Life imposes strange situations on all of us. For forty-eight years I was considered an extremist in our ranks. One who refused to compromise our ideas or tactics for any purpose whatsoever--one who always insisted that the Anarchist aim and methods must harmonize, or the aim would never be achieved. Yet here I am trying to explain the action of our Spanish comrades to the European opponents, and the criticism of the latter to the comrades of the CNT-FAI. In other words, after a lifetime of an extreme left position I find myself in the center, as it were.
I have seen from the moment of my first arrival in Spain in September 1936 that our comrades in Spain are plunging head foremost into the abyss of compromise that will lead them far away ... (From: Anarchy Archives.) Address to the Jury in U.S. v. Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, 1917, The U.S. Records of the U.S. Supreme Court, Appellate Case No. 2619
Gentlemen of the Jury:
As in the case of my codefendant, Alexander Berkman, this is also the first time in my life I have ever addressed a jury. I once had occasion to speak to three judges.
On the day after our arrest it was given out by the U.S. Marshal and the District Attorney's office that the "big fish" of the No Conscription activities had been caught, and that there would be no more trouble-makers and disturbers to interfere with the highly democratic effort of the Government to conscript its young manhood for the European slaughter. What a pity that the faithful servants of the Government, ... (From: WikiSource.) St. Tropez, [France,] July 12th, 1936
It is only two weeks since our beloved comrade Alexander Berkman passed away. Yet it seems an eternity to me. The blow his untimely death has struck me has left me completely shattered. I find it difficult to collect my thoughts. But I feel sure you will want to know all about Sasha's end. For have you not loved him all through the years?
Sasha left a note which we found after we returned from his last resting place. It reads: "I don't want to live a sick man. Dependent. Forgive me Emmie darling. And you too Emma. Love to All. Help Emmie." signed, Sasha.
I have two letters from comrade Berkman dated June 24th and 26th. He wrote while he did not feel strong enough to come to St. Tropez the 27th, ... (From: Anarchy Archives.) ANARCHY.
Ever reviled, accursed, ne'er understood,
Thou art the grisly terror of our age.
"Wreck of all order," cry the multitude,
"Art thou, and war and murder's endless rage."
O, let them cry. To them that ne'er have striven
The truth that lies behind a word to find,
To them the word's right meaning was not given.
They shall continue blind among the blind.
But thou, O word, so clear, so strong, so pure,
Thou sayest all which I for goal have taken.
I give thee to the future! Thine secure
When each at least unto himself shall waken.
Comes it in sunshine? In the tempest's thrill?
I cannot tell--but it the earth shall see!
I am an Anarchist! Wherefore I will
Not rule, and also ruled I will ... (From: Anarchy Archives.) Amédée Dunois: Anarchism and Organization
It is not long since our comrades were almost unanimous in their clear hostility towards any idea of organization. The question we are dealing with today would, then, have raised endless protests from them, and its supporters would have been vehemently accused of a hidden agenda and authoritarianism.
They were times when anarchists, isolated from each other and even more so from the working class, seemed to have lost all social feeling; in which anarchists, with their unceasing appeals for the spiritual liberation of the individual, were seen as the supreme manifestation of the old individualism of the great bourgeois theoreticians of the past.
Individual actions and individual in... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The workingman, whose strength and muscles are so admired by the pale, puny off-springs of the rich, yet whose labor barely brings him enough to keep the wolf of starvation from the door, marries only to have a wife and house-keeper, who must slave from morning till night, who must make every effort to keep down expenses. Her nerves are so tired by the continual effort to make the pitiful wages of her husband support both of them that she grows irritable and no longer is successful in concealing her want of affection for her lord and master, who, alas! soon comes to the conclusion that his hopes and plans have gone astray, and so practically begins to think that marriage is a failure.
THE CHAIN GROWS HEAVIER AND HEAVIER
As the expenses gr... (From: Anarchy Archives.) To most Americans Anarchy is an evil-sounding word -- another name for wickedness, perversity, and chaos. Anarchists are looked upon as a herd of uncombed, unwashed, and vile ruffians, bent on killing the rich and dividing their capital. Anarchy, however, to its followers actually signifies a social theory which regards the union of order with the absence of all government of man by man; in short, it means perfect individual liberty.
If the meaning of Anarchy has so far been interpreted as a state of the greatest disorder, it is because people have been taught that their affairs are regulated, that they are ruled wisely, and that authority is a necessity.
