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Luigi Galleani

Luigi Galleani

Luigi Galleani (1861 â November 4, 1931) was a 20th-century Italian anarchist who was politically active in the United States from 1901 to 1919, when he was deported. He was known for advocating violence against institutions, including assassination of 'tyrants' and 'enemies of the people'.[1][2] In the United States, his followers, known as Galleanists, carried out a series of bombings and assassination attempts from 1914 to 1932. The group was also believed to have been involved in the Wall Street bombing of 1920, in which 38 died. Galleani is today viewed as an anarchist communist and an insurrectionary anarchist.

Contents

[edit] Early life and career

Born in Vercelli in the Piedmont region, to middle-class parents, Galleani became an anarchist before the age of 20, while studying law at the University of Turin in northern Italy. Leaving college before completing his degree, he had already begun a strong advocacy of anarchism and anarchist ideals. Wanted by police in Turin, he fled to France in 1880.

Galleani remained in France for nearly 20 years. He spent some time in Switzerland, where he was allied with the anarchist and geographer, Élisée Reclus. In addition to assisting him with his masterwork, La Nouvelle Geographie, Galleani worked with Reclus to organize a demonstration of students at the University of Geneva in 1887 in honor of the Haymarket martyrs of Chicago, who were killed in labor unrest. For this he was arrested and later expelled from Switzerland. Moving to France, he was expelled from that country few years later.

He returned to Italy, where within a few years, he was arrested and convicted of conspiracy, and sentenced to five years in prsion. Beginning in 1894, when he was 31 years old, he spent more than five years in prison and internal exile (domicilio coatto), mostly on the island of Pantelleria off the coast of Sicily.[3] On Pantelleria he met and married his wife Maria, who already had a son, Salvatore.[4] Luigi and Maria Galleani eventually had four children of their own.[5] Emma Goldman's later recollection that she met Galleani in Barre, Vermont in 1899 is incorrect, as Galleani did not reach the United States until 1901.[6] Escaping from Pantelleria in 1900, Galleani fled to Egypt.

In Egypt, there was a large Italian expatriate community, and Galleani stayed with fellow anarchists for several months. Notified by the Egyptian authorities that extradition proceedings would soon commence for his return to Italy, Galleani abruptly left Egypt and took passage via ship to London, England. At the age of 40, Galleani immigrated to the United States, arriving in 1901.

[edit] Career in the United States

Soon after arriving in the United States, Galleani attracted attention in radical anarchist circles as a charismatic orator who believed that violence was necessary to overthrow the capitalists who oppressed the working man. Settling in Paterson, New Jersey, Galleani became the editor of La Questione Sociale, the leading Italian anarchist periodical in the United States at the time. He took undisguised pride in describing himself as a subversive, a revolutionary propagandist dedicated to subverting established government and institutions by disseminating a political philosophy based on direct action, i.e. violence.[7] By all accounts, Galleani was an extremely effective speaker and advocate of his policy of revolutionary violence. Carlo Buda, brother of Galleanist bombmaker Mario Buda, said of him, "You heard Galleani speak, and you were ready to shoot the first policeman you saw".[8]

In 1902, silk workers at a factory in Paterson went on strike, and Galleani threw his oratorical talents in with the strikers, urging workers to declare a general strike and overthrow U.S. capitalist society. When police opened fire on the strikers, Galleani was wounded in the face and was later indicted for inciting a riot. He fled to Canada, only to be apprehended by the authorities there, who promptly expelled him, escorting him just across the border.

Galleani was attracted to the Italian community Barre, Vermont, where immigrants had found work as stonemasons in the area quarries. These laborers formed the bulk of the socialist and anarchist community in Barre. Galleani held forth at local anarchist meetings, assailed 'timid' socialists, gave fire-breathing speeches, and continued to write essays and polemical treatises. He soon became known as a proponent of "propaganda by the deed", and was the founder and editor of the newsletter, Cronaca Sovversiva (Subversive Chronicle), which he published and mailed from offices in Barre.[9]> Galleani published the anarchist newsletter for 15 years before the United States government closed it down under the Sedition Act of 1918.

Each issue of Subversive Chronicle usually had no more than eight pages. At one point the newsletter claimed 5,000 subscribers. It offered perspectives on a variety of radical topics, including arguments against the existence of God, for free love, and against historical and contemporary state tyranny, as well as overly passive Socialists. It frequently published a list of addresses and personal details of businessmen, 'capitalist spies', strikebreakers, and assorted "enemies of the people". Several books that bear Galleani's name, such as La Fine dell'anarchismo? (The End of Anarchism?) (1907) are actually derived from or are excerpts from prior essays in Subversive Chronicle.

