Berkman, Alexander and Emma Goldman. Deportation: Its Meaning and Menace. Hand-written draft. December 1919.

Item Type Manuscript
Title Deportation: Its Meaning and Menace
Extra Rough draft, hand-written
Place Ellis Island, New York
Date December 1919
Author Alexander Berkman
Author Emma Goldman
Archive Emma Goldman Papers
Date associated with this record:
December 1919
Created by Patrick Golden .
Last edited by Patrick Golden .

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The blockade of Russia came during Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. The blockade began in the spring of 1918, originally in an attempt to prevent Germany from receiving supplies, though it continued after the armistice of November 1918 in opposition to the Bolsheviks. The blockade appears to have worsened mass starvation in Russia. It was removed in January 1920.

In 1918, the Irish nationalist political party Sinn Féin elected 73 members to the British Parliamentout of 105 Irish seats, running on a platform of severance of all ties to England, and the creation of an Irish nation. In January 1919, the Sinn Féin members assembled in Dublin as the Dáil Éireann (National Assembly), proclaimed the independence of Ireland, and formed a government with Eamon De Valera as president. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) began a guerilla war against British troops in Ireland, leading to British reprisals and fighting until a truce was called in 1921, and Eire became an independent nation.

Several clashes between police and protesters had taken place in India in spring 1919. Indians protested the passing of the Rowlatt Act, whose purpose was to “cope with anarchical and revolutionary crime” and which gave the British government, in charge in India, the power to silence the press, hold political prisoners without trial, arrest suspects without warrants, and stop anything considered “seditious.” In response to the bill Gandhi started the satyagraha movement, whose supporters vowed nonviolence and civil disobedience of certain laws. The movement gained strength after the massacre of protesters on 13 April 1919 in Jallianwala Bagh.The protest, held on a Sunday, was attended by an estimated 10,00 people, with many coming into the square to celebrate a Hindu festival. British General Reginald E.H. Dyer blocked the only exit to the square, and, apparently, without warning, had his troops open fire on the crowd for ten minutes until they had ran out of ammunition.  An estimated 400 people were killed, and close to 1200 were injured. The massacre marked the beginning of the decline of British rule in India, as the Congress Party gained support and started clamoring for an independent India.

Egypt, which had become a British protectorate after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1915, became the scene of a popular revolution in 1919. A Wafd, or delegation, was formed to go to London to appeal to the British government for independent Egyptian rule. The British government denied the request to travel to London, arrested four leaders of the Wafd on 8 March 1919, and deported them to Malta. The arrest spurred massive student and worker revolts, strikes, and violence throughout Egypt that involved men, women, and children from all social groups and classes. British troops were sent to crush the demonstrations by force, resulting in more violence. The British government, realizing the strength of the Nationalist movement, released the prisoners in April and allowed them to travel to the Peace Conference in Paris to make their case, in return for the promises of Wafd leaders to stop the people from demonstrating and rioting. The British government however retained control of Egypt despite the protests and revolts.

The Anglo-Russian Treaty of St. Petersburg of 1907 split Persia into three zones, with Russia controlling the northern zone, Britain the southern zone, and a buffer zone in between. After the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, Russia began to withdraw its troops from Persia and loosen its grip on the economy and oil of the country, leaving Britain as the primary foreign power with interests in Persia. The Anglo-Persian Agreement of 1919 gave Britain control of Persian oil as well as other commercial interests and privileges. The British government also obtained full military and financial control over Persia. The treaty was attacked by the United States and France, due to the dubious nature of its negotiations and accusations that it violated the principles of the League of Nations. Hoping to find a way to weaken Britain’s control over the Persian economy after World War I, the Persian government turned to the United States, seeing America as a liberator from Russian and British dominance. American capital was used for oil development, and investors were given oil and financial concessions.

In 1919, Korea was under the colonial rule of Japan. On 1 March 1919. a group of religious and cultural leaders signed a “Proclamation of Independence” and read it before a crowd of native Koreans in Seoul, which ignited marches and demonstrations throughout the country. The leaders were arrested and protests continued.The Japanese police and military responded with force, mass arrests, burning houses and churches, repressing peaceful demonstrations, and killing thousands.

