Anarchism basically means "lack of government" or "lack of rulers". It is usually the belief that rulers or government are unnecessary and should be abolished.
Anarchism as a term used to describe a political philosophy was originally coined by Pierre Joseph Proudhon. Since then, the critique has become more encompassing. While historically anarchists are responsible for the movements that ushered in many worker rights, many modern anarchists would see such achievements as reformist half-measures and thus have a much deeper criticism of not only state power but also the more subtle forms of power that play a role in our lives (from patriarchy to civilization itself [as opposed to primitive tribalism which is often seen as being more anarchistic in nature than techno-industrial societies]). The focus of anarchism has shifted somewhat from the oppression and exploitation of man to broader examinations of such things like the exploitation of nature and the tendency for "advancing" civilizations to become more oppressive and destructive.
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