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Title: The I. W. W.: A Study of American Syndicalism

Author: Paul F. Brissenden

Release date: May 25, 2014 [eBook #45758]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Richard Tonsing, Fritz Ohrenschall and the
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Volume LXXXIII] [Whole Number 193

THE I. W. W.
A Study of American Syndicalism


Sometime Assistant in Economics at the University of California and University Fellow at Columbia
Special Agent of the United States Department of Labor


New York
London: P. S. King & Son, Ltd.

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Copyright, 1920

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R. O. L. B.

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No very extensive changes are made in the new edition. The chart of early radical labor organizations, which appeared in the first edition as Appendix I, has been omitted in this edition. There is reproduced in its place a copy of the original industrial organization chart prepared by "Father" T. J. Hagerty at the time of the launching of the I. W. W. in 1905 and sometimes referred to as "Father Hagerty's Wheel of Fortune". This chart is believed to be of some importance as illustrating the earlier ideas of the revolutionary industrial unionists on industrial organization in relation to union structure. It has been considerably amplified by W. E. Trautmann and published in his pamphlet One Great Union, and still further developed by James Robertson who has very recently built extensions upon it in furtherance of the shop-steward propaganda in the Pacific Northwest. His version is published in a pamphlet entitled Labor unionism and the American shop steward system (Portland, Oreg., 1919).

The organization held its eleventh national convention in Chicago in May, 1919. This was the first convention held since December, 1916. It was attended by fifty-four delegates and it has been reported that forty-eight of them had never before attended a general convention of the organization. The General Executive Board reported that the organization in 1919 comprised fourteen Industrial Unions, each with its locals in various parts of the country, and a General Recruiting Union, with a total membership of 35,000. Since the convention it is reported that three[Pg 6] new Industrial Unions have been formed: an Oil Workers' Industrial Union, a Coal Miners' Union and a Fishery Workers' Union. Nearly fifty amendments to the constitution were adopted by the delegates at the May convention. Most if not all of these have been since approved in a referendum to the membership. The proceedings of the convention have not yet been published. Since the first edition of this book appeared the I. W. W. has launched a monthly magazine called The One Big Union Monthly and several new weekly newspapers.

The writer's attention has been called to the erroneous statement (on page 235) in regard to Daniel DeLeon's theory of industrial unionism. This has been revised to accord with the facts. There is added on page 241 some interesting comment from Lenin, the Bolshevik premier of Russia, on DeLeon and on the relation between revolutionary industrial unionism, and the soviet system in Russia.

P. F. Brissenden

Washington, D. C., September, 1919.

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This is a descriptive and historical sketch of the present drift from parliamentary to industrial socialism—as epitomized in the career of the Industrial Workers of the World in the United States. The I. W. W. is now thirteen years old. During the first half of its existence the general public hardly knew that there was such an organization. A few local communities, however, were startled into an awareness of it quite early in its history. The city of Spokane had an I. W. W. "free-speech fight" on its hands in 1909. Fresno, California, McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, and Missoula, Montana, all had their little bouts with the "Wobblies" long before the Lawrence strike of 1912 made the I. W. W. nationally prominent.

Just now the Industrial Workers of the World, as represented by more than one hundred of its members and officials, is on trial for its life in Chicago. The indictment charges the defendants with conspiring to hinder and discourage enlistment and in general to obstruct the progress of the war with Germany. The specific number of crimes alleged to have been intended runs up to more than seventeen thousand. Since the war-time activities of the I. W. W. most concern us now, it is regretted that this book cannot be brought up to the minute with a final chapter on the I. W. W. and the war. But this is impossible. The trial is still in progress and almost no trustworthy evidence regarding the[Pg 8] alleged anti-war activities is available outside of the court records.[1]

Though nowadays well aware of the existence of the I. W. W., the public still knows little about the organization and its members. Moreover, a great deal of what it does know is false. For thirteen years the I. W. W. has been rather consistently misrepresented—not to say vilified—to the American people. The public has not been told the truth about the things the I. W. W. has done or the doctrines in which it believes. The papers have printed so much fiction about this organization and maintained such a nation-wide conspiracy of silence as to its real philosophy—especially as to the constructive items of this philosophy—that the popular conception of this labor group is a weird unreality.

The current picture is of a motley horde of hoboes and unskilled laborers who will not work and whose philosophy is a philosophy simply of sabotage and the violent overthrow of "capitalism," and whose actions conform to that philosophy. This appears to be about[Pg 9] what the more reactionary business interests would like to have the people believe about the Industrial Workers of the World. If, and to the extent that these reactionary employing interests can induce the public not only to believe this about the I. W. W. but also to believe that the picture applies as well to all labor organizations, they will to that extent ally the public with them and against labor.

The negative or destructive items in the I. W. W. program are deliberately misconstrued and then stretched out and made to constitute the whole of I. W. W.-ism. In reality they are only a minor part of the creed. There are immense possibilities of a constructive sort in the theoretic basis of the I. W. W., but the Press has done its best to prevent the public from knowing it. And it must be said that the I. W. W. agitators have themselves helped to misrepresent their own organization by their uncouth and violent language and their personal predilection for the lurid and the dramatic. Even what the Wobblies say about themselves must be taken with a certain amount of salt. This matter of the currently-received opinion of the I. W. W. has been dwelt on because the writer believes that it is not alone important to know what an organization is like; it is also very important to know what people think it is like.

The popular attitude toward the Wobblies among employers, public officials and the public generally corresponds to the popular notion that they are arch-fiends and the dregs of society. It is the hang-them-all-at-sunrise attitude. A high official of the Federal Department of Justice in one of our western states gave the writer an instance. On a recent visit to a small town in a distant part of the state he happened upon the sheriff. That officer, in reply to a question, explained[Pg 10] that they were "having no trouble at all with the Wobs." "When a Wobbly comes to town," he explained, "I just knock him over the head with a night stick and throw him in the river. When he comes up he beats it out of town." Incidentally it may be said that in such a situation almost any poor man, if he be without a job or visible means of support, is assumed to be, ipso facto, an I. W. W. Being a Wobbly, the proper thing for him is pick-handle treatment or—if he is known to be a strike agitator—a "little neck-tie party."

