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Full Online Book HomeLong Stories100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 80
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100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 80 Post by :JuvioSuccess Category :Long Stories Author :Upton Sinclair Date :May 2012 Read :1735

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100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 80

The I. W. W. had bobbed up again in American City, and had ventured to open another headquarters. Peter did not dare go to the place himself, but he coached a couple of young fellows whom McGivney brought to him, teaching them the Red lingo, and how to worm their way into the movement. Before long one of them was secretary of the local; and Peter, directing their activities. received reports twice a week of everything the "wobblies" were planning and doing. Peter and Gladys were figuring out another bomb conspiracy to direct attention to these dangerous men, when one day Peter picked up the morning paper and discovered that a kind Providence had delivered the enemy into his hands.

Up in the lumber country of the far Northwest, in a little town called Centralia, the "wobblies" had had their headquarters raided and smashed, just as in American City. They had got themselves another meeting-place, and again the members of the Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association had held a secret meeting and resolved to wipe them out. The "wobblies" had appealed to the authorities for protection, and when protection was refused, they had printed a leaflet appealing to the public. But the business men went ahead with their plans. They arranged for a parade of returned soldiers on the anniversary of Armistice Day, and they diverted this parade out of its path so that it would pass in front of the I. W. W. headquarters. Some of the more ardent members carried ropes, symbolic of what they meant to do; and they brought the parade to a halt in front of the headquarters, and set up a yell and started to rush the hall. They battered in the door, and had pushed their way half thru it when the "wobblies" opened fire from inside, killing several of the paraders.

Then, of course, the mob flew into a frenzy of fury. They beat the men in the hall, some of them into insensibility; they flung them into jail, and battered and tortured them, and took one of them out of jail and carried him away in an automobile, and after they had mutilated him as Shawn Grady had been mutilated, they hanged him from a bridge. Of course they saw to it that the newspaper stories which went out from Centralia that night were the right kind of stories; and next morning all America read how a group of "wobblies" had armed themselves with rifles, and concealed themselves on the roof of the I. W. W. headquarters, and deliberately and in cold blood had opened fire upon a peaceful parade of unarmed war veterans.

Of course the country went wild, and the Guffeys and McGivneys and Gudges all over the United States realized that their chance had come. Peter instructed the secretary of the I. W. W. local of American City to call a meeting for that evening, to adopt a resolution declaring the press stories from Centralia to be lies. At the same time another of Guffey's men, an ex-army officer still wearing his, uniform, caused a meeting of the American Legion to be summoned; he made a furious address to the boys, and at nine o'clock that night some two-score of them set out, armed with big monkey-wrenches from their automobiles, and raided the I. W. W. headquarters, and battered the members over the head with the monkey-wrenches, causing several to leap from the window and break their legs. Next morning the incident was reported in the American City "Times" with shouts of glee, and District-attorney Burchard issued a public statement to the effect that no effort would be made to punish the soldier boys; the "wobblies" had wanted "direct action," and they had got it, and it would be assumed that they were satisfied.

Then the members of the American Legion, encouraged by this applause, and instigated by Guffey's ex-army officer, proceeded to invade and wreck every radical meeting-place in the city. They smashed the "Clarion" office and the Socialist Party headquarters again, and confiscated more tons of literature. They wrecked a couple of book-stores, and then, breaking up into small groups, they inspected all the news-stands in the city, and wherever they found Red magazines like the Nation or the New Republic, they tore up the copies and threatened the agents with arrest. They invaded the rooms of a literary society called the Ruskin Club, frequented mostly by amiable old ladies, and sent some of these elderly dames into hysterics. They discovered the "Russian Peoples' Club," which had hitherto been overlooked because it was an educational organization. But of course no Russian could be trusted these days--all of them were Bolsheviks, or on the way to becoming Bolsheviks, which was the same thing; so Guffey organized a raid on this building, and some two hundred Russians were clubbed and thrown downstairs or out of windows, and an elderly teacher of mathematics had his skull cracked, and a teacher of music had some teeth knocked out.

There were several million young Americans who had been put into military uniform, and had guns put into their hands, and been put thru target practice and bayonet drill, and then had not seen any fighting. These fellows were, as the phrase has it, "spoiling for a fight;" and here was their chance. It was just as much fun as trench warfare, and had the advantage of not being dangerous. When the raiding parties came back, there were no missing members, and no casualties to be telegraphed to heartbroken parents. Some fool women got together and tried to organize a procession to protest against the blockade of Russia; the raiders fell upon these women, and wrecked their banners, and tore their clothing to bits, and the police hustled what was left of them off to jail. It happened that a well-known "sporting man," that is to say a race-track frequenter, came along wearing a red necktie, and the raiders, taking him for a Bolshevik, fell upon him and pretty nearly mauled the life out of him. After that there was protest from people who thought it unwise to break too many laws while defending law and order, so the district attorney's office arranged to take on the young soldier boys as deputy sheriffs, and give them all badges, legal and proper.

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Peter Gudge often went along on these hunting parties. Peter, curiously enough, discovered in himself the same "complex" as the balked soldier boys. Peter had been reading war news for five years, but had missed the fighting; and now he discovered that he liked to fight. What had kept him from liking to fight in the past was the danger of getting hurt; but now that there was no such danger, he could enjoy it. In past times people had called him a coward, and he had heard it so often that he had come to believe it; but now he
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And just as ardently as Gladys Frisbie Gudge adored the rich, so ardently did she object to the poor. If you pinned her down to it, she would admit that there had to be poor; there could not be gentility, except on the basis of a large class of ungentility. The poor were all right in their place; what Gladys objected to was their presuming to try to get out of their place, or to criticise their betters. She had a word by which she summed up everything that she despised in the world, and that word was "common;" she used
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