Living My Life – Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman is a hero and an inspiration to me. This autobiography is a little longwinded in parts but her determination, decisiveness, and courage throughout her entire life is truly amazing.

  • It is inconsistent for an anarchist to enjoy luxuries when the people live in poverty
  • “my friend is a revolutionist above everything else. which i could also be, but i am not”
  • I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful idea, for anarchism, for release and freedom from conventions and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy.
  • I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things.” Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole works – prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own closest comrades i would live my beautiful ideal.
  • after a month’s stay in England i understand the reason for so much political freed. it was a safety-valve against the fearful destitution. the British Government no doubt felt that as long as it permitted its subjects to let off steam in unhampered talk, there was no danger of rebellion.
  • the inner forces that compel an idealist to acts of violence, often involving the destruction of his own life, had come to mean much more to me. i felt certain now that behind every political deed of that nature was an impressionable, highly sensitized personality and a gentle spirit. such beings cannot go pin living complacently in the site of great human misery and wrong. their reactions to the cruelty and injustice of the world must inevitably express themselves in some violent act, in supreme rending of their tortured soul
  • ” if you can’t establish freedom in your own home, how expect the world to do it?”
  • the propagandist of an unpopular cause needs, even more than other people, occasional light-hearted irresponsibility. how else could he survive the hardships and travail of existaances.
  • I was sure that no one, be it individual or government, engaged in enslaving and exploring at home, could have the integrity or the desire to free people in other lands.
  • it is possible that in the entire United States only the President passed away on this day? surely many others have also died at the same time, perhaps in poverty and destitution, leaving helpless dependents behind. why do you expect me to feel more regret over the deal of McKinley than the rest?
    My compassion has always been with the living, the dead no longer need it. No doubt that is the reason why you all feel so sympathetic to the dead. You know that you’ll never be called upon to make good your protestations.
  • People out of the ordinary, those with a vision, have ever been considered queer; yet they have often been the sanest in a crazy world.
  • “a country where idealism is considered a crime, a rebel an outcast, and money the only god”
  • if the primary end of revolution is the dissolution of power and not its acquisition, then the insurrectionary thrust toward freedom has to be protected somehow from the power-hungry Lenins certain to arise.