Title: The Role of Anarchism in Contemporary Anti-Systemic Social Movements
Date: 17 December 2009
Source: Retrieved on 3rd July 2021 from abahlali.org


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.

In assessing whether an anarchistic praxis has become dominant within contemporary antisystemic movements, this essay will begin by looking at the failure of state-centric movements to bring about radically transformative social change. Secondly, in order to allow investigation into whether an anarchistic praxis has become the modus operandi of contemporary antisystemic movements, it is important to delineate the central tenets of anarchism[1] and thus what one could term ‘anarchist’ praxis, as it would be useless to assert that such practice has come to be the principle point of reference within these movements without establishing some idea of what it is that constitutes anarchism. Finally, only after delineating the conceptual territory of anarchism can one deduce whether an anarchistic praxis does play a central role in the constitution of contemporary antisystemic movements. By utilising two different case studies – the first of the Zapatistas of Chiapas Mexico and the second of the South African shackdweller’s movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) — this essay will show that, through the employment of methods and the promulgation of ideals consistent with anarchism, one can increasingly see in contemporary antisystemic movements the utilisation of an anarchistic praxis in the teleological pursuit of liberty, autonomy and recognition for the marginalised, disposed and ‘forgotten’ throughout the world.


Immanuel Wallerstein offers, in New Revolts Against the System (2002), a simplified, linear account of the development of radical, ‘antisystemic’ social movements since their emergence in both ‘national’ and ‘social’ forms as major movements in the nineteenth century. ‘Social’ movements were principally envisaged as socialist and social democratic parties and trade unions in perpetuating class struggle within a particular state against the bourgeoisie and state managers. ‘National’ movements, conversely, fought for the creation of a nation-state, either by combining separate political units considered by the advocates homogenous, or seceding from colonial empires (Goodman 2002: 2–3). Wallerstein argues that, although these movements accorded priority to their own social or national objectives – often specifically in opposition to their national or social rival – and the two types rarely cooperated outside of temporary necessity, the history of these two movements reveals a set of shared features (Wallerstein 2002: 29–30). First, these movements presented themselves as revolutionary alternatives to the social order and thus promised to bring about a radical transformation in social relations. Second, these movements went through a parallel series of debates over strategy that varied from ‘state-centric’ perspectives to those that viewed the state as an intrinsic enemy and pursued instead civil and individual transformation. Third, the state-centric perspectives proved triumphant, arguing that the immediate source of power and influence is located in the state apparatus (Tilly 1996: 10). From this view, attempts to ignore its (political) centrality are destined to failure; any libertarian variant would be suppressed by the state. Finally, these movements instead articulated a ‘two step strategy’ in that they would first seek to gain power within or over the state structure and then follow this by initiating the second step; transforming the world (Wallerstein 2002: 30).

Initially, it appeared as though these movements would achieve their transformative promises on a transnational scale. By the 1960s and 1970s, in the majority of nations, these movements had achieved ‘stage one’ (gaining power over the state) and had come to power the world over. National liberation movements assumed power in Asia and Africa, populist movements came to ascension in Latin America, communist parties ruled over a third of the world and social democratic movements – in some form or another – ostensibly held influence within the West on an alternating basis through electoral processes. Yet when any of these movements gained power — be they social democrats in first world states, or communist movements within Eastern Europe or Asia — they failed to live up to their promise of transforming the world, of implementing ‘stage two’ of the two step strategy mentioned above. What all of these state-centric movements failed to realise was that state power was more limited than initially thought. Each state, instead of being an autonomous unit, is inhibited by being part of a wider interstate system in which no nation’s sovereignty is absolute and economic realities are hampered and dictated by the necessity of participating in a global capitalist economy (Chase-Dunn 1981: 19). Over time, the longer these formerly antisystemic parties or movements stayed in office, the more it appeared as if they were attempting to postpone and even suppress the realisation of their transformative promises (Wallerstein 2002: 32–33):

[t]he cadres of a militant mobilizing movement became the functionaries of a party in power… [I]n every state in which [these movements] took control… a privileged caste of higher officials, with more power and more real wealth than the rest of the population emerged. At the same time, the ordinary workers enjoined to toil even harder and sacrifice ever more in the name of national development. The militant… tactics that had been daily the bread of the social movement became ‘counter-revolutionary’, highly discouraged and usually repressed once [the movement] was in office.

