The Trajectory of Political Policing in the United States, 1870 to the Present

Ward Churchill

University of Colorado

By 1940 [FBI Director J. Edgar] Hoover was the country's leading law enforcement officer. Much of what Hoover had done for the public and the police, however, had been done earlier by Allan Pinkerton and his two sons. Murray Kempton believed that Allan Pinkerton had invented most of the devices used by Hoover. The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation "found the tablets already engraved; no further exercise was demanded of him except some tracing at the edges."
—Frank Morn, The Eye That Never Sleeps

On 26 october 2001, president george w. bush signed the so-called USA PATRIOT Act—the title is actually an acronym standing for "Uniting and Strengthening of America by Providing Appropriate Tools to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism"—thereby initiating what has been called "the most sweeping revocation of constitutional rights [and] civil liberties in the history of the United States."1 Usually referred to simply as "the Patriot Act," [End Page 1] the new law has been subjected to a range of substantive and often bitter critiques, most of them centering on the premise that, while it offers little by way of securing the country against the ravages of genuine terrorism, it provides a veritable carte blanche to domestic elites avid to preserve their own positions of power and privilege through the placement of arbitrary and generally severe constraints upon the range of activities/expression allowed dissident or "unruly" sectors of the body politic.2

Given that one of the better means of apprehending the implications inherent to a current phenomenon is to view it through the lens presented by analogous historical contexts, it is entirely appropriate that significant time and energy has been devoted to exploring the evolution of the Patriot Act out of what has come to be known as the "COINTELPRO Era" of FBI political repression during the period 1956-1971.3 By the same token, of course, it is appropriate to peel the onion further, examining the antecedents of COINTELPRO, demonstrating its foundation in the post-World War II "Second Red Scare" period,4 for instance, and, earlier still, the post-World War I Red Scare, which gave rise to such little-remembered horrors as the Palmer Raids,5 the IWW trials,6 and the then-nascent Federal Bureau of Investigation's campaign to destroy Marcus Garvey and his United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA; still the largest African American organization in U.S. history).7

A central conclusion drawn in every serious study that has sought to trace the trajectory at issue has been that the FBI, while by no means comprising the whole, has been at or very near the center of all that has proven most antidemocratic in American life during the past 90 years or more.8 The purpose of this essay is to push the timeline back further still, to the beginning, sketching the template upon which the Bureau was itself constructed, and thereby situating the origin of the repressive trend to which the Patriot Act presently serves as capstone, not in the fifth or even the second decade of the twentieth century, but rather in the mid-nineteenth.9 The ramifications of taking this longer view are, to be sure, profound: Given that the existence of an official/quasiofficial political police apparatus can be seen as defining the opposite of democratic order10 —a proposition with which all but a handful of commentators would agree11 —and insofar as such an [End Page 2] apparatus has been demonstrably present in the United States for all but the most formative years of its existence, basic logic requires that the very term "American Democracy" be understood as, at best, an oxymoron.

Democracy for Americans thereby becomes, in any but the most vulgarly rhetorical/propagandistic sense, not something that has been/is being "eroded" or "lost" by passage of legislation like the Patriot Act and the concomitant functioning of agencies like the FBI. Instead, it must be viewed as something that, as a society—or, more accurately, as a multiplicity of societies—we've to all intents and purposes never experienced, but to which we might yet aspire. In no respect can the difference in perspectives thus described be considered of merely academic interest. To the contrary, it stands in very tangible ways not only to shape all that we might reasonably set out to achieve, socially and politically, but, perhaps more importantly, how it is we must ultimately go about achieving it.12

The Beginnings

The roots of what eventually became the FBI may be located in the post- Civil War setting. In 1871, Congress appropriated the sum of $50,000 to allow the newly created Department of Justice to form a component within itself devoted to "the detection and prosecution of those guilty of violating federal law."13 Finding the amount insufficient to fashion an integral investigating unit of its own, the department opted to contract for such services in the private sector. Although there were several established concerns to select from—Cyrus Bradley's Chicago Detecting and Collecting Agency, for example—the government determined that the firm most suited to its purposes would be the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, founded by a Scottish immigrant, Allan Pinkerton.14

The choice is instructive. Although Pinkerton had come to America in 1842 largely to avoid the legal consequences of a youthful radicalism manifested in an engagement with the Chartist Movement in his homeland, he had by the mid-1860s evolved into something of a reactionary.15 Rather impoverished during his first years in the United States, he began to take jobs in law enforcement, first in Kane County, Illinois (1847-1851), then in [End Page 3] nearby Cook County (1853-1854), meanwhile moonlighting as a private detective.16 Two years later, Pinkerton's freelance activities translated themselves into the opening of a private agency, an enterprise that was, from its first moments, designed specifically to meet the needs of major business interests: "By the mid-1850s a few businessmen saw the need for greater control over their employees; their solution was to sponsor a private detective system. In February 1855, Allan Pinkerton, after consulting with six midwestern railroads, created such an agency in Chicago."17

Tellingly, at the same time that he began to form his cadre of "cinder dicks," as Pinkerton's railroad detectives came to be known, he was given his first federal appointment, as a special agent of the Chicago post office.18 By January 1861, the agency's reputation for results had solidified within both the private and public sectors to the point that Pinkerton obtained his first contract outside the Midwest—with Samuel Morse Felton's Pennsylvania, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad—even as his personnel were employed in "protecting" president-elect Abraham Lincoln while he traveled to Washington, D.C., for his inauguration.19 The latter activity, conducted in an environment of flashpoint hostility between Northern unionists and secessionist Southerners, put Pinkerton in the national limelight for the first time.

Pinkerton placed a number of key operatives in Baltimore. . . . He assumed the identity of John H. Hutchinson, a stockbroker, and went to Maryland also. Aware of the hostile feelings in that city, Pinkerton was not surprised when a letter came from William Stearns, master machinist of Felton's railroad, disclosing a plot to kill Lincoln in Baltimore. Operatives Timothy Webster and Joseph Howard infiltrated some secessionist societies and confirmed Stearn's [sic] fears that a Baltimore barber named Captain Fernandina was behind a conspiracy to cause a street riot when the president-elect arrived, commit the murder during the confusion, and then speed away to the South.20

Moving swiftly, Pinkerton convinced Lincoln to alter his schedule, "disguised the president as an old lady, placed special agents along the route, cut the telegraph wires, and allowed no other trains to travel the line until Lincoln's safe arrival."21 The only problem with such heroics is that a congressional [End Page 4] investigation, conducted shortly afterwards, concluded that no conspiracy to assassinate the president had existed,22 an opinion shared by John Wentworth of the Chicago Democrat and a number of other northern editors.23 This viewpoint is reinforced by the fact that none of the alleged conspirators were ever arrested, much less tried and convicted.24

Whether or not there was a genuine threat to Lincoln, Pinkerton was able to parlay his "brilliant" response to it into a Secret Service commission for himself and a lucrative sequence of contracts for his agency during the Civil War, conducting espionage, counterespionage, and other security work for the military. Between September 1861 and November 1862 alone, such work garnered him profits of $38,567.25 It also enabled him to acquire a long list of powerful connections, such as General George A. McClellan, commander of all union forces during much of the period. By war's end, he was very well positioned to capitalize upon his experiences.

After the war, Pinkerton was a private businessman with two new offices in New York and Philadelphia. He had been a member of the government police system for about two years and had considerable exposure to the elite network of business leaders who became military leaders, and military leaders who became postwar business leaders. In both cases, his fortunes moved along due to acquaintance with these interlocking elite systems.26

Indeed, by 1866, "in the United States and parts of Europe, the name Pinkerton was . . . synonymous with the protection of business and utilities by private police."27 This was perhaps in some part due to Pinkerton's mounting proficiency in propagandizing himself through ghostwriters, mainly via publication of a dozen-and-a-half sensationalized accounts of his exploits, real or imagined, in "dime novel" format.28 Much more importantly, the agency's prestige had to do with its creation of a "French-style" nationwide network of informants—augmented by the use of infiltrators when warranted—available to the highest bidder, and without even the pretense of those safeguards supposedly associated with governmental oversight.

Concern over government's role in the life of private citizens also touched the detective issue. Fears and expectations were colored by the obvious [End Page 5]differences between French detectives (highly secret and effective [and] frequently used by the state to suppress civil liberties) and the English detectives, who were more visible and ineffective investigators in the 1870s and 1880s. In fact, many people in England, it was revealed in 1884, went to "private inquiry offices," the English equivalent to America's private detective agency, because London [police] detectives failed so often. William Pinkerton, looking for European models that best exemplified the main thrust of his father's business, declared a kinship with the French police. . . . To Pinkerton management, the public police detective in America resembled most nearly the English model, while the country's largest private police detective agency resembled and respected the French model.29

The dichotomy portrayed here is, of course, a bit too neat. Even as the Pinkertons were drawing such distinctions, key personnel like New York agency superintendent George H. Bangs were following the lead of Allan Pinkerton himself, securing positions in major police departments and other governmental investigative entities, thereby busily interlocking the ostensibly separate spheres of private and public detective work.30 Most important of all, the agency's blossoming reputation was grounded in an increasing reputation among the emergent transatlantic corporate elite that it would go to virtually any length in satisfying the desires of its major business clientele. In this respect, two examples drawn from the 1860s and 1870s—those focusing upon the Reno and James/Younger gangs—perhaps emblematize better than most others the kinds of techniques the Pinkertons were developing for such purposes. Insofar as the methods involved were often highly publicized, there can be little question but that the Justice Department, when it elected to retain Pinkerton as its primary investigative vehicle, were in effect not only condoning but rewarding their utilization.

The Reno Case

On 6 October 1866, an Indiana gang headed by the brothers John, Frank, Simeon, and William Reno became the first in American history to rob a train.31 Although the Renos appear to have possessed no political motivation [End Page 6] —this holdup, along with the many that followed, seems to have been prompted by sheer pecuniary interest—there are indications that their action was received rather sympathetically by much of the local populace, discontented as it was with federal land impoundments and other policies designed to subsidize privately owned railroads at public expense.32 In any event, local authorities proving unable or unwilling to pursue the matter, the Adams Express Company, which had lost $15,000 in the robbery, in collaboration with the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad, which had been hauling the safe containing the cash, retained the Pinkertons to "bring the gang to justice."33

Accepting the case, Pinkerton employed his favorite theory of "detection": that "a criminal enterprise could be successfully broken by infiltration."34 Used for this task was an operative named Dick Winscott, who shortly opened a saloon in the Renos' hometown of Seymore, hinting that he might be inclined to participate in activities a bit more profitable and exciting than selling drinks across the bar. Another operative, whose identity is not recorded, meanwhile set up shop as a gambler in the saloon and began dropping the same sorts of hints.35 The gang was not long in taking the bait.

The outcome was that Winscott was able to provide photographs of gang members to the agency and, in late 1867, set up John Reno for arrest.36 Tried and convicted, the bandit was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. With their primary leader now on his way to prison, the rest of the gang became more canny, relocating their headquarters to Windsor, Canada. Still, acting on information provided by Winscott, the Pinkertons were able to nab three more gang members—Frank Sparks, Henry Jerrell, and John J. Moore—soon after a train robbery committed near Terre Haute on 2 May 1868. The prisoners were taken aboard a Ohio & Mississippi train under Pinkerton escort, supposedly for transportation to the jail in Seymore.37

They never made it, however. Having somehow "missed their connection" in Indianapolis, the Pinkerton men hired a wagon to complete the journey. En route, they were intercepted by a group of vigilantes who demanded that the shackled prisoners divulge the whereabouts of all remaining members of the gang. Once they'd complied, they were lynched, their Pinkerton guards having abandoned them to their fate. Afterwards, the agency, acting upon information thus obtained, was able to arrest William and Simeon [End Page 7] Reno on 22 July, causing them eventually to be lodged in the jail at New Albany, Indiana. There they were joined in early October by Frank Reno and several other gang members, apprehended a month earlier in Windsor through the services of another Pinkerton infiltrator named Patrick O'Neil. (Their arrival in Indiana had been delayed by extradition proceedings, during which Allan Pinkerton had personally guaranteed their safety.)38

On the night of 12 December 1868, another mob of vigilantes appeared at the door of the jail, where they were handed the keys. All three of the Renos, along with an associate named Charlie Anderson, were then taken from their cells and hanged in the corridor.39 There was "a token investigation of the lynching [in which the Pinkertons did not participate], but nothing came of it. Secretly, state and county officials breathed a sigh of relief,"40 while the agency, its "message" to those who would threaten the property interests of the rich and powerful loudly amplified, smugly closed its books on the matter. It was left to others, not U.S. officials and civic leaders, to be outraged over what had occurred.

England, through the Governor-General of Canada, demanded an apology for the "shocking and indefensible lynching." Diplomatic relations were strained, while legal experts predicted that England would eliminate the extradition clause [from its treaty of peace and friendship with the United States].41

While federal diplomats scurried about containing the potential damages of the Reno murders, Pinkerton set himself to reaping the rewards accruing from his detectives' participation in orchestrating their summary executions: "After the Agency's 'war' with the Renos, the Pinkertons were retained to solve three major bank robberies: Those at the National Village Bank in Bowdoinham, Massachusetts; the Beneficial Savings Fund of America, Philadelphia; and the Walpole, New Hampshire, Savings Bank."42 In 1874, the Pinkertons' performance against the Renos paid off even more handsomely when the agency was hired by the Rock Island, Union Pacific, and Kansas Pacific railroads, as well as a consortium of banks, to conduct a similar war, this time against the James/Younger gang operating in Missouri.43 [End Page 8]

That the Pinkertons orchestrated the vigilante actions against the Renos was tacitly confirmed by Allan Pinkerton himself. In an 1874 series of letters to his subordinate, George Bangs, he discussed the fact that a former employee was participating in a plan to blackmail him to the tune of $500,000 because of his role in the lynchings.44 Although the blackmail plot appears to have been aborted by one or another means, the threat that his and his detectives' conduct in Indiana might be fully exposed was "obviously very disturbing" to Pinkerton, according to even his most sympathetic biographer.45

The James/Younger Case

In contrast to the Renos, the James/Younger gang exhibited discernible political characteristics. During the Civil War, its principal members had served in William Quantrill's Confederate guerrilla unit in the Kansas-Missouri region, and as even so harsh a chronicler as Paul Wellman was later to concede, they suffered postwar persecution as a result.46

Some elements of the victorious Union party were vengeful and vindictive. Men who had served with or sympathized with the "Sesesh" were not infrequently called to their doors at night and shot down by masked gangs of men who called themselves "Regulators." Ex-guerrillas were particular targets of hatred. The general amnesty given Confederate soldiers after the war did not extend to Quantrill's men, who had been officially declared outlaws.47

The James brothers, Jesse and Frank—as well as their cousins the Youngers (Cole, Jim, Bob and John)—responded to the situation by banding together in a sort of mutual defense group, rapidly incorporating as many as 20 other former Quantrill men. Almost as rapidly, their home territory of Clay County, Missouri, became relatively clear of unionist terrorism, a matter that endeared them to much of the local populace. With their base secure, the gang shortly shifted from a defensive to an offensive posture, staging the nation's first bank robbery in the Clay County town of Liberty on 14 February 1866. Three bank jobs later, in May of 1868, the Pinkertons were first called upon.48 [End Page 9]

The agency soon learned, to its dismay, that the James/Younger group was a far tougher opponent than the Renos. Extremely clannish and well-entrenched in their community, the gang proved impossible to infiltrate, and the Pinkertons gave the matter up after about a year. In 1871, after it was retained by an Iowa bank that had been robbed in June, the agency returned briefly to the fray, but with equally poor results.49 The bank robberies continued, and by 1873, the gang began to branch out, robbing a Rock Island Line train on 21 July, and a stagecoach on 15 January 1874. This was followed, on 31 January, by the robbery of an Iron Mountain train, and the Pinkertons were hired again, this time on terms that caused them to remain involved for the duration.50

This was to be a long while, however, as Pinkerton's usual tactics fared no better during the second round than they had during the first. An attempt in March 1874 to insert three detectives into Clay County as "cattle buyers" left two of them—Louis J. Lull and James Wright—dead of gunshot wounds inflicted by Jim and John Younger (the latter also died as a result of the exchange, but this was unknown to the agency for some time).51 On 5 January 1875, Pinkerton tried an outright assault on the James brothers' mother's home, where they were wrongly presumed to be visiting, sending a large group of armed men for the purpose. The attackers hurled an incendiary device through a window, supposedly intended only to "smoke out" the building's occupants. It exploded with sufficient force to kill eight-year-old Archie Samuel, the Jameses' half-brother, and to sever their mother's arm.52

The blast in the Samuel home ended the usefulness of the Pinkertons. Public opinion swung violently against them. Newspapers, not only in Missouri but in other states, denounced the "night of blood" with furious editorial invective. . . . The Pinkerton Agency still remained on the railroad and bank association payrolls, and kept men going to every new point where a robbery was reported, but where before they had received public co-operation, they now found it difficult to get.53

Despite the gang's suffering a disaster—it attempted to rob a bank in Northfield, Minnesota, on 7 September 1876, was ambushed and virtually [End Page 10]shot to pieces by an alerted citizenry, with all the surviving Younger brothers being captured and eventually imprisoned for a quarter-century apiece—the Pinkertons were unable to run the Jameses to earth.54 Five years later, in 1881, they were still operating with a certain abandon, robbing two trains, a bank, and a stagecoach between March and September. In some desperation, Pinkerton finally garnered success by advising Missouri governor Thomas Crittenden to pay the brothers Bob and Charley Ford, prospective gang members, the sum of $10,000 to assassinate Jesse James. This was accomplished on 3 April 1882, after the Fords enjoyed dinner in their victim's home, when Bob Ford fired a bullet into the base of the outlaw leader's skull from less than five feet away. A few months later, Frank James surrendered under what amounted to a guarantee of no prison time, and the agency was able to mark another case closed.55

The War Against Organized Labor

While the Pinkertons' campaigns against train robbers, especially the James/ Younger gang, brought it a certain fame—or notoriety, depending on one's point of view—the agency's bread-and-butter work became ever more centered in performing other, more critical tasks for big business. Primarily, this involved the undertaking of operations designed to thwart unionization of the labor force, allowing owners to maintain an artificially low wage structure in the face of rising prices, as well as institutions such as the twelve-hour workday and six-day workweek, and, in many cases, to avoid investing in even the most rudimentary measures to preserve worker health and on-the-job safety.56

The extent of company power over workers included outright ownership of the towns in which they lived, a matter enabling employers to garner additional profits by imposing exorbitant rates of rent, prices for subsistence commodities, tools, and such health care as was available. Conditions in these "company towns" were such that, by 1915, the Commission on Industrial Relations was led to observe that they displayed "every aspect of feudalism except the recognition of special duties on the part of the employer."57 The job of the Pinkertons—first for the railroads, then more generally—was [End Page 11] to prevent workers from organizing in a manner that might enable them to improve their own circumstances, thus reducing corporate profits.

