Advocacy for anarchism must address the difficulty of imagining a functioning society without any of the familiar institutions that currently maintain it. Anarchists face a disadvantage with such questions because anarchism describes a means of solving problems rather than specific solutions. Most systems of government can be summarized by identifying who wields political power and how they come to do so, but anarchism resists such a simple description.

In a republic, citizens vote for representatives who then govern the country. Most citizens never have to consider their social institutions beyond the elected officials who maintain them. However, an anarchist community operates its own social institutions directly, requiring the members of the community to decide how to distribute resources, solve problems, and resolve conflicts. Imagining such a responsibility without reliance on existing social institutions, one must then consider the needs of their community and how to address them.

The anarchist should not address specific questions such as “Who would prevent crime?” To do so, one must rely on a version of socialism, communism, syndicalism, or some other general political system. Defining social institutions in the abstract precludes communities determining their own social institutions as anarchism requires. An anarcho-socialist describing their ideal political economy quickly becomes a socialist in contention with capitalism, leaving anarchism and republicanism aside.

Anarchism is best communicated when the advocate recognizes that their audience needs help imagining an anarchist community. The responsibility to govern a community can feel daunting to someone conditioned to individualism under capitalism. Soothing those fears with a vision of cooperative responsibility builds an essential bridge between the audience and anarchism. Advocacy for socialism, syndicalism, or any other political economy should be directed to criticize capitalism rather than republicanism or other forms of government.