By Darren Allen
What is Anarchism?
Anarchism is the rejection of domination. In an anarchist society — which means of course in the anarchist herself — nobody is dominated by anyone or anything else. This does not mean, as we shall see, that there is no authority.1 What anarchism rejects is authority with the power to control or coerce the individual against her will.
There are two crucial exceptions. The first is that, in refusing domination, the anarchist necessarily has to restrain those who dominate — force and control — other people. Rapists, murderers, bullies and, less directly, thieves seek to dominate others, and so they must be prevented from doing so.
The second exception is that the anarchist is justified in restraining those who do not have control over themselves. There is no coercion in preventing very young children, sleepwalkers, trippers and drunkards, for example, from walking over a cliff. If someone has control over themselves and insists on throwing themselves from a cliff, then an anarchist society would let them do it.