||In editing The Nation's anthology--selections
from 1865 to 1990-- I discovered several essays by Emma Goldman. (I included
"The Tragedy of the Political Exiles," from 1934, in which she
writes with anger and pity of the tens of thousands of political exiles
of dictatorships of the right and left "turned into modern Ahasueruses,
forced to roam the earth, admitted nowhere.") Filled with acute, often
prescient, observations, Goldman's writings and actions shaped American
history in ways that must be preserved. She is a witness to periods of our
history that may be wiped away by those who dislike troublemakers, dissidents,
women of character and moral authority.
On a personal note, my godfather, Roger Baldwin--who founded the ACLU--loved
to tell me bedtime stories of how he spent many nights in prison with Emma
Goldman. He shared with Goldman a powerful belief that conscientious objection
was a civil liberty to be cherished.
Though they later parted ways, Roger Baldwin's admiration
for Goldman's courage and resistance to political oppression of the right
or the left was a formative memory as I was growing up.
Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editor, The Nation