Stefanie Knoll and Aragorn Eloff

2010 Anarchist Survey Report

2010

    Foreword

    I.) Introduction

    II.) The results

      Question 1: Gender

      Question 2: Sexual orientation

      Question 3: Age

      Question 4: Ethnic background

        Dominant group

      Question 5: Disability

      Questions 6 to 11: Religion/Spirituality

        Religious upbringing:

        Of those that are religious/spiritual:

        “Do you think anarchists should be atheists?”

      Questions 12 to 14: Class

        Upbringing:

        Comparison to general US Population:

        Correlations

        Class movement

        “Why do you think you belong to this class?”

      Question 15 and 16: Region

        Correlation:

      Question 17: Upbringing

        Other:

      Question 18: Education

      Question 19: Work sector

        Correlation:

      Question 20: Anarchist label(s)

      Question 21: Have you experimented with different anarchist orientations?

      Question 22: If yes, which?

      Question 23: Which of the below do you consider to be problematic trends in anarchism today (multiple options possible)?

        Correlation:

      Question 24: Please tell us why, if you want.

      Question 25: Which, if any, of the following tendencies do you consider to be not genuinely anarchist (multiple options possible)?

        Correlation:

      Question 26: Please tell us why not, if you want.

      Question 27: Which anarchist(s) do you feel closest to ideologically (multiple options possible but please try limit yourself )?

      Question 28: Why did you select the above?

      Question 29: Are you currently part of an anarchist organisation/affinity group?

      Question 30: If you’d like, tell us which

      Question 31: How important is it for you that different kinds of anarchists work together?

      Question 32: Should anarchists who choose to work together be part of the same organisation?

      Question 33: Would you work together with Marxists?

        Correlation:

      Question 34: Do you sometimes feel closer to certain kinds of Marxists than to other anarchists?

        Correlation:

      Question 35: Have you previously experimented or been affiliated with other political currents?

      Question 36: If yes, which?

        Correlations:

      Question 37: What do you think is the most important struggle we are facing today (please select only one option)?

        Correlation:

      Question 38: Do you think any of the following are unimportant for anarchists?

      Question 39: Do you consider yourself a part of a specific subculture (e.g. punk, hippy)?

      Question 40: Do you think there is a connection between this subculture and anarchism?

      Question 41: How did you become politicised (multiple options possible)?

      Question 42: How did you first hear about anarchism?

      Question 43: If it was a specific zine/journal/book or author or even song/band, which?

      Question 44: Which websites / forums / publications do you visit / read regularly?

      Question 45: What is your favourite anarchist book?

      Question 46: How long have you been an anarchist?

        Correlation with age:

      Question 47: How do you think anarchy will be achieved?

      Question 48: Which of these tactics / practices do you consider the most useful?

      Question 49: Are you currently part of any of the following movements / organisations / groups?

      Question 50: How do you think the world should be structured in the future?

      Question 51: How confident are you that we will reach an anarchist society?

      Question 52: How soon do you think this will happen?

      Question 53: Do you worry about your security as an anarchist?

      Question 54: What are your views on violence?

      Questions 55: What diet do you follow?

        Correlation: Diet and anarchist tendency

        Correlation: Diet and Gender

        Comparison: diet of general population and anarchists

      Question 56: Do you see a connection between your diet and anarchism?

        Correlation:

      Question 57: If yes, how?

        Some of the reasons vegans gave:

        Some reasons freegans gave:

        Some reasons omnivores gave:

      Question 58: What is your view on same-sex marriage?

        Other:

      Question 59: What are your views on relationships?

      Question 60: What is your view on artists?

      Question 61: What are your views on substance use?

      Question 62: Do you think there’s a link between your views on substance use and anarchism?

      Question 63: Which of these do you think are good living / co-habitation models?

      Question 64: Do you have any other relevant thoughts you would like to share, on this survey, on contemporary anarchism or on anything else?

    III.) Conclusion

    IV.) Appendix: the questions we asked

Foreword

There were several reasons why we undertook this survey. Primarily, however, it sprung from disagreements between the two of us — partners as well as anarchists of subtly different persuasions — around strategies, tactics, analysis and so forth. In many cases these disagreements hinged on speculations which we wanted to verify or disprove with some reasonably robust data: are anarchists really mostly white, male and middle-class? What are the correlations between anarchism and various lifestyle choices like veganism or communal living? What do anarcho-primitivists really think and how many people identify with this tendency within the ‘broad river’ of anarchism? What do we think of violence as a revolutionary tactic? How optimistic are we? A survey was the obvious choice.

Although this means that our original agenda was a deeply personal one, we still think that our survey results may be of value to different groups and individuals working within contemporary anarchism. There are, of course, many limitations to constructing and using surveys: from question design (with all its subjective inclusions and omissions) to the biases inherent in online distribution and the myriad possibilities for deriving (sometimes overwrought, sometimes contrived) conclusions from the data and the somewhat random sets of correlations we chose, we’re the first to admit that there are some shortcomings, both in our personal approach and inherent in surveys as a whole.

While, in spite of this, we do still think that some valuable information has been gleaned from our survey, perhaps the most useful thing we’ve done by providing our own finite analysis of the data is to ask some relevant questions, to open up a hopefully constructive discussion about what, if anything, the results mean for contemporary anarchism, or at least that portion of it able to be captured by an English language Internet survey.

Due to ethical considerations we have not released the full survey results for each person; some of these could have been potentially incriminating or would at least have drawn unwanted attention to some groups and projects. What we can offer, however, apart from our analysis, is the full set of answers for each open question — you’ll find links to these inline. Upon request we will also use our software to generate further correlations for anyone who is interested in specific questions such as: what sector do most anarcho-syndicalists work in? Are views on communal living or relationship style informed by religious upbringing ? Are pescatarian Bakunin fans more likely to endorse violence than freegans whose choice of favourite anarchist author was Emma Goldman?

