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Anarchism and Other Essays

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  2,818 ratings  ·  106 reviews
Emma Goldman is often depicted in current academic discourse as a mere prototypical feminist and socialist. Yet this collection of essays by Goldman reveals that she often expressed ideas which many of her present day admirers might find surprising and unsettling. She distrusted the proletariat, wrote disdainfully of the early feminists who were her contemporaries, and eve ...more
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Published (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
...more
Hadrian
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
...more
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
Ian Heidin-Seek
Nov 26, 2013 Ian Heidin-Seek 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.

Anarchism

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.

Materialism

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
...more
Megan
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
...more
Careuhhline
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
D.
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.
Shivam Chaturvedi
First time I read Emma Goldman wasn't in a book. I was sixteen, hiking near the Nevada border. The quote was painted on a wall in red. When I saw those words it was like someone ripped them from the inside of my head......

The concept was pure, simple, true. It inspired me. Lit a rebellious fire, but ultimately I learned the lesson that Goldman, Proudhom and the others learned. That true freedom requires sacrifice and pain. Most human beings only think they want freedom. In truth they yearn for t
...more
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
Jenny
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
...more
Kenny
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
...more
Judi
"If I can't dance it's not my revolution" Emma Goldman.
1.1
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
El
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
Marley
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
...more
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
...more
Mars
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
...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
...more
Alan
'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
C M
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
dejah_thoris
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
Margaret
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
...more
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
Kennyjohnson
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
...more
Drew
I originally read this book back around 2004/2005. A good friend lent me her copy and I cruised through it quickly. I just reread it. While I still am not an anarchist (I believe in the value of the state), I thoroughly enjoyed her essays and encourage others to read this book. Just like my recent rereading of several of Karl Marx's works, Emma Goldman was a prescient author. Writing over 100 years ago at times, she nails today's political, economic and gender issues. Sadly, the more things chan ...more
Rachel
To be honest, I didn't read every essay, but the ones I did read were thought-provoking and articulate. I picked it up because of an essay she wrote against woman's suffrage, stating it was a middle-class movement that couldn't possibly live up to its claims and was ultimately a waste of energy. She compared the wimpy women of the West to the strapping Russian women, who, apparently, made all kinds of reforms without having the vote. Of course on some fronts she was right, since she had none of ...more
Matt
Few can compare to Emma Goldman. Bold and outspoken, her passion is infectious through the written word. I can only imagine what she must have been like in person. Goldman is not about defining systems of thought. Of establishing some order of existence. Those who disagree can easily disregard her positions as inconsistent and lacking structure. Of course, the ready-made quip would be “who expects structure from an anarchist?” But such demands for structure miss the real value in Goldman’s work. ...more
Billie Pritchett
Emma Goldman's Anarchism and Other Essays is about the topic of anarchism and subjects related to the ways in which Goldman sees anarchism expressing itself. Anarchism, in Goldman's view, is about maximizing the freedom of the individual, which would involve eliminating, as much as possible, any governmental or social constraints. If this view sounds familiar to you, it's probably because you've sometimes heard it expressed as Libertarianism in American and European circles. There are difference ...more
Julie Rylie
Emma Goldman is definitely one of the most intelligent human beings that ever walked on earth, and not only she could rationalize her ideas, she would put them in action.

The main topics of this book are the following:

Emma believes the mass is less intelligent than a few individual minds.
"I know so well that as a compact mass it has never stood for justice or equality. It has suppressed the human voice, subdued the human spirit, chained the human body".

The government annuls individualism and
...more
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15591
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
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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.” 185 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…” 141 likes
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