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克里斯特贝尔·潘克赫斯特小姐 争取妇女选举权的女斗士

2006-07-07 17:05

Miss Christabel Pankhurst

THE MILITANT SUFFRAGETTE

December 22,1908

  Friends:

  I cannot help thinking to-night of the manyhundreds of meetings that have been held in thiscountry in defence of the principle of women's en-framchisement.How many times have noble wo-men poured forth their very soul in an appeal forpolitical justice.How many times has such an ap-peal been made,and made to ears that were deafand unheeding.It is well for us all to rememberthat we are engaged in no new movement.Therewere those who came before us,pioneers of fortyand fifty-six years ago,who began the agitationfor woman suffrage.They worked well,theyworked devotedly,and yet,after all those years ofhard work,women have not yet got the Parliamen-tary vote.

  Suffragists of old times made a mistake whichexperience—theirs and our own—has taught us toavoid.They relied too mucn upon the justice oftheir cause,and not enough upon their own strongright arm.It is because we have realized that thepolicy of persuasion,and of argument,and of talkhas failed that we have undertaken the new mili-tant campaign,which I believe,and I think youbelieve,is so very nearly at a successful end.When men begin an agitation like ours,they are,of course,open to all kinds of criticism and attack,but I do not think that the very dangerous and dif-ficult form of attack is brought to bear againstthem that is brought to bear against us.Men arenever told that they are hysterical,and that theydo not know what they are doing.They may betold they are violent,they may be told their actionis reprehensible,but people are usually willing toadmit that at least there is method in their mad-ness,and that,as there is a limit to human en-durance,if men are very much oppressed,theyhave a right to revolt against oppression.We inthis woman's movement,on the other hand,havebeen accused of not having thought things out,andof simply running along in a headstrong fashionwithout knowing where we are going or why we dogo.

  No,my friends,we did not undertake thiscampaign in any light or heedless spirit.We knewwhat we had got to face;we knew we had to facedanger,sheer physical danger.We knew well thatin what we did we ran the risk of imprisonment.Now,that is a very serious thing.Imprisonment iswhat you reserve for those who are preying uponsociety,those who are enemies of the body politic;imprisonment is the worst thing you have to offerthem,and yet we knew full well that we,whowere trying,at any rate,to do our duty to otherpeople,must realize that for us this fate was instore.We knew that we should have to meet thebitter attack of the party politician—and I thinkthere is no form of attack which is more ve-nomous,which is more unscrupulous—and as wewere women,we had to face another thing,wehad to face censure as being unwomanly,as beingunladylike(you know,that is thought worse thanbeing unwomanly),as being,well,unconvention-al and ridiculous,and all the rest of it.

  I assure you that if there were not a greatthing at stake,we should all of us prefer to followa course of life which would not expose us to thedifficulties of which I tell you.But think what is atstake.Human liberty.The most priceless thingthere is,the only thing that is worth fighting for,the only thing that is worth paying for.We arefighting for that.We are fighting for the emanci-pation of women.The emancipation of men wasbegun long ago,and men are now working out their salvation,although they will never see it infull measure until the women,whose brothers andwhose partners they are,see their emancipationtoo.We are working for the bread of women,weare working that women may not go hungry,weare working for what is even more important—weare working for the dignity of women.

  Now,I am going to speak to those women here who want the vote,but don't agree with ourmethods.I ask them,why do you hold aloof,whydo you not believe in the methods,and why,if youbelieve in them,don't you practise them?Becauseneither from you nor from Cabinet Ministers do wewant sympathy.No,what we want is action.Wewould rather have you marching along with us sideby side than we would have your cheers or yoursupport or your praise.We do not look for that;we do not want you to come and say that we havedone well;we want you to come and do with us.Why then do you not throw yourselves into thisagitation,why are you not ready for prison?Youshould not see prison through other people's eyes,you should go there yourselves if you think that wehave done well to go there.You know the oldmethods of working for the vote are futile,and notonly futile,but humiliating,unworthy of you.Isay any woman here who is content to appeal forthe vote instead of demanding and fighting for it isdishonouring herself.Is the price too great?Can-not you make the necessary sacrifice?I can tell youthat we who are prepared for it take a great joy init.Why,the womem in this Union are the happiestpeople in the world.We have the love of our com-rades,we have the respect of our enemies,wehave the support of the people.We have somethingto live for,and we are going to do somethingworth doing.We are sorry for the people who gothrough their lives achieving nothing,leaving theworld no richer than they found it.Those peopleare poor indeed;those people we pity.As for us,we have the glorious pride of being made the in-strument of those great forces that are working to-wards progress and liberty.