Even in states where reforms or ‘revolutions’ were undertaken, there was increasing disillusionment with the capacity of such movements to bring about substantive change. The majority of the problems the antisystemic movements objected to — ranging from alienating wage labour, to the level of democratic participation within society, or the role of the state within the international system — remained in place. Simply put, though there had been change — and this should not be forgotten — there had not been enough (Linklater 1986: 304). The implications of this for the antisystemic movements were huge; the populations of the world drew from this, at best, a negative conclusion about their performance, at worst, they called for revolutionary change (see, for instance, the Soviet Union or China). These populations ceased to believe that state-centric movements would ever bring about the glorious transformative change or egalitarian future that had been promised. Having lost confidence in these movements, most also withdrew their faith in the state as the locus of transformative change. Whilst this does not connote that populations would not support these parties, groups or movements, it does mean such support had simply become a ‘defensive’ measure; for instance, a vote for the lesser of competing electoral evils, not a verification of ideology or expectations (Offe 1994: 116). The fall and transformation of the various communist regimes throughout the world and the unprecedented dominance of neoliberalism both within states and the international system would seem to vindicate such a conclusion.

According to Wallerstein, because of these continued failures, contemporary antisystemic movements, taken as a whole, 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). Such an outcome acts as a vindication of the anarchist critique of the state and its fundamental incapacity to produce egalitarian and/or liberating change. Furthermore, as anarchism does not advocate a “fixed, self-enclosed social system, but rather a definite trend in the historic development of mankind (sic)” which strives “for the free, unhindered unfolding of all the individual and social forces in life” (Rocker 1938: 31), it is the ideology most acquiescent to a philosophical environment rejecting elaborate, abstract metaphysics and teleological shibboleths (Chomsky 1970: 5). Rather, it is grounded in struggle and participatory action.


Anarchism is often portrayed as an ideology of violence, chaos and terror. Yet in reality it is a nuanced and sophisticated ideology premised on opposition to imposed hierarchy. Central to anarchism is the primacy of the individual. Human beings are seen to possess intrinsic moral worth, forming the existential core of anarchist ideology as the teleological pursuit of individual freedom. To be coerced or constrained in any way is to be debased and degraded and thus to violate this central principle (Jennings 1999: 132–133). Through historical observation, anarchists see the state as the primary perpetrator of this coercion and constraint. Such views were articulated by Leo Tolstoy, who viewed the state as the foremost usurper of liberty and perpetrator of violence (Christoyannopoulos 2008: 85). Government is seen as the locus of this, the operationalisation of state power.

Consequently, it follows that anarchism is necessarily anti-state and anti-government in the pursuit of individual liberty. As Proudhon polemically declared (2004 [1851]: 294):

To be governed is to be... spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures, who have neither the right, nor the wisdom, nor the virtue to do so… To be governed is to be… repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed… That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.

As such, the notion of autonomy from the state is central to the real-world practice of anarchism.

Closely related to this, anarchism holds that individuals cannot and should not be represented by another; such action would be inherently coercive as people are not making their own decisions (Heywood 2007: 177). If people are unable to participate in issues affecting their life, then do we not again have the imposition of hierarchy, of leaders and the led? This concern correlates with a crucial association within anarchism between ‘means and ends’ (Franks 2006: 99). If political power is seen as inherently dangerous, then the imposition of hierarchy – however temporary – must also be seen as so. Once existing, power will perpetuate and impose itself. To an anarchist, one must utilise means in line with ideas of liberty and autonomy in achieving anarchist ends. In this there is an explicit rejection of representation as anarchists seek autonomy from hierarchy as the only avenue in achieving liberty for the individual.