In the pages of the Subversive Chronicle, Galleani expounded on his theory of direct action and propaganda by the deed. He applauded the actions of Gaetano Bresci, another disciple of direct action who left the United States for Italy solely to assassinate King Umberto. His posthumously-published work Aneliti e Singulti: Medaglioni ("Sighs and Sobs: Portraits"), was collected from his essays in the Subversive Chronicle, which celebrated the lives of several bombers and assassins as heroes of anarchism.

One of the most interesting inclusions in Subversive Chronicle was a small advertisement in later issues that hawked a booklet innocuously titled La Salute è in voi! (Health is in You!) for the sum of 25 cents, and described as a must-have for any proletarian family.[10] The foreword to the booklet, first published in 1905, clearly indicated its intent: to remedy the 'error' of advocating violence without giving subversives the physical means with which to destroy government officials and institutions.[11] In fact, Health Is In You! was actually a explicit bomb-making manual, in which Galleani supplied to his readers the chemical formula for making nitroglycerine compiled by a friend and explosives expert, Professor Ettore Molinari.[12] Galleani's handbook was characterized as accurate and practical by the New York City Bomb Squad, though an error Galleani made in transcribing Molinari's explosive formula for nitroglycerine resulted in one or more premature explosions when the bomb-makers failed to notice the mistake (Galleani thoughtfully provided a warning and corrected text to his readers in a 1908 issue of Subversive Chronicle).[13]

[edit] Revolutionary activities

Galleani became increasingly defiant and attracted a group of radical friends and followers. The "Galleanists" were known to include Frank Abarno, Gabriella Segata Antolini, Pietro Angelo, Luigi Bacchetti, Mario Buda aka 'Mike Boda', Carmine Carbone, Andrea Ciofalo, Ferrucio Coacci, Emilio Coda, Alfredo Conti, Nestor Dondoglio aka Jean Crones, Roberto Elia, Luigi Falsini, Frank Mandese, Riccardo Orciani, Nicola Recchi, Giuseppe Sberna, Andrea Salsedo, Raffaele Schiavina, Carlo Valdinoci, and, most notably, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti.

Galleani and his group promoted radical anarchism, by speeches, newsletters, labor agitation, political protests, and secret meetings, and above all, direct action. As time went on, many of Galleani's followers resorted to bombs and other violent means to get their message across, a practice that Galleani actively encouraged, but in which he apparently never actually participated, save for his authorship of his bomb-making manual, La Salute è in voi!.

Historians believe that Galleani's followers began their bombing attacks in 1914, the same year that Galleani published his book Faccia a Faccia col Nemico ("Face to Face with the Enemy"), in which he extolled anarchist assassins as martyrs and revolutionary heroes.[14] Galleanists were involved in at least two bombings in New York after police forcibly dispersed a protest at John D. Rockefeller's home in Tarrytown, New York. Over the next several months, bombings took place at a variety of institutional sites in New York City, including police stations, churches, and courthouses. On November 14, 1914, a bomb was placed in the Tombs police court, under the chair of Magistrate Campbell, who had sentenced an anarchist for inciting to riot. In January 1915, police uncovered a plot to blow up St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York; the plot was linked to the Galleanists when a copy of the bomb manual, La Salute è in voi!, was found at a suspect's house.

One Chicago-based Galleanist, Nestor Dondoglio, a chef going by the assumed name of Jean Crones, poisoned some 100 distinguished guests of industry, business, finance, and law at a banquet in 1916 to honor Archbishop Mundelein by lacing their soup with arsenic.[15] None of the guests died, as a hastily-prepared emetic supplied by a doctor[16] at the scene allowed the victims to vomit the poison out of their systems, though many suffered considerable agony.[17][18] Dondoglio's rooms were searched, turning up many phials of poison, but the poisoner himself was never apprehended. After leaving a series of taunts for police[19] Dondoglio fled for the East Coast, where he lived in abject poverty, hidden in the homes of other Galleanists until his death in 1932.[20]

On December 6, 1916, the Galleanist Alfonso Fagotti was arrested for stabbing a policeman during a riot in Boston's North Square. The next day Galleanists exploded a bomb at the Salutation Street station of the Boston harbor police. Fagotti was convicted and imprisoned, and later deported to Italy.[21]

Some historians have also suspected Galleanist participation in the 1916 Preparedness Day bombing in San Francisco. Though no known followers were indicted for the attack, the construction of the time bomb (a suitcase packed with a clockwork timer, blasting caps, dynamite, and cast-iron sash weights to increase casualties) had become a component of Galleanist bomb attacks, in particular the work of Mario Buda.

