If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution. Emma Goldman stands as a major figure in the history of American radicalism and feminism.
-- Emma Goldman
An influential and well-known anarchist of her day, Goldman was an early advocate of free speech, birth control, women’s equality and independence, and union organization.
Her criticism of mandatory conscription of young men into the military during World War I led to a two-year imprisonment, followed by her deportation in 1919.
For the rest of her life until her death in 1940, she continued to participate in the social and political movements of her age, from the Russian Revolution to the Spanish Civil War.
March 18th marks the 130th anniversary of the Paris Commune. The Commune of 1871 played an important role in the development of both anarchist ideas and the movement and so should be remembered and, equally as important, learnt from.
For anarchists, the lessons of the Paris Commune were threefold. Firstly, a decentralised confederation of communities is the necessary political form of a free society ("This was the form that the social revolution must take -- the independent commune." [Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets, p. 163]). Secondly, "there is no more reason for a government inside a Commune than for government above the Commune." [Peter Kropotkin, Fighting the Revolution, vol. 2, p. 19] This means that an anarchist community will be based on a confederation of neighbourhood and workplace assemblies freely co-operating together. Thirdly, it is critically important to unify political and economic revolutions into a social revolution. "They tried to consolidate the Commune first and put off the social revolution until later, whereas the only way to proceed was to consolidate the Commune by means of the social revolution!" [Peter Kropotkin, Op. Cit., p. 19]
The first day of the 5th annual Australian anarchist conference took place in Melbourne at Ceres environment park this weekend, with a range of workshops, and debates. Sessions included discussions on the unexamined 'whiteness' of Australian anarchism, in the context of the indigenous fight for justice, queer anarchism, plant propagation and the war in Iraq. Sunday's timetable includes discussions on unemployment, the Lake Cowal campaign, and anarchism and the sex industries.
5th annual Australian anarchist conference.
The conference will be held in Melbourne, on the weekend of 26-27 February 2005.
When:26-27 February 2005
Time:10-5 on Saturday, 11-6 on Sunday
Where:CERES environment park.
Price: Free (there will be a fundraiser on Saturday night which will cost $5)
Food: Free lunch will be provided by Food Not Bombs on both days.
These words by Percy Bysshe Shelley gives an idea of what anarchism stands for in practice and what ideals drive it:
Of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys:
Power, like a desolating pestilence,
Pollutes whate'er it touches, and obedience,
Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
Makes slaves of men, and, of the human frame,
A mechanised automaton.
Voltairine de Cleyre was, according to Emma Goldman, "the most gifted and brilliant anarchist woman America ever produced"; yet, even among most anarchists, she is today almost completely unknown.
Born on November 17, 1866, in the small town of Leslie, Michigan, as a teenager she was forced into a Catholic convent, an experience that had the effect of pushing her towards atheism rather than Christianity.
Family ties to the Abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad, along with the harsh and unrelenting poverty that she grew up in, and being named after a philosopher (Voltaire), most definitely attributed to her radical rhetoric that she developed shortly after adolescence. After the hanging of the Haymarket martyrs in 1887, however, she became an anarchist.