Messer-Kruse's Haymarket History

Hill, Rebecca

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/05/2016
Year Published:  2016  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21391

Book reviews of Timothy Messer-Kruse's two works The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists: Terrorism and Justice in the Gilded Age and The Haymarket Conspiracy: Transatlantic Anarchist Networks.



On the question of anarchist support for the labor movement, Messer-Kruse makes the case that the Chicago group were closer to Bakunin than Marx, and that they were not genuine labor movement advocates.

In The Haymarket Conspiracy, Messer-Kruse describes Marx's revolutionary theory as a kind of elitest gradualism involving the tutoring by socialists of the "benighted masses." For Bakunin, by contrast, he argues, revolution was not a future "abstraction" but an immediate goal.

Thus, if the anarchists made an argument for the use of force rather than advocating a gradual and "intellectual" process, they were neither Marxists, nor genuine members of the labor movement. Instead, he reaches the damning conclusion that they were using the Chicago labor movement as a "Trojan Horse" to carry out Bakuninist ideology.