Friday, April 14, 2006


I am working hard this week, forgive me for cribbing, but I wanted to post some more about Emma, fine free spirit and anti-fascist that she was...

Emma Goldman was a legend in her own lifetime. Born in Lithuania on 27th June 1869, she emigrated to the United States with her sister Helena in 1885. Like so many other East European immigrants, she found work in a clothing factory. The following year four Chicago anarchists were executed.
They had been prominent trade union activists leading the struggle for an eight-hour day. Framed for a bombing, the authorities hoped that this would scare off the emerging trade union movement, especially its anarchist component. The international outcry which followed these executions on trumped up charges helped to shape Emma's radical and anarchist ideals, which lasted throughout her long life.
Emma Goldman was a formidable public speaker and a prolific writer. Her whole life was devoted to struggle and she was controversial even within the radical and anarchist movement itself. She was one of the first radicals to address the issue of homosexuality, she was a fighter for women's rights, and she advocated the virtues of free love. These ideas were viewed with suspicion by those who placed their faith in the cure-all solution of economic class warfare and they were denounced by many of her contemporaries as "bourgeois inspired" at best.
To mainstream Americans, Emma was known as a demonic "dynamite eating anarchist". She toured the States, agitating and lecturing everywhere she went. She was hounded for much of her life by FBI agents and was imprisoned in 1893, 1901, 1916, 1918, 1919, and 1921 on charges ranging from incitement to riot to advocating the use of birth control to opposition to World War 1.
A self proclaimed anarchist, Leon Czolgosz, assassinated President William McKinley in 1901 and this event unleashed a massive wave of anti-anarchist hysteria throughout the States. Emma was blamed for his action and was forced into hiding for a time. She was deported from the United States, Holland, France, and was denied entry to many other countries. None of this daunted her, she began publishing 'Mother Earth' magazine in 1906 and was very active in the No-Conscription League.
She shared a life long friendship with her political comrade Alexander Berkman. Both of them were deported from the USA to Russia in 1919. At first, Emma was excited to see at first hand the revolution she had fought to bring about all her life. However, it did not take long for her to realise that the Bolsheviks were not lovers of freedom nor partisans of workers' control. What had been created was a massive dictatorship. The suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion by the Bolsheviks In 1921 was too much for Emma and Berkman, and they left Russia in a state of disillusionment.
She spent the next number of years moving from country to country and writing a long series of articles and two books about her experiences and struggles. She eventually lived in Britain for many years where she wrote her autobiography and continued supporting workers' struggles in different parts of the world. Suffering from grave illness, Alexander Berkman committed suicide in 1936. Just a week later an anarchist inspired revolution erupted in Spain. Over the next three years Emma committed herself to the support of the anarchists and their fight against fascism and Stalinism.
Her long and incredible life came to an end in 1940. Only after her death was she admitted back into America where she was buried in Chicago near the Haymarket martyrs who had helped to shape her life.

A fine full biography...


Blogger Sgt Marks-a-lot said...

OT as usual but there is a lovely piece on Maryscott O'Connor today at the WaPost. Link:

One of her pieces that I found really affecting was "Slouching Toward Kristallnacht". Link:

Hope all are enjoying the weekend.

Kind regards,


11:15 AM  
Blogger durrati said...

Marks, thanks for the links, I'll be visiting "My Left Wing".....

12:34 PM  
Anonymous WhattheH said...

Marks, thanks. I really like Maryscott - brains to the nth.
To all friends, although I'm technically an atheist, it's nice to have these holidays during which one enjoys friends and families. Happy Easter and Passover to all the believers, and for the rest of us, have a grand weekend. Do take care though - these times bring out the idiots on the road. I'm hunkered down in the basement, listening to Randy Bachman's radio show and surfing - a feat that for me was unimagineable until a few years ago. (Living close to Toronto, below sea level, not even close to the sea, aging etc I had to wait for the Internet and wonderful blogs, such as this, where one meets such interesting people)

5:32 PM  
Blogger KidKawartha said...

What whattheh said- have a great weekend everyone! Do something you love, preferably with someone you love.

6:02 PM  
Blogger KidKawartha said...

P.S. Whattheh- what is a technical atheist? ((((((u))))))) ;)

6:04 PM  
Blogger durrati said...

Pagan, Druid or Christian, spring is a time of rebirth.... let us hope our democracy will rise, Phoenix-like from the ashes of this failed administration. And to all a lovely Sunday....

6:09 PM  
Blogger Joe Don Martin said...

I am a Druid because so little is known of their actual practices, I can make them up as I go along. Like, say, the necessity of sacrificing a Republican to punctuate the advent of spring. I mean, I haven't instituted that policy yet but Tom DeLay is looking awfully plump and delectable. Did I mention that cannibalism might also be part of Druid doctrine? Happy Eostre...Oyster...Easter.

Cho Don Phat

8:28 AM  
Blogger durrati said...

I am no expert either Joe, but the sacrifice sounds like a fine idea, though as for dining,I believe the exteminator might contain residual toxins...

9:15 AM  
Blogger Private Partz said...


"Delay Scallapini"

Take one 135 lb. prime tenderloin of "Delay" and remove heart and brains with tweezer. Using Soft mallet or ball peen hammer, pound loin mercilessly till it reaches desired thickness or release of blocked childhood altarboy memories are exorcised. After pre-heating grill to 600 degrees, place cutlet on center grate for 17 hours or untill it drops into the embers as a charred, marble sized ball, dissapearing from all our lives forever.

Serve with side of Freedom Fries and garnish with one $5 dollar chip from Indian casino of your choice.

Bon apetit!!

P. Partz

7:01 PM  
Blogger durrati said...


you have the makings of a fine cookbook there! Your reccomendations for roasted Rumsfelt or Dubya Delmonte?

7:22 PM  

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