What then are the implications of this for anarchist praxis? As one can draw from this, there is particular opposition to the centralised state. If political power is inherently oppressive and violent, then centralisation must represent the extremes of this. Thus, in the practical exercise of collective decision making, anarchists advocate decentralisation, or the diffusion of political power, to prevent the rise of authority (Bakunin 1953: 271). This dictates that where collective decision making is necessary, all arrangements must be arrived at through grassroots organisational methods amenable to participatory, direct practices independent from the state. This, what Murray Bookchin describes as ‘libertarian municipalism’, is designed to minimise hierarchy and break up power into small localities (Bookchin 1991). Furthermore, anarchists do not only oppose hierarchy due to what they see as the inherently oppressive nature of power, but also because it is unjust to coerce individuals into social formation as the liberty of the individual is seen as paramount. Rather, individuals will voluntarily engage in the construction of social order due to a natural inclination towards sociability and mutual aid; existence necessitates it. According to Kropotkin, mutual aid is as significant in evolutionary biological development and the construction of human civilisation as mutual struggle as it “favours the development of such habits and characters as insure the maintenance and further development of the species, together with the greatest amount of welfare and enjoyment for the life of the individual” (2008 [1902]: 4).

Finally, though sometimes contested by ‘the right’, anarchism has been historically associated with socialism in opposition to capitalism. As Malatesta argued, when the oppressed “sought to overthrow both state and property – then it was that anarchism was born” (1993: 19). Though often cited as a ‘right-wing’ anarchist, Benjamin Tucker associated anarchism with socialism on the grounds of its opposition to private property (in favour of ‘possessions’) and the exploitation of labour by capital that necessarily follows from this (Tucker 2005 [1893]: 361–362). Under capitalism, proprietors are seen to dominate workers through exclusive, private control over the means of production and hence the terms of employment, the frequency of labour and material income. In effect, (left) anarchists see the capitalist as one who steals from the worker through wage slavery, thus directly impacting on one’s propensity to live a life free from oppression and exploitation. After all, “property is theft!” (Proudhon 2007 [1840]), it is a relationship built on deference and domination. The state is complicit in this act as it creates and enforces the laws maintaining the capitalist status-quo. One can see this, for instance, in the way that neoliberalism has relied on state power and military coercion to accomplish its utopian vision of global capitalism (Paley 2001). Additionally, through intergovernmental organisations, such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank or the World Trade Organisation, policies have been pursued to alter the ways in which states and markets function in order to make their operation more conducive to the whims of global capital (see Stiglitz 2003). Accordingly, one can see here a long held association of capitalism and its central institutions with the state hierarchy and inequality in violation of individual dignity and liberty; the antithesis of anarchist aspirations.


Though they have never anointed themselves as anarchists, one can see in the praxis of both the Zapatistas and AbM a powerful expression of and commitment to anarchist ideals in the pursuit of liberty and autonomy. The actions of both groups corresponds with what Curran describes as a ‘post ideological anarchism’; though inspired by and drawing from anarchist principles and ideas in constructing autonomous politics, post-ideological anarchists reject “doctrinaire positions and sectarian politics”, preferring instead to conflate anarchism with an eclectic assortment of other political ideas (Curran 2006: 2). As such, these groups correspond with what has been said above in that contemporary antisystemic movements appear to be increasingly rejecting the state as an agent of change. Rather, such movements are progressively adopting praxis in line with anarchist ideas of anti-statism, decentralisation, direct democracy, direct action and recognition of the relationship between means and ends whilst also propagating a radical anti-capitalism, preferring instead to adopt mutualistic measures of production and distribution. The emergence of both movements and the anarchistic praxis central to their expression is tied to the perpetual exploitation experienced by both at the hands of the state and global capital.


