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23 August 1927: Sacco & Vanzetti

category international | history of anarchism | press release author Thursday August 23, 2007 06:28author by FdCA-OAE-AL-ZACF-WSM-MACG-AKI-RL-WSA-OCL Report this post to the editors

23 August 1927: 80 years ago the state of Massachussets and the US government murdered Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti on the electric chair, two Italian emigrants guilty of being anarchists and radical labour and anti-militarist activists.

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23 August 1927:

80 years ago the state of Massachussets and the US government murdered Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti on the electric chair, two Italian emigrants guilty of being anarchists and radical labour and anti-militarist activists.

It was justice minister Palmer who inspired the policy of terror that in the late '10s and early '20s was intended to rid the streets of immigrant radicals, anarchists and communists opposed to the government and active in the union battles and strikes of the time. The policy was carried out, though, by the judge, Thayer, and Fuller, the state governor. Sacco and Vanzetti were murdered because they were "bastard anarchists", even though the charge against them of homicide was dropped. In 1977 the governor officially pardoned them. It was a judicial error. One death sentence too many.

Today, the horror of that "mistake", the reports of the huge world-wide mobilizations demanding a review of the trial and recognition of the innocence of Nick and Bart, are part and parcel of the collective memory of the workers' movement and the revolutionary movement.

Because the horror lies not only in the death penalty, which decades of strugle have yet to see abolished, but also in the repressive obstinacy of the State that in the 1920's USA, as in other States throughout the world even today, persecuted up to the death all those who oppose and who struggle against a political system based on authoritarianism and an economic system based on exploitation and inequality. Sacco and Vanzetti were as guilty then as are so many proletarians today who organize themselves and organize struggles for workers' rights, for the anti-capitalist revolution. In 1920, Sacco and Vanzetti were arrested just before a rally where they were due to denounce the death of one of their comrades, Andrea Salsedo, who "fell" out of a window on the 14th floor of a Justice Department building.

Sacco worked in a shoe factory in Massachussets. He had a family. he worked six days a week, ten hours a day. But he was also active in workers' demonstrations at the time, demonstrations in which the workers demanded better wages and working conditions. And it was because of these activities that he had been arrested in 1916.

Vanzetti had many different jobs. In 1916 he led a strike at a rope factory. Later he worked for himself, as a fishmonger.

It was in that year that "Nick and Bart" met and together they joined an Italo-American anarchist group, all of whom fled to Mexico in order to escape the draft. They were also anti-militarist activists.

In 1920 they were arrested for their political and union activities, even though they had no previous records. In order to set them up, they were charged with the murder of a security man. Then, in 1927, they were killed on the electric chair. Just two more of the thousands of union activists and revolutionaries who "disappeared" in those years in the "land of freedom".

To them, to their struggles, go our thoughts. To them we dedicate our struggles today for the same values and rights, against repression and the death penalty.

Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici - FdCA (Italy)
Omospondia Anarkhikon Ellados - OAE (Greece)
Alternative Libertaire - AL (France)
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation - ZACF (Southern Africa)
Workers Solidarity Movement - WSM (Ireland)
Anarsist Komünist Inisiyatif - AKI (Turkey)
Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group - MACG (Australia)
Red Libertaria de Buenos Aires - RL (Argentina)
Workers Solidarity Alliance - WSA (USA)
Organización Comunista Libertaria - OCL (Chile)

23rd August 2007

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