Thursday, November 03, 2005

An admirable response

A little known fact of American history was that blind, deaf, and mute heroine Helen Keller was a socialist activist who fought for the rights of factory workers and the right of women's suffrage. Say what you will about her politics, but one must admire the eloquence inherent in the response she gave when the Brooklyn Eagle wrote, "her [socialist] mistakes spring out of the manifest limitations of her development." Keller responded,

Oh, ridiculous Brooklyn Eagle! What an ungallant bird it is! Socially blind and deaf, it defends an intolerable system, a system that is the cause of much of the physical blindness and deafness which we are trying to prevent ... The Eagle and I are at war. I hate the system which it represents ... When it fights back, let it fight fair ... It is not fair fighting or good argument to remind me and others that I cannot see or hear. I can read. I can read all the socialist books I have time for in English, German, and French. If the editor of the Brooklyn Eagle should read some of them, he might be a wiser man, and make a better newspaper. If I ever contribute to the Socialist movement the book that I sometimes dream of, I know what I shall name it: Industrial Blindness and Social Deafness.
Source - A People's History of the United States: 1492 - Present by Howard Zinn