Anarchism in Fandom

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See also: Marxism in Fandom, Social Justice and Fandom, Leftism in Fandom, Gift Economy
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Anarchism is a far-left political ideology and philosophy relating to the abolition of states, classes and other hierarchical forms of structure. As a theme or topic in fandom, the concept still appears to be relatively rare, though pockets of discussion and inclusion exist, particularly when anarchists themselves take part in fandom.

Canon Portrayals

Canon portrayals of anarchists, particularly positive portrayals, are fairly rare. In particular, many of the beloved source texts of media fandom have ideological and practical reasons not to portray anarchists positively. Buddy cop shows tend to frown on lawbreakers, while major media franchises tend to avoid fringe political positions. However, Wikipedia does have a dynamic list of fictional anarchists.

Canon anarchists are perhaps more noticeable in Western comics. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore is an anarchist comic by a self-identified anarchist author. DC Comics has a character named Anarky, although his canon portrayal has shifted away from espousing left-wing politics.

Less positively, the Warehouse 13 episode 'The 40th Floor' features a clear contrast between negative emotions, in the form of the Anarchy symbol, with positive emotions, in the form of the Peace Symbol. This assumes that the audience's understanding of 'anarchy' is a negative one to begin with.

The video game Horizon Zero Dawn references anarchists in its worldbuilding. The datapoint 'What scares me...' documents a message between what appears to be a former punk-like duo, and references genuine anarchist ideas such as direct action and fighting back against 'capitalist stooges'.[1]

The Dispossessed

The Dispossessed is a sci-fi novel by Ursula Le Guin and arguably one of the most well known examples of a portrayal of an anarchist society. Some anarchists have even stated that this novel expanded on their understanding of what an anarchist society could look like, with some going so far as to state the book itself made them an anarchist:[2]

No other text I’ve read since on anarchism — and I’ve read enough to have written an undergraduate dissertation on it — has taught me anything more about it as a movement, politics, philosophy or vision than The Dispossessed has. Nothing has better illustrated to me anarchism as a form of writing and a form of imagining itself; an ethos that goes beyond a simplistic political vision.

The Legend of Korra

Less successfully, The Legend of Korra attempts to portray anarchism in Book 3 through the Red Lotus, particularly the villain Zaheer, though many anarchists seem to agree it isn't done particularly well or accurately.



Spider Punk


The terms anarchism and anarchy are quite often mischaracterised in fandom, likely due to a wider misrepresentation of what the terms mean in society at large. Many fanworks seem to use them as synonyms for 'chaos' or 'lawlessness' and associate it with dystopia rather than utopia, such as in the case of the Anarchy tag on Ao3[3]. However, other fanworks do use the tag and term in the more political and philosophical sense.

The fan song Discord by Eurobeat Brony uses the 'chaos' association by referencing "wreaking anarchy and all it brings."

In Minecraft, an anarchy server, such as 2 Builders 2 Tools, is a server that has few, if any, rules.

In Peter Gelderloos piece Anarchy Works, Open Source software, such as that used for Ao3 and Fanlore, is suggested as an example of a "Decentralized network[s] involving thousands of people working openly, voluntarily, and cooperatively."

Anarchists can also simply be fans within fandom, sometimes incorporating their anarchist ideas in the fanworks they create and the discussions they have. Some characters are headcanoned as anarchists,[4] written or drawn as such, or are used in fanworks to voice anarchist ideas. The few canon anarchists, such as Hobie Brown from the Spider-Verse, are frequently portrayed as such in the fanworks in which they feature.

Common Tropes & Themes

Fandom and Media Analysis

Some fans headcanon fictional characters (or celebrities) as anarchists, with varying degrees of seriousness and humor. This is the Ninth Doctor as an anarcho-communist. See the original image here.

Sometimes, analysis of fandom and media occurs through the perspective of anarchists, other times they may not be one themselves but may know about it enough to point it out in their meta.

"Bad laws were made to be broken," says the [Second] Doctor. In Season Four, he's not just a meddler but a champion of anarchism. Authority must be questioned. The state is not to be trusted. The people should be vigilant against lawful tyranny, because it's not just change that the Doctor wants questioned, but the status quo too.[5]

Views on copyright

Anarchists generally favour the mass sharing of information for all, and often will provide free resources - including novels - as pdfs, for example. Within fandom, the relationship between anarchists having to live in a capitalist system and intellectual property & copyright law can sometimes be complicated.

Notable Anarchists

Example Fanworks



Meta/Further Reading

Fannish Resources

  • A search for fandom on queeranarchism's tumblr, for one example of an anarchist's commentary on fandom
  • Works tagged Anarchy on AO3
  • yourfaveisleft, a tumblr blog that headcanons characters and celebrities as proponents of left wing political movements, including many branches of anarchy