  Now,the rightness of revolt,the rightness ofour militant methods,does not depend upon suc-cess.You may resist injustice and fail,or seem tofail,and still you have done right.When you areconfronted by oppression,when you are confront-ed by the forces of evil,then you must go and dobattle against them Unless you believe that mightis right you must agree with what I ssy.And Iwant you to believe that even if we had no hope ofsuccess,even if we thought our militant campaignwere destined to failure,we should go on with it.We should go on with it while life was ours,weare going on with it;so long as we live we are nev-er going to renounce this struggle.But we are go-ing to win because we have right on our side.No,you must not forget that“thrice armed is he thathath his quarrel just,and he but naked,thoughlocked up in steel,whose conscience with injusticeis corrupted.”Well,my friends,there is greattruth in those words,and I think you will admitthat our quarrel is just.Why,even the enemy hasto admit that.We could never win if we were notin the right,but because we are in the right we aregoing to win.

  Well,I have been telling you why we adoptour methods;I have been trying to explain to youthe frame of mind in which we are,and the reasonswhy we have taken to these methods,and what themethods are.If you read the leading articles insome of our newspapers,you would think ourmethods were Russian methods,or even worse.You really would suppose that we were the mostdangerous set of people,and the most violent setof people that have ever been seen.The fact is,however,that we are singularly mild-indeed,weare just as mild as we can be,consistently with do-ing our duty.We do not want to go an inch fartherthan the Liberal Government drive us,because wedo not want to waste our forces;we do not want tooverstep the mark by a hair's breadth,and we havenever done so.We go to by-elections,and work a-gainst the Government.Surely that is not very un-constitutional or very violent.Our protests at pub-lic meetings have been very effective,but they in-volve no danger to life or limb—unless our own.As I say,these protests don't involve any physicaldanger to our Cabinet Ministers,yet they producea marked impression.Ministers are simply terri-fied.They hide from us behind locked doors.Theygo in secret nowadays.They dare not run the riskof meeting women even in a railway train.Haveyou read the Daily News to-day,and seen the ac-count of Mr.Lloyd George's attempt,not only tokeep women out of his meeting,but to escapethem?Well,if he were the Czar of Russia going a-mong his subjects,it might be natural.Why thisfear?Why not trust the people?They are decidedlyafraid of women in these days—and then you saythat women cannot pursue militant methods withsuccess.The proof of the pudding is in the eating,and I know this—they are more afraid of one Suf-fragette than they are of 5,000 men.

  Then we go on deputations to the House ofCommons.What is there wrong in that?Men areconstantly having deputations,and I have neverheard of a men's deputation going to prison yet—but we have to go to prison.I wonder how it isthat you do not see that instead of our being vio-lent,violence is used against us.We have notcaused Mr.Asquith to languish for a single day ingaol—it is he who has vicariously attacked and im-prisoned us.We are very sorry to have to give allthis trouble;we would rather militant methodsshould cease,and they would cease if we were tohave the vote.Now,how simple it all is.Can'tyou understand that the Government have broughtthese troubles down on their own heads?We arenot responsible for it—they are responsible.Donot waste your sympathy upon them,my friends.It is all their own fault.If they would give us thevote,they would have no more trouble from us.

  I call on the men who are here to-night to joinforces with us,to help us to overcome the Govern-ment which at the present moment is the greatestobstacle in the path of human progress.If men'seyes are still shut to these truths,yet neverthelessthe women are awake,and the women have thepower;they have the absolute power to gain theliberty which they want;they have the power andthe capacity to seize this indispensable weapon ofreform,which in their own interests,and in theinterests of the country that is dear to them,theyought to have,and which they speedily will have.

