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Sunday, December 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Harry M. Wicks arrested for disloyalty after speech advocating workers lay down tools

Spokane police arrested Harry M. Wicks, an “alleged bolshevist leader and radical agitator,” reported The Spokane Daily Chronicle on April 5, 1919. (Spokane Daily Chronicle Archives)
Spokane police arrested Harry M. Wicks, an “alleged bolshevist leader and radical agitator,” reported The Spokane Daily Chronicle on April 5, 1919. (Spokane Daily Chronicle Archives)

Spokane police arrested Harry M. Wicks, an “alleged bolshevist leader and radical agitator.”

“Police claim to have put behind bars one of the most active revolutionary agitators yet in the city,” the Spokane Daily Chronicle said. “The exact charge against him, disloyalty, is the result of a speech made at Turner Hall Sunday March 30.”

Wicks advocated “wholesale liberation of political prisoners by mass action” during that speech. He also advocated that every worker in the U.S. should lay down their tools “on every car line, every railroad” and every other industry. He said mass action was necessary to open up the jail doors and release political prisoners, referring, evidently, to the many Wobblies who were being held in jail.

He did not advocate violence, but “simply holding meeting after meeting” and refusing to disperse.

He had come from Portland to Spokane to organize workers.

From the entertainment beat: John Philip Sousa’s world-famous band was booked into Spokane for an autumn date, according to a local booking agent.

The San Carlo Grand Opera Co. was also booked for an appearance.

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