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Many liberals and other Democrats see Trump as the main problem facing the U.S. Therefore their focus is on defeating him in the next election (or impeachment). They focus on the electoral system and hope for salvation through government action. I disagree. Trump is a major problem, but he is the culmination of years of political and economic development, and is related to similar politics in other countries. The fight against Trumpism requires a non-electoral and militant program.
north america / mexico / imperialism / war / non-anarchist press Monday June 24, 2019 04:13 byVijay Prashad
Canada’s embassy in Venezuela has just been closed. The spur for this closure is an open attempt by Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to overthrow Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro. Canada is one of the leaders of the Lima Group, a network of countries that came together in 2017 with the express purpose of regime change in Venezuela. Canada’s diplomatic corps has played the role of facilitator for the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó. Trudeau and Guaidó speak regularly. Their plot against Venezuela thickens.The Canadian government held the meeting of the Lima Group this year. It helped organize the speaking tours of Venezuelan opposition figures. But, most controversially, Canada’s ambassador to Venezuela – Ben Rowswell – held an annual dinner and delivered a human rights award to people who amplified the voices of those opposed to the Bolivarian Revolution. “The tradition here,” Rowswell said sanctimoniously, “is that Canada believes in the principles of human rights and democracy and takes pragmatic measures on the ground to unblock political situations.” Unblock political situations is a uniquely Canadian way of saying promoting regime change.
Venezuela has been – as the most recent dossier from Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research argues – the target of a hybrid war. Canada has not been a bystander in this hybrid war, but it has functioned to give the entire maneuver the sheen of Canadian liberalism.
Countries work hard to protect and promote their self-image. No state likes to be associated – for instance – with arms sales. Sweden, which gives out the Nobel Peace Prize, and Switzerland, which promotes itself as a neutral country, are leading sellers of arms – both in the top twenty list. Canada sells fewer arms than Switzerland and Sweden, but the places that it sells arms to should raise eyebrows.
For all the talk of “human rights” and for all the hoopla about the human rights award from the Canadian embassy in Caracas, it is Canada’s Justin Trudeau who championed a $15-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia despite the many criticisms of the Saudi war on Yemen. It is one thing to talk about human rights. It is another to live by that credo. Canada does not.
The Canada-Saudi arms deal did not take place in another century. It was signed in 2014 and executed this year by the liberal government of Trudeau. The list of arms sold to Saudi Arabia by Canada’s General Dynamics Land Systems includes the kind of Canadian-made weapons that Saudi Arabia is already using against the people of Yemen. It is quite one thing for a pompous Canadian Parliament to sanction people associated with the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (as they did in November last year) and another to sell arms to a regime that has killed thousands of civilians in a brutal and unending war.
Evidence of the brutality of the Saudi war does not necessarily need to be assembled for the Canadian foreign ministry. In July 2017, Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said that she was “deeply concerned” by the videos of Canadian weaponry used against the Yemeni people. “If it is found that Canadian exports have been used to commit serious violations of human rights,” said the Canadian foreign ministry, then Canada “will take action.” This is a curious standard. Only if Canadian weaponry is used to commit violations is this a concern. It is acceptable to sell weaponry to a country that is in the midst of prosecuting an inhumane war.
In June 2018, the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights produced a key report. Three Canadian senators – a liberal, a conservative and an independent – found that “even though the Government of Canada advocates for the protection of human security abroad, it too often appears willing to compromise its values in order to advance economic and other foreign policy interests.” In this report, the senators note that it is more than likely that Canadian weaponry was used by Saudi Arabia against the Bahraini population in 2011 and against the Saudi public. This – the standard developed by Freeland and underscored by the Canadian Senate – did not bother Freeland’s department when it eventually provided export licenses.
No need to unblock the political situation in Saudi Arabia. No talk of “principles of human rights and democracy” when “Made in Canada” becomes the last phrase seen by a Yemeni child before the lights go out.
If you think about Canada, you don’t always think about mining companies and their human rights violations.
But these mining companies play a fundamental role in driving much of Canadian foreign policy, notably when it comes to South America, Africa and Southern Asia. Some of the world’s largest mining firms – as is noted in this briefing from Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research – are Canadian. Many of them operate in South America.
From one end of Latin America to another, Canadian mining companies have been involved in scandals upon scandals. The Working Group on Mining and Human Rights in Latin America filed a report with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that is damning. “The Impact of Canadian Mining in Latin America and Canada’s Responsibility” (2014) should have shaped the way the world sees Canada. But it has had almost no impact.
The report notes that “the mining sector plays a fundamental role in the Canadian government’s efforts” in Latin America, to the extent of interference in the domestic affairs of a number of countries. In Colombia, Honduras and Peru, the Canadian government drove the drafting of the mining policies.
Anger at Venezuela has got to be understood in terms of Canada’s mining interests. In 2007, Barrick Gold’s Peter Munk wrote a letter to the Financial Times that summarized the view of the entire Canadian mining sector toward Venezuela. The letter called Hugo Chávez a “dangerous dictator” and called for intervention – “let us not give President Chávez a chance to do the same step-by-step transformation of Venezuela.” What bothered Munk and his class of mining executives was Venezuela’s push against foreign firms that sought to drain the wealth from countries like Venezuela.
Why was Munk so annoyed? Chávez’s government had just pushed for foreign companies to surrender their majority control over Venezuela’s oil reserves. This bothered Munk, but he was not alone. Canadian embassy officials in Venezuela told James Rochlin, a professor of the University of British Columbia, that they felt “burned” by Chávez. The Canadian government began to get cozy with Colombia against Venezuela. The roots of the Lima Group go back to the anger of the mining firms with Chávez’s desire to use Venezuela’s resources for the Venezuelan people. The Canadian mining bosses and the Canadian government wanted the Bolivarian Revolution overthrown so that they could take advantage of Venezuela’s resources.
So much for high-minded principles. For those who want to understand Canada’s foreign policy, don’t spend years studying its human rights statements. Put your hand into the dirt, touch the ore under the soil – that’s where Canadian foreign policy is rooted.
north america / mexico / imperialism / war / non-anarchist press Friday June 21, 2019 01:47 byJustin Podur
After withdrawing from the nuclear deal with Iran last year and resuming sanctions last November, the White House in April announced that its goal was to “drive Iranian exports to zero.” To make this drive happen, the White House stopped allowing countries like India, China, Japan, Turkey, and South Korea to import Iranian oil: dictating to sovereign countries whom they can trade with.The dictating doesn’t stop there. Last December the United States had Canadian authorities detain and imprison a Chinese executive, the chief financial officer of telecom company Huawei. Meng Wanzhou is currently being held in Canada for extradition to the U.S., on the allegation that her company violated U.S. sanctions against Iran. Not content with having told China that it cannot trade with Iran, the United States has gotten a third country, Canada, to take a Chinese corporate executive captive in what Trump suggested was leverage for a trade deal: “If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made, which is a very important thing – what’s good for national security – I would certainly intervene, if I thought it was necessary,” he told Reuters in December.
The trade deal with China didn’t come through, and a “trade war” has begun. Meng Wanzhou is still stuck in Canada. And the blockade against Iran is still tightening. Economist Mark Weisbrot assessed some of the damage to the Iranian economy in a recent segment on the Real News Network, noting that when sanctions were imposed in 2012, oil production dropped by 832,000 barrels per day and GDP by 7.7 per cent; when they were lifted in 2016 in the nuclear deal, production increased by 972,000 barrels per day and GDP increased by 12 per cent that year. In 2018 when sanctions were imposed, oil production fell dramatically again and inflation rose by 51 per cent; shortages of dozens of essential medicines, according to a study at the University of California, have followed.
Sanctions Destroy Economies
Some basic economics are in order here. A country that does not need to import or export is called an autarky, and in today’s global economy there are no autarkies. All national economies depend on trade: they export, earn foreign currency, and use that to import what they cannot produce. Driving a country’s exports to zero means destroying the country’s economy, and depriving the country’s people of necessities.
Sometimes billed as an alternative to war, sanctions are in fact a weapon of war. Far from precision-guided munitions, sanctions are weapons of starvation, which target the most vulnerable civilians for slow and painful death by deprivation of food and medicine. They are an alternative to war in the sense that unlike the invasion of ground troops or even the dropping of bombs, they pose little risk to the aggressor. This is their appeal to someone like Trump, who revealed the genocidal intent behind the Iran sanctions when he threatened (on Twitter) “the official end of Iran.”
In the 1990s, one focus of the antiwar movement was the impact of the genocidal sanctions against Iraq, which killed 500,000 children (a “price” that Madeleine Albright famously said was “worth it”). Antiwar activists feared that the sanctions were part of a military strategy that would end in even more devastating shooting war. Those fears proved true. Today’s sanctions seem to draw from the same playbook.
International law recognizes that sanctions are a form of warfare, and places the use of the sanctions weapon in the hands of the United Nations Security Council. And so it happened that between the 1990 and 2003 U.S. wars on Iraq, the UN played the shameful role of administering the Iraq sanctions. But today’s unilateral sanctions imposed by the U.S. circumvent any UN legalities. In the same Real News segment, UN Special Rapporteur on Unilateral Coercive Measures Idriss Jazairy noted that about one-quarter of the world’s population is under some form of unilateral sanctions. Iran, Venezuela, Syria, Cuba, Sudan and others are under various U.S. sanctions regimes. Yemen is fully blockaded by the U.S., UK, and Saudi Arabia; Gaza and the West Bank are completely sealed in by Israel; Qatar is blockaded by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and the list goes on.
