To the editor,
This is Derek from Some Chicago Anarchists, responding to your article from a couple of weeks ago about our group and our Haymarket activities [July 3]. We’ve discussed this story at length and have come to a consensus about it. While we were generally pleased with the objective tone of the article, there are a few points we’d like to address. First of all, it was a gross violation of journalistic ethics for Ted Kleine, who interviewed us, to use Fred’s last name in the article, repeatedly; he was specifically asked not to use ANY last names. Contrast this with the article about us in the October 3, 1997, Chicago Tribune, where it was made clear that they were respecting our desire for privacy. Does the Reader have lower journalistic standards than a corporate paper like the Trib?
Secondly, Kleine made a couple of comments we object to. He stated that the Haymarket martyrs were executed for advocating the eight-hour day; this is false–they were killed for advocating the overthrow of the state and the capitalist system that it supports and protects. He also said later in the article that we didn’t expect to stop industrial capitalism anytime soon. We certainly do not subscribe to such a defeatist view. The state is powerful, but not omnipotent, and capitalism is in a downward spiral as it becomes more and more rapacious. Our main goal is education and communication, because we know that a real revolution will have to be a SOCIAL revolution, not a political or military coup, and this means a revolution in people’s values and ideas.
As to the remarks of Leslie Orear of the Illinois Labor History Society, I have only one thing to say: who better to speak for the martyrs, who were all anarchists, than what the article calls “the remnants of Chicago’s anarchist movement”? Finally, Kleine implied in his article that our only ongoing activity is to hold picnics. We also have monthly forums during the winter, and these are always advertised in the Reader.
Some Chicago Anarchists
Ted Kleine replies:
Though I never promised Fred I would leave his last name out of the article, I was aware of his desire to remain anonymous. I apologize.