1917 July 12

Radical IWW Suppressed: 1,185 Workers Deported from Bisbee, Arizona


About 2,000 vigilantes and law enforcement officers on this day forcibly deported 1,185 striking working men associated with the radical IWW labor union and their supporters from Bisbee, Arizona. The deportees were loaded onto cattle cars and taken 200 miles away and left in New Mexico. In a separate incident earlier in the year, 67 striking workers had been deported from Jerome, Arizona.

The Bisbee incident was one of many attacks on the radical IWW (Industrial Workers of the World, often referred to as the “Wobblies”) labor union during the anti-dissent and anti-radical hysteria during World War I. The IWW had some pockets of strength, mainly in the West and Southwest, before the war, but it was almost completely destroyed by the wartime repression.

Read about the IWW: Melvyn Dubofsky, We Shall Be All: A History of the Industrial Workers of the World, 2nd ed. (1988)

See a chronology of the IWW’s history: http://www.iww.org/history/chronology

Read the 1918 ACLU pamphlet on “The Truth About the I.W.W.”: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015079028349;view=1up;seq=6

Learn more about the free speech fights of the I.W.W.: Matthew S. May, Soapbox Rebellion: The Hobo Orator and the Free Speech Fights of the Industrial Workers of the World, 1909-1916 (2013)

Learn more about the I.W.W. today: http://www.iww.org/

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