U.S. sanctions against Venezuela have already killed 40,000 people between 2017 and 2018, according to a report by Mark Weisbrot and Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs. The more intense sanctions imposed in 2019 will kill still more. Venezuela’s electrical grid is damaged, most likely because of sabotage. Maintenance of potable water pumps has become impossible without imported spare parts, leaving millions without water. A Venezuelan professor of economics, Pasqualina Curcio, told a delegation of the End Venezuela Sanctions coalition that sanctions have cost the country $114-billion, “which is nearly equal to one year’s worth of Venezuelan GDP at a typical oil price, or 26 years’ worth of medical imports.”
The Real Purpose?
One of the tactical arguments anti-sanctions campaigners sometimes make is that sanctions “don’t work.” And for their declared purpose of “regime change,” indeed they do not. But when a policy is so widespread, such a first resort, perhaps the declared purpose is not the real purpose. If the purpose is to destroy economies, isolate countries, coerce allies, keep tensions near boiling and maintain a constant threat of war, sanctions are successful. It has been shown time and again that torture “doesn’t work” for obtaining information. But torture is not a technique for obtaining information. It is a technique for breaking a person and, when practiced on a mass scale by an apartheid state or dictatorship, for breaking a society. Sanctions are similar: the point is to break the society, not “regime change.”
Sanctions are Trump’s favorite weapon, but good Democrats are no different. Obama oversaw the destruction of Syria, Clinton laughed about the murder of Gaddafi and the destruction of Libya, and Albright said that 500,000 Iraqi children’s deaths were “worth it.” For the empire, genocide, like aggression, is a normal part of politics. Nuclear planners plan how to commit it. Sanctions officials administer it. And for the most part, human rights organizations take no position on it.
It is possible that at some point sanctions could become self-limiting. If enough countries are sanctioned, they might of course decide to trade with one another. In attempting to isolate so many big countries, the United States could isolate itself, creating a kind of “coalition of the sanctioned.” But from the U.S. perspective, with Brazil, India, and Egypt (the biggest countries in Latin America, South Asia, and the Arab world) all utterly subservient, perhaps this looks like a good moment to try to pressure China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba. Trump’s planners can rest assured that it is not them, but millions of innocents in those countries who will pay for their power plays.
There has been an increase in anti-Jewish actions in the U.S. Why is this? Why have Jews been focused on by fascists and haters? There are traditional reasons for anti-semitism. The establishment of the state of Israel has created an interaction between anti-semitism and anti-Zionism. Where anti-semitism is irrational and reactionary, anti-Zionism is a just response to the oppression of Palestinian Arabs and Israel's alliance with U.S. imperialism.A Jewish joke from World War II: A Nazi officer stopped an old Jewish man and demanded that he answer, “Who started the war?!” Knowing what was good for him, the old man answered, “The Jews!” The Nazi nodded, but the old Jew continued, “…and the bicycle riders.” Puzzled, the officer asked, “Why the bicycle riders?” The Jew shrugged. “Why the Jews?”
There has recently been an increase in anti-semitic actions in the U.S., as well as in other Western countries. From 2017 to 2018, according to the Anti-Defamation League, attacks on Jews more than doubled, to 39. All “anti-semitic acts” in this period totaled 1,879. (While recognizing that Arabs may also be called “semites,” I use “anti-semitic” to mean “anti-Jewish.”)
On April 27th, 2019, a shooter opened fire on a synagogue during a passover service, in San Diego County, California. He shot four people, killing one. Previously he had posted an online statement about how he wanted to kill Jews. This followed the earlier shoot-up of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which killed 11 Jewish worshippers. And the 2017 torch-lit march of U.S. Nazis and Klanspeople in Charlotte, Virginia, chanting, “Jews will not replace us!”—which resulted in one murder and several injured. (NY Times, 5/1/19; p. A22)
This has been surprising to many. In the aftermath of the Nazi genocide of about 6 million Jews, Jews have done well in U.S. society. Most have made it into the “middle class,” which is to say have mainly become upper working class (“white collar” workers and “professionals”) or small businesspeople. Some have made it into the highest levels of corporate wealth and power, as well as political power. Through intermarriage and cultural assimilation, Jews have been dissolving into white America—much to the dismay of Jewish religious leaders. (I am myself a humanistic, secular, Jew, married to someone who is only partly Jewish, and our nonreligious son married a non-Jew.) The U.S. establishment right (Republican party, evangelical churches, etc.) speaks of “America’s Judeo-Christian heritage.” Evangelical Christians are among the strongest supporters of Israel.
This is why it was so astonishing when the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, would not denounce the U.S. Nazis for their Charlotte manifestation. (Instead, he said there were “good people on both sides”—fascists and anti-fascists—as well as “bad people on both sides.”) In horrified reaction, the Nazis were denounced by leading right wing politicians, religious leaders, the biggest of the corporate rich, and top military officers. As a whole, the U.S. ruling class was not prepared to endorse anti-semitic fascism—at this time anyway.
The rise in anti-semitism is connected to the general rise in racism, nativism, homophobia, misogyny, and overall hate-filled political “tribalism,” of which Trump is both a symptom and an encourager. U.S. (and world) society has been roiled by economic crises, long-term stagnation, spreading areas of poverty, environmental crises, the looming threat of climate catastrophe, wars around the world, and a massive increase in the migration of people from nation to nation. These tensions have increased political stalemate in the governments of the U.S. and other states. (Why these problems have arisen and increased in this period is another question. See Price 2012.) There is massive discontent in all sectors of U.S. society. There has been a political polarization, with Nazis marching on one hand, while alternately there has been an increase in acceptance of various minorities (sexual, religious, cultural, etc.), opposition to racism and nativism, the #MeToo movement, and the growth of an openly “socialist” movement. The “middle” falls away and extremism grows on the Right and the Left (speaking as an extremist of the anarchist Left).
The man who assaulted the San Diego synagogue claimed that he had set a fire at a neighboring mosque. He was inspired, he wrote, by the gunman who attacked two New Zealand mosques in March. The murderer who attacked the Tree of Life Synagogue wrote that he was enraged because a Jewish agency helped Latinx asylum seekers. “White nationalists” do not limit their mad hatred to Jews. (President Trump, who would not denounce the Nazis at Charlotte, has focused his racist hostility on Muslims and on Latinx people.)
But why do they include Jews at all? Jews are a tiny part of the population (1.5%) and are almost all white. The increase in racist, nativist, etc. tensions has not caused a return to bigotry against Catholics, who were once oppressed and discriminated against. The Klan used to be virulently anti-Catholic. We might expect anti-immigrant fanatics to notice that the Catholic Church has generally been pro-immigrant and that Latinx asylum-seekers are mostly Catholic. Despite this, there has been no rise in anti-Catholicism. Similarly, there is still a good deal of anti-Mormon feeling in the U.S. (which surfaced during Romney’s presidential run). Yet no one has marched, chanting, “Mormons won’t replace us.”
Nor does fascism absolutely have to be anti-semitic. The original Italian fascism of Mussolini was not (until their German allies insisted on it). Even in the U.S., there has been non-anti-semitic fascism. For example, Randall Terry of the anti-choice Operation Rescue, advocated the overthrow of bourgeois democracy and its replacement with a theocratic dictatorship—with him and his friends to speak for God, of course. This may imply anti-semitism—the theocracy would have been “Christian”after all—but was not explicit about it.
So, then, why the Jews?
The causes of anti-semitism may be divided into two groups. One is the traditional causes, applied to today’s tensions. The other is affected by a new factor, namely the state of Israel. Let me start with the first group of motives. (Of course, it is not anti-semitic for Christians, Muslims, or atheists simply to disagree with the Jewish religion or even to try to convert Jews to their views.)
Nationalists seek a mythical homogeneous nation, a single people, the same clear through. Such an imagined unity serves to disguise the real divisions in the country between capitalists and workers, among other divisions. This search for homogeneity may seem ridiculous in the U.S., where everyone is descended from immigrants except Native Americans. But one thing almost everyone had in common for generations was that they were Christians. Except for the Jews, who not only were not Christians of any type but who had “rejected” Christianity. For all the talk of a “Judeo-Christian civilization,” the Jews do not quite fit into a homogeneous America. Those seeking such a mystical national unity are likely to react to this. (This is also a reason for fascists to reject Muslims, despite talk of there being three “Abrahamic religions.”)
An essential part of fascist ideology is the existence of a secret cabal which rules from behind the scenes, seeking total control and world domination. In fact there is a powerful minority which rules from behind the scenes, namely the capitalist class (despite its divisions and factions). This is not, however, a conspiracy. It is a social system. The fascist belief in an evil elite conspiracy both includes elements of reality (since there is elite minority power) and fantasy (which directs attention away from the actual rulers, the corporate rich).
Who could be projected as a secret but powerful elite? White nationalists see African-Americans as the enemy. But their stereotypical fantasy about African-Americans is of stupid and lazy people. Using this absurd lie, the racists cannot then portray Black people as a powerful, smart, wily, elite who rule great institutions. The same goes for their prejudiced images of Latinx, Arabs, and most People of Color. (Asians might be another matter).
But the historical stereotypes about Jews fit what the fascists need for their ideology. The Jews are supposed to be smart, sly, tricky, selfish, sticking-together, greedy, great at business, rich, and so on. There are centuries of prejudiced imagery about them, from the original Christian religious hostility, to crackpot racial theories developed in the 20th century.
There have been attempts to invent others to fit the image of the secret cabal. Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority movement tried to talk up the “secular humanists” who were out to take over the U.S. But this never caught on. There are other imagined conspiracies such as the “Illuminati.” But the Jews are already here and are “available” to be portrayed as the evil conspiracy—distracting the working population from the real ruling elite, the bourgeoisie and their agents.
Therefore, when this society starts to go into crisis, it should not be surprising that the far right should raise the Jews as the terrible conspiracy which is out to “replace us.”
Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism
After World War II, a new factor arose to effect anti-semitism. This was the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, fulfilling the Zionist program. Previously, many people hated the Jews (as a people and as individuals) for no justifiable reason—that was anti-semitism. Now many people hated the state of Israel for good and justifiable reasons—anti-Zionism. These two conceptions interacted in various ways.
Israel was established mostly by Europeans immigrating into a poor, colonized, “Third World,” country. The colonizers took over the country, taking the land, driving out most of the native population and dominating the rest. They established their own state, defined as the state of “the Jewish people” and not of all those who lived in the country. They set up a capitalist economy and became part of the world market. Economically, militarily, and politically, the Israeli state became closely tied to U.S. imperialism. It served as the U.S.’s agent in the region, when needed.
One of its chief justifications has been the Holocaust, the murder of millions of Jews by the Nazis. However, Israel was not built on German land nor did it expel local Germans. It was built on land on which Palestinian Arabs lived, who had had nothing to do with the German state’s genocide of Jews.
Establishing a “Jewish state” has not done what the Zionists had hoped for. It has not become a “safe haven” for persecuted Jews. In fact, Jews are more in danger in Israel than in many other countries—certainly than in the U.S., despite the upswing in anti-semitic acts. It has not served as a magnet to draw all the Jews of the world into “their” country. Most Jews in the U.S. or Europe have no intention of leaving their countries to migrate there. On the contrary, many Israelis are migrating out. Finally, Israel was to make the Jews safe by no longer having to rely on the non-Jewish states. But the Israeli state depends completely on the support of Western capitalist (non-Jewish) states. If the U.S. were ever to cut its financial and military support of Israel, it would be the end of the Zionist institution.
The Palestinians, and other Arabs as well as Muslims, have opposed the Israeli state from the beginning. They objected to being disposed from their land and their country. They have been right to struggle as a people (most of which is peasants and workers, as well as small merchants). It is only just that anarchists, radicals, and progressive people everywhere have also opposed the Israeli state and generally been in solidarity with the Palestinian people. (Being in solidarity with an oppressed people does not necessarily mean agreeing with the political and strategic programs of the leaders of various factions. In particular, anarchists do not agree with nationalism as a program, either for the Jews or for the Palestinians.)
Not surprisingly, many (not all) Palestinians and their supporters think in nationalistic, bloc, terms. Just as the Zionists saw all Germans as “Nazis,” and all Palestinians as supposed “terrorists,” so many Palestinians and others see Zionists as “the Jews.” It is true that the Israeli state is overwhelming supported by its Jewish citizens. And Jewish people in the U.S. and Europe also give large-scale support to Israel. Official Jewish institutions, religious and political, are strongly in support of Israel. The pro-Israel lobby is a powerful influence on the U.S. government.
Still, it is a terrible mistake to see all Jews as Zionists and to see the Jewish people as the same as the Zionist state. This overlooks the many Jews who have supported the Palestinian cause. It overlooks the young Jews who have less of an attachment to Israel. It ignores the many Jews who support the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement against Israel. It ignores the fact that most Jews in the U.S. and Europe, whatever their views, have no control over the actions of the Israeli state and gain no benefits from its existence.
Some supporters of the Palestinians are definitely also anti-semites. But there are many supporters of the Palestinians who may sometimes make anti-semitic mistakes. But anti-semitism is not central to their anti-Zionism or important to these people.
It is different with the overt Jew haters, such as U.S. Nazis. It goes without saying that they have no genuine sympathy for the Palestinians. White nationalists despise Arabs and Muslims. They use anti-Zionism as a cover for their anti-semitism. They exaggerate the power that Israel has in the world, in order to make the Jews seem more frightening. They portray Israel as controlling U.S. foreign (and domestic) policy. While the Left condemns Israel as an agent of U.S. imperialism in the Middle East, the Right condemns Israel as a major world power which dominates the U.S.
Despite occasional differences between the U.S. and Israel, U.S politicians support the Israeli state because they think that this is in the interests of U.S. imperialism.
There are activists and theorists on the U.S. Left whose anti-Zionism goes over into anti-semitism. There are even self-styled “anarchists” (calling themselves “National Anarchists”) who are anti-semites and fascists. Keith Preston’s website, “Attack the System,” includes ads for their literature and reports on their conferences (see Price 2017). But they are a tiny current and much less important than the overtly right-wing fascists.
Zionists try to equate anti-semitism on the left with that on the right. They seek to make all opposition to Israel seem the same as anti-semitism. For example, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said, “Neither side of the political spectrum is exempt from intolerance. The idea that this is a problem with only one side is wrong,” However, the ADL’s own statistics found that of the 1,879 anti-semitic acts committed in the U.S. in 2018, 71 % were done by rightists. No such acts (0 %) were committed by left-wing individuals. Four were committed by “Islamist” individuals. (Adkins 2019) The danger to U.S. Jews is primarily from the right.
The danger of an anti-semitic, racist, fascism arises during a period of decline, chaos, and increased popular suffering. From below, people look for answers, and some (perhaps many) are attracted to the right, including the far-right. Meanwhile, from above, sections of the capitalist class must conclude that the (relatively) “democratic” system is not working to their advantage, that there is a threat from leftists, workers, People of Color, women, and others—a threat which must be repressed. Then the capitalists become willing to “hire” the fascists to take over the state.
We are not at that stage. There is a large turn to the right, as expressed in the approximately 40 % of the population which supports Trump no matter what, as they closely follow Fox News. These people are mostly not fascists. They do not want to overthrow the capitalist representative democracy. But they are supportive of authoritarianism in various ways, and motivated by nativism and racism. Meanwhile big business circles are certainly not prepared to overturn capitalist democracy. But they have supported Trump and put up with his vile racism.
If the future brings prosperity, social peace, and stability, then the danger of fascism—and the concomitant upsurge of anti-semitism—will die down. But if the next period holds social decay, economic decline and crises, environmental catastrophes, increasing wars, and further instability—as I believe it does—then we can expect further political discontent and polarization. This will mean a political decline of the conventional “middle.” There would be an increase of an authoritarian right (including fascists) and a socialist left (both a libertarian/radically-democratic Left and an authoritarian-statist Left). Anti-semitism can be expected to grow on the right.
Therefore opposition to anti-semitism should mean opposition to fascism and the political right. More, opposition to anti-semitism means opposition to capitalism and the struggle for a better social system of cooperation, production for use, participatory democracy, and ecological balance.
Anti-semitism must be an integral part of all progressive struggles. It must be fought as part of the decaying capitalist political culture, along with white nationalism, nativism, sexism, homophobia, class privilege, Islamaphobia, and all forms of prejudice and irrational hatred. The real enemy is the capitalist ruling class, its state, and all forms of oppression.
Anti-Zionism is not in itself anti-semitism. Solidarity with the Palestinian people and opposition to the Israeli state should be part of an internationalist program of liberation. But anti-Zionism must not be allowed to be used as a cover for a real program of hatred for Jews.
Anti-semitism cannot be treated as a problem in itself, distinct from the other tensions of a crisis-ridden capitalist society. It will only be ended when all forms of exploitation and oppression are ended.
Adkins, Laura E. (2019). “Right-Wing Responsible For 71% Of Anti-Semitic, Extremist Incidents: ADL”
Price, Wayne (2012). “Living through the Decline of Capitalism.”
Price, Wayne (2017). “A Conference of the ‘National Anarchists.’ “
*written for www.Anarkismo.net
north america / mexico / history of anarchism / opinion / analysis Wednesday May 01, 2019 21:38 byAlbert Parsons
As a tribute to one of the most remarkable agitators in labour history, we publish on May Day the autobiography of Albert Parsons. He was one of the five Chicago Anarchists who were tried in 1886-1887 and executed in November 1887 for their role as 8-hour working-day agitators and as anarchist militants. This mock-trial in 'the land of liberty' is one of the most shameful events in the history of labour in the whole world, and gave rise to May Day commemorations all over the world -the day was picked, because the repression which ended up in the 'legal lynching' of the Chicago Martyrs started after the general strike for the 8 hours working-day in May 1st 1886. This day is commemorated all over the world in memory of the Chicago Martyrs -unsurprisingly, one of the few countries which does not commemorate May Day is the land where this barbaric crime took place -the United States. They invented their own 'Labour Day' in September, with the purpose of severing the working class in the US from its radical tradition, and to devoid of meaning the conquest of the 8 hour working-day, a product of struggle and enormous sacrifice, not a gift from the capitalists.
