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WHY EXPECT JUSTICE FROM THE STATE?

[Liberty, September 18, 1886.]

Charles T. Fowler has written and Lucifer has published a very able article showing that the prosecution at Chicago was a prosecution of opinion and not of criminality, that the verdict was a verdict against Anarchy and not against bomb-throwing, and that the offence for which the victims are to be punished was not actual, but purely constructive. Setting aside the doubtless manufactured but certainly direct evidence put forward by the prosecution, of the man who swore that he saw Spies light the fuse and hand the bomb to Schnaubelt, and that then Schnaubelt threw it, Mr. Fowler's position is a sound one. Sound also is the position taken by "O," that the convictions were secured by a trick of the detectives. Sound also is my own position, that the convictions would have been impossible without a packed jury.

But, sound as all these positions are, what do they amount to? Something, perhaps, as so many instances of the infernalisms practised by the State; but nothing more. If urged in the hope that the State will ever do better, they are futile in the extreme. Is not the State an infernal institution? Why expect from it, then, anything but infernalisms? "Let the people of Chicago," says Mr. Fowler, "learn that there is no such thing as the crime of incendiary speech.… Then they will no longer prosecute Anarchy or persecute Anarchists, but hunt up the man who threw the bomb."

It is evident that Mr. Fowler here uses "the people of Chicago" as one with the State, because it is the State which is prosecuting Anarchy. But why should the State "hunt up the man who threw the bomb?" Why should it do anything in this matter but prosecute Anarchy? Is not Anarchy its deadliest foe? Is it to be expected that the State will pay heed to anything but its own existence and prosperity? No whining, then! Let us not complain of the injustice practised by the State, except we do so for the sole purpose of exhibiting it to the people in its enormity and determining them to throw off its tyrannical yoke. One of the wisest comments that have been made upon the verdict is that of Louis Lingg, the maker of most of the bombs so prevalent in Chicago and the youngest of the convicted men. He is reported to have said, after the verdict, something like this: