Living Freely and Unattached and Goldman's Biography
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Transcript of 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
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
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
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
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%
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
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.
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
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.
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
© Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th., D.D., Ghent, Belgium.
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
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.
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,
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
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
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
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
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)
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."
(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
University of Illinois at Chicago)
Transcription of excerpt from Goldman's love letter to Ben Reitman
(First 3 pages of a 6-page letter)
A MONTHLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED TO
SOCIAL SCIENCE AND LITERATURE
210 EAST 13TH STREET
Aug 15 1909
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)
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)
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
for their organization on
the West Coast. In an
effort to suppress the
IWW, many cities
denying IWW leaders
the right to speak. The
IWW began defying
these ordinances by
contingents to the
endangered cities to
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)
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)
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.)
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 you...in the
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.
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
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 . Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Margaret Sanger Papers)
Transcription of Emma Goldman's letter to Margaret Sanger
To Margaret Sanger
[St. Louis] Dec 8. 
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."
Margaret Sanger on the Opening Day of Her Trial, 1917
Margaret Sanger became
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.)
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)
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.)
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
(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
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
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
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.
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
("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,
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.
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,
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
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)
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
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)
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)
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
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