Neha Patil

Anarchism in Canada

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Anarchism in Canada

Anarchism in Canada spans a range of anarchist philosophy including anarchist communism, green anarchy, anarcho-syndicalism, individualist anarchism, as well as other lesser known forms. Canadian anarchism has been affected by thought from the United States, Great Britain, and continental Europe, although recent influences include a look at North American indigenism, especially on the West Coast. Anarchists remain a focal point in media coverage of globalization protests in Canada, mainly due to their confrontations with police and destruction of property.



Historically, anarchism has never attracted large support in Canada, although small groups of activists and writers have often existed in many areas, especially in the larger cities. As well, self-organization played an important part in village life during the settling of the West (Saskatchewan, specifically) as the State was distant and infrastructure-related matters such as maintaining roads, building bridges and schools, and organizing local governance and social life needed to be tackled through spontaneous self-organization. Petr Kropotkin also arranged for Doukhobors (a sect of Russian Christians who refuse to acknowledge State authority) to settle in Saskatchewan and later B.C. Today there are anarchists and anarchist projects in most regions, including small towns and mid-sized cities. St. John's, Halifax, Fredericton, Guelph, Kingston, Saguenay, Quebec City, Montreal, Saint-Jérôme, Ottawa, Toronto, Sudbury, Windsor, Hamilton, London, Kitchener, Waterloo, Winnipeg, Brandon, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria all have active anarchists and or anarchist projects.

Notable individuals

Noted anarchist philosophers Peter Kropotkin and Emma Goldman spent some time in Canada; Goldman died in Toronto in 1940. Rudolf Rocker visited Winnipeg three times, meeting Honoré Jaxon during his first visit in 1913. The Rudolf Rocker Cultural Centre and Emma Goldman Grassroots Centre are part of Winnipeg's main anarchist institution, the Old Market Autonomous Zone.

Canadian anarchist figures include Honoré Jaxon, George Woodcock, L. Susan Brown, Wendy McElroy, Norman Nawrocki, Larry Gambone, Dimitrios Roussopoulos, Dick Martin, Ann Hansen, Mark Leier, Jeff Shantz, Chris Dixon, Richard J.F. Day, Aznik Meean and Jaggi Singh. Other individuals who have made long-term contributions to Canadian anarchism include Harold Barclay, Alexandre Popovic, Michael William, Zig Zag, Sea Weed, Bob Melcombe, Jim Campbell, Bruno Massé, Radical Rodent and Gary Moffatt. Recently, Taiaiake Alfred has developed Anarcha-Indigenism through his book Wasáse: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom. Two Quebec-based anarchist academics, Normand Baillargeon and Francis Dupuis-Déri, have also published several books.

As well it is a long-standing tradition among anarchists to use pen names or to sign their work anonymously, so many authors and activists remain unknown.


There are a variety of long-standing anarchist projects throughout Canada. Environmental and anti-poverty direct actionists can be found in many regions and cities, along with mutual aid groups, prisoner solidarity groups, study groups, and cafes. Under the radar activities such as squatting are widespread.

Related ventures include Montreal's Insoumise bookstore, which in 2004 supplanted the Alternative bookshop, an anarchist bookshop founded in the early 1970s; Ottawa's Exile Infoshop, founded early 2007; as well as numerous other bookstores, infoshops, publishing houses, zines and other publications, record labels, and radio shows and micro radio stations. Canada is also home to a number of anarchist book fairs and other festivals. In 2015, the Victoria Anarchist Book Fair celebrated its 10th anniversary. Edmonton held an anarchist book fair from 2002 through 2013, inclusive; it was resurrected in May 2015. Similar fairs are held in Montréal, Toronto, Winnipeg, and other locations throughout Canada.

There are also groups, like the Quebec group La Sociale / Centre de Diffusion Libertaire, who have published several pamphlets and distribute for radical French publishers.. The Montreal-based Mauvaise Herbe green-anarchist group publishes a zine of the same name and distributes a variety of pamphlets and new books. The Toronto-based collective Punching Out (Jeff Shantz, pj lilley, Mick Black) made important contributions to the theoretical development of NEFAC including preparing the accepted draft of that federation's workplace position paper. In 2007, members of Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM) and NEFAC initiated the founding of Common Cause [1] along with anarchist activists in Ottawa, Hamilton and Toronto. In 2011 anarchists from Regina along with ex-members of the IWW and NEFAC announced the creation of Prairie Struggle Organization [2] based in the Canadian Prairies. Prairie Struggle, Common Cause like NEFAC and the WSM are projects based on platformism. The non-profit anarchist collective ThoughtCrime Ink, which raises funds for anarchist education projects, is based in Canada.


Anarchism in Canada Wikipedia

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