Since we have been at war certain groups of employers, particularly those in the mining and lumber industries, have still further confused the issue and intensified the popular hostility to the Industrial Workers of the World. They have done this by re-enforcing their earlier camouflage with the charge of disloyalty and anti-patriotism. Wrapping themselves in the flag, they have pointed from its folds to "those disloyal and anarchistic Wobblies" and in this way still further obscured the underlying economic issues. Whatever the facts about patriotism on either side, it appears to be true that the greater part of the I. W. W.'s activities have been ordinary strike activities directed toward the securing of more favorable conditions of employment and some voice in the determination of those conditions. These efforts have been met by charges of disloyalty and by wholesale acts of violence by the employers, that is to say, they have been met by the night-stick and neck-tie party policy—as witness the wholesale deportation of "alleged Wobblies" from Bisbee, Arizona, and the hanging of Frank Little in Butte, Montana. As the President's Mediation Commission reported, "the hold of the I. W. W. is riveted, instead of weakened, by unimaginative opposition[Pg 11] on the part of employers to the correction of real grievances."[2]

By means of an insidious extension of the I. W. W. bogey idea, either that organization itself or some other labor body or both of them are made the "goat" in disputes in which the I. W. W., as an organization, has no part. If a lumber company, for example, gets into a controversy with the shingle-weavers union of the American Federation of Labor, it has only to raise a barrage and shout through its controlled news columns that "they are 'Wobblies!'" and public opinion is against them. Nor does the misrepresentation stop there. All who openly sympathize with the alleged Wobblies are, forsooth, themselves Wobblies!

Naturally the liberals in this country have no sympathy with this night-stick attitude toward I. W. W.'s nor with the night-stick interpretation of I. W. W.-ism. The writer is bound to say, however, that he considers the liberal interpretation entirely inadequate. The liberal attitude is expressed and judgment pronounced when it has been said that the I. W. W. is a social sore caused by, let us say, bad housing. It must be evident (unless we are prepared to take the position that any organization which purposes a rearrangement of the status quo—the Single Tax League, for example—is a social sore) that the I. W. W. is much more than that. The improvement of working conditions in the mines and lumber camps would tend to eliminate the cruder and less fundamental I. W. W. activities, but it would not kill I. W. W.-ism.

We can no more dispose of the Industrial Workers of the World by saying that it is a social sore on the body politic than we can dispose of the British Labor Party [Pg 12]or our National Security League by saying that they are sores on the Anglo-Saxon body politic. We can only completely and fairly handle the I. W. W. problem by dealing with its more fundamental tenets on their merits and acting courageously upon our conclusions. We shall be obliged seriously to study the problem of the organization of the unskilled; the question of the relative merits of craft unionism, mass unionism and industrial unionism; the question of the sufficiency of political democracy and of the possible future modifications of it and, not least, the question of democracy versus despotism in our economic and industrial life. The Wobblies insist that no genuine democracy is possible in industry until those who do the work in a business (from hired president to hired common laborer) control its management. It so happens that the British Labor Party, in its reconstruction report on Labor and the New Social Order, insists upon practically the same thing. The fact that the B.L.P. insisted in a more refined and intelligent manner than the I. W. W. may explain the almost universal obliviousness of our liberals to this item in I. W. W.-ism. The Industrial Workers of the World have even developed a structure and mechanism (crude and inadequate, naturally) for this control. The industrial union, they say, is to be the administrative unit in the future industrial democracy. All these will be dominant issues when peace breaks out, and if the Wobblies are no longer in existence the radical end of each issue will be championed by their successors in the field.

The most important item in the affirmative part of the I. W. W. program is this demand that some of our democracy—some of our representative government—be extended from political into economic life. They ask that industry be democratized by giving the workers—all[Pg 13] grades of workers—exclusive control in its management. They ask to have the management of industrial units transferred from the hands of those who think chiefly in terms of income to those who think primarily in terms of the productive process. The Wobblies would have "capitalism" (the monarchic or oligarchic control of industry) supplanted by economic democracy just as political despotism has been supplanted by political democracy in nearly all civilized states. When the British Labor Party asks for representative government in industry, those who do not ignore the request give it serious attention. When the I. W. W. echoes the sentiment in the phrase: "Let the workers run the industries," the editors are thrown into a panic, the business world views the I. W. W. menace with aggravated alarm and the more reactionary employers hysterically clamor to have "these criminal anarchists shot at sunrise."

Perhaps the very best way to run an industrial enterprise is on the currently accepted model of the Prussian State. It is simply a moot point and the I. W. W. has challenged the Prussian method. Whatever intrinsic merit there may be in the affirmative program of the Industrial Workers of the World, it must be admitted by even its most enthusiastic members that were they today given the power they ask, they would be no less relentless Prussians than are the corporations we have with us. Even though capitalism may be ripe for replacement, the I. W. W. are a long way from being fit to replace it. The Wobblies are grotesquely unprepared for responsibility. So far their own members do not understand how relatively unimportant is their much-talked-of sabotage method. They have challenged the autocratic method, but they have done it very crudely and with a weird misplacement of emphasis. They[Pg 14] whisper it in a footnote, as it were, to their strident blackface statements about method. "If labor is not allowed a voice in the management of the mines—apply sabotage!"

Unquestionably the I. W. W. ask too much when they ask that the producers be given exclusive control of industry. As to certain phases of management the workers (including, of course, all hand and brain workers connected with the industry) should perhaps be given entire control. The hours of labor and the sanitary conditions in any productive enterprise are primarily, if not exclusively, the concern of the producers. But the amount of the product which ought to be turned out and the price at which it ought to be sold are matters in which the consumers have no little interest. Consumers, therefore, should share in the management of the industry so far as it relates to prices and the determination of the amount to be produced.

The following pages are devoted to a mere matter-of-fact description of the Industrial Workers of the World as an organization and to a record of the facts of its history. The purpose has been throughout to write from the sources. The writer has tried to have the "Wobblies" themselves do the telling, through interviews, soap-box speeches, convention proceedings and official papers and pamphlets. The bulk of the record is based upon documents and other materials collected and impressions received since 1909 when the writer first became interested in the I. W. W.

