Journal of Arizona History 18 (Summer 1977): 149-170.

The IWW In Wartime Arizona

by James W. Byrkit

ON JULY 12, 1917, a posse comitatus swept through the streets of Bisbee, Arizona.  The deputies arrested more than 2000 men, most of whom were miners on strike against Bisbee’s three mining companies.  Later that day 1186 of them were herded onto a train and unloaded at Columbus, New Mexico, 173 miles to the east.  Few ever returned.

Most accounts of the Deportation, which became one of Arizona’s most celebrated and controversial events, have either emphasized its sensational nature or have treated it as just another incident in the story of America’s labor-management conflict.   Close examination of the episode, however, provokes many questions.  One would involve the much-misunderstood role of the Industrial Workers of the World, usually blamed for promoting the strike and bringing on the deportation:  What was the IWW and what was its real function in the Bisbee case?

It has been the impulse of a few historians, radicals themselves, perhaps, to submit to temptation and ascribe potency or substantial accomplishment to radical organizations.1  In view of its martyrdom and its high ideals, an incautious student of American labor relations is tempted to impute to the IWW far more significance than most of its historians have been able to affirm.  Bravado rather than action distinguished the Wobblies.  As one contemporary source said, “The

Dr. Brykit, a professor at NAU and a top labor historian, lived as a boy at Jerome and Ajo, where his father was a superintendent.  His essay is revised from “Life and Labor in Arizona, 1901-1921, with Particular Reference to the Deportation of 1917” (PhD dissertation, Claremount Graduate School, 1972).

Wobblies preach violence without practicing it.”  Another analyst contends that this “all blow and not show” reputation hastened the decline of the organization:

The IWW was too revolutionary to attract the support of the basically conservative forces of American labor, and in spite of the violence of its propaganda, too cautious to be successful as a revolution.  The only thing in which it fully succeeded was in arousing popular fears of violence….2

IWW thinking operated on three general levels.  The top level comprised the solon intellectuals based in Chicago and New York and other large cities.  This tiny segment included people such as Mabel Dodge Luhan, Daniel DeLeon and Morris Hillquit.  The more dangerous and earthy business of labor organizing and leadership belonged to the second category – the one which included the Wobbly organizers.3  Rough men like Bill Haywood, Vincent St. John and Frank Little composed this group.  They boiled their ideological beliefs down to bread-and-butter issues that the third level, the membership – the ten-day bindlestiffs in the mining and lumber camps – could understand and respond to.4

A dash of romance flavored the radical vision of the Eastern intellectuals.  They saw the Western IWW in much the same way as others viewed the Western cowboy – as an innocent, courageous primitive, the affirmation or rebirth of a lost American dream.5  And so the dirty, hungry bindlestiff was endowed with a saintliness, a mystique of frontier proletarian nobility.  Big Bill Haywood was invited to Mabel Dodge Luhan’s “salon.”  The muckers and field hands, however, took little interest in the activities, including the pamphlets and books, of the radical intelligentsia.  Joe Hill’s Wobbly songbook was enough for them.  Conversely, the intellectuals shaped and altered the IWW image to conform to their causes and their dreams, paying attention to the day-to-day plight of the Western workingman.6

Direct motivation for organizing the IWW arose out of the profound indignation and frustration that Western miners experienced in the bloody Cripple Creek, Colorado, labor ward of 1905.  Although the general public hardly knew of the existence of the IWW before 1915, it was organized at Chicago in June, 1905, by several men prominent in the socialist and labor movement and was founded on the belief that trade unions and industrial unions alike were powerless.  From the start the IWW saw in the American Federation of Labor and its craft-union policy a hateful enemy.7  Covetous, snobbish and traditionally conservative, the American Federation of Labor failed to recognize the need for industrial organization and acted in direct opposition to radical movements.  “It has always been,” says IWW historian Paul F. Brissenden, “the arch enemy of the I. W. W.”8  This rivalry and antagonism proved useful to industrial management, particularly in Bisbee, Arizona, in the summer of 1917.

To the IWW, existing labor organizations were merely convenient adjuncts to capitalistic employers, de facto company unions.  The opening statement of the IWW constitution reads:  “The working class and the employing class have nothing in common.”9  Early organizers and the membership of the IWW were drawn from divergent interest groups who shared a hatred of the capitalistic scheme of things.  They felt that the craft organization created three types obnoxious to the labor movement:  The “aristocrats” of labor (craft members), the “union” scabs (union member too “respectable” to strike) and the “labor lieutenants” (union members with loyalties stronger to employers than to the workingmen’s cause).  Industrial workers were convinced that collusion existed between labor leaders and creation capitalists.10  For instance, many times between 1905 and 1910, the AFL provided strikebreakers to undermine and frustrate the efforts of the IWW.11  Devout Wobblies never dreamed how much more their organization would serve American employers as a profitable tool.

