In 1906 Haywood was kidnapped by Colorado and Idaho authorities and extradited to Idaho where he was jailed on charges of conspiracy in the murder of former Idaho governor Frank Steunenberg; he was acquitted the next year.
While in prison, he ran unsuccessfully for governor of Colorado on the Socialist ticket. Disagreements with Western Federation of Miners' president Charles Moyer led to his dismissal as the federation's secretary-treasurer in 1908. Haywood subsequently traveled as a Socialist party lecturer, served on the party's national executive committee, and edited the International Socialist Review. He played a major role in the Lawrence, Mass., textile strike of 1912
, and he became IWW secretary-treasurer in 1914. In 1917 he was one of the members of the IWW indicted for conspiracy to interfere with the war effort. He was convicted in 1918 and sentenced to twenty years in prison. Released on bail pending appeal, Haywood fled to the Soviet Union in 1921. He died in Moscow.