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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


that this constant hiring and firing was a mean game in which chefs and employment agencies collaborated, going fifty-fifty on the fees. Many a night he slept in doorways, lining his clothes with newspapers to lessen the cold.

Vanzetti Grows Sick and Afraid

His vitality suffered a steady downpull. In the hotels and restaurants where he worked he was compelled to eat leavings and come-backs. Every element of the situation caused him to rebel inwardly; made him feel that he was regarded not as an upstanding man, but as a slave, as a thing of the gutter. There is poison in such feeling. He loved life and he hated it -- and he grew weak and shaky until he became afraid he would fall down in the street and never get up again.

One day he got out of New York. He felt that he was escaping something. The city had drained him, tortured him, given him nothing. Work in Connecticut pulled him away; some men from his home were there; the work was in a stone quarry, and it was hard, but it was out of doors and better than the dish-water world in New York.

Subsequently he labored as second-hand in Massachusetts; did railroad construction; had a hand in building an aqueduct; ladled molten metal in an iron foundry; helped in various construction jobs in and around Plymouth; was man-of-all-work on a rich man's estate there; and finally, car-loader at the cordage factory.

Sacco Watched in Jail

Sacco is but 27. He is in the vast gray jail at Dedham, where he wishes they would let him work, but they will not. So he reads much -- books by D'Annunzio, Barbusse, Voynich, and works on astronomy and other sciences. And in South Stoughton his young wife nurses a baby born since Nicola went to jail, and ends their eight-year-old boy Dante to school.

They keep Sacco locked in his cell, mostly, with little exercise. They will let him shave but once a week, and on the seventh unshaven day people are brought in to try to identify him for crimes. Jail discipline requires that Sacco attend chapel each Sunday. During this compulsory church service, the authorities bring their witnesses in to scrutinize the face of Sacco so they may be able to identify him later.

And lately another man was put in the next cell; a mean who sought to make friends with Sacco, but who over-reached himself. He was put in there without authority of law, but with the indorsement and assistance, it is authoritatively said, of representatives of the Department of Justice. Records at Dedham jail show his name as Dominick Carbonari, and he was booked as having been committed from Brookline police court for robbery. But the Brookline police court books show no such commitment.

The stool-pigeon was allowed to walk freely from outside the cell. Engaging Sacco in conversation through the bars, he tried to steer the talk into a discussion of radicalism.

"I did some good robbery jobs, but they won't get me," he boasted to Sacco. "I'm too smart for them. I don't leave no evidence behind. I am an anarchist. Have you got some anarchist books in your cell? I would like to read. Do you know where I could get some dynamite when I leave this goddam jail? I want to blow up some people."

What hurts Sacco most is that he is to be tried not for an idea -- not for the Big Idea for which he has labored for years, the right of the producer to a full share of what he produces -- but for "a dirty gun-man job."

In the Spring of 1921, both Sacco and Vanzetti must go to trial at Dedham courthouse charged with high-

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