Friday, January 06, 2006

Sacco And Vanzetti

My son's GCSE History text features the sad tale of Sacco And Vanzetti in its chapters on the USA - I think just after lynch-mobs and just before Hoovervilles.

Under its influence he wrote for his homework that Sacco and Vanzetti were executed 'because they were anarchists and immigrants', in a climate of anti-Bolshevik fear.

As lefty 'education' site Spartacus tells us : "Many observers believed that their conviction resulted from prejudice against them as Italian immigrants and because they held radical political beliefs. The case resulted in anti-US demonstrations in several European countries". Sounds familiar, doesn't it ?

Trouble is, they were guilty.

During his research for "Boston," Sinclair met with Fred Moore, the men's attorney, in a Denver motel room. Moore "sent me into a panic," Sinclair wrote in the typed letter that Hegness found at the auction a decade ago.

"Alone in a hotel room with Fred, I begged him to tell me the full truth," Sinclair wrote. " … He then told me that the men were guilty, and he told me in every detail how he had framed a set of alibis for them."

And famed radical writer Upton Sinclair turned out not only to be a moral and physical (which I can understand) coward :

"My wife is absolutely certain that if I tell what I believe, I will be called a traitor to the movement and may not live to finish the book"

But as money-motivated as any grasping capitalist:

"He also worried that revealing what he had been told would cost him readers. "It is much better copy as a naïve defense of Sacco and Vanzetti because this is what all my foreign readers expect, and they are 90% of my public""

Ho hum.

In 1943, Sinclair won a Pulitzer Prize for "Dragon Teeth," a novel that dealt with Hitler's rise to power. He died in a small town in New Jersey in 1968 at the age of 90, having never publicly disclosed his doubts about the innocence of Sacco and Vanzetti.

Ideale Gambera, whose father was a Boston anarchist in the 1920s, said he could empathize with Sinclair's angst about revealing his doubts.

Gambera, 80, said there was a strict code of silence to protect the group and hide the nature of their activities. He said his father, Giovanni Gambera, a member of the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee, told him before he died in 1982 that Sacco was one of the killers.

"They all lied," said Gambera, a retired English professor living in San Rafael. "They did it for the cause."

First the Rosenbergs, now Sacco and Vanzetti. Liberal martyrs are dropping like ninepins. But they served their purpose.

Hat-tip : Norm

No comments: