I am working on a term paper about the Spanish Civil War at the moment. This afternoon I came across a quote from Murray Bookchin describing anarchism. It is one of my favorite descriptions:
Unlike Marxism, with its founders, distinct body of texts, and clearly definable ideology, anarchistic ideals are difficult to fix into a hard and fast credo. Anarchism is a great libidinal movement of humanity to shake off the repressive apparatus created by hierarchical society. It originates in the age-old drive of the oppressed to assert the spirit of freedom, equality, and spontaneity over values and institutions based on authority. This accounts for the enormous antiquity of anarchist visions, their irrepressibility and continual reemergence in history, particularly in periods of social transition and revolution. The multitude of creeds that surface from this great movement of the social depths are essentially concrete adapations to a given historical period of more diffuse underlying sentiments, not of eternally fixed doctrines. Just as the values and institutions of hierarchy have changed over the ages, so too have the anarchic creeds that attempted to dislodge them.
Murray Bookchin, The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic Years, 1868-1936 (New York, San Francisco and London: Harper Colophon Books, 1978), 17.