Living Freely and Unattached and Goldman's Biography

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In Memory of Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, and Voltairine de Cleyre Living Freely and Unattached Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th., D.D. and Emma Goldman Her Life and Philosophy By a Jewish Woman (Anon) © May 2014, Skull Press Ebook Publications, Ghent, Belgium Public Domain and Non Commercial

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Transcript of Living Freely and Unattached and Goldman's Biography

Page 1: Living Freely and Unattached and Goldman's Biography

In Memory of Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman,

and Voltairine de Cleyre

Living Freely and Unattached Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th., D.D.


Emma Goldman Her Life and Philosophy

By a Jewish Woman (Anon)

© May 2014, Skull Press Ebook Publications, Ghent, Belgium – Public

Domain and Non Commercial

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Living Freely and Unattached


Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th., D.D.

“Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support

goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength

is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save

victory.” (Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the US)

The human being is influenced

upon the path of evolution from

above downwards, from within

outwards, from thought to action. It

is this which formulates the

underlying significance of the

energy of free will, and is

something only truly possible

through self-direction, which can

be seen today in the struggle for

expression in that great world,

which we call humanity. Men

decide for themselves direct action,

making their own choices and exert

unimpeded the free will with which

they may at times be equipped;

Anarchy never – no matter how

great the need or important the incentive – infringe upon the rights of men to

take their own decisions, to exert their own free will, and to achieve freedom by

force, torture, bloodshed and death, whether individually, nationally and

internationally. That does not mean that Anarchism cannot defend itself when

attacked. Defence is also a right.

Only when true freedom covers the earth, we shall see the end of tyranny

politically, religiously and economically. I am not referring to modern

democracy as a condition which meets the needs, for democracy is at present

still a philosophy of wishful thinking, and an unachieved ideal in every country

calling themselves democratic.

Are political systems in the contemporary developing world inevitably heading

towards democracy, and will democracy triumph as an end product of the

twenty-first century? Democracy studies, and more specifically the branch of

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transitology research, have in recent decades promoted a transition paradigm

whereby liberalization of a country’s political system follows the dissolution of

an authoritarian regime. In this strand of research, the collapse of the

authoritarian regime can be the outcome of a negotiated pact by political elites

as much as it can be induced by a mass uprising.

Conceptual and empirical research has been carried out with a view to

explaining the contagiousness of democracy and the likelihood of it propagating

itself across regional contexts. Factors explaining the diffusion of democratic

norms are manifold. International and transnational linkages, along with policy

channels, have the power to diffuse democratic norms across borders. Neo-

functional and neo-institutional approaches to regional cooperation enhance our

understanding of how democratic norms cross borders through institutionalized

and non-institutionalized challenges. Further, states characterized by

institutionalized democracy are thought to possess the capacity — through silver

carrot strategies — to lure neighbouring surrounding states into embracing

democratic practices. The European Union with its neighbourhood policy

approach is a case in a point here. The democratic transition paradigm which

first spurred much enthusiasm gave rise to an ambitious prescriptive policy

agenda seeking to promote democracy in resistant states. With time, failed

transitions, the emergence of hybrid regimes, and the robustness of authoritarian

systems in certain cases have called into question the inevitability of


Today, however, the utopian and revolutionary character of these uprisings

democratization has lost its glamour and turned into illusion. The difficulties of

crafting institutions in a post-authoritarian framework and the hijacking of

revolutionary platforms by selfish actors who had not played major roles in the

street protests made the possibility for a democratic spring at best a fleeting


In Belgium, the NVA and Vlaams Belang are trying to degenerate our freedom

and the rights of the workers, whereby they are racists. In Africa, the

degeneration of the Syrian government’s crackdown on protestors into a civil

war reminded social scientists and policymakers of the lurking dangers of

sectarianism and polarization. The confrontational nature of Egypt’s protests

foreshadows the many disruptive contours that contentious politics may acquire.

In a broader perspective, the overarching spectre of the Palestinian-Israeli

conflict, with the eruption of the Gaza war in November 2012, signals that —

despite ‘progressive’ regional transformations — the conflict’s protracted nature

had not changed. And, today the problems in Ukraine, Kiev and Russia.

If there is one thing that can be said with relative certainty about Russians it is

that they are not one for naiveté. They are a hardy bunch, more apt to believe

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what they see rather than dream impossible dreams. Yet, it is not like they are

hopeless. Who was the first culture to send a man into outer space, after all? But

when it comes to modern politics, Russians are not blind. They are just fed up.

Less than ten percent of them define Russia as a democratic society. For most,

Western style democracy with its free press, freedom of speech and religious

freedoms, is still a pipe dream.

Russians are not fanciful. They are calculating. More pragmatic, than day

dreamy. And as the country’s citizens calculate the likelihood of democracy

taking hold there, just as the state’s physicists did in the 1950’s when designing

Sputnik, democracy looks sort of, mildly, possible.

According to Russia’s largest independent pollster, The Levada Centre, only 8%

of those polled called Russia a democratic society. But the good news is that

number is up from just 4% in 2010, and this under the rule of Vladimir Putin,

the man that single handedly led thousands to take to the streets protesting his

very name.

Another forty percent of Russians said the country is only partly democratic, up

eight percentage points in the last two years. Meanwhile, about one-third of

those polled (31% to be exact) do not believe that democracy has taken hold in

Russian politics at all. The good news there is that number has dropped 5

percentage points since the 2010 Levada poll. Given the time frame involved,

and a margin of error, that number is basically flat.

On the other hand, the number of Russians who believe the country is becoming

less democratic under the leadership of Putin’s United Russia party, which has a

lock on the parliament and has run the Kremlin since the resignation of Boris

Yeltsin, has decreased to 14% from 20% in 2010.

A Russian democracy? Not anytime soon. But the unique Russian form of

government at least has the country more optimistic about its freedoms, and

regardless of Putin’s character, he is still seen as the best man for the job out of a

long line up of A-list Russians.

Russian Leadership: The Worst Of Times, The Best Of Times:

Mikhail Gorbachev: 14%

Boris Yeltsin: 17%

Nikita Khrushchev: 24%

Josef Stalin/Vladimir Lenin: 28%

Tzar Nicholas II: 34%

Leonid Brezhnev: 39%

Dmitry Medvedev: 54%

Vladimir Putin: 61%

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In fact, democracy depends on an informed populace. The power of corporate

media to propagate myth and present it as reality is a major factor in the

evisceration of democracy. The West corporate media and government have

done their utmost to propagate and sustain an image of their nations as a beacon

of freedom, the world’s leading democracy and a majority of citizens

everywhere have, in turn, embraced this comfortable, mythic view as their own.

The truth about the Western world—both in the past and the present—is less

palatable and more inconvenient than the popular myth.

