After the French revolution, the political left in that country consisted of three equally large factions: the liberals, the socialists, and the anarchists. By the middle of the 19th century, anarchism was dead as a movement. Therefore, it is somewhat surprising that it reemerged in the form of Antifa in the United States more than a century later. What happened to anarchism? The answer might be rather disturbing.
Bakunin vs. Marx
In the late 19th century, when communism was rising as a movement inspired by Karl Marx, the so-called libertarian anarchist left pushed by people like Mikhail Bakunin was alive and kicking. However, the two factions soon clashed, and the short story is that Marx won. Officially, anarchism was defeated by those who believed in the government.
However, the real story might be more complex than this. Some intelligent people may have thought: why does it have to be either statism or anarchism? Why not both? If we define anarchism as non-official, non-governmental political activism, then anarchism survived as a partner to the statist socialists.
Consider the Irish Republican Army (I.R.A.), who acted as an anarchist terrorist organization in Northern Ireland during the civil war between Protestants and Catholics. They were aligned politically with Sinn Féin, a democratic socialist party that fought politically against British rule in Northern Ireland.
Officially, they were not connected, but informally th...