A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from November 08, 2021
“The most violent element in society is ignorance”

"The most violent element in society is ignorance” is a saying that has been printed on many images. It was said by anarchist political activist and writer Emma Goldman (1869-1940)

Anarchists were frequently portrayed in the newspapers of the early 1900s as people promoting violence and destruction. Emma Goldman wrote in the essay “Anarchism: What It Really Stands For” (published in 1910 and 1911 by her Mother Earth Publishing Association, 210 East 13th Street, New York City):

“The emotions of the ignorant man are continuously kept at a pitch by the most blood-curdling stories about Anarchism. Not a thing too outrageous to be employed against this philosophy and its exponents. Therefore Anarchism represents to the unthinking what the proverbial bad man does to the child,--a black monster bent on swallowing everything; in short, destruction and violence.

“Destruction and violence! How is the ordinary man to know that the most violent element in society is ignorance; that its power of destruction is the very thing Anarchism is combating? Nor is he aware that Anarchism, whose roots, as it were, are part of nature’s forces, destroys, not healthful tissue, but parasitic growths that feed on the life’s essence of society. It is merely clearing the soil from weeds and sagebrush, that it may eventually bear healthy fruit.”



Wikipedia: Emma Goldman
Emma Goldman (June 27 [O.S. June 15], 1869 – May 14, 1940) was an anarchist political activist and writer. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the 20th century.

Digital History
Emma Goldman, Anarchism: What It Really Stands For
Digital History ID 1339
Author: Emma Goldman
Date: 1910
Annotation: The Lithuanian-born anarchist spoke out boldly on behalf of feminism, birth control, and other social issues. Arrested in 1917 for obstructing the military draft, she was deported to Russia in 1919. Disillusioned with the new Communist state, she left Russia in 1921.
Document:
(...)
The emotions of the ignorant man are continuously kept at a pitch by the most blood-curdling stories about Anarchism. Not a thing too outrageous to be employed against this philosophy and its exponents. Therefore Anarchism represents to the unthinking what the proverbial bad man does to the child,--a black monster bent on swallowing everything; in short, destruction and violence.

Destruction and violence! How is the ordinary man to know that the most violent element in society is ignorance; that its power of destruction is the very thing Anarchism is combating? Nor is he aware that Anarchism, whose roots, as it were, are part of nature’s forces, destroys, not healthful tissue, but parasitic growths that feed on the life’s essence of society. It is merely clearing the soil from weeds and sagebrush, that it may eventually bear healthy fruit.

Someone has said that it requires less mental effort to condemn than to think. The widespread mental indolence, so prevalent in society, proves this to be only too true. Rather than to go to the bottom of any given idea, to examine into its origin and meaning, most people will either condemn it altogether, or rely on some superficial or prejudicial definition of non-essentials.

Anarchism urges man to think, to investigate, to analyze every proposition; but that the brain capacity of the average reader be not taxed too much, I also shall begin with a definition, and then elaborate on the latter.

ANARCHISM:--The philosophy of a new social order based on liberty unrestricted by man-made law; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence, and are therefore wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary. The new social order rests, of course, on the materialistic basis of life; but while all Anarchists agree that the main evil today is an economic one, they maintain that the solution of that evil can be brought about only through the consideration of every phase of life,--individual, as well as the collective; the internal, as well as the external phases.

Google Books
Anarchism and Other Essays
By Emma Goldman
New York, NY: Mother Earth Publishing Association
1910
Pp. 55-56:
Destruction and violence! How is the ordinary man to know that the most violent element in society is ignorance; that its power of destruction ins the very thing Anarchism is combating?

Google Books
Anarchism:
What It Really Stands For

By Emma Goldman
New York, NY: Mother Earth Publishing Association
1911
Pg. ?:
Destruction and violence! How is the ordinary man to know that the most violent element in society is ignorance; that its power of destruction ins the very thing Anarchism is combating?

15 April 1911, The Agitator (Home, WA), pg. 1, col. 3:
ANARCHISM DEFINED.
The emotions of the ignorant are continuously kept at a high pitch by the most blood-curdling stories about anarchism. Not a thing is too outrageous to be employed against this philosophy and its exponents. Therefore anarchism represents to the unthinking what the proverbial bad man does to the child—a black monster bent on swallowing everything; in short, destruction and violence.

Destruction and violence! How is the ordinary man to know that the most violent element in society is ignorance.

Anarchism is the philosophy of a new social order based on liberty unrestricted by man-made law; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence and are therefore wrong and harmful as well as unnecessary.
EMMA GOLDMAN.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Military/Religion /Health • Monday, November 08, 2021 • Permalink