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(en) al bruxelles: Anarchy and the relationship between the sexes - Anarchy and gender relations by Emma Goldman (Anarchy and the Sex Question, Translation * Julien Clamence) (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]
Mon, 1 Feb 2016 18:53:44 +0200
I) Historical Introduction by Feminism Libertarian Brussels: ---- We publish a translation
of an article written by Emma Goldman (1869-1940), Anarchism and the sexual question,
published in The Alarm in 1896. ---- Emma Goldman is a figure of anarchism and feminism.
Deeply anti-authoritarian, it is particularly known for her speech on free love, sexuality
and birth control, the class struggle and his denunciation of the institution of marriage.
"I am the servant nor god, nor the state, nor a husband." ---- She was born on the
territory of the Russian Empire, to a family that emigrated penniless in Rochester, United
States. It will face very early to class alienation and patriarchy. It will work as a
seamstress at the factory since its 14 years and will experience divorce before his 18th
birthday. Haymarket Square events leads her to join New York and the radical movement,
where she met Alexander Berkman, her lover and friend libertarian. Emma Goldman will be
imprisoned several times during her long activist career.
The male worker, whose strength and muscles are much admired by the pale and sickly
offspring of the rich but whose work just enough to keep the wolf of hunger outside the
home, married only to have a wife and a housewife which is to serve as a slave from
morning to night while toiling alone to reduce household expenses. His nerves were so
strained by continual effort necessary to sustain the home of her husband's meager salary
she becomes irritable and no longer able to hide his lack of affection for her lord and
master. This unfortunately happens in quickly to the conclusion that his hopes and plans
have gone astray, and he begins to think about her marriage is failing.
The string becomes heavier, more and more heavy
With expenses that are growing, the wife quickly loses everything she had force at the
time of his marriage, she feels betrayed and more constant difficulties and fears of
hunger quickly devoured his beauty. It depresses neglects her household duties. As there
is no love and sympathy link to unite the couple and give them the courage to face the
misery and poverty of their lives, they become more and more strangers to the Another and
less patient with the faults of the other, instead of helping each other in the race of
Man can not, as the millionaire, go to his private club, but it goes to the bar and tried
to drown his misery in a glass of beer or whiskey. His partner wretched misery, which is
too honest to seek forgetfulness in the arms of a lover and too poor to afford
distractions or however many legitimate amusements, rest in the middle of sordid scene and
barely maintained that she calls his "home" and laments bitterly over the madness that has
made her the wife of a poor man.
Despite this, they have no way to separate.
They must bear all
Also irritating is that the chain was put around their necks by law, and sometimes the
Church, it can not be broken only if both spouses agree.
If the law is lenient enough to give them freedom, every detail of their private lives
exposed in full light. The woman is condemned by public opinion and his entire life is
ruined. The fear of this disgrace often causes its collapse under the tremendous weight of
life as a wife, without her speaking one dares protest against this system which has
broken her, and both of his sisters.
The rich endure this test to avoid scandal - poor for the sake of her children and the
fear of public opinion. Their lives are a long succession of hypocrisy and deceit.
The woman who sells her favors is free to leave at any time the man who buys, while
"respectable wife" can not break free of a union that humiliates.
All unions against nature that are not sanctioned by love are prostitution, whether
sanctioned by the Church and society or not. Such unions can only have a degrading
influence on the moral and well-being of society.
This is the system to blame
The system that forces women to sell their femininity and independence to the highest
bidder is a branch of the same monstrous system which grants the right to a handful of
living of the wealth produced by their peers. 99% of these have to toil and serve as
slaves all day for just achieving ends meet, while the fruits of their labor is swallowed
by a few idle vampires surrounded by all the luxuries that wealth may fill .
Look at some point these two sides of the social system of the XIX th century.
Look wealthy homes, these magnificent palaces where some sumptuous supplies could put
hundreds of men and women in need from want. Look at the gala dinners held by girls and
wealthy son, where a single service could feed hundreds of hungry people for whom a simple
meal of bread washed down with water is a luxury. See these fervent admirers of fashion
spend their days inventing new means of selfish enjoyment - theaters, dances, concerts,
cruises, running from one corner of the earth to another in their mad search for gaiety
and pleasure. And turn for a moment to look at those who produce wealth paying these
excesses, these pleasures against nature.
The other side
Watch them massaged in a dark, damp cellar, where, clothed in rags, they never enjoy a
breath of fresh air. They carry the burden of their misery cradle to grave, their children
running the streets naked, hungry, no one to give them a love note or a tender caress,
growing up in ignorance and superstition, cursed since the day of their birth.
Watch these two striking contrasts, you moralists and philanthropists, and tell me who is
to blame! Those who are led to prostitution, legal or underground, or those who drive
their victims in such loss of moral sense?
The cause is not in prostitution but in society itself; in the unequal system of private
property and the State and the Church. In the system that legalizes theft, murder and rape
of innocent women and helpless children.
The remedy against evil
As long as this monster will not be destroyed we will not be free of this disease raging
in the Senate and all public administrations, in the house of the rich as in the miserable
huts of the poor. Humanity must become aware of its strength and capabilities, she should
feel free to start a new life, a better life and noble.
Prostitution will never be removed by the methods Rev. Dr. Parkhurst and other reformers.
It will exist as long as the system is there to provide a breeding ground.
When all these reformists will work together with those who struggle to abolish this
system generates crime in all its forms, another company will emerge, based on perfect
equality - a company that will guarantee to all its members, men, women and children, full
compensation for their work and a perfectly equal right to enjoy the gifts of nature and
achieve a higher know - the woman there will be autonomous and independent. His health
will not be crushed by work and endless slavery, it will cease to be the human victim, who
will not be possessed by passions and vices unhealthy and against nature.
An anarchist dream
Each will enter the stage of marriage in top physical and moral confidence in the other.
Everyone will love each other and estimate and will help to work not for his own well
being but for their common happiness, and they will desire the universal happiness of
mankind. The children of such unions will be strong and healthy in body and mind. They
will honor and respect their parents, not out of duty, but because they deserve. They will
be educated and cherished by the whole community and will be free to follow their own
inclinations, it will not be necessary to teach sycophancy and the basics of the art of
tormenting their fellow men. Their purpose in life is, not to get power over their
brethren, but to win the esteem and respect of all members of the community.
If the marriage between man and woman proves unsatisfying and unpleasant, they will
separate quietly, amicably, not to demean the various wedlock in the antipathy of their union.
If, instead of persecuting the victims, the reformist daily unite their efforts to
eradicate the cause, prostitution would not be a disgrace to humanity.
Delete a class and protect another is worse than folly. This is criminal. Do not look
away, you men and women moral.
Do not let your prejudices to influence you, look at this from a neutral standpoint.
Rather than spending your strength unnecessarily, unite your efforts and help abolish the
corrupt and sick system.
If married life has not robbed you your honor and respect your own person, if you have
love for those you call your children, you must, for your own sake and theirs, seek
emancipation and establish freedom. Then, and only then, the wedding horrors disappear.
(Originally published in The Alarm, September 27, 1896).
* This translation attempts to preserve the spirit and tone of the original text of Emma
Goldman. However, several syntactic and stylistic changes have been made to facilitate its
reading and to better adapt it to the French. The original version is available here:
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