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0 votes
Seriously, what is up with this phrase? No one talks about "self-identified communists" or "self-identified Neo-Nazis" or "self-identified environmentalists" so why do people feel the need to use this qualifier when speaking of anarchists? What is understood by just plain old "anarchist", an epithet applied by a political opponent? Does it imply that there is some more rigorous standard besides self-identification to qualify as an anarchist?
by (6.1k points)

2 Answers

+5 votes
Nowadays most people have little familiarity with anarchism as an actual philosophy or anarchy as a desirable condition so the "self-described" or "self-identified" hints that the observer finds the label or identity intrinsically absurd. It's also something to say, "hey, they even admit they're lunatics, no one had to call them that as an insult, they actually chose it, how silly."
by (8.9k points)
+5 votes
Calling someone an "anarchist" can be hyperbolic or a defamation of character.  "Self-identified anarchist" is used to show that the author/speaker isn't being hyperbolic or defaming the person(s) they are talking about.  Throughout history, it has been common for politicians to accuse their political opponents of being an anarchist or wanting anarchy.

The accusation of anarchy is often synonymous with chaos in this use.  Though journalists typically don't explain that "self-identified anarchists" are different from the pejorative use, many times when anarchists have been off the radar, their has been articles that talk about anarchists and how they want some sort of free cooperative society and not chaos, like what some think.
by (3.9k points)
You're obviously unfamiliar with the anarchist obstacle course you have to pass in order to get your certificate printed.