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November 11 - Catholic Worker odds & ends
October 11th, 2006
01:38 pm


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November 11

Most people think of Armistice Day, the end of WWI, when Nov. 11th is mentioned.

Now with continuous war and WWII in the offing they do not have the nerve to call it Armistice Day. This protest walk is to protest the aggressive war we are making toward the peasants of Vietnam and also to give the historical meaning of November 11th.

For Catholics it is the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours, who died on Nov.11, 397. He was a pacifist who refused to take a soldier's bonus from Caesar, saying that he would appear before the enemy in battle in the morning without sword or shield. The enemy surrendered without a fight the next morning and the fame of Martin, who became the bishop of Tours, grew all over France.

It was on Nov. 11, 1887 that the Haymarket Martyrs were hanged in Chicago. This was because of their advocacy of the eight hour day at the International Harvester plant where guards and police had killed strikers in May of 1886. The law did not try to capture Rudolph Schnaubel, who is supposed to have thrown the bomb at Haymarket Square, but in traditional fashion upheld the status of the employer. Albert Parsons, August Spies, Aldolph Fischer and George Engel were hanged. Louis Lingg had either committed suicide or was murdered by the police a few days before. It was Spies who said on the scaffold: "There will come a time when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today." And it was Parsons, who was five hundred miles away from the bombing and who gave himself up to be tried with his comrades and who refused a pardon, who said: "Caesar kept me awake until late at night with the noise (music) of his hammers creating his throne, my scaffold."

It was on Nov. 11, 1919 that Wesley Everest, a WWI veteran and a Wobbly, was brutally murdered by the American Legion.

So today is truly the day of Catholic pacifists and the Haymarket anarchists, as well as Veterans' Day.

Ammon Hennacy
Salt Lake City, Utah

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