In by-gone centuries any person who asserted that mankind could get along without th... (From: Anarchy Archives.) A Note
The manifesto below was issued on February 15, 1915. It was signed by thirty-five well-known libertarians of various nationalities—among them Errico Malatesta, Alexander Schapiro, Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, Domela Nieuwenhuis, etc. Malatesta and Schapiro were two of the five secretaries of the International Bureau, elected at the international anarchist congress in 1907. Another of the secretaries, Rudolf Rocker, had not been able to append his signature, in that he was an internee at the time—but he too was against the war.
Europe in flames, tens of millions of men at loggerheads in the most frightful butchery in recorded history, hundreds of millions of women and children in tears, the ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Anarchists Demand Strike To End War (May 19, 1917)
Anarchists Awed By Police Clubs (June 5, 1917)
Meeting of Reds Traps Slackers (June 12, 1917)
Anarchists Assail Mayer (June 15, 1917)
Emma Goldman and A. Berkman Behind the Bars (June 16, 1917)
Anarchists Demand Strike To End War (May 19, 1917)
Great Gathering of I.W.W. and Other Agitators Rails Against Selective Draft.
Germans in the Audience
Emma Goldman Urges Workers to Follow Russia’s Lead — Police Take Notes, but Make No Arrests.
The Harlem River Casino, at 126th Street and Second Avenue, was the scene last night of a wild anti-conscription demonstration, in the course of which the Government of the United States was denounced and referred to as a tool of ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) To the popular mind anarchism stands for destruction; to the more enlightened it stands for an ideal—-a beautiful but thoroughly impracticable ideal. Anarchism does stand for the destruction of the institutions that have been and are keeping the human mind in bondage and that are robbing mankind of the right to the use of the necessities of life. Viewed from the standpoint of cents and dollars, anarchism is truly impracticable, and those whose aim in life is wealth and power will do well to keep out of the anarchist movement. But measured by true value, namely, human character, integrity and real usefulness to society, anarchism is the most practical of all theories—a proposition which I shall attempt to prove.
Anarchism is a t... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) We have just received the following letter from our comrades Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, who are now stranded in Stockholm. This letter gives us the truth about the terrible persecution of Anarchists in Russia. We ask all Anarchist and Syndicalist papers to republish this letter, and we hope comrades in this country will help us in pushing the sale of this issue, of which we have printed a much larger number than usual.
Dear Comrades, — The persecution of the revolutionary elements in Russia has not abated with the changed political and economic policies of the Bolsheviki. On the contrary, it has become more intense, more determined. The prisons of Russia, of Ukraina, of Siberia, are filled with men and women — aye, in ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Is the child to be considered as an individuality, or as an object to be molded according to the whims and fancies of those about it? This seems to me to be the most important question to be answered by parents and educators. And whether the child is to grow from within, whether all that craves expression will be permitted to come forth toward the light of day; or whether it is to be kneaded like dough through external forces, depends upon the proper answer to this vital question.
The longing of the best and noblest of our times makes for the strongest individualities. Every sensitive being abhors the idea of being treated as a mere machine or as a mere parrot of conventionality and respectability, the human being craves recognition of his... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) INTRODUCTION.
WITH pencil and scraps of paper concealed behind the persons of friends who had come to say good-bye at the Ellis Island Deportation Station, Alexander Berkman hastily scribbled the last lines of this pamphlet.
I THINK it is the best introduction to this pamphlet to say that before its writing was finished the rulers of America began deporting men directly and obviously for the offense of striking against the industrial owners of America.
THE "Red Ark" is gone. In the darkness of early morning it slipped away, leaving behind many wives and children destitute of support. They were denied even the knowledge of the sailing of the ship, denied the right of farewell to the husbands and fathers they may never see again. After the... (From: Anarchy Archives.) Eighteen years ago I made my second lecture tour to the Pacific Coast. While in Oregon I was invited to Scio, Oregon, a small hamlet. The comrade who arranged the meeting and with whom I stayed while in Scio was Gertie Vose.
I had heard of Gertie through the pages of Fire Brand and Free Society, from a number of friends, and a few letters exchanged with her. As a result I was eager to meet the woman who, in those days, was one of the few unusual American characters in the radical movement. I found Gertie to be even more than I had expected, — a fighter, a defiant, strong personality, a tender hostess and a devoted mother. She had with her at the time her six year old son, Donald Vose. Another child, a girl, lived with her father, a M... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) We must get rid of the Anarchists! They are a menace to society. Does not Hearst say so? Do not the M. & M. and the gentlemen of the Chamber of Commerce, who have also declared war on Labor, assure us that the Anarchists are dangerous and that they are responsible for all our troubles? Does not every skinner of Labor and every grafting politician shout against the Anarchists? Isn't that enough to prove that the Anarchists are dangerous?
But why are all the money bags and their hirelings so unanimous in condemning the Anarchists? Generally they disagree on many questions and they bitterly fight each other in their business and social life. But on TWO questions they are always in accord.
