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Sydney burning

>SYDNEY'SBURNING

(>essay)

>Thereisnodoubt thatsomemembers of theIWWwereincendiarists orwould-beincendiarists.TomBarkersaysasmuch in hisrecentlypublishedreminiscences:warehouses andbigplacesdidgo up infire.Itwasveryeasyforanyone whogot inwith thestuff.After all,therewasnothing newaboutfire-dope.Itwasjust amixture ofphosphorus andcalcium [sic]bi-supplied.Itwas awell-knownmethod ofmakingfire,wrappingthesecomponentstogether in awetrag andthen,by andby,when itdried out, thephosphorusset upspontaneouscombustion.Therewasno secretabout it.Ithad alonghistorybehind it inIreland,wheretheycalled it ">Fenianfire".Ithadbeenused inAustraliabyshearersovermanygenerations togetrid offaultyaccommodation.If theownerwouldn'tput indecentbuildings andsleepingquarters,when theboysleft togoonto the nextstationtheytooksome ofthisstuff,rolled it up inwetnewspaper orcloth, andabout twodaysaftertheyhadgonesomethinghappened.Whentheycameback nextyeartherewerebrand newbuildingswaitingforthem.Thatwas amethod ofcajoling thecockyintodoingwhat thelawrequiredhim todo.

>Wehadmanylittlegroupsamongstus whoweredoingvariousthings, andthosethingsweredeadly secret andtheykeptthem tothemselves,so thatyoumightbeGodAlmighty in theorganization,butyouwouldn't knowhalf adozenthings thatweregoing on.Therewas achemist,Scully, whoratted on theIWW, whomade themixture.Others,therewasnodoubtat allabout it,hadsomeknowledge of it.

>Thiswasknown to thelabourmovementat thetime. The People, thepaper of theSocialistLaborParty,wrote onDecember 14, 1916,immediatelyafter theconviction of theTwelve: ">Oncemore thetactics of theChicagofaction of theIWWhasled themembers of theworkingclass tojail."Yet thelabourmovementcame to thedefence of theTwelve atfirstonly a minority,butgradually thedefencecampaigncame toembrace thewholemovement.

>Itwaspartly thebelief that,as the Peoplesaid, ">Evenadmitting thatthesemenwereguilty of theact ofwhichtheywereconvicted, thepenaltiesimposedwere out of allproportion to thedeedsalleged tobecommitted ...Itwaspartly that thelabourmovementbelieved that theTwelvehadbeenprejudgedby ">certainsections of the Public, Press,Pulpit, andespeciallyPoliticians", andcrucifiedbywarhysteria and thepropagandaneeds of theconscriptioncampaign.

>And itwaspartly thebelief that thecaseagainst theTwelvewas aframe.

>Ofthis last,therecanbelittledoubt.But howwas theframeaccomplished?Andprecisely whowasframed?

>Firstly, whowasframed?Inonesenseeveryone of theTwelve,for,asHenryBootewrote: "theevidence onwhichthesemenwereconvictedwasrottenthrough andthrough".Butsome ofthemwereinvolved inincendiarism, oratleast inpreparationforincendiarism.

>Ifwetake theconfessions ofScully andDavisGoldstein toJuddasbearingsomerelation to thetruth,thisis thepicture:Grant:exoneratedbyScully andGoldstein.Larkin:exoneratedbyScully andGoldstein. King:exoneratedbyScully andGoldstein.Moore:exoneratedbyScully andGoldstein.Reeve:exoneratedbyScully andGoldstein.Besant:exoneratedbyScully andGoldstein.McPhersonexoneratedbyGoldstein.Beatty:exoneratedbyGoldstein.Glynn:exoneratedbyScully.Fagin:incriminatedbyScully.Teen:incriminatedbyScully.Hamilton:incriminatedbyScully.

(>Goldstein'sstatutorydeclarationnamedonlythosewhomhebelieved tobe ">absolutelyinnocent of thecrimesuponwhichtheyareconvicted". Thepresumptionwas thathebelieved theothers thatis,Fagin,Teen,Hamilton, andGlynn,against all ofwhomhehadgivenevidence tobeguilty.Scully'sstatement toMutch andConnollyexonerated thesixlistedabove andincriminatedFagin,Teen,Hamilton,Besant, and "Morgan [>probablyMahony], and theothers".However,Besantwasincluded inScully's list ofthose who ">did it" inerror,asScullylaterpointed out; itisprobable that thenameshouldbeBeatty,againstwhomhedidgiveevidence.WhetherScully's ">others"wasmeant toincludeMcPhersonisunexplained,but itseemsunlikely, inview of hiscommentsabout theway inwhich theevidenceagainstMcPhersonwasrigged.)

