Fair Society Woman Defends I.W.W,; Is Neither an Anarchist Nor Socialist, But Think Unemployed Not to Blame

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Title

Fair Society Woman Defends I.W.W,; Is Neither an Anarchist Nor Socialist, But Think Unemployed Not to Blame

Subject

Labor, Politics, and Journalism

Description

Mabel Dodge De-radicalizing Reform

Dodge serves as a bridge between radicals in art and reform and that role is evident in her contributions to the labor reform movement. Dodge’s active involvement and willingness to speak out about the Tannebaum trial in the news is crucial for the labor reform movement to gather the sympathy of the public. Through Dodge’s statements in the article published in The New York Evening World, she depicts the leaders of the I. W. W. seem less threatening by stripping away words like “socialism” and “anarchist” which strike fear in the general population of New York city in the early 20th century, especially seeing as the “Red Scare” was looming in the near future.

The article title alone transforms the issue of labor. Labor was mostly an issue of lower-class immigrants. Dodge might be separated from a lot of Bohemia because of her privilege, but what makes Dodge such a vital and interesting figure is that she knowingly uses her high status to aide those without that kind of social and economic standing. “Fair Society Woman Defends I. W. W.,” therefore declares supporting the workers to be somewhat acceptable. Dodge’s depiction - without the radical notions of socialism and anarchy - makes supporting workers less radical and therefore helped to draw in the sympathy and support of a much wider range of audiences. By declaring, “I think that the unemployed are justified in doing anything to call public attention to their condition,” Dodge gives “weight” to the plight of the workers. Dodge’s clarification that she means, “Anything that's doesn't injure people," also is a way she uses her status to take away the negative associations the public have formed because of the militant efforts of the I. W. W.

Dodge opens up the discussion about workers’ rights through her statements to the press. Dodge makes the issue of the lower class workers an issue to be discussed by the public. Dodge explains, “I am not an Anarchist. I do not belong to the Socialist party. I am not a member of the Industrial Workers of the World. I am not a person who joins anything. I am a student and I am keenly interested, in this trial and in all the circumstances of the recent I. W. W. conflict with the established order.” By framing her interest in the trial as academic, she is encouraging reflection on economic and social inequality—Dodge is essentially marketing labor reform to the more elite tier of New York Society, which is extremely important to counteract the other press on the I. W. W. that strikes fear in the heart of the public. For example, the headline of one article reads, “I. W. W. Force Church Door Lock,” which creates an invasive and attacking tone to associate with the organization. The same article calls the organized workers an “army” and that they were executing an “invasion”. It is true that there was an organized attack, but the words “army” and “invasion” seek to make the event more expansive and seem more large-scale than the actual operation was.

Dodge observing the trial (“like a sphinx” as the newspaper report says) and reporting the proceedings is also important because she brings the news to her circles of associates who in turn spread more awareness of the issues. Unlike Dodge’s role in the organization of the Paterson Pageant, her role in the Tannebaum trial is much less glamorous. Dodge is doing the ground work and using her status to assist in the plight of radical I. W. W. leaders. The article even reports how, “A few evenings ago Mrs. Dodge invited a number of I. W. W. leaders. . .” likely to her Evenings. Another aspect of Dodge’s involvement that is important to note is that she does not agree with the I. W. W. Dodge sides more with less militant and less radical labor reform but because of her core focus and dedication to the idea of complicated discourse, Dodge gives a platform from which many of the most radical I. W. W. leaders like Emma Goldman and Big Bill Haywood are able to speak and debate their positions. Dodge isn’t just siding with whatever cause is popular or most interesting in Bohemia—Dodge is a proponent of discourse and really is a “student” of the world around her like she tells the reporters.

Dodge does speak from a position of power and therefore really doesn’t have a right to speak for the oppressed groups of people she often represents. Dodge has never faced oppression like the workers who held the uprising had and therefore while taking into account her positive contributes, her less progressive comments can be taken into conversation as well.

"I. W. W. Forced Church Door Lock." New York Times [New York] 26 Mar. 1914: n.
pag. Print.




Creator

Mabel Dodge

Publisher

Beinecke Library

Date

1914

Contributor

Mabel Dodge Luhan Collection

Rights

Mabel Dodge Luhan Collection

Format

Newspaper Clipping

Language

English

Text Item Type Metadata

Text

"I think that the unemployed are justified in doing anything to call public attention to their condition," Says Mrs. Mabel Dodge.

"Anything that's doesn't injure people," She qualifies-- "Of Course I don't believe in dynamite and that kind of thing," adds the Society Leader, but she would like to help in bringing about a proper organization of all Labor.

Mrs. Dodge, who attends Tannenbaum Trial Every Day, Says She is A Student Watching Trend of Events.

A sphinx is sitting in General Session Court, watching the trial of young Frank Tannenbaum, whom the police charge with "participating in an unlawful assembly" in St. Alphonsus's Church three weeks ago.

The name of the sphinx is Mrs. Mabel Dodge and she lives at No. 23 Fifth Avenue, One of the reasons why she is a sphinx is because living where she does, she quietly orders her car every morning, bumps over the rough cobbles in the Centre street district, and waits the day through in the crowded, not too well ventilated room on the second floor of the Criminal Courts Building where the boy leader of the I. W. W. is fighting for his liberty.

Why is a society women from Fifth avenue interested in such a trial? Is she an Anarchist? Is she a socialist? Does she belong to the Industrial Workers of the World? Or is she a Haroun-al-Raschid-ess, a descendant in spirit of the curious Caliph who would would always desert his throne "for to admire and for to see, for to examine this world so wide?"

HER ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS ABOUT HER

Those are some of the questions they are whispering in General Sessions. And this is what she told me

"I am not an Anarchist. I do not belong to the Socialist party. I am not a member of the Industrial Workers of the World. I am not a person who join anything. I am a student and I am keenly interested, in this trial and in all the circumstances of the recent I. W. W. conflict with the established order."

A few evenings ago Mrs, Dodge invited a number of I. W. W. leader...

Original Format

Printed in a newspaper