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Bomb-Throwing Anarchists

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Anarchism is an umbrella term for a bunch of views that advocate the reduction or elimination (or even simply ignoring) of hierarchic power and its replacement by various forms of voluntary non-hierarchical cooperation. Historically, many anarchists encourage nonviolent means for this goal.

Since the 19th century, after anarchism began to take form as a social movement, news, propaganda, and fiction have vilified anarchists as maniacs who simply want nothing but chaos, destruction, and anarchy for anarchy's sake. Anarchists often fill the role of Terrorists Without a Cause. This also tended to be the stereotypical image of communists for many Westerners until the "Orwellian intellectual infiltrating the government" image gained popularity starting in the 1940s.

The "bomb-throwing" image of the anarchist developed in the last quarter of the 19th century. Left-wing terrorism first made a serious mark in Tsarist Russia during the reign of Emperor Alexander II (r. 1855-1881), who, ironically, was targeted because he was a liberal(ish) reformist rather than an arch-conservative. The "Great Reform" of the "Tsar Liberator"note  scared the pants off Russia's community of agrarian socialists (whose ideology was essentially anarchist, being heavily influenced by Mikhail Bakunin's anarcho-collectivism), who feared that the resultant improvements would sap support for their more radical agenda. In 1879, they established a loose organization called Narodnaya Volya or "People's Will", which started assassination attempts on various Tsarist officials, including several on the Tsar himself. They eventually succeeding in killing the Tsar in 1881 by literally throwing a bomb at him—well, two bombs.note  This was highly publicized around the world (not that it did them much good domestically; the organization dissolved in 1884 and the Russian Left went into exile or hibernation for 20 years after the new Emperor Alexander III proved to be an unapologetic absolutist with no qualms about using the newly-minted Okhrana to squash dissent).

The tactics of People's Will attracted the attention of anarchists in the West, especially after the spectacular assassination of Alexander II, and some Western anarchist groups started taking pages from their playbook. The key moment for Western anarchist terrorism was the 1886 Haymarket Square riot in Chicago, where eight anarchists went on trial for a bomb that was thrown at a rally (they were not actually charged with throwing it, as some weren't even at the rally; instead they were charged with inciting the action, being influential anarchist figures in Chicago). Most people in the West had probably never paid much attention to one of the 19th century's many radical social movements before, but the sensationalized spread of the incident left a negative impression in media for a long time. The assassination of several heads of state and government by anarchists during the following twenty years (most notably French President Marie François Sadi Carnot, Spanish Prime Minister Antonio Cánovas, Austrian Empress Elisabeth, Italian King Umberto I, and American President William McKinley) didn't help them either. During this period some anarchists advocated violent acts as "attentats" i.e. a means of drawing attention to their cause to spark a revolution by inspiring others, called "propaganda of the deed". Obviously, this backfired horribly, painting them as entirely depraved terrorists. Within the United States, the 1919 Anarchist Bombings proved to be such an influence on popular culture that it was a factor in the first Red Scare of 1920.

Often depicted with excess facial hair, or wearing a mask.

Traditionally equipped with a Cartoon Bomb, described by one stock image-hosting site as an "old-fashioned anarchist-style round bomb with burning fuse." Modern depictions favor dynamite sticksnote  and Molotov Cocktails.

Subtrope of Strawman Political.

Compare Mad Bomber, Dirty Communists, Ludd Was Right. For the right-wing version, see Right-Wing Militia Fanatic. See also Anarchy Is Chaos for an aversion. Contrast with Revolutionaries Who Don't Do Anything. For actual bomb-throwing as a weapon of choice, see Throw Down the Bomblet.

No Real Life Examples, Please!


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Cowboy Bebop episode "Cowboy Funk" has the Teddy Bomber, a character existing only to be a bounty to be chased and fought over by Spike and Andy. He constantly tries to outline his manifesto, but the two egomaniac heroes ignore him in their scrap to prove superiority over the (practically identical) other. We discover that in the end, his bombing was an attempt to call attention to, and level, the vast inequalities in society.
  • Katsura from Gintama is like this initially, but later decides to resort to more peaceful methods of changing the country. Though with how often he's seen goofing off, it's easy to forget that he's even a member of an anti-foreigner faction to begin with.
  • Golden Kamuy: Kiroranke was a member of the "People's Will" revolutionary movement in late 19th century Russia and assassinated Czar Alexander II alongside Wilk by a grenade throw.
  • Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun provides a fully justified reason for anarchistic groups in the story, such as The Six Fingers, being chaotic, destructive, and overall evil. Demonkind is an Always Chaotic Evil race that the former Demon King took great pains to reshape into a more lawful neutral sort, and he set up numerous laws and rules upheld by a government to keep demons morally sounder. This means the only kind of demons who would see the hierarchy as suffocatingly restrictive and controlling would be those that want everybody to return to being chaotically destructive and murderously evil, so it's only natural that their methods to realize that goal would only ever involve chaotic destruction and mass murder, since nonviolence and peace are outright antithetical to their interests.