The life of Albert Parsons is instructive of the trajectory of many working class agitators in the US in the 19th century, a period of remarkable radicalism which was crushed with unspeakable ruthlessness and repression. His life story goes from fighting in the Confederate States Army during the US Civil War as a 13 year old, to republican and civil rights' agitator, advocate of the emancipation of the slaves, then trade unionist, socialist and anarchist. He was married to Lucy Parsons, a mixed race woman herself born a slave, who would become a prominent socialist and anarchist, and who was a founding member of the Industrial Workers of the World, IWW, in 1905. A remarkable organiser and orator, he was the soul of the most progressive and active workers' movement in the USA at the time: in Chicago. Parsons was the only US citizen of 'pure stock' among the Chicago Martyrs (his ancestry going back all the way to one of the pilgrims in the Mayflower in 1632) -all his comrades being German. The immigrant nature of these anarchists was the cause for a racist and xenophobic uproar that no doubt was crucial to justify their barbaric execution -these racist, xenophobic tendencies are still alive and healthy in the USA, as we can see from the current state of affairs in the country. This is why, being not only a remarkable speaker, but also a well-self-educated man (at a time when the workers' movement still placed much emphasis on the self-education of the workers), he chose to strike a chord with public opinion and counter arguments that socialism and anarchism were 'foreign' and 'alien' ideas, by appealing to texts such as the US Declaration of Independence and opinions of Thomas Jefferson, while also appealing to the conservative and religious frame of mind prevalent, ended up by quoting the Bible. Of course, nothing would save him from the fury of the capitalists' class hatred, but this autobiography is a masterpiece of engaging with the prevalent environment at the time from a radical perspective, of showing in a sober manner his process of radicalisation and the logic behind it, and also, a staunch defence of the anarchist principles by which he lived and which he did not betrayed when confronted to the gallows.
Our best tribute to this titanic figure is to resist the current onslaught of the global capitalists against hard-won workers' rights, while to keep faithful to the cause of a free and just world.
José Antonio Gutiérrez D.
Albert R. Parsons was born in the city of Montgomery, Ala., June 24, 1848. My father, Samuel Parsons, was from the State of Maine and he married into the Tompkins-Broadwell family, of New Jersey, and settled in Alabama at an early day, where he afterward established a shoe and leather factory in the city of Montgomery. My father was noted as a public spirited, philanthropic man. He was a Universalist in religion and held the highest office in the temperance movement of Louisiana and Alabama. My mother was a devout Methodist, of great spirituality of character, and known far and near as an intelligent and truly good woman. I had nine brothers and sisters; my ancestry goes back to the earliest settlers of this Country, the first Parsons family landing on the shores of Narragansett Bay, from England, in 1632. The Parsons family and their descendants have taken an active and useful part in all the social, religious, political and revolutionary movements in America. One of the Tompkins', on my mother's side, was with Gen. George Washington at the battle of Brandywine, Monmouth and Valley Forge. Major Gen. Samuel Parsons, of Massachusetts, my direct ancestor, was an officer in the Revolution of 1776, and Capt. Parsons was wounded at the battle of Bunker Hill. There are over 90,000 descendants from the original Parsons family in the United States.
My mother died when I was not yet two years old and my father died when I was five years of age. Shortly after this my eldest brother, William Henry Parsons, who had married and was then living at Tyler, Tex., became my guardian. He was proprietor and editor of the Tyler Telegraph; that was in 1851, '52, '53. Two years later our family moved West to Johnston county, on the Texas frontier, while the buffalo, antelope and Indian were in that region. Here we lived, on a ranch, for about three years, when we moved to Hill county and took up a farm in the valley of the Brazos river. My frontier life had accustomed me to the use of the rifle and the pistol, to hunting and riding, and in these matters I was considered quite an expert. At that time our neighbors did not live near enough to hear each other's dog bark, or the cocks crow. It was often five to ten or fifteen miles to the next house. In 1859, 1 went to Waco, Texas, where, after living with my sister (the wife of Maj. Boyd) and going to school, meantime, for about a year, I was indentured an apprentice to the Galveston Daily News, for seven years, to learn the printer's trade. Entering upon my duties as a "printer's devil," I also became a paper carrier for the Daily News, and in a year and a half was transformed from a frontier boy into a city civilian. When the slave-holder's rebellion broke out in 186 1, though quite small and but thirteen years old, I joined a local volunteer company called the "Lone Star Greys." My first military exploit was on the passenger steamer Morgan, where we made a trip out into the Gulf of Mexico and intercepted and assisted in the capture of U.S. Gen. Twigg's army, which had evacuated the Texas frontier forts and came to the sea coast at Indianapolis to embark for Washington, D.C.
My first military exploit was a "run-away" trip on my part for which I received an ear pulled from my guardian when I returned. These were stirring "wartimes" and, as a matter of course, my young blood caught the infection. I wanted to enlist in the rebel army and join Gen. Lee in Virginia, but my guardian, Mr. Richardson, proprietor of the News, a man of 60 years, and the leader of the secession movement in Texas, ridiculed the idea, on account of my age and size, and ended by telling me that "it's all bluster anyway. It will be ended in the next sixty days and I'll hold in my hat all the blood that's shed in this war." This statement from one whom I thought knew all about it, only served to fix all the firmer my resolve to go and go at once, before too late. So I took "French leave" and joined an artillery company at an improvised fort at Sabine Pass, Texas, where Capt. Richard Parsons, an older brother, was in command of an infantry company. Here I exercised in infantry drill and served as "powder monkey" for the cannoneers.' My military enlistment expired in twelve months, when I left Fort Sabine and joined Parson's Texas cavalry brigade, then on the Mississippi river. My brother, Maj. Gen. W.H. Parsons (who during the war was by his soldiers invested with the sobriquet "Wild Bill,") was at that time in command of the entire cavalry outposts on the west bank of the Mississippi river from Helena to the mouth of the Red river. His cavalrymen held the advance in every movement of the Trans-Mississippi army, from the defeat of the Federal General Curtis on White river to the defeat of Gen. Banks' army on Red river, which closed the fighting on the west side of the Mississippi. I was a mere boy of 15 when I joined my brother's command at the front on White river, and was afterward a member of the renowned Mclnoly scouts under Gen. Parson's orders, which participated in all the battles of the Curtis, Canby and Banks campaign.
On my return to Waco, Texas, at the close of the war, I traded a good mule, all the property I possessed, for forty acres of corn in the field standing ready for harvest, to a refugee who desired to flee the country. I hired and paid wages (the first they had ever received) to a number of ex-slaves, and together we reaped the harvest. From the proceeds of its sales, I obtained a sum sufficient to pay for six months' tuition at the Waco university, under control of Rev. Dr. R. B. Burleson, where I received about all the technical education I ever had. Soon afterwards I took up the trade of type-setting, and went to work in a printing office in the town.
In 1868 1 founded and edited a weekly newspaper in Waco, named The Spectator. In it I advocated, with General Longstreet, the acceptance, in good faith, of the terms of surrender, and supported the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth constitutional amendments, and the reconstruction measures, securing the political rights of the colored people. (I was strongly influenced in taking this step out of respect and love for the memory of dear old "Aunt Ester," then dead, and formerly a slave and house servant of my brother's family, she having been my constant associate, and practically raised me, with great kindness and a mother's love.) I became a Republican, and, of course, had to go into politics. I incurred thereby the hate and contumely of many of my former army comrades, neighbors, and the Ku Klux Klan.' My political career was full of excitement and danger. I took the stump to vindicate my convictions. The lately enfranchised slaves over a large section of the country came to know and idolize me as their friend and defender, while on the other hand I was regarded as a political heretic and traitor by many of my former associates. The Spectator could not long survive such an atmosphere.
In 1869 I was appointed traveling correspondent and agent for the Houston Daily Telegraph, and started out on horseback (our principal mode of travel at that time) for a long tour through northwestern Texas. It was during this trip through Johnson county that I first met the charming young Spanish Indian maiden who, three years later, became my wife. She lived in a most beautiful region of country, on her uncle's ranch, near Buffalo Creek. I lingered in this neighborhood as long as I could, and then pursued my journey with fair success.
In 1870, at 21 years of age, I was appointed Assistant Assessor of United States Internal Revenues, under General Grant's administration.' 1 About a year later I was elected one of the secretaries of the Texas State Senate, and was soon after appointed Chief Deputy Collector of United States Internal Revenue, at Austin, Texas, which position I held, accounting satisfactorily for large sums of money, until 1873, when I resigned the position. In August, 1873, 1 accompanied an editorial excursion, as the representative of the Texas Agriculturist at Austin, Texas, and in company with a large delegation of Texas editors, made an extended tour through Texas, Indian Nation, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, as guests of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railway, I decided to settle in Chicago. I had married in Austin, Texas, in the fall of 1872, and my wife joining me at Philadelphia we came to Chicago together, where we have lived till the present time.
