Sunday, June 7, 2009

Meeting Emma Goldman

This month I forgot to put the post for our book club meeting, where we read the book "Living my Life" by Emma Goldman.

Here's a summary of the book:

In Living My Life, Emma Goldman, called "Red Emma" or "The Anarchist Queen" by the United States government and other detractors, describes her philosophical and political journey through her life. We witness the politicization of this young Russian immigrant as she arrives in the United States in 1886, begins her first job in a sweat-shop, and becomes inflamed by the Haymarket labor riots of 1887. Over the next forty years of her life as an anarchist, she wends her way through the labyrinth of American, Russian, and European radical politics.

Living My Life is a graphic description of the labor movement in the United States; of the bitterly-fought battles and ensuing jail terms over free speech, free love, the right to birth control; and of day-by-day political and personal life in Russia immediately following the 1917 revolution. Emma Goldman applies the same unrelenting scrutiny to her political actions and the actions and philosophies of governments as she does to her love affairs and friendships. The power of this book lies in the personal nature of her narrative - in the daily accounts of the friendships, love affairs, doubts, and joys of Emma and her revolutionary colleagues - overlaid on the canvas of major world events.

It was a great discussion getting to know this incredible fearless woman who shared with us her personal feelings of each experience she had since getting involved in activism and anarchism in the late 1890s.

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