Emma Goldman Quotes:

Emma Goldman, 1869 – 1940

Born: 27 June 1869 (O.S. 15 June), Kovno, Russian Empire (now Kaunas, Lithuania)
Died: 14 May 1940, Toronto, Canada

Born in an Orthodox Jewish family, she was whipped by her father for her behavior. He felt that a Jewish girl needed only to know how to prepare gefilte fish, cut noodles, and make babies, so she was not provided with any education beyond elementary and what we would call middle school while they were living in Germany. The family then moved to Saint Petersburg. One of her half sisters had married and moved to Rochester, New York, in 1885 her oldest half sister and she followed, after a dispute with her father. A year later the rest of the family was forced to follow as anti-Semitic behavior intensified. She became active in anarchist causes, writing and speaking to large crowds, and frequently being arrested. She worked as a seamstress for quit a while, then went to Europe and gained a certificate that allowed her to work as a midwife. She was arrested once for advocating birth control, once for “inciting to riot” during a labor dispute, she was held for two weeks of questioning when President McKinley’s assassin credited one of her speeches as his inspiration, and she was in prison for two years for advocating refusal to register for the draft in 1917. She founded and published Mother Earth from 1906 until it was shut down in 1917. She came to oppose all violence in politics, and was one of the first to publicly oppose prejudice against homosexuals. She was a committed atheist and an advocate of absolute free speech. Goldman was one of 249 “aliens” deported to the Soviet Union in 1919 (she was administratively stripped of her citizenship to make this possible), two years later she was writing about how poorly the Soviet system lived up to its promise. She suffered a debilitating stroke on 17 February 1940, leaving her able to hear but not speak. A second stroke followed less than a week before she died, the US allowed her body to be returned to Chicago for burial. Please note: “Red Emma” was an important character and a prolific author and deserves a place in our database. That doesn’t mean I agree with all of her philosophy or any of her atheist theology.

Emma Goldman quotes:

All claims of education notwithstanding, the pupil will accept only that which his mind craves.
    Emma Goldman

Anarchism is the great liberator of man from the phantoms that have held him captive; it is the arbiter and pacifier of the two forces for individual and social harmony.
    Emma Goldman

Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations.
    Emma Goldman – Anarchism and Other Essays (1910)

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.
    Emma Goldman – “The Failure of Christianity” in Mother Earth (April 1913)

Conceit, arrogance and egotism are the essentials of patriotism.
    Emma Goldman – “What is Patriotism?” speech at San Francisco (1908)

Consciously or unconsciously, most theists see in gods and devils, heaven and hell, reward and punishment, a whip to lash the people into obedience, meekness and contentment.
    Emma Goldman

Crime is naught but misdirected energy. So long as every institution of today, economic, political, social, and moral, conspires to misdirect human energy into wrong channels; so long as most people are out of place doing the things they hate to do, living a life they loathe to live, crime will be inevitable, and all the laws on the statutes can only increase, but never do away with, crime.
    Emma Goldman – Anarchism, What it Really Stands For (1910)

Demonstrate before the palaces of the rich; demand work. If they do not give you work, demand bread. If they deny you both, take bread.
    Emma Goldman – Speech at Union Square, New York (21 August 1893)

Do not all theists insist that there can be no morality, no justice, honesty or fidelity without the belief in a Divine Power? Based upon fear and hope, such morality has always been a vile product, imbued partly with self-righteousness, partly with hypocrisy. As to truth, justice, and fidelity, who have been their brave exponents and daring proclaimers? Nearly always the godless ones.
    Emma Goldman – “The Philosophy of Atheism” in Mother Earth (February 1916)

Every daring attempt to make a great change in existing conditions, every lofty vision of new possibilities for the human race, has been labeled Utopian.
    Emma Goldman

Have not all theists painted their Deity as the god of love and goodness? Yet after thousands of years of such preachments the gods remain deaf to the agony of the human race.
    Emma Goldman – “The Philosophy of Atheism” in Mother Earth (February 1916)

Heaven must be an awfully dull place if the poor in spirit live there.
    Emma Goldman

How long would authority … exist, if not for the willingness of the mass to become soldiers, policemen, jailers, and hangmen?
    Emma Goldman

I demand the independence of woman, her right to support herself; to live for herself; to love whomever she pleases, or as many as she pleases. I demand freedom for both sexes, freedom of action, freedom in love, and freedom in motherhood.
    Emma Goldman

I don’t care if a man’s theory for tomorrow is correct, I care if his spirit of today is correct.
    Emma Goldman

Every daring attempt to make a great change in existing conditions, every lofty vision of new possibilities for the human race, has been labeled Utopian.

