Anarchist and Anarchistic Anti-Systemic Movements in World-Systems Perspective
A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Non-State Spaces
Keywords:anarchism, anarchistic, world-systems, anti-systemic movements, non-state spaces, Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)
While world-systems anti-systemic movement scholarship has briefly acknowledged the existence of anti-state “cultural” movements—namely, autonomous indigenous movements in the periphery and anarchist worker movements in the core and semi-periphery—it relegates them to secondary importance to statist “political” movements. In this paper, we provide an intervention in the world-systems anti-systemic movements literature by centering anti-state movements in our analysis. In order to investigate the mechanisms essential for anti-state, anti-systemic movements over the longue durée of the world-system, we operationalize a qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) using nine cases of non-state spaces from different geographies and historical time periods throughout the world-system. We use a Boolean crisp set, or binary approach, denoting the presence, or absence of factors to determine the pathways that lead to the variation between explicitly anarchist and implicitly anarchistic movements as well as short-term or long-term non-state spaces established by anti-state movements. We find that the core and semi-periphery classification of anarchist movements is false. We also find that non-state spaces succeed when they are not repressed by statist anti-systemic movements or core imperial nation-states. In effect, the anti-systemic political actor replicates the logic of the core nation-state it claims to be opposed to when it comes to its repression of non-state spaces and movements. Prior to the “liberal geoculture” (1848–1968), even core states had difficulty repressing non-state spaces, and after the liberal geoculture semi-periphery and periphery states have had difficulty repressing non-state spaces.
Al-Bulushi, Yousuf. 2020. “Thinking Racial Capitalism and Black Radicalism from Africa: An Intellectual Geography of Cedric Robinson’s World-system.” Geoforum.
Amin, Samir. 1987. “A Note on the Concept of Delinking.” Review (Fernand Braudel Center) 10(3): 435–444.
Amin, Samir. 1990. Delinking: Toward a Polycentric World. London: Zed Books.
Anderson, Robert Nelson. 1996. “The Quilombo of Palmares: A New Overview of a Maroon State in Seventeenth Century Brazil.” Journal of Latin American Studies 28 (3): 545–566.
Apoifis, Nicholas. 2016. Anarchy in Athens: An Ethnography of Militancy, Emotions and Violence. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Arrighi, Giovanni, Terence K. Hopkins, and Immanuel Wallerstein. 1989. Anti-Systemic Movements. London: Verso.
Arshinov, Peter. 2002. History of the Makhnovist Movement 1918–1921. London: Freedom Press.
Beers, Steve. 2016. “QCA as Competing or Complementary Method? A Qualitative Comparative Analysis Approach to Protest Event Data.” International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 19 (5): 521–536.
Bookchin, Murray. 1995. Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm. Oakland, CA: AK Press.
Brown, Cliff and Terry Boswell. 1995. “Strikebreaking or Solidarity in the Great Steel Strike of 1919: A Split Labor Market, Game-Theoretic, and QCA Analysis.” American Journal of Sociology, 100 (6): 1479–1519.
Buechler, Steven M. 2000. Social Movements in Advanced Capitalism: The Political Economy and Cultural Construction of Social Activism. New York: Oxford University Press.
Bush, Caleb M. 2008. “Reformers and Revolutionaries: The Rise of Anti-systemic Movements and the Paradox of Power, 1848-1917.” Pp. 50–81 in Making Waves: Worldwide Social Movements, 1750-2005, edited by W. G. Martin. Boulder, CO: Paradigm
Cappelletti, Ángel. 2017. Anarchism in Latin America. Chico, CA: AK Press.
Castañeda, Christopher J. and Montse Feu. 2019. Writing Revolution: Hispanic Anarchism in the United States. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.
Chase-Dunn, Christopher. 1998. Global Formation: Structures of the World Economy. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.
Chase-Dunn, Christopher, John Aldecoa, Ian Breckenridge-Jackson, and Joel S. Herrera. 2019. “Anarchism in the Web of Transnational Social Movements.” Journal of World-Systems Research 25 (2): 373–394.
Chirot, Daniel. 1986. Social Change in the Modern Era. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Connell, Raewyn. 2007. Southern Theory: The Global Dynamics of Knowledge in Social Science. Cambridge: Polity.
