From the point of view of labor, the May 1 labor demonstration was a great success, as hundreds of thousands of workers across trades nationally, and tens of thousands in Chicago, lay down their tools. Among many demonstrations in the city was a parade along Michigan Avenue, with Albert Parsons as one of its leaders. These demonstrations took place without serious incident. But such events would make the anarchist leaders marked men when violence did break out three days later in the Haymarket. The Chicago Mail of May 1 told its readers that any turmoil that lay ahead should be attributed to Parsons and Spies.
“Mark them for today,” an editorial warned. “Hold them responsible for any trouble that occurs. Make an example of them if trouble does occur.”
The sounds of this battle drew others from the Lumber Shovers' meeting, including Spies, to the scene. What he saw appalled him. “Well, as a matter of course,” Spies recalled at the trial, “my blood was boiling, and I think in that moment I could have done almost anything, seeing men, women and children fired upon, people who were not armed fired upon by policemen.” He hastily returned to his office in the Arbeiter-Zeitung building, where he poured his outrage into a deliberately inflammatory bilingual broadside exhorting laborers to stand up like men to their murderous oppressors. He titled this broadside “Workingmen to Arms!”, but the person who set the text in type had, without asking Spies, added the heading, in full capitals, “REVENGE.”
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