The agency remained largely a railroad police, but to the detectives' spying was added the watchmen's guarding of railroad property. A decade of contention and controversy occurred due to labor strife, and in the 1880s and early 1890s, Pinkerton's became an industrial police. Many railroads, taking cues from the monopolistic policies of notable industrial leaders like John D. Rockefeller, owned coal fields and ironworks. Appropriately enough, as industrial owners and managers increasingly equated crime and disorder with collective bargaining and work stoppages, Pinkerton's opportunities enlarged.58

In this, the agency was directly assisted by government. "The personnel," as has been observed elsewhere, "got their police power from the state legislature but were recruited, paid, and controlled by the company."59

Beginning in 1865, the Pennsylvania legislature allowed state railroads to endow some employees with police power. Massachusetts provided for a railroad police in 1871, as did Maryland in 1880, and New York in 1890. Others followed, and by 1896, the Railway Association of Special Agents of the United States and Canada organized to encourage cooperation among the diverse railway police systems. These railway policemen were increasingly identified as enemies of labor.60

It was during this same span of time that "all of the various techniques used to repress labor were gradually developed and institutionalized by business and governmental elites . . . [notably] the use of private police, private arsenals and private detectives, the deputization of private police [and] the manipulation of governmental police agencies."61 In this, the Pinkertons quickly assumed a status as an elite in their own right, coming to the fore by the early 1870s—i.e., during the same period in which the Justice Department began, for its own purposes, to avail itself of the agency's unique talents—as the premier instrument of labor repression in the country. Here, one [End Page 12] example, that of the Molly Maguires, speaks volumes about the nature of the expertise sought by the U.S. attorney general.

The Molly Maguire Case

The Molly Maguires were a secret society established in early-nineteenth-century Ireland to battle British landowners.62 A number of them, forced to flee their homeland because of the mid-century famine, or because of charges brought against them by colonial authorities, found themselves in Pennsylvania's anthracite coal fields, living under conditions as bad as or worse than those they thought they'd left behind.

Miners . . . went underground to hack out coal under primitive conditions. There was no local or federal legislation to protect them. In 1871, 112 men were killed in the anthracite mines, and 332 permanently injured. In seven years, 556 men had been killed and 1,565 maimed or crippled for life. Out of 22,000 miners, more than 5,000 were sixteen years of age or under. . . . Take-home pay was uncertain; deductions were often arbitrary or at the whim of the owners by means of what they called the "bobtail check." A typical week's wages for a miner at the time of the Molly Mcguires was $35; expenses, including rent, groceries, and a new drill, came to $35.03.63

Confronted by these circumstances, and finding no other avenue of redress available to them, the former Mollies reconstituted themselves to confront their new foe: the mine owners and their subordinates. After a wave of violent responses during the mid-1860s—arson, bombings, and the murder of several especially offensive mine officials—the group appears to have largely committed itself to achieving constructive change through the Workingman's Benevolent Association (WBA), a more conventional sort of union. After the so-called "Long Strike" of the early 1870s, during which the mine owners were able to destroy the WBA by "starving out" its membership, the Mollies returned to their earlier approach. Hence, in 1873, the Pinkertons were hired to destroy the group, and perhaps unionism in the coal fields more generally.64 [End Page 13]

The main contractor for the agency's services was Franklin Benjamin Gowen, a wealthy Philadelphia lawyer who had served briefly as a county prosecutor and as head of the legal department of the Reading Railroad before being named president of the line. Under his leadership, the railroad had acquired over 100,000 acres of coal land (more than double the acreage held by any other mining company), and a legally mandated monopoly on coal haulage from the entire Pennsylvania anthracite field.65 On Gowen's behalf, Pinkerton launched his usual program of infiltration.

On October 27, 1873, [Pinkerton operative] James McParlan, posing as James McKenna, a fugitive from a murder charge in Buffalo, set out for the Pennsylvania coal fields. He hadn't shaved for ten days. A dirty reddish stubble covered his jaws and chin. He wore stained old clothes, carried a worn carpet bag, and smoked a clay cutty pipe. For two and a half years he would be engaged in an undertaking that, as J. Walter Coleman sums up in his history of the Molly Mcguires, "was of such a nature that even the most calm recital of his deeds has all the aspects of the wildest fiction."66

At issue is the fact that McParlan was not only able to work his way into the Mollies, ultimately becoming rather close to the organization's nominal head, Jack "Black Jack" Kehoe, but seems to have functioned in the manner of a classic agent provocateur. At least, he revealed a willingness to participate in, among other things, several murders while engaged in his stint of "undercover detection."67 Ultimately, he was able to parlay his performance into a position as star witness during a series of trials that decimated the Mollies' leadership; but in the interim his employer became impatient, calling for a resumption of the technique that had liquidated the Renos a few years earlier. In a letter to George Bangs dated 29 August 1875, Allan Pinkerton offered the following instruction:

The only way to pursue [the Molly Maguires] as I see it is to treat them as the Renos were treated in Seymore, Indiana. After they were done away with the people improved wonderfully and Seymore is a quiet town. Let [Pinkerton operative Robert] Linden get up a vigilante committee. It will not [End Page 14] do to get many men, but let him get those who are prepared to take a fearful revenge on the M.M.'s. I think it would open the eyes of all the people and then the M.M.'s would meet with their just deserts. It is awful to see men doomed to death, it is horrible. Now, there is but one thing to be done, and that is, get up an organization if possible, and when ready for action pounce upon the M.M.'s when they are at full blast, take the fearful responsibility and disperse. . . . Place all confidence in Mr. Linden, he is a good man, and he understands what to do. . . . If you think it advisable, bring the matter before Mr. Gowen but none other than him. . . . In case of failure, bail may be required. Mr. Gowen will furnish it by his understanding it.68

Pinkerton's vigilance campaign seems to have commenced in the predawn of 10 December 1875, when a group of men burst into the home of Margaret O'Donnell, widow of a miner; her sons, James and Charles; and her daughter and son-in-law, Ellen and Charles McAllister. All three men were presumed to be active in the Mollies. Mrs. O'Donnell was pistol-whipped, Charles McAllister badly wounded, and Charles O'Donnell shot "at least fifteen times" in the head. More of the same was perhaps averted only by a determination that an airtight case was now ready for presentation against key Molly leaders.69

During April 1876, a posse headed by Robert Linden effected wholesale arrests, and on 6 May, McParlan made his first appearance on the witness stand, with Gowan himself rather than a state official serving as prosecutor. The outcome was a foregone conclusion: "In the winter of 1877, Jack Kehoe, 'King of the Mollies,' was found guilty. On April 16th, he was sentenced to be hanged. In June, 1877, nineteen of the Mollies went to the gallows; ten were hanged at one time."70 Harold Aurand has summed up certain implications of the travesty as amounting to "one of the most astounding surrenders of sovereignty in American history. A private corporation initiated the investigation through a private detective agency; a private police force arrested the offenders; the coal company attorneys prosecuted them. The state provided only the courtroom and the hangman."71

There is a distinct possibility that at least some of the convicted Mollies were innocent of the charges against them, and that the group as a whole [End Page 15] might not have committed many of the acts of which it was accused. Certainly, the performance of infiltrator/provocateur McParlan in the Steunenberg case three decades later lends credence to the idea that he was not averse to fabricating evidence to obtain convictions.72 Similarly, the conclusion of a 1947 study that Gowen and other "coal operators had instigated some of the attacks on the mines that were later attributed to the Mollies to provide an excuse for crushing both the Mollies and the WBA" suggests the wrong parties went to the gallows.73

In any event, as noted labor historian Joseph Rayback has concluded, "Whoever was responsible for the Molly Maguire [violence], labor was their victim. . . . The trial temporarily destroyed the last vestiges of labor unionism in the anthracite area. More important, it gave the public impression that miners in general inclined to riot, sabotage, arson, pillage, assault, robbery and murder. . . . The impression became the foundation of the anti-labor attitude held by a large portion of the nation to the present day."74 Whatever else may be said, this was an outcome of which the government, big business, and their Pinkerton employees were self-evidently most desirous.

The Broader Antilabor Campaign

The dimension of labor strife in the United States during the last third of the nineteenth century is to some extent evident in the fact that business was disrupted, usually by strikes, on 22,793 occasions between 1875 and 1900.75 In 47 of these instances, beginning with the Chicago "labor riots" (actually, the Chicago component of the national railroad strike) of August 1877, the National Guard was dispatched to protect the interests of business against those of unionized (or unionizing) workers.76 On at least 70 occasions, beginning with the September 1866 coal strike in Braidwood, Illinois, the Pinkertons were called in to serve as a special corps of strikebreakers, while in hundreds of other instances they were utilized as a guard force to secure company property against "vandalism" by the workforce.77 Most of all, the agency was retained by major corporations or corporate consortia to function as labor spies and provocateurs.78

So pervasive was the latter activity that by the early twentieth century, [End Page 16] an investigating committee headed by Wisconsin's Senator Robert LaFollette was led to observe how the infiltration and disruption of labor unions was a "common, almost universal practice in American industry."79 The purpose was to allow "private corporations [to] dominate their employees, deny them their constitutional rights, [and] 'promote disorder and disharmony.'"80 So effective was this technique that in 1888, for example, two Pinkerton detectives were able to have themselves elected as voting delegates of the Reading, Pennsylvania, local of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, and in that capacity attended the union's annual convention, providing "elaborate reports on the issues and discussions" immediately thereafter.81 In another instance, reported by the LaFollette Committee, a "union organization" consisted of "five officers and no members, with the officers all Pinkerton detectives."82 By 1929, it was officially estimated that as many as 200,000 labor spies of various sorts were employed by corporate America.83 While most of these were undoubtedly amateurs of one type or another, during the mid-1930s, General Motors alone was spending some $400,000 per year for the services of professionals.84

Pinkerton's was [by far] the largest detective agency involved with union spying. . . . By 1935 Pinkerton's had twenty-seven offices and grossed over $2 million annually. There were 300 clients for whom Pinkerton did industrial work, the largest in the 1930s being General Motors. Between 1933 and 1935 the agency had 1,228 operatives, or "ops" as they were known in the business, in practically every union in the country. Five were in the United Mine Workers, nine in the United Rubber Workers, and seventeen in the United Textile Workers. Fifty-two members of the United Auto Workers were Pinkerton spies who reported on unionization in General Motors. . . . One spy was even the national vice president of one union. At least one hundred Pinkerton operatives held positions of importance in various unions. . . . One Pinkerton, Sam Brady, had been a spy for thirty years.85

This was during a period when, in the view of the committee, the "fear of incurring [additional] notoriety restricted Pinkerton's" in its antilabor activities.86 Yet the committee also concluded that its increasing revenues—from [End Page 17] $1.4 million in 1933 to $2.3 million in 1935—derived primarily from labor spying, and that such activities were not designed to prevent "violence fostered by communists and other radicals in the union movement," as Pinkerton officials claimed (Pinkerton spymaster Joseph Littlejohn having been forced to admit that his personnel had never ferreted out a single individual meeting such specifications).87 Rather, the committee concluded, labor "spying... was simply an excuse to wreck unions."88

The question of labor violence raises the issue of the "sharp end" of the Pinkertons' antilabor campaign. While there is no suggestion that agency personnel were killed by union members prior to 1892, the record shows the reverse to have been true in numerous places. At least as early as the autumn of 1866, a Pinkerton guard—one of 800 deployed in the city at the time—shot and killed an innocent bystander during the Chicago stockyard strike.89 The number of such indiscriminate shootings increased steadily over the next 20 years. In January 1887, to give another example, a guard killed a young boy during a demonstration attending the Jersey City coal wharfs strike.90 In 1890, during the massive Pennsylvania coal strike, "Pinkertons, hundreds of sheriff's deputies and the Pennsylvania militia occupied the strike area for two months, beating the strike, and in the words of the governor, 'had a very salutary effect on turbulent strikers,'" three of whom died at the hands of Pinkerton guards.91 At about the same time, Pinkertons killed five people during a strike on the New York Central Railroad.92

"It was indicative of the general power relationship that existed in the United States during the late nineteenth century," one analyst has noted, "that during this period the Pinkerton Detective Agency, the most notorious private police force available for hire, had more men than did the U.S. Army."93 The "Pinkerton guard was drilled and trained with military precision," and aside from whatever personal weaponry was owned by individual members—and by all indications it was considerable—the agency maintained arsenals in each of its branch offices: 250 rifles and 500 revolvers in Chicago alone.94 Such firepower was, in turn, augmented by arsenals provided by the corporations contracting Pinkerton enforcers. By the 1930s, the four major American steel corporations each owned more tear-gas equipment than any law-enforcement agency in the country; Republic Steel [End Page 18] maintained an inventory of 143 gas guns, more than 4,000 gas projectiles, and 2,700 gas grenades, as well as 500 revolvers, 64 rifles, and 245 shotguns.95 There has never been a serious suggestion that any union in the United States was comparably equipped to dispense violence.

Strikebreaking, in the meantime, had become an increasingly prominent Pinkerton technique since the agency first experimented with the provision of substitutes ("scabs") for striking workers during the 1874 Braidwood lockout.96 By 1888, the method had been perfected to the point that it was successfully employed to thwart a major strike of the Burlington Railroad, the agency using its guards to import 35 engineers and 93 switchmen to replace union personnel, and its detectives to arrest union members who responded by dynamiting railroad property in Aurora, Illinois.97 Often, the Pinkertons' use of scabs to break strikes created the conditions for extreme violence, albeit of the sort perpetrated by parties other than themselves. A prime example occurred in Chicago on 3 May 1886, during the McCormick Harvester strike, when "police fired on a crowd of strikers who had attacked strikebreakers leaving the plant. Police gunfire killed one striker and seriously wounded five or six others."98

This last led to what appears to have been one of the most sophisticated and lethal antilabor/antiradical actions of the nineteenth century. On 4 May, the 7,000-member International Working People's Association (IWPA), a militant anarchist spinoff from Daniel DeLeon's Socialist Labor Party (SLP), scheduled a rally at Chicago's Haymarket Square to protest the police shootings of the McCormick strikers, as well as the killings of several others by Pinkerton guards.99 Although the assembly was completely peaceful, a contingent of 180 police appeared just as things were wrapping up, and ordered the few hundred people remaining in the square to disperse. A bomb was then tossed into the police ranks and gunfire broke out. The toll came to seven police and as many as a dozen civilians dead, about 70 police and an undetermined number of civilians wounded.100

The aftermath of the bombing was a wave of hysteria directed against labor and radicals that convulsed the country. Without any evidence whatsoever, the press throughout the country identified the IWPA as the villains, and [End Page 19]screamed for revenge. Police in Chicago opened up a reign of terror against radicals, making mass raids and arrests. . . . Meanwhile, a general roundup of anarchists and suspected anarchist followers was undertaken throughout the country. . . . Ultimately thirty-one persons [all IWPA leaders] were indicted in connection with the bombing, although only eight were tried, on charges of conspiracy to commit murder. . . . The trial was a judicial farce, with persons admittedly prejudiced against the defendants placed on the jury and the judge [Joseph E. Gary] displaying flagrant bias against the defendants throughout the case. No credible evidence was ever introduced linking the defendants to the bombing [but all of them] were found guilty and sentenced to hang, with the exception of one man [Oscar Neebe] who was given fifteen years.101

Four of those convicted—Albert Parsons, George Engel, August Spies, and Adolph Fischer—were executed on 11 November 1887. Another, Louis Lingg, had already committed suicide by exploding a dynamite cap in his mouth. Two others, Michael Schwab and Samuel Fielden, had appealed for executive clemency, and Illinois governor Richard Oglesby had commuted their sentences to life imprisonment.102 Along with Neebe, the seven have come to be known as the "Haymarket Martyrs" in anarchist and labor histories, remembered by Spies's final words: "There will be a time when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today."103

In the prototypical "Red Scare" following hard on the heels of the Haymarket bombing, "the heavily immigrant composition of the IWPA . . . strengthened public identification with radicalism and violence" to the extent that it has been described as "the single most important incident in late nineteenth century nativism."104 It also seemed to confirm the impression in "respectable" circles, fostered by the Molly Maguire episode a decade earlier, that unionists were "inherently criminal in character, inclined to riot, arson, pillage, assault and murder."105 The only problems were that it turned out the Chicago police had fabricated such evidence as was introduced during the trial suggesting that anarchists—much less the defendants—had been responsible for the carnage, and that it had most likely been a Pinkerton provocateur who had hurled the deadly device.106 [End Page 20]

Hence, in 1893, Governor John Altgeld finally pardoned the surviving defendants, observing in the process that he considered the "widespread and uncontrolled use of Pinkerton operatives by Chicago employers" and the city's failure "to bring the murderers to justice" to have been the causes underlying the bombing.107 But by then, the damage had long since been done, the "net impact of the public reaction to Haymarket and . . . government repression [having] severely damaged the anarchist and radical labor movement in the U.S. and . . . set back the labor movement in general for about ten to fifteen years."108 Perhaps ironically, it was not the anarchists and other radicals who suffered most heavily from the whole affair. Instead, the much more moderate (and more powerful) Knights of Labor experienced the sharpest decline in membership, from more than 729,000 members in 1886 to about 220,000 members three years later.109

According to analyst Daniel Bell, the Haymarket bombing "did more to induce the rank and file of trade unions to reject all associations with revolutionary ideas than perhaps all other things together."110 In any event, "strike activity fell drastically in the last years of the 1880s, as did labor militancy. The Illinois Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the bomb 'abruptly ended' the eight-hour movement. . . . Similarly, the Wisconsin Bureau of Labor observed in 1887 that 'everywhere the life and spirit of 1886 have departed.' . . . It was not until 1889 that the [Illinois State Federation of Labor] deemed it politic to publicly declare that the [Haymarket defendants] had not received a fair trial."111

Under such conditions, the Knights, the first genuine mass-membership union in U.S. history—which for that reason had probably been the real target of the corporations, and consequently, the Pinkertons—had by the turn of the century declined to the point of ineffectuality.112 In most respects, it had been supplanted by an even more conservative rival, the American Federation of Labor (AFL), and was soon to be confronted on the other flank by an altogether more radical challenger, the IWW.113 For its part, the Pinkerton Agency simply continued in its well-subsidized and quasi-official drive to abolish organized labor as a viable force in American society. Its very success was, however, to cause the agency to indulge itself in an overconfidence that brought about an interruption in its mode of operation in 1892. [End Page 21]

Homestead and After

In the early 1890s, Homestead, Pennsylvania, was a small town of about ten thousand, located seven miles east of Pittsburgh, which provided the labor force for the local Carnegie, Phipps steel mill. In 1889, a strike for higher wages by the AFL's Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers (AAISTW) resulted in a battle between a mass of irate workers and around a hundred sheriff's deputies. The latter were routed and the strikers got their raise. Hence, when a new strike materialized in 1892, the plant manager, Henry Clay Frick, "bypassed local police authority altogether and hired Pinkerton guards," 376 of whom were assigned the job by the agency's Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia offices.114 The group assembled in Youngstown, Ohio, and from there debarked for Homestead on 5 July. The following day, they were at last met with the sort of "authority" they were used to dispensing.

