Murdered by Capitalism: A Memoir of 150 Years of Life & Death on the American Left

John Ross is an old leftie journalist and Beat poet who used to bang around Northern California—his stories have appeared in this paper—but for the past 20 years or so has lived in a Mexico City hotel, whence he sends out his trenchant reports on Mexican life and politics to papers and magazines in many countries. He’s also the author of six political book and nine poetry chapbooks and a recognized authority on the Zapatista movement. This book, an autobiography of sorts, weaves his own life’s story with that of E. B. Schnaubel, the brother of the infamous Rudolph “Haymarket” Schnaubel, falsely accused of being the notorious bomber at the famous Chicago riots of 1896. As Schnaubel, speaking from the grave through Ross, reminisces about such historic radicals as Emma Goldman, Joe Hill and Big Bill Haywood, Ross recounts his own life as a West Village red-diaper baby, hobo journalist, Bay Area anti-war rouser, jazz-loving junkie and jailbird. It’s a wild book, one of a kind, and a wonderful portrait of an authentic, unabashedly passionate American character.