free speech still a dangerous and political concept

Almost a century after she helped create the conscience of a once lively American Left, Emma Goldman's words have been proscribed by a great American University. The University of California at Berkeley was the birthplace almost forty years ago of the free speech movement [Is America is regularly in need of a free speech movement, like, it's a such a new idea?], and for 23 years it has been the repository of Goldman's papers, but the school doesn't seem to have learned a thing from its extraordinary history.

In an unusual showdown over freedom of expression, university officials have refused to allow a fund-raising appeal for the Emma Goldman Papers Project to be mailed because it quoted Goldman on the subjects of suppression of free speech and her opposition to war. The university deemed the topics too political as the country prepares for possible military action against Iraq.
And the words which are so offensive and political?
In one of the quotations, from 1915, Goldman called on people "not yet overcome by war madness to raise their voice of protest, to call the attention of the people to the crime and outrage which are about to be perpetrated on them." In the other, from 1902, she warned that free-speech advocates "shall soon be obliged to meet in cellars, or in darkened rooms with closed doors, and speak in whispers lest our next-door neighbors should hear that free-born citizens dare not speak in the open."

Just before they occupied the Administration building in December of 1964, Mario Savio had exhorted his comrades,
"There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, you can't take part, you can't even tacitly take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to indicate to the people who own it, to the people who run it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all."

Mario Savio

It's that time again.

About this Entry

Published on January 14, 2003 11:49 PM.

previous entry: buying life, if you can afford it

next entry: endless war, mostly faked