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January 9: The Anarchist Dottoressa

January 9, 2015
220px-Nunes_Vais,_Mario_(1856-1932)_-_Anna_Kuliscioff_a_Firenze_(1908)Anna Kuliscioff (Rozenstein), an anarchist and revolutionary who became one of Italy’s leading feminist speakers as well as a rare (for her time) woman doctor, was born in the Crimea on this date in 1857 (some sources say earlier). She was given a secular education and at 16 married a revolutionary nobleman who would die in a Russian prison. In order to avoid arrest herself, writes Naomi Shepherd at the Jewish Women’s Archive, she fled “to live clandestinely, first in Kiev and then in Kharkov, often singing in public parks to earn a living.” Again facing arrest in 1877, she used a false passport to move to Paris, where she joined a Bakuninist anarchist group. Imprisoned in France, she next headed to Italy, where she earned her medical degree and set up a gynecological and general medical clinic for poor people that lasted several years. Kuliscioff was a radical feminist for her day, arguing “not only for women’s education and social equality, but for their political rights; she appealed for equal pay for women and protested against women’s exploitation by both their employers and their husbands.” With her long-time partner Filippo Turati she founded the Milan Socialist League, which evolved into the Italian Socialist party in 1893. Regarding Palestine: “the people persecuted in almost all of Europe, which will finally have its own place of refuge from all pogroms, including those carried out by the Russian revolutionaries.”—Anna Kuliscioff