Lucy Parsons

‘Anarchist’ is often hurled as a slur. But can anarchists teach us something about democracy?

  • Posted on: 2 February 2018
  • By: thecollective

These divergent views of anarchists illustrate the problem with the label: It is imprecise and malleable, and it means whatever (usually bad) things different people want it to mean. Supposedly the one principle that unites anarchists is their opposition to government, but that statement tells us little about their actual views.

Still, is it possible that self-identified anarchists from the past can tell us something about our politics in the present? Specifically, in the quest for a just and equitable society, are political labels of all kinds not just irrelevant, but counterproductive and even divisive?

The Enigmatic Anarchist

  • Posted on: 17 January 2018
  • By: thecollective

Lucy Parsons is often lionized as a pioneering black radical, a powerful writer and orator who championed workers’ emancipation through organizations like the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), while flouting racist conventions with her white husband, Albert Parsons.

But while this sketch carries the patina of truth, it is, like so many aspects of Parsons, rife with contradictions. Throughout her life, Parsons hid her background as an African American and a former slave, instead claiming she was of Mexican and Native American descent. She refrained from denouncing the plight of black workers, focusing almost exclusively on an urban working class composed primarily of European immigrants. And despite being a delegate at the founding convention of the IWW in 1905, her involvement with the radical union thereafter was minimal.

Jacqueline Jones Talks Lucy Parsons, the Black Woman Anarchist That History Forgot

  • Posted on: 3 January 2018
  • By: thecollective

by Stassa Edwards, via Jezebel

History has nearly forgotten Lucy Parsons (c. 1853-1942), the radical anarchist and orator who enthused working-class audiences for decades with her rhetoric of resistance and violence. She struck fear into the hearts of the Chicago police and businessmen, agitating for workers to seize their rights by whatever means necessary, including violence. By 1887, one newspaper warned that authorities in Chicago “feared this one woman more than all of the chief Anarchists combined.” Another described her as “one of the most notorious women.”

Lucy Parsons bio reveals new facts about the birth, ethnicity of the 'Goddess of Anarchy'

  • Posted on: 15 November 2017
  • By: thecollective

From the Chicago Tribune

By Mark Jacob

Lucy Parsons, an anarchist firebrand who was one of the most enigmatic Chicagoans ever, might fit in better today than she did during her own time a century ago.

She was a black woman married to a white man. Scandalous then, no big thing now.