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(Note: This tape was transcribed by Nicole Bissett. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
Jones: Attention, attention, attention. News of the day. The children are watching comedy. Be sure that you interpret even the brainwashing that is in the comedy of Donald Duck.
A gigantic breakthrough for the National Liberation Front of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico, expected to be the next state of US imperialism– it– its National Front of Liberation has taken over the Chilean consulate, holding the chief consul and three high officials besides him. Four of the four that’ve been held hostage through the night in USA’s territory of Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican Liberation Front requires the release of four Puerto Ricans, the longest jailed political prisoners in the entire world who had been held since the early fifties for allegedly conspiring to do bodily harm to Members of Congress. The Puerto Rican National Liberation Front has given until tomorrow for the United States to decide to release these prisoners, who have been in jail nearly thirty years as political prisoners in imperialist USA. If they are not released at that time, the Puerto Ricans holding the fascist official– uh, the fas– the fascist officials, the consul, and his chief protocol aides, four in all. Chile of course is the fascist state ruled by military junit– junta– the military junta of Pinochet, General [Augusto] Pinochet that was put in power by our tax dollars, and the murderous campaign of the CIA.
Fighting has temporarily come to an end in the troubled central and northern part of Lebanon. Syria has given the fascist Christian forces 24 hours. After that they will take control of the Phalangist-controlled, or fascist-controlled, part of Lebanon.
There is great concern in Lebanon – and rightfully so – that there may be a partition, because half are Christians – who are fascist, Nazis, murderers, terrorists, as far as their political party orientation goes – and the Muslims who are left and radical left.
Beirut is calm for the first time in days, as artillery shells had been firing back and forth from the Christian fascist sector to the Muslim socialist sector of the beautiful capital of Lebanon, Beirut, that was considered the pride of the Near East. American University was there, it’s considered the most beautiful city in the world. But in the past years, it has been devastated by the civil strife and religious bigotry between the fascist Christians and the socialist Muslims.
Thirty bombs have been set off in different places of Corsica – look it up on your map – near France, a colonial territory of France. Anti-French separatists claim responsibility, who are demanding – the Corsican Liberation Front – independence for the troubled island of Corsica. The attack is that the capitalist absentee owners, business class in France and USA, that make most of their money from tourism on the beautiful island of Corsica at this time of year. The entire country is in bedlam. (pause)
This news just coming in. The ceasefire has been agreed on, on Syrian terms. Syria is to take over all areas that has been held by the powerful rightwing fascist Christian group. Partition hangs in the balances. That is, Lebanon may be divided into a Christian Lebanon, which would be neo-fascist, and the Muslim Lebanon, that would be left. It’s dreadful to see a country divided over religion. We’ve seen it in Ireland.
Hostile Syrian forces said that they would invade Lebanon, in spite of the United Nations peace-keeping forces there who they claim are being manipulated by US imperialists and their capitalist lackeys in NATO. With the threat of the invasion by Syria, the ceasefire was called.
Egypt has agreed to directly take part in talks with the Israelis, the Zionist fascist government of Israel in Lo– London the beginning of next month. Encouragement for peace resolution does not come, however, from Israel, said Egypt, but only from by the United States. Egypt will make no further concessions, says Anwar Sadat, who is now a dictator, due to the foolishness of his own people voting in a referendum. Sadat is on his way to Austria to negotiate further alliances to make him less dependent upon the USA. He wants to form more alliances with the Third World and non-aligned nations.
[Leonid] Brezhnev of the Soviet Union has called for increased agricultural production. Effects are expected to be of a drastic nature on the gold market, and food prices, and perhaps, even the well-being of the capitalist economy. The Soviets have been plagued with bad weather for several years, which the Soviets have rendered the suspicion, that they feel there is some tampering with meteorology, with weather, over their country, by the CIA. USA says agricultural production being at low par in the Soviet Union is due to poor collective systems. One-half hectare farm is given to every family that wants it in the Soviet Union, and those families that have taken the one-half hec– hectare, less than a half an acre, produce over one-third of the food, thus showing that there is still some incentive to individual ownership. It dies slowly. The cooperative spirit, which is the only way to save mankind, dies very, very slowly, unfortunately.
High-ranking KGB official – the Soviet secret police – who was recently promoted to the interior ministry, General Arise– Ariski [phonetic] was shot to death tragically today. It is suspected that dissident Zionists are responsible. He was 52 years of age. He was not known to be a brutal figure, even according to the BBC, in the KGB. The Zionists have hailed it as a symbolic protest to the lack of freedom for Jews to immigrate to the fascist Zionist state of Israel. (Pause)
This is practically the main points of the news anyway. The National Liberation Front, as I said, in Corsica, has brought about bedlam in that beautiful island. As in the past days, they are responsible for over 200 bombs being detonated, besides the one that went off today.
