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de CLEYRE, Voltairine. In Defense of Emma Goldman and the Right of Expropriation.
Article published on 13 September 2009
last modification on 25 April 2015

by r-c.
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Philadelphia: The Author, 1894.

"A LECTURE. Delivered in New York, Dec. 16. 1894."

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  • In defence of Emma Goldmann and the right of expropriation. London, J.Tochatti, 1894. p. 14+. At head of title: Liberty Press.
  • reprinted in: Tuana, Nancy (preface); Weiss, Penny A. (ed. and introd.); Kensinger, Loretta (ed. and introd.); Feminist Interpretations of Emma Goldman. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State UP; 2007. (xvi, 343 pp.)

The light is pleasant, is it not my friends? It is good to look into each other’s faces, to see the hands that clasp our own, to read the eyes that search our thoughts, to know what manner of lips give utterance to our pleasant greetings. It is good to be able to wink defiance at the Night, the cold, unseeing Night. How weird, how gruesome, how chilly it would be if I stood here in blackness, a shadow addressing shadows, in a house of blindness! Yet each would know that he was not alone; yet might we stretch hands and touch each other, and feel the warmth of human presence near. Yet might a sympathetic voice ring thro’ the darkness, quickening the dragging moments. — The lonely prisoners in the cells of Blackwell’s Island have neither light nor sound! The short day hurries across the sky, the short day still more shortened in the gloomy walls. The long chill night creeps up so early, weaving its sombre curtain before the imprisoned eyes. And thro’ the curtain comes no sympathizing voice, beyond the curtain lies the prison silence, beyond that the cheerless, uncommunicating land, and still beyond the icy, fretting river, black and menacing, ready to drown. A wall of night, a wall of stone, a wall of water! Thus has the great State of New York answered EMMA GOLDMANN; thus have the classes replied to the masses; thus do the rich respond to the poor; thus does the Institution of Property give its ultimatum to Hunger!

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