Greetings! I ran across an article in the January 16 issue of the Reader [Culture Club, by Jeff Huebner].

It was about how folks have gotten together to get some “good pork” Illinois FIRST money to commission a sculptor to fabricate a monument commemorating the Haymarket affair.

As a seriously active grassroots organizer and Chicagoland anarchist, I am quite naturally interested in this project. Don Turner says, “I think the key issue was removing the focus from anarchists and making it a First Amendment issue.” Nathan Mason says, “Everyone’s voice would be listened to” but didn’t even attempt to include actual modern-day anarchists in this process! He said, “Who would they choose to represent themselves?” Why not ask local anarchists!?

This is amazing, for not only are these people trying to whitewash Chicago history (by turning the state murdering of innocent anarchists into a “free speech” issue), but they aren’t even attempting to include people who should be involved in this! The analogy I came up with is this. Would they exclude (and attempt to mock) Christians if they were to do something similar at Calvary???

I would be glad to be included as a “spokesman” for the arguments of the anarchist position. I believe I have an extensive background as an organizer, writer, editor, thinker, and speaker. I cofounded several grassroots groups and run an extensive political distro. I am interested in getting the anarchist intellectual arguments brought to the light of day, especially as this is a subject most near and dear to us. For the same conditions that brought these brave martyrs to the forefront of a powerful anarchist movement in Chicago–wage slavery, destitution, repression, etc–still exist today and in fact have been globalized. The stirring oratory delivered from the gallows in 1887, which electrifies countless millions to this day, is more valid than ever, no matter how hard people try to sweep the real issues under the rug and try to exclude those most deserving of being involved. It’s like homogenizing Malcolm X!

Anthony Rayson


PS: An anarchist-organized prison-abolition conference is going to take place in Chicago, August 13-15, 2004, at UIC. Check it out!