Bill Haywood's Book: The Autobiography of William D. Haywood

By William D. Haywood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIII
THE CENTRALIA TRAGEDY

WE were now to learn some facts about the war. Woodrow Wilson, who was then President, said: "This is an industrial and commercial war." He might have added that the stake won by the United States in this war was $30,000,000,000.

The press and the politicians were telling the people that it was a "war to make the world safe for democracy." It was a war that made a $6,000,000,000 debtor nation into a $24,000,000,000 creditor nation. It was a "war to end war," but the Wall Street birds of prey had hatched out a big flock of war millionaires, who are preparing for another war.

The Armistice did not settle the war in the United States.

This knowledge was violently hammered into the I.W.W. by the tragedy at Centralia, Washington, on Armistice Day, November 11, 1919. To lay this tragedy at the door of a department of the Federal Government and to charge William B. Wilson, ex-secretary of the United Mine Workers of America, then Secretary of Labor in Wilson's Cabinet, with the responsibility would seem far fetched, but this is what has been done by investigators, not members of the I.W.W., but appointed by the University of Washington. The Secretary of Labor was told that the chief among the lumber workers' troubles was the failure of their leaders, and that to be really informed, the Secretary must make a thorough attempt to understand the motives and methods of the I.W.W.

The Secretary of Labor, being merely a governmental representative of the A. F. of L., literally raised his hands in holy horror and told the investigators and the rest of the Commission that there was no such organization as the I.W.W.

Secretary of Labor Wilson had, so far as was in his power, outlawed the I.W.W.

The Lumbermen's Association and the press knew and cared only

-352-

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