    Comic Books 
  • Anno Dracula: Seven Days in Mayhem sees Kate Reed reluctantly joining a version of the Council of Seven Days comprising bomb-throwing anarchists from various sources, all of whom she considers different degrees of insane: Sunday and Symes from the original, Christina Light and Paul Muniment (from The Princess Casamassima by Henry James), Alexander Ossipon (from The Secret Agent) and Peter the Painter (from Real Life).
  • Batman villain Anarky is also a subversion. Sure, he's regularly put against Batman, but he's able to explain his motivations clearly and is often painted as more of an Anti-Hero who just happens to think violent means are okay against certain targets. He even had his own book for a few issues. As of late, however, in the last few issues of Robin, there seems to be a new guy behind the mask who hews closer to this trope, and the actual Anarky is stuck in a technopathic coma seeking revenge. The original author is apparently not pleased with this development. Unlike V, he was even a Technical Pacifist.
  • Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the United States, part of his The Cartoon History of the Universe series, humorously lampshaded the common stereotype of anarchists as mad, bearded bombers ("smell like garlic... foreign accent... burning fuse") during the 1880s Red Scare after the Haymarket Bombing.
  • Doctor Who Magazine: A mad anarchist named Ruddock is used as a stooge in an attempt to blow up Buckingham Palace in "The Crystal Throne".
  • The Invisibles: Deconstructed. King Mob is very good at, and very much enjoys, being a Bomb-Throwing Anarchist, but he recognizes that this method of spreading anarchy is very often counter-productive. He is also very aware of the innate hypocrisy in blowing up people because they don't share your ideals and values in order to create a world where everyone can live by their own ideals and values.
  • Referenced in Tintin: King Ottokar's Sceptre. When Tintin sneaks into the palace to warn the king about the plot, he is captured by guards in the middle of a ball. The guests are told that Tintin was an anarchist, causing one of the guests to faint. (Of course, the book was written around the time when anarchists were practically synonymous with terrorists.)
  • Generally avoided in the Chilean comic Zombies en la Moneda, where one of the protagonists is El Kila, an anarchist who is also a Technical Pacifist (and who on more than one occasion has ended up punching Chilean Neonazis). However, in Volume 5, he meets an old friend who is also an anarchist and who is upset by how little Chilean society has changed after the Zombie Apocalypse, so he has a plan to carry out a series of terrorist attacks using loaded zombies with explosive vests. The Kila is not happy at all.
  • V from V for Vendetta is a self-described terrorist, who uses explosives to provoke reaction from the Norsefire government and to shake the people out of their complacency. When the government starts losing a grip on power, there is a chaos where people start looting and destroying, which Evey finds disturbing, but V describes as a necessary step towards a more directed rebellion.

    Fan Works 
  • Discussed in Beyond the Borders; Rachel thinks that because she considers herself "an anarchist, kind of", she should know about Molotov Cocktails. Given that she thinks this while desperately trying to remember how to make one, it seems she is not an example.
  • Heroes of the New World; Honest Guy and the Gunpowder Gang from the Doyle Arc are a group of anti-monarchists inspired by Guy Fawkes who are looking for support from the Revolutionary Army in their effort to overthrow the government of the titular kingdom. When their plot is quickly foiled by the heroes, Sabo captures Guy and deconstructs the entire premise by pointing out their target is The Good King and not The Caligula, and even if they did succeed they have no legitimacy and no way to placate a now angry and scared populace (and that's not even including the pirates currently besieging Doyle or the World Government). Guy is too wrapped up in Revenge Before Reason and clearly had no plan beyond causing chaos and destruction, and the Revolutionary Army has no tolerance for those sorts of "movements", so Sabo leaves him for the police to arrest and instead shifts his focus to his new friends Izuku and Yamato, who defeated the plot almost single-handedly.
  • Season 2 of The New Adventures of Invader Zim introduces Nyx, an Irken Defective who hates what she sees as the corrupt system running the Irken Empire and wants to tear it down, usually by means of blowing stuff up and enabling riots. She's also clearly nuts, being an admitted fangirl of Zim and all the damage he causes.
  • Weaver and Jinx features Maribel, aka 'Jinx'. Who dislikes the Protectorate and Wards, states that she plans to shut Shadow Stalker's power down during a fight with the local gangs, if the opportunity presents itself, and generally offers the most vicious options to solve the problems her team faces. She still manages to be fairly mild compared to some of the real monsters in the Worm Universe.