>Thatleaves ahardcore ofFagin,Teen, andHamilton, and thepossibility ofsomedegree ofparticipation orknowledge on thepart ofBeatty,Glynn andMcPherson. Theothersaredefinitely out.Andnowwearegettingcloser to thetruth.

>Howwas theframe-uporganised? Ibelievewhathappenedwasthis.DetectiveMoorewas thepoliceexpert onsubversiveactivities.InJuly,hehiredJoeBrown tospy on theIWWforhim;early inAugust,Brownreportedtalk ofarson inIWWcircles.AboutAugust 21,DetectiveFergussonwasassigned toassistMoore Mooresaid "ininquiriesabout theIWW";Fergussonsaid "onmilitaryinquiries andGermaninquiries", anddenied thathewasinvestigating ">fires oranythinglike that".

>DespiteFergusson'sdisclaimer, itseemslikely thatMooretoldhimabout thewhispersreportedbyJoeBrown.Fergussonthought of hisfriend,MacMcAlister,whomheknew tobe awharfie ofstrongleft-wingsympathies (>althoughhedenied thatheknewMcAlister tobeanIWWsympathiser).FergussonaskedMcAlisterfor information;McAlistersaid thattherewererumoursaround thewaterfrontaboutIWWincendiarism;Fergussonaskedformore andperhapsatthispointoffered toputMcAlister on thepayrollasaninformer.McAlisterwasalready on theIWWrolls,althoughhewasunfinancial;buthewasnot aparticularlyactivemember, andwascertainlynot atrustedmember of theinnercircle.However,helikedgrog and money, and, inScully'sphrase,hewas ">tired ofhardwork". Hefell inwithFergusson'sproposal.

>McAlisterobligedwith a storyabout amysteriousRussiannamed ">Androvitch" whowasallegedly thesource ofsupplyforfire-dope. (">Androvitch"wasneverfound, andprobablyneverseen,despite thepolicestoriesabouthuntingforhimnight andday.)

>McAlistermayalsohavesaidatthistime,ashe and thepoliceclaimed, that a mannamed ">Andrew"hadfirstpromisedhim, andthensuppliedhimwith,somefire-dope.Butthiscannotbe takenasestablished.Sofaras Icandiscover,thereisnodocumentaryevidencefor theexistence of ">Andrew"beforeSeptember 17;noristhereanydocument toestablish theexistence of thebottle offire-dopewhichMcAlisterwassaid tohavereceivedfrom ">Andrew" onSeptember 4before theGovernmentAnalyst'sreport ofSeptember 21.Unfortunately,asdiscussedearlier, all thedocumentswhichmighthaveprovided contemporarysupportforthesevitalpieces ofevidencehadbeenlost.

>Whatever thetruth ofthis, thepolicecertainlywantedmoreevidence, andMcAlisterset out toprovide it. Heproduced the story of thedrawing oflots,whichintroduced thefictitiouscharacter ofMahony. Thepolicesaid thathegavethemthis story onSeptember 7,butonceagaintherewasnoindependentdocumentaryevidenceforthis itwasmissing.However, thepoliceprovidedconfirmatoryevidencewithDetectiveLeary's story ofshadowingMcAlister andTomMooreawayfrom theIWWrooms onSeptember 7, andoverhearingMooresay toMcAlister that ">twelve of thebastardsmustbeletgotogether".This storywasconcoctedbyMcAlister and thepolice.Thereisabsolutelynoevidence toconnectanyone of theTwelve orindeedanyoneelse _`51;withany of thetwelveunsuccessfulfireswhichoccurredbetweenSeptember 8 and 12.Itseemsunlikely that thesuccessfulfires ofJune,July andAugust andtheseunsuccessfulattemptscould allhavebeen thework of thesamemen,forwhyshould thearsonistshavelosttheirskill?Whatthenhadhappened?

Thefact that, of all the businesspremises inSydney, thepolicewarnedonlyfour of thedanger ofarson, and that ofthese twowere thescenes ofunsuccessfulfires,suggests thatthiswholeseriesmayhavebeen apoliceprovocation,designed tobolster acase thatwasstilllacking insubstance.However,MrShandarguedpersuasivelybeforeMrJusticeStreet thatthiswouldhaveinvolved agraverisk ofseriousfires, andprovocationcouldthereforenotbeconsidered.

