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What is Anarchism?
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state and/or top down hierarchies (An-archy = Without ruler) to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations. Proponents of anarchism (known as "anarchists") advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical voluntary associations.
Anarchism aims to create a world where people co-operate as equals. Anarchists believe that most people are currently not treated equally, as a result of existing hierarchical structures such as patriarchy, the church, racism, etc. Hierarchy is a way of organizing people or things as above or below other people or things. Anarchists oppose hierarchy when it is enforced through coercion, persuading someone to do something by force or threats.
"Anarchism" and "anarchy" are also misused to mean "chaos" or "without order". This implies that Anarchists want to live in a chaotic world where everyone must fend for themselves. This is not true. Opponents use this misunderstanding to imply that Anarchy could not work and/or would only lead to chaos. Anarchists want to change this misunderstanding. They want people to see that the government and other forms of hierarchical control are both harmful and unneeded.