The writer has endeavored throughout to abstain from philosophizing about the I. W. W. He is not unmindful of the fact that the interpretation of such a significant movement as is embodied in the Industrial Workers of the World is of very great importance. Indeed[Pg 15] the time has now come when it is urgently necessary. The first intention in writing this book was to incorporate in it an attempt at an analysis and interpretation of I. W. W.-ism, as well as its orientation with other economic isms. But the bony skeleton of historical record has crowded out almost everything else and perhaps filled more pages than its importance justifies. In spite of all this the temptation to comment has been strong and sometimes irresistible. Despite the effort that has been made to be accurate and entirely fair the writer realizes that the book probably contains errors both of fact and judgment. He would greatly appreciate having his attention called to these.

The writer is under great obligation to the secretaries of scores of the local unions of the organization in various parts of the country for their valued assistance in the task of gathering the material for this study. He is especially grateful to Mr. Vincent St. John, formerly General Secretary-Treasurer of the I. W. W., for his generous response to repeated requests for documents and information. Thanks are also due for like favors to Mr. William D. Haywood, General Secretary-Treasurer of the I. W. W. and to Mr. Herman Richter, General Secretary-Treasurer of the Workers International Industrial Union (formerly the Socialist Labor Party or Detroit wing of the I. W. W.). Finally the writer wishes to express his grateful appreciation of the numerous and helpful suggestions made during the later stages of the work by Professor Henry R. Seager of Columbia University. He has also to thank Professor Seager and Mrs. C. A. Stewart for their kindness in the tiresome work of reading the proof, and Mrs. M. A. Gadsby, of the staff of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, for her assistance in the preparation of the Bibliography.

P. F. B.

San Francisco, June 9, 1918.

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[1] Since this went to press the trial has come to an end. On August 17 the case went to the jury which, after being out fifty-five minutes, returned a verdict of "guilty, as charged in the indictment." On August 30 Judge K. M. Landis imposed sentence. W. D. Haywood and fourteen others were sentenced to twenty years' imprisonment and $20,000 fine each. Thirty-three others were given six years and fined $5,000 each on the first count; ten years and $5,000 each on the second count; two years and $10,000 each on the third count; and ten years and $10,000 each on the fourth count. Thirty-three others were given five years and fines of $5,000 apiece on each of counts 1 and 2 and $10,000 each on counts 3 and 4. Twelve more were sentenced to one year and one day, with fines of $5,000 each on the first and second counts and $10,000 each on the third and fourth counts. Two of the defendants were given ten-day sentences. All sentences run concurrently. The fines imposed aggregate $2,570,000 and costs. It is announced that the case will be appealed. (U. S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Div., Criminal Clerk's Minute Book 12, pp. 61-62.)

[2] Report of the Commission, Sixth Annual Report of the Secretary of Labor, p. 20.