On July 6, strikers confronted three hundred Pinkertons who tried to land from barges on the Monongahela River in order to act as a strikebreaking force. During an ensuing gunfight . . . nine strikers and seven [Pinkertons] were killed, scores were shot, and nearly all the [guards] beaten . . . after they had surrendered to the strikers.115

The smoke had barely cleared from the debacle before, on 18 July, warrants were issued at the request of Carnegie, Phipps for the arrest of seven strike leaders on charges of murdering the Pinkertons, who had supposedly been acting in the capacity of deputy sheriffs.116 By 22 September, the list had been extended to 167 union organizers on charges "ranging from murder to aggravated riot."117 On 30 September, a grand jury selected by the company added the charge of treason against 35 union members, including the entire strike committee. The jailing of virtually the entire AAISTW leadership pending trial had the effect not only of breaking the strike, but the union itself, and "destroyed unionism in the steel industry for nearly fifty years."118

The combined cases collapsed, however, when it was disclosed that the Pinkertons had never been officially deputized by Pennsylvania authorities, and had therefore themselves been in violation of state law when they [End Page 22] entered Pennsylvania bearing weapons.119 When, predictably, there "were no indictments against the steel company or the Pinkertons" as a result of this and other illegalities that readily revealed themselves at trial, a certain negative public sentiment set in.120 "The Pinkerton invasion of Pennsylvania looked," as the New York Times put it, "like the work of a mercenary army."121 Before long, the agency found itself "denounced in a barrage of editorials" in most leading newspapers.122

Fears of standing armies, an old standby in nineteenth century political rhetoric, were aired once more. References were made to Aaron Burr's military activities at the beginning of the century, as were remarks equating Pinkerton's to the Hessian mercenaries of the American Revolution. For those of an even more historical bent, Robert Pinkerton [nominal head of the agency, along with his brother, William, since the death of their father in 1884] resembled a medieval baron with an army for hire.123

Given such publicity, and the sheer clumsiness of what had happened, it was necessary for Congress to quell public outrage by convening an inquiry, not just into the disaster at Homestead, but with regard to the operations of private detective agencies more generally. In addition to Pinkerton's, smaller imitations like the Thiel Detective Agency, Illinois Detective Agency, U.S. Detective Agency, and Mooney and Boland's Detective Agency were taken under investigation by both the Senate and the House.124 The result was a charade.

The House committee began its investigations in July, spending all its time in Pittsburgh. The Senate waited until November, and traveled to Pittsburgh, Chicago and New York. In both cases Congress seemed to be playing a political game. The hearings were filled with anti-Pinkerton rhetoric, but the final reports gave only conservative recommendations.125

When the committees' findings were released in February 1893, they merely passed the buck, acknowledging that "many problems" attended the activities of the Pinkertons and other such agencies, but concluding that [End Page 23]"any attempts at mitigating the evils of the private detection system had to come from the states and not the federal government."126 The latter then moved fairly swiftly to provide the appearance of having taken charge of the situation, following the lead established by Montana and Wyoming, each of which had "made constitutional provisions forbidding the importation of nonresidents for police work" in 1889.127 Missouri had passed legislation to the same effect the same year, and Georgia had followed suit in 1890. In 1891, New Mexico, Washington, Minnesota, and Kentucky had joined in, while "New York and Massachusetts passed kindred laws in 1892, shortly before the Homestead violence."128

In response to the congressional investigations, a flurry of anti-Pinkerton bills appeared and became law. On February 25 and 28, 1893, West Virginia and North Carolina passed laws forbidding armed [guards] from entering their states. On March 4, South Dakota passed a similar law, and the day before the District of Columbia stopped the federal government's policy of hiring private detectives. In April, both Nebraska and Wisconsin passed anti-Pinkerton legislation, as did Texas and Pennsylvania in May, and Illinois in June. By 1899, six more states followed, and a total of twenty-four states plus the District of Columbia forbade armed guards from entering their jurisdiction.129

Although much was made of the notion that such legislation put the Pinkertons "in their place," all that really happened was that state governments had rationalized an otherwise awkward situation, lending a veneer of legitimacy to the Pinkertons by ensuring that the agency would establish a permanent operational presence within their respective jurisdictions. The new structure, which "applied only to the guard," did little to "restrict the plain-clothed detective. Only Maine, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts attempted to regulate the detective by licensing laws by 1895."130 Moreover, it facilitated coordination and cross-pollination with local police, and entrenched the agency much more deeply than ever before in the very communities it was intended to repress.

Small wonder that, while the agency did de-emphasize its guard and scab-provision activities to some degree after Homestead (although by no [End Page 24] means entirely; the Pinkertons provided 176 scabs to break a strike against the Allis-Chalmers Corporation in 1902, for example, and it was the agency's importation of scabs during a United Mine Workers [UMW] strike in Ludlow, Colorado, that provoked the confrontation resulting in the state militia's massacring 16 people there on 20 April 1914), the Pinkertons continued to engage in antilabor activities with a very high degree of intensity, and "labor contracts were an important source of [their] income" well into the twentieth century.131

So much of this was done directly under the mantle of the states in which the agency operated that, ten years after Homestead, it "was not uncommon for the heads of foreign police systems to regard Pinkertons as America's official detective force."132 In Pennsylvania, for example, at "the request of business leaders the governor could issue special commissions conferring police power on persons employed by the various iron and coal companies. In 1901, the governor of Pennsylvania issued 570 such commissions. The following year he gave out 4,512 such commissions as strikes increased in the Pennsylvania coal fields. Railroad cars filled with company policemen [many of them provided by Pinkerton's] and mounted with Gatling guns visited mining towns to control worker discontent."133

If there are any particular distinctions to be noted between the pre- and post-Homestead periods, they are that the locus of antilabor operations shifted primarily to the western states, and reliance upon infiltrators was greatly accentuated. In both respects, the Pinkerton office in Denver, Colorado—headed by James McParlan, of Molly Maguire fame—figured prominently.

The Denver office, under the leadership of McParlan . . . became [quite] active as labor problems grew in the early twentieth century. Secret operatives began to eclipse regular operatives as they infiltrated the Colorado, Montana, and Idaho mining areas. A. H. Crane was a member of a union in Colorado City in 1902. Operatives J. H. Cummins, Philander Bailey, and George Riddell, did much the same. The unexpressed expectations were that they might duplicate the exploits of their divisional leader, McParlan. The man who came closest to McParlan's Molly Maguire episode was A. W. Gratias. Gratias [End Page 25] had joined the Western Federation of Miners [WFM] in 1902 and the following year was made chairman of the union relief committee. In 1904 Gratias was elected president of his local union and even went as a delegate to the annual convention.134

Actually, such activities had begun at least as early as 1892, shortly after McParlan was named superintendent in Denver, when an operative named Charles Siringo was assigned to infiltrate the WFM at about the same time it was founded in northern Idaho.135 The WFM, "the first strong, militant and realistic . . . anticapitalist union in American history," was the major target of McParlan and his men by 1894 at the latest, when Pinkertons comprised the core of "a large force of deputies [used] to protect the re-opening of mines" closed by a strike in Cripple Creek, Colorado.136 Two years later, McParlan arranged for the importation of scabs to break a WFM strike at Leadville, Colorado, while he conspired with the governor "to remove the local pro-union sheriff and replace him" with a Pinkerton appointee.137

In 1899, the Denver office organized a company of guards, behind which the Bunker Hill & Sullivan mine in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, enforced "yellow dog" contracts—i.e., refusing to hire union labor—in defiance of state law. When Idaho authorities did nothing to correct the situation, the WFM and/or Pinkerton provocateurs responded by dynamiting and burning Bunker Hill & Sullivan property. This, in turn, was used as the pretext upon which federal troops were sent in to destroy the union and local radicalism more generally.138

Martial law was proclaimed, and virtually any male remaining in the district became subject to arbitrary arrest and incarceration in boxcars or bullpens. [WFM president Edward] Boyce himself was arrested, along with a large number of Populist party leaders, including a local deputy sheriff. The Populist county sheriff and three Populist county commissioners were removed from office. No miner was allowed to return to work in the area unless he agreed to renounce allegiance to the WFM. While hundreds of miners were arrested, only fourteen were ever convicted of any crime. The repression of the strike broke the WFM in the area, and unionism remained insignificant in the area for years.139 [End Page 26]

The union leaders convicted included the WFM's Idaho head, George Pettibone. Their imprisonment was obtained largely on the basis of testimony provided by Pinkerton infiltrator Siringo, who was thereafter so disgusted with McParlan's and his own performance that he declined a promotion to head up an office of his own because, "I know my conscience would not allow me to act as a superintendent of the Agency . . . where so much dirty work would be expected of me."140 Eventually, he drifted away from the Pinkertons altogether and wrote a rather contradictory volume of memoirs, in which he sought to expose what he felt was wrong with the agency's antilabor tactics while still justifying his personal role in them.141

Contrary to McParlan's expectations, the WFM did not fold up after Coeur d'Alene. Instead, it continued to grow in both numbers and militancy. From 1899 to 1903, the organization made rapid gains, reaching perhaps fifty thousand members.142 Hence, in 1901, when the Pinkertons again attempted to use scabs to break a WFM strike in Telluride, Colorado, miners were prepared to engage in pitched gun battles with both detectives and local police, seize the mine, and force the scabs to leave.143 At that point, Colorado's reactionary governor, James Peabody, along with the state's mining interests and the Pinkertons, declared outright war on the WFM; over the next two years, among many other things, more than four hundred key union organizers were forcibly deported from Colorado by the militia, while hundreds of others were beaten, shot, and confined to bullpens for weeks at a time.144 Rather than causing it to disband, the onslaught led the WFM to seek allies, assuming a leading role in the establishment of the IWW in June 1905.145

War Against the Wobblies

In many ways, the Industrial Workers of the World, otherwise known as the IWW or "Wobblies," was the most radical union of significant size ever formed in the United States (it is estimated that more than a million workers, a very high proportion of them non-Anglo immigrants, blacks, or members of other groups marginalized by conventional American unions, held IWW membership cards at some point between its founding and its demise as a viable entity in 1924).146 The Wobblies' plan, in simplest terms, was to [End Page 27] combine the American working class, and eventually workers all over the world, into one big trade union with an industrial basis, a syndicalist philosophy, and a revolutionary aim. Its industrial departments were to act as syndicalist shadows of American capitalism, so that after the revolution they could quickly step in and help govern the workers' commonwealth. The revolution was to be achieved by a series of strikes, leading to a general strike that would force the capitalists to capitulate. Thus, "the IWW was to be both the embryo of the new society and the revolutionary instrument for achieving it."147

Although the union was always officially headquartered in Chicago, its initial energy center was Denver, operational base of its first president, WFM leader William "Big Bill" Haywood.148 This geographical disposition, as well as Haywood's reputation for effectiveness and unrelenting militancy, caused "considerable fear [among governmental and business elites] that labor in Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain states would be radicalized."149 Into the breach, to head off just such an eventuality, stepped the Denver office of the Pinkertons.

The IWW was hardly organized before it was dealt a crushing blow. On December 30, 1905, Frank Steunenberg, who had been governor of Idaho during the crushing of the Coeur d'Alene strike, was killed by a bomb explosion in Caldwell, Idaho. Subsequently, a man named Harry Orchard was arrested, and the state of Idaho hired Pinkerton detective James McPharland [sic] for the purpose of linking him to the WFM-IWW. After talking to Orchard at length, suggesting to him that the WFM was responsible for the crime and telling Orchard the story of how one person in the Maguire trials had gone free after turning state's evidence, [McParlan] obtained a statement from Orchard that implicated the WFM in virtually every major incident of labor violence in the West, including over twenty murders.150

In reality, McParlan had applied both the carrot and the stick to Orchard, a relative small fry who may have been an occasional Pinkerton operative as well, subjecting him to "third-degree methods" for extended periods, even while promising to allow him to escape the noose.151 This allowed McParlan [End Page 28] to establish an "evidentiary basis" by which to arrest the three primary IWW leaders in Denver—Haywood, Pettibone, and WFM president Charles Moyer—for conspiracy to murder Steunenberg. He then arranged for their transport to Idaho without benefit of extradition (kidnapping), and assisted state prosecutor William E. Borah in assembling the case against them, in which Orchard's testimony was key.152

Although Orchard stuck to his story throughout the trials, and supplied many corroborating details about his confessed acts, his trial testimony also included confessions to acts of violence he could not have committed, and demonstrated that at least once in his long career of arson, theft, bigamy and murder he had worked as an agent provocateur of the Pinkerton Agency. In fact, the only incident of mysterious "labor" violence in Colorado that appears to have been solved [as a result of his testimony] was attributable to the mining companies.153

Haywood, Pettibone, and Moyer, ably defended by socialist attorney Clarence Darrow, were acquitted; but, coming hard on the heels of Colorado's war on the WFM and right after the formation of the Wobblies, "the Steunenberg trial had a shattering effect on both the WFM and the IWW."154 The former never recovered, while the latter found its growth potential permanently impaired.155 Meanwhile, the manner in which McParlan and his operatives had contrived to trump up the Haywood-Pettibone-Moyer case had so appalled the stenographer in the Pinkerton Denver office, Morris Friedman, that he resigned in protest and wrote a scathing expos�, entitled The Pinkerton Labor Spy, in which he detailed the methods of the agency's antilabor operations.156

Friedman's book, like so many muckraking books of the first decade of the century, described in detail the organization and operation of the Pinkerton business. Specifically he concentrated on the Denver office, but the general implication was aimed at the entire Pinkerton empire. . . . Numerous operatives reports were reproduced, lending authority to his work. Pinkerton involvement in the Cripple Creek and Telluride strikes and the Haywood trial [End Page 29] were recounted. . . . McParlan was accused of fabricating stories of union conspiracies to win new contracts. Never before had an employee so exposed the inner workings of Pinkerton operations. The agency was stunned into silence.157

The Pinkertons were more than usually quiet, perhaps, but hardly inactive. If anything, the agency's anti-IWW operations escalated after the publication of Friedman's book in 1907, pacing the union's efforts to expand to national proportions. And, after the death of his brother Robert in that year, William Pinkerton commenced a campaign of increasingly vituperative and ill-researched public denunciations of the Wobblies, including the contrivance of a number of catchy "meanings" for the union's acronym; over the next decade, the agency's owner was to make it fashionable in some circles to refer to the IWW as the "I Won't Work," the "I Want Whisky," the "International Wonder Workers," the "Irresponsible Wholesale Wreckers," and, during America's participation in World War I, "Imperial Wilhelm's Warriors."158

By 1910-11, the agency was up to many of its older tricks, organizing "vigilance" committees to visit summary punishment upon IWW organizers, providing large complements of guards and scabs to companies struck by the union, infiltrating informers and provocateurs wherever possible. In most of this, as well as antilabor activities of all types, it continued to enjoy much active complicity by state and local officials and police. Not the least indication of this was the enactment of state "criminal anarchy" or "criminal syndicalism" statutes, banning the very philosophies espoused by the Wobblies and other radical organizations.159

[Four] states passed legislation to outlaw the advocacy of anarchy in 1902 and 1903. The New York law, passed in April 1902, later became the model for criminal syndicalism laws passed to outlaw the Industrial Workers of the World . . . in 1917-20. The law defined criminal anarchy as the doctrine that organized government should be "overthrown by force or violence or by assassination of the executive head or of any of the executive officials of government, or by any unlawful means." Persons who advocated such doctrines [End Page 30] orally or in writing, who helped disseminate such doctrines, or who organized, joined or "voluntarily" assembled with any group advocating such doctrines faced up to ten years in jail and a fine of $5000. Also, any assemblage of two or more persons for the purpose of advocating such doctrines was outlawed, and any person knowingly allowing such meetings on their property, including janitors, also faced arrest.160

