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Free Society -- an Exponent of Anarchist-Communism
Chicago 1901 - Vol. 7, No. 1 (whole no. 299) (February 3, 1901) to No. 44 (whole no. 342) (December 29, 1901), a complete volume (volume 8 began with the first issue in January 1902), unbound as issued. Small folio. Generally good, with archival repairs to two issues, splitting to most spines, some short tears, and discoloration to the cover of the September 8 issue. The February 3 issue is lacking pages 7 and 8, otherwise the volume is complete. Occasional blue pencil notations in the margins in a difficult-to-read but orderly hand. Abe Isaak was a Russian Mennonite, then nihilist, then anarchist, who came to the US in 1890 and eventually settled in Portland, Oregon, where he launched The Firebrand in 1895. It was an anarchist weekly that also staunchly advocated free love and women's rights. In 1897, Isaak and his staff were arrested and charged with obscenity (later dropped), which prompted the suspension of the magazine. It reappeared a little over a year later in San Francisco as Free Society and though it continued to advocate anarchism, free love, and women's rights, worked to stay clear of government censors. In early 1901, Isaak moved the weekly to Chicago. This volume represents the first published in that city. By this time Free Society was the leading anarchist periodical in America published in English, reaching many more than Johann Most's Freiheit, the most famous American anarchist periodical of the period, though published in German. Emma Goldman, America's leading female anarchist, had become a regular contributor to Free Society. She welcomed Isaak and his wife into the Chicago home she shared with her comrade lover Hippolyte Havel. Soon Goldman began a nationwide speaking tour, which Isaak chronicled in Free Society, including when police disrupted proceedings. In Cleveland, Goldman was approached by a well dressed man in his mid-twenties. His fervor and talk of violence made Goldman wary but she thought little of him until he turned up in Chicago in July asking for similar assistance. Isaak was convinced he was a government spy and he warned comrades against the man whom he described in the September 1 issue. Five days later, in Buffalo, the man, soon to be revealed as Leon Czolgosz, shot and killed President McKinley. During interrogation, Czolgosz claimed he had been inspired to act after attending Goldman's Cleveland speech. Goldman, along with Isaak, Havel, and ten other anarchists were arrested. Though no evidence was found linking Goldman and Isaak to the attack, they were held and questioned for two week before being released. This, of course, interrupted the publication of Free Society. After a silence of nearly a month, the weekly reappeared on October 6, containing Goldman's historic indictment of capitalism entitled "The Tragedy at Buffalo". In it she began: "Never before in the history of governments has the sound of a pistol shot so startled, terrorized, and horrified the self-satisfied, indifferent, contented, and indolent public, as has the one fired by Leon Czolgosz when he struck down William McKinley, president of the money kings and trust magnates of this country." The essay ends this way: "My heart goes out to [Czolgosz] in deep sympathy, and to all the victims of a system of inequality, and the many who will die the forerunners of a better, nobler, grander life." Despite pronouncements by the anarchist movement that it declaimed violence, it never recovered from the howl of bad publicity that attended the assassination (though it has recently made considerable headway under the label of libertarianism). In 1904, Isaak moved Free Society to New York where it closed in November of that year. This is surely the most important volume of the many Free Society published and is one of the most important printed artifacts of anarchist literature. Exceedingly scarce. [Attributes: Soft Cover]
      [Bookseller: Periodyssey]
Last Found On: 2013-11-29           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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