Born On This Date: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

The Rebel Girl

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1890-1964 may have died in 1964, but her life is ever vivid and current. A biography, "Iron in Her Soul" by Helen C. Camp was recently published and requests for permission to quote her in books and essays still come in weekly to the Communist Party.

As early as age 5, Flynn already had the "indelible impression" of working class life and poverty where they lived in Manchester, N.H., "where the great mills stretched like prisons along the bank of the Merrimac River."

Her family moved to the Bronx, N.Y. at the turn of the century. She loved the city and the school, especially the upper grades where she studied the Constitution and the Bill of Rights which, she said, "I have been defending ever since."

Her family was an active socialist family. She vividly remembered the Sunday night gatherings at the Harlem Socialist Club at 250 W. 125th Street. It was here that Flynn, aged 15, made her first public speech. The topic was "Women Under Socialism."

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Cato said...

Ahh yes, I remember her. I remember readin "May 1st: The Sun of Tommorow"

Reading it was painful since it was so childish. You want to take a red pen and correct it all so she does not come across as such a rube. She gushes about the wonders of Lenin and Stalin and the U.S.S.R., and it is all rather silly.

AndyRand said...

Did you ever read Lenin's "State and
Revolution"? It was the book that had indeed convinced me that Communism, especially Lenin's brand, was indeed evil. What I found most disturbing
and frankly rediculous was his belief that once the bourgiousie had been executed the proletariate would magically retain their "working class"
roots and create a utopian society.

Cato said...

No I have not, but Marx basically said the same thing. It basically went something like this (genius, I know):

Step 1. Overthrow imperalists
Step 2. Institute tyrannical rule
Step 3. ?
Step 4. Paradise

AndyRand said...

One reason you probably never read this is because it was banned by the U.S. State Dept.

You forgot a few items.

Like killing off the Boursquiosie
(for Lenin not Marx)

Also Marx's critique of Hegal.
The role of the means of production.
And about a couple hundred other details.
Agree with the philosohpy or not, this is like descibing Objectivism as:

1. I'm a genius,
2. I'm rich because I'm a genius
3. Everybody else, If they have no bread, Let them eat cake!

Cato said...

"Overthrow imperialist" means "kill millions of people by whatever means possible." I thought that was assumed...

And no, what you said isn't anything like what I said. Marx stiputlated that the state would whither and the rule of "the people" would be instituted. He said after a tyrannical socialist state got everything ready the benevolent rulers would give it up for the prolietariat. He said it was inevitable this all would happen. Lenin wanted to force the issue, instead of it it just happening naturally. But that does not mean that Marx did not see violence in the future.

Cato said...

Banned by the State Dept? I assume at some point it was, but not now...


I will pick it up someday and read it.

AndyRand said...

From what I remember Marx talked about
the dictatorship of the Proletariate.
I don't recall any intermediaries "handing over power".
You Said:

"He said after a tyrannical socialist state got everything ready the benevolent rulers would give it up for the prolietariat."

Either way. The flaw is that the Proletariate would only become the new tyrants once they took power.
Alfredo Peredo spoke about a concept
of the "cycle of elites". Where those in power would become just as tyranical as the oppressors they overthrew. Makes sense to me.

AndyRand said...

"Banned by the State Dept? I assume at some point it was, but not now..."

Interesting. I read the book in 1972.
It was imported from Maoist China by my history professor.
It had a big read rubber stamped warning about the material not being
approved by the U.S. Government, or State Dept. Let's see that 34 years ago so hopefully you'll excuse me for not remembering the exact wording.

I do remember that it was a far cry from the romanticized Marxism that was popular back then.

What I have a problem with is people today trying to paint FDR with the Marxist Socialist brush. It's an extreme stretch at best.