克里斯特贝尔·潘克赫斯特小姐

争取妇女选举权的女斗士

1908年12月22日

  朋友们:

  今天晚上,我不能不想起我们国家举行过的好几百次捍卫妇女选举权原则的集会。有多少次,高尚的女士们为了呼吁政治公正而披肝沥胆,慷慨陈词。有多少次她们提出了这种呼吁,向那些已经充耳不闻,漠然置之的人们呼吁我们所从事的并不是什么新的运动,记住这一点对我们大家都有好处。在我们之前,40年和56年前,已经有先驱者开始鼓吹妇女选举权了。她们工作勤奋,不辞辛劳,但是在那么多年孜孜不倦的努力之后,议会仍然没有通过投票赋予妇女以选举权。

  以前争取妇女选举权的人犯了一个错误,他们和我们自己的这种教训教我们别再重蹈覆辙了。他们过分依赖其事业的正义性,而没有充分依靠自己的强大力量。正是由于我们认识到陈情、说理、议论的方法失败了,我们才从事新的富有战斗精神的运动。我相信,我想你们也相信,这一运动业已胜利在望。当男子们开始从事像我们这样的宣传鼓动时,当然也容易受到各种各样的批评和攻击,但是我认为,最危险和最令人难堪的攻击不是针对他们的,而是针对我们的。从来没人说男人们歇斯底里,说他们不知道自己在做什么。人们可能会说他们粗暴,他们的行为应受谴责,但是人们通常乐于承认,至少男人们错也错得有道理,并且认为,人的忍耐是有限度的,如果男人们受到过度压迫,就有权反抗压迫。相反,在这次妇女运动中我们却被指责为没有经过深思熟虑,一意孤行,不知道我们在干什么以及为什么那样干。

  不,朋友们,我们从事这一运动决不是出于轻率或考虑不周。我们早就知道我们面对的是什么。我们知道我们面对的是危险,十足的肉体危险。我们非常清楚,自己是冒着被监禁的危险在工作。那可是一件非同小可的事情啊。在你们看来,监禁是专门用来对付那些危害社会的人、与国家为敌的人的。监禁是你们对他们最严厉的惩罚。我们还十分清楚,我们这些竭力对他人尽自己义务的人必须认识到,这种命运随时会降临到我们头上。我们早就知道,我们肯定会受到党派政客的刻薄攻击——我想没有比这种攻击更恶毒、更无耻的了。而且,因为我们是女人,我们还不得不面对另一件事,即面对这样的攻讦:我们不像女人,有失淑女风范(你们知道,这后一条比前一条更恶劣),有失体统,荒唐可笑等等。

  说句真心话,若不是有一件至关重要的大事刻不容缓,我们大家本来宁愿过正常人的生活,而不必让自己遭受我所说的那些艰难。什么事刻不容缓呢?人的自由。这是一件超越任何价值的事,唯一值得为之奋斗的事,唯一值得付出代价的事。我们正在为之斗争。我们正在为妇女的解放而斗争。男子的解放很久以前便开始了,目前他们正在设法自救。但是在作为他们的姐妹和妻子的妇女也看到自己的解放之前,男子根本看不到彻底的解放。我们在为妇女的福利而努力,我们在为妇女的温饱而努力,我们在为更重要的东西——妇女的尊严而努力。

  在座有些女士希望有选举权,却不同意我们的方法。现在,我要对这些人讲几句话。我要问她们,为什么你们袖手旁观,为什么你们不相信我们的方法,而如果你们相信,为什么不加以实行呢?要知道,我们既不需要你们的也不需要内阁大臣们的同情。不需要,我们需要的是行动。我们宁愿你们和我们一起前进,而不要你们的欢呼、支持或赞扬。我们不希罕那个。我们不希望你们来说我们干得好。我们希望你们来和我们一起干。你们为什么不投身于这种鼓动呢?你们为什么不做好入狱的准备呢?你们不应当通过别人的眼睛去看监狱,而应当亲自到那里去,如果你们认为我们去那里是干得好的话。你们认为争取选举权的老办法不管用,不仅不管用,而且不光彩,不值得你们采用。我说,只满足于呼吁选举权而不要求选举权并为之斗争的妇女才不光彩哩。代价太大吗?你们不能做出必要的牺牲吗?我可以告诉你们,我们这些甘愿作出牺牲的人从中得到了极大的快乐。是啊,参加这个联盟的妇女是世界上最幸福的人。我们享有同伴的友爱,我们受到敌人的尊敬,我们得到人民的支持。我们有生活的目标,我们准备去做值得做的事。我们为那些一生碌碌无为、离开这个世界时并不比来时更充实的人感到难过。他们的确一无所有。我们可怜他们。至于我们,我们为成为争取进步和自由的伟大力量的工具而感到无比光荣、无比自豪。

