anarchy archives

An Online Research Center on the History and Theory of Anarchism



About Us

Contact Us

Other Links

Critics Corner


The Cynosure

  Michael Bakunin
  William Godwin
  Emma Goldman
  Peter Kropotkin
  Errico Malatesta
  Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
  Max Stirner
  Murray Bookchin
  Noam Chomsky
  Bright but Lesser Lights
  Cold Off The Presses
  Anarchist History
  Worldwide Movements
  First International
  Paris Commune
  Haymarket Massacre
  Spanish Civil War

Life of Albert Parsons

<--Previous  Up  Next-->


The latter insisted that the ballot was the surest means by which the enlightenment of the masses could be secured and the final overthrow of the present capitalistic system accomplished. The former advised the members of the party to join trade unions, and through the forces of economic organization secure concessions by degrees, while the later denounced all attempts at amelioration under the present system, declaring that less hours of labor and higher wages would only cause the worker to be more contented with the wage system. "They are getting too much now," they would explain.

The Social-Democrat element in the party evidently desired a speedy change –a reorganization of society- and believed that wholesale hunger and destitution of the masses would furnish the surplus steam –discontent- that would blow the capitalistic system "to kingdom come." Hungry stomachs and naked backs were to impel the army of workers to assault the citadel of capital, destroy it ramparts, and erect upon its ruins the Eldorado of universal peace and plenty. To this Ira Stewart and others would reply that society was a gradual growth; that you could not by any magician's "hocus pocus" cry of "presto change" immediately transfer our society into an Eden; that starving men were not brave, but cowardly –willing slaves, not "heroes." Ira Stewart evidently was of opinion that the Englishman who only fights on a full stomach manifested a great deal of human nature.

"In Heaven's name, let's get some supper now,
And then I'm with you if you're for a row."

The daily press paid little or no attention to us in those days. We called public meeting in all parts of the city, but the masses were slow to move. Oft-times, after posting bills and paying for advertising, we were also compelled to contribute our last nickel for hall rent, and walk home instead of ride. At all these meeting A. R. Parsons was the only English speaker. In the spring of 1877 the party in Chicago resolved to enter the political arena as an experiment, limiting its action to the Fifteenth Ward, and nominated A. R. Parsons as its Aldermanic candidate.

On this point we concentrated the party strength, brought volunteer ticket peddlers from all parts of the city, and worked like

This page has been accessed by visitors outside of Pitzer College times since September 12, 2001.


[Home]               [Search]               [About Us]               [Contact Us]               [Other Links]               [Critics Corner]