The laws were ostensibly a response to the assassination of President William McKinley by a self-described anarchist named Leon Czolgosz on 6 September 1901, but were always aimed in practice mainly against radical labor organizers.161 In their implementation, the criminal anarchy statutes were coupled to literally thousands of county and municipal ordinances, which began to proliferate around 1905, prohibiting agitation by radicals, especially IWW organizers, within city or county limits.162 It was in the enforcement of these local ordinances that the Pinkertons, local authorities, and other reactionary social elements often established tidy working arrangements. On 27 November 1911, for instance, Pinkertons were among those deputized as "citizen police" by the mayor of Aberdeen, Washington, and sent to put a stop to IWW organizing among area lumberjacks; they then "blocked the entrance to a scheduled IWW meeting, raided and ransacked the IWW hall, arrested forty men, including all the local IWW leaders, and escorted the arrested Wobblies out of town."163

In San Diego, IWW activity was dispensed with on the night of 5 April 1912, when the chief of police turned over nearly two hundred union members he'd jailed for making public speeches to a Pinkerton-organized vigilante mob "who escorted the Wobblies to the county line, beat them with pickaxes and sent them on their way."164 Over a hundred Pinkerton detectives were also sent to break a 1912 lumber strike in Granbow, Louisiana, when the mostly Afro-American local of the Brotherhood of Timber Workers (BTW) voted to affiliate with the IWW; the strike was broken when, after "company personnel"—probably Pinkertons—fired on a workers' meeting, killing four and wounding forty, 65 BTW-IWW members were indicted. Although all were eventually acquitted or released, "the trial paralyzed the organization for months, drained its treasury and exhausted its resources."165 [End Page 31] A follow-up strike by the BTW-IWW at Merryville, Louisiana, was broken in February 1913, when "a mob of townspeople and company gunmen [again including Pinkertons] raided and wrecked union buildings, and created such a reign of terror that most strikers were forced to flee for their lives. That was the end of the BTW and the southern lumber drive."166

During the much larger 1912 IWW strike of some twenty thousand immigrant workers against the American Woolen Company, Atlantic Mill, and other textile manufacturers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the Pinkertons deployed several hundred guards, as well as detectives. All of their activities were closely coordinated with local police officials and, after dynamite bombs were discovered in three locations, militia commanders.167 On 29 January, a woman named Anna LoPezzi was shot to death by police during an attempt to halt a parade in support of the strikers. The following day, "a militiaman bayoneted to death a fifteen-year-old [Syrian immigrant named John Rami], and martial law was declared, making all public meetings illegal."168 When the strikers then attempted to evacuate their children from Lawrence, this too was declared unlawful. A group of police, augmented by Pinkertons, stopped an attempt to load children aboard a train, "clubbed the children and their mothers, arrested over thirty persons for 'congregation,' and had fourteen children committed by the courts to the city farm."169

By the time the strike was successfully concluded in March (public outrage over the treatment of the women and children had been such that the companies were forced to capitulate), 355 strikers had been arrested, 54 of whom were sentenced to jail terms; a "group of 34 strikers was given a year in jail each after five to ten minute trials. Although their sentences were later commuted to small fines on appeal, the IWW had to raise $27,000 for bail."170 Much worse was the situation of IWW organizers Arturo Giovannitti and Joseph Ettor, who had—although they had been three miles away at the time Mrs. LoPezzi was killed—been charged with complicity in her death by virtue of having called for the parade during which she was shot. They were held in jail without bail for ten months.171

When the trial of Ettor and Giovannitti began in late September the two defendants were kept in metal cages in the courtroom; protesting strikers [End Page 32]were brutally clubbed by police outside the [courthouse]. Massachusetts authorities indicted the entire defense committee on charges of conspiring to intimidate workers. Ettor and Giovannitti were acquitted in November.172

Before the trial ended, yet another telling illustration of the Pinkertons' operational methods had been revealed. It turned out that the dynamite bombs that had been falsely attributed to "IWW radicals" by the police—and thus used as a pretext to bring in the National Guard, escalating the official violence that claimed the lives of both LoPezzi and Rami—were actually planted by John Breen, a member of the Lawrence school board. Breen admitted he'd acted on the instruction of William N. Wood, president of American Woolen, and in concert with two other men: Frederick H. Atteaux, a Boston businessman, and D. J. Collins, a sometime Pinkerton operative. Unlike Ettor and Giovannitti, Breen and Collins, who were eventually convicted of their offenses, were allowed low bail and were not caged in the courtroom. Each was fined $500 for their offense. The jury hung on Atteaux, and he was released. Wood was acquitted despite being implicated in the conspiracy by both Breen and Ernest Pittman, the man who provided the dynamite.173

Once again, public exposure of its covert techniques did little to slow the agency's anti-Wobbly campaign. During the 1913 textile strike in Patterson, New Jersey, in which the IWW once again displayed its ability to galvanize large numbers of immigrant workers, Pinkerton detectives engaged in all manner of provocation—including the killing of two strikers—in concert with the police and other authorities.174 The U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations concluded, in a belated investigation, that "the police authority of the state was, in effect, turned over to the mill owners [who] trespassed every natural right and constitutional guarantee" of the strikers.175

At the same time, during an IWW strike of rubber workers in Akron, Ohio, police and Pinkerton-organized "vigilante groups broke the strike by attacking, beating and arresting scores of strikers. The strike defeat ended attempts to organize the Akron rubber workers until the 1930s."176 Similarly, an "IWW loggers' strike in Coos Bay, Oregon, in May, 1913, was defeated by vigilante raids, beatings, arrests and deportations."177 Elsewhere, "local [End Page 33] police and sheriff's deputies killed two strikers and wounded many others by firing into picket lines at Ipswich, Massachusetts, and Rankin, Pennsylvania, while private [Pinkerton] guards killed five and wounded many by firing into a group of strikers at Metuchen, New Jersey."178 In 1914, in Stockton, California, Pinkerton "strikebreakers armed with guns and blackjacks were deputized during labor strife, while Stockton employers tried to plant dynamite to implicate [IWW] members."179 And the hammer blows kept falling.

During June, 1915, 6 strikers at the Standard Oil plant at Bayonne, New Jersey were shot and killed by private [Pinkerton] guards. . . . A year later at the same plant, police and "deputies" swept through workers' residential areas after six police and strikebreakers were wounded by gunfire during a strike, killing four persons as they clubbed and shot at strikers and wrecked strikers' saloons.... Riots broke out at East Youngstown, Ohio, and at Braddock, Pennsylvania, during 1916 when private guards fired at strikers, killing four and wounding many. In both cases state troops had to be called in to restore order. During the same year, Pennsylvania state troops [acting on information provided by a Pinkerton detective] broke up a strike of IWW coal miners by the simple technique of raiding a union meeting and arresting all 250 miners present.180

During the massive strike of immigrant mine laborers in Minnesota's Mesabi Iron Range during 1916, the IWW demonstrated for a third time its capacity to organize large numbers of strikers under extremely adverse conditions. This was met with another ferocious response by the agency and its employers.

Four hundred mine guards [many of them Pinkertons] were deputized even after they had shot and killed one striker and wounded two others. The deputized guards dispersed parading strikers, arrested IWW organizers without cause, and generally established a reign of terror in the area. The climax of the Mesabi violence came when several of the deputized guards forced themselves without warrant into the home of a miner, allegedly to make an arrest on a liquor violation; in the subsequent melee a deputy was killed along with [End Page 34] a nearby soft drink peddler. All the miners present were jailed on charges of first degree murder, along with IWW leaders who had not even been in the area. Eventually, a settlement was reached in which the IWW leaders were released, while three miners pled guilty to manslaughter. . . . [Governmental] investigating agencies placed the major share of blame on the mining companies and the police [including the Pinkerton deputies]. A report of the U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations found that the miners endured the "abuse and violence of beating up, shooting and terrorizing." The Mesabi strike eventually collapsed due to the miners' exhaustion.181

Then there was the Everett Massacre of 4 November 1916, in some ways a mirror image of the battle at Homestead 24 years earlier. Beginning in July, efforts by the IWW to organize workers at a sawmill in Everett, Washington, were met by "repeated arrests, brutal beatings and deportations" by the local sheriff and a growing number of "deputized members of the business community," including numerous Pinkertons.182

During October, 1916 alone about five hundred Wobblies trying to enter the city were deported by local police. On October 30, forty-one Wobblies trying to enter Everett were beaten by deputies with saps, clubs, rifles and fists. . . . The climax of the Everett affair came on November 4 when two hundred fifty Wobblies trying to land by boat were met at the dock by armed, and, in many cases, drunken deputies who tried to prevent their disembarkation. During a subsequent gun battle five Wobblies and two deputies were killed and scores wounded. Although the source of the first shot was never determined, seventy-four Wobblies were arrested. No action was ever taken against the deputies, although it seems likely that most of the deputies' casualties resulted from gunfire from other deputies. The arrested Wobblies were all released after the first man was acquitted.183

After 1916, the Pinkertons' reliance upon vigilantism, already pronounced against the Wobblies, appears to have increased substantially. During the summer of 1917, the Anaconda Mining Company retained the agency to break an IWW strike at its facility in Butte, Montana. In response, the union [End Page 35] sent Frank Little, one of its best, most dynamic, and militant organizers. What happened next harkened back to the Reno and Molly Maguire cases of the 1860s and 1870s.

Following a speech at the ball park in Butte on July 31, 1917, Little went to his room at the Finn Hotel. That night, six masked and armed men broke into his room, beat him, and dragged him by a rope behind their automobile to a Milwaukee Railroad trestle on the outskirts of Butte. There he was hung. On his coat was pinned a card: "First and last warning! 3-7-77. D-D-C-S-S-W." It was said that the numbers referred to the measurements for a grave and the initials corresponded to the first letters of the names of other strike leaders in Butte, thereby warning them of similar treatment if their strike activities were not stopped.184

It is generally conceded that the "vigilantes" who lynched Little were in fact "agents of the copper corporation," a description that strongly implies Pinkerton personnel.185 Indeed, Pinkerton operative Dashiell Hammett (later to win fame as a writer of detective fiction) is believed to have served as lookout for those who did the actual killing.186 Be that as it may, local authorities plainly shielded the perpetrators from incurring any penalties as a result of their deed: the "police kept up a pretense of looking for the man they called their prime suspect, a mentally deranged drug addict from the Western underworld, but no serious attempt was made to bring Little's killers to justice."187

After 1917, the federal government assumed overall responsibility for destroying the Wobblies,188 although the Pinkertons and the vigilante organizations they facilitated continued to figure prominently in violence directed against the union. A prime example concerns the case of Wesley Everest, an IWW organizer and much-decorated First World War hero, who was murdered while wearing his uniform by a mob of self-proclaimed "patriots" in November 1919.

On November 11, the so-called "Centralia Massacre" occurred. The IWW had been driven out of Centralia, Washington, by a mob attack in March, 1918, but [End Page 36] had re-established a hall there in September, 1919. During [an] armistice parade, a group of American Legion members attacked the hall, and were fired upon by Wobblies who had armed themselves as a result of widespread rumors of impending assault. Three legionnaires were killed in the battle; an IWW named Wesley Everest who was arrested was turned over to a mob by jail guards that night and lynched. The Centralia incident set off a true reign of terror in Washington; hysterical mobs assaulted Wobblies, and ransacked IWW headquarters, while police arrested at least one thousand alleged IWWs. The "white terror" decimated what was left of the IWW in the state. When the Seattle Union Record asked that judgment be suspended until the facts about Centralia became known, federal agents seized the press plant, banned the issue from the mails and arrested several of the editors [for "sedition"].189

Describing what happened to Everest as a "lynching" is actually a bit too sanguine. The fate visited upon him by the American Legion—that squalid equivalent to the protofascist Freikorps movement that was simultaneously rampaging in Germany—was to smash his teeth with a rifle butt, castrate him, hang him three times in three separate locations, and then riddle his corpse with bullets before disposing of the remains in an unmarked grave. The official coroner's report listed the victim's cause of death as "suicide."190

Afterwards, "eleven Wobblies were tried for the incident in a courtroom packed with legionnaires and with federal troops stationed on the courthouse lawn. Two defense witnesses were arrested for perjury during the trial, and the judge ruled out arguments for self-defense. Seven defendants were sentenced to twenty-five to forty years in prison, with the last not released until 1939. No effort was made to find the lynchers of Everest."191

The Modern Agency

After the death of William Pinkerton in December 1923, the agency's chief-executive slot was taken by Robert's son, Allan Pinkerton II. When he died in 1930, his son, Robert Pinkerton II, took over the job.192 Despite these changes in leadership, and the ever-increasing role assumed by federal agents in repressing labor radicalism, the Pinkertons remained consistent [End Page 37]for some time in peddling their wares as a business instrument against labor: "In the 1920s and early 1930s the Agency provided operatives for use in large industrial plants to report on union activities. . . . By 1936, 30 percent of the firm's business was made up of its industrial services, aside from providing uniformed guards and criminal investigation."193

To be fair, the agency was hardly alone in this. A number of other private firms, following the Pinkertons' pioneering record of profitability, were also specializing in antilabor activities by the early twentieth century. In fact, the William Burns International Detective Agency, the Pinkertons' main competitor, "made a concerted effort to specialize in guard services" as well as industrial espionage, taking up most of the slack the agency left in these fields.194 Other "industrial contractors" included the Archer, Baldwin-Felts, Waddell-Mahon, John Sherman, and Gus Thiel agencies.195 In addition, there were enterprises that excelled exclusively in strikebreaking.196

Jack Whitehead was the first to specialize in this activity in the early 1890s when he maintained an army of forty men solely to break strikes. The practice, however, was formalized by Jim Farley, "King of the Strikebreakers," at the turn of the century. As a New York detective, Farley saw the chaos resulting when several different detective agencies provided scabs for the same strike. A centralized force of workers that could be mobilized and moved quickly by a strikebreaker general was needed, he believed. In 1895 Farley gave up any pretense of detective work and specialized in strike services. It was rumored he earned nearly a million dollars from one strike in San Francisco. After ten years of specializing, Farley retired, noting that he had not lost any of his thirty-five strike jobs. Others, like Pearl L. Bergoff, followed Farley's example. Between 1910 and 1922 Bergoff was idle only a few months a year as strikebreaking became a profitable business. He charged the Erie Railroad two million dollars to smash the switchmen's walkout in the 1920s. The government did nothing to restrict these activities, and the number of agencies offering extensive strikebreaking services grew to sixty by the 1930s, when [the Wagner Act] was passed forbidding the mass transportation of scabs.197 [End Page 38]

Initially, the Pinkertons' antilabor operations survived passage of the Wagner Act in 1935 relatively unscathed. On 8 April 1937, however, in the wake of an extremely negative finding by the LaFollette Committee after its investigation of private-sector industrial-espionage activities, Pinkerton's finally acknowledged the handwriting on the wall. In their own words, the firm's board of directors "recognized the change in recent years in the field of employer and employee relations and that the public sentiment generally was condemning of such practices that had been in effect for a long time."198 It was then resolved by the board "that management be authorized and instructed to take such steps as the management may feel necessary that this Agency in the future not furnish information to anyone concerning the lawful attempts of labor unions or employees to organize and bargain collectively."199 As Robert Pinkerton II later put it in the New York Times, "That is a phase of our business that we are not particularly proud of and we're delighted we're out of it. However, there was nothing illegal about it at the time."200

The change was partly real, partly subterfuge. In 1938, a year after the resolution was taken, the agency's income dipped to $1,244,661, its lowest ebb since 1921.201 It was, nonetheless, simply attempting to repackage itself for operation in the post-Wagner Act world, in which thoroughly co-opted unions such as the AFL had been federally legitimated.202 Rather than strikebreaking and industrial espionage, the agency sought, with considerable success, to trade in industrial "security" services. In this, it was greatly assisted both by the Second World War and by the subsequent period of sweeping repression usually (and rather misleadingly) referred to as the "McCarthy Era."203

The Agency's business and profits increased sharply during the war years when the Pinkertons supplied protection for war plants. The top year, 1944, saw the gross income from war-plant operations come to $1,748,584 of the Agency's total of $4,089,969. As national business became more security conscious in the postwar years, the Agency's income continued to rise. In 1946, it was $5,309,772, and in the following year slightly under that figure.204 [End Page 39]

Another lucrative area of endeavor, police consulting, dovetailed handily with the agency's new profile. This had begun at least as early as 1893, when both Robert and William Pinkerton, taking the lead set by their father's and assistant director George Bangs's holding of official federal and local police-detective positions earlier in the century, accepted appointments as honorary members to the newly formed National Association of Chiefs of Police (NACP).205 In this capacity, William took a leading role in establishing a committee—on which he served until 1923—to lobby for congressional funding to establish a "Central Bureau of Identification."206 He also arranged a publisher for the National Association's official periodical, Detective, in 1896.207

With respect to identification, what Pinkerton originally had in mind was the adoption by police departments nationally of the French system of Bertillonage (recording a complex series of physical measurements theoretically unique to each individual). A National Bertillon Identification Center was actually established near Pinkerton's Chicago office in 1897; it employed a French expert named George Porteous as director, and had 39 subscribing police departments by 1900. The initiative was undone in 1903, however, when it was discovered that two prisoners in the federal facility at Leavenworth, both named William West, exhibited precisely the same bodily measurements.208 Pinkerton thereupon abandoned the notion of Bertillonage and formed a new three-person subcommittee—including himself and W. G. Baldwin of the Baldwin Railroad Detective Agency—to explore fingerprinting methods, which were more-or-less universally adopted after they were accepted by a court as conclusive evidence in the 1911Caesar Calla case.209

