Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Happy Birthday, Emma!

Today is the real Emma Goldman's birthday (hence the url for the blog). I've been fascinated by her for many years--she advocated (and, to some extent, practiced) what was then called "free love," i.e., she regarded marriage as a property relationship. She fought for workers' rights, she fought for women's reproductive freedom (especially for the availability of contraception), she was imprisoned and deported and kept on fighting. She was brave, and, apparently a stirring public speaker (hence the fear many authorities had about her). Although she didn't say that if she couldn't dance she didn't want to be part of the revolution, she did defend the necessity for joy as a part of liberation.

I believe I've mentioned that my grandfather was an anarchist. (If I've told this story before, please excuse me.) When he died, his ashes were scattered (at sea, I believe, though he was known to say he thought they should be flushed down the toilet because he'd owned a plumbing company). There was a memorial service, but my parents told me not to attend (they didn't think it was necessary, I think; I'm a little confused on that point). At the service, a man came up to my parents and introduced himself, and gave my parents a book to give to me. It was a biography of Emma Goldman, and he had inscribed it to me, which meant my grandfather had spoken enough about me and my own beliefs such that this man knew I'd appreciate the gift. I later discovered that Emma Goldman had gotten that man out of jail. I've always cherished that connection, however distant, to Emma, through my grandfather.


Blogger bitchphd said...

Huh, I picked up your post and then someone pointed out that the Wikipedia entry says her bday was JUNE 27th. Which is it?

7:55 PM  

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