Emma Goldman
Every effort for progress, for enlightenment, for science, for religious, political, and economic liberty, emanates from the minority, and not from the mass.

Emma Goldman

“Minorities Versus Majorities” in Anarchism (1910)
Have not all theists painted their Deity as the god of love and goodness? Yet after thousands of years of such preachments the gods remain deaf to the agony of the human race.

Emma Goldman

“The Philosophy of Atheism” in Mother Earth (February 1916)
Heaven must be an awfully dull place if the poor in spirit live there.

Emma Goldman
How long would authority … exist, if not for the willingness of the mass to become soldiers, policemen, jailers, and hangmen?

Emma Goldman
I believe — indeed, I know — that whatever is fine and beautiful in the human expresses and asserts itself in spite of government, and not because of it.

Emma Goldman

“What I Believe,” in The New York World (1908)
I demand the independence of woman, her right to support herself; to live for herself; to love whomever she pleases, or as many as she pleases. I demand freedom for both sexes, freedom of action, freedom in love, and freedom in motherhood.

Emma Goldman
I don’t care if a man’s theory for tomorrow is correct, I care if his spirit of today is correct.

Emma Goldman
I may be arrested, I may be tried and thrown into jail, but I never will be silent.

Emma Goldman

“Address to the Jury” in Mother Earth (1917)
I regard it as a tragedy that people of a differing sexual orientation find themselves proscribed in a world that has so little understanding for homosexuals and that displays such gross indifference for sexual gradations and variations and the great significance they have for living. It is completely foreign to me to wish to regard such people as less valuable, less moral, incapable of noble sentiments and behavior.

Emma Goldman
I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things.

Emma Goldman

Living My Life (1931)
I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.

Emma Goldman
If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.

Emma Goldman

Not her words, but a paraphrase she would have agreed with
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” in Anarchism (1910)
If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.

Emma Goldman

In the true sense one’s native land, with its background of tradition, early impressions, reminiscences and other things dear to one, is not enough to make sensitive human beings feel at home.

Emma Goldman
It cannot be sufficiently emphasized that revolution is in vain unless inspired by its ultimate ideal. Revolutionary methods must be in tune with revolutionary aims.

Emma Goldman

My Disillusionment with Russia (1923)
It is characteristic of theistic “tolerance” that no one really cares what the people believe in, just so they believe or pretend to believe.

Emma Goldman

“The Philosophy of Atheism” in Mother Earth (February 1916)
It is essential that we realize once and for all that man is much more of a sex creature than a moral creature. The former is inherent, the other is grafted on.

Emma Goldman
It is organized violence on top which creates individual violence at the bottom.

Emma Goldman

“Address to the Jury” (1917) in Red Emma Speaks, Alix Kates Shulman, ed. (1983)
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” in Mother Earth (March 1913)
Jealousy is the very reverse of understanding, of sympathy, and of generous feeling. Never has jealousy added to character, never does it make the individual big and fine.

Emma Goldman

“Jealousy: Causes and a Possible Cure” (1912) in Red Emma Speaks, Alix Kates Shulman, ed. (1983)
Lack of fairness to an opponent is essentially a sign of weakness.

Emma Goldman

Living My Life (1931)
Leo Tolstoy, the greatest anti-patriot of our time, defines patriotism as the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers; a trade that requires better equipment in the exercise of man-killing than the making of such necessities as shoes, clothing, and houses; a trade that guarantees better returns and greater glory than that of the honest workingman.

Emma Goldman

“What is Patriotism?” speech at San Francisco (1908)
Let us not overlook vital things, because of the bulk of trifles confronting us.

Emma Goldman
Liberty will not descend to a people, a people must raise themselves to liberty; it is a blessing which must be earned before it can be enjoyed.

Emma Goldman
Love, the strongest and deepest element in all life, the harbinger of hope, of joy, of ecstasy; love, the defier of all laws, of all conventions; love, the freest, the most powerful moulder of human destiny; how can such an all-compelling force be synonymous with that poor little State and Church-begotten weed, marriage? Free love? As if love is anything but free!