Governments and corporate media have encouraged the masses to engage in

faulty thinking, in an effort to gain public support for self-serving agendas that

typically cannot be justified rationally; the only way to get them through is by

sophistical means. For example, Bart De Wever’s NVA administration resorts

to the systematic use of manipulation. They, and the dying Vlaams Belang are

exceedingly dangerous for the freedom of the Belgians, and the immigrates

joining Belgium. These extreme right political wings are racists.

I am now referring to that period before the election of May 24, 2014, that a

difficult period will surely come if the extreme right gets the majority, in which

authoritarian people will through election surely come, and will rule regarding

the established laws. More than ever, our freedom will be attacked in every way

and aspect.

Anarchism does not tolerate, accept or permit the rule of any body of men who

undertake to tell what they must believe in order to be saved, or what

government they must accept. When people are told the truth, and when they

can freely judge and decide for themselves, we shall see a much better world.

Anarchism, because of its ultimate principle of free-will in humanity, cannot

foretell how men will act in times of crisis; the Anarchy cannot enforce the good

way of life against religious and political pressure, for this good way of life and

action must come from out of the very depths of human thinking and feeling,

and must emerge as a free and non-supervised endeavour.

Philosophically, there are four freedoms. Anarchy looks forward to a world

founded on four essential human freedoms.

1. The first freedom is the one of speech and expression everywhere in the


2. The freedom of every person in his whereabouts the world over.

3. The freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means

Anarchic economic understandings which will secure to every nation a

healthy peacetime life for its citizens, everywhere in the world.

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4. The fourth is the freedom from fear religiously and politically which,

translated into world terms, means the non-support of the religious groups

in the dying phase anyway. In Belgium religious ministers of official

churches, synagogues and mosques are financially sustained by the

government (Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims). No government as it

is understood today. Reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a

thorough fashion, that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of

physical aggression against any neighbour anywhere in the world.

A few helpful quotations of Franklin D. Roosevelt (32nd president of US (1882 - 1945) :

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of

those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who

have too little.

First of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear

is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes

needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. (First Inaugural Address,

March 4, 1933)

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our

land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are

prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is


“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the growth

of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic

state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an

individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.”

Anarchism beliefs that the world is one world, and its sufferings are one;

humanity is in truth a unity, but many are still unaware of this, and the whole

trend of the present of our philosophy is directed to the awakening of humanity

to this, while there is yet time to avert still more serious conditions. The

mistakes of humanity are also one. The Anarchic goal is also one, and it is as

one great human family that we must emerge into the future.

I must emphasise my own thought here: “It is as one humanity, so far chastened

and disciplined by religion and governments (or religious governments), but

illumined by Anarchism and as such fused, that we must emerge into the future


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The consciousness of humanity is awakened almost everywhere; the most

undeveloped races are in process of achieving education, involving necessarily

the discovery of the mind; goodwill is being recognised as essential to world

unfoldment, while men are gradually finding the “no man lives for himself”

though he is himself important, and this is also for any nation. It has become

commonsense and the part of wisdom to better conditions for all men

everywhere. This is the Anarchy attitude, and a fresh and most hopeful

approach. Through Anarchism, men are learning to know and understand each

other; most nations are at least arriving at a closer contact with one another;

most statesmen of all nations are wrestling together and in joint conclave with

the problem of bettering human living conditions, but they should know that it is

not by attacking the freedom of us all. Everywhere there is thought, there is

appraisal and there is the struggle for freedom and mutual understanding, and

for the truer values, not the damned religious values.

The political regimes worldwide need orienting to each other; it has never been

the idea in fact that all nations and races should conform to some standard

political and philosophical ideologies, or be reduced to a uniform general form

of government. Nations differ; they have different cultures and traditions; they

can function adequately under varying and distinctive governments;

nevertheless, they can at the same time attain a unity of purpose based on

Anarchic ideas, based on the genuine desire for the true welfare and progress of

all men everywhere.

Inter-marriage between nations and races, the fusion of bloods for hundreds of

years due to migration, travel, education and mental unity, has led to there being

no really pure racial types today. This is far more certainly the case than the

most enlightened think, is the long, long history of humanity is considered.

Sexual intercourse knows no impenetrable barriers, and people have in them all

the strains and the blood of all the races, and this will be increasingly the case.

This development is in fact a part of the Anarchic plan, no matter how

undesirable it may appear to those who idealise purity of relationship as in the

time of Nazism and Fascism. Something intended is brought about, and it can no

longer be avoided.

The urge to mate in true comradeship and brotherhood is particularly strong

today in spite of the efforts of the extreme right political wing.

Whether the conservative and the so-called strictly “moral” people dislike this

worldwide Anarchy happening, has not the slightest bearing on the case. It has

happened and is happening daily, and will as such bring materially far-reaching

changes and results. These inter-racial and mixed relationships have always

happened on a small basis, but they are now happening on a larger scale.

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Today, the new way of thinking is far more a state of consciousness than a

physical form; it is a state of mind more than a peculiarly designed body. In

time, obviously, any developed state of consciousness invariably the conditions

will determine the body nature and produces finally certain physical


Finally, man is in essence a free being. This has never been enunciated

throughout the ages, but remained so far a beautiful theory of belief, though

Anarchism is of all times. Let us cultivate ourselves, which is the power to stand

steady in continuous development, handling a spirit of sharing in true

humanitarian love. The greater the progress is made on the path of Anarchism,

embracing its philosophy, the quicker we will arrive at a better and unified

humanity in all freedom. These were the words of Conchita Wurst at the Euro

Song Festival: "You know who you are - we are unity and we are unstoppable."

And, “This award is dedicated to everybody who believes in a world of peace

and freedom.”

© Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th., D.D., Ghent, Belgium.

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Emma Goldman Her Life and Philosophy

By a Jewish Woman (Anon)



"I Want Freedom, the Right to Self-Expression,

Everybody's Right to Beautiful Radiant Things"

Emma Goldman, undoubtedly one of the most notable and influential women in

modern American history, consistently promoted a wide range of controversial

movements and principles, including anarchism, equality and independence for

women, freedom of thought and expression, radical education, sexual freedom

and birth control, and union organization and the eight-hour day. Goldman's

advocacy of these causes, which many deemed subversive at the time, helped set

the historical context for some of today's most important political and social


Emma Goldman's role in securing the right to freedom of speech in America is

especially significant. She herself was frequently harassed or arrested when

lecturing--if her talks were not banned outright. She worked with the first Free

Speech League, which insisted that all Americans have a basic right to express

their ideas, no matter how radical or controversial those ideas might seem.

Directly out of this work came the founding of the American Civil Liberties

Union, setting in motion the beginnings of the modern free speech movement in

the United States.

