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100 years ago in Spokane: Feds raid Wobbly offices across U.S. alleging sedition

From The Spokesman-Review archives, Sept. 6, 1917 (SR archives)
From The Spokesman-Review archives, Sept. 6, 1917 (SR archives)

Federal agents raided regional Wobbly offices all over the U.S., on the grounds that the Industrial Workers of the World was spreading sedition and anti-war propaganda.

Officials seized documents and arrested leaders in Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Great Falls, Butte, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, among many other cities. The raids were timed to be simultaneous and without warning.

And in Spokane?

Spokane was ahead of the game. The Spokane office had already been raided weeks ago by federal troops. However, agents raided a “new,” makeshift headquarters in the Logan Hotel, on Main Avenue, and seized “a truckload of records, literature and other printed matter.”

A second office on North Monroe was also raided, but no Wobbly material was found.

The Spokesman-Review’s editorial page applauded the raids, saying that the “national leaders should have been arrested and the Chicago headquarters closed long ago.”

The editors said that the documents taken in the raids should answer the question about whether the Wobblies were “active friends of Germany.”

“The government has no disposition to deny labor a square deal, but it will no longer tolerate mischievous and seditious activity under the cloak of a workingmen’s movement,” said the paper.

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