Emma Goldman,
Single Taxers and Socialism

Bolton Hall

[Reprinted from Land and Freedom, March-April, 1932]

Emma Goldman's Living My Life makes many mentions of "the Single Taxers" who so plentifully stood by her in her endless fights for free speech, for birth control, etc. the last a fight like the fights against the most of Comstockism that has been won. Wherever Liberty was assailed, Emma stood up for it, absolutely unafraid. She names many Single Taxers and recounts their efforts to help.

I feel sure that her absolute frankness and plain speaking about herself, and about every one else whom she knew, will put her book above Rousseau's Confessions and Marie Baskirtseff's Journal.

About Russia she is completely disillusioned; naturally, not seeing the fundamental importance of then" attack upon private property in land. She seems to fail to realize that the freed slave is ever the most cruel slave-driver, and that the Socialist is always and mainly an authoritarian, although she does see that the Single Taxer's belief is akin to anarchy.

She defines anarchy as "the philosophy of a new social order based on liberty, unrestricted by man-made laws" the conception that "all forms of government rest on violence and are therefore wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary." No wonder she is shocked at the Russian "republic."

All Socialists believe that laws made by wise persons can compel people to be good. Naturally, they incline to the Roman Catholic view: that it is of little consequence how many are destroyed if only the System succeeds in well-being for the remainder.

Considering the 150,000,000 of ex-serfs, nearly all illiterate, Russia seems to be doing as well as could be expected, and holds out great hope? because she has apparently pretty well rubbed out private property in land. Tyranny there is no worse than in the French Revolution, though it deals with far greater multitudes, far more widely scattered. At any rate, Russia has tackled the economic question, and does not torture her political prisoners as we torture ours.