Emma Goldman's impassioned advocacy of politically unpopular ideas and

causes like free love, anarchism, and atheism earned her the title "Red Emma"

and led many of the powerful to fear and hate her. Attorney General Caffey

wrote in 1917, "Emma Goldman is a woman of great ability and of personal

magnetism, and her persuasive powers make her an exceedingly dangerous

woman." But others stressed Goldman's role as an educator, one who in

nationwide lecture tours spread modern ideas and practices to a young and

provincial country. One newspaper editor described her as "8,000 years ahead of

her time."

Now, over fifty years after her death, Emma Goldman's commitment to freedom

and equality, her political courage and personal resilience, continue to inspire

the public--and stir up controversy.

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Early Life: Portrait of an Anarchist as a Young Woman

Poverty, oppression, and the longing for deliverance marked Emma Goldman's

early years. Born into a poor Jewish family in a backward, anti-Semitic country,

Goldman struggled to escape, first through flights of imagination, then through

formal education, and finally by means of emigration.

On June 27, 1869, Emma Goldman's life began in Kovno, a small imperial

Russian city, now in Lithuania. Her family suffered from the anti-Semitism of

the times, living in Jewish ghettos and moving often in search of opportunity.

Brutalized by this life, Goldman's father directed his anger against his family.

His often violent assertion of authority over them led young Emma, perhaps

more acutely aware than he of the injustice of their situation, to imagine instead

directing violence outward against the enemies of the Jewish people, in the

manner of Judith, the Biblical heroine with whom she identified.

Emma Goldman became interested in more modern ideas at twelve, after the

family moved to St. Petersburg. There she glimpsed the possibility of ending the

old order when Czar Alexander II was assassinated. Excited by the ideas of the

Russian Populists and Nihilists, Emma eagerly devoured Chernishevsky's What

Is to Be Done? and promptly replaced her childhood heroine Judith with

Chernishevsky's modern Vera, a political organizer and cooperative worker.

Soon after, Goldman left Russia to seek what she hoped would be a modern

education in a German Gymnasium. But Emma rejected the rote learning and

authoritarian teaching methods she encountered in her school, and she fought

with her German relatives. Nevertheless, Goldman developed an enduring

appreciation of literature, opera, and classical music, which helped alleviate the

pain she met in life.

Returning to Russia, Goldman soon found herself thinking of America. Her

father put her to work in a corset factory and began pressuring her into an

arranged marriage. Rejecting his demands, the sixteen-year-old Emma set sail in

1885 for America in the company of her older half-sister, Helena.

Life and Conflict in the New World

"Helena and I stood pressed to each other, enraptured by the sight of the harbour

and the Statue of Liberty suddenly emerging from the mist. Ah, there she was,

the symbol of hope, of freedom, of opportunity! She held her torch to light the

way to the free country, the asylum for the oppressed of all lands. We, too,

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Helena and I, would find a place in the generous heart of America. Our spirits

were high, our eyes filled with tears."

Emma Goldman, remembering her arrival in America

Emma Goldman's romantic hopes were soon shattered by the dismal realities of

working-class life. Settling first in Rochester, New York, she found factory

work harder than in Russia, and joined in the growing militance against the

inequality and inhuman working conditions that characterized industrializing


The decisive moment came in 1886. Labor and radical activists held a mass rally

in Chicago's Haymarket Square on the evening of May 4 to protest the police's

brutal suppression of a strike at the McCormick Harvester Company against a

union lock out the previous day. Towards the end of an otherwise peaceful

demonstration, a bomb was thrown at police after they attempted to stop the

meeting, injuring people in the crowd and killing a police officer. In the chaos

that followed an unknown number of demonstrators were killed by the police,

and another six police officers were fatally injured (primarily by their own

gunfire), and died during the ensuing weeks, their condition avidly followed by

the public. Afterwards, the police and the press blamed Chicago's anarchist

leaders, and in this climate of hysteria a jury condemned them despite a dearth

of evidence. Seven were sentenced to death, one was given fifteen years. Of

those who received the death penalty two had their sentences commuted to life

imprisonment, and another committed suicide the night before the execution.

The remaining four were executed on the 11th of November 1887. Convinced of

the defendants' innocence, the outraged Goldman became active in the anarchist


With the crystallization of Goldman's political thought came changes in her

personal life. Refusing to be trapped in the unhappy marriage of her earliest

years in America, Emma risked the stigma of divorce, leaving her husband in

Rochester and heading for a new life in New York. It wasn't long before the

young idealist became a prominent member of the city's anarchist community.

Johann Most, the great anarchist orator, recognized Goldman's eloquence and

commitment, and organized her first speaking tour. Amidst the newfound

excitement of political activism, she fell in love with Alexander Berkman, a

fellow Russian émigré. Together, they vowed to dedicate their lives to


In 1892, when Henry Clay Frick of the Carnegie Steel Company provoked a

bloody confrontation with workers at the company's plant in Homestead,

Pennsylvania, Berkman and Goldman decided to retaliate. Berkman went to

Homestead and shot Frick, but failed to kill him. Berkman was convicted and

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sentenced to twenty-two years in prison. Though Goldman was involved in the

plot, she escaped the indictment because of insufficient evidence.

When President William McKinley was shot in 1901 by Leon Czolgosz, the

police immediately tried to implicate Goldman, noting that Czolgosz had

recently attended one of her lectures in Cleveland. Consequently Goldman and

other anarchists were arrested. Eventually, though, disappointed by the lack of

evidence against her, the authorities were forced to order Goldman's release.

Goldman temporarily withdrew from public life to avoid harassment. When she

re- emerged she entered one of her most politically active periods, speaking

around the country, writing on a wide range of topics, and editing her free-

spirited journal, Mother Earth from 1906 to 1917. Many, however, remained

convinced that she was a dangerous killer, thanks in large part to the anti-

anarchist agitation of the press.

Emma Goldman and Free Speech

Freedom of expression was a cause Emma Goldman championed throughout her

adult life. She was outraged that in the United States, "a country which

guaranteed free speech, officers armed with long clubs should invade an orderly

assembly." As an anarchist orator, Emma faced constant threats from police and

vigilantes determined to suppress her talks. Undeterred, Goldman continued to

assert her right to speak, though she paid dearly for her principles. Arrested and

tried in 1893 for urging a crowd of hungry, unemployed workers to rely on

street demonstrations rather than on the electoral process to obtain relief,

Goldman based her defense squarely on the right of free speech--and lost. She

spent ten months in jail, a reminder that in nineteenth century America the right

of free speech was still a dream, not a reality.

Following the assassination of President McKinley in 1901, tolerance for free

speech declined even further. Repression culminated in the passage of the

draconian Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917 and 1918, which resulted in

long prison terms for those who protested United States entry into the First

World War. At the same time, liberal and radical Americans became more vocal

in their opposition to the abridgement of first amendment rights. The

government's attempts to suppress Goldman's unconventional views actually led

many who disagreed with her to support nonetheless her right to express her

ideas freely.

It was in this context that Goldman began lecturing regularly on freedom of

speech and, in 1903, worked with the newly formed Free Speech League. The

extremity of the situation sometimes led to amusing results. Once, expecting the

police to disrupt a lecture in Philadelphia, Emma chained herself to a podium in

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order to make it physically impossible for the police to remove her before she

finished speaking. But as fate would have it, this time the police did not appear.

Goldman's insistence on freedom of speech had a profound influence on Roger

Baldwin, a founder of the American Civil Liberties Union. Baldwin heard

Goldman speak in 1908 at a working class meeting hall in St. Louis, and what

he heard led him to dedicate his life to the cause of freedom. He later told

Goldman in a letter, "You always remain one of the chief inspirations of my life,

for you aroused in me a sense of what freedom really means." In his old age,

Baldwin said, "Emma Goldman opened up not only an entirely new literature to

me, but new people as well, some who called themselves anarchists, some

libertarians, some freedom lovers . . . bound together by one principle--freedom

from coercion."

The ultimate irony of Emma Goldman's crusade for free speech in America is

that she was deported to Russia for exercising her right to speak against United

States' involvement in World War I. Undaunted, Goldman risked further

political isolation by becoming one of the Left's most vocal and eloquent critics

of political repression in the Soviet Union.

Early Warning of Growing Threats to Free Speech

This letter, published in an anarchist periodical, reflects Goldman's early efforts

to publicize the continued police suppression of her lectures, and draw the

ominous implications for first amendment rights in America.

(Lucifer the Lightbearer, December 11, 1902)

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Roger Baldwin, a Founder of the A.C.L.U.

Roger Baldwin was one of the most

prominent advocates of civil liberties

in twentieth-century America.

Baldwin was a friend of Emma

Goldman, and he credited her work

on behalf of free speech as the

inspiration for his own lifelong battle

to assert and protect the right of

political freedom in the United


(Papers of Roger Baldwin, Mudd

Manuscript Library, Department of

Rare Books and Special Collections,

Princeton University Libraries)

Ben Reitman, Goldman's "Great Passion"

Ben Reitman was Emma Goldman's lover and manager between 1908 and 1916.

A Chicagoan, Reitman was for much of his life an almost compulsive hobo. As

a youth he tramped through Asia and Europe and around America several times.

He settled down long enough to acquire an M.D. degree in Chicago in 1904.

Later in his life he continued to go on periodic tramps. Besides using his

medical knowledge to minister to the poor, he treated their social ills by

organizing a mass demonstration of unemployed workers--for which he was

arrested and tried in 1907.

His relationship with Emma Goldman began in March 1908 when Goldman was

unable to secure a place to speak. Reitman offered her his "hobo hall." Instantly

attracted to each other, this encounter blossomed into the most intense

relationship of Goldman's life. Reitman soon offered to accompany Goldman on

her lecture tours. As road manager, his skills of arranging and publicizing

meetings, renting halls and promoting and selling anarchist literature contributed

to the success of Goldman's repeated cross-country lecture tours.

Reitman aroused in Emma Goldman a sexual and emotional passion that she

was never to experience in her life again. In l909 she revelled in their love: "You

came to me like a stroke of lightning, kindling my soul and my body with mad

passion, as I have never known before."

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(Goldman Collection, International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam)

Free Love Advocate Confronts Issues of Jealousy and Doubt

Throughout their ten-year love

affair, Emma Goldman and

Ben Reitman sustained their

relationship on the road

through passionate letters.

Goldman, who publicly

advocated free love and total

independence, struggled herself

with dark feelings of jealousy

and a longing for security.

Though she acted as a

harbinger of hope and affirmed

the anarchist vision of social

harmony, privately she

wondered whether her own

failure to live out her ideal

made her unworthy of

delivering such a lofty

message. "I stand condemned

before the bar of my own

reason," she would write once.

On August 15, 1909, Goldman

wrote this letter to "My

Beloved Hobo."

(Reitman Collection,

University of Illinois at Chicago)

Transcription of excerpt from Goldman's love letter to Ben Reitman

(First 3 pages of a 6-page letter)






Aug 15 1909

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Beloved Hobo. My lifes own one I love you, I love you, oh so desperately. You

are light and air, beauty and glory to me you are my precious Hobo. Dearest, do

you know, that creepy slimy, treacherous thing, doubt? Have you ever been

seized by it? Has your soul ever suffered its sting, your brain ever experienced

its horror beating force? If you have darling mine, then you will understand,

how it is, that everything that was golden with the ray and warmth of our love

should suddenly turn into darkness. That I should suddenly be thrown into the

abyss. Oh, my own, my all, it was terrible, terrible that one moment at the pier

But only a moment. When I stood there looking at you, at your beautiful

glorious face as sad as mine must have been, my love no! no! no! Hobo knew

nothing of that silly affaire True, Hobo has not always been frank with Mommy,

but that, only because he has not yet learned to be strong, Hobo is wayward,

impulsive. But Hobo is not premeditative, He never never could enter ugly

arrangement. This and more, I hear my love say, until the light crept back into

my soul nestle closer and made me see, my beloved darling, as he really is. Dear

one, I hope you have not been unkind to that

Characteristically Diverse Emma Goldman Lecture Series

Emma Goldman gradually expanded

her lecture topics from

straightforward expositions of

anarchist theory to include

applications of this theory to

contemporary social and political

issues. Among these were socialism,

birth control, women's emancipation,

free speech, and free love.

(New York Public Library)

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Introducing Modern Ideas to the American Public

This 1915 handbill is a striking example of how Goldman placed issues of

personal life on a par with war and the economy. No topic was taboo, as her

lecture titles suggest.

(Holzwarth Collection, University of California, Santa Barbara)

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Atrocities Against Free Speech in the Name of Patriotism

Emma Goldman played

an supportive role in the

largest free speech

movement in pre-World

War I America: the

battle of the Industrial

Workers of the World

(IWW) to secure

constitutional liberties

for their organization on

the West Coast. In an

effort to suppress the

IWW, many cities

passed ordinances

denying IWW leaders

the right to speak. The

IWW began defying

these ordinances by

sending large

contingents to the

endangered cities to

exercise their

constitutional right to

free speech. In Missoula,

Spokane, and Fresno,

hundreds of IWW

members were thrown in

jail for this offense.

One of the most dramatic

confrontations over free

speech occurred in 1912 in San Diego. Within one week, San Diego authorities

jailed 150 members of the IWW (also known as the Wobblies). Private vigilante

groups terrorized IWW members and drove them out of town. As tensions

mounted in San Diego, a vigilante group killed a Wobbly in Los Angeles.

