Talk:Emma Goldman

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Featured article Emma Goldman is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on April 19, 2008.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
February 10, 2005 Peer review Reviewed
December 18, 2007 WikiProject peer review Reviewed
December 27, 2007 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article


A discussion of an Infobox for this bio has been archived. I only wanted to add here that an Infobox can be useful if suitable fields are populated. Someone in the earlier discussion belittled the Infobox because it includes the field "ressting_place." But that field need not be populated at all if we don't think it's important. As the instructions say: "Only use those parameters that convey essential or notable information about the subject."

You can see all the fields available for the generic Infobox Person here. Some are quite odd in this context (e.g., net worth!). Some could be useful to display EG's life and significance in a nutshell. Remember that someone who has no idea who she is might just be looking for a one-glance capsule reference version of her life. Note in particular how fields like "influences" and "influenced" are used in the case of Marx and Rousseau (different template, but same principle). Here are a few fields that might prove interesting: known_for, organization, notable_works, influences, influenced, years_active, party, movement, opponents, criminal_charge, criminal_penalty, criminal_status, spouse, partner. Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 16:49, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Regarding my removal of the box earlier today, it was out of respect for the article's contributors/consensus. At the time I added it I wasn't aware of the discussion about it, not even that the article was a featured one. Personally I like infoboxes and find them quite useful. jonkerz 17:36, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Why is there a Religion specified in the infobox when she doesn't have one? (talk) 14:01, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Editors frequently list "Atheist" in the religion field because it answers the question in a more succinct, yet still completely understandable way, than the more technically accurate "None (atheist)". --Lquilter (talk) 01:25, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Actually, I'm curious why there's an infobox? I thought it was decided a long time ago not to have the infobox? --Lquilter (talk) 01:25, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
    • I totally support (re-)removing the infobox. Kaldari (talk) 02:32, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Capitalism section[edit]

Recently, a paragraph of the capitalism section was removed.[1] Perhaps this could be discussed further. Personally, I liked the paragraph as it showed nuance in Goldman's views, as well as her ability to adapt to criticism. Kaldari (talk) 19:10, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Any thoughts on this? Kaldari (talk) 22:52, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I liked the paragraph, but I don't feel strongly about it one way or the other. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 04:01, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I have heard historians such as Barry Pateman reference this moment as having some good deal of importance on her outlook. I think there is value in keeping it, and if possible, some reference on the importance of this event should be expanded upon. --Cast (talk) 04:08, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
  • I like it if, as User:Cast suggests, there is documentation about its significance on her outlook. The concern would be that if it's just a statement from her biography, that in picking and choosing we're constructing our own take on her views. So I'd like something with independent significance that verifies the significance to her thought. --Lquilter (talk) 17:30, 26 October 2011 (UTC)


This article appears to either use American or Oxford spelling (but definitely not standard British spelling). I'm guessing it's American spelling, but does anyone know for sure? It would be good to add a hidden comment at the top of the article so that future editors are made aware. Kaldari (talk) 22:52, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

I think it's US spelling, but I don't think there's ever been a formal announcement about it. Maybe Lquilter or Scartol can chime in? — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 04:03, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
OK, I've added a comment to the top of the article, so that people will know to keep it consistent. Kaldari (talk) 21:13, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Subjectivity alert[edit]

"Goldman and Berkman were released during America's Red Scare of 1919–20 when public anxiety about wartime pro-German activities had morphed into an exaggerated fear of Bolshevism."

This is an encyclopedia. The word 'exaggerated' represents a debatable opinion and should be removed or (better) replaced with another word which conveys the magnitude (if accurate) absent the subjectivity: wide-spread; pervasive; wide-ranging, e.g. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:43, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

  • This was done, and changed to "pervasive". --Lquilter (talk) 21:04, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

"Influenced Anarcha-Feminism"[edit]

