Excerpt from "Minorities Versus Majorities" by Emma Goldman
"Minorities Versus Majorities" by Emma Goldman
The oft repeated slogan of our time is, among all politicians, the Socialists included, that ours is an era of individualism, of the minority. Only those who do not probe beneath the surface might be led to entertain this view. Have not the few accumulated the wealth of the world? Are they not the masters, the absolute kings of the situation? Their success, however, is due not to individualism, but to the inertia, the cravenness, the utter submission of the mass. The latter wants but to be dominated, to be led, to be coerced. As to individualism, at no time in human history did it have less chance of expression, less opportunity to assert itself in a normal, healthy manner.

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. What does Emma Goldman identify as the paradox of the "age of individualism"?

2. Why do you think Goldman associates individualism with "the minority"? What, in contrast, does she associate with "the majority"?

3. Who do you think Goldman holds responsible for the power gap between the "few" and the "many"?

4. Do you think Goldman's assessments still apply today?

Time Period: Modern (Spinoza through post-WWII)