Cress, Daniel M. and David A. Snow. 2000. “The Outcomes of Homeless Mobilization: The Influence of Organization, Disruption, Political Mediation, and Framing.” American Journal of Sociology, 105 (4): 1063–1104.
Dixon, Marc, Vincent J. Roscigno, and Randy Hodson. 2004. “Unions, Solidarity, and Striking.” Social Forces, 83 (1): 3–33.
Fortier, Craig. 2017. Unsettling the Commons: Social Movements Within, Against, and Beyond Settler Colonialism. Winnipeg, MB: ARP Books.
Gibson, Morgan Rodgers. 2019. “The Failure of the State and the Rise of Anarchism in Contemporary Anti-systemic Praxis.” New Proposals: Journal of Marxism and Interdisciplinary Inquiry 10 (1): 58–63.
Graham, Robert. 2015. We Don’t Fear Anarchy—We Invoke It: The First International and the Origins of the Anarchist Movement. Oakland, CA: AK Press.
Griswold del Castillo, Richard. 1980. “The Discredited Revolution: The Magonista Capture of Tijuana in 1911.” The Journal of San Diego History, 26 (4): 256–273.
Grosfoguel, Ramón. 2006. “World-Systems Analysis in the Context of Transmodernity, Border Thinking, and Global Coloniality.” Review 29(2): 167–187.
Gruba?i?, Andrej and Denis O’Hearn. 2016. Living at the Edges of Capitalism: Adventures in Exile and Mutual Aid. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
Guillamón, Agustín. 2014. Ready for Revolution: The CNT Defense Committees in Barcelona, 1933–1938. Oakland, CA: AK Press.
______. 2020. Insurrection: The Bloody Events of Mary 1937 in Barcelona. Chico, CA: AK Press.
Hagan, John and Suzanne Hansford-Bowles. 2005. “From Resistance to Activism: The Emergence and Persistence of Activism Among American Vietnam War Resisters in Canada.” Social Movement Studies, 4 (3): 231–259.
Hall, Thomas D. and James V. Fenelon. 2004. “The Futures of Indigenous Peoples: 9–11 and the Trajectory of Indigenous Survival and Resistance.” Journal of World-Systems Research, 5 (1): 153-197.
Heynen, Nik, and Jason Rhodes. 2012. “Organizing for Survival: From the Civil Rights Movement to Black Anarchism through the Life of Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin.” ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 11 (3): 393–412.
Hirsch, Steven J. and Lucien van der Walt. 2014. Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870–1940: The Praxis of National Liberation, Internationalism, and Social Revolution. Leiden: Brill.
Ki-Rak, Ha. 1986. A History of the Korean Anarchist Movement. Teagu: Anarchist Publishing Committee.
Kom’boa Ervin, Lorenzo. 2021. Anarchism and the Black Revolution. London: Pluto Press.
Knapp, Michael, Anja Flach, and Ercan Ayboga. 2016. Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women’s Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan. London: Pluto.
Mbah, Sam and I.E. Igariwey. 1997. African Anarchism: The History of a Movement. Tucson, AZ: See Sharp Press.
Merriman, John. 2014. Massacre: The Life and Death of the Paris Commune. New York: Basic.
Mill, John Stuart. 1843. A System of Logic: Ratiocinative and Inductive Volume 1. London: John W. Parker West Strand.
Mintz, Frank. 2013. Anarchism and Workers’ Self-Management in Revolutionary Spain. Oakland, CA: AK Press.
Plys, Kristin 2016. “Worker self management in the Third World, 1952–1979.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology 57(1-2): 3–29.
Potiker, Spencer Louis. 2019. “Obstacles to Insurrection: Militarised Border Crossings Hindering the Rojava Liberation Struggle.” Anarchist Studies 27(2): 77–102.
______. 2021. “Exit-With-Autonomy or Autonomy-Without-Exit? Divergent Political Trajectories in Rojava and the Kurdish Regional Government.” Critical Sociology.
Ragin, Charles C. 1987. The Comparative Method: Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
Ragin, Charles C. 2004. “Turning the Tables: How Case-Oriented Research Challenges Variable-Oriented Research.” In Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards, edited by Henry E. Brady and David Collier. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
Ragin, Charles C. and Claude Rubinson. 2009. “The Distinctiveness of Comparative Research.” Pp. 13–34 in The Sage Handbook of Comparative Politics, edited by T. Landman and n. Robinson. Los Angeles: Sage.