Theevidence ofHarryScullysuggestedanotherexplanation. Heclaimed thatJoeFaginhadtoldhim thatfifty ormorelots offire-dopehadbeendistributedamongtrustedmembers of theIWW on Sunday,September 3.Itispossible thatthiswas adefectivebatch ofdope, and that thedopesodistributedwasplantedwithouteffect onvariouspremises thefollowing weekend. (>Itisalsopossible thatMcAlister'sconcoctionabout >Androvitch, andperhaps >Andrew,wasdesigned toprovideanacceptableexplanationfor abottle offire-dopewhichhehadacquiredwithguiltyintent onSeptember 3.)

>Howeverthismayhavebeen, theforgerycasegave thepolicetheirfirst reallever.

>DavisGoldsteinfinanced theforgeries and thepolicehadevidence ofthis. Hehadbeenanofficial of theIWW andwasstill asupporter;hewaswellknown to andtrustedby theleadingmembers of theorganisation.HisbrotherLouiswasnot aWobbly,butcouldbeused toputpressure onDavis. Thepolicelet itbeknown that a dealwaspossible.Louiscrackedeasily;hewasready togiveevidence,butknewnothing.However,hepersuaded hisreluctantbrother totalk.Davisprovided thefirstsolidevidence ofincendiarism:heacquired abottle offire-dopefromJackHamilton. (>Inorder tostrengthen hisevidence onthis, thepolicelaterconcocted a story thatHamiltonhadhanded thedopeover in thestreet.)

>Bynow, theconscriptioncampaignwaswellunderway. ThePrimeMinisterhadbeeninformed ofwhatwasgoing on (thatis, thatarsonwassuspected,not that aframe-upwasbeingprepared), andwaspressingforquickaction.Sowas the NewSouthWalesGovernment. Theturningpointseems tohavebeenSeptember 20, theday onwhichMcAlisterfinallyagreed thathewouldgiveevidence.Itwas onthisday thatMcAlister'sevidencewastidied up andperhaps >Andrewwascreated,although the CrownSolicitorstillhad >Andrew and >Androvitchconfused twodayslater.

>On the nextday,September 21, thepolicesent theMcAlister-Andrewdope (>whichallegedlyhadbeen intheirhandssinceSeptember 5) and theGoldstein-Hamiltondope (>whichtheyhadreceived onSeptember 15) to theGovernmentAnalyst.

>On thefollowingday, the CrownSolicitordrew awarrantfor thearrest ofHamilton (theonlyoneagainstwhomtherewasanystrongevidence butDavisGoldsteinhadnotyetagreed tobecome awitness),Glynn (>accusedbyGoldstein ofconfessingIWWresponsibility),Moore (>framedbyMcAlister),Larkin,Reeve andGrant (>includedpresumablybecausetheywereprominentmembers of theorganisation; thepoliceevidence ofdemonstrations offire-settingbyLarkin andReevewasconcocted, andtherewasnootherseriousevidenceagainstthem); Morgan (>no-onehadevernamedhimasanarsonist;hewaspresumably inas abail-jumper); and forgoodmeasure thefictitiousAndrovitch andMahony (>althoughnot >Andrew). TheIWWroomswereraided the nextday, andGlynn,Reeve,Larkin andHamiltonwerearrested.Among thepapersseizedwere themembershiplists and theincriminatingletterswhichReevehadwritten to Morgan in 1915.McPhersonwasarrested onanentirelydifferentcharge, andBesantbecausetherewassomecottonwasteabout in theprint-shopwherehewasworking.

>Moore andGrantwerepicked upsomedayslater. Thecottonwasteallegedlyfound inMoore'sboxis ofdoubtfulvalidity; itmaywellhavebeenplanted.Grantwasarrested inBrokenHill; theindictmentsuggests that thepolicehoped totaxhimwith theburning ofsomewheatstacks.

>On thesameday thatthiswarrantwasissued,DavisGoldsteinprovided thepolicewiththeir secondstrongpiece ofevidence:Fagin'sadmission thathewasinvolved in thefires, and thatScullyhadbeensupplying thechemicals.

>Davis andLouisbothreportedadmissionsbyTeen;Davis'evidencemayhavebeen inparttrue,butthereisgravedoubtaboutLouis.