Outraged by the turn of events, Emma Goldman and Ben Reitman decided to

join the San Diego free speech fight. They had barely arrived in the city when

Reitman was abducted from their hotel by a group of vigilantes. He was taken

into the countryside, stripped, beaten, covered with hot tar and sagebrush, forced

to sing "The Star Spangled Banner," then, with a cigar, the letters IWW were

singed onto his buttocks. (Mother Earth, June 1912)

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Emma Goldman Describes the Horror of the San Diego Event

Emma alerted the press to the recent brutal violations of human rights in this

letter written a few days after the 1912 San Diego free speech struggle and the

abduction and torture of Ben Reitman. (Emma Goldman to Fred Bonfils of the

Denver Post, May 16, l912, Reitman Collection, University of Illinois at Chicago)

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Prominent Chinese Writer Inspired by Emma Goldman

Born in Chengtu,

Szechwan, in 1904 with

the name Li Fei-Kan.

Inspired by the popular

anarchist literature during

the May Fourth

Movement (May 4, l9l9),

he adopted as his pen

name, Ba Jin, using parts

of the names Bakunin and

Kropotkin. At the same

time, the Chinese

translations of Emma

Goldman's essays inspired the fifteen-year-old Ba Jin to write to Goldman as his

"spiritual mother" for advice on how to reconcile being a child of an old feudal

family with his sympathy for the suffering of the masses. Goldman reassured

him that though "we cannot choose the place where we are born . . . we decide

ourselves the life we live afterwards. I see you have honesty and enthusiasm,

which every young rebel should have . . . "

Among Ba Jin's most important novels is Chia (Family), a moving and

courageous critique of China's patriarchal feudal family structure, published in

1931 as the first volume of an autobiographical trilogy. Ba Jin, who is now in

his nineties, is still one of the most respected leaders of the Union of Chinese


(Photograph from Pa Chin, by Nathan K. Mao, Twayne Publishers, 1978)

Ba Jin Dedicates His Book The General to Emma Goldman

Similar letters collected by The Emma Goldman Papers document the

importance of international support and the inspiration that individuals of

different cultures and generations can draw from one another in sustaining

activism for social justice. Goldman's example of lifelong devotion to the

principles of freedom of speech, anarchism, and women's independence inspired

activists in Japan, China, the Soviet Union, India, Europe, Canada, and Latin


(Excerpt from September 1933 letter from Ba Jin to Emma Goldman, preface to

The General, or Confessions--The Outcry of My Soul, a collection of short stories, Kai Ming Press, Shanghai, China, 1934.)

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Partial excerpt of English translation of Ba Jin's dedication to Emma


Only you know, when I was fifteen years old, you woke me up and I escaped

disaster at the last moment. Then in 1927, in Boston, when two innocent

workers were taken to the electric chair by law and the voice of the working

class was suffocated, I poured out my anguish as well as sincerity to you and

entreated your help. You have consoled me many times with your friendship and

encouragement and taught me many times from your rich experience. Your

beautiful letters have been a great comfort to me, when I have an opportunity of

reading them. E.G., my spiritual mother (you have permitted me to call you in

this way) you are a daughter of dreams (L.P. Abbott called you before)...

Now my education, life and consciousness are alked about by those who cannot

understand what I wrote, what I think, what is my life. They make me up from

their subjective imagination and attack me publicly as well as secretly. Because

my novels completely obscure my behaviour and ideas, and result in a lot of

misunderstandings, my name is related to nihilism or humanism, although I have

written a book of over three hundred pages to explain my ideas (this book is

very easy to understand and without a metaphysical term). Those who talk about

me never read it. They judged my deals according to one of my short stories,

then deduced a variety of strange conclusions and decided which doctrine I

belong to. I have been caught in this predicament all these years and cannot get

rid of it...

Today I read your autobiography in two volumes, Living My Life. These two

books full of life, shocked me greatly. Your roaring of forty years like spring

thunder, knocked at the door of my living grave throughout the whole book. At

this time, silence lost its effect, the fire of my life was lit, I want to come to life

and go through great anguish, immeasurable joy, dark despair and enthusiastic

hope, throughout the peak and the abyss of life. I will calmly go on living with

an attitude you taught me until I spend my whole life.

E.G., now I will begin to break the ice. I would like to dedicate my new

collection of short stories and this letter to you. This collection is the result of

my silent period. I spent a lot of care on it. You can find my painful life of

recent years in it. In the article, "On the Threshold," you can see yourself. As to

your recommendation, I read the great prose poem by Turgeniev so that I knew

those women who fled to Paris with Provgesnie's characteristics. Their

impressions were engraved in my mind forever. I hope I will meet the

near future.

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Birth Control Pioneer

Standard histories of the birth control movement often overlook Emma

Goldman's pioneering role. Goldman was in fact Margaret Sanger's mentor; she

brought the young Sanger into the campaign against the 1873 Comstock Law

which prohibited the distribution of birth control literature, thus forging an

indelible link between free speech and reproductive rights. Unlike Sanger, who

was later to advocate a single issue strategy for achieving the right to distribute

birth control information, Goldman always insisted that birth control be viewed

in the context of the broad social, economic, and political forces that led to its


Goldman first became convinced that birth control was essential to women's

sexual and economic freedom when she worked as a nurse and midwife among

poor immigrant workers on the Lower East Side in the 1890s. She tested her

ideas about reproductive rights while attending a Parisian "Neo-Malthusian"

congress in 1900 and then began to take direct action, smuggling contraceptive

devices into the United States on her return. By 1915, she was working with

Sanger in a mass movement for birth control, lecturing frequently on "the right

of the child not to be born" and demanding that women's bodies be freed from

the coercion of government. In one letter to Sanger written that year, Goldman

remarked, "Not one of my lectures brings out such crowds as the one on the

birth strike." Of all the literature she sold at her talks, Sanger's magazine, The

Woman Rebel, sold the best.

At least twice, Goldman was arrested and charged with violating the Comstock

Law. She managed to turn one trial in 1916 into a national forum on birth

control, successfully attracting the support of many writers, artists, intellectuals,

and progressives for her cause.

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Emma Goldman's Speaks on Birth Control to a Sea of Hats

Emma Goldman speaking from an open car to a crowd of garment workers

about birth control at Union Square, New York, on May 20, 1916. (UPI, Bettmann Archive)

Reproductive Rights and Free Speech: Emma Goldman Goes to Jail

As the mass movement for birth control grew, Goldman responded by lecturing

to successively larger audiences on the subject. Often, by the time the authorities

realized that birth control information had been disseminated at her public talks,

she was already well into lecturing on another topic. It was not unusual for her

to be arrested several days later, as she was about to speak on Atheism or Ibsen,

for a birth control offense committed days before. Although Goldman did serve

time, it was Ben Reitman, her lover and manager, whose six-month sentence for

public advocacy of birth control was the longest jail sentence served by any

birth control activist in the United States before l920.