    Film — Animated 
  • Subverted in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse with Spider-Punk, a Composite Character of Spider-UK who acts like a stereotypical The Quincy Punk and fights a fascist regime in his home universe. Hobie is a very vocal Anarchist who often talks big about tearing down the system, but he understands the value of organization and even some hierarchy — given his involvement in the Spider-Society — and isn't one for just wanton destruction. His beliefs and actions instead line up more with real-life Anarchism. Like many Anarchists, he's also biding his time and internally sabotaging oppressive authorities from within rather than flashy public action, which is exactly what he does to the Spider-Society.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Baader Meinhof Complex (2007). Technically they were Communists (mostly Marxist-Leninists), not anarchists, but they managed to pigeonhole themselves in the whole "anti-establishment radicals are insane" stereotype.
  • Criminal (2016): Xavier Heimdahl, who's trying to obtain the Wormhole program, which will give him control of the US's nuclear arsenal to destroy every government in the world.
  • Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight describes himself as an "agent of chaos" and talks about anarchy rather a lot - and does love Stuff Blowing Up - but it's pretty obvious he doesn't have any real politics apart from doing things For the Evulz. The Joker was more of an Illegalist, a type of French anarchism where crime is considered the only true expression of anarchy. Essentially For the Evulz is the Joker's political cause, as he thinks everyone should be like that. He seems to fashion himself as a sort of dark trickster figure, particularly in opposition to Batman as an upholder of law and ORDER (thus the Joker would aspire to unlawful and chaotic acts).
  • Mallory from A Fistful of Dynamite is an antiheroic take on this trope.
  • The human villains in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) are radical paramilitary eco-terrorists who seek to release all the kaiju so they can kill millions of people and replenish the environment, committing explosive raids on the heroes' kaiju containment facilities and shooting anyone who gets in their way dead.
  • J. Edgar features anarchists, whom Hoover inaccurately refers to as "Bolshevik communists," who attempt to kill the Attorney General of the US, among other high-profile targets. This is Truth in Television since it actually happened in 1919.
  • No God, No Master revolves around Bureau of Investigation agent William Flynn investigating the 1919 Anarchist Bombings, where numerous high business and government figures were targeted with package bombs. It has many historical inaccuracies, though.
  • Robin Williams gives a chilling performance as one in The Secret Agent, a film adaptation of Joseph Conrad's novel.
  • In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Moriarty manipulates a French anarchist cell into blowing up several buildings in Paris in order to destabilize Europe.
  • In Suffragette the protagonists are technically women's rights activists, not anarchists. However, after they have blown up the (empty) manor of a member of parliament one of the men in power says something about considering this "level of anarchy" unacceptable. Though it's not as if the suffragists weren't beaten up by the police before that.
  • The Weather Underground (2002), a documentary about the left-wing terrorist organization that went on a bombing campaign in the United States in the 1970s. They were actually Marxist-Leninist but fit into the stereotypical mold.
  • The James Bond film The World Is Not Enough features Renard "the Anarchist" as one of its two main antagonists, although he espouses no actual anarchist ideology beyond his opposition to all corporations and governments, simply blowing things up For the Evulz.
  • The Vin Diesel vehicle xXx had a group of these as its villains, who intended to launch a chemical attack against several cities to provoke a world war and cause all order to break down leading to global freedom... somehow. The hero, on the other hand, has almost exactly the same social philosophy without the "killing people" part.

