Anarchy in Action by Colin Ward

Anarchy in Action by Colin Ward

This classic text is an attempt to bridge the gap between the present reality and anarchist aspirations, “between what is and what, according to the anarchists, might be.”

More details


Please note we still have the cheaper FreedomPress version of this book available here.

The argument of this book is that an anarchist society, a society which organizes itself without authority, is always in existence, like a seed beneath the snow, buried under the weight of the state and its bureaucracy, capitalism and its waste, privilege and its injustices, nationalism and its suicidal loyalties, religious differences and their superstitious separatism.

Anarchist ideas are so much at variance with ordinary political assumptions and the solutions anarchists offer so remote, that all too often people find it hard to take anarchism seriously. This classic text is an attempt to bridge the gap between the present reality and anarchist aspirations, “between what is and what, according to the anarchists, might be.”

Through a wide-ranging analysis—drawing on examples from education, urban planning, welfare, housing, the environment, the workplace, and the family, to name but a few—Colin Ward demonstrates that the roots of anarchist practice are not so alien or quixotic as they might at first seem but lie precisely in the ways that people have always tended to organize themselves when left alone to do so.

The result is both an accessible introduction for those new to anarchism and pause for thought for those who are too quick to dismiss it.

For more than thirty years, in over thirty books, Colin Ward patiently explained anarchist solutions to everything from vandalism to climate change—and celebrated unofficial uses of the landscape as commons, from holiday camps to squatter communities. Ward was an anarchist journalist and editor for almost sixty years, most famously editing the journal Anarchy. He was also a columnist for New StatesmanNew SocietyFreedom, and Town and Country Planning.


  • “It is difficult to match the empirical strength, the lucidity of prose, and the integration of theory and practical insight in the magnificent body of work produced by the veteran anarchist Colin Ward.”  —Prospect
  • “Colin Ward has never written a highly paid column for a national newspaper or been on the bestseller lists, but his fan club is distinguished, and his influence wider than he himself may know.”  —Times Literary Supplement
  • “In Anarchy in Action, Colin Ward set out his belief that an anarchist society was not an end goal. . . . Ward saw all distant goals as a form of tyranny and believed that anarchist principles could be discerned in everyday human relations and impulses. Within this perspective, politics was about strengthening co-operative relations and supporting human ingenuity in its myriad vernacular and everyday forms.”  —Guardian (UK)
  • “Anarchy, for Ward, was a system in which mutuality predominates; and in a series of books he explored ‘anarchist applications,’ championing such groups as allotment-holders, prefab dwellers, amateur music-makers, squatters, DIY housebuilders and others who operate in the penumbra of the bureaucratic state.” —Telegraph (UK)

About the Author:
Colin Ward (1924–2010) was Britain’s foremost anarchist writer. Editor of Freedom newspaper and then Anarchy magazine from 1947 to 1970, he is the author or coauthor of over thirty books, including Anarchy in ActionTalking AnarchyAnarchism: A Very Short IntroductionCotters and SquattersThe Allotment, and Arcadia for All.

Product Details:
Author: Colin Ward
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-62963-238-4
Published: 12/2017
Format: Paperback
Size: 8.5×5.5
Page count: 192
Subjects: Politics-Anarchism


No products

£0.00 Shipping
£0.00 Total

Cart Check out

New products

  • Animal Liberation by Peter Singer
  • Animal Utopia
Animal Liberation by Peter Singer
Reprint of the classic animal rights text by Vintage Books
Read more
Animal Utopia
A new coffee table art book with beautiful paintings by Hartmut Kiewert,...
Read more
Anarchist Studies Vol 25 *2 Oct 2017
Anarchist Studies is an inter-disciplinary journal of scholarly research...
Read more
Maximum Rocknroll brings you old-school style with an all cut ‘n’ paste...
Read more
Our Bodies Our Choice sticker
Our Bodies Our Choice a feminist slogan that still needs shouting out loud.
Read more
Keep your rosaries off our ovaries sticker
Keep your rosaries off our ovaries, a pro choice sticker aimed at the...
Read more
I'm Hatin' Mcdonalds sticker
We have no love for the multinational epitome of capitalist greed.
Read more
We Remember Wat Tyler
An A6 pocket pamphlet celebrating the legendary rebel!
Read more
A Post Fordist struggle
Report & reflections on the UK Ford-Visteon dispute 2009.
Read more
Unwaged Fightback A History of Islington Action Group of the Unwaged, 1980 - 1986
UNWAGED FIGHTBACK, A History of Islington Action Group of the Unwaged,...
Read more
Strange Confused Tumults of the Mind
"STRANGE CONFUSED TUMULTS OF THE MINDE": Wanderings in the past, present...
Read more
The Wilhelmshaven Revolt
A Chapter of the Revolutionary Movement  in the German Navy 1918-1919....
Read more
May Day in South London by Neil Transpontine
For centuries people have been celebrating May Day in South London.
Read more
The Movement of Movements
What Makes Us Move?, the first of two volumes, provides a background and...
Read more
Bold Defiance
The Spitalfields Silkweavers: London’s Luddites?
Read more
William Covell and the Troubles at Enfield in 1659
Read more
The Establishment Versus the Rotunda
THE ESTABLISHMENT VERSUS THE ROTUNDA! Remembering 1830s London's most...
Read more
I Haven't had so much fun since my leg fell off.
Read more
Rent Strike, St. Pancras 1960
Read more
Menacing Language and Threats
“MENACING LANGUAGE AND THREATS” The Anti Corn Law Riots of 1815
Read more

» All new products