CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers - Anarchy to Communism: Hippie Politics

History, Social Studies, Political Science
1 to 2 lessons
To explore various political systems, to write an opinion paper
Students investigate the hippie movement and its experimentation with the politics of anarchy and communism.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Write the following definitions from Dictionary.com on the board:


Absence of any form of political authority

Political disorder and confusion

Absence of any cohesive principle, such as a common standard or purpose



A theoretical economic system characterized by the collective ownership of property and by the organization of labour for the common advantage of all members

Discuss these ideas as a class and ensure that all students are clear on their meaning.

Outline the Opportunity

Have students examine the clips "Rochdale College: Organized anarchy", "Out of the city and into the commune", "Where have all the hippies gone?" and "Rochdale: The experiment explodes" on the topic Hippie Society: The Youth Rebellion on the CBC Digital Archives website. As they explore the site, have students write detailed responses to the following questions (also available on the download sheet Hippie Politics):


What were the results of the hippies' experiments with alternative lifestyles?

Why did the experiments in anarchy and communism eventually fail?

What could have made the experiments more successful?

What are your opinions of anarchy and communism as systems of social organization?


Revisit and Reflect

Have students discuss their responses and listen carefully to one another's opinions. Ask: Were the experiments doomed to fail from the outset? Do you think anarchy and communism would fail in today's political and economic climate in Canada? Do you think there is more room for alternative points of view in today's political and economic climate in Canada? Have students explain their answers in detail.


The hippies are now in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. Students can write an opinion paper or reflect in their journals about how they think the hippies' experimentation with alternative lifestyles affected the rest of their lives, if at all.

Download PDF

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