Update 13-20: Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013.

"Recent Progress of the Socialist and Labor Movements in the United States," by Morris Hillquit [Aug. 18, 1907]  Large file (2.6 mb). Graphic pdf of a rare pamphlet "published under the direction of the National Executive Committee of the Socialist Party" by pioneer American Marxist publisher Charles H. Kerr & Co. reproducing the report delivered to the Second International at its 1907 Stuttgart Congress in August 1907. Hillquit details the recent growth of the American economy, particularly its manufacturing sector and the related "bottomless financial corruption of government" in major cities across the nation. This resulted in increased popular discontent and an enhanced place for the Socialist Party of America on the country's political landscape, Hillquit notes. The American Federation of Labor broke its previous vow of political neutrality in 1906, Hillquit observes, and reform politics were starting to emerge, exemplified by the election of Edward F. Dunne as Mayor of Chicago, Joseph W. Folk as Governor of Missouri, and Robert M. LaFollette as US Senator from Wisconsin. Hillquit also lauds the efforts of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst as candidate for Mayor of New York City of the Municipal Ownership League -- an effort which very nearly met with success. As for the Socialist Party, Hillquit points to Wisconsin as its center of success, with 1 Socialist member of the State Senate, 5 members of the State Assembly, and 126 state officials in all, including the mayorship of Manitowoc, WI. The organization had grown from about 1200 primary party units (branches and locals) at the end of 1903 to about 1900 at the end of 1906, by Hillquit's reckoning, with a total party membership of "not less than 35,000." Hillquit notes the emergence of Charles H. Kerr & Co. as a socialist publisher, the launch of a Socialist daily newspaper in Chicago, and the birth of the Rand School of Social Science as landmark achievements of the American movement. Extensive coverage of the American labor movement and the sensational Haywood-Moyer Case follows.

"The Vision of the People’s House," by Eugene V. Debs [Sept. 2, 1917]  After cheering a purported "rebound of American labor under the swift, sharp strokes of rapidly advancing militarism in the first weeks of the war," venerable Socialist Party founder Gene Debs salutes the new "People's House" in New York City, permanent home of the Rand School of Social Science. Debs, as is his wont, lays on the sentimentality: "Those of use whose turn will soon come to pass on into the great unknown can find comfort and reassurance in the contemplation of this firmly-established center, where our successors in the ranks may find strength and wisdom to continue the relentless and uncompromising war on the alchemists of capitalism who turn the flesh and blood of toiling humanity into silver and gold and precious stones."

"Government Agents Raid Unions in War on IWW: Conference of Labor Organization Will Be Held to Halt Spread of Bisbee Methods." (NY Call) [Sept. 3, 1917]  Two days before a group of more than 25 coordinated raids were conducted against the offices of the Industrial Workers of the World and the Socialist Party, a raid was conducted in the Indianapolis headquarters of the United Mine Workers of America attempting to establish a connection between that organization and the IWW. This article details other local actions against labor organizers that were part of the tapestry of anti-union activity in the war-related industries, including actions in Washington, Idaho, Indiana, and Michigan. In response, the UMWA sought the convocation of a general conference of all labor organizations to deal with the "nationwide war of suppression that has been started in the copper country and is spreading eastward." It was hoped to use this general conference to increase pressure on President Woodrow Wilson to expeditiously "send sufficient troops into Arizona to quell the Loyalty League lawlessness and to restore civil order."

"Raid Local IWW Hall: Raid of Hall Prearranged: Movie Men Were There to Take Pictures." [Sept. 5, 1917]  Published indications of a coordinated set of centrally-directed raids against local headquarters buildings of the syndicalist Industrial Workers of the World. The operations noted here took place simultaneously in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon at noon, Sept. 5, 1917, and seem to have been primarily concerned with the seizure of membership records and other documents to aid future repressive action by the police.

"IWW Traitors Arrested Throughout Nation: Government Suppresses "Reds" in Many Cities: Headquarters of Socialists and Other Organizations Preaching Sedition Raided Simultaneously." (LA Times) [events of Sept. 5, 1917]  News coverage from the conservative and anti-union Los Angeles Times about the coordinated mass raids conducted by the US Department of Justice against national and local headquarters of the Industrial Workers of the World. The concept of the operation is credited to William C. Fitts, an Assistant Attorney General, with the dragnet moving forward under orders of Wilson's Attorney General Thomas Watt Gregory. The seizure of organizational records and documents to pave the way for the prosecution of leaders and key members was clearly the intent of the coordinated raids, which are said to have launched at 2 pm Central Time (Noon Pacific). The raids were said to have been the end result of "many weeks" of "close scrutiny" of the IWW by "scores of field workers, chiefly in the West and Middle West" of the Department of Justice's Bureau of Investigation. "As a result of the countrywide seizure of the organization’s papers, the Department of Justice tonight finds itself in possession of documents by the thousand, many of which will be submitted to grand juries as the basis of an investigation to determine whether leaders can be prosecuted," The LA Times reports. An appended AP report provides additional details of the BoI raids in Denver, Colorado and Miami, Arizona -- the latter related to an ongoing strike of copper miners.

