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Total liberationism

Total liberationism is a political movement that combines anarchism with a commitment to animal and earth liberation. The effects of this approach on anarchist politics are particularly important in the context of the state of capitalism, the struggle for total liberation is additionally concerned with the oppression of all other forms of human oppression, as well as the oppression of nonhuman animals and ecosystems. [1] Proponents of total liberation typically espouse a holistic and intersectional revolutionary strategy aimed at using direct action to dismantle all forms of domination and social hierarchy, common examples of which include the state , capitalism ,patriarchy , racism , heterosexism , cissexism , disablism , ageism , speciesism , and ecological domination. [2]

History and key concerns

Following a period of general inactivity after the Second World War, anarchism reemerged as a force in global politics during the 1960s. This new era of anarchist struggle was distinguished, however, by its adoption of a range of concerns – such as feminism , anticolonialism , queer liberation , antispeciesism , and ecology – which were previously of little concern for most anarchists. [3] Specifically, the involvement by anarchists in the animal and earth liberation movements was characterized, in part, by the rising popularity of veganismwithin radical circles, [4]the Hunt Saboteurs Association , Earth First! , the Animal Liberation Front , and the Earth Liberation Front . [5]The concept of total liberation then began to be used by anarchists during the 1990s in an attempt to clarify important connections between all forms of oppression, and to situate the political tensions within a single overall struggle. Moreover, a commitment to total liberation is, beyond its emergence from the historical development of the anarchist movement, also typically grounded in a concern for contemporary schools of political thought such as intersectionality , antispeciesism, ecofeminism , deep ecology , and social ecology . [6] As David Pellow summarizes:

The concept of total liberation stems from a determination to understand and combat all forms of inequality and oppression. I propose that it include four pillars: (1) ethic of justice and anti-oppression inclusive of humans, nonhuman animals, and ecosystems; (2) anarchism; (3) anti-capitalism; and (4) an embrace of direct action tactics. [7]


  1. Jump up^ David N. Pellow (2014)Total Liberation: The Power and Promise of Animal Rights Movement and the Radical Earth; Minneapolis, USA: University of Minnesota Press, pp.5-6
  2. Jump up^ Steve Best (2014)The Politics of Total Liberation: Revolution for the 21st century, New York City, USA: Palgrave Macmillan
  3. Jump up^ Uri Gordon (2007)Anarchism and Political Theory: Contemporary Problems, Submitted to the Department of Politics & International Relationships in Part of the Requirements for the Doctorate of Philosophy (retrieved from theanarchistlibrary.org) pp.44-50
  4. Jump up^ Brian A. Dominick (1997)Animal Liberation and Social Revolution: A vegan perspective on anarchism, or anarchist perspective on veganism(retrieved from theanarchistlibrary.org)
  5. Jump up^ anonymous (2003) “Down with the Empire! Up with the Spring!”,Do or Die, issue 10
  6. Jump up^ David N. Pellow & Hollie N. Brehm (2015) “From the New Ecological Paradigm to Total Liberation: The Emergence of a Social Movement Frame”; The Sociological Quarterly, vol. 56, issue 1, pp.191-3
  7. Jump up^ D. Pellow (2014) pp.5-6

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