A handful of anarchist and other quotes, please add you favourites in the comments.
Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes
The law will punish a man or woman who steals the goose from the hillside, but lets the greater robber loose who steals the hillside from the goose.”
Anonymous poet in the 1700s
Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks the whip, but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns somersaults when there is no whip.”
It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”
Workers are like lemons: When the rich have sucked out all the juice, they throw them in the garbage.
Ricardo Flores Magon
For every dollar the boss has and didn’t work for, one of us worked for a dollar and didn’t get it.
Big Bill Haywood
“While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”
Eugene V. Debs
The State is the altar of political freedom and, like the religious altar, it is maintained for the purpose of human sacrifice.
Fighting crime by building more jails is like fighting cancer by building more cemeteries.
The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.
When the highwayman holds his gun to your head, you turn your valuables over to him. You ‘consent’ alright, but you do so because you cannot help yourself, because you are compelled by his gun. Are you not compelled to work for an employer? Your need compels you, just as the highwayman’s gun.Alexander Berkman
The trouble with being in the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.
The most serious threat to democracy is the notion that it has already been achieved.
“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow a very lively debate within that spectrum — even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people a sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of debate.”
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[d] 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.
Society is like a stew. If you don’t keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top.
A Boss in Heaven is the best excuse for a boss on earth, therefore If God did exist, he would have to be abolished.
We have always lived in slums and holes in the wall. We will know how to accommodate ourselves for a while. For, you must not forget, we also know how to build. It is we the workers who built these palaces and cities, here in Spain and in America, and everywhere.
We, the workers, can build others to take their place, and better ones! We are not in the least afraid of ruins. We are going to inherit the earth, there is not the slightest doubt about that. The bourgeoisie might blast and ruin its own world before it leaves the stage of history. We carry a new world, here, in our hearts. That world is growing this minute.
If we do not do the impossible, we shall be faced with the unthinkable.
The involuntary aspiration born in man to make the most of one’s self, to be loved and appreciated by one’s fellow-beings, to “make the world better for having lived in it,” will urge him on the nobler deeds than ever the sordid and selfish incentive of material gain has done.
Those who put out the people’s eyes, reproach them for their blindness.
It is not enough for a handful of experts to attempt the solution of a problem,
to solve it and then to apply it. The restriction of knowledge to an elite
group destroys the spirit of society and leads to its intellectual impoverishment.
We be many and they be few. They need us more than we know them. Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quite day, I can hear her breathing.
I never could believe that Providence had sent a few men into the world, ready booted and spurred to ride, and millions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden.
Richard Rumbold on the gallows
Society is one vast conspiracy for carving one into the kind of statue it likes, and then placing it in the most convenient niche it has.
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.
“It is better to die on your feet than live a lifetime on your knees.”
Is anarchism desirable? Well, who does not seek freedom? What man, unless willing to declare himself in bondage, would care to call any control agreeable? Think about it!
Young people everywhere have been allowed to choose between love and a garbage disposal unit. Everywhere they have chosen the garbage disposal unit.
If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.
I never expect men to give us liberty. No, women, we are not worth it until we take it.
Voltairine de Cleyre
I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.
The revolution will be the flowering of humanity as love is the flowering of the heart.
Louise Michel – 1830-1905 – Mémoires – 1886 Louise Michel
Someone has said that it requires less mental effort to condemn than to think.
“And by anarchist spirit I mean that deeply human sentiment, which aims at the good of all, freedom and justice for all, solidarity and love among the people; which is not an exclusive characteristic only of self-declared anarchists, but inspires all people who have a generous heart and an open mind…”
The State is a condition, a certain relationship among human beings, a mode of behaviour, we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently toward one and other… We are the State and continue to be the State until we have created the institutions that form a real community…
It is on the basis of the will of the individual that the libertarian teaching can be embodied in real life and clear a path that will help man to banish all spirit of submission from his bosom.
When a person places the proper value on freedom, there is nothing under the sun that he will not do to acquire that freedom. Whenever you hear a man saying he wants freedom, but in the next breath he is going to tell you what he won’t do to get it, or what he doesn’t believe in doing in order to get it, he doesn’t believe in freedom. A man who believes in freedom will do anything under the sun to acquire . . . or preserve his freedom.
To the States or any one of them, or any city of the States: Resist much, obey little. Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved, . . . no nation, state, city, on this earth ever afterward assumes its liberty.”
Henry David Thoreau
Strike not for a few cents more an hour, because the price of living will be raised faster still, but strike for all you earn, be content with nothing less.
Power operates only destructively, bent always on forcing every manifestation of life into the straitjacket of its laws. Its intellectual form of expression is dead dogma, its physical form brute force. And this unintelligence of its objectives sets its stamp on its supporters also and renders them stupid and brutal, even when they were originally endowed with the best of talents. One who is constantly striving to force everything into a mechanical order at last becomes a machine himself and loses all human feeling.
