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Emma Goldman's Tribute to Voltarine de Clyre

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comes roaring out of the mist and a great bellowing thunders up from the water? Have you watched the white lions chasing each other towards the walls, and leaping up with foaming anger as they strike, and turn and chase each other along the black bars of their cage in rage to devour each other? And tear back? And leap in again? Have you ever wondered in the midst of it all, which particular drops of water would strike the wall? If one could know all the facts one might calculate even that. But who can know them all? Of one thing only we are sure; some must strike it

They are the criminals, those drops of water pinching against that silly wall and broken. Just why it was those particular ones we cannot know; but some had to go. Do not curse them; you have cursed them enough. . .” She closes her wonderful expose of criminology with this appeal: “Let us have done with this savage idea of punishment, which is without wisdom. Let us work for the freedom of man from the oppression which makes criminals, and for the enlightening treatment of the sick.”

Voltairine de Cleyre began her public career as pacifist, and for many years of her life, the Russian Revolution of 1905, the rapid development of Capitalism in her own country, with all its resultant cruelty, violence and injustice, and particularly the Mexican Revolution changed her view of methods. As always when, after an inner struggle, Voltairine saw cause for change, her large nature would compel her to admit error freely and bravely stand up for the new. he did so in her able essays on DIRECT ACTION and THE MEXICAN REVOLUTION. She did more; she fervently took uo the fight of the Mexican people who threw off the yoke; she wrote, she lectured, she collected funds for the Mexican cause. She even grew impatient with some of her comrades because they saw in the events across the American border only one phase of the social struggle and not the all-absorbing issue to which everything else should be subordinated. I was among the severely criticised and so was Mother Earth, a magazine I published. But I had often been censured by Voltairine for my “waste” of effort to read the American intelligentzia rather than to consecrate all my efforts to the workers, as she did so ardently. But, knowing her deep sincerety, the religious zeal which stamped everything she did, no one minded her censorship” we went on loving and admiring her just the same. How deeply she felt the wrongs of Mexico can


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