palo Alto: Cheshire Books, 1982), 26.
  20. "Ursula K Le Guin's speech at National Book Awards", The Guardian, 20 November 2014,