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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Editorial crows over Wobblies’ courtroom defeat

The Chronicle’s editorial board made no bones about their dislike for the Wobblies, or their satisfaction that the group had received a setback in a Chicago court. (Spokesman-Review archives)
The Chronicle’s editorial board made no bones about their dislike for the Wobblies, or their satisfaction that the group had received a setback in a Chicago court. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The Spokane Daily Chronicle’s editorial page celebrated what it considered a historic victory – but not against the Germans.

It was a courtroom victory in Chicago against the Wobblies (the Industrial Workers of the World).

“It is better than the sinking of a dozen German submarines,” the editorial said. “It is greater than the capture of a score of villages in France. The defeat of the I.W.W. after 20 weeks of open battle in Chicago’s courts means the passing of a menace to true liberty. … All the brains, the eloquence, the wealth, the strength, the leadership of this crafty order was pitted against the laws of the nation, which false prophets had plotted to overwhelm in revolution.”

It accused the Wobblies of being “apostles of class hate, sedition and sneaking sabotage.”

The Chronicle had always been a relentless critic of the Wobblies, and this editorial predicted its final demise.

“The tail of the snake may writhe and twist for a while, but its back is broken,” the editors said.

From the vaudeville beat: Big Jim was the star of an act at the Hippodrome.

Big Jim was a “not altogether happy cinnamon bear,” who roller-skates, plays dead, wrestles and “does a lot of muscle dances that would get anybody but a bear arrested.”

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