93 Emma Goldman Quotes from the American Anarchist Political Activist

Emma Goldman, born in 1869 in Lithuania, was an influential propagandist and organizer in America, advocating for women’s equality, workers’ rights, free love and anarchism.

Her early life in Russia exposed her to extreme oppression, which influenced her political beliefs.

Upon moving to the U.S. in 1885, her hopes were dashed by witnessing the unjust treatment of labor activists.

In New York, Goldman became deeply involved with the anarchist movement. Despite opposing violence in theory, she often defended it in practice.

Emma Goldman

Through public speaking and her magazine, Mother Earth, she gained national prominence.

During the Red Scare, she and close associate Alexander Berkman were imprisoned for opposing the draft and subsequently deported to Soviet Russia. Disillusioned with the Bolshevik regime, she exposed its tyranny through writings.

In exile, she ardently opposed fascism in Spain. Despite controversies surrounding her beliefs, Goldman’s legacy remains a testament to her relentless pursuit of a just society.

Here is a best collection of quotes by Emma Goldman.

Best Emma Goldman Quotes

Love needs no protection; it is its own protection. ~ Emma Goldman.

The most vital right is the right to love and be loved. ~ Emma Goldman.

What I believe is a process rather than a finality. ~ Emma Goldman.


If I can’t dance to it, it’s not my revolution. ~ Emma Goldman.

Liberty will not descend to a people; a people must raise themselves to Liberty. ~ Emma Goldman.

Heaven must be an awfully dull place if the poor in spirit live there. ~ Emma Goldman.

Conceit, arrogance, and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. ~ Emma Goldman.

There’s never been a good government. ~ Emma Goldman.

Life without an ideal is spiritual death. ~ Emma Goldman.

Women need not always keep their mouths shut and their wombs open. ~ Emma Goldman.

Pettiness separates; breadth unites. Let us be broad and big. ~ Emma Goldman.

All claims of education notwithstanding, the pupil will accept only that which his mind craves. ~ Emma Goldman.

Patriotism is a menace to liberty. ~ Emma Goldman.

True, the movement for women’s rights has broken many old fetters, but it has also forged new ones. ~ Emma Goldman.

Famous Emma Goldman Quotes

Idealists foolish enough to throw caution to the winds have advanced mankind and have enriched the world. ~ Emma Goldman.

Puritanism, in whatever expression, is a poisonous germ. On the surface everything may look strong and vigorous; yet the poison works its way persistently, until the entire fabric is doomed. ~ Emma Goldman.

Poor human nature, what horrible crimes have been committed in thy name! ~ Emma Goldman.

It is organized violence on top which creates individual violence at the bottom. It is the accumulated indignation against organized wrong, organized crime, organized injustice, which drives the political offender to act. ~ Emma Goldman.

In the face of this approaching disaster, it behooves men and women not yet overcome by war madness to raise their voice of protest, to call the attention of the people to the crime and outrage which are about to be perpetrated on them. ~ Emma Goldman.

The most violent element in society is ignorance. ~ Emma Goldman.

It is the absolutism of theism, its pernicious influence upon humanity, its paralyzing effect upon thought and action, which Atheism is fighting with all its power. ~ Emma Goldman.


The majority cares little for ideals and integrity. What it craves is display. ~ Emma Goldman.

More pernicious than the power of a dictator is that of a class; the most terrible – the tyranny of a majority. ~ Emma Goldman.

Give us what belongs to us in peace, and if you don’t give it to us in peace, we will take it by force. ~ Emma Goldman.

Marriage is primarily an economic arrangement, an insurance pact. It differs from the ordinary life insurance agreement only in that it is more binding, more exacting. ~ Emma Goldman.

Modern woman is no longer satisfied to be the beloved of a man; she looks for understanding, comradeship; she wants to be treated as a human being and not simply as an object for sexual gratification. ~ Emma Goldman.

It is organized violence on the top which creates individual violence at the bottom. ~ Emma Goldman.

