Friday, March 20, 2015

Terrorist Attacks - Not a New Thing

Explosions in New York and Washington! Shortly after the end of World War One, and shortly after the 1917 revolution in Russia, a loose coalition of socialists, progressives, communists, and anarchists hoped to bring about the overthrow of the United States government.

In 1919, a group called the “Industrial Workers of the World,” (IWW) allegedly a labor union, but actually a front for the international communist conspiracy, held the entire city of Seattle hostage during a five-day general strike.

The IWW organized its own “enforcers” to ensure that the residents of the city obeyed its dictates: only vehicles authorized by the IWW were allowed to drive at will in the city, goods were seized from those deemed too wealthy, ordinary services like laundry were curtailed or eliminated.

Attempting to establish a “dictatorship of the proletariat,” the IWW praised the Soviet Union in the propaganda leaflets it distributed to the people in the city it controlled.

But Seattle wasn’t the only city to be terrorized. William F. Rickenbacker writes that, on the other side of the nation,

On April 30, 1919, a vigilant postal clerk in New York discovered twenty bombs set to explode the next day, May Day. In Washington a bomb intended for Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer (who had taken office March 3rd) exploded as it was being delivered to his house. The man carrying it up the steps was obliterated. Across the street, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt came out of his house and found bits of flesh and blood on his doorstep. Another bomb intended for a Senator from Georgia amputated the hands of his Negro maid. Communism and anarchism had - I say it seriously - exploded onto the national scene.

The attacks continued. A little over a year later, the terrorists inflicted a larger death toll.

History books sometimes call this era ‘the first Red Scare,’ in contrast to the Soviet espionage activity after WWII, which they call ‘the second Red Scare.’ Both evoked responses from the government:

In the noonday crowd on Wall Street, on September 16, 1920, a bomb exploded just outside the main office of the J.P. Morgan bank. Thirty people died; three hundred more were injured. The scars on the exterior wall of the House of Morgan remain to this day. New York has been the seat of subversion, whose physical mementos can be traced from Andre’s path to the shrapnel signature of the anarchists; and as a result New York has led the counterattack - from the legislative investigation of conspiracies in 1780, to the Lusk Committee of 1919, to the earliest predecessor of HUAC, the Fish Committee of 1930.

People who’ve lived through the terrorist attacks at the end of the twentieth century, and at the beginning of the twenty-first century, can draw parallels between the current Islamic aggression and this earlier wave of terror.

In its written materials at the time, the Communist Party (CPUSA) was explicit that it sought a “violent” revolution in the United States. The deaths and destruction it caused confirm its statement.