>WithScully on thehook, theframewasalmostcomplete.Scullywasvulnerablebecausehewasanaccomplice inarson. Helearnedfrom hisemployer,Cole, thathewasunderobservation, andhedecided toturnKing'sevidence.At thesametimehewarnedFagin of thedangertheywere in andtried torecover thephosphorushehadsupplied toFagin. Thepolicepickedhim up on themorning ofSeptember 30, andhemade astatementimplicatingHamilton,Fagin,Teen andBeatty. (Thepolicewerealreadygettingready tomoveagainstFagin andTeen:nowtheyhad awarrantissuedforthese two, andaddedBeatty.)But thecasestillneededexpanding.Anunidentifiedpersonwasinstructed toplantsomefire-dope onTeen andDavisGoldsteinwasinstructed toleadTeen to a spotwherehecouldbearrested. >Andsomeonewasinstructed toplantsomedope inFagin'sgladstonebag. Thedopewasplanted, thearrestsweremade, and thecasewascomplete.

Theconscriptioncampaignwasmovingtowardsitsclimax, and itwasimportant toget thecaseintocourtsoas tosecure themaximumpropagandaeffect.McAlister andScullyhadalreadyagreed togiveevidence,but theGoldsteinswereholding out.LouisGoldsteinhadbeendischarged on theforgerychargeat thepreliminaryhearing,butDaviswasstill injeopardy.Louiswasdemanding that the Crownshouldwithdraw theproceedingsagainstDavis,too,but the Crownwantedtheirevidencefirst.FinallyGoldsteingave inseveraldaysafter thepreliminaryhearingopened. The Crownrewardedhimwith a >nolleprosequi.

>Ingaol,while thetrialwas on,JackHamiltonblamedhimselffor theplight of hisfellowworkers. Heoffered toconfess andtake thewholeresponsibility.Butsolidaritytriumphed, and theothermenrefused.

>Itwas agoodframe. Theconscriptionistsgottheirpropagandatriumph (>buttheydidnotwintheirreferendum). The Crowngotitsconviction. Theprisonersgottheirfive tofifteenyears.

>Itwas agoodframe toogoodfor thedefence tocrack and itwouldhavestuckbutfor theconsciences ofScully andDavisGoldstein.Neitherwas happyabout hispart in theaffair.Scullyhad agrievanceover thedistribution of thereward.Goldsteinhad agrievanceoverMorgan'sbail and hisfailure in theWyongpub.

>ErnieJuddhadbeenappointedby the NewSouthWalesLaborCouncil toinvestigate thewholeaffair;whenbeapproachedScully,Scullyopened up. Thecasehadbeenframed, andsixatleast of theTwelvewereinnocent.Fromthere,Juddwent toDavisGoldstein, whosaid thateight of theTwelvewereinnocent andprovidedmoredetails of theframe.

>ScullyhadalsotoldJudd that hisfriendDetectiveSurridgewasprepared totalk, andJuddactuallyinterviewedSurridge (>thoughwithoutresult).ItmayhavebeenfromSurridge that thepolicelearnedwhatwasafoot, ortheymayhavehadJuddunderobservation.

>Theydid a dealwithScully, andsmuggledhim out of thecountry.ButJuddgotwind ofthis, andspilled the storythroughBrookfield, in the NewSouthWalesParliament. TheGovernmentwascaughtflat-footed, andagreed to theOppositiondemandforaninquiry,but limiteditsterms to theallegationsagainst thepolice.TheyarrangedforScully tobebroughtbackfromSanFrancisco toSydney.

>Meanwhile, thepolicecommissionedLouisGoldstein tofind outwhat hisbrotherwas up to.Louisreported thatDavis,too,had >sung toJudd.SoDetectivePaulingwent towork onDavis and,at the lastminute,convincedhim thathewouldhave torecant. Theimpressiononegets ofDavisGoldsteinis thathewasafraid of thepolice, and itislikely thathewasthreatenedwith acharge ofperjuryifhedidnotrepudiate hisconfession.Howeverthismayhavebeen, thepolicepressurewassuccessful.Before theStreetCommission,DavisGoldsteinrepudiatedeverypart of hisconfession, andswore thathehadconcocted it out ofmaliceagainst thedetectives and adesireforrevenge.SimilarlywithScully just how andwhen thedetectivesprevaileduponhim on hisreturnfromSanFranciscoisunknown,buttheysucceeded. Hedidnotrepudiate hisconfessioncompletelybuthequalified italmost out ofexistence.

>MrJusticeStreetfoundhimselfquiteunable tobelieve that thepolicewouldframe acase oreven thattheywouldembroider agoodcase tomake itbetter. Heruled outcompletely theconfessions ofScully andDavisGoldstein, andside-stepped all theotherevidence ofpolicecorruption that thedefencehadsopainstakinglyamassed. Theframestood.Of theTwelve,three,perhapsfour,hadbeeninvolved inarson orpreparationsforarson (>although the Crowncaseagainst theTwelvewaslargelyfaked andborelittleresemblance toanything thatthesethree orfourhaddone); theothereight orninehadcertainlynotbeeninvolved andprobablyhadnoknowledge ofwhattheirfellow-workershadbeenplanning anddoing.But alltwelveremained ingaol.

>Thereislittlemore totell.DavisGoldsteinhadleftAustraliabefore theEwingCommission;after it,LouisGoldsteindroppedquietly (andoneimaginesgratefully) out ofsight.HarryScullyresistedfurtherpolicepressure toleave thecountry, andfinallysucceeded infindinganotherjobas achemist;hedied ofmeningitis twomonthsbeforeCharlieReevewasfreed.HenryBootelived along andhonourable lifeaspoet,labourjournalist andradicalpropagandist;hediedsomeyearsafter theSecond WorldWar.

ThedogmaswhichhadhobbledErnieJuddas aleader of theSocialistLaborParty, in thedaysbeforehewasswept up in thegreat masscampaignsfor theOneBig Union and theRelease of theTwelve,returned inevengreaterstrength;heended hisdaysas acantankerousstumporator,preaching thetruths of DeLeonism to adwindlinghandful of theconverted.TomMutchlate in lifebecameinterested inhistory andgenealogy;unfortunately, hispapers in theMitchellLibrarycontainfewreminders of thedayswhen his worldwaswide.Jock Gardenbecame aleadingpropagandistforJack Lang in thehecticyears of thedepression and the "LangPlan";later,hewasdiscreditablyinvolved (>whenactingassecretary to aFederalLaborMinister) in ascandalinvolvingtimberleases in NewGuinea.TomBarkerworkedforsometimeforvariousSovietagencies;eventuallyhesettled in London.After WorldWar IIhebecame aLabourcouncillor in theborough ofStPancras (and,aged 77,stillwasat thetime ofwriting). Hewas theonly LordMayor torefuse towear themayoralrobes, and ononeoccasionscandalised theLaborPartybyflying theRedFlagover theStPancrasTownHall.On themorning ofMarch 22, 1921,while King andReevewerestill ingaol,JackBrookfieldstepped off theBrokenHillexpressatRiverton,where thetrainhadstoppedforbreakfast. ARussiannamedTomayevranamok on theplatform andfired offforty-oneshotsfrom arevolver,scattering thecrowd.Brookfield and apoliceconstablerushedTomayev;Brookfieldgot twobullets in thestomach, anddied thatevening inAdelaidehospital.Tomayevlatersaid probablyfalsely thathehadbeenpaid100 tokillBrookfield. ThepoetMaryGilmorewrote:

>Tell itabroad,tell itabroad,Tell itbychapel andsteeple,How, in theheight of hismanlyprime,Brookfielddiedfor thepeople.

>Of theTwelve,mosthadhadtheirfill ofnotoriety, andwere happy toabandon public life.Theyoncemorebecameworkers, andprobablyactiveunionists,buttheyleftnofurthermark on thehistory ofAustralianlabour.Therewerethreeexceptions. ACommunistPartywasformed inAustralia inOctober 1920,threemonthsafter thefirstten of theIWWmenwerefreed.Jock Gardenwas aleadingmember. TheCommunist Internationalat thetimewasseeking todraw thesyndicalistrevolutionaries of theIWWintoitsranks.TomGlynn andJ.B. KingbecameCommunists, andGlynn thefirsteditor of theparty'spaper.But theideologicaldifferencesweretoogreat; ayearlater,Glynn and Kingbrokewith theCommunists,formed theIndustrial UnionPropagandaLeague, andbegan torepublish DirectAction. Atemporaryrapprochementfollowed a >unityconferenceatwhich theCommunistsagreed torecognise theIUPLas theAustraliansection of theRed International ofLaborUnions, aCominternaffiliate.Butthisdidnot lasteither, andGlynn and Kingfinallybrokewith theCommunistParty inMarch 1922.Theirsyndicalistventuredidnotprosper. Kingworkedfor atime in Russia,butreturneddisillusionedwith thefailure of theBolsheviks torealisetheirearlierslogan of ">industry to thetoilers whoworktherein".

>DonaldGrant,too,threwhimselfintorevolutionarypolitics. Threeweeksafter hisreleasefromgaol,hewasback on theSydneyDomain,preachingwith all hisoldfire thathe ">hopedbeforelong toestablish abigorganisation ofrebels in thecountry,anorganisation thatwouldrevolutionise thepresentsocialsystem. HesaidMrJusticePring,MrLamb andothersweretrue totheirclassbut theworkerswerenot. ... Aclasswarwouldhave tobefought the worldover, and itwouldhave tobefought to thebitter end,evenif thestreets of thecities of the worldweredrenchedwith theblood of theworkers".