Frivolity aside, we hope that you will engage our project with some of the spirit of solidarity in which it was conceived; that you will be gentle in observing its faults and work with enthusiasm in discussing useful findings with others.

For our part, besides giving us an opportunity to meet many more members of the global anarchist community, the survey has inspired us to travel the world to film a broad-scope documentary that offers a general introduction to contemporary anarchism, its core ideas, its history and its possibilities.

You can learn more about this project at: www.indiegogo.comy][http://www.indiegogo.com/Anarchism-A-Documentary]] or, if you’re on Facebook: www.facebook.com4][http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anarchism-A-Documentary/113880171992624]]

Thanks to all those who participated, those who offered thoughtful words of advice (sorry we couldn’t respond to you all!) and those who passed it on via their websites, blogs and social networks.

In solidarity and hope, Steffi and Aragorn August 2010

I.) Introduction

2,504 people took the survey, which was hosted on the www.anarchistsurvey.com website. It was open from 19 April 2010 until 12 June 2010 and published as widely as possible on anarchist news pages as varied as anarkismo.net, anarchistnews.org, libcom.org and infoshop.org. After 24 hours a Google search of “Anarchist Survey” (words combined) already led to 231 results, unexpectedly including quite a few “anarcho”-capitalist pages calling their “comrades” to take the survey. A recent Google search delivered 19 700 results.

Although this indicates quite a wide distribution, there is still, as anticipated, a heavy bias towards North America (56.6%) and Europe (31% — mostly Western Europe, especially British Isles; more details below). Asia follows with only 6%, Australasia with 3% and Africa with just over 2%. Only 1% of those anarchists that took the survey were South Americans which is very likely due to the fact that we could, due to technical limitations, only publish an English version of the survey. Internet access also plays a significant role. Most European anarchists who took the survey were from places that either speak English as a first language or where there is a lot of emphasis on English in the education system (such as in Scandinavian countries) and no dubbing of English/American movies. Whenever we draw generalisations, then, it is worth bearing in mind that these are only, at most, about English speaking “North Atlantic” anarchists.

Within 24 hours of publication we had 1 400 respondents; from there the data shows a variation of at most 1% per question. We conclude from this that we have a reasonably representative sample sub-group.

Given that this is a survey on anarchism and that a lot of anarchists are concerned about security, it is very likely that certain types of anarchism will be under represented. For instance, it is very likely that active insurrectionary anarchists would have tended to avoid this survey (3.6% are insurrectionary anarchists). It seems as though CrimethIncers did too (only 1.5% or 85 people, which seems low considering the size of their annual gatherings and the wide reach of their publications. Perhaps, however, it’s simply that people in affinity with the CrimethInc approach don’t use the term to describe themselves). We also anticipated that not many anarcho-primitivists would answer this survey, given their aversion to technology (although some might observe that primitivists using the Internet to communicate their ideas doesn’t seem any more controversial than anarchist bookstores participating in the capitalist economy). While only 1.8% of participants defined themselves as anarcho-primitivists, we remain relatively certain that this is a much more significant tendency — in the American North West as well as in some parts of Europe — than our data implies.

Speaking optimistically, we could also hope that those under represented parties were too busy working to actually achieve anarchism to be able to fill out surveys; we were heartened by all the positive comments in this regard.

The results were hard to analyse and we had to write our own software in order to generate correlations. Many questions had multiple selectable options and, as seems so obvious in hindsight, a lot of people had a strong aversion to being ‘boxed’ in by predefined options and elected instead to use the “Other” option wherever possible — as well as being social and communal,[1] anarchism of course places a lot of emphasis on individual opinion too. Even more problematic was the analysis of all the open questions. Trying to extract common threads from 2 504 sets of freeform opinion pieces is no easy feat! Anyway, we hope this goes some way towards explaining why it took us so long to release the results.

II.) The results

Let’s look at the results, along with what we thought were some interesting possible correlations.

Question 1: Gender

This is one of the most striking yet (unfortunately) expected results:

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-7.jpg

The average percentage of women in most populations is more than 50% (see www.geohive.comx][http://www.geohive.com/earth/pop_gender.aspx]]), apart from several Muslim countries were the ratio is reversed, ostensibly due to differences in perceptions and roles of women in these cultures. The world ratio of men:women is 100:102, which is 50.5%.

Why are there so many men and so few women in our ranks? Initially we thought it might have something to do with a gender bias in Internet usage, but it doesn’t seem to be the case that, all other things considered, women work less with computers. In contrast to this, two-thirds of the participants in a recent survey we conducted on veganism in South Africa were women.

It is beyond the scope of this report to discuss this further; there is a vast amount of literature on the topic already. These results do indicate, however, a need to discuss this serious disparity.

Another thing that might have struck people as soon as they opened our survey was that we gave five options for gender as well as an “Other” option. Although this might have been perceived by some as overly politically correct, 4.5% of participants did use options other than “female” and “male”.

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question:

Question 2: Sexual orientation

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-9.jpg

As a study in Britain and the USA shows (www.avert.orgm][http://www.avert.org/gay-people.htm]]), this question can be problematic, both to ask and to answer. The US Census, for example, does not directly ask about sexual orientation.

In general, only a very small percentage of the US population consider themselves to be exclusively homosexual (between 2% and 4%) and this also appears to be the case amongst anarchists, with 2.2% of participants identifying as gay/lesbian.

However, the bi-sexual and queer categories have above average representation. We can thus conclude that anarchists either experiment more with sexual orientation or are more open about it.

