Personal versus Social Anarchism -A discussion

An analysis on what the difference between anarchists who are in it to change politics and those who are in it for personal change.

I recently learned a very important lesson at least within my own life on what anarchism means in my life. You see a good portion of people are in it to change politics, to change the world, to make the world as just a place as possible. This is also how I found myself interested in it at first, was the possibility of improving our world, and other similar reasons. However, after enough time to focus on the impending and growing police state I have found that in a world where it isn’t easy to change even something small, a more important life goal is to imrpove ones own life using anarchist principles. For example, the experience of learning to freely think, and not avoid certain feelings I may have. I have come to a place where I let my thoughts take a natural course and allow my feelings to come and go freely. It has been a struggle. But I have found that in my life, my personal autonomy is the first priority.

For example, the collective living movement. I like the idea of living in a commune where people work together and follow anarchist principles, and although they are supposedly embeddedd in the outside system surrounding them, they ignore the system, as if it doesn’t exist. Create an anarchist society that is independant on it’s own watch.

Any thoughts about ignoring the system rather than trying to overthrow it?


Al ignorarlo, es decir, al vivir “fuera del sistema”, de algún modo, también se está cambiando.

Debido a que el sistema no es un objeto, sino una “estructura móvil”, un conjunto de relaciones, que existe sólo si las colectividades forman parte de él.


Der Aufbau einer Alternativstruktur ist sehr wichtig, damit die Menschen dorthin wechseln können. Im Moment wäre nach der Revolution ein großes Nichts, das möglicherweise von autoritären Persönlichkeiten gefüüllt würde.


Most people have some dependence on the system, and I think anarchists should try to reduce their dependence on the system as much as possible. For example, you can live frugally, which reduces the time you must spend in wage slavery. You can even go as far as establishing or joining a commune, if possible in your situation.

On the other hand, you can ignore the state and capitalism, but they won’t ignore you. And so it’s important to educate others and spread anarchist memes, unionize, participate in demonstrations and direct actions, etc.


I do not think that ignoring the system is a very good idea, as guavacrisp says above “they won`t ignore you”. I am a member of the union, and i try to spread information about anarchism to other union members and i participate in demonstrations and direct actions. Anarchists have been in Norwegian unions for 150 years, they have never been many but have always had an influence. Personally i do not think the development we see today are possible to stop, the people will once again have to rise to a violent revolution with nothing left than desperation and hunger. History repeats itself…..


I think that a personal anarchism is a tool for a collective anarchism. In that way, an individualist anarchism thought go through the the collective as an additional and repairing tool. It means that from each “x” factor that is included in a collective anarchism thought line, the individual/personal anarchism is present.

E.G.: at the libertarian way of thinking you’ll see underlined that the individual rights should be something never taken by the state or any other monopolizing system formed in society.

This is something that reaches the collective but was planned on the individualism. It’s a mutual relation, you can’t fight for individual rights just because it is a personal advantage, but because it is a human right an something that should be worked on the now-free society.

Also, an individual/existential anarchism which goes alone, without a collective anarchism is such an egoist thought. If you separate them and leave it singular, both have non-sense, cause it’s mutual, as is anarchism.


I’ve found this four years later when looking up for some stuff. Well, four years from now and every experience

I had contributed to make me sure that collective thought is only possible through individualist thought.

Collectives are formed as affinity groups of individuals whose lives has been approached as a matter of struggle and survival.

In a more theorical level, I think that this division between personal and social anarchism are such a false schism – tipical Western dichotomous view.