While I agree that Goldman was a strong influence in the development of anarcha-feminism, and despite having had disagreeable run-ins with Byelf2007 in the past (on the criticisms of anarchism page), I nonetheless agree with him (or her; I'm not sure) that the "influenced" section of the infobox should only mention the names of people influenced by the subject of the article: not schools of thought. I object to Nowa's reversion of Byelf2007's edit; and to Ongepotchket's similar earlier reversion. Nonetheless, seeing as though this issue runs the risk of turning into an edit war, I'd rather discuss it here in the talk page than take any unilateral action. Are there any objections to removing anarcha-feminism from the "influenced" section of the infobox? — Life in General (Talk) 02:28, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Why do you feel that the "influenced" section should not mention schools of thought?--Nowa (talk) 03:03, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Because were we to mention schools of thought in the "influenced" section of infoboxes, we would run into issues relating to inclusiveness and scope. People like Goldman have influenced numerous schools of thought: which ones would we mention, and which ones wouldn't we (and why)? Additionally, as this sort of information is more often subject to disagreement and controvery than the people influenced, and as the "influenced" section is usually unreferenced, it shouldn't really be the place for such information. Rather include information relating to the schools of thought that were influenced by the subject of an article within the body of the article itself: with suitable references and elaboration. This allows less scope for misunderstandings, and for the inclusion of potentially dubious information. — Life in General (Talk) 03:17, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
I concur; I would be surprised if this isn't already wikipedia policy. Byelf2007 (talk) 3 January 2011
Frankly, I don't think the article was improved when the infobox was added. A list of people influenced by Goldman would be the size of a New York telephone directory.
Oh, and I agree that the section is intended for people, not schools of thought. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 05:08, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Just chiming in with 2c: (a) I'm with Malik; not fond of the infobox. (b) Haven't thought about the people vs. schools of thought issue in terms of the "influenced" section before, but on due reflection, I would say that 'people' is probably the right approach: schools of thought are inherently amorphous, and influences on them or by them are probably best left to paragraphs in the articles, where more nuance can be discerned / displayed. I don't quite buy the "inclusiveness" concern mentioned by "Life in General" -- we deal with that problem in terms of the individual people named, too (albeit somewhat arbitrarily as far as I can tell). But the rest of "Life in General"'s points elaborate nicely why schools of thought are best left to the text, not an infobox. (c) And FYI, ByElf2007, your edit summary on the reversal (something like, "That's not the way things are done") struck me as a bit vague and snippy. At least, it wasn't informative enough to explain what you meant by "not the way things are done". --Lquilter (talk) 13:49, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Looking back now, I realise the "inclusiveness" point doesn't actually make sense. A sign perhaps that I should avoid editing before I've had my morning cup of coffee... Sorry about that; I'll avoid editing when half-asleep from now on. — Life in General Talk/Stalk 14:00, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Yeah, well, sometimes we can only edit when we're half asleep ... I have realized several times while archiving sections of this talk page just now that my edit summaries have sometimes revealed my lack of morning caffeine, and/or interruptions by 3yo .... --Lquilter (talk) 14:17, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. I wanted to be sure removal wasn’t because someone didn’t like anarcha feminism. Many other info boxes about notable people do mention schools of thought they influenced. See Karl Marx (e.g. Frankfurt School), Immanuel Kant (Western Philosophy), Voltaire (French Revolution, Founding Fathers of the United States). The question is, then, would this article be more useful or less useful to a reader if it listed Emma Goldman’s influence on anarcha feminism in the info box. So far the consensus seems to be “no”, which is fine by me. I was just maintaining the status quo pending a consensus otherwise. (and for the record, I too avoid editing until at least cup #3)--Nowa (talk) 17:14, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
I was unaware that those articles include schools of thought in their infoboxes. Nonetheless, I've had a rather stressful day in real life, so I won't do anything about that just yet. Although Ongepotchket and Byelf2007, who were also involved in this issue, have yet to take part in this discussion, I believe I'm not premature in declaring that consensus on this issue has been achieved (at least on this article). — Life in General Talk/Stalk 17:26, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Personally, I don't think the section is very useful to the reader and is rather crufty. I would support removing the influenced by / influenced section entirely. Influences are complicated topics that are better served by article text than arbitrary lists. I know about a dozen people that I could add to the 'influenced' section based on anecdotal evidence, but I don't think adding them would actually enlighten the reader about much of anything. Wikipedia is supposed to be an encyclopedia, not an arbitrary collection of information. I've never seen such influenced by / influenced lists in other encyclopedias. Kaldari (talk) 19:11, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
It seems like these issues are not new. See Template_talk:Infobox_philosopher#Influences_and_Influenced_Fields. I wonder if there is another more fruitful way to represent the influence relationship between notable individuals.--Nowa (talk) 03:01, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Having given this issue further thought, I must say I agree with Kaldari. Nonetheless, as Nowa has pointed out, it appears that this has been discussed in the past; and based on a cursory examination of the past discussion, it appears that consensus was achieved that the "influenced by" and "influenced" sections ought to remain. I'd suggest that we re-open that debate though. Perhaps, taking the current consensus into account, instead of advocating for the complete removal of the "influenced by" and "influenced" sections from infoboxes, we instead advocate more stringent rules for what to include in them. Infoboxes are often unreferenced, but I've seen references within infoboxes before and perhaps we could suggest the following:

  • That all names in the "influenced" and "influenced by" sections be referenced, to establish the notability of the influence in question; and
  • That names should only be included within them when those people's influence was substantial to the subject of the article (in the case of the "influenced by" section), or when the subject of the article was a highly important influence on the people in question (in the case of the "influenced" section).