  • Jim Shannon from After the Revolution. Originally a more 'traditional' revolutionary, Jim claims to have become cynical by what he saw happen repeatedly during the Second American Civil War and now believes that any institutional power corrupts people into abuse and/or complacency. As such, Jim's only remaining belief is that all institutions need to be violently torn down on a regular basis, in order to provide a brief burst of freedom and creativity before the institutional rot sets in again and the cycle has to restart. Notably, none of the actual anarchists who inhabit Rolling Fuck agree with Jim's ideology at all.
  • Of course, there needs must be named the "protagonist" of Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day, the dynamite-happy anarchist Webb Traverse, and his nitroglycerin liturgy against the railroads.
  • Infamously, The Anarchist Cookbook contained amateur recipes for homemade explosives (seriously, it's a very bad idea to try this at home). There was no overt connection to anarchism as a serious philosophy except that the author seemed very interested in blowing things up as a form of protest. The "recipes" themselves are actually extremely half-hazard and ill-conceived, which led many people to speculate that the book was intentionally poorly written as a kind of Trojan Horse for would-be anarchists.
  • The eponymous post-scarcity society in The Culture aren't violent. When they do throw bombs however, bow howdy, they throw some big ones.
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel Demons (a.k.a. The Possessed) features probably the worst version of this trope... as protagonists! Their ideologist, Shigaylov, states that they will wipe out millions of innocent people to create a new society, their leader is a power-hungry maniac, and his right-hand man is a child molester, though it's said only in a deleted chapter. Though Dostoevsky predicted a Reign of Terror once the Communists came to power, his characters are even worse than the real-life CHEKA and NKVD, because almost all of the Soviet government's cruel actions were pragmatically motivated, but the anarchist terrorist gang were much more indiscriminate.
  • The Villain Protagonist Fantômas is initially claimed to be a radical French anarchist who commits all sorts of crimes in the hopes of bringing down civilization. However, in practice he comes across as more of a Card-Carrying Villain played dead straight, a sadistic psychopath and Serial Killer with a vast criminal network who commits a range of violent crimes For the Evulz. He is never caught or killed in any of the stories and on the occasions that he is, he is either Faking the Dead or even framing innocent people to be arrested or executed in his place, and it is likely that his only real goal is simply infamy.
  • Looking Backward: Discussed by Dr. Leete and Julian, the latter saying the anarchists in the late 1800s were actually subsidized by the capitalists to scare people off socialism from its association with terrorist violence. This was a big issue at the time the book was written in 1888. A year prior to this, for instance, four anarchists were hanged over a conspiracy to murder police with a bomb in Chicago, though it's doubtful which (if any) actually did it (four others had also been convicted — one killed himself, the rest were pardoned).
  • The title character of Ken Follett's novel The Man From St. Petersburg, whose bomb-throwing gives protagonist Lord Stephen Walden a pretty impressive Took a Level in Badass moment.
    • Subverted in his later novel Fall of Giants with the character Rosa Hellman, a journalist and self-described anarchist, who explains her philosophy: "Anarchy is the belief that no one has the inherent right to rule." She advocates consciousness-raising and social reform, rather than violence.
  • The anarchists in G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday are actually proud of being devoted to destruction as an end in itself, considering partisan terrorists weaklings. "The outer circle are sad because the bomb did not kill the king; the inner circle are glad because the bomb killed somebody."
    • When the Marquis muses on stabbing his target instead, the Secretary objects that the bomb, which “destroys because it broadens”, is not only their weapon but their perfect symbol.
    • The Man Who Was Thursday is actually a Christian parable of sorts. The "anarchists" are not rebelling against society but against God. To be fair, many anarchists of the time were also strongly anti-theistic. Most of the alleged anarchists are merely disguised as such. The full title is The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare.
  • Former Russian Socialist Revolutionary bomber Boris Savinkov eventually wrote an autobiography titled Memoirs of a Terrorist that was more or less true to the less nihilistic outlook of his party (which was not anarchistic to begin with anyway) and a fictional novel (The Pale Horse) where the protagonist is a Blood Knight and virtually a Bomb Throwing Anarchist.
  • In Native Son, Bigger and his friends go to see a movie titled The Gay Woman in which the hero is attacked by a bomb-wielding Communist.
  • The Anarchists in Renegades started their revolution by literally bringing down the government, destroying buildings and armies. In the present day, they want to kill the Council and are willing to carry out terrorist attacks, including assassination and mass bombings, to get their wish.
  • Older Than Radio: Joseph Conrad's 1907 novel The Secret Agent largely subverts this. The only actual bombing is carried out by a secret agent for a foreign government trying to provoke a crackdown on anarchists (who they see as taking refuge in Great Britain). The actual anarchists are mostly harmless and don't do much more than sit in Verloc's parlor and make speeches, and are unwilling to risk disturbing their privileged lifestyles by risking prison or injury.
    • Stevie is a mentally disabled teenager who is converted to violent anarchism by the aforementioned secret agent to get him to carry out the bombing, and it's unlikely that he would have done it on his own.
    • Michaelis is a retired bomb-throwing anarchist who has become convinced that anarcho-syndicalism will succeed without violence. He is portrayed as very well-intentioned but not very bright.
    • The Professor, who's the most violent, is not really an anarchist, but a Nietzsche Wannabe who gives Verloc a bomb. He despises Michaelis's idealism and wants to create a world where the strong have free reign to crush the weak. But despite talking a big game he's ultimately too much of a coward to try anything himself.
    • The story also includes the grotesque figure of Karl Yundt, who expresses himself thus: "I have always dreamed of a band of men absolute in their resolve to discard all scruples in the choice of means, strong enough to give themselves frankly the name of destroyers, and free from the taint of that resigned pessimism which rots the world. No pity for anything on earth, including themselves, and death enlisted for good and all in the service of humanity — that's what I would have liked to see." He has long since forgotten what he hoped to build in place of the old order.
  • The Sherlock Holmes Stories of Edward D. Hoch: In "The Christmas Client", Professor Moriarty sets off a bomb at the Houses of Parliament on Boxing Day, knowing that the police will assume it is the work of anarchists and swarm the area: allowing his gang to pull of his real crime elsewhere without interference.
  • This is a staple of the Edwardian era, so much so that the short story of H. G. Wells' first collection, The Stolen Bacillus and Other Incidents, mocks the idea of an anarchist committing bioterrorism. A bacteriologist, after a bit of prompting, shows a young man a vial containing a live culture of cholera, then leaves the room momentarily to answer the door, his return quickly followed by the visitor apologizing for wasting so much of the bacteriologist's valuable time and leaving. The bacteriologist then notices that there's something missing. One Yackety Sax-worthy taxi chase (one taxi for the anarchist, one for the bacteriologist, and one for his wife with his hat, shoes, and overcoat) later, the vial breaks in the anarchist's hand and the anarchist decides to act as the first carrier and drinks what's left, at which point he feels free to exit the cab, yell "Vive l'Anarchie! You are too late, my friend. I have drunk it. The cholera is abroad," and walk off into a crowd. On the ride home, the bacteriologist reveals that he had just told the anarchist that the vial had contained cholera to impress him, while it actually contained a bacterium that turns animals blue.
  • Spindrick Sylver in the second Welkin Weasels trilogy is a bomb-throwing anarchist, but one who is horrified at the suggestion his bombs might be used to hurt people (human or mustelid). He just wants to smash property.
  • BAST in Win, Lose or Die is known as an organization that believes that global anarchy through terrorism leads to absolute power. What the organization doesn't know that its leader is just using his people to gain money.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the second episode of Ashes to Ashes, an anonymous bomber leads to a manhunt that starts up with rounding up the usual suspects of local anarchist and communist activists that Gene Hunt has stripped and shoots snooker balls at, starting with one that protests that he's an Anarcho-Pacifist.
  • The anarchist in the Blackadder the Third episode "Sense and Senility", who actually throws a Cartoon Bomb at the Prince Regent, while ranting "Smash the Spinning Jenny! Burn the Rolling Rosalyn! Destroy the Going-up-and-down-a-bit-and-then-moving-along Gertrude!". Notably played by series co-writer Ben Elton, then known as a left-wing firebrand.
  • The 1900s version of CASUAL+Y had a storyline based on an explosion in London thought to be the work of Russian anarchists/communists, and the police invade the hospital receiving room looking for the bombers, subjecting anyone of vaguely Eastern European extraction to intense questioning, one of whom is injured in the conflagration...before the explosion is revealed to have been due to gas.
  • In his acting debut, Justin Bieber (of all people) plays unhinged anarchist Jason McCann on CSI. He's a troubled teenager, with personal issues on top of a long list of others. He's appeared in two episodes of the 11th season, but is unlikely to appear in any more, because in the episode Targets of Obsession (the title itself poking fun at Justin's superstar status), Jason is shot around eight times, and killed by the police who corner him as he holds a man hostage on the road. Self-Deprecation at its best, good on Bieber for being a good sport. The clip of it has been quite popular on Youtube.
  • Engrenages: Averted, because the artificer was literally Hoist by His Own Petard. Then played straight with the bombing of the police headquarters in Paris.
  • The supposed Marxist terrorist cell in Fairly Secret Army are really "chaosists", out to disrupt all social structures.
  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Acting outside and in opposition to all governments of the world, the Flag-Smashers steal supplies from the Global Repatriation Council and take them to vulnerable refugees in displacement camps. "Power Broker" has Karli escalate their actions a few steps further by detonating a car bomb beside the GRC headquarters, insisting that doing so will send an unignorable message.
  • The F.B.I.: The Villain of the Week in "Quantico" is Willard Smith: an anarchist with a hatred of laws who is bombing Federal buildings. He even says "I'm not a communist. They have even more rules than the squares".
  • The Law According to Lidia Poët: Jacopo turns out to have adopted anarchism, joining a group and then left after its leader advocated violent revolution. After another member turned over information on them to the police, two others killed her in revenge.
  • Whenever anti-globalization activists or environmentalists (of any stripe) show up on Law & Order or other Police Procedurals, they are invariably this. If the producers wish to explore their motivations, they will turn out to be Well Intentioned Extremists who believe Utopia Justifies the Means but undergo a Villainous Breakdown or Epiphany Therapy in response to a Kirk Summation.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: The Spree is a magical version, witches who are committing terrible atrocities while fighting the US government and described as anarchists.
  • Downplayed in Mr. Robot. The title character's proposed revolution has a strong anarchist vibe to it, and he's more than willing to blow people up to make it a reality, even if his explosive device of choice is more likely to be an unlimited power supply than a real bomb. The Dark Army ultimately show that Mr. Robot is above such chaos, as he admits that he would have found another way to carry out Stage Two.
  • An Exploited Trope in Peaky Blinders. Tommy tells a criminal rival that his companion waiting outside is an anarchist and therefore has the explosives knowledge to blow up the building they're standing in. In reality, the companion is an oblivious artist and there is no bomb. The story takes place in 1921 when anarchist terrorism was still going on.
  • Romper Stomper: Antifasc believe in direct action to fight fascism, mostly by beating up far-rightists.
  • In the 1954 Sherlock Holmes TV series episode "The Case of the Careless Suffragette", professional bombmaker Boris Turgoff prides himself on being an anarchist.
  • Spooks: The group in "Traitor's Gate" plan to assassinate President George W. Bush while he's visiting Britain.
  • Star Cops had one of these as a one-off villain, though he preferred Hollywood Hacking to explosives. He was also a relatively sophisticated example, averting the usual Anarchy Is Chaos portrayal by claiming, in his own words:
    "The goal of anarchism is a society without leaders, not a society without laws."
  • S.W.A.T. (2017): What the Emancipators truly are. They bomb targets along with kidnapping people to bring down what they deem a racist, corrupt capitalist system.
  • Timeless: When the main trio has to evacuate the Hindenburg before the bomb planted aboard goes off, Lucy and Rufus storm the cockpit and pretend to be members of the Anarchist Black Cross (which is a real anarchist collective that was active at the time, although its focus is on aiding prisoners rather than terrorism), demanding that the pilots land or else they will detonate the bomb. When the explosive goes off despite the heroes' efforts, the bombing is blamed on the anarchists afterward and the main trio are listed as the suspects.

