Quotes

“Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners.”–Edward Abbey

“Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.”–Edward Abbey

“If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military. The hired servants of our rulers. Only the government-and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws.”–-Edward Abbey

“Grown men do not need leaders.”–Edward Abbey

“The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other – instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.”–Edward Abbey

“The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. Not for nothing was the revolver called an “equalizer.” Egalite implies liberte. And always will. Let us hope our weapons are never needed — but do not forget what the common people of this nation knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny.”–Edward Abbey

“Whoever says State necessarily says domination, and, consequently, slavery; a State without slavery, open or concealed, is inconceivable: that is why we are enemies of the State.”–Mikhail Bakunin

“The Liberty of man consists solely in this: that he obeys natural laws because he has himself recognised them as such, and not because they have been externally imposed upon him by any extrinsic will whatsoever, divine or human, collective or individual.”–Mikhail Bakunin

‎”When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called ‘The People’s Stick’.”–Mikhail Bakunin

“Where the state begins, individual liberty ceases, and vice versa.”–Mikhail Bakunin

“Freedom, morality, and the human dignity of the individual consists precisely in this; that he does good not because he is forced to do so, but because he freely conceives it, wants it, and loves it.”–Mikhail Bakunin

“Does it follow that I reject all authority? Far from me such a thought. In the matter of boots, I refer to the authority of the bootmaker; concerning houses, canals, or railroads, I consult that of the architect or the engineer. For such or such special knowledge I apply to such or such a savant. But I allow neither the bootmaker nor the architect nor savant to impose his authority upon me. I listen to them freely and with all the respect merited by their intelligence, their character, their knowledge, reserving always my incontestable right of criticism and censure. I do not content myself with consulting a single authority in any special branch; I consult several; I compare their opinions, and choose that which seems to me the soundest. But I recognise no infallible authority, even in special questions; consequently, whatever respect I may have for the honesty and the sincerity of such or such individual, I have no absolute faith in any person. Such a faith would be fatal to my reason, to my liberty, and even to the success of my undertakings; it would immediately transform me into a stupid slave, an instrument of the will and interests of others.”–Mikhail Bakunin

“Anarchy is order, government is civil war.”–Anselme Bellegarrigue

“Power only possesses what it takes from the people, and for the citizens to believe that they have to give what they have in order to get welfare, their common sense must have been deeply distorted.”–Anselme Bellegarrigue

“A people that runs its own affairs is a self-governing people, and a self-governing people abolishes, by this very fact, and makes obsolete all the bazaar of legislation that popular agitation, more than the genius of the State’s men, had engendered.”–Anselme Bellegarrigue

“Modern problems proliferate and remain unsolved because we spend so much time trying to deal with societal and world problems without first dealing with family and community problems. If we organized for normal families and communities – if these two groups provided the functions they are designed for – world problems would diminish and fade out in two or three generations.”–Ralph Borsodi

“Man is a gregarious animal. He’s not supposed to live in isolation. He should actually live in a community, but a community does not necessarily have to be a city. There’s all the evidence in the world that the building of cities is one of the worst mistakes that mankind has ever made: For both physical and mental health we’ve got to be close to Mother Earth.”–Ralph Borsodi

“Orwell had it backwards. The past is a ‘boot smashing a human face.’ Whether the future is more of the same depends on what we do now.”–Kevin Carson

“Under chattel slavery and feudalism, exploitation was concrete and personalized in the producer’s relationship with his master. The slave and peasant knew exactly who was screwing them. The modern worker, on the other hand, feels a pounding sensation, but has only a vague idea where it is coming from.”–Kevin Carson

“The realizations of anarchist ideas and practices are like sociopolitical ecosystems. Local versions resemble each other, but they are endlessly adaptive and everywhere different to meet their needs in their environments. Anarchism can be adapted to meet the culture, economics, ecology, and politics of various people or communities. That’s the beauty of it.”–Scott Crow

“I firmly believe people have the power to make decisions locally and cooperatively. Anarchism is how that is put into practice.”–Scott Crow

“The State represents violence in a concentrated and organized form. The individual has a soul, but as the State is a soulless machine. It can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence.” –Mohandas Gandhi

