• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

By then the slashed tire had become a rallying cry for retaliation.

On January 10, the Sun announced: “The chances are strong that this ordinance will start a fight that will last a long time. Maybe there will be an invasion by the IWW and the advertisement of San Diego as a place against free expression of thought.”

Prophetic words. ■


  1. Melvin Dubofsky: Free Speech fights “were instigated primarily to overcome resistance to I.W.W. organizing tactics” and “to demonstrate that America’s dispossessed could…challenge established authority.”
  2. Chief Keno Wilson: “We will do our full duty. Every member of the police department has been ordered to enforce the new law to the letter.”
  3. Attorney Ernest E. Kirk: “We will fight the validity of the law to the limit. It is a class ordinance, not a traffic regulation!”


  • Adler, William M., The Man Who Never Died, New York, 2011.

  • Castanian, Pliny, To Protect and Serve: A History of the San Diego Police Department and Its Chiefs, 1990–1989, San Diego, 1993.

  • Diehl, Robert Warren, “To Speak or Not to Speak, San Diego, 1912,” master’s thesis, University of San Diego, 1976.

  • Dubofsky, Melvin, We Shall Be All: A History of the Industrial Workers of the World, Chicago, 1969.

  • Flynn, Elizabeth Gurley, The Rebel Girl, New York, 1955.

  • Foner, Philip S., The History of the Labor Movement in the United States, vol. 4, New York, 1965.

  • Miller, Jim, Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See, New York, 2003.

  • Renshaw, Patrick, The Wobblies, New York, 1967.

  • Shanks, Rosalie, “The I.W.W. Free Speech Movement,” Journal of San Diego History, Winter, 1973, vol. XIX, number one.

Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it


Prosperina May 28, 2012 @ 2:36 p.m.

I always knew there was a rivalry between SD and LA, but wow! Guess Otis lost that bet -- ha! LOVE stories about downtown area -- it's so much more interesting to take a walk around the area imagining all the ghosts of those events and marking what was with what it's become. I do worry about the SD Union's fate.... Good stories and sources for the upcoming Labor Day in Sept. So much similar strife connected with that 'holiday' -- upheaval, riots, free speech attacked from all sides -- oye!


Sign in to comment

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!