Guyana and Brazil and Ecuador and Venezuela are working together on joint efforts– agreements to save the forest, the last purely untouched woodland bush forest left in the world.
Libya and Niger are meeting with Sudanese prime minister [likely Gaafar Muhammad Nimeiry] who is chairing the meeting in Libya to seek a solution to end the bitter civil war in Chad that has been inflamed by the presence of US puppet France and its imperialist armed forces who are fighting on the territory of Chad at the present time.
In Memphis, Tennessee, a state of emergency has been called, as 300 fires have been started by the Memphis firemen to protest the unjust wages of the city fireman. After the three-day– three-day strike had gone into nearly the fourth, the militia, the National Guard moved in and have arrested all of the firemen, and many of them will receive serious charges of conspiracy to arson. But whatever little will there was amongst the working class firemen, it has been broken.
It’s interesting to see that these, who maintain law and order, as we saw with the Los Angeles police went around breaking things and breaking windows to protest when they were on strike – the San Francisco police, rather – and now the firemen. But they’re qu– so quick to condemn blacks who seek bread when they’re hungry. But here they’ve set 300 fires in the city of Memphis, Tennessee to protest their unjust working conditions.
I thought I would give you today some background of the labor movement in USA on the way to the eight-hour day. The Haymount– The Haymarket Affair. It was written by David Wallechinsky.
Today, most people take it for granted that a work week is eight hours a day, five days a week. But it was not always so, and USA has not come very far since 1886, when it was established. The Soviet Union have a six-hour day. But the capitalists still maintain rigidly, the eight-hour day, that was won in the late 1880s.
As late as 1886, most laborers worked a ten-hour day minimum, and some fourteen. All worked six days a week. Most transportation workers put in at least 84 hours a week, and New York City bakers worked 120 hours a week. The struggle for an eight-hour day led to one of the most dramatic events in US history, the incident that has come to be known as the Haymarket Affair. You will be tested over this. Be sure to do your news comprehension for People’s Rally tonight. There will be testing.
In 1884, a weak labor organization, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor, unions of the US and Canada resolved to make May first, Labor Day, 1886, a target date for a movement to win the eight-hour day. At that date– as that date approached, the federation had all but faded away, but their idea caught on, and in Chicago, Illinois, which was a hotbed of worker organizing, the month of April saw huge rallies in support of the eight-hour day, despite unanimous opposition from all the Chicago-owned, monopoly capitalist daily newspapers, and all business leaders, of course.
On April 30, the railroad, the– the railway and gas company employees, the iron mill workers, the meat packers, and the plumbers all went on strike. The next day, Main– May first, 30,000 workers struck and joined in peaceful parades and demonstrations.
Sunday, May 2, was quiet. But on Monday, May third, there was a st– there were strike rallies throughout the city. One such gathering of the lumber (pause) shovers union attracted 6000 strikers, including– including several hundred workers from the nearby McCormick Harvester factory, which been run by scabs since February. Scabs are those who will go and take a union man’s job. Uh, the scabs had run it since May– uh February 16, when its regular employees had been locked out over dispute about unionization. (Pause)
The main speaker at the rally was August Spies, S-p-i-e-s, a noted Chicago socialist revolutionary. Many in the crowd objected to his being allowed to speak because he was a socialist, but the secretary of the union spoke on his behalf and satisfied the crowd by saying that Spies had been sent – August Spies, that it, his name is spelled just like the month of August – had been sent by the central labor union. Spies avoided revolutionary propaganda and spoke mainly about shorter hours, urging the workers to stand together or be defeated.
Shortly before he concluded his speech, the bell at the McCormick factory four blocks away rang, and 500 members of Spies’ audience, those who were McCormick strikers, broke away and ran toward the factory. With stones and sticks, they attacked the existing scabs who were ex– who were exiting from their work, and drove them back into the factory. Soon 200 police, with clubs and revolvers, arrived to supplement the permanent police force which the city had graciously supplied to the owners to protect the factory, as the police always know, and the army represent the ruling business class. That’s why they must be taken over, if you are truly socialist in your thinking. Cannot come– Socialism does not come through voting in the electoral or the parliamentary process.
