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The culture of anarchism also included numerous festive gatherings that offered some pleasant moments of exercise and recreation, if also another opportunity to display dedication to the cause. Sunday picnics were especially popular. These featured singing, dancing and other entertainments, but also shooting contests, drilling by paramilitary groups, and, as ever, stirring speeches. These were part of the broader culture of Chicago anarchism, which is richly explored in Bruce C. Nelson's Beyond the Martyrs (1988).
This illustration derisively presents several scenes from a picnic of "Reds" at Sheffield. The setting is very likely Ogden's Grove, located a few blocks from North Avenue just west of where Willow Street intersected with Clybourn Avenue and Sheffield Streets. This was a very popular destination for radical, working-class, and immigrant groups, so many of whose members lived nearby. On occasion, it was also the final destination of a parade or protest that began downtown.
The illustration depicts the different elements of these picnics, at the same time revealing Schaack's strongly antianarchist prejudices. It links together Lucy Parsons and George Engel, who probably had little to do with each other, by placing them in adjoining vignettes inflaming their listeners. The illustration also indicates that these picnics were occasions for "experimenting with dynamite," which is very unlikely, although testimony at the trial claimed that the anarchists did set off bombs in isolated rural areas on other occasions. And the image implies that the receptiveness of the anarchists to both radical ideas and dynamite was related to the large amounts of alcohol they consumed.
Schaack was one of many critics of the anarchists who tried to undermine the seriousness of the radical critique by attributing it to the drunken grumbling of disaffected and irresponsible people. He claimed that they blamed their personal failures on a society that more than ready to reward those with energy, dedication, and self-discipline. Schaack wrote, for example, of a man named Otto Baum, who was "a type of a very large class of Anarchists" in that he "would call the better class of people tyrants, because they did not fill his pickets with plenty of money so that he could get drunk as often as he desired." According to Schaack, Baum "never troubled himself about wife or children, but hung around saloons guzzling beer and breathing vengeance against the police and society."