  • Punk bands often invoked this trope, posing as Bomb-Throwing Anarchists — sometimes for shock value, and sometimes at face value. The Ur-Example may be the band Sex Pistols, whose famous song "Anarchy in the UK" goes as follows:
    "I am an Antichrist
    I am an anarchist
    Don't know what I want but I know how to get it
    I wanna destroy the passerby
    'Cause I wanna be
  • Note that we say the Sex Pistols posed as this type of anarchist; singer John Lydon later dismissed anarchy as basically "a thought to entertain, but nothing serious" (paraphrased). Later punk bands, such as the Dead Kennedys, do give voice to actual anarchist politics, relying more on snide humor and political activism than shock value.
  • Of course, before the Dead Kennedys was Crass, which is likely the ultimate example of an actual Anarchist punk band, considering that the group promoted individualism, DIY culture feminism, animal rights, and undermined society through leaflets, political activism, and spray-painted graffiti to spread their message. Hell, the band actually caused an international scandal trying to get information about (what the band and some conspiracy theorists felt was) a false flag attack out to the public. Not only were Crass a shining example of an actual anarchist band, they openly defied tropes like this one. Take this line from "Big A, Little A", for example:
    "But no one ever changed the church by pulling down a steeple, and you'll never change the system by bombing number ten
    Systems just aren't made of bricks, they're mostly made of people; you may send them into hiding, but they'll be back again!"
  • Fugazi invoked this trope with black humor in the song "No Surprise".
    (hey) Lock eyes shared plan / No c.i.a. / could understand
    It comes as no surprise / We're destabilized!
  • Lampshaded by Leslie Fish (a self-proclaimed anarchist) in the song "It's Sister Jenny's Turn to Throw the Bomb". The Glencoves recorded a more humorous version of this at Fink University, which became a staple of the Dr. Demento Show.
  • As an anarchist himself, folk singer David Rovics does not subscribe to this view of anarchy, but the protagonists of at least two of his songs could be viewed this viewed. "The Face of Victory" ends with the disabled vet protagonists contemplating an Oklahoma City style bombing, and "Halliburton Boardroom Massacre" is about Exactly What It Says on the Tin with a Shell-Shocked Veteran massacring the board of the company he sees as responsible for the war for oil which caused his terminal illness.
  • "Timebomb" by Chumbawamba, another Anarchist band with roots in the same scene as Crass, which posits that we are all timebombs waiting to go off.
  • The narrator in "Urban Guerilla" by Hawkwind
    I'm an urban guerrilla
    I make bombs in my cellar
    I'm a derelict dweller
    I'm a potential killer