A general rise in socialist strength occurred in the United States during the first fifteen years of the twentieth century.12  Every person elected to the provisional board of the IWW in the 1905 convention belonged to the Socialist Party.13  Socialists Daniel DeLeon, Eugene V. Debs, William E. Trautmann and William Z. Foster all took a deep and personal interest in the IWW.  By 1911, however, there was a growing hostility toward the IWW in the party.  The Socialists opposed the professed methods and tactics of IWWism rather than its point of view, its organization or its proposals for a society of the future.  Having adopted the “boring from within” tactic to change and control existing unions, the IWW avowed (but rarely practiced) a concept of “direct action,” I.e., the use of violence and sabotage.14  Resentful of the IWW militant reputation, the Socialists voted in 1912 to expel from their ranks anyone who advocated violence.  The last tie between the IWW and the Socialist Party was broken in February, 1913, when Bill Haywood was recalled form the National Executive Committee of the party.

After the collapse of a walkout in the Paterson, New Jersey, silk mills in 1913, two distinct branches or characteristics of the IWW began to develop:  the doctrinaire Eastern Wing, more syndicalist, , disciplined and dogmatic; the more libertarian Western Wing, decentralized, more anarchistic and less Marxist.15  The antagonism felt toward the WFM and the monolithic AFL by the Westerners was much more intense.  The Paterson strike failure seemed to indicate that single authoritarian IWW leadership was more suited to the masses of immigrant workers in the East than was collective authority.  These people appeared to need a more central, affirmative unity and leadership for the long-lasting industrial action which their situation and temperaments demanded.  Institutionally oriented, these “new immigration” Easterners craved dogmatic platitudes, not skeptical radical thought or Western anarchism.16

So the IWW looked westward to its birthplace.17  As it organized toward the Pacific, it had qualified success in the South and Midwest.18  Both the mining and lumber regions of the frontier held the greatest promise for Wobblyism.19  One writer explained it this way:  Head-on conflict was frequent and loyalties transient.  Over-night fortune — or the promise of it — rapidly removed men from their proletarian ties.  Radicals who struck it rich at once dropped their militant methods and utopian ideals.20  The scene demanded a more spontaneous, flexible and comprehensive labor organization (or “disorganization,” as some called the IWW) than was needed in the textile mills at Lawrence, Massachusetts, or Paterson, New Jersey.  The IWW appealed to rootless, voteless, womanless, alienated men.  It embodied and made dramatically tangible the beliefs, dreams, hopes and visions that promised to the victims of industrial capitalism an escape from the futility of their lives.21

There is a “restless temper” among Americans, a compulsion to be mobile.  This wandering “theme” or tradition” has become a well-known American character trait.22  But not always has it been voluntary.  The Western Wobbly oftentimes was a helpless victim of industrialization and he tended to be a drifter who moved westward as a last hope.  “The American I. W. W. is a neglected and lonely hobo worker, usually undernourished and in need of medical care,” wrote Carleton H. Parker, “a byproduct of the neglected childhood of industrial America.”23  Lured by advertisements promising available work, high wages and permanent employment, job-hunters trekked westward to mining and lumber camps only to be laid off in a short time due to the caprice of foremen, company policy or the market.  One-half were native Americans.  For the immigrant,  in spite of the melting-pot slogans and the visible abundance of the nation, the Promised Land had become “a kidnapper, a gospeler of false promises, and indifferent and cruel stepmother.”24  Ninety percent of the men were unmarried; the annual labor turnover rate was estimated at 600 percent.25  By 1916 the discontent of the Western ten-day  bindlestiff had reached a desperate level.26

The growth of mining technology had created an increasing need in the mines for the unskilled laborer, and at the same time, had decreased the significance of the skilled “miner.”  Thus the gap between workingman and operator grew greater, the alienation stronger, the ethnic tensions tighter.  The time for militant unionism had arrived.  At the tenth convention of the IWW at Chicago in 1916 Dan Buckley asked in the afternoon session of November 23 for an appropriation of $2000 to organize miners in the West.  The Committee on Organization and Constitution carried the proposal four to one.   When the same resolution came before the general committee on November 25, where it also passed, the secretary recorded the remark that the “time is ripe for organization in the mining districts of the west.”27

While the complaisant mood of Progressive America prevailed, the IWW met little widespread criticism.  Though the sympathetic public response at Lawrence may have been directed mainly toward the brutalized children of the strikers, the Wobblies themselves were not objects of national contempt.  Taken as a movement, the IWW in 1912 was seen as peaceful.  After the Paterson fiasco, one observer remarked that the IWW should be “more an object of pathetic interest than of fear.”28  But the press and other sources were beginning to discover substantial influence and even treachery in the movement.  Even certain scholarly sources found power in the feeble feints of the Wobblies.29  hostility toward the radical union began to show itself; the IWW became an object of hatred.  As a consequence, as journalist John Fitch observed, an attitude grew up which “permitted ‘good’ citizens to break the law with impunity when dealing with ‘bad’ citizens.”  He wrote in 1915:

Baiting the I. W. W. has become a pastime in nearly every place in the United States where that organization has made its appearance.  Members and leaders have had their constitutional rights atrociously invaded by officials and by ‘good’ citizens. 30

The IWW bogey idea quickly spread and intensified.  Reactionary business interests, eager to discredit any union, wanted the public to see an image of the Wobbly as a lazy hobo whose philosophy was “sabotage” and the overthrow of capitalism.  Whatever constructive qualities the IWW possessed, the press suppressed.31  Tales of IWW outrages gave newspaper readers a thrill.32  Sensational stories like that of the Everett Massacre in November, 1916, reinforced the iniquitous reputation of the Wobblies, even though the IWW was cleared of blame.33

The public attitude toward the IWW began to manifest all the venom the Wobbly baiters could have wanted.  American publications carried innumerable stories of IWW sabotage and tyranny.  Ole Hanson, the pious mayor of Seattle, later summarized the invective used during this period to describe the membership:

The I. W. W. is a sneak and a coward…morally debauching every member by the teachings of cowardice and hate….The American bolshevists [IWW] fired wheat fields when our army needed wheat, put dead rats and mice in canned food, spiked logs in order to destroy machinery…and did every damned and cowardly thing….34

With the coming of the war, logic was discarded and national excitement colored all issues.  Little sympathy could be found for the IWW at the popular level.35

The Wobblies failed to reject this invective, almost seeming to wallow in their notoriety.  Important, illusory, the tiny IWW struggled toward a piteous affirmation of an image that assured its complete defeat.  Proud and romantic, the Wobblies refused to admit, or even see, that they were being manipulated to effect the permanence of all the conditions they so desperately sought to change.

Less emotional and more judicious writers perceived the self-destructive weaknesses of the union.  These more even-tempered contemporary sources failed to see IWWism as either a menace or a viable social and economic movement.  Even in 1912 The Outlook commented, “The Industrial Workers are weak as yet,” and went on to describe IWW disorganization, innocence, crudity and rawness.36  Observer R. F. Hoxie declared that

the American public has been frightened by the impressionistic school of reporters an magazine writers into a vital misconception and tremendous over-estimate of the power and significance of the Industrial Workers of the World.37

The union had a “pathetically weak membership” at that time (14,000) and it had never reached 10,000 before the Lawrence strike.38  Hoxie pointed out that the IWW was “a body capable of local and spasmodic effort only….The fact is the I. W. W. is not an organization but a loosely bound group of uncontrolled fighters.”  He claimed that the group would not be able to make a successful assault on the present social and industrial organization.  “The bulk of American workmen,” Hoxie contended, “…cares little for the remote future of the revolutionary ideal.”39  With the same perspective, John Graham Brooks, a stout Wobbly defender also writing in 1913, admitted the IWW had “embarrassingly little constructive to offer.”40

Other weaknesses debilitate the Wobblies.  Leadership inadequacies seemed to plague the organization throughout its existence.  Without effective direction, the IWW constantly found itself in a state of chaos.  As one historian noted later, the restless, unstabilized nature of the Wobbly floaters and immigrants left them “an unruly band…unwilling to follow any leadership.”41  The IWW, despite such dynamic organizers as Bill Haywood, was shot through with distrust and stubbornness.  The lack of constituted authority enabled outsiders to work themselves into positions of power quickly and without attracting suspicion.  From its origin, the movement had tolerated opportunists, detectives and other frauds.  Thus, as Brissenden reported, “An ‘I.W.W. strike’ may or may not be managed by the I.W.W.  Also it may be managed by the I.W.W. leaders but include no appreciable proportion of ‘Wobblies’ among the strikers.”42  With their representatives in positions of IWW leadership as agents provocateurs, employers could discredit the union and use the resultant charges of disloyalty and anti-patriotism to obscure the basic economic issues.43

So far as the general public was concerned, thanks in part to the agents provocateur, all Wobblies were evil and virtually all union members were Wobblies.  Since the employers and public officials could typify IWWs (and all other union members) as arch-fiends and the dregs of society, they could easily adopt a “hang them all at sunrise attitude.”44  One Western small-town sheriff was quoted as saying they were “having not trouble at all with the Wobs.  When a ‘Wobbly’ comes to town I just knock him over the head with a night stick and throw him in the river.  When he comes up he beats it out of town.”  Any poor man without visible means of support “is assumed to be, ipso facto, an I.W.W.”45  Paul Brissenden sums it up:

By means of an insidious extension of the I.W.W. bogey idea, either that organization itself or some other labor body or both of them are made the ‘goat’ in disputes in which the I.W.W., as an organization, has no part.  If a lumber company, for example, gets into a controversy with the shingle weavers union of the American Federation of Labor, it has only to raise a barrage and shout through its controlled news columns that “they are ‘Wobblies!’” and public opinion is against them.  Nor does the misrepresentation stop there.  All who openly sympathize with the alleged Wobblies are, forsooth, themselves Wobblies!46