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question

Notably, there weren’t nearly as many freeform answers as with gender.

Question 3: Age

Here, we chose to go for age groups instead of letting people fill in their individual age. This means that we can only state the biggest age groups; we cannot accurately calculate a mean age.

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-5.jpg

63% of participants are between the ages of 21 and 35.

Only 6.4% of participants are older than 46.

In the general US population (see en.wikipedia.orgs][http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States]]), people under 20 years of age make up over a quarter of the U.S. population (27.6%), and people age 65 and over make up one-eighth (12.6%). The first category is incomparable to anarchists who took the survey as the under 20 category starts at age 0. Nevertheless, 20.4% of participants are under the age of 20, whereas only 0.5% are 66 and older.

Is anarchism really mainly attractive to younger people? We also have to keep in mind the age bias of the Internet.

Question 4: Ethnic background

This is a question that is hard to pose, hard to answer and generally disputed. We initially weren’t sure whether or not to include it, but concluded that it might be very important to see whether or not anarchism was in fact appealing to a significant number of non-whites. We weren’t sure which options to provide, so we went for the common sociological categories.

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-10.jpg

Embarassingly, we forgot to include Hispanic/Latino which is an additional 1.4%. But it seems that a number of Hispanics / Latinos opted for “indigenous” instead.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of people who took this survey are from either North America or Europe. There weren’t many people who chose more than one option; of those who did, white/Caucasian + Semitic was the most common combination. Quite a few people considered themselves mixed race.

If we look only at North Americans, we can see that the percentage of Hispanic/Latino and black/African participants is far less than in the general population. This might be excused away as lack of Internet access but we don’t feel that this would suffice — the ostensible lack of appeal anarchism has for non-whites warrants further discussion.

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question:

As anarchists, we share some of the above concerns. Yes, ethnicity and race are arbitrary constructions and have changed over time. Yes, they are highly subjective categories. There is a vast literature on this topic. However, if we want to be a diverse movement that includes all kinds of people (the multitude, if you want), we need to understand who anarchism is reaching and who remains unaware or disinterested.

Interestingly, it was mostly white people who were offended by the inclusion of this question. People of colour (as they are commonly referred to in the US) seem to be okay with defining themselves as such. Perhaps these differences in perception can help explain why the anarchist movement remains so predominantly white?

Dominant group

Looking at the above four questions, we can see that 48% of people who took the survey — by far the dominant group — are white straight men between the ages of 16 and 45. Then again, this is also the dominant group of Internet users. :-)

Question 5: Disability

This question, we have to admit, could have been specified in more detail. We should have distinguished between physical and mental disability. Additionally, we should have considered that many disabled people might not have access to this survey or be able to complete it. There are many different definitions of disability and some authors claim that every elderly human being is disabled to a certain degree.

Given these mitigating factors, and with no “Other” option available for this question, 5.6% of people consider themselves to be disabled, as compared to 18% (www.disabledinaction.orgl][http://www.disabledinaction.org/census_stats.html]]) in the general population.

Questions 6 to 11: Religion/Spirituality

Religious upbringing:
s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-11.jpg

Although the majority had a religious upbringing, most participants (88%) do not describe themselves as religious, as compared to 13% of the general US population and 15.5% in the UK who do not identify themselves as a member of any religion.

Only 12% of participants consider themselves religious.

Many participants distinguish between religion and spirituality, and 32% of anarchists consider themselves to be spiritual.

Of those that are religious/spiritual:
s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-12.jpg

Anarchism is historically associated with atheism. Given this, we though we should ask about peoples’ attitudes towards religion.

“Do you think anarchists should be atheists?”

55% don’t think that it matters whether anarchists are religious or not.
27% think that anarchists should be atheists.
18% think that if anarchists are religious/spiritual, they should be moderate about their religion.

It seems that anarchists are much more likely to be atheist than the average population, but are also quite tolerant of religion.

Questions 12 to 14: Class

Discerning the class background of anarchists can be difficult. Apart from the fact that there are a number of different definitions of class, many anarchists don’t use the common sociological categories because they are based primarily on economy and don’t fully factor in hierarchy. We therefore used a combination of categories together with short explanations in brackets. Nevertheless, a few people complained about our categorisation and asked why we didn’t use ‘the usual two classes’. Amusingly, one person also protested that our class distinction is “meaningless communist propaganda”; we’re guessing this is an “anarcho”-capitalist.

In our experience, some anarchists — especially non-working class ones — appear to suffer from what we have come to call “class guilt”, which gave us cause for concern about the accuracy of the results. Nonetheless, we think that it has turned out to be quite accurate, which we assume has something to do with the anonymity of the survey.

Upbringing:
s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-1.jpg

This means that 65.5% of anarchists (in North America and Western Europe) are from the middle classes.

Comparison to general US Population:

en.wikipedia.orgs][http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States]]

Value General US population Anarchists Difference
Upper class 1% 1.5% +0.5%
Upper middle class 15% 22% +7%
Lower middle class 30% 43.8% +13.8%
Working class 30% 28.4% -1.6%
Poor 25% 4.7% -20.3%

Anarchists who took this survey are overrepresented in the middle classes and upper classes and underrepresented in the poor and working classes. The initial implication is that anarchists generally have an above average class background. However, our results could be significantly distorted by varying degrees of access to the Internet.

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question:

Correlations

When we look at what classes participants belong to now, we can see a slight change:

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-13.jpg
s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-14.jpg
s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-16.jpg
s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-15.jpg
Class movement
Lower middle class 35.6% -8.2%
Working class 31.2% +2.8%
Poor/unemployed 20% +15%
Upper middle class 12.6% -9.2%
Upper/ruling class 0.9% -0.4%

Participants most commonly perceived themselves as remaining in the same class or moving down, with a few exceptions of moving up.

