Hellraisers Journal: Frank Little Publishes Anti-War Editorial, Continues Organizing Work with Striking Miners of Butte

I stand for Solidarity.
-Frank Little


Hellraisers Journal, Tuesday July 31, 1917
Butte, Montana – Frank Little Stands with Striking Metal Miners

IWWC 1916, Delg Little, ISR Jan 1917, 2

Frank Little, organizer and executive board member of the Industrial Workers of the World, has been in Butte, Montana, since July 18th where he has been active in the strike of the Butte Metal Mine Workers Union-Independent. Although Fellow Worker Little represents the Metal Mine Workers Industrial Union No. 800, the striking miners of Butte have invited him into their union meetings, and he is respected as one of the leaders of the ongoing strike.

Lately, FW Little has been encouraging not only the striking miners, but the working women of Butte also. The kept press complains that:

Little is now trying to get the Finn women to organize a strike among the laundry workers and chambermaids of the city.[!]

Editorial in Industrial Worker of July 28, 1917:

IWW, Industrial Worker Masthead, Oct 1916

An editorial by Frank Little was published in the most recent edition of the Industrial Worker in which FW Little declares his strong opposition to the war now raging in Europe. Frank Little believes that the only war the workers should involve themselves in is the class the war. This bloody war is one between the capitalists of the warring nations, and does not concern us as workers. Frank declares emphatically:

I stand for Solidarity.

Advise on Draft from Solidarity of July 28, 1917:

IWW, Solidarity Masthead, May 1917

An article in this weeks edition of Solidarity, written by Ralph Chaplin and entitled “Were You Drafted,” recommends that members of the Industrial Workers of the World register for the draft as “I. W. W. opposed to war.”

From the Anaconda Standard of July 28, 1917:

Sadly, Solidarity among the workers of Butte is not holding.



Butte Engineers’ union by a vote of 463 to 171, yesterday [Friday July 27] voted to accept the agreement entered into by the committee of the State Metal Trades council and the Anaconda Copper Mining company….

The engineers’ union has a charter in the International Mine, Mill and Smelter Men’s union [A. F. of L.], the [Charles] Moyer organization…

Question of Picketing

To picket or not to picket was the question that caused the big debate at yesterday’s meeting of Tom Campbell’s metal mine workers’ union. The men who favored a picket were in the majority and some wanted a picket that would “do business.” Tom Rimmer wanted the picket line which was put out yesterday morning after Frank Little, executive board member of the I. W. W., had told the men to forget the “quiet stuff,” to be extended, and advocated “direct action,” but Dan Shovlin, the chairman, said the “rough stuff” brought about the downfall of the insurgent union in 1914…

Finn Women Active.

Little’s injunction to “start something” bore fruit yesterday morning when a group of Finn miners got their buckets and started for the mines. Some of Campbell’s followers had rounded up a rival group of Finns, who were accompanied by women of their race, and a free-for-all ensued on Granite street. Several shots were fired before the attacking party withdrew, but no one was injured.

Little is now trying to get the Finn women to organize a strike among the laundry workers and chambermaids of the city….

[Letter from Bisbee]

A letter from the I. W. W.’s deported from Bisbee, Ariz, said the watchword at the Columbus, N. M. refugee camp was “Solidarity,” and that the men were demanding that they be taken back to Bisbee….

The Anaconda Standard of July 29th reports that:

Little..was driven out of Bisbee three weeks ago.

In fact, Frank Little left Arizona voluntarily late in June in order to attend the I. W. W. General Executive Board meeting held in Chicago during late June and early July. He was not in Arizona during the Jerome and Bisbee deportations of July 10th & 12th.

The Butte Daily Post declares (see below) that Frank Little is “treasonous” for referring to the Constitution as a mere scrap of paper. We would point out that it is the Mine Owners of both Arizona and Montana and the deputized company gunthugs in their employ who have shredded the constitution.

The following ad was published in the Los Angeles Times of July 4, 1917. The mine owners prefer to have working men deported from their homes and families, in violation of constitutional due process, rather than sitting down with them and negotiating the reasonable demands listed in the ad. So much for respecting the Constitution of the United States!

