My Disillusionment in Russia

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06About the Author
Emma Goldman (1869 – 1940) was an anarchist renowned for her political activism, writing and speeches. She played a pivotal role within the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe inside the first 1 / 2 of the twentieth century. Born in Kovno inside Russian Empire (now Kaunas in Lithuania), Goldman emigrated towards the US in 1885 and lived in New York City, where she joined the burgeoning anarchist movement. Attracted to anarchism following your Haymarket affair, Goldman became a writer and also a renowned lecturer on anarchist philosophy, women’s rights, and social issues, attracting crowds of thousands. She and anarchist writer Alexander Berkman, her lover and lifelong friend, planned to assassinate Henry Clay Frick for an act of propaganda with the deed. Though Frick survived the attempt on his life, Berkman was sentenced to twenty-two years in prison. Goldman was imprisoned several times within the years that followed, for “inciting to riot” and illegally distributing information regarding birth control. In 1906, Goldman founded the anarchist journal Mother Earth. In 1917, Goldman and Berkman were sentenced to two years in jail for conspiring to “induce persons to not register” to the newly instated draft. After their release from prison, these people were arrested—along with numerous others—and deported to Russia. Initially supportive of their country’s Bolshevik revolution, Goldman quickly voiced her opposition towards the Soviet usage of violence as well as the repression of independent voices. In 1923, she wrote the sunday paper about her experiences, My Disillusionment in Russia. While surviving in England, Canada, and France, she wrote an autobiography called Living My Life. After the outbreak on the Spanish Civil War, she traveled to Spain to compliment the anarchist revolution there. She died in Toronto on May 14, 1940. During her life, Goldman was lionized to be a free-thinking “rebel woman” by admirers, and derided by critics as a possible advocate of politically motivated murder and violent revolution. Her writing and lectures spanned numerous issues, including prisons, atheism, freedom of speech, militarism, capitalism, marriage, free love, and homosexuality. Although she distanced herself from first-wave feminism and its particular efforts toward women’s suffrage, she developed new strategies to incorporating gender politics into anarchism. After decades of obscurity, Goldman’s iconic status was revived from the 1970s, when feminist and anarchist scholars rekindled popular involvement in her life. –This text describes an alternate Paperback edition.

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