Following this we included an open question, as requested by some comrades who advised us on the construction of the survey:

“Why do you think you belong to this class?”

About 1,900 participants responded, making this one of our most popular open questions. However, individual answers such as these are quite hard to analyse. Quite a few said they were students or unemployed. You can see all the answers to this question at: www.anarchistsurvey.coml][www.anarchistsurvey.com/results/q14.html]]

Question 15 and 16: Region

“Which continent(s) did you grow up in?”

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-17.jpg

87.5% of participants come from the North Atlantic region. Very few people chose more than one option; the most common combination was Asia and North America, followed by Asia and Europe, then Europe and Africa, all of which were more common choices than South America.

The subsequent question was more specific and asked participants which region or state they were from. 757 people did not elaborate. We have split the results into North American and Europe:

North America (1 534): Approximately 120 participants are from Canada, the rest from the US.

Europe (839 people): Most Europeans are from Western Europe. Of those that elaborated, the most significant results are:

British Isles 156 22.4%
France 56 8%
Denmark 52 7.5%
Greece 27 3.9%
Germany 27 3.9%
Sweden 22 3.2%
Spain 11 1.6%

Some Eastern Europeans also took the survey:

Czech Republic 35 5%
Poland 20 2.9%
Slovakia 13 2%

Language barriers imposed a huge bias here. This is especially clear when we look at the numbers from Spain or Italy.

Correlation:

‘Anarcho’-capitalists are mainly from North America. Out of 225, 172 are from North America, 32 from Europe, 4 from Africa, 3 from Australasia and 2 from Asia.

Question 17: Upbringing

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-18.jpg
Other:

socialist (quite a few)
apolitical
anarchist

We wanted to ask this question because of an ongoing debate between us about whether or not upbringing contributes to the anarchist tendencies people have affinity to. We wondered whether a more liberal upbringing would correlate with anarcho-primitivism while, on the other hand, a conservative upbrining would correlate more closely with Platformism (it is sometimes stated by people within the anarchist milieu that Platformists tend towards the “conservative” end of the anarchist spectrum).

We chose to contrast these two with a third tendency and were surprised by the results.

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-2.jpg
s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-6.jpg
s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-3.jpg

It would seem that both Platformists and anarcho-primitivists tend to have a relatively liberal upbringing, and the same is true for most of the other tendencies. As our example above shows, “anarcho”-capitalists are the striking exception to this, having a much more conservative bias in upbringing than any those affiliated with any of the other categories.

Question 18: Education

“What is the highest education you have received?”

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-4.jpg

It is interesting to see that while almost 40% have university degrees (Bachelors or Masters), only 4% have a Doctoral Degree. This could be partly due to the dominant age group; however, most people with primary school education only are under the age of 25.

According to the U.S, Census Bureau, more than half the U.S. population 25 years of age and over in 2000 (52%) had completed at least some college education. Just under one quarter (24%) had a Bachelor’s degree or more. 9% had an advanced degree (Master’s degree, professional degree or doctoral degree. (wiki.answers.comn][http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_percentage_of_the_US_population_has_a_college_education]])

General US: 52% college or more
Anarchists: 61.4% college or more

General US: 24% have a university degree
Anarchists: 43.6% have a university degree

Participants seem to have above average levels of education; they are nearly as likely to have a university degree as the average American www.statemaster.comy][http://www.statemaster.com/graph/edu_per_of_peo_who_hav_com_hig_sch_inc_equ-completed-high-school-including-equivalency]]) .

USA high school education: 85.3 %
Anarchists: 98.24%

Question 19: Work sector

The data for this question is very widely distributed. We cannot therefore claim that most anarchists work either in Information or Education, but can observe that they seem to be more dominant sectors than others.

22.8% of anarchists work in these combined sectors: 12.2% in Education and 10.6% in Information.

The data here is also skewed because a lot of people gave multiple options. On average each participant selected 1.5 options. Therefore, the numbers that follow — which add up to more than 3 000 — are “hits”.

Unemployed 557 15.1%
Education 449 12.2%
Information 391 10.6%
Self-employed 361 9.8%
Manual labour 316 8.6%
Art 271 7.4%
Food/Catering 259 7%
NGOs 232 6.3%
Research 205 5.6%
Entertainment 154 4.2%
Student 143 3.9%
Administration/ government 106 2.8%

(Many people made use of the ‘Other’ option and described themselves as “unemployed education” or “unemployed student”. We forgot to give student as an option, so there might well be many more students than we could count from the freeform answers.)

It seems that participants are most likely to work in so-called “white collar” jobs. However, this again might be due to varying degrees of access to the Internet.

“Other”: here we got a big variety of answers; apart from “student” several wrote “health care”, which is another sector we forgot about. One especially interesting answer was “Medicinal Marijuana” :-)

Correlation:

Work sectors of ‘anarcho’-capitalists:

Work sectors of anarcho-syndicalists:

Work sector of anarcho-primitivists:

Question 20: Anarchist label(s)

Most participants chose two options here.

Pure answers:

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-19.jpg

Most common combinations:

The following labels received the most hits:

We have 182 pure ‘anarcho’-capitalists. We did not count those few who also said “libertarian socialist” or gave some other seemingly oxymoronic combination. Many ‘anarcho’-capitalists also chose “individualist anarchist”, “anarchist without adjectives” or “I don’t like labels”.

Quite a few participants chose lots of options but also “I don’t like labels”. One even chose all options and then wrote, “I don’t like labels like I said”.

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question:

Question 21: Have you experimented with different anarchist orientations?

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-20.jpg

Question 22: If yes, which?

