emma goldman

It is a tragedy, I feel, that people of a different sexual type are caught in a world which shows so little understanding for homosexuals and is so crassly indifferent to the various gradations and variations of gender and their great significance in life.
— 

Emma Goldman - Jewish American Anarcho-Communist in a letter written in 1923

This activist was advocating for various genders and sexual orientations in NINETEEN TWENTY-THREE  and almost a century later you have people still saying there are only two genders determined by biology and that being gay is a sin.

We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens. We are ready to hang, electrocute, or lynch anyone, who, from economic necessity, will risk his own life in the attempt upon that of some industrial magnate. Yet our hearts swell with pride at the thought that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and that it will eventually plant her iron foot on the necks of all other nations. Such is the logic of patriotism.
—  Emma Goldman, “Patriotism, a Menace to Liberty” (1911)

I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you…. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.

I began to ask each time: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” …Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.

Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end.

And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.

—  Audre Lorde 
We live in a world that thinks that Emma Goldman is wrong about children. Many abuses of children get understood as such fairly easily:  for example, we are saddened by young children who are put to work or made to bear arms and by those who are sexually exploited or denied an education. But if Goldman is right, then our mistreatment of them includes not only child labor, but also the way we train children for labor. If Goldman is right, our problems include not only sexual abuse, but also denial of sex education, of sexual freedom, and of sexual choice. If Goldman is correct, we need to address not only lack of access to education, but also education that takes from children much of what makes life worth living – creativity, individuality, and experimentation. If Goldman has captured things rightly, we are wrong not only for sending children to war, but also for training them in the nationalism and patriotism that will justify and garner their support for future wars.
—  Penny A. Weiss, “Who Were Emma Goldman’s Children? Anarchist Feminism and Childhood,” Feminist Interpretations of Emma Goldman (2007)

Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations.

- Excerpts from “Anarchism: What It Really Stands For” (Anarchism and Other Essays, 1910) by Emma Goldman

“What will you do with the lazy ones, who would not work?’

No one is lazy. They grow hopeless from the misery of their present existence, and give up. Under our order of things, every men would do the work he liked, and would have as much as his neighbor, so could not be unhappy and discouraged.”
― Emma Goldman

“At the dances I was one of the most untiring and gayest. One evening a cousin of Sasha, a young boy, took me aside. With a grave face, as if he were about to announce the death of a dear comrade, he whispered to me that it did not behoove an agitator to dance. Certainly not with such reckless abandon, anyway. It was undignified for one who was on the way to become a force in the anarchist movement. My frivolity would only hurt the Cause.I grew furious at the impudent interference of the boy. I told him to mind his own business. I was tired of having the Cause constantly thrown into my face. 

I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from convention and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to become a nun and that the movement would not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. “I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things.” Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world — prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own closest comrades I would live my beautiful ideal.”

-Emma Goldman