Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In Memory: Carlo Tresca

Today is Tuesday, 11 January 2011.

Some day, when the likes of Beck, Limbaugh, Nixon, Palin, and Reagan are rightfully relegated to the rogues’ gallery of infamy, I hope that Carlo Tresca will still be remembered and honoured.

Carlo Tresca was born on 9 March 1879 in Sulmona, Italy. He became a socialist, edited a left-wing newspaper, and in 1904, because of political persecution, immigrated to the USA/USE. Moving left, he became an anarchist, and spent the remainder of his life as a labour organizer, newspaper editor, and tireless tribune for the working class and justice.

On 11 January 1943, he was assassinated by the mobster Carmine Galante, acting on orders of a Mafia boss who resented his attacks on mob infiltration of unions and on Mussolini, whom many in the Mafia admired.

In 1993, on the fiftieth anniversary of Tresca’s death, at about 9.30pm, more or less the moment of his death, I drew in flour an outline of his body at the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 15th Street in Manhattan, where he fell, and then watched as the heedless feet of passersby dispersed it.

Tresca should serve as an inspiration and guide for all who seek a world of justice. One should read All the Right Enemies: The Life and Murder of Carlo Tresca, by Dorothy Gallagher.

“Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how these names are feted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life
Who wore at their hearts the fire's center.
Born of the sun they traveled a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honor.”
- Stephen Spender


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