Emma Goldman

“Marriage and Love” in Anarchism and Other Essays (1911)
Mankind has been punished long and heavily for having created its gods; nothing but pain and persecution have been man’s lot since gods began.

Emma Goldman

“The Philosophy of Atheism” in Mother Earth (February 1916)
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.

Emma Goldman

“Marriage and Love” in Anarchism (1910)
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

Militarism consumes the strongest and most productive elements of each nation. Militarism swallows the largest part of the national revenue.

Emma Goldman

“Preparedness: The Road to Universal Slaughter” in Mother Earth (1915)
Morality and its victim, the mother – what a terrible picture! Is there indeed anything more terrible, more criminal, than our glorified sacred function of motherhood?

Emma Goldman
Never can a new idea move within the law. It matters not whether that idea pertains to political and social changes or to any other domain of human thought and expression — to science, literature, music; in fact, everything that makes for freedom and joy and beauty must refuse to move within the law. How can it be otherwise? The law is stationary, fixed, mechanical, ‘a chariot wheel’ which grinds all alike without regard to time, place and condition, without ever taking into account cause and effect, without ever going into the complexity of the human soul.

Emma Goldman

“Address to the Jury” (1917) in Red Emma Speaks, Alix Kates Shulman, ed. (1983)
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
No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness, and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure.

Emma Goldman

Living My Life (1931)
No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution. Revolution is but thought carried into action.

Emma Goldman
No real social change has ever come about without a revolution.

Emma Goldman

Anarchism, title essay (1910)
No, it is not because woman is lacking in responsibility, but because she has too much of the latter that she demands to know how to prevent conception.

Emma Goldman

“The Social Aspects of Birth Control” in Mother Earth (1916)
Nothing would prove more disastrous to our ideas, we contended, than to neglect the effect of the internal upon the external, of the psychological motives and needs upon existing institutions.

Emma Goldman

Living My Life (1931)
Nowhere is woman treated according to the merit of her work, but rather as a sex. It is therefore almost inevitable that she should pay for her right to exist, to keep a position in whatever line, with sex favors. Thus it is merely a question of degree whether she sells herself to one man, in or out of marriage, or to many men. Whether our reformers admit it or not, the economic and social inferiority of woman is responsible for prostitution.

Emma Goldman

“The Traffic in Women” in Anarchism (1910)
On rare occasions one does hear of a miraculous case of a married couple falling in love after marriage, but on close examination it will be found that it is a mere adjustment to the inevitable.

Emma Goldman
One cannot be too extreme in dealing with social ills; the extreme thing is generally the true thing.

Emma Goldman
One cannot be too extreme in dealing with social ills; besides, the extreme thing is generally the true thing.

Emma Goldman

Anarchism, title essay (1910)
Only when human sorrows are turned into a toy with glaring colors will baby people become interested — for a while at least. The people are a very fickle baby that must have new toys every day.

Emma Goldman

“The Traffic in Women” in Anarchism (1910)
Our institutions and conditions rest upon deep-seated ideas. To change those conditions and at the same time leave the underlying ideas and values intact means only a superficial transformation, one that cannot be permanent or bring real betterment. It is a change of form only, not of substance, as so tragically proven by Russia.

Emma Goldman

My Disillusionment with Russia (1923)

Our present system of economic and political dependence is maintained not so much by wealth and courts as it is by an inert mass of humanity, drilled and pounded into absolute uniformity, and that the school today represents the most efficient medium to accomplish that end.

Emma Goldman

“The Social Importance of the Modern School” (1912) in Red Emma Speaks, Alix Kates Shulman, ed. (1983)
Out of the chaos the future emerges in harmony and beauty.

Emma Goldman

Mother Earth (1903)
Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot consider themselves nobler, better, grander, more intelligent than those living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others.

Emma Goldman

“What is Patriotism?” speech at San Francisco (1908)
Peace or harmony between the sexes and individuals does not necessarily depend on a superficial equalization of human beings; nor does it call for the elimination of individual traits and peculiarities. The problem that confronts us today, and which the nearest future is to solve, is how to be one’s self and yet in oneness with others, to feel deeply with all human beings and still retain one’s own characteristic qualities.

