This paper applies an anarchist lens to agrarian politics, seeking to expand and enhance inquiry in critical agrarian studies. Anarchism’s relevance to agrarian processes is found in three general areas: (1) explicitly anarchist movements, both historical and contemporary; (2) theories that emerge from and shape these movements; and (3) implicit anarchism found in values, ethics, everyday practices, and in forms of social organization – or ‘anarchistic’ elements of human social life. Insights from anarchism are then applied to the problematique of the contemporary rise of ‘authoritarian populism’ and its relation to rural people and agrarian processes, focusing on the United States. Looking via an anarchist lens at this case foregrounds the state powers and logics that underpin authoritarian populist political projects but are created and reproduced by varying political actors; emphasizes the complex political identities of nonelite people, and the ways these can be directed towards either emancipatory or authoritarian directions based on resentments towards state power and identifications with grassroots, lived moral economies; and indicates the strategic need to prioritize ideological development among diverse peoples, in ways that provide for material needs and bolster lived moral economies. The paper concludes with implications for the theory and practice of emancipatory politics.

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Journal of Peasant Studies
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Roman-Alcalá, A. (2020). Agrarian anarchism and authoritarian populism: towards a more (state-)critical ‘critical agrarian studies’. Journal of Peasant Studies. doi:10.1080/03066150.2020.1755840