Woodrow Wilson went into the treaty negotiations with “Fourteen Points” that eventually created the League of Nations whose mandate was to negotiate and prevent conflicts from occurring around the world and to ensure self determination for all countries. Despite these promises, the peace process that resulted in the Treaty of Versailles effectively divided the countries in what used to be the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires, as well as German colonies, amongst the European victors of war, Britain and France.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson ran for reelection under the platform of keeping the U.S. out of World War I. The election results were close, and opponent Charles Hughes did not concede to Wilson until November 22, after the final count announced Wilson had won California.

The campaign for war publicity was spearheaded by the Committee on Public Information (CPI), which was created in April 1917. Wilson chose George Creel, a muckraking journalist to head the committee, whose members also included the Secretaries of State, War, and the Navy. The Committee’s goal was to create and spread propaganda for the war cause throughout America through both censorship of the press and national publicity. Creel was also a member of the Censorship Board, which along with the U.S. Postal Service under Postmaster General Albert Sydney Burleson, was responsible for efforts to ban pro-German, pro-Bolshevik and other radical publications, and the prevention of anti-American materials from leaving the U.S.

Sheep is a common symbol for Christian or Jewish worshipers of God. Mammon refers to worldly possessions, and Christian and Jewish believers were supposed to choose whether they were to serve God or Mammon. Baal was a pagan god, whose prophets the Old Testament Jewish prophet Elijah confronted. E.G. is claiming that the European masses were being innocently led to the slaughter by the followers of wealth and material possessions in a fight against a false god, or world power.

The Nazarene refers to Jesus Christ, who was crucified on a plot of land called Golgotha.
Many Progressive intellectuals at the time, including John Dewey, Walter Lippmann, and Upton Sinclair supported the war. Not all of them did, however, as Dewey’s disciple, Randolph Bourne, was one of the most vocal anti-war Progressives. His article “War and the Intellectuals” was reprinted in Mother Earth in June 1917.
Draft handwritten by AB uses overweening instead.
The Sophists were philosophers based mainly in Athens in the fifth-century B.C. They traveled around giving lectures (for a fee) on rhetoric and logic, and argued that right or wrong, as objective terms, did not exist.
The military draft was supported by leaders of the Preparedness campaigns. Preparedness was the idea that there should be a national, mass conscripted army raised and prepared through universal military training. As American intervention in the war became more probable, and the debate around a wartime draft increased, Progressives like Walter Lippmann, Upton Sinclair, and John Dewey, and AFL leader Samuel Gompers, began to support the idea of a draft as a supposedly democratic means to defeat German militarism, with Gompers proposing exemptions for skilled laborers and full-time union officials. Wilson was hesitant about the idea of a draft but when Theodore Roosevelt proposed sending a volunteer garrison to fight in Europe, Wilson was swayed in the direction of a draft and Congress approved it in May 1917.
Despite repression, initially many people opposed the draft, as well as the war. E.G.‘s No Conscription League, as well as the Socialist Party, and its leader Eugene V. Debs, were major opponents of the war and conscription. Crystal Eastman’s New York State Woman’s Peace Party, as well as her American Union Against Militarism and its affiliate, the National Civil Liberties Bureau, pressed for fair treatment of conscientious objectors. Before the war began, Jane Addams also spoke out against war and conscription.Men who were supposed to register, as well as some who were drafted, found ways to escape military service, with many moving to Canada or Mexico. As a result of the number of draft dodgers, the federal government, in collusion with local officials, conducted “slacker raids” in the summer of 1918, after the German offensive into France, to capture people who had refused to register for the draft or failed to report to induction. Violations of civil liberties, such as random interrogation, and the detention of men with no warrants or charges pressed were rampant.
E.G.‘s article “Promoters of the War Hysteria”, which appeared in Mother Earth in March, 1917, criticized the suppression of labor and radical organizations. In E.G.‘s speech to the No-Conscription League in New York on 18 May, 1917, she defended free speech and freedom of the press as essential to democracy. Her speech led to her arrest and indictment under the Sedition Act for suggesting to violently resist conscription and the war effort. Mother Earth also printed “The War Hysteria and Our Protest” by Leonard D. Abbott in August 1917, which criticized the government’s suppression of free speech and civil liberties.
Most opposition to the war was silenced through the Espionage and Sedition Acts, as well as through intimidation and conformity pressure, fueled by patriotism and xenophobia. The I.W.W., one of the most vocal opponents of the war, was prosecuted by the government on the grounds that it was limiting production with labor stoppages, and impeding the war effort by convincing men to not register for the draft or desert from the army. Mothers, who the federal government feared would find ways to prevent their sons from fighting, were the subject of movies aimed at ensuring that women would not interfere with the war effort. The CPI and the military, aided by the motion picture industry, went on a campaign to highlight the dangers of overbearing motherly love as dangerous to the war effort, preventing the natural development of the aggressive young man. These enlistment movies and propaganda showed the ideal American mother as self sacrificing, and a force of morale for the young soldiers being sent overseas.
The Union of Russian Workers was founded in 1914, as an anarchist-syndicalist group. Led by Peter Bianki, it was dedicated to uniting Russian workers in America and Canada. The group was specifically targeted by Attorney General Palmer, and their headquarters were raided frequently. They published Khlieb-i-Volia, (Freedom and Bread) with Peter Kravchuk as editor and Naum Stepanuk as secretary. Bianki, Kravchuck, and Stepanuk were deported to Russia aboard the S.S. Buford, along with E.G. and A.B.

