1917 May 18

Anarchist Emma Goldman Denounces WW I Draft, Is Later Arrested, Deported


On this day, when Congress created a military draft for World War I, the anarchist Emma Goldman denounced it at a protest rally in New York City of the No Conscription League, which she had organized. Among the crowd of 8,000 were police, government agents, and soldiers. She was arrested on June 15th, the day President Woodrow Wilson signed the Espionage Act into law (June 15, 1917), and charged with v.iolating the new l, aw. After being convicted and serving time in prison in Jefferson City, Missouri, she and 248 other aliens and alleged radicals were deported from the U.S. on December 21, 1919, on the ship Buford (dubbed the “Red Ark”) and sent to the new Soviet Union.

Goldman and her fellow anarchist Alexander Berkman almost immediately became disillusioned with the Soviet Union because of the repression of critics of the new Bolshevik regime (including anarchists). There was a high risk of their being arrested by the secret police, and they managed to leave the Soviet Union in December 1921. Thus, Emma Goldman has the distinction of, within a period of two years, being deported from the U.S. and having to flee the Soviet Union, in both cases because of her political views.

Goldman died on May 14, 1940. She had been denied reentry in the U.S. in the later years of her life, and special arrangements had to be made to bring her body back to the U.S., so she could be buried in Waldheim Cemetery in Chicago.

Learn more, read the No Conscription League 1917 Manifesto: http://ucblibrary3.berkeley.edu/goldman/Curricula/AntiMilitarism/manifesto.html

Read her speech to the jury on July 9, 1917: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/emmagoldmanjuryaddress.htm

Read: Alice Wexler, Emma Goldman: An Intimate Life (1984)

Learn more about Emma Goldman and free speech: http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/goldman/Exhibition/freespeech.html

Read Emma Goldman documents at the Emma Goldman Archive: http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/goldman/

Learn more about Goldman and Berkman: Paul Avrich and Karen Avrich, Sasha and Emma: The Anarchist Odyssey of Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman (2012)

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