Publication information
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Source: Truth Seeker
Source type: magazine
Document type: letter to the editor
Document title: “A Case of Misunderstanding”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 2 November 1901
Volume number: 28
Issue number: 44
Pagination: 697

“A Case of Misunderstanding.” Truth Seeker 2 Nov. 1901 v28n44: p. 697.
society (criticism); Emma Goldman (public addresses); Emma Goldman (philosophy); McKinley assassination (personal response: anarchists); Franklin Pierce (public addresses); Franklin Pierce; anarchism (personal response).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; Emma Goldman; Franklin Pierce (b).
The author of the letter (below) is identified solely as “A Liberal Club Attendant.”

The author’s location is given as New York.


A Case of Misunderstanding [excerpt]

To the Editor of The Truth Seeker.
     One of the greatest troubles in the world is that people misunderstand one another. At times it is almost a hopeless task to make yourself understood. You may say as plainly as you can that two and two make four, but the listener will swear that you said that two and two make three and a half. The other man may be as honest as you are, he may have no intention of misrepresenting you; but he simply does not understand you, and all your explanations will not mend matters. You know what you said and he knows what he heard. As an illustration of this fact I will give the following case:
     On October 18, at the regular meeting of the Manhattan Liberal Club, Emma Goldman made a speech in which she said that personally she was opposed to assassination, and, as an Anarchist who did not believe in shedding blood, was justified in denouncing it; but, she added, an Archist, a man who upholds the government policy in sending American boys to butcher Filipinos, has no right to condemn assassination. No amount of persecution, she concluded, will do away with assassination. If you want to get rid of assassins, change the conditions which produce them.
     Whatever we may think of Emma Goldman’s philosophy, it was plain, to me at least, that instead of championing murder she was decidedly opposed to it. But the lecturer of the evening, in his reply to his critics, insisted that Emma Goldman advocated assassination and defended Czolgosz’s act. Mr. Pierce, let it be understood, is not an ignorant man; he is a prominent lawyer, and at one time held the position of assistant district attorney in this city. Now, if a man of his stamp misapprehends a statement made in plain language, what shall we say of people belonging to the Tom, Dick, and Harry tribe? Need we wonder that men hate and persecute one another? You may swear by everything that is sacred that you are innocent, that you have never been guilty of any crime, but what good will it do you? Your accuser will also swear by everything that is sacred that you are convicted by your own words.
     While on the subject of the Liberal Club, I wish to address a few words to the fighting element of the Club. At the meeting mentioned above, Mr. Pierce’s lecture was entitled, “Crowd Not and Submit Not to Crowding.” The lecturer pointed out the evil of trusts and combinations protected by legislation, and of strong nations crowding out weak ones. Incidentally he touched upon Anarchy, and said that he had no use for Anarchists and assassins. His remarks on this subject lasted only one minute. It was evident that he knew nothing of the philosophy of Anarchism, and needed enlightenment.



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