Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 57° Partly Cloudy
News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Police captain declares Wobblies ‘a thing of the past’

A Spokane police captain declared the Wobbly influence ended, its leaders jailed and its forces dispelled. (Spokesman-Review archives)
A Spokane police captain declared the Wobbly influence ended, its leaders jailed and its forces dispelled. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The “Wobbly horde” in Spokane had been eradicated once and for all, said head Spokane police detective Capt. Martin J. Burns.

“The organization (Industrial Workers of the World) is a dead letter and leaders and agitators are in jail or in hiding,” Burns said. “The working man, who, under protest or through lack of knowledge, became a member of the Wobblies, is glad the organization, with its sabotage and terrorism, is a thing of the past.”

Burns said their demise in Spokane could be attributed to three factors. First was “the forceful and active opposition of the government.” Second was the fact the national leaders were on trial in Chicago and other regional leaders were in “municipal lockups the country over.”

Third, new draft regulations contained a “work or fight” provision, requiring all men to get a job or join the military. “Every able-bodied man in Spokane, who is not engaged in some useful employment, will be tried in police court on a vagrancy charge,” Burns said.

Burns’ predictions were partly, but not entirely, accurate: The Wobblies in Spokane would never quite regain their pre-war influence, but they would survive and remain a significant force into the 1920s. In fact, the organization remains in existence today, headquartered in Chicago.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1957: John Lennon, 16, first met Paul McCartney, 15, when Lennon’s band, the Quarrymen skiffle group, performed a gig at St. Peter’s Church in Woolton, Liverpool.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.