Hecontinued toagitatefor the revolutionforsomeyears,butfinallyhemade hispeacewithparliamentarypolitics, andbecame aLaborSenator. The last of theTwelve,DonaldGrant,at thetime ofwritingwasliving inquietretirement inSydney.Therewasstill theclearbluegazeinto thefuture, theScotsburr and thefieryturn ofphrase, thepride ofbearing thatmadehim ahero of histime,but hisvoicewasnolongerraised.

>Whatmade themen whoplayedtheirparts intheseextraordinaryevents thepolice and theWobblies actastheydid?

>Itisalmostimpossible todigthrough apile ofpolicedocuments to theminds of theindividualmenbehindthem.Policemenaretrained toreport informalofficialese, andthereislittle in thepolicereports ofanythingelse.In theIWWfiles,thosereportswhichconcerned politicalactivitiesshowedlittlesense ofdiscriminationabout thefinerdistinctions of politicalideas andorganisations.Therewereonly thebroaddivisions theconservatives, whowerebeyondobservation andabovesuspicion,for itwasonly changewhichwassuspicious; theLaborParty,whose publicpropagandistactivitiessometimescameunderpolicesurvey andsome ofwhosemembersmightfallinto thecategory of >doubtfuls; and theradicals andrevolutionaries, whowereonebigbundle ofsinister anddangerouselements whomustbewatched. Thereportslackedhumanunderstanding,theywerenotconcernedwithsituations ormotives,butwithacts.

>Nonehad theslightesttouch ofhumour;theywere alldeadpan.[8] >Whatthendoesemergefromthesefiles? Aconservatism thatwasquick tosuspectradicalagitation andanti-patriotism, and toassociatethesewithmoralturpitude andcrime. Amoralism thatwasquick todenouncecriminality inconventionallyloadedphrases.Itisnowonder that thepolicewerealarmed andaffrontedby theIWW.

>Howdidthisconservatism andmoralismgetalongwith thecorruption andmalpracticewhichundoubtedlyexisted in theforce?Onceagain,therearenodirectclues.Onemustassume thatmanymembers of theforceapplied adoublestandard thattheythought ofthemselvesnotonlyaslaw-enforcersfor the communityatlarge,butaslaw-makersforthemselves.Forevenwhentheywereclearly in thewrongtheyshowednosign ofrecognising it.And,with astrongsense ofsolidarity,whenonewasaccused hisfellowscovered up.

>Perhapsthiscamefrom asense ofembattlement, of thelaw-enforcers incontinuouswarwiththose whobreak thelaw.Waris adirty business: theopponentrespectsnorules;sohemustbefoughtwith hisownweapons.Ifheisguilty,thenhemustpay evenif hisguiltcannotbeestablishedbyuntaintedevidence.Andif acrimehasbeencommitted,butnoguiltcanbeestablished,thensomeonemustpay.Thereis apotentialcriminalforeverycrime. Thepreservation ofsocietydemandsnoless. Thepoliceareforcedbytheirsituation todowrong thatrightmaycome.

>Nevertheless, toframe acomplicatedcasedemandscarefulthought andmeticulousplanning.Thisisnotsomething thatcanbedoneeveryday itmustbekeptforimportantoccasions,aswas thetrial of theIWWTwelve.Herepersonaldistaste and politicalenvironmentcombined toencourage thepolice toact. Thehope ofpersonalgainwasprobablynot amajormotive;ratherthiswasseenas ajob that, in thesituation,had tobedone.

>Between thepoliceforce andthose whosupervised anddirectedtheirwork in theGovernment andthose whojudged itfrom thebench,therewas acomplexrelation.Itwas thejob of thepolice todowhattheyhad todo andthenconceal it; itwas thejob oftheir political andjudicialsuperiors topretend thatthiswasnotdone.Butthiswasanunacknowledgedagreement.Lawenforcementisbased onviolence; italmostnecessarilyinvolvesmalpractice; andmany ofthose whotakepart in itaretouchedbycorruption.Yetnone ofthiscanbeadmittedbyGovernment orBench,because todosowouldbe toundermineaninstitution onwhich the power ofjudges andpoliticiansdepends.