Despite his obviously self-serving and somewhat bumbling approach, Pinkerton's efforts at creating a centralized criminal-identification center, in combination with a series of keynote addresses he delivered each year at the annual NACP conventions (the organization was renamed the International Association of Police Chiefs [IAPC] in 1902), established him and his agency as the preeminent examples of scientifically efficient crime fighting.210 By 1900, "the Pinkerton agency was [also] widely applauded for its sophisticated managerial style," and served as a model for reorganizing a number of police departments around the country.211 The payoff in terms of interlock between the agency and the police was readily apparent. [End Page 40]

Robert Linden, superintendent of the Philadelphia Pinkerton office in the 1880s, became the head of the Philadelphia police department in the late 1890s. Linden, personally or through his prot�g�s, continued to influence that police department well into the twentieth century. After twenty-three years with Pinkertons, George Dougherty became the deputy commissioner and chief of detectives for the New York city police department in 1911. Dougherty later joined the faculty of the New York School for Detectives and led several crusades for the adoption of a comprehensive fingerprinting system in America. Allan Pinkerton II . . . turned down an invitation to be the police commissioner of New York City in 1913. Other members of Pinkerton management [also] split off and . . . became police officials . . . creating a network of proselytizers for Pinkerton's brand of private policing.212

Such de facto integration of private and public police-detective capacities allowed Pinkerton's to position itself favorably against potential competitors, and thus to become the sole agency retained by the Jewelers Protective Alliance from its founding in 1883, and the American Bankers Association beginning in 1894.213 When added to police consulting and industrial security, commercial security and investigation activities added up to a tidy package. Following the trajectory thus defined by 1945 enabled the agency to expand its personnel roster to 13,000 full-time and more than 9,000 part-time employees, and its gross revenues to more than $71,000,000 by the mid-1960s.214 Under the leadership of Edward J. Bednarz, who replaced Robert Pinkerton II as CEO in 1967, Pinkerton's, Inc. (as the agency began to call itself in 1956) also moved full-tilt into the design, manufacture, installation, and maintenance of electronic security, monitoring, and surveillance systems, and into the formal training of governmental security personnel.215

Bednarz has played a key part in creating a more sophisticated image for the Agency. He established a research department to study new techniques in industrial security and a school for the study of sophisticated electronic devices. The school was selected by the State Department as the only private agency included in the training program of State's Agency for International Development [AID] for Security Officials sent to the United States by other [End Page 41] world governments. In 1962, Bednarz arranged for the purchase of a New England company, manufacturing space alarms along radar principles. This subsidiary of the Agency, Pinkerton-Elector Security Company, is now marketing an anti-intrusion device for industry and homes known as Radar-Eye.... It was also Bednarz who gained for the Agency membership in the Ligue Internationale des Soci�t�s de Surveillance, with headquarters in London. This international group extends membership to only one security agency in each country. Pinkerton's represents both the United States and Canada.216

While Pinkerton's, which by the 1980s remained the largest firm of its type in North America,217 has long claimed to have gotten completely out of the kind of politically repressive work that so indelibly marked its earlier history, it should be noted that the AID's training program for foreign security personnel was a primary mechanism by which the death-squad apparatus that has been used so extensively against leftists and labor organizers in Latin America and other Third-World localities was assembled and perfected.218 It is also worth mentioning that the Ligue Internationale des Soci�t�s de Surveillance has always evidenced a decidedly antiradical, antilabor cant. In addition, the facts that the agency has at this point reversed the flow of personnel from itself to various police agencies, and finds one of its own major recruitment pools to be composed of former FBI agents, and that by 1980 it was known to have compiled more than four million dossiers on the activities of "suspect" individuals tend to speak for themselves.219

There is also the matter of clones. The Florida-based Wackenhut Corporation, for example, employs upwards of 3,500 personnel—many of them ex-FBI men—making it the third-largest private detection/security firm in the United States, right behind Pinkerton and Burns. The corporation was established in the late 1950s by George R. Wackenhut, a John Birch Society member and former FBI agent, and, until their deaths in the late seventies and mid-eighties respectively, included on its board Orange County Birchite attorney Lloyd Wright and former FBI assistant director Stanley J. Tracy.220 Even more straightforward is Fidelifacts, a 22-office operation that promotes itself as being "The National Organization of Ex-FBI Agents" and includes [End Page 42] on its staff over 200 former Bureau men.221 Still another Pinkerton-style detection and security outfit is Dale Simpson & Associates, of Dallas, also run by men who learned their trade in the FBI.222

All of these "private" concerns feed information on the political activities of American citizens directly into the FBI data banks—and receive classified information in return—if the murky operation once run by retired Military Intelligence chief Ralph H. Van Deman is any indication. In early 1971, it was accidentally discovered that the former major general, for a quarter-century after he left service, had been compiling tens of thousands of dossiers on the people and groups he considered "subversive" (Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, for instance, and the actress Joan Crawford, as well as political figures such as Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Wayne Morse).223 He was at least partially funded in this enterprise by the U.S. Army, and his files included thousands of pages of supposedly confidential material provided by the FBI.224

It was established during a preliminary investigation by the Senate that over the years, Van Deman had freely provided the results of this "entrepreneurial intelligence gathering" not only to the military and the Bureau, but to the House Un-American Activities Committee, Senator Joseph McCarthy, and the Tenny Committee in California.225 Further revelations were avoided by the army, which—when it appeared that the files would be subpoenaed by Senator Sam Ervin's Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights—quickly turned them over instead to the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security, headed by archreactionary James O. Eastland, who promptly clamped a permanent "National Security" classification over the entire lot. Consequently, at present, more than a quarter-century later, the full dimension of Van Deman's operation and the disposition of much of the information he collected remains unknown.226

Pinkerton Influences on the FBI

It is important that the impact of the Pinkerton mode of repressing labor radicalism upon the U.S. polity be understood from the vantage point of its having no counterpart anywhere in the industrialized world. As Val R. [End Page 43] Lorwin has observed, "American workers had to fight bloodier industrial battles than the French for the right of unions to exist and to function. . . . [The] rail strikes of 1877, the pitched battle of Homestead, the Ludlow massacre were far bloodier than Fourmies and Draveil and Villeneuve-Sainte-Georges [sic]. The 1919 steel strike was more brutally suppressed than the French general strike of 1920. 'Bloody Harlan' had no rival in the coal country of France. France had nothing like the private armies, factory arsenals and industrial espionage services exposed by the LaFollette Committee...."227

Or, as Stuart Jamieson has remarked with respect to the evolution of unionism in Canada, "The use of professional strike-breakers, labor spies, 'goon squads,' 'vigilante' groups, armed militia and other spectacular features of industrial warfare in the United States . . . have been absent from the Canadian scene."228 The same can be said of Great Britain, Italy, Scandinavia, the Low Countries, even Germany. Indeed, in no other ostensibly democratic country "have employers been so much aided in their opposition to unions by the civil authorities, the armed forces of government and their courts."229 The level and forms of repression manifested during the period of "Pinkertonism" is all the more remarkable when it is considered that—with the exceptions of the IWW, WFM, and a few fringe groups like the IWPA—the American labor movement has been the least ideologically developed of any on the planet.

The rate of industrial violence in America is striking in light of the fact that no major American organization [including the IWW] has ever advocated violence as a policy, that extremely militant class conflict philosophies have not prevailed here, and that the percentage of the American labor force organized in unions has always been (and is now) lower than in most advanced industrial countries. With a minimum of ideologically motivated class conflict, the United States has somehow had a maximum of industrial violence.230

In addressing the question of industrial violence in the United States, it is thus inappropriate to ask, as orthodox analysts insist upon doing, whether [End Page 44]and to what extent labor precipitated or "provoked" it. Rather, the sole relevant question is why American government at all levels not only acquiesced in but often vigorously supported big-business usage of the Pinkertons and their counterparts to visit such unparalleled barbarity upon persons, citizens and noncitizens alike, who, for the most part, never asked more than a living wage, decent working conditions, and perhaps a brighter future for their children. To this, Robert Justin Goldstein provides the only reasonable response:

The fundamental explanation for the government-business alliance against labor . . . lies in the fact of business' tremendous power [and consequent utility to government]. . . . Just as the amalgamation of church and state in colonial America made religious dissent in effect a political challenge to state authority, calling for state repression, so during most of the 1837-1937 period did the challenge posed to American capitalism by labor become transformed by the state-business amalgamation into a challenge to the ruling orthodoxy of the state.231

It was to preserve this status quo that the Pinkertons were unleashed with such sustained ferocity. In this sense, it is rather academic to ask whether the creation of an official entity to assume those functions performed by the Pinkerton Agency for the U.S. Department of Justice from 1871 to 1892 might not tend to reflect or even replicate the Pinkertons' tactics and priorities in the process.232 This is all the more true when it is considered that many of the personnel staffing the Justice Department's "detection unit" in its early days had learned their trade while working as Pinkerton detectives. The only question, then, is not whether the agency left an imprint upon its federal successor, but by which methods and to what degree.

Some things, identification methodologies for example, are fairly straightforward. At its inception, the Justice Department's investigative bureau utilized the Bertillon System favored by William Pinkerton, and then shifted to a reliance upon fingerprinting when the Pinkerton chief switched preferences.233 Pinkerton reciprocated by seeing to it that the IACP provided the new bureau with duplicates of both its Bertillon and fingerprint records, and, [End Page 45] in 1924, the Bureau's recently appointed acting director, J. Edgar Hoover, was finally able to convince Congress to allocate funds for purposes of establishing the national identification center Pinkerton had long sought: "The importance of William Pinkerton's plan in the 1890s to centralize Bertillon and photographic records within a national bureau of criminal identification—later the basis for the present FBI's enormous files—is obvious."234

Actually, it appears that Hoover may have gone well beyond anything Pinkerton had in mind, creating "a Division of Identification and Information [DII] within the Bureau that would include the fingerprints of law abiding citizens as well as criminals."235 By 1993, the DII database would include cards on some 196 million people—a total estimated to have since grown at a rate of nine million per year—only 107 million of them classified as "criminals" by some definition or another. (The FBI's National Crime Information Center [NCIC] also maintains an estimated 23 million additional "items of interest to law enforcement.")236 In any event, the division, by now the largest in the Bureau, functions very much as Pinkerton originally envisioned, with state and local police "subscribers"—a term now encompassing virtually every police agency in the country—continuously feeding in data, and the identification center continuously disseminating it.237

Hoover plainly followed Pinkertonian tradition in developing other interlocks with the police, offloading personnel to serve as chiefs, commissioners, and heads of detective divisions in major city departments, as well as county sheriffs and even district attorneys. Agent Joseph I. Woods, for example, left the FBI in 1961 to become sheriff in Cook County, Illinois, while Peter J. Pitchess, Los Angeles County sheriff during the 1960s, was also an FBI alumnus, as was L.A. district attorney Evelle J. Younger.238 Similarly, Dade County (Florida) sheriff E. Wilson Purdy was a former FBI man, while the "late Arthur Cornelius, Jr., once [head agent] in Albany, was named superintendent of the New York state police in 1959 and brought with him a large contingent of Bureau alumni, including former Assistant Director John J. McGuire."239 The list of such situations could be extended for pages.

In 1960, former FBI assistant director Quinn Tamm became executive director of the IACP; among the more important members during his tenure were Kansas City police chief Clarence Kelley, still another former agent (and [End Page 46] future FBI director).240 As to the IACP itself, Hoover and his Bureau picked up exactly where William Pinkerton left off.

The Washington-based International Association of Chiefs of Police claimed more than sixty-two hundred members as of 1970. Police officials from the rank of captain up were eligible, as were industrial security men, many of whom were former FBI agents. . . . For years the IACP-FBI relationship was incestuous. On Hoover and Associate director Clyde Tolson was bestowed the honorific title of life member. Year after year, in ritual symbolism, special resolutions—usually written by FBI personnel and approved by the Director—lavishly praised the FBI chief and were unanimously passed. Hoover's nod or frown could make or break proposals under consideration. At the conventions, FBI officials were invited as keynote speakers. . . . [In 1969, Santa Ana, California, police chief Edward J.] Allen "flatly asserted that the FBI . . . controls the IACP."241

Aside from infusion of FBI personnel into the higher ranks of public and private police forces, one means to the desired end has been the Bureau's production and distribution of "professional" publications such as the Law Enforcement Bulletin, "a monthly slick mailed to some fifty-seven thousand police officers, sheriffs and prosecuting attorneys."242 Another has been the provision, free of charge, of some five thousand training sessions each year for local police departments around the country on such topics as arrest techniques, firearms, and defensive tactics.243 In 1935, the FBI once again surpassed the Pinkertons' record in cultivating such handy cross-pollination, this time by establishing a by-invitation-only "National Police Academy" through which to inculcate not merely the Bureau's investigative techniques, but its "perspective" among state and local police personnel.244

Once an officer has been through the academy, he is automatically thought, by the FBI and usually by himself and others, to be a member of the select (although larger all the time) fraternity of Bureau men among the nation's estimated four hundred thousand law enforcement personnel. If he is in a big city, he is invited to special events by the local FBI office. In a small town, he [End Page 47] is the first person consulted by a Bureau agent who is a stranger and has come looking for information. . . . He is invited to regional "retraining" sessions where Bureau agents dispatched from Washington lecture on a current problem in law enforcement and present the FBI's ideas for a solution. And he is almost sure to be a member of the FBI National Academy Association complete with blazer patches, coasters, and festive reunions and conventions. . . . Because of the status and honor attached to the National Academy, local police departments and the officers within them often compete to be chosen.245

Small wonder that by 1948, FBI assistant director Hugh N. Clegg, while delivering a keynote address at the annual IACP convention, could assert—to considerable applause from those assembled—that the "ideal" police chief was one "who cooperates with the FBI in such a generous manner that he has earned our undying gratitude," consistently sending in fingerprints and "laboratory problems," and having his men trained to Bureau specifications.246 As this intimate FBI/police relationship was being forged, the same was being done with the security forces maintained by private corporations. In 1923, for example, H. C. Ruch, a close friend and assistant to Hoover, left the Bureau to head up a labor-espionage operation for the H. C. Frick Coal Company.247 By the 1980s, the "security chiefs of Texas Instruments of Dallas, Lockheed at Sunnyvale, California, the giant Wynn-Dixie supermarket chain, and Reynolds Metals, to name only a few, were former Hoover minions."248 During the 1990s, Richard Wallace Held, a ranking specialist in COINTELPRO-style operations and head of the FBI's San Francisco field office, took early retirement from the Bureau to become chief of security for Visa Corp.249 Again, the list could be extended to great length.

Such carefully calculated placements of its personnel allowed the FBI to avoid the appearance of direct involvement in certain of the more unsavory aspects of antilabor activity, even while exerting a steadily increasing degree of indirect control over them. Nor did Hoover neglect the cultivation of personal relationships with the rich and powerful. Following the pattern set forth by Allan Pinkerton's "friendship" with McClellan, the FBI director ingratiated himself with a cast of characters that included politicos like [End Page 48]Wisconsin's red-baiting senator Joseph McCarthy, California's Richard Nixon, and Texas liberal Lyndon Johnson, as well as right-wing billionaires such as Clint Murchison and Sid Richardson.250

There are also more than a few Pinkertonesque elements embodied in Hoover's propensity to popularize himself and his Bureau by writing—or causing to be written under his byline—a lengthy stream of material glamorizing and mythologizing his version of the "craft of detection." Unmistakably, this activity on the part of the Bureau and its director, complete with the 1935 creation of an internal propaganda mill euphemistically dubbed the "Crime Records Division" (CRD), found its roots in the literary efforts of Allan Pinkerton and his prose hacks in the 1800s.251

Allan Pinkerton, the most famous real-life detective of the nineteenth century, probably was more famous for the eighteen volumes of casebooks his ghost writers turned out from 1873 until 1886 than anything he did as a detective. When Hoover began issuing his own ghost-written casebooks (Persons in Hiding in 1938, Masters of Deceit in 1958, along with scores of magazine articles and several movies), these literary performances seemed incongruous to many, but only because his critics did not know the popular tradition of the "great detective" who has always been a storyteller as well as a hero.252

In the same vein, the FBI, like the Pinkerton Agency before it, was packaged as the nation's premier crime-fighting force, when in fact the preponderance of its resources and attention were always devoted to antiradicalism, pure and simple. While the Pinkertons made much of their campaigns against the Renos and James/Youngers—and later, the apprehension (twice) of Willie Sutton, a notorious bank robber of the 1920s—there is no indication that the agency made any effort at all to confront such precursors of twentieth-century organized crime as the Whyos and other New York gangs.253 Meanwhile, as was shown above, the agency specialized in deploying literally thousands of employees to break strikes, infiltrate labor unions, and disrupt anarchist and other radical political activities, regardless of their legality. [End Page 49]

By the same token, the FBI hyped itself as being composed of "gang busters," after a series of easy successes during the mid-1930s against such smalltime rural hoodlums as John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, Machine Gun Kelly, Alvin Karpis, and the Barker family.254 At the same time, it did absolutely nothing to interfere with the rise of syndicated crime in the United States, with Director Hoover even going so far as to state publicly, repeatedly, and officially that, so far as his Bureau knew, organized crime as such "did not exist."255 Yet, while allegedly being too short-handed to discover the operations of urban crime bosses like Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Albert Anastasia, Tony Acardo, and Vito Genovese,256 the FBI always had sufficient resources to blanket labor radicals like Harry Bridges, maintain a 50-year vendetta against the American Communist Party, and so on.257

In other words, the Bureau unquestionably inherited its predecessor's tendency to veil its true identity and priorities, masquerading as society's main defense against rampant crime while largely ignoring major criminal enterprises in favor of a steadily increasing concentration on the repression of radical political activity.258 Even when he was willing to come out of the closet with regard to his Bureau's real priorities, the stilted concepts and rhetoric used by Hoover in such books as Masters of Deceit and A Study of Communism to describe the "subversive menace" he assigned his agents to combat bears more than passing resemblance to those used early on by Allan Pinkerton in his The Molly Maguires and the Detectives and Strikers, Communists, Tramps and the Detectives, as well as Robert Pinkerton's 1901 essay, "Detective Surveillance of Anarchists."259 As Hoover biographer Richard Gid Powers has observed:

Hoover's performance [from 1919 onward] might be interpreted as a variation on a technique developed by the Pinkerton Agency in the nineteenth century: "Every group was assumed to be led by a tight inner circle of conspirators whose program and tactics were closely held secrets. These insiders were, in theory, surrounded by an outer ring of followers, many of them unaware of the criminal purposes of the leaders."260 [End Page 50]

Administrative, propagandistic, and ideological similitude aside, however, a genuine question might still be posed as to the extent to which the FBI assimilated the Pinkertons' vernacular of utterly illegal tactics in waging its own, more official campaigns against radicalism. Here, we again encounter a veritable point-by-point correspondence, beginning with the use of "Big Lie" techniques—such as those evident in Allan Pinkerton's 1861 "Lincoln Assassination Plot" fable—in order to garner from those in power an extra measure of support at critical moments. There have been a number of instances in which the Bureau has clearly resorted to such stratagems, perhaps most notably when Hoover testified before a congressional subcommittee in 1970, while seeking increased funding, that his agents had uncovered a plot by a group of pacifist Roman Catholic clergy, nominally headed by the priests Daniel and Philip Berrigan, to sabotage Washington, D.C., and assassinate presidential assistant Henry Kissinger. It took months before the sheer falsity of the director's assertions became apparent, but by then his purpose(s) had long since been accomplished.261

As concerns the orchestration and/or organization of vigilante groups to neutralize targets—� la the Pinkertons' performances against the Renos, Molly Maguires, and IWW—the FBI's record is also imbued with many counterparts, especially during the First World War, and again in the 1960s and early-to-mid-1970s.262 One example drawn from the latter period, that of the so-called "Secret Army Organization" (SAO) in southern California, should be sufficient to illustrate the point. Among other things, the SAO was responsible for the attempted murder, in San Diego, California, of radical economist Peter G. Bohmer on 9 January 1972, and the firebombing of the Guild Theater, also in San Diego, on 19 June the same year.263

An ex-FBI informer, Nanda Zocchino, recounted in the January 26, 1976, editorial of the Los Angeles Times how the Bureau had created and financed this "crypto-fascist" group in San Diego during 1969-70. During the early 1970s the SAO engaged in a range of activities including burglary, mail thefts, bombings, kidnappings, assassination plots and attempted murder. . . . A second informant to the San Diego FBI office, Howard Berry Godfrey, has substantially [End Page 51]corroborated Zocchino's story. . . . According to the Citizens Research and Investigation Committee (CRIC), the SAO was established specifically to "use violence against radicals" and, at its peak, had cadres in eleven western states.264

The record is also replete with examples of the FBI utilizing agents provocateurs in essentially the same role as was played by the Pinkertons' James McParlan against the Molly Maguires. Notable in this regard was the Bureau's insertion of at least 30 operatives into the Black Panther Party during the late 1960s,265 but this hardly exhausts the list of possible illustrations. Consider the following, taken from the chronicle of FBI provocation within Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) during the same period.

Probably the most well-known agent provocateur was Thomas Tongyai, known as Tommy the Traveler. Tongyai, who was paid by both the FBI and local police, spent over two years traveling among the colleges in western New York State, urging students to kill police, make bombs and blow up buildings. . . . Tongyai constantly talked of violence, carried a grenade in his car, showed students how to use an M-1 rifle and offered advice on how to carry out bombings. After some students at Hobart College apparently took his advice and bombed the Hobart ROTC building, and Tongyai's cover was exposed, the local sheriff commented, "There's a lot of difference between showing how to build a bomb and building one." As a result of disturbances connected with Tongyai's activities on the Hobart campus, nine students and faculty faced criminal charges.266

Another FBI-sponsored provocateur, Charles Grimm, maintaining that he acted on instructions of the Bureau, openly admitted to the burning of Dressler Hall, on the campus of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, on 7 May 1970.267 Still another, Horace L. Packer, who became the government's star witness during the "Seattle Eight" conspiracy trial, conceded to having supplied all manner of illegal weapons, explosives, and drugs to the defendants and their associates.268 [End Page 52]

Probably the most incredible provocation incident involved an FBI and Seattle police informer, Alfred Burnett, who lured Larry Eugene Ward into planting a bomb at a Seattle real estate office on the morning of May 15, 1970, by paying Ward $75, providing him with the bomb and giving him transportation to the bombing scene. Ward, a twenty-two year old veteran who had been twice wounded and decorated three times for service in Vietnam, was shot and killed by waiting Seattle police as he allegedly fled after the bombing attempt, although he was unarmed, on foot, and boxed in by police cars. . . . Burnett, the FBI informer, was a twice-convicted felon who had been released from jail as a result of FBI statements to the Seattle police . . . 269

By and large, the FBI seems not to have manifested the Pinkertons' proclivity to engage directly in the murder of targeted individuals, preferring instead to manipulate vigilantes, rival political organizations, or local police into such lethal pursuits. An example of the Bureau's deliberate provocation of interorganizational violence for purposes of physically neutralizing members of one or both groups concerns the 1969 "war" precipitated at least in part by the FBI's dissemination of forged cartoons attributed to the Black Panther Party and defaming the United Slaves (US), a black cultural nationalist organization. By the FBI's own tally, six members of the party died at the hands of US gunmen as a result.270 The assassinations of Illinois Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark on 4 December 1969 is probably the best-known instance of police being used by the Bureau in much the same manner.271

There have, of course, been exceptions to such indirect approaches to mayhem, as when agents cold-bloodedly gunned down bank-robber John Dillinger in a Chicago alley on the night of 22 July 1934, and their execution, in what amounted to firing-squad fashion, of another minor desperado, Pretty Boy Floyd, on 21 October the same year.272 In other instances, the Bureau appears to have utilized "non-agent personnel" to infiltrate targeted organizations with express instructions to assassinate selected political leaders. Such is the case with provocateur Louis Tackwood, who insists—and passed a polygraph to punctuate his point—that he was assigned by his FBI [End Page 53] handlers to murder Black Panther field marshal George Jackson inside San Quentin, the California maximum security prison, in 1970.273 Where one should look to find a clearer repetition of the Pinkertons' end-game move against Jesse James is difficult to imagine.

As concerns usurpation of the judicial system for purposes of staging the sort of "trial" inflicted by the Pinkertons and their cohorts upon the Molly Maguires and the Haymarket defendants, no shortage of counterparts can also be drawn from the FBI's subsequent performance. Probably the most spectacular have been the mass trials of IWW leaders/organizers in 1918 and the so-called "Chicago Eight" conspiracy trial of 1969-1970.274 Another is the above-mentioned trial of the Seattle Eight, growing out of a February 1970 demonstration in that city.

Although the demonstration—called to protest contempt sentences handed down in the Chicago case—had been planned only ten days before it occurred, four of the defendants were charged with crossing state lines the previous December with intent to incite riot; another defendant (a visiting photography professor at the University of Washington) was charged with using interstate telephone lines with intent to incite riot as a result of a long distance call placed a week before the demonstration. . . . The judge, George H. Boldt, declared a mistrial when the defendants protested his refusal to give any kind of shelter in the entire courtroom building to spectators who were waiting outside in the rain to gain entrance to the trial. He then sentenced five defendants to a year in jail for contempt and two to six months for contempt (one defendant had gone underground and never shown up), based on the "totality" of their behavior during the trial. . . . 275

Boldt then denied bail on the contempt convictions even after an appeals court instructed him to grant it. In March 1973, the government finally dismissed the original charges, but by then, the defendants had all served jail time as a result of their malicious prosecution. Moreover, "the once thriving radical movement in Seattle," of which they were key organizers, "had been made a shambles."276 [End Page 54]

Much the same pattern self-evidently prevailed in the so-called Wounded Knee Trials pursued against the American Indian Movement (AIM) during the same period. Although the FBI caused a total of 562 felony charges to be filed against AIM members and supporters following a protracted 1973 confrontation on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, a total of only 15 convictions resulted, all for minor offenses.277 The purpose of the prosecutorial onslaught had been far from the obtaining of guilty verdicts, however. During the more than two years in which the trials occurred, almost the entire roster of AIM's key leaders and organizers were continuously tied up in the struggle to defend themselves in court against a seemingly unending stream of baseless allegations, their out-of-court activities constrained by conditions attached to the posting of their usually excessive bails, their organization ultimately bankrupted by its ever-mounting legal expenses.278

Worst of all have been the cases in which extralegal manipulation of the judicial process by "law-enforcement officials" has resulted in imprisonment of those falsely accused. Among the more striking examples is that of Dhoruba bin Wahad (Richard Moore), a New York Black Panther leader who served 19 years in a maximum-security prison before being released in 1990, after it was conclusively established that the FBI had not only fabricated evidence leading to his conviction on charges of attempting to murder police, but to have withheld evidence that would have exonerated him.279 Another is that of Geronimo ji Jaga (Elmer Gerard Pratt), a one-time leader of the Los Angeles Panther chapter, released from prison in 1996 after serving 27 years on a murder conviction engineered in much the same fashion as bin Wahad's.280 Still another is that of AIM member Leonard Peltier, now in his 27th year of maximum-security incarceration, despite formal acknowledgement by the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals as long ago as 1986 that the evidence used to obtain his conviction was utterly invalid.281

These and myriad other examples demonstrate conclusively that the essence of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Pinkertonism has infected the FBI from the moment of its birth through the present day.282 Moreover, insofar as the Bureau has continued to evolve and refine the criminal techniques of political repression pioneered by the Pinkertons, to have [End Page 55]broadened their application to include a span of targets vastly wider than the labor radicalism that preoccupied its "private" predecessor, and to have fully institutionalized the result, the FBI must be seen as having accomplished things far worse than anything even the most malignantly visionary of the Pinkertons might ever have conceived. Far from diminishing as the country has matured, the unique terms of American class warfare remarked on above by Lorwin, Jamieson, and others must therefore be understood as having become ever more pronounced over the past nine decades. We must calculate the nature of our own actions accordingly.

Ward Churchill (Keetoowah Band Cherokee) is a professor of American Indian studies and chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Among his more than twenty books are Fantasies of the Master Race: Literature, Cinema, and the Colonization of Native Americans (2 d ed.; City Lights, 1998); Pacifism as Pathology: Reflections on the Role of Armed Struggle in North America (with Mike Ryan; Arbeiter Ring, 1998); Acts of Rebellion: The Ward Churchill Reader (Routledge, 2002); and Perversions of Justice: Indigenous Peoples and Anglo-American Law (City Lights, 2003). With Jim Vander Wall, he has written Agents of Repression: The FBI's Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (South End Classics, 2002); and The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI's Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States (South End Classics, 2002).


1. David Cole, excerpt from a presentation made at Princeton University, aired on radio station KGNU, Boulder, Colo., March 2003.

2. See, as examples, David Cole and James X. Dempsey, Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing CivilLiberties in the Name of National Security (New York: New Press, 2002); Cynthia Brown, ed., Lost Liberties:Ashcroft and the Assault on Personal Freedom (New York: New Press, 2003); James Bovard, Terrorism andTyranny: Trampling Freedom, Justice, and Peace to Rid the World of Evil (New York: Palgrave, 2003).

3. Also see, e.g., David Cole, "The Course of Least Resistance: Repeating History in the War on Terrorism," in Brown, Lost Liberties, 13-32.

4. Probably the best overview remains David Caute's The Great Fear: The Anti-Communist Purge UnderTruman and Eisenhower (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978). Also see Athan Theoharis, Seeds ofRepression: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of McCarthyism (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1971).

5. An excellent examination is provided in Robert W. Dunn, ed., The Palmer Raids (New York: International, 1948). For further background, see Robert K. Murray, Red Scare: A Study in National Hysteria, 1919-1920 (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964).

6. The centerpiece of this juridical offensive was the mass trial—by far the largest in U.S. history (bleachers had to be installed in the courtroom to seat the defendants)—of 113 IWW leaders on an average of 100 charges each, all devolving upon the notion of "sedition" and "seditious conspiracy." Beginning on 1 April 1918, the trial lasted until 31 August when, after having convicted them en masse, Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis sentenced 15 of the accused to twenty years imprisonment, 33 to ten years, and 35 to five years. More-or-less simultaneously, mass trials of IWW organizers also occurred in [End Page 56] Wichita, Kansas, and Sacramento, California. In Wichita, 34 persons were tried, and 27 convicted and sentenced to serve from one to nine years imprisonment; in Sacramento, where there were 46 defendants, all were convicted and received sentences of up to ten years. For one of the best treatments of these proceedings, see Philip A. Taft, "The Federal Trials of the IWW," LaborHistory 3 (winter 1962).

7. On Garvey and UNIA, see Robert A. Hill Jr., "The Foremost Radical of His Race: Marcus Garvey and the Black Scare, 1918-1920," Prologue 16 (winter 1984). More broadly, see Theodore Kornweibel Jr., Seeing Red: Federal Campaigns Against Black Militancy, 1919-1925 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998).

8. This is a point I've made elsewhere and repeatedly. See, e.g., my "'To Disrupt, Discredit and Destroy': The FBI's Secret War Against the Black Panther Party," in Kathleen Cleaver and George Katsiaficas, eds., Liberation, Imagination, and the Black Panther Party: A New Look at the Panthers and Their Legacy (New York: Routledge, 2001), 78-79; "The FBI's Secret War Against the Black Panther Party: A Case Study in Repression," in Curtis Stokes, Theresa Mel�ndez, and Genice Rhodes-Reed, eds., Race in the Twenty-first Century (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2001), 268.

9. In terms of legislation, there are of course much earlier examples, notably the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798-1800. Nonetheless, I locate the point of departure in the juncture at which the apparatus of enforcement of such ideologically repressive statutes is formally established, if not as a component integral to the central government itself, then through the regularized employment of surrogate entities retained for this specific purpose. On the early legislation, see John C. Miller, Crisis in Freedom: The Alien and Sedition Acts (Boston: Atlantic-Little, Brown, 1951).

10. Again, this is a theme I've elsewhere developed more fully. See, e.g., my preface to the recent Classics Edition of my and Jim Vander Wall's The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI's Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States (Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press, 2002), xxv-lxxxviii.

11. For penetrating analysis of the broader reality within which this seeming consensus is embedded, see Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies (Boston: South End Press, 1989).

12. For explication, see the essay titled "Acts of Rebellion: Notes on the Interaction of History and Justice," which serves as the introduction to my Acts of Rebellion: The Ward Churchill Reader (New York: Routledge, 2003), esp. xi-xvii.

13. U.S. Congress, Appropriations to the Budget of the United States of America, 1872, section 7, United States Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872).

14. Max Lowenthal, The Federal Bureau of Investigation (New York: William Sloan Assoc., 1950), 6-10.

15. Frank Morn, The Eye That Never Sleeps: A History of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982), 19-20, 52; Sigmund A. Lavine, [End Page 57] Allan Pinkerton: America's First Private Eye (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1963), 18-22. More generally, see Ray Boston, The British Chartist Movement in America, 1839-1900 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1971).

16. Morn, Eye, 21-23.

17. Ibid., 18.

18. Ibid., 93, 23.

19. Ibid., 39.

20. Ibid., 39-40. For Pinkerton's own account of this episode, see his The Spy of the Rebellion, Being a True History of the Spy System of the United States Army during the Late Rebellion (New York: G. W. Dillingham, 1888), 46, 54-56, 62, 68. Also see his self-published History and Evidence of the Passage of Abraham Lincoln from Harrisburg, Pa. to Washington, D.C. on 22d and 23d of February, 1861 (Chicago: Pinkerton National Detective Agency, 1861).

21. Morn, Eye, 40.

22. U.S. House of Representatives, Reports of the Committees of the House of Representatives, vol. 2, no. 79, Alleged Hostile Organization Against the Government Within the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.: 36th Cong., 2d sess., 1861), 2.

23. "There was no conspiracy at all, save in the brain of the Chicago detective [Pinkerton]"; Chicago Democrat, 5 March 1861.

24. Morn, Eye, 41.

25. Ibid., 45.

26. Ibid., 46.

27. James D. Horan, The Pinkertons: The Detective Dynasty That Made History (New York: Crown Publishers, 1967), 238. Also see, generally, Richard Wilmer Rowan, The Pinkertons: A Detective Dynasty (Boston: Little, Brown, 1931).

28. Pinkerton's bibliography of potboilers is extensive. Aside from Spy of the Rebellion and History and Evidence, he also authored, among many other tomes, General Principles of Pinkerton's Police Agency (Chicago: Church, Goodman, and Donnelley, 1869); The Expressman and the Detectives (Chicago: W. B. Keen, Cooke & Co., 1875); The Model Town and the Detectives (New York: G. W. Dillingham, 1876); The Molly Mcguires and the Detectives (New York: G. W. Dillingham, 1877); The Spiritualists and the Detectives (New York: G. W. Carleton & Co., 1877); Strikers, Communists, Tramps and Detectives (New York: G. W. Carleton & Co., 1878); Mississippi Outlaws and the Detectives (New York: G. W. Carleton & Co., 1879); The Gypsies and the Detectives (New York: G. W. Dillingham, 1879); Professional Thieves and the Detectives (New York: G. W. Carleton & Co., 1880); The Railroad Forger and the Detectives (New York: G. W. Dillingham, 1881); Bank Robbers and Detectives (New York: G. W. Dillingham, 1882); and Thirty Years a Detective (New York: G. W. Dillingham, 1884).

