I wonder if they have one of those Stingray devices to suck up all cellphone activity in the area? Probably, but maybe this is just a camera.
At the May Day rally at the Haymarket Riot Memorial Statue…
More on that surveillance tool: "’Stingray’: Increased and Secretive Cell Phone Surveillance by Local Police Raises Alarms
ACLU calls technology the "electronic equivalent of dragnet searches" prohibited by the Fourth Amendment"
Join ILHS at our annual May Day ceremony and commemoration of the Haymarket Martyrs. Benedicto Martinez Orozco, a leader of the Mexican union federation Frente Autentico de Trabajo, will preside over mounting a plaque from our Mexican brothers and sisters in the FAT. Then join the May Day demonstration assembling at Union Park at 12 noon and marching to Federal Plaza at 1:00 PM. This May Day demonstration, initiated by Occupy Chicago, is sponsored by a host of local unions and community groups.
Fun for your May Day celebrations: pretend you are part of the black helicopter One World Cabal of Illuminati, as explained by The Straight Dope’s Cecil Adams:
Just exactly what event are the Russians and Red Chinese commemorating on May 1 each year? I have yet to find any birthday or important event relating to communism/socialism that occurred on May 1. Someone once told me, though, that May 1, 1776, was the birth date of a group called the Illuminati, which was alleged to be a clandestine group devoted to one-world government. Is it so? Please enlighten.
— Bob B., Dallas
Better grab yourself a sandwich and a beer, Bobberino; this is going to take a while. The Illuminati play a leading role in what is without doubt the muthah conspiracy theory of all time, stretching back at least two centuries and probably as far as the Pleistocene epoch, to hear some tell it.
Adherents of the theory, who for the most part are right-wing fruitcakes, claim it explains every social upheaval from the French Revolution of 1789 through the Russian Revolution of 1917. The Illuminati are said to be the guiding force behind a vast international cabal involving the Masons, German and/or Jewish socialists, the Bolsheviks, and revolutionaries of every stripe, whose principal aim is either the establishment of a totalitarian one-world government, the destruction of Western civilization, or both. This ain’t no foolin’ around, apocalypse fans.
Let’s start with the easy part. May Day, an international celebration of worker solidarity observed principally in socialist countries, traces its origins back to the eight-hour-day movement in the U.S., and specifically commemorates the 1886 Haymarket Riot in Chicago, of all places. (We learn this, incidentally, from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia.)
At an October 1884 convention in Chicago, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, later to be reorganized as the American Federation of Labor, declared May 1, 1886, to be the date from which “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s work,” as opposed to the nine- or ten-hour days then prevalent.
Why May 1 is chosen is not clear. Among other things, it happened to be the date of the traditional May Day spring festival, celebrated in Europe (and parts of the U.S.) since medieval times. But other American labor groups had earlier suggested other days, such as the Fourth of July.
Coincidentally–although some would say it’s no coincidence–May 1 is also the date that a secret society called the Illuminati was founded in 1776 by a Bavarian university professor named Adam Weishaupt. Although the group’s precise aims are a little murky, the Illuminati were apparently dedicated to the abolition of organized religion and the nation-state–in short, they were anarchists. Such ideas were not uncommon at the time; Enlightenment thinkers like Rousseau had vaguely similar notions.
By and by it occurred to Weishaupt that he could multiply his influence by infiltrating existing lodges of Masons. The Masons, themselves a secret society, seem to have originated in England, and by Weishaupt’s time were well established throughout Europe. Although they were decentralized and had no overriding political program, the Masons had attracted a fair number of freethinkers, who to some extent took advantage of the group’s clandestine character to discuss Enlightenment ideas. Masons were suspected of being anticlerical, and had been condemned on several occasions by the Catholic Church.
Weishaupt’s minions succeeded in gaining influential positions in many Masonic lodges in Germany, Austria, and elsewhere. Characteristically, though, only the top leaders of the Illuminati knew the full extent of the group’s radical plans. Weishaupt, who claimed to have been inspired partly by the Jesuits, set up an elaborate hierarchy complete with secret signs, ceremonies, and codes in which members were gradually given additional knowledge as they rose in rank.
Eventually, though, some of the Illuminati quarreled, and disgruntled ex-members went to the authorities with lurid stories. In 1785, the alarmed Elector of Bavaria ordered both the Illuminati and the Masons suppressed. Numerous incriminating papers were confiscated and later published throughout Europe, creating a widespread panic that secret societies were plotting the violent overthrow of all civilization. This probably would have died down eventually, except for one thing: on July 14, 1789, the Bastille fell to a Paris mob, and the French Revolution began.
