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Emma Goldman

Date de naissance: 27. juin 1869
Date de décès: 14. mai 1940
Autres noms:ايما گولڊمين, ఎమ్మా గోల్డ్‌మేన్

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Emma Goldman est une anarchiste russe née le 27 juin 1869 et morte le 14 mai 1940, connue pour son activisme politique, ses écrits et ses discours radicaux libertaires et féministes. Elle a joué un rôle majeur dans le développement de la philosophie anarchiste en Amérique du Nord et en Europe dans la première moitié du XXe siècle.

Née à Kowno appartenant alors à l'Empire russe, elle émigre aux États-Unis en 1885 et vit à New York, où elle rejoint dès 1889 le mouvement anarchiste en plein essor après le massacre de Haymarket Square. Elle devient vite une écrivaine et conférencière renommée, captivant des milliers de personnes sur la philosophie anarchiste, les droits des femmes ou les luttes sociales.

Avec son amant et ami de toujours, Alexander Berkman, elle organise, en 1892, une tentative d'assassinat de l'industriel Henry Frick, conçu comme un acte de propagande par le fait. Bien que Frick ne soit que blessé, Berkman est condamné à vingt-deux ans de réclusion. Elle est emprisonnée à plusieurs reprises dans les années qui suivent, pour « incitation à l'émeute » et distribution illégale d'informations sur le contrôle des naissances. En 1906, elle fonde le journal Mother Earth, dont elle assure la rédaction en chef jusqu'à son interdiction en 1917. La même année, avec Berkman, elle est condamnée à deux ans de prison pour propagande antimilitariste contre la conscription. Ils sont ensuite expulsés vers la Russie.

Initialement, elle soutient la révolution bolchevique, mais s'oppose rapidement au Parti communiste, en prenant notamment la défense des anarchistes victimes de la répression. En 1921, elle fuit l'URSS et raconte son expérience, en 1923, sous le titre : My Disillusionment in Russia.

Pendant son séjour en France, en 1928, elle rédige son autobiographie, Living my Life, publiée en 1931.

De 1936 à 1938, lors de la guerre civile et à l'invitation de la Confédération nationale du travail, elle se rend à plusieurs reprises en Espagne pour soutenir la révolution sociale. Elle meurt à Toronto le 14 mai 1940 à l'âge de 70 ans.

Pour certains, Emma Goldman est une « femme rebelle », libertaire et libre penseuse. Pour ses détracteurs, c'est une avocate de l'assassinat politique et de la révolution violente. Ses écrits et ses conférences touchent des domaines aussi divers que la prison, l'athéisme, la liberté d'expression, le militantisme, le mariage ou l’homosexualité. Bien qu'elle ne partage pas la revendication de la première vague du féminisme en faveur du droit de vote des femmes, elle développe une nouvelle réflexion intégrant davantage les femmes et la sexualité dans la philosophie anarchiste.

Dans les années 1970, après des décennies d'oubli, son parcours est revisité par des chercheurs féministes ou anarchistes. En 1979, ses Mémoires sont traduits et publiés en français sous le titre L'Épopée d'une anarchiste. New York 1886 - Moscou 1920. Ils sont réédités régulièrement depuis.

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Citations Emma Goldman

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„I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from convention and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to become a nun and that the movement would not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. "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 world — prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own closest comrades I would live my beautiful ideal.“

—  Emma Goldman
Context: At the dances I was one of the most untiring and gayest. One evening a cousin of Sasha, a young boy, took me aside. With a grave face, as if he were about to announce the death of a dear comrade, he whispered to me that it did not behoove an agitator to dance. Certainly not with such reckless abandon, anyway. It was undignified for one who was on the way to become a force in the anarchist movement. My frivolity would only hurt the Cause. I grew furious at the impudent interference of the boy. I told him to mind his own business. I was tired of having the Cause constantly thrown into my face. I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from convention and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to become a nun and that the movement would not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. "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 world — prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own closest comrades I would live my beautiful ideal. (p. 56) This incident was the source of a statement commonly attributed to Goldman that occurs in several variants: If I can't dance, it's not my revolution! If I can't dance, I don't want your revolution! If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution. A revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having. If there won't be dancing at the revolution, I'm not coming.

„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
Context: The great and inspiring aims of the Revolution became so clouded with and obscured by the methods used by the ruling political power that it was hard to distinguish what was temporary means and what final purpose. Psychologically and socially the means necessarily influence and alter the aims. 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. In that lies the real tragedy of the Bolshevik philosophy as applied to the Russian Revolution. May this lesson not be in vain.

„Perhaps even more than constituted authority, it is social uniformity and sameness that harass the individual most.“

—  Emma Goldman
Context: Perhaps even more than constituted authority, it is social uniformity and sameness that harass the individual most. His very "uniqueness," "separateness" and "differentiation" make him an alien, not only in his native place, but even in his own home. Often more so than the foreign born who generally falls in with the established. "The Individual, Society and the State" (1940) http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/goldman/works/1940/individual.htm

„Revolution, on the contrary, signifies not mere external change, but internal, basic, fundamental change. That internal change of concepts and ideas, permeating ever-larger social strata,“

—  Emma Goldman
Context: Its first ethical precept is the identity of means used and aims sought. The ultimate end of all revolutionary social change is to establish the sanctity of human life, the dignity of man, the right of every human being to liberty and wellbeing. Unless this be the essential aim of revolution, violent social changes would have no justification. For external social alterations can be, and have been, accomplished by the normal processes of evolution. Revolution, on the contrary, signifies not mere external change, but internal, basic, fundamental change. That internal change of concepts and ideas, permeating ever-larger social strata, finally culminates in the violent upheaval known as revolution.

