Emma Goldman, “To the Readers of Mother Earth” (1906)


Those of you who have been startled by the rumor of Comrade Alexander Berkman’s disappearance and his supposed kidnapping I want to inform that there was little truth in the story. People never realize that there are worse things in human life than merely external forces. But what made it impossible for our friend to continue his tour lies in the terrible contrast of solitary confinement, enforced silence and monotony and the rush and hurry of our daily lives. Few have stood the years of hell as bravely as Comrade Berkman, but the lack of idealism and enthusiasm in radical ranks and the pettiness and sordidness of our existence were too much for his sensitive nature. He hoped to regain interest in life through a tour, but before he was half through he realized that one can never find the strength to live outside of himself and that to find oneself at all, one needs absolute harmony and peace.

He has therefore decided to retire for a time and hopes those who have been disappointed will understand and appreciate.

Emma Goldman.

“To the Readers of Mother Earth,” Mother Earth 1, no. 9 (November, 1906): 55.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.