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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
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  Anarchist History
  Worldwide Movements
  First International
  Paris Commune
  Haymarket Massacre
  Spanish Civil War

The Sacco-Vanzetti Case and the Grim Forces Behind It


He was born in Villa Falletto, and was a prize scholar in the Catholic school there. In those young days he had dreams of entering one of the professions in Italy and rising high. But the dreams were all shattered when his mother died. That was in 1908.

"After she died," he said not long ago in prison, "there was nothing for me to do but come away. I had to put the seas between me and my grief

That first day in America I was in a melancholy mood. I was alone and a stranger, not able to understand and not understood. At the Battery, the officials pay very little attention to the third-class immigrant -- a sad surprise for him who lands confidently on this soil.

"After a long search, I found a townsman. He was a chef in a club at Eighty-sixth street and the Hudson. Three days later he got me a job there as dishwasher and helper. The hours were long. We slept in the attic, where the heat was suffocating, and all night we were kept awake by swarms of insects. Then I decided to sleep in the open -- under the trees.

Nauseating Work in Restaurant

"I left that place and got night-work in a restaurant on Sixth avenue near Twenty-eighth street. Here the "pantry" was horrible. There was no windows from which one could hope for a breath of air. Steam rising from boiling dishwater changed back into large drops when it reached the ceiling and these fell one by one, like the footsteps of fate, upon our heads already wet with sweat.

"During working hours, the heat was terrible. Table refuse, massed in nearby barrels, emitted sickening odors. There was no conduct-pipes to the sinks, and the waste-water would run to a hole in the centre of the room. Almost every night this hole became stopped and the water would wash over the wooden platforms on which we stood.

"We worked twelve hours one night and fourteen the next, seven days a week, and on every second Sunday we had five hours off. The food was very bad -- fit only for the lowest scum of the earth. Our weekly recompense was from five to six dollars. After eight months I left the place for fear I should contract tuberculosis.

"That was a hard year. The poor slept out of doors, and for food fumbled in the waste-barrels for a cabbage leaf or a half-rotten apple. For three months I walked New York its whole length and width in search of work. My countrymen, too, were badly off. I got very discouraged..."

Finally, young Vanzetti got work again. Knowing "pantry work" best, he stuck to that. But none of the jobs lasted long; he did not know then

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