I at once became a member of Typographical Union No. 16, and "subbed" for a time on the Inter-Ocean, when I went to work under "permit" on the Times. Here I worked over four years holding a situation at "the case." In 1874 1 became interested in the "Labor question," growing out of the effort made by Chicago working people at that time to compel the "Relief and Aid Society," to render to the suffering poor of the city an account of the vast sums of money (several millions of dollars) held by that society and contributed by the whole world to relieve the distress occasioned by the great Chicago fire of 1871. It was claimed by the working people that the money was being used for purposes foreign to the intention of its donors; that rings of speculators were corruptly using the money, while the distressed and impoverished people for whom it was contributed, were denied its use. This raised a great sensation and scandal among all the city newspapers, which defended the "Relief and Aid Society," and denounced the dissatisfied workingmen as "communists, robbers, loafers," etc. I began to examine into this subject, and I found that the complaints of the working people against the society were just and proper. I also discovered a great similarity between the abuse heaped upon these poor people by the organs of the rich and the actions of the late Southern slave holders in Texas toward the newly enfranchised slaves, whom they accused of wanting to make their former masters "divide" by giving them "forty acres and a mule," and it satisfied me there was a great fundamental wrong at work in society, and in existing social and industrial arrangements.
I was never in the old rookery before. It was a labyrinth of halls and ,doors. I saw no one about. All was still. The sudden change from the tumultuous inmates of the room to the dark and silent hall affected me. I didn't know where to go or what to do. I felt alone, absolutely without a friend in the wide world. This was my first experience with the "powers that be," and I became conscious that they were powerful to give or take one's life. I was sad, not excited. The afternoon papers announced in great headlines that Parsons, the leader of the strikers, was arrested. This was surprising and annoying to me, for I had made no such attempt and was not under arrest. But the papers said so.
That night I called at the composing room of the Tribune office on the fifth floor partly to get a night's work and partly to be near the men of my own craft, whom I instinctively felt sympathized with me. The men went to work at 7 p.m. It was near 8 o'clock as I was talking about the great strike, and wondering what it would all come to, with Mr. Manion, Chairman of the Executive Board of our union, when from behind some one took hold of my arms and jerking me around to face them, asked me if my name was Parsons. One man on each side of me took hold of one arm, another man put his hand against my back, and began dragging and shoving me toward the door. They were strangers. I expostulated. I wanted to know what was the matter. I said to them: "I came in here as a gentleman, and I don't want to be dragged out like a dog." They cursed me between their teeth, and, opening the door, began to lead me down-stairs. As we started down one of them put a pistol to my head and said: "I've a n-tind to blow your brains out." Another said: "Shut up or we'll dash you out the windows upon the pavements below." Reaching the bottom of the five flights of stairs they paused and said: "Now go. If you ever put your face in this building again you'll be arrested and locked up." A few steps in the hallway and I opened the door and stepped out upon the sidewalk. (I learned afterward from the Tribune printers that there was great excitement in the composing room, the men threatened to strike then and there on account of the way I had been treated; when Joe Medill, the proprietor, came up into the composing-room and made an excitable talk to the men, explaining that he knew nothing about it and that my treatment was done without his knowledge or consent, rebuking those who had acted in the way they had done. It was the opinion of the men, however, that this was only a subterfuge to allay the threatened trouble which my treatment had excited.)
The streets were almost deserted at that early hour, and there was a hushed and expectant feeling pervading everything. I felt that I was likely to fall a pitiless, unknown sacrifice at any moment. I strolled down Dearborn street to Lake, west on Lake to Fifth avenue. It was a calm, pleasant summer night. Lying stretched upon the, curb, and loitering in and about the closed doors of the mammoth buildings on these streets, were armed men. Some held their muskets in hand, but most of them were rested against the buildings. In going by way of an unfrequented street I found that I had got among those whom I sought to evade-they were the First regiment, Illinois National Guards. They seemed to be waiting for orders; for had not the newspapers declared that the strikers were becoming violent, and "the Commune was about to rise!" and that I was their leader! No one spoke to or molested me. I was unknown.
The next day and the next the strikers gathered in thousands in different parts of the city without leaders or any organized purpose. They were in each instance clubbed and fired upon and dispersed by the police and militia. That night a peaceable meeting of 3,000 workingmen was dispersed on Market street, near Madison. I witnessed it. Over 100 policemen charged upon this peaceable mass-meeting, firing their pistols and clubbing right and left. The printers, the iron-molders, and other trades unions which had held regular monthly or weekly meetings of their unions for years past, when they came to their hall-doors now for that purpose, found policemen standing there, the doors barred, and the members told that all meetings had been prohibited by the Chief of Police. All mass meetings, union meetings of any character were broken up by the police, and at one place (Twelfth Street Turner hall), where the Furniture-Workers' Union had met to confer with their employers about the eight-hour system and wages, the police broke down the doors, forcibly entered, and clubbed and fired upon the men as they struggled pell-mell to escape from the building, killing one workman and wounding many others.
In all these matters here enumerated, I took an active, personal interest. October 1, 1884, the International founded in Chicago The Alarm, a weekly newspaper, of which I was elected to the position of editor, and I have held that position until its seizure and suppression by the authorities on the 5th day of May, 1886, following the Haymarket tragedy. In the year 1881, the capitalist press began to stigmatize us as Anarchists, and to denounce us as the enemies of all law and government. They charged us with being the enemies of "law and order," as breeders of strife and confusion. Every conceivable bad name and evil design was imputed to us by the lovers of power and haters of freedom and equality.
Even the workingmen in some instances, caught the infection and many of them joined in the capitalist hue and cry against the anarchists. Being satisfied of ourselves that our purpose was a just one, we worked on undismayed, willing to labor and to wait, for time and events to justify our cause. We began to allude to ourselves as anarchists, and that name which was at first imputed to us as a dishonor, we came to cherish and to defend with pride. What's in a name? But names sometimes express ideas; and ideas are everything.
What, then, is our offense, being anarchists? The word anarche is derived from two Greek words an, signifying no, or without, and arche, government; hence anarchy means no government. Consequently anarchy meant a condition of society which has no king, emperor, president or ruler of any kind. In other words anarchy is the social administration of all affairs by the people themselves; that is to say, self government, individual liberty. Such a condition of society denies the right of majorities to rule over or dictate to minorities. Though every person in the world agree upon a certain plan and only one objected thereto, the objector would, under anarchy, be respected in his natural right to go his own way. And when such person is thus held responsible by all the rest for the violation of the inherent right of any one how then, can injustice flourish or wrong triumph? For the greatest good to the greatest number anarchy substitutes the equal right of each and every one. The natural law is all sufficient for every purpose, every desire and every human being. The scientist then becomes the natural leader, and is accepted as the only authority among men. Whatever can be demonstrated will by self interest be accepted, otherwise rejected. The great natural law of power derived alone from association and co-operation will of necessity and from selfishness be applied by the people in the production and distribution of wealth, and what the trades unions and labor organizations seek now to do, but are prevented from doing because of obstruction and coercion, will under perfect liberty -- anarchy -- come easiest to hand. Anarchy is the extension of the boundaries of liberty until it covers the whole range of the wants and aspirations of man -- not men, but Man.
Power is might, and might always makes its own right. Thus in the very nature of things, might makes itself right whether or no. Government, therefore, is the agency or power by which some person or persons govern or rule other persons, and the inherent right to govern is found wherever the power or might to do so is manifest. In a natural state, intelligence of necessity controls ignorance, the strong the weak, the good the bad, etc. Only when the natural law operates is this true, however. On the other hand when the statute is substituted for the natural law, and government holds sway, then, and then only, power centers itself in the hands of a few, who dominate, dictate, rule, degrade and enslave the many. The broad distinction and irreconcilable conflict between wage laborers and capitalists, between those who buy labor or sell its products, and the wage worker who sells his labor (himself) in order to live, arises from the social institution called government; and the conflicting interests, the total abolition of warring classes, and the end of domination and exploitation of man by man is to be found only in a free society, where all and each are equally free to unite of disunite, as interest or inclination may incline.
The anarchists are the advance guard in the impending social revolution. They have discovered the cause of world-wide discontent which is felt but not yet understood by the toiling millions as a whole. The effort now being made by organized and unorganized labor in all countries to participate in the making of laws which they are forced to obey will lay bare to them the secret source of their enslavement by capital. Capital is a thing -- it is property. Capital is the stored up, accumulated savings of past labor, such as machinery, houses, food, clothing, all the means of production (both natural and artificial) of transportation, and communication, -- in short the resources of life, the means of subsistence. These things are, in a natural state, the common heritage of all for the free use of all, and they were so held until their forcible seizure and appropriation by a few. Thus the common heritage of all seized by violence and fraud, was afterwards made the property -- capital -- of the usurpers, who erected a government and enacted laws to perpetuate and maintain their special privileges.
The function, the only function of capital is to appropriate or confiscate the labor product of the propertyless, non-possessing class, the wage-workers. The origin of government was in violence and murder. Government disinherits and enslaves the governed. Government is for slaves; free men govern themselves. Law, statute, man-made law is license. Anarchy -- natural law -- is liberty. Anarchy is the cessation of force. Government is the rulership or control of man by men. In the name of law -- by means of statute law -- whether that control be by one man (mon-arche) or by a majority (mob-arche). The effort of the wage-slave (now being made) to participate in the making of laws will enable them to discover for the first time that a human law-maker is a human humbug. That laws, true, just and perfect laws, are discovered, not made. The law-making class -- the capitalists -- will object to this, they (the capitalists) will remonstrate, they will fight, they will kill, before they permit laws to be made, or repealed, which deprive them of their power to rule and rob. This fact is demonstrated in every strike which threatened their power; by every lock-out, by every discharge, by every black-list. Their exercise of these powers is based upon force and every law, every government in the last analysis is resolved into force.