Regarding the purported violence, the comments of a Los Angeles policeman seem apropos concerning Arizona.  The policeman claimed the Wobblies in his area had committed no overt acts and that the police, raiding IWW halls, were the only ones who were being destructive.  “In fact, we policemen have been made the tools of big business interests who want to run things,” he said.  “I’m ashamed of myself for consenting to do their dirty work.”47

A novel feature developed out of the Arizona labor troubles in 1916-1917 — the “New Blood” movement.  In early 1916 the movement represented part of the national IWW phenomenon.  Since it involved more aggressive, “direct action” techniques than did the older “soap box” Wobblyism, it reflected the temperament of the Western wing of the IWW.  The “New Blood” found popularity in Arizona, particularly with the copper-mine operators.  Resident administrators began to promote and encourage the movement.  They seemed to be united in preferring radicalism to respectable unionism.  Copper Era, a trade paper financed by the copper corporations, vigorously endorsed two “New Blood” union leaders in Arizona.48

Late in January, 1917, IWW organizer Grover H. Perry left Chicago to found an Arizona state IWW chapter in Phoenix.  The chapter, called “Metal Mine Workers Industrial Union #800,” attempted to organize active IWW locals in all of the state’s mining camps.  Throughout Arizona in February and March the IWW accelerate its organization drives.  Then in April, men who carried cards of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers were discharged in the Globe-Miami area with the simultaneous hiring of those who did not.  Later the IUMMSW argued that copper companies imported IWWs at company expense to take the jobs of discharged IUMMSW members.49

Company officials allegedly imported “New Blood” supporters to work in the mines so managers could claim that radicals existed among their workers.  The operators then had an excuse to discharge older employees who belonged to the IUMMSW.  The “New Blood” movement served as a single identity for all unionists.50

In addition to deliberately hiring IWWs, mining managers employed the services of various detective agencies.  Theil operations joined Arizona labor unions to spy on union activities and make reports to management.  Spying seemed to be pervasive at all levels.  It was well known that the IWW in Arizona was infested with detectives.  At least one active Wobbly, William Holther, admitted under oath to being an employee of the Theil Detective Agency.  Many people were certain Bisbee IWW organizer James Chapman was an infiltrator.  Several Wobbly leaders deported from Jerome in 1917 and incarcerated for several days in the Prescott jail turned out to be professional “operatives.”51

A common role of the inside detective was to act as an agent provocateur.  Burns’ employees were expelled from the IWW for advocating force and violence, while other agents planned to give radical workers IWW cards so that they might be arrested.52

Understandably, the managers discriminated against the members of traditional trades unions.  Workers responded accordingly.   Arizona miners, having had a taste of real power in Arizona from 1908 to 1916, could not be passive or benign.  Like their fellow workers around the country, they felt compelled to do something drastic.  Arizona strikes totaled seven and twenty for 1916 and 1917 respectively.  Provocative conditions and new support made labor more active than ever before; the mining companies stiffened further their intrasigence.53

In an effort to discredit and eventually outlaw the IWW, the baiters of the organization seized upon the anti-war statements of the Wobblies to capture the attention of the public.  Particularly after April of 1917 did the revelation of the Wobbly refusal to support the war expand as an effective propaganda technique.

Single-minded, self-advancing labor groups have been traditionally anti-militaristic.  Fearing domestic use of the army and conscription of workers for capitalistic purposes, labor leaders of the past often sided with pacifists.54  The IWW vigorously opposed war and conscription, and Bill Haywood articulated the IWW’s pacifistic stand.55  Spiteful union members, reacting to the choice of “slaving to enrich capitalists or dying to protect them,” remained passive toward patriotic duties.

When United States Senator Charles S. Thomas of Colorado on June 28, 1917, told his colleagues that the IWW was “sending out the vilest kind of literature showing…that they are against conscription and the war in general,” he was not exaggerating.56  Just a few days earlier, on June 23, the secretary had recorded in the minutes of an IWW meeting in Bisbee that the local had affirmed a communication from the central executive committee in Seattle recommending a general strike throughout the United States as “protest against persecution of I.W.W. members on account of alleged anti-conscription activities.”57  The previous October, at the IWW Tenth Convention, the delegates had resolved to make a “desperate effort to get the working classes to ignore” the United States conscription proclamation of October 3, 1916.58

After the proclamation, Jack London stickers “Why Be a Soldier?” were distributed by Wobblies.59  One IWW leaflet read:  “General Sherman said, ‘War is Hell.’  Don’t go to hell in order to give a bunch of piratical, plutocratic parasites a bigger slice of heaven.”60  Solidarity, the organization’s weekly, proclaimed in April of 1917:

A slacker is not a slave who refuses to slit throats or get his hide perforated for the master class.  A ‘slacker’ is one who is too cowardly or stupid to join with his fellow workers against the exploiters of labor — one who neglects the interests of himself, his wife and family and of his class in order to make efficient profit or cannon fodder out of his worthless carcass.61

While some Wobblies simply refused to register for the draft, many went to Mexico or into hiding; they often were helped by other people who looked upon draft evasion as a proper and honest thing.62

Labor throughout the country showed strong pacifistic tendencies, evidenced when national and international unions and the railway brotherhoods met in Washington to determine their wartime position.  To make public their attitude, the issued a statement, “American Labor’s Position in Peace and War”:

War has never put a stop to the necessity for struggle to establish and maintain industrial rights.  Wager-earners in wartime must, as has been said, keep on eye on the exploiters at home and the other upon the enemy threatening the national government.  Such exploitation makes it impossible for a warring nation to mobilize effectively its full strength for out defense.

