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House Boulevard - Set Me Free


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Defendant was charged with arson in two counts and with a prior conviction of burglary. He admitted the prior conviction. He was tried by a jury on the charges of arson. The jury convicted him as to count one and disagreed as to count two. Count two was then dismissed. He appeals from the judgment. Count one alleged that on August 16, 1949, defendant set fire to a dwelling house at 1138 Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles.


About 7 or 7:30 p. m. on August 15, defendant attempted to buy some Butane at a service station, saying that he wanted it for a stove in a trailer. When he could not obtain Butane, he purchased a half gallon of gasoline, saying that he wanted it with which to wash his hands. About 9:10 that evening there was a fire in a pile of rubbish at the side of the house at 1138 Washington Boulevard. Shortly before that Mrs. Summers' daughter saw appellant coming along the side of the house. Mrs. Summers called the fire department which responded and extinguished the fire.


About 3 o'clock in the morning of August 16, Mrs. Summers heard someone alongside the house. She arose and saw defendant go by. He was going toward the back gate. She heard the back gate open and someone try the rear door. She heard the gate open again and then heard footsteps going back in the opposite direction. About 4:20 she heard crackling noises coming from the side of the kitchen. She got up, opened the bedroom door, and as she did so smoke hit her in the face. She closed the door, called the fire department, went to see where the fire was located, and saw the kitchen door aflame.


Police officers located defendant about 5:30 a. m. and found him asleep on a mattress in his shed. He was fully clothed. The odor of petroleum or petroleum products emanated from his coat, particularly from the sleeve. Defendant told police officers that he had bought the half gallon of gasoline to wash his hands; that he had really gone to buy some Butane inasmuch as he was contemplating purchasing a house trailer and [98 Cal. App. 2d 655] wanted some Butane for the stove; that the trailer was in Compton. He was asked why he wanted to buy the Butane for the stove if the trailer was in Compton. Later he said he just wanted to try the stove out and later that he did not go to the service station to buy Butane at all; that he went to buy gasoline to wash his hands and had just inquired about Butane to see if they had it so that he could get it when he needed it. He was asked where the can was in which he had obtained the gasoline. He answered that he had thrown it away. The can could not be found. Defendant told the officers he could not remember where he had thrown it. About a teacup full of gasoline was used to start the fire. The fire had burned at least 45 minutes and possibly as long as 2 1/2 hours.


Defendant testified that he had an argument with Mrs. Greenberg on August 14; that he had been living at 1138 Washington Boulevard for some time before that; that during the argument he told Mrs. Greenberg "You should get burned for my part"; that he did not refer to the house; that he "just cursed her to get burned because she was mean to me."


According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, when the new law takes effect on September 21, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion must each set up a webpage for requesting fraud alerts and credit freezes.


OUR HEARINGS ON THE CHARGE OF CRIMINAL ANARCHY WERE repeatedly postponed and finally dropped altogether. That set me free to start on my projected tour to the Coast, the first since 1897. Before I had gone very far, my meetings were stopped by the police in three cities--Columbus, Toledo, and Detroit.


The action of the authorities in Toledo was especially reprehensible because the Mayor, Brand Whitlock, was supposed to be a man of advanced ideas, known as a Tolstoyan and "philosophical" anarchist. I had met a number of American individualists who called themselves philosophical anarchists. On closer acquaintance they invariably proved neither philosophers nor anarchists, and their belief in free speech always had a "but" to it.


Mayor Whitlock, however, was also a single-taxer, a member of a group of Americans who stood out as the most valiant champions of free speech and press. In fact, the single-taxers had always been the first to support me in my fights against police interference. I was therefore greatly surprised to find a single-tax mayor guilty of the same arbitrary attitude as any ordinary city official. I asked some of his admirers how they could explain such behaviour on the part of a man like Whitlock. Much to my astonishment, they informed me that he was under the impression that I had come to Toledo for the express purpose of fomenting trouble among the automobile-workers then on strike. He was trying to bring about a settlement between the bosses and their employees, and he thought it best not to permit me to speak.


Sasha had done splendidly on Mother Earth while I was away. He had surprised everybody by the vigour of his style and the clarity of his thoughts. It was an amazing achievement for a man who had gone into prison ignorant of the English language and who had never written for publication before. His letters to me during my four months on tour were free from depression, and he showed much interest in the magazine and my work. I was proud of Sasha and his efforts, and I was full of hope that we might yet dispel the clouds that had been hanging in our sky since he had re-entered the outside world. These considerations made me hesitate to go to Amsterdam. I would decide when I reached New York, I told my comrades.