Therefore, when the workers, as they are now everywhere preparing to do, insist upon and demand a participation in, or application of democratic principles in industrial affairs, think you the request will be conceded? nay, nay: The right to live, to equality of opportunity, to liberty and the pursuit of happiness is yet to be acquired by the producers of all wealth. The Knights of Labor, unconsciously stand upon a State Socialist programme. They will never be able to seize the state by the ballot, but when they do seize it, (and seize it they must) they will abolish it. Legalized capital and the state stand or fall together. They are twins. The liberty of labor makes the state not only unnecessary, but impossible. When the people -- the whole people -- become the state, that is, participate equally in governing themselves, the state of necessity ceases to exist. Then what? Leaders, natural leaders, take the place of the overthrown rulers; liberty takes the place of statute laws, of license; the people voluntarily associate or freely withdraw from association, instead of being bossed or driven as now. They unite and disunite, when, where and as they please. Social administration is substituted for governmentalism, and self-preservation becomes the actuating motive as now, minus the dictation, coercion, driving and domination of man by man.
Do you say this is a dream! That it is the millenium! Well, the crisis is near at hand. Necessity, which is its own law, will force the issue. Then whatever is most natural to do will be the easiest and best to do. The workshops will drop into the hands of the workers, the mines will fall to the miners and the land and all other things will be controlled by those who possess and use them. This will be, there can then be no title to anything aside from its possession and use. Only the statute law and government stand to-day as a barrier to this result, and all efforts to change them failing, will inevitably result in their total abolition.
Anarchy, therefore, is liberty; is the negation of force, or compulsion, or violence. It is the precise reverse of that which those who hold and have power would have their oppressed victims believe it is.
Anarchists do not advocate or advise the use of force. Anarchists disclaim and protest against its use, and the use of force is justifiable only when employed to repel force. Who, then, are the aiders, abettors and users of force? Who are the real revolutionists? Are they not those who hold and exercise power over their fellows? They who use clubs and bayonets, prisons and scaffolds? The great class conflict now gathering throughout the world is created by our social system of industrial slavery. Capitalists could not if they would, and would not if they could, change it. This alone is to be the work of the proletariat, the disinherited, the wage-slave, the sufferer. Nor can the wage-class avoid this conflict. Neither religion nor politics can solve it or prevent it. It comes, as a human, an imperative necessity. Anarchists do not make the social revolution; they prophesy its coming. Shall we then stone the prophets? Anarchists do not use or advise the use of force, but point out that force is ever employed to uphold despotism to despoil man's natural rights. Shall we therefore kill and destroy the Anarchists? And capital shouts "yes, yes! exterminate them!"
In the line of evolution and historical development, anarchy -- liberty -- is next in order. With the destruction of the feudal system, and the birth of commercialism and manufacturies in the Sixteenth century, a contest long and bitter and bloody, lasting over a hundred years, was waged for mental and religious liberty. The Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries, with their sanguinary conflicts, gave to man political equality and civil liberty, based on the monopolization of the resources of life, capital -- with its "free laborers," freely competing with one another for a chance to serve king capital and "free competition" among capitalists in their endeavors to exploit the laborers and monopolize the labor products. All over the world the fact stands undisputed that the political is based upon, and is but the reflex of, the economic system, and hence we find that whatever the political form of the government, whether monarchical or republican, the average social status of the wage-workers is in every community identical. The class struggle of the past century is history repeating itself, it is the evolutionary growth preceding the revolutionary denouement. Though liberty is a growth, it is also a birth, and while it is yet to be, it is also about to be born. Its birth will come through travail and pain, through bloodshed and violence. It cannot be prevented. This, because of the obstruction, impediments and obstacles which serve as a barrier to its coming. An anarchist is a believer in liberty, and as I would control no man against his will, neither shall any one rule over me with my consent. Government is compulsion; no one freely consents to be governed by another, therefore there can be no just power of government. Anarchy is perfect liberty, is absolute freedom of the individual. Anarchy has no schemes, no programmes, no systems to offer or to substitute for the existing order of things. Anarchy would strike from humanity every chain that binds it, and say to mankind: "Go forth! you are free. Have all; enjoy all."
Anarchism nor anarchists either advises, abets, nor encourages the working people to the use of force or a resort to violence. We do not say to the wage-slaves: "You ought, you should use force." No. Why say this when we know they must -- they will be driven to use it in self-defense, in self-preservation against those who are degrading, enslaving and destroying them?
Already the millions of workers are unconsciously Anarchists. Impelled by a cause the effects of which they feel but do not wholly understand, they move unconsciously, irresistibly forward to the social revolution. Mental freedom, political equality, industrial liberty!
This is the natural order of things; the logic of events. Who so foolish as to quarrel with it, obstruct it, or attempt to stay its progress? It is the march of the inevitable; the triumph of the MUST.
The examination of the class struggle demonstrates that the eight-hour movement was doomed by the very nature of things to defeat. But the International gave its support to it for two reasons, viz.: First, because it was a class movement against class don- domination, therefore historical and revolutionary and necessary; and secondly, because we did not choose to stand aloof and be misunderstood by our fellow workers. We therefore gave it all the aid and comfort in our power. I was regularly accredited under the official seal of the Trade and Labor Unions of the Central Labor Union, representing twenty thousand organized workingmen in Chicago to assist them in the organization of Trades and Labor Unions, and do all in my power for the eight-hour movement. The Central Labor Union, in conjunction with the International, publishes six newspapers in Chicago, to wit: One English weekly, two German weeklies, one Bohemian weekly, one Scandinavian weekly and one German daily newspaper.
The trade and labor Unions of the United States and Canada having set apart the first day of May, 1886, to inaugurate the 8-hour system, I did all in my power to assist the movement. I feared conflict and trouble would arise between the authorities representing the employers of labor and the wage-workers, who only represented themselves. I know that defenseless men, women and children must finally succumb to the power of the discharge, black-list and lockout and in consequent misery and hunger enforced by the militiaman's bayonet and the policeman's club. I did not advocate the use of force. But I denounced the capitalists for employing it to hold the laborers in subjection to them and declared that such treatment would of necessity drive the workingmen to employ the same means in self defense.
The labor organizations of Cincinnati, Ohio, decided to make a grand eight-hour demonstration of the 8-hour work-day. On their invitation I went there to address them and left Chicago on Saturday, May 1, for that purpose. Returning on Monday night I reached Chicago on the morning of Tuesday, May 4th, the day of the Haymarket meeting. On arriving home, Mrs. Parsons, who had theretofore attended and assisted in several large mass meetings of the sewing girls of the city, to organize them for the eight hour work day, suggested to me to call a meeting of the American Group of the International for that evening, in order to make arrangements, i.e., appropriate money for hall rent, printing hand-bills, provide speakers, etc., to help to organize the sewing women for 8 hours. I left home about 11 A.M., and, not being able to get a hall, finally published an announcement that the meeting would be held at 107 Fifth avenue, the office of the Alarm and Arbeiter Zeitung. We had often held business meetings at the same place. Late in the afternoon I learned, for the first time, that a mass meeting had been called at the Haymarket for that evening, the object being to help on the 8-hour boom, and to protest against the police atrocities upon 8-hour strikers at McCormick's factory the day before, where it was claimed six workmen had been shot down by the police and many others wounded. I did not fancy the idea of holding the meeting at that time, and said so, stating that I believed the manufacturers and corporations were so incensed at the 8-hour movement that they would defend the police in coming to the meeting to break it up, and slaughtering the work people. I was invited to speak there, but declined, on the ground that I had to attend another meeting that night.
About 8 o'clock P.M., accompanied by Mrs. Holmes, Mrs. Parsons and my two children (a boy six years old and a girl four years old) we walked from home to Halsted and Randolph streets. There we observed knots of people standing about, indicating that a mass meeting was expected. Two newspaper reporters, one for the Tribune the other for the Times, whom I recognized, were strolling around, picking up items, and observing me they inquired if I was to speak at the Haymarket meeting that night. I told them that I was not. That I had to attend another meeting and would not be there, and the ladies, the children and myself took a street car for down town. Reaching the place of meeting of the American group of the International, it was at once called to order and the objects of the meeting were stated to be how best to organize the sewing women of the city in the speediest manner. It was decided to print circulars, hire halls and appoint organizers and speakers, and money was appropriated for the purpose, when about 9 o'clock a committee entered the meeting and said there was a large mass meeting at the Haymarket but no speakers except Mr. Spies, and they were sent over to request Mr. Fielden and myself to come there at once and address the crowd.
