Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Spokane: Wobbly defendants found guilty of planned mayhem; maintain silent defense

46 Wobblies were found guilty of planning “a campaign of arson and destruction” along the Pacific coast. (Spokesman-Review archives)

All 46 defendants in the Wobbly conspiracy trial were found guilty of conspiracy to carry on a campaign of arson and destruction up and down the Pacific Coast.

Federal judge Frank H. Rudkin presided over the trial, which was held in Sacramento. The defendants had been arrested in a multicity sweep, including in Spokane.

The prosecutor closed his case by saying, “The Industrial Workers of the World recognizes no country, no flag, no color line. They respect no flag but the red flag. They would drag us all down to the level of the lowest man.”

Most of the defendants chose to make a “silent defense” and spoke no word throughout the trial and had no counsel. An attorney for the other defendants said the Wobblies “have nothing to do with the overthrow of the institutions that we revere or with a revolution.”

More from the Wobbly beat: A huge crowd of Wobblies was dispersed by armed police in Seattle.

About 500 Wobblies left an open air mass meeting and paraded through downtown streets. At one point, someone in the crowd said, “Let’s go for the police station.” They had just turned down Yesler Way when police arrived on horseback and in autos and quickly dispersed the crowd.