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Summary

Anarchist philosophy represents a diverse set of viewpoints that are sceptical of political authority and power. Anarchism can be framed as purely negative theoretical idea, i.e. a rejection of the legitimacy of political authority. Adherents of this view, sometimes called ‘philosophical anarchism’, seek to show that arguments for the legitimacy of political authority are unsuccessful. This philosophical anarchism is nevertheless compatible, some suggest, with still maintaining that we are sometimes or indeed often morally justified in conforming with or upholding various state activities, e.g. following the criminal law or agreeing to redistributive taxation. Anarchism can also refer to various political positions that offer a positive vision of how humans should structure their interactions and the ideals to which we should aspire when we associate with our fellows. A broad distinction can be drawn between left-anarchism and anarcho-capitalism. Left-anarchism refers to a diverse family of views, many of which were historically influential as an ideological competitor to state-centric socialism and communism, that espouse distributive equality, common ownership of resources, and/or duties of reciprocity. A guiding preoccupation within left-anarchism explores how to secure social cooperation without leading to the type of domination that they claim is found under statist systems. Thus, left-anarchists broadly reject hierarchical relationships and emphasise relating to one another as free and equal individuals (a notion that has recently been revived in mainstream political philosophy under the guise of social or relational egalitarianism). Anarcho-capitalists, by contrast, place greater emphasis on the individual and negative liberty, focusing on how we can structure cooperation primarily through the mechanism of free market exchange. This emphasis distinguishes the anarcho-capitalist from the left-anarchist, as such negative freedom can be inimical to the collectivist ideals of left-anarchism. For example, anarcho-capitalists uphold the right of individuals to harness their natural talents and strike bargains in such a way as might eventually lead to considerable distributive inequality or the creation of various types of hierarchy. Theorists within this tradition are, among other things, concerned with arguing that market-based systems can efficiently solve classic problems traditionally addressed by the state, such as providing security, creating mutually desirable infrastructures, and solving various types of collective action problem.

Beyond these views, a diverse collection of thinkers develop anarchism in other directions, with varying degrees of compatibility with the positions outlined above. For example, some develop an egoistic version of anarchism as means of pursuing individual perfection, some view anarchism as a method for living in ecological harmony, and others, especially following the Tolstoyan tradition, see anarchism as the natural extension of their religious views.

Key works For scepticism about political authority, see Simmons 1979 or Huemer 2012. For a classic manifesto of left-anarchism, see Kropotkin 2015 or Proudhon 1994 [1840] (who coined the term 'anarchy' as an ideology). Individualistic anarchy is famously defended by Stirner unknown. For recent work on social egalitarianism, see Fourie et al 2015. Anarchism is usefully contrasted with both left and right-libertarian views that are sceptical of true anarchism, see Otsuka 2003 and Nozick 1974. For ecological anarchism, see Bookchin 1982
Introductions See Lefkowitz 2006 on the duty to obey the law. See Chapter 1 of Chomsky 2014 for a readable introduction to anarchist themes. Kropotkin 1910 provides synoptic discussion of anarchism.
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  1. Social Anarchism and the Rejection of Moral Tyranny.Jesse Spafford - 2023 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    This book provides an analytical defence of egalitarian anarchism, arguing that there is a libertarian path to socialist conclusions.
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  2. Goldschmidt and Yiddish Anarchism.Roman Karlović & Peter Bojanić - 2024 - Philosophy Today 68 (2):415-424.
    While Hermann Levin Goldschmidt didn’t read Yiddish anarchists, there seems to have been a convergent evolution in their thinking. Goldschmidt’s looking up to Jewish lore as a source of liberating creativity is commonly encountered in Yiddish anarchist texts. His view of action as a constant response to internal and external challenges in the struggle for an open future is developed by Isaac Nachman Steinberg on the basis of nineteenth-century vitalism. Goldschmidt’s theory of anarchist individualism as willed self-limiting solidarity has a (...)
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  3. Anscombe, Anarchism, and Authority.Anne Jeffrey - forthcoming - Ergo.
    Philosophical anarchism, in its strongest form, says that a right to be obeyed would run up against the duty to act autonomously, so there must be no one with a right to be obeyed. More recently, a parallel criticism of moral testimony has been advanced according to which there can be no right to be believed about moral matters because it would lead us to fail in our duty to form our moral beliefs for ourselves, and thus to bear responsibility (...)
