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On Anarchism

Nathan Schneider

Top 10 Best Quotes

“the problem that is set for our time is that of freeing man from the curse of economic exploitation and political and social enslavement”

“no form of politics is worth our time until it helps struggling people get what they need, sustainably and reliably. All the better if you can do so without patriarchy and fundamentalism.”

“anarchist amnesia that has overtaken radical politics in the United States is a reflection of the amnesia in U.S. politics generally.”

“alienation of labor when work is external to the worker . . . not part of his nature . . . [so that] he does not fulfill himself in his work but denies himself . . . [and is] physically exhausted and mentally debased,” alienated labor that “casts some of the workers back into a barbarous kind of work and turns others into machines,” thus depriving man of his “species character” of “free conscious activity” and “productive life.”

“Yet the word “socialism” has been so thoroughly tarnished in the hegemonic sound bites of Fox News as to be obviously unusable politically.”

“We came to consciousness in a world where communism was a doomed proposition from the get-go, vanquished by our Reagan-esque grandfathers and manifestly genocidal to boot. Capitalism won fair and square: market forces work.”

“This anarchist amnesia that has overtaken radical politics in the United States is a reflection of the amnesia in U.S. politics generally. With the exception of a few shared mythologies about our founding slaveholders and our most murderous wars, we like to imagine that everything we do is being done for the very first time. Such amnesia can be useful, because it lends a sensation of pioneering vitality to our undertakings that the rest of the history-heavy world seems to envy. But it also condemns us to forever reinvent the wheel.”

“These ideas grow out of the Enlightenment; their roots are in Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality, Humboldt’s Limits of State Action, Kant’s insistence, in his defense of the French Revolution, that freedom is the precondition for acquiring the maturity for freedom, not a gift to be granted when such maturity is achieved.”

“One might, however, argue rather differently: that at every stage of history our concern must be to dismantle those forms of authority and oppression that survive from an era when they might have been justified in terms of the need for security or survival or economic development, but that now contribute to—rather than alleviate—material and cultural deficit.”

“Chomsky refers to right-wing libertarianism as “an aberration” nearly unique to this country, a theory of “a world built on hatred” that “would self-destruct in three seconds.” Yet the vitality of this once- or twice-removed cousin of anarchism becomes evident with every election cycle, when libertarian candidate Ron Paul squeezes his way into the Republican debates thanks to the impressively determined and youthful “army” fighting for his “rEVOLution.” (The capitalized words spell “LOVE” backward.) This is anarchism with corporate funding and misplaced nostalgia, its solidarity cleaved off by the willful protagonists in Ayn Rand’s novels. Yet”

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