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„He who refuses to submit is at once labelled "queer," "different," and decried as a disturbing element in the comfortable stagnancy of modern life.“

—  Emma Goldman
Context: The strongest bulwark of authority is uniformity; the least divergence from it is the greatest crime. The wholesale mechanisation of modern life has increased uniformity a thousandfold. It is everywhere present, in habits, tastes, dress, thoughts and ideas. Its most concentrated dullness is "public opinion." Few have the courage to stand out against it. He who refuses to submit is at once labelled "queer," "different," and decried as a disturbing element in the comfortable stagnancy of modern life. "The Individual, Society and the State" (1940) http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/goldman/works/1940/individual.htm

„Its first ethical precept is the identity of means used and aims sought. The ultimate end of all revolutionary social change is to establish the sanctity of human life, the dignity of man, the right of every human being to liberty and wellbeing.“

—  Emma Goldman
Context: Its first ethical precept is the identity of means used and aims sought. The ultimate end of all revolutionary social change is to establish the sanctity of human life, the dignity of man, the right of every human being to liberty and wellbeing. Unless this be the essential aim of revolution, violent social changes would have no justification. For external social alterations can be, and have been, accomplished by the normal processes of evolution. Revolution, on the contrary, signifies not mere external change, but internal, basic, fundamental change. That internal change of concepts and ideas, permeating ever-larger social strata, finally culminates in the violent upheaval known as revolution.

„Love, the strongest and deepest element in all life, the harbinger of hope, of joy, of ecstasy; love, the defier of all laws, of all conventions; love, the freest, the most powerful moulder of human destiny; how can such an all-compelling force be synonymous with that poor little State and Church-begotten weed, marriage?
Free love? As if love is anything but free!“

—  Emma Goldman
Context: Love, the strongest and deepest element in all life, the harbinger of hope, of joy, of ecstasy; love, the defier of all laws, of all conventions; love, the freest, the most powerful moulder of human destiny; how can such an all-compelling force be synonymous with that poor little State and Church-begotten weed, marriage? 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. Man has subdued bodies, but all the power on earth has been unable to subdue love. Man has conquered whole nations, but all his armies could not conquer love. Man has chained and fettered the spirit, but he has been utterly helpless before love. High on a throne, with all the splendor and pomp his gold can command, man is yet poor and desolate, if love passes him by. And if it stays, the poorest hovel is radiant with warmth, with life and color. Thus love has the magic power to make of a beggar a king. Yes, love is free; it can dwell in no other atmosphere. "Marriage and Love" in Anarchism and Other Essays (1911)

„Yes, love is free; it can dwell in no other atmosphere.“

—  Emma Goldman
Context: Love, the strongest and deepest element in all life, the harbinger of hope, of joy, of ecstasy; love, the defier of all laws, of all conventions; love, the freest, the most powerful moulder of human destiny; how can such an all-compelling force be synonymous with that poor little State and Church-begotten weed, marriage? 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. Man has subdued bodies, but all the power on earth has been unable to subdue love. Man has conquered whole nations, but all his armies could not conquer love. Man has chained and fettered the spirit, but he has been utterly helpless before love. High on a throne, with all the splendor and pomp his gold can command, man is yet poor and desolate, if love passes him by. And if it stays, the poorest hovel is radiant with warmth, with life and color. Thus love has the magic power to make of a beggar a king. Yes, love is free; it can dwell in no other atmosphere. "Marriage and Love" in Anarchism and Other Essays (1911)

„We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens.“

—  Emma Goldman
Context: We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens. We are ready to hang, electrocute, or lynch anyone, who, from economic necessity, will risk his own life in the attempt upon that of some industrial magnate. Yet our hearts swell with pride at the thought that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and that she will eventually plant her iron foot on the necks of all other nations. Such is the logic of patriotism.

„True, we have no conscription; that is, men are not usually forced to enlist in the army, but we have developed a far more exacting and rigid force--necessity“

—  Emma Goldman
Context: Our writer claims that militarism can never become such a power in America as abroad, since it is voluntary with us, while compulsory in the Old World. Two very important facts, however, the gentleman forgets to consider. First, that conscription has created in Europe a deep-seated hatred of militarism among all classes of society. Thousands of young recruits enlist under protest and, once in the army, they will use every possible means to desert. Second, that it is the compulsory feature of militarism which has created a tremendous anti-militarist movement, feared by European Powers far more than anything else. After all, the greatest bulwark of capitalism is militarism. The very moment the latter is undermined, capitalism will totter. True, we have no conscription; that is, men are not usually forced to enlist in the army, but we have developed a far more exacting and rigid force--necessity. Is it not a fact that during industrial depressions there is a tremendous increase in the number of enlistments? The trade of militarism may not be either lucrative or honorable, but it is better than tramping the country in search of work, standing in the bread line, or sleeping in municipal lodging houses. After all, it means thirteen dollars per month, three meals a day, and a place to sleep. Yet even necessity is not sufficiently strong a factor to bring into the army an element of character and manhood. No wonder our military authorities complain of the "poor material" enlisting in the army and navy. This admission is a very encouraging sign. It proves that there is still enough of the spirit of independence and love of liberty left in the average American to risk starvation rather than don the uniform.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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