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  4. Social Anarchism and the Rejection of Moral Tyranny, by Jesse Spafford.Nikhil Venkatesh - forthcoming - Mind.
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  5. Methodological Anarchism.Jason Lee Byas & Billy Christmas - 2020 - In Gary Chartier & Chad Van Schoelandt (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Anarchy and Anarchist Thought. Routledge. pp. 53-75.
    There is a basic methodological difference in the way anarchists and non-anarchists think about politics, often more implicit than explicit. Anarchists see politics and justice as being concerns of social institutions, norms, and relations generally – both inside and outside the state. Much of academic political philosophy talks of politics and justice as if they are definitionally concerns about what states should do, or our relationships with each other through the state. In this chapter, we argue that the anarchists are (...)
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  6. Punk and Anarchism: UK, Poland, Indonesia.Jim Donaghey - 2016 - Dissertation, Loughborough University
    This thesis explores the relationships between punk and anarchism in the contemporary contexts of the UK, Poland, and Indonesia from an insider punk and anarchist perspective. A key tension that runs throughout the PhD is the dismissal of punk by some anarchists. This is often couched in terms of lifestylist versus workerist anarchism, with punk being denigrated in association with the former. The case studies focus on themes such as anti-fascism, food sovereignty/animal rights activism, politicisation, feminism, squatting, religion, and repression.
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  7. Bakunin Brand Vodka: An exploration into anarchist-punk and punk-anarchism.Jim Donaghey - 2013 - Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies 1 (1):138-170.
    Punk and anarchism are inextricably linked. The connection between them is expressed in the anarchistic rhetoric, ethics, and practices of punk, and in the huge numbers of activist anarchists who were first politicised by punk. To be sure, this relationship is not straightforward, riven as it is with tensions and antagonisms – but its existence is irrefutable. This article looks back to ‘early punk’ (arbitrarily taken as 1976-1980), to identify the emergence of the anarchistic threads that run right through punk’s (...)
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  8. Anarchism and democracy in Indonesia: An underground perspective.M. Rizky Sasono - 2022 - In Jim Donaghey, Will Boisseau & Caroline Kaltefleiter (eds.), Smash the System! Punk Anarchism as a Culture of Resistance. Karlovac: Active Distribution Press. pp. 347-374.
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  9. WAR DANCE (fuck war, let’s dance): Anarchism, punk, and DIY music in Croatia since the 1990s.Marko Vojnić & Len Tilbürger - 2022 - In Jim Donaghey, Will Boisseau & Caroline Kaltefleiter (eds.), Smash the System! Punk Anarchism as a Culture of Resistance. Karlovac: Active Distribution Press. pp. 211-234.
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  10. State liberation or state abolition? Czech punk between anti-Communism and anarchism.Ondřej Daniel - 2022 - In Jim Donaghey, Will Boisseau & Caroline Kaltefleiter (eds.), Smash the System! Punk Anarchism as a Culture of Resistance. Karlovac: Active Distribution Press. pp. 189-210.
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  11. ‘I’m here, and don’t forget it’: Punk, anarchism, repression, and resistance in the Basque Country and Chile.Asel Luzarraga & Jim Donaghey - 2022 - In Jim Donaghey, Will Boisseau & Caroline Kaltefleiter (eds.), Smash the System! Punk Anarchism as a Culture of Resistance. Karlovac: Active Distribution Press. pp. 171-188.
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  12. The (anti-)neoliberalism of Chilean punk anarchism.Maxwell Woods - 2022 - In Jim Donaghey, Will Boisseau & Caroline Kaltefleiter (eds.), Smash the System! Punk Anarchism as a Culture of Resistance. Karlovac: Active Distribution Press. pp. 141-170.
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  13. Anarchist punk and post-left anarchism in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay (1983-1993).Mariana Gabriela Calandra - 2022 - In Jim Donaghey, Will Boisseau & Caroline Kaltefleiter (eds.), Smash the System! Punk Anarchism as a Culture of Resistance. Karlovac: Active Distribution Press. pp. 107-140.