  因此,反抗是否正当,我们战斗性的方法是否正当,并不取决于成功与否。你们反抗非正义也许失败或者表面上失败了,但你们仍然做得对。当你们面临压迫时,当你们面临邪恶势力时,你们必须挺身而出,与之斗争。除非你们认为强权即公理,否则你们必须同意我说的话。我希望你们相信,即使我们没有成功的希望,即使我们认为富于战斗精神的运动注定要失败,我们也要继续干下去。一息尚存,此志不渝,我们将继续干下去;有生之年,我们决不放弃这一斗争。但是,我们将取得胜利,因为正义在我们一边。是的,你们务必不要忘记:“一个有理的人,虽手无寸铁,却好比身披三重盔甲;一个蛮横无理、丧尽天良的人,纵然披坚执锐,也如同赤身裸体。”是啊,我的朋友们,这话深有道理。我想你们会承认我们的争执是有理的。唔,连敌人都承认这一点。假如我们不在理,我们永远不会胜利,正因为我们在理,所以我们必将胜利。

  好,我已经告诉你们,我们为什么采取这些方法。我已经尽力向你们说明我们的心情、我们采用这些方法的理由以及这是些什么方法。如果你们读过我国某些报纸的社论,你们会认为我们的方法是俄国人的方法,甚或比那更坏的方法。你们的确会以为我们是一帮最危险的人物,是你们所见过的最强暴的人物。其实我们非常温和,一贯克尽职守,真的已经温和到极点了。我们不愿比自由党政府逼迫我们的往前多走一时,因为我们不想浪费我们的精力。我们不愿也从来没有越雷池一步。我们去参加补缺选举,反对政府。那肯定并不很出格,也谈不上什么暴力。我们在群众大会上提出的抗议颇为引人瞩目,但是除了对我们自己的生命以外,并没有对任何生命构成危险。正如我所说,这些抗议并没有给我们的内阁大臣们带来肉体危险,虽说产生了很深刻的印象。大臣们简直怕得要命。他们在上了锁的大门里面躲着我们。现在他们行踪诡秘。他们甚至不敢冒险在火车上遇见妇女。你们看过今天《每日新闻》关于劳合·乔治先生不仅不愿会见妇女,甚至想躲开她们的报道没有?如果他是处在其臣民中的俄国沙皇,那倒并不奇怪。而他怕什么呢?为什么不相信人民?近来他们确实无疑地害怕妇女——你们还说妇女使用战斗性的方法不会成功哩。布丁好坏,尝后方知,这方面我有经验:他们害怕一个女权主义者胜过害怕5000个男子。

  所以我们要通过委派代表的方式进入下议院。这有什么不对呢?男子一向有代表,我从来没听说过男代表被捕的事,而我们要被捕入狱。我真纳闷,你们怎么没有看到:不是我们使用暴力,而是别人对我们使用暴力。我们没有让阿斯奎思坐过一天牢,是他通过代理人攻击和监禁我们。我们对被迫引起这一切麻烦感到十分遗憾;我们宁愿停止使用战斗的方法,如果我们有选举权的话,是会停止使用的。瞧,事情多么简单。难道你们就不明白政府是搬起石头砸自己的脚?对此我们没有责任,他们应该负责。不要对他们浪费你们的怜悯吧,朋友们。全是他们自己的错。如果他们给了我们选举权,他们就不会在我们这里再遇到麻烦了。

  我号召今晚在座的男士们同我们联合起来,帮助我们战胜这个在当前成为人类进步道路上最大障碍的政府。如果说男子仍然闭眼不看这些事实,那么妇女则是清醒的,而且妇女有力量;她们有赢得她们所需要的自由的全部力量;她们有力量和才能夺取这一不可缺少的改革武器,她们应当进行改革,改革符合她们自己的利益,也符合她们所热爱的国家的利益。她们很快就会进行改革。

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