It is now about a year that the
insanity following McKinleys death was at its height. Leon Czolgosz,
altho [sic] forbidden to make any kind of a statement in his own
behalf either in court or the death chamber, against all custom,
was known as an Anarchist; and this was sufficient to release a
perfect flood of misrepresentation, abuse and villification [sic]
on the Anarchists.
Not to mention newspaper tirades,
the amount of stupid gush poured forth on the subject of Anarchy
was perfectly appaling [sic]. It became the fashion for meetings,
conventions and societies to condemn Anarchy, with no notion at
all as to what it meant. And presently the more sober magazines
followed in the tracks of the mob and the daily sensationalists
in the crusade of one-sided lies.
Of course the politicians and law
officers could not neglect such a fine opportunity for display.
The police, always foremost in all genuine official despotism and
folly, began to show their usefulness and activity. Arrest of
Anarchists here and there took place for their being such; to make
a disrespectful reference to McKinley or the voluminous crocodile
tears of a vile press, was constituted an offense by police judges;
and some savage sentences were passed on soldiers guilty of lese-majesty,
thru [sic] drunkenness or some other cause.
The legislators followed in the wake
of the police. A Virginia constitutional convention, just then in
session, eliminated from the proposed constitution the guarantee
of free speech, and New York and New Jersey each passed drastic
anti-Anarchist laws. The national congress not sitting at the time,
its activity was restricted to the mouthings of individual members.
But a speedy sobering-up took place.
The police were compelled to drop their cases after all the ridiculous
boasting they had indulged in. The persecutions were a miserable
failure. The whole fiasco finally centered on John Most, who was
sent to prison for one year out of fashionable regard to tradition,
and three indictments in the Home colony, which resulted in a victory
for the accused. That is all the consolation the authorities could
get out of the desired large harvest. In New York opportunities
to enforce the new anti-Anarchist law were quickly dropped; the
Virginia convention called its previous bluff; and congress, when
it finally assembled, did nothing but listen to a laughable diatribe
on Anarchy from Terrified Ted that would disgrace a dime novelist.
But all this tirade of abuse deceived
only the densely ignorant; intelligent people soon asked themselves
what this Anarchism was, and many sincerely investigated the subject.
The silence of the press was at once sudden and complete. But neither
silence nor abuse can stop honest investigation, which is above
all what Anarchists want. Several essays on Anarchism appearing
here and there showed at least a fair grasp and intelligent thought.
What surprised many people, even
some Anarchists, is that an assassination of this kind should take
place in America, when they would have taken such an occurrence
as a matter of course in Europe. And yet it was but the logical
climax of a series of events during many years. Imperialism has
been a growing factor in American politics since the civil war;
capitalism has assumed the most hideous proportions; and rebellious
discontent was universal. Strikes of great significance verging
on social revolution had shaken industry several times; and arrogant
brutality marked the attitude of those above. The under dogs [sic]
had laid up against them the bitter memories of Homestead, Chicago,
Lattimer, Wardner, and countless other affairs since the great railroad
strike of 1877. The atmosphere was ripe for radicalism and revolution.
And then came Mckinley [sic], with
his career of usurpation, aggrandizement, and hypocrisy. Avowed
champion and lover of the workers, he gave us a practical demonstration
of this in Idaho; pretended humanitarian for Cubans, his henchmen
surpassed Weylerism in the Philippines. And this man was struck
down by one of the humble on one of his tours of triumphant glory
and imperial splendor.
It is an inexorable fact in nature,
the harmonious equilibrium of all relations, with their action and
reaction. A certain amount of tyranny and oppression from one side,
will bring on its resultant rebellion and revolt from the other.
McKinley came to serve and reap honor from the oppressors; and Czolgosz
came in his wake to vindicate the people and die for his deed. Without
McKinley, Czolgosz could not have been; and without Czolgosz history
would be incomplete.
It is said that Czolgosz [sic] act
was a bad deed, a foolish one, which it behooves us to condemn,
for it does harm to the cause. So much prejudice is aroused; the
propaganda is disturbed; and persecutions are the result. But the
logic of revolutionary thought demands that we accept them, these
theoretical protests transformed into action. No propaganda that
has achieved anything has been without all of thempersecutions
and abuse, rebels and philosophers.