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Transcript of Red Scare
The only vengeance which could placate me is the realization of freedom, the great deliverance which would beneficiate all my friends as well as all my enemies: All. But till that, the struggle goes on, til we are breath to breath with the enemy fighting with short arms, till then, to fight is our duty, our right, our necessity -February 27, 1924. Bartolomeo Vanzetti
THE TRIAL OF SACCO AND VANZETTI
-April 15, 1920- two men from Southbraintree, Massachusetts, were murdered by two other men.
-May 5, 1920- Sacco and Vanzetti fell into a police trap set to capture the suspects of this previous murder. They both carried guns when captured.
-Sacco and Vanzetti were well-known anarchists and were involved in anti-war propaganda, as well as labor strikes and political agitation.
-Supporters of the journal
, the most influential anarchist journal in America. Acceptance of revolutionary violence.
-Summer 1920- trial of Vanzetti. Accused of participating in a holdup attempt that took place in 1919. Found guilty in spite of a strong alibi, probably because most of his witnesses were italian and spoke english poorly, which lead to a non-convincing testimony for the american judges.
-Biased and hostile trial.
-Trial based on their radical activities and not on the details of the Braintree deaths. Both men lied about being involved in these activities.
-Fred H. Moore- socialist lawyer.
-Change in the legal strategy: Moore wanted to prove the prosecution's hidden motive, which was to aid the federal and military authorities in the suppression of the Italian Anarchist Movement, to which Sacco and Vanzetti belonged.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Vol XCIII, No. 311
-A nationwide fear of communists, socialists, anarchists, and other dissidents that appears in the United States after World War I and The Bolshevik Revolution.
-Everyone who was not patriot enough was a suspect.
WHAT IS THE RED SCARE?
References in the Arts
Sacco e Vanzetti
Justice Denied in Massachusetts
They are Dead Now
Here's to You
Sacco and Vanzetti
Sacco e Vanzetti
Director: Guiliano Montaldo.
Gian Maria Volonté as Bartolomeo Vansetti.
Riccardo Cucciolla as Nicola Sacco
Runtime: 120 min.
Justice Denied in Massachusets
Let us abandon then our gardens and go home
And sit in the sitting-room
Shall the larkspur blossom or the corn grow under this cloud?
Sour to the fruitful seed
Is the cold earth under this cloud,
Fostering quack and weed, we have marched upon but cannot
We have bent the blades of our hoes against the stalks of them.
Let us go home, and sit in the sitting room.
Not in our day
Shall the cloud go over and the sun rise as before,
Beneficent upon us
Out of the glittering bay,
And the warm winds be blown inward from the sea
Moving the blades of corn
With a peaceful sound.
Stands the blue hay-rack by the empty mow.
And the petals drop to the ground,
Leaving the tree unfruited.
The sun that warmed our stooping backs and withered the weed
We shall not feel it again.
We shall die in darkness, and be buried in the rain.
What from the splendid dead
We have inherited —
Furrows sweet to the grain, and the weed subdued —
See now the slug and the mildew plunder.
Evil does overwhelm
The larkspur and the corn;
We have seen them go under.
Let us sit here, sit still,
Here in the sitting-room until we die;
At the step of Death on the walk, rise and go;
Leaving to our children's children the beautiful doorway,
And this elm,
And a blighted earth to till
With a broken hoe.
-Moore transformed the case into an international cause: organization of public meetings, pamphlets, request of help from labor unions, contacted international organizations, started new investigations, and requested the aid of the Italian government.
- 6 week trial- July 24, 1921- Sacco and Vanzetti found guilty of robbery and murder.
-Beginning of a new legal struggle that would last until 1927. Attempt to gain a new trial.
-1924- Attorney William Thompson assumed the legal defense of these two men.
-Protests from liberals, anarchists, communists, and socialists arose due to the verdict imposed upon Sacco and Vanzetti.
-April 9, 1927- Sacco and Vanzetti are sentenced to death.
-August 23, 1927- Sacco and Vanzetti were executed in the electrical chair.
Two main Union/Socialist groups:
-The International Workers of the World (the I.W.W. or Wobblies):
Northwest of the country, led by "Big" Bill Haywood.
-The Socialist party led by Eugene Debs.
They are Dead Now
This isn’t a poem
This is two men in grey prison clothes.
One man sits looking at the sick flesh of his hands—hands that haven’t worked for seven years.