Preface to the Second Edition 5
Preface to the First Edition 7
Part I
Forerunners of the "Wobblies"
Early revolutionary bodies 27
English prototypes 29
Early radical unions in the United States 29
The National Labor Union 30
The Knights of Labor 30
The Internationals 35
The Sovereigns of Industry 37
The United Brewery Workmen 38
The United Mine Workers of America 38
Haymarket 39
The American Railway Union 40
The Western Federation of Miners 40
W. F. M. strikes 40
The Western Labor Union 43
The American Labor Union 44
The Socialist Labor Party and the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance 46
The French Confédération Générale du Travail 53
The Birth of the I. W. W.
Pre-convention conferences 57
The rôle of the Western Federation of Miners 60
The January Conference 61
The Industrialist Manifesto 62
Attitude of the A. F. of L. 65
The Industrial Union Convention and the launching of the I. W. W. 67[Pg 18]
Character of industries and unions represented 68
Numerical predominance of the Western Federation and the American Labor Union 71
Daniel DeLeon and the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance 75
Doctrinal elements represented in the convention: reformist, direct-actionist and doctrinaire 76
The dominant personalities 79
The I. W. W. versus the A. F. of L.
Attitude of the revolutionary industrialists toward the Federation. 83
Critique of craft unionism 84
"Union scabbery" and the aristocracy of labor 85
Emphasis on the unskilled and unorganized 87
The "pure and simple" union and the "labor lieutenant" 88
Repudiation of the policy of "boring from within" 89
Convention resolutions 91
The preamble and the clause on political action 92
The attitude of DeLeon and the S. L. P 93
The I. W. W. Constitution 96
Classification of industries 96
The structure of the organization 98
The local unions and other subordinate bodies 98
The General Executive Board and its powers 100
Other provisions 101
Influence of "DeLeonism" in the convention 103
The primary importance of the Western Federation of Miners 104
Samuel Gompers on the convention 106
Other comments 107
What the constitutional convention accomplished 108
Part II
[The "original" I. W. W.]
Maiden Efforts on the Economic Field
The situation at the close of the first convention 113
Progress during the first year 114
Activities among A. F. of L. locals 115[Pg 19]
Friction with Federation unions 116
Practical compromises with the craft-union idea 118
Internal dissension 120
Breakdown of the Metals and Machinery Department 122
Defection of the Western Federation of Miners 122
Early strikes and strike activities 123
Strike policies 124
The New Jersey Socialist Unity Conference 125
The discussion on socialism and the trade unions 127
The Unity Conference resolutions 128
The second I. W. W. convention 129
Growth in membership 130
The Industrial Departments 131
The coup of the "Proletarian Rabble"
The "reactionaries" vs. the "wage slave delegates" at the second convention 136
The DeLeon-St. John attack on President Sherman 137
Pre-convention conference of the "DeLeonite rabble" 137
The indictment of Sherman 139
Playing freeze-out with the "wage slave delegates" 142
The per diem resolution and the defeat of the Shermanites 143
Abolition of the office of General President 143
The findings of the Master in Chancery 145
Contemporary comment on the quarrel 147
DeLeonism and the Socialist Labor Party at the second convention 147
The Western Federation of Miners 149
I. W. W. finances 153
The Structure of a Militant Union
An organization for farm laborers and city proletarians 155
The I. W. W. and the lumber workers 156
Provision for foreigners 158
Foreign language branches 160
The local union 160
Relation of locals to the General Administration 161
Centralization 161
District Industrial Councils 163
Industrial Departments 164
Further discussion of political action 168[Pg 20]
The Moyer, Haywood and Pettibone case 170
Defense activities of the I. W. W. 171
Proposal for a general strike 174
Effect of the Moyer-Haywood case on the I. W. W. 175
The Fight for Existence
The third convention 178
The condition of the organization 181
Membership strength 182
The I. W. W. at the Stuttgart Congress 183
Political parties and the trade unions 185
The political clause of the Preamble again under discussion.... 188
"Job Control" at Goldfield
The A. F. of L. and the I. W. W. in Goldfield, Nevada 191
Character of the Goldfield local of the I. W. W 192
The town unionists and the mine unionists 192
Proposed consolidation of the two groups 193
Attitude of the Mine Owners' Association 193
Federal military intervention and investigation 195
Report of the Commission 196
What the I. W. W. accomplished at Goldfield 200
The I. W. W. and the Western Federation in Nevada politics 201
I. W. W. strike activities in other parts of the country 203
General organizing activities 207
Doctrinaire versus Direct-actionist
Condition of the organization on the eve of the schism of 1908 213
Effect of the financial panic of 1907 214
The widening breach between the I. W. W. and the Western Federation of Miners 216
The line-up in the I. W. W. on political action 218
The personnel of the convention 220
Walsh's "Overalls Brigade". 221
The Socialist Labor Party Delegation and the unseating of Daniel DeLeon 222
The issue between the DeLeonites and the Direct-actionists 223
"Straight industrialism" versus parliamentarianism 225[Pg 21]
The preamble purged of politics 226
Rump convention of the DeLeonites at Paterson, New Jersey 228
A bifurcated I. W. W 229
The issue between the Detroit I. W. W. and the Chicago I. W. W. 231
The Wobblies' criticism of parliamentary government 232
The doctrinaire state socialism of the Detroiters 234
The issue illustrated in the contrast between Daniel DeLeon and Vincent St. John 235
I. W. W. constitution non-political rather than anti-political 236
Influence of DeLeon on the I. W. W. 238
DeLeonism and Bolshevism 241
The I. W. W. on the "Civilized Plane"
The development of the Detroit I. W. W 243
Strike activities and friction with the "Bummery" or Direct-actionist faction 246
The Anarcho-syndicalists versus the parliamentarians 252
The Detroit I. W. W. on sabotage 253
Eugene Debs' plea for a union of the two I. W. W.s. 253
The Detroit I. W. W. becomes The Workers International Industrial Union 255
Part III
[The Direct Actionists]
Free Speech and Sabotage
Condition of the Direct-actionist faction after the split with the
Doctrinaires 260
The Wobblies establish the "free-speech fight" as an institution 262
The procedure in free-speech fights 262
I. W. W. tactics 263
Community reactions 266
The conventions of 1910 and 1911 267
Growth in membership 268
The I. W. W. press 271
Local unions organized and disbanded 272
The I. W. W. and the French syndicalists 273
International labor politics 275[Pg 22]
The Syndicalist League of North America 276
The I. W. W. and the MacNamara case 277
Franco-American sabotage 278
Demonstration against sabotage at the 1912 convention of the Socialist party 280
Article II, section 6 280
Lawrence and the Crest of Power
Strike activities in 1912 283
The Lawrence strike 284
The use of violence at Lawrence and the responsibility for it 286
Dynamite planting 288
The I. W. W. and the A. F. of L. at Lawrence 289
Results of the strike 290
I. W. W. patriotism and I. W. W. morals 293
The 1912 convention 295
The beginning of the conflict over decentralization 297
Dual Unionism and Decentralization
The policy of "boring from within" 299
Dual unionism 299
An I. W. W. defense of "boring from within" 300
Tom Mann joins in the attack on dual unionism 303
Rejoinders from Ettor and Haywood 303
The 1913 convention 305
Centralization versus decentralization 305
The proposals of the "decentralizers" 306
The relation of the locals to the general organization 307
The Pacific Coast District Organization 311
The East against the West in the decentralization debate 313
The western Wobbly and the eastern 314
Geographical differences in I. W. W. local unions 315
An anarchist's impressions of the 1913 convention 318
Recent Tendencies
Continued hostility between the I. W. W. and the Western Federation of Miners 320
The labor war in Butte, Montana 321[Pg 23]
The United Mine Workers and the I. W. W 325
The 1914 convention 327
The I. W. W. and the unemployed 329
The resolution against war 331
Constitutional changes 331
Time agreements 332
Growth in membership 333
The slump in 1914-1915 335
Revival of activity 337
The Agricultural Workers Organization 337
The Everett free-speech fight 339
The 1916 (tenth) convention 340
Present strength of the I. W. W. 341
Character of the membership 341
The I. W. W. abroad 342
Anti-militarist campaign of the I. W. W. in Australasia 342
Australian "Unlawful Associations" Act 343
The Workers' Industrial Union of Australia 345
"Criminal Syndicalism" laws in the United States 346
The turnover of I. W. W. members and locals 349
Conclusion 350
I. Father Hagerty's "Wheel of Fortune" 351
II. The I. W. W. Preamble: Chicago and Detroit versions 351
III. The structure of the organization in 1917. (Chart) 353
IV. Membership statistics:
Table A. Membership of Chicago and Detroit branches. (1905-1916). 354
Table B. Membership of the I. W. W. compared with the aggregate number of organized workers in the U. S., by industries 356
Table C. Membership of the I. W. W. and of certain other selected organizations and industrial groups. (1897-1914) 358
Table D. Membership of (1) the I. W. W. and (2) all American trade unions 359
V. Geographical distribution of I. W. W. locals in 1914. (Chicago and Detroit) 360
VI. Reasons assigned for locals disbanding. (1910-1911) 366
VII. Free-speech fights of the I. W. W. (1906-1916) 367
VIII. I. W. W. strikes. (1906-1917) 368
IX. Selections from the I. W. W. Song Book. 370
X. Copies of State "Criminal Syndicalism" statutes. 381
Bibliography 387
Index 429
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[Pg 27]

Forerunners of the I. W. W.

