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McGIRR, Lisa. "The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti: A Global History"
Article published on 9 January 2008

by r-c.
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Journal of American History (2007) 93(4): 1085-1115.


Emphasizes that the case of Nicola Sacco and Bartolemeo Vanzetti provided radical movements around the world a unique opportunity to advance a sense of transnational unity among workers in the 1920’s. The defendants’ status as immigrants during a time of repression, their links to radical movements, the dubious fairness of their trial, the rise of communism in the wake of the Russian Revolution, and the emergence of the United States as the premier capitalist nation all combined to spark sometimes violent protests and demonstrations in Europe, Latin America, and Australia. Sacco and Vanzetti’s ties to the anarchist group ’Gruppo Autonomo’ and the efforts of their lawyer Fred Moore and radical Carlo Tresca transformed a local robbery-homicide case into an international crusade for workers rights and against capitalism. By 1927, the case had generated so much controversy abroad that even conservative papers, governments, and organizations began to call for a retrial or clemency. Their execution on 23 August 1927 transformed Sacco and Vanzetti into martyrs for the working class and was the impetus for work stoppages, protests, and riots across the globe. Their lives, trial, and deaths became the subject of films, novels, plays, and songs for years afterward.

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