We adjourned in a few moments afterwards and went over to the Haymarket in a body, where I was introduced at once and spoke for about an hour to the 3,000 persons present urging them to support the eight-hour movement and stick to their unions. There was little said about the police brutalities of the previous day, other than to complain of the use of the military on every slight occasion. I said it was a shame that the moderate and just claims of the wage- workers should be met with police clubs, pistols, and bayonets, or that the murmurs of discontented laborers, should be drowned in their own blood. When I had finished speaking and Mr. Fielden began, I got down from the wagon we were using as a speaker's stand, and stepping over to another wagon nearby on which sat the ladies (among them my wife and children), and it soon appearing as though it would rain, and the crowd beginning to disperse and the speaker having announced that he would finish in a few moments; I assisted the ladies down from the wagon and accompanied them to Zepf's hall, one block away, where we intended to wait for the adjournment and the company of other friends on our walk home. I had been in this hall about five minutes and was looking towards the meeting, expecting it to close every moment, and standing nearby where the ladies sat, when there appeared a white sheet of light at the place of meeting, followed instantly by a loud roar. This was at once followed by a fusillade of pistol shots (in full view of my sight) which appeared as though fifty or more men had emptied their self-acting revolvers as rapidly as possible. Several shots whizzed by and struck beside the door of the hall, from which I was looking, and soon men came rushing wildly into the building. I escorted the ladies to a place of safety in the rear where we remained about 20 minutes. Leaving the place to take the ladies home we met a man named Brown (who was well known to us) at the corner of Milwaukee avenue and Desplaines street, and asking him to loan me a dollar, he replied that he didn't have the change, whereupon I borrowed a five-dollar gold piece from him. We then parted, he went his way and we started towards home. (This man Brown told of the circumstance the next day that he had met and loaned me $5. He was at once arrested and indicted for conspiracy and unlawful assembly, thrown into prison, where he has lain ever since.)
The next day, observing that many innocent people who were not even present at the meeting were being dragooned and imprisoned by the authorities, and not courting such indignities for myself I left the city, intending to return in a few days, and publishing a letter in the newspapers to that effect. I stopped at Elgin two days in a boarding-house, when I went from there to Waukesha, Wis., a place noted for its beautiful springs and health-giving waters, pure air, etc. At this summer resort I soon obtained employment first at carpentering and then as a painter, which occupations I pursued for seven weeks, or until my return and voluntary surrender to the Court for trial. I procured the Chicago newspapers every day, and from them I learned that 1, with a great many others, had been indicted for murder, conspiracy and unlawful assembly at the Haymarket. From the editorials of the capitalist papers every day for two months during my seclusion, I could see that the ruling class were wild with rage and fear against labor organizations. Ample means were offered me to carry me safely to distant parts of the earth, if I chose to go. I knew that the beastly howls against the Anarchists, the demand for their bloody extermination, made by the press and pulpit, was merely a pretext of the ruling class to intimidate the growing power of organized labor in the United States. I also perfectly understood the relentless hate and power of the ruling class. Nevertheless, knowing that I was innocent and that my comrades were innocent of the charge against them, I resolved to return and share whatever persecution labor's enemies could impose upon them. Consequently, on the night of June 20th, I left Waukesha. At 4:30 A.M., June 21st, I boarded a St. Paul train at the union depot at Milwaukee, and arrived in Chicago at 7:30 or 8 o'clock, and repaired to the house of Mrs. Ames at 14 S. Morgan street.
I sent for my wife, who came to me, and a few minutes later I conveyed word to Captain Black, our attorney, that I was prepared to surrender. After an affectionate parting with my noble, brave and loving wife and several devoted friends, who were present, I at a little past 2 o'clock p.m. June 21, accompanied by Mrs. Ames and Mr. A.H. Simpson to the court house entrance, was there joined by my attorney, Capt. Black. We walked up the broad stairway, entered the court then in session, and standing before the bar of the court announced my presence and my voluntary surrender for trial, and entered the plea "not guilty." After this ceremony was over I approached the prisoner's dock, where sat my arraigned comrades Fielden, Spies, Engel, Fischer, Lingg, Neebe and Schwab, and shaking hands with each as I took a seat among them. After the adjournment of the court I was conveyed with the others to a cell in the Cook county bastille, and securely locked up.
What of the Haymarket tragedy?
It is simple enough. A large number, over 3,000 of citizens, mostly workingmen, peaceably assemble to discuss their grievances, viz.: The eight-hour movement and the shooting and clubbing of the McCormick and lumber-yard strikers by the police of the previous day.
Query. Was that meeting, thus assembled, a lawful and constitutional gathering of citizens? The police, the grand jury, the verdict, the court, and the monopolists all reply: "It was not."
After 10 o'clock, when the meeting was adjourning, two hundred (200) armed police in menacing array, threatening wholesale slaughter of the people, there peaceably (the mayor of Chicago and others who were present testified so before the jury) assembled, commanded their instant dispersal, under the pains and penalties of death.
Was the act of the police lawful and constitutional? The p-3lice, the grand jury, the verdict, the court, and the monopolists all reply: "It was."
Some person (unknown and unproven) threw a dynamite bomb among the police. Whether it was thrown in self- defense or in furtherance of monopoly's conspiracy against the 8-hour movement is not known.
Was that a lawful, a constitutional act? The ruling class shout in chorus: "It was not!"
My own belief, based upon careful examination of all the conditions surrounding this Haymarket affair, is that the bomb was thrown by a man in the employ of certain monopolists, who was sent from New York city to Chicago for that purpose, to break up the eight-hour movement, thrust the active men into prison, and scare and terrify the workingmen into submission. Such a course was advocated by all the leading mouth-pieces (newspapers) of monopoly in America just prior to May 1. They carried out their programme and obtained the results they desired.
Is it lawful and constitutional to put innocent men to death? Is it lawful and constitutional to punish us for the deed of a man acting in furtherance of a conspiracy of the monopolists to crush out the eight-hour movement? Every "law and order" tyrant from Chicago to St. Petersburg cries, "Yes!"
Six of the condemned men were not present at the meeting at the time of the tragedy, two of them were not present at any time. One of the latter was addressing a mass-meeting of 2,000 workingmen at Deering's Harvester works, in Lake View, five miles away. The other one was at home abed, and knew not of the affair till the next day. His verdict is fifteen years in the penitentiary. These facts stand unquestioned and undenied before the court. There was no proof of our complicity with or knowledge of the person who threw the bomb, nor is there any proof as to who did throw it. The whole question as to who did the deed is resolved upon motive. What motive controlled the person who did the deed?
The rapid growth of the whole labor movement had, by May 1, given the monopolists of the country much cause for alarm. The organized power of labor was beginning to exhibit unexpected strength and boldness. This alarmed King money-bags, who saw in the Haymarket affair their golden opportunity to make a horrible example of the Anarchists, and by their dreadful fate give the discontented American workingmen a terrible warning!
This verdict is the suppression of free speech, free press and the assemblage of people to discuss their grievances. More than that, the verdict is the denial of the right of self-defense; it is the condemnation of the law of self- preservation in America.
As to the responsibility for the Haymarket tragedy? You have heard the side of the ruling class. I now speak for the people -- the ruled. The Haymarket tragedy was the immediate result of the blood-thirsty officiousness of Police Inspector Bonfield. Mayor Harrison (commander in chief of police) was present at this meeting, and testified before the court that he heard the speeches and left just before its adjournment and went to the police station and advised Bonfield that everything at the meeting was peaceable and orderly. The mayor left for his house. Soon thereafter, Bonfield thirsting for promotion and the blood money which he knew that monopolists were eager to bestow, gathered his army and marched them down upon a peaceable, orderly meeting of workingmen, where he expected to immortalize himself by deeds of carnage and slaughter that would put to shame a horde of Apache Indians. Had he not done such brutal things before with the striking streetcar Knights of Labor, Trades Unionists and other workingmen? Why not repeat it that night also? He had received the plaudits of the capitalistic press for such acts done on other occasions. Why not again?
But Police Inspector Bonfield was only a willing agent, not the dastardly principal in this outrage. He held plenary power and obeyed what he knew to be the express desire of his masters -- the money kings -- who want to suppress free speech, free press, and the right of workingmen to assemble and discuss their grievances. Let the responsibility for the Haymarket tragedy rest where it belongs, to wit: Upon the monopolists, corporations and privileged class who rule and rob the working people, and when they complain about it discharge, lock-out and black-list them, or arrest, imprison and execute them. The Haymarket tragedy was, undoubtedly, the work of a deep laid monopolistic conspiracy originating in New York City and engineered by the Pinkerton thugs. Its object was to break down the eight-hour movement and Chicago was selected by these conspirators as the best place to do the work because Chicago was the center of the movement in the United States. Now, what are the facts about the conspiracy against the eight-hour movement which has resulted in breaking it down and consigning us to the executioner?
Just prior to the time set apart to inaugurate the eight-hour work day, (the latter part of April, 1886,) the New York Herald, in reference to the question, said:
"Two hours, taken from the hours of labor, throughout the United States by the proposed eight-hour movement, would make a difference annually of hundreds of millions in values, both to the capital invested in industries and existing stocks."
