Publication information

Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Assassination—Its Cause”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Seattle, Washington
Date of publication: 15 September 1901
Volume number: none
Issue number: 58
Pagination: 1

“The Assassination—Its Cause.” Socialist 15 Sept. 1901 n58: p. 1.
full text
McKinley assassination (personal response: socialists); McKinley assassination (public response); J. Pierpont Morgan; Marcus Hanna (public statements); anarchism (dealing with); McKinley assassination (public response: criticism); presidential assassinations (comparison); Leon Czolgosz; anarchism (criticism); capitalism; economic system (impact on society); socialism.
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; James A. Garfield; Marcus Hanna; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; J. Pierpont Morgan; Theodore Roosevelt.

The Assassination—Its Cause


The Terrible Deed.

     Wm. McKinley shot by Leon Czolgosz!
     The head of the U. S. Government shot by an Anarchist!
     An innocent, kindly American, trying to do his duty, shot by the self-centred Pole, who only said: “I am an Anarchist. I did my duty.”
     The world is turned dumb. J. Pierpont Morgan, the most powerful man on earth is thunderstruck to silence, retires to consult his partners and remains inaccessible.
     Senator Hanna, keenest political manager, cries out, “My God, it can’t be possible.”
     Here is a shot heard round the world in every household from Odessa to Chicago. The multitude of civilized men and women who do no thinking but to think all’s as it should be, shiver with fear and horror at this unheralded thing.
     In their panic they call for the strong man to suppress this Red Terror. Men say, Roosevelt would take good care of these savages. Increase the army, multiply the police, banish the Anarchists, suppress free speech, exterminate these hell-dogs who infest the world.
     And is that all? No more to be said or done by men who were created to think and progress? Here is a phenomenon to be explained. This man is a product of the times and every intelligent person must demand, Why?

The Conditions.

     This is the third assassination of an American President. The other two had their origin in the fierce struggles of their times. Lincoln’s death was due to the passions of the civil war, Garfield’s to the fight for official power. And this attack upon McKinley is the offspring of the present class strife as exhibited in the great strikes.
     Before any news had come as to the person of the assassin, an acute observer was overheard to say to a group in front of the bulletin boards, “You will find this man is an intelligent Anarchist and a workingman.” In fact, this Czolgosz proves to have been employed in one of the steel corporation mills. He is clearly a product of the proletarian class in the United States today. He and all his family are wage-workers and very poor.

Subsoil of Injustice.

ism would be impossible. The Anarism would be impossible. [sic] The Anarchists see as clearly as the Socialists the terrible injustice of the capitalistic system of exploitation. They seek the remedy in violence, either rebellion or assassination. Therein they are wholly wrong. Socialism holds life sacred and has always contended against the Anarchist method.
     But here is the point to be observed by every member of the capitalist class now in power, the class which now feels itself responsible for the suppression of Anarchy, the class which is responsible for present conditions.
     It will be utterly impossible to prevent these violent outbursts while injustice underlies society.
     Your whole capitalist system is built upon a process which denies human rights. Your vast accumulated fortunes are robbed from the workers. Your robbery has the sanction of law. It is supported by force. The worker has no redress. His strikes and boycotts fail him. He finds his largest unions and widest combinations helpless against the mighty aggregations of capital.
     The unintelligent worker—like the labor union editor quoted elsewhere—calls for violence and revolution. The Socialist worker, having studied and learned, insists calmly and deliberately upon the peaceful methods of education, co-operation and the ballot.
     But the radical, turbulent spirit, the extreme individualist, the stern, tragic sort of man that is always to be found, resolves to use his personal power to the utmost. He defies. He throws himself against the world. He kills.

The Only Remedy.

     How can you stay his hand? How suppress the fiend?
     Never by violent methods like his own. For every Anarchist you hang, a score of others will spring forward to be hung—SO LONG AS YOU LEAVE UNTOUCHED THE SUBSOIL OF INJUSTICE, FROM WHICH ALONE THEY DERIVE THEIR SUSTENANCE.
     Violence breeds violence. “They who take the sword shall perish by the sword.”
     Socialism pleads for justice, for the rights of man, for peace on the earth. Socialism will be emancipation, co-operation, just distribution of the wealth of the world.
     Until men are allowed to get these things, all now seen to be possible in the near future, that is, until Socialism wins, nothing under heaven can prevent the occasional rise of this terrible man of violence and blood.