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Voltairine de Cleyre

Voltairine de Cleyre

The American political philosopher Voltairine de Cleyre lived from November 17, 1866 through June 20, 1912. She advocated anarchism in a non-sectarian way, often called "anarchism without adjectives." Also, as a radical feminist, she advocated women's rights, including sexual, reproductive, and economic freedom. She wrote many essays in opposition to authority, including criticisms of the State, Church and patriarchy. Famous anarchist Emma Goldman referred to Voltairine de Cleyre as "the most gifted and brilliant anarchist woman America ever produced."

You can read the following essays by Voltairine de Cleyre for free on this website:

The following two books contain many of Voltairine de Cleyre's essays:

Also, the following book contains 18 of Voltairine's poems:

Written In Red: Selected Poems (Poets of Revolt Series)

Featured Voltairine de Cleyre Quotes

"There is one common struggle against those who have appropriated the earth, the money, and the machines." (from 'Direct Action')

"The love of material ease has been, in the mass of men and permanently speaking, always greater than the love of liberty. Nine hundred and ninety nine women out of a thousand are more interested in the cut of a dress than in the independence of their sex; nine hundred and ninety nine men out of a thousand are more interested in drinking a glass of beer than in questioning the tax that is laid on it; how many children are not willing to trade the liberty to play for the promise of a new cap or a new dress? That it is which begets the complicated mechanism of society; that it is which, by multiplying the concerns of government, multiplies the strength of government and the corresponding weakness of the people; this it is which begets indifference to public concern, thus making the corruption of government easy." (from 'Anarchism and American Traditions')

"...any man who must wait the complicated working of a mass of unseen powers before he may engage in the productive labor necessary to get his food is the last thing but a free man." (From 'Why I Am an Anarchist')

"The paramount question of the day is not political, is not religious, but is economic. The crying-out demand of today is for a circle of principles that shall forever make it impossible for one man to control another by controlling the means of his existence." (from 'The Economic Tendency of Freethought')

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