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  14. The meanings of anarchism in Brazilian punk: A socio-historical approach.João Batista de M. Bittencourt & Tiago de Jesus Vieira - 2022 - In Jim Donaghey, Will Boisseau & Caroline Kaltefleiter (eds.), Smash the System! Punk Anarchism as a Culture of Resistance. Karlovac: Active Distribution Press. pp. 91-106.
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  15. Smash the System! Punk Anarchism as a Culture of Resistance.Jim Donaghey, Will Boisseau & Caroline Kaltefleiter (eds.) - 2022 - Karlovac: Active Distribution Press.
    Smash the System! Punk Anarchism as a Culture of Resistance offers a snapshot of anarchist punk as a culture of resistance across the globe. In these diverse and internationalist chapters we witness struggles against racism and colonialism in South Africa, resistance to neo-liberalism and state oppression in Latin America, resistance to police brutality and capitalism in Western, Central and Southeast Europe, struggles for equality and against patriarchy in the US, and anarchist resistance against injustice and authoritarianism in Asia. The common (...)
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  16. Trans-Feminist Punk in The United States: Collective Action, Activism, and a Libidinal Economy of Noise.Casey Robertson - 2022 - In Jim Donaghey, Will Boisseau & Caroline Kaltefleiter (eds.), Smash the System! Punk Anarchism as a Culture of Resistance. Karlovac: Active Distribution Press. pp. 317-346.
    This chapter explores the tripartite relationship between transgender identities, political activism, and sonic practice. In particular, this chapter employs theorizations of noise to explore a rupture in the prevalent binarisms of sound and gender in the American punk scene and its aesthetics. Drawing upon theoretical frameworks such as Herbert Marcuse’s one-dimensional society and Jean-François Lyotard’s conception of a libidinal economy, the sonic practices of trans-feminist artists such as GLOSS (Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit) and the HIRS Collective are re-examined to (...)
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  17. The vulnerability of pragmatic anarchism: contribution to a symposium on Sophie Scott-Brown’s Colin Ward and the Art of Everyday Anarchy.Stuart White - forthcoming - History of European Ideas.
    Sophie Scott-Brown’s intellectual biography of Colin Ward does a superb job of putting Ward’s anarchism in its historical and political context. In so doing Scott-Brown arguably draws attention to how Ward’s pragmatic anarchism was dependent on post-war social democracy in the UK. This comment explores whether this makes Ward’s anarchism vulnerable in the following sense: that, as an anarchism, it cannot take sides in the struggle between social democracy and neo-liberalism even though its own prospects for success depend on the (...)
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  18. The Case of Schelling’s Libertarian Anarchism. A Phenomenological Analysis of Insurmountability of the Particular Will in the Years 1809-1810.Juan José Rodríguez - 2023 - HORIZON. Studies in Phenomenology 12 (2):457-478.
    This paper refers to the connection between the metaphysical duality of ground and existence and inner dynamic of the particular will of man. We will analyse how the metaphysical monism, which Schelling attributes to Spinoza and later to Hegel, is responsible for the abolition of the freedom of the human individual, because it does not account for the existence of evil, and consequently reduces it to the existence of a higher order reference system that over and predetermines the individual (1). (...)
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  19. Anarchism Is the Only Future.James Martel - 2023 - Philosophies 8 (6):113.
    In this paper I argue that archism, a form of political power that is ubiquitous in the world and is based on hierarchy and violence, effectively denies us a future. Archism in invested in continuing the current power dynamics. Accordingly, it projects a false sense of the future which is actually only a continuation of the present on and on forever. I look at two thinkers, Walter Benjamin and Hannah Arendt, who try to take the future back from archism (my (...)
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  20. Anarchism mainstreamed? On recent trends, challenges and opportunities in anarchist scholarship.Giuseppe Maglione - 2023 - Contemporary Political Theory 22 (4):129-136.
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  21. From “Whither” to “Whence”: A Decolonial Reading of Malabou.Rachel Cicoria - 2023 - Philosophies 8 (5):93-111.
    A turn from the “whither” to the “whence” of anarchism is at stake in Catherine Malabou’s interpretation of Latin American decolonial theory. This is a turn from a materialist philosophy that seeks to open the space of anarchism within the modern state toward one that discerns anarchism as already operative in the modern state given the social implications of colonial legacies. In tracing this turn, I propose a development of Malabou’s work insofar as I put her in dialogue with María (...)
