UA Library

LOS ANGELES TIMES

July 15, 1917

TRAITORS AT HOME, ENEMIES ABROAD.

I.

      America has drawn upon millions of her young men for an army, has taken from her vaults billions for a Liberty Loan, has levied upon her farms for a world’s commissary, has clamped an embargo upon exports, has summoned all Industry to the work of war and set herself either to crush and overwhelm Germany, or, with the rest of democracies, to be Prussianized like Belgium and Northern France by the godless hosts of the War Lord.

      But on our own soil is an enemy, swearing by oft-repeated oaths to perpetrate all the destruction that violence can wreak, preaching revolution and invoking anarchy; yet our government ahs taken on official recognition of these villains, the I.W.W.’s.  Our soldiers are in France, our engineers in Russia, our sailors in hourly peril stand guard on the North Sea, and hundreds of thousands are training and millions are waiting to go, and fight-win-die.  But from Butte to Bisbee, from Seattle to Leadville, that international organization, filled with foreigners, officered by convicts, and attempting vaguely to guise its sabotage behind the specious title of “Industrial Workers of the World,” is in open warfare against our government; and as yet no stern measures have betokened that our American leaders realize the danger or even the significance of this whirlwind of threats and strikes in those mining districts from which America and her Allies are drawing the war’s supply of copper.

      The I.W.W.’s have a long and vicious record.  They are committed by the only oath they ever kept to industrial violence.  Their agitators are for the most part foreigners; and the hatred towards our government may be traced in many of them to jail sentences following such indiscretions as theft and burglary.  Within the past few weeks they have been apprehended while trying to set on fire the ripened grain fields of the Northwest; they have stirred up strikes in the mining districts of Arizona and Montana; and they are now busily preparing trouble in Colorado and in the mine fields of Pennsylvania.  They have disclosed a plot to tie up all forms of industry in the State of Washington, and make no pretense of their purpose to spread strikes from ocean to ocean.  They talk of freedom and equality for the workingman, of higher wages, and all that-and all that; yet in this crucial hour they bend all their efforts to aid the monarchy where workingmen are disenfranchised, where wages are small and eaten by taxation that goes to a hereditary aristocracy.

      A stupid delusion, as the citizens of Bisbee, led by Sheriff Wheeler, have forcefully and patriotically indicated.  Twelve hundred I.W.W.’s were deported from Bisbee and among them was no one man who wanted work.  The work was there, workers were needed, and as each I.W.W. was driven into the box car he was offered the chance of a job.  Twelve hundred refused to labor and were run out of the country-driven out in an orderly and peaceable manner by citizens who knew that ruin and disaster awaited their community if these ruffians and agitators were not suppressed and deported.

      And the citizens of Cochise county, Arizona, have written a lesson that the whole of America would do well to copy.  In these days America cannot afford to trifle with rioters.  Every family in Europe is on rations; a food dictator rules our American supplies; all industry is running with furnaces at full blast to meet the needs of war; and those who refuse not only to do their part, but seek to hamper others and to destroy food crops, close down mines, wreck industry and set the nation aflame with riot, should be given the short shrift of traitors. 

      If there ever was a case where the doubtful expedient of taking the law into the hands of those not lawfully authorized to execute it, this is one.