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Anarchism is a theory of human governance that rejects any coercive form of central authority and offers a view of the future based on the voluntary cooperation between free individuals and groups forming the backbone of the social order. External authority—laws, government, police, church, and so forth—would be eliminated as they would be unnecessary; crime would not exist, and, should an offense occur, psychological methods of discipline such as shaming, for example, would suffice. Anarchists have divergent views on the level of community cooperation, ranging from individualism to mutualism and from syndicalism to communism, and on how these ideals can be achieved. Known tactics of anarchism range between the extremes of terrorism and pacifism.

Although anarchists have developed various methods of accomplishing social change since the French philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809–1865) first introduced the term in 1840, the mass media and the general public continue to ...

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