Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Helen Keller, tireless activist, lifelong Socialist

They've found a new photo of Helen Keller as a child, perhaps the earliest ever taken, with her teacher Annie Sullivan. Here's something The Miracle Worker and Woodrow Wilson both glossed over: she was a lifelong activist for social justice, and a Socialist. How did she become one, this deaf and blind young woman? By reading:

My reading has been limited and slow. I take German bimonthly Socialist periodicals brinted in braille for the blind. (Our German comrades are ahead of us in many respects.) I have also in German braille Kautsky's discussion of the Erfurt Program. The other socialist literature that I have read has been spelled into my hand by a friend who comes three times a week to read to me whatever I choose to have read. The periodical which I have most often requested her lively fingers to communicate to my eager ones is the National Socialist....But socialism — ah, that is a different matter! That goes to the root of all poverty and all charity. The money power behind the newspapers is against socialism, and the editors, obedient to the hand that feeds them, will go to any length to put down socialism and undermine the influence of socialists.
There are none so blind as those who will not see.


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