It has not been so many years ago since it was an accepted fact that this was a middle-class Republic. Hence it was immune against those upheavals that have in times past disturbed the equanimity of the “better classes” of Europe. If there are any such persons at the present time hugging these delusions we would be pleased to have them peruse the following extracts, taken from an interview with James R. Keene, of Wall Street fame. He says:
It is my firm conviction that the day is coming when the individual small merchant will cease to exist. In his place will be millions of persons working for wages and salaries whereas yesterday and today there were and are proprietors. In other words, I believe the time is coming when pra... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) We are told that the word Anarchy needs constant explanation; that whenever used in its literal sense it must be defined. Is there any other word of which this is not true? The introduction of new ideas into a man’s mind is not accompanied by the use of a specially coined word, but by the adaptation of old words to broader uses. Even the word self-government would not convey our meaning in its broadest generalization. This word has been understood since its introduction into general use to mean a system of representative government—the delegation of personal rights to be represented by another person deemed to be the highest approach of liberty possible in a state.
In seeking the establishment, not of a system of government, bu... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) If there is a country on the face of the Earth where the working classes need to be educated to understand their class interests, that country is America. The wage-earners are taught that in this country where every man’s son may aspire to become president of these United States, there can be no classes. Large masses accept this kind of “jollying” without question. Thousands of them do really believe we have no classes here. Because one man in thirteen or fourteen million men is elected, instead of being born to rule, they accept this as indisputable evidence of universal liberty.
Another hard fact that is difficult to drive home to the American mind, is that he belongs to an entirely different class from that to which th... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Believing that your paper is published in the interest of truth, I ask for space in its columns to state briefly the facts relating to my incarceration in the Columbus prison. The venal capitalistic press has heralded the information all over the country that I was arrested for insulting the Mayor of Columbus. I never insulted the Mayor. My arrest was simply the carrying out of a conspiracy to suppress free speech. The Mayor is reported in the press as saying “he did not propose to have me preach Anarchy in Columbus, which must inevitably lead to bloodshed,” and the Mayor said “the meeting is declared off.”
In this connection, at this stage, it will be observed that there is no pretense that the hall had been rented... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Whatever we hear from all quarters we are very apt to believe, whether it requires some effort to believe, whether it is true or not, especially if it requires some effort to examine it. Of all the modern delusions, the ballot has certainly been the greatest. Yet most of the people believe in it.
In the first place, it is founded on the principle that the majority shall lead and the minority must follow (no matter whether it will be any advantage to the majority to have the minority follow them or not). Let us take a body of legislators, absolutely honest, and see what they can do. A, B and C have each a distinct principle to carry out, and there is no good reason why each one should not carry out his principle to a certain extent without ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The American people, and especially the working class, do not seem to realize the importance of and the class interest involved in the arrest of Moyer, Haywood and Pettibone. If these, our brothers in labor’s cause, are to be saved from the gallows, there must be a tremendous amount of agitation carried on. Money must be raised, and lots of it, for their defense. The working class must be made aware of the long fight between the Mine Owners’ Association and the Western Federation of Miners, and shown the connection between this struggle and these arrests.
Anarchists cannot afford to be backward in this matter. Many of us have passed through the awful ordeal and know what anguish it is to those men and their families. If there i... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Cincinnati, Ohio, October 11, 1886
Dear Comrade: I am meeting with success far beyond what the comrades here expected. I addressed a large and enthusiastic meeting here on Sunday the 10th and will address one tonight, and the prospects are good for a still larger one. The noticeable feature about that meeting was that it was composed almost entirely of conservative trade unionists who applauded my utterances to the echo, and accepted my definition of the red flag with rapture. Ah! I tell you the people are becoming hungry for the other side of the late judicial farce known as the Anarchist trial.
I go from here to Louisville, thence to Cleveland, and to New York City, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, etc. You know, comrade, that my present trip ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) And here is my mail with a letter from Santa Claus who has not even forgotten me, although the halcyon days of childhood’s sweet delusion have long since vanished from me. And the precious missive which the venerable old sire in his rambles through foreign lands has found and brought to me, becomes so interesting as I peruse its contents that I have determined to let the readers of The Alarm have the benefit of it.
