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The Cynosure

  Michael Bakunin
  William Godwin
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The Sacco-Vanzetti Case and the Grim Forces Behind It


jailed and deported, in the name of patriotism, hundred-per-cent Americanism, and kindred pretexts.

Before analyzing the "evidence" offered against these two defendants, let us look briefly at the industrial background of New England.

Aliens Exploited in New England

Foreign-born workers have made New England one of the greatest industrial regions of the world. Without this labor, what would New England industry be? Textile hives in Lawrence, Lowell, Fall River; show factories clustering around Brockton, Lynn and Haverhill; chemical, rubber and canning factories scattered through the Northeast; and the great cordage plant at Plymouth -- all produce commodities for world consumption with the aid of strange-speaking men and women who tend the machinery for a low wage.

This foreign labor was brought to America because it was cheap and easily managed -- at first. But the literacy tests to keep out undesirables was a device which actually assured their coming in; it meant that a considerable percentage of the in-comers would be thinkers, actual or potential, and to those who most wanted the immigrants to settle in New England, the thinking worker was the most undesirable, and the most dangerous to prevailing American institutions. Sacco and Vanzetti were of this type; and one day they found their voices and began to use them.

Lawrence the Turning Point

It was at Lawrence that the first emphatic expression of the new spirit of the foreign-born worker came. That city is the largest woolen-cloth center in the United States. Nine years ago 30,000 workers of 40 nationalities left the mills idle for nine weeks until a 15 per cent wage increase had been wrested from the American Woolen Company and lesser employers.

Gun-men and agents-provocateur failed to crush the new solidarity. Ettor, Giovannitti and Caruso had led the strike. They were framed up for the electric chair, tried in a cage at Salem; but the frame-up failed, largely because of publicity generated through the support of great numbers of outside workers who had been inspired by the courage behind the strike. Sacco and Vanzetti were tireless workers for the defense.

Struggles followed throughout New England which won material betterment and increased self-respect for workers. Strike succeeded strike, fusing racial differences of alien-born people into the beginning of a new brotherhood which knows no bars of race nor color.

The Dreams Comes Closer

Through the long three months' strike of the foundry workers at Hopedale, Sacco was constantly active, organizing meetings and raising money, though he himself was in another industry. No chance to help the labor movement was lost by him nor Vanzetti. They were constant supports of the Italian papers which mirrored the industrial struggle.

Sacco was arrested at Milford in 1916 for a speech at a mass-meeting protesting against the imprisonment of Carlo Tresca for his part in the Masaba range iron-miner's strike. It is not surprising that as soon as Sacco was connected with the present charge a policeman came from Milford to volunteer the information that he was the "red" he had arrested on that occasion.

Sacco as a Shoe-Worker

All these years Sacco worked steadily at the trade of edge-trimming, which he learned shortly after coming to America in 1908. He worked in the shoe factories in and around Brockton, being employed for seven years in one plant at Milford. Sacco was one of the best craftsmen

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