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On May 4th. the Chicago anarchists called for a rally at Haymarket Square. August Spies arrived late to find a small number of workers milling around. He looked for Albert Parsons, an important co-worker in the anarchist movement, but failing in finding him Spies climbed upon a wagon to use as a speakers rostrum and called the meeting to order. His speech was pretty moderate placing all the blame for the destruction and violence on uncompromising factory owners, the bullying of the police, and the exaggerations of the press. Parsons finally arrived and spoke for about an hour blaming the police and the Pinkertons for the worker's woes. Then Fielden, another local anarchist leader, spoke and in the midst of his oration a rain storm passed through causing the 1200 person crowd to dwindle to 400. Just as Fielden was closing his remarks a body of 180 officers--headed by John Bonfield--arrived and demanded the meeting be closed. Fielden, Spies and Parsons started to come off the podium saying that "We are peaceable." Then a bomb struck killing one officer outright and six others died from wounds later. Fifty percent of the officers stationed at DesPlaines were wounded. A general melee ensued in which many workers were slain or wounded. The country, fanned by the press, was thrown into hysteria. No one could possibly be treated fairly by the criminal justice system.

source: http://www.its.ilstu.edu/cjhistory/hatmark.htm

On May 3, 1886, violence erupted at the McCormick Reaper Works during an assembly of strikers. That evening a small group of anarchists met to plan a rally the next day in response to the McCormick incident.

The rally began about 8:30 p.m. May 4 at the Haymarket, a site on Randolph between Halsted and Des Plaines Street, but due to low attendance it was moved a half block away to Des Plaines Street north of Randolph Street. After 10 p.m., as the rally drew to a close, 176 policemen led by Inspector John Bonfield moved in demanding immediate dispersal of the remaining 200 workers. Suddenly a bomb exploded. In the chaos that followed shots were fired by police and perhaps by workers. One police officer was killed by the bomb, six officers died later and sixty others were injured. No official count was made of civilian deaths or injuries probably because friends and/or relatives carried them off immediately. Medical evidence later showed that most of the injuries suffered by the police were caused by their own bullets.


Two Chicago area monuments were erected to commemorate the Haymarket Riot. One stands in German Waldheim Cemetery (Forest Park, IL). It depicts Justice preparing to draw a sword while placing a laurel wreath on the brow of a fallen worker. At the base of the monument are the final words August Spies spoke before his execution: "The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling today." The monument was dedicated on June 25, 1893, before a crowd of 8,000.

That's the GOOD monument.

"In the name of the people I command peace" reads the inscription below the police officer depicted on the second monument. Since its dedication in 1889 peace has been somewhat elusive.

The monument was originally situated in the middle of Haymarket Square, where street car lines were forced to swerve around it. On May 24, 1890 an attempt was made to blow it up. In 1900 the monument was regarded as a traffic hazard and moved to Union Park at Randolph and Ogden Ave. On May 4, 1903 the city seal and state crest were stolen from its base. A disgruntled streetcar driver ran his vehicle into it, knocking it off its base on May 4, 1927, claiming he was tired of seeing it.


On May 4, 1928, after repairs were completed, it was moved further into Union Park. The statue was again moved on May 4, 1958 and placed at Randolph St. at the Kennedy Expressway, 200 feet from its original location. The Chicago City Council granted the monument landmark status on May 4, 1965. In October, 1969 a dynamite bomb exploded at the feet of the figure damaging it from the calves down.

That statue sure does blow up a lot.

In November black printers ink was tossed on it, doing further damage. Another bomb was exploded there in October 1970. After each incident the monument was restored, but after the 1970 incident Mayor Richard J. Daley placed a round-the-clock police guard at the site.

SENSIBLE USE OF SCARCE POLICE RESOURCES! Maybe that's where they got the idea for Principal Skinner guarding the Puma.

When this proved too costly, the statue was moved to Police Headquarters at 11th and State Street in 1972. In October, 1976 the monument was again moved. It was rededicated at the Police Academy and can only be seen by making arrangements in advance.

That's the BAD monument. I wonder what's so bad about it? Can somebody in Chicago go and "Make arrangements in advance and have a look at it?" I bet I'd like to see a picture of it.
One thing that the above writeups didn't seem to make super clear was exactly WHY the people were rallying at the square.

Let's start with some numbers. In 1890, the year that the government first tracked worker's hours, the average workweek for full-time manufacturing employees was 100 hours and 102 hours for building tradesmen. That's a lotta hours, and American's weren't too happy about it. Almost 50 years earlier there was a push for standardized 10 hour a day work weeks, which failed. But by the 1880's, there was a call for even shorter work days, with the slogan:

"Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest and eight hours for what you will."

Much organization was necessary to get this movement going, and by 1886 the Knights of Labor had over 700,000 members. Gradually interest for a national strike grew, with May 1, 1886 chosen as the day for the strike.

The heart of the movement was in Chicago where thousands of people had already won reduced hour a day work weeks. Nearly 10,000 people participated in the Chicago strikes on May 1st in a peaceful action. However, on May 3rd, the cops were not finding it amusing anymore, and tensions rose. At one demonstration on May 3rd, unionists attacked several men who crossed the picket line. The police responded by opening fire, killing four demonstrators. That night, over 1,000 people took to the streets in outrage and protest at the killings.

At one of these rallies, the Haymarket Square rally, a dynamite bomb exploded nearby police ranks just as the last speaker concluded his speech. The explosion killed one officer and prompted the remaining police force to open fire on the crowd. One demonstrator died, and many others were injured or wounded. Eight people were arrested and tried for the explosion in an atmosphere of hysteria. Four were hanged, even though there was virtually no evidence linking them to the bombing.

So yes, ladies and germs, it really sucks when we have to work 60 or 70 hours a week. But every week I do, I thank myself for the other benefits I enjoy and for the knowledge that if I didn't want to work that much, I could always find a job that let me work 8 hours a day per week (even if it IS at McDonald's)

Most facts from: http://www.pbs.org/livelyhood/workday/weekend/8hourday.html and Jeremy Brecher, author of Strike!
Thanks to panamaus for pointing out that Americans aren't greedy enough to have asked for 10 or 8 hour workweeks, but 8 (or 10) hour a DAY workweeks.

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