Sacco-Vanzetti guilty after all – updated

So, it seems that Upton Sinclair knew all along that Sacco and Vanzetti were guilty. (H/T For Now)

...Sinclair would learn something that filled him with doubt. During his research for “Boston,” Sinclair met with Fred Moore, the men’s attorney, in a Denver motel room. Moore “sent me into a panic,” Sinclair wrote in the typed letter that Hegness found at the auction a decade ago.

“Alone in a hotel room with Fred, I begged him to tell me the full truth,” Sinclair wrote. ” … He then told me that the men were guilty, and he told me in every detail how he had framed a set of alibis for them.”

The men have been viewed as martyrs by the American left ever since. Historians agree that prosecutors in the case were biased and shoddy, and that the two men failed to receive a fair trial.

On the 50th anniversary of their execution, Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis all but pardoned the pair, urging that “any disgrace should be forever removed from their names.” But the fearless Sinclair was left a conflicted man by what Sacco and Vanzetti’s lawyer — and later others in the anarchist movement — told him.

“I faced the most difficult ethical problem of my life at that point,” he wrote to his attorney. “I had come to Boston with the announcement that I was going to write the truth about the case.”

Other letters tucked away in the Indiana archive illuminate why one of America’s most strident truth tellers kept his reservations to himself.

“My wife is absolutely certain that if I tell what I believe, I will be called a traitor to the movement and may not live to finish the book,” Sinclair wrote Robert Minor, a confidant at the Socialist Daily Worker in New York, in 1927.

Sinclair fretted that, though Sacco and Venzetti were indeed guilty after all, disclosure of the fact might make things difficult for innocent victims of “the next set-up.”

My first instinct was to go to that good history teacher’s page and see what Betsy Newmark would be saying on it. She did not disappoint (although apparently the story is a few days old – ah, well, I’ve been out of the loop).

Says Betsy: This isn’t the last time that leftist intellectuals have rallied to the cause of someone they feel has been unjustly sentenced by the government. Think of Alger Hiss. Jim Bass is thinking about the Free Mumia movement. And, of course, witness the latest brouhaha over Tookie Williams. The pattern of guilt being secondary to the political outcry and demagoguery continues.

Yes, didn’t Mumia recently get an award from the French government – making him an honorary French citizen? Somehow, it seems like this should be much bigger news, doesn’t it? Seems like it demands some headlines? After all, millions of school children (I was one of them) have been taught for years that Sacco and Vanzetti were innocents, unjustly executed by paranoids within our government. That’s a pretty big misinformation campaign.

Ed Driscoll makes a rather droll observation about moral relativism. Jonah Goldberg wonders who is left?:

So which leftwing martyr/icon is left? Sacco & Vanzetti were guilty. The Rosenbergs: guilty. Hiss: guilty. Margaret mead: liar. Rigoberta Menchu: liar. Duranty: liar. Kinsey: liar. Upton Sinclair: liar. I.F. Stone isn’t looking too hot (lied about America often, loved totalitarians, might have taken KGB money).

Martin Luther King Jr. — small flaws aside — is still looking good. But Bobby Kennedy is only a useful leftwing hero if you don’t look too closely. Ditto JFK. Jesse Jackson’s going to look awful to historians.

Who’s left?

Indeed. There’s always John Kerry, greatest war hero, ever. Still waiting for the general, free release of those military records, aren’t we? Why yes, yes we are.

UPDATE – Jonah has an interesting second thought about Upton Sinclair that is worth thinking about.

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  • Sigmund Carl and Alfred

    Good post. No doubt, Michael Moore and Oliver Stone will dispute those truths- they have to.

    Might I add that other beacon of left light, to your list: the racist and bogoted Margaret Sanger.

    Don’t look for any amended school texts in the near future.

  • ForNow

    Perhaps we should give some credit to the L.A. Times for having printed this and put it online. Over the past months, I’ve noticed a pattern of responsiveness to conservative blog criticism. Not only running conservative columns, but reporting on leftist lies and leftist evils. Remember the July 2005 series of articles on life in North Korea?