Since the Mexican Revolution of 1910, the indigenous Mayan people have been promised much, but received little. Emerging from the Lacandon Jungle in 1994, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) proclaimed that “enough is enough!” (Marcos 1993). This declaration was made in response to the history of exploitation experienced by the indigenous people of Chiapas, Mexico. Though centuries of brutal, formal colonial rule under the Spanish may have come to an end, we see in the Zapatista resistance opposition to the perceived ‘neocolonialism’ perpetrated by the Mexican state and its hierarch, global capital, through the hollowing out and privatisation of society as a result of neoliberal globalisation (Klein 2002: 4). In “responding to the interests of the country’s emergent bourgeoisie and the demands of the international market place” the Mexican state “has treated Chiapas as an internal colony, sucking out its wealth while leaving its people – particularly the overwhelming majority who live off the land – more impoverished than ever” (Burbach 2001: 118). It appears as no coincidence then that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into force on January 1, 1994; the day the EZLN uprising began. Enough, it seems, truly was enough; the continued deceit and failure of the state to deliver the autonomy, liberty and equality perpetually promised to the indigenous Mayan people since national liberation almost a century ago has formed the justification for the anarchist praxis of ‘Zapatismo’.

Closely connected with an understanding of the state developed through struggle and in line with anarchist views of political power, the Zapatistas do not seek to capture state power, but alternatively, circumvent it. Accordingly, the Zapatistas are an “armed movement which does not want to take power, as in the old revolutionary schemes” (Marcos cited in Lorenzano 1998: 141). Rather, they are “subordinate to [civil society], to the point of disappearing as an alternative” (Marcos 2001: 58). Thus, far from wanting to capture state power, the Zapatistas are fundamentally indifferent to political parties and the state; they seek to bypass and live autonomously from its deceitful, destructive influence. Associated with this, the Zapatistas oppose the Marxist idea of a vanguard leading the people in revolution, however it may be conceived. Indeed, the Zapatistas have shown a deontological commitment to such theory in practice, with the EZLN declining the formation of a practical political alliance with the subversive Mexican political movement, the Popular Revolutionary Front (EPR), due to their irreconcilable differences over declared designs on state power. As the EZLN confirmed in a communiqué to the EPR, “what we want… [is] not to seize power but to exercise it’ (cited in De Angelis 2000: 32). Thus, the Zapatistas see the construction of autonomous democratic structures within civil society as an end in itself (Baker 2002: 132).

The operational methods of propagating these democratic structures are clearly compatible with the anarchist ideas touched on above. If there are to be ‘leaders’ and ‘followers’ then representation and hierarchy arises (Graeber 2004: 11–12). Through the utilisation of two central principles, the Zapatistas have shown a sophisticated commitment to and understanding of the anarchist congruence of means and ends. Through the first operational principle of ‘command-obeying’, the Zapatistas have sought to subvert hierarchy by juxtaposing the relationship between the leaders and the led. In practice, this has led to the rotation of leadership in community councils in order to avoid a situation of permanent leadership; thus avoiding the pitfalls anarchists associate with administrative political power (Jeffries 2001: 132). The second operational concept of ‘asking we walk’ places the burden of responsibility for activity on individuals, rather than certain figures or ‘representative’ social groups driving progress towards an abstract, teleological goal (Curran 2006: 154–155). This means that, rather than telling others how it is that social change is to be carried out (as one in the role of a ‘vanguard’ would), one is constantly engaged in emancipatory praxis by consistently asking how it is that social change is to be carried out and by doing tasks yourself. As such, revolution and liberation depend not on providing the correct answers, but asking the right questions.