With the increase in tensions in Europe and establishment of the military draft in the United States, Galleani urged followers in 1917 to go to Mexico. There they could await the coming of the Revolution and escape draft registration. Most bombings in the US ceased for a time. In late 1917, disillusioned by living conditions in Mexico, many of the Galleanists returned to the U.S. and resumed their activities.

Buda is thought to have constructed[22][23][24] a large black powder bomb[25] with an acid "delay" detonator[26] that exploded on November 24, 1917 at a Milwaukee police station. Patrolmen had taken it there after its discovery in a church basement.[22][23][27][28] The blast killed nine policemen and a female civilian, the worst incident of terrorist violence in the United States up to that time. The bomb appeared to have been directed at Reverend August Giuliana, who had recently led a street revival meeting opposed by local anarchists.[29]

Scattered incidents of bombings in New York City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Milwaukee, which varied in their effectivenss, were attributed to Galleanists, but no criminal prosecutions followed. In February 1918, U.S. authorities raided the offices of Cronaca Sovversiva, suppressed publication, and arrested its editors. Although a staff member hid the subscription list, officials gained more than 3,000 names and addresses of subscribers from an issue already prepared for mailing.

On January 17, 1918, a 19-year-old Galleanist, Gabriella Segata Antolini, was arrested for transporting a satchel filled with dynamite, which she had received from Carlo Valdinoci.[30][31] When questioned, Antolini gave a false name and refused to cooperate with the police; she was imprisoned for fourteen months before being released.[31] While in prison, Antolini met noted anarchist Emma Goldman, with whom she became friends.

As a result of the violence and social unrest, in October 1918, Congress passed the Anarchist Exclusion Act, a new law to control resident aliens involved in anarchism or revolutionary political organizations. Galleani and his followers declared war on the U.S. government and published a threat: "Deportation will not stop the storm from reaching these shores. The storm is within and very soon will leap and crash and annihilate you in blood and fire...We will dynamite you!" A series of bombings of prominent businessmen and officials followed, including a bomb at the home of Judge von Moschzisker, who in 1908 had sentenced four Italian anarchists to long prison terms.

In late April 1919, approximately 30 dynamite package bombs destined for a wide cross-section of prominent politicians, justice officials, and financiers (including John D. Rockefeller) were sent through the mail. However, one bomb was addressed to a Bureau of Investigation (BOI) field agent, R.W. Finch, who had been tracking several Galleanist fugitives, including Carlo Valdinoci. The Galleanists intended their bombs to be delivered on May Day, the international day of communist, anarchist, and socialist revolutionary solidarity. Only a few of the packages were delivered. Because the plotters had neglected to add sufficient postage, one of the packages was discovered, and its distinctive markings enabled interceptions of most of them. No one was killed by the mail bombs that were delivered, but when a house servant for Senator Hardwick (a sponsor of the Anarchist Act) opened the package sent to his home in Georgia, her hands were blown off.

In June 1919, the Galleanists managed to blow up eight large bombs nearly simultaneously in several different U.S. cities. The targets included the homes of judges, businessmen, a mayor, an immigration inspector, and a church. Apparently believing their first bombs were insufficiently powerful, the new bombs used up to twenty pounds of dynamite wrapped with metal shrapnel. Among the intended victims were politicians who had endorsed anti-sedition laws and deportation, or judges who had sentenced Galleanist anarchists to prison. The homes of Mayor Harry L. Davis of Cleveland, Judge W.H.S. Thompson, Massachusetts State Representative Leland Powers, and Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer (already a previous target of a Galleanist mail bomb), were all attacked. None of the officials were killed, but the bombs did claim the lives of a night watchman, a woman who had been passing by one of the victim's homes, and one of the Galleanists - Carlo Valdinoci, a former editor of Cronaca Sovversiva, and a close associate of Galleani himself. Though not injured, Palmer and his family were thoroughly shaken by the blast. Valdinoci was blown to bits in front of Palmer's house, which was largely destroyed (the powerful blast hurled several neighbors from their beds in nearby homes). Valdinoci either tripped over his bomb, or it went off prematurely as he was placing it on Palmer's porch. The police collected Valdinoci's remains over a two-block area, and his hair and scalp were found on the roof across the street. All of the bombs were accompanied by a flyer that read

"War, Class war, and you were the first to wage it under the cover of the powerful institutions you call order, in the darkness of your laws. There will have to be bloodshed; we will not dodge; there will have to be murder: we will kill, because it is necessary; there will have to be destruction; we will destroy to rid the world of your tyrannical institutions."[32]

