Best 273 of Anarchism quotes - MyQuotes
One does not suffer nearly so much from one's inadequacies as from one's unused abilities.
George Bernard Shaw
ANARCHIST. I told you to begin by abolishing the State. Now we are all lost.
Ludwig Von Mises
Human action is purposeful behavior. Or we may say: Action is will put into operation and transformed into an agency, is aiming at ends and goals, is the ego's meaningful response to stimuli and to the conditions of its environment, is a person's conscious adjustment to the state of the universe that determines his life.
To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality." General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century, translated by John Beverly Robinson (London: Freedom Press, 1923), pp. 293-294.
It is better to enlighten men’s minds than to teach them to be obstinate in their prejudices.
Independent of the state, these citadels put into practice something anarchists have been saying all along: no form of politics is worth our time until it helps struggling people get what they need, sustainability and reliably. All the better if you can do so without patriarchy and fundamentalism.
Broadly conceived, however, ecology deals with the balance of nature. Inasmuch as nature includes man, the science basically deals with the harmonization of nature and man. This focus has explosive implications. The explosive implications of an ecological approach arise not only from the fact that ecology is intrinsically a critical science--in fact, critical on a scale that the most radical systems of political economy failed to attain--but it is also an integrative and reconstructive science.
Voltairine De Cleyre
Capitalistic Anarchism ? Oh, yes, if you choose to call it so. Names are indifferent to me; I am not afraid of bugaboos. Let it be so, then, capitalistic Anarchism.
The first right of any person in any society must be the right to communicate. Without communication there is no way to safeguard our other rights or for us to participate fully in a society. When your right to communicate is interrupted by those who would be your voice, your face or your representative, you are being subjected to the governance of another.
Normally, when you challenge the conventional wisdom—that the current economic and political system is the only possible one—the first reaction you are likely to get is a demand for a detailed architectural blueprint of how an alternative system would work, down to the nature of its financial instruments, energy supplies, and policies of sewer maintenance. Next, you are likely to be asked for a detailed program of how this system will be brought into existence. Historically, this is ridiculous. When has social change ever happened according to someone’s blueprint? It’s not as if a small circle of visionaries in Renaissance Florence conceived of something they called “capitalism,” figured out the details of how the stock exchange and factories would someday work, and then put in place a program to bring their visions into reality. In fact, the idea is so absurd we might well ask ourselves how it ever occurred to us to imagine this is how change happens to begin.
Media is an assemblage of tools with which to expand an audience's conception of what "the world" is to such and extent that their own lives and capabilities seem utterly insignificant; a means of psychological warfare by which people are overloaded with information and desensitized to their own and others' suffering; the sum of all means by which human beings reduce the infinite complexity of reality to a dead-end maze of abstractions.
I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from convention and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to become a nun and that the movement would not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. "I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody's right to beautiful, radiant things." Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world — prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own closest comrades I would live my beautiful ideal.
Ursula K. Le Guin
I brought nothing,” Shevek said. Though the suit had been bleached almost to white and bad shrunk a bit, it still fit, and the harsh familiar touch of holum-fiber cloth was pleasant. He felt like himself again. He sat down on the bed facing the doctor and said, “You see, I know you don't take things, as we do. In your world, in Urras, one must buy things. I come to your world, I have no money, I cannot buy. therefore I should bring. But how much can I bring? Clothing, yes, I might bring two suits. But food? How can I bring food enough? I cannot bring, I cannot buy. If I am to be kept alive, you must give it to me. I am an Anarresti, I make the Urrasti behave like Anarresti: to give. not to sell If you like. Of course, it is not necessary to keep me alive! I am the Beggarman, you see.
The core of the anarchist tradition, as I understand it, is that power is always illegitimate, unless it proves itself to be legitimate. So the burden of proof is always on those who claim that some authoritarian hierarchic relation is legitimate. If they can't prove it, then it should be dismantled. Can you ever prove it? Well, it's a heavy burden of proof to bear, but I think sometimes you can bear it. So to take a homely example, if I'm walking down the street with my four-year-old granddaughter, and she starts to run into the street, and I grab her arm and pull her back, that's an exercise of power and authority, but I can give a justification for it, and it's obvious what the justification would be. And maybe there are other cases where you can justify it. But the question that always should be asked uppermost in our mind is, 'Why should I accept it?' It's the responsibility of those who exercise power to show that somehow it's legitimate. It's not the responsibility of anyone else to show that it's illegitimate. It's illegitimate by assumption, if it's a relation of authority among human beings which places some above others. That's illegitimate by assumption. Unless you can give a strong argument to show that it's right, you've lost.