This is closely tied with the way in which power ought to be exercised within anarchist social structures; at an individual level. Rather than bargaining for a limited version of territorially based autonomy within a ‘top-down’, centralised model of governance demanding adherence to the state, the Zapatistas have insisted on the right of each community under its influence to develop its own network of political relations (Stahler-Sholk 2007: 49). Though encircled by the Mexican Army since the 1994 Declaration, the Zapatistas quickly announced their presence in thirty-eight municipalities. Following this, the Zapatistas boycotted official elections and rejected the assertion of authority proclaimed by the Mexican state. Instead, they effectively created parallel structures of governance by adopting traditional indigenous measures in line with direct, participatory procedures in open community assemblies amenable to Bookchin’s libertarian municipalism. This involves the comprehensive rejection of subsidiary measures from the state, including resistance to and rejection of government aid (Stahler-Sholk 2007: 54 -56). In order to meet the needs of subsistence, communities under the influence of the Zapatistas have resorted to mutualistic organisational practices, including the organisation of textile-weaving and boot-making cooperatives, locally controlled schools, health promotion networks and collective garden patches conducted through self-sufficient production and exchange methods, based around participatory approaches that reject the hierarchical capitalistic relationship of proprietorship and wage slavery (Rothschild 2003: 223–228).


In a similar vein to the Zapatistas, AbM emerged from post-Apartheid South Africa as a response to the continued marginalisation of the poor and dispossessed (the majority of whom are Black) who, despite promises to the contrary, continue to live in conditions of abject poverty (Gibson 2008: 695). Emerging from the open oppression and degradation of a racially violent and oppressive regime, the incoming government of Nelson Mandela promised to liberate the destitute and impoverished from the degenerative conditions to which they are subjected by establishing a society formulated on socialistic notions of liberty, equality and fraternity (Cottle 2006: 115). Instead, however, the socioeconomic inequalities of Apartheid South Africa remain intact, with over seventy percent of the population living in abject squalor. This is legitimised by the state with reference to the rise of an African bourgeoisie, in which a host of new millionaires have been created (Gibson 2008: 695). Yet as Moeletsi Mbeki argues, the economic policies of the South African state amount to a reification of the new ruling elite; a fluid caste connected with the leaders of the antisystemic struggle opposed to the former Apartheid regime (cited in Riviére 2008):

[State policies amount to little more than] crony capitalism… Most of these so-called business leaders are agents of… capital, hand in glove with the state… There was a wide sociological gap between grassroots activists and the leaders of the struggle. The latter did very well out of it because they took over the state. They and their children now make up the ranks of the emerging middle class… The government spawned an enormous bureaucracy which was spectacularly successful in feeding off these resources, without creating work for the wider population.

It is here where the objections of AbM begin. In deposing elements of the old regime, the new regime has reified the existence of a fundamentally unjust, obdurate neoliberal capitalism that values profit and instils within society the logic of capital and legitimacy of corporatised markets over the welfare of people (Bond 2006). Though beginning as a single issue movement in early 2005 demanding better economic services, housing and sanitation, AbM has drawn connections between the injustice of their parochial situation, and the injustice of the capitalist system. As the elected spokesperson of the movement, S’bu Zikode, put it, he and all of those involved with AbM felt betrayed; “this is the government that we [the AbM] fought for, and then worked for and then voted for and which now beats us and arrests us” (cited in Pithouse 2005: 7). The destitution and situation of the poor continues to decline while the rich and those who benefit from the state’s patronage and influence continue to benefit. In response, the AbM, born as it is from struggle, seeks to construct a ‘living politics’ – as we will see, the embodiment of an anarchistic praxis — concerned chiefly with realising the desire for an autonomous politics, free from the corrupting influence of the state. Initially, the fledgling movement considered to stand S’bu Zikode for local government elections. However, after lengthy deliberation it was decided that the movement should refrain from electoral politics in order to preserve the integrity and autonomy of it as a radical political project (Pithouse 2005: 12). Instead now, the projected aims are to establish a federalised, decentralised municipal structure independent from the ‘corrupt influence’ of the post-Apartheid state and the logic of global capital (Patel 2007: 23–24).

