August Spies

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August Spies, 1887

August Vincent Theodore Spies (December 10, 1855November 11, 1887) was an American upholsterer, radical labor activist, and newspaper editor. Spies is remembered as one of the anarchists in Chicago who were found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder following a bomb attack on police in an event remembered as the Haymarket affair. Spies was one of four who were executed in the aftermath of this event.


  • Anarchism does not mean bloodshed; it does not mean robbery, arson, etc. These monstrosities are, on the contrary, the characteristic features of capitalism. Anarchism, or Socialism, means the re-organization of society upon scientific principles and the abolition of causes which produce vice and crime.
    • Spies (1887 cited in: Lucy Eldine Parsons, August Vincent Theodore Spies (1969) Famous Speeches of the Eight Chicago Anarchists. p. 22
  • We did not want bloodshed, for we are not bandits. We would not be socialists, if we were bandits. /.../ When the preacher of the truth meets the death penalty, well - proud and defiant, I will pay the price.
  • The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today.
    • Cited in: Kenneth G. Alfers (1993) America's second century: readings in United States history since 1877. p. 43

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