By Nunzio Pernicone
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Additional resources for Carlo Tresca: Portrait of a Rebel
40 The next crisis provided the pretext to oust him. Tension between anarchists and socialists had been high ever since the vicious polemic between Luigi Galleani and Giacinto Menotti Serrati, an earlier director of Il Proletario, in 1903. After anarchists broke up a socialist meeting in Boston with pistol shots on May 28, 1906, Tresca was expected to open the pages of Il Proletario for a new round of attacks against them. Tresca had sought to establish good relations with the anarchists, and tried to broker a truce after this latest encounter, but several influential FSI leaders considered his restraint inexcusable.
Debts had been eliminated and the newspaper’s circulation had risen from 4,000 to 5,600. 44 In sum, a major resurgence had occurred between 1904 and 1906, and the lion’s share of credit belonged to Tresca. And Tresca, more than anyone, was responsible for the FSI’s ideological and tactical reorientation toward revolutionary syndicalism. 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.
Subscription payments and contributions to La Plebe did fall off dramatically; however, the cause was the economic depression of that year, which plunged thousands of Italians immigrants into desperate straits. In August 1908, hoping to obtain new supporters, avoid harassment from postal authorities, and no doubt escape the spotlight of scandal, Tresca transferred La Plebe to Pittsburgh. The office was set up at 8 Tunnel Street. 17 “The Republic of Priests” Pittsburgh was an ideal base of operations for Tresca, whose labor activities now focused primarily on the coalfields of western Pennsylvania.
Carlo Tresca: Portrait of a Rebel by Nunzio Pernicone