Freedom Press

Anarchy in Action


by Colin Ward
ISBN: 978-1-904491-45-3
198 pp

The popular understanding of anarchism, as being all about chaos, is not how anarchists themselves see things. Most strive towards a freer, more equal world, in which greed and hate are replaced by co-operation and a shared commitment to the common good.

Anarchy in Action is an introduction that focuses on our everyday lives, on how we educate ourselves, house ourselves and organise ourselves. Ward’s argument is that an anarchist society is always in existence, like a seed beneath the snow, buried under the weight of the state and its bureaucracy, wasteful capitalism, privilege and its injustices, and the false divisions of nation or religion.

Anarchist ideas can seem too alien and at odds with our lived experiences to take seriously. This classic text is an attempt to bridge the gap between “what is and what, according to the anarchists, might be.”

Through a wide-ranging analysis Ward demonstrates that the roots of anarchist practice are not so strange as they might at first seem but lie precisely in the ways that people have always tended to organise themselves when left alone to do so. The result is both an accessible introduction for those new to anarchism and a pause for thought for those who are too quick to dismiss it.

This edition includes both a new introduction by Sophie Scott-Brown and footnoting to bring this classic title bang up to date.