Anarchy Works by Peter Gelderloos

anarchy worksI read Anarchy Works a couple years ago, but apparently only posted my review on Goodreads. There’s been a lot of talk recently, both in the news and on social media, about “anarchists” that either misunderstands the philosophy or is flat-out wrong. This book corrects that misinformation with a hopeful, down-to-earth tone, and encourages solidarity and unity.

Anarchy Works is set up Q&A style, addressing common arguments people make against non-hierarchical societies based on egalitarian principles, voluntary, non-coercive interactions, and mutual cooperation. Gelderloos addresses these arguments and backs up his points with examples from all over the world, past and present. Best of all, he challenges a colonized worldview right from the start,

This book covers a lot of history and anthropology, and it sure had me googling. Before I knew it, I’d followed a ton of rabbit trails, just soaking up all kinds of information, which is a big reason why it took me two months to finish the book. On top of that, Gelderloos provides even more opportunities for further reading through his meticulous notes and a recommended reading list.

“A successful revolution must be composed of many revolutions, accomplished by different people using different strategies, respecting each another’s autonomy and building solidarity.”

“Anarchy thrives in the struggle against domination, and wherever oppression exists, resistance exists also. These struggles do not need to call themselves anarchist to be breeding grounds for subversion and freedom. What is important is that we support them and make them stronger.”

Anarchy Works is a must-read for if you lean leftist or want to know more about anarchism. Even if you already subscribe to anarchist principles, you’ll find this book encouraging thanks to its nuanced, real-world examples of cooperation and mutual aid. I most appreciated its practical, realistic (rather than romanticized) sense of hope.