Emma Goldman

“The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation” in Anarchism (1910)
People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take.

Emma Goldman
Politics is the reflex of the business and industrial world.

Emma Goldman

“The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation” in Anarchism (1910)
Politics is the reflex of the business and industrial world, the mottos of which are: ‘To take is more blessed than to give’; ‘buy cheap and sell dear’; ‘one soiled hand washes the other.’

Emma Goldman

“The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation” in Anarchism (1910)
Poor America, of what avail is all her wealth, if the individuals comprising the nation are wretchedly poor? If they live in squalor, in filth, in crime, with hope and joy gone, a homeless, soulless army of human prey.

Emma Goldman

Anarchism, title essay (1910)
Poor human nature, what horrible crimes have been committed in thy name!

Emma Goldman

Anarchism, title essay (1910)
‘Predigested food’ should be inscribed over every hall of learning as a warning to all who do not wish to lose their own personalities and their original sense of judgment.

Emma Goldman

“The Child and Its Enemies” in Mother Earth (1906)
Prostitution, although hounded, imprisoned, and chained, is nevertheless the greatest triumph of Puritanism.

Emma Goldman
Public school, where the human mind is drilled and manupulated into submission to various social and moral spooks, and thus fitted to continue our system of exploitation and oppression.

Emma Goldman
Publishers, theatrical managers, and critics ask not for the quality inherent in creative art, but will it meet with a good sale, will it suit the palate of the people? Alas, this palate is like a dumping ground; it relishes anything that needs no mental mastication. As a result, the mediocre, the ordinary, the commonplace represents the chief literary output.

Emma Goldman

“Minorities Versus Majorities” in Anarchism (1910)
Puritanism, in whatever expression, is a poisonous germ. On the surface everything may look strong and vigorous; yet the poison works its way persistently, until the entire fabric is doomed.

Emma Goldman
‘Readiness,’ far far from assuring peace, has at all times and in all countries been instrumental in precipitating armed conflicts.

Emma Goldman

Living My Life (1931)

Redemption through the Cross is worse than damnation, because of the terrible burden it imposes upon humanity, because of the effect it has on the human soul, fettering and paralyzing it with the weight of the burden exacted through the death of Christ.

Emma Goldman

“The Philosophy of Atheism” in Mother Earth (February 1916)
Religion and morality are a much better whip to keep people in submission than even the club and the gun.

Emma Goldman

“Victims of Morality” in Mother Earth (1903)
Religion is a superstition that originated in man’s mental inability to solve natural phenomena. The Church is an organized institution that has always been a stumbling block to progress.

Emma Goldman

“What I Believe,” in The New York World (1908)
Resistance to tyranny is man’s highest ideal.

Emma Goldman
Revolution is but thought carried into action.

Emma Goldman

Anarchism, title essay (1910)
Revolution is indeed a violent process. But if it is to result only in a change of dictatorship, in a shifting of names and political personalities, then it is hardly worth while.

Emma Goldman

My Disillusionment with Russia (1923)
Since every effort in our educational life seems to be directed toward making of the child a being foreign to itself, it must of necessity produce individuals foreign to one another, and in everlasting antagonism with each other.

Emma Goldman
So few people realize that preparedness never leads to peace, but that it is indeed the road to universal slaughter.

Emma Goldman

“Preparedness: The Road to Universal Slaughter” in Mother Earth (1915)
Social and economic well-being will become a reality only through the zeal, courage, the non-compromising determination of intelligent minorities, and not through the mass.

Emma Goldman
Some people never seem to learn from experience. No matter how often they had seen the lion devour the lamb, they continued to cling to the hope that the nature of the beast might change. If only the lion could get to know the lamb better, they argued, or talk matters over.

Emma Goldman

Living My Life (1931)
Someone has said that it requires less mental effort to condemn than to think.

Emma Goldman

Anarchism, title essay (1910)
Statutory regulations, legislative enactments, constitutional provisions, are invasive. They never yet induced man to do anything he could and would not do by virtue of his intellect or temperament, nor prevented anything that man was impelled to do by the same dictates.

Emma Goldman

“What I Believe,” in The New York World (1908)
Success achieved by the most contemptible means cannot but destroy the soul. … It helps to cover up the inner corruption and gradually dulls one’s scruples, so that those who begin with some high ambition cannot, even if they would, create anything out of themselves.

