Medieval Latin anarchia, from Greek, from anarchos having no ruler, from an- + archos ruler — more at arch-
- Date: 1539
- 1 a : absence of government
- b : a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority
- c : a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government
Anarchy (from Greek: ἀναρχίᾱ anarchíā, "without ruler") may refer to any of the following:
- "No rulership or enforced authority."
- "A social state in which there is no governing person or group of people, but each individual has absolute liberty (without the implication of disorder.) But is bound by a social code ."
- "Absence of government; a state of lawlessness due to the absence or inefficiency of the supreme power; political disorder."
- "Absence or non-recognition of authority and order in any given sphere."
- "Acting without waiting for instructions or official permission... The root of anarchism is the single impulse to do it yourself: everything else follows from this."
Anarchists are those who advocate the absence of the state, arguing that common sense would allow people to come together in agreement to form a functional society allowing for the participants to freely develop their own sense of morality, ethics or principled behaviour. The rise of anarchism as a philosophical movement occurred in the mid 19th century, with its idea of freedom as being based upon political and economic self-rule. This occurred alongside the rise of the nation-state and large-scale industrial state capitalism or state-sponsored corporatism, and the political corruption that came with their successes.
Although anarchists share a rejection of the state, they differ about economic arrangements and possible rules that would prevail in a stateless society, ranging from no ownership, to complete common ownership, to supporters of private property and capitalist free market competition. For example, some forms of anarchism, such as that of anarcho-collectivism, anarcho-communism or anarcho-syndicalism not only seek rejection of the state, but also other systems which they perceive as authoritarian, which include capitalism, capitalist markets, and title-based property ownership. In opposition, a political philosophy known as free-market anarchism, contemporary individualist anarchism or anarcho-capitalism, argues that a society without a state is a free market capitalist system that is voluntarist in nature.
The word "anarchy" is often used by non-anarchists as a pejorative term, intended to connote a lack of control and a negatively chaotic environment. However, anarchists still argue that anarchy does not imply nihilism, anomie, or the total absence of rules, but rather an anti-statist society that is based on the spontaneous order of free individuals in autonomous communities.