A People’s History of the United States

The political and economic ideology that favors the abolition of government and the construction of a society in which people voluntarily organize themselves. Anarchism is one of the most vague and open-ended political ideologies, since its single organizing principle is a hatred for strong government. In the 19th century, some anarchist groups favored the use of violence to galvanize American society into revolution. Other anarchist groups have favored peaceful means of bringing about the abolition of government and centralized authority, and creating a society in which people socialized and cooperated voluntarily. In one of the final chapters of A People’s History, Howard Zinn characterizes an ideal society as one that lacks centralized authority or bureaucracy—suggesting that, even if he’s not a true anarchist, Zinn respects some anarchist ideas. Notable anarchist thinkers include Mikhail Bakunin, Alexander Berkman, and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.

Anarchism Quotes in A People’s History of the United States

The A People’s History of the United States quotes below are all either spoken by Anarchism or refer to Anarchism. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The American People Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Perennial edition of A People’s History of the United States published in 2015.
Chapter 23 Quotes

The great problem would be to work out a way of accomplishing this without a centralized bureaucracy, using not the incentives of prison and punishment, but those incentives of cooperation which spring from natural human desires, which in the past have been used by the state in times of war, but also by social movements that gave hints of how people might behave in different conditions. Decisions would be made by small groups of people in their workplaces, their neighborhoods—a network of cooperatives, in communication with one another, a neighborly socialism avoiding the class hierarchies of capitalism and the harsh dictatorships that have taken the name "socialist."

Page Number: 639
Explanation and Analysis:
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Anarchism Term Timeline in A People’s History of the United States

The timeline below shows where the term Anarchism appears in A People’s History of the United States. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11: Robber Barons and Rebels
The American People Theme Icon
...someone (it’s never been clear who) threw a bomb that wounded sixty-six policemen. Afterwards, four anarchists were blamed for the crime and executed. The executions outraged many workers—some said that the... (full context)
The American People Theme Icon
The Establishment Theme Icon
Militarism and Conquest Theme Icon
...was able to hire strikebreakers, so that, in the end, the strike failed. Afterwards, an anarchist tried to assassinate Frick, but misfired. (full context)
Chapter 14: War is the Health of the State
The American People Theme Icon
The Establishment Theme Icon
Militarism and Conquest Theme Icon
...socialism. In 1919, the government prosecuted or deported thousands of immigrants suspected of socialist or anarchist ties. Two of the most famous such immigrants were Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Sacco... (full context)