Emma Goldman

“Intellectual Proletarians,” in Mother Earth (1914)
Sure, nothing succeeds like success. Fact is, dearest, we are fools. We cling to an ideal no one wants or cares about. I am the greater fool of the two of us. I go on eating out my heart and poisoning every moment of my life in the attempt to rouse people’s sensibilities.

Emma Goldman
The average mind is easily content with inherited and acquired things, or with the dicta of parents and teachers, because it is much easier to imitate than to create.

Emma Goldman

“The Failure of Christianity,” in Mother Earth (1913)

The average mind is slow in grasping a truth, but when the most thoroughly organized, centralized institution, maintained at an excessive national expense, has proven a complete social failure, the dullest must begin to question its right to exist. The time is past when we can be content with our social fabric merely because it is “ordained by divine right,” or by the majesty of the law.

Emma Goldman

“Prisons: A Social Crime and Failure” (1911)
The Christian religion and morality extols the glory of the Hereafter, and therefore remains indifferent to the horrors of the earth. Indeed, the idea of self-denial and of all that makes for pain and sorrow is its test of human worth, its passport to the entry into heaven.

Emma Goldman

“The Failure of Christianity” in Mother Earth (April 1913)
The contention that a standing army and navy is the best security of peace is about as logical as the claim that the most peaceful citizen is he who goes about heavily armed.

Emma Goldman

“Patriotism” in Anarchism (1910)
The demand for equal rights in every vocation of life is just and fair; but, after all, the most vital right is the right to love and be loved.

Emma Goldman
The dominant, almost general, idea of revolution — particularly the Socialist idea — is that revolution is a violent change of social conditions through which one social class, the working class, becomes dominant over another class, the capitalist class. It is the conception of a purely physical change, and as such it involves only political scene shifting and institutional rearrangements

Emma Goldman

My Disillusionment with Russia (1923)
The Fathers of the Church can well afford to preach the gospel of Christ. It contains nothing dangerous to the regime of authority and wealth; it stands for self-denial and self-abnegation, for penance and regret, and is absolutely inert in the face of every [in]dignity, every outrage imposed upon mankind.

Emma Goldman

“The Failure of Christianity” in Mother Earth (April 1913)
The free expression of the hopes and aspirations of a people is the greatest and only safety in a sane society.

Emma Goldman

Living My Life (1931)
The function of militarism is to kill. It cannot live except through murder.

Emma Goldman

“Preparedness: The Road to Universal Slaughter” in Mother Earth (1915)
The God idea is growing more impersonal and nebulous in proportion as the human mind is learning to understand natural phenomena and in the degree that science progressively correlates human and social events.

Emma Goldman

“The Philosophy of Atheism” in Mother Earth (February 1916)
The greatest bulwark of capitalism is militarism.

Emma Goldman

Anarchism, title essay (1910)
The higher mental development of woman, the less possible it is for her to meet a congenial male who will see in her, not only sex, but also the human being, the friend, the comrade and strong individuality, who cannot and ought not lose a single trait of her character.

Emma Goldman
The history of human growth is at the same time the history of every new idea heralding the approach of a brighter dawn, and the brighter dawn has always been considered illegal, outside of the law.

Emma Goldman

“Address to the Jury” (1917) in Red Emma Speaks, Alix Kates Shulman, ed. (1983)
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
The idealists and visionaries, foolish enough to throw caution to the winds and express their ardor and faith in some supreme deed, have advanced mankind and have enriched the world.

Emma Goldman

Living My Life (1931)
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” (1940) in Red Emma Speaks, Alix Kates Shulman, ed. (1983)

The majority cannot reason; it has no judgement. It has always placed its destiny in the hands of others; it has followed its leaders even into destruction. The mass has always opposed, condemned, and hounded the innovator, the pioneer of a new truth.

Emma Goldman
The majority cares little for ideals and integrity. What it craves is display.

Emma Goldman

“Minorities Versus Majorities” in Anarchism (1910)
The most disheartening tendency common among readers is to tear out one sentence from a work, as a criterion of the writer’s ideas or personality.

Emma Goldman

Anarchism, introduction (1910)
The most unpardonable sin in society is independence of thought.

Emma Goldman

Anarchism, title essay (1910)
The most violent element in society is ignorance.