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  22. American Anarchism.Steve J. Shone (ed.) - 2013 - Brill.
    'American Anarchism' is a work of political theory and history that focuses on 19th century American anarchism, together with two European anarchists who influenced some of the Americans. The nine thinkers discussed are Alexander Berkman, Voltairine de Cleyre, Samuel Fielden, Luigi Galleani, Peter Kropotkin, Lucy Parsons, Max Stirner, William Graham Sumner, and Benjamin Tucker. Shone emphasizes the value of using ideas from 19th century American anarchism to solve contemporary political problems.
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  23. Foreword to Steve J. Shone's "American Anarchism".Nathan Jun & Steve J. Shone - 2013 - In Steve J. Shone (ed.), American Anarchism. Brill.
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  24. Editor's Preface to "Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy".Nathan Jun - 2017 - In Nathan J. Jun (ed.), Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Leiden: Brill.
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  25. The Current State of Anarchist Studies in France: An Interview.Nathan Jun, Vivien García & Irène Pereira - 2014 - Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies 1.
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  26. Editors' Introduction to Special Issue on "Anarchism and Modernity".Nathan Jun & Jesse Cohn - 2015 - Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies 5 (1).
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  27. Introduction to "Without Borders or Limits: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Anarchist Studies".Nathan Jun & Jorell Meléndez-Badillo - 2013 - In Nathan Jun & Jorell Meléndez-Badillo (eds.), Without Borders or Limits: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Anarchist Studies. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  28. Book Review: The Dawn of Everything. [REVIEW]Steven Foertsch - 2024 - Humanity and Society 48 (1):100-102.
  29. Post-Anarchism: A Reader.Duane Rousselle & Süreyyya Evren (eds.) - 2011 - Pluto Press.
    Post-anarchism has been of considerable importance in the discussions of radical intellectuals across the globe in the last decade. In its most popular form, it demonstrates a desire to blend the most promising aspects of traditional anarchist theory with developments in post-structuralist and post-modernist thought. Post-Anarchism: A Reader includes the most comprehensive collection of essays about this emergent body of thought, making it an essential and accessible resource for academics, intellectuals, activists and anarchists interested in radical philosophy. Many of the (...)
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  30. Introduction to Special Issue on Third North American Anarchist Studies Network Conference.Nathan Jun - 2012 - Theory in Action 5 (4):1-5.
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  31. Introduction to "Anarchism: A Conceptual Approach".Nathan Jun, Benjamin Franks & Leonard Williams - 2018 - In Benjamin Franks, Nathan Jun & Leonard Williams (eds.), Anarchism: A Conceptual Approach. London: Routledge. pp. 1-12.
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  32. Anarchist Conceptions of Freedom.Nathan Jun - 2018 - In Benjamin Franks, Nathan Jun & Leonard Williams (eds.), Anarchism: A Conceptual Approach. London: Routledge. pp. 44-59.
    This chapter draws upon Michael Freeden's morphological approach to examine the various ways freedom has been conceptualized within the anarchist tradition. It determines how and to what extent these conceptions serve to differentiate anarchism from liberalism and other ideologies that claim freedom as a core concept. The chapter explores the role they play in the formulation of diverse anarchist tendencies. It argues that prevailing anarchist conceptions of freedom uniformly obviate the "assumed tension between the freedom of the individual and the (...)
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  33. A Few Thoughts on Colson's Lexicon.Nathan Jun - 2018 - Anarchist Studies Blog.
  34. The political dialogue of nature and grace: toward a phenomenology of chaste anarchism.Caitlin Smith Gilson - 2015 - London: Bloomsbury Academic, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing.
    A phenomenological re-thinking of the political implications of the separation between nature and grace.
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  35. Deleuze, Derrida, and Anarchism.Nathan Jun - 2007 - Anarchist Studies 15 (2):132-156.
