[Marxism] Messer-Kruse on Haymarket
markalause at gmail.com
Wed Feb 15 12:32:52 MST 2012
The "anarchist" who's looked into this the most thoroughly is Paul Avrich,
and I'd urge anybody to take a look at what he says on the subject. It
persuaded me on this subject years ago. (People really DO need to stop
this American consumerist fetish about labels.)
Avrich actually ran down the anarchist he believes threw the bomb.
The official labor movement has created the myth of the Haymarket martyrs
as framed labor leaders, innocent victims of a violation of civil
liberties, etc. Were I Judge William P. Black, their attourney, I'd have
no problem defending the Haymarket anarchists as a lawyer.
A historian can't call and compel testimony under oath by witnesses, most
of whom are dead anyway. On the best evidence we can now get, Avrich and
Messer-Kruse are correct. As to whether, this ultimately worked to the
benefit of the movement, Avrich argues it did and Messer-Kruse that it did
There is no question that the anarchists advocated using dynamite as an
equalizer. (They were certainly not alone in this--the Fenians and other
used the same language.) There is no question that they discussed how to
make bombs in their press. Nor is there any question that they held
classes on how to make bombs.
If you say that these same folks who were doing all of this did not throw
the bomb at Haymarket, you are leaping into a giant pit of conspiracy
theorizing that the police actually threw a bomb at themselves . . . which
takes us into 9/11 country in a society where it was much less likely that
government could have kept the secrets.
Apply Occam's razor.
As to the politics of this, my sympathies are no less with the Haymarket
anarchists than with John Brown and his men--or others who, rightly or
wrongly, resorted to the only means they thought they had available to
them. And I'd object strenuously to any attempt to repaint John Brown as a
kind of Gandhian icon acceptable to the official labor movement or the
civil liberatrians or yuppie wannabees.
Same with the Haymarket martyrs.
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