Emma Goldman

Anarchism, title essay (1910)
The most vital right is the right to love and be loved.

Emma Goldman

“The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation” in Anarchism (1910)
The motto should not be: Forgive one another; rather, Understand one another.

Emma Goldman

“The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation” in Anarchism (1910)
The only demand that property recognizes is its own gluttonous appetite for greater wealth, because wealth means power; the power to subdue, to crush, to exploit, the power to enslave, to outrage, to degrade.

Emma Goldman

Anarchism and Other Essays (1910)
The pathos of it all is that the America which is to be protected by a huge military force is not the America of the people, but that of the privileged class.

Emma Goldman

“Preparedness: The Road to Universal Slaughter” in Mother Earth (1915)
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

“The Philosophy of Atheism” in Mother Earth (February 1916)
The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue.

Emma Goldman

Anarchism, title essay (1910)
The powers know that the people at large are like children whose despair, sorrow, and tears can be turned into joy with a little toy…. An army and navy represents the people’s toys.

Emma Goldman
The reward in heaven is the perpetual bait, a bait that has caught man in an iron net, a strait-jacket which does not let him expand or grow.

Emma Goldman

“The Failure of Christianity” in Mother Earth (April 1913)
The soldier’s business is to take life. For that he is paid by the State, eulogized by political charlatans and upheld by public hysteria. But woman’s function is to give life, yet neither the State nor politicians nor public opinion have ever made the slightest provision in return for the life woman has given.

Emma Goldman

“The Social Aspects of Birth Control” in Mother Earth (1916)
The spirit of militarism has already permeated all walks of life. Indeed, I am convinced that militarism is a greater danger here than anywhere else, because of the many bribes capitalism holds out to those whom it wishes to destroy.

Emma Goldman

“What is Patriotism?” speech at San Francisco (1908)

The State has no more existence than gods and devils have. They are equally the reflex and creation of man, for man, the individual, is the only reality. The State is but the shadow of man, the shadow of his opaqueness, of his ignorance and fear.

Emma Goldman

“The Individual, Society and the State” (1940) in Red Emma Speaks, Alix Kates Shulman, ed. (1983)
The State is a term for the legislative and administrative machinery whereby certain business of the people is transacted, and badly so.

Emma Goldman

“The Individual, Society and the State” (1940) in Red Emma Speaks, Alix Kates Shulman, ed. (1983)
The State is the altar of political freedom and, like the religious altar, it is maintained for the purpose of human sacrifice.

Emma Goldman

Anarchism, title essay (1910)
The State, every government whatever its form, character or color — be it absolute or constitutional, monarchy or republic, Fascist, Nazi or bolshevik — is by its very nature conservative, static, intolerant of change and opposed to it.

Emma Goldman

My Further Disillusionment in Russia (1924)
The strongest bulwark of authority is uniformity; the least divergence from it is the greatest crime.

Emma Goldman

“The Individual, Society and the State” (1940) in Red Emma Speaks, Alix Kates Shulman, ed. (1983)
The ultimate end of all revolutionary social change is to establish the sanctity of human life, the dignity of man, the right of every human being to liberty and well-being.

Emma Goldman

My Disillusionment in Russia (1923)
The whole history of man is continuous proof of the maxim that to divest one’s methods of ethical concepts means to sink into the depths of utter demoralization.

Emma Goldman

My Disillusionment with Russia (1923)
The worker who knows the cause of his misery, who understands the make-up of our iniquitous social and industrial system can do more for himself and his kind than Christ and the followers of Christ have ever done for humanity; certainly more than meek patience, ignorance, and submission have done.

Emma Goldman

“The Failure of Christianity” in Mother Earth (April 1913)
There are, however, some potentates I would kill by any and all means at my disposal. They are Ignorance, Superstition, and Bigotry — the most sinister and tyrannical rulers on earth.

Emma Goldman

Living My Life (1931)
There can be no freedom in the large sense of the word, no harmonious development, so long as mercenary and commercial considerations play an important part in the determination of personal conduct.

Emma Goldman

“What I Believe,” in The New York World (1908)
There is no greater fallacy than the belief that aims and purposes are one thing, while methods and tactics are another.

Emma Goldman

My Disillusionment with Russia (1923)
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 menance to social regeneration. All human experience teaches that methods and means cannot be separated from the ultimate aim.

