Oct. 8, 1909: No Liberty Left to Lose


An I.W.W. man can now go to Missoula, Mont., and talk on any street in town. This is not because the bosses and police of Missoula are liking the I.W.W. any better than ever, but they are learning to respect us. The Missoula papers have been telling that it would be a “heavy disappointment” to the I.W.W. “hoboes” that they would no longer have a nice comfortable jail for the winter, etc. The jail is under a stable and is the filthiest place even in Missoula. However, none of the I.W.W. members have yet died of grief that they were turned out of this hole. The taxpayers of Missoula did not want to pay for the expense of this senseless fight of the police, which was fostered by the lumber companies to prevent organization by the I.W.W. For the time being, at least, there is no more interference by the police of sheriff of Missoula. The more decent residents of Missoula are disgusted with this attempt to apply the American gag-law. But no one can tell what will be the next move of the enemy. There is a military detachment at Missoula, and it is not that the enemy has not sufficient force, and guns to boot. It is evidently thought to be poor policy to begin shooting at this time. But the liberty of the workers is only temporary, while there is still one member of the employing class under the sun, and it is up to the membership of the I.W.W., and all the revolutionists of all kinds, to watch the next move of the enemy and prepare for a long-continued, bitter struggle, not only in Missoula, but elsewhere. Fellow Worker Jones was terribly beaten by the Missoula sheriff, but no one of our members was shot. The last causalities of this kind were at McKees Rocks, but how long will it be till we have another dose of the same thing?

There is one good thing about this gag-law business: it is causing all thinking working people to see that the “liberties” of the United States constitution do not exist, and that a working  man or woman has no rights that his employer need respect, unless the workers have the power to enforce respect.  It may seem a small thing to the tame slave that a few “agitators” are not allowed to open their mouths, and it worries a broken-down plug but little that he is driven all day in a harness. But the appeal of the I.W.W. is to those men and women who are still able to stand up straight and who are not afraid to fight. The employment agents are the ones who have passed the Spokane gag-law, and it is, of course, the employing class generally who are responsible for this tyranny. The American workingman has practically no liberty left to lose. Let’s fight!

–Industrial Worker, Oct. 20, 1909


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