Last issue we promised to print more reactions to the May Day centenary celebration of the Haymarket Affair (see FE #323, Summer 1986), but much of what we had intended for publication failed to come together. This is unfortunate since many of the criticisms—of responsibility for the arrests at the Friday march (see report further on), the structure of the workshops, meat at the banquet, and even anarchism itself—made for important reflections on an experience that was significant to many of us.
A number of other people have put together reports, impressions and critiques of the May Days. Eight of the 38 persons arrested on Friday were from Toronto and they have a statement on their perspective available from PSC, Box 5052, Station A, Toronto, Ont., Canada M5W 1W4. It also appears in the just published Daily Barbarian (see News & Reviews) and in a compilation of impressions published by the Chicago ’86 organizers, Box 102, 1200 Fullerton, Chicago IL 60614, which also includes statements by a number of other participants.
A mailing list of those who attended the conference was compiled by Craven Companion and is available “for open distribution among fellow anarchists.” It can be obtained from Denise Unora, 1459 W. Foster, Chicago IL 60640.
Craig Wallace’s Haymarket Remembered project, a collection of photos and articles, promised for the end of August has not yet come our way, but apparently is still in the works. Craig may be reached at Box 12222, Seattle WA 98102, for submissions if it is not too late or for orders.
Haymarket Scrapbook, published by the Charles H. Kerr Co. (which is celebrating its 100th birthday),contains a fascinating historical look at the 1886 incident using both contemporary and historic essays to communicate the importance the state murder of the five anarchists held for the world-wide anti-authoritarian movement. Its graphics are almost worth its price. Available from our bookservice.
Regarding those arrested in Chicago on Friday, May 2, the gentle anarchist newspaper, Box 1313, Lawrence KS 66044, contains this update in their Summer ’86 edition:
“Most of the 38 folks arrested during the anti-capitalism demonstration in downtown Chicago had trials scheduled for June 13.
“Twelve folks showed up for trial, the rest forfeited bail ($50 for most of the men, nothing for most of the women) and had warrants issued for their arrest. Their bond for next time was set at $3,000, so we should probably have the next gathering somewhere other than Illinois. “Charges against one woman were dropped immediately, and after some behind-scenes legal maneuvering, charges against 6 others were dropped and 4 were given 3 months supervision, which is basically like parole except that with supervision you don’t get a conviction on your record if you avoid getting arrested during the supervision period.
“The state had originally offered to drop charges on some people, prosecute some that day, and prosecute the rest at a later date. But after some discussion, four people were found who weren’t planning on being arrested for civil disobedience in the next three months and were willing to take 3 months suspension, and the prosecutor accepted our sacrificial lambs.
“We all owe big hugs to Charles, Gideon, Karry, and MH for taking the rap for everybody and to Edward our tireless volunteer attorney-at-law.”
One post-gathering incident developed around that evil mediation, money, shortly after the conclusion of the events. It appears from a reading of separate and only somewhat conflicting accounts that one individual took it upon himself to disburse a rather large sum of money left over from the contributions to the bail fund collected after the Friday afternoon arrests.
An exchange of charges took place between some of the Haymarket ’86 organizers and the individual, but eventually all of the almost $2,000 was dispersed. After expenses, a large contribution was made to the Big Mountain Support Committee (which was opposed by the Haymarket group since it was not to an anarchist recipient) plus $65 was given to a number of anti-authoritarian projects and publications including this newspaper.
Money, as it always does, created hard feelings which do not seem to have been resolved. If you would like the unhappy details, you can write the Haymarket ’86 organizers (address above) or Dennis Stempler (who took control of the funds), 669 W. Barry, 3S, Chicago I L 60657. By the way, since we donated $25 to the centennial activities last year and received back a profit of $40, we are turning our share over to the Haymarket Remembered Project.
An interesting and informative set of postcards depicting scenes and central persons in the Haymarket incident are available from Kerr Publishing Co., 1740 Greenleaf Ave., Chicago IL 60626. Inquire as to prices.
All said, it was a good and important gathering. Let’s do it again—soon!