If you look at the pictures from almost 100 years ago, they look like belonging to another era, to a much different world compared to the present one. The world has changed so much that we may ask what their story is telling us. What can we learn from the life of these two italian-american immigrants of almost 100 years ago?
Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were murdered by the state. Today the authorities recognize that the trial was permeated by prejudice against foreigners and hostility toward the revolutionary political views. Sacco and Vanzetti were indeed guilty. Not guilty of murder, but of a much more dangerous crime: the were guilty of being immigrants, they were guilty of being workers, political activists and anarchists. As anarchists they were considered to be dangerous examples for other workers. An example of solidarity and courage! This was the reason why the state eventually decided to give its own example. To punish two individuals in order to educate hundreds, and hundreds of thousands of workers and immigrants.
Today Italians are associated with fashion, good food and lifestyle. Intersting people that cook good food and wear good shoes. You come to the North End and spend a good dollar for sitting in one of the Italian restaurants. However, after 100 years the world is not so different if you look closely.
Today our brothers and sisters are crossing the border with Mexico to enter United States, or crossing the sea to enter Europe. Thousands and thousands die during the journey. They die in the desert or in the sea. Those that survive my have the privilege to die by work or by police brutality in these rich capitalistic countries.
100 years ago, Sacco and Vanzetti were called murderers, terrorists, while the only thing they were doing was fighting for the liberation of workers, of all workers. They did not fit in the plan someone else had prepared for them. They were not passively accepting their role of exploited workers.
Today people in USA are being killed, not because they have stolen cigars from a store, neither because they have assaulted a police officer. They are murdered because they are guilty of being black, of being poor and angry, because they do not accept the role in the society that someone else has prepared for them.
Today people in Palestine are killed in thousands, not because they are terrorists (most of them are indeed very young kids) but just because they live in that little strip of land and their mere existence is a threat for the zionist plans on Palestine. Sacco and Vanzetti went to Mexico because they didn’t want to be forced to kill other workers in the first world war. Today, a few brave Israeli soldiers, so-called refusnik, refuse to kill their Palestinian neighbors.
It often happens that the martyrs of the past are glorified with the only purpose of make their struggle detached from the reality. Today we are not commemorating Sacco and Vanzetti. We are demonstrating against the injustices of today, and we are learning that, though the specific conditions may change (the color of the skin may change, the nationality may change) the workers will always stand up and fight against social injustice and work slavery.
We remember the last words of Nicola Sacco before being murdered: Viva l’Anarchia!
La Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society preserva la memoria di Sacco e Vanzetti e delle loro lotte per un cambiamento radicale della società, mettendole in relazione con i movimenti radicali odierni. Boston, la città della storia americana, spesso dimentica la storia e le storie dell’americana radicale e anarchica, dei tanti lavoratori e immigrati.