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Emma Goldman quote

If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal.

EMMA GOLDMAN, attributed, The Quotable Politician

It requires less mental effort to condemn than to think.

EMMA GOLDMAN, "Anarchism: What It Really Stands For"

Jealousy is indeed a poor medium to secure love, but it is a secure medium to destroy one's self-respect. For jealous people, like dope-fiends, stoop to the lowest level and in the end inspire only disgust and loathing.

EMMA GOLDMAN, "Jealousy: Causes and a Possible Cure," lecture (c. 1912), Red Emma Speaks

Crime is naught but misdirected energy.

EMMA GOLDMAN, "Anarchism: What It Really Stands For," Anarchism and Other Essays

From infancy, almost, the average girl is told that marriage is her ultimate goal; therefore her training and education must be directed towards that end. Like the mute beast fattened for slaughter, she is prepared for that. Yet, strange to say, she is allowed to know much less about her functions as a wife and mother than the ordinary artisan of his trade. It is indecent and filthy for a respectable girl to know anything of the marital relation. Oh, for the inconsistency of respectability, that needs the marraige vow to turn something which is filthy into the purest and most sacred arrangement that none dare question or criticize. Yet that is exactly the attitude of the average upholder of marriage. The prospective wife and mother is kept in complete ignorance of her only asset in the competitive field--sex. Thus she enters into life-long relations with a man only to find herself shocked, repelled, outraged beyond measure by the most natural and healthy instinct, sex.

EMMA GOLDMAN, "Marriage and Love," Anarchism and Other Essays

The philosophy of Atheism represents a concept of life without any metaphysical Beyond or Divine Regulator. It is the concept of an actual, real world with its liberating, expanding and beautifying possibilities, as against an unreal world, which, with its spirits, oracles, and mean contentment has kept humanity in helpless degradation.

EMMA GOLDMAN, Anarchism and Other Essays

No revolution can ever succeed as a factor of liberation unless the MEANS used to further it be identical in spirit and tendency with the PURPOSES to be achieved. Revolution is the negation of the existing, a violent protest against man's inhumanity to man with all the thousand and one slaveries it involves. It is the destroyer of dominant values upon which a complex system of injustice, oppression, and wrong has been built up by ignorance and brutality. It is the herald of NEW VALUES, ushering in a transformation of the basic relations of man to man, and of man to society.

EMMA GOLDMAN, My Disillusionment with Russia

Merely external emancipation has made of the modern woman an artificial being.... Now, woman is confronted with the necessity of emancipating herself from emancipation, if she really desires to be free.

EMMA GOLDMAN, "The Tragedy of Women's Emancipation," Anarchism and Other Essays

Sex expression is as vital a factor in human life as food and air.

EMMA GOLDMAN, Living My Life

Poor human nature, what horrible crimes have been committed in thy name!

EMMA GOLDMAN, "Anarchism: What It Really Stands For," Anarchism and Other Essays

It is safe to say that no other superstition is so detrimental to growth, so enervating and paralyzing to the minds and hearts of the people, as the superstition of Morality.

EMMA GOLDMAN, "Victims of Morality," Mother Earth, Mar. 1913

Christianity is most admirably adapted to the training of slaves, to the perpetuation of a slave society; in short, to the very conditions confronting us to-day.... The rulers of the earth have realized long ago what potent poison inheres in the Christian religion. That is the reason they foster it; that is why they leave nothing undone to instill it into the blood of the people. They know only too well that the subtleness of the Christian teachings is a more powerful protection against rebellion and discontent than the club or the gun.

EMMA GOLDMAN, "The Failure of Christianity," Mother Earth, Apr. 1913

Revolution is but thought carried into action.

EMMA GOLDMAN, Anarchism and Other Essays

In the struggle for supremacy the various political parties outdo each other in trickery, deceit, cunning, and shady machinations, confident that the one who succeeds is sure to be hailed by the majority as the victor. That is the only god--Success. As to what expense, what terrible cost to character, is of no moment.