And the men who loan money to governments, so called, for the purpose of enabling the latter to rob, enslave, and murder their people, are among the greatest villains that the world has ever seen. And they as much deserve to be hunted and killed (if they cannot otherwise be got rid of) as any slave traders, robbers, or pirates that ever lived.
Anarchists have a ‘bad name’ in the media, not because they can point to one indiscriminate massacre by anarchists–there have been none–but because the one thing holders of power fear is that they personally should be held responsible for their own actions”
“Anarchism envisions a flexible pluralist society where all the needs of
mankind would be supplied by an infinite variety of voluntary associations. The world is honeycombed with affinity groups from chess clubs to anarchist propaganda groups. They are formed, dissolved, and reconstituted according to the fluctuating needs and fancies of the individual adherents. It is precisely because they reflect *individual preferences* that such groups are the lifeblood of the free society.”
Conservative, n. A statesman enamored of existing evils, as opposed to a Liberal, who wants to replace them with new ones.
“Society has good reason to fear the Radical. Every shaking advance of mankind toward equality and justice has come from the Radical. He hits, he hurts, he is dangerous. Conservative interests know that while Liberals are most adept at breaking their own necks with their tongues, Radicals are most adept at breaking the necks of Conservatives.
To lead people, walk beside them… As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate… When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!
If i can’t have two cocks up my arse at the same time it’s not my revolution belladonna
Don’t work yourself too hard. You cannot get rich on wages.
Men with empty stomachs do not fight for freedom. They fight for bread, and as soon as they get the crust, gnawing on it they forget their good intentions to fight for more. I have not spent 18 weeks in missionary work without learning that it is useless to appeal to the overfed, but still less use to appeal to the underfed. To be successful we must reach that class whose brains have not yet been destroyed by starvation.
The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.
Every prisoner is a political prisoner.
A society is a healthy society only to the degree that it exhibits anarchistic
Laws: We know what they are, and what they are worth! They are spider webs for the rich and mighty, steel chains for the poor and weak, fishing nets
in the hands of government.
Pierre Joseph Proudhon
Oscar Wilde defines a perfect personality as “one who develops under perfect
conditions, who is not wounded, maimed, or in danger.” A perfect personality,
then, is only possible in a state of society where man is free to choose
the mode of work, the conditions of work, and the freedom to work. One
to whom the making of a table, the building of a house, or the tilling
of the soil, is what the painting is to the artist and the discovery to
the scientist — the result of inspiration, of intense longing, and deep
interest in work as a creative force.
But he who has no confidence in the creative capacity of the masses and in
their capability to revolt doesn’t belong in the revolutionary movement.
He should go to a monastery and get on his knees and start praying. Because
he is no revolutionist. He is a son of a bitch.
The best story I’ve ever heard about the Communist Manifesto came from Hans Morgenthau, the great theorist of international relations who died in 1980. It was the early seventies at City University of New York, and he was reminiscing about his childhood in Bavaria before World War I. Morgenthau’s father, a doctor in a working-class neighborhood of Coburg, often took his son along on house calls. Many of his patients were dying of TB; a doctor could do nothing to save their lives, but might help them die with dignity. When his father asked about last requests, many workers said they wanted to have a Manifesto buried with them when they died. They implored the doctor to see that the priest didn’t sneak in and plant the Bible on them instead. … As the nineties end, we find ourselves in a dynamic global society ever more unified by downsizing, de-skilling, and dread – just like the old man said. … At the dawn of the twentieth century, there were workers who were ready to die with the Communist Manifesto. At the dawn of the twenty-first, there may be even more who are ready to live with it.”
“The barbarous gold barons do not find the gold, they do not mind the gold, they do not mill the gold, but by some weird alchemy all the gold belongs to them.”
Big Bill Haywood
Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.
The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind….We have witnessed for more than a quarter of a century the struggles of the two great political parties for power and plunder, while grievous wrongs have been inflicted upon the suffering people. We charge that the controlling influences dominating both these parties have permitted the existing dreadful conditions to develop without serious effort to prevent or restrain them. Neither do they promise us any substantial reform…..They propose to sacrifice our homes, lives and children on the altar of mammon; to destroy the multitude in order to secure corruption funds from the millionaires.
If we do not believe in freedom of expression for those we despise, we do not believe in it at all.
Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
Johann Wolfgang van Goethe
Philosophers have merely interpreted the world; the point, is to change it.
Will you and your government teach eagles to fly and tigers to hunt? Of course not. No one is so arrogant with nature. But you and your government want to tell me what to buy and how to live, and I am more complex than any eagle or tiger. Give me only the same respect you pay the badger and the blue jay, and leave me alone.
After all, anarchy means nothing more than human ecology.
As a woman I have no country
As a woman I want no country
As a woman my countr is the whole world
Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
One class now owns the tools while another class uses them. One class is small and rich and the other large and poor. One wants more profit and the other more wages. One consists of capitalists and the other of workers. These two class are at war. Every day of truce is at the expense of labor. There can be no peace and good will between these two essentially antagonistic economic classes. Nor can this class conflict be covered up or smoothed over.
Eugene V. Debs