ADVANTAGES

During a May 24th gathering, the SCLC issued a call for the mass anti-militarism meeting to protest preparedness. At this meeting, union locals including the electrical workers, molders and carpenters all pledged to support the Council’s anti-war stance. In addition to working with other local organizations to protest preparedness, the SCLC drafted a statement to be wired to President Wilson and Congress, denouncing the Army Reorganization Bill. The following Sunday, May 28th, members of the SCLC and several other anti-militarist groups meet. Although the Seattle Times reported the meeting in its typical anti-radical derisive tone, it is clear that the May 28th meeting included many of the labor, pacifist and radical leaders in the city. The protestors drafted a resolution rejecting the militaristic program of preparedness and endorsing a series of policy recommendations for Congress to adopt. Among the policies included in the resolution were women’s suffrage, federal child labor legislation, unemployment insurance, higher wages, legislation to prevent the use of militia during strikes, and government ownership of the munitions industries. This was a notably broad and ambitious platform. The seemingly disparate nature of the resolution reflected the diversity of the anti-militarist protestors. For many in the Seattle anti-war movement, the criticism and rejection of militarism was deeply tied to questions of worker’s rights, class, civil liberties and gender equality. However, though the comprehensiveness of the early anti-war movement reflected its strength, a lack of cohesion and disagreement among the various elements later proved disastrous when facing government repression.

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