The story is laid in a barbarous isle, and is the result of the very sudden advent of a ship-wrecked Christian, who in return for the many kindnesses which he has received at the hands of his new neighbors, proposes to carry a few of them back with him to his own country that he may show them the benefits of a Christian ci... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Our saintly Christians and other goody-goody people throw up their hands in horror, in contemplating the prevalence of crime among the “lower classes.” Crimes, or unsociable acts among the “lower classes,” are only a reflex of crimes or robberies of the upper or “better classes.” We rob our children before they are born. How many thousands, yea millions, of mothers among the working class are there who see a thousand and one articles while in a state of pregnancy which their appetite craves or their heart desires, and yet are unable to gratify it? They walk the streets, gazing at the gorgeous displays, everything to attract the eye and cause the heart to wish for, yet unable, owing to poverty, to gratify ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Under the heading of “Crime and Violence in 1905,” a capitalist paper of this city gives some very interesting statistics:
The record of homicides and of deaths occurring from various forms of violence during 1905 is not an encouraging one. . . . The approximate number of such deaths during the year now closing was 9,212, an increase of 730 over 1904. The most discouraging feature of the report is the continued increase of murders committed by burglars, thieves, and holdup men. The number in 1905 was 582, as compared with 464 in 1904.
It will be seen that crimes committed in the attempt to get possession of other people’s property (illegally) are on the increase.
Is this fact, sad as it is, without a cause?
Con... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The Industrial Workers of the World is the last child born of the great surging struggle in the world’s arena between labor and capital. It is a child vigorous and aggressive, gaining in strength, expanding in power, and commanding attention and respect. This young child is the progeny of a long line of the Earth’s stalwarts who have engaged in the onward march towards a better world.
The IWW is urging the workers to set aside the first of May, 1912 to demand of the master class an eight-hour working day. Of course if the working class are not sufficiently awake to their own interests to come out and stand like men for this very just and modest demand, the IWW will not abandon the agitation; on the contrary, it may agitate for ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The Eleventh of November has become a day of international importance, cherished in the hearts of all true lovers of liberty as a day of martyrdom. On this day were offered upon the cruel gallows-tree, martyrs as true to their high ideals as were ever sacrificed in any age.
The writer will assume that the present generation is but superficially informed regarding the details that led up to the eleventh of November, for in this busy age, twenty-five years is a long time to remember the details of any event, however important.
In 1886 the working class of America, for the first time, struck for the reduction of the hours of daily toil to eight per day. It was a great strike. Chicago was the storm-center of that strike, because of the activi... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) After reading a recent census report showing that children (white children) are toiling in the cotton factories of the South for $1.75 per week, one is constrained to inquire: Where do the burdens of capitalism press heaviest? When we see the father who has kissed his loving wife and helpless little ones an affectionate “God bless you” and turn heavily upon his heel to seek employment, he knows not where, that he may furnish them bread, he knows not how much, we are tempted to say of this man that pleasure has become to him a mockery, and misery a part of his being.
When we witness day by day the tired maiden wearing away her young life amid the dismal din of the factory wheels, we may say, here, indeed, the system of wage-slav... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) If our social arrangements were so adjusted that each person could follow that calling in life which they are by nature adapted for, what a great gainer society as a whole would be. These few who are so fortunate as to be able to follow the calling of their heart’s desire make a success of life. Florence Nightingale was one of the fortunate few, who could engage in that occupation for which she was best adapted. Florence Nightingale was a born nurse. In her was found that rare combination of heart, brain and sympathy which makes the ideal nurse. It is when one is laid low by the ravages of disease that they can appreciate to its utmost depth the value of human kindness.