Although this suggestion does leave room for debate as to when a person qualifies to be included in either list, I'm sure that for the most part there will be agreement, and when there isn't, debate can fruitfully be conducted in the article in question's talkpage (such as this debate we're having now). This is just my suggestion though, does anyone have any comments, criticisms, additions, etc? — Life in General Talk/Stalk 13:53, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm open to it if others are, but my personal feeling is that it's kind of a waste of time. If we're going to look up references about who Emma Goldman influenced and vice versa, why don't we integrate that information into the article prose of those biographies rather than just listing names in an infobox. For example, the biography of Noe Ito (who was definitely influenced by Emma Goldman) has no citations whatsoever, and barely even mentions Emma Goldman. Why don't we go work on building her article content rather than making this article more crufty. Of course I don't want to discourage people if the infobox is what they really want to work on, but that's my 2 cents. Kaldari (talk) 00:18, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
My proposal is just meant as a compromise we could present here, to create consensus on more stringent inclusions requirements for infoboxes on people wiki-wide. On this article, if consensus can be achieved, I'm open to just scrapping the use of the "influenced" and "influenced by" sections of the infobox altogether and focusing on integrating such information (when relevant) into the text of the article itself. I'm actually in full agreement with you. — Life in General Talk/Stalk 00:30, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
That makes sense to me. Thanks for the clarification. I agree that if that template is going to include parameters for influences they should add some guidelines on how to use it. Kaldari (talk) 00:48, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

Anarcha-feminism in the infobox[edit]

While Goldman may be heralded as a pioneer of the anarcha-feminist movement, I'm not sure whether she is properly part of that "school". What do other editors think? — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 03:01, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

  • I think "school" is a fairly subjective term. So at the moment, I don't have strong feelings one way or the other. --Lquilter (talk) 13:24, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Abortion, feminism, homosexuality sections[edit]

  • An editor added a quote regarding Goldman and abortion, which I think is fine since it illustrates her views. However, the same editor also moved the abortion material to its own section, "abortion", which I think is inappropriate and reverted -- abortion was never a focal point of Goldman's activism, and to have a subsection to it suggesting so is inappropriate weight to the topic. It would be much more useful / representative to have a separate section called "birth control", since that WAS a focal point of her activism and she served time related to it.
However, this made me also think about the "homosexuality" section, which, like "abortion", wasn't exactly a focal point of her activism. I thought perhaps it would be best to combine all these sections into a section called "sexuality", which would include homosexuality, free love, birth control/abortion. I think this would actually be most closely representative of Goldman's interests. To encompass modern conceptions of the issue as well, perhaps "Sexuality and feminism" or "Feminism and sexuality" should be the appropriate section titles. Thoughts? --Lquilter (talk) 13:24, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Actually, on further reflection, this whole section has been a bit bothersome to me for a while. This is the current "Philosophy" section:
17 Philosophy
17.1 Anarchism
17.1.1 Capitalism
17.1.2 Tactics
17.2 Feminism
17.3 Free speech
17.4 Prisons
17.5 Homosexuality
17.6 Atheism

It seems to me that "tactics" is really about Goldman's shifting views on violence; there's no section on militarism and anti-war struggles (obviously a great part of her philosophy); labor is hidden in capitalism. I would propose reorganizing this material slightly:

17 Philosophy
17.1 Anarchism [personal anarchism; tactics]
17.2 Capitalism and Labor
17.3 The State [militarism, prison, voting]
17.4 Free Speech
17.3 Feminism and Sexuality

A lot of the subsections are rather small and this would consolidate, and make the material flow a bit more naturally. Thoughts? --Lquilter (talk) 13:34, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

This is a great idea. I've never been a fan of the current organization (which grew organically as new material was added), and I think your suggestion for how to reorganize it makes a lot of sense. Kaldari (talk) 18:50, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Very good idea. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 19:42, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Okay, I did the basic reorganization, which now looks like this:

17 Philosophy
17.1 Anarchism
17.1.1 Tactical uses of violence
17.2 Capitalism and Labor
17.3 The State - Militarism, Prison, Voting, Speech
17.4 Feminism and sexuality
17.5 Atheism

I added some new substantive text in the "The State" section under "free expression" and made a few non-substantive changes in the text to make content flow. Here are my thoughts on things left to do:

  • better citation on the speech material -- when I originally wrote it I just dumped in the cites; there needs to be more work here. (As an aside, I'm a little surprised that the San Diego Free Speech Fight is nowhere else mentioned in the article -- I think it probably should be.)
  • more thinking through of the use of sub-sub-sub-sections, and titles of sub-sub-sections. The sub-section titles I used were intended to be descriptive placeholders while we figure out the best approach, rather than my recommendation as to what to do. I don't particularly like the use of the 4th-level subsections; the content is almost never more than a paragraph or two in practice. On the other hand, without those subsections, the content might be a bit harder to decipher, thus necessitating longer or more awkward section titles (as in "The State - etc etc").
  • Per last comment -- I'm not sure about a separate subsection for "Tactical uses of violence". Looks busy to me, but it is a chunk of material.
  • The last line in the "capitalism and labor" section is important but clunky and not well-placed.
  • The atheism section needs work. First of all, is the title right? Second, it's dominated by the quote and there's not as much actual content. I would find a smaller quote and add a bit more context to the material. I'm a bit ambivalent about the section though -- atheism or perhaps more properly anti-religion activism was not one of her main priorities. But, it is one of her principal analytic concerns -- she routinely cited state, capital, and church as the three major oppressions of anarchist concern. Thoughts?
  • I do feel that the general outline is pretty good now and reflective of the major pillars of Goldman's thought -- anarchism as the organizing principle; anti-capitalism; anti-state; personal liberty; anti-clerical/anti-religion.

I don't have more time to work on this today, so please have at it. --Lquilter (talk) 11:52, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Education section[edit]

Eduen has added a new section on education. However, this section currently consists almost entirely of quotations. It should be converted to cited prose where possible (assuming that we want to retain a section on education). Kaldari (talk) 07:19, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Since we just did that clean-up (not yet finished; sorry; I've been moving IRL) of that section, I am loath to add another section especially one which was not a particularly major part of Goldman's philosophy. In the short term, I would recommend: (1) sex education materials move to the feminism and sexuality section.

    (2) As a longer-term fix, maybe merge the education and sexuality/feminism material into a rewritten section that discusses Goldman's broader views about human self-fulfillment. It would involve a bit of writing and I would think some new content to pull it together, but I think it would probably present a better picture of Goldman's views on these issues. We could thus contextualize patriarchy, family, church, and other enemies of individual self-fulfillment. This would also better explain the claiming of Goldman as an intellectual forebear both by individualist anarchists as well as by third-wave feminists. Thoughts? --Lquilter (talk) 15:59, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
    • That sounds like a reasonable suggestion to me. Kaldari (talk) 03:24, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
    • in the meantime, kaldari took it out; if someone else has time to work on reclaiming useful bits, that's the link. --Lquilter (talk) 10:24, 1 September 2012 (UTC)


Hey -- a new addition in the "Legacy" section cites a song called Emma Goldman. I'm not averse to having a paragraph about EG in music, but to avoid UNDUE WEIGHT problems we should rewrite to summarize some of the homages, including the new rock opera ([2]); the opera "Red Emma" by Gary Kulesha and Carol Bolt ([3]); ragtime; and E.G.. Probably a lot of other individual song references too. --Lquilter (talk) 13:02, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

  • Note: User:Yworo deleted the link to the song on YouTube saying "Please do not link to copyright violations on YouTube." Of course, not all songs on YouTube are copyright violations. I'm not sure if there is a particular reason for suspecting it to be so? --Lquilter (talk) 19:54, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree that it's undue weight to have a paragraph about a single song. A paragraph about musical tributes to Goldman would be a different matter. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 20:37, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

US v U.S.[edit]

We recently had an editor go thru and change almost all of the "US" notes to "U.S." (diff). Then we had an editor change one back to "US" -- sadly, he didn't do them all. (diff) Sadly, in the meantime, I un-did SOME of the edits that the first editor had done (s/he had also "corrected" some quotes), so we can't simply rollback/undo if indeed we want to go back to "US". At any rate, I didn't see anything in the WP:ENGVAR about this matter; what is the policy on it? And can we pick one and stick with it? --Lquilter (talk) 13:22, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

Oops, I didn't realise he'd done a bunch, I only saw the one in the intro. Per WP:RETAIN, there shouldn't be switching between national varieties of English unless the topic has strong ties to a particular English-speaking nation, something I believe isn't the case with a Russian anarchist. An argument could be made that as she was American-based, "U.S" would be preferred, but the editor making the change should seek consensus here first, because I think it's entirely unnecessary. Jon C. 13:48, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
Actually, there's a note at the top that says "this article uses American English", so it's clearly been decided previously that that's the way to go. "U.S." it is, I suppose, but I can't help but feel that Pama73 could be using his/her time more productively. Jon C. 13:50, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
I just didn't realize that "US" or "U.S." was an issue for WP:ENGVAR. You know, I (a US-ian) use both. If anything I use the non-period version more often. --Lquilter (talk) 16:10, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
I see. I thought "U.S." was used almost universally by you USers. Let's change it back, then. Jon C. 08:22, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
Let's not make decisions based on my practices -- I may not be standard. Is the US/U.S. thing somewhere in the MoS and I just couldn't find it? --Lquilter (talk) 10:52, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
WP:NOTUSA says either US or U.S. is fine. Jon C. 10:56, 4 September 2012 (UTC)


In the fourth paragraph of the lead, change "During her life, Goldman was lionized as a free-thinking "rebel woman" by admirers, and derided by critics as an advocate of politically motivated murder and violent revolution" to "...and denounced by critics as an advocate of politically motivated murder and violent revolution." Accusations of murder and violence is not derision. (talk) 22:59, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

  • Scolaire made this change, so DONE. --Lquilter (talk) 13:48, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

fix link[edit]

In the Deportation section, the wikilink redirects to Immigration Act of 1903. The wikilink should be changed.

were intent on using the [[Anarchist Exclusion Act]] of 1918 to deport any non-citizens they could identify as advocates of anarchy or revolution.

were intent on using the [[Immigration_Act_of_1918#Definition_of_anarchist|Anarchist Exclusion Act]] of 1918 to deport any non-citizens they could identify as advocates of anarchy or revolution.

  • Thanks -- Actually, both versions are slightly incorrect. The Anarchist Exclusion Act is 1903, and was expanded in 1918; so I rewrote your suggestion to both link to the correct act (thanks) and to be more accurate. --Lquilter (talk) 21:02, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 6 September 2013[edit]

Grammatical correction. In section 2.4 Feminism And Sexuality it reads, "Like many contemporary feminists, she saw abortion as a tragic consequence of social conditions, and birth control as a positive alternative." This is unclear as written, as it could be misconstrued to mean current contemporary feminists instead of Goldman's own (and first and third wave feminisms are quite different). This should be corrected to "Like many feminists of her time," as this will be clear and unambiguous. Thank you. (talk) 10:04, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

  • good point. I made the change. --Lquilter (talk) 14:56, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
    • It's sad that the word 'contemporary' has become completely useless due to misuse. Kaldari (talk) 17:35, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
      • I'm probably sadder about "impact", but then, my sadness in either case is pretty minimal compared, to lots of other things happening. --Lquilter (talk) 21:07, 6 September 2013 (UTC)


Malik Shabazz has recently deleted an edit I made to the introduction where I referred to Goldman as communist, explaining that "Goldman is not generally regarded as an anarcho-communist" (I had linked the word communist to the anarcho-communism page, btw). The assertion is somewhat odd, as there is a sidebar on the page itself that states "part of a series on Anarcho-communism". The anarcho-communism page additionally lists Goldman as one of the ideology's adherents. Goldman's closest intellectual collaborator, Alexander Berkman, wrote an entire book - Now and After: The ABCs of Communist Anarchism - advocating for the philosophy. One of Goldman's major inspirations, Peter Kropotkin, was the primary theorist of anarcho-communism.

Anarcho-communism should also be listed in the infobox under schools. There is at least as much reason to list Goldman as an anarcho-communist as to list her as an anarcha-feminist (Goldman was highly skeptical of the feminism of her time, but she advocated for communism publicly and repeatedly). In one of her most representative essays, "What I Believe", Goldman writes:

Anarchism...differs from all other theories inasmuch as it points out that man's development, his physical well-being, his latent qualities and innate disposition alone must determine the character and conditions of his work. Similarly will one's physical and mental appreciations and his soul cravings decide how much he shall consume. To make this a reality will, I believe, be possible only in a society based on voluntary co-operation of productive groups, communities and societies loosely federated together, eventually developing into a free communism, actuated by a solidarity of interests. There can be no freedom in the large sense of the word, no harmonious development, so long as mercenary and commercial considerations play an important part in the determination of personal conduct.

In 1935, near the end of her life, Goldman wrote an essay - "There is No Communism in Russia" - where she said that she rejected the Soviet Union not because it was communist, but because it was not communist.

In case people are not aware, there is a fairly active anarcho-capitalist movement in the US. One of its propaganda goals is to present anarcho-capitalism as the most legitimate, if not sole legitimate, form of anarchism. They have insinuated on various occasions that Goldman's ultimate rejection of Leninism was a rejection of all communism. There are also instances of socialists and liberals trying to suppress Goldman's strong communist principles from history. I think it is important that this article set the record straight. Furthermore, it was one of Goldman's significant contributions to history to be one of the first communists to acknowledge the truth about the Soviets. I would like to restore my edit.GPRamirez5 (talk) 23:04, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

As I wrote on my Talk page, I goofed with respect to anarcho-communism, but I think a simpler statement is better in the lead—which was the main point of my edit. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 23:11, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
I have to agree that GPRamirez's version of the sentence is rather wordy for the lead. I prefer the more succinct version here. The details should be saved for the body of the article. Kaldari (talk) 06:22, 30 September 2013 (UTC)

Invitation to help craft a proposal[edit]

Surveillance awareness day is a proposal for the English Wikipedia to take special steps to promote awareness of global surveillance on February 11, 2014. That date is chosen to coincide with similar actions being taken by organizations such as Mozilla, Reddit, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Feedback from editors of this article would be greatly appreciated. Please come join us as we brainstorm, polish, and present this proposal to the Wikipedia Community. --HectorMoffet (talk) 12:55, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Missing Footnote[edit]

I made a small edit in the article and tried to reference it. Lacking a PhD in Wikipedia-Footnotology, I couldn't accomplish it, getting this error message:

Cite error: The opening >ref> tag is malformed or has a bad name (see the help page). Goldman, Emma. Living My Life. 1931. New York: Dover Publications Inc., 1970. ISBN 0-486-22543-7. Cite error: The opening >ref> tag is malformed or has a bad name (see the help page).

(I turned a sign into its opposite, ie >, because the changed sign had the effect of cutting my visualized post at that point, while > doesn't cause that.)

The help page was unhelpful, and I was left helpless with my reference problem.

I suppressed the reference and invited anybody with the proper PhD (nothing less is needed, currently, to insert a footnote!) to read this Talk. This being a Wiki, I hope somebody will correct what I couldn't do properly, by providing the reference and erasing my invitation to the talk. Pan Brerus (talk) 08:01, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

Generally, we don't put such detailed information in the lead. It would be better to elaborate on this in the My Disillusionment in Russia article I think. Kaldari (talk) 12:11, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

nationalit(ies) in lede[edit]


original, reverted back to
Emma Goldman (June 27 [O.S. June 15], 1869 – May 14, 1940) was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing, and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the 20th century.
edited, reverted back from
Emma Goldman (June 27 [O.S. June 15], 1869 – May 14, 1940) was a Lithuanian-born American writer, philosopher, and activist. She is an anarchist known for her political activism, writing, and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the 20th century.

I just reverted a recent edit inserting information about Goldman's birthplace (Kosovo) & national identity (American), along with a little more summary about "writer, philosopher, activist". It wasn't inaccurate (except for the verb tense typo), so this is a judgment call. The extra content seemed redundant & captured by the more prominent "anarchist", with the following sentence. The birthplace & national identity were more substantive judgments: Goldman's birthplace might be summed up in any number of ways, and region is not necessarily the best choice. As to her nationality ("American"), it's true, but also a bit fraught given the last two decades of her life; and her identity is frankly international. Any other thoughts? (I'm sure this has been discussed before, so please feel free to link to those discussions.) --Lquilter (talk) 12:18, 9 March 2014 (UTC)


Practically the whole introduction has no citations. Please add some! --The Dracommunist (talk) 19:57, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

Please see WP:CITELEAD. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 20:51, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 16 August 2014[edit]

Hi. I found the editing procedure bewildering, so my apologies in advance.

My intent in changing these passages is that as written, they very seriously mischaracterize Goldman's views and statements about the Bolshevik Revolution. None of the changes I am suggesting, I think, should be very controversial to anyone familiar with her writings. Emma Goldman never authored a book entitled "My Disillusionment with Russia". She wrote a manuscript entitled "My Two Years In Russia". The US publisher published only part of the original manuscript and gave it the title "My Disillusionment with Russia" (without informing Goldman).

In particular, all of my proposed changes are consistent with the discussion in her PREFACE (Revised) To Second Volume of American Edition which included the missing chapters in a "second volume". The publishers entitled this second volume as "My Further Disillusionment in Russia" which in a sense had the American publisher "doubling down" on their original error. The English version of the book apparently had the correct title and included all the chapters in a single "volume".

John1despair (talk) 21:42, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

Please replace this original text:

Initially supportive of that country's Bolshevik revolution, Goldman reversed her opinion in the wake of the Kronstadt rebellion and denounced the Soviet Union for its violent repression of independent voices. In 1923, she published a book about her experiences, My Disillusionment in Russia.

With this proposed replacement text:

For years Goldman fought "the Marxian theory as a cold, mechanistic, enslaving formula" and wrote about it, for example, in "The Truth About the Bolsheviki"(in Mother Earth Publishing Association, New York, February, 1917.)(Link here)

Initially supportive of that country's revolution, Goldman watched in revulsion as it was hijacked by the increasingly undemocratic machinations of the Bolsheviks that culminated in the Kronstadt rebellion. In 1923, she recorded her experiences in a manuscript entitled My Two Years in Russia. Much to her dismay, she learned that the American publisher been had changed the title of her book to My Disillusionment in Russia without informing her. Adding insult to injury, she learned that the last twelve chapters of her manuscript were entirely missing from the US version, including an Afterword which Goldman felt was the "most vital part" of the book.

John1despair (talk) 21:42, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

@John1despair: Personally, I think your suggested passage is a bit too detailed. This article is meant to be a brief overview of Goldman's life, so we need to keep it concise. I would lose the first paragraph and try to condense the second paragraph further. Kaldari (talk) 14:26, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
X mark.svg Not done You are suggesting a quotation "the Marxian theory as a cold, mechanistic, enslaving formula" without any source whatsoever.
You are also using value-laden phrases "watched in revulsion", "hijacked", "undemocratic machinations" "Adding insult to injury" etc. which are not encyclopedic language, and unless they are sourced from a reliable source are not NPOV. - Arjayay (talk) 15:55, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

Hi. Sorry for failure to include the reference for the quote "the Marxian theory as a cold, mechanistic, enslaving formula": it was the preface to "first volume" of the renamed American edition. I will also attempt to rewrite in more encyclopedic language. I will also include some of the information about the publishing history of the book on the wiki page about the book. Thanks, John1despair (talk) 19:15, 21 August 2014 (UTC) >

strange sentence[edit]

In the section on adolescence it reads: Another teacher tried to molest his female students and was fired when Goldman fought back. How do you "try" to molest? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:33, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

Her father's quote[edit]

If something is in quotations it probably should have an unbiased source who heard it. Since the source of the quote is her own autobiography, it is likely not an actual word-for-word quote, as the 3rd-person article suggests.

Goldman begged her father to allow her to return to school, but instead he threw her French book into the fire and shouted: "Girls do not have to learn much! All a Jewish daughter needs to know is how to prepare gefilte fish, cut noodles fine, and give the man plenty of children." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:04, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

...Actually I'm finding many so-called quotes in the article, supposedly attributed to people she knew or encountered. The problem is all these quotes come from her own book. Seems like a lot of hearsay: he took her into a saloon, gave her $10, and told her she didn't have "the knack". Can that be independently verified, other than by her own statements? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:12, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

Autobiographical information being presented as factual/historical[edit]

It feels like a lot of this article is either plagiarizing or summarizing her autobiography (a somewhat biased source), as opposed to being an unbiased encyclopedia Take the following anecdote for instance:

Once on the street, she caught the eye of a man who took her into a saloon, bought her a beer, gave her ten dollars, informed her she did not have "the knack", and told her to quit the business. She was "too astounded for speech".

The reference for this episode is her autobiography — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:21, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

atheist label in infobox[edit]

@Guy Macon and Carptrash:

The infobox label of Emma Goldman's religion : "none (atheist)" was removed by editor User:Guy Macon; I reverted. I noted there was already discussion here on this talk page but should have started a new discussion. Then User:Carptrash took the atheist information out again, and posted a comment on my user talk page.

You are an atheist and you consider it to be a religion (re. Emma Goldman)? Einar aka Carptrash (talk) 01:38, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
Sigh. No, I consider the "religion" section on the information box to be intended to be "views about religion", rather than some epistemologically narrow definition of "religious belief". This means that the box can be used in ways that are unsurprising to most readers, and place information where it is most relevant and most expected. --Lquilter (talk) 09:58, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
Look, this has already been discussed here (see above), and in infobox discussions in the past. Is there some new purge of infoboxes happening site-wide? Or this just on the Emma Goldman article?
At any rate, if you look on this very page you will see this issue already addressed. In view of that, it's bad form to just change the edit back, again, without raising it on the relevant article talk page. What gives? --Lquilter (talk) 09:58, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Follow-up -- I found this lengthy discussion from December on the infobox page: Template_talk:Infobox_person#Religion_means_what.3F. There was a lot of confused argumentation, and no apparent consensus, and apparently this was all caused by the exact same set of edits by Guy Macon before. --Lquilter (talk) 10:17, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
  • In looking at the discussion a little more closely, it appears that there was a write-up of a "consensus" to remove religion-relevant views from the infobox "religion" field. I honestly couldn't discern said consensus, but as I posted on User:Guy Macon's talk page: "I'm not going to fight this one, because it's not a hill *I* want to die on." On that page, for users who wish to follow up, Guy Macon had a detailed response substantially refuting my claim that this change would result in a "gajillion" discussions. "Gajillion", it appears, was wrong. My bad. As I said on GM's user page, "I do think the encyclopedia is poorer for reading a field label narrowly to mean religious belief as opposed to broadly to mean beliefs about religion. Because now, the central fact that Goldman was an atheist and that was an important identity to her (as it is to most self-defined atheists), will be excluded from the infobox." --Lquilter (talk) 10:31, 8 April 2015 (UTC)


(Please note that nobody has a problem with the use of "Atheist" in the article text. This only concerns infoboxes.)

There are many reasons for saying "Religion = None" rather than "Religion = None (atheist)" in Wikipedia infoboxes. They include:

It goes against our manual of style for infoboxes.

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Infoboxes#Purpose of an infobox says:
  • "When considering any aspect of infobox design, keep in mind the purpose of an infobox: to summarize key facts that appear in the article. The less information it contains, the more effectively it serves that purpose, allowing readers to identify key facts at a glance."
I might add that the infobox talk pages have a long history of rejecting the arguments of various editors who insist on trying to cram more and more information into the infoboxes, using the same basic argument: "yes this is well covered in the article, but this VITALLY IMPORTANT detail MUST be in the infobox as well because mumble mumble (waves hands)." Again and again, the overwhelming consensus has been to put only the bare minimum into the infobox and to expect the reader to read the actual article for the fine details and distinctions.

There is no consensus for it.

This was discussed at length at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 142#Changing "Religion = none" to "Religion = Atheist" on BLP infoboxes. Opinions were mixed, but the two positions with the most support were "Religion = None" or removing the Religion entry entirely.
A bit later, it was discussed at Template talk:Infobox person#Religion means what?. The result of that discussion in in the closing summary: "The preferred phrase would be 'Religion: None'."
More recently, I did a survey and found that hundreds of Wikipedia pages use "Religion: None" in the infobox and only five use "Religion = None (atheist)"
This reflects the strong consensus for "Religion: None" across multiple Wikipedia pages.

It attempts to shoehorn too much information into a one-word infobox entry

In the article, there is room for nuance and explanation, but in the infobox, we are limited to concise summaries of non-disputed material. Terms such as "atheist", "agnostic", "humanist", "areligious", and "anti-religion" mean different things to different people, but "Religion = None" is perfectly clear to all readers, and they can and should go to the article text to find out which of the subtly different variations of not belonging to a religion applies.

It is highly objectionable to many atheists.

Many atheists strongly object to anything that even hints at calling atheism a religion.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13]
One of the standard arguments that evangelic christian apologists use in an attempt to refute atheism is "atheism is just another religion. You need faith to believe that there is no God".[14][15][16][17][18][19][20] That's why so many atheists object to any hint that atheism is a religion and why before adding "(atheism)" there must be a reliable reliable source that establishes that the individual is [A] An atheist, and [B] considers atheism to be a religion.
In addition, "Religion: None (atheist)" usually fails to tell the whole story. Most atheists do reject theism, but they also reject all nontheistic religions and a wide variety of non-religious beliefs. "Religion = None (atheist)" actually narrows down the meaning of "Religion = None" to the point where in many cases the infobox entry is no longer accurate.

It violates the principle of least astonishment.

Consider what would happen if Lady Gaga decided to list "Banana" as her birth date. We would document that fact in the main article with a citation to a reliable source (along with other sources that disagree and say she was born on March 28, 1986). We would not put "Birth date = 1986 (banana)" in the infobox, because that would cause some readers to stop and say "wait...what? Banana is not a birth date...". Likewise we should not put anything in an infobox that would cause some readers to stop and say "wait...what? Atheism is not a religion..."

In my opinion, "Religion = None" remains the best choice for representing the data accurately and without bias. I also have no objection to removing the religion entry entirely. --Guy Macon (talk) 12:13, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

I would be OK with removing the religion parameter entirely. Kaldari (talk) 18:31, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
I am sorry that I missed the earlier discussions and am okay leaving it as is. ("religion _= atheist") As someone raised in a family of atheists I am pretty comfortable with the understanding that atheism is not a religion and feel that I know enough about Ms. Goldman to believe that she would not be comfortable with this either. But I also understand that we are not writing for atheists, fallen away atheists or Ms Goldman. Carptrash (talk) 18:55, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

Request for Comments[edit]

There is an RfC on the question of using "Religion: None" vs. "Religion: None (atheist)" in the infobox on this and other similar pages.

The RfC is at Template talk:Infobox person#RfC: Religion infobox entries for individuals that have no religion.

Please help us determine consensus on this issue. --Guy Macon (talk) 15:21, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

American citizenship[edit]

Hi, I'm translating this well-written article to Vietnamese but there are some information I find quite contradictory. In the head section, there is a statement that "Goldman never became an American citizen".

But in the section 'Deportation', it is said that "her American citizenship invalidated any attempt to deport her under the Anarchist Exclusion Act, which could be enforced only against non-citizens of the US" and a DOL official cited "the revocation of her husband's American citizenship in 1908 had revoked hers as well". These sentences obviously suggested that she had an American citizenship, at least officially when she was marriaged. Can anyone kindly tell me what is the truth here? Michel Djerzinski (talk) 15:53, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

@Michel Djerzinski: Huh, interesting question. The US government's official position is here - she was never a citizen, because her husband had obtained his citizenship fraudulently. She disagreed (per the NYT articles - footnotes 110 and 111). I removed the statement from the lead paragraph; the section on "deportation" is not perfectly clear, but is at least accurate as best as I can tell. —Luis (talk) 18:14, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
Thank you.Michel Djerzinski (talk) 03:15, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

@LuisVilla: In Section "England, Canada, and France", it is mentioned that:

She worked on analytical studies of drama, expanding on the work she had published in 1914. But the audiences were "awful" and she never finished her second book on the subject.

But in a previous section covering the period 1908-1917, there isn't a word about her work on drama(The Social Significance of the Modern Drama, 1914). Do you think a line should be added here to make the story more coherent? Michel Djerzinski (talk) 15:20, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

Death of Alexander Berkman[edit]

I just spotted another inconsistent info. In this article, Berkman is said to die one day after she came to his deathbed (Drinnon). In the article of Berkman, his suicide attempt, her arrival and his death happened in one day only (Wexler). I have neither of these books and cannot confirm which is true. Can anyone help? Michel Djerzinski (talk) 15:56, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

The Berkman article is right. He shot himself in the early morning and died late at night, the same day (June 28). See Goldman's account of "Alexander Berkman's Last Days", or historian Paul Avrich's last book, completed by his daughter and available on Google Books. (talk) 22:56, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
Fixed, and added the Wexler reference. Kaldari (talk) 02:31, 19 November 2015 (UTC)


Please add that she said prostitution was caused by capitalism here: Thank you. Pepper9798 (talk) 21:31, 18 November 2015 (UTC)