We maintain that it is the fundamental step in preparedness for the nation to set its own house in order and to establish at home justice in relations between men.  Previous wars, for whatever purpose waged, developed new possibilities for exploiting wage earners….Labor was stripped of its means of defense against enemies at home and was robbed of the advantages, the protections, the guarantees of justice that had been achieved after ages of struggle.  For these reasons workers have felt that no matter what the result of war, as wage-earners they generally lost.63

Many union members opposed these pacifistic points of view.  Designed to show their opposition to the anti-war faction, a loyalty resolution by these workers led to the formation in June, 1917, of the American Alliance of Labor and Democracy.  As might be expected, AFL leader Samuel Gompers became chairman.

The general pacifistic attitudes of labor and the intense anti-war expressions of the Wobblies helped feed the propaganda machine of the anti-IWW forces.  Popular sentiments against IWWism rose to a hysterical level.  The Wobblies were called the “industrial Ku Klux Klan” and vilified both as Bolsheviks and as pro-German traitors.64  Although the Wobblies boastfully confessed to the charges that they had wrought havoc through sabotage across the land, “no members were ever found guilty of planting dynamite or endangering life or property by acts of sabotage” in a court of law.65  Yet popular will decreed that something had to be done to curb them.  On April 11, 1917, a bill (H.R. 2763) was introduced in Congress by Representative Warren Gard of Ohio “to punish acts of interference with the foreign relations, the neutrality, and the foreign commerce of the Untied States, to punish espionage, and better to enforce the criminal laws of the United States.”  After a brief stay in the House committee on the Judiciary, the bill emerged and became the “Espionage Act” on June 15, 1917.66

Momentum built up.  In the spring and summer of 1917, United States troops, authorized by President Wilson to repress “disloyalty,” harassed IWWs.  The United States Department of Justice moved through several policy states in the summer of 1917, each stage more intensely repressive than the last.  Beginning with a concern that was purely local or state-wide in scope, the dimensions of repression became a broad federal matter as demands for government action poured in.  On July 11, the day before the Bisbee Deportation, all agents and district attorneys were put on the IWW alert.  The Bureau of Investigation authorized its agents to infiltrate high Wobbly positions.67

The IWW threat was taken less seriously in the East than in the West.  On the other hand, Westerners showed less concern than the Easterners about the war.68  To Westerners, charges of Socialism and German plots were used to get Eastern support for federal repression of Wobblies.  Western Senators and Congressmen condemned the IWW while condoning the mob action they felt was necessary in the absence of federal statutes or the failure to prosecute under existing law.69  Referring to this behavior on the part of the Western lawmaker and citizen alike, The New Republic observed that “a flame of terror has spread from Bisbee throughout the West.”  The best thing to do, the journal coolly advised, was to allow the Wobblies to preach their ideas since it was impossible to attribute, specifically, a single lawless act to the IWW.70  This kind of reminder of the reality of IWW harmlessness only drew such comments as this one from Montana’s Governor Steward:

It is fatal to attempt to conciliate this element [the IWW].  Get them before they have a chance to start anything, and put every mother’s son away where they can tell their troubles to the wardens and prison guards.71

The general clamor for Wobbly blood resulted in two bills introduced in the United States Senate in August to suppress the IWW.  As one moderate source noted:

None of these measures attempts to deal with any of the economic causes of the unrest in the industries affected — copper mining, lumbering and agriculture, but all propose to make certain acts on the part of workingmen punishable as crimes.72

A crackdown was under way, and President Wilson gave it his blessing.73  IWW philosophy, strikes, and pacifism combined with molded public opinion, Western patriotic zeal (allied with Eastern wartime hysteria) and frontier justice had prompted the “manhandling” and eventual destruction of the IWW.74

One of the most amazing aspects of this story of repression is the rapidity with which people in America became so hateful toward Wobblies.  The war, the fear of sabotage and treason and the propaganda from repressive, reactionary and “patriotic” sources had quickly heated public feelings.  Writing in Sunset, Walter V. Woehlke made clear as late as February, 1917, that he felt no urge to condemn the Wobblies:  “The I.W.W. is not an immediate menace.  Despite the numerous outbreaks on the Pacific Coast, its far-western ramifications are almost negligible.”75  The following September Woehlke wrote in Sunset:  “During the last seven or eight years the Industrial Workers of the World…have become a major problem in the United States.”  True to the nativist spirit of the wartime hysteria, Woehlke added that the IWW had “taken up the cudgels for the ‘wops’ and ‘bohunks.’”  The public had been primed for the massive IWW raids of that month, September, 1917.76  The failure of the IWW threat to be taken as seriously in the East was emphasized by the fact that in all the IWW roundups, all the people involved were arrested west of the Mississippi River.

