Haymarket martyrs

From the July-August 2011 issue of News & Letters:

Haymarket martyrs

Forest Park, Ill.–Over 1,000 people gathered on May Day in Waldheim (Forest Home) Cemetery at the Haymarket Martyrs Monument to witness its rededication on the 125th anniversary of Haymarket. It memorializes eight radicals that capitalist sham justice convicted for the bomb at Haymarket Square in Chicago on May 4, 1886, during a workers’ protest over police shooting strikers.

On Nov. 11, 1887, August Spies, Adolph Fischer, George Engel and Albert Parsons were hanged. They, along with Louis Lingg, killed in his cell the day before the hanging, had to be carried outside of Chicago to Waldheim for burial. Since then, other anarchists and socialists have been buried near their monument, including Emma Goldman and the founder of Marxist-Humanism, Raya Dunayevskaya.

Especially noticeable at the rededication were construction workers, including laborers and painters–the national presidents of the Laborers’ International Union and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades both spoke, along with AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler. These labor bureaucrats and other speakers linked the bloody repression of workers in 1886 to the 2011 attacks on workers’ rights in Wisconsin and across the country.

In 1986 far fewer attended the Centennial celebration, including socialists and anarchists. In 2011 heads of national unions came and praised Haymarket martyrs and said nothing was “too radical” in defending workers’ rights. Would that they acted on those words.Even in Wisconsin, AFSCME bureaucrats accepted all of Gov. Walker’s wage and pension cuts before rank-and-file workers and their supporters took over the streets and the capitol.

–Bob McGuire

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