‘Drunken U.S. Thugs Destroy I.W.W. Property’ from Industrial Worker. Vol. 5 No. 18. July 24, 1913.

Socialist Party headquarters, 1909 Fifth Avenue, July 18, 1913.
‘Drunken U.S. Thugs Destroy I.W.W. Property’ from Industrial Worker. Vol. 5 No. 18. July 24, 1913.

Sailors and soldiers raided I.W.W. Socialist halls, burning furniture and supplies on open streets. Patriotism and flag the issue. Mayor closes all saloons, places censorship over Seattle Times which incited the riot. I.W.W. prevents serious situation by refusing to take part J.W. FOSS.

Seattle, July 19.—Pandemonium reigned in this city last night when bluejackets from the Pacific squadron Inflamed by Seattle’s famous fighting whiskey, and inspired and led by dupes and hirelings of the Citizen’s Alliance undertook to uproot an idea by destroying the property and wrecking the meeting place of those who believed in it. The Alliance and Its dupes evidently do not share Horace Traubel’s opinion that “ideas are always liveliest when attempts are made to suppress them. The very worst way to suppress an idea is to attempt to suppress it. For, if an idea be true, you cannot suppress it, and if it be false it does not need to be suppressed—it will suppress Itself.”

Wrecked Seattle I.W.W. Pioneer Square hall with U.S. celebratory flag placed on top.

It is safe to say that the drink-maddened actions of these uniformed hoodlums gave us a prestige that the expenditure of thousands of dollars for organisers, advertising, and meetings would never have secured us. So right are we, and so strategically advantageous is our position, that every hostile move of the capitalists accrues to our benefit. “Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad” was never more aptly illustrated than in these antics of the employers, whom the prospect of industrial unionism have driven to frenzy.

Every attempt at repression focuses the attention of thousands, and every new outrage adds to the growing list of our membership, sympathizers and friends, for the big bulk of mankind loves a square deal. Those who inspired the attack on the headquarters of the I.W.W. and the Socialist Party defeated their own aim. Insofar as making use of the besotted jackies, without having previously muzzled the Times, there was a display of poor judgment on the part of those who engineered this patriotic (?) display. The Times blabbed beforehand, and the city was aware of the plot. It was originally intended to hide behind the international reputation of the U.S. bluejackets aa the greatest set of rowdies afloat However, as there were no fatalities. It Is now safe to support their drunken outburst aa an exhibition of patriotic indignation.

Damaged I.W.W. headquarters in an old church on Olive Way between 7th Ave. and 8th Ave.

Everyone hens knows there was a conspiracy to which the police were a party. Else why was no attempt made to head off or disperse the mob? Had it been a peaceable crowd of striking workers, men or women, the police would have found the excuse and the means to suppress and disperse them. The police so far from interfering appeared to enjoy the riotous scenes, even to urging the booty maniacs on. The suspicion grows that Secretary of the Navy Daniels willfully inspired the attacks, under perhaps the influence of—say, is it grape juice or milk they serve at these cabinet-officer entertainment affairs? He evidently had been made aware that Mayor Cotterell was an undesirable citizen for enforcing the provisions of the constitution relative to free speech and free assemblage. This is partial evidence of the local plot to which the mayor refers, in an interview, thus.

“The course of the mob Indicated a local plot and local leadership. The men were led to the widely separated places where the socialists and Industrial Workers had their offices and property. The outbreak was shrewdly timed at the time of shifts of the police. Advantage was taken of the scattering police to keep open the lines of the Potlatch parade, the crowds on the streets being enormous.”

Seattle Commercial Club float at the 1913 Potlatch parade.

The mayor has personally assumed direction of the police force. Why? From what influence is he endeavoring to wrest them? What influence had “fixed” the police on this particular occasion, when, if ever there was use for their clubs? Why did the mayor close up the saloons? It Is very well known that I.W.W. men and Socialists do not imbibe very freely. The patriots (?) have had their rowdy fling and destroyed about $1,000 worth on us, but we are not beggared—we still have the truth. Hail to the revolution! Long live the I.W.W. and the Industrial Worker! REVOLUTIONIST.

Commenting editorially the Spokane Chronicle said in part:

“Treasonable utterances of Seattle street speakers can not excuse men of the United States navy for taking part in disgraceful riots. It is the duty of Secretary Daniels to see that swift and sure punishment is dealt to these lawbreakers in uniform. The honor of the navy demands it. As to the ‘honor’ of Seattle policemen who gazed on the mob with smiles of approval—It is for Seattle to deal with these fellows and decide whether they were simple cowards or plain fools.”

Mayor Cotterell.

The suggestion of our Seattle correspondent that the police were “fixed” seems more in keeping with the published reports. In the Chronicle Mayor Cotterell Is quoted to the effect that “the police were notified through underground channels that a large force of enlisted men would circulate about the Industrial Workers of the World headquarters.” In the face of this why were no precautionary, measures taken? Why, if the police felt unequal to the task or anticipated an outbreak, did they not forewarn the fleet commander? The suspicion will not down that the police department was part of the conspiracy. — (Editor Industrial Worker.)


Seattle. July 19. Last night a wild, drunken, howling mob of savages attacked the I.W.W. hall here. It was composed of pimps, cockroach business men, and the scum of file army and navy cesspools marching behind a ten cent flag. They experienced no difficulty in breaking through the protection of the “bulls” who are supposed to check rioting and disorder. Such protection as there was, shielded the looting maniacs. The police beat up any of our men who attempted to protect our property. One big square-headed cop assisted the rioters to the fire escape of the building adjoining the I.W.W. hall so as to aid in the work of destruction. All our furniture, literature, and other property was thrown out of the windows and burned in the street

The police in their drunken condition beat up everyone who looked or acted like a sympathizer. The Socialist hall was visited also and they suffered in a similar way.

Working class sentiment Is aroused, and I believe the advertising was well worth the cost.

As well try to tie up Niagara with a ball of binder twine as hope to stay the progress of the I.W.W. with a whiskey-fed, made-to-order Patriotic (?) riot IRVING A. BLUM.

The Industrial Union Bulletin, and the Industrial Worker were newspapers published by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) from 1907 until 1913. First printed in Joliet, Illinois, IUB incorporated The Voice of Labor, the newspaper of the American Labor Union which had joined the IWW, and another IWW affiliate, International Metal Worker.The Trautmann-DeLeon faction issued its weekly from March 1907. Soon after, De Leon would be expelled and Trautmann would continue IUB until March 1909. It was edited by A. S. Edwards. 1909, production moved to Spokane, Washington and became The Industrial Worker, “the voice of revolutionary industrial unionism.”

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