In Arizona residual frontier attitudes condoned vigiantism while company-hired agents provocateurs successfully infiltrated and managed to dominate the “radical” IWW locals.  Not one overt act of violence could be attributed to IWW influence, but the agents’ threats and boasts increased the popular fear of radicalism and enabled the mine operators to label all union members as “radical.”  Bona fide Arizona unions such as the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers disintegrated.  The mining men’s conquest of Arizona unionism was a t hand.  The Bisbee Deportation appears to be the most effective in the conservative campaign to purge Arizona of all labor influence.  Never again did organized labor become a substantial force in Arizona political affairs.


1Harvey Goldberg, ed., American Radicals: Some Problems and Personalities (New York:  Monthly Review Press, 1957).

2Foster Rhea Dulles, Labor in America (New York:  Thomas Y. Crowell, 1949), p. 219.

3For speculation on the origin of the nickname see Fred Thompson, The I.W.W.: Its First Fifty Years (Chicago:  Industrial Workers of the World, 1955); Stuart H. Holbrook, “Wobbly Talk,” American Mercury, Vol. 7 (January, 1926), pp.62-65.

4John Spargo, “Why the I. W. W. Flourishes,”  World’s Work, Vol. 39 (January, 1920), pp. 243-247.


6Robert L. Tyler, “The I. W. W. and the West,” American Quarterly, Vol. 12 (Summer, 1960), pp. 185-187.  Most historians of the IWW recognize its ephemeral and futile nature.  Some emphasize the fact that its reputation was (and is) derived from its connection with the “Western Myth.”

7Patrick Renshaw, The Wobblies (Garden City:  Doubleday, 1967); Paul Frederick Brissenden, The I. W. W.: a Study of American Syndicalism (New York:  Columbia University Press, 1920), pp. 57-65.

8Brissenden, The I.W.W., p. 85.

9Quoted in John Graham Brooks, American SyndicalismThe I. W. W. (New York:  Macmillan, 1913), p. 82.

10Brissenden, The I. W. W., p. 85.

11Ibid., pp. 416-417.

12Philip Taft, Organized Labor in American History (New York:  Harper and Row, 1964), pp. 322-323.  By 1910 the Socialists had captured political control of more than thirty American cities.  Bisbee, Arizona, had a strong Socialist constituency (Renshaw, The Wobblies, pp. 58-62).

13Brissenden, The I. W. W., p. 109.

14Ibid., pp. 278-282.  For dual unionism and “boring from within” see David J. Saposs, Left Wing Unionism (New York: Russell & Russell, 1926).

15Brissenden, The I. W. W., p. 282.  In 1913 young radical Walter Lippman attempted to put the IWW in some acceptable Socialist perspective.  See “The I. W. W. — Insurrection or Revolution?”  New Review, Vol. 1 (August, 1913), pp. 707-708.

16Renshaw, The Wobblies, pp. 156, 164.

17Brooks, American Syndicalism, Preface, discusses the frontier character of the IWW.

18Renshaw, The Wobblies, pp. 265-270.

19Ibid., p. 269.

20For a description of the more adventurous “advance guard of revolutionary unionism” see Louis Levine, “The Development of Syndicalism in America,” Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 28 (September, 1913)

21Robert W. Bruere, “The Industrial Workers of the World,” Harper’s Magazine, Vol. 137 (July, 1918), pp. 25-257.

22George W. Pierson, “A Restless Temper….” American Historical Review, Vol. 69 (July, 1964), pp. 969-989.

23Carelton H. Parker, “The I. W. W.,” Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 120 (November, 1917), pp. 654-656.

24Bruere, “The Industrial Workers of the World,” p. 250.

25John Graham Brooks, Labor’s Challenge to the Social Order (New York:  Macmillan, 1920) pp. 362, 393.

26Several sympathetic but patronizing accounts of the “hobo” element of the IWW appeared at this time, all failing to grasp the grim futility of the situation.  “It is extremely difficult,” said Charles H. Forster in “Despised and Rejected Men:  Hoboes of the Pacific Coast” (Survey, Vol. 33, March 20, 1915, pp. 671-672), “for the ordinary, respectable, conventional type of individual to understand this class of men.”  Carleton H. Parker, “The I. W. W.,” was one of the few who understood.

27Industrial Workers of the World, Proceedings of Tenth Convention (Chicago, Illinois, November 1916), pp. 61, 99.