Many charming stories are told of Florence’s sympathetic n... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) How many are there of the countless millions who have entered this life, passed through its changing scenes and at last have laid down to rest, of whom it can be truly said, “Here rest they who have labored for the uplifting of the oppressed, who have devoted their energies unstintingly in the interest of the ‘common people?’” We fear there are few indeed. A life devoted to the interest of the working class; a life of self-abnegation, a life full of love, kindness, gentleness, tragedy, activity, sadness and kind-ness, are some of the characteristics which went to make up the varied life of our comrade, Louise Michel. In the elderly woman, clad in simple black garments, with gray hair curling upon rounded shoulders an... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Under the above head will be continued for a few weeks brief sketches of the lives of women who have contributed their share in building the world’s history. While the editor will contribute a number of these sketches we also invite others, especially women, to send in brief sketches of famous women, if any such occur to their minds. Let these sketches be well stated, short and to the point. We hope if any are sent in that they will be far superior to those which we write ourselves. (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) In preparing the Life of Albert R. Parsons for publication I have been actuated by one desire alone, viz.: that I might demonstrate to every one, the most prejudiced as well as the most liberal minds: first, that my husband was no aider, nor abettor, nor counselor of crime in any sense. Second, that he knew nothing of nor had anything to do with the preparation for the Haymarket meeting, and that the Haymarket meeting was intended to be peaceable, and was peaceable until interfered with by the police. Third, that Mr Parsons’ connection with the labor movement was purely and simply for the purpose of bettering the condition of his fellow men; that he gave his time, talents, and at last his life, to this cause.
In order to make these f... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Does this rising generation know that those who inaugurated the eight-hour day were put to death at the command of capital?
Until forty years ago men, women and children toiled ten and often twelve hours a day in factories for a mere pittance, and children from six to nine years of age had to work to help keep up the family.
The Knights of Labor, a powerful organization claiming 500,000 members, had never agitated for a reduction of the hours of labor. Then who were the pioneers of the eight-hour movement? Those martyrs who were strung from the gallows in Chicago on November 11, 1887, the much-lied-about and abused Anarchists.
I will verify this statement. Until 1885 there had never been a concerted action for the reduction of the hours ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The following letter was written when all the events of that terrible night were fresh in my memory—in fact were burning in my soul, when the awful detonation was still ringing in my ears and police outrages were occurring all around me—in fact in my own home.
The readers of the Enquirer have read with bated breath the startling news flashed from this city on Tuesday last of the ushering in and demonstration of the new method of scientific warfare.
What was it, and what the occasion of the bringing forth of the fell destroyer from his lurking-place in the realms of science with such direful results? The cause may be given in a future letter, the results may be given here.
The minions of the oppressing class were marching up t... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) There has been no event in recent years which has shown the advance made in class-conscious labor organizations more distinctly than the class trial just ended in Boise, Idaho, and its comparison with the trial of the Anarchists at Chicago in 1886.
The Anarchist trial was a class trial—relentless, vindictive, savage and bloody. By that prosecution the capitalists sought to break the great strike for the eight-hour day which was being successfully inaugurated in Chicago, this city being the storm-center of that great movement; and they also intended, by the savage manner in which they conducted the trial of these men, to frighten the working class back to their long hours of toil and low wages from which they were attempting to emerge... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) There is no way of building up a movement, strengthening it and keeping it intact, except by a press, at least weeklies, if dailies are impossible. The press is the medium through which we exchange ideas, keep abreast of the times, take the gauge of battle and see how far the class conflict has progressed. It is by the press we educate the public mind and link the people of most distant parts together in bonds of fraternity and comradeship. We can keep track of the work and accomplishments of our comrades in no other way, except by the medium of paper. The Liberator is the only English-language anarchist propaganda paper in America; for this reason, comrades and sympathizers in all parts of the country should feel in duty bound to support t... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) As the Knights of Labor went down, the American Federation of Labor commenced to rise.
This latter organization, after about twenty-three years’ existence, claims over a million members. It was the AFL that inaugurated “Labor Day,” the first Monday in September. This Labor Day was originally intended to be the one day in the year on which labor could devote to its own interests, for the purpose of cultivating a spirit of solidarity and fraternity among the working class. But “Labor Day” has lost this feature—instead, it has degenerated into a day when politicians, fakers and grafters have full swing, and a free platform to lie, and to gull the masses.
All the evidences of disintegration are apparent in ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The Industrial Workers of the World, an organization launched in Chicago last June, is making wonderful progress in all parts of the country, and in practically every industry. This is as it should be, because the IWW is organized along the lines of the evolution of capitalism, which is so organized, that under one head or one management, whole lines of industry are conducted, reaching from ocean to ocean or from Maine to Mexico. So that the freight-handler working in the freight yards in San Francisco is affected when the longshoreman in New York City asks for better conditions from the employer, and he must be prepared to back his brother up in his just demand.
