Anarchism, to me, means not only the denial of authority, not only a new economy, but a revision of the principles of morality. It means the development of the individual as well as the assertion of the individual. It means self-responsibility, and not leader worship.— Voltairine de Cleyre
The most attractive Voltairine de Cleyre quotes that are easy to memorize and remember
I never expect men to give us liberty. No, women, we are not worth it until we take it.
I die, as I have lived, a free spirit, an Anarchist, owing no allegiance to rulers, heavenly or earthly.
Government is as unreal, as intangible, as unapproachable as God.
Try it, if you don't believe it. Seek through the legislative halls of America and find, if you can, the Government. In the end you will be doomed to confer with the agent, as before.
There is no society for the prevention of cruelty to women.
[The married woman is] is a bonded slave, who takes her master's name, her master's bread, and serves her master's passion; [and] who passes through the ordeal of pregnancy and the throes of travail at his dictation.
A standing army is a standing menace to liberty.
What I say is, that the real non-resistants can believe in direct action only, never in political action. For the basis of all political action is coercion; even when the State does good things, it finally rests on a club, a gun, or a prison, for its power to carry them through.
There is one common struggle against those who have appropriated the earth, the money, and the machines.
Private enterprise manages better all that to which it is equal.
Anarchism declares that private enterprise, whether individual or cooperative, is equal to all the undertakings of society.
No one can hate petitions worse than I, and no one has less faith in them than I. But for my champion I am willing to try any means that invades no other's right, even though I have little hope in it.
And sometimes when I am weary, When the path is thorny and Wild, I'll look back to the Eyes in the twilight, Back to the eyes that smiled. And pray that a wreath like a rainbow May slip from the beautiful past, And Crown me again with the sweet, strong love And keep me, and hold me fast.
Socialism and Communism both demand a degree of joint effort and administration which would beget more regulation than is wholly consistent with ideal Anarchism; Individualism and Mutualism, resting upon property, involve a development of the private policeman not at all compatible with my notion of freedom.
The revolution is ... the blow dealt ... agains the counter force of tyranny, which has never entirely recovered from the blow, but which from then till now has gone on remolding and regrappling the instruments of governmental power, that the Revolution sought to shape and hold as defenses of liberty.
The paramount question of the day is not political, is not religious, but is economic. The crying-out demand of today is for a circle of principles that shall forever make it impossible for one man to control another by controlling the means of his existence.
As to the American tradition of non-meddling, Anarchism asks that it be carried down to the individual himself.
If you choose the liberty and pride and strength of the single soul, and the free fraternization of men, as the purpose which your life is to make manifest then do not sell it for tinsel. Think that your soul is strong and will hold its way; and slowly, through bitter struggle perhaps the strength will grow.
[The Catholic convent] had been like the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and there are white scars on my soul, where ignorance and superstition burnt me with their hell fire in those stifling days.
Speak, speak, speak, & remember that whenever anyone's liberty to speak is denied, your liberty is denied also, & your place is where the attack is.
Let every woman ask herself: "Why am I the slave of man? Why is my brain said not to be the equal of his brain? Why is my work notpaid equally with his? Why must my body be controlled by my husband? Why may he take my labor in the household, giving me in exchange what he deems fit? Why may he take my children from me? Will them away while yet unborn?" Let every woman ask.
I think it can be shown that the law makes ten criminals where it restrains one.
A man won't steal, ordinarily, unless that which he steals is something he cannot as easily get without stealing; in liberty the cost of stealing would involve greater difficulties than producing, and consequently he would not be apt to steal.
If the believers in liberty wish the principles of liberty taught, let them never intrust that instruction to any government; for the nature of government is to become a thing apart, an institution existing for its own sake, preying upon the people, and teaching whatever will tend to keep it secure in its seat.
A right , in the abstract, is a fact ;
it is not a thing to be given, established, or conferred; it is. Of the exercise of a right power may deprive me; of the right itself, never.
Years! Years, ye shall mix with me! Ye shall grow a part Of the laughing Sea;
Of the moaning heart Of the glittered wave Of the sun-gleam's dart In the ocean-grave. Fair, cold, and faithless wert thou, my own! For that I love Thy heart of stone! From the heights above To the depths below, Where dread things move, There is naught can show A life so trustless! Proud be thy crown! Ruthless, like none, save the Sea, alone!
There is no peace now, and there will never be peace, so long as one rules over another.
We are bound first to imform ourselves concerning so great a matter as the revolt of millions of people- what they are struggling for, what they are struggling against, and how the struggle stands- from day to day...as best you can; and second, to spread this knowledge among others, and endeavor to do what little you can to awaken the consciousness and sympathy of others.
Among the fundamental likeness between the Revolutionary Republicans and the Anarchists is the recognition that the little must precede the great; that the local must be the basis of the general; that there can be a free federation only when there are free communities to federate; that the spirit of the latter is carried into the councils of the former, and a local tyranny may thus become an instrument for general enslavement.
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.
Is it not enough that 'things are cruel and blind'? Must we also be cruel and blind?
Make no laws whatever concerning speech, and speech will be free;
so soon as you make a declaration on paper that speech shall be free, you will have a hundred lawyers proving that "freedom does not mean abuse, nor liberty license," and they will define freedom out of existence.
The question of souls is old—we demand our bodies, now.
We are tired of promises, god is deaf, and his church is our worst enemy.
As long as the working-people fold hands and pray the gods in Washington to give them work, so long they will not get it.
Miss Goldman is a Communist; I am an Individualist. She wishes to destroy the right of property, I wish to assert it. I make my war upon privilege and authority, whereby the right of property, the true right in that which is proper to the individual, is annihilated. She believes that co-operation would entirely supplant competition; I hold that competition in one form or another will always exist, and that it is highly desirable it should.
... it is better to study how to live rather than how to die; ... it is better to have a religion of deeds rather than a religion of creeds; ... it is better to work for humanity than for God.