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Heroine of the 1912 San Diego Free Speech Fight, Laura B. Payne Emerson was a noted IWW organizer, soapboxer, and journalist as well as one of the union's finest poets.

"I believe this war [WWI] had to be. Conditions and forces leading up to it which cannot be explained here, made it imperative. I believe the Germans will finally be overwhelmed and utterly defeated, not altogether by the Allied nations now opposing them, but by the Russian proletariat, also. The action of the Germans in invading Russia, and her apparent determination to re-establish the old order has shown the Bolsheviki that they must fight to uphold their revolution. It may be said that all capitalist countries would be glad to see the Russian working class regime overthrown, and the Germany is no worse than any of the others would be if the opportunity were afforded them as it was Germany. Perhaps that is so, but we must not forget that President Wilson refused to sanction a Japanese intervention in Siberia, and has offered to aid Russia in any way possible. No doubt his attitude on this question prevented the Japanese Government from laying hands on Siberia. I believe that the rise of the proletariat of Russia, and the part they are destined to play in this great struggle are but the beginning of the world revolution which will follow this war or perhaps end it. While I am an internationalist I do not think it best to oppose this country in its war program. In fact, I believe that to help it will hasten the time for which we long, the day of industrial freedom."—Laura B. Payne Emerson, "My Views on the War," Laurels (1918)

The Industrial Workers of the World

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