Monday, April 30, 2012


                  Why sentence of death should not be passed?

The Accused, the Accusers: The famous speeches of the eight Chicago anarchists in court when asked if they had anything to say why sentence should not be passed upon them. On October 7th, 8th and 9th, 1886, Chicago, Illinois.
What the eight Chicago Haymarket  Heroes declared……..

August Spies 

Now, these are my ideas. They constitute a part of myself. I cannot divest myself of them, nor would I, if I could. And if you think that you can crush out these ideas that are gaining ground more and more every day, if you think you can crush them out by sending us to the gallows – if you would once more have people suffer the penalty of death because they have dared to tell the truth – and I defy you to show us where we have told a lie – I say, if death is the penalty for proclaiming the truth, then I will proudly and defiantly pay the costly price! Call your hangman! Truth crucified in Socrates, in Christ, in Giordano Bruno, in Huss, Gallileo, still lives – they and others whose number is legion have preceded us on this path. We are ready to follow!

 Who is the man that has the cheek to tell us that human development has already reached its culminating point? I know that our ideal will not be accomplished this or next year, but I know that it will be accomplished as near as possible, some day, in the future.

I organized trades unions. I was for reduction of the hours of labor, and the education of laboring men, and the re-establishment of the Arbeiter-Zeitung – the workingmen's newspaper. There is no evidence to show that I was connected with the bomb-throwing, or that I was near it, or anything of that kind. So I am only sorry, your honor – that is, if you can stop it or help it – I will ask you to do it – that is, to hang me, too; for I think it is more honorable to die suddenly than to be killed by inches. I have a family and children; and if they know their father is dead, they will bury him. They can go to the grave, and kneel down by the side of it; but they can't go to the penitentiary and see their father, who was convicted for a crime that he hasn't had anything to do with. That is all I have got to say. Your honor, I am sorry I am not to be hung with the rest of the men.

YOUR HONOR: You ask me why sentence of death should not be passed upon me. I will not talk much. I will only say that I protest against my being sentenced to death, because I have committed no crime. I was tried here in this room for murder, and I was convicted of Anarchy. I protest against being sentenced to death, because I have not been found guilty of murder. But, however, if I am to die on account of being an Anarchist, on account of my love for liberty, fraternity and equality, then I will not remonstrate. If death is the penalty for our love of the freedom of the human race, then I say openly I have forfeited my life; but a murderer I am not.
An Anarchist is always ready to die for his principles; but in this case I have been charged with murder, and I am not a murderer. You will find it impossible to kill a principle, although you may take the life of men who confess these principles. The more the believers in just causes are persecuted, the quicker will their ideas be realized. For instance, in rendering such anUNJUST AND BARBAROUS VERDICT, the twelve "honorable men" in the jury-box have done more for the furtherance of Anarchism than the convicted could have accomplished in a generation. This verdict is a death-blow against free speech, free press, and free thought in this country, and the people will be conscious of it, too. This is all I care to say. 

I tell you frankly and openly, I am for force. I have already told Captain Schaack, "If they use cannons against us, we shall use dynamite against them."
"IF YOU CANNONADE US we shall dynamite you." You laugh! Perhaps you think, "You'll throw no more bombs;" but let me assure you that I die happy on the gallows, so confident am I that the hundreds and thousands to whom I have spoken will remember my words; and when you shall have hanged us, then, mark my words, they will do the bomb-throwing! In this hope do I say to you: "I despise you. I despise your order; your laws; your force-propped authority." HANG ME FOR IT!

Capitalistic rule would soon come to an end. That is my opinion, and my wish; it became my conviction, when I mentioned the wickedness of the capitalistic conditions of the day.
When hundreds of workingmen have been destroyed in mines in consequence of faulty preparations, for the repairing of which the owners were too stingy, the capitalistic papers have scarcely noticed it. See with what satisfaction and cruelty they make their report, when here and there workingmen have been fired upon, while striking for a few cents increase in their wages, that they might earn only a scanty subsistence. Can anyone feel any respect for a government that accords rights only to the privileged classes, and none to the workers? We have seen but recently how the coal barons combined to form a conspiracy to raise the price of coal, while at tbe same time reducing the already low wages of their men. Are they accused of conspiracy on that account? But when working men dare ask an increase in their wages, the militia and the police are sent out to shoot them down.
For such a government as this I can feel no respect, and will combat them, despite their power, despite their police, despite their spies. I hate and combat, not the individual capitalist, but THE SYSTEM THAT GIVES HIM those privileges. My greatest wish is that workingmen may recognize who are their friends and who are their enemies. As to my conviction, brought about as it was, through capitalistic influence, I have not one word to say.

To-day as the beautiful autumn sun kisses with balmy breeze the cheek of every free man, I stand here never to bathe my head in its rays again. I have loved my fellow men as I have loved myself. I have hated trickery, dishonesty, and injustice. The nineteenth century commits the crime of killing its best friend. It will live to repent of it. But, as I have said before, if it will do any good, I freely give myself up. I trust the time will come when there will be a better understanding, more intelligence, and, above the mountains of iniquity, wrong and corruption. I hope the sun of righteousness and truth and justice will come to bathe in its balmy light an emancipated world. I thank your Honor for your attention.

Socialism, your honor, means the abolition of wage slavery, because it allows the people to carry on production and consumption by means of a system of universal co-operation. That is what I said at the Haymarket. I pointed out at the Haymarket the fact that the workingmen were being deprived, according to Colonel Wright, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States. He proves by the statistics that they were producing values to the extent of $10 a day, and receiving $1.15; that they were deprived of $8.85. Now, I said to them: "Here," said I, "Socialism will give you that $8.85; under Socialism you would get that whole $10, whereas under the wage system you receive $1.15 of it. But that is not all: socialism will make labor-saving machinery a blessing instead of a curse to you; by it wealth will be increased, and drudgery diminished indefinitely. Socialism is simple justice, because wealth is a social, not an individual product, and its appropriation by a few members of society creates a privileged class-a class who monopolize all the benefits of society by enslaving the producing class." Now, your honor, this is what

makes the monopolists mad at the Anarchists. This angers the corporation men. See what they say. The result is that a verdict must be brought against Socialism; because, as the District Attorney states here, the law, and the government, and Anarchy are upon trial. That is the reason. Not for what I did, but it is for what I believe. It is what I say that these men object to.
THE VERDICT WAS AGAINST SOCIALISM. When I saw the day fixed for the opening of this trial, knowing I was an innocent man, and also feeling that it was my duty to come forward and share whatever fate had in store for my comrades, and also TO STAND, IF NEED BE, ON THE SCAFFOLD, and vindicate the rights of labor, the cause of liberty, and the relief of the oppressed, I returned. How did I return? It is interesting, but it will take time to relate it, and I will not state it.

No comments:

Post a Comment