Shooting striker– Shooting broke out, and when the battle ended, one striker was shot to death. Six were seriously, critically injured, and six policemen were slightly injured, although none of the policemen had been shot. August Spies, who had urged the McCormick strikers to stay at the rally, was horrified at the sight of the blood of fellow workers splattered on the streets of Chicago, and immediately ran off a poster to arms, we call you to arms, printed in English and German, which was distributed at labor meetings that night.
The Char– Chicago capitalist press – and all the newspapers are capitalists – put the blame for the violence on the socialists and anarchists and the liquor-crazed mob. But the workers thought otherwise, and Tuesday morning found them in an ugly mood. There were clashes all day, including another bloody battle at the McCormick plant. That night, there were several meetings scheduled, but the biggest one was expected to be the demonstration against police brutality to be held in Haymarket Square. Only 1200 to 1300 persons showed up, so the rally was moved to a truck wagon in front of the Crane Brothers factory nearby in Chicago.
The first speaker was Spies, who gave a relatively mild 20-minute speech in which he attacked the capitalistic press for lies against the cause of labor. He blamed the employers, the business capitalists, and the police for the violence. [Cyrus] McCormick is the man who created the row Monday, and he must be held responsible for the murder of our brothers.
Cries of “hang him, hang him.” “Don’t make any threats, they are of no prevail– they are of no avail,” said Spies. “Whenever you get ready to do something, do it, and don’t make any threats beforehand,” said the socialist August Spies.
At nine PM, the second speaker, Albert Parsons, mounted the truck. Parsons, a noted social– a socialist and past anarchist leader, married to a black woman, was born in Alabama, and served in the Confederate army. He then alienated his distinguished family by marrying a black woman named Lucy Gonzalez, and becoming involved in socialist radical causes. This evening, sensitive to the volatile uh, atmosphere, he was less incendiary than usual, choosing to speak on the general state of labor. Filling his speech with lots of statistics, he pointed out that the worker received only fifteen scents out of every dollar, while the rest went to the big fat capitalists.
The last speaker was Fau– Samuel Fielden – F-i-e-l-d-e-n – a forty-year-old teamster, who had immigrated from England. His main theme, a statement that had been made by Congressman [Martin Ambrose] Foran – F-o-r-a-n – of Ohio, that the working man could expect no relief or aid from legislation. After ten minutes, a cold wind and rain convinced three-fourths of the crowd not to wait for the end of Fielden’s speech.
Think if there was a congressman in that date of 1886 (small laugh) who was saying that legislation wouldn’t work, and only armed struggle would succeed. Shows how much regression we’ve had in USA. There’s no congressman even elected today on a mild socialist platform. They’re all afraid to use the word.
As Pat [Richartz], the secretary of Charles Garry called Ron Dellums’ office and said, they’re a group of socialists, [they] said, don’t use that word. Don’t expect us to help them if you use that word, referring to us as a group of socialists.
Well, at 10:20, he began, in spite of the people running away from the cold, windy city of Chicago because of the rains and the winds. In conclusion, Fielden said, and then, to everyone’s amazement, 180 police appeared in formation before he could get the words out of his mouth. They were led by Captains [John] Bonfield – B-o-n-f-i-e-l-d – and [William] Ward. A short interchange took place.
Ward: In the name of the people of the state of Illinois, I command this meeting, immediately, and peaceably to disperse.
Fielden: We are peaceful.
He, Spies, and others began to descend from the truck wagon. Without warning, a makeshift bomb blew up, exploded in front of the police. The police reformed and opened fire. There was a feeble response from the crowd, which quickly dispersed. Recent history has revealed that McCormick, the large capitalist, had arranged for the bomb, so– so even though police would be injured and killed, it would make an excuse to arrest the emerging socialist movement, that w– had begun more lively in 1886 than it is today.
One policeman, Mathias J. Degan – D-e-g-a-n – died immediately, and six others died in the hospital. Over seventy law officers were injured by the capitalist-placed bomb. The civilian casualties were two dead, and an estimated sixty injured. The public was shocked by the affair, and the nation’s press, of course did not reveal that it was a capitalist, McCormick, the manufacturist that had done it. Nay. They universally condemned radicals, anarchists, socialists, communists, and aliens, all foreigners, and particularly Germans. On May 5, the New York Times declared that the anarchists and socialists were guilty of the bomb-throwing. Within two days, the police, under the command of the infamous torturer, Captain Michael J. Schaack – S-c-h-a-a-c-k – raided fifty supposed hangouts of socialists and anarchists, and arrested or questioned over 200 socialists and anarchists altogether.
