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Anarchy derives from the ancient Greek word anarchos, meaning no authority. Thus, it is a state in which the government does not exist or has no power over its citizens. That often results in chaos, lawlessness, and social collapse in societies that have anarchies. However, people advocating for anarchism express the need to reject the government to protect individual liberties. Moreover, to give people the right to self-govern. The World Population Review states that there are currently no actual anarchist countries. 

On the other hand, there are several active anarchist societies. For instance, the Zapatista society in Mexico, Rojava in Syria, and the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement in Sri Lanka are among anarchist groups.  In 2020, an anarchist commune called CHAZ existed on Capitol Hill in Seattle, USA. Soon, violence broke out. Ultimately, the anti-authority experiment lasted only one month. 

Logo of anarchists

Anarchy in Practice

The most recent anarchist country, Somalia, had no government between 1991 and 2006. That happened after the overthrowing of President Siad Barre’s military regime. Throughout this period, crime rates in Somalia multiplied, and poverty expanded. After the Federal Government of Somalia regained power, the country continued to face harsh consequences. 

So, what happened as a result of fifteen years of anarchy? In 2009, over 2 million Somali people were classified as refugees or internally displaced people. Furthermore, pirate attacks continued to increase after the reestablishment of the government because of widespread poverty.  

Today, the Overseas Security Advisory Council in the United States still warns against traveling to Somalia because of the high criminality rates, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and piracy. 

The Somali experience displays the consequences, both immediate and long term, that arise when anarchy exists in large societies or entire countries. Therefore, while anarchists look to sustain individual liberties, rejecting all government breeds violence and chaos rather than a solution.