Being a Review of The Celebrated Ettor-Giovannitti-Caruso Case, Beginning with the Lawrence Textile Strike that caused it and including the general strike that grew out of it.
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To the Solidarity of Labor, that freed Ettor, Giovannitti and Caruso; especially to the New England Textile Workers who made the Lawrence Strike memorable and the city historical, this book is dedicated with pride in their epoch-making achievements.
The Ettor-Giovannitti-Caruso trial at Salem, Mass., was not a trial of three men for murder. Nor was it merely the result of a conflict between capital and labor.
It was the trial of a new society that is growing out of the old society now prevailing.
Many are the proofs of this fact. The most striking is the able address of District Attorney Henry C. Atwill. He appealed to the jury to choke in its inception the new society as represented in the organization of which the three defendants are members. To hear Atwill, one was convinced that it was not Annie Lo Pizzo the three defendants were accused of having conspired to kill, but modern civilization, as represented by the good old commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Other proofs as to the real nature of the trial were the remarkable series of events which attended it. It was felt and dimly recognized that the trial marked a new period in American history, and that it accordingly had to be decided by new means. The general strike was urged to this end. This advocacy created in the labor world a division of sentiment reflecting the new conditions. Some workingmen would rely on the courts, and regard the trial from a legal standpoint, despite their knowledge of the control of courts by the capitalist class. Both sentiments were felt to the very end, with the general strike as the greater power.
This same condition of affairs was reflected among the able lawyers employed by the defense. Some favored a strictly technical murder trial; others were for making it a social issue. The judge tried to restrict the trial to the former limits.
He favored the legal fiction that a simple murder had been committed, for which personal responsibility must be fixed; that was the sole and only issue, in his learned estimation.
But the development of the trial made it a social issue. The able addresses to the jury of Atwill, Ettor and Giovannitti were but the fitting climax to a series of events that made plain that, not murderers, but idealists, were on trial, and that with them rose or fell a new conception of society.
The verdict of not guilty rendered by the jury is a verdict of which they may well be proud. It is a verdict that makes progress possible without a sacrifice of the fundamental rights of free speech, free assemblage and free organization. It is a verdict in keeping with the best spirit of the times.
It would indeed be monstrous to think that twelve men could be found to repeat history at Salem. We no longer live in an age of witchcraft and persecution. We live in an age of discontent and progressof invention and combination. Capital and men are massed together in producing wealth primarily for the profit of private capitalists. The many toil for a few, instead of for themselves. They are beginning to revolt. They aim to toil for themselves and themselves alone. They believe that the labor problem can only be solved by the laborers themselves. They are accordingly organizing as they are employed, within industry, for the purpose of making industry their own. They propose to evolve an industrial democracy out of industry; where now capitalist despotism and financial autocracy rule. In this they are in accord with industrial development in this country, and advanced countries everywhere.
This industrial democracy was on trial at Salem. Its influence is felt throughout the modern world. It was felt in the courtroom, and helped to rid the historic city of a reputation for persecution that is no longer deserved. Salem, once synonymous with black arts and foul reaction, now stands vindicatedabreast of the trend toward democratic industrialism.
All this will be made clearer in this book on the Ettor-Giovannitti-Caruso trial, its leading events and origin.
The author herewith expresses his thanks to Geo. E. Roewer, Jr., Leon Mucci, Gilbert Smith, Archie Adamson, Wm. Yates and others for assistance in gathering the data used in this work. He only hopes that he has proven competent to properly present the material so faithfully collected by them.
Text transcribed by J. D. Crutchfield from scanned images on the Harvard University Library web site, with grateful acknowledgment. Images scanned and retouched by J. D. C. Many typographical errors silently corrected. Some idiosyncratic spellings left unchanged for the hell of it.
Last updated 19 February 2005.