Narrow Sectarianism | Letters | Chicago Reader

Narrow Sectarianism 

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Dear Editor:

Steve Craig's letter [February 18] exemplifies the attitude that his political position is totally correct, and everyone else is wrong--generally called narrow sectarianism.

First, through the efforts of the Illinois Labor History Society and particularly Bill Adelman, the historical events of Haymarket were rescued from the dustbin of history. Popularizing the event, Bill has spoken to thousands of high schools, community organizations, civic clubs and unions--inspiring them to understand this class-based travesty of Justice. In fact his presentations have done more to publicize the existence and traditions of the Chicago anarchists than Craig and all his well- intended purists. His presentations always give respect to the traditions of the Chicago anarchists as spokespersons for a legitimate social protest philosophy.

Second, the concept of Anarchism does not have a universally accepted definition. Many of the Haymarket Anarchists were in fact radical trade unionists. In most cases we do not know exactly what they believed.

Only respectful and intelligent dialogue and debate encourages an appreciation of what history has to offer. In a country that either ignores or suppresses the proud history of unions and radicalism, there is a need for mutual respect on the left. Lacking this option, the alternative is isolation and irrelevance.

Stanley Rosen

West Ridge


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