>Between thepolice and theWobblies,therewas thatstrangelove-haterelationship ofwhichDostoyevskywrote.Theywere insuchclosecontact,theyknewoneanothersowell,eachsidewaspreoccupiedwith theother'splans andmotives andactions:thisveryintimacymadehateimpossible.Yettheystartedfromoppositepremises,theyserveddifferentgods.Andsotherewas anexusbetweenthemwhichcouldnotbedissolved,forthereisnothingmorecentral tothought andemotionthanone'sclosestenemies.Each mandestroysthosewhomheloves andlovesthosewhomhemustdestroy.

>What of theWobblies?Like thepolice,theyweretheirownlaw-makers,butfrommoreclearlydefinedpremises.For therevolutionary,societyissomething thatisexternal tohim,operatingagainsthim inanoppressive andexploitativeway. Thelawhasnosanctity initsownright; itisnotdivinelyordained, andanything thatismadeby manmaybeunmade.Yetmostrevolutionarieslivewithin thelaw perhapsbecausetheyfear thepersonalconsequences;perhapsbecausetheyaccept thatevenanunjustsocietyisbetter thatnosocietyat all, and that changemustcomebypersuasionratherthanpersonaldefiance.

>Butsomedonot, andamongthesewere theWobblies.Theymadecontemptfor thelaw away of life;forthem,thiskind ofdirectactionwas theessence ofrevolutionarybehaviour.Yet itwasstill alongstepfromstriking, orspeakingfrom astreetcornersoapbox orsellingnewspapers indefiance of thelaw, to thephysicaldestruction ofproperty or life.

>Whatmakes a man anihilist? fortherewas ahandful ofnihilists inAustralia.Anger,impatience,lack offaith whatever itis, itbitesdeepintomen'ssouls, andleadsthem todestroy thesymbols ofinjusticetheyseearoundthem,believing thatbydestroying thesymbolstheyaredestroyinginjusticeitself.

>Yettheywerenotordinarycriminals.Theydestroyednotforthemselvesbutfor allmen,notforgreed orspitebutfor adream.Thatiswhymencame totheirdefence evenmen whoknew thattheywerewrong forbeneaththeirerror andtheirdestructionwerehumanhearts. Thetragedy of theAustraliannihilistswas thatwhattheyfinallydestroyedwasthemselves and thecausetheysought toadvance.

TheWobbliesharbouredthiselement ofnihilismbecausetheywere alooselydisciplinedorganisationwithanundevelopedideology,becausetheyrepudiated thelaw intheory andcouldnotseewhy itshouldberespected inpractice,because thesyndicalistUtopiatheypreachedhadmuch in commonwithanarchism, andbecause the >propaganda of thedeedhasalwaysbeenonepart ofanarchism.

TheWobblieshadbeenborn ofviolence thenaked,brutalviolence of thewar of the Americanclasses.Theyhadlivedunder thetorment ofinjustice andbitterhate.And afew ofthemhadcome tolivebyviolence andhate.Buttheirmovementwasmuchmorethanthis, andalthough itwasasabhorrent torespectabletradeunionleaders andLaborpoliticiansas toemployers andconservatives, itwasenormouslyattractive tomany.Itsmembershad acourage, adedication, and ahumour thatwererare in thelabourmovement.Itspromise of afuture inwhichworkingmenendedtheirexploitation andalienationbytaking tothemselves theindustriestheyworked, anddecidingamongthemselves thedistribution oftheirproduct,gavehope tomanyminds andhearts.So thatwhenentrenchedconservatism and thewhole power of the Statesought tocrushthismovementbyassimilating it to theactions andplans ofitstinynihilist minority,thereweretens ofthousands whocame toitsdefence.Conservatism,byover-reachingitself,succeeded indoingwhatnihilismwasunable todo toconvertcriminalityinto theclasswar;forwhatradicalspiritcouldresist thecryfrom thedepths of amovementwhosememberssangasiftheymeant it:

>When theUnion'sinspirationthrough theworkers'bloodshallrun,Therecanbeno powergreateranywherebeneath thesun.Yetwhatforce on earthisweakerthan thefeeblestrength ofone?But the Unionmakesusstrong.

>Isthereaughtwe hold in commonwith thegreedyparasite Whowouldlashusintoserfdom andwouldcrushuswith hismight?Isthereanythingleftforusbut toorganise andfight?For the Unionmakesusstrong.

>Theyhave takenuntoldmillions thathavenevertoiled toearnButwithoutourbrain andmusclenot asinglewheelcanturn,Wecanbreaktheirhaughty power,gainourfreedomwhenwelearnThat the Unionmakesusstrong.