29. Morn, Eye, 68-69.

30. Ibid., 50. [End Page 58]

31. Wilgus Wade Hogg, The First Train Robbery (Medford, N.J.: Plexus, 1978).

32. For a succinct explanation, see Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States (New York: Harper & Row, 1980), 213-15.

33. Cleveland Moffett, True Detective Tales of the Pinkertons (New York: Sharp, 1897), 164.

34. Horan, Pinkertons, 162.

35. Ibid.

36. John Reno, John Reno: Life and Career (New York: self-published, 1887).

37. Frederick Volland,"The Reno Boys of Seymore" (master's thesis, University of Indiana, 1959; on file in the Pinkerton Archives, Chicago).

38. Ibid.; Horan, Pinkertons, 168-73.

39. Ibid., 176-78.

40. Ibid., 178.

41. Ibid., 179.

42. Ibid.

43. Ibid., 191-96.

44. See, e.g., Allan Pinkerton to George Bangs, 1 November 1874, Pinkerton Archives.

45. Horan, Pinkertons, 234.

46. Perhaps the best book on Quantrill remains William Elsey Connelly's Quantrill and the Border Wars (Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Torch Books, 1910; reprinted by Pageant Books, New York, 1956). Also see Charles W. Breihan, Quantrill and His Civil War Guerrillas (Denver: Sage Books, 1959).

47. Paul I. Wellman, A Dynasty of Western Outlaws (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1961), 65.

48. Ibid., 68-79.

49. Ibid., 69; Horan, Pinkertons, 191-92.

50. The James/Younger group was falsely accused of many things, including the commission of two bank robberies 400 miles apart on the same day. The robberies and dating used here are taken from a "clarifying list" provided by gang member Dick Liddil after he turned state's evidence in exchange for clemency in 1881; it is included in full in Wellman, Dynasty of Outlaws, 120-21.

51. Ibid., 87-94. Also see William A. Settle, Jesse James Was His Name (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1966).

52. The attackers were operating on the basis of erroneous information provided by an operative named Jack Ladd. The remains of the "smoker" thrown by the Pinkertons into the Samuel residence are consistent with being a Civil War-vintage iron hand grenade; Wellman, Dynasty of Outlaws, 96-97.

53. Ibid., 97-98.

54. Augustus C. Appler, The Younger Brothers (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1955); Carl W. Breihan, The Outlaw Brothers: The True Story of Missouri's Younger Brothers (San Antonio, Tex.: Naylor, 1961). [End Page 59]

55. Frank James underwent a pro forma trial for his role in a single train robbery, but was quickly acquitted after Gov. Crittenden took the stand to testify in his behalf. All state charges were then dropped, and Missouri authorities refused to honor extradition requests from Minnesota in connection with the Northfield raid; T. J. Styles, Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002), 379-81.

56. Analyses of these dynamics are legion. Two of the best are Paul M. Sweezy and Paul Baran, Monopoly Capital (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1966), and Harry Braverman, Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1974).

57. Quoted in Jerold S. Auerbach, Labor and Liberty: The LaFollette Committee and the New Deal (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1966), 15.

58. Morn, Eye, 93.

59. Ibid.

60. Ibid., 94.

61. Robert Justin Goldstein, Political Repression in Modern America, 1870 to the Present (Cambridge/New York: Schenkman/Two Continents, 1978), 23.

62. Wayne G. Broehl Jr., The Molly Mcguires (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1964), 93.

63. Horan, Pinkertons, 206.

64. Goldstein, Political Repression, 29. Also see Arthur H. Lewis, Lament for the Molly Maguires (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1964).

65. Horan, Pinkertons, 207-8.

66. Ibid., 209. The book referred to is J. Walter Coleman, The Molly Maguire Riots (Richmond: Garrett & Massie, 1936).

67. Broehl, Molly Maguires, 230-31.

68. Quoted in Horan, Pinkertons, 224.

69. Ibid., 225-26.

70. Ibid., 236.

71. Harold W. Aurand, From the Molly Maguires to the United Mine Workers (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1971), 25.

72. Vernon H. Jensen, Heritage of Conflict (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1950) 192-218.

73. Joseph Rayback, A History of American Labor (New York: The Free Press, 1966), 133; Goldstein, Political Repression, 28.

74. Rayback, History of Labor, 133.

75. U.S. Department of Labor, Sixteenth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Labor, 1901 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1901), 803-6.

76. Morn, Eye, 97; National Guard Association Annual Convention Proceedings, 1881, 13-14.

77. U.S. Senate, Report on an Investigation of Labor Troubles at Homestead, Pennsylvania (Washington, D.C.: S. Rept. 1280, 52d Cong., 2d sess., 1893), 242; Herbert G. Gutman, [End Page 60] "The Braidwood Lockout of 1874," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 53, no. 1 (1960).

78. See, generally, Leo Huberman, The Labor Spy Racket (New York: Modern Age Books, 1937).

79. Quoted in Auerbach, Labor and Liberty, 101.

80. Ibid., 99.

81. Morn, Eye, 98; Pinkerton Reports of the Annual Convention of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Burlington Papers, Newberry Library (Chicago).

82. Auerbach, Labor and Liberty, 97-99.

83. Irving Bernstein, The Lean Years: Workers in an Unbalanced Society (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1960), 149.

84. Auerbach, Labor and Liberty, 99.

85. Morn, Eye, 187-88.

86. U.S. Senate Committee on Education and Labor, Violations of Free Speech and the Rights of Labor: Strikebreaking Services (Washington, D.C.: S. Rept. 6, pt. 1, 76th Cong., 1st sess., 1939), 23.

87. U.S. Senate Committee on Education and Labor, Violations of Free Speech and the Rights of Labor: Industrial Espionage (Washington, D.C.: S. Rept. 46, no. 3, 75th Cong., 2d sess., 1938), 9-10, 12-15, 17, 21, 24, 26, 28, 53, 58-59, 63.

88. Ibid., 53.

89. Harry J. Carman, Henry David, and Paul N. Guthrie, eds., The Path I Trod: The Autobiography of Terrence V. Powderly (New York: Columbia University Press, 1940), 149, 154.

90. Morn, Eye, 100.

91. Leon Wolff, Lockout! The Story of the Homestead Strike of 1892 (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), 70; also see William Serrin, Homestead: The Glory and Tragedy of an American Steel Town (New York: Vintage Books, 1993).

92. John Higham, Strangers in the Land (New York: Atheneum, 1970), 89.

93. Goldstein, Political Repression, 12.

94. Morn, Eye, 104; U.S. House of Representatives, Employment of Pinkerton Detectives During the Homestead Mining Strike, Pennsylvania (Washington, D.C.: 52d Cong., 2d sess., 1893), 213.

95. Auerbach, Labor and Liberty, 101.

96. Morn, Eye, 101; also see Gutman, "Braidwood Lockout."

97. Donald L. McMurry, The Great Burlington Strike of 1888: A Case History in Labor-Relations (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1956), 192-204, 287.

98. Goldstein, Political Repression, 38.

99. On the IWPA, SLP, and related matters, see Henry David, The History of the Haymarket Affair (New York: Collier, 1963); on the Pinkerton shootings, see John Altgeld, Live Questions (Chicago: George S. Bowen, 1899), 385-87, 391; on Daniel DeLeon, a major [End Page 61] figure in American socialist history, see his autobiographical The American Anarchist: Reflections on Indigenous Radicalism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978).

100. Sidney Lens, The Labor Wars: From the Molly Maguires to the Sitdowns (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1974), 63-75; Samuel Yellin, American Labor Struggles (New York: Monad Press, 1974), 39-71.

101. Goldstein, Political Repression, 39-40.

102. Lens, Labor Wars, 75.

103. See, e.g., Lucy E. Parsons, Life of Albert Parsons with a Brief History of the Labor Movement in America (Chicago: Charles Kerr, 1889).

104. Maldwyn Jones, American Immigration (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960), 252-53; Higham, Strangers in the Land, 54.

105. Rayback, History of Labor, 168.

106. On the police, see David, History of the Haymarket Affair, 191; on the Pinkerton provocateur, see Morn, Eye, 99.

107. Quoted in Norman J. Ware, The Labor Movement in the United States, 1860-1895: A Study in Democracy (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1929), 359.

108. Goldstein, Political Repression, 41.

109. Harold Dick, Labor and Socialism in America: The Gompers Era (Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat, 1972), 16; Goldstein, Political Repression, 43.

110. Daniel Bell, Marxian Socialism in the United States (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1967), 39-40.

111. Goldstein, Political Repression, 43.

112. Dick, Labor and Socialism, 16; Ware, Labor Movement, 316.

113. On the accommodationist posture of the AFL, even during the earliest phases of its development, see David, Labor and Socialism, 343; Ware, Labor Movement, 182.

114. Morn, Eye, 103. Also see, generally, Wolff, Lockout!

115. Goldstein, Political Repression, 46; Lens, Labor Wars, 76-88; also see Jeremy Brecher, Strike! (San Francisco: Straight Arrow Press, 1972), 53-63.

116. Wolff, Lockout!, 164: Yellin, American Labor Struggles, 72-100.

117. Goldstein, Political Repression, 46.

118. Horan, Pinkertons, 358; Henry David, "Upheaval at Homestead," in Daniel Aaron, ed., America in Crisis (1952; reprint, New York: Shoe String Press, 1971), 133-70.

119. Wolff, Lockout!, 164-65.

120. Goldstein, Political Repression, 46.

121. New York Times, 19 November 1892.

122. Horan, Pinkertons, 350.

123. Morn, Eye, 104; Horan, Pinkertons, 35.

124. Morn, Eye, 103; Labor Troubles at Homestead, 121-25.

125. Morn, Eye, 103; Horan, Pinkertons, 350-58.

126. Horan, Pinkertons, 107; Investigation of Labor Troubles at Homestead and Employment [End Page 62] of Pinkerton Detectives. Also see William Oates, "The Homestead Strike: A Congressional View," North American Review 155 (September 1892).

127. Morn, Eye, 107.

128. Ibid.

129. Ibid. For further analysis, see J. Bernard Hogg, "Public Reaction to Pinkertonism and the Labor Question," Pennsylvania History, vol. 2 (July 1944).

130. Morn, Eye, 107; Henry Warrum, Peace Officers and Detectives: The Law of Sheriffs, Constables, Marshals, Municipal Police and Detectives (Greenfield, Ind.: William Mitchell, 1895), 106, 108-9, 112-13.

131. Morn, Eye, 165-66; on the Ludlow Massacre, see Goldstein, Political Repression, 92.

132. Morn, Eye, 164; Jurgen Thorwald, The Twentieth Century Detective (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1964), 91.

133. Morn, Eye, 168. Also see, generally, Jeremiah Patrick Swallow, Private Police: With Special Reference to Pennsylvania (Philadelphia: American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1933).

134. Morn, Eye; Morris Friedman, The Pinkerton Labor Spy (New York: Wilshire Books, 1907), 30-40, 51-64.

135. Morn, Eye, 156, 160.

136. Goldstein, Political Repression, 51; Jensen, Heritage of Conflict, 38-53.

137. Dubofsky, "The Leadville Strike of 1896-1897," Mid-America, no. 48, (April 1966).

138. William J. Gaboury, "From State House to Bull Pen: Idaho Populism and the Coeur d'Alene Troubles of the 1890s," Pacific Northwest Quarterly 58 (January 1967), 18-22; Jensen, Heritage of Conflict, 72-87.

139. Goldstein, Political Repression, 71.

140. Charles A. Siringo, Two Evil Isms: Pinkertonism and Anarchism (Chicago: self-published, 1915), 93.

141. Ibid.

142. Melvyn Dubofsky, "Origins of Western Working Class Radicalism," Labor History 7 (spring 1966), 152.

143. George C. Suggs, Colorado's War on Militant Unionism: James H. Peabody and the Western Federation of Miners (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1972), 20-22.

144. Ibid.; Jensen, Heritage of Conflict, 130-31; Lens, Labor Wars, 148.

145. Perhaps the best account of the role of the WFM in founding the IWW—especially with regards to the preliminary "secret meeting" conducted in Chicago in January 1905—remains Paul Brissenden's The I.W.W.: A Study of American Syndicalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1920).

146. John S. Gambs, The Decline of the IWW (New York: Columbia University Press, 1932), 164-69.

147. Renshaw, The Wobblies: The Storyof Syndicalism in the United States (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1967), 22. [End Page 63]

148. The first office was at 146 West Madison St.; ibid., 92.

149. Morn, Eye, 167.

150. Goldstein, Political Repression, 73; Jensen, Heritage of Conflict, 192-218; David H. Grover, Debaters and Dynamiters: The Story of the Haywood Trial (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 1964); Stewart H. Holbrook, The Rocky Mountain Revolution (New York: Holt, 1956).

151. Morn, Eye, 158.

152. Grover, Debaters and Dynamiters, 53, 98-105.

153. Goldstein, Political Repression, 73; Jensen, Heritage of Conflict, 134-35. The conclusion is entirely in line with that drawn by Suggs (191-92) in his definitive study of the 1903-04 Colorado Labor War that "At no time did the WFM engage in armed resistance against constituted authorities even when their extreme harassment and provocation might have justified it."

154. Goldstein, Political Repression, 73.

155. Finally intimidated by the concerted repression directed against it, the WFM adopted the formulation of Moyer, its president, that "if to be conservative meant to stay out of prison, he was going to be conservative." Moyer withdrew from the IWW in 1908 and rejoined the AFL. This, of course, severely reduced the IWW's early membership, especially with regard to experienced organizers; Jensen, Heritage of Conflict, 236-44; Melvin Dubofsky, We Shall Be All: A History of the IWW (Chicago: Quadrangle, 1969), 105.

156. Morn, Eye, 158; also see Friedman, Pinkerton Labor Spy.

157. Morn, Eye, 158-59; for contextualization, see Louis Filler, Crusades for American Liberalism: The Story of the Muckrakers (New York: Collier Books, 1961), 214, 216-17.

158. Renshaw, Wobblies, 22.

159. A good assessment will be found in Leonard Whipple, The Story of Civil Liberty in the United States (New York: Vanguard, 1927), 304.

160. Goldstein, Political Repression, 68.

161. Sidney Fine, "Anarchism and the Assassination of McKinley," American Historical Review vol. 60, no. 4 (July 1955).

162. This precipitated what the Wobblies called the "Free Speech Fight," resulting in about 30 major confrontations, mostly along the West Coast, from 1907 to 1916; Renshaw, Wobblies, 120.

163. Goldstein, Political Repression, 86-87; on this and other confrontations in Washington and Oregon, see Robert L. Tyler, Rebels of the Woods: The I.W.W. in the Pacific Northwest (Eugene: University of Oregon Press, 1967).

164. Goldstein, Political Repression, 87.

165. Ibid.; Ronald Radosh, American Labor and Foreign Policy (New York: Vintage, 1970), 17.

166. Goldstein, Political Repression, 88.

167. Lens, Labor Wars, 203.

168. Goldstein, Political Repression, 88-89; Renshaw, Wobblies, 139-40. [End Page 64]

169. Goldstein, Political Repression, 89.

170. Ibid.; U.S. House of Representatives, Report on the Strike of Textile Workers in Lawrence, Mass. (Washington, D.C.: 62d Cong., 2d sess., 1913), 19.

171. Goldstein, Political Repression, 89.

172. Ibid.

173. Renshaw, Wobblies, 140-41.

174. Morris Schonbach, Radicals and Visionaries: A History of Dissent in New Jersey (Princeton, N.J.: Von Nostram, 1964), 62-65; Joyce L. Kornbluh, Rebel Voices: An I.W.W. Anthology (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1972), 197-226.

175. Quoted in Philip S. Foner, The History of the Labor Movement in the United States (New York: International, 1965), 4:370-71.

176. Goldstein, Political Repression, 90; Foner, History of the Labor Movement, 4:373-90.

177. Goldstein, Political Repression, 90; Foner, History of the Labor Movement, 4:224-5.

178. Goldstein, Political Repression, 95; Philip Taft and Philip Ross, "American Labor Violence: Its Causes, Character and Outcome," in Hugh D. Graham and Ted R. Gurr, eds., Violence in America (New York: Bantam Books, 1969), 326-27.

179. Goldstein, Political Repression, 95; Richard H. Frost, The Mooney Case (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1968), 56-61.

180. Goldstein, Political Repression, 95; Taft and Ross, "American Labor Violence," 326-27; Kornbluh, Rebel Voices, 292.

181. Goldstein, Political Repression, 96; Dubofsky, We Shall Be All, 321-22; Neil Betten, "Riot, Revolution and Repression in the Iron Range Strike of 1916," Minnesota History 41 (summer 1968).

182. Goldstein, Political Repression, 97; Norman H. Clark, "Everett, 1916, and After," Pacific Northwest Quarterly 57 (April 1966).

183. Goldstein, Political Repression, 97-98; Kornbluh, Rebel Voices, 98; Dubofsky, We Shall Be All, 337-42.

184. Kornbluh, Rebel Voices, 306.

185. John Steuben, The Truth About Butte (1940; reprint, Butte, Mont.: Old Butte Publishing, 2003 [original attributed to Mike Byrnes]).

186. Correspondence from independent researcher Bobby Greene, 13 May 1986.

187. Renshaw, Wobblies, 208.

188. See note 10.

189. Goldstein, Political Repression, 155-56; Robert L. Tyler, "Violence at Centralia," Pacific Northwest Quarterly 45 (October 1954).

190. Jules Archer, Bullets, Strikes and Bombs: Big Bill Haywood and the IWW (New York: Julian Messner, 1972), 169. On the Freikorps, see Robert G. L. Waite, Vanguard of Nazism: The Free Corps Movement in Postwar Germany, 1918-1923 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1952).

