The notion that anarchism did not have influence in history is one that is loaded with lies. Anarchism, even indirectly, flowed and ebbed in movements around the world. Arguably, after the failures of state socialism and orthodox Marxism, anarchism is the only contender of an alternate society beyond capitalism and the nation-state. I will briefly list some of my most cherished and favorite moments in anarchist history.
- Ukraine Free Territories. For a while, the region was council-based. Nestor Makno, renowned anarchist, was responsible for the co-formation of the Ukraine Black Army. Consisting of elected officers and expropriating one of the most industrialized sections of Ukraine, the Free Territories attempted to operate an anarchist region outside of political parties and state structures. It was eventually destroyed by the Bolsheviks, who were orthodox Marxists and believed centralization of everything is required to achieve revolution.
- The Mexican Revolution. Flores Magon had a huge impact in Mexican and American society. With the sneaky creation of the PLM, and after changeling the executive president against Porfirio Diaz, the Magonistas, allied with the Yaqui indigenous people, fought for their ideals. Their rebellion was eventually crushed, but their ideals live on. Today’s Zapatista cry of “Tierra y Libertad” was originally named by Magon; a prolific writer, this is the title of one of his most well known works. The Mexican Revolution also created an influx of Mexican radicals up north. The intermingling influenced radical currents in California. Today, ‘anarchistic’ movements are the norm – from the modern Zapatista alternate vision, to the autodefensa movement, Mexican society is one of self-determination and antigovernment action, outside and against claim of state socialists or right-wing nationalists.
- The Kurdish Rojava Revolution. This is my most favorite event. Still a contemporary event, the Kurdish people launched a revolution that sparked an interest in radical politics and its viability worldwide. Like the previous revolutions, the Kurdish people have taken it upon themselves to decentralize power in a democratic confederal manner; feminism (not the liberal kind) is a pillar of the new social structure. With village assemblies, communal militias, and radical solidarity brigades, I would say the Rojava revolution rivals the lasting impact of the Spanish Civil War, where anarchists held territory for a while. Not only that, but the Rojava Revolution is a multiethnic, plural society. It is a challenging aspect, but is successful in their effort to bring people together.
I did not bother to cite, but this isn’t a research paper so DuckDuckGo each and everyone if you think anarchism didn’t make an impact. It did.