We have killed “duty” so that our ardent desire for free brotherhood acquires heroic valor in life. We have killed “pity” because we are barbarians capable of great love. We have killed “altruism” because we are generous egoists. We have killed “philanthropic solidarity” so that the social man unearths his most secret “I” and finds the strength of the “Unique”.
The right of self-determination of the peoples includes the right to a state of their own. However, the foundation of a state does not increase the freedom of a people. The system of the United Nations that is based on nation-states has remained inefficient. Meanwhile, nation-states have become serious obstacles for any social development. Democratic confederalism is the contrasting paradigm of the oppressed people. Democratic confederalism is a non-state social paradigm. It is not controlled by a state. At the same time, democratic confederalism is the cultural organizational blueprint of a democratic nation. Democratic confederalism is based on grassroots participation. Its decision-making processes lie with the communities. Higher levels only serve the coordination and implementation of the will of the communities that send their delegates to the general assemblies. For limited space of time they are both mouthpiece and executive institution. However, the basic power of decision rests with the local grassroots institutions.
The methods from which the different non-anarchist parties expect, or say they do, the greatest good of one and all can be reduced to two, the authoritarian and the so-called liberal. The former entrusts to a few the management of social life and leads to the exploitation and oppression of the masses by the few. The latter relies on free individual enterprise and proclaims, if not the abolition, at least the reduction of governmental functions to an absolute minimum; but because it respects private property and is entirely based on the principle of each for himself and therefore of competition between men, the liberty it espouses is for the strong and for the property owners to oppress and exploit the weak, those who have nothing; and far from producing harmony, tends to increase even more the gap between rich and poor and it too leads to exploitation and domination, in other words, to authority. This second method, that is liberalism, is in theory a kind of anarchy without socialism, and therefore is simply a lie, for freedom is not possible without equality, and real anarchy cannot exist without solidarity, without socialism. The criticism liberals direct at government consists only of wanting to deprive it of some of its functions and to call on the capitalists to fight it out among themselves, but it cannot attack the repressive functions which are of its essence: for without the gendarme the property owner could not exist, indeed the government’s powers of repression must perforce increase as free competition results in more discord and inequality.
Proletarians of the world, look into the depths of your own beings, seek out the truth and realise it yourselves: you will find it nowhere else.
Yet, if they repudiated the social dogmas of their time as artificial, abstract, and far removed from real life, their own approach to building the good society could hardly be called pragmatic or empirical. Visionary utopians, the anarchists paid scant attention to the practical needs of a rapidly changing world; they generally avoided careful analysis of social and economic conditions, nor were they able or even willing to come to terms with the inescapable realities of political power. For the religious and metaphysical gospels of the past, they substituted a vague messianism which satisfied their own chiliastic expectations; in place of complex ideologies, they offered simple action-slogans, catchwords of revolutionary violence, poetic images of the coming Golden Age. By and large, they seemed content to rely on "the revolutionary instincts of the masses" to sweep away the old order and "the creative spirit of the masses" to build the new society upon its ashes. "Through a Social Revolution to the Anarchist Future!" proclaimed a group of exiles in South America; the practical details of agriculture and industry "will be worked out afterwards" by the revolutionary masses. Such an attitude, though it sprang from a healthy skepticism towards the ideological "blueprints" and "scientific laws" of their Marxist adversaries, could be of little help in setting a course of action designed to revolutionize the world.
Victory will not go to those who can inflict the most suffering, but to those who can survive the most.
If you are a warrior, the nature and scale of your enemies will determine the nature and scale of your actions. In this sense, it is even more important to choose your enemies more wisely than your friends.
For over a century and a half, anarchists have been arguing that coercive, hierarchical organization (as embodied in government and corporations) is not equivalent to organization per se (which they regard as necessary), and that coercive organization should be replaced by decentralized, nonhierarchical organization based on voluntary cooperation and mutual aid. This is hardly a rejection of organization.
Behind every unquestionable belief is a system of control.
There is a saying, if any stranger enquire of the first met of Maan, were it even a child, “Who is here the sheykh?” he would answer him “I am he.
Each of us is born with a crazy passion to learn. Each of us craves knowledge of our world and our place within it. We learn because we want to learn, because it's important to us, because it's natural, and because it's impossible to live in the world and not learn. Then along comes school to mess up a beautiful thing.
Not only my arrest but the others smack of the Haymarket. The police are very much in disrepute all over the country, and they wish to do something to clear themselves. They are trying to make it an anarchist plot. If they wish to make up a case, they may succeed.
Anarchy is law and freedom without force. Despotism is law and force without freedom. Barbarism force without freedom and law. Republicanism is force with freedom and law.
