Newsreel Clip of Veteran Russo-American Anarchist, Emma Goldman

This is another clip of one of the leading figures of Anarchism I found on Youtube. It’s a newsreel report on the decision of the American authorities to allow Emma Goldman, then aged 63, back into the country after 15 years. Goldman introduces herself to the camera, stating that she is a supporter of Anarchism, which she describes as a philosophy dedicated to the emancipation of humanity. Talking to the press around her, scribbling notes, Goldman states that she’s glad to back in America, which was her hunting ground for 35 years. Asked about Russia, she states that Russia and America are two of the most interesting countries in the world today. The assembled hacks also ask her what she thinks about Hitler, to which she responds, ‘I don’t know him, and don’t want to’. They ask her what she thinks of Italy. ‘A beautiful country, minus Mussolini’. They also ask her what she would do if she was faced with the prospect of having to go into exile again unless she gave up her beliefs. She replies that she would go into exile, as she would never give up her ideals.

The clip comes from the 1983 documentary, Anarchism in America, and intercut between Goldman’s interview is footage of other Anarchist immigrants at the Harmonia Camp, playing music, dancing, and enjoying a coconut shy, in which the coconuts have faces painted on them of various Fascist dictators, like Hitler. The voiceover explains that Goldman was on of series of foreign anarchists, Russians, Germans, Spanish and Italians, who came to America, where they set up their own communities, including schools.

Goldman’s comments about Russia seem to me to be very carefully chosen. In fact, she was a bitter opponent of the Communist regime for its political oppression and denial of freedom.

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