Homestead Revisited

A hundred years ago - July 23 - Alexander Berkman attempted to shoot Henry Clay Frick during the Homestead strike, a landmark in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) history. Many aspects of the strike will be commemorated but this will be specifically about Berkman's attack Frick was typical of a generation of ruthless capitalists who used every means to crush the miners and brought out armed thugs to shoot them down. Berkman, then recently from the Russian tradition of fighting back against individual oppressors, "paid dearly for his attack. Killing workers or taking away the livelihoods of families In the name of property or managerial prerogative was and is - seldom punished, but killing in the name of anarchism was a sin of the highest order" write the organisers. The maximum penalty was seven years Berkman got 22.

After release Berkman was finally deported back to Russia for his anarchist and anti-war activities. There he joined the Anarchist Red Cross (later the Anarchist Black Cross, which moved to Berlin). It was revived in the sixties because liberals like Amnesty International, ostensibly helping political prisoners, would concern themselves with liberals suffering from unreasonable government dislike of their academic work, never with workers suffering from and resisting oppression, and certainly not with a case like Berkman's.

Details from Gary L. Doebler, P.O. Box 224212, Pittsburgh, Pa 15222 USA