Unsung Heroines: Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman was an anarchist political activist and writer. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the 20th century.

Born27 June 1869, Kaunas, Lithuania

Died14 May 1940, Toronto, Canada

During her life, Goldman was lionised as a freethinking “rebel woman” by admirers, and denounced by detractors as an advocate of politically motivated murder and violent revolution. Her writing and lectures spanned a wide variety of issues, including prisonsatheismfreedom of speechmilitarismcapitalism, marriage, free love, and homosexuality. Although she distanced herself from first-wave feminism and its efforts toward women’s suffrage, she developed new ways of incorporating gender politics into anarchism. After decades of obscurity, Goldman gained iconic status by a revival of interest in her life in the 1970s, when feminist and anarchist scholars rekindled popular interest.

I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.

If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.

If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal

The most violent element in society is ignorance.

No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution… revolution is but thought carried into action.

When we can’t dream any longer we die.

The most unpardonable sin in society is independence of thought.

Women need not always keep their mouths shut and their wombs open.

Someone has said that it requires less mental effort to condemn than to think.