Right and wrong are superstitions; your desires, however, are real. Those who cannot achieve their desires, or who despair of doing so, often compensate by constructing imaginary frameworks. For example, if you wish to live in a world in which no one exploits animals, it is moralism to judge those who eat meat immoral instead of setting about disabling the animal exploitation industry. People retreat into moralism as a sort of consolation prize, for it is easier to rule in the realm of good and evil, fictitious as it may be, than to come to terms with our limited leverage upon this world and yet persist in endeavoring to change it.
In the United States, people don't revolt in order to obtain freedom, but continue denying it to others.
Your fathers killed their government for far less, why won’t you?
No matter what color you paint Anarchism, it's still a pig with lipstick on.
Anarchism and anthropology go well together because anthropologists know that a society without a state is possible because so many exist.
Instead of worship or ignorance of the past, we must make our own tools, our own stories, and our own legends.
Well, it's true that the anarchist vision in just about all its varieties has looked forward to dismantling state power―and personally I share that vision. But right now it runs directly counter to my goals: my immediate goals have been, and now very much are, to defend and even strengthen certain elements of state authority that are now under severe attack. And I don't think there's any contradiction there―none at all, really. For example, take the so-called "welfare state." What's called the "welfare state" is essentially a recognition that every child has a right to have food, and to have health care and so on―and as I've been saying, those programs were set up in the nation-state system after a century of very hard struggle, by the labor movement, and the socialist movement, and so on. Well, according to the new spirit of the age, in the case of a fourteen-year-old girl who got raped and has a child, her child has to learn "personal responsibility" by not accepting state welfare handouts, meaning, by not having enough to eat. Alright, I don't agree with that at any level. In fact, I think it's grotesque at any level. I think those children should be saved. And in today's world, that's going to have to involve working through the state system; it's not the only case. So despite the anarchist "vision," I think aspects of the state system, like the one that makes sure children eat, have to be defended―in fact, defended very vigorously. And given the accelerating effort that's being made these days to roll back the victories for justice and human rights which have been won through long and often extremely bitter struggles in the West, in my opinion the immediate goal of even committed anarchists should be to defend some state institutions, while helping to pry them open to more meaningful public participation, and ultimately to dismantle them in a much more free society. There are practical problems of tomorrow on which people's lives very much depend, and while defending these kinds of programs is by no means the ultimate end we should be pursuing, in my view we still have to face the problems that are right on the horizon, and which seriously affect human lives. I don't think those things can simply be forgotten because they might not fit within some radical slogan that reflects a deeper vision of a future society. The deeper visions should be maintained, they're important―but dismantling the state system is a goal that's a lot farther away, and you want to deal first with what's at hand and nearby, I think. And in any realistic perspective, the political system, with all its flaws, does have opportunities for participation by the general population which other existing institutions, such as corporations, don't have. In fact, that's exactly why the far right wants to weaken governmental structures―because if you can make sure that all the key decisions are in the hands of Microsoft and General Electric and Raytheon, then you don't have to worry anymore about the threat of popular involvement in policy-making.
Whether love last but one brief span of time or for eternity, it is the only creative, inspiring, elevating basis for a new race, a new world.
The primitive man has one quality, elaborated and maintained by the very necessities of his hard struggle for life – he identifies his own existence with that of his tribe; and without that quality mankind never would have attained the level as it has attained now.
An anarchist government somehow creates an impression in the hearts of citizens that no one cares.
Defining what constitutes a conspiracy theory is difficult.
Believing in a conspiracy theory is one strategy people use to regain a sense of control, even if the conspiracy theory is unrelated to what caused the lack of control in a person’s life.
Doubtless there are people who continue to consider love above dollars and cents. Particularly is this true or that class whom economic necessity has forced to become self-supporting. The tremendous change in woman's position, wrought by that might factor, is indeed phenomenal when we reflect that it is but a short time since she has entered the industrial arena. Six million women wage workers; six million women, who have equal rights with men to be exploited, to be robbed, to go on strike; aye, to starve even. Anything more, my lord? Yes, six million wage workers in every walk of life, from the highest brain work to the mines and railroad tracks; yes, even detectives and policemen. Surely the emancipation is complete.
Sosyalizmin ve komünizmin hedefi emekçiyi yükseltmek değil, burjuvayı indirmektir. Emekçi ise aynı noktada, hatta söylediğim gibi, daha kötü noktada kalır. Burjuvanın yitirdiği şeyden yararlanan asla emekçi değildir. Anarşizm ise tersine bir sevgi rejimidir, sevilen insanlara baskı uygulamaya çalışılmaz.
Traditionally, there have been two major strains of motivation (or perceived motivations) in anarchist politics: Duty and Joy. Like any duality, it is easy to fall into the trap of simplistic black and white labels, ignoring the more realistic continuum of grays. Instead, think of these two motivations as the end points on a continuum, illuminating everything in between.
