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Anarchism and Other Essays

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  3,092 ratings  ·  115 reviews
Destruction and violence! How is the ordinary man to know that the most violent element in society is ignorance; that it's power of destruction is the very thing Anarchism is combating? - Emma Goldman, from "Anarchism: What It Really Stands For" From the turn of the 20th century to the turn of the 21st, the fiery words of "notorious" anarchist Emma Goldman continue to echo ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by Book Jungle (first published 1910)
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Lynne King
Emma Goldman (1869-1940) expressed it all with the following:

“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, soilless army of human prey.”

And to think these words were written by a woman, and a young woman at that in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

What do you think you would do, if as an individual in the 21st century, you found yourself in a s
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
I have been an anarchist for twenty years. Twenty years ago I came to understand that I had been raised as an anarchist, under the banner “Anabaptist”, of which group you might be familiar with the Amish. Other words I like to use instead of “anarchist” include ; anarcho-syndicalist, libertarian socialist, anarcho-communist, left libertarian. I understand that you might have difficulty conceiving of that political orientation, but it consists of nothing more than a synthesis of those two great w ...more
The thing which struck me most about these essays is that many of them were still directly relevant in a hundred years time. Red Emma is a passionate critic of puritanical hypocrisy about sex, how those in power incite wars and use patriotism to hide it, or the cruelty of the prison system.

Goldman's anarchism is consistent, perhaps almost to a fault. She lived in the period of self-righteous greed and militarism that was the late Gilded Age and pre-WWI, and saw stunning economic inequality which
Ian Agadada-Davida
Nov 26, 2013 Ian Agadada-Davida rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ian by: someone in a black tee
What Anarchism Really Stands For

This is a summary of Emma Goldman's views on Anarchism in her own words.


The philosophy of a new social order based on liberty unrestricted by man-made law; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence, and are therefore wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary.


The new social order rests, of course, on the materialistic basis of life; but while all Anarchists agree that the main evil today is an economic one, they maintain that the
Many of these essays are interesting more for historical perspective than for anything else. Her final essay on the importance of dramatic works for educating and disseminating radical thought is very interesting to read in our age of constant streaming media.

The pieces that felt the most relevant to me are those on women and women's emancipation. Goldman was unpopular with the first-wave feminists of her day because she felt their focus on suffrage was misplaced; that they entrenched class diff
Dec 29, 2007 Careuhhline rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anarcha-feminists
overall super cool passionate book that brings up important things like um, how to live your life. her language is pretty crass and maybe exaggerated at times. like referring to the catholic church as a heinous black hydra-monster or something. emma goldmans got a revolutionary philosophy even by todays standards. i'd be interested to see what she would have to say about the current shit today, like anarchism as an integral part of the punk scene, the role of women in a globalized world etc. hal ...more
May 28, 2007 D. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
"Anarchism urges man to think, to investigate, to analyze every proposition; but that the brain capacity of the average reader be not taxed too much, I also shall begin with a definition, and then elaborate on the latter...." ~E.G.

A fabulous introduction to Anarchism, especially for those of us who find reading and understanding political theory a bit daunting.
Daniel Lee
It was surprising that in this book towards the end Emma put such a pointed focus on Love. Not just in Love vs. Marriage in many of the essays towards the end of the book she speaks of love of humanity and romantic love as essential elements of the revolutionary mind. I've always thought that any true revolutionary is a romantic at heart. Towards the start of the more revealing and less shared elements of her discussion of Anarchism is her note about its fluidity, the inclusion of anarchist cong ...more
Apr 08, 2015 Velvetink is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
Anyone interested in Goldman's articles in "Mother Earth 1906" onwards can find online versions below. I haven't been able to find downloadable versions of them yet.

Mother Earth

Mother Earth was the name of an anarchist magazine of the early 20th century.
Publication History

Mother Earth began in 1906. A new series, under the title "Mother Earth Bulletin", began in 1917. Publication ceased in 1918, after 7 issues of the new series.

