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Extra info for Carlo Tresca: Portrait of a Rebel
47 In fact, coal miners constituted one of the largest and most militant contingents of the Italian immigrant Left, and it was among their ranks that Tresca derived his strongest support. The highest concentrations of Italian coal miners were in the anthracite region of eastern Pennsylvania and the bituminous region of the western counties. 48 For Tresca, Italian coal miners represented an army of disinherited plebes for whom he might serve as revolutionary leader. His first expressions of solidarity dated from the coal miners’ strike in Colorado and Utah in 1904, but his special bond with them was forged during the early propaganda tours of 1906.
Tresca responded by rejecting Petriella’s insistence that the socialist revolution could be won at the ballot box thanks to universal suffrage, declaring it was absurd to believe the bourgeoisie would peaceably relinquish its monopoly of power and allow itself to be expropriated by legal means. When reformists like Petriella advocated parliamentary action as the sole means by which to build a socialist society, Tresca believed they were anesthetizing the masses to the realities of the class struggle.
Copies of the articles written by Tresca and Giovanni Di Silvestro, translated for the court by the consul’s own secretary, were woefully inaccurate; yet the most offensive portions were read into the record. Incriminating material produced by Tresca and Di Silvestro was not allowed into evidence on the grounds that the consul of a foreign country was not a public officer whose conduct could be criticized in the public press. Nor were they permitted to explain the basis of their accusations. The prosecutor, on the other hand, was permitted to focus not only on Tresca’s IL PROLETARIO 31 offending articles but also on his libel conviction in Italy and his flight from Italian justice.