Sunday, November 26, 2006

Who the Hell Wants to be Reasonable? byKathryn Rosenfeld

I once joked to a friend and comrade that we should produce and distribute “WWED?” (What Would Emma Do?) bracelets. “She’s not the only famous anarchist, you know,” my friend replied. True enough. And yet, she is still the foremost foremother of modern-day anarchism, and the only person whose portrait I have ever considered having tattooed on my body. Undeniably, Emma Goldman more than any other single figure embodies the concept “anarchy” and the history that adheres to it. She is still “the anarchist” even to non-anarchists. Despite her insistence on the importance of individuality, she is by now less a person who lived than a symbol, and as such the repository of countless, multifarious, often contradictory dreams. Some of these are directly continuous with the dreams Goldman dreamed in her lifetime; others are based on creative interpretations or partial readings of her thought (into which category my own Emma Dreams fall is not for me to say). Yet all are equally precious to the dreamers themselves, as are the various Avatars of Emma with which they are bound up. Like all mythic personae, these avatars say less about Goldman herself than about the people who have created them. There is no question but that she is an icon, which is why I have found it nearly impossible to write about her. more....


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