The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists

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The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists

August 19th, 2011 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Recent Works:

The Haymarket Conspiracy:
Transatlantic Anarchist Networks

The Haymarket Conspiracy: Transatlantic Anarchist Networks traces the evolution of revolutionary anarchist ideas in Europe and their migration to the United States in the 1880s. A new history of the transatlantic origins of American anarchism, this study thoroughly debunks the dominant narrative through which most historians interpret the Haymarket Bombing and Trial of 1886–87.

Challenging the view that there was no evidence connecting the eight convicted workers to the bomb throwing at the Haymarket rally, Timothy Messer-Kruse examines police investigations and trial proceedings that reveal the hidden transatlantic networks, the violent subculture, and the misunderstood beliefs of Gilded Age anarchists. Messer-Kruse documents how, in the 1880s, radicals on both sides of the Atlantic came to celebrate armed struggle as the one true way forward and began to prepare seriously for conflict. Within this milieu, he suggests the possibility of a “Haymarket conspiracy”: a coordinated plan of attack in which the oft-martyred Haymarket radicals in fact posed a real threat to public order and safety. Drawing on new, never-before published historical evidence, The Haymarket Conspiracy provides a new means of understanding the revolutionary anarchist movement on its own terms rather than in the romantic ways in which its agents have been eulogized.

“Timothy Messer-Kruse convincingly argues that the Haymarket bombing of 1886 was a conspiracy devised by elements of the Chicago anarchist movement. This even-keeled analysis is a welcome addition to the study of anarchism.”–Tom Goyens, author of Beer and Revolution: German Anarchists in New York City, 1880–1914

Timothy Messer-Kruse is professor in the School of Cultural and Critical Studies at Bowling Green State University. His previous books include The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists: Terrorism and Justice in the Gilded Age and The Yankee International: Marxism and the American Reform Tradition, 1848-1876. (University of North Carolina Press, 1998) among others.

Available From Palgrave Macmillan:

The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists rewrites the history of the most iconic event of American labor history, the Haymarket Bombing and Trial of 1886, using thousands of pages of previously unexamined materials.

Contrary to longstanding historical opinion, the trial was not “a travesty of justice” by the standards of criminal procedure of that era. Prosecutors succeeded in rallying a daunting amount of evidence revealing the inner-workings of an anarchist conspiracy to spark an insurrection by attacking police and connected their plans to the bomber through a solid chain of evidence.

Rather than being an example of “judicial murder” the Haymarket trial was a tragic case of judicial suicide as the defense chose to use the trial as a grandstand for anarchism rather than deploy a sound legal defense. Though bumblers in a court of law, the anarchist lawyers proved adept in the court of public opinion and succeeded in influencing the way historians and activists would remember this event for the next 125 years.

Timothy Messer-Kruse, The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists: Terrorism and Justice in the Gilded Age (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)

Paperback ISBN-10: 0230120776 or ISBN-13: 978-0230120778

Hardcover ISBN-10: 0230116604 or ISBN-13: 978-0230116603

Link to order here