Goldman, the Jewish anarchist who did not hate man

Andmma goldman (June 27, 1869, Kaunas, Russian Empire – May 14, 1940, Toronto, Canada) was an anarchist and writer, The nickname is “the most dangerous woman in America”.

Daughter of Taube Bienovich and Abraham Goldman, her parents are Orthodox Jews, she has two half-sisters, Helena and Lena, from her mother’s first marriage, and three brothers, she is the firstborn of Abraham, born on June 27, 1869 in Lithuania, then part of the Russian Empire. When Goldman was 13, his family moved to St. Petersburg, where he experienced most of the Jewish persecution.

Emigration to the USA

He immigrated to the United States with half-sister Helena after a confrontation with his father who wanted to marry her off at the age of 15, arriving in New York Harbor in 1885. The execution by hanging of four anarchists as a result of the Haymarket Riot, of which the myth of the Chicago Martyrs was born, he encouraged her in her youth to join the anarchist movement and become, at the age of 20, an ardent revolutionary. At that time she married a Russian émigré. The marriage lasted only ten months, Emma separated and left for New York, although she did not divorce in order to retain her American citizenship.

Goldman participated in and organized protests, strikes, rallies, including an attempted assassination of businessman Henry Clay Frick in 1893.

Goldman urged the unemployed to take direct action instead of relying on charity or government assistance.Wikimedia Commons

Around the same time, he joined an anarchist group where he met Alexander Berkman, Lithuanian son of a wealthy Jew who he was her mentor in developing her role as a propagandist, speaker and writer. Goldman participated in and organized protests, strikes, rallies, including an attempted assassination of businessman Henry Clay Frick in 1893; that he hired the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, which caused sixty injuries and ten deaths.

Goldman was imprisoned that year in Blackwell Islands Prison. He publicly urged unemployed workers to “ask for a job; if they don’t give you bread, ask for bread, and if they don’t give you bread or work, take the bread». It was a call to direct action. Voltaire de Claire defended Emma Goldman after her arrest: “Miss Goldman is a Communist; I am an individualist. She wants to destroy the right to property, I want to impose it (…) But the spirit that animates Emma Goldman is the only one that frees the slave from his slavery, the tyrant from his tyranny. In prison, Goldman took a deep interest in the education of children, an endeavor he became involved in years later.

Blackwell’s Island Prison in 1853, where Emma Goldman was held from 1893 to 1894.

She had many problems with the US government due to her revolutionary activities, protection of sexual freedom, distribution of condoms and dissemination of feminist and anarchist thought, which caused her to be imprisoned on various occasions. She was accused of being an agitator in 1893 and was imprisoned again the same year for distributing contraception.

Along with nine other people, she was arrested again on September 10, 1901 for his alleged involvement in the assassination of President William McKinley. One of his group, Leon Czolgosz, of Polish origin, shot him a few days earlier. His last words in the electric chair were: “I killed the president because he was an enemy of good people, good workers. I feel no remorse for my crime.” He declared himself a follower of Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman, who, upon arrest, said, “Is it my fault that a madman misinterprets my words?”

Photograph of Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, taken in 1917

On February 11, 1916, for distributing a manifesto in favor of contraception, Goldman was arrested and imprisoned along with the physician Ben Louis Reitman, also of Jewish descent, to whom she had been married from 1908 to 1917, as she recounted in your resume I’m living my life. They separated because of the promiscuity of Reitman, who practiced free love and left half a dozen children.

Expelled to the USSR

In 1917 and for the fourth time, she was imprisoned again with Burkman for conspiring against the conscription law. During World War I, he criticized the conflict as an imperialist act. She was accused of opposing military service and violating good morals and customs. Two years later, in 1919, she was deported to Russia. During his expulsion proceedings, J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, called Emma one of the most dangerous women in America.

J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, called Emma one of the most dangerous women in America

Goldman spent two years in the Soviet Union with Berkman, between 1920 and 1922, and participated in the anarchist uprising in Kronstadt. Political repression, bureaucracy and forced labor followed October Revolution they contributed significantly to changing the ideas of Goldman and many other anarchists about Lenin’s revolution. His writings date from this period: My disappointment with Russia Y My subsequent disappointment with Russia. Berkman condemned Marxist-Leninist writing The Kronstadt Rebellion Y Bolshevik myth. Goldman fled the Bolshevik tyranny and lived for several years in France, the United Kingdom and Canada. from where he traveled to support Spanish anarcho-syndicalists during the Spanish Civil War. In 1936, Goldman published an impassioned article he wrote about the anarchist leader Buenaventura Durruti titled Durruti is dead, but he lives.

Settled permanently in Canada. Emma Goldman died in Toronto in 1940 and was buried in Chicago.

Anarchist and defender of difference

Although fighting for equal rights for men and women, Goldman made various criticisms of the movement, never denying its struggle for equality and justice for men and women. She was highly critical of first-wave suffragism and feminism, dismissively calling these campaigners “puritans”.

For her, oppression lies in the political power of the state and in the capitalist production system.

Goldman defends the natural existence of differentiated and complementary behavioral tendencies between men and women. He wanted to harmonize the relationship between the two sexes, accepting the differences and natural predispositions of one and the other. Goldman never described the male gender as oppressive. For her, oppression is rooted in the political power of the state and in the capitalist production system. He advocated healthy heterosexuality, influenced by Sigmund Freud and Havelock Ellis. She called for the decriminalization of homosexuals, even though this anarchist identified them as a medically inferior sexuality.

Emma Goldman entered into a debate with the feminists of her time, defending that human nature granted certain privileges to women over men. when it comes to survival, taking for example the “women and children first” line of rescue.

His activism is closely related to the socialist and labor tradition of philosophical and economic anarchist associationism, opposed to anarchism inscribed in philosophical and economic individualism.

However, Goldman’s image was distorted when it was reclaimed by the current of third-wave feminism, which emerged in the 1990s, with precursors in the 1970s, called anarcho-feminism, whose supporters claim her as a “radical feminist”.

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