Ramnath, Maia. 2019. “Non-Western Anarchisms and Postcolonialism.” Pp. 677–695 in The Palgrave Handbook of Anarchism, edited by C. Levy and M.S. Adams. Palgrave Macmillan.
Robinson, Cedric J. 1980. The Terms of Order: Political Science and the Myth of Leadership. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.
______. 1983. Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.
Schmidinger, Thomas. 2018. Rojava: Revolution, War and the Future of Syria’s Kurds. London: Pluto.
Scott, James C. 2009. The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
______. 2017. Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Shantz, Jeff. 2010. Constructive Anarchy: Building Infrastructures of Resistance. Surrey: Ashgate.
Simmons, Erica and Nicholas Rush Smith. 2021. Rethinking Comparison: Innovative Methods for Qualitative Political Inquiry. Cambridge University Press.
Skirda, Alexandre. 2004. Nestor Makhno: Anarchy’s Cossack: The Struggle for Free Soviets in Ukraine 1917–1921. Oakland, CA: AK Press.
Skocpol, Theda and Margaret Somers. 1980. “The Uses of Comparative History in Macrosocial Inquiry.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 22(2): 174–197.
Smolski, Andrew R., Javier Sethness Castro, and Alexander Reid Ross, Alexander. 2018. “Lessons From Exits Foreclosed: An Exilic Interpretation of the Mexican and Russian Revolutions, 1910–1924.” Capital and Class, 42 (3): 453–488.
Taylor, Lawrence D. 1999. “The Magonista Revolt in Baja California: Capitalist Conspiracy or Rebellion de los Pobres.” The Journal of San Diego History 45 (1): 2–31.
Tilly, Charles. 1984. Big Structures, Large Processes, Huge Comparisons. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.
Turcato, Davide. 2015. Making Sense of Anarchism: Errico Malatesta’s Experiments with Revolution, 1889–1900. Oakland, CA: AK Press.
Umoja, Akinyele. 2015. “Maroon: Kuwasi Balagoon and the Evolution of Revolutionary New Afrikan Anarchism.” Science and Society, 79 (2): 196–220.
Wallerstein, Immanuel. 2002. “New Revolts Against the System.” New Left Review 18.
______. 2003. The Decline of American Power. New York, NY: The New Press.
______. 2004. World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
______. 2014. “Anti-systemic Movements, Yesterday and Today.” American Sociological Association 20(2): 158–172.
Wallerstein, Immanuel, Charles Lemert, and Carlos Aguirre Rojas. 2013. Uncertain Worlds: World-Systems Analysis in Changing Times. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Press.
White, Damian F. 2008. Bookchin: A Critical Appraisal. London: Pluto Press.
Wickham-Crowley, Thomas P. 1993. Guerrillas and Revolution in Latin America: A Comparative Study of Insurgents and Regimes Since 1956. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Williams, Dana M. 2015. “Black Panther Radical Factionalization and the Development of Black Anarchism.” Journal of Black Studies, 46 (7), October: 678–703.
______. 2017. Black Flags and Social Movements: A Sociological Analysis of Movement Anarchism. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Williams, Dana M. and Matthew T. Lee. 2008. “‘We Are Everywhere’: An Ecological Analysis of Organizations in the Anarchist Yellow Pages.” Humanity and Society, 32 (1), February: 45–70.
Zibechi, Raúl. 2012. Territories in Resistance: A Cartography of Latin American Social Movements. Oakland, CA: AK Press.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Spencer Louis Potiker, Dana M. Williams, Jake Alimahomed-Wilson
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- The Author retains copyright in the Work, where the term “Work” shall include all digital objects that may result in subsequent electronic publication or distribution.
- Upon acceptance of the Work, the author shall grant to the Publisher the right of first publication of the Work.
- The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
- Attribution—other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal Web site;
- The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a prepublication manuscript (but not the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.
- Upon Publisher’s request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author’s own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.
- The Author represents and warrants that:
- the Work is the Author’s original work;
- the Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
- the Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
- the Work has not previously been published;
- the Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
- the Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
- The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from Author’s breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 6 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher’s use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.
Revised 7/16/2018. Revision Description: Removed outdated link.