"Nationwide Raids On IWW; Two Socialist Offices Searched." (NY Call) [events of Sept. 5, 1917]  An accumulation of local reports relating to the Sept. 5, 1917 coordinated raids of the Department of Justice against local headquarters of the Industrial Workers of the World and the Socialist Party. According to the main piece, raids took place in "Chicago, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Butte, Portland, Ore.; Denver, Superior, Seattle, San Francisco, Miami, Ariz.; Missoula, Mont.; Spokane, Fresno, Great Falls, Mont.; Everett, Wash; and Pittsburgh." In addition to these 18 cities, a short snippet here notes a raid of IWW offices in New York City, Los Angeles, and Tacoma, Washington -- running the total to 22 cities. Only four arrests are reported, with the object of these simultaneous raids clearly the collection of organizational records to bolster future prosecutions.

"More Raids and Arrests and Papers Suppressed." (Seattle Call) [Events of Sept. 5, 1917]  Short news summary detailing the contours of the Justice Department's Sept. 5, 1917 coordinated mass raids upon the Industrial Workers of the World and the Socialist Party. Raids are said to have been conducted in 18 American cities, primarily located in the Midwest and West. Eight raids are said to have been conducted in Chicago alone, including raids of the homes of IWW leaders Vincent St. John, Big Bill Haywood, Harrison George, Ralph Chaplin, and John Farley. In addition, raids were conducted against the editorial office and printing plant of The American Socialist, party-owned official organ of the Socialist Party of America. National Secretary Adolph Germer and Socialist attorney Seymour Stedman were present at the raid of the American Socialist office, and telegrams were dispatched at once to Sen. Robert LaFollette, Rep. Meyer London, and Socialist attorney Morris Hillquit notifying each of the operation.

"High-Handed and Lawless, Hillquit Brands IWW Raids," by Morris Hillquit [Sept. 6, 1917]  New York Socialist mayoral candidate Morris Hillquit responds to the Sept. coordinated mass raids against the headquarters of the Industrial Workers of the World and the Socialist Party of America. Hillquit declares it to be "perfectly clear" that the coordinated operations were part of "a very definite policy on the part of the federal government to exterminate all organs of opposition and to stifle all voices of criticism in the present war." Hillquit charges that no belligerent nation on either side of the trenches had engaged in such blatant "destruction of democratic institutions and civil rights of the people under pretexts of military necessity." He states that the anti-war movement was being driven to underground conspiratorial methods akin to those followed under the tsarist regime in Russia, and notes that the "inability of the Russian people to meet in public and to work in the open in the case of the tsar did not prevent the overthrow of tsardom."

"IWWs Not Traitors, Says Victor Berger: Ex-Congressman Asserts Worst That Can Be Said About Organization is that Members are Desperate Proletarians." [interview of Sept. 6, 1917]  In the aftermath of the Sept. 5, 1917 mass raids against the IWW and the Socialist Party, it would have been natural for Socialist officials to attempt to differentiate the two organizations in distance themselves from their syndicalist rivals. Former Congressman Victor Berger of Milwaukee did no such thing, instead conducting an interview in which he attempted to demystify the bogey terms "syndicalism," "sabotage," and "direct action." While noting that the political action of the Socialists was at odds with the "anarchistic" individualism of the IWW, Berger notes that the word syndicalism merely means "trade unionism" in French, that the word "sabotage" was merely a tip of the hat to early French workmen throwing wooden shoes into machinery to damage it, and that "direct action" was merely a term for individual action as opposed to collective action. "In justice to the IWW I will say, however, that most all trade union men during strikes and boycotts have practiced 'sabotage' to some extent," Berger notes. "That is, they have tried to injure the business of the capitalist concern which they were fighting by all means at their disposal. In that respect, there is not much difference between the IWW and the American Federation of Labor. The difference is mainly that the IWW are preaching openly what the members of the American Federation of Labor are practicing secretly."


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