Remembering the Everett Massacre

As we move on from May Day, we might strive to spread historical awareness
further, to increase the common knowledge of American history, especially
American anarchist history, which is nearly, if not wholly, excluded from
school curriculum. As read more comprehensively on Wikipedia (Article here,
also see the “External Links” section at the bottom:, another opportunity beyond
May Day for a more local show of solidarity with the forgotten history of
American anarchist demonstrations and bloodshed is seen right here in
Washington, on the docks of Everett, on a bloody Sunday afternoon.

It was made clear that day, at the Everett dock on November 5th, 1916, that
the anarchists, the IWW, the “Wobblies” weren’t welcome on Everett’s shore.
The Snohomish County sheriff, in league with 200 “vigilantes”, endowed with
power by that very sheriff as “citizen deputies”, stood armed and ready to
fend off the two boats headed to dock. This, to me, is reminiscent of the
type of behavior seen about 60 years earlier, in San Diego by the Vigilance
Committee. Quick to violence, in defense of the State, in defense of
government, but utterly absent is the consideration of that founding American
lie, “all men are created equal”.

The “citizen deputies” who stood armed and were quick to unload their gunfire
at the ship, killing and injuring themselves (literally shooting each other
in the back) and many aboard the ship; they behave in a manner that suggests
similar sentiment with many of the police officers, as seen frequently at any
May Day, Occupy, or International demonstration and protest these days. This
behavior hasn’t changed at it’s very root, it’s only succumbed to moral
pressure as our society has grown older. Say you take an anonymous poll, you
grab a pen, write some simple questions on a piece of paper, and meet the
community at any popular location, or inquire among coworkers, just simply
ask: “How do you feel about anarchists?” The fear to be expressed is
guaranteed, and fear is often quick to strike aggressively, to quell the
threat, squash the roach that upsets comfort. It’s considered less of a
legitimate philosophy and more like a dirty word, dirtier even than

In an impressive show of fortitude, determination, and that great sentiment
of solidarity, many of the Everett “Wobblies” held their demonstration
anyway, at which point the sheriff, with his “citizen deputies” promptly had
them all arrested. I’m sure that sounds familiar, doesn’t it? They have vans
and zip-ties for that now. The governor of Washington at the time, Ernest
Lister, flooded the cities of Everett and Seattle with more militia, and upon
the IWW’s return to Seattle 75 “Wobblies” were arrested, like fear echoing
it’s own gunfire.

This event stands as a legitimate reason for Anarchists, among many others of
a wide range of philosophies and ideologies, to “Remember, remember, the 5th
of November…”