Gangsters for Capitalism

 Street Bombing: Propaganda of the Deed

On September 16th, 1920, a horse-drawn wagon carrying 100 pounds of dynamite and 500 pounds of cast iron weights pulled up outside the offices of JP Morgan Bank at 23 Wall Street in New York City. The driver set a timer and then disappeared into the crowd. The bomb detonated, causing massive damage to the bank and knocking a trolley off its tracks several blocks away. 

The bombing on Wall Street was part of a larger revolutionary strategy known as “Propaganda by the Deed”. This strategy was first used during the Paris Commune in 1871. During the Paris Commune, two million people established worker cooperatives and elected delegates to represent them. This experiment was brutally crushed by French soldiers, who killed tens of thousands of Parisians. 

In the aftermath of the Paris Commune, many of the survivors and their families fled to London. There, they met with other exiles from across Europe and began to plot their revenge. One of their leaders was a man named Carlo Pisacane. Pisacane believed that the only way to spark a revolution was through acts of violence. He and his followers would carry out bombings and assassinations in an effort to terrorize the ruling class and prompt them to abandon their power.

The Wall Street Bombing was one of the most high-profile terrorist attacks in Pisacane’s campaign. The media coverage of the bombing helped to spread Pisacane’s message across the United States. 

How “Propaganda by the Deed” Works

The goal of “propaganda by the deed” is to inspire others to take up arms and overthrow the government. The theory is that if enough people are willing to die for the cause, then victory is possible. In some cases, these acts of violence are intended to trigger a general uprising. In other cases, they are simply meant to sow terror and chaos. 

“Propaganda by the deed” reached its peak in the late 19th century, when groups like the Russian anarchists fought against Tsarist autocracy. These groups believed that society could only be transformed through violence. They carried out bombings and assassinations in an effort to destabilize the government and incite revolution. 

The most famous proponent of “propaganda by the deed” was probably Italian anarchist Luigi Galleani. From 1914 to 1932, Galleani’s followers carried out a series of bombings and assassination attempts in the United States. Their targets included banks, government buildings, and prominent businessmen. 

The Wall Street Bombing 

The Wall Street bombing was one of the most high-profile acts of political violence in American history. The bomber remains unknown to this day, although it is believed that they were associated with Galleani’s group. The attack killed 38 people and injured 400 more. It also caused an estimated $2 million in damage (approximately $26 million in today’s money).

In the aftermath of the bombing, anarchism fell out of favor as a political ideology. Many Americans came to see anarchists as terrorists, and this reputation has followed them to this day. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in anarchist ideas among young people who are disillusioned with capitalism and frustrated with traditional forms of political engagement. 

The Wall Street bombing was one brutal act committed as part of a larger terrorist campaign waged by Italian anarchist Luigi Galleani and his followers. Though anarchism has seen something of a resurgence in recent years among those who are disaffected with capitalism, it remains largely discredited as an ideology due to its association with violence and terrorism.”

By Derrick Aitken

I am the Publisher of Visceral Wisdom, I am currently finishing the last year of my undergraduate degree in Psychology, with a minor in Human Resource Management. Compassion and understanding are so important to me, I love volunteering and helping others. One of the most enjoyable things I get to do is work with LGBTQ youth as a Crisis Counselor.

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