“If co-operation is a duty, I hold that non-co-operation also under certain conditions is equally a duty.”–Mohandas Gandhi

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?”–Mohandas Gandhi

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”–Mohandas Gandhi

“Civilization has been a continuous struggle of the individual or of groups of individuals against the State and even against “society,” that is, against the majority subdued and hypnotized by the State and State worship.”–Emma Goldman

“Anarchism is the only philosophy which brings to man the consciousness of himself; which maintains that God, the State, and society are non-existent, that their promises are null and void, since they can be fulfilled only through man’s subordination. Anarchism is therefore the teacher of the unity of life; not merely in nature, but in man.”–Emma Goldman

“A practical scheme, says Oscar Wilde, is either one already in existence,
or a scheme that could be carried out under the existing conditions; but it is exactly the existing conditions that one objects to, and any scheme that could accept these conditions is wrong and foolish. The true criterion of the practical, therefore, is not whether the latter can keep intact the wrong or foolish; rather is it whether the scheme has vitality enough to leave the stagnant waters of the old, and build, as well as sustain, new life. In the light of this conception, Anarchism is indeed practical. More than any other idea, it is helping to do away with the wrong and foolish; more than any other idea, it is building and sustaining new life”–Emma Goldman

“We do not want to lead or be led. We want to be free.”–Karl Hess

“The revolution occurs when the victims cease to cooperate.”—Karl Hess

“For loving, working, and creative people to throw off the yoke of power it is necessary to abolish power itself, not merely to make the yoke comfortable. Where some have power, others do not, and the two classes persist. A free society is where all have power–power over and responsibility for their own lives, power and reason to respect the lives of others. This is also a society without classes, a society of human beings, not rulers and the ruled.”–Karl Hess

“Everybody knows that the federal government promises a lot and delivers damn little, and pays for most of what it does deliver out of the earnings of individuals rather than the profits of great corporations.”–Karl Hess

“I am in total opposition to any institutional power. I favor a world of neighborhoods in which all social organization is voluntary and the ways of life are established in small, consenting groups. These groups could cooperate with other groups as they saw fit. But all cooperation would be on a voluntary basis. As the French anarchist Proudhon said. “Liberty [is] not the daughter but the Mother of Order.”–Karl Hess

“No person is so grand or wise or perfect as to be the master of another person. Teacher, perhaps. Setter of good example, perhaps. Genius, perhaps. But master, no.”--Karl Hess

“It is curious to note that when for reasons of conscience, people refuse to kill, they are often exempted from active military duty. But there are no exemptions for people who, for reasons of conscience, refuse to financially support the bureaucracy that actually does the killing. Apparently, the state takes money more seriously than life.”–Karl Hess

“The most revolutionary thing you can do is get to know your neighbors.”–Karl Hess

“My own interest is the responsibility of people to be responsible for their own lives and, with their neighbors, for their public space and actions. To sing their own songs. To make their own inventions…..To build and not just to envy. To light that candle which is so much better than cursing the darkness. To be as much as the human condition can sustain, rather than being only what a system can allow.”–Karl Hess, ‘Community Technology’

“Government programs aim at getting money for poor people. Our hope was that knowledge would in the long run be more useful, provide more money, and eventually strike at the system-causes of poverty. Government believes that poverty is just a lack of money. We felt, and continue to feel, that poverty is actually a lack of skill, and a lack of the self-esteem that comes with being able to take some part of one’s life into one’s own hands and work with others towards shared–call them social–goals.”–Karl Hess

“To survive, the people in neighborhoods are going to have to secede.”–Karl Hess

“Libertarianism is a people’s movement and a liberation movement. It seeks the sort of open, non-coercive society in which the people, the living, free, distinct people, may voluntarily associate, dis-associate, and, as they see fit, participate in the decisions affecting their lives. This means a truly free market in everything from ideas to idiosyncracies. It means people free collectively to organize the resources of their immediate community or individualistically to organize them; it means the freedom to have a community-based and supported judiciary where wanted, none where not, or private arbitration services where that is seen as most desirable. The same with police. The same with schools, hospitals, factories, farms, laboratories, parks, and pensions. Liberty means the right to shape your own institutions. It opposes the right of those institutions to shape you simply because of accreted power or gerontological status”–Karl Hess