Do you know how long a year is?
Do you know how many hours there are in a day
when a day is twenty-three hours on a cot in a cell,
in a cell in a row of cells in a tier of rows of cells
all empty with the choked emptiness of dreams?
Do you know the dreams of men in jail?
They are dead now
The black automatons have won.
They are burned up utterly
their flesh has passed into the air of Massachusetts their dreams have passed into the wind.
“They are dead now,” the Governor’s secretary nudges the Governor,
“They are dead now,” the Superior Court Judge nudges
the Supreme Court Judge,
“They are dead now” the College President nudges
the College President
A dry chuckling comes up from all the dead:
The white collar dead; the silkhatted dead;
the frockcoated dead
They hop in and out of automobiles
breathe deep in relief
as they walk up and down the Boston streets.
they are free of dreams now
free of greasy prison denim
their voices blow back in a thousand lingoes
singing one song
to burst the eardrums of Massachusetts
Make a poem of that if you dare!
John Dos Passos.
Here's to You
Rest forever here in our hearts
The last and final moment is yours
That agony is your triumph
Here's to you, Nicola and Bart
Sacco and Vanzetti
Director: Peter Miller.
Runtime: 80 min.
Guilt or innocence, gentlemen, of crime, do not depend upon the place of one's birth; the proportion of his wealth, his station in life, social or political, or his views on public questions prevent an honest judgment and impartial administration and enforcement of the law, for when the time comes that these conditions exist to an extent that men, because of these conditions, cannot be indicted, tried, acquitted according to the laws of the commonwealth in a court of justice, the doors to our court house; should then be closed and we should announce to the world -the impotency of our courts and the utter failure of constitutional or organized government[...]
Again, please notice the tender regard the law has for all unfortunate defendants. It always presumes good and -never evil; for it hath declared every defendant in all criminal cases is presumed to be innocent until he shall have been proven guilty. This presumption must always prevail, in the absence of proof. The defendants in these cases came into court to hear and to answer these indictments, and until the indictments shall have been supported by evidence lending to prove them guilty, they stand as innocent persons before the law
-Judge Thayer's verdict
‘‘Few occurrences in modern
American history have involved
so much exaggeration and fear.’’
The fear of Strikes
Seattle general strike.
Boston police strike.
Chicago Tribune, February 18, 1919
Cartoonist: Carey Orr
In February 1919, fear of Communist/Bolshevik agitation in the U.S.
was heightened by the nationally covered Seattle general strike, the Senate Overman Committee investigation into Bolshevik activity in the U.S., and daily coverage of the escalating civil war in Bolshevik Russia and of Communist uprisings in other European nations.
Reproduced by permission of the Chicago Tribune. Digital image courtesy of ProQuest Hi
Palmer raids taking place.
“Into the Garbage Can”
Life, March 17, 1921
Cartoonist: Rollin Kirby
Bolshevism. American Federation of Labor. Rubbish.
“Let the Soviet savages know what labor of the civilized world thinks of their bestial system.”
From the manifesto of the American Federation of Labor, February 27, 1921.
“The Cheerful Giver—Or, Do Your Christmas Shipping Early”
The New York Times, December 21, 1919
Cartoonist: Edwin Marcus
On December 21, 1919, an army transport ship nicknamed the "Soviet Ark" left New York harbor with 249 Russian immigrants being deported as “undesirable aliens,” including the anarchist leader Emma Goldman. Most were anarchists and Communists who had been rounded up in the November 7 “Palmer Raids” initiated by Atty. Gen. A. Mitchell Palmer. On January 16, 1920, the ship arrived in Finland and the deportees were transported by train to the Russian border.
Reproduced by permission of the Marcus family. Digital image courtesy of ProQuest historical Newspapers.
...it seems that nothing and no one is going to stop our execution after this midnight...
My sister was optimistic as all the world seemed to have been in our case that is not yet well understood not even by our most intelligent and experienced friends and comrades. But since she arrived here, on the place, and faced the real facts, her optimism withered away by degrees
What I wish more than all in this last hour of agony is that our case and our fate may be understood in their real being and serve as a tremendous lesson to the forces of freedom--so that our suffering and death will not have been in vain.
All the Federal justices will repel our appeal and from hence the other few hours our fate will be completely in the hands of Governor Fuller. To me this means-- death.
P.S.... I wish and hope you will lend your faculties in inserting our tragedy in the history under its real aspect and being.