The Espionage Act of June 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918 were used to prosecute language or actions disloyal to the government, unsupportive of the war, or against conscription.  These laws gave U.S. Attorney Generals Thomas W. Gregory and his successor A. Mitchell Palmer the tools necessary to persecute alien radicals throughout the U.S. during and after the war. They was further aided by Postmaster General Albert Burleson who prevented the mailing of periodicals that he considered radical or threatening to the government during the war under the Espionage Act, including Mother Earth. Offices of radical organizations such as the New York offices of the I.W.W., as well as the Russian Soviet Bureau were raided, and membership lists were used as evidence of a Bolshevik conspiracy in the U.S. The radical Rand School in New York was raided in June 1919.The office of Mother Earth was raided June 16, 1917. Books, records and other anarchist related material were seized, included a card index of associates and the subscription list.

In AB’s draft “is the great prophet of the New Democracy a megalomaniac of just a weakling strong only in rhetoric?”

 The Moor has done his part.” This a reference to a quote from Friedrich Schiller=s play “Die Verschwörung des Fiesko zu Genua” (“The Conspiracy of Fiesco at Genoa”). The original read “Der Mohr hat seine Schuldigkeit gethan, der Mohr kahn gehen” which means “The Moor has done his part, the Moor can go.” It was used as a general expression meaning eliminating someone or something once it is no longer needed.

 1919 was an active year for organized labor. There were strikes throughout the country. The two largest were the Seattle General Strike in which 55-65,000 participated, and the Steel Strike, in which over 300,000 participated

In AB’s draft “it has given the toilers a sense of their great power.”

In August 1919, Boston policeman formed a local union under the A.F. of L., the Boston Policeman’s Union, to protest poor pay, long hours, and bad working conditions. When the police commissioner claimed that the union was illegal and suspended 19 policemen who had joined the union in September, a strike was announced and more than 1,400 members of the Boston police, about 4/5 of the total force, went on strike to demand recognition of the union. Looting and rioting ensued throughout Boston. By December 1919, the Boston police force had been replenished with World War I veterans. The Governor of Massachusetts, Calvin Coolidge, in charge of negotiating with the protesting police officers, declared to Samuel Gompers that “there is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, anytime.”

In January 1918 the Bolshevik government announced the refusal to make payments on Russia’s national debt incurred by the imperial government, which was estimated at the time to be over 11 million U.S. dollars. By February 1919, the Bolsheviks had entered into negotiations with individual countries, pledging the reinstatement of interest payments in exchange for trade agreements and recognition of the Bolshevik government.

Laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which temporarily stopped Chinese immigration into the U.S., attempted to limit Chinese workers, who were considered a threat to white labor. A similar law pertaining to Japanese immigrants was passed in 1924. Anti-Chinese as well as anti-Japanese sentiment was particularly strong in the West, due to labor competition, outright racism, and the upsurge of nativist feelings during the war.

The first wave of anti-Semitic pogroms in Russia started in 1881 in the aftermath of the assassination of Czar Alexander II. The government and anti-Semitic press claimed the violence as popular protest against Jewish exploitation. The rioting started in Elisavetgrad and the government was afraid that social revolutionaries would try to take advantage of the violence for their own purposes. The Russian government sponsored anti-Jewish legislation and administrative measures. The pogroms of 1903-1906 killed 3,000 Jews and had similar causes as those of 1881, as well as the problems arising from urbanization: peasant unrest, labor disorder, and the continuing of anti-revolutionary political activity. Anti-Semitic newspapers, mismanagement by local officials, and deep seated anti-Semitism among the non Jewish population also helped in bringing about the pogroms.

The “Black Hundreds” was the generic name for the collection of small right wing groups that instigated attacks on Jews and Radicals. Opposing liberalization, and advocating nationalism, autocracy, Orthodoxy, and anti-Semitism, the terrorist arm of the Russian right wing organized pogroms against Jews, beginning in 1881. The Black Hundreds were encouraged by anti-Semitic press, and pamphlets. Oftentimes the local and provincial authorities would collaborate with the Black Hundreds in instigating pogroms, such as the pogrom of June 1906 in Bialystok that killed 200 Jews and injured 700.

In AB’s draft “were the infamous aids of an infamous regime…”

Though there were no officially sanctioned Soviet pogroms, from 1919 to 1921 pogroms were initiated by the anti-Bolshevik White forces. There were several high ranking Jews amongst the Bolsheviks including Leon Trotsky, though most Jews, who were artisans and tradesmen and were suffering as a result of Soviet economic policy, did not consider themselves Bolsheviks. Jews quickly started to support the Reds in the civil war when the Volunteer Army of the White forces inflicted violence on Jewish communities, such as after their defeat in the Ukraine in December 1919.

Several state and local authorities took action to limit or ban the teaching of German in schools. The New York City Board of Education ordered that no one could begin the study of German in the fall of 1918, although those who needed to finish study for credit were allowed to continue.

Paul N. Miliukov was a liberal in the Duma in Czarist Russia and the leader of the Constitutional Democratic (Kadet) party. When the Provisional Government came to power in February 1917, he became the Minister of Foreign Affairs. In April 1917 a note he had sent to the Allies promising to fully observe Russia’s war obligations became public. Demonstrations erupted accusing Miliukov of imperialist intentions, followed by counter-demonstrations on his behalf. He resigned in May 1917 due to a conflict in the provisional government regarding a coalition with the Soviet Executive Committee. Alexander Kerensky was a moderate socialist lawyer in the Russian Duma, and under the Provisional Government served as the Minister of Justice and then Minister of War and Navy. He eventually became the Prime Minister and attacked the Bolsheviks, raiding their newspaper offices, suppressing Pravda their newspaper, and claiming them to be German spies. He was thrown out of office when the Bolsheviks came to power in October 1917.

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) was born in England and emigrated to America in 1774. He was an influential writer, and advocated American independence from England.

Patrick Henry (1736-1799) was a member of the House of Burgesses and became governor of Virginia in 1776. He was a leading figure of protest against British rule and proponent of colonial independence, urging Virginia citizens to take up arms against the English, claiming in 1775 “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Quite possibly a reference to the raid of the Russian People’s House on November 7, 1919. An English class was taking place at the time of the raid. 200 people were taken in for questioning, and several were badly beaten.

On November 26, 1919, seventy-three prisoners awaiting deportation at Ellis Island began a hunger strike, demanding that the wire barrier which separated them from their visitors be removed. The hunger strike ended after four days, and the prisoners demands were not met.