Emma (Emma Goldman to the Press, a few days after her arrest in New York

City, February 11, 1916. Goldman Collection, International Institute for Social

History, Amsterdam)

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Emma Goldman Counsels Birth Control Advocate Margaret Sanger

In 1914, Margaret Sanger was arrested for publishing information about birth

control in her magazine Woman Rebel. While awaiting trial, she fled to Europe

for a year. Upon her return, Goldman learned that Sanger was under pressure to

plead guilty as a means of securing a lighter sentence. Goldman advised Sanger

against plea bargaining and encouraged her to approach the trial as an occasion

to mobilize support for the birth control movement.

(Emma Goldman to Margaret Sanger, December 8 [1915]. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Margaret Sanger Papers)

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Transcription of Emma Goldman's letter to Margaret Sanger

To Margaret Sanger

[St. Louis] Dec 8. [1915]

My dear

I wrote you a long letter from Chicago yester day. To day I heard that our good

friends Schroeder & others are urging you to plead guilty.

That would be too awful Just kill the movement you have helped to advance in

50 years I hope you will do no such a thing. That you will be as brave as you

have so far

Dear dear Girl, I appreciate your state of mind I feel deeply all you have gone

through since you began your work. But at the same time I feel that it would be

a great impardonable error were you now throw allow yourself to be beaten. To

compromise when there is no need of it.

You have friends all over the country You can have what ever means will be

needed to fight. You have aroused the interest, as no one ever has Think of

losing it all by declaring yourself guilty. Don't do it

I have a suggestion to make to you. Hold out until I come back the 23 rd of this

month Then go away with me for 2 weeks to Lakewood or some place. I am

terribly tired and need a rest We'd both gain much and I would help you find


What do you think to this? Let me know But in any event don't decide right now

what you want to do about your case, don't.

Write me Gen Del Indianapolis Ind With love. E G

ALI, Margaret Sanger Papers, DLC. On stationery of the Marquette Hotel, St.

Louis. In an endorsement at the top of the letter, Sanger later wrote: "Emma

Goldman 1915"; and at the end of the letter, "Emma Goldman who had heard

that the lawyers etc were putting pressure on me to plead guilty."

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Margaret Sanger on the Opening Day of Her Trial, 1917

Margaret Sanger became

America's most

influential advocate of

birth control in the 1910s.

Emma Goldman had

championed the cause

years earlier as part of a

broad social and political

critique and had mentored

the young Sanger.

Gradually, however, as

Sanger adopted a single

issue approach to winning

the right to reproductive

freedom, she

disassociated herself from

anarchists like Emma

Goldman. This strategy

succeeded, but broke the

friendship and the

relationship of close

mutual support that bound

the two women activists.

(Margaret Sanger,

January 4, 1917, in

Brooklyn, New York, on

the opening day of her

trial for disseminating birth control information and "maintaining a public

nuisance" (establishing the first birth control clinic in the US). UPI, Bettmann Archive)

War Resistance, Anti-Militarism, and Deportation, 1917-1919

Though she was not a pacifist, Emma Goldman insisted on the anarchist

principle that the state has no right to make war. She believed that most modern

wars were fought on behalf of capitalists at the expense of the working class,

and that the draft was a form of illegitimate coercion.

As the United States appeared to be drifting toward war in late 1916, Goldman

threw her energy into opposing the government's military preparations, using her

magazine, Mother Earth, as a forum. Goldman was not alone in this cause: the

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antiwar effort was the product of a broad coalition of liberals, socialists,

anarchists, and progressive unionists. Ultimately, however, the federal

government crushed this movement and repressed its elements in an almost

hysterical patriotic prowar and antiradical crusade orchestrated by President

Woodrow Wilson. Mother Earth was banned, along with other periodicals

opposing the war. Hundreds of foreign-born radicals were deportated.

Although Goldman knew federal government officials had been looking for

grounds to deport her for years, she pressed on with her antiwar activities.

Within weeks of America's entry into World War I, she helped launch the No-

Conscription League to encourage conscientious objectors and spoke repeatedly

against the draft, attracting eight thousand people to one meeting. Predictably,

the government responded, arresting Emma Goldman and her comrade

Alexander Berkman on June 15, 1917. Charged with conspiring against the

draft, they were convicted and sentenced to two years in prison with the

possibility of deportation at the end of their term.

After an unsuccessful appeal to the Supreme Court, Goldman began serving her

term at the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City. On September 27,

1919, Emma was released, only to be re-arrested shortly afterward by the young

J. Edgar Hoover, head of the Justice Department's General Intelligence Division.

Hoover advanced his career by implementing to the fullest extent possible the

government's plan to deport all foreign-born radicals. Writing the briefs and

presenting the case against Goldman himself, Hoover persuaded the courts to

deny Goldman's citizenship claims and to deport her.

On December 21, 1919, Goldman, Berkman, and over two hundred other

foreign- born radicals were herded aboard the Buford and, accompanied by a

fearsome block of nearly one hundred guards, set sail for the Soviet Union.

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Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman Stand Trial, 1917

Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman in New York, 1917, awaiting trial on

charges of opposing the draft during World War I.

(UPI, Bettmann Archive)

I.W.W. Headquarters After Palmer Raid, 1919

In late 1919, following a period of labor turbulence and several bombing

incidents, post-World War I antiradical hysteria reached fever pitch. In

November 1919, Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer launched a series of raids

targeting the most vulnerable radical and progressive organizations. By early

1920, more than five thousand people were arrested in what became known as

the "Palmer Raids." Goldman's Mother Earth office was among the first to be

ransacked in 1917. Rumor has it that J. Edgar Hoover used her confiscated

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library and manuscripts to educate himself on the radical Left. Apparently, most

of the material was later destroyed.

(IWW headquarters, New York City, after the raid of November 15, 1919. Special Collections Library, Labadie Collection, University of Michigan)

Emma Goldman's Last Impassioned Plea

In this, one of the most eloquent statements of her life, Emma Goldman

castigated the "star chamber" proceedings of the American judiciary. Emma also

lamented the increasingly repressive climate in the United States which she

believed made the country indistinguishable from Czarist Russia. She attributed

this repression and intolerance to an alliance of powerful industrialists and

officials of state and federal governments.

Goldman's statement included a scathing critique of the Anti-Anarchist laws,

asserting that "the free expression of the hopes and aspirations of a people is the

greatest and only safety in a sane society."

(Statement by Emma Goldman at the Federal deportation hearing, New York, October 27, 1919. United States National Archives, Record Group 165.)