Even though only 1 195 people have experimented with different anarchist orientations, we received 3768 hits on this question. This means that half of participants have experimented with three or more different forms of anarchism.

Most kinds of anarchism received roughly the same amount of hits as in Question 20.

There are only a few tendencies which seemed to have been more popular with participants in their past. One striking example of this is “Crimethinc”, which stands at 1.5% (85 hits) as a label participants currently describe themselves with, while 7% (263 hits) of participants having experimented with it in the past. This is in line with our perception that CrimethInc serves as an effective gateway / introduction to anarchism, but is not a term that most people would use to describe their particular anarchist views.

Insurrectionary anarchism, while providing less of a contrast, is something 7.3% of participants have experimented with in the past, while 3.6% currently describe themselves using this label. In numbers, however, it is 203 today and 276 who experimented with it in the past.

Anarcho-primitivism was experimented with by 6.4% (242 hits), and now stands at only 1.8% (104 hits).

Anarcha-feminism has the opposite pattern: in the past only 177 people experimented with it, whereas there are now 305 ‘anarcha-feminists’.

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question:

Only half of anarchists have experimented with other tendencies. Of those who haven’t, either because they are new to it or because they stuck with the same tendency, the most dominant ones are:

Question 23: Which of the below do you consider to be problematic trends in anarchism today (multiple options possible)?

This question received 7 838 hits, making it one of the most popular questions in the survey. Only 182 people did not answer this question, which means that most participants see more than three tendencies as problematic.

Most hits received:

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-21.jpg

More than half of all participants think that ‘anarcho’-capitalism is problematic. A substantial number think the same about anarcho-primitivism and also sectarianism. Question 25 elaborates on what are commonly perceived as non-anarchist tendencies.

“None of the above” only received 161 hits which means that only 161 participants are ultra non-sectarian.

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question:

Interestingly, quite a few participants wrote that they didn’t know enough about the different tendencies to answer this question.

Correlation:

Anarchists without adjectives and those that don’t like labels seem to be the least sectarian anarchists, usually saying that “none of the above” or “sectarianism” are the most problematic tendencies in anarchism today.

Question 24: Please tell us why, if you want.

This was an open question. Only 985 people answered this question, but this means that there are still 985 individual answers (which you can view here: www.anarchistsurvey.coml][www.anarchistsurvey.com/results/q24.html]], some of which were very long, cut short only by our word limit!

Here are some of the more interesting responses to this question:

Question 25: Which, if any, of the following tendencies do you consider to be not genuinely anarchist (multiple options possible)?

1,973 people answered this question. The question received 4,843 hits which means that each person chose 2.5 tendencies on average.

Most hits received:

We can conclude that most participants do not consider ‘anarcho’-capitalism to be anarchist.

470 participants thought that only ‘anarcho’-capitalism is not genuinely anarchist, followed by 142 participants who thought both ‘anarcho’-capitalism and Christian Anarchism are not anarchist.

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question

Correlation:

Again, those who chose “I don’t like labels” or “Anarchists without adjectives” are, as can be expected, the ‘least sectarian’ particpants.

Question 26: Please tell us why not, if you want.

Another open question. You can see all the answers here: www.anarchistsurvey.coml][www.anarchistsurvey.com/results/q26.html]]

762 people filled in this question.

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question

Question 27: Which anarchist(s) do you feel closest to ideologically (multiple options possible but please try limit yourself )?

2084 people answered this question with 4654 hits. This means that most people selected around two options.

Most hits received:

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-25.jpg

Yes, we know, Emma Goldman is the only woman in this list. We chose only to list people that best represent specific anarchist traditions; applying this rule, we included Kropotkin as a representative for anarcho-communism, Stirner for individualism, Tolstoy for pacifism, Makhno for platformism, Goldman for anarcha-feminism, Zerzan for anarcho-primitivism, Steve Best for “total liberation”, Saul Newman for post-anarchism and so forth.

So, even though we love Lucy Parsons and Voltairine de Cleyre (and Alexander Berkman too), they do not represent a tendency. Note that we did not include any of the “anarcho”-capitalists in this question, possibly invoking the ire of the 103 folks who chose Murray Rothbard as their freeform answer :-)

Emma Goldman and Peter Kropotkin were the most common combination, followed by Mikhail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin.

Here are some of the more interesting / prominent freeform responses to this question

Question 28: Why did you select the above?

Again, an open question that has to be read in correlation with the previous one. 638 people answered. You can see all the answers here: www.anarchistsurvey.coml][www.anarchistsurvey.com/results/q28.html]]

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question

In general, a lot of people have said that they don’t know all the people and therefore also only chose the ones in our list they actually knew. A lot stated that they don’t read enough.

Question 29: Are you currently part of an anarchist organisation/affinity group?

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-22.jpg

Answered by nearly everyone.

Question 30: If you’d like, tell us which

Out of ethical / security considerations we will not show the results. 645 people answered this, and most of the better known organisations — particularly the North American ones — were represented.

Question 31: How important is it for you that different kinds of anarchists work together?

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-27.jpg

It seems that working together across tendencies is important for most participants.

Question 32: Should anarchists who choose to work together be part of the same organisation?

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-23.jpg

Participants do, however, think that working together does not necessitate being part of the same organisation.

Question 33: Would you work together with Marxists?

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-24.jpg
Correlation:

Anarchist Communists:
390 sometimes, 297 yes, 50 no

Anarcho-Syndicalists:
300 sometimes, 210 yes, 39 no

Primitivist:
63 sometimes, 27 no, 12 yes

Platformist:
82 sometimes, 49 yes, 6 no

I don’t like labels:
280 sometimes, 142 yes, 73 no

Anarchists without adjectives:
310 sometimes, 91 no, 89 yes

Individualist Anarchist:
188 sometimes, 123 no, 45 yes

Insurrectionary Anarchist:
120 sometimes, 43 no, 38 yes

Participants who chose “I don’t like labels”, “anarchists without adjectives” and “Anarcho-Communists” are most likely to work together with Marxists, while “‘anarcho’-capitalists” are, unsurprisingly, least likely.

