Monday, June 13, 2011

Sampling of Anarchists Discussing Sociology

Curiously, anarchists were kinder to sociology, than the sociologists were about anarchism. Still, anarchists had the tendency to either view sociology as a great intellectual liberator (and even the basis upon which "socialist" thought rested) or as a shill for the system, obscuring reality and justifying the status quo (although this indictment also seems to broadly include many other scholarly/academic disciplines, too)...

Alexander Berkman:
"Learned men have written big books, many of them, on sociology, psychology, and many other 'ologies', to tell you what you want, but no two of those books ever agree. And yet I think that you know very well without them what you want."

Voltairine de Cleyre:
"He [Mozersky] questioned me into all kinds of holes, from which I extricated myself most awkwardly, only to flounder into others he had smilingly dug while I was getting out of the first ones. The necessity of a better foundation became apparent: hence began a course of study in the principles of sociology and of modern Socialism and Anarchism as presented in their regular journals."

Emma Goldman:
"There are many who deny the possibility of such regeneration on the ground that human nature cannot change. Those who insist that human nature remains the same at all times have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. They certainly have not the faintest idea of the tremendous strides that have been made in sociology and psychology, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that human nature is plastic and can be changed. Human nature is by no means a fixed quantity. Rather, it is fluid and responsive to new conditions."

Peter Kropotkin:
"To maintain this superstition whole systems of philosophy have been elaborated and taught; all politics are based on this principle; and each politician, whatever his colours, comes forward and says to the people, "Give me the power, and I both can and will free you from the miseries which press so heavily upon you." From the cradle to the grave all our actions are guided by this principle. Open any book on sociology or jurisprudence, and you will find there the Government, its organization, its acts, filling so large a place that we come to believe that there is nothing outside the Government and the world of statesmen."