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Alexander Berkman: Generally a Straight Shooter

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on Alexander Berkman's life and ideas. A major influence on the ideas of Berkman and Emma Goldman was the Haymarket bombing and its aftermath, which included the execution of four Chicago anarchists who were almost certainly framed by the police. For Goldman, meanwhile, Wenzer argues, citing her autobiography, that Haymarket presented a worthwhile purpose for living, to expose the moral turpitude at the center of the US legal system. Berkman's views about anarchism are mainly found in The ABC of Anarchism, which was written toward the end of his life, and which has appeared under a number of different title variations. As for many other anarchist writers, an ideal society for Berkman would be fundamentally natural. As Berkman and Goldman contemplated their imminent deportation, they came to see the union-bashing and growing intolerance of immigrants as a species of intolerance - even as a kind of racism.

Keywords: Alexander Berkman; Emma Goldman; Haymarket; The ABC of Anarchism; US legal system



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