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The Anarchist Encyclopedia:
A Gallery of Saints & Sinners ...

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Emma Goldman, (1869-1940)

American anachist feminist, permanently kicked out of the United States for her activism & exercising her free speech rights during the "Red Scare".

"Emma Goldman was a principal exponent of Anarchism, which she herself characterized as "the philosophy of a new social order based on liberty unrestricted by man-made law; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence, and are therefore wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary."

Emma Goldman, Anarchist FeministHer commitment to Anarchism and her activist inclinations led her to champion the causes of labor, anti-militarism, atheism, prison reform, and women's rights -- not just in the U.S. but abroad as well. After her deportation to Russian in 1919, and subsequent disillusionment with the so-called Soviet revolution, Emma never gave up hope that her anarchist ideals might still find fertile ground. She saw the flower bloom in Spain. Citizens and workers, organized by the CNT-FAI, the Anarcho-Syndicalist union, quickly suppressed the July, 1936 uprising of the army, led by General Franco, in both Barcelona and the countryside. Emma, 67 years old, rushed to lend her support. ?

Working on propaganda broadcasts she traveled to London as a CNT-FAI representative seeking support and money for the cause. A newsreel, produced by the CNT/FAI and documenting the death of the Spanish Anarchist militia leader, Buenaventura Durruti, and narrated by Emma, was discovered by Pacific Street Films in 1980.

Emma Goldman, Anarchist Feminist Emma was to end her life in Canada, heartbroken with Franco's final victory, but nonetheless committed to championing the cause of Anarchism and the social revolution. Arriving in Toronto, well-worn suitcase in hand, she was taken in by many friends and comrades. In return, as a representative of the International Antifascist Solidarity, she was active in procuring help for the tens of thousands of Spanish exiles interned in French concentration camps. Emma was also to devote boundless energies to causes closer to home, included a campaign in Canada to prevent the deportation of an Italian Anarchist, Attilio Bortolotti, to Mussolini's Italy, where he would have faced certain death.

It was in Canada that Emma Goldman was to live out the rest of her life. Indeed, her dusty old suitcase, representing her years of travel and activism, came to rest in the home of another Spanish refugee, Federico Arcos. In the basement of his suburban home the suitcase rested amid an enormous archive of Spanish Anarchist materials collected from sources around the world.

For many years, through the terrible years of the Spanish dictatorship, Federico was one of several refugees who helped keep alive the bright light of the Spanish Anarchist experience.

Federico Arcos recalls:

I woke up to the factory sirens. & it was as if the whole of Barcelona was pulsing to a single heartbeat, the sort of thing that only happens maybe once in a century… &, if I may say so, it has left its mark on my life & I can still feel that emotion.

— From the documentary film Living Utopia

Although Emma Goldman, in recent years, has often been heralded as a crusader and feminist, it has often been at the expense of her Anarchist roots. Unfortunately, she is as misunderstood today and she was decades ago, when "Anarchism," in the public mind, was equated with chaos and violence. But it was Anarchism, above all, that inspired her, and it was the Spanish Revolution where she sought real world vindication of the Anarchist ideals of mutual cooperation and anti-authoritarianism. In Barcelona and in the countryside factory and agricultural collectives took over the everyday business of running society, creating a rich culture and equalitarian society, virtually unknown and unrepresented today."

— text from Pacific Street Films Project web page

Emma Goldman, 1936

The two best sites for extensive materials for Emma Goldman are:

The Emma Goldman Papers (DL SunSITE).

The Anarchy Archives sponsored by Dana Ward at Pitzer College, with resource pages produced by numerous students,

In Spanish, see Rodrigo Quesada Monge, "El Anarquismo De Emma Goldman (1869-1940) y Los Límites De La Utopía"

for the Daily Bleed I have archived a large collection of images, mostly from the internet, plus a few I have scanned, & few web pages, all accessible at:

"To the daring belongs the future… when we run out of dreams, we die…

Emma Goldman said that. & it’s the truth."

— Federico Arcos

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