Publication information
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Source: Free Society
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial column
Document title: “Current Comment”
Author(s): Winn, Ross
Date of publication: 11 May 1902
Volume number: 9
Issue number: 19
Pagination: 4-5 (excerpt below includes only page 5)

Winn, Ross. “Current Comment.” Free Society 11 May 1902 v9n19: pp. 4-5.
Abraham Isaak, Jr.; anarchists (Chicago, IL); Ross Winn; anarchists (Tennessee); C. L. James; anarchists (Eau Claire, WI); assassination; McKinley assassination (personal response: anarchists).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; Thomas Gradgrind; Abraham Isaak, Jr.; C. L. James; William McKinley; Ross Winn [in notes].
Click here to view Ross Winn’s prior comments about C. L. James in the 20 Apr. 1902 issue of Free Society.

In his own editorial column (“Splinters,” p. 4), Abraham Isaak, Jr., asserts: “Since Ross Winn has now given James’ exact words, I think it clearly justifies my contention against exaggerated statements. Indeed he seems to be conscious of this himself, as he now sees fit to change ‘advising’ to ‘defending.’ I do not feel myself called upon to enter the merits of the discussion between James and Winn.”


Current Comment [excerpt]

     Since Abe Isaak Jr. has asserted, in plain terms, that I lied in charging C. L. James with defending assassination before the Buffalo affair, and afterwards repudiating Czolgosz as an imbecile, I ask space enough to make good my former statements, by bringing forward the proof. In FREE SOCIETY, of September 1, 1901, under the caption, “The Monster Slayer,” James wrote, among other things, the following:

     . . . is there among us no dragon which exacts a tribute of a beautiful maiden to devour every morning? . . . The existence of the Monster implies that of the Monster Slayer. I cannot see what else monsters exist for than to be killed. . . . What a rebuke it is to Gradgrind then, that the twentieth century should be ushered in by a galaxy of Sphinx and Cyclops killers. . . . How absurd to call such actions murders! . . . How much less merits consideration in any sound philosophy of murder, the destruction of one who himself murders whole armies. . . . Considered as a murderer, the Monster Slayer is out of court. It is in quite another character that he appeals to our sense of the Sublime. . . . Against falling into similar obliviousness, it is an infallible preservative to read in our daily papers that Monster Slayers walk the earth once more.

     Does this not look as tho [sic] James sanctioned assassination? Unless the leader of the “Movement in Favor of Ignorance” can weave an entirely different significance into the combination of phrases he employed, I suspect that anyone in his senses would put that interpretation upon it.
     Now, did James repudiate Czolgosz, and call him a fool and imbecile? I quoted the terms “fool” and “imbecile” from memory, and I find that, while they were not the exact ones employed, their equivalent was. In FREE SOCIETY, of October 27, 1901, James wrote, in an article headed, “The Craze and Its Consequences”:

     On September 7 last, there was probably not an Anarchist in the United States who did not deprecate the act of Czolgosz, if as nothing else, then as a great blow to Anarchism. . . . That very large minority who had previously expressed extreme disapprobation of McKinley’s administration showed no sign of being weak enough to change their minds because a CRANK has shot him. . . . It rests on no reliable testimony that Czolgosz, at any time since his arrest, has said anything which would be worth repeating. [Italics mine.]

     Abe Isaak Jr. objects to “casting personal reflections.” But, in charging me with falsehood, he is a trifle guilty of the same literary indiscretion, it seems to me. Anyway, I submit James’ own words, correctly quoted, and leave the readers of FREE SOCIETY to decide the veracity of my former statement. As for “personal reflections,” I trust my friend James does not take these matters any more seriously than I do. He had his little pleasantry and I replied in kind; it was not a case of coffee and pistols for two. Really, neither the sage of Eau Claire nor myself are Monster Slayers. The youthful editor of FREE SOCIETY takes Anarchist journalism too seriously.



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