  • The Cubby family in Dimension 20 are a very nice working-class halfling couple with their three children who happily help the main characters out whenever they can. They are also extremely anti-authoritarian, advocate violent revolution and carry around lit Molotovs just in case they need to kill come cops. Siobhan calls them Anarcho-Socialists.
    Bud Cubby: Now I'm not advocating killing cops, alright, I'm not saying you should put a pig down.
  • It Could Happen Here: One of the factions during the Second American Civil War are left-wing militias, along with their right-wing counterparts.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • 7th Sea has an entire Secret Society of Bomb Throwing Anarchists with its own splatbook. While the Rilisciare's reasons for being anti-authoritarian (nobles in the setting have access to sorcery that is causing the barrier between the physical world and Hell to slowly weaken, and non-powered nobles have a history of betraying the Free Thinkers) are clearly stated, the society's history includes the point where they extended their enmity to include anyone with power, even mundane political power. Plus, all the good explosives abilities and equipment are in their splatbook (including the "Arson" and "Bomb-making" skills and a coat with hidden explosives in the buttons).
  • Bleak World has the Bridge Burners, who are seen as this by the other Jotun. In reality, they are more of an organized terrorist group who oppose the pilgrimage back to Homestead on the theory that they could end up doing more damage to Earth by inviting the Elves to come here.
  • The Jammers from Feng Shui definitely fit the trope, with a fondness for blowing up Feng Shui sites in order to carry out Battlechimp Potemkin's dream of a world without chi. In Feng Shui 2, they've changed their tune big-time after the detonation of the Chi Bomb, which accomplished their goal of wiping the totalitarian Buro regime off the map, but also wiped out 97% of the population and devastated the globe.
    • In the Shadowfist card game, the Jammers are the only faction who can render the game Unintentionally Unwinnable by blowing up Feng Shui sites.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The spin-off game Gorkamorka featured the Gretchin Revolutionary Committee, who were pretty much just a goblin-based parody of this trope.
    • Actual anarchists are more likely to be Chaos or genestealer cults making trouble to weaken the planet for invasion.
  • The cover of Misspent Youth by Robert Bohl, features a pair of anarchists, one of whom is brandishing a Molotov cocktail. The protagonist characters are all basically bomb-throwing anarchists.
  • Paranoia features the secret society "Death Leopard", a coalition of pseudo-anarchist party-animals.
  • The Planescape Dungeons & Dragons setting's Anarchist faction has a number of members who believe in "overthrow the status quo now," without worrying about what's going to replace it. On the other hand, their motives could be considered better than say, the Sinker fraction of the Doomguard, who worship entropy and destruction for its own sake, or the Xaositects, for whom "having a plan" isn't really an option.
    • On the other hand, the Free League faction is more or less made up of non-bomb-throwing anarchists, being a loose association of individuals trying to get with their lives without the other factions telling them what to do. They even organize themselves in a non-hierarchical way.
  • Space 1889 played fairly straight and intended to be an antagonist –though it is also available as a player character career in character generation. The illustration fits the stereotype, complete with a cartoon bomb.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade averted this in two ways:
    • The Brujah clan, once known as a clan of passionate philosopher-kings, who tended more towards impulsive radicalism in modern nights. While the clan tends more towards the "throw a brick through a Starbucks window" school of anarchy, however, it does have its share of passionate intellectuals who prefer to argue the merits of anarchy rather than enforce it with their fists.
    • The Anarchs, a general faction of vampires who believe the Camarilla are a bunch of outmoded feudal lords with their heads up their butts and the Sabbat are a band of psychopaths. They institute their own systems and fight to establish baronies free from Camarilla control, with political systems varying from baron to baron.
      • It should be notable that by the mid-nineties in which the setting is set, the only Anarch holdings left in the world is the US West Coast, which is being invaded by the Sabbat from Mexico, the Camarilla from the east, and the Kuei-Jin coming in by boat from the west, which showcases just how successful the Anarchs are. Part of this lies in how Los Angeles, where the Second Anarch Revolt kicked off, was guided by the leader of the Revolt to remain a "true" Anarch state... meaning there is no central authority beyond a Revolutionary Council, and everything else is just whatever any gang can grab for themselves.
      • However, by the time Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition rolls around and the metaplot moves forward to mid-The New '10s, the Anarchs have come back with a vengeance. A number of disasters, from mass defections to YouTube to the Inquisition kicking back into gear and a number of three-letter agencies starting to get a hint, have caused the Camarilla to endure some losses and the Sabbat to all but vanish. The Anarchs have filled a lot of that power vacuum.

