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Frank Little

Uncovering the little-known life of Frank Little

Review by Juan Conatz - Industrial Worker, July 3, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Among the list of legendary figures of the historical Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Frank Little stands out as one of its most tragic figures. Although known more than some others, such as Vincent St. John, Matilda Rabinowitz or Frank Cedervall, he didn’t leave behind a cultural legacy like fellow martyr Joe Hill. Nor did he live long enough to write a memoir, like Ralph Chaplin. We remember Little mostly as a victim; a victim of wartime hysteria and anti-union violence. Secondarily, we might remember him for being biracial, the son of a white Quaker husband and Cherokee wife. But his activities as a member and organizer for the IWW are mostly little known.

“Always on Strike: Frank Little and the Western Wobblies” by Arnold Stead aims to change this. Published by the International Socialist Organization-affiliated Haymarket Books, it is the only book-length work on Frank Little. Although relatively short, it does offer some information that is hard to find elsewhere.

Overall a sympathetic account of both Little and the Wobblies, much of the book covers territory previously incorporated in other histories of the IWW. The IWW’s efforts in the Western United States, its mixed opposition to World War I, and the repression it faced during the first Red Scare, are all given ample room.

Frank Little: The man that was hung

From the International Socialist Review - Reposted to by Jaun Conatz, March 27, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s. Editor's Note: [Here follows a] 1917 article from the International Socialist Review about the murder of Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) organizer, Frank Little. We do not approve of the offensive reference to Native Americans but reproduce this text in its entirety for historical accuracy.

Well, they got Frank Little. No wireless message ever sped faster than these five words thru the .world of labor. For on the first morning of this month an agitator was hung in Butte, Montana.

A social war has been going on in that hell hole of labor since the 12th of June. On the one side are the few mine owning capitalists represented by their henchmen and an army of 600 Standard Oil gunmen. On the other side are 17,000 unarmed striking copper miners with their Metal Mine Workers' Union.

Came Frank Little, a fellow unionist, with a message of good cheer and solidarity from the miners of the southwest. He told them that their real enemy was the industrial kings and copper barons of America.

He repeated his words to Ex-Governor Hunt of Arizona: "Governor, I don't care what you are fighting for, but we, the Industrial Workers of the World, are fighting for Industrial Democracy." And the miners of Butte cheered his words.

The copper barons replied by sending six of their gunmen to "get" the damn agitator, who championed the cause of hated labor; who made war upon capitalism and the wage system, who advocated industrial democracy. The story of the assassination and what followed is told in the Montana Socialist.

"Driven to desperation by the peaceful, non-resisting strike of the Metal Mine Workers, the company has played its last trump—murder.

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