Emma Goldman

My Disillusionment in Russia (1923)
There is no hope even that woman, with her right to vote, will ever purify politics.

Emma Goldman
There is no such thing as a good government. There never was. There can’t be.

Emma Goldman

quoted by Katherine Anne Porter in The Never-Ending Wrong (1977)
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.

Emma Goldman

“What is Patriotism?” speech at San Francisco (1908)

To the indefinite, uncertain mind of the American radical the most contradictory ideas and methods are possible. The result is a sad chaos in the radical movement, a sort of intellectual hash, which has neither taste nor character.

Emma Goldman
To the moralist prostitution does not consist so much in the fact that the woman sells her body, but rather that she sells it out of wedlock.

Emma Goldman
Today is the parent of tomorrow. The present casts its shadow far into the future. That is the law of life, individual and social. Revolution that divests itself of ethical values thereby lays the foundation of injustice, deceit, and oppression for the future society. The means used to prepare the future become its cornerstone.

Emma Goldman

My Disillusionment with Russia (1923)
True emancipation … will have to do away with the absurd notion of the dualism of the sexes, or that man and woman represent two antagonistic worlds.

Emma Goldman

“The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation” in Anarchism (1910)
Under miserable conditions of life, any vision of the possibility of better things makes the present misery more intolerable, and spurs those who suffer to the most energetic struggles to improve their lot, and if these struggles only immediately result in sharper misery, the outcome is sheer desperation.

Emma Goldman

“The Psychology of Political Violence” in Anarchism (1910)
We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens.

Emma Goldman

“What is Patriotism?” speech at San Francisco (1908)
We say that if America has entered the war to make the world safe for democracy, she must first make democracy safe in America. How else is the world to take America seriously, when democracy at home is daily being outraged, free speech suppressed, peaceable assemblies broken up by overbearing and brutal gangsters in uniform; when free press is curtailed and every independent opinion gagged? Verily, poor as we are in democracy, how can we give of it to the world?

Emma Goldman

“Address to the Jury” (1917) in Red Emma Speaks, Alix Kates Shulman, ed. (1983)
We say that if America has entered the war to make the world safe for democracy, she must first make democracy safe in America.

Emma Goldman

“Address to the Jury” (1917) in Red Emma Speaks, Alix Kates Shulman, ed. (1983)
Wealth means power: the power to subdue, to crush, to exploit, the power to enslave, to outrage, to degrade.

Emma Goldman

Anarchism, title essay (1910)
‘What I believe’ is a process rather than a finality. Finalities are for gods and governments, not for the human intellect.

Emma Goldman

“What I Believe,” in The New York World (1908)
What is generally regarded as success — acquisition of wealth, the capture of power or social prestige — I consider the most dismal failures. I hold when it is said of a man that he has arrived, it means that he is finished — his development has stopped at that point.

Emma Goldman

“Was My Life Worth Living?” in Harper’s Magazine (1934)
When we can’t dream any longer we die.

Emma Goldman

speech, quoted by Margaret Anderson in “The Immutable” in The Little Review (1914)
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 at San Francisco (1908)
With the conception that the Revolution was only a means of securing political power, it was inevitable that all revolutionary values should be subordinated to the needs of the Socialist State; indeed, exploited to further the security of the newly acquired governmental power.

Emma Goldman

My Disillusionment with Russia (1923)
Woman, essentially a purist, is naturally bigoted and relentless in her effort to make others as good as she thinks they ought to be.

Emma Goldman

Women need not always keep their mouths shut and their wombs open.

Emma Goldman
You cannot build up a standing army and then throw it back into a box like tin soldiers. Armies equipped to the teeth with weapons, with highly developed instruments of murder and backed by their military interests, have their own dynamic functions.

Emma Goldman

“Preparedness: The Road to Universal Slaughter” in Mother Earth (1915)

What do you think?

1.5k Points
Upvote Downvote

Written by MoneyNet

MoneyNet is the team behind the research and fact-checking of our net worth listings. We strive to provide the most up-to-date listings of the wealthiest people in the world from a wide range of industries and professions. If you have a tip, or think that we have something factually incorrect, then please let us know. Aside from that, enjoy learning everything there is to know about the rich and famous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Helen Hayes Quotes

Steve Jobs Quotes