On February 27, 1919, four Galleanists died when a bomb they were planting in a Franklin, Massachusetts textile mill exploded prematurely. They were believed to have been inspired by a speech the day before by Galleani, who was awaiting deportation.[33]

Police eventually traced a flyer accompanying the bombs to the print shop where Andrea Salsedo, a typesetter, and Roberto Elia, a compositor, were arrested. Salsedo was questioned intensively (some say tortured) by federal agents. After providing some information, He was said to become increasingly distraught. He died after jumping or being pushed by his compatriot Elia out of the 14th-story building where he was being held.[34] Although Salsedo had admitted he was an anarchist and had printed the flyer, no other arrests for the bombings followed. The police lacked evidence and other Galleanists refused to talk. Elia was deported; according to his lawyer, he turned down an offer to remain in the United States if he could deny his connection to the Galleanists, asserting that his refusal to talk "is my only title of honor".[35]

After Valdinoci's death, Coacci and Recchi appeared to have taken more prominent roles in the group; both were bombmakers.[36] Recchi lost his left hand to a premature explosion, but he kept making bombs.[24]

With the public and the press clamoring for action, US Attorney General Palmer and other government officials began a series of investigations. They used warrantless wiretaps, reviews of subscription records to radical publications, and other measures to investigate thousands of anarchists, communists, and other radicals. With evidence in hand and after agreement with the Immigration Department, the Justice Department began arresting and deporting as many radicals as they could under the Anarchist Act; the actions were known as the "Palmer Raids".

[edit] Deportation

Luigi Galleani and eight of his adherents were deported to Italy in June 1919, three weeks after the June 2 wave of bombings. Although authorities did not have enough evidence to implicate Galleani, they could deport him because he was a resident alien who had overtly encouraged the violent overthrow of the government and had authored a how-to bomb-making manual titled La Salute è in voi! (Health is in You!). After landing in Italy, Galleani soon attracted the attention of authorities, who forced him into exile on an island off the Italian coast. After Mussolini came to power, Galleani was kept under constant police surveillance by the Fascist government. Later, he was allowed to return to the Italian mainland, but the police surveillance continued. Galleani died of a heart attack at age 70 in 1931.

[edit] Postscript

Following Galleani's deportation and the indictment of Sacco and Vanzetti for murder, more bombings took place in the US. Followers of Galleani, especially Buda, were suspected in the Wall Street bombing of 1920, which killed 38 people and severely wounded 143.[37] In 1927 more bombings were attributed to Galleanists, especially as several court and prison officials were targeted, including Webster Thayer, the trial judge in the Sacco-Vanzetti case[38] and their executioner, Robert Elliott.