The Third Section of His Majesty’s Private Imperial Chancery was founded in 1826 by Nicholas I and was a secret department in charge of censorship and suppression of liberal ideas. In 1880 is was transferred to the Ministry of Interior, and was disbanded after the February 1917 revolution.

Americanization of the foreigner” dealt with efforts to help assimilate immigrants into American society. There were two leading ideas on how this could be achieved. The social reformers, led by Jane Addams and Josephine Roche (the head of the CPI’s Division of Work With The Foreign Born) advocated education and tried to create a receptive environment for Old World heritages. The “100 Percent Americanizers” wanted to stamp out all traces of Old World identity amongst immigrants, oftentimes calling for loyalty to America and using threats of violence and deportation of immigrants and aliens considered to be troublemakers. With the growing popularity of Preparedness and American entry into the War, the 100 Percent idea took precedent, led by and contributing to the anti German feeling in the U.S.

A 17 November 1919 report from the Department of Justice on anarchy outlines the case against Jacob Kershner, E.G.‘s first husband. The report validated the ruling of 8 April 1909 that said Kershner obtained citizenship illegally through fraud in 1884 because he had lied about his age. The Department of Justice used this ruling to declare that E.G. was an illegal resident of America because she had gained her citizenship through her marriage to Kershner. This allowed the Department of Justice to deport E.G. under the Immigration Act of 1918.

In February 1917, Congress passed a new immigration law, stating that any immigrant who advocated anarchy could be taken into custody and deported within five years of arrival. The law was amended in October 1918 in order to deport aliens who wrote, published or circulated articles advocating; or was a member or affiliate of any organization which advocated opposition to all organize government, unlawful damage or destruction of property, or sabotage. The amendment stipulated that aliens could be deported regardless of how long they had lived in the United States.

The first federal Anti-Anarchist Act was passed in 1903, under the Immigration Act, prohibiting the entrance of anarchists into the country and allowing for the deportation of any anarchist immigrant within three years of their arrival in America. British anarchist John Turner was the first to be convicted under the Act.

Criminal-Syndicalist legislation was similar to the Anti-Anarchist Acts and made the Sedition and Espionage Acts permanent legislation. The laws were passed by individual states, specifically aimed at destroying the I.W.W. Whereas the Espionage and Sedition Acts applied only to wartime activity, criminal-syndicalism laws were applicable during peacetime.

Socrates (469-399 B.C.) was a Greek philosopher, who, unlike the Sophists, did not charge a fee for his services. He forced his pupils to examine their beliefs and perceptions of the world by continually questioning them. This questioning involved such topics as religion and politics, which eventually displeased the Athenian government.He was convicted of impiety and corrupting the youth, and sentenced to death.

Gracchi were two Roman brothers (Tiberius, d. 133B.C. and Caius, d. 121 B.C.) that advocated social reform in the Senate, seeking to redistribute public lands that the rich had taken over, and reappropriating the proceeds of taxes on certain lands from the rich aristocracy for the benefit of the poor. Tiberius= reforms were opposed by the Senate, and after his death, the reforms of Caius were reversed.

Aristides (530-468 B.C.) was also known as “The Just” for his dedication to real justice, and for his efforts to stamp out corruption in the treasury, as well as to ensure fair distribution of land and money. He was banished from Athens in 482 B.C. because of a conflict with his political rival, Themistocles and his enduring popularity as a figure fighting for justice. He returned to Athens in 479 B.C. and died in poverty.

Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677), a Portugese Jewish philosopher, was excommunicated from Judaism due to his supposed heretical thoughts in 1656 and lived in exile in Holland until his death.

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) was the Russian writer of War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Later in his life, Tolstoy advocated his own ideas of Christianity, and became an ascetic and self proclaimed moral leader, advocating pacifism and anarchy. He was excommunicated from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1901 as his popularity and prestige grew and a cult grew around him and his beliefs. Tolstoy was influential among American anarchists.

An injury to one is the concern of all’ was the slogan of the Knights of Labor.

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