Freelance of Revolution

  • Nunzio Pernicone
Part of the Italian and Italian American Studies book series (IIAS)


Tresca’s departure from Il Proletario in no way diminished his popularity among rank-and-file socialists and syndicalists, who appreciated his daring leadership far more than FSI chieftains did.1 But he could not capitalize on this goodwill until he found employment to provide for his family. Helga had arrived in New York on May 11, 1905; she and Tresca took up residence at 1103 Ellsworth Street in South Philadelphia, not far from his office. On March 16, 1906, Helga gave birth to a girl, named Beatrice in honor of Tresca’s sister, who had died prematurely.2 By then, Tresca had become political editor for La Voce del Popolo, a labor daily that Giovanni Di Silvestro started publishing after their conviction in the Naselli case. Loss of their appeal, however, sent Tresca and Di Silvestro to Moyamensing Prison for three months. Decades later, when asked where he had studied, his favorite reply was “the University of Moyamensing.”3


Coal Miner Disorderly Conduct Sexual Misconduct Italian Miner Wage System 
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  1. 5.
    Il Proletario, December 9, 16, 1906. See also Fenton, Immigrants and Unions, 176–177; Anna Maria Martellone, “Per una storia della sinistra italiana negli Stati Uniti: Riformismo e sindacalismo, 1880–1911;” in Franca Assante, ed., Il movimento migratorio italiano dall’unità ai giorni nostri (Geneva: Librairie Broz, 1948), 193.Google Scholar
  2. Tresca, Autobiography, 82–83; Philip V. Cannistraro, Blackshirts in Little Italy: Italian Americans and Fascism 1921–1929 (West Lafayette, IN: Bordighera Press, 1999), 18–20.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    “Freelance of revolution” is one of the terms most commonly used by Italian radicals to describe Tresca. See Felice Guadagni, “Un profilo di Carlo Tresca,” in Guadagni and Vidal, Omaggio, 4; Max Ascoli, “In Commemoration of Carlo Tresca;” Nazioni Unite (New York), January 21, 1943; De Ciampis, “Il Proletario,” 567.Google Scholar
  4. 15.
    Interview with Beatrice Tresca Rapport. For additional details of this incident, see Dorothy Gallagher, All the Right Enemies: The Life and Murder of Carlo Tresca ( New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1988 ), 27–29.Google Scholar
  5. 22.
    Carlo Tresca, Non Ti Fare Soldato ( Pittsburgh: Tipografia Editrice La Plebe, 1909 ).Google Scholar
  6. 26.
    See Robert J. Goldstein, “The Anarchist Scare of 1908: A Sign of Tensions in the Progressive Era,” American Studies 15 (1974): 55–78.Google Scholar
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    Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, The Rebel Girl: An Autobiography, My First Life (1906–1926) (New York: International Publishers, 1973), 333–334.Google Scholar
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  10. 49.
    Quoted in Craig Phelan, Divided Loyalties: The Public and Private Life of Labor Leader John Mitchell ( Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994 ), 16–17.Google Scholar
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    For the strike, see U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Report on Miners’ Strike in Bituminous Coal Field in Westmoreland County, PA in 1910–1911, by Walter B. Palmer, House Document 847, sixty-second Congress, second session, June 22, 1912 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1912), 6, 21–22, 43–44 (cited hereafter as Report on the Westmoreland Strike)Google Scholar
  13. U.S. Congress, Senate, Reports of the Immigration Commission, 41 vols., Senate Doc. 747, sixty-first Congress, third session (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1911), 6, 100–103 (cited hereafter as Reports of the Immigration Commission)Google Scholar
  14. Robert R. Kollar, “Divided They Fell: Unionization and the Westmoreland County Coal Strike of 1910,” Westmoreland History Magazine 1, 1 (summer 1995): 15–25Google Scholar
  15. Judith McDonough, “Worker Solidarity, Judicial Oppression, and Police Repression in the Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania Coal Miner’s Strike, 1910–1911;” Pennsylvania History 64 (summer 1997): 384–406.Google Scholar
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    See Gerald Brenan, The Spanish Labyrinth (London: Cambridge University Press, 1974), 34–35, 165, 174.Google Scholar
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    Ibid., April 14, 1911. Also De Ciampis, “Storia del movimento socialista,” 147–155; Fenton, Immigrants and Unions, 176–185; Martellone, “Per una Storia della sinistra italiana negli Stati Uniti;” 193–195; Elisabetta Vezzosi, Il socialismo indifferente: Immigrati italiani e Socialist Party negli Stati Uniti del Primo Novecento (Rome: Edizioni Lavoro, 1991), 53–110; Topp, Those WithoutA Country, 43–57.Google Scholar

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© Nunzio Pernicone 2005

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