The Haymarket Martyrs

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Joined: 25-02-09
Mar 15 2012 17:22

Does anybody know anything about this guy's book? It seems like he's claiming it wasn't such a frame-up.

Joined: 27-02-06
Mar 15 2012 17:59

This brings back memories of visting Waldheim Cemetery this last summer and seeing the Haymarket Martyrs Memorial and tombs of Emma Goldman , Voltairine de Cleyre ( recent churlish comments about her here on libcom notwithstanding) Josef Dietzgen, Lucy Parsons, Boris Yelensky, and Franklin Rosemont himself and many others who consecrated their lives to the cause of human liberation. I can see the warm light and the heat of that day at this moment. The following day I had the honour of being in the Miners Cemetery where Mother Jones was buried along with many other miner militants, a good few shot down by the bosses' goons.

Joined: 15-04-06
Mar 17 2012 21:54
syndicalist wrote:
Anarcho wrote:
David in Atlanta wrote:
Nelson, Bruce C. Beyond the Martyrs: A Social History of Chicago Anarchism 1870-1900. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1988.
. Nelson gives a pretty good account of the course of events during the organizing and strike in 1886.

There is useful information in the book, but Nelson really needs to be taken with a large pinch of salt. This is because he basically suggests that the Martyrs were not anarchists! Which suggests a basic ignorance of both anarchism and the actual ideas of the movement.

However, he is not the only academic to suggest that. The American ISO published an interview by an academic which suggested that the Martyrs remained Marxists! Again, that suggests a fundamental ignorance of anarchism. I discuss it here ("On The Bolshevik Myth"), along with refuting an attack on the Makhnovists and the Kronstadt rebels.

I've not read your linked article, Anarcho. But I would like to comment on the Nelson book.
I tend to agree with your overall criticism of the book. But reflecting a bit on the time period,
it would not be hard to say that American class struggle anarchism (as opposed to individualism) was in a period of transition.

A transition from a collection of anarchistic/socialistic/agrarian radical ideas into some form of a more class struggle anarchist, hence anarcho-syndicalist, viewpoint. I would think this transition was taking place during the 1880s, leading up theough the period of the height of the IWPA influence in Chicago. With large numbers of German-American working folks in industry (and in America) at this point, they helped to transform and shift the discussion and influence the mish-mash of anarchistic/socialistic/agrarian radical ideas towards a more solid
anarchist footing. But even here, anarchism itself was in transition and in conflict within its own house.

From a struictly political and/or historical perspective, I'm curious why someone didn't like what I wrote. If it's just cause you don't like me, ok, no problem, not the issue. But I'm curious if there's a disagreement over this part of Americam anarchism.