San Diego Free Speech Fight

San Diego Free Speech Fight

San Diego Free Speech Fight

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The San Diego Free Speech Fight in San Diego, California in 1912–1913 was one of the most famous of the "free speech fights", class conflicts over the free speech rights of labor unions.


By the beginning of the 20th century, growing confrontations between the working class and their employers caused suspicion and animosity both within, and against the workers. Striking workers had taken militant action which culminated in the Haymarket Riot in Chicago; the Great Southwest Railroad Strike of 1886 was crushed, destroying the Knights of Labor, coincident with the birth of the conservative American Federation of Labor. In the western United States the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) inherited the mantle of militant unionism, challenging capital in strikes from Cripple Creek to Canada. Many communities sought to limit the spread of union philosophy by revoking rights granted by the United States Constitution, particularly the freedom of speech granted by the First Amendment.

Industrial Workers of the World

In 1905 the WFM and other unions, together with socialist, and anarchist groups met in Chicago to form the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in what came to be called the "First Continental Congress of the working class." The immediate purpose of the IWW was to unite all working people into one worldwide union, regardless of race, creed, sex, skill, or national origin. The ultimate goal was abolition of the wage system, replacing......
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