Emma Goldman (June 27, 1869 – May 14, 1940) was a Lithuanian-born anarchist known for her political activism, writing, and speeches. She was lionized as a free-thinking "rebel woman" by admirers, and derided as an advocate of politically-motivated murder and violent revolution by her critics. Goldman played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in the United States and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. Although she distanced herself from first-wave feminism and its efforts toward women's suffrage, she developed new ways of incorporating gender politics into anarchism. She spoke and wrote on a wide variety of issues, including prisons, atheism, freedom of speech, militarism, capitalism, marriage, and free love. After decades of obscurity, Goldman's iconic status was revived in the 1970s, when feminist and anarchist scholars rekindled popular interest about her life.
Born to an Orthodox Jewish
family which forbid her from further education, Goldman read voraciously and educated herself about the politics of her time. She moved to New York
in the United States
at the age of sixteen, married briefly in 1887, and moved to New York City
. Attracted to anarchism after the Haymarket Riot
, Goldman was trained by Johann Most
in public speaking and became a renowned lecturer, attracting crowds of thousands. She also became the lover of Alexander Berkman
, who became her lifelong intimate friend and comrade. Together they planned unsuccessfully to assassinate Henry Clay Frick
, as an act of propaganda of the deed
. Goldman herself was imprisoned several times in the years that followed, for "inciting to riot" and illegally distributing information about birth control. Goldman published an anarchist journal called Mother Earth
. Following her deportation to Russia in 1919, Goldman lived in England
, and France
, before eventually traveling to Spain
to participate in that nation's civil war
. She died in Toronto
on 14 May 1940
. (read more...
Documentations, Informations, Références et Archives (DIRA)/L'Insoumise, Montreal's anarchist infoshop/bookstore, boulevard St Laurent, March 2007. DIRA serves as a free community lending library and archive of material relevant to anarchism.