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

By William D. Haywood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVIII
THE U. S. INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COMMISSION

AT the time about which I write, around 1915, thousands of members of the Industrial Workers of the World had been imprisoned in the class struggle. Some men and women had been killed and at least three were now on their way to serve sentences of life imprisonment in the penitentiaries. They were Cline, Ford and Suhr.

But in spite of this splendid working-class record the supercilious DeLeon continued his slanders against the I.W.W. Nothing better than the "Bummery" or the "Overall Brigade" did he find in his' lexicon to call the organization and its members.

During the Spokane free speech fight DeLeon said in a letter to Olive M. Johnson quoted in Daniel DeLeon: A Symposium:

When you say you hope the Spokanites may stop "before they make another '86" (the Chicago Haymarket bomb tragedy), you touch upon a thing that has given me not a little worry. I have all along been apprehensive that some of those Knipperdollings would throw a bomb. . . . Hence it is that I have been hitting so hard. I have been trying to keep the S.L.P. skirts clean against such an eventuality. Indeed I take the flattering unction to myself that the People has, at least, contributed towards rendering such an eventuality less likely. I notice with pleasure that some of the Spokane capitalist sheets are quoting the People on Spokane. So that they know there are Socialists who spurn I-am-a-bummism, and all that thereby hangs.

What caused DeLeon to fear that some of the I.W.W.'s would throw a bomb is something that will never be known. The thought was an aberration of his own mind, a mind so warped that it took unction from the fact that capitalist papers quoted his criticism on the free speech fight at Spokane.

Keeping step with DeLeon was the vituperative O'Neill, who spurted his venom through the columns of the Miners' Magazine, saying:

Since the Western Federation of Miners repudiated by referendum vote the aggregation of characterless fanatics who make up the official

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