Illinois v. August Spies, Albert Parsons, et al. (The Haymarket 8)

Hello again friends and family,

Bucking a recent trend of recent cases, today we head back roughly 140 years to Chicago in the 1880s.  This is another case where a person or group's personal ideology was put on trial instead of the men and their individual actions themselves.  It's a cautionary tale on what our justice system could become if we aren't vigilant in preventing it.  

Chicago during the industrial revolution was a tense time.  The working class was always looking for more from the captains of industry who owned the factories they worked in.  Sometimes, if they felt that the pay or benefits they received was so substandard they couldn't take it anymore, they would go on strike.

This case tells the story of one such strike.  A group of socialist anarchists were asked to come in and give speeches to rally the striking workers.  When they did so, a minor clash ensued between the striking men and the replacement labor the owners had brought in to try to break the strike.  During the skirmish, police opened fire on the strikers, killing several men.  The following day a protest was organized to shed light on the brutality of the Chicago PD.  At the very conclusion of the protest, despite its peaceful nature, the police descended on the men and ordered them to disperse.  At that point, a bomb was thrown at the line of police officers, killing one man.  Chaos and a riot ensued with the police opening fire and many men getting killed.

In response, the police arrested the organizers of the event, despite no evidence they threw the bomb or even advocated for any violence that day.  This is the story of their show trial, and why it's so important to make sure we uphold the rights of people with whom we disagree.


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