quotations about anarchy & anarchism
Anarchism is democracy taken seriously.
EDWARD ABBEY, One Life at a Time, Please
Anarchism is "stateless socialism."
MIKHAIL BAKUNIN, "Stateless Socialism: Anarchism", The Political Philosophy of Bakunin
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, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness
While the popular understanding of anarchism is of a violent, anti-State movement, anarchism is a much more subtle and nuanced tradition then a simple opposition to government power. Anarchists oppose the idea that power and domination are necessary for society, and instead advocate more co-operative, anti-hierarchical forms of social, political and economic organization.
L. SUSAN BROWN, The Politics of Individualism: Liberalism, Liberal Feminism and Anarchism
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, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness
There is no greater evil than anarchy.
That is what I have always understood to be the essence of anarchism: the conviction that the burden of proof has to be placed on authority, and that it should be dismantled if that burden cannot be met.
NOAM CHOMSKY, Language and Politics
Jesus Christ was the supreme example of authentic anarchy -- the creative non-violent anarchist par excellence -- working not from the top down, but from the bottom up with the poor, and the poorest of the poor, to empower people and enable them to realize their potential, as men and women made in the images of God.
DAVE ANDREWS, Christi-Anarchy: Discovering a Radical Spirituality of Compassion
The measure of the state's success is that the word anarchy frightens people, while the word state does not.
JOSEPH SOBRAN, attributed, The Definitive Guide to Political Ideologies
We started off trying to set up a small anarchist community, but people wouldn't obey the rules.
ALAN BENNETT, Getting On
I am an anarchist in my personal life ... but I don't feel we have evolved far enough as a species to make anarchy work in society itself. We still need government to transfer the wealth from those who have too much to those who have too little, to make sure important projects get done, and keep territorial humans from screwing over and killing each other.
JELLO BIAFRA, speech, June 2000
Are not laws dangerous which inhibit the passions? Compare the centuries of anarchy with those of the strongest legalism in any country you like and you will see that it is only when the laws are silent that the greatest actions appear.
MARQUIS DE SADE, L'Histoire de Juliette
Anarchy, when it works to destroy authority in all its aspects, when it demands the abrogation of laws and the abolition of the mechanism that serves to impose them, when it refuses all hierarchical organization and preaches free agreement -- at the same time strives to maintain and enlarge the precious kernel of social customs without which no human or animal society can exist. Only, instead of demanding that those social customs should be maintained through the authority of a few, it demands it from the continued action of all.
PETER KROPOTKIN, Anarchism: Its Philosophy and Ideal
Lawlessness is lawlessness. Anarchy is anarchy is anarchy. Neither race nor color nor frustration is an excuse for either lawlessness or anarchy.
THURGOOD MARSHALL, speech, Aug. 15, 1966
Better the rule of One, whom all obey, than to let clamorous demagogues betray our freedom with the kiss of anarchy.
OSCAR WILDE, Libertatis Sacra Fames
They that are discontented under monarchy, call it tyranny; and they that are displeased with aristocracy, call it oligarchy: so also, they which find themselves grieved under a democracy, call it anarchy, which signifies the want of government; and yet I think no man believes, that want of government, is any new kind of government.
THOMAS HOBBES, Leviathan
Somebody once declared that the only two political theories that are completely consistent are anarchy and totalitarianism. Anarchy fully embraces the concept of self, totalitarianism fully rejects that concept.
DARRELL ANDERSON, "What Is Liberty?"
You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.
URSULA K. LE GUIN, The Dispossessed
The anarchists put the thing upside down. They declare that the proletarian revolution must begin by doing away with the political organization of the state. But to destroy it at such a moment would be to destroy the only organism by means of which the victorious proletariat can assert its newly-conquered power, hold down its capitalist adversaries, and carry out that economic revolution of society without which the whole victory must end in a new defeat and a mass slaughter of the workers similar to those after the Paris commune.
FRIEDRICH ENGELS, letter to Philipp Van Patten, Apr. 18, 1883
There is more than one kind of freedom ... freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it.
MARGARET ATWOOD, The Handmaid's Tale