A Brief Introduction to Anarchism with Tom Hodgkinson

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Anarchism is not about smashing up bus stops and assassinating princes. It is not a synonym for violence and disorder.

It is in fact a sophisticated political and personal approach to everyday life which has its roots in the Cynic philosophers of ancient Athens, as well as the teachings of Christ and Socrates.

In this three part course, Idler editor Tom Hodgkinson defines anarchism and then takes us on a spirited romp through two and half millennia of anarchic thinking, from Diogenes the Cynic to the medieval “free spirit” movement, and from Mary Shelley’s father to Punk.

Our course offers you three illustrated talks across 45 minutes of video, plus transcripts, forums, further reading, a quiz and certificate.

Tom will be available to answer queries and guide discussion with all students on the course.

Be an anarchy graduate and join us today.

Course structure:

Part One: What is Anarchism?
Tom looks at the definition of anarchism given by Prince Petr Kropotkin, the great 19th century anarchist and friend of Oscar Wilde. 16 mins

Part Two: Anarchism in the Old World
Tom goes back to the roots of anarchic thinking in ancient China and Greece, and takes us up to the 17th century radical sects, the Ranters and the Diggers. 10 mins

Part Three: Anarchism in the Modern World
Tom traces the development of anarchy as a political principle from William Godwin and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon onwards. He brings us up to date with the Situationists, the Punks and touches on anarchist-inspired movements in modern Syria. 19 mins

About the tutor

Tom is editor of the Idler and author of the best-selling manuals, How to be Idle and How to be Free. Other books include a book on smallholding called Brave Old World, a book on parenting, the Ukulele Handbook and, most recently, a manual for creative entrepreneurs, Business for Bohemians.