  • This what the victim in Accidental Death of an Anarchist is alleged to have been, and what The Maniac might very well be (his exact motivations are unclear, but he does revel in chaos).
  • Anarchist Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of President William McKinley, is one of the main characters in Assassins, and there is detailed examination of the cause of his radical beliefs. He comes across as the sympathetic of the assassins, with the most understandable motivation for his actions.
  • The play The Just Assassins by French writer Albert Camus explores the moral issues faced by a group of Russian terrorists plotting to kill the Governor General of Moscow by throwing a bomb at his carriage. This was based on a real assassination, though the perpetrators were not the anarchists but the Socialist Revolutionaries.
  • The play Last Meals has in one of its vignettes a man with a thing for mint chocolate chip ice cream. He is shown making a speech to the camera and does an Unflinching Walk from a building he has just blown up while eating his ice cream.

    Video Games 
  • "Tabloid" in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is described as one almost word-for-word, but it is later downplayed when it turns out he was arrested for expressing dissenting views about the war and apparently throwing a single rock at an Osean embassy.*
  • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War features A World With No Boundaries, a terrorist organization with the quite anarchist goal of the immediate dissolution of all borders, and whose plan to use a nuclear weapon to kill a large portion of world leaders all at once is not unlike the classic "propaganda of the deed" carried out on a grand scale.
  • Donn Throgg from Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura is a subversion. His M.O. is typical of the trope, but politically he is a fairly moderate union activist, who saw violence as the only way to stop the rampant abuse of orcs, half-orcs, and poor humans by Tarantian factory owners. If you can convince him to continue the struggle by peaceful means, Throgg eventually runs for President of Tarant.
  • The Intellivision game Bomb Squad uses this as the premise behind the game. One of these has planted a really big bomb under downtown and you're set to disable it. While you and your pal are trying to disable it, he taunts "It won't be easy!" in what might be an East European accent.
  • The Freakshow in City of Heroes are a group of anarchistic cyberpunks who take more than a few hints from Project Mayhem.
  • The Revolutionaries in Fallen London are frequently this, although it's noted at one point that they've largely moved on from Cartoon Bombs to dynamite. Most of them just want the Masters and their Bazaar to go home, their higher echelons are truly anarchic to horrifying degrees: They feel oppressed by the laws of nature and physics, and want to end them. And since these laws are enforced by starlight...
    • In Sunless Sea, set in the same universe, Anarchists are one of the four factions you can raise the Supremacy of (the others being London, the Khanate, and the Dawn Machine). You can boost Supremacy: Anarchists by running supplies from Vienna to London, giving the Iron Republic the Memento Mori, or helping the Empire of Hands complete their zeppelin and devastate London with it.
  • The Followers of the Apocalypse from Fallout: New Vegas are an anarchist faction that averts this trope. Mistrusting organized governments, they provide technological and humanitarian aid equally to all and urge the player character against actions that would give a government full control over the Mojave Wasteland. However, certain overly-zealous members are not above extreme actions to get what they want, including assassinating an NCR trooper who found out that they were stealing water to grow crops.
    • Played straight by Samuel Cooke of the Powder Gangers. All the Powder Gangers are escaped cons; he was in for, well, being one of these. He seems to have no real long-term plans except for making bombs to harass the NCR and joining the Great Khans (who also hate the NCR). He's actually the only member of the gang with this mentality, as the ones near the NCR Correctional Facility are just raiders, and one of his own henchmen wants to surrender before Cooke drags them all to their deaths.
    • The Honest Hearts DLC introduces the "Fight the Power!" perk, which is represented by Vault Boy wearing a bandana and throwing a Molotov cocktail and gives you a damage bonus to members of the NCR, Caesar's Legion and the Brotherhood of Steel.
  • The villain from a few Game & Watch games was named the Wily Bomber, and (due to the monochromatic color scheme) even managed to look much like the above picture.
  • Goblin Anarchists in Golden Krone Hotel have sticks of dynamite and explode violently upon death. Hope you've got some bullets or offensive magic to take them out at a distance. And if you're not currently human, you can't use either of these things, so you have no choice but to attack them in melee and take the blast.
  • Mortal Kombat 1: Havik is a violent, self-mutilating anarchist who desires the elimination of any and all authority figures. He proclaims that Seido has been "blessed with anarchy" after he drowns dozens of people in a terrorist attack on its capital.
  • Aversion: Ryan from The Nameless Mod looks like he's just a Terrorist Without A Cause at first, who happens to be fighting against the Big Bad of the game. But when you talk to him and learn that he's an anarchist, he explains his motives, he comes off as much more sympathetic, and it makes him into a different type of character.
  • Played with by the Siberian Black Army of The New Order Last Days Of Europe. They are indeed intent on using violence to unify Russia, but so is every other warlord state from Vyatka to Magadan, with the Black Army only distinguished by its ideology. They've also graduated from throwing bombs to full-scale industrial warfare, and can even develop nuclear weapons.
  • The Revolutionary League in Planescape: Torment, also known simply as the Anarchists, are a group of revolutionaries who want to ensure freedom for the people of Sigil by killing off all the other factions. Joining them is a bit of a Guide Dang It! that requires the player to blow up multiple Believers of the Source engineers and murder one of their leaders.
  • Dutch Van Der Linde of Red Dead Redemption is an outlaw who is motivated by a hatred for the American government and the civilization and industrialism that they bring to the dying frontier, though at that point most of his motivation is just to cause as much chaos as possible in an attempt to justify his existence. This trait is downplayed in the prequel, which shows how his ideals eventually eroded into madness.
  • The introduction to Sands of Destruction makes Morte and the World Annihilation Front seem like this, but as their name implies, they're not just interested in toppling evil governments; they want to end the world. That doesn't stop various characters from calling them anarchists, though.
  • In Scribblenauts, "terrorist" and "anarchist" are represented by the same character model.
  • The Freedom faction from S.T.A.L.K.E.R. are a loose-knit clan of Stalkers who push for free access into the Zone and ways for humans to harmoniously integrate into it, seeing the region as a scientific marvel and a way to get a truly free life. Freedom's ideals often put them into conflict with the Ukrainian military (as Freedom wishes to end the Ukrainian government's monopoly on the Zone) and their main rivals Duty (a faction of regimented ex-soldiers who ultimately wish to find a way to destroy the Zone completely). Unlike Duty, Freedom has a very decentralized organization structure and a relaxed and informal attitude: there are no ranks, and members often casually refer to each other as "bro" and consume alcohol and marijuana. Despite this, Freedom are a deceptively competent fighting force.
  • The Downzone Subverters from Syndicate (2012) are Uncivilized La Résistance who are obsessed with bringing down the syndicates. It's full Evil Versus Evil as they don't care for the civilians; in fact, the New York branch's leader gleefully anticipates the collateral damage.
  • In Urban Chaos: Riot Response the main villains are a bunch of anarchist pyromaniacs called "The Burners" who kill indiscriminately, wear painted hockey masks, and are really brainwashed employees of a corporation who want to "burn the city alive" to "make the country pay for its exploitation of 3rd world countries."
  • Victoria: An Empire Under The Sun has a variety of "Crime buildings" that can appear if your crime spending gets too low, one of these is "anarchist bomb-throwers" that greatly increases the chance of a "Political assassination" event.
  • It is very possible to play like this in Watch_Dogs 2. Your character is a member of a group of hacktivists based on Anonymous whose goal is to disrupt and reveal the secrets of shady businesses and organizations to the public. While the game is centered around using Hollywood Hacking and stealth to get to your goals, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from simply gunning down everyone in your way and making extensive use of homemade IEDs.
  • Jacob of Wintermoor Tactics Club tries to be this. His first Tactics Power even involves smoke bombs.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Roman Torchwick is a subversion. When recruiting the White Fang for Cinder's plan and introducing them to the stolen Paladins, Roman portrays himself as an anarchist who shares a common enemy with the Faunus terrorists: the leaders of human society, the governments, the people pulling the strings. Although he does enjoy causing mayhem, he actually believes in having a functional city that can be exploited for personal gain. As he eventually tells Ruby, the only reason he's siding with the Big Bad is because he believes it's impossible to oppose her, and his survival instincts tell him to join what appears to be the winning side.