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J. Edgar Hoover Recommends Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman


J. Edgar Hoover turned the deportation of Emma Goldman and Alexander

Berkman into a personal crusade. In this letter he brands them as "beyond doubt,

two of the most dangerous anarchists in this country." As special assistant to

Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, Hoover amassed evidence against

Goldman and Berkman and presented the case against them at their deportation

hearing. Hoover was also present at 5:00 a.m. on the morning of December 21,

1919, when the Buford set sail for Russia carrying Goldman, Berkman, and the

other deportees. Hoover and the FBI monitored Goldman's activities closely for

the remainder of her life in exile from the United States.

(August 23, 1919. United States National Archives, Record Group 60)

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Federal Warrant for Emma Goldman's Deportation

A copy of the warrant ordering Emma Goldman's deportation for advocating


(Warrant-Deportation of Alien, John W. Abercrombie, Acting Secretary of Labor, December 1, 1919, Washington, D.C.)

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Uncle Sam Bids Good Riddance to the Deportees

A popular antiradical cartoon celebrating the deportation of Emma Goldman,

Alexander Berkman, and 247 other foreign-born radicals to Russia on December

21, 1919, aboard the Buford.

(From J. Edgar Hoover Memorabilia Collection, Federal Bureau of Investigation)

Emma Goldman in Exile

With the exception of a brief ninety-day lecture tour in 1934, Emma Goldman

spent the remaining twenty-one years of her life (1919-1940) in exile from the

United States. During this period she lived in Russia, Sweden, Germany, France,

England, and Canada, never finding a political "home" outside the United States.

In no country did Emma Goldman feel more estranged than in her native Russia.

She was shocked by the ruthless authoritarianism of the Bolshevik regime, its

severe repression of anarchists, and its disregard for individual freedom. But she

continued to defend the revolution, which she distinguished from the subsequent

Bolshevik regime. She argued forcefully in My Disillusionment in Russia

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(1923) that the emergence of the Bolshevik party-state actually crushed the

revolution. Notwithstanding the prescience of this critique, the persistence and

stridency of her anti-Bolshevism alienated her from many European and

American leftists.

Perhaps in part to counter this estrangement and the loneliness of her exile years,

Emma maintained a lively correspondence with a large number of Americans

and Europeans, and was active in the American expatriate community in France.

In the 1920s and 1930s, while struggling to survive economically and frustrated

by the restrictions her status as an exile imposed on her political activities,

Emma engaged in a variety of literary projects. The most important and

enduring product of this period of writing and reflection is her moving one

thousand-page autobiography, Living My Life (1931). Her letters and papers--

many of which come from this period--complement this monumental work by

showing the full spectrum of Goldman's interests and associations

Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman Pose Questions to Lenin

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In 1989, Glasnost opened archival exchanges of material that illustrated internal

debates within the Soviet Union. This release from the former Central Party

Archives shows the questions presented to Lenin in 1920 by Goldman and

Berkman about the suppression of dissent and persecution of anarchists. He

recorded their names, (which appear handwritten in the margins), as he listened

to their concerns. The inadequacy of Lenin's response as well as growing

repression in Russia, and the slaughter of the Kronstadt rebels in 1921 prompted

the two anarchists to leave Russia and try to stir up outside pressure to influence

the situation there, while continuing to support the early vision of the revolution.

(Emma Goldman and A. Berkman to Lenin, circa March 1920, Russian Center for the Preservation and Study of Documents of Recent History (RTsKhIDNI).)

Emma Goldman in Exile

During her exile, Emma Goldman continued to apply her principles of free

speech not just to the United States, but to the Soviet Union as well. Angered by

the suppression of anti-Bolshevik dissent in Russia, Goldman registered her

protest with Lenin himself and left the country within two years hoping to alert

the world to the injustice she had witnessed. Her courageous position left her

vulnerable to criticism from the Left as well as from the Right and isolated her

even further.

In 1924, she moved to London. Despite her association with a wide circle of

left-wing and liberal British intellectuals, Goldman felt lonely in England and

frequently complained about the stolidity and reserve of the British. "Even the

best English paralyze me," she wrote Berkman.

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Before she could leave England, however, she had to ensure that she would have

right of residency somewhere. Despite her political objections to the institution

of marriage, she engaged in the legal formality of marriage to an elderly coal

miner from Wales named James Colton to secure the mobility and privilege of

British citizenship.

("Toronto's Anarchist Guest," by Frederick Griffin. Toronto Star Weekly, December 31, 1926)

Emma Goldman Returns to the United States for Only 90 Days

During her exile, Emma Goldman and her attorneys appealed repeatedly to

Washington for permission to re-enter the United States. Goldman hoped to

return since her friends and family were there and because she believed she

could be more effective politically in the United States The Roosevelt

administration was the first to respond positively to her appeals, but even the

liberal New Dealers would only allow her to return for a ninety-day visit, during

which she was ordered to confine her lectures to topics involving literature and

drama. Goldman's 1934 speaking tour was well received by the American Left--

but not by the FBI, which, under Hoover's orders, trailed her. She spoke on the

"drama" of world events, fascism, Stalinism, and Hitlerism.

Her return to New York was front-page news in all the city's major newspapers.

On March 17, 1934, she spoke to a large audience in Rochester, New York,

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where she had spent her first three years in the United States (1886-1889). She

enjoyed taking quick swipes and engaging the audience with her flamboyant and

audacious speaking style.

For Emma Goldman, deportation and exile were harsh punishments. Friends

reported that just before and immediately after her tour, Goldman often sat at the

Canadian border, looking longingly across to the United States, tears streaming

down her face.

(Rochester Sunday American, Sunday, March 18, 1934)

Emma Goldman and the Spanish Civil War

Goldman was sixty-seven years old when the Spanish Civil War erupted in July

of 1936. It was less than a month after the tragic suicide of Alexander Berkman,

her closest comrade and "chum of a life-time." The promise of an anarchist

revolution in Spain revived Goldman's broken spirit. Despite her advanced age,

Emma hurled herself into the Spanish cause with an enthusiasm reminiscent of

her early activist years in America.

Goldman thought the Spanish Civil War was not only crucial to the international

struggle against fascism, but also a great moment in the history of Spain and the

world. It was in her view the only peasant and working-class revolution ever to

be inspired by anarchist ideals. Building on more than a half-century of agitation

and organization, the Spanish anarchists by the mid-1930's had won popular

support in parts of Spain--with Catalonia their strongest base. When Emma

visited collectivized towns and farms in Aragon in 1936 and the Levante in

1937, she was electrified by what seemed to her to be the beginnings of a

Spanish anarchist revolution.

In 1936, the Spanish comrades asked Goldman to direct their English

propaganda campaign, designating her the London representative of the National

Confederation of Labor and the Iberian Anarchist Federation (CNT-FAI). She

worked tirelessly, writing hundreds of letters to supporters and editors in the

English-speaking world. Dismayed but not vanquished by Franco's triumph in

early 1939, Goldman moved to Canada, where she devoted the last year of her

life to securing political asylum and financial support for the women and

children refugees of the Spanish war and to publicizing legislative dangers to

free speech in Canada.

