Lucy Parsons

The Famous Speeches of the Chicago Anarchists in Court

Lucy Parsons (1853-1942) Lucy Parsons was the wife of Haymarket Martyr, Albert Parsons. She was also a revolutionary activist and anarchist from the 1880s till her death in 1942. In 1907 she delivered this speech at a memorial service for the Haymarket Martyrs.

As these years speed by, our comrades’ lives will be better understood; their great work for the uplifting of humanity understood and appreciated. This has been the case of the martyrs of all ages…
The great strike of May 1886 was an historical event of great importance. It was the first time that the workers themselves had attempted to get a shorter workday by united, simultaneous action…. This strike was the first in the nature of Direct Action on a large scale. . .

Of course the eight-hour day is an old story. Today we should be agitating for a five-hour workday.

The Eleventh of November has become a day of international importance, cherished in the hearts of all true lovers of liberty as a day of martyrdom. On that day was offered to the gallows-tree martyrs as true to their ideal as ever were sacrificed in any age. . .

Our comrades were not murdered by the state because they had any connection with the bombthrowing but because they were active in organizing the wage-slaves. The capitalist class didn’t want to find the bombthrower; this class foolishly believed that by putting to death the active spirits of the labor movement of the time, it could frighten the working class back to slavery.

Parsons, Spies, Lingg, Fischer and Engel: Although all that is mortal of you is laid beneath that beautiful monument in Waldheim Cemetery, you are not dead. You are just beginning to live in the hearts of all true lovers of liberty. As the years lengthen the brighter will shine your names, and the more you will come to be appreciated and loved.

Those who so foully murdered you, under the forms of law – lynch law – in a court of supposed justice, are forgotten.

Rest, comrades, rest. All the tomorrows are yours!