“There are those, on the one hand, who hope to achieve the social revolution through the State by preserving and even extending most of its powers to be used for the revolution. And there are those like ourselves who see the State, both in its present form, in its very essence, and in whatever guise it might appear, an obstacle to the social revolution, the greatest hindrance to the birth of a society based on equality and liberty, as well as the historic means designed to prevent this blossoming.”–Peter Kropotkin

“When we ask for the abolition of the state and its organs we are always told that we dream of a society composed of men better than they are in reality. But no; a thousand times, no. All we ask is that men should not be made worse than they are, by such institutions!”–Peter Kropotkin

“True progress lies in the direction of decentralization, both territorial and functional, in the development of the spirit of local and personal initiative, and of free federation from the simple to the compound, in lieu of the present hierarchy from the centre to the periphery.”–Peter Kropotkin

“The mutual-aid tendency in man has so remote an origin, and is so deeply interwoven with all the past evolution of the human race, that it has been maintained by mankind up to the present time, notwithstanding all vicissitudes of history.”–Peter Kropotkin

“In order that the revolution should be something more than a word, in order that the reaction should not lead us back tomorrow to the situation of yesterday, the conquest of today must be worth the trouble of defending; the poor of yesterday must be worth the trouble of defending; the poor of yesterday must not be poor tomorrow.”–Peter Kropotkin

“America is just the country that shows how all the written guarantees in the world for freedom are no protection against tyranny and oppression of the worst kind. There the politician has come to be looked upon as the very scum of society.”–Peter Kropotkin

“The law is an adroit mixture of customs that are beneficial to society, and could be followed even if no law existed, and others that are of advantage to a ruling minority, but harmful to the masses of men, and can be enforced on them only by terror.”–Peter Kropotkin

“Prisons are universities of crime, maintained by the state.”–Peter Kropotkin

“Where there is authority, there is no freedom.”–Peter Kropotkin  

“Liberty is the solution of all social and economic questions.”–Joseph Labadie

“In a world where inequality of ability is inevitable, anarchists do not sanction any attempt to produce equality by artificial or authoritarian means. The only equality they posit and will strive their utmost to defend is the equality of opportunity. This necessitates the maximum amount of freedom for each individual. This will not necessarily result in equality of incomes or of wealth but will result in returns proportionate to services rendered. Free competition will see to that.”–Laurence Labadie

“The State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of human behavior; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently.”–Gustav Landauer

“The essence of society is people; of nation, territory; of government, coercion. The U.S. government in Washington, democratic as it is supposed to be, is not the people in the United States, nor is it the rich land between the oceans, nor is it a mystical national entity supposed to combine both land and people. Government is that group of officials distinguished by the fact that they and they only have the legal right to exercise authority over the territory and use coercion on the people within its boundaries.”–Mildred J. Loomis

“All my economic ideas as developed over twenty-five years can be summed up in the words: agricultural-industrial federation. All my political ideas boil down to a similar formula: political federation or decentralization.”–Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

“I build no system. I ask an end to privilege, the abolition of slavery, equality of rights, and the reign of law. Justice, nothing else; that is the alpha and omega of my argument: to others I leave the business of governing the world.”–Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

“it is the liberty that is the mother, not the daughter, of order.”–Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

“…the government can do nothing for you. But you can do everything for yourselves”–Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

“Whoever lays his hand on me to govern me is a usurper and a tyrant: I declare him my enemy.”–Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

“I do not wish to be either governor nor governed!”–Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

“Culture,” is not created by command. It creates itself, arising spontaneously from the necessities of men and their social cooperative activity. No ruler could ever command men to fashion the first tools, first use fire, invent the telescope and the steam engine, or compose the Iliad. Cultural values do not arise by direction of higher authorities. They cannot be compelled by dictates nor called into life by the resolution of legislative assemblies.”–Rudolf​ Rocker

“Every man must have freedom, must have the scope to form, test, and act upon his own choices, for any sort of development of his own personality to take place. He must, in short, be free in order that he may be fully human.”–Murray Rothbard