IWW, MMWIU 800, AZ Demands, LA Tx, July 4, 1917

From The Butte Daily Post of July 28, 1917:


Advises I. W. W. Followers to Fill the Jails and Defy the Authorities. Leaders Made Desperate by Collapse of Miners’ Strike Urge Radical Action on Part of Strikers. Defies the City Council and Tells of His Experiences in Other Cities.

Frank Little, wiki

A city ordinance is simply a piece of paper which can be torn up. The same can be said of the constitution of the United States.

Look the city daddies in the face and tell them to go to hell; also their city ordinances and laws. The mayor might mean well but he cannot do anything unless told what to do by the capitalists.

These are two of a number of seditious utterances made by Frank Little, the executive committeeman of the I. W. W., at a meeting of the outlaw miners’ union [Butte Metal Mine Workers Union] in Finlander hall last night [Friday July 27]. Little, who made a treasonable speech at the ball park eight days ago, during which he declared that the I.W. W. would keep Uncle Sam’s soldiers so busy in this country that they could not be sent to France, spoke last night on the topic of government.

After referring to the strike in Homestake [Homestead], Pa., in 1892 and the strike in Colorado, which he characterized as “the best fighting strike over pulled off by the worker for his rights,” he delved into the I. W. W. reign of terror [Free Speech Fight] in Fresno, Cal. Little declared that at that time he was an organizer for the I. W. W. and to meet the situation the city of Fresno passed on ordinance prohibiting all speechmaking on the streets.

[Declared Little with a wave of his hand:]

The ordinance was only a piece of paper which could be torn up and the same can be said with the constitution of the United States.

Little added that while the I. W. W.’s were holding meetings in private halls another ordinance was passed prohibiting any meetings in the city and speaking to one another on street corners.

The night the ordinance was passed, Little declared, an officer came to him on the street and told him to go to his room.

“I will when I’m ready,” Little said he replied. He was arrested and placed in jail. The I. W. W. then filled the jail.

[Shouted Little:]

Some members bought a house for a meeting and had a member patrol in front with a sawed-off shot gun.

Little referred to the Spokane strike on street speaking as follows:

On arrival in Spokane I was advised not to speak on the street. I had the constitution of the United States and spoke two lines from it when I was thrown in jail and fed on bread and water. Some more of your government.

The laws were made by congress and senators, not workers; four years ago every house had Wilson’s picture as “He kept us out of war,” but last February when we entered into war he told the people “to shut their mouths, we are running this” and he said no one could be had to fight except by the draft.

The I. W. W. don’t have trouble enlisting soldiers. We enlist 100 to Wilson’s one. The only way the I. W. W. refuse to go to war is to organize into one big union and fight the capitalists. The I. W. W. did not object to war, but the way they wanted to fight was to put the capitalists in the front trenches and if the Germans did not get them the I. W. W. would. Then the I. W. W. would clean the Germans. The capitalists are our worst enemies.

Little said he was ashamed to see how the miners are taking the stand of babies.

[He shouted:]

Go out and put on a picket; send 20 men the first day and let them be thrown in jail and then send 40 and then a hundred, and fill the jails and refuse bond and pay no fines. Look the city daddies in the face and tell them to go to hell; also their city ordinances and laws.


[Photograph added.]



The Rough-and-tumble Story of an American Radical

-by Ralph Chaplin
University of Chicago Press, Jan 1, 1948
(See page 209.)

Partisans and Poets:
The Political Work of American Poetry in the Great War

by Mark W. Van Wienen
Cambridge University Press, Feb 13, 1997

Frank Little and the IWW:
The Blood That Stained an American Family

-by Jane Little Botkin
University of Oklahoma Press, May 25, 2017

Anaconda Standard
-Morning Paper
(Anaconda, Montana)
-July 28, 1917, pages 1 & 7
-July 29, 1917, page 12

The Butte Daily Post
-Evening Paper
(Butte, Montana)
-July 28, 1917

IWWC 1916, Delg Little, ISR Jan 1917, 2
IWW, MMWIU 800, AZ Demands, LA Tx, July 4, 1917
Frank Little, wiki

See also:

From more information on Solidarity of Chicago, Illinois,
and the Industrial Worker of Seattle, Washington:
(Also source for images of same.)


Dedicated to the miners who died in the Speculator Mine Disaster

-because their lives were cheaper than metal escape hatches: