Sasha and Emma – Avrich & Avrich

Great biography of Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman. I love learning about Emma Goldman and this provided a lot of detail and historical context that her autobiography did not.

  • Goldman: “I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful idea, for anarchism, for release and freedom from conventions and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy.”
  • Homestead strike: Total victory, as Frick had foreseen, lay with the company. He had proved that a modern corporation, combined with the authority of the state, could destroy the strongest union in America.
  • Goldman: “censorship from comrades had the same effect on me as police persecution – it made me surer of myself, more determined to plead for every victim, be it one of social wrong or moral predjuice.”
  • Goldman: “The ruling classes, have never granted privileges to the oppressed until forced to do so by the latter. The struggling masses of the present century can expect nothing from their masters, and if they want to challenge their conditions and bring about a state of society in which no one shall enjoy the toil of his fellow man, they will only succeed through the social revolution, never through peaceful methods.”
  • Goldman stated her bias without apology: “I am on the side of every rebel, whether his act has been beneficial or detrimental to our cause; for i do not judge an act by its results by buy its cause… I am a revolutionist by nature and temperament, and as such I claim the right for myself, and all those who feel with me, to rebel and resist innovation by all means, force included.”
  • Kate Austin: Goldman “is the incarnation of all the forces that have combated tyranny since the dawn of history, and that have paved the way for the little liberty we lost of today, and that some fools are satisfied with.”
  • 208 east 13th street, Manhattan
  • Kropotkin: The American government “throws its hypocritical liberties overboard, tears them to pieces — as soon as people use these liberties for fighting that cursed society.”
  • Berkman: “can we indeed expect a generation reared in the atmosphere of the suppressive authoritarian educational regime to form the cornerstone of a free, self-reliant humanity?”
  • Tannenbaum: “The capitalistic papers call us hoboes, tramps, and bombs, but i heard the accusation back at them as a lie. we are willing to go to work if we get union wages… What we are getting here is no charity. if i felt for a moment that it was i wouldn’t come here. we are here because our friends have bread that they don’t need and we can use it. we are here to demand what we deserve, and what rightfully belongs to use because we are starving.
  • Rockefeller on not negotiating with the union: “we would rather that  the unfortunate conditions should continue and that we should lose all the millions invested”
  • New York World: “Mr. Rockefeller recently testified that he was willing to sink his entire investment in Colorado rather than yield to the demand of his employees that they be permitted to organize. he has not sunk and he does not intend to sink his entire investment, but he has debauched an American commonwealth, and the blood of women and children is on the hands of his barbarous agents, private and public.
  • Berkman: “An anarchist has no country… I know only one invader: the government which robs me of liberty and forces me to do things against my will.”
  • Berkman: “The criminal is made, not born. he is the product of his environment, a child of poverty and desperation, of misery, greed, and ambitions. no amount of punishment can obviate or ‘cure’ crime so long as prevailing conditions, in and out of prison, drive men to do it”
  • On Soviet Russia:
    • Goldman: “There is no health in it. The state has taken away even the little freedom the man has under individual capitalism and has made him entirely subject to the whims of a bureaucracy which excuses its tyranny on the ground it all is done for the welfare of the workers.”
  • “Where there is authority, there is no freedom.”
  • “The liberation of the working class is the task of the workers themselves”
  • Berkman: “We stand for a new civilization, not only for a new form of government, and that is why our work is necessarily slow. Yet there is nothing in the world that can disprove this fact: our ideal is the very finest and biggest thing that humanity has every through of that can give one liberty and well-being and peace and joy to  the world. and I think it is a glory to work for such a thing, even if the thing itself is never realized.”
  • Berkman: “The old guard is passing away, ad there are almost none of the younger generation to take its place, or at least to do the work that must be done if the world is ever yo see a better day.”
  • Weinberger on Goldman: “Never in all those thirty years have I known her except as a battler for freedom and justice. She was tireless; she was fearless; she never compromised. liberty was always her theme; liberty was always her dream; liberty was always her goal.”