Question 34: Do you sometimes feel closer to certain kinds of Marxists than to other anarchists?

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-26.jpg
Correlation:

Platformists:
72 yes, sometimes; 37 yes, often

Anarchist Communists:
345 yes, sometimes; 169 not very often; 160 yes, often

Primitivists:
42 not very often, 32 no, never, 23 yes, sometimes

Individualist Anarchist:
153 no, never, 124 not very often, 64 yes, sometimes

Question 35: Have you previously experimented or been affiliated with other political currents?

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-28.jpg

Question 36: If yes, which?

Everyone (1 689 people) who has experimented with another political current answered this question. On average, each of them chose two options. This implies that many anarchists experimented with one or more tendency before they became anarchists.

An unwieldy number of options are possible here, but obvious constraints forced us to include only those we thought of as most common:

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question

Correlations:

Most ‘anarcho’-capitalists have experimented with “free market libertarianism”. No surprises there!

Many have experimented with the Green party, liberalism and conservatism

Platformists: mostly Marxism, Trotskyism, Marxism-Leninism, Social Democracy

Primitivists: Green Party, Social Democracy, Marxism

Anarcho-Syndicalists: Marxism, Social Democracy, Trotskyism

Anarchist Communists: Marxism, Social Democracy, Trotskyism, Liberalism, Green Party

Individualist Anarchists: mostly Free Market Libertarianism, Liberalism, Social Democracy

Question 37: What do you think is the most important struggle we are facing today (please select only one option)?

Here we only allowed for one option — we really wanted to see what people would choose when it really came down to it, instead of allowing them to pay lip service in order to appear ‘politically correct’.

However, in hindsight it might have been better to open this question up completely and collate “hits”.

We did, however, add an “Other” option, which garnered quite a few (242) responses.

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-29.jpg

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question

Correlation:

Anarcho-Syndicalists: 255 all struggles are interlinked, 198 class struggle, 34 environmental destruction

Primitivists: 60 all struggles are interlinked, 21 environmental degradation, 6 class struggle

Platformists: 65 class struggle, 57 all struggles are interlinked

Anarchist Communists: 363 all struggles are interlinked, 263 class struggle

‘anarcho’-capitalists: mostly “other”, 67 all struggles are interlinked, 42 national liberation, 12 class struggle

Question 38: Do you think any of the following are unimportant for anarchists?

they are all important: 45.9%
animal liberation: 19.4%
national liberation: 6.2%

The rest are all evenly distributed between 3% and just over 4%. This implies that most participants view all struggles as important and see them as interlinked. However, it also implies that there are still anarchists who sincerely believe that women’s liberation, gay/lesbian/queer liberation, etc. are not important issues for anarchists.

Somewhat encouraging for us as vegans and animal rights activists is that 80.6% (if we infer based on omission) agree that animal liberation is important :-)

Question 39: Do you consider yourself a part of a specific subculture (e.g. punk, hippy)?

Anarchism is often associated with the punk subculture. We wanted to see how true this is.

1 713 said they are not part of a subculture and 146 did not answer this question. This leaves us with 645 people (37.7%) who do consider themselves to belong to a subculture.

The most common answers were:

Punk: 289 (44.8% of everyone who belongs to a subculture, 11.5% of all people who took this survey): this includes punk, anarcho-punk, hardcore punk, crust punk, hippy-punk, post-punk, people who used to be punks, academic punks, cyberpunks, folk punk

Hippy: 66 (10.2% of everyone who belongs to a subculture, 2.6% of everyone who took the survey)

Hardcore: 25

Goth: 20

The dominant subculture amongst participants is punk, at 11.4% of everyone who took the survey.

Question 40: Do you think there is a connection between this subculture and anarchism?

Not many people answered this question, even among those who see themselves as part of a subculture.

Out of those people who answered this question, 335 said no and only 3 people gave a clear “yes” answer. In other words, most participants who belong to subcultures don’t think that there is a connection between their subculture and anarchism.

A few people who don’t see themselves as belonging to a particular subculture also answered this question; the most common answers here were “unfortunately” and “sometimes”.

Considering that the average participant is a young Western male, the connection between anarchism and subcultures is less significant than we anticipated.

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question

Question 41: How did you become politicised (multiple options possible)?

This question was answered by 2 389 people and received 6 539 hits. This means that on average each person chose 2.7 options.

Most hits received:

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question

Question 42: How did you first hear about anarchism?

2 400 people answered this question. On average each person chose 1.4 options.

Most hits received:

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question

Question 43: If it was a specific zine/journal/book or author or even song/band, which?

This was an open question and was answered by 761 people. Here are the books/zines/bands/etc. that were mentioned most often:

Question 44: Which websites / forums / publications do you visit / read regularly?

This was an open question. You can see all the answers here: www.anarchistsurvey.coml][www.anarchistsurvey.com/results/q44.html]]

Common answers were:

Question 45: What is your favourite anarchist book?

This was an open question and was answered by 1 334 people. Quite a few people said they didn’t have one favourite book or that there were way too many to choose. You can see all the answers here: www.anarchistsurvey.coml][www.anarchistsurvey.com/results/q45.html]]

Most hits received:

Question 46: How long have you been an anarchist?

Nearly everyone answered this question:

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-8.jpg
Correlation with age:

Unsurprisingly, most people who have been anarchists for less than a year are between 16 and 20 (76) and between 21 and 25 (56).