We now take leave of Reality, and enter the twilight world of Total Paranoia. Not much is known about what happened to the Illuminati after 1785. Some of them went underground, and several may have been involved in various plots over the following few years. Whatever the truth of the matter, rightists began churning out an immense volume of books and pamphlets blaming the Illuminati for . . . well, just about everything.
For the past 10 years I’ve immersed myself in the details of one of the most famous events in American labor history, the Haymarket riot and trial of 1886. Along the way I’ve written two books and a couple of articles about the episode. In some circles that affords me a presumption of expertise on the subject. Not, however, on Wikipedia.
The bomb thrown during an anarchist rally in Chicago sparked America’s first Red Scare, a high-profile show trial, and a worldwide clemency movement for the seven condemned men. Today the martyrs’ graves are a national historic site, the location of the bombing is marked by a public sculpture, and the event is recounted in most American history textbooks. Its Wikipedia entry is detailed and elaborate.
A couple of years ago, on a slow day at the office, I decided to experiment with editing one particularly misleading assertion chiseled into the Wikipedia article. The description of the trial stated, “The prosecution, led by Julius Grinnell, did not offer evidence connecting any of the defendants with the bombing. … “
Coincidentally, that is the claim that initially hooked me on the topic. In 2001 I was teaching a labor-history course, and our textbook contained nearly the same wording that appeared on Wikipedia. One of my students raised her hand: “If the trial went on for six weeks and no evidence was presented, what did they talk about all those days?” I’ve been working to answer her question ever since.
I have not resolved all the mysteries that surround the bombing, but I have dug deeply enough to be sure that the claim that the trial was bereft of evidence is flatly wrong. One hundred and eighteen witnesses were called to testify, many of them unindicted co-conspirators who detailed secret meetings where plans to attack police stations were mapped out, coded messages were placed in radical newspapers, and bombs were assembled in one of the defendants’ rooms.
In what was one of the first uses of forensic chemistry in an American courtroom, the city’s foremost chemists showed that the metallurgical profile of a bomb found in one of the anarchists’ homes was unlike any commercial metal but was similar in composition to a piece of shrapnel cut from the body of a slain police officer. So overwhelming was the evidence against one of the defendants that his lawyers even admitted that their client spent the afternoon before the Haymarket rally building bombs, arguing that he was acting in self-defense.
So I removed the line about there being “no evidence” and provided a full explanation in Wikipedia’s behind-the-scenes editing log. Within minutes my changes were reversed. The explanation: “You must provide reliable sources for your assertions to make changes along these lines to the article.”
Parenthetically, as an undergraduate history major, for a couple of semesters I did some primary research at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library in Austin (fun stuff, actually, flipping through memos and hand written notes from various players in the LBJ administration – too bad I didn’t turn my research into a book), but in those golden oldie days Wikipedia didn’t even exist.
Interesting discussion with Professor Timothy Messer-Kruse regarding the Haymarket Riot and subsequent trials, and his effort to alter Wikipedia. Too bad his book is currently selling for $73 (!!), or I’d buy a copy.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I’m Neal Conan in Washington. Wikipedia is both ubiquitous and irreplaceable, the go-to source for quick information on almost every topic imaginable. The online encyclopedia is written and edited by volunteers. Anybody can send in a new entry or update an old one, except sometimes they can’t.
Case in point: Professor Timothy Messer-Kruse, perhaps the world’s foremost expert on Chicago’s Haymarket riot and the trials that followed, Wikipedia repeatedly rejected his repeated efforts to remove information he knew to be wrong. We’ll find out why in just a moment.
…Timothy Messer-Kruse joins us, a professor at Bowling Green State University, the author of “The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists.” He wrote about his experience with Wikipedia in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and he joins us from a studio in Perrysville, Ohio, and nice to have you with us today.
MESSER-KRUSE: Well, I tried to change what I thought was the most glaring inaccuracy in the page on the Haymarket. The page described the actual Haymarket bombing. It described the eight-hour movement leading to it. It described the trial that came from that event.
And in that article, the description of the trial began, saying the prosecution did not offer evidence connecting any of the defendants with the bombing. Well, my research has all been about showing what exactly went on in the trial, and there was an overwhelming amount of evidence. Now maybe it’s not evidence that we today would find worthy of convicting these men and sending them to the gallows, but there was undoubtedly multiple kinds of evidence.
