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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/12994/voltairine-de-cleyre-penitent-priestess-of-anarchism/

Voltairine de Cleyre: Penitent Priestess of Anarchism

June 17, 2010 by

In the late 1880s, Voltairine de Cleyre, a mere girl of 19 or 20, was traipsing around Western Michigan lecturing on Thomas Paine and atheism. She soon became one of anarchism’s most prominent advocates. FULL ARTICLE by Jeff Riggenbach


Stephan Kinsella June 17, 2010 at 10:39 am

Fyi, see also Steve J. Shone’s recent Libertarian Papers article “Voltairine de Cleyre: More of an Anarchist than a Feminist?”

Sharon Presley August 13, 2011 at 12:52 am

The idea that Voltairine was not a feminist can only be maintained by those who misrepresent feminism, as this article does. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines feminism as “1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. 2: organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests. By this definition, she was most definitely a feminist. The fact that some feminists today are statists does not change the definition. Words are defined by their “essential nature” not by what some advocates say and do. The word “feminism” goes back to the late 19th century so today’s statist feminists don’t get to define it not does Steve Shone. Even if he were to claim that all feminists today are statists–which is NOT true–it still would not change the definition. However since there are many self-described anarchist and libertarian feminists today (e.g. the Association of Libertarian Feminists See http://www.alf.org) Shone is just simply wrong. Voltairine was a feminist and no amount of anti-feminist sophistry will change that.

Sharon Presley June 21, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Jeff is wrong about Voltairine not being an original thinker. Her essay “Sex Slavery” is highly original in its ideas about the social construction of gender. This may seem old hat to us now, but in her day, the only other clear exposition of this idea came from Angelina Grimke. Historian Gerda Lerner, the Grimke sisters expert, said that Grimke’s ideas were the clearest till the 20th c. but she did not know about de Cleyre (most historians know nothing about the anarchists). I have read both and Voltairine’s is better and more original than Angelina’s. Voltairine had much to say on topics that other anarchists ignored; gender is one. She was far more radical and original than other women activists of the time; “Sex Slavery” is the proof.

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