Monday, June 03, 2019

Today -100: June 3, 1919: We will kill, because it is necessary


8 bombs explode in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and D.C., at the homes of Cleveland Mayor Harry Davis (presumably for his actions during the May Day riots), Massachusetts Justice Albert Hayden, who sentenced rioters, Mass. State Rep. Leland Powers, NY judge Charles Cooper Nott, Jr. (who never had Reds in his court, but may have been mistaken for judge John Knox), Bureau of Immigration Chief Inspector W.W. Sibray, an official of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, VPs of two coal companies and a train dispatcher, and Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer. The bombs were pretty big, but all the intended targets escaped death (some were not in their homes, some were sleeping upstairs). There are two deaths, at the Knott and Palmer bombings, believed at this time to be the bomb-planters. One was actually a night watchman investigating the mysterious package, but the other was indeed a bomber, Carlo Valdinoci. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt walked by the Palmer home (they live across the street) 3 minutes before the explosion. Their windows are blown in and some (unidentified) body part of Signor Valdinoci lands on their doorstep. Another body part goes through a window (whether open or closed is not clear) of the Norwegian ambassador, landing near a baby, like a Keystone comedy on acid. Sen. Claude Swanson also finds a bit of Valdinoci in front of his house. The police will have to jigsaw-puzzle the parts together to see if they’ve got one body or two.

Police suspect, correctly, that the perpetrators are the same people responsible for the spate of letter-bombs in April, which were also pretty ineffective at killing their intended targets, which also included the attorney general.

The bombers are in fact followers of Italian anarchist Luigi Galleani (Galleanists), who do this sort of thing. Flyers are planted at each bomb target:
The powers that be make no secret of their will to stop here in America the worldwide spread of revolution. The powers that be must reckon that they will have to accept the fight they have provoked. ... Do not say we are acting cowardly because we keep in hiding; do not say it is abominable; it is war, class war, and you were the first to wage it under the cover of the powerful institutions you call order, in the darkness of your laws, behind the guns of your bone-headed slaves. ... There will have to be bloodshed; we will not dodge; there will have to be murder: we will kill, because it is necessary; there will have to be destruction; we will destroy to rid the world of your tyrannical institutions.
They’re signed The Anarchist Fighters. Galleani is actually already in federal custody awaiting deportation, but the Justice Dept won’t figure out his relation to the bombings before he goes. They’re convinced that Bolsheviks are behind it rather than, I guess, anarchist fighters. Probably why they’ll never catch anyone for these bombings.

Strikes break out against the declaration of the Palatinate Republic. The independence statements say that the republic will be pacific, unlike those fucking Prussians.


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