EMMA GOLDMAN, Anarchism and Other Essays

Marriage is primarily an economic arrangement, an insurance pact. It differs from the ordinary life insurance agreement only in that it is more binding, more exacting. Its returns are insignificantly small compared with the investments. In taking out an insurance policy one pays for it in dollars and cents, always at liberty to discontinue payments. If, however, woman's premium is her husband, she pays for it with her name, her privacy, her self-respect, her very life, "until death doth part." Moreover, the marriage insurance condemns her to life-long dependency, to parasitism, to complete uselessness, individual as well as social. Man, too, pays his toll, but as his sphere is wider, marriage does not limit him as much as woman. He feels his chains more in an economic sense.

EMMA GOLDMAN, "Marriage and Love," Anarchism and Other Essays

There is no greater fallacy than the belief that aims and purposes are one thing, while methods and tactics are another, This conception is a potent menace to social regeneration. All human experience teaches that methods and means cannot be separated from the ultimate aim. The means employed become, through individual habit and social practice, part and parcel of the final purpose; they influence it, modify it, and presently the aims and means become identical.

EMMA GOLDMAN, My Disillusionment with Russia

If love does not know how to give and take without restrictions, it is not love, but a transaction that never fails to lay stress on a plus and a minus.

EMMA GOLDMAN, The Tragedy of Woman's Emancipation

The history of progress is written in the blood of men and women who have dared to espouse an unpopular cause, as, for instance, the black man's right to his body, or woman's right to her soul.

EMMA GOLDMAN, "What I Believe," Red Emma Speaks

Most of the women claimed to be emancipated and independent, as indeed they were in the sense that they were earning their own living. But they paid for it by the suppression of the mainsprings of their natures; fear of public opinion robbed them of love and intimate comradeship. It was pathetic to see how lonely they were, how starved for male affection, and how they craved children. Lacking the courage to tell the world to mind its own business, the emancipation of the women was frequently more of a tragedy than traditional marriage would have been. They had attained a certain amount of independence in order to gain thier livelihood, but they had not become independent in spirit or free in their personal lives.

EMMA GOLDMAN, Living My Life

Free love? As if love is anything but free! Man has bought brains, but all the millions in the world have failed to buy love. Man has subdued bodies, but all the power on earth has been unable to subdue love. Man has conquered whole nations, but all his armies could not conquer love. Man has chained and fettered the spirit, but he has been utterly helpless before love. High on a throne, with all the splendor and pomp his gold can command, man is yet poor and desolate, if love passes him by. And if it stays, the poorest hovel is radiant with warmth, with life and color. Thus love has the magic power to make of a beggar a king.

EMMA GOLDMAN, "Marriage and Love," Anarchism and Other Essays

No great idea in its beginning can ever be within the law. How can it be within the law? The law is stationary. The law is fixed. The law is a chariot wheel which binds us all regardless of conditions or place or time.

EMMA GOLDMAN, Anarchism and Other Essays

The wholesale mechanisation of modern life has increased uniformity a thousandfold. It is everywhere present, in habits, tastes, dress, thoughts and ideas. Its most concentrated dullness is "public opinion." Few have the courage to stand out against it. He who refuses to submit is at once labelled "queer," "different," and decried as a disturbing element in the comfortable stagnancy of modern life.

EMMA GOLDMAN, "The Individual, Society and the State"

The individual whose vision encompasses the whole world often feels nowhere so hedged in and out of touch with his surroundings as in his native land.

EMMA GOLDMAN, "The Individual, Society and the State," Red Emma Speaks

The people are asleep; they remain indifferent. They forge their own chains and do the bidding of their masters to crucify their Christs.

EMMA GOLDMAN, Living My Life

The most important step is to demand for the prisoner the right to work while in prison, with some monetary recompense that would enable him to lay aside a little for the day of his release, the beginning of a new life.

EMMA GOLDMAN, "Prisons: A Social Crime and Failure", Anarchism and Other Essays

What is the cause that compels a vast army of the human family to take to crime, to prefer the hideous life within prison walls to the life outside? Certainly that cause must be an iron master, who leaves its victims no avenue of escape, for the most depraved human being loves liberty.

EMMA GOLDMAN, "Prisons: A Social Crime and Failure", Anarchism and Other Essays

Thinking men and women the world over are beginning to realize that patriotism is too narrow and limited a conception to meet the necessities of our time.... When we have undermined the patriotic lie, we shall have cleared the path for the great structure where all shall be united into a universal brotherhood — a truly free society.

EMMA GOLDMAN, "What Is Patriotism?", speech, 1908


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