Ends and Means
Among anarchists, there is no consensus on the legitimacy or utility of violence in revolutionary struggle. Mikhail Bakunin, Peter Kropotkin, Emma Goldman and Errico Malatesta, for example, wrote of violence as a necessary and sometimes desirable force in revolutionary settings. At the same time, they denounced acts of individual terrorism. (Bakunin, "The Program of the International Brotherhood" (1869) and Malatesta, "Violence as a Social Factor" (1895)). Other anarchists such as Leo Tolstoy, Dorothy Day, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Henry David Thoreau have been advocates of pacifism.
Anarchists have often been portrayed as dangerous and violent, possibly due to a number of high-profile violent actions, including riots, assassinations, insurrections, and terrorism committed by some anarchists as well as persistently negative media portrayals. Late 19th-century revolutionaries encouraged acts of political violence, called "propaganda of the deed", such as bombings and the assassinations of heads of state to further anarchism. However, the term originally referred to exemplary forms of direct action meant to inspire the masses to revolution. Propaganda of the deed may be violent or nonviolent.
While all anarchists consider antimilitarism (opposition to war) to be inherent to their philosophy, anarcho-pacifists take this further, following Tolstoy's belief in pacifism. Although numerous anarchist initiatives have been based on the tactic of nonviolence (Earth First!, Food Not Bombs, etc.), many anarchists reject pacifism as an ideology, instead supporting a "diversity of tactics." Authors Ward Churchill (Pacifism as Pathology, 1986), Peter Gelderloos (How Nonviolence Protects the State, 2005), and Derrick Jensen (Endgame, 2006) have published influential books critical of pacifist doctrine, which they view as ineffectual and hypocritical. In a 2010 article, author Randall Amster argued for the development of a "complementarity of tactics" to bridge the pacifist and more militant aspects of anarchism.
As a result of anarchism's critical view of certain types of private property, many anarchists see the destruction of property as an acceptable form of violence or argue that it is not, in fact, violence at all. In her widely cited 1912 essay, Direct Action, Voltairine de Cleyre drew on American historical events, including the destroying of revenue stamps and the Boston Tea Party, as a defense of such activities.
Many anarchists participate in subversive organizations as a means to undermine the establishment, such as Food Not Bombs, radical labor unions, alternative media, and radical social centers. This is in accordance with the anarchist ideal that governments are intrinsically evil: only by destroying the power of governments can individual freedoms and liberties be preserved. Some anarchist schools, however, in theory adopt the concept of Dual Power: creating the structures for a new anti-authoritarian society in the shell of the old, hierarchical one.
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Ends and Means (an Enquiry Into the Nature of Ideals and Into the Methods Employed for Their Realization) is a book of essays written by Aldous Huxley. It was published in 1937. The book contains illuminating tracts on war, religion, nationalism and ethics, and was cited as a major influence on Thomas Merton in his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain.