Emma Goldman, Eugene Debs, Jane Addams: Honoring Antiwar Resisters on the 100th Anniv. of WWI’s End | Democracy Now!
It actually reminded me of something which a hundred years ago someone quite different said about patriotism. I’m thinking about Emma Goldman, the great anarchist leader, who was one of many Americans who resisted the war and was punished for it. Goldman was sentenced to two years in prison for organizing against the draft. And at her trial, she was accused by the prosecution of being unpatriotic. And she replied this way. I’ll just read you what she wrote. “Gentlemen of the jury,” she asked—and, of course, in those days, juries were all gentlemen, no ladies—”may there not be different kinds of patriotism as there are different kinds of liberty.” And her patriotism, she explained, was like that—and these are her words—”of the man who loves a woman with open eyes. He is enchanted by her beauty, yet he sees her faults.” I think that’s a pretty good definition of patriotism, where you can love your country, but you are not blind to its faults. And when you see your country doing something that you think is wrong, such as joining a war that it has no business being in, you have every right to speak out.
So, my main feeling about this hundredth anniversary of this terrible war is that we should be honoring people like Emma Goldman, like Eugene Debs, like social worker Jane Addams—just to speak about Americans—who saw the war as madness when it was going on, did everything they could to bring it to a stop. You know, they were patriots also.
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about Jane Addams, Eugene Debs and others, the heart of your book To End All Wars.
ADAM HOCHSCHILD: Right. Well, one of the things—you know, when we look back at the First World War, I think at this point most of us would agree that if there was any one single event in the 20th century that we could reach back and magically undo, wouldn’t it be the war of 1914 to 1918? Not only did it produce a colossal death toll, but it left behind a legacy of bitterness and resentment in Germany that Hitler was able to manipulate so cleverly to gain power and start an even more destructive war and the Holocaust, as well. I think it’s impossible to imagine the Second World War happening without the first.