Top 10 Anarchists

Anarchist quotes
Anarchist quotes

Jon D White's Top 10 Anarchists
Disclaimer: Anarchists reject leaders and do not follow anyone.
Top 10 Anarchists in terms of influence on theory of Anarchism through history. See also http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu and http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/bright/bright.html and https://web.archive.org/web/20021212014934/http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/history.html

Author
Submitted by jondwhite on May 8, 2020

1. Mikhail Bakunin

https://libcom.org/tags/mikhail-bakunin
Bakunin was founder of the modern anarchist movement. He was a Russian collectivist anarchist, a prominent member of the First International (International Working Mens Association). His most famous book length work is God and the State.
https://libcom.org/library/god-and-state-mikhail-bakunin

2. Peter Kropotkin

https://libcom.org/tags/peter-kropotkin
Peter Kropotkin was a Russian Anarchist and Anarcho-Communist. His most prominent works are Mutual Aid, Fields, Factories and Workshops and The Conquest of Bread.
https://libcom.org/library/mutual-aid-peter-kropotkin
https://libcom.org/library/fields-factories-workshops-peter-kropotkin
https://libcom.org/library/the-conquest-of-bread-peter-kropotkin

3. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

https://libcom.org/tags/pierre-joseph-proudhon-0
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a French anarchist. He was the first person to declare himself an anarchist using that term and is widely regarded as the ideology’s most influential theorist. His most famous works are What is Property? and The Philosophy of Poverty (also known as System of Economic Contradictions).
https://libcom.org/library/what-property-pierre-joseph-proudhon

4. Emma Goldman

https://libcom.org/tags/emma-goldman
Emma Goldman was a Russian-born American Anarchist. Her most famous work is Anarchism and Other Essays. She founded and edited a publication called Mother Earth which was influential on anarchist feminism. She also wrote about her experience in Spain during the Spanish Civil War.
https://libcom.org/library/mother-earth
https://libcom.org/library/anarchism-other-essays

5. Rudolf Rocker

https://libcom.org/tags/rudolf-rocker
Rudolf Rocker was a German anarchist. His most famous works are Nationalism and Culture, Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice and Pioneers of American Freedom.
https://libcom.org/library/nationalism-culture-rudolf-rocker
https://libcom.org/library/anarcho-syndicalism-rudolf-rocker

6. Gustav Landauer

https://libcom.org/tags/gustav-landauer
Gustav Landauer was one of the leading theorists on Anarchism in Germany. Books in English include Revolution and Other Writings, and Anarchism in Germany and Other Essays.

7. Alexander Berkman

https://libcom.org/tags/alexander-berkman
Alexander Berkman was a leading member of the Anarchist movement. He was a Russian-born American anarchist. His most famous works are Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist, The Bolshevik Myth, Now and After: The ABC of Communist Anarchism. He was involved in the publication Mother Earth and also his own titled The Blast.

8. Errico Malatesta

https://libcom.org/tags/errico-malatesta
Errico Malatesta was an Italian anarchist. Malatesta wrote and edited a number of radical newspapers and was also a friend of Mikhail Bakunin. He participated in the First International (IWMA). His most famous work is a pamphlet titled Anarchy.

9. Johann Most

https://libcom.org/tags/johann-most
Johann Most was a German-American anarchist who is notable for his association with propaganda of the deed.

10. Elisée Reclus

https://libcom.org/tags/elis%C3%A9e-reclus
Elisée Reclus was a French anarchist. His most famous work is An Anarchist on Anarchy.

Comments

darren p

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by darren p on May 8, 2020

FFS what is the point of these lists?

Red Marriott

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on May 8, 2020

He was the first person to declare himself an anarchist using that term and is widely regarded as the ideology’s most influential theorist.

Only by people who really don't know what they're talking about. How about a list of 'Top Ten basic errors in my Top Ten lists'?

Reddebrek

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Reddebrek on May 9, 2020

I notice this one is pretty sparse. Like unless you only know of ten anarchists I fail to see how some of these qualify as top 10 if all you've got is their names, their nationalities and one or two book titles.

Johann Most was a German-American anarchist who is notable for his association with propaganda of the deed.

Johann Most was originally a social democrat and one of their early deputies who had brief connections to Engels and Marx, and was closely associated with Wilhelm Liebknecht, even wrote one of the SPDs summaries of Capital.

In addition practically every person on this list is notable for their association with propaganda of the deed as they all advocated propaganda through action, which is what the term means. For example Gustav Landauer the pacifist (well he did also join the first Bavarian Soviet Republic) was also fond of the term but for him the best propaganda of the deed was the establishment of model new societies to prove they could actually work. What I think you meant to say is that Most is notable for his advocacy of revolutionary terrorism, which interestingly he was arrested on multiple occasions for advocating while still a social democrat.