Smash the Labor Unions!
Hang the Anarch... (From: Anarchy Archives.) Published in 1936. Obtained from the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford, California.
Durruti is Dead, Yet LivingEmma Goldman, 1936
Durruti, whom I saw but a month ago, lost his life in the street-battles of Madrid.
My previous knowledge of this stormy petrel of the Anarchist and revolutionary movement in Spain was merely from reading about him. On my arrival in Barcelona I learned many fascinating stories of Durruti and his column. They made me eager to go to the Aragon front, where he was the leading spirit of the brave and valiant militias, fighting against fascism.
I arrived at Durruti's headquarters towards evening, completely exhausted from the long drive over a rough road. A few moments with Durruti was lik... (From: WikiSource.) The counterfeiters and poisoners of ideas, in their attempt to obscure the line between truth and falsehood, find a valuable ally in the conservatism of language.
Conceptions and words that have long ago lost their original meaning continue through centuries to dominate mankind. Especially is this true if these conceptions have become a common-place, if they have been instilled in our beings from our infancy as great and irrefutable verities. The average mind is easily content with inherited and acquired things, or with the dicta of parents and teachers, because it is much easier to imitate than to create.
Our age has given birth to two intellectual giants, who have undertaken to transvalue the dead social and moral values of the past, es... (From: Anarchy Archives.) The text is from my copy of Emma Goldman's Anarchism and Other Essays. Second Revised Edition. New York & London: Mother Earth Publishing Association, 1911. pp. 151-172.
FRANCISCO FERRER AND THE MODERN SCHOOL
EXPERIENCE has come to be considered the best school of life. The man or woman who does not learn some vital lesson in that school is looked upon as a dunce indeed. Yet strange to say, that though organized institutions continue perpetuating errors, though they learn nothing from experience, we acquiesce, as a matter of course.
There lived and worked in Barcelona a man by the name of Francisco Ferrer. A teacher of children he was, known and loved by his people. Outside of Spain only the cultured few knew of Francisco Ferrer's ... (From: Anarchy Archives.) Goldman, Emma to Dreiser, Theodore, Jun 29, 1927
683 Spadina Ave.,
200 West 57th St.,
New York, N.Y.
Dear Theodore Dreiser:-
They say that confession is good for the heart so I am going to confess to you that I was very disappointed and sad not having heard from you since we parted in Paris. I knew of course that you must be very busy, still I had hoped that you would drop me a line as to you success in approaching the publishers but you did not write so I concluded that you must have forgotten me. Imagine then the joy when I received a letter which you wrote to my friend Van Valkenburgh expressing such rine sentiment about my proposed autobiography and also enclosing your contribu... (From: Anarchy Archives.) Speaking of Puritanism in relation to American art, Mr. Gutzon Borglum said: "Puritanism has made us self-centered and hypocritical for so long, that sincerity and reverence for what is natural in our impulses have been fairly bred out of us, with the result that there can be neither truth nor individualility in our art."
Mr. Borglum might have added that Puritanism has made life itself impossible. More than art, more than estheticism, life represents beauty in a thousand variations; it is indeed, a gigantic panorama of eternal change. Puritanism, on the other hand, rests on a fixed and immovable conception of life; it is based on the Calvinistic idea that life is a curse, imposed upon man by the wrath of God. In order to redeem himself ma... (From: Anarchy Archives.) The minds of men are in confusion, for the very foundations of our civilization seem to be tottering. People are losing faith in the existing institutions, and the more intelligent realize that capitalist industrialism is defeating the very purpose it is supposed to serve.
The world is at a loss for a way out. Parliamentarism and democracy are on the decline. Salvation is being sought in Fascism and other forms of "strong" government.
The struggle of opposing ideas now going on in the world involves social problems urgently demanding a solution. The welfare of the individual and the fate of human society depend on the right answer to those questions The crisis, unemployment, war, disarmament, international relations, etc., are among those... (From: Anarchy Archives.) The proletarization of our time reaches far beyond the field of manual labor; indeed, in the larger sense all those who work for their living, whether with hand or brain, all those who must sell their skill, knowledge, experience and ability, are proletarians. From this point of view, our entire system, excepting a very limited class, has been proletarianized.
Our whole social fabric is maintained by the efforts of mental and physical labor. In return for that, the intellectual proletarians, even as the workers in shop and mine, eke out an insecure and pitiful existence, and are more dependent upon the masters than those who work with their hands.
No doubt there is a difference between the yearly income of a Brisbane and a Pennsylvania mi... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Europe in a blaze, twelve million men engaged in the most frightful butchery that history has ever recorded; millions of women and children in tears; the economic, intellectual, and moral life of seven great peoples brutally suspended, and the menace becoming every day more pregnant with new military complications – such is, for seven months, the painful, agonizing, and hateful spectacle presented by the civilized world.