Chief of Police [Frederick] Ebersold, speaking three years later, said Shaack wanted to keep things stirring. He wanted bombs to be found here, there, and everywhere, as an excuse for him to carry out his brutal law enforcement.
Now here is something the public does not know. After we got the anarchist societies and socialist societies broken up, Shaack wanted to send out men to organize new societies right away. He wanted to keep the pot boiling, keep himself prominent before the public, by having these constant interchanges with anarchist and socialist organizers.
The police were most concerned, uh, more concerned, with getting evidence against those arrested than in finding the bomb-thrower. They offered money and jobs to those who would be witnesses for the state. The atmosphere in Chicago, Illinois, was so hostile to radicals, socialists that the color red, symbolic of revolution, was cut out of street advertisements and banned by the Chicago city council that red could not be used on any street advertisements.
A grand jury of businessmen indicted 31 persons, but they concentrated their prosecution on nine men: August Spies, Albert Parsons – a Confederate officer who had married a black woman, and she went on later to become one of the great international socialists – Samuel Fielden, Michael Schwab – S-c-h-w-a-b – Adolph Fischer, George Engel – E-n-g-e-l – Oscar Neebe – N-e-e-b-e – Louis Lingg – L-i-n-g-g.
I want you to take note of these people and see why– how courageous they were in their day, and compare it, since that year of 1886, to the soullessness and spinelessness of the American populace today. Louis Lingg was accused of having made the Haymaker bomb, and Rudolf Schnaubelt was the other of the nine that were indicted – S-c-h-n-a-u-b-e-l-t – who are accused of having thrown it. They were charged with, one: being accessories before the fact to murder of Mat– of Mathias J. Degan, law officer, that’d been killed by the capitalist bomb. And he was accused– they were accused of being accessories to murder (tape edit) a bomb.
Two: Second count murder by pistol shots.
Three: Murder three, accessory to one another in the murder of Officer Degan.
Four: General conspiracy to murder. Just like with [Huey] Newton today, determined to get them on one thing or another.
The remaining 22 never came to trial at that time, because several of them purchased immunity by becoming witnesses for the state against these brave socialist leaders. Most were released on 400 dollars bail, but by the end of 1890– by 1890, four years later, all of the 22 had been arrested on some other charge, or had been killed. That is the history of finks, always. You may get your immunity for the moment, for lying, and then to have to live with a guilty conscience all of your life – but all of them, all 22 were either dead or in jail by 1890, four years later.
But when the trial opened on June 21, only seven defendants were in court. Parsons and Schnaubelt were missing. Schnabeld, presumably, spent the rest of his life in New York. It is suspected that he even was in Russia to see the first successful socialist revolution in October 1917, but he was never officially located.
At 2:30 PM on the 21st day of June 1886, Parsons, who’d been hiding in Waukesha – W-a-u-k-e-s-h-[a] – Wisconsin, walked into the courtroom and sat down with the other defendants. He was the man married to the black woman. His friend William Holmes said, “When I heard that he, Parsons, had gone to Chicago to stand trial, I hastened to the jail. I said to him, ‘Do you know what you have done?’ And he said, ‘Yes, thoroughly. I never expect while I live to be a free man again. They will kill me, but I could not bear to be at liberty, knowing that my comrades were here, and were to suffer for something of which they were as innocent as I.’” In other words, he could not continue to be free, or flee, with any of his comrades in jail. So he went there to face death with them.
Judge Joseph Eaton Gary refused to let the Chicago 8 be tried separately. A special bailiff, Henry L. Ryce was appointed to find potential jurors. Ryce was blunt about where his sentiments lay. “I am managing this case, and I know what I’m about. Those fellows are going to be hanged as certain as death. I am calling such men as the defendants will have to challenge peremptorily, and so waste their time in challenges. Then they will have to take such men as the prosecution wants.” He was gonna challenge all of their jurors. They did. He got the jurors exactly that the prosecution wanted.
With the help of Judge Gary, Ryce’s strategy worked perfectly. Ryce is spelled R-y-c-e. Gary– Judge Gary refused to disqualify one potential juror who was a friend of one of the dead policemen, and another who admitted not only to being prejudiced against all anarchists, but to being a relative of one of the dead policemen. The defense was forced to use up its challenges on these and other unacceptable potential jurors. The final jury consisted of twelve white males, only one of whom was foreign-born. Five of the defendants had been born in Germany, and one in England. Seven jurors were white-collar workers, one an employer of labor, one a commercial capitalist agent, and two were capitalist businessmen. There were no industrial workers. The US’s farce that you have a right to a jury trial by your peers was, as always, denied, and still is today.