I'd say he's far more influential in anarchist circles for founding Freiheit the main German language anarchist newspaper that influenced many others especially the Yiddish anarchist and labour movements.

klas batalo

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on May 9, 2020

No Fabbri? No Makhno? No Durutti?

Also these lists are sorta funny, but I understand one wanting to do them out of boredom.

Serge Forward

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on May 9, 2020

Daft, I call it.

freemind

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by freemind on May 10, 2020

As well as agreeing with the sentiments above Goldman was not Russian born she was from Kaunas in Latvia.Berkman was from Ukraine not Russia.Proudon may have formulated primal economic theories but the worth of these diminished as Anarchism matured.He was a reactionary IMO.
It's like naming an all time football greats lol You could change it every 5 minutes and approach it from different perspectives and serves little purpose with respect.
I would put Durruti Makhni Voline and Maximoff ahead of some on that list for what it's worth.

tyneside anarchist

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tyneside anarchist on May 10, 2020

naive lists like this can NEVER be correct as they are based on the authors assumption and not general consensus.
My mate M from Northumberland, "in terms of influence" of my blossoming anarchism was a key component in who i am today....can i include him in your list...

dboon2024

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by dboon2024 on December 20, 2020

What is the point of complaining? This list was very useful to me. I'm compiling a list of definitions of anarchism and this helped me find people who have written really good definitions. And it turned me onto several great writers I hadn't heard of before. There are probably A LOT of people who haven't heard of people on this list. You don't have to look at it as a strict ranking system. If you think some names have been left off, it would be helpful to mention them. Adversely, if you think there are names that have been unduly mentioned, you can mention that as well. :)

dboon2024

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by dboon2024 on December 20, 2020

Why do they have to be "correct"? This list was very informative. I discovered several amazing writers I hadn't heard of before. What exactly is the problem?

delve

2 weeks 2 days ago

Submitted by delve on March 6, 2023

I'm so upset right now that I made an account just to post this.

This article has ONE woman and ZERO non-European/non-white anarchists in it. No mention of Lucy Parsons? Itō Noe not good enough to get a mention? Abdullah Öcalan? Ashanti Alston? Hell, not even a passing mention of Murray Bookchin or David Graeber, two of the most prominent anarchists in the past few decades, and both of whom are Jewish?

Even with my admittedly limited knowledge of the wider purview of the anarchist movement, I was able to name all of these people. I guess at the very least you had more women in the collage of quotes at the top of the page, but that still misses the mark.

DO BETTER Libcom.

Edit: To correct myself, it seems that Goldman and Berkman were both Jewish. My broad point, however, still stands.

Rob Ray

2 weeks 2 days ago

Submitted by Rob Ray on March 6, 2023

I agree it's not a great list (though I'd note libcom hosts works by/about all of the people you mention - this was a contributor posting, presumably, their personal favourites), and not to get in the way of you being angry at the audacity or anything, but implying it's leaving out Jewish people isn't correct. Three of the people in the above list were Jewish while a fourth, Rocker, married a Jew (Milly Witkop), learned Yiddish, edited the Yiddish-language radical paper Der Arbeter Fraint and was instrumental in the 1912 Jewish tailors strike.

(Edit: The other one you missed was Landauer).

Submitted by Steven. on March 6, 2023

delve wrote: I'm so upset right now that I made an account just to post this.

DO BETTER Libcom.

totally appreciate your view on this list, which I agree is a very poor list. However, please remember that libcom.org is an online library of user-generated content. I have edited this article to clarify that this is a list by one of our users. You would be very welcome to contribute a better list, or some other article or other content featuring better options.

delve

1 week 2 days ago

Submitted by delve on March 12, 2023

@Rob Ray
> "implying it's leaving out Jewish people isn't correct"
You're right. I edited my comment to note that I was mistaken before you replied.

@Steven.
> "libcom.org is an online library of user-generated content"
I guess I didn't fully realize this, and I assumed it was a list by a member/representative of Libcom. I apologize for my ignorance.
>"I have edited this article to clarify that this is a list by one of our users."
Appreciated.

I also appreciate y'all's responses. I'm just frustrated with seeing so much of the anarchist movement left to the wayside, and I hope you understand that. I could make a proper list myself, but to be honest, I'm not sure I have the time or energy to right now.

Submitted by Steven. on March 13, 2023

delve wrote:
@Steven.
> "libcom.org is an online library of user-generated content"
I guess I didn't fully realize this, and I assumed it was a list by a member/representative of Libcom. I apologize for my ignorance.
>"I have edited this article to clarify that this is a list by one of our users."
Appreciated.

I also appreciate y'all's responses. I'm just frustrated with seeing so much of the anarchist movement left to the wayside, and I hope you understand that. I could make a proper list myself, but to be honest, I'm not sure I have the time or energy to right now.

hey absolutely no problem, appreciate your comments, and agree with your view! You have posting permissions here, so do feel free to submit stuff in future!