But a spectacle not unexpected – at least, by the Anarchists, since for them there never has been nor is there any doubt – the terrible events of today strengthen this conviction – that war is permanently fostered by the present social system. Armed conflict, restricted or widespread, colonial or Eu... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) No one at all capable of an intense conscious inner life need ever hope to escape mental anguish and suffering. Sorrow and often despair over the so-called eternal fitness of things are the most persistent companions of our life. But they do not come upon us from the outside, through the evil deeds of particularly evil people. They are conditioned in our very being; indeed, they are interwoven through a thousand tender and coarse threads with our existence.
It is absolutely necessary that we realize this fact, because people who never get away from the notion that their misfortune is due to the wickedness of their fellows never can outgrow the petty hatred and malice which constantly blames, condemns, and hounds others for something that i... (From: Anarchy Archives.) Life be good to you. Whether we shall ever meet again, who know? I am losing hope, together with many other things I have been losing since December. But still I cling to the straws of possibilities. If I could at least hear from yourself as to how things stand, and whether he near or even the distant future may be looked forward to with any expectation. But in any event, and whatever may be hidden in the lap of the Gods for me, should even no line ever reach you from me again, you need but re-read my notes from Ellis Island, or to recollect their contents in case the notes do not exist any more, and to feel that they express my feelings now just as they did then. That is sufficient to say, and I know you will understand, even if you can re... (From: Anarchy Archives.) Paris, Sept. 29th 1926
Dear Theodore Dreiser
Before you leave Paris I want to let you know how much I have enjoyed the evening with you and thank you for it. I can not begin to tell you how hungry I am for some of the people who have been in my life in America-people who began their struggle almost at the same time with me and whom I have seen grow and do worth while things. To me it was never so important whether these people have chosen the thorny path that was mine, but that they set out to give something out of the ordinary. You are among them and one who has certainly given lasting work. And what is more, you have not stopped growing, that is more than can be said for other of our own generation. It is therefore not idle flattery whe... (From: Anarchy Archives.) Jefferson City, MO, 29 June 1919,
There is so much, so much I want to write you. I scarcely know where to begin & where to let off. I will have to content myselfs with the most essential & leave the other when we meet - just three months from to day. My birth-day - like last year I spent it in bed. Not quite so ill, but in pain & discomfiture. The same thing I had 2 weeks ago & which I will probably have to endure during most of the Summer. As a result of my laying off a very funny thing happened. Funny only because I have so short a time in here. Other wise it would have been the beginning of a serious & bitter struggle. I have repeatedly written you how very decent Dr Mc Nearney has always been t... (From: University of Berkeley.) Denver is not unlike a prison. Its inhabitants, too, have been sent there "to do time." That which makes the position of the prisoner preferable, is the consolation that the State will feed him and that some day his time will expire. The majority of Denverites have no such cheerful outlook, Although arriving there with hopes of a speedy return, it's usually imprisonment for life.
We all know the paralyzing effect of the daily grind for existence, even for most of us who can boast an average physique. How much more paralyzing must it be for those who go to Denver as a last resort to rescue life from its downward path?
Under such conditions and in such an atmosphere people are not interested in abstract ideas. "To hell with Bebel's speech,"... (From: Anarchy Archives.) Living My Life
by Emma Goldman
New York: Alfred A Knopf Inc., 1931.
Helen Ninkin was away at work. Anna was out of a job just then. She prepared tea, and we sat down to talk. Berkman inquired about my plans for work, for activity in the movement. Would I like to visit the Freiheit office? Could he be of help in any way? He was free to take me about, he said; he had left his job after a fight with the foreman. "A slave-driver," he commented; "he never dared drive me, but it was my duty to stand up for the others in the shop." It was rather slack now in the cigar-making trade, he informed us, but as an anarchist he could not stop to consider his own job. Nothing personal mattered. Only the Cause mattered. F... (From: Anarchy Archives.) Marriage. How much sorrow, misery, humiliation; how many tears and curses; what agony and suffering has this word brought to humanity. From its very birth, up to our present day, men and women grown under the iron yoke of our marriage institution, and there seems to be no relief, no way out of it. At all times, and in all ages, have the suppressed striven to break the chains of mental and physical slavery. After thousands of noble lives have been sacrificed at the stake and on the gallows, and others have perished in prisons, or at the merciless hands of inquisitions, have the ideas of those brave heroes been accomplished. Thus have religious dogmas, feudalism and black slavery been abolished, and new ideas, more progressive, broader and cl... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)