Now what did this mean? It meant that the issue of the hour with the New York and Chicago Stock Exchanges, Board of Trade, and Produce Exchangers in every commercial and industrial center, was how to preserve the steadiness of the market and maintain the fictitious values of the four-fold watered stocks, then listed and then rapidly shrinking in value under the paralyzing influence of the impending eight-hour demand of the united army of labor. Hundreds of millions in money were at stake. What to do to save it? Clearly, the thing to do was to stop the eight-hour movement. The New York Times came promptly forward with its scheme to save the sinking market values. Accordingly, just four days before the grand national strike for eight hours and only one week before the Haymarket tragedy, the New York Times, one of the leading organs of railroad, bank, telegraph and telephone monopoly in America, published in its issue of April 25, 1886, an editorial on the condition of the markets, the causes of existing decline and panicky symptoms, in which it said:
"The strike question is, of course, the dominant one and is disagreeable in a variety of ways. A short and easy way to settle it is urged in some quarters, which, is to indict for conspiracy every man who strikes, and summarily lock him up. This method would undoubtedly strike a wholesome terror into the hearts of the working classes.
"Another way suggested is to pick out the labor leaders, and make such examples of them as to scare the others into submission."
The sentiment was echoed at once by the New York Tribune, which said:
"The best policy would be to drive the workingmen into open mutiny against the law."
The organs of monopoly (including the Chicago press), all over the United States took up the cry, and re-echoed the diabolical scheme. Something must be done to trump up charges against the leaders.
The first of May arrives, the great eight-hour strike is inaugurated. Forty thousand men are standing out for it in Chicago. Chicago is the stronghold of the movement, and 40,000 more threaten to join in the demand. An eight-hour mass meeting is held on the Haymarket, Tuesday, May 4. A bomb is thrown, several policemen killed, the leaders are arrested, indicted for conspiracy and murder, and seven of them sentenced to death. What's the result? It worked as the monopolists said it would. The labor leaders are 11 "picked out and made such examples of as to scare the others into submission." Strikers were "summarily locked up. This method would undoubtedly strike a wholesome terror into the hearts of the working classes," said the Times.
The eight-hour strike is broken and the movement fell to pieces, all over the country.
Commenting on the business situation on the 8th day of May, 1886, four days after the Haymarket tragedy, Bradstreet, in his weekly review, said, as telegraphed through the Associated Press and published in all the Chicago papers: "Of the 325,000 men who struck for eight hours, about 65,000 have gained it. Chicago was the center of the strike, but the movement all over the country has greatly weakened in the past few days. Stocks were very much depressed the first two days of the week (the 3rd and 4th of May, the days of the McCormick and Haymarket trouble), but have recovered their strength the last days of the week." The eight-hour strike is practically ended, since the Haymarket affair in Chicago.
The desired result was attained. Prices of stocks, bonds, etc., were restored. It was accomplished by the fatal Haymarket bomb.
Who threw the bomb? Who inspired its throwing? John Philip Deluse, a saloon-keeper, living in Indianapolis, Indiana, makes an affidavit, supported by the affidavits of two other men, who were present, and witnessed and heard it (all three men well- known citizens of Indianapolis), that a stranger stepped into his place on Saturday, May 1, with a satchel in his hand, which he placed upon the bar while he ordered a drink. The stranger said he came from New York City, and was on his way to Chicago. He spoke of the labor troubles. Pointing to his satchel he said: "I have got something in here that will work. You will hear of it." Turning at the door as he went out, he held up his satchel and pointing to it again, said, "You will hear of it soon."
The prediction of the man came to pass. It was heard round the world. The description of this man tallies exactly with that given by the witness Burnett, who saw him throw the bomb at the Haymarket.
The leaders, as well as many others, not at the meeting of the Haymarket, were arrested and punished, the others "scared into submission," and it resulted as the New York Times said, viz.: "This method will undoubtedly strike a wholesome terror into the hearts of the working classes."
The conspiracy to bring about this result originated among the monopolists of New York City, at Pinkerton's headquarters.
Was Police Inspector Bonfield, and States Attorney Grinnell a party to it? Was the n-dllionaire "Citizen's Association" of Chicago a party to it? They have, I understand, supplied unlimited sums of money to bring about our conviction. I solemnly believe all these men were either parties to the Haymarket tragedy, or to the conspiracy for our conviction. This conclusion is irresistible, when taken in connection with the admitted fact that, to bring about our conviction, the constitution and the law has been ruthlessly trampled under foot.
Without fear, or favor, or reward, I have given the untiring energies of the past ten years of my life to ameliorate, to emancipate my fellow wage-slaves from their hereditary servitude to capital. I do not regret it; rather while I feel the satisfaction of duty performed, I regret my inability to have accomplished more than I have done.
During these ten years (from 1876 to 1886) 1 have traversed the states of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York, sometimes under the auspices and direction of the Knights of Labor, at other times Trades Unions and socialist organizations. Covering this space of time I have addressed probably a half million workingmen and women, and organized, or assisted in organizing many labor organizations. No man can truthfully say I have ever yet betrayed a trust, violated a pledge, or swerved from my conception of duty in the labor movement.
I have worked for my living and supported myself since 12 years of age. I have made some enemies. My enemies in the southern states consisted of those who oppressed the black slave. My enemies in the north are among those who would perpetuate the slavery of the wage workers. My whole life has been sober and industrious; was never under the influence of liquor, was never arrested for any offense, and voluntarily surrendered for trial in the present case.
I married in 1872 and since 1873 have lived in Chicago with my family. In all my labors for the up-lifting and emancipation of the wage-worker I have had the earnest, honest, intelligent, unflagging support of that grandest, noblest, bravest of women-my loving wife. We have two children, a boy of 7 years, and a girl 4 years old.
For free speech and the right of assembly, five labor orators and organizers of labor are condemned to die. For free press and free thought three labor editors are sent to the scaffold. "These eight men," said the attorneys of the monopolists, "are picked up by the grand jury because they are the leaders of thousands who are equally guilty with them and we punish them to make examples of them for the others." This much for opinion's sake, for free thought, free speech, free press and public assembly.
This Haymarket affair has exposed to public view the hideous enormities of capitalism and the barbarous despotism of government. The tragedy and the effects of it have demonstrated first: That government is power, and statute law is license, because it is privilege. It has shown the people, the poor, the wage-slaves, that law, statute law is a privilege, and that privileges are for sale to those who can buy them. Government enacts law; the police, the soldier and the jailor at the behest of the rich enforce it. Law is license, the whole earth and all it contains has been sold to a few who are thus authorized by statute law, licensed to rob the many of their natural inheritance. Law is license. The few are licensed by law to own the land, the machinery, the houses, food, clothes and shelter of the people, whose industry, whose labor created them. Law is license; law, statute law, is the coward's weapon, the tool of the thief. By it humanity has ever been degraded and enslaved. By law mankind is robbed of its birthright, liberty transformed into slavery; life into death; the fair earth into a den of thieves and murderers. The untold millions, the men, women and children of toil, the proletariat, are by law deprived of their lives, their liberties and their happiness. Law is license; Government -- authority -- is despotism.
Anarchy, natural law, is liberty. Liberty is the natural right to do what one pleases, bounded and limited only by the equal right of every one else to the same liberty. Privileges are none; equal rights for all. Liberty, Fraternity, Equality.
The trial throughout was a travesty on justice. Every law, natural and statute, was violated in response to the clamor of the capitalist class. Every capitalist newspaper in the city, with one exception, called for our blood before the trial began, demanded our lives during the trial and since. A class jury, class law, class hate, and a court blinded by prejudice against our opinions, has done its work, we are its victims. Every juryman swore he was prejudiced against our opinions; we were tried for our opinions and convicted because of them. The jury according to its own statements since the verdict (they served nearly two months) entertained themselves each night with either card playing or they played the fiddle, the guitar, the piano, and "sang songs" and gave parlor recitations and theatricals. They had carriage rides at the expense of the people amounting to one hundred and forty dollars; and their board bill was $3.50 per day at a fashionable hotel amounting to over $2,300; they had a fine time, a very pleasant and merry time. Mr. Juryman Todd said he was a "clothing salesman and a Baptist." "Then," said he, "this was a picked jury, they were all gentlemen." Of course, these gentlemen, who have a profound contempt for the vulgar, dirty working classes had to bring a verdict befitting gentlemen. So highly appreciated was their verdict that Chicago millionaires proposed and so far as any one knows did contribute a purse of ($ 1 00,000) one hundred thousand dollars to this jury as a reward for their verdict. The jury has besides been lionized, wined, dined, banqueted, and given costly presents, and sums of money, since the rendering of their verdict.
The influences which are at work forcing upon the people the social revolution arise out of the capitalist system. Necessity is the mother of invention; it is also the father of progress and civilization. The justification for the social revolution is recorded throughout all the pages of history. Our fathers proclaimed it in the immortal Declaration, July 4th, 1776, as follows:
We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they were endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT.Will the coming revolution be peaceable or violent?
But now, when the workingmen of American refuse to "give their consent to be any longer governed" by the profit mongers, labor exploiters, children slayers and home despoilers, they are at once put down, and kept down by the strong arm of military power, against their will and without "their consent," in the name of "law and order."
It is against this barbaric use of force, this violation of every natural right that Anarchists protest, and for protesting, die!
The only fact established by proof, as well as by our own admission, cheerfully given before the jury, was that we held opinions and preached a doctrine that is considered dangerous to the rascality and infamies of the privileged, law-creating class known as monopolists, to whom, with the prophets of old, we say:
Go to, now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you; and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasures together for the last days.
Sat 21 Sep, 16:01
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