Quite interesting also to see that between the ages of 26 and 35 we have some long-term anarchists; the biggest cluster in this age group state that they have been anarchists for 11 to 20 years. This means that many became anarchists as early as their mid-teens. 53 people in this age group claim to have been anarchists for more than 20 years.

Question 47: How do you think anarchy will be achieved?

2 392 people answered this question which received 7 025 hits. This means that the average person chose three options. Many people also chose “Other”.

Most hits received:

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question

Question 48: Which of these tactics / practices do you consider the most useful?

This question received 11 128 hits, including a significant number of freeform answers.

Participants seem to agree that there is a need for a diversity of tactics :-)

Question 49: Are you currently part of any of the following movements / organisations / groups?

1 506 people answered this question. With 2 657 answers this means that the average person who answered this question is part of 1.7 groups.

Most hits received:

Other:

Question 50: How do you think the world should be structured in the future?

2,254 people answered this question. With 2,855 hits, most chose only one option.

Most hits received:

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-30.jpg

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question

Question 51: How confident are you that we will reach an anarchist society?

Anarchists are very realistic.

Question 52: How soon do you think this will happen?

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-31.jpg

Question 53: Do you worry about your security as an anarchist?

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-32.jpg

NB: It is likely that many people who are very worried about their security did not answer this question or even take the survey.

Question 54: What are your views on violence?

142 people did not answer this question.

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-34.jpg

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question

Questions 55: What diet do you follow?

116 people did not answer this question.

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-38.jpg

Open: (163)

A lot of people wrote that they only eat organic food. Many also wrote that they aimed to change their diet in the near future in order to have less of an impact on the environment and non-human animals.

Correlation: Diet and anarchist tendency
Primitivists Platformists Anarcha-feminists Anarcho-syndicalists
omnivore 45.2% 63% 45.8% 61.8%
vegan 9.6% 10.9% 19.3% 11%
ovo-lacto 12.5% 10.9% 16.3% 14.9%
lacto 4.8% 0% 3.4% 2.4%
pescetarian 4.8% 7.2% 4.7% 6.6%
freegan 13.5% 3.6% 9.5% 2.6%
raw vegan 4.8% 0.7% 0.3% 0%
Green anarchists Individualists Anarchist Communists ‘Anarcho’-Capitalists
omnivore 42.5% 75.1% 62% 86.5%
vegan 18.8% 5.8% 10.4% 1.8%
ovo-lacto 16.7% 9.9% 14.5% 4.6%
lacto 3.2% 0.9% 2.1% 0%
pescetarian 8.8% 4.3% 6% 4.1%
freegan 8.5% 1.7% 4% 1.1%
raw vegan 0.6% 0.3% 0% 0%

Green anarchists, anarcho-primitivists and anarcha-feminists are least likely to be omnivores. Anarcho-primitivists are more likely to be freegan and raw vegan than those identifying with any other tendencies. The biggest percentage of vegans is amongst anarcha-feminists (19.3% — somewhere between 20-40x as prevalent as in the general population!), followed by green anarchists.

The anarchists who are most likely to be omnivores and least likely to be vegetarians or vegans are ‘anarcho’-capitalists, followed by individualist anarchists. Meat eating is also more likely among anarchist communists, anarcho-syndicalists and platformists.

All the paleo-diet followers (5) are either individualists or ‘anarcho’-capitalists.

Correlation: Diet and Gender
Female Male Genderqueer / other
omnivore 48.8% 55.8% 41.2
vegan 16.4% 7% 24.7%
ovo-lacto 16.4% 10% 10.3%
pescetarian 10.2% 4.6% 7.2%
freegan 5.1% 2.1% 15.5%
lacto 2.7% 1.5% 15.5%
raw vegan 0.3% 0.3% 1%

Genderqueers are most likely to be vegan (24.7%) and least likely to be omnivores. They are also the group most likely to be freegans.

Comparison: diet of general population and anarchists

A 2002 Time/CNN poll found that 4% of American adults identify as vegetarians.

Various polls have reported vegans to be between 0.2% and 1.3% of the U.S. population, and between 0.25% and 0.4% of the UK population.

The 2006 survey found that about 1.4% of men and 1.3% of women have vegan diets.

The “Vegetarianism in America” study, published by Vegetarian Times shows that 59 percent of vegetarians are female and 41 percent are male. (www.vegetariantimes.com7][http://www.vegetariantimes.com/features/archive_of_editorial/667]])

As we can see, almost kinds of anarchists (apart from ‘anarcho-capitalists’) are significantly more likely to be vegetarian or vegan than the general population.

Question 56: Do you see a connection between your diet and anarchism?

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-33.jpg
Correlation:

207 vegans see a connection between their diet and anarchism, 66 don’t. 49 freegans see a connection, 26 don’t. 257 omnivores see a connection, but 1 160 don’t.

Question 57: If yes, how?

You can see all the answers here: www.anarchistsurvey.coml][www.anarchistsurvey.com/results/q57.html]]

Some of the reasons vegans gave:
Some reasons freegans gave:
Some reasons omnivores gave:

Quite a lot of omnivores stated that they should be vegetarian/vegan.

Question 58: What is your view on same-sex marriage?

1,815 people answered this question.

Other:

Question 59: What are your views on relationships?

2,253 people answered this question.

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-35.jpg

We’re guessing this is quite different to the general population.

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question

In hindsight, we should have worded this question differently in order to find out what people practice in their own lives. How many are in monogamous relationships, in polyamorous or open relationships, etc.?

Question 60: What is your view on artists?

2,023 people answered this question.

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-36.jpg

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question

Question 61: What are your views on substance use?

1,672 people answered this question.