Patriotism is the product of successful systematic indoctrination.
Question: It's a great book and its obvious that Guerin was very keen to blend what he felt were the best aspects of anarchism and the best aspects of socialism into this Libertarian Socialism. Do you think that those two terms Libertarian Socialism and Anarchism—are synonymous or do you think there are real differences between the two? Well, I don't think we can really say, because the terms of political discourse aren't well defined. Capitalism, trade, the state, pick any one... they are pretty loose terms. Which is okay, but it doesn't make sense to try to define these terms carefully when you don't have an explanatory theory to embed them in. But the fact is we can't really answer the question, anarchism covers too many things, libertarian socialism covers too many things. But I sympathize with what he's trying to do. I think it's the right thing. If you look carefully they are really close, there are similarities and relationships. The more anti-statist, antivanguardist left elements of the socialist movement, Marxist movement in fact—folks like Anton Pannekoek and others—there are close similarities between them and some of the wings of the anarchist movement, like the anarcho-syndicalists. It's pretty hard to make much of a distinction between, say, Pannekoek's workers' councils and anarcho-syndicalist conceptions of how to organize society. There are some differences, but they are the kind of differences that ought to exist when people are working together in comradely relationships. So, yes, that's a sensible blend in my view. The much sharper distinction is between all these movements and the various forms of totalitarianism like Bolshevism, corporate capitalism and so on. There you have a real break. Totalitarian structures on the one hand and free societies on the other. In fact, 1 think there are significant similarities between libertarian socialism and anarchism, this blend, and even very mainstream thinkers like John Dewey—there are striking similarities.
There will be a qualitative transformation, a new living, life-giving revelation, a new heaven and a new earth, a young and mighty world in which all our present dissonances will be resolved into a harmonious whole.
Tomorrow will use you the way you use today.
The fact is that power is as ubiquitous as gravity. Just as gravity is one of the forces that hold the universe together, so power is one of the forces that hold any society together. A defining feature of any society—whether it is tribal, slave, feudal, capitalist, socialist, communist, or even anarchist—is not whether power is being exercised but how. To argue that social power as such is somehow wrong or “evil” is fallacious. What counts is whether it belongs to the people, and by what kind of institutions is it being exercised.
Nearly every "serious" anarchist writer in recent years has tried to distance anarchism from chaos. Yet for most ordinary people, chaos and anarchy are forever linked. The connection between chaos and anarchism should be rethought and embraced, instead of being downplayed and repressed. Chaos is the nightmare of rulers, states, and capitalists. We should not polish the image of anarchism by erasing chaos. Instead, we should remember that chaos is not only burning ruins but also butterfly wings.
This was a talk to an anarchist conference, and in my view the libertarian movements have been very shortsighted in pursuing doctrine in a rigid fashion without being concerned about the human consequences. So it's perfectly proper… I mean, in my view, and that of a few others, the state is an illegitimate institution. But it does not follow from that that you should not support the state. Sometimes there is a more illegitimate institution which will take over if you do not support this illegitimate institution. So, if you're concerned with the people, let's be concrete, let's take the United States. There is a state sector that does awful things, but it also happens to do some good things. As a result of centuries of extensive popular struggle there is a minimal welfare system that provides support for poor mothers and children. That's under attack in an effort to minimize the state. Well, anarchists can't seem to understand that they are to support that. So they join with the ultra-right in saying "Yes, we've got to minimize the state," meaning put more power into the hands of private tyrannies which are completely unaccountable to the public and purely totalitarian. It's kind of reminiscent of an old Communist Party slogan back in the early thirties "The worse, the better." So there was a period when the Communist Party was refusing to combat fascism on the theory that if you combat fascism, you join the social democrats and they are not good guys, so "the worse, the better." That was the slogan I remember from childhood. Well, they got the worse: Hitler. If you care about the question of whether seven-year-old children have food to eat, you'll support the state sector at this point, recognizing that in the long term it's illegitimate. I know that a lot of people find that hard to deal with and personally I'm under constant critique from the left for not being principled. Principle to them means opposing the state sector, even though opposing the state sector at this conjuncture means placing power into the hands of private totalitarian organizations who would be delighted to see children starve. I think we have to be able to keep those ideas in our heads if we want to think constructively about the problems of the future. In fact, protecting the state sector today is a step towards abolishing the state because it maintains a public arena in which people can participate, and organize, and affect policy, and so on, though in limited ways. If that's removed, we'd go back to a [...] dictatorship or say a private dictatorship, but that's hardly a step towards liberation.
Much of the dearth of anarchist literature in Africa is a result of the colonial educational system and the concomitant hegemony of Western imperialist literature in Africa.