Obituaries of Emma Goldman

 Renowned Economist and Humanitarian Emma Goldman, Dead After Decades of Public Service

    Emma Goldman, an internationally acclaimed apostle of philosophic anarchism, died yesterday, May 14th, 1940, in her home in Toronto, Canada at the age of seventy one. Miss Goldman had suffered from a stroke in February, and seemed to be improving in health until her condition became detrimental a few days ago as she suffered another stroke which lead to her death. Though deported nearly a decade ago, she made the admirable request to be buried in the United States alongside the anarchists who were tried, convicted, and hanged for their alleged participation in the Haymarket bombings.

      Goldman was born in Kovno, Russia on June 27th, 1869 to an Orthodox Jewish family, but soon immigrated to the United States in the year 1885. Determined to earn an honest living, she gained employment in a corset factory in New Haven, Connecticut, during which time she first came into contact with anarchist movements through reading the New York anarchist paper Die Freiheit, edited by Johann Most. Appalled by the injustice of the execution of the Chicago Anarchists for their involvement in the Haymarket bombings in 1886, Emma Goldman quickly became an active and venerable anarchist. For the next thirty three years she valiantly attempted to correct the ills in the United States Capitalist social system, and quickly developed a marked talent for public oration. Here, she founded an anarchist journal, Mother Earth, which she edited from 1906 until it was suppressed in 1917 by the United States government in an attempt to censor anarchist teachings and beliefs. As the dedicated revolutionary and humanitarian she was, Goldman not only constantly preached the abolition of government and its being replaced through cooperation amongst the common people, but also about birth control, women's suffrage, and prison conditions.

      In 1892, Alexander Berkman, an anarchist himself who shared Goldman's principles, and Emma Goldman became lovers, as well as collaborators in anarchism work and propaganda. That June, during the Homestead Steel Strike, they decided to take action against the corrupt tycoon and factory manager: Henry Clay Frick. Days earlier, when Union negotiations with his factory workers refused to meet his unreasonable demands, violence erupted between heavily armed Pinkerton guards and nearly defenseless protestors leaving sixteen dead. Berkman, in collaboration with Goldman, tried to assassinate Frick and narrowly failed. Their relationship was thus interrupted for 14 years as Berkman served his term in jail in Atlanta for the attempted to assassination.

     Emma Goldman nonetheless continued her gallant campaign until she was deported in 1919 back to Russia. There she hoped her dreams of a socialist government would be realized with the Bolshevik Revolution, but soon after it was carried out she openly opposed Lenin and Trotsky for merely establishing a new despotism and betraying the socialist ideals they swore to uphold. It would seem as though this experience hardened her belief that all government was venal, for she published a novel about the revolution and her misgivings about it titled My Disillusionment in Russia.

     As Jacob Siegel, the editor of the Jewish Daily stated in his testimonial of Goldman: “Emma Goldman was a rebel all her life against injustices, until after the last war, when a change took place in her philosophy and mode of living. Were she living today, Emma Goldman would be assisting in the present human effort to destroy Hitlerism.” As Mr. Siegel, states not only did Goldman have a strong sense ethics that she never failed to act upon, but even when there were humanitarian issues that did not directly relate to her anarchist ideals, she saw it as her duty to help rectify them. This is clearly supported by the fact that he refers to destroying the totalitarian horrors of Hitlerism as a “human effort” and not anarchist or socialist one. Siegel continues declare that Emma Goldman a “rebel. . . against injustices,” which naturally implies that the seemingly ironclad system of capitalism she intrepidly fought against is plagued with corruption and inequity. And so, despite what would be a fatal blow to anyone else's moral, Emma Goldman never ceased to be dedicated to her search for a society where the concept of anarchism or socialism, and consequential end of corruption, could be implemented. Even after the Spanish Revolution, another socialist experiment, narrowly failed in the year 1939, and she never sought to support another upheaval of government again, she never ceased to propagate her strong beliefs to the public.

     Rarely does the world see someone like Goldman, for she proved to be model for resilience and bravery. While her actions are at time though to be solely based on the anarchist economic theory, her humanitarian deeds improved the lives of many, including both the industrial working class and oppressed women.

Infamous Anarchist Dead at Age Seventy-One

      Emma Goldman, an internationally known anarchist who threatened the free enterprise system and attempted to bring down our American Government, died yesterday, May 14th, in Toronto following several strokes. She was still in exile from the United States, though she asked to be buried alongside anarchist murderers in Chicago who engineered the Haymarket bombings.

      Joseph Ishell declared today, when reflecting on Goldman’s life, in an editorial from the New York Times that, “'Anarchist' has long been a deadly word to fling about [though] [p]hilosophic anarchism rejected violence. Emma Goldman was connected with advocates even practicers of assassination. These acts of violence she may have regarded as reprisals.” Ishell clearly states that anarchism is a lethal word, for it is savage theory that threatens the ideals this great country was founded upon, and that it is rejected, as well as looked down up, in our society. He continues to proclaim that philosophic anarchism, despite being the dangerous, socialist, and unpatriotic concept that it is, does not approve of direct violence. Emma Goldman, however, was not merely an anarchist, but a radical who would go to extreme lengths in order attack those who she felt had done her wrong. Ishell additionally alludes to the attempted assassination of Henry Clay Frick to support his logical claim. Furthermore, it implies that she was a pariah not just in eyes of many of the general populace, yet also within the anarchist movement itself.

      This aggressive nature of Emma Goldman's is clearly demonstrated by her numerous arrests due involvements with illegal and unpatriotic activities. Originally born in Kovno, Russia on June 27th, 1869, she emigrated to the United States in 1885. Here, she was kindly provided a steady job in a garment factory by the capitalist system that she would later fervently oppose. She was drawn into the anarchist movement after hearing Johann Most, an editor of a radical publication by the name Freihiet and, it seems, the widely publicized Haymarket riots in 1886. She was often in trouble with the authorities because of her work on the podium promoting anarchist and socialist ideals and in labor struggles. In 1901 it became clear that she was more than a lecturer, for September 6, 1901, the anarchist Leon Czolgosz shot President William McKinley to death in Buffalo, New York. In his confession, Czolgoz said he had been inspired by the writings of Emma Goldman and by speeches he had heard her deliver in Cleveland. She was arrested in Chicago and questioned, but after two weeks the authorities were compelled to release her because of lack of evidence that could incriminate her.

      Yet Ms. Goldman's involvement with illicit activities did end there. Throughout the next few decades she was arrested and convicted under the charges of inciting riot, illegally distributing information about birth control, and, when the Great War came, inducing individuals not to register for the newly instated draft. After this final arrest, in 1917, she served a term in jail for two years and then, when released, our United States government finally took action to rid themselves of Goldman and she, as well as Berkman, were deported back to Russia. Here, she naively supported the country's violent Bolshevik revolution, which instated a new, repressive Communist government, which stifled economic conditions by removing the initiative to achieve from all. Goldman recognized the monster she had created far too late and only then denounced it as a totalitarian autocracy. She wrote a novel in 1924 about her poor choices aptly titled: My Disillusionment in Russia. Though seemingly disheartened, Emma Goldman continued in apparent desperation to find a subject for another socialist or anarchist experiment. After producing an autobiography in England, Living My Life, she traveled to Spain to support the anarchist revolution there. Throughout the course of this revolution, to enthusiastically support these Spanish anarchist syndicalists, Goldman delivered numerous lectures throughout Europe. This economically threatening and unstable movement fell, however, in 1939 and she spent the rest of her life in debilitating health in Canada.

     The great and violent lengths Goldman went to achieve her anarchist ends and unquestionable support of anarchist and communist movements put many respectable governments, honest citizens, and economic systems in jeopardy. Emma Goldman's participation in these threatening instances, that, secures her place as one of the most dangerous and vicious women in our American history.

Philip Clark
Age 14, Grade 9
The Dalton School
Silver Key

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