    Web Comics 
  • The Cooks from Templar Arizona, a gang of people who intentionally turn peaceful demonstrations into riots, mostly with scare tactics, but occasionally with flammables.

    Web Video 
  • In Jreg Anarchist Left is a personification of this.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman Beyond: Mad Stan basically wants to blow up society. It's eventually revealed that there's some method to his madness — he chooses his targets based on local news stories that really piss him off. He is a pretty literal example of this trope too since he does in fact throw bombs and his beliefs seems to align quite neatly with anarcho-primitivism, raging against both technology and big government, making him something like a louder, dumber version of the Unabomber.
  • Verminous Skum from Captain Planet was one of these a lot. Trying to spread panic through inaccurate AIDS information and getting everyone in Washington DC hooked on a drug called Bliss to create his own zombie army are a few examples.
  • Judd Birch from Big Mouth fits snugly into this trope, being an angsty, sullen teenager with a hatred for the world, a manifesto in the works and a pack of trained attack raccoons.
  • The Red Lotus from The Legend of Korra, who want to "restore balance" by tearing down society and destroying the world's leaders. Notably, while still violent, they seemed to actually understand the ideas of anarchy well enough to not come off as complete strawmen. Interesting enough, their leader shares the same voice actor as Mad Stan.
    Zaheer: The natural order is disorder.
  • "The Blow Out", a Looney Tunes cartoon, had Lucille La Verne - aka The Queen - as The Bomber. He adorably is foiled by a child version of Porky Pig.
  • Rick and Morty: Rick Sanchez was one in his past with Bird Person and Squanchy, committing atrocities against the Galactic Government, and he continues to be an anti-authoritarian and anti-institutional maverick in the present, mocking school, family, marriage, society, and even the Council of Ricks. In "The Rickchurian Mortydate", his condescension and belittling of the POTUS, the man in charge of the country which he is a citizen of in the Multiverse, leads to a major crisis, with Rick being branded as a terrorist, and having his citizenship removed, and Rick coming close to killing the head of state which he probably would have gone ahead with had Morty not found a safe place for him and his family, forcing Rick to restore the status-quo.
  • Dark Kat from SWAT Kats fits this mold. He wanted to create a new city where "lawlessness was the law of the land" and believed he could achieve that by blowing things up in general. His first appearance actually saw him try to drop a nuke on Megakat City.
  • The Tick: "Yeah, baby, yeah! I'm the Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight!" Though it's downplayed in that he doesn't seem to have an actual goal beyond "blow things up".

Alternative Title(s): Bomb Throwing Anarchist, All Anarchists Are Nihilistic, Anarchists Are Nihilists