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

By Ralph Chaplin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 17. "BLOODY SUNDAY" AT EVERETT

IN THE midst of the organization drive in Chicago I was called to Cleveland. I received a letter from Ben Williams, editor of Solidarity, official eastern publication of the I.W.W. Williams reminded me of my past services and urged me to return as staff writer, cartoonist, assistant mailer, and printer's devil. The salary, eighteen dollars a week, was the only drawback. Cleveland was a good city for a job at my trade in case nothing else worked out. Edith finally agreed.

We shared a little flat with Ben Williams and his wife. I worked at the Solidarity office at 112 Hamilton Avenue for a few months, carrying on routine activities for the I.W.W. local in my spare time. Most important of all, I saw my first I.W.W. "stickerettes" leave the press printed in two colors. Being timed to appear with the big organization drive in the harvest fields, the stickerettes became popular at once. Reports from the field indicated that they were increasing the striking force of I.W.W. propaganda a thousand fold. These "silent agitators" were nothing more than bits of gummed paper, some scarcely larger than postage stamps, on which novel arrangements of "One Big Union" slogans were printed. Migratory workers had a way of getting around, and there were plenty of them in those days. At the peak of our stickerette campaign it was said that every boxcar in the country carried with it at least one good argument in favor of joining the I.W.W. This is probably an exaggeration. But, in addition to the boxcars, there were "skid-road" flophouses, lampposts, and billboards, not to mention such minor items as pitch‐ forks, pick handles, shovels, bunkhouses, factory gates, and even jail houses, all of which were generously decorated with I.W.W. colors and ideas. One harvest stiff figured out that a ten-cent package of the "silent agitators" used judiciously enabled him to

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