The revolutionary doctrines of the I. W. W. are spoken of today as constituting the "new unionism" or the "new socialism". It cannot be too strongly emphasized, however, that neither I. W. W.-ism nor the closely related but materially different French syndicalism are brand-new codes which the irreconcilables, here and in France, have invented out of hand within the last quarter of a century. Industrial unionism, as a structural type simply, and even revolutionary industrial unionism—wherein the industrial organization is animated and guided by the revolutionary (socialist or anarchist) spirit—hark back in their essential principles to the dramatic revolutionary period in English unionism of the second quarter of the nineteenth century. In America the labor history of the seventies, and especially the eighties, teems with evidences of the industrial form and the radical temper in labor organizations. The elements of I. W. W.-ism were there; but they were not often co-existent in the same organization. Contemporary writers have not failed to call attention to the striking similarity between the doctrines of the English Chartists and those of our modern I. W. W. The bitter attacks of the Industrial Workers upon politics and politicians and their appeal to all kinds and conditions of labor were also fundamental articles in the creed of the Chartists—who stressed the economic factor almost as forcibly as do the I. W. W.'s today.[3]

[Pg 28]

In both America and England, especially during the periods referred to, there was abundant evidence of those tactics which we characterize today as syndicalistic. I. W. W. strikes were not invented in 1905. The Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, the Knights of Labor, the International Working People's Association, the "New Unionists" in the days of Robert Owen—all these and many another group have sought to push their cause by methods now once again made notorious by the French syndicalists and the American Wobblies. The general strike—mass action—the sympathetic strike—the solidarity of all labor—these concepts seem to have their prototypes and very possibly were put into action in still more ancient periods. Osborne Ward reports some revolutionary labor activities in years preceding the Christian era. He describes a strike of the silver miners in Greece—at Laurium, some thirty miles south of Athens. "The inference is unequivocal," says Ward, "that in 413 B. C. twenty thousand miners, mechanics, teamsters, and laborers suddenly struck work; and at a moment of Athens' greatest peril, fought themselves loose from their masters and their chains." He concludes that the strike "must have been well concerted, violent and swift," and "must have been plotted by the men themselves."[4] This strike, apparently, was widely heralded, but seems to have brought no more permanent results than has the average I. W. W. strike of today. The evidence for this very ancient prototype of syndicalism is not entirely conclusive. It was dug out of the old red sandstone—and there are missing links! It will be safer not to try to trace the lineage of syndicalist organizations—much less syndicalist activities and ideas—back more than one century.

[Pg 29]

There is no doubt that the idea of economic emancipation through economic as opposed to political channels, and to be achieved by all classes of workers as workers, i. e., as human cogs in the industrial, rather than the political, state had been very definitely formulated before the end of the last century.[5] Indeed, the conception runs back well toward the beginning of the nineteenth century. The "one big union" of which we now hear so much was surely in existence in England in the early thirties. Robert Owen at that time outlined his great plan for a "General Union of the Productive Classes." Sidney and Beatrice Webb report the establishment, in 1834, of a "Grand National Consolidated Trades Union":

Under the system proposed by Owen [they say] the instruments of production were to become the property, not of the whole community, but of the particular set of workers who used them. The trade unions were to be transformed into "national companies" to carry on all the manufactures. The agricultural union was to take possession of the land, the miners' union of the mines, the textile unions of the factories. Each trade was to be carried on by its particular trade union, centralized in one "Grand Lodge."[6]

The leaders of the New Unionists "aimed not at superseding existing social structures but at capturing them in the interests of the wage earners."[7]

[Pg 30]

American prototypes of I. W. W.-ism appear much later than in England. As early as 1834, however, workingmen in the United States were discussing the attitude of the union toward politics. There was some discussion at that time by members of the National Trades Union of a proposal to have resolutions drawn up to express the views of the convention on the social, civil, and political condition of the laboring classes, and after considerable argument the word "political" was omitted.[8]

In 1864 an unsuccessful attempt was made to organize in this country a national federation of trade unions. Two years later, in Baltimore, a National Labor Congress launched a conservative political organization, called the National Labor Union—a short-lived predecessor of the Knights of Labor. Ely says that it lived only about three years and died of the "disease known as politics."[9] It is probable that a general apathy and financial weakness were contributing causes.

The most important of these forerunners of the "Wobblies" was the Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor which was organized in 1869 and for the following decades carried on a remarkably successful propaganda. It had a membership of more than a million in the late eighties.[10] Soon after that the Knights suffered a decline [Pg 31]that was even more rapid than their meteoric expansion in the early eighties and ultimately broke down and degenerated into the shadow of an organization that it has been for more than twenty years past. Carroll D. Wright thought that the Knights of Labor reached its highest membership point in 1887 when it had probably about a million enrolled. In 1898 there were about 100,000 in the organization. Colonel Wright believed that this great falling-off in membership was due to the socialistic tendencies of the organization, especially to the attempt to place all wage workers on the same level.[11]

The characteristic motto of the Knights of Labor was: "An injury to one is the concern of all"—the same slogan which is today prominent among the watchwords of the I. W. W. The Knights proposed, first to bring within the folds of organization every department of productive industry, making knowledge a standpoint for action and "industrial, moral worth, not wealth, the true standard of individual and national greatness"; second, "to secure to the toilers a proper share of the wealth that they create ..."; third, the substitution of arbitration for strikes; and, fourth, the reduction of hours of labor to eight per day.[12] The Knights advocated government ownership of telephones, telegraphs, and railroads; emphasized the principle of coöperation; admitted women and negroes, and believed in having working-class politics in the union and the union in working-class politics. "The fundamental principle on which the organization was based was coöperation," said Grand Master Workman Powderly, "... the barriers of trade were to be cast aside; the man who toiled, no matter at what, was to receive and enjoy the just fruits of his labor...."[13]

[Pg 32]

It was originally a secret organization, but that feature was later abandoned. The following restriction on membership appears in the constitution of the Local Assemblies: "... no lawyer, banker, professional gambler, or stock broker can be admitted." Prior to 1881 physicians were also excluded. It is composed of Local Assemblies (local unions) controlled by District Assemblies, a General Assembly and a Grand Master Workman. These parts were closely related to each other in a centralized system. Centralization of administrative authority was considered highly important—indeed, it was thought indispensable in order successfully to unite every branch of skilled and unskilled labor—a task the Knights considered of prime importance. They differed, however, from our more radical I. W. W.'s of today in placing no little confidence in political methods, maintaining as they did for many years a legislative lobbying committee at Washington. In addition they believed, with the I. W. W., in the sympathetic strike, the boycott—and the necessity of solidarity among all the ranks of labor. The following excerpt from the Final Report of the United States Industrial Commission (1900) explains the administrative policy of the organization:

The fundamental idea of the Knights of Labor is the unity of all workers.... It regards this unity of interest as necessitating unity of policy and control; it conceives that unity of control can be effected only by concentrating all responsibility ... in the hands of the men who may be chosen to stand at the head of affairs. The control of the organization rests wholly in the general assembly, and ... the orders of the executive officers, elected by the general assembly, are required to be obeyed by all members. The several trades are separately organized within the order.... The Knights desired to include all productive workers, whether or not they received their compensation in the form of wages.[14]

[Pg 33]

The emphasis placed by the Knights upon the union of skilled and unskilled is significant in relation to the later efforts of the I. W. W. to effect such a union. "I saw," said Grand Master Workman Terence V. Powderly, "that labor-saving machinery was bringing the machinist down to the level of a day laborer, and soon they would be on a level. My aim was to dignify the laborer."[15] Mr. Powderly is reported in the same interview as saying that his greatest difficulty in getting machinists and blacksmiths to join the Knights of Labor lay in the contempt with which they looked upon other workers.

There was a much closer connection in the Knights of Labor between the central organization and the local bodies than is today the case with the American Federation of Labor, which, as its name implies, is a comparatively loose federation of autonomous "international unions." This high degree of centralization of power in the hands of the General Assembly and the national officers was a factor in the disintegration of the order. More important still was the fact of internal dissension, especially the bitter animosity arising out of the Knights' participation in politics. "... There came the question whether the organization should go into politics as a body or not. That question was probably discussed in every Local Assembly in America ... [and] those political questions coming up drove men out of the organization...."[16]

The Knights were a curious mixture of conservative and radical elements. The organization was socialistic, but rather state socialistic than anything else. Despite their arbitration clause they did not believe in the identity of interest of employer and employee. As trade unionists they [Pg 34]were innovators and steered far from the narrow trade type of union imported from England. They said—in words—that they wanted to destroy the wage system. "To point out a way to utterly destroy this system would be a pleasure to me," said Grand Master Workman Powderly.[17] As to the Knights of Labor policy in regard to violence, Perlman says that "... although the leaders of the Knights preached against violence and what we now call sabotage both were nevertheless extensively practiced, as, for instance, in the Southwest Railway strike of 1886." He goes on to draw a parallel between the Knights and the "Wobblies," declaring that the latter preach violence without practicing it, while the Knights practiced it without preaching. He adds that the Knights of Labor adopted coöperation as their official philosophy and the I. W. W. adopted syndicalism and declares that neither practiced their doctrines very much.[18] The disrupted condition of the Knights of Labor in 1902, three years before the organization of the I. W. W., may be understood from the following press dispatch:

The rival factions of the Knights of Labor will each hold a congress at Albany this week beginning Tuesday. Each congress claims to represent the Knights of Labor in this State.... The Hayes faction has at present the books, property and paraphernalia of the Knights of Labor which were awarded to it by the courts some time ago.[19]

[Pg 35]

Simultaneously with the rise of the Knights of Labor in America came the International Workingmen's Association, the famous "International" which, springing up in Europe in the late sixties, soon spread to both sides of the Atlantic. It was first established in the United States in 1871. This first American section of the International made a slogan of the declaration that the emancipation of the working classes must be achieved by the working classes themselves.[20] The organization appears to have been short-lived; for ten years later, in 1881, another body calling itself the International Workingmen's Association was organized at Pittsburgh. This organization, says Tridon, was "made up mostly of laborers and farmers who rejected all parliamentary action and advocated education and propaganda as the best means to bring about a social revolution."[21] In 1887, when they had about 6,000 members, they attempted to amalgamate with the Socialist Labor party, but the negotiations failed and they disbanded.[22]

Meantime the anarchists had been busy in this country. In 1881, the year which marks the birth of the American Federation of Labor (then called the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada), the difference between them and those who advocated political action finally assumed definite form in the organization by the anarchist advocates of physical force of the Revolutionary Socialist party. In 1883 there was held a joint convention of the "revolutionary socialists" and the anarchists which resulted in the birth of the International Working People's Association.[23] At this convention [Pg 36]were gathered representatives of anarchist and revolutionary socialist groups from twenty-six cities. These delegates drafted the famous Pittsburgh proclamation which demanded "the destruction of the existing government by all means, i. e., by energetic, implacable, revolutionary and international action" and the establishment of an industrial system based upon "the free exchange of equivalent products between the producing organizations themselves and without the intervention of middlemen and profit-making."[24] In the course of two years the membership of the International grew to about 7,000. Then in 1888 came the Haymarket tragedy and the International soon passed out of existence. The anarchists were in control of this organization and great stress was laid upon revolutionary tactics and direct action, with a corresponding depreciation of political action. John Most, the anarchist, had come to this country in 1882 and the organization of the International Working People's Association was largely due to his agitation here.

There is no doubt that all the main ideas of modern revolutionary unionism as exhibited by the I. W. W. may be found in the old International Workingmen's Association.[25] The I. W. W. organ, The Industrial Worker, asserts that "we must trace the origin of the ideas of modern, revolutionary unionism to the International."[26] Comparing the French cousin of our modern I. W. W. with the older Association, James Guillaume asks, "et qu'est-ce que la confédération générale du Travail si non la continuation de l'internationale?"[27] Many items in the program originally [Pg 37]drafted by the famous anarchist, Michael Bakunin, for the International in 1868 are very similar to the twentieth century slogans of the I. W. W.

It began by declaring itself atheist, "L'alliance se déclare athée," and went on to assert that its chief work was to be the abolition of religion and the substitution of science for faith. It advocated the political, social and economic equality of the classes, to achieve which end all governments were to be abolished. It opposed not only all centralized organization, but also all forms of political action, and believed that groups of producers, instead of the community, should have control of the processes of industry.[28]

"Ennemie de tout despotisme, ne reconnaisant d'autre forme politique que la forme républicaine, et rejetant absolument toute alliance réactionnaire, elle repousse aussi toute action politique qui n'aurait pas pour but immédiat et direct le triomphe de la cause des travailleurs contre le capital."[29]

A secret organization, known as the Sovereigns of Industry, was launched at Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1874. It admitted both men and women. Its Preamble stated that it was "an association of the industrial working classes without regard to race, color, nationality or occupation; not founded for the purpose of waging any war of aggression upon any other class or fostering any antagonism of labor against capital ... but for mutual assistance in self-improvement and self-protection."[30] Its ultimate purpose, however, appeared to be the elimination of the wage system.

In the same year was formed a socialist organization [Pg 38]called "The Association of United Workers of America."[31] This body, together with several other organizations of socialists, merged to form the Workingman's Party in 1876. The following year the name was changed to the Socialist Labor Party. The year 1874 also marks the birth of the Industrial Brotherhood, an organization somewhat similar to the Knights of Labor but which did not survive the seventies.[32]

A decade later (1884) the National Union of the United Brewery Workmen of the United States[33] was organized. Next to the United Mine Workers this is today the strongest industrially organized union in America. This union has almost from the beginning admitted to its membership not only brewers but also drivers (of brewery wagons), maltsters, engineers and firemen employed in breweries, etc.—all workmen, in fact, who are employed in and around the breweries. Until 1896 the Brewers were a part of the Knights of Labor. Since then they have been almost continuously affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. They have, however, always insisted upon industrial unionism so far as structure is concerned and have more than once been at loggerheads with the Federation on this score. The Brewery Workmen's Union, although conservative in every other way, is cited by I. W. W.'s, no less than the Mine Workers, as a model of the correct thing in labor-union structure. In 1890 the United Mine Workers' Union of America was formed. The organization is today the largest union in this country, if not in the world. It is unquestionably the strongest industrial union in the world. Since [Pg 39]1905 the revolutionary industrial I. W. W.'s have looked with admiration upon the structural form of the Mine Workers' Union—and with impatient scorn upon their conservative tactics.

In England also there came at this time a high tide of sentiment for the "new unionism."

The day has gone by for the efforts of isolated trades [wrote H. M. Hyndman]. Nothing is to be gained for the workers as a class without the complete organization of labourers of all grades, skilled and unskilled.... We appeal ... to the skilled artisans of all trades ... to make common cause with their unskilled brethren and with us Social Democrats so that the workers may themselves take hold of the means of production and organize a coöperative commonwealth....[34]

What is even more significant in view of the present day I. W. W. demand for industrial control is the fact that there was constantly cropping up in the eighties the Owenite demand that the workers must be allowed to "own their own factories and decide by vote who their managers and foremen shall be."[35]

In 1888 came the famous Haymarket riots in Chicago. The effect of this tragedy was unquestionably to give the labor and socialist movements a serious setback.

The labor movement [says Robert Hunter] lay stunned after its brief flirtation with anarchy. The union men drew away from the anarchist agitators, and, taking their information from the capitalist press only, concluded that socialism and anarchism were the same thing, and would, if tolerated, lead the movement to ruin and disaster. Without a doubt, the bomb in Chicago put back the labor movement for years. It ... did more to induce the rank and file of trade unionists to [Pg 40]reject all association with revolutionary ideas than perhaps all other things put together.[36]

Justus Ebert, who is now a member of the I. W. W., declares that the Haymarket affair "involved the new Socialist Labor party in a fierce discussion of the right course to pursue in the emancipation of labor."[37] Robert Hunter thinks that these riots really gave the French unionists the idea of the General Strike and thus helped to give form, first, to modern French syndicalism, and second, both by relay back to this side of the Atlantic and directly by its influence in this country, to American syndicalism in the form of the Industrial Workers of the World.[38]

Five years after Haymarket—in June, 1893—an industrial union of railway employees was organized in Chicago by Eugene V. Debs. A year later, at the time of the Pullman strike, it had a membership of 150,000. The failure of that strike, which by the way was an early example of I. W. W. tactics, broke down the union, and it passed out of existence in 1897.

The year 1893 also marks the beginning of the Western Federation of Miners,[39] which may well be ranked as the chief predecessor of the I. W. W. The coal miners had formed their national organization three years earlier. Both the coal and metalliferous miners' unions were built from the start upon the industrial type, that is, including in their membership in both cases "all persons employed in and around the mines." The Western Federation of Miners was organized in Butte, Montana, in 1893, and almost immediately affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. It separated from the Federation, however, in 1897 and, [Pg 41]after a period of independent existence broken by alliances with the Western Labor Union in 1898 and with the I. W. W. in 1905, rejoined the A. F. of L. in 1911.

During the twelve years of the Western Federation's existence before the birth of the I. W. W., it figured in the most strenuous and dramatic series of strike disturbances in the history of the American labor movement. Swift on each others' heels came the terrors of Coeur d'Alene in 1893, Cripple Creek in 1894, Leadville in 1896-7, Salt Lake and the Coeur d'Alene again in 1899, Telluride in 1901, Idaho Springs in 1903, and Cripple Creek again in 1903-4. The Federation was—in its first decade particularly—as militantly radical as the coal miners' union was conservative. The strikes in which it has engaged have been usually marked by much disorder and violence.[40] During the Idaho Springs strike in 1903 an indignation meeting of the citizens was called for July 29th by the Citizens' Protective League—an association of mine owners and business men. At this meeting one of the local merchants said: "Moyer and Haywood are the arch anarchists of this country, along with Herr Most. I see that Moyer is coming to Idaho Springs tomorrow. I want to say that if the people allow him to land his feet in Clear Creek County they are dirty arrant cowards." Very shortly the meeting passed a resolution to deport the strikers, adjourned to the jail, demanded the prisoners, ordered out 14 of the 23 there incarcerated and deported them.[41]

There is no doubt that the terrible strike troubles during the nineties and the early years of this century had their effect in working union men up to the radically pioneering pitch. These struggles were surely the birth signs of the [Pg 42]coming militant industrialism of the Industrial Workers of the World. Wm. D. Haywood, now General Secretary-Treasurer of the I. W. W., and Vincent St. John, for several years in the same position, were both active and leading members of the W. F. M. during its earlier years. The Federation was less scornful of politics than the I. W. W. The Western Miners were forced by the obvious connivance between the state and city governments and the mine operators, by the use of the militia for the suppression of strikes and by the abuse of the injunction, to consider the possibilities of political action along socialistic lines. At their convention in 1902 they resolved "to adopt the principle of socialism without equivocation."[42] This resolution was reaffirmed in 1903 and 1904. "We recommend the Socialist party," reads their statement in 1904, "to the toiling masses of humanity as the only source through which they can secure ... complete emancipation from the present system of wage slavery...."[43] "Let all strike industrially here and now, if necessary," runs another resolution (signed, by the way, by William D. Haywood), "and then strike in unity at the ballot-box for the true solution of the labor problem by putting men of our class into public office...."[44]

