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  • Originally published 03/11/2014

    History as a Collaborative Effort

    Karen Avrich co-wrote "Sasha and Emma: the Anarchist Odyssey of Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman" with her late father, Paul Avrich of Queens College.

  • Originally published 05/01/2013

    Historian takes another look at the trial of Haymarket ‘anarchists’

    For anyone who observes May 1 from a labor history perspective, there’s a fresh take on the Haymarket Riots of 1886 and the trial that followed.Timothy Messer-Kruse, author of “The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists: Terrorism and Justice in the Gilded Age,” examines the litigation during which several “anarchists” were convicted and later hanged for their roles in a bombing that killed seven police officers in Chicago.For much of the more than 100 years since, said Messer-Kruse, the trial has been portrayed as a sham of justice likely perpetrated to suppress the burgeoning labor movement, which then included support of an eight-hour workday.But if the trial harmed the labor movement, Messer-Kruse said, at least some blame must go to the defense lawyers of the alleged anarchists....

  • Originally published 04/21/2013

    Murder! Madness! Terror!

    A member of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September during the infamous Munich Olympic massacre in 1972.During the ancient Olympic games a sacred truce (ekecheiria, the stress on the penultimate syllable -- literally a holding of hands) prevailed. It was an elaborate procedure: runners (spondophoroi) were sent out all over Greece to announce the beginning of the truce which lasted a month and sometimes longer. Violators were heavily punished. In the High Middle Ages the Treuga Dei, the truce of God imposed by the church, persisted for centuries. On certain days there was to be no fighting and certain categories of people were never to be attacked. This armistice, not specifically connected with sports, was universally respected. 

  • Originally published 01/23/2013

    Murray Polner: Review of Paul and Karen Avrich’s "Sasha and Emma: The Anarchist Odyssey of Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman" (Harvard, 2012)

    Murray Polner is a regular book reviewer for HNN.Years ago Paul Avrich, my high school classmate and later a colleague in a college where he was a professor and I an adjunct, invited me to spend an evening with an aging group of Jewish anarchists. At the gathering a woman told me that other than Eleanor Roosevelt, the country’s most remarkable woman had been Emma Goldman. Ahrne Thorne agreed. He was the last editor of the anarchist “Freie Arbeiter Shtimme” (Free Worker’s Voice, it was closed in 1977 after 87 years of publication when it had 1,700 subscribers). He said he had met Alexander Berkman and knew Emma Goldman well. It was hard for me to imagine these elderly men and women as threats to the Republic. They were also despised by Communists because anarchists had the temerity to reject their Soviet paradise.