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-37.jpg

We’re quite surprised by the huge number of participants who view psychedelics positively and, ostensibly, as a separate category of substances.

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question

In hindsight, we should have reworded some of the options. We were more interested in personal usage patterns than views — someone can be straight edge but still think that the responsible use of psychedelics by others is fine, for instance.

Question 62: Do you think there’s a link between your views on substance use and anarchism?

1,956 people answered this question. Out of those, 1,219 said no.

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question

Lots of people, whether they take drugs or not, think that drugs should be legalised and harm reduction programs put in place.

Question 63: Which of these do you think are good living / co-habitation models?

2,237 people took this question, which received 5,568 hits, meaning that most participants chose two options.

Most hits received:

s-k-stefanie-knoll-and-aragorn-eloff-2010-anarchis-39.jpg

Here are some of the more interesting freeform responses to this question

Question 64: Do you have any other relevant thoughts you would like to share, on this survey, on contemporary anarchism or on anything else?

Only 690 people wrote something in this last open question. You can see all the answers here: www.anarchistsurvey.coml][www.anarchistsurvey.com/results/q64.html]]

The most common thoughts here were:

We were heartened by the mostly positive feedback, apart from the inevitable criticism from “anarcho”-capitalists that our survey was biased. So be it :-)

Quite a few participants commented on how troubling it is that the contemporary anarchist movement is so sectarian, or stated that we should put aside our differences and unite to work on the broad anarchist project.

Here are some of the more interesting (and sometimes pretty amusing) freeform responses to our final question

There were some interesting complaints: that we are biased against anarcho-primitivism (one of us is, in fact, quite biased towards it). The same goes for CrimethInc (one of us was involved in some CrimethInc projects in South Africa). We were also chided for not including enough women, yet one of us is a staunch anarcha-feminist.

Another amusing comment was that this survey was clearly made by American lifestyle anarchists.

One of us is European, has lived in South Africa for four years, and is an ex-Zabalaza member who is very much against so-called “lifestyle anarchism”. The other is South African. We have to wonder why we came across in this way....

III.) Conclusion

This was a lot of work but we hope it was worth it, and that it generates at least a bit of constructive discussion.

See you at the barricades!

IV.) Appendix: the questions we asked

  1. Please tell us your gender

  2. Please tell us your sexual orientation

  3. Please tell us your age

  4. Please tell us your ethnic background:

  5. Are you disabled/differently abled?

  6. What religion were you brought up with?

  7. Do you currently identify with a religion?

  8. If no, do you consider yourself spiritual?

  9. If yes, which religion do you identify with?

  10. Do you see a connection between anarchism and your religion (if applicable)?

  11. Do you think anarchists should be atheists?

  12. What class did your parents belong to when you grew up?

  13. What class do you think you belong to now?

  14. Why do you think you belong to this class?

  15. Which continent(s) did you grow up in?

  16. If you want, please elaborate (region/state):

  17. What kind of upbringing did you have?

  18. What is the highest education you have received?

  19. Which sector do you work in (multiple options possible)?

  20. Which anarchist label(s) would you feel most comfortable with?

  21. Have you experimented with different anarchist orientations?

  22. If yes, which?

  23. Which of the below do you consider to be problematic trends in anarchism today?

  24. Please tell us why, if you want.

  25. Which, if any, of the following tendencies do you consider to be not genuinely anarchist?

  26. Please tell us why not, if you want.

  27. Which anarchist(s) do you feel closest to ideologically?

  28. Why did you select the above?

  29. Are you currently part of an anarchist organisation/affinity group?

  30. If you’d like, tell us which one(s).

  31. How important is it for you that different kinds of anarchists work together?

  32. Should anarchists who choose to work together be part of the same organisation?

  33. Would you work together with Marxists?

  34. Do you sometimes feel closer to certain kinds of Marxists than to other anarchists?

  35. Have you previously experimented or been affiliated with other political currents?

  36. If yes, please tell us which.

  37. What do you think is the most important struggle we are facing today (please select only one option)?

  38. Do you think any of the following are unimportant for anarchists?

  39. Do you consider yourself a part of a specific subculture (e.g. punk, hippy)?

  40. Do you think there is a connection between this subculture and anarchism?

  41. How did you become politicised?

  42. How did you first hear about anarchism?

  43. If it was a specific zine/journal/book or author or even song/band, please tell us which?

  44. Which websites / forums / publications do you visit / read regularly?

  45. What is your favourite anarchist book?

  46. How long have you been an anarchist?

  47. How do you think anarchy will be achieved?

  48. Which of these tactics / practices do you consider the most useful?

  49. Are you currently part of any of the following movements / organisations / groups?

  50. How do you think the world should be structured in the future?

  51. How confident are you that we will reach an anarchist society?

  52. How soon do you think this will happen?

  53. Do you worry about your security as an anarchist?

  54. What are your views on violence?

  55. What diet do you follow?

  56. Do you see a connection between your diet and anarchism?

  57. If yes, how?

  58. What is your view on same-sex marriage?

  59. What are your views on relationships?

  60. What are your views on artists?

  61. What are your views on substance use?

  62. Do you think there’s a link between your views on substance use and anarchism?

  63. Which of these do you think are good living / co-habitation models?

  64. Do you have any other relevant thoughts you would like to share, on this survey, on contemporary anarchism or on anything else?

[1] We have to admit at this point that we are biased towards what can broadly be defined as “social anarchism”. We did include “anarcho”-capitalism just to see how many there actually are, but we forgot to add their preferred answers to some of the questions. Unsurprisingly, this meant that a number of “anarcho”-capitalists attacked our survey and its “left” libertarian bias. We make no apologies in this regard: we firmly believe that anarchism is, among other things, anti-capitalist inasmuch as it is anti-state.


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