From the Archives: Escaped!

Large IWW poster depicting a man behind bars who is pointing at the viewer.  The poster is labeled with the words "Fellow Workers: Remember!  We are in here for you, you are out there for us."
An IWW poster dating from the first Red Scare, also known as the White Terror. This poster was designed to inspire Wobblies who were still on the outside to continue to organize and fight back against those who wanted to stamp out the movement.

This poem was written by Ralph Chaplain and published in the Industrial Pioneer in 1923. As a side note, the term used at the time for an escaping prisoner is “wildcat”.


A man has fled…! We clutch the bars and wait;
The corridors are empty, tense, and still;
A silver mist has dimmed the distant hill;
The guards have gathered at the prison gate
Then suddenly the “wildcat” blares its hate
Like some mad Moloch screaming for the kill;
Shattering the air with terror loud and shrill,
The dim, gray walls become articulate.

But Freedom! Freedom is not there nor here!
In those far cities men can only find
A vaster prison and a redder hell,
O’ershadowed by new wings of greater fear.
Brave fool, for such a world to leave behind
The iron sanctuary of a cell!


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