Facilitating grassroots activism

Improving decision making practices by promoting anarchist principles

It is generally held that anarchists reject law and the state and have little regard for constitutional practices.

Our research – spanning more than 20 years – has demonstrated that this is not the case. Professor Kinna has revealed that anarchists have developed novel and complex constitutional practices. These are often not fully recognised by activists and this lack of appreciation can undermine group cohesion and morale.

Working with a range of activist organisations, Kinna has been able to participate in reviews of existing constitutions and share best practice to improve group working and decision making.

Image courtesy of Anarchy Rules

Our impact

Anarchic Agreements

  • The two “how to” guides were co-authored with Seeds for Change and published in 2017 and 2019
  • They are already effectively used by five campaign groups in the UK, Denmark and Iceland
  • They have supported significant changes to practice in a range of international activist groups
Anarchic Agreements - on film

The research

Professor Kinna’s study of the anarchist constitutional tradition has flagged four key elements common to most constitutions: the declaration of principles, the establishment of institutions, the adoption of decision-making procedures, and rule-making processes.

However - to guard against the tendency of power to corrupt - the anarchist model has no single point of authority. All elements of the constitution are flexible. Constitutions become constitutionalising processes, changeable as organisations evolve.

Working with three organisations – Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Radical Routes (RR) and Seeds for Change (SfC) – Kinna’s findings have supported constructive constitutional review processes and seen the publication of two pamphlets:

  • Anarchic Agreements 1: How to build durable groups 
  • Anarchic Agreements 2: Coalition Forming

They have been distributed widely in hard copy and online to raise awareness and understanding across international campaign groups about the efficacy of the anarchist constitutional model.

As a result, social centres, farmers and volunteer-groups worldwide – that do not necessarily identify as anarchist – are now using them to change their practices and enhance their activity.

Research funders

  • ESRC
  • HEIF

Development partners

  • Industrial Workers of the World
  • Radical Routes
  • Seeds for Change

Meet the experts