He does a very good job of describing to that audience the world in which Sacco and Vanzetti built their dreams, lived their lives, and eventually died by the authority of the state they so detested. N unzio Pernicone, who teaches at Drexel University, is a student of Italian and Italian-American anarchism, and is an authority on that embodiment of earlyth-century immigrant radicalism, Carlo Tresca.
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In Part I of the program, Pernicone, interviewed by New York radio talk show host Leonard Lopate, discusses the pre-migration backgrounds of Sacco and Vanzetti, and the anarchist movement in both Italy and the United States. Both Sacco and Vanzetti came from moderately prosperous peasant families.
Consequently, Pernicone informs us, their primary motivations for emigrating were other than economic. Both men arrived in the United States in N either Sacco nor Vanzetti had been an anarchist in Italy: it was the exploitation of working-class life in the United States that convinced both men that the present system must be destroyed. Yet, according to Pernicone, it was not primarily their individual economic hardships that drove Sacco and Vanzetti to anarchism, but rather their concern for others, their shared sense that all the working poor were being oppressed.
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Moreover, like most of their comrades within the immigrant anarchist community, Sacco and Vanzetti believed that human beings were naturally socialist: it was the institution of private property and its absolute protection by a powerful state that had corrupted human society. Thus the only way to redeem humankind was to abolish private property, at least in its socially-significant forms, and destroy the state.
This was not a task for dreamers. To destroy such an structure would take sacrifice and would require violence. Revolutionary violence, to Sacco and Vanzetti, was a wholly acceptable response to the institutionalized violence which was the foundation of the modern state.
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- Project MUSE - Teaching the Letters of Sacco and Vanzetti In and Against the American Grain;
Sacco, who was a relatively prosperous worker, wrote to his daughter Ines, just weeks before his execution, that he felt his life had been blessed by the affection of his daughter, son, and wife. Joe Grifasi reads Sacco's letter to daughter Ines. P ernicone, further explaining the allure of anarchism to Sacco and Vanzetti, spends about 10 minutes discussing the European roots of the movement, the distinctions between anarchists and communists, and the significance of Luigi Galleani, both to immigrant radicalism in the US, and to the eventual fate of Sacco and Vanzetti.
He explains that classic anarchists like Kropotkin were strongest in their critique of existing social relations rather than in advancing plans for a reconstructed society. In fact, the mere making of a plan, according to purists, would constitute an authoritarian mode. Anarchists, hostile to the communist version of revolution as being authoritarian, touted instead the concept of "mutual aid," a model under which all people would cooperate voluntarily to do what was necessary.
Sacco and Vanzetti - New World Encyclopedia
Asked by his interviewer how such idealism soon degenerated into terrorism against the innocent, Pernicone responds that, first of all, to the anarchists, few of their targeted victims were "innocent"; second, terrorism was a result of the decline of the movement after , and of the inability of anarchists to precipitate collective revolt. L uigi Galleani, the vitriolic anarchist agitator and publisher, strongly affected immigrant Italian radicalism, especially in several New England states.
According to Pernicone, one reason Italian leftists were particularly targeted during the post-World War I Red Scare was because of the high profile of Galleani, whose Cronaca Sovversiva was identified as the most seditious newspaper in America. His assertion that the April bombing campaign may have been a response to the deportation of Galleani is quite plausible, given the timing of the two events. The bombings of A. Polenberg, whose comments are occasionally augmented by those of narrator Joanne Allen, describes the events of both the Bridgewater attempted robbery and the South Braintree robbery and murders concisely.
Phil Stong was responding to such a plea. It is notable that when younger writers wrote to Sinclair they often tried to impress him with their prose. As a writer, he clearly had talent to burn. Phil Stong had visited Sacco and Vanzetti during a strange Indian summer of their imprisonment. Having been, after years of appeals, finally sentenced to death, they were allowed such luxuries as an hour a day playing bocce in the yard.
Bartolomeo Vanzetti's Last Statement (21 August 1927)
During most of their imprisonment, the men had been in separate jails. For these few months, they were together in Dedham, a gaol made to sound rather picturesque by visiting writers.
During the interview, both the reporter and the two men were far too polite to mention the electric chair. The thought was ever-present nonetheless. I might have died, unmarked, unknown, a failure. I remember this distinctly. This is our career and our triomph. This is approximate and you may take liberties with it. The taking of our lives — lives of a good shoemaker and a poor fishpeddler — all! Read more about the program here. Avrich, Paul. Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background.
The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti
Princeton, N. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory n. Publisher: Penguin Classics , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title In May , two Italian immigrants were arrested in Massachusetts and charged with the murder of two guards during a payroll robbery. Synopsis : On August 23, , Sacco and Vanzetti were executed in Boston's Charlestown State Prison for the holdup murder they allegedly committed seven years before.
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