On Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti

DVD cover of Giuliano Montaldo's 1971 film 'Sacco e Vanzetti'

Reading literature can be a drag at times so here is some visual content and music to compliment the modest archive at libcom.org on Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti.

Just in case you don't know who Sacco and Vanzetti were, they were two anarchist Italian immigrants residing in the U.S. who, amid a climate of Red-baiting and jingoism, stood accused of a robbery and murder based on rumour, circumstantial and contradictory evidence. The pair were imprisoned, subjected to unfair trials and eventually executed on 23 August, 1927. The late Howard Zinn wrote of their case:

...the important thing is really not the question of their guilt or innocence - which certainly was not resolved by their trial, and I don't know if it will ever be resolved - the important thing about it was that it revealed the nature of the justice system in the United States, a system of justice which has always been unfair to foreigners, unfair to poor people, unfair to radicals and which becomes especially notorious in times of war, in times of a Marshall atmosphere...

- Peter Miller's 2006 documentary Sacco & Vanzetti (for the other parts of the documentary just click on the link):

I'd like to make a small point. I came across the so-called revelations about Upton Sinclair's supposed complicity in covering up the defendants' guilt after watching Miller's documentary so it's failure to address them is in hindsight disappointing.

- Giuliano Montaldo's 1971 film Sacco e Vanzetti (again, for the other parts just click on the link):

- Winterset (1936), a film adaptation of Maxwell Anderson's 1935 drama which was based on the Sacco-Vanzetti trial:

- Ballads of Sacco & Vanzetti, a set of songs, written and performed by Woody Guthrie related to the pair's trial, conviction and execution. The songs were recorded between 1946 and 1947. An unreleased Pete Seeger song was added when it was released as an album. Here is the first in the playlist:

- "SACCO O VANZETTI", a musical video by Italian rapper Francesco “Kento” Carlo. For more information about Kento and his music, check www.myspace.com/kentofromcalabria and www.ilrapdikento.com. You can also reach him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/francesco.carlo.

Lyrics by Francesco “Kento” Carlo

When your destiny comes to you
What to do? What to do?
Are you ready to go hard even if there’s no return game?
To stay and fight?

Voice is like light, but if there is no more warmth
The shout cuts off words, causes total eclipse.
Sacco Nicola, coming from the South,
Destination death, and prison in the meanwhile.
Between this walls even my thoughts are locked up,
And through the keyhole air can’t pass.
When I’m scared I close my eyes and I see the sea,
I dream about the sky and my home place, I dream to kiss my lover.
I dream butterfly wings to escape through this bars
Titans’ hands to bend them.
I would have strength for a new chapter
If only these steps didn’t bring me on the gallows
Anarchist and foreigner, but not a murderer,
Even the judge who wrote my destiny knows it.
And on the wall I’ve written in black letters:
“Justice does not belong to any established government”.

Voice is like a bomb, if the truth we have
Can break the arm waving into the roman salute.
Vanzetti Bart, I’m guilty!
For hating the system’s injustice and its rules.
For being an Italian, an anarchist, a migrant worker.
A labor organizer, an anti-fascist, a militant.
And my people can’t forget the past,
By me they now bring charge of all the time spent
Working like slaves, off the books,
Or standing in never-ending queues at the immigration offices.
Mr Judge! It’s all a frame up!
I’ve seen your pen trembling with fear!
It wrote down a sentence that represents our victory,
It wrote down our names on the history books,
And everybody now has to know:
“Justice does not belong to any established government”.

I don’t care even if you do
If only I could feel your smell one more time

It’s all for a cause without any name or color
But now this cause has a name
Now has a name

It's not the reason for this blog post, but Jerry Kaplan has compiled an extensive bibliography for the Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society which you can view here. Anarchy Archives' section dedicated to the pair is also very much worth a visit.


Feb 24 2012 21:23