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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Last arrest made in attempt to suppress Wobblies’ uprising

The last action against the Wobblies was declared a success. (SR)
The last action against the Wobblies was declared a success. (SR)

The final arrest was made in what The Spokesman-Review called a nationwide plot by the Wobblies, uncovered in Spokane, to foment a general strike and harm the war effort.

The sixth and final Wobbly leader, A.S. Embree, was arrested in Chicago, bringing the total to 28. He and five other jailed Wobblies in Butte were expected to be transported to Spokane to stand trial for violations of the Espionage Act, along with the 22 men already held in Spokane.

The plot was first uncovered when W.E. Hall was arrested in Spokane with a “vast amount of I.W.W. strike literature.” Hall and others were reportedly urging the miners and woodsmen in the West to go on strike to force the release of other Wobbly leaders, who had recently been convicted in Chicago.

After Hall’s arrest, federal agents arrested a total of 27 Wobblies in Spokane and Butte, said to be part of the general strike plot.

The Espionage Act of 1917 made it a federal crime to “discourage the production of food and curtail the production of essential war products.”

From the rationing beat: “Gasless Sunday” was part of a wartime fuel-saving initiative, and The Spokesman-Review’s editorial cartoonist drew a panel titled “How to Get to the Golf Course on a Gasless Sunday.” It showed men riding bicycles, scooters, tricycles and wheelchairs with golf clubs strapped to their backs. One man was roller skating.

A little boy wailed, “Pop! Bring back my velocipede!”

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