"...Emma Goldman was not postponing the changing of woman's condition to some future socialist era-she wanted action more direct, more immediate, than the vote. Helen Keller, while not an anarchist, also believed in continuous struggle outside the ballot box. Blind, deaf, she fought with her spirit, her pen. When she became active and openly socialist, the Brooklyn Eagle, which had previously treated her as a heroine, wrote that "her mistakes spring out of the manifest limitations of her development." Her response was not accepted by the Eagle, but printed in the New York Call. She wrote that when once she met the editor of the Brooklyn Eagle he complimented her lavishly. "But now that I have come out for socialism he reminds me and the public that I am blind and deaf and especially liable to error. . . ." She added:

"Oh, ridiculous Brooklyn Eagle! What an ungallant bird it is! Socially blind and deaf, it defends an intolerable system, a system that is the cause of much of the physical blindness and deafness which we are trying to prevent. .. . The Eagle and I are at war. I hate the system which it represents.. .. When it fights back, let it fight fair.... It is not fair fighting or good argument to remind me and others that I cannot see or hear. I can read. I can read all the socialist books I have time for in English, German and French. If the editor of the Brooklyn Eagle should read some of them, he might be a wiser man, and make a better newspaper. If I ever contribute to the Socialist movement the book that I sometimes dream of, I know what I shall name it: Industrial Blindness and Social Deafness. ""

"Mother Jones did not seem especially interested in the feminist movement. She was busy organizing textile workers and miners, and organizing their wives and children. One of her many feats was the organization of a children's march to Washington to demand the end of child labor (as the twentieth century opened, 284,000 children between the ages of ten and fifteen worked in mines, mills, factories). She described this:

"In the spring of 1903, I went to Kensington, Pennsylvania, where seventy-five thousand textile workers were on strike. Of this number at least ten thousand were little children. The workers were striking for more pay and shorter hours. Every day little children came into Union Headquarters, some with their hands off, some with the thumb missing, some with their fingers off at the knuckle. They were stooped little things, round shouldered and skinny... I asked some of the parents if they would let me have their little boys and girls for a week or ten days, promising to bring them back safe and sound. ... A man named Sweeny was marshal.... A few men and women went with me. .. . The children carried knapsacks on their backs in which was a knife and fork, a tin cup and plate.. .. One little fellow had a drum and another had a fife.... We carried banners that said: ... "We want time to play"... . ""

"The children marched through New Jersey and New York and down to Oyster Bay to try to see President Theodore Roosevelt, but he refused to see them. "But our march bad done its work. We had drawn the attention of the nation to the crime of child labor." "

"That same year, children working sixty hours a week in textile mills in Philadelphia went on strike, carrying signs: "WE WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL!" "55 HOURS OR NOTHING!" "

5/11/2012 07:34:29

Very well written, I’m glad I stumbled onto this. My friend and I were just having a similar disussion the other day.

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