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As it happens, George Floyd died exactly 100 years and 40 days after Alessandro Berardelli and Frederick Parmenter were shot to death in a payroll robbery in Braintree, Massachusetts. These men have little in common with Floyd save that none of them deserved to die and that their respective deaths set off worldwide demonstrations orchestrated out of the very same playbook.

In the 1920s, communists had to erase some immediate history — namely, the fact that a pair of Italian anarchists murdered Berardelli and Parmenter in cold blood. The evidence that the anarchists, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, killed the pair was overwhelming. They were convicted soon after the murders.

In 1924, as the appeals process wore on, Sacco and Vanzetti caught a break of sorts. Lenin died, and Stalin replaced him. Always the realist, Stalin had no illusions that the Soviet P.R. arm, the Comintern, could inspire an American revolution. He focused his American efforts instead on defamation.

With Stalin’s blessing, the Comintern set out to find a case that would undermine the idea of America, which at the time held great sway throughout the world. America was widely perceived as the land of opportunity, the ever beckoning home of the free and the brave. For the Soviet experiment to prevail, the American experiment had to yield. The world had to see America through fresh, unblinking eyes, not as the great melting pot, but as a simmering stew of xenophobic injustice.

In 1925, the Comintern came looking for Sacco and Vanzetti, glass slipper in hand. Almost immediately, “spontaneous” protests sprung up throughout the world. Europe’s great squares filled with sobbing, shouting protesters, declaiming the innocence of the immigrant martyrs and denouncing the vile injustice of their persecutors. These protesters donated hundreds of thousands dollars to the cause…

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