It is the mission of the IWW to teach the laboring classes their solidarity o... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The utter irreconcilability of the interest of labor and capital based upon the present system of buying and selling: the utter hopelessness of arbitrating and harmonizing the interests of the two parties to any lasting agreement, one of whom gains where the other loses, should be transparent to any one who gives the matter serious thought. We see this fact exemplified now in the long wrangle going on between the miners and the mine owners. Capital is invested in a “plant” by its owner for the purpose of deriving profit therefrom.
Labor is employed to reproduce or create more wealth, and the mutual interests of wealth-producer and the profit-taker is ended. The one is employed by the other; the laborer wishes to sell his labor ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) I am greatly afraid, Comrades, that my voice will not reach to all of you, but believe me that my spirit will reach to the farthest corners of the room.
I have spoken in this hall before, and in other halls, and one wish I have always wished, that the architect who built a hall like this—with the acoustics that this hall has—would never build another one like it.
Now, I am going to bring you a message, that forty-four years ago today we had our first introduction on American soil of what was known as a great strike. It was the introduction of the eight-hour day in America. From twelve hours to eight hours was a great step, and I have the honor to be one of those who was so instrumental in my small and humble way in preparing f... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Scientific socialism (so-called) has been taught in Germany for more than fifty years. The State scientists abjured the tenet “Father, Son and Holy Ghost” but took, in its stead the text: “Workers of all countries, unite!” This beautiful bit of phraseology “was glimmering” when the political representatives of “science” (backed by more than four million voters) helped their imperial master lay a war levy of a billion marks or more for the prosecution of a war on workers of other countries.
And each of the scientists was honored by a clasp of the imperial hand to the tune of “Deutschland Uber Alles!” German scientific Socialism has stifled the revolutionary tendency, once so promis... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) March 12, 1926
Grand Old Rebel! I am writing you these few lines to express my admiration and appreciation of the grand stand that you have taken, regarding your restoration to citizenship. Why should you ask for that which you, in justice and fairness, have never forfeited? It is [thanks] to such characters as you that reaction is halted and this stupid old world moves on a little, until the time for change is reached.
I am sending you a copy of the Life of my late husband, Albert R. Parsons, also a copy of the Famous Speeches. You will observe in reading his Life that he too refused to ask for a “pardon,” stating that he would not ask for pardon for that which he had not forfeited—his life. If you mention these books i... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) June 11, 1936
Dear Comrade Tom Mooney: I received your most welcome letter some days ago and would have replied sooner but was not well.
Regarding the data of the trial, I sent about all I had on hand to universities.
I mailed you a copy of The Life of Albert R. Parsons. It contains much valuable information which you wished. I am sending under another cover copies of the Alarm that Parsons published. In your lonely prison cell, it will take you back to other days of our movement.
Well, dear Comrade, I have been very active in your cause, to liberate you; have spoken in many meetings both here and in the east. I am not discouraged in the belief that justice will be done you, and that I can clasp your hand a free comrade—vindicated... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) February 27, 1922
Editor, Federated Press: I read Mr Stone’s article on the Chicago anarchists published in Collier’s Weekly of February 5, 1922, and consider it so defective in so many ways that it’s absolutely unreliable as a historical document. He not only lies about Mr Schilling, whom he accuses of being a part of the revolutionary anarchist groups, but he also lies about Mr Parsons and myself when he says that it was understood that he (Stone) was to have the privilege of surrendering my husband to the court when he voluntarily returned to be tried. It is true that Mr Stone sent for us and offered me a substantial monetary consideration, if such a privilege were granted him. I reported his request to Capt. William P... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Our comrades [the Haymarket Martyrs] sleep the sleep which knows no awakening, but the grand cause for which they died is not asleep nor dead: It is the live, inspiring issue of every land and clime where the ray of civilization has penetrated. It is the moving inspiration of our age, the only question worth struggling for: the question of how to lift humanity from poverty and despair.
This question is the swelling tide of our age. It is useless for the ruling class to stand on the shore of discontent and attempt to force this tide back to its depths of poverty, for it swells up from the hearts of the people. And though they should erect gallows along all the highways and byways, build prisons and increase armies, the tide will continue to... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)