28Walter E. Weyl, “The Strikers at Lawrence,” Outlook, Vol. 11 (February 10, 1912), pp. 309-312; Robert F. Hoxie, “The Truth about the I. W. W.,” Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 21 (November, 1913), p. 797.

29Levine, “The Development of Syndicalism in America,” pp. 451-479.

30John A. Fitch, “Baiting the I. W. W.,” Survey, Vol. 33 (March 6, 1915), pp. 634-635.

31Brissenden, The i. W. W., p. 9; Gordon S. Watkins, “Labor Problems and Labor Administration in the Untied States During the World War, Part I,” University of Illinois Studies in the Social Sciences, Vol. 8 (December, 1919), p. 434.

32Parker, “The I.W.W.,” p. 651.

33Ralph Chaplin, Wobbly (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948), p. 203.  For impressions of the IWW in the press see Eldridge Foster Dowell, “A History of Criminal Syndicalism Legislation in the United States,” Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, Vol. 57 (1939).

34Ole Hanson, Americanism vs. Bolshevism (New York:  Doubleday, 1920), p. ix.  For examples of extreme hate literature see Joseph J. Mereto,  The Red Conspiracy (New York:  The National Historical Society, 1920) and T. Everett Harre, The I. W. W.:  An Auxiliary of the German Espionage System (pamphlet, no place, no publisher, 1918).

35Parker, “The I. W. W.,” pp. 651-662.

36Wlater V. Woehlke, “I. W. W.,” Outlook, Vol. 101 (July 6, 1912), pp. 531-536.

37Robert F. Hoxie, “The Truth about the I. W. W.,” Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 21 (November 1913), p. 785.

38Watkins, Labor Problems, p. 428.  In 1917 the AFL had 2,350,000 members; the IWW had 60,000.

39Hoxie, “The Truth about the I. W. W.,” p. 797.

40Brooks, American Syndicalism, p. 250.  Parker (“The I. W. W.,” p. 653) said in 1917 that the IWW was not a mobile and independent agent but “a state of mind.”  Robert L. Tyler in “The Rise and Fall of an American Radicalism:  The I. W. W.” (Historian, Vol. 19. November, 1956, p. 50) emphasizes the actual weakness of the IWW as opposed to its “horrendous reputation.”  Only between 1909 and 1914, he says, did it “threaten to become anything more than a picaresque hobo society.”  Historian Nathan Fine saw that in 1917 “the I. W. W. controlled no important industries and its strength was negligible” (Labor and Farmer Parties in the Untied States, 1828-1928, New York: Russell & Russell, 1961).  Melvyn Dubofsky (We Shall Be All, Chicago:  Quadrangle Books, 1969) resents this belittling of IWW significance.

41Henry Pelling, American Labor (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960), p. 112.

42Brissenden, The I. W. W., p. 264.

43Agents provocateurs had long been used to maintain the status quo.  The Pinkerton Detective Agency used them against the Molly Maguires.  It is possible that conspiracy was rife at all levels of the IWW.  One story says that C. W. Culver, secretary of the Arizona district of the IWW and chairman of a local IWW grievance committee, was arrested in the 1917 roundup and made it all the way to the Chicago trial before Judge Landis discovered that he had been planted by the Federal Secret Service.  See Thomas E. Campbell, “The I. W. W. in Arizona,” typescript, San Fernando, California, 1962, Arizona Historical Society, Tucson.

44Brissenden, The I. W. W., p. 9.


46Ibid., p. 11.  Harvey Duff in The Silent Defenders, Courts and Capitalism in California (Chicago:  Industrial Workers of the World, pamphlet, no date) claims that in the 1913 hop riot at Wheatland, California, only one IWW member was among the 2300 strikers.  Yet the IWW was charged with four deaths.  On July 13, 1917, the Bisbee Daily Review defined a “Wobbly” as someone who refused to promise to go back to work.

47John S. Gambs.  The Decline of the I. W. W. (New York:  Columbia University Press, 1932), pp. 81-82.

48Renshaw, The Wobblies, pp. 176-179; Vernon H. Jensen, Heritage of Conflict (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1950), p. 373; Grover H. Perry, letter to William D. Haywood, February 2, 1917 (Simmons v El Paso & Southwestern Railroad, exhibits, Special Collections, University of Arizona, Tucson).

49Metal Mine Workers Industrial Union #800 (I. W. W.), Bulletin Number One, February 24, 917 and Bulletin Number Two, April 4, 1917, Phoenix, Arizona (Department of Justice files); Juensen, Heritage of Conflict, pp. 379, 424.

50Writers’ Program of the Works Progress Administration, Arizona:  A State Guide (New York: Hastings House, 1940), p. 98; Jensen, Heritage of Conflict, pp. 379-424; “Labor Unrest in the Southwest,” Survey, Vol. 38 (August 11, 1917), p. 429; Editorial,, “A Piece of Corporate Depravity,” Jerome Sun, February 9, 1918; Robert Glass Cleland, A History of Phelps Dodge (New York:  Alfred A Knopf, 1952), pp. 110-111; Robert W. Bruere, “Copper Camp Patriotism,” Nation, Vol. 106 (February 21, 1918), p. 203; Bill Cleary, Statement at Hermanas, July 13, 1917 (New York Times, July 14, 1917); Glisio Chukovich, taped interview, Harwood Hinton Collection, University of Arizona, Tucson.

