What Anarchy Was Not

IWW-FlyerAnarchism is not vandalism, or terrorism. It is a loose-knit worker’s movement beginning in Europe of the early-mid 19th century, and coming to the United States and Latin America in later decades.

Focusing on developing a workers’ culture with information and ideas conveyed through workers’ newspapers and leaflets, anarchists were not interested in nipping at the heels of governments, capitalists and bourgeois business interests by vandalizing their property or blowing up bridges to get attention, but in going about the long term work of empowering workers to set up an alternative relationship between their labor and the products of their labor.

The International Workers of the World movement (the IWW, or the “Wobblies”) was one such workers movement that was developed out of anarchist ideas and goals. While there were always some marginal “lose cannons” who blew things up in a misguided attempt to call attention to and gain sympathy for their cause, the major part of anarchism was educating working people as to their human and civil rights, and to non-violent organizing of workers.

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