191. Goldstein, Political Repression, 601; Dubofsky, We Shall Be All, 455-56. [End Page 65]

192. Horan, Pinkertons, 502, 507.

193. Ibid., 507.

194. Morn, Eye, 184.

195. Ibid., 166.

196. See F. B. McQuiston, "The Strike Breakers," The Independent, 17 October 1901; John H. Craige, "The Professional Strike-Breaker," Colliers Weekly, 3 December 1910.

197. Morn, Eye, 166; Leroy Scott, "Strikebreaking as a New Occupation," World's Work, no. 10 (May 1905); William Brown Melony, "Strikebreaking as a Profession," Public Opinion, 25 March 1905; Edward Levinson, I Break Strikes! The Technique of Pearl L. Bergoff (New York: Robert McBride, 1935); Auerbach, Labor and Liberty, 97-107.

198. Quoted in Horan, Pinkertons, 509.

199. Quoted in Horan, Pinkertons, 509.

200. Quoted in Horan, Pinkertons, 509.

201. Horan, Pinkertons, 510.

202. On the Wagner Act and its implications, see Broadus Mitchell, Depression Decade: From New Era Through New Deal (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), 277-83; Foster Rhea Dulles, Labor in America (New York: Crowell, 1966), 264-76.

203. See Caute, Great Fear. Also see Walter Goodman, The Committee: The Extraordinary Career of theHouse Committee on Un-American Activities (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1968).

204. Horan, Pinkertons, 511.

205. Brian S. Boyd, "The Founding of the I.A.C.P., 1893," Police Chief, no. 38 (May 1971); they were nominated by Milwaukee police chief J. T. Janssen, a one-time Pinkerton and private policeman for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. Actually, such consulting, sometimes pro bono, probably began much earlier. In 1871, for example, Allan Pinkerton delivered a paper entitled "The Character and Duties of a Detective Police Force" to a national police convention organized by St. Louis police chief James MacDonough; Morn, Eye, 123.

206. Ibid., 124.

207. On Pinkerton's role in originating the publication, see Detective, no. 20 (January 1905), 2.

208. John L. Thompson, "National Identification Bureau's I.C.A.P. Pioneer's Legacy," Police Chief (January 1968): 15, 17.

209. Berthold Laufer, "History of the Finger-Print System," Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 1912 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1912); J�rgen Thorwald, Century of the Detective (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1965), 94, 98, 100-101.

210. Samples of Pinkerton's NACP lectures include "The Yeggman" (1904), "Forgery" (1905), "The Professional Sneak Thief" (1906) and "The Porch Climbers" (1907); Morn, Eye, 127.

211. Morn, Eye, 151; Friedman, Pinkerton Labor Spy, 4. [End Page 66]

212. Morn, Eye, 165-66; on Linden, see George Barton, The True Stories of Celebrated Crimes: Adventures of the World's Greatest Detectives (New York: McKinlay Stone & Mackenzie, 1909), 159; on George S. Dougherty, see his The Criminal as Human Being (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1924), 3, 8-9, 14-15; on the offer to Pinkerton, see the New York Times, 14 December 1913.

213. Tom Duggan, The History of the Jewelers Security Alliance of the United States, 1883-1950 (New York: The Alliance, 1958), 5, 20-22, 35; W. Espey Albig, "The Origin of the American Bankers' Association," Banking, no. 35 (September 1942).

214. Horan, Pinkertons, 512-13.

215. Ibid., 513-14.

216. Ibid., 514.

217. Jim Hougan, Spooks: The Haunting of America—The Private Use of Secret Agents (New York: William Morrow, 1978), 17 n.

218. See, e.g., A. J. Langguth, Hidden Terrors: The Truth About U.S. Police Operations in Latin America (New York: Pantheon, 1978).

219. Pinkertons, 514; Hougan, Spooks, 71.

220. William W. Turner, Hoover's F.B.I., 2d ed. (New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 1993), 305-6; among many other things, the corporation was hired by Florida governor Claude Kirk to serve as a "private gestapo" in that state. It also publishes the Wackenhut Security Review, which purports to expose "the threat of communism" in areas as diverse as civil rights and environmental protection legislation, opposition to Latin American oligarchies, and domestic educational reform.

221. Ibid., 207; a hint of the agency's operational emphasis is offered in the fact that one of its detectives, former FBI man Vincent W. Gillen, admitted to a congressional committee in 1966 that he had been retained by General Motors to spy on consumer advocate Ralph Nader.

222. Ibid.; Simpson Associates performs "specialized security and detection work" for several major oil companies known to underwrite extreme right-wing causes.

223. Curt Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and His Secrets (New York: W. W. Norton, 1992), 706.

224. See the series of articles on the Van Deman files written by Richard Halloran and published in the New York Times in September 1971.

225. Gentry, Hoover, 706-7.

226. Halloran, NYT (see note 224).

227. Val R. Lorwin, "Reflections on the History of the French and American Labor Movements," Journal of Economic History 17 (March 1957), 37.

228. Quoted in Arthur M. Ross and Paul T. Hartman, Changing Patterns of Industrial Conflict (New York: John Wiley, 1960), 165.

229. Lewis Lorwin, The American Federation of Labor (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1933), 355. [End Page 67]

230. Richard Hofstadter and Michael Wallace, "Perspectives," in Hofstadter and Wallace, eds., American Violence: A Documentary History (New York: Vintage, 1971), 19.

231. Goldstein, Political Repression, 5.

232. From the point in 1892 when Congress banned employment of Pinkerton operatives by the government until its own bureau of investigation was formed, the Justice Department's "investigative services were usually performed by federal bank examiners and agents discretely borrowed from the Customs Bureau, the Interior Department, and the Treasury Department's Secret Service"; Sanford J. Ungar, FBI: An Uncensored Look Behind the Walls (Boston: Atlantic-Little, Brown, 1976), 39.

233. Ibid., 55.

234. Horan, Pinkertons, 515.

235. Ungar, FBI, 55.

236. Ronald Kessler, The FBI (New York: Pocket Books, 1993), 216; on the NCIC specifically, see Turner, Hoover'sF.B.I., 315.

237. Thompson, "National Identification Bureau," 16-17; Kessler, FBI, 216-17.

238. Turner, Hoover'sF.B.I., xii, xiii.

239. Ibid., 304.

240. Ibid., 222; Ungar, FBI, 578-80.

241. Turner, Hoover'sF.B.I., 220, 222.

242. Ibid., 210.

243. For a range of views on these relationships, see Ovid DeMaris, The Director: An Oral Biography of J. Edgar Hoover (New York: Harpers, 1975).

244. Overall, see Ungar, FBI, 20-22, 31-34, 428-34, 437-41.

245. Ibid., 329-30.

246. Quoted in Turner, Hoover'sF.B.I., 220.

247. Gentry, Hoover, 81.

248. Turner, Hoover'sF.B.I., 306.

249. It should be noted that Richard Wallace Held is the son of COINTELPRO architect Richard G. Held. Among other things, the father, while serving simultaneously as head of the Bureau's Internal Security Section and as special-agent-in-charge of the Chicago field office, presided over the cover-up of the Bureau's role in the 1969 Hampton-Clark assassinations (see note 271), before being appointed FBI assistant director. The younger Held got his start working on the "Panther Squad" of the Los Angeles field office, where he was instrumental in concocting a "shooting war" between the Panthers and the US organization (see note 270), as well as framing L.A. Panther leader Geronimo ji Jaga (see note 281). After a stint on the Pine Ridge Reservation working under his father's command against the American Indian Movement (see note 277), he was assigned to head up the San Juan field office, where he coordinated repression of the Puerto Rican independence movement. Posted next to San Francisco, he retired shortly after it was revealed that agents working under his supervision had been involved in [End Page 68] the attempted assassination of Earth First! activists Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney on 24 May 1990. For further details, see my "COINTELPRO as a Family Business: The Strange Case of the FBI's Two Richard Helds," Z Magazine, March 1989; "The FBI Targets Judi Bari: A Case Study in Domestic Counterinsurgency," Covert Action Quarterly, no. 47 (winter 1993-1994).

250. On Hoover's personal relationships, see Richard Gid Powers, Secrecy and Power: The Life of J. Edgar Hoover (New York: Free Press, 1987): Nixon, 315, 440; Murchison and Richardson, 315; McCarthy, 320; Johnson, 393-94.

251. As Ungar puts it in FBI, the CRD functions as not merely "a typical public relations office but rather [as] a part of the bureaucracy responsible for calculating and acting aggressively upon the Bureau's best interest at any given moment" (383). Concerning Pinkerton's impact on the genre, see Frank Smyth and Miles Ludwig, The Detectives: Crime and Detection in Fact and Fiction (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1978); also see Jurgen Thorwald, The Century of the Detective (New York: Harcourt, 1964).

252. Richard Gid Powers, G-Men: Hoover's FBI in Popular Culture (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1983), 91-92.

253. See Herbert Asbury, The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1927); there is not so much as an index reference to the Pinkertons.

254. On the Bureau's PR effort attending its 1930s "War on Crime," see Gid Powers, G-Men, 33-50. For good surveys of the reality involved, see John Toland, The Dillinger Days (New York: Random House, 1967); Steven J. Nickel and William J. Helmer, Baby Face Nelson: Portrait of a Public Enemy (Nashville, Tenn.: Cumberland House, 2002); Michael Wallis, Pretty Boy: The Life and Times of Charles Arthur Floyd (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992); Alvin Karpis with Bill Trent, The Alvin Karpis Story (New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1971).

255. Quoted in Ungar, FBI, 392.

256. Contrary to FBI-fostered mythology, the Bureau had nothing to do with the imprisonment of Chicago mob kingpin Al Capone in 1932. That, instead, was the work of a team of IRS auditors; see John Kobler, Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1971), 323-54; also see Robert J. Schoenberg, Mr. Capone: The Real—And Complete—Story of Al Capone (New York: William Morrow, 1992), 287-325. More broadly, there are a number of good histories of organized crime in America, several of them written well before the FBI formally acknowledged the existence of such an enterprise. See, e.g., Fred A. Pasley, Al Capone: Biography of a Self-Made Man (Garden City, N.Y.: Garden City Publishing Co., 1930); Burton B. Turkus and Sid Feder, Murder, Inc.: The Story of the Syndicate (1951; reprint, New York: De Capo Press, 1992); Ed Reid, Mafia: The History of the Ruthless Gang that Runs the Nationwide Crime Syndicate (New York: Random House, 1952); Frederick Sondern Jr., Brotherhood of Evil: The Mafia (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Cudahy, 1959). For a reasonably accurate recent effort, see [End Page 69] William Balsamo and George Carpozi Jr., Crime Incorporated: The Inside Story of the Mafia's First Hundred Years (Far Hills, N.J.: New Horizon Press, 1991).

257. See, e.g., Charles P. Larrowe, Harry Bridges: The Rise and Fall of Radical Labor (Westport, Conn.: Lawrence Hill, 1972).

258. This is a standard ploy; see Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965). Also see Chomsky, Necessary Illusions; Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, ManufacturingConsent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (New York: Pantheon, 1988).

259. J. Edgar Hoover, Masters of Deceit (New York: Holt, 1958); J. Edgar Hoover, A Study of Communism (New York: Holt, 1962); Allan Pinkerton, The Molly Maguires and the Detectives; Pinkerton, Strikers, Communists, Tramps and the Detectives; Robert A. Pinkerton, "Detective Surveillance of Anarchists," North American Review, no. 173 (November 1901). Also see J. Edgar Hoover, J. Edgar Hoover on Communism (New York: Random House, 1967).

260. Gid Powers, Secrecy and Power, 91.

261. Jack Nelson and Ronald J. Ostrow, The FBI and the Berrigans: The Making of a Conspiracy (New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, 1972).

262. Aside from the American Legion, the classic example is that of the American Protective League, a quarter-million-member vigilante group founded in 1916 by Chicago advertising executive A. M. Briggs and financed by a range of corporations. In 1917, the APL was endorsed as a "patriotic organization" by U.S. Attorney General Thomas W. Gregory and A. Bruce Bielaski, director of the department's budding investigative bureau (then known as the BoI). Thereafter, every APL thug was provided with a police-style badge bearing the inscription, "American Protective League, Auxiliary to the U.S. Department of Justice"; Ungar, FBI, 42. Thus "deputized," APL goon squads were employed by the BoI to execute a range of tasks, not least the conducting of raids on IWW headquarters in 24 cities on 17 September 1917—at that point the single most spectacular antiradical action in U.S. history—seizing the union's books, minutes, financial records, correspondence, and memberships in preparation for the mass trials discussed in note 6; Gentry, Hoover, 71.

263. Everett R. Holles, "A.C.L.U. Says F.B.I. Funded 'Army' to Terrorize Antiwar Protestors," New York Times, 27 June 1975; Nanda Zoccino, "Ex-FBI Informer Describes Terrorist Role," Los Angeles Times, 26 January 1976.

264. See my and Jim Vander Wall's Agents of Repression: The FBI's Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press, [Classics Edition] 2002), 182. Also see Michael Parenti, Democracy for the Few (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1980), 24.

265. For details, see Citizens Research and Investigation Committee and Louis E. Tackwood, The Glass House Tapes: The Story of an Agent Provocateur and the New Police-Intelligence Complex (New York: Avon Books, 1981). [End Page 70]

266. Goldstein, Political Repression, 474-75. Also see Frank J. Donner, "Hoover's Legacy," The Nation, 1 June 1974.

267. Paul Chevigny, Cops and Rebels (New York: Pantheon, 1972), 251-52.

268. Seattle Times, 7 December 1970; New York Times, 8 December 1970.

269. Goldstein, Political Repression, 473; Chevigny, Cops and Rebels, 258-59.

270. Churchill and Vander Wall, COINTELPRO Papers, 133-35. Also see Kenneth O'Reilly, "RacialMatters": The FBI's Secret File on Black America, 1960-1972 (New York: Free Press, 1989), 305-9.

271. See Roy Wilkins and Ramsey Clark, Search and Destroy: A Report by the Commission of Inquiry into the Black Panthers and the Police (New York: Metropolitan Applied Research Center, 1973). Also see Churchill and Vander Wall, Agents of Repression, 64-77.

272. Although, by the early 1930s, the entry requirement for FBI hopefuls was ostensibly a "degree in law, accounting or some comparable field," J. Edgar Hoover recruited and maintained a "Special Squad" of hired guns whose only qualification for agent status was the demonstrated willingness to "exterminate" those named "public enemies" by the director. Headed by Melvin Purvis, this hit team—no other description is really adequate—included ex-Texas Ranger Gus T. Jones, as well as former cops like John Keith, Charles Winstead, C. G. Campbell, and Clarence Hurt; Gentry, Hoover, 169. For details on two of the Special Squad's more sensational summary executions, see Toland, Dillinger Days, 320-25; Wallis, Pretty Boy, 340-45. As concerns Pretty Boy Floyd, moreover, it is a virtual certainty that he had no involvement at all in the crime used as a pretext in Hoover's declaring him Public Enemy Number 1; see Robert Unger, The UnionStation Massacre: The Original Sin of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI (Kansas City, Mo.: Andrews McMeel, 1997).

273. Louis E. Tackwood, "My Assignment was to Kill George Jackson," The Black Panther, 21 April 1980. On Tackwood's polygraph examination, see Jo Durden-Smith, Who Killed George Jackson? Fantasies, Paranoia and the Revolution (New York: Alfred A. Knopf), 131-32. In this case, the plot failed. Jackson was therefore murdered by San Quentin guards on 21 August 1971; for further context, see Gregory Armstrong, TheDragon Has Come: The Last Fourteen Months in the Life of George Jackson (New York: Harper & Row, 1974).

274. On the IWW trials, see note 6. On the Chicago Eight, see Jason Epstein, The Great Conspiracy Trial: An Essay on Law, Liberty and the Constitution (New York: Random House, 1970).

275. Goldstein, Political Repression, 492; Bernard Weiner, "What, Another Conspiracy Trial?" The Nation, 2 November 1970; Bernard Weiner, "The Orderly Perversion of Justice," The Nation, 1 February 1971.

276. Goldstein, Political Repression, 492.

277. On the trials, see John William Sayer, Ghost Dancing the Law: The Wounded Knee Trials [End Page 71] (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997). On AIM more generally, see Paul Chaat Smith and Robert Allen Warrior, Like a Hurricane: The American Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee (New York: New Press, 1996).

278. That such was the result desired by the federal officials involved was made clear at the outset by Col. Volney S. Warner, a military adviser to the FBI personnel deployed on Pine Ridge, when he publicly observed that "AIM's most militant leaders are under indictment, in jail or warrants are out for their arrest. [So] the government can win, even if no one goes to [prison]"; quoted in Martin Garbus, "General Haig of Wounded Knee," The Nation, 9 November 1974.

279. Winston A. Grady-Willis, "The Black Panther Party: State Repression and Political Prisoners," in Charles E. Jones, ed., The Black Panther Party Reconsidered (Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1998), 380-82.

280. On the mechanics of ji Jaga's framing, see Churchill and Vander Wall, Agents of Repression, 77-94. On his release, and for information on the man himself, see Jack Olsen, Last Man Standing: The Triumphand Tragedy of Geronimo Pratt (New York: Doubleday, 2000).

281. For the most detailed analysis of the case itself, see Jim Messerschmidt, The Trial of Leonard Peltier (Boston: South End Press, 1984). For the best contextualization, see Peter Matthiessen, In the Spirit of CrazyHorse: The Story of Leonard Peltier, 2d ed. (New York: Viking Press, 1991).

282. Readers desiring additional illustrations of the Bureau's fabrication of evidence to obtain convictions will find more than enough material in John F. Kelly's and Phillip K. Wearne's Tainting Evidence: Inside the Scandals at theFBI Crime Lab (New York: Free Press, 1998). Those seeking amplification on the theme of FBI lethality will find plenty in David T. Hardy's and Rex Kimball's This is Not an Assault: Penetrating the Web of Official Lies Regarding the Waco Incident (San Antonio, Tex.: Xlibris, 2001).