What AbM has instead sought to construct is a radically democratic political culture that has been carefully theorised and contemplated (Neocosmos 2007: 48). First and foremost, the shackdwellers are committed to a participatory and decentralised praxis. All new issues are discussed at open-forum meetings conducted on a formal, weekly basis. This is viewed by participants as a liturgical act central to the continued functioning of the movement. When issues are raised and voted on, participants seek consensus building through lengthy measures at which point if consensus is unable to be reached (generally after several meetings and delegate send outs), then the issue is put to a vote. When municipal delegates are sent out as functionaries to other camps that make up the movement in order to make movement-wide decisions, they are mandated to make decisions on issues already decided upon within decentralised forums and not to take decisions on behalf of the movement. Embodied in this programmatic libertarian municipalism is a desire, like the Zapatistas, to create an autonomous space where the ‘forgotten’ are respected and politics is a composite of collective existence (Pithouse 2008: 79). This is a popular and participatory politics explicitly opposed to technocratic and autocratic management from above.

Central to this and the struggle of AbM has been a concrete recognition of the connection, central to an anarchical understanding of politics and political action, between means and ends. As such, the movement has developed a notion of ‘people’s politics’, a self-conscious and ongoing project of developing a ‘politics of the poor’. This is a “homemade politics that everyone can understand and find a home in”, one that utilises a dialogic formulae discernable to the people, to ensure the level of direct participation necessary in sustaining a movement reliant on participation and dedication from those involved (cited in Pithouse 2006: 29). This is in opposition to an elitist ontology of politics in that it rejects notions of leadership and metaphysical abstraction and is a “genuinely radical politics… in which the poor are powerful and not those in which they are silenced as they are named and directed from without” (Pithouse 2008: 82). This theorising can be reduced to a single axiom; that within this living politics, all are to avoid stringent dogmatism, all matter and all are worthy of respect. To remove the struggle from this context is to place decision-making into the ranks of a corrupt hierarchy. If the participatory element of the movement is ever to become more of a performance than a reality, the collective movement out of the place to which shackdwellers are supposed to keep will come to an end and the movement dissipate. As such, the practice and continued effectiveness of contemporary antisystemic movements lies in their regenerative capacity, derived from a participatory, anti-state, anarchistic praxis that rejects the perpetual failures of and the faith necessary in placing one’s trust in statist and ‘representative’ mechanisms of power in which corruption, nepotism, oppression and exploitation appear to inevitably arise.


This essay explored the failures of state-centric antisystemic movements to institute the transformative change perpetually promised to their followers once attaining power and in response to this, the subsequent adoption of an anarchistic praxis as an organisational principle within contemporary versions of such movements. In doing this, this essay first outlined the failure of state-centric movements in bringing about transformative change and how this has resulted in a reorientation within antisystemic movements in adopting a more libertarian, anti-state praxis. The perpetual failures of state-centric movements in fulfilling their promises, once in power, of changing the world can be seen as the principle etiology of this loss of faith. These failures resulted in the formulation and emergence of a new praxis within contemporary antisystemic movements; one centred around a ‘post ideological’ anarchism in which participants reject both the state as an agent of change and elaborate, abstract metaphysics and teleological promises in favour of active struggle and participatory, collective action. Central to this anarchistic praxis is the incorporation of notions of direct democracy, anti-statism, decentralisation, a conflation of means and ends and a rigorous anti-capitalism that rejects the exploitative economic hierarchies central to its efficacy.

In showing the way in which an anarchistic praxis has come to act as the central point of reference for contemporary antisystemic movements, this essay explored an expression of anarchical principles within two case studies; the Zapatistas and AbM. These movements both emerged out of struggle against the oppression perpetuated by the state and (often done in the interests of its hierarch) global capital. This, in turn, shaped an anarchistic praxis that rejects the state as an agent of change. Frustrated with broken promises and a dependent relationship with the state, these movements took politics into their own hands; an autonomous and radically democratic politics that rejects the jurisdictional authority and legitimacy of the corrupt and nepotistic state. Aware of the problems the imposed hierarchies of the state create, these movements seek to subvert hierarchy through a conflation of means and ends and the promulgation of mutualist economic relationships that reject the hierarchical, capitalistic notions of proprietorship and wage slavery. As such, through the promulgation and employment of ideals consistent with anarchical notions of liberty and autonomy, these two movements illustrate the way in which an anarchistic praxis is increasingly utilised within contemporary antisystemic movements. In doing this they have become a symbol of hope and empowerment to the oppressed, dispossessed and exploited the world over.


Baker, G (2002). Civil Society and Democratic Theory: Alternative Voices. Routledge, London.
Bakunin, M, A (1953). The Political Philosophy of Bakunin. Ed. Maximov, G, P. The Free Press, New York.
Bond, P (2006). ‘From Apartheid to Neo-Liberalism. What Happened to the Ideals of the Freedom Struggle?’ in At the End of the Rainbow? Social Identity and the Welfare State in the New South Africa. Eds. Gunnarsen, G, Mac Manus, P, Nielsen, M and Erik Stolen, H. Copenhagen, Southern African Contact.
Bookchin, M (1991). ‘Libertarian Municipalism: An Overview’, Society and Nature. Vol. 1, No. 1. Accessed on 28 August, 2009 <www.democracynature.org>.
Burbach, R (2001). ‘Roots of the Postmodern Rebellion in Chiapas’ in Globalization and Postmodern Politics. Eds. Burbach, R, Jeffries, F and Robinson, W, I. Pluto Press, London.
Chase-Dunn, C (1981).’Interstate System and Capitalist World-Economy: One Logic or Two?’, International Studies Quarterly. Vol. 25, No. 1. Pp. 19–42.
Chomsky, N (1970). ‘Notes on Anarchism’ in Anarchism: From Theory to Practice. Ed. Guerin, D. Penguin Group, London.
Christoyannopoulos, A, J, M, E (2008). ‘Tolstoy’s Anarchist Denunciation of State Violence and Deception’ in Anti-Democratic Thought. Ed. Kofmel, E. Imprint Academic, Charlottesville.
Cottle, E (2006). ‘The Grassroots. The Rise of the New Social Movements in South Africa. The Role of the Opposition’ in At the End of the Rainbow? Social Identity and the Welfare State in the New South Africa. Eds. Gunnarsen, G, Mac Manus, P, Nielsen, M and Erik Stolen, H. Copenhagen, Southern African Contact.
Curran, G (2006). 21st Century Dissent: Anarchism, Anti-Globalization and Environmentalism. Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire.
De Angelis, M (2000). ‘Globalization, New Internationalism and the Zapatistas’, Capital and Class. Vol. 70, No. 9. Pp. 9–35.
Franks, B (2006). Rebel Alliances: The Means and Ends of Contemporary British Anarchisms. AK Press, Edinburgh.
Gibson, N, C (2008). ‘Upright and Free: Fanon in South Africa, From Biko to the Shackdwellers’ Movement (Abahlali baseMjondolo)’, Social Identities. Vol. 14, No. 6. Pp. 683–715.
Goodman, J (2002). ‘Nationalism and Globalism: Social Movement Responses’, The International Scope Review. Vol. 4, No. 8. Pp. 1–17. Accessed on 26 August, 2009 <www.grain.org>.
Gordon, U (2007). ‘Anarchism Reloaded’, Journal of Political Ideologies. Vol. 12, No. 1. Pp. 29–48.
Graeber, D (2002). ‘The New Anarchists’, New Left Review. Vol. 13, No. 6. Pp. 61–73.
Graeber, D (2004). Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology. Prickly Paradigm Press, Chicago.
Heywood, A (2007). Political Ideologies: An Introduction. Palgrave MacMillan, New York.
Jeffries, F (2001). ‘Zapatismo and the Intergalactic Age’ in Globalization and Postmodern Politics. Eds. Burbach, R, Jeffries, F and Robinson, W, I. Pluto Press, London.
Jennings, J (1999). ‘Anarchism’ in Contemporary Political Ideologies: Second Edition. Eds. Eatwell, R and Wright, A. Continuum International Publishing Group, New York.
Klein, N (2002). ‘’Farewell to ‘The End of History’: Organization and Vision in Anti-Corporate Movements’, Socialist Register. 2002 Volume. Pp. 1–14.
Kropotkin, P (2008 [1902]). Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution. Forgotten Books, Charleston.