Public school – where the human mind is drilled and manipulated into submission to various social and moral spooks, and thus fitted to continue our system of exploitation and oppression. ~ Emma Goldman.

No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure. ~ Emma Goldman.

Ultimate Emma Goldman Quotes

Free love? as if love is anything but free. Man has bought brains, but all the millions in the world have failed to buy love. ~ 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. ~ Emma Goldman.

Man must get back to himself before he can learn his relation to his fellows. Prometheus chained to the Rock of Ages is doomed to remain the prey of the vultures of darkness. Unbind Prometheus, and you dispel the night and its horrors. ~ Emma Goldman.

If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal. ~ Emma Goldman.

Religion, the dominion of the human mind; Property, the dominion of human needs; and Government, the dominion of human conduct, represent the stronghold of man’s enslavement and all the horrors it entails. ~ Emma Goldman.

Salvation lies in an energetic march onward towards a brighter and clearer future. ~ Emma Goldman.

Every society has the criminals it deserves. ~ Emma Goldman.

When we can’t dream any longer we die. ~ Emma Goldman.

The strongest bulwark of authority is uniformity; the least divergence from it is the greatest crime. ~ Emma Goldman.

Revolution is but thought carried into action. ~ Emma Goldman.

Christ and his teachings are the embodiment of submission, of inertia, of the denial of life; hence responsible for the things done in their name. ~ Emma Goldman.

The more hideous the mental contortions, the greater the delight and bravos of the mass. ~ Emma Goldman.

In modern capitalism economic exploitation rather than political oppression is the real enemy of the people. ~ Emma Goldman.

It is essential that we realize once and for all that man is much more of a sex creature than a moral creature. The former is inherent, the other is grafted on. ~ Emma Goldman.

One cannot be too extreme in dealing with social ills; the extreme thing is generally the true thing. ~ Emma Goldman.

Top Emma Goldman Quotes

The free expression of the hopes and aspirations of a people is the greatest and only safety in a sane society. ~ Emma Goldman.

Someone has said that it requires less mental effort to condemn than to think. ~ Emma Goldman.

I may be arrested, I may be tried and thrown into jail, but I never will be silent. ~ Emma Goldman.

The most disheartening tendency common among readers is to tear out one sentence from a work, as a criterion of the writer’s ideas or personality. ~ Emma Goldman.

If not for the direct action of a John Brown and his comrades, America would still trade in the flesh of the black man. ~ Emma Goldman.

To the moralist prostitution does not consist so much in the fact that the woman sells her body, but rather that she sells it out of wedlock. ~ Emma Goldman.

Religion is a superstition that originated in man’s mental inability to solve natural phenomena. The Church is an organized institution that has always been stumbling to block progress. ~ Emma Goldman.

They do not want to know that centralization is not only the death-knell of liberty, but also of health and beauty, of art and science, all these being impossible in a clock-like, mechanical atmosphere. ~ Emma Goldman.

Poor human nature, what horrible crimes have been committed in thy name! All wars are wars among thieves who are too cowardly to fight and who therefore induce the young manhood of the whole world to do the fighting for them. ~ Emma Goldman.

A revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having. ~ Emma Goldman.

Great Emma Goldman Quotes

Every daring attempt to make a great change in existing conditions, every lofty vision of new possibilities for the human race, has been labeled Utopian. ~ Emma Goldman.

When we have undermined the patriotic lie, we shall have cleared the path for the great structure where all shall be united into a universal brotherhood – a truly free society. ~ Emma Goldman.


Lack of fairness to an opponent is essentially a sign of weakness. ~ Emma Goldman.

Art is a part of the rebellion against the realities of its unfulfilled desire. ~ Emma Goldman.

I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck. ~ Emma Goldman.

When in the course of human development, existing institutions prove inadequate to the needs of man, when they serve merely to enslave, rob and oppress mankind, the people have the eternal right to rebel against, and overthrow, these institutions. ~ Emma Goldman.

The persecution of the innovator and protestant has always been inspired by fear on the part of constituted authority of having its infallibility questioned and its power undermined. ~ Emma Goldman.