The Federation was not actually content, however, with political activity. It has been made quite evident that the economic weapon of the strike was not neglected. In addition to this the fundamental and at that time rarely discussed problem of employees' control in industry was seriously discussed. At the tenth convention, Wm. D. Haywood proposed that the Federation invest some of its money in mines, to be operated by its members for the benefit of [Pg 43]the unions.[45] At the following meeting President Moyer proposed that the Federation secure control of and operate mines and levy assessments for the purpose.[46] The plan had to be given up at that time because the Federation just then faced unusual difficulties because of the strike confronting it. Nevertheless, this idea of industrial workers' control had its effect in impressing the miners with the notion that in their union "they had an agency that could carry on and control production for their own benefit."

Some conception of the unusually radical temper of the Western Federation may be had from the Preamble to its constitution. It declares that

there is a class struggle in society and that this struggle is caused by economic conditions; ... the producer ... is exploited of the wealth which he produces, being allowed to retain barely sufficient for his elementary necessities; ... that the class struggle will continue until the producer is recognized as the sole master of his product; ... that the working class, and it alone, can and must achieve its own emancipation; ... [and] finally, that an industrial union and the concerted political action of all wage workers is the only method of attaining this end.

For these reasons, the Preamble concludes, "the wage slaves employed in and around the mines, mills and smelters have associated in the Western Federation of Miners."[47]

The Western Federation of Miners was the effective agency in the formation at Salt Lake City in 1898 of the Western Labor Union. It was in this same year that the [Pg 44]Social Democratic party (which became the Socialist party three years later) was organized in Chicago. The Western Labor Union in 1902 moved its headquarters from Butte, Montana, to Chicago, and changed its name to the American Labor Union, which in turn, and inclusive of the W. F. M., merged in 1905 with certain other radical unions to form the Industrial Workers of the World. The American Labor Union was in 1905 apparently on the verge of disruption—practically dead.[48] The Federation of Miners was always the Western (or American) Labor Union's largest and strongest component. It repudiated the American Federation of Labor. The bulk of its membership was unskilled labor and it soon had enrolled, in addition to the mine laborers, large numbers of the cooks, waiters, teamsters, and lumbermen of the western states. It was apparently the first labor organization seriously to attempt the organization of the lumber workers.[49] The Western Labor Union proposed to bring into an industrial organization western wage-workers of all crafts and no crafts; it aimed to include all kinds and degrees of labor, but until 1901 its activities were mostly confined to the mining camps of the West.[50] Indeed, Katz says that "the American Labor Union was practically only another name for the Western Federation of Miners: [being] called into existence to give the miners' union a national character."[51]

The American Labor Union was very decidedly an industrial union—more, however, by anticipation than realization.

[Pg 45]

It resembled our modern I. W. W. in some important particulars. "It believes," says one of the members, "that all employees working for one company, engaged in any one industry, should be managed through ... one authoritative head; that all men employed by one employer, in any one industry [should] be answerable to the employer through one and the same organization...."[52] The approval of its general Executive Board is required before any member local can call a strike.[53] An interchangeable or universal transfer system is provided, as it was later by the I. W. W.[54] The American Labor Union was an industrial organization of more decided political character and sympathies than is the I. W. W. It was, however, decidedly socialistic in its ultimate aim. It seemed to mark the climax of development of industrial unionism of that (political-socialist) type. It will be evident in the following pages that in 1905 began a sharp swing under the I. W. W. banner from socialist industrial unionism to anarcho-syndicalist industrial unionism.

A good many of the leaders of the American Labor Union were members of the Socialist party. "Believing that the time has come," runs the A. L. U. Preamble, "for undivided, independent, working-class political action, we hereby declare in favor of international Socialism and adopt the platform of the Socialist Party of America as the political platform and program of the American Labor Union."[55] Although it endorsed socialism, the A. L. U., unlike the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, admitted workingmen of any political views whatsoever, but resembled the latter organization in its opposition to the American Federation [Pg 46]of Labor and its desire to build up a revolutionary labor movement.

The economic organization of the proletariat [declares the official organ of the A. L. U.] is the heart and soul of the socialist movement, of which the political party is simply the public expression at the ballot box. The purpose of industrial unionism is to organize the working class in approximately the same departments of production as those which will obtain in the coöperative commonwealth, so that, if the workers should lose their franchise, they would still possess an economic organization intelligently trained to take over and collectively administer the tools of industry and the sources of wealth for themselves.[56]

The roots of I. W. W.-ism reached out most vigorously and numerously in the western part of the United States, and the greater part of its strength today is derived from its western membership. The way was prepared for it most largely by western organizations—the Western Federation of Miners being the forerunner par excellence of modern I. W. W.-ism. Two organizations in the East, that is, having their chief strength in the East, played a highly important rôle during the decade preceding the launching of the I. W. W. These organizations were the Socialist Labor party and its trade-union "brain child," the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance. Adequately to fill in this sketch of origins, it is necessary to refer briefly to these two organizations, especially to the S. T. & L. A., the Socialist Labor party's bright ideal of all that a labor union ought to be.

The Socialist Labor party was organized in 1877. It was a merger of the National Labor Union, the North American Federation of the International Workingmen's Association and the Social Democratic Workmen's Party. It[Pg 47] was first known as the Workmen's Party of the United States. The German socialist trade-union element predominated in it.[57] The Socialist Labor party has always been emphatically Marxian and its leaders have been so decidedly doctrinaire in their interpretation of Marxian socialism and in their application of it to the practical work of socialist campaigning and propaganda that they have been not unjustly called impossibilists. Since the organization of the Socialist party in 1901 these two political parties of the socialist faith have been in open and bitter opposition to each other. The Socialist party adopted an opportunist policy, endorsed and often leagued itself with the conservative trade unions, refrained from any attempt to form or coöperate in the formation of socialist unions, and contented itself with the endeavor to make the existing unions socialistic by converting their individual members to socialism—a policy which came to be known as "boring from within." The Socialist Labor party, on the other hand, embraced a doctrinaire "impossibilist" policy, violently attacked the