From Monthly Review in the USA:
Sacco and Vanzetti
by Michael D. Yates
“If it had not been for this thing, I might have lived out my life talking at street corners to scorning men.
I might have died, unmarked, unknown, a failure. Now we are not a failure.
This is our career and our triumph. Never in our full life can we hope to do such work for tolerance, justice, for man’s understanding of man, as now we do by accident.
Our words — our lives — our pains — nothing! The taking of our lives — lives of a good shoemaker and a poor fish peddler — all!
That last moment belong to us — that agony is our triumph” — Bartolomeo Vanzetti, comment to a reporter before his execution (1927)
In the spring of 1920 two Italian immigrants, Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco, were accused of the April 15 robbery of the payroll of the Slater and Morrill Shoe Factories in South Braintree, Massachusetts and the murders of the paymaster Frederick A. Parmenter and his guard Alessandro Beradelli.
The accused were anarchists, followers of Luigi Galleani, a prominent Italian radical, who advocated violence against the state.
At the start of the trial the Great Red Scare was in full swing, fueled by the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the growth of radical sentiment in the United States, and the draconian laws enacted during the First World War.
Immigrants, painted as anti-American radicals, bore the brunt of it, harassed, arrested, and summarily deported on the flimsiest of charges.
After a spectacularly unfair trial, in which judge Webster Thayer displayed blatant bias against the defendants and prosecutor Frederick Katzman willfully violated much of the canon of legal ethics, the jury convicted Sacco and Vanzetti of murder.
Between their conviction on June 14, 1921 and their execution on August 23, 1927, the case of Sacco and Vanzetti became a cause celebre in the United States and around the world.