  • http://none Darrell

    “Fake, but accurate” started a long time before Mary Mapes and 60 Minutes. This revelation(from earlier this year, by the way) will have absolutely no impact as to how this case is framed and presented. The meme is anti-Communist hysteria in the US and the unjust prosecution of “innocents”. Did the Left waver one bit after the information about the VENONA Project was declassified? Ask George Clooney. He mentions VENONA in interviews, but ignores it in his movie–”back to the original template”. The LA Times published this story as a ‘CYA’ measure. I suspect it will never be mentioned again except as a footnote after presenting the story in exactly the same way they did before.

  • Joseph

    It would really help if my good friends would abandon the disingenous pose that Liberals like myself have no principles, merely hero worship.
    Historians agree that prosecutors in the case were biased and shoddy, and that the two men failed to receive a fair trial.
    -Anyone who believes that such a result should stand, no matter how guilty the individual is, has, at least in my opinion, bad principles.
    Morevoer, whatever John Kerry’s failings, no one to my knowledge ever claimed that John Kerry was “the greatest war hero ever”. The most anyone ever claimed was that he served honorably and deserved the medals he was given.
    Perhaps this is false. I, at least, can conceive of the possibility, and I think you will find that most of the rest of my fellow liberals [outside of John Kerry's own staff] can conceive of it too, though we are not very interested in it since the man is damaged political goods.
    But the exaggeration that concludes your post, and its overall tone, as well as the tone of the posts you quote, is exactly the sort of thing that turns mere political disagreement into personal emnity.
    You have remarked, I believe, that the tone of personal emnity among my fellow Liberals appalls you. With every post such as this, with every refusal to acknowledge that your political adversaries operate from principles [even if wrong or bad principles], with every cheap shot taken, no matter how exaggerated or distorted as to fact, my friends here grind that personal emnity ever deeper into the fabric of America.
    I strongly suspect that this emnity will outlast your life and mine. I fear that it will even outlast the life of your sons.
    I have little personal stake in this one way or another. My future, I think and hope, will be far beyond it, even if I return here. But the emnity is a shame, and it is a moral failing for which all the parties responsible will pay a heavy moral price.

  • TheAnchoress

    Oh, gimmee a break, Joe, it’s not like you’ve never indulged in a sarcastic mood! :-)

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  • http://none Darrell

    There you have it, the difference between Leftist thought and logic. Joe says ignore the fact that they were quilty. He’s found historians that say the prosecutors were biased and shoddy! Oh my, Joe! All historians? Or the kind of historians like the legal experts you trot out now that say the Supremes were wrong in 2000? Leftist historians, Joe? The kind that revise history to suit their political agenda? Justice is the guilty paying the price for their actions. Justice is the innocent going free. Period. Justice isn’t a little game. A prosecutor that doesn’t believe the person they are prosecuting is guilty(warranted bias) should be relieved of his position. Should the guilty go free because the prosecutor didn’t wear the proper powdered wig for the day’s proceedings? Not in this country, Joe.

    Don’t take this personally, Joe, but I’d like to send you and the Left to the dustbin of history. The price will be worth it. Your goal is simple–the acquisition of power at all costs. Your principles? Whatever it takes. From the first time a man saw another building a dwelling and killed him to make it his, the Left was born. Then the Leftist saw a man who had caught a fish…

  • stephanie

    How do you plan on sending us to the dustbin, Darrell? Beat our beliefs out of us? Worse? Yet OUR goal is the acquisition of power at all costs? Pot…kettle

  • http://none Darrell

    Nice try. Shine a light on you, nothing more.

  • stephanie


    If our goal was acquisition of power “at any cost” than we have enough numbers to try and do it “by any means necessary”. I would think the fact that we haven’t proof that we believe and respect the political process.

  • http://none Darrell

    Is that why you lose elections? You only think you are the majority. You haven’t tried the violent overthrow, yet, although the sentiment is all over the dark side of the Web–DU and Kos. But that might have more to do with the Second Amendment than good judgement. Bush added “secret tracking software” to visitors’ computers at NSA, White House, and other gov’t websites? Cookies. We’re talking about cookies, for crying out loud. The same cookies that are put on vistors’ computers at almost every commercial website, including the media sites “reporting” the story. Without ever adding that last part, of course. When people hear the truth, they are outraged. Not at Bush, but at the MSM. Keep it up. You respect the political process by trying to subvert it. That’s why almost every instance of vote fraud documented involves Democrats. I say almost because they include things like the email sent out by a Republican saying that Dems should vote the day after the scheduled election. I’d like to see the list of Dems that went on the record saying that they fell for that.