Crime is naught but misdirected energy. ~ Emma Goldman.

We say that if America has entered the war to make the world safe for democracy, she must first make democracy safe in America. ~ Emma Goldman.

Wise Emma Goldman Quotes

The whole history of man is continuous proof of the maxim that to divest one’s methods of ethical concepts means to sink into the depths of utter demoralization. ~ Emma Goldman.

Democracy must first be safe for America before it can be safe for the world. ~ Emma Goldman.

I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things. ~ Emma Goldman.

Understand one another. ~ Emma Goldman.

The demand for equal rights in every vocation of life is just and fair; but, after all, the most vital right is the right to love and be loved. ~ Emma Goldman.

You cannot build up a standing army and then throw it back into a box like tin soldiers. Armies equipped to the teeth with weapons, with highly developed instruments of murder and backed by their military interests, have their own dynamic functions. ~ Emma Goldman.

From infancy, almost, the average girl is told that marriage is her ultimate goal; therefore her training and education must be directed toward that end. Like the mute beast fattened for slaughter, she is prepared for that. ~ Emma Goldman.

Why waste your life working for a few shillings a week in a scullery, eighteen hours a day, when a woman could earn a decent wage by selling her body instead? ~ Emma Goldman.

The pathos of it all is that the America which is to be protected by a huge military force is not the America of the people, but that of the privileged class… ~ Emma Goldman.

Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another. ~ Emma Goldman.

Out of the chaos the future emerges in harmony and beauty. ~ Emma Goldman.

Those who sit in a glass house do wrong to throw stones about them; besides, the American glass house is rather thin, it will break easily, and the interior is anything but a gainly sight. ~ Emma Goldman.

The most unpardonable sin in society is independence of thought. ~ Emma Goldman.

Woman, essentially a purist, is naturally bigoted and relentless in her effort to make others as good as she thinks they ought to be. ~ Emma Goldman.

People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take. ~ Emma Goldman.

Militarism consumes the strongest and most productive elements of each nation. Militarism swallows the largest part of the national revenue. ~ Emma Goldman.

Let us not overlook vital things, because of the bulk of trifles confronting us. ~ Emma Goldman.

Politicians promise you heaven before election and give you hell after. ~ Emma Goldman.

I don’t care if a man’s theory for tomorrow is correct, I care if his spirit of today is correct. ~ Emma Goldman.

Unique Emma Goldman Quotes

It is safe to say that no other superstition is so detrimental to growth, so enervating and paralyzing to the minds and hearts of the people, as the superstition of Morality. ~ Emma Goldman.

Jealousy is the very reverse of understanding, of sympathy, and of generous feeling. Never has jealousy added to character, never does it make the individual big and fine. ~ Emma Goldman.

The individual whose vision encompasses the whole world often feels nowhere so hedged in and out of touch with his surroundings as in his native land. ~ Emma Goldman.

If love does not know how to give and take without restrictions, it is not love, but a transaction that never fails to lay stress on a plus and a minus. ~ Emma Goldman.

The import is not the kind of work woman does, but rather the quality of the work she furnishes. ~ Emma Goldman.

There is no such thing as a good government. There never was. There can’t be. ~ Emma Goldman.

The history of progress is written in the blood of men and women who have dared to espouse an unpopular cause, as, for instance, the black man’s right to his body, or woman’s right to her soul. ~ Emma Goldman.

True emancipation begins neither at the polls nor in the courts. It begins in woman’s soul. ~ Emma Goldman.


Direct action is the logical, consistent method of Anarchism. ~ Emma Goldman.

Real wealth consists in things of utility and beauty, in things that help to create strong, beautiful bodies and surroundings inspiring to live in. ~ Emma Goldman.

Ask for work. If they don’t give you work, ask for bread. If they do not give you work or bread, then take bread. ~ Emma Goldman.

So these were the 93 top Emma Goldman quotes and sayings on anarchism, feminism, love, voting and dance.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Kim Kardashian quotes and Zora Neale Hurston quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar