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Haywood

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Who wants a feel bad story about a hero of the American left?

As you may know, Big Bill Haywood jumped bail in 1921 to avoid a return to prison for violation of the Espionage Act. He fled to the Soviet Union, where he died a miserable, lonely drunk in 1928. It’s a sad story.

But sadder still was the cost of Haywood’s decision to leave. Not only did it break any unity the IWW still had after the World War I repression and show that the most famous radical of the era would not do what hundreds of his followers did and go to prison for their beliefs, but it had real effects on the people who had put up the money for his bail. Two people had split the cost. The first was a wealthy man by the name of William Bross Lloyd. The loss of his money didn’t matter all that much. But the second was the radical journalist Mary Marcy. She put up her house for his bail. When he jumped bail, she lost her house. She then killed herself in 1922.

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