>Inourhandsisplaced a powergreaterthantheirhoardedgold,Greaterthan themight ofarmiesmagnified athousandfold,Wecanbring tobirth the new worldfrom theashes of theold,For the Unionmakesusstrong.


>Notes:

 

1. Theingredientswere commonenough in thebush:phosphoruswasusedforpoisoningrabbits, andcarbonbi-sulphide intanninghides.Asevidence that thetactic ofincendiarismwasnotunknown in thebush,comparethiscoupletfrom abushrangerballad of the1880s: ">IfpoorDan Morganiscold in theclay, Hehas twofriendscalledBryant andMay"; andthisdescription of "thepresentsocialsystem ofpastoralAustralia",fromJosephFurphys >Rigby'sRomance: "apatriarchaldespotism,temperedbyBryant andMay".

2.Thereissome-thoughnotverysatisfactory-evidenceforthis.Demandinganinquiry inParliament inJuly 1918,T.D.Mulchsaid: Thetrialswerehurried on; and Iask that the RoyalCommissionshall ...ferret out thetelegramswhichpassedbetween the State CrownLawDepartment and theFederalAttorney-General'sDepartmentwith aview tobringing onthesetrialsatanearlierperiodthanwouldotherwisebe thecase. ...wewantproduced thetelegram thatMrHughessent, and thetelegramwhich, Iunderstand, theAttorney-Generalsent. TheAttorney-Generaldeniedanysuchexchange.Mutchretorted: Ihave it on theauthority of a man whois in a publicoffice. ... Iaminformed thattelegramsdidpassbetweenSydney andMelbourne.

>AndDavisGoldstein, in hisstatutorydeclaration ofJuly 18, 1918,said that,whenhehadexpresseddoubtsabout thewisdom of theprojectedraid on theIWWheadquarters onSeptember 23, 1916, >Turbet ...replied thatinstructions,coupledwithrequestsfromMelbourne,were to theeffect that theraidwas totakeplaceimmediately and that ">somethingmustbedone".

Ididnotdiscoveranysuchexchanges orinstructions in the NewSouthWalesfiles Iexamined;this,however,doesnotproveconclusively thatnoexchangestookplace.Goldsteindenied thatTurbethadtoldhimaboutanyinstructionscomingfrom theCommonwealthGovernment;howeverMrBoyce,Goldstein'scounsel,recalled thatatoneconference probably onSeptember 25 Goldsteinhadcomplained that thepolicebadactedtooquickly; thatiftheycouldhavewaited alittlelongertheywouldhavebagged thelot.

ThePrimeMinister'sinterestmightperhapsbeestablishedbyanentry inDetectiveLeary'sdiaryforOctober 1: >Interviewing thePrimeMinister whowasdesirous ofcommunicatingwith theInspector-General ofPolice.Learysaid inevidence that hisvisit to thePrimeMinisterhadnothing todowith theIWWcase but itwasrecorded in hisnotebook in themiddle of thepagesdealingwith thecase.

3. Thefact that thefirstmention of thename >Andrewseems tohaveappeared insome of thedetectives'diaries acouple ofdaysbeforethisdoesnotnecessarilyinvalidate thesuggestion all thedetectivesagreed thattheyoftenwrote uptheirdiariesdaysafter theevent.On theotherhand, >Andrewwasfirstmentioned inFergusson'sdiary onthisday.

4.Besantwassuspected ofparticipation in theforgeries.Perhapshewaspicked upbecause thepolicehadbeenunable tomakethisstick.

5.ThiscouldhavebeendonebyDavisGoldstein,TomPope, orone of thepolice.

6.ThiscouldhavebeendonebyTomPope orone of thepolice. (Ishouldmake itclear that IamnotaccusingPope offramingTeen orFagin; Iammerelystating that, on theface of theevidence, itwas apossibilitywhichboreinvestigation.To thecontrary,Pope'sdemeanourbeforeMrJusticeStreetwas that of agenuinemembers of theIWW, and itwashe whotookresponsibilityforsupplying theprisonerswiththeirmealswhiletheywereawaitingtrial.)

7.Afterthiswaswritten, IlearnedfromMessrs W.Sutton andJ. Harris of theQueenslandbranch of theLaborHistorySociety thatBillBeattywasalsoalive andliving inBrisbane.MessrsSutton and HarrisrecordedBillBeatty'sreminiscences;theseappear in >LabourHistory,November 1967,butaddlittle tothisrecord.

8.Almost theonlyexceptionwas asidecomment inDetectiveLeary'snotebook,datedOctober 9, 1916: >Goodstufffor anovel.


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