The prosecution case was flimsy, to say the least, particularly since they had no evidence that any of the defendants had thrown a bomb. And now, later e– evidence in history has shown that McCormick manufacturers, the big capitalists, had placed the bomb themselves and killed their own police. Capitalists never hesitate to kill their own police that work for them so faithfully or their own armed forces, have them killed, making them profit in such places as Vietnam.
In fact to this day, it is not known who placed the bomb, but it has been clearly established that the McCormick manufacturing paid a group. Which one of the group had placed the bomb was never brought to light. The prosecution claimed it was Rudolph Schnaubelt, of course, the socialist. And the labor supporters said it was a police provocateur. There is no substantial evidence to support that the socialists were in any way involved. But it was a provocateur hired by McCormick, the big capitalist facturer– manufacturer.
So the prosecution relied on the conspiracy charge, despite the fact that most of the accused had not even known each other before the trial. So how could they conspire if they hadn’t known each other? Conspiracy means meet with to plan something. But, so much for rights in USA, they never did exist. The state felt that their most effective tactic was to attack the political ideals of the socialists and anarchists. So they centered on the hypothesis of the theory that a general conspiracy had existed in Cook County, Illinois for several years which planned to overthrow the government and destroy the legal authority of the capitalist state and capitalist country. Following the logic of the prosecution, it was necessary only to prove that the defendants supported socialism or anarchism, to justify convicting them. This was easily done, since it– since all of them readily admitted that they were socialist or anarchist.
The jury spent three hours discussing the case, one-third of the time– or rather, two-thirds of the time devoted to Oscar Neebe – N-e-e-b-e – against whom no real evidence ever was presented.
On the morning of Friday, August 20, in 1886, the jury gave its verdict: all guilty. Neebe was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. The rest were sentenced to be hanged.
Immediately after the verdict was read, the defendants were led back to jail. Fielden could not walk without support. Neebe was crushed. Outside the courthouse, a crowd of over one thousand was ecstatic, and let out three cheers. The Christian Salvation Army and other leading Christian groups led the crowd – the mob – who gave three cheers for the jury, for upholding law and order against the atheist anarchists and socialists. The citizens of Chicago were relieved, and throughout the nation, the capitalist newspapers gushed with pride that the injustice had been done to these great socialists.
In October, Judge Gary denied defense arguments for a new trial, and the court, following custom, asked the defendants if there were reasons why sentence should not be pronounced. Indeed there were. And for three days, the eight socialists and anarchists spoke about their lives, their beliefs, and they thought– what they thought of the trial, in the mock capitalist system, and the evidence that had been presented fraudulently. For three days. from October 7 to 9, the accused became the accusers.
Spies was the first. Born in central Germany in 1855, he moved to the United States after his father died. He settled in Chicago, where he learned about socialism, and ran for office several times before becoming editor of the Arbeiter-Zeitung, A-r-b-e-i-t-e-r, dash, capital Z-e-i-t-u-n-g, a leading socialist newspaper.
“If you think that by hanging us, you can stamp out the labor movement,” said he, “the movement from which the downtrodden millions who toil and live in want and misery, the wage slaves expect salvation, if this is your opinion, then hang us! Here you will tread upon a spark, but there, and there, and behind you, and in front of you, and everywhere, flames will blaze up. It is a subterranean fire. You cannot put it out.”
In response to the accusation that the Arbeiter-Zeitung had advocated violence, and that this alone was reason enough for them to be hung, Spies responded, “Let me read to you an editorial, which appeared in the Fond du Lac Commonwealth. F-o-n-d, cap– little d-u, capital L-a-c, Commonwealth, in October 1886, a Republican paper, if I am not mistaken,” said, the courageous August Spies. “The court here is also Republican, too. Both the prosecutor and the judge, I understand.
“To arms,” he read. “Republicans? Every Republican in Wisconsin should go armed to the polls on next Election Day. The grain-stacked houses and barns of active Democrats should be burned, their children burned, and their wives outraged, and that they may understand that the Republican Party is the one which is bound to rule, and the one which they should vote for, or keep their vile carcasses away from the polls. If they persist in going to the polls, and the niggers that serve them, meet them on the road, in the bush, on the hill, or anywhere, and shoot every one of those bastardly cowards and agitators. If they are too strong in any locality,” said the Republican national newspaper, “and succeed in putting their opposition votes into the ballot box, break open the box and tear in shreds their discord-breathing ballots.
