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Lucy Parsons on the Lives of the Poor: An Alternative Democracy

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Chapter Summary

Lucy E. Parsons is a name unfamiliar to most Americans, an intellectual cavity that quite possibly afflicts the brains of the great majority of social scientists. Yet, there is much to be praised in the scholarship of that far smaller number of researchers who have constructed narratives about her out of limited and contradictory bank of materials. In Anarchism: Its Philosophy and Scientific Basis, Albert Parsons attributed the failure of the American Revolution and of the apparently democratic system it had spawned to the persistence of oppression under capitalism. To the claim that people would be unable to function in an anarchist society without the protection of government, with which they have grown familiar, Lucy Parsons refused to answer the criticism directly, citing the open-minded and experimental nature of anarchism. In an anarchist society, Lucy Parsons argues that ownership of property should be limited to what someone could personally use.

Keywords: American revolution; anarchist society; capitalism; democratic system; Lucy E. Parsons



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