Anda di halaman 1dari 2

The first families who settled on Joe s Bay with the intention of forming the Home

colony arrived in 1896, and two years later the Mutual Home Association was leg
ally created. "The Home founders...critical of the communitarian ideal, emphasiz
ed that this was to be a community of individuals, rather than a cooperative col
ony." Home was the site of visits from various notorious radical personalities,
including Emma Goldman. Home lasted longer than any of the other radical commune
s founded in Washington state around the turn of the century, but it and its mem
bers faced ongoing suspicion and persecution over the years. In 1921 the Home as
sociation was disbanded by local courts. The Agitator had two predecessors at Ho
me. The first paper published there was New Era. When New Era died, it was follo
wed by Discontent: Mother of Progress, a four-page, tabloid-sized paper.
The editor of The Agitator was Jay Fox, who arrived at Home in 1910 at the age o
f forty. He was a veteran of the Haymarket Riots in Chicago, and was well known
among radicals and labor leaders. Fox printed the paper at his home, according t
o historian Charles LeWarne, "on a press used fifty years before by Ezra Haywood
...He hoped to popularize knowledge so that common toilers as well as the rich an
d privileged class should be uplifted to philosophy and science." In 1912 Fox s fri
end, William Z. Foster a syndicalist who had taken part in the IWW movement
beca
me increasingly involved in producing The Agitator. Driven by financial concerns
and encouraged by Foster, Fox ultimately agreed to move The Agitator to Chicago
, where its last issue was published in November, 1912. It re-emerged in January
the following year as The Syndicalist. After Fox and his first wife, Esther, we
re divorced, she married Foster, and the three remained friends. Fox married a s
econd time and remained at Home for the rest of his life, which ended on March 8
, 1961. Foster died in Moscow six months later, his wife Esther by his side.2
A self-described propaganda tool, The Agitator contains more editorials than art
icles, more rhetoric and purple prose than investigative journalism and hard fac
ts. Colorful phrases such as, "hair-brained mental contortionists," "corpulent c
omrades," "insignificant mental castrates,"3 and name-calling (Teddy Roosevelt i
s a "blatherskite,"4 "Terrible Teddy," a "jabbering jawsmith," and an "inflated
windbag,"5) are far more abundant than analysis or concrete information.
The editorial pieces in The Agitator s four pages address a range of issues, from
historical events like the Haymarket incident of 1886, to national labor issues
such as strikes, to presidential elections, and international political events s
uch as the Mexican civil war and the ousting of the king of Portugal. The Agitat
or advocated passive resistance, direct action, and free speech. Frequently a po
em appeared, and fairly regularly there was an update on the situation at the Ho
me colony, though these brief reports were census-like in nature, and provided l
ittle insight into the workings of the commune. Most issues offered a list of pu
blications for sale by the Agitator Publishing Association as well as a list of
recommended periodicals. Twice a year The Agitator published a financial report
which generally showed a subscription circulation of about 300 copies at a dolla
r per year, and it seems the paper was usually run in the red.
As its masthead declares, The Agitator is a bi-monthly advocate of the modern sc
hool, industrial unionism, and individual freedom. In "Greeting to You All" in i
ts first issue, the paper outlines its purpose, and its stance on these three ma
jor ideas.
The Agitator contends that the greatest need of the world today is men and women
who can popularize the knowledge that is laid away in musty tombs in the librar
ies. How many working people know anything about Darwin s theory of evolution? Wha
t is known of Spencer, who built a philosophy of the universe without a god and
would leave it without a government? What is known about Proudhon, Marx and Krop
otkin, whose ideas would free the masses from the economic and political bondage
that enslaves them?
In this age of printing every man should know something real about himself. But

to every man has not been given the mind that can follow the weighty philosopher
s and scientists with any great success after serving his capitalistic master ei
ght to sixteen hours a day. [More]
The Modern School