Wobbly, the Rough-And-Tumble Story of An American Radical

By Ralph Chaplin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 35. TACOMA AND PEARL HARBOR

BOB HARDIN dropped in at the hotel where we were to spend our first night in Tacoma. Again he was worried.

"You'll never make the grade,"
he predicted.
"There's too much politics in this town."
The following day Old John McGivney, retired editor of the Labor Advocate, made the same gloomy prediction. It was echoed in the pressroom. The only word of encouragement came from Ray Moisio. But the "Big Finn" and ex-Wobbly may have been biased in my favor.

I started to appraise our new surroundings. The Labor Advocate office was in the basement of the old Northern Pacific Building. It was a squat turreted structure of gray limestone, standing sullen and aloof among its more modern neighbors like a misplaced witch's castle. From the office windows I could see the steaming tideflats and Commencement Bay bordered with wooded hills. Tacoma streets followed crazy patterns up and down a succession of hills. Nearly all were tree-shaded. There were bright glimpses of blue water in the distance. Mount Rainier, rising awesomely white and silent, dominated the city and the hills.

In the furnished apartment which Bob Hardin helped us to find I limbered up the Underwood and laid out drawing material for a series of cartoons. My new labor philosophy was about to be put to the test. I was about to turn a furrow in virgin soil. No doubt the Central Labor Council would soon discover that it had a very unorthodox editor on its hands. How would it work out?

The odds were against me from the start. For one thing the international situation was becoming more and more reminiscent of 1914 and 1917. Official diplomacy and propaganda followed a similar pattern. I had to prepare myself for the probability of involvement in another world war. This meant matching

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