After being deported to Italy, Coacci and Recchi quickly departed for Argentina. There Coacci joined forces with the Argentine anarchist Severino Di Giovanni, another advocate of violence. Deported from Argentina after Di Giovanni's execution, Coacci returned there after World War II. Buda returned to Italy shortly after the Wall Street bombing. He lived there for the rest of his life, until 1963.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Avrich, Paul, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background, Princeton University Press (1991), p. 97
  2. ^ Galleani, Luigi, Faccia a Faccia col Nemico, Boston, MA: Gruppo Autonomo, (1914)
  3. ^ Ugo Fedeli, Luigi Galleani: Quarant'anni di lotte rivoluzionarie, 1891-1931 (Cesena: Antistato, 1956), pp. 68-69.
  4. ^ Avrich, Paul, Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America, Princeton: Princeton University Press (1996), p. 136
  5. ^ Avrich, Paul, Anarchist Voices, p. 136
  6. ^ Goldman, Emma, Living My Life, vol. 1 (1931; New York: Dover, 1970), p. 238
  7. ^ Galleani, Luigi, The End of Anarchism?, pp. 61-62: Galleani's writings are very clear on this point: he had undisguised contempt for those who refused to participate in the violent overthrow of capitalism.
  8. ^ Avrich, Paul, Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America, Princeton: Princeton University Press (1996), p. 132 (Interview of Charles Poggi)
  9. ^ Galleani, Luigi, Faccia a Faccia col Nemico, Boston, MA: Gruppo Autonomo, (1914)
  10. ^ Avrich, Paul, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background, Princeton University Press (1991), pp. 98-99
  11. ^ Avrich, Paul, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background, Princeton University Press (1991), pp. 98-99
  12. ^ Avrich, Paul, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background, Princeton University Press (1991), pp. 98-99
  13. ^ Avrich, Paul, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background, Princeton University Press (1991), pp. 98-99
  14. ^ Galleani, Luigi, Faccia a Faccia col Nemico, Boston, MA: Gruppo Autonomo, (1914): A contemporary Department of Justice report described Face to Face with the Enemy as a "glorification of the most anarchistic assassins the world has ever seen."
  15. ^ Avrich, Paul, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background, Princeton University Press (1991), p. 214
  16. ^ The doctor was J.B. Murphy, who although mildly stricken himself, was able to help the other victims.
  17. ^ Avrich, Paul, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background, Princeton University Press (1991), p. 98
  18. ^ Bruns, Roger A., The Damndest Radical: The Life and World of Ben Reitman, University of Illinois Press (1987), ISBN 0252069897, p. 154
  19. ^ Boasts Of Poison Plot, Threatens Deaths In Letter; "Jean Crones", The New York Times, 17 February 1916
  20. ^ Avrich, Paul, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background, Princeton University Press (1991), pp. 98, 214
  21. ^ Avrich, Paul, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background, Princeton University Press (1991), p. 135.
  22. ^ a b Avrich, Paul, Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America, Princeton: Princeton University Press (1996)
  23. ^ a b Dell'Arte, Giorgio, La Storia di Mario Buda, Io Donna 26 January 2002, http://www.memoteca.it/upload/dl/E-Book/Mario_Buda.pdf
  24. ^ a b Watson, Bruce, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind, Viking Press (2007), ISBN 0670063533, 9780670063536, p. 15
  25. ^ Balousek, Marv, and Kirsch, J. Allen, 50 Wisconsin Crimes of the Century, Badger Books Inc. (1997), ISBN 1878569473, 9781878569479, p. 113
  26. ^ Balousek, Marv, and Kirsch, J. Allen, 50 Wisconsin Crimes of the Century, Badger Books Inc. (1997), ISBN 1878569473, 9781878569479, p. 113: The bomb's homemade "fuse" used sulfuric acid dripping from a glass vial onto a metal plate to ignite its black powder charge, a touchy mechanism at best.
  27. ^ Memorial Page: The Most Tragic Day in Law Enforcement History
  28. ^ The Indianapolis Star, "Bomb Mystery Baffles Police", November 26, 1917
  29. ^ Passante, Anna, Anarchy in Bay View, Bay View Compass, 5 November 2008
  30. ^ Avrich, Paul, Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America, Princeton: Princeton University Press (1996): The dynamite was believed to be on its way to Buda, the chief bombmaker.
  31. ^ a b McCormick, Charles H., Hopeless Cases: The Hunt for the Red Scare Terrorist Bombers, University Press of America (2005), ISBN 0761831339, 9780761831334
  32. ^ Avrich, P., Sacco and Vanzetti: the anarchist background, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press (1991), ISBN 0691026041, pp. 81, 149-150
  33. ^ Abrich, Paul, Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America, AK Press (2005), ISBN 1904859275, 9781904859277, p. 107
  34. ^ McCormick, Charles H., Hopeless Cases, The Hunt For The Red Scare Terrorist Bombers, Lanham Maryland: University Press of America, pp. 61-61: Elia claims to have been soundly asleep when Salsedo allegedly climbed out the window a few feet away from him, then silently jumped into eternity. Nor did he hear the agents running into his room to find out what had happened; he was snoring loudly when they entered.
  35. ^ Avrich, Paul, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background, Princeton University Press (1991), p. 195
  36. ^ Avrich, Paul, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background, Princeton University Press (1991), p. 210: A visitor to Coacci's home in Italy in 1921 noted that "the man's shelves were lined with brochures on the manufacture of bombs, and he professed himself a terrorist of the Galleani school."
  37. ^ Beverly Gage, The Day Wall Street Exploded: A Story of America in its First Age of Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009; pp. 160-161
  38. ^ New York Times, "Bomb Menaces Sacco Trial Judge", 27 September 1932: As late as 1932, a dynamite package bomb destroyed the front of Thayer's home in Worcester, Massachusetts. The judge escaped unhurt, though his wife and housekeeper were injured in the blast.

[edit] Sources

  • Avrich, Paul, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background, Princeton University Press (1991)
  • Avrich, Paul, Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America, Princeton: Princeton University Press (1996)
  • Davis, Mike Buda's Wagon: A Brief History Of The Car Bomb, United Kingdom: Verso Press (2007)
  • Dell'Arte, Giorgio, La Storia di Mario Buda, Io Donna 26 January 2002, http://www.memoteca.it/upload/dl/E-Book/Mario_Buda.pdf
  • Manning, Lona, 9/16/20: Terrorists Bomb Wall Street, Crime Magazine, January 15, 2006
  • McCormick, Charles H., Hopeless Cases: The Hunt for the Red Scare Terrorist Bombers, University Press of America (2005), ISBN 0761831339, 9780761831334

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