“Now,” said the socialist August Spies. “What does your Honor say to these utterances of law? This, the utterances of a law and order organ, a Republican Party organ.” As you know, there’re two major parties in USA, Democrats and Republicans, two sides of the same capitalist coin, two complexions of the same capitalist erection. After speaking at great length, yje socialist Spies concluded with, “I say, if death is the penalty for proclaiming the truth, then I will proudly and defiantly pay the costly price. Call your hangmen. Truth crucified in Socrates, in Christ, in Gi– Giordano Bruno, in [John] Huss, Galio [Galileo], still lives. They and others whose numbers are legion have preceded us on this path. We are ready to follow, we are ready to die.”
Michael Schwab, another defendant in the farcical frame-up of socialists, was born in 1853, had come to Chicago from Bavaria, a state in Germany, when he was 16. Like Spies, he took the opportunity to explain his doctrines, and like Spies, he used the words “communism,” “socialism,” and “anarchism,” as if they meant the same thing. In that day, they did. It was only later, brought to light in the great Soviet revolution, when anarchists opposed Lenin, that they were really people who only were against things, but had nothing to replace it.
The third defendant to speak was 36-year-old Oscar Neebe, of German descent, but born in New York City. A quiet, simple man, he was just a moderate socialist. Before the fourth of May, he said, “I committed some other crimes. My business was yeast-peddling, brought me in connection with the bakers. I saw that the bakers in this city were treated like dogs. I said to myself, these men have to be organized. In organization there is strength, and I helped organize them. That is a great crime,” he said, “that men are now working, instead of sixteen hours, ten hours a day. And I committed a greater crime than that. I saw in the morning, when I drove away with my team, that the beer brewers of the city of Chicago went to work at four o’clock in the morning, they came home at eight o’clock at night. They never saw their families, they never saw their children by daylight. I went to work and I organized them,” said he proudly. “Hang me, too! For I think it is more honorable to die suddenly than to be killed by inches. I have a family and children, and if they know their father is dead, they will bury him. They can go to the grave and kneel down by the side of it. But they cannot go to the penitentiary and see their dad, who was convicted for a crime that he hasn’t had anything to do with. That is all I have to say to you, Judge. I am sorry not to be hung with the rest of the men.”
Twenty-eight-year-old Adolph Fischer was born in Bremen, German, and arrived in the USA when he was fifteen. He had become interested in socialism in Germany as a result of a Christian instructor attacking it. I can remember that’s how some came to our movement, when [Lester] Kinsolving was attacking us on the flimsiest reasons, not naming that uh, it was really for the fact that we were socialist and had given several thousands of dollars to free Angela Davis.
So an attack on socialism brought this young man to socialism at fifteen years of age. He said, “I protest against my being sentenced to death, because I have committed no crime. I was tried for murder, and I was convicted for anarchy or socialism. I protest against being sentenced to death, because I have not been found guilty of murder. However, if I’m to die on account of being a socialist, I will not rem– remonstrate.” In other words, he will not plea for anything. He’ll be glad to die as a socialist.
The fifth to speak was twenty-two-year-old Louis Lingg. Lingg, L-i-n-g-g, was the only one of the eight defendants who was actively a violent communist revolutionary. He made bombs, and he was not ashamed to admit it. Born in Mannheim – N-a– M-a-n-n-h-e-i-m – Germany, his father died when Louis was only seven years old. He was apprenticed, sort of like a– an indentured servant to a carpenter, traveled to Switzerland, and then came to USA to avoid military service.
He addressed the court in German. “I do not recognize your law, jumbled together as it is by the nobodies of bygone centuries, and I do not recognize the decision of this capitalist court. I repeat that I am the enemy of the order of today, and I repeat that with all my powers, so long as breath remains in me, I shall combat your capitalist system. You laugh, perhaps you think, you’ll throw no more bombs, Lingg. But let me assure you that I die happy on the gallows, so confident am I that hundreds and thousands to whom I have spoken will remember my words, and when you shall have hanged us, then mark my words, they will do the bomb-throwing. In this hope do I say to you, I despise you, I despise your capitalist order, your capitalist laws, your forced propped capitalist authority. Hang me for it, God damn it!”
George Engel, E-n-g-e-l, fifty years old, had come to the US in 1873, another of the nine defendants. Not too much more. I’m giving you a synopsis of a very, very large book. “We see, from the history of this country, that the first colonialists won their liberty – uh, the first colonists, rather – won their liberty from the colonialism of Great Britain through force. That through force, slavery was abolished. And just as the man who agitated against slavery in this country had to ascend the gallows, so almost certainly must we. I hate, and combat, not the individual capitalists, but the capitalist system that gives him those privileges.”
