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Lucy Parsons Quotes

Lucy Parsons (1853? - 1942)

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Lucy Parsons, anarchist, unsuccessfully organized in her husband's defense when he was accused of violence in the so-called Haymarket Riot of May, 1886, and hanged. She continued organizing against capitalism and government, and helped organize the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World). Read more: Lucy Parsons Biography

Selected Lucy Parsons Quotations

• Let us sink such differences as nationality, religion, politics, and set our eyes eternally and forever toward the rising star of the industrial republic of labor.

• The involuntary aspiration born in man to make the most of one's self, to be loved and appreciated by one's fellow-beings, to "make the world better for having lived in it," will urge him on the nobler deeds than ever the sordid and selfish incentive of material gain has done.

• There is an innate spring of healthy action in every human being who has not been crushed and pinched by poverty and drudgery from before his birth, that impels him onward and upward.

• We are the slaves of slaves. We are exploited more ruthlessly than men.

• Anarchism has but one infallible, unchangeable motto, "Freedom." Freedom to discover any truth, freedom to develop, to live naturally and fully.

• Anarchists know that a long period of education must precede any great fundamental change in society, hence they do not believe in vote begging, nor political campaigns, but rather in the development of self-thinking individuals.

• Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth.

• Strike not for a few cents more an hour, because the price of living will be raised faster still, but strike for all you earn, be content with nothing less.

• Concentrated power can be always wielded in the interest of the few and at the expense of the many. Government in its last analysis is this power reduced to a science. Governments never lead; they follow progress. When the prison, stake or scaffold can no longer silence the voice of the protesting minority, progress moves on a step, but not until then.

• Let every dirty, lousy tramp arm himself with a revolver or knife on the steps of the palace of the rich and stab or shoot their owners as they come out. Let us kill them without mercy, and let it be a war of extermination and without pity

• You are not absolutely defenseless. For the torch of the incendiary, which has been known with impunity, cannot be wrested from you.

• If, in the present chaotic and shameful struggle for existence, when organized society offers a premium on greed, cruelty, and deceit, men can be found who stand aloof and almost alone in their determination to work for good rather than gold, who suffer want and persecution rather than desert principle, who can bravely walk to the scaffold for the good they can do humanity, what may we expect from men when freed from the grinding necessity of selling the better part of themselves for bread?

• So many able writers have shown that the unjust institutions which work so much misery and suffering to the masses have their root in governments, and owe their whole existence to the power derived from government we cannot help but believe that were every law, every title deed, every court, and every police officer or soldier abolished tomorrow with one sweep, we would be better off than now.

• Oh, Misery, I have drunk thy cup of sorrow to its dregs, but I am still a rebel.

Chicago Police Department description of Lucy Parsons: "More dangerous than a thousand rioters..."

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis 1997-2006. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

Citation information:
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Lucy Parsons Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/lucy_parsons.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)

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