A number of schools of anarchism have sprung up since Proudhon proclaimed himself an anarchist in 1840.
Those who most closely followed Proudhon’s economic system adopted the label mutualist. Typically mutualists support individual possession backed by mutual banking systems, emphasize associations between free laborers, and reject property titles not based on occupancy and use, such as the landed estates that rule over laborers based on historic access to state administrators. Like most anarchists, mutualists hold that resources will become more widely available as the restrictions and privileges upheld by the state are removed.
Individualist anarchism also took root in the 1840s. Josiah Warren’s experience with American utopian colonies had convinced him that upholding the sovereignty of the individual and ensuring that every person received the full value of his labor were crucial ingredients for a successful equitable society. His writings had a profound influence on other libertarians in America. In Germany, Max Stirner came out with his 1845 book The Ego and His Own, which rejected morality and absolutes. Stirner’s egoism later became an influence on anarchists, and many, including Benjamin Tucker, incorporated Stirner’s ideas into their thought.
Collectivist anarchism, which was advocated by international man of revolution Mikhail Bakunin, emphasizes the collective association of workers instead of individual ownership like the mutualists and individualists. Labor was seen as a social endeavor and individuals could access the products of society so far as they contributed to it with their own labor.
Anarchist communism, advocated by Peter Kropotkin, goes farther by holding that individuals should work in common and receive resources based upon their needs, rather than upon their deeds.
Anarchist syndicalism takes the federated labor union as the basis for organizing revolutionary action as well as the basis for economic organization in an anarchist society. Workers’ federations would run factories, farms, and other workplaces.
Anarcho-capitalism was first expressed in the mid-twentieth century by Murray Rothbard and David Friedman, but was largely anticipated by Gustave de Molinari in his 1849 essay, “The Production of Security.” Anarcho-capitalists draw heavily on studies in economics, often in the Austrian school, to advocate a society where services typically provided by government are instead provided by market actors. Anarcho-capitalists generally see exchanges in a free market as choices made among equals and are therefore less concerned about credit, interest, rent, and labor issues than other anarchists.
Note that some anarchists would exclude other categories from anarchism. To me if the anarcho comes first and the economic preferences second then an advocate of any of these schools can rightfully be categorized as anarchist.
A number of other labels have been adopted by anarchists to show a particular emphasis in their goals and methods, and adopting one label by no means excludes the ideas of another. Anarcho-pacifism, related to Christian anarchism and the writings of Tolstoy, opposes any use of force or violence as inherently authoritarian. Green anarchism, of which primitivism is one subset, has a particular focus on ecology. Anarcha-feminism analyzes and combats patriarchy with anarchist principles. Anarcho-transhumanism explores the relationship between anarchist thought and major scientific advancements in human longevity and capability. Agorism sees opportunities for liberation in markets that aren’t sanctioned by the state.
All anarchists seek the greatest freedom for each individual, unrestrained by political, social, or economic authority.
The state is nothing mystical, but is an institution made of people. It is a social organization that incentives certain behavior, generally worse behavior than that encouraged by free association on principles of cooperation and solidarity. The state relies for its existence on force and deference to people of higher rank. It enforces its own monopoly. To get to the top, political leaders must please powerful interests and usually continue working with certain interests in order to stay in power. Darian Worden