Publication information
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Source: Law Notes
Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Can We Deal with Anarchy Under the Law as It Is”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: November 1901
Volume number: 5
Issue number: none
Pagination: 142-43

“Can We Deal with Anarchy Under the Law as It Is.” Law Notes Nov. 1901 v5: pp. 142-43.
full text
anarchism (dealing with); anarchism (laws against); anarchism (government response); Johann Most; anarchists (New York, NY).
Named persons
Elizur Brace Hinsdale; Johann Most [variant first name below].
Click here to view the legal opinion per the second court case identified below.


Can We Deal with Anarchy Under the Law as It Is

     HOW anarchy can be effectively dealt with under the law as it now stands has been shown in two New York cases, in both of which John Most, the anarchistic leader and editor of the anarchist newspaper, Die Freiheit, was defendant. In the first case (People v. Most, 128 N. Y. 108), Most was indicted under the New York statute against unlawful assemblies (Penal Code, § 451) for his incendiary utterances in a meeting called to sympathize with the Chicago anarchists. In this assemblage the police officers of Chicago, the state courts, the judges of Illinois and of the United States Supreme Court, were bitterly denounced as tyrants, and threats were made against them by Most. The statute required that “three or more” must threaten some unlawful act to constitute an unlawful assembly. But it was held sufficient to prove that the persons present warmly cheered Most’s threatening utterances, impliedly approving and adopting them. The other case was the recent conviction of Most for the murderous utterances in an article in his newspaper declaring that the destruction of a life, “hostile or a hindrance,” was a meritorious act. The indictment was under a section of the Penal Code (§ 675) which declares that a person is guilty of a misdemeanor who “wilfully [sic] and wrongfully commits any act . . . which seriously destroys or endangers the public peace or health.” Justice Hinsdale, before whom the trial took place, held that one who advocated murder came within this statute. In delivering judgment, he said: “A person may advocate any change of our government by lawful and peaceful means, or may criticise the conduct of its affairs and get as many people to agree with him as he can, so long as he does not advocate the commission of crime as the means through which he is to attain his end.” Again, it seems that when one, by [142][143] inflammatory writings or speeches, induces some one to accomplish an illegal result, the speaker himself is guilty of such result. Spies v. People, 122 Ill. 1. The effectiveness of such doctrines of our present laws should be well considered before a change is made in the fundamental principles of our institutions.



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