Persistent Archives of Complete Issues

1906-1918: HathiTrust has pag
Another one who would supplant one utopian monopoly with one of her choosing. "Anarchy" as a means to a glorious atheistic communism rather than as a philosophical underpinning of a life lived free. Infantile and selective reading of history to support her own cult of personality around herself. Short on any tangible answers except for the rote and populist communist dream of guiding the revolution to a vague paradise in the distant future. Some may find her treatments of marriage, love, prostit ...more
Jenny Yates
I love Emma Goldman. I don’t always agree with her, and that figures, since these essays were written a century ago. So many attitudes have shifted since then. Emma’s statements about women’s nature, her horror of “perversion” – these are limiting beliefs that she didn’t know she had. At one point in her book, she claims that she’s overcome all prejudice.

But so much of what she says is right on, and so much is clarifying. And there’s so much that the world has yet to learn.

It’s sad that this p
This book made me realize I was an anarchist. Before picking this up at a used book store in Seattle and reading over the weekend, my only points of reference for the word "anarchist" were that of the corporate media, and pissed off punk-rockers I had gone to school with.

Emma not only covers a wide range of topics; including anarchism, education, activism, and women's rights, but she does it all in a way that still resonates beautifully 100 years after these essays were written. This is a beauti
"If I can't dance it's not my revolution" Emma Goldman.
Clear, well written, and impassioned essays, all of them worth reading and generally still applicable. Goldman is definitely a victim of some kind of projected infamy because everything she writes is unexceptional, not in the aims and ideals she expresses, but rather that she is so level-headed and articulate. What I see is that anarchism is fallen in general because of a lack of people like Goldman, who if they cannot write a manifesto, can still write about the important topics and critical is ...more
Late 19th/early 20th-century radical, Emma Goldman was an early advocate of birth control, workers' unions and women's rights. Horrified by the outcome of the Haymarket Riots in Chicago, Emma helped a group of radicals change the way workers were treated, subsequently putting her on a political blacklist and treated as a criminal in any anarchist movement that occurred throughout the country. Outspoken and confident in her beliefs regarding birth control and free love, she was the target for man ...more
My review didn't make it here for some reason, so I'm trying again.

For about 6 years I read nothing but anarchist literature, and Emma Goldman then and now is at the top of my list. My first thought upon reading these essays after so many years, is that do-gooder progs and libs would throw a hissy at some of them--particularly Woman Suffrage and The Tragedy of Woman's Emancipation. Has women's vote (or anyone's vote for that matter) done anything to improve the country's politics, culture--socie
Jon Boorstin
A passionate vision of the way life should be. I makes perfect sense, except that somehow it doesn't account for human frailty. If we could all be our best selves, we could live in her world. Of course, Emma would say that living in her world would make us our best selves.
Lamski Kikita
how is it that something that was written in the 1800s is still just as true today? have we as a species just stopped evolving? or have we been actually taking speedy steps back towards the cave?
Goldman was such a brilliant thinker, and her work always makes me think of issues on a deeper level, and in ways I have dismissed before. there were so many instances during my reading whence I felt as though she finally put to words what I have thought of for a long time but was not able to process int
When someone wants an introduction to Anarchism, Emma Goldman is usually the name on every Anarchists lips. Although it does provide a basic understanding of what Anarchism stands for, I was disappointed to see that these essays were filled with racism and heterosexist ideas and language. She also demonises sex-workers when she refuses to acknowledge that sex-work is a valid profession. The exploitation of sex-workers is a result of capitalism and the state; it is not intrinsically evil.

Her work
"Anarchism and Other Essays" is a fascinating book. As Emma Goldman painted it, Anarchism is the ultimate in Western freedom, but at its core it is humanist and not a sociopathic cult of individual advantage (Ayn Rand comes to mind) – and certainly not the cult of terror as it was commonly portrayed. Yet Goldman and her comrades never succeeded in making Anarchism attractive to the public. This was due to constant character assassination by the corporate press, infighting, and whispers that Gold ...more
Pop Bop
A Remarkable Woman, A Fascinating Era,

Currently, as we sense the decline of the labor movement, the fraying of the social safety net, the widening of income gaps, the disappearance of the middle class and the rise of Tea Party and Libertarian philosophies, this woman and this era, (1890's through 1930's), offer interesting, pertinent and surprising insights and parallels.