Samuel Fielden spoke at great length about his life, his socialist beliefs, and his innocence of any wrongdoing.
Next to speak was Albert Parsons, the white Confederate officer, who’d married a blave– brave black woman, who became, after his death, one of the greatest women socialists of all times. And speak he did.
For two hours in October eight– on October eight, and six hours on October nine, an excellent orator, he took this opportunity of his last public appearance to tell the history of the working class struggle in the United States. He freely admitted his support for the use of danamite [dynamite], because today danamite comes as the emancipator of man from the domination and enslavement of his fellow men. Even though he denied that the working class had used dena– danamite, he said, “I will not deny the principle of armed struggle. It is democratic. It makes everybody equal. Now I speak plainly,” Parsons says. “Does it follow because I hold these views that I committed or had anything to do with the commission of that bombing at the Haymarket? No. You capitalists were responsible for that.”
The last speaker was Judge Gary. “In substance, uh– and effect, it is that the defendant, Neebe, be imprisoned in the state penitentiary at Joliet at hard labor for the term of 15 years, and that each of the other eight defendants, between the hours of ten o’clock in the afternoon– the forenoon, and two o’clock in the afternoon of the third day of December next, in the manner provided by the statute of the state of Illinois, be hung by the neck until he is dead. Remove the prisoners from my presence.”
The verdict was appealed to the state Supreme Court, and then to the United States Supreme Court, which on November 2, 1887, upheld the lower court decision. The execution date was re-set for Nosem– November 11, and the only hope left for the condemned men was an appeal to the governor to commute their sentences.
Fortunately, public opinion had changed considerably in the one-and-a-half years since the bomb had exploded. People of all classes now spoke out in favor of the socialists and the anarchists, and the cause had even spread to France and England. In London, on October 14, a large mass meeting was addressed by a diverse set of speakers, including socialist William Morris, anarchist philosopher Peter Kropotkin – K-r-o-p-o-t-k-i-n– playwright socialist George Bernard Shaw, and the theosophist, Annie Besant – B-e-s-a-n-t.
Attempts were made to convince the prisoners to submit written pleas for mercy, because public pressure was growing. But only Fielden, Schwab, and Spies would do it. On November 6, Lingg’s cell was searched, and four small bombs were discovered that had been placed there by the police to incense the public. Although the explosives were only large enough for self-destruction, the discovery brought about an increased fear of an anarchistic revolt, a socialist revolt, and damaged the movement. The press played it highly. So it damaged the movement to obtain clemency for the prisoners.
Lingg claimed to have never seen the bombs before, and there was every speculation since by those that have studied the case, that they had been plen– planted there by the prison guards, and paid for by the manufacturers– the McCormick manufacturers. Conspiracy again of the big capitalists, the big newspapers, like we saw in the attack against us.
On November 8, Governor [Richard James] Oglesby received petitions with 200,000 signatures, urging him to spare the lives of the condemned socialists and anarchists. All day he met with prominent people who were supporters of commutation – that means, revoking their sentence – including members of the state legislature. There’s nobody now in any state legislature or Congress in the USA that would support a socialist or an anarchist. And even Samuel Gompers – G-o-m-p-e-r-s – the president of the American Federation of Labor, was there to get their sentences commuted.
The next day, it was announced that Judge Gary and prosecuting attorney [Julius] Grinnell – G-r-i-n-n-e-l-l – had petitioned the governor to commute the sentences of Fielden and Schwab. Oglesby met with more prominent citizens, and was also– and also was read a letter from Parsons, the white man married to the black woman, which said that he had been found guilty of murder, simply because he had attended the Haymarket meeting. This being the case, Parsons requested a reprieve. He knew what it meant to leave his wife and children, she being black and they being mixed in racist America. So Parsons said, “I was only convicted for being present at a meeting. I did nothing wrong.”
So he requested a reprieve so that his wife and children, who had also been at the meeting, could be indicted, convicted, and put to dea– to death together with him, because he knew he was the only one that would take care of them.
The governor, when he heard this – Governor Oglesby – exclaimed “My God! This man is terrible!” And that decided his fate. He decided not to commute Parsons because of his arrogance.
