Anarchism in the Web of Transnational Social Movements


  • Christopher Chase-Dunn University of California, Riverside
  • John Aldecoa University of California, California
  • Ian Breckenridge-Jackson University of California, Riverside
  • Joel S. Herrera University of California, Los Angeles



Anarchism, Transnational Social Movements, TSMs, World Social Forum


Anarchists have played a visible and significant role in global civil society since the 19th century and in the New Global Left since it emerged in the 1990s. Horizontalism and social libertarianism have been central components of the contemporary World Revolution and were also important in the world revolutions of 1968 and 1989. Anarchists have participated in the Social Forum process at the global, national and local levels and, in various ways, have influenced the contemporary world revolution far beyond their numbers. We use surveys from Social Forums to examine how self-identified actively involved anarchists are similar or different from other attendees. We also conduct a formal network analysis to examine the links that the anarchists have with other social movement themes. Despite the small number of self-identified anarchists, our findings suggest that anarchist organizational approaches and political values are widely shared among the activists who have been involved in the Social Forum process.


Arrighi, Giovanni, T. K. Hopkins and I. Wallerstein. 1989 [2012]. Antisystemic Movements. London: Verso.

Bender, Frederic L. 1983. “Taoism and Western Anarchism.” Journal of Chinese Philosophy 10: 5-26.

Bettinger, Robert L. 2015. Orderly Anarchy: Sociopolitical Evolution in Aboriginal California. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Borgatti, S. P. and Everett, M. G. and Freeman, L. C. 2002. UCINET 6 For Windows: Software for Social Network Analysis.

Chase-Dunn, C., Christine Petit, Richard Niemeyer, Robert A. Hanneman and Ellen Reese. 2007. “The contours of solidarity and division among global movements” International Journal of Peace Studies 12,2: 1-15.

Chase-Dunn, C. and Ian Breckenridge-Jackson. 2013. “The network of movements in the U.S. social forum process: Comparing Atlanta 2007 with Detroit 2010” IROWS Working Paper #71. Submitted for publication.

Chase-Dunn, C., James Fenelon, Thomas D. Hall, Ian Breckenridge-Jackson, and Joel Herrera. 2015. Global Indigenism and the Web of Transnational Social Movements. IROWS Working Paper #87.

Chase-Dunn, C. and R.E. Niemeyer. 2009. “The world revolution of 20xx” Pp. 35-57 in Mathias Albert, Gesa Bluhm, Han Helmig,

Andreas Leutzsch, Jochen Walter (eds.) Transnational Political Spaces. Campus Verlag: Frankfurt/New York.

Chase-Dunn, C. and Matheu Kaneshiro. 2009. “Stability and Change in the contours of Alliances Among movements in the social forum process.” Pp. 119-133 in David Fasenfest (ed.) Engaging Social Justice. Leiden: Brill.

Chase-Dunn, C. James Fenelon, Thomas D. Hall, Ian Breckenridge-Jackson and Joel

Herrera, Joel. 2019 “Global Indigenism and the Web of Transnational Social Movements” in Ino Rossi (ed.) New Frontiers of Globalization Research: Theories, Globalization Processes and Perspectives from the Global South Springer Verlag.

Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre J. M. E. 2009. Religious Anarchism. Newcastle, NE: Cambridge Scholars.

Cohn, Norman 1957 The Pursuit of the Millennium. London: Secker and Warburg.

Coyne, Gary, et al. 2010. 2010 U.S. Social Forum Survey of Attendees: Preliminary Report. IROWS Wrk Pap 64: data at IROWS:

Flannery, Kent and Joyce Marcus. 2012. The Creation of Inequality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Fisher, William F. and Thomas Ponniah (eds.). 2003. Another World is Possible: Popular Alternatives to Globalization at the World Social Forum. London: Zed Books.

Freeman, Jo 1972-73 “The tyranny of structuralessness” Berkeley Journal of Sociology, Vol. 17 pp. 151-165

Gitlin, Todd 2012. Occupy Nation. New York. HarperCollins

Kornegger, Peggy. 2007 [1975]. “Anarchism: The Feminist Connection.” Pp. 492-499 in Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas: The Emergence of New Anarchism, Volume Two, edited by Robert Graham.

Meyer, John W. 2009 World Society. New York: Oxford University Press.

Michels, Roberto. 1911. Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy. Eastford, CT: Martino Fine Books.

McCauley, Clark and Sophia Moskalenko. 2017. “Understanding Political Radicalization: The Two-Pyramid Model.” American Psychologist 72(3): 205-216.

Noél, Alain and Jean-Philippe Thérien 2008 Left and Right in World Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Reese, Ellen, Christopher Chase-Dunn, Kadambari Anantram, Gary

Coyne, Matheu Kaneshiro, Ashley N. Koda, Roy Kwon and Preeta Saxena 2008 “Research Note: Surveys of World Social Forum participants show influence of place and base in the global public sphere” Mobilization: An International Journal. 13,4:431-445. Revised version in A Handbook of the World Social Forums,2012, edited by Jackie Smith, Scott Byrd, Ellen Reese and Elizabeth

Smythe. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.

Reitan, Ruth. 2007. Global Activism. London: Routledge.

Santos, Boaventura de Sousa. 2006. The Rise of the Global Left. London: Zed Press.

Schaeffer, Robert K. 2014. Social Movements and Global Social Change.: The Rising Tide Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

Scott, James C. 2009. The art of not being governed: an anarchist history of upland Southeast Asia. New Haven: Yale University Press.

______. 2017. Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press

Sharzer, Greg. 2017. “Cooperatives as Transnational Economics.” Review of Radical Political Economics 49(3): 456-476.

______. 2012. No Local: Why Small-Scale Alternatives Will Not Change the World. Aireford, Hants, UK: Zero Books.

Smith, Jackie, Marina Karides, Marc Becker, Dorval Brunelle, Christopher Chase-Dunn, Donatella della Porta, Rosalba Icaza

Garza, Jeffrey S. Juris, Lorenzo Mosca, Ellen Reese, Peter Jay Smith and Rolando Vazquez. 2014. Global Democracy and the World Social Forums. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers; Revised 2nd edition.

Snow, David A. and Sarah A. Soule. 2009. A Primer on Social Movements New York: Norton.

Starr, Amory. 2000. Naming the Enemy: Anti-corporate Movements Confront Globalization. London: Zed Books.

Turner, Jonathan H. and Alexandra Maryanski. 2008. On the Origins of Human Societies by Means of Natural Selection. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.

University of California-Riverside Research Working Group on Transnational Social Movements

Wallerstein, Immanuel. 2006. European Universalism: The Rhetoric of Power. New York: New Press.

______. 2012 The Modern World-System. Volume 4. Berkeley, CA: University of

California Press.

Williams, Dana M. 2016. Black Flags and Social Movements: A Sociological Analysis of Movement Anarchism. New York: Bloomsbury.

Williams, Michelle and Vishwas Satgar (eds.) 2013 Marxisms in the 21st Century.

Johannesburg: University of Witwatersrand Press.

Wood, Lesley J..2010 “Horizontalist Youth Camps and the Bolivarian Revolution: A Story of Blocked Diffusion” Journal of World-Systems Research 16,1: 48-62




How to Cite

Chase-Dunn, C., Aldecoa, J., Breckenridge-Jackson, I., & Herrera, J. S. (2019). Anarchism in the Web of Transnational Social Movements. Journal of World-Systems Research, 25(2), 373–394.



Research Articles

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>