As the recession deepens, unemployment grows, another case of police brutality makes the headlines, factories become occupied, schools blockaded and thousands begin to come out on the streets, again we find ourselves approaching the historic May day date. Despite the media perpetuating a campaign of fear mongering continuing from the G20 circus, these turbulent times have put the anarchist movement back on the stage of history and the May Day weekend is on the cards to be quite a scorcher in the “Summer Of Rage”.
On the 1st May 1886 strikes and demonstrations brought the United States to a standstill under the demand of an eight hour work day. Real trouble didn’t occur until the 3rd when Police escorting scab workers into Chicago factories purposely fired revolvers into a demonstrating crowd. Two people were killed and many others injured. An emergency meeting was called for the 4th May in Haymarket Square on how to respond to the Police brutality and State oppression. Ironically the meeting was moved into Desplaines Street therefore the Haymarket tragedy didn’t happen in Haymarket at all or of course on May Day. As people left the meeting a large contingent of armed police attacked and a single dynamite bomb was thrown into their ranks, the explosion killing one policeman and wounding others, amongst the confusion the police fired their revolvers into the crowd killing seven of their own officers and injuring roughly sixty. The same number of civilians were killed and wounded. No one was ever caught or tried for throwing the bomb. But during the next eighteen months a small group of anarchists were turned into the Chicago Martyrs.
Albert Parsons, August Spies, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, Louis Lagg, Michael Schwab, Samuel Fielden, Oscar Neebe were put on trial and deliberately framed for murder by the State. These eight men were seen as the hard core of anarchist leadership in the Chicago labour movement and therefore a threat to the inbalanced power of the Capitalist State. On November 11th 1887, known as Black Friday, these men were condemned to death by hanging.
“The time will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today.” – August Spies.