Shortly before nine on the morning of November 10, Louis Lingg placed a small bomb in his mouth and threw [blew] off the bottom half of his face. Blew it entirely to shreds. He died six-and-one-half hours later, unconscious. At seven PM, Governor Oglesby announced that he would commute to life imprisonment the sentences of Fielden, Schwab, but that Spies, Parsons – the brave white man married to the black woman – Engel and Fischer, would die on schedule the next day, November 11, 1887.
The night before the execution, before going to sleep at two AM, Albert Parsons chilled the prison guards with a moving rendition of “Annie Laurie.” The condemned men were completely composed, and their jailers were much disturbed and very impressed. At 11:30 AM, the four socialists were taken from their cells and cloaked in white muslin shrouds – mooslim, muslin, rather – m-u-s-l-i-n – white muslin shrouds, and led handcuffed to the scaffold.
Two hundred people watched as the nooses were placed around their necks. Fischer helped to adjust his. August Spies complained that his noose was too tight, and then, gave a thank you when it was loosened.
The nervous silence which covered the room was shattered suddenly as August Spies’ voice boomed out from beneath the hood which covered his head. “There will come a time when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today.”
Fischer shouted next: “Hoorah for socialism!”
Engel shouted: “Hoorah for anarchy!”
Fischer came then: “This is the happiest moment of my life.”
Parsons just started to speak. “Will I be allowed to speak? Oh men of America, let me speak, Sheriff [Canute R.] Matson, let the voice of the people be heard–“ and at that moment, the trap was sprung, and their lives were snuffed out, for their valiant stand for socialism in the Haymaker affair– the Haymarket affair of 1886.
The last few words I’ll give have to do with the funeral on Sunday, November 13, 1887. Chicago, Illinois saw the largest funeral in its history. Mayor [John A.] Roche – R-o-c-h-e –ordered that no banners, flags, or arms be displayed, no music be played, other than dirges, and that there be no demonstration or speeches.
At least 16,000 people marched behind the five coffins, while over a quarter of a million people lined the s– entire route. You couldn’t get 25 people out for socialists today.
Only one banner was carried, an American flag prou– proudly held by Civil War veterans. Over 10,000 persons observed the simple burial at the graveside at Waldheim Cemetery.
The final chapter in the story of the Haymarket Affair came in 1893, when Illinois’ new governor John (unintelligible) [Peter] Altgeld – A-l-t-g-e-l-d – severely damaged his career by pardoning Fielden, Neebe, and Schwab. What hurt his career was not that he’d pardoned the men, but the reason for which he pardoned them. He was too honest. No politician, no public official can last and be honest. Governor Altgeld – A-l-t-g-e-l-d – after studying the case carefully, declared that the socialists and anarchists should be freed because they were innocent, as were the five who lay in their graves at Waldheim – W-a-l-d-h-e-i-m. He said that the jury had been packed, and he personally attacked Judge Gary for being an insidious, devious, dishonest judge, and also that he was prejudicial in every way.
Altgeld was viciously condemned by all of the major newspapers in the United States, and he was hung in effigy throughout the country. But he refused to respond to any of the criticisms. He said, “Remember this about any slander,” said Governor Altgeld, he said to a friend. “Denial only emphasizes and gives added importance to falsehood. Let it alone, and it will die for want of nourishment.” Some thought we need to take to consideration there, even though the governor was pushed out of his office, didn’t win again. It’s a thought to think about.
The author of the book I’ve just given you, David Wallechinsky – W-a-l-l-e-c-h-i-n-s-k-y – has recently had two books published. Chico’s Organic Gardening and Natural Living and Laughing Gas. This is his only serious book, and of course it was much, much, much larger than what I gave you.
That is your special today, to have that historical US experience in your backlog of reference. The Haymarket Affair that won the eight-hour day strike in USA, but nothing more, because USA has not moved one bit since then, and in fact, socialism has lost its support vastly since those days in USA. Much love. (Tape cuts off)
Jones: –into the twenties now, the death toll has risen, and over 150 that’ve been injured, many of them seriously. Strangely enough, there’s a great deal of silence, unwillingness to even make a fall guy for the provocateurs. Perhaps it didn’t work out to suit them. Some strange mystery anyway. An ice cream truck equipped with a bomb blew up, or perhaps the USA has decided that there’s too much danger, that they can not calculate the moods. Although one can not really speculate, because there could be nothing more apathetic, and appallingly apathetic, or in despair than the US public. Nonetheless, nothing new has been brought to light. The purpose behind the bombing in the Wall Street financial empire that took into the twenties of death– death toll from being burned ali–
End of tape
Tape originally posted January 2013