Emma Goldman Essays

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Propagandism is not, as some suppose, a "trade," because nobody will follow a "trade" at which you may work with the industry of a slave and die with the reputation of a mendicant.

The motives of any persons to pursue such a profession must be different from those of trade, deeper than pride, and stronger than interest.

The representative of a revolutionizing idea stands between two fires: on the one hand, the persecution of the existing powers which hold him responsible for all acts resulting from social conditions; and, on the other, the lack of understanding on the part of his own followers who often judge all his activity from a narrow standpoint.

Thus it happens that the agitator stands quite alone in the midst of the multitude surrounding him.

Like all conservative parents they, too, were quite convinced that their daughter would marry a respectable citizen, bear him children, and round out her allotted years surrounded by a flock of grandchildren, a good, religious woman.

As most parents, they had no inkling what a strange, impassioned spirit would take hold of the soul of their child, and carry it to the heights which separate generations in eternal struggle.What role the Jewish race--notwithstanding all anti-semitic calumnies the race of transcendental idealism--played in the struggle of the Old and the New will probably never be appreciated with complete impartiality and clarity.Only now are we beginning to perceive the tremendous debt we owe to Jewish idealists in the realm of science, art, and literature.It is difficult for the average man to form an adequate conception what strength, energy, and perseverance are necessary to absorb the unfamiliar language, habits, and customs of a new country, without the loss of one's own personality.Emma Goldman is one of the few who, while thoroughly preserving their individuality, have become an important factor in the social and intellectual atmosphere of America.But very little is still known of the important part the sons and daughters of Israel have played in the revolutionary movement and, especially, in that of modern times.The first years of her childhood Emma Goldman passed in a small, idyllic place in the German-Russian province of Kurland, where her father had charge of the government stage.They have at all times held aloft the banner of liberty, thus impregnating the social vitality of the Nation.But very few have succeeding in preserving their European education and culture while at the same time assimilating themselves with American life.Posterity assigns to men like Wendel Phillips and Lloyd Garrison the proper niche of honor in the temple of human emancipation; but it is the duty of their contemporaries to bring them due recognition and appreciation while they live.The path of the propagandist of social justice is strewn with thorns.

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