There was 118 witnesses called to testify, many of them involved in the anarchist movement themselves. There was forensic, chemical evidence. There was even some embarrassed admissions on the part of some of the defendants. So I thought that description in particular needed to be changed.
And I tried to simply delete that reference, and when I did so, within minutes, that page was restored, and I was instructed by whoever this volunteer editor was about some of Wikipedia’s ongoing policies that prevented my making these changes.
CONAN: And you tried it again, and basically what they said was they don’t rely on primary sources like transcripts of the trial but rather on the preponderance of secondary sources.
MESSER-KRUSE: That’s right. So I was told that I needed to come up with some published sources that supported my point of view. Simply referencing the coroner’s records or the trial transcripts or other sources that I’d uncovered was not sufficient.
So I actually bided my time. I knew that my own published book would be coming out in 2011. So I tried again and was told that I needed to represent a majority viewpoint, not a minority viewpoint, namely my own, and that Wikipedia was about verifiability, not necessarily about truth.
And if my account may have been truthful, the majority view still has to be represented on Wikipedia’s website because it needs to be verifiable, it needs to represent what is the majority opinion.
It is a big flaw with Wikipedia, actually. Primary sources are not respected, and sometimes Wikipedia editors are not open to accepting changes. For one small example, Steve Jobs was a fruitarian, but the editors of Steve Jobs Wikipedia page constantly delete any reference to this. I’ve added citations from Walter Isaacson’s book, as have other people, but since these citations are based upon primary sources that Mr. Isaacson interviewed, there is currently no mention of Steve Jobs being a Fruitarian on his biography page. Minor, but telling.
Haymarket Riot Memorial
One final excerpt, which also echoes my experience attempting to edit a Wikipedia page:
CONAN: Timothy Messer-Kruse, I wanted to go back to you. Given what your – you’ve experienced and what you’ve learned about this process, what might you suggest as an improvement?
MESSER-KRUSE: Well, I think one thing is to make new contributors more aware of sort of the Wikipedia culture because I think one of the obstacles I ran into was that I was too easily deterred from trying to persist and make these changes, although I, you know, I try it a dozen times over two years. I sort of gave up after I was scolded and told to look at the civility policy at one point. At one point, I was branded a vandal for trying to change a page after someone had changed it back. And I kind of slunk away. And in the last week, I’ve been reading some of the comments to my article and some people have been suggesting that I was not persistent enough. So it seems like a catch-22. Either you persist and resist against these policies and accusations, or you don’t. In academia, of course, if I submit an article to an editor and I get it returned to me and rejected, I don’t then call up the editor and yell at them and insist that it be published. I just go somewhere else. So there’s that difference in culture, I think, that maybe many academics like myself would find an obstacle to really contributing.
For some reason that I haven’t been able to track down yet, this photo has been viewed nearly 10,000 times in the last couple of days. A high profile blog or website has used it, in other words. If you’ve seen this image anywhere, I’d like to hear about it.
I don’t mind the photo being used, I just like to keep track of who republishes my work, and for what purpose.
For a reference point, my photos usually are viewed in the 20-100 range on the day I upload them, and a few topical images still get views later, 5 to 10 a day typically, but nearly 10,000 views in two days is unprecedented. Very curious.
Uploaded to the New York Times “A Moment in Time” global mosaic.
Where will you be on Sunday, May 2, at 15:00 hours (U.T.C.)?
Wherever you are, we hope you’ll have a camera — or a camera phone — in hand. And we hope you’ll be taking a picture to send to Lens that will capture this singular instant in whatever way you think would add to a marvelous global mosaic; a Web-built image of one moment in time across the world.
We extend the invitation to everyone, everywhere. Amateurs. Students. Pros. People who’ve been photographing for a lifetime or who just started yesterday.
What matters more than technique is the thought behind the picture, because you’ll only be sending us one. So please do think beforehand about where you will want to be and what you will want to focus on. Here are the general topics:
Nature and the Environment
Arts and Entertainment
Money and the Economy
I was reading my Sunday papers (including, coincidentally, The New York Times), drinking my first coffee of the day, and almost forgot about the project. However, I remembered in time to put on a clean shirt and strap on my camera for a brief walk up and down my street. I took about a dozen photos, a few of which I’ve uploaded to Flickr. The photo above, of the Haymarket Riot Memorial Statue is the one I submitted, even though I’m not that happy with it, truth be told.
Here are a few others I took this morning. Click a photo to enlarge it…