Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Will This Induce Us to Respect Authority”
Date of publication: November 1901
Volume number: 15
Issue number: 162
|S. “Will This Induce Us to Respect Authority.” Freedom Nov. 1901 v15n162: p. 66.|
|anarchism (government response: criticism); McKinley assassination (public response: criticism); anarchism (public response); society (criticism).|
|Leon Czolgosz; Emma Goldman; Peter Kropotkin; Karl Marx; William McKinley.|
Will This Induce Us to Respect Authority
With the death of McKinley, or rather with the
firing of the shot that ends his useless life, the problem of “how to dispose
of Anarchism and Anarchists,” seems to have come to the front again. For the
last few years and especially since Kropotkin’s visit to the United States last
winter, the “pillars of society” have discovered that Anarchism was not crushed
in Chicago in 1887. On the contrary, it has been growing—slowly, but as healthily
and as sound as ever.
And government was aware of this. The beast of prey was only waiting for the opportunity to throw itself upon its intended victim. No sooner had this shot been fired than the chase began. “Free Society must be crushed,” was the cry; and no sooner did the telegraph transmit the order than its publishers, with their families and all, were arrested, imprisoned and kept without bail. Well known propagandists were next in order. Emma Goldman, another thorn in its side, was the first one singled out. Arrested in Chicago, she was kept there, as no charge could be found on which to extradite her to Buffalo to stand trial with Czolgosz. A conspiracy charge was invented; but the bottom fell out of it. In many cities comrades, known as such, still have to endure all kinds of petty persecutions from the police as well as drunken rowdies, instigated to acts of vandalism by the catch-penny journals, pulpit fakirs, and other “educators.”
Politicians, stockbrokers, soul-saviours, moralists, pawnshop keepers, press-prostitutes, society reformers, social and unsocial—in short, all “examples of good citizenship” are shedding their crocodile tears of sympathy for the great, wise and noble leader. Social Democrats, for fear of being compromised, hurriedly pass resolutions to express their sympathy for the fallen ruler, and denounce the “assassin” in one breath with Anarchy. One of their leaders, an authority on Marx, even offers prayers. To the honor of the body (the Convention) it must be said that at this point they retained some of their self-respect, and rejected that part of the comedy.
“Freethinkers” go them one better, and threaten to throw anybody from their hall who dares to uphold any Anarchist Communist doctrine or say anything in justification of the “crime.” Such is the modern explanation of free speech as interpreted by the “Freethinkers” of the Boston Liberal Forum.
And all these cowardly actions without the least attempt to show the connection between an individual’s act and a great Philosophy, or even assuring themselves that this particular individual was an Anarchist or had any connection with the Anarchists or their movement in this or any other country. The fact that Free Society had warned its readers against a certain person of suspicious movements and intentions, who later proved to be one and the same person that slew McKinley, was never taken into consideration.
The reaction was on, and to howl with the wolves of the mob was the fashion. But as we have passed and braved other storms we will also face this one. Those that cannot stand it, let them withdraw or disappear; the rest will be stronger for it.