    In this paper, I argue that Deleuze's political writings and Derrida's early (pre-1985) work on deconstruction affirms the tactical orientation which Todd May in particular has associated with 'poststructuralist anarchism.' Deconstructive philosophy, no less than Deleuzean philosophy, seeks to avoid closure, entrapment, and structure; it seeks to open up rather than foreclose possibilities, to liberate rather than interrupt the flows and movements which produce life. To this extent, it is rightfully called an anarchism -- not the utopian anarchism of the (...)
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  36. Review of Andrej Grubacic and Staughton Lynd, "Wobblies and Zapatistas: Conversations on Marxism, Anarchism, and Radical History". [REVIEW]Nathan Jun - 2009 - Anarchist Studies 17 (1):118.
  37. Anarchist Philosophy and the Pitfalls of the Reductio ad Politicum. [REVIEW]Nathan Jun - 2009 - Anarchist Studies 17 (2):108-111. Translated by Against the State: An Introduction to Anarchist Political Theory Crispin Sartwell.
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  38. Review of Angel Smith, "Anarchism, Revolution and Reaction: Catalan Labor and the Crisis of the Spanish State, 1898–1923". [REVIEW]Nathan Jun - 2010 - Enterprise and Society 11 (2):430-431.
  39. Review of Alexandre Christoyannopoulos, "Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel". [REVIEW]Nathan Jun - 2011 - Ideas and Action.
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  40. Review of Crispin Sartwell, "The Practical Anarchist: Writings of Josiah Warren". [REVIEW]Nathan Jun - 2012 - Anarchist Studies 20 (1):115-116.
  41. Anarchism from Theory to Practice: Two Recent Contributions to Anarchist Studies. [REVIEW]Nathan Jun - 2012 - WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society 15 (4):613-616.
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  42. Reply to Saul Newman's Review of "Anarchism and Political Modernity". [REVIEW]Nathan Jun - 2013 - Journal of Political Power 7 (1):165-166.
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  43. Review of Travis Tomchuck, "Transnational Radicals: Italian Anarchists in Canada and the U.S. 1915-1940," and Kenyon Zimmer, "Immigrants Against the State: Yiddish and Italian Anarchism in America". [REVIEW]Nathan Jun - 2016 - Altreitalie 52 (1):134-136.
  44. Review of Matthew S. Adams, "Kropotkin, Read, and the Intellectual History of British Anarchism: Between Reason and Romanticism". [REVIEW]Nathan Jun - 2017 - Anarchist Studies 25 (2):96-98.
  45. Review of Thomas Nail, "Returning to Revolution: Deleuze, Guattari, and Zapatismo". [REVIEW]Nathan Jun - 2013 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
  46. Review of Iwona Janicka, "Theorizing Contemporary Anarchism: Solidarity, Mimesis and Radical Social Change". [REVIEW]Nathan Jun - 2019 - Anarchist Studies 27 (1):115-117.
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  47. Toward a Girardian Politics.Nathan Jun - 2007 - Studies in Social and Political Thought 12 (14):22-42.
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  48. Translation of Daniel Colson's "Anarchist Readings of Spinoza".Nathan Jun, Jesse Cohn & Daniel Colson - 2009 - Journal of French Philosophy 17 (2):86-129. Translated by Nathan Jun & Jesse Cohn.
  49. Toward an Anarchist Film Theory: Reflections on the Politics of Cinema.Nathan Jun - 2010 - Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies 1 (1):139-161.
    Cinema, like art more generally, is both an artistic genre and a politico-economic institution. On the one hand there is film, a medium which disseminates moving images via the projection of light through celluloid onto a screen. Individual films or "movies," in turn, are discrete aesthetic objects that are distinguished and analyzed vis-à-vis their form and content. On the other hand there is the film industry-the elaborate network of artistic, technical, and economic apparatuses which plan, produce, market, and display films (...)
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  50. Rethinking the Anarchist Canon: History, Philosophy, and Interpretation.Nathan Jun - 2013 - Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies 3 (1):79-111.
    How we define the anarchist canon—let alone how we decide which thinkers, theories, and texts should count as canonical—depends very much on what we take the purpose of the anarchist canon to be. In this essay, I distinguish between thinkers, theories, or texts that are “anarchist,” by virtue of belonging to actually-existing historical anarchist movements, and those which are “anarchist” in virtue of expressing “anarchistic” (or “anarchic”) ideas. I argue that the anarchist canon is best conceived as a repository of (...)
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