The aftermath created widespread hysteria, further repression and a national wave of xenophobia, as hundreds of foreign born radicals and labor leaders were rounded up in Chicago and elsewhere in what is seen as the first great political witch hunt and frame up trial, used as an excuse to crack gown on the entire labor movement. Inevitably anarchists were rounded up, and treated to what today would be termed rough justice,
A grand jury eventually indicted 31 suspected labor radicals in connection with the bombing, and eight anarchist leaders from the revolutionary syndicalist tradition were convicted of instigating violence and conspiring to commit murder. in a controversial trial, despite lack of evidence and no connection to the actual bomb. The judge, Judge Gary, gave one of the most shameful performances that this country has ever seen, and it has seen plenty from its judges. He helped choose the jury,to make sure it would convict. He questioned men who stated they had already formed an opinion about the case, had definite prejudices against Anarchists, Socialists and all radicals, were not certain they could render an impartial verdict--and ruled that they were not disqualified! He said from the bench that :-"Anarchist,Socialists and Communists were as pernicious and unjustifiable as horse thieves" and, finally, in charging the jury, that even though the state had not proved that any of the eight men had actually thrown the bomb , they were guilty of a conspiracy to commit murder .He imposed the death sentence on seven of the men, and the eighth was sentenced to 15 years in prison.In what is seen as a racist show trial, which like all kangaroo courts is seen as a travesty of justice. Many of the accused not even present when the incident took place.
These men have since become known as the Haymarket Martyrs, Albert Spies, Albert Parsons, Adolph Fischer and George Engel who were tried and convicted and executed for their political beliefs, not for their actions on May 3th, who still occupy an honored history in the place of class struggle in the United States and internationally whose sacrifice is remembered every year on May 1st International Workers Day, whose deaths sparked protests around the world.
"These are my ideas. They constitute a part of myself. I cannot divest myself of them, nor
would I if I could. And if you think that one can crush out these ideas that are gaining ground
more and more every day; if you can crush them out by sending us to the gallows;if you would once more have people suffer the penalty of death because they have dared to tell the truth -
and I defy you to show that we have told a lie-
if death is the penalty for proclaiming the truth, then I will proudly and defiantly pay the costly price."
-- August Spies, just before he was sentenced to death on 0ctober 9th 1886.
Engel, Fischer, Parsons and Spies were taken to the gallows in white robes and hoods. They sang the Marsellaise, then the anthem of the international revolutionary movement. According to witnesses , in the moments before the men were hanged .Spies shouted, " The time will come when our silence, will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today!" Witnesses reported that the condemned men did not die immediately when they dropped, but strangled to death slowly, a sight which left many speakers visibly shaken.
The Haymarket affair is now generally considered significant as the origin of the International May Day observances for workers, when in July 1889, a delegate from the American Federation of Labor recommended at a Labor conference in Paris that May 1 be set aside as International Labour Day in memory of the Haymarket martyrs and the injustice metered out to them, and has become a powerful reminder of the international struggle for workers rights, that I for one try not to forget.
Rather than suppressing labor and radical movements the events of 1886 and the execution of the Chicago Anarchists, actually mobilised and galvanised a new generation of radicals and revolutionaries. Emma Goldman a young immigrant at the time later pointed to the Haymarket affair as her political birth. Lucy Parsons widow of Albert Parsons , called up on the poor to direct their anger at those responsible - the rich. In 1938 , fifty-two years after the Haymarket riot , workdays in the United States were legally made eight hours by the Fair Labor Standards Act. It is up to us to keep the memory of the Haymarket martyrs alive. to learn the lessons of their struggle so that they did not die in vain, acting as enduring symbols of labors struggles for justice.
Following the Haymarket affair, trial and executions, August Spies, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, Lous Lingg and Albert Parsons were buried at the German Waldheim Cemetery (later merged with Forest Home Cemetery).
The Pioneer Aid and Support Association organized a subscription for a funeral monument. In 1893, the Haymarket Martyrs' Monument by sculptor Albert Weinhert was raised at Waldheim. It consists of a 16-foot-high granite shaft capped by a carved triangular stone. There is a two step base, which also supports a monumental figure of a woman standing over the body of a fallen worker, both in bronze. It was dedicated on June 25, 1893, after a march from Chicago. The inscription on the steps read, "1887," the year of the executions. Also, there is a quote attributed to Spies, recorded just before his execution by hanging: "The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling today." On the back of the monument are listed the names of the men. On the top of the monument, a bronze plaque contains text of the pardon later issued by Illinois governor John Peter Altgeld]
The dedication ceremony was attended by 8000, with union flags and the American flag draped on the monument. European unions and American organizations sent flowers to be placed. Many activists and labor leaders were subsequently buried nearby. Michael Schwab and Oscar Neebe were also buried at Waldheim when they died. Samuel Fielden is the only Haymarket defendant who is not buried at Forest Home. For years, annual commemorations were held.
Since the 1970s, the Illinois Labor History Society has held the deed to the monument and been responsible for its maintenance and restoration. It conducts monthly guided tours of Forest Home Cemetery from May through October.
A bitter wind is driving from the north;
The stone is cold, and strange cold whispers say:
What do ye here with Death? Go forth! Go forth!”
Is this thy word, O Mother, with stern eyes,
Crowning thy dead with stone-caressing touch?
May we not weep o’er him that martyred lies,
Slain in our name, for that he loved us much?
May we not linger till the day is broad?
Nay, none are stirring in this stinging dawn —
None but poor wretches that make no moan to God:
What use are these, O thou with dagger drawn?
“Go forth, go forth! Stand not to weep for these,
Till, weakened with your weeping, like the snow
Ye melt, dissolving in a coward peace!”
Light upon Waldheim! Brother, let us go!
London, October, 1897