on the page from the trial transcript on the left to read a full transciption
of the text (approximately 1,750 words).
The purpose of the Pittsburgh Congress that began on October 14, 1883 was to bring together in one organization radical agitators from across the country. Delegates from twenty-six cities attended—among the five from Chicago were Albert Parsons and August Spies. The dominant figure at the Congress was Johann Most, recently arrived from Europe. Most served as the key author of the manifesto produced by the conference.
The version of the Pittsburgh Manifesto submitted at the Haymarket trial as People's Exhibit 19 was a reprint from the Alarm. Like much of the evidence of this kind in the Haymarket Affair Digital Collection, what is on view here is a typed transcription of the exhibited document. The transcriptions were evidently prepared either by court stenographers or by the Defense Committee in readying the case for appeal. Scans of the original typescripts and new transcriptions of these are viewable in the Harmarket Affair Digital Collection. The transcriptions do not correct errors or inconsistencies in the originals.
The Pittsburgh Manifesto has many notable features. It begins by citing the Declaration of Independence as well as Marxist thought. The anarchists were fond of quoting the declaration to substantiate their claim that their ideas were anything but "foreign" to "American" ideals. The manifesto also employs statistics in order to make its argument from facts as well as principles. It accuses the established "order" and "civilization" of being the source of the current dominant "disorder" characterized by oppression, inequality, and exploitation. To such an "order," which is based on might and not right, force is the only effective response, as it was during the American Revolution.
The manifesto then offers a statement of goals. These include the end of class rule, the establishment of an economy based on mutual cooperation, the free exchange of goods free of the profit motive, education on a secular and scientific basis (i.e., free of religious influence) for both sexes, equal rights without regard to sex or race, and an anarchist organization of "public affairs" by "free contracts" between autonomous groups. The manifesto concludes with a stirring appeal to working people of all nations to unite, accompanied by an apocalyptic warning to their oppressors that the "scarlet and sable lights of the Judgment day" are about to dawn.