Upton Sinclair, Sacco & Vanzetti, Part II
Greg Mitchell, the editor of Editor & Publisher, and author of the fine book on Upton Sinclair's ill-fated, though almost miraculous gubernatorial campaign in California in 1934, has weighed in on the Sinclair letter I previously posted.
It confirms why I thought the original article by Jean Pasco was terribly edited and cut apart. While Greg Mitchell believes there is more reason to believe Sacco & Vanzetti were innocent, I remain far more convinced of their guilt. It was not just Fred Moore, their former attorney. Carlos Tresca, a fellow anarchist during the time in which Sacco & Vanzetti were active anarchists, also admitted their guilt, and of course, Ideale Gambarra's dad, who served on the original Sacco & Vanzetti committee. The then-famous writer, John Dos Passos, who wrote an impassioned pamphlet on the case (I found a copy of it at a used book store), later learned from various sources about Sacco & Vanzetti's guilt. As I also wrote in my original post, I had recalled Sinclair had heard this from a source other than Fred Moore, the lawyer who, at the time he spoke to Sinclair, was no longer representing Sacco & Vanzetti. Greg Mitchell's article confirms Sinclair had more than one source.
In any case, I want to defend Jean Pasco, the LA Times reporter who wrote the article. She had told me in the summer of 2005 that the article was supposed to be long, was supposed to go over Sinclair's own doubts about their guilt or innocence (something I frankly forgot about until I read Greg Mitchell's article). In turn, I gave her some background and sources about the times in which the Sacco & Vanzetti trial, and later execution, took place. As I have said, I led her to Ideale Gambarra (a friend of my cousin's in northern CA), and I gave her some sources to read about the Teens and 20s and the repression of radicals during that time, including the famous case of a truly wrongly convicted union man, Tom Mooney, in San Francisco.
Greg Mitchell, a major fan of Sinclair's (even more than me!), may be right that "Boston" had an ambiguous ending. That was a Sinclair novel I tried to read, but did not find compelling to finish ("Oil!" is the best novel of Sinclair's that I have read). But he is still avoiding the sad truth that, despite the prosecutorial corruption in the Sacco & Vanzetti trial, there is more reason to find they were guilty than otherwise.
One thing, though, he is spot on about: Jonah Goldberg's article was a textbook example of Red-baiting. It was not written to enlighten, but to de-legitimize an entire group of activists, historical and modern, who have so often stood for the very values that make our nation so loved, despite the terrible president we currently have.