Emma Goldman died in Toronto on May 14, 1940. After her death, the United

States Immigration and Naturalization Service allowed Goldman's body to be re-

admitted to the United States. She was buried in Chicago's Waldheim Cemetery,

near the Haymarket anarchists who so inspired her.

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Tribute to Emma Goldman From Mujeres Libres

EMMA GOLDMANN, la magnifica militante revolucionaria que ha dedicado su

vida entera al combate por la Libertad en todo el mundo, ha venido una vez más

a España, a vivir y medir personalmente el estado de nuestra lucha y de nuestros

problemas sociales y políticos. No ha venido, como tantos otros visitantes

amigos, con prisa de turista, a dar un vistazo indignado a las ruínas de nuestras

ciudades bombardeadas, sino con detenimiento obstinado de varias semanas de

convivencia profunda, sintiendo en sí misma nuestras necesidades, nuestros

problemas, nuestros peligros, nuestra resolución inquebrantable, para poder

luego poner una concienzuda y bien entrañada verdad en la propaganda de

nuestra causa a través de Europa, prolongándola esta vez hasta el Canadá, para

donde se propone partir con este objeto muy en breve.

Lleve la gran compañera todo nuestro cariño fraternal a través de su viaje,

seguramente fecundo.

A tribute to Emma Goldman's lifelong dedication to the struggle for liberty

around the world and an appreciation of her personal commitment to the Spanish

antifascist cause. (Mujeres Libres, Barcelona, Fall 1938. Courtesy of Archivo Historico Nacionál de Salamanca)

Translated as good as possible with the Google translator:

EMMA GOLDMANN, the magnificent revolutionary activist who has dedicated

her entire life struggling for worldwide freedom and decent living. She has

come once again to Spain to live and personally measure the state of our

struggles and our social and political problems. She has not come, like so many

visiting friends, or hurried tourists, to visit the ruins of our bombed cities, but

spent several weeks of carefully observing how we live, really understanding

our needs, our problems, our dangers, our unwavering resolves, then

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transmitting the real truth of our cause in a propaganda across Europe, and

afterwards to Canada.. Bringing to all our great partners, our very sincere

brotherly affections by means of these writings

Emma Goldman Solicits Support for the Spanish Anarchists

During the Spanish civil war, Emma Goldman helped lead the international

campaign to support the Loyalists in their battle against General Franco and the

Spanish rebels. The factional struggles between liberals, communists, and

anarchists in the Loyalist coalition frustrated Goldman. She was particularly

discouraged by the compromises that the Spanish anarchists were forced to

make as part of their participation in the popular front against the rebels, who

were supported by Germany and Italy.

(Emma Goldman to John Cowper Powys, May 29, l937. National Library of Wales)

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Honoring the Memory of "The Outstanding Woman of Our Time"

Goldman spent her last years in Canada, close enough to be visited by old

friends and comrades in the United States. A ceaseless activist, she took on the

task of publicizing the dangers of the War Measures Act to freedom of speech in


In February 1940 Emma Goldman suffered a stroke which left her unable to

speak. By May 14, l940, the great orator and activist was dead.

A memorial meeting held at Town Hall in New York followed her funeral in

Chicago. Here, some of the most prominent reformers and radicals of the age

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paid tribute to Emma Goldman and her life's work, proclaiming her an

inspiration to future generations of progressive activists.

(Announcement for Memorial Meeting to honor Emma Goldman, May 31, 1940, New York)

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Emma Goldman Buried Next to the Haymarket Martyrs

Thousands of mourners flocked to see Emma Goldman's flower laden casket

draped with the flag of the Spanish CNT-FAI (the Spanish Anarchist Federation

and Trade Union). Tributes poured in from every corner of the world. At the

funeral, Goldman's lawyer and friend, Harry Weinberger, welcomed her back to

America, "where you wanted to end your days with friends and comrades. We

had hoped to welcome you back in life--but we welcome you back in death. You

will live forever in the hearts of your friends and the story of your life will live

as long as the stories are told of women and men of courage and idealism."

So many years passed before funds could be raised for Goldman's tombstone

that it recorded the date of her birth and the year of her death inaccurately. Her

spirit was captured, nevertheless, by a bas relief of Emma's face by the sculptor

Jo Davidson, with her own proclamation, "Liberty will not descend to a People.

A People must raise themselves to Liberty."

(Emma Goldman's grave at Waldheim Cemetery, Chicago, only a few feet from the Haymarket Monument)

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Living Freely and Unattached, by Philippe L. De Coster 2

Emma Goldman Her Life and Philosophy, by a Jewish woman (anon) 9

Early life: Portrait of an Anarchist as a Young Woman 10

Life and conflict in the New World 10

Emma Goldman remembering her arrival in America 11

Emma Goldman and free speech 12

Early warning of growing threats to free speech 13

Roger Baldwin, a founder of the A.C.L.U., and Ben Reitman,

Goldman’s Great Passion


Free love advocate confronts issues of jealousy and doubt 15

Characteristically diverse Emma Goldman lecture series 16

Introducing modern ideas to the American public 17

Emma Goldman describes the horror of the San Diego event 19

Prominent Chinese writer inspired by Emma Goldman 23

Ba Jin dedicates his book “The General” to Emma Goldman 23

Partial excerpt of English translation of Ba Jin’s dedication to Emma



Birth Control Pioneer 26

Emma Goldman’s speaks on birth control to a sea of hats 27

Reproductive rights and free speech: Emma Goldman goes to jail 27

Emma Goldman counsels birth control advocate Margaret Sanger 29

Transcription of Emma Goldman’s letter to Margaret Sanger 34

Margaret Sanger on the opening day of her trial in 1917 35

War resistance, anti-militarism, and deportation, 1917-1919 35

Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman stand trial in 1917 37

I.W.W. Headquarters after Palmer Raid in 1919 37

Emma Goldman’s last impassioned plea 38

J. Edgar Hoover recommends E. Goldman and A. Berkman deportation 40

Federal Warrant for Emma Goldman’s deportation 42

Uncle Sam bids riddance to the deportees, and Emma Goldman in exile 43

Emma Goldman in exile 45

Emma Goldman returns to the United States for only 90 days 46

Emma Goldman and the Spanish Civil War 47

Tribute to Emma Goldman from Mujeres Libres 48

Emma Goldman solicits support for the Spanish Anarchists 49

Honoring the memory of “The Outstanding Woman of Our Time” 51

Emma Goldman buried next to the Haymarket Martyrs 53

Contents 54

Page 55: Living Freely and Unattached and Goldman's Biography


© May 2014, Skull Press Ebook Publications, Ghent, Belgium – Public

Domain and Non Commercial