Linklater, A (1986). ‘Realism, Marxism and Critical International Theory’, Review of International Studies. Vol. 12, No. 2. Pp. 301–312.
Lorenzano, L (1998). ‘Zapatismo: Recomposition of Labour, Radical Democracy and Revolutionary Project’ in Zapatista! Reinventing Revolution in Mexico. Eds. Holloway, J and Pelaez, E. Pluto Press, London.
Malatesta, E (1993). Errico Malatesta: His Life and Ideas: 3rd Edition. Ed. Richards, V. Freedom Press, London.
Marcos (1993). EZLN’s Declaration of War: Today We Say Enough Is Enough (Ya Basta!). General Command of the EZLN, Chiapas.
Marcos (2001). Our Word is Our Weapon. Ed. Ponce de Leon, J. Seven Stories, London.
Neocosmos, M. (2007) Civil Society, Citizenship and the Politics of the (Im)possible: Rethinking Militancy in Africa Today. Accessed on 1 September, 2009 <www.abahlali.org>.
Offe, C (1994). ‘Structural Problems of the Capitalist State: Class Rule and the Political System. On the Selectiveness of Political Institutions’ in The State: Critical Concepts. Ed. Hall, J, A. Routledge, London.
Paley, J (2001). Marketing Democracy: Power and Social Movements in Post-Dictatorship Chile. University of California Press, Berkeley.
Patel, R (2007). ‘Electing Land Questions: A Methodological Discussion With Reference to Abahlali baseMjondolo, the Durban Shackdweller Movement’, CODESRIA Multinational Working Group on Land. April 2007. The University of Abahlali baseMjondolo, Durban.
Pithouse, R (2005). ‘The Left in the Slum: The Rise of a Shack Dwellers’ Movement in Durban, South Africa’, History and African Studies Seminar. 23 November, 2005.
Pithouse, R (2006). ‘Rethinking Public Participation From Below’, Critical Dialogue. Vol. 2, No. 2.
Pithouse, R (2008). ‘A Politics of the Poor: Shack Dwellers’ Struggles in Durban’, Journal of Asian and African Studies. Vol. 43, No. 1. Pp. 63–94.
Proudhon, P, J (2004 [1851]). General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century. Translated by Robinson, J, B. Dover Publications, New York.
Proudhon, P, J (2007 [1840]). What is Property? Eds. Kelley, D, R and Smith, B, G. Cambridge University Press, New York.
Riviére, P (2008).’Whose South Africa?’, Le Monde Diplomatique. May 13, 2008.
Rocker, R (1938). Anarchosyndicalism. Secker and Warburg, London.
Rothschild, J (2003). ‘Grassroots Cooperatives: Intellectual and Political Origins’ in Community and the World. Ed. Dickinson, T, D. Nova Publishers, Hauppauge.
Stahler-Sholk, R (2007). ‘Resisting Neoliberal Homogenization: The Zapatista Autonomy Movement’, Latin American Perspectives. Vol. 34. Pp. 48–63.
Stiglitz, J (2003). Globalization and its Discontents. W. W. Norton, London.
Tilly, C (1996). European Revolutions, 1492–1992. Blackwell, Cambridge.
Tucker, B, R (2005 [1893]). Instead of a Book, By a Man too Busy to Write One: A Fragmentary Exposition on Philosophical Anarchism. Elibron Classics, E-Book. Accessed on 29 August, 2009 <fair-use.org >.
Wallerstein, I (2002). ‘New Revolts Against the System’, New Left Review. Vol. 18. Nov/Dec. Pp. 29–39.

[1] Anarchism is in no way a homogenous ideology. However, as one must conform to a relatively short word limit, it should be noted that anarchism throughout this essay is meant in the ‘classical’, broadly leftist sense, as is most widely recognised.