There is a mistaken notion in some quarters, we argued, that organization does not foster individual freedom; that, on the contrary, it means the decay of individuality. In reality, however, the true function of organization is to aid the development and growth of personality. Just as the animal cells, by mutual co-operation, express their latent powers in the formation of the complete organism, so does the individuality, by co-operative effort with other individualities, attain its highest form of development. An organization, in the true sense, cannot result from the combination of mere nonentities. It must be composed of self-conscious, intelligent individualities. Indeed, the total of the possibilities and activities of an organization is represented in the expression of individual energies. Anarchism asserts the possibility of an organization without discipline, fear, or punishment and without the pressure of poverty: a new social organism, which will make an end to the struggle for the means of existence--the savage struggle which undermines the finest qualities in man and ever widens the social abyss. In short, anarchism strives towards a social organization which will establish well-being for all.


The French, Swiss, Belgian, Austrian, Bohemian, Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian, and Dutch delegates were all men of spirit and ability, but the most outstanding personality among them was Enrico Malatesta. Of fine and sensitive nature, Malatesta had already in his youth embraced revolutionary ideals. Later he met Bakunin, in whose circle he was the youngest, affectionately called "Benjamin." He wrote a number of popular pamphlets that found wide distribution, particularly in Italy and Spain, and he was editor of various anarchist publications. But his literary activities did not prevent him from participating also in the actual daily struggles of the workers. He had played an important rôle, together with the celebrated Carlo Cafiero and the famous Russian revolutionist Sergius "Stepniak" (Kravtchinsky), in the uprising in Benevento, Italy, in 1877. His interest in popular rebellion runs like a red thread throughout his life. Whether he happened to be in Switzerland, France, England, or the Argentine, an uprising in his native country always brought him to the aid of the people. In 1897 he had again taken an active part in the rebellion in southern Italy. His entire life was one of storm and stress, his energies and exceptional abilities devoted to the service of the anarchist cause. But whatever his work in the movement, he always insisted on remaining materially independent of it, earning his living by manual labour, which was a principle of his life. The considerable inheritance from his father, consisting of land and houses in Italy, he had deeded without any remuneration to the workers who occupied them, himself continuing to exist most frugally on the earnings of his own hands. His name was one of the best-known and best-beloved in Latin countries.


While we were yet in Holland, news had come that Peter Kropotkin had at last been readmitted to France. Peter loved the country and its people. To him France signified the cradle of liberty, the French Revolution the symbol of all that the world had of social idealism. To be sure, France was very short of the glory my great teacher had invested her with; his own eighteen months' incarceration in a French prison and subsequent expulsion had demonstrated it. Yet by some peculiar partiality Peter hailed France as the banner-bearer of freedom and the most cultured country in the world. We knew that nothing he had personally suffered had changed his feeling about the French people, and we rejoiced that he was now able to satisfy his longing to return.


True, the prisoners were found guilty and sentenced to small terms, the longest being three years. Since it was France, the girl was set free altogether. In my adopted country their punishment would have been incomparably more severe and they would have undoubtedly been held also for contempt of court because of their frank avowal of their opinions and acts and the ridicule they heaped on the judge and the prosecuting attorney.


Not even at Cempuis, the school of the venerable libertarian Paul Robin, which I had visited in 1900, was the spirit of comradeship and co-operation between pupils and teachers so complete as at La Ruche. Robin, too, felt the need of a new approach to the child, but he still remained somewhat tied to the old text-books on education. La Ruche had freed itself also from them. The hand-painted wall-paper in the dormitory and class-rooms, picturing the life of plants, flowers, birds, and animals, had a more quickening effect on the imagination of the children than any "regular" lessons. The free grouping of the children around their teachers, listening to some story or seeking explanation for puzzling thoughts, amply made up for lack of old-fashioned instruction. In discussing problems of the education of the young, Faure showed an exceptional grasp of child psychology. The results accomplished by his school within two years were highly gratifying. "It is surprising how frank, kind, and affectionate the children are to each other," he said. "The harmony between themselves and the adults at La Ruche is highly encouraging. We should feel at fault were the children to fear or honour us merely because we are their elders. We leave nothing undone to gain their confidence and love; that accomplished, understanding will replace duty; confidence, fear; and affection, sternness." No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness, and generosity hidden in the soul of the child. The effort of every true educator should be to unlock that treasure to stimulate the child's impulses and call forth the best and noblest tendencies. What greater reward can there be for one whose life-work is to watch over the growth of the human plant than to see it unfold its petals and to observe it develop into a true individuality 59ce067264






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