“If we look around, then, at the crucial problem areas of our society — the areas of crisis and failure — we find in each and every case a “red thread” marking and uniting them all: the thread of government. In every one of these cases, government either has totally run or heavily influenced the activity.”–Murray Rothbard

“The State is, and always has been, the great single enemy of the human race, its liberty, happiness, and progress.”–Murray Rothbard

“It is not the business of the law to make anyone good or reverent or moral or clean or upright.”–Murray N. Rothbard

“Economic and social misery increases in direct proportion to the size and power of the central government of a nation or state.”–Kirkpatrick Sale

“I want to leave my country without leaving my home.”–Kirkpatrick Sale

“Our constitutions purport to be established by ‘the people,’ and, in theory, ‘all the people’ consent to such government as the constitutions authorize. But this consent of ‘the people’ exists only in theory. It has no existence in fact. Government is in reality established by the few; and these few assume the consent of all the rest, without any such consent being actually given.”–Lysander Spooner

“A man is none the less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.”–Lysander Spooner

“If taxation without consent is not robbery, then any band of robbers have only to declare themselves a government, and all their robberies are legalized.”–-Lysander Spooner

“Vices are simply the errors which a man makes in his search after his own happiness. Unlike crimes, they imply no malice toward others, and no interference with their persons or property.”–-Lysander Spooner

“Man, no doubt, owes many other moral duties to his fellow men; such as to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick, protect the defenseless, assist the weak, and enlighten the ignorant. But these are simply moral duties, of which each man must be his own judge, in each particular case, as to whether, and how, and how far, he can, or will perform them.”–-Lysander Spooner

“The Anarchists never have claimed that liberty will bring perfection; they simply say that its results are vastly preferable to those that follow authority.”–Benjamin Tucker

“If I go through life free and rich, I shall not cry because my neighbor, equally free, is richer. Liberty will ultimately make all men rich; it will not make all men equally rich. Authority may (and may not) make all men equally rich in purse; it certainly will make them equally poor in all that makes life best worth living.”–Benjamin Tucker

“If the individual has a right to govern himself, all external government is tyranny. Hence the necessity of abolishing the State.” – Benjamin Tucker

“The moment one abandons the idea that he was born to discover what is right and enforce it upon the rest of the world, he begins to feel an increasing disposition to let others alone and to refrain even from retaliation or resistance except in those emergencies which immediately and imperatively require it.”—Benjamin Tucker

“Anarchy is a function, not of a society’s simplicity and lack of social organization, but of it’s complexity and multiplicity of social organizations.”–Colin Ward

“You may think in describing anarchism as a theory of organisation I am propounding a deliberate paradox: ‘anarchy’ you may consider to be, by definition, the opposite of organisation. In fact, however, ‘anarchy’ means the absence of government, the absence of authority. Can there be social organisation without authority, without government? The anarchists claim that there can be, and they also claim that it is desirable that there should be. They claim that, at the basis of our social problems is the principle of government. It is, after all, governments which prepare for war and wage war, even though you are obliged to fight in them and pay for them; the bombs you are worried about are not the bombs which cartoonists attribute to the anarchists, but the bombs which governments have perfected, at your expense. It is, after all, governments which make and enforce the laws which enable the ‘haves’ to retain control over social assets rather than share them with the ‘have-nots’. It is, after all, the principle of authority which ensures that people will work for someone else for the greater part of their lives, not because they enjoy it or have any control over their work, but because they see it as their only means of livelihood.”–Colin Ward

“When we compare the Victorian antecedents of our public institutions with the organs of working-class mutual aid in the same period the very names speak volumes. On the one side the Workhouse, the Poor Law Infirmary, the National Society for the Education of the Poor in Accordance with the Principles of the Established Church; and, on the other, the Friendly Society, the Sick Club, the Cooperative Society, the Trade Union. One represents the tradition of fraternal and autonomous association springing up from below, the other that of authoritarian institutions directed from above.”–Colin Ward

“Liberty, then, is the sovereignty of the individual, and never shall man know liberty until each and every individual is acknowledged to be the only legitimate sovereign of his or her person, time, and property, each living and acting at his own cost”–Josiah Warren

“On a planet that increasingly resembles one huge Maximum Security prison, the only intelligent choice is to plan a jail break.”–Robert Anton Wilson