Archive for the Anarchists Category

Louis Lingg, The Hottest Anarchist Ever

Posted in 19th cent., Anarchists, Louis Lingg, Recquiscat in Pace, Walter Crane on September 15, 2010 by babylonbaroque

It’s pretty sad when you have a crush on a man who has been dead for 123 years, not to mention that he is/was an Anarchist, and you a dilettantish Monarchist.

Look at this  photograph and all will be explained. Click on image to enlarge.

Louis Lingg

b. Sept. 9th 1864

Mannheim Germany

d. Nov. 10th 1887

Cook County Jail



The youngest of those arrested in the aftermath of the  bloody, event known as the Haymarket Riot .

On May 3rd 1886, Chicago police violently interrupted an altercation between striking workers at the McCormick Reaper plant and strike-breakers. The police fired, killing and wounding several men.

Tensions were high within the Labor movement, May 1st 1886 ( May Day) had just witnessed a national demonstration advocating an 8 hour work day.

The violence at the Mc Cormick plant prompted a rally the next day, to be held in Haymarket Square, the purpose of the rally was to denounce  the police brutality and once again push for a reasonable work day. Multiple trade unions were present. This handsome banner  (of the era) for the Painters-Decorators Union of course charmed the hell out of me.

Brotherhood of Painters and Decorators, Local 194

ca. 1890

painted silk, metallic fringe

70 ½ by 47½ inches

Chicago Historical Society

In what was to be a day of peaceful Labor demonstration, full of fraternité and inspirational speechmaking , turned  quite bloody. An unidentified figure thew a bomb into the crowd of gathered police. Shots were fired, certainly by the police, some sources say from within the crowd. Whatever truly happened within the chaos remains a mystery, but at days end 7 police officers and  4 workers were found dead, plus 60 wounded. A bloody awful day.

Public reaction was of course over-reaction, a Red Scare ensued.

Desperate to find a culprit, eight prominent Chicago Anarchists were arrested, charged, and sentenced with “conspiracy to murder”

They were all but one, sentenced to be “hanged by the neck until he is dead”.

This is astonishing as most of the men accused were not even in attendance. The “logic” of the sentencing was that their political writings, which were quite radical, incited the violence. Was Freedom of Speech an unknown concept in ’86?

Of the eight accused, Judge Jos. E Gary spared Oscar Neebe  death, but sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment.

The others were not to  be spared the noose.

On Nov. 10th 1887, a day before he is to climb the scaffold, Louis Lingg places a blasting cap in his mouth, lights it, and blows off his lower jaw, and much of his (beautiful) face. This at the hour of 9 o’clock in the forenoon, he finally after many hours of agony, dies at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

A contemporary image illustrating the ugly event.

Another image, a less “noble ” Lingg committing the act on his cell cot.

Recquiscat in Pace Louis Lingg

Nov. 11th 1887, Albert Parsons, August Spies, George Engels, and Adolph Fischer are hanged.

Albert Parsons

August Spies

George Engel

Adolph Fischer

The only cemetery  willing to take the five bodies  was the German Waldheim cemetery.

Six years later, on June 25th 1893, a monument was dedicated to the Haymarket  Martyrs as they were beginning to be called.

Haymarket Martyr’s Monument

Liberty placing a laurel wreath upon a Fallen Worker.

designed by Albert Weinert

German Waldheim Cemetary

Relying upon this wonderful image by the great Walter Crane , public perception concerning this outrage of justice, must have been shifting, at least within progressive circles.

The Anarchists of Chicago

by Walter Crane

Ultimately the Reform movement and the struggles endured, received positive results. The National Eight Hour Law was passed and signed by President Ulysses S. Grant on May 19th 1869. I am perplexed by this as the Eight Hour Workday was still an issue at the time of the Haymarket Riot. The 1869 proclamation reads: “I, U.S. grant, President of the United States, do hereby direct that from this date no reduction shall be made in the wages paid by the government by the day, to such laborers, workers, & mechanics on account of such reduction of the hours of labor. In testimony whereof &c, done at the City of Washington, this 19th Day of May, the year of our Lord, 1869 & of the Independence of the United States”.

From my reading the issue of Eight Work Day would have been mute, but I guess not. I am certainly not a legal scholar.

Finally, in 1938 The Fair Labor Standard Act made eight hours a legal days work in the U.S.

In 1893, at the expense of his political career, Gov. John Peter Altgeld pardoned the remaining accused, Folden, Schwab, and Neebe.

This cartoon dated July 15th 1893 expresses some of the outrage at the Governor’s decision. The Monument in the background is a monument honoring the fallen police officers. Click on the image for greater detail, check out the dog collars.

“The Friend of Mad Dogs. Gov. Altgeld of illinois in freeing the Anarchists bitterly denounced Judge Gary and the Jury that convicted them.”

by Judge Publishing Company

Not all sentiment was against Altgeld, this commemorative plaque attests to enough support for the decision to warrant his quote to be cast in bronze. I particularly admire the severed chains.

If interested in further information concerning the Haymarket Riot, I suggest you visit the Chicago Historical Society Collection .

Have a great eight hour work day, and remember to thank the handsome Mr. Lingg and his seven comrades.

In closingI feel compelled to include the ONLY Dolly ditty that I truly cannot stand, but it IS thematic.