Tactics: Conceptions of Social Change, Revolution, and Anarchist Organisation

  • Dana M. WilliamsEmail author


Tactics are the techniques and actions used by social movements that implement strategies for the purpose of achieving goals. For anarchist movements, tactics can assume a reactive, diagnostic, or destructive force for opposing hierarchy, repression, and inequality. Tactics can also assume a proactive, prognostic, or creative force that promotes horizontalism, liberation, and egalitarianism. The purpose of these tactics is twofold: intervening in society to immediately accomplish goals (also called ‘direct action’) and illustrating a vision for a better world (also called ‘prefiguration’). Anarchist movements commonly have a protest repertoire that they regularly draw from, deploying one tactic or another from their ‘toolkit’, the choice of which depends on changing external conditions, participant interests, and coalition alliances. Tactics and other organisational forms are never imposed by anarchists upon others and thus must spread horizontally. Usually a combination of word-of-mouth, movement press, and stories of first-hand experiences help to diffuse these tactics from one location to another.


Anarchist Organizations Anarchist Movement Anarchist Tactics policePolice Value Nihilism 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyCalifornia State UniversityChicoUSA

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