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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Wobblies’ new path alarms newspaper

UPDATED: Mon., Feb. 4, 2019

The city’s Wobblies combined with the “bolshevist elements of the socialists” to create a new radical organization to be called the League for Democracy at Home, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Feb. 4, 1919. (Spokesman-Review archives)
The city’s Wobblies combined with the “bolshevist elements of the socialists” to create a new radical organization to be called the League for Democracy at Home, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Feb. 4, 1919. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The city’s Wobblies combined with the “bolshevist elements of the socialists” to create a new radical organization to be called the League for Democracy at Home.

The Spokane Daily Chronicle was clearly alarmed by this development, at least partly because it detected a “threat” to its reporters in the meeting where the league was formed.

The chairman of the meeting, John L. Metcalfe, was quoted as saying, “I do not know whether the authorities will allow American citizens to organize in such a body, but I am inclined to think they will have to. If there are any stool-pigeons or reporters here, I want them to take note of that. I want the reporters, if there are any present, to publish that statement.”

The Chronicle claimed that the league would be “built up along the lines of the Russia Soviet, according to the speakers.” The Bolsheviks in Russia were much in the news, as that country was embroiled in revolution.

One speaker gave an ambiguous statement about whether he should be considered a “bolsheviki.”

“Imagine me a member of the majority party of Russia,” he said. “If I were asked, however, if I were in sympathy with the bolsheviki, I would say, ‘Yes,’ a thousand times.”

From the Father’s Day beat: Spokane’s Father’s Day Association, presided over by Sonora Smart Dodd, announced that it was disbanding.

Its mission, of “doing reverence” to the nation’s fathers, had been accomplished, according to Dodd, who first came up with the idea of Father’s Day in 1909. Since then, the idea had been embraced around the country – although its date on the third Sunday of June would not be officially enshrined until many decades later.

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