51Hebert V. Young, interview, Clarkdale, December 20, 1966; H. S. McCluskey file, Special Collections, ASU Library, Tempe April 21, 1966; Robert W. Bruere, “The Industrial Workers of the World,” Harper’s Magazine, Vol. 137 (July, 1918), pp. 250-257; Robert Riell, “Copper Mine Strikes in 1917, Globe, Arizona,” typescript, No. 57, Harwood Hinton files, University of Arizona; George Soule, “Law and Necessity in Bisbee,” Nation, Vol. 113 August 21, 1921), p. 220; Jensen, Heritage of Conflict, p. 400; William Holther, testimony, Abstract of Record, Appeal to the Supreme Court of the State of Arizona from Superior Court of Maricopa County, George W. P. Hunt v. Thomas E. Campbell (1588); Joseph Oates, letter to Grover Perry, July 6, 1917 (Simmons v. El Paso & Southwestern Railway et. A.); John H. Lindquist, “The Jerome Deportation of 1917,”  Arizona and the West, Vol. 11 (Autumn, 1969), p. 244.

52Gustavus Myers, History of the Great American Fortunes (New York: Random House, 1909), p. 352; Edward Levinson, I Break Strikes (New York: Robert McBride, 1935), p. 352.

53Watkins, “Labor Problems,” pp. 80, 104-105; “Strikes and Lockouts in the U. S., 1916 to 1927,” Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 27 (July, 1928), pp. 84-89; Alexander M. Bing, War-Time Strikes and Their Adjustment (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1921), p. 265.

54Philip Taft, “The Federal Trials of the I. W. w.” Labor History, Vol. 3 (Winter, 1962), p. 42.

55William D Haywood, Bill Haywood’s Book (New York: International Publishers, 1929), p. 42.

56U. S. Senate, Senator Thomas, Congressional Record, Sixty-fifth Congress, First Session, June 28, 1917, Vol. 60, Part 5, p. 4395.

57Bisbee IWW minutes quoted in Samuel Morse, “The Truth about Bisbee,” typescript, 1929, p. 3, in Jerome A Vaughan, “All Women and Children Keep Off the Streets Today,” Arizona Historical Society, n.d., p. 4.

58I. W. W., Proceedings: Tenth Convention 1916 (Chicago: 1917) , pp. 42-43.

59Ralph Chaplin, Wobbly (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1948), p. 206.

60Samuel P. Orth, The Armies of Labor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1919), P. 215.

61Solidarity, April 21, 1917.

62Gambs, The Decline of the I. W. W., p. 43.

63Statement issued by the American Federation of Labor on March 12, 1917.  Arizona Senator Carl Hayden read the entire declaration into the Congressional Record, Sixty-fifth Congress, First Session, April 13, 1917 (Vol. 60, Part 8, Appendix, pp. 48-50). It is quoted in Taft, Organized Labor in American History, p. 310.

64Orth, The Armies of Labor, p. 219; Lewis Allen Browne, “Bolshevism in America,” Forum, Vol. 59 (June, 1918), pp. 703-717; Gambs, The Decline of the I. W. W., p. 43.

65Renshaw, The Wobblies, p. 269.

66U. S. Congress, Representative Gard, Congressional Record, Sixty-fifth Congress, First Session, April 11, 1917, Vol. 60, p. 610; Brissenden, The I. W. W., p. 347.

67William Preston, Jr., Aliens and Dissenters (New York: Harper & Row, 1963), p. 123.

68H. C. Peterson, Propaganda for War (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1939), pp. 163, 324.

69U. S. Congress, Representative Johnson, Congressional Record, Sixty-fifth Congress, First Session, June 25, 1917, Vol. 60, Part 8, Appendix, p. 594; Senator Ashurst, Congressional Record, Sixty fifth Congress, First Session, August 17, 1917, Vol. 60, p. 6104.

70”Organization or Anarchy,” New Republic, Vol. 11 (July 21, 1917), p. 321.

71Quoted in “The Week,” Nation, Vol. 105 (August 23, 1917), p. 191.

72”Bills Drafted to Curb the I. W. W.,” Survey, Vol. 38 (August 25, 1917), pp. 457-458.

73Preston, Aliens and Dissenters, pp. 98-99.

74Gambs, The Decline of the I. W. W., pp. 52-53.

75Walter V. Woehlke, “The I. W. W. and the Golden Rule,” Sunset, Vol. 38 (February, 1917), p. 65.

76Walter V. Woehlke, “The Red Rebels Declare War,” Sunset, Vol. 38 (September, 1917), pp. 20, 75.