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Voltairine de cleyre biography of william

voltairine de cleyre biography of william
Just how much is glib historical simplification in streaming the relationship between left-wing anarchism and European anarchism and right-wing anarchism and American indigenous radicalism? She also adamantly opposed the standing army, arguing that its existence made wars more likely.

With good reason Voltairine deCleyre could testify to the latter realities in her role as English teacher among the urban immigrant poor of Philadelphia. Amid material conditions of utter deprivation, she was forced to choose teaching as her only means of subsistence. Goldman, Living My Lifevol. Voltairine deCleyre did not — as many individualist anarchists did and continue to do posit as a solution the restoration of that state of pioneer sovereign individuality.

Selected Writings of Voltairine deCleyre.

Voltairine de Cleyre: An Introduction

Is this not similar in some respects to what many anarchists are now attempting by decentralising new technologies, alternate energy and food production systems to make smaller neighbourhood areas more nearly autonomous by means of co-operation among the neighbourhood residents? The result of her thinking, thus, pointed neither to resurrection of the ideal of isolated frontier individualism, nor to the faceless bureaucracy of State Socialism. Thus, Voltairine deCleyre lent her support to the expropriation of private property, a far cry from the traditional individualist anarchist stance on the sanctity of private property.

In her ideals at least, Voltairine deCleyre made a constructive transition from a style of fairly narrow left-wing individualist anarchism to an anarchism more attuned to the evolving economic realities of an expanding industrial age. However, it would be false to assume that she made her way to an acceptance of what in her time was called Anarchist Communism, Bakuninist Anarchism.

voltairine de cleyre biography of william

However, it is significant that in her essay on her close friend and co-worker, Dyer D. Lum, who was largely responsible for convincing her of the correctness of direct actionism, she stresses his belief in transcendence as the most basic positive force in individual development, rather than his labour agitational activities. Her insistence that individual consciousness must accompany social development and change is a synthesis with no less validity for anarchists today. She attempted to run away by swimming to Port Huron, Michigan, and hiking 17 miles; but she met friends of her family who contacted her father and sent her back.

She graduated and received a gold medal from the school, which she can be seen wearing in the picture.

Voltaraine de Cleyre

Family ties to the Abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad, the harsh and unrelenting poverty that she grew up in, and being named after the philosopher Voltaire all contributed to the radical rhetoric that she developed shortly after adolescence. After schooling in the convent, de Cleyre began her intellectual involvement in the strongly anti-clerical freethought movement by lecturing and contributing articles to freethought periodicals.

voltairine de cleyre biography of william

During her time in the freethought movement in the mid and late s, de Cleyre was especially influenced by Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Clarence Darrow. After the hanging of the Haymarket protesters inhowever, she became an anarchist. She was known as an excellent speaker and writer — in the opinion of biographer Paul Avrich, she was "a greater literary talent than any other American anarchist" — and as a tireless advocate for the anarchist cause, whose "religious zeal," according to Goldman, "stamped everything she did.

This in combination with family ties to the Abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad, as well as her namesake the philosopher Voltairecontributed to the radical rhetoric she developed. She was a prolific writer and speaker, opposing the state, marriage, and the domination of religion in sexuality and women's lives, who began her intellectual involvement and activism in the strongly anti-clerical freethought movement by lecturing and contributing articles to freethought periodicals.

voltairine de cleyre biography of william

De Cleyre was initially drawn to individualist anarchism but evolved through mutualism to an "anarchism without adjectives. She was a staunch pacifist, arguing that in order to achieve peace, "all peaceful persons should withdraw their support from the army, and require that all who wish to make war do so at their own cost and risk; that neither pay nor pensions are to be provided for those who choose to make man-killing a trade. She was a colleague of Emma Goldman, who maintained a relationship of respectful disagreement on many issues and proclaimed her "the most gifted and brilliant anarchist woman America ever produced.

Lum"her teacher, her confidant, her comrade" in the words of Goldman [8]. Her relationship with him ended shortly before his suicide in De Cleyre based her operations from to in Philadelphiawhere she lived among poor Jewish immigrants, and where sympathy for anarchist beliefs was common. There, she taught English and music, and she learned to speak and write in Yiddish. Throughout her life de Cleyre was plagued by illness, including what Goldman described as "some disease of the nervous system which she had developed in early childhood," [2] along with depressionattempting suicide on at least two occasions.

She also survived an assassination attempt on December 19, Her assailant, Herman Helcher, was a former pupil who had earlier been rendered insane by a fever, and whom she immediately forgave.

Voltairine de Cleyre

She wrote, "It would be an outrage against civilization if he were sent to jail for an act which was the product of a diseased brain". Her last poem was dedicated to the Mexican activists. Voltairine de Cleyre died on June 20,at St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital in ChicagoIllinoisfrom septic meningitis. Voltairine de Cleyre's political perspective shifted throughout her life, eventually leading her to become an outspoken proponent of " anarchism without adjectives ," a doctrine, according to historian George Richard Esenwein, "without any qualifying labels such as communistcollectivistmutualistor individualist.

For others, … [it] was simply understood as an attitude that tolerated the coexistence of different anarchist schools. For several years de Cleyre associated primarily with American individualist anarchism.

Differentiating herself from Emma Goldman and expanding on her support for individualist anarchism, de Cleyre wrote, "Miss Goldman is a communist; I am an individualist.

She wishes to destroy the right of property, I wish to assert it. I make my war upon privilege and authority, whereby the right of property, the true right in that which is proper to the individual, is annihilated.

voltairine de cleyre biography of william

She believes that co-operation would entirely supplant competition; I hold that competition in one form or another will always exist, and that it is highly desirable it should. Despite their early dislike for one another, Goldman and de Cleyre came to respect each other intellectually.

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