This work includes Emma Goldman's essays, and also addresses Emma Goldman's life and activities, and so it embraces as it must
Frank Terry
This book was really interesting. Historically it was super interesting. Published in 1910, this kind of pre-World-War-One ideology was fascinating to see.

The biographical preface was really good, too. Emma Goldman seems like a fascinating person.

And how really prophetic Emma Goldman's essays are, in terms of the need for prison reform, was really something else.

Prose before the 1930's or maybe more the 1940's is really interesting as a whole. There was such less censorship in publishing and
Tony Schmitt
I think that many of the essays are quite good, and have a good analysis (particularly pertaining to when they were written in those cases where things have changed considerably now). However there were a few things that I simply disagree with.

Firstly in her essay on anarchism I found he analysis or the problems of capitalist society good, however I remain unconvinced that a society where everyone was completely free and after upon their wishes would remove the ills of society. Would not some d
'Anarchism and Other Essays' was written by one of history's most famous anarchists and 'feminists', Emma Goldman, back in 1910. I put feminists in scare quotes because one of the most surprising things I found in reading this fascinating collection of essays was just how hostile towards the feminism of her day Goldman actually was, despite women's liberation being one of her biggest goals. Indeed, the way she saw it was that women could never be liberated under capitalism (just like working men ...more
Emma Goldman was one of the most prominent US anarchists in the early 20th century. Born into a Jewish family in Russia she moved to the US in her early 20s and combined political activism with various working class jobs. This book combines several of her more famous writing, often relatively short pamphlets. It's a somewhat eclectic mix, although all show her deep despise of capitalism and the state as well as her longing for 'real freedom;, i.e. anarchism. Many of the writing include long revi ...more
What to say after my first reading of Emma Goldman? I like her direct writing style and her arguments, but her version of anarchism quickly turns to socialism as soon as tyranny has been overthrown, and I have problems with that aspect. As many of you can see from the massive amount of quotes I posted on Facebook, much of this book did resonate with me, so on that front she gives you plenty to think about. But it was published in 1911, so some of it is a little dated. (I think I need to read som ...more
Quite surprised and disappointed as I had assumed I would love this. Goldman was obviously a better activist than she was a theorist or writer, and that's no bad thing really. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate and admire Emma Goldman's work, sacrifices, and her influence, but in my opinion this work does not reflect the best of her.
Some of these essays make excellent points, there are also those that are still very relevant, however others are badly argued, some downright contradictory, and there
Onyango Makagutu
This is great literature in support of Anarchism. One that should be read by every member of the educated working class and maybe, just maybe we will change things
Some have tried to retroactively (am I using that word correctly?) fault Goldman, and even discredit her entirely, because of her exclusion of racial issues, and because some of her views towards feminism, sexual behavior, women's emancipation, etc. -- paradigm-shattering as they were in her time -- seem reactionary to a twenty-first century audience. These criticisms are totally justified. There are some things about Goldman's writing that are problematic.

However, it seems to me that it would
Emma Goldman is as fresh and provocative as she was 100 years ago. There never was a time more relevant for her ideas than right now, what with the rise of the 1% and all the bullshit wars waged for the sole purpose of gaining obscene profits for a select few.

Of course, she has a few misses: she wrote that Lincoln only declared the emancipation of slaves because abolition had become a practical issue, recognized as such by all; she also thought that military barracks are incubators for homosexu
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Emma Goldman was a feminist anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century.

Born in Kovno in the Russian Empire (present-day Kaunas, Lithuania), Goldman emigrated to the US in 1885 and lived in New York City, where she joined the bu
More about Emma Goldman...
Living My Life Living My Life, Vol. 1 Living My Life, Vol. 2 Red Emma Speaks Marriage and Love

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“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.” 193 likes
“Anarchism stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion and liberation of the human body from the coercion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. It stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals…” 154 likes
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