Review Of “Haymarket Revisited”

By Albert Weisbord
(From the magazine “La Parola del Popolo” November/December 1976)

THIS IS A book published by an “Illinois Labor History Society.” It is written from a cripto-Stalisti point of view so that one starts from the impression that this will be an exposition of labor events about the Haymarket Affair of 1886, in Chicago, as, indeed, the “Introduction,” purports to do, but soon William J. Adelman, author, shows that the “Introduction” is only an excuse to eulogize and distort favorably the history of the Stalinists whom he brings into the picture simply because some of them chose to have themselves buried near the monument of the Haymarket Martyrs for cheap and vicarious self glory.

The book is full of blatant fabrications, falsehoods and distortions:

1.—Page 115. “Elizabeth Gurley Flynn …and the women of the community took care of 1000 strikers’ children daily with free sandwiches and milk” (in the Passaic Strike of 1926). Flynn had absolutely nothing to do with the running of the strike with the children of the strikers, or feeding them, but came on invitation only a few times to speak at the mass meetings.

2.—Page 115. “Wagenknecht got the A. F. L. Bakers Union members on their own time to bake free bread for the starving strikers” (again in the Passaic Strike). It was the Paterson Bakers Cooperative that gave the bread on the direct appeal of the United Front Committee of Textile Workers headed by Albert Weisbord.

3.—Page 125. Foster’s real role in the Steel Strike of 1919 is glossed over without mentioning the Interchurch Report that stated Foster’s policies were far more to the right than those of A. F. L. Fitzpatrick or Nockles. Foster, incidentally, had just finished a stint repudiating radical syndicalism and selling Liberty Bonds for the War.

4.—Page 125. Foster’s indictment: The truth is Foster was indicted several times but he was never tried. The government always acquiesced to his “heart trouble” as a reason for continual postponement, though never so considerate to others.

5.—Page 125. Foster and the mine workers: The book says “From 1926 to 1930 Foster worked with the United Mine Workers.” In fact, at that time, his “Save the Union Committee” was fighting the leaders of the miners union.

6.—Page 125. Regarding Jack Johnstone: “… in 1933 he leads a strike of 65,000 workers in New York City.” A clear and patent fabrication. What workers? Only a relatively few people ever heard of Johnstone in New York city.

7.—Page 129. Regarding Jack Stachel: “In 1926 he was active in the New York Garment Workers strike.” What a joke! He was then organization director of the New York District Communist Party under William Weinstone. Trade union work was completely foreign to him at the time, or at least he never expressed the slightest interest except in inner-party factional fighting, for which he was well fitted.

But why go on? So the Stalinists have now captured the graves of the Haymarket Martyrs. Four pages for the graves of the Haymarket victims, three times as many for such Stalinists as Mrs. Lightfoot who had as much to do with Haymarket as my foot! This “Ass. Professor” Adelman must really be a stooge of the Stalinists to write this stuff. To get at the truth is like to clean the Angean stables!

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