peoples march

from the people against injustice in the society


Posted by ajadhind on April 30, 2007

The Haymarket Riot on May 4, 1886 in Chicago is generally considered to have been an important influence on the origin of international May Day observances for workers. In popular literature this event inspired the caricature of “a bomb-throwing anarchist.” The causes of the incident are still controversial, although deeply polarized attitudes separating the business class and the working class in late 19th century Chicago are generally acknowledged as having precipitated the tragedy and its aftermath.

May Day parade and strikes
In 1884 a convention of The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada set May 1, 1886 as the date by which the
eight-hour work day would become law. The FOTLU, and the International Working People’s Association (IWPA) began preparing for a general strike. The Knights of Labor opposed the strike.On Saturday 1 May, 1886 rallies were held throughout the United States. The largest was in Chicago, where an estimated 90,000 people participated. There were an estimated 10,000 demonstrators in New York and 11,000 in Detroit. Albert Parsons, an Anarchist and founder of the International Working People’s Association, with his wife Lucy Parsons and seven children, led people down Michigan Avenue. In the next few days, 350,000 workers nationwide went on strike at 1,200 factories.
May 3 striking workers met near the McCormick Harvesting Machine Co. plant where a fight broke out on the picket lines as replacement workers attempted to cross the picket line. Chicago police intervened and attacked the strikers, killing four, wounding several others and sparking outrage in the city’s working community.
Local anarchists distributed fliers calling for a rally at Haymarket Square, then a bustling commercial center (also called the Haymarket) near the corner of Randolph Street and Des Plaines Street in what was later called Chicago’s west
Loop. These fliers alleged police had murdered the strikers on behalf of business interests and urged workers to seek justice

Rally at Haymarket Square

This 19th century engraving showing exaggerated flames and smoke was published in popular newspapers and magazines during the days and weeks following the Haymarket riot. It also appeared in some history textbooks.
The rally began peacefully under a light rain on the evening of
May 4. August Spies spoke to the large crowd while standing in an open wagon on Desplaines Street. According to many witnesses Spies said he was not there to incite anyone. Meanwhile a large number of on-duty police officers watched from nearby. The crowd was so calm that Mayor Carter Harrison, Sr., who had stopped by to watch, walked home early. Some time later the police ordered the rally to disperse and began marching in formation towards the speakers’ wagon. A bomb was thrown at the police line and exploded, killing policeman Mathias J. Degan.The police immediately opened fire. While several of their number besides Degan appear to have been injured by the bomb, most of the casualties seem to have been caused by bullets. About sixty officers were wounded in the riot, as well as an unknown number of civilians. In all, seven policemen and at least four workers were killed in the riot. There is no accurate count of the latter, as those injured were afraid to seek medical attention for injuries, fearing punishment for their part in the riot.

Trial, executions and pardons

Eight people connected directly or indirectly with the rally and its anarchist organisers were charged with Degan’s murder: August Spies, Albert Parsons, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, Louis Lingg, Michael Schwab, Samuel Fielden and Oscar Neebe. Five (Spies, Fischer, Engel, Lingg and Schwab) were German immigrants while a sixth, Neebe, was a U.S. citizen of German descent.
The trial was presided over by Judge
Joseph Gary. The defense counsel included Sigmund Zeisler, William Perkins Black, William Foster and Moses Salomon. The prosecution, led by Julius Grinnell, did not offer evidence connecting any of the defendants with the bombing but argued that the person who had thrown the bomb had been encouraged to do so by the defendants, who as conspirators were therefore equally responsible.
Albert Parsons’ brother claimed that there was evidence linking the
Pinkertons to the bombThe jury returned guilty verdicts for all eight defendants, with death sentences for seven. Neebe received a sentence of 15 years in prison. The sentencing sparked outrage from budding labor and workers movements, resulted in protests around the world, and made the defendants international political celebrities and heroes within labor and radical political circles. Meanwhile, the press published often sensationalized accounts and opinions about the incident, which polarized public reaction. Journalist George Frederic Parsons, for example, wrote a piece for the Atlantic Monthly articulating the fears of middle-class Americans concerning labor radicalism, asserting that workers had only themselves to blame for their troubles.
Waldheim Cemetery, Chicago in May 1986 during ceremonies commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Haymarket riot
The case was appealed to the
Supreme Court of Illinois,then to the Supreme Court of the United States, where the defendants were represented by John Randolph Tucker, Roger Atkinson Pryor, General Benjamin F. Butler and William P. Black. The petition for certiorari was denied

After the appeals had been exhausted, Illinois Governor Richard James Oglesby commuted Fielden’s and Schwab’s sentences to life in prison. On the eve of his scheduled execution, Lingg committed suicide in his cell using a smuggled dynamite cap which he reportedly held in his mouth like a cigar (the blast blew off half his face and he survived in agony for several hours).
The next day,
November 11, 1887, Spies, Parsons, Fischer, and Engel were hanged together before a public audience. Taken to the gallows in white robes and hoods, they sang the Marseillaise, the anthem of the international revolutionary movement. Family members including Lucy Parsons who attempted to see them for the last time were arrested and searched for bombs. None were found. August Spies was widely quoted as having shouted out, “The time will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today.” Witnesses reported that the condemned did not die when they dropped, but strangled to death slowly, a sight which left the audience visibly shaken.[citation needed]
Lingg, Spies, Fischer, Engel and Parsons were buried at the German Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Schwab and Neebe where also buried at Waldheim when they died, reuniting the “Martyrs.” In 1893 the Haymarket Martyrs Monument by sculptor Albert Weinert was raised at Waldheim. Over a century later it was designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior, the only cemetery memorial to be noted as such.
The trial is often referred to by scholars as one of the most serious miscarriages of justice in United States history.
Most working people believed that Pinkerton agents provoked the incident.On June 26, 1893, Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld signed pardons for Fielden, Neebe, and Schwab after having concluded all eight defendants were innocent. The governor stated that the real reason for the bombing was the city of Chicago’s failure to hold Pinkerton guards responsible for shooting workers.The pardons ended his political career.
The police commander who ordered the dispersal was later convicted of corruption. The bomb thrower was never identified, although some anarchists privately indicated they had later learned his identity but kept quiet to avoid further prosecutions

Activist Michael K at the statueless pedestal of the controversial police monument in the remains of Chicago’s Haymarket Square on the tragedy’s 100th anniversary in early May, 1986. He reportedly “took to his grave” whatever he knew about the 1969 and 1970 bombings (the pedestal has since been removed).

The vandalized plaque on the pedistal of Mary Brogger’s Haymarket Memorial sculpture
In 1889 a commemorative nine-foot bronze statue of a Chicago policeman by sculptor Johannes Gelert was erected in the middle of Haymarket Square with private funds raised by the
Union League Club of Chicago. On the 41st anniversary of the riot, May 4, 1927, a streetcar jumped its tracks and crashed into the monument (statements made by the driver suggested this may have been deliberate).
The city moved it to nearby
Lincoln Park. During the early 1960s, freeway construction erased about half of the old, run down market square and the statue was moved back to a spot on a newly built outcropping overlooking the freeway, near its original location. In October 1969 it was blown up, repaired by the city and blown up again a year later, reportedly by the Weather Underground.
Richard J. Daley placed a 24-hour police guard around the statue for two years before it was moved to the enclosed courtyard of Chicago Police academy in 1972. The statue’s empty, graffiti-marked pedestal stood in the desolate remains of Haymarket Square for another three decades, where it was known as an anarchist landmark.
In 1985, scholars doing research for a possible centennial commemoration of the riot were surprised to learn that most of the primary source documentation relating to the incident was not in Chicago, but had been transferred to then-
communist East Berlin.
In 1992 the site of the speakers’ wagon was marked by a bronze plaque set into the sidewalk, reading:
A decade of strife between labor and industry culminated here in a confrontation that resulted in the tragic death of both workers and policemen. On
May 4, 1886, spectators at a labor rally had gathered around the mouth of Crane’s Alley. A contingent of police approaching on Des Plaines Street were met by a bomb thrown from just south of the alley. The resultant trial of eight activists gained worldwide attention for the labor movement, and initiated the tradition of “May Day” labor rallies in many cities.
Designated on March 25, 1992
On September 14, 2004, after 118 years of what some observers called civic amnesia, Daley and union leaders unveiled a monument by Chicago artist Mary Brogger, a fifteen-foot speakers’ wagon sculpture echoing the wagon on which the labor leaders stood in Haymarket Square to champion the eight-hour day. The bronze sculpture, centerpiece of a proposed “Labor Park” there, is meant to symbolize both the assembly at Haymarket and free speech. The planned site was to include an international commemoration wall, sidewalk plaques, a cultural pylon, seating area and banners but a year later work had not yet begun.

source:- wikepedia


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