Assassination Attempts: Henry Clay Frick chairman of Carnegie Steel Part 3
About the assassination of Henry Clay Frick, chairman of Carnegie Steel Company, enemy of unions and workers, history and biography of assassin Alexander Berkman.
The Victim: HENRY CLAY FRICK, chairman and strongman of the Carnegie Steel Company.
They went to Homestead, wrote a "flaming" manifesto, and returned to New York. Then the news of the Pinkertons' slaughter reached them. They were stunned. Berkman said, "Frick is the responsible factor in this crime, and he must be made to stand the consequences." Resolved to eliminate Frick, Berkman attempted unsuccessfully to produce a workable bomb. Emma went out on the streets as a prostitute to obtain money to buy Berkman a gun. She was picked up by a kindly 60-year-old gentleman who sensed her amateur status and sent her home with $10.
Alexander Berkman tried and failed to assassinate Frick. He went into prison at age 21 and came out at age 35. During his incarceration he studied and also wrote prolifically--and lost his faith in the revolutionary effectiveness of individual acts of violence. From the time of his release from prison in 1906 to his deportation in 1919, Berkman became, along with Emma Goldman, the foremost figure in American anarchism. He organized meetings and demonstrations among workers and unemployed persons. He edited Mother Earth, one of the best libertarian periodicals in any language. He edited Emma Goldman's many books, including her autobiography. He helped found the Ferrer Modern School, based on libertarian principles, and served there as a teacher. He made extended lecture tours against the growing W. W. I hysteria. He campaigned ceaselessly for the release of unfairly convicted political prisoners, and organized legal defense committees for convicts all over the country.
In 1916, Berkman founded The Blast, a San Francisco anarchist publication. In 1917 he returned to New York to agitate against the draft, for which action he was arrested and sentenced to 2 years in the Atlanta Federal Prison, 7 months of which were spent in solitary confinement for protesting the beating of fellow inmates.
Berkman and Goldman were both deported in 1919. Back in Russia, they toured the newly Leninized nation, collecting material for the official Museum of the Revolution. However, they soon became disillusioned with the authoritarian practices of the new regime, particularly the mass arrests of Russian anarchists, the destruction of Makhno's anarchist guerrilla army, and the crushing of the libertarian Kronstadt uprising in 1921. They felt that the true revolution had been betrayed. Both left Russia.
Berkman emigrated 1st to Stockholm, then to Berlin, and eventually settled in France where, lonely and exhausted, he continued to write and to organize. He published a primer of anarchist philosophy, Now and After--The ABC of Communist Anarchism, in 1929, and he earned a meager living by translating, editing, and occasionally ghostwriting for American and European publishers. He also received support from friends and comrades.
Growing progressively more despondent, and physically ill, Berkman finally took his own life on June 28, 1936, 3 weeks before the outbreak of the Spanish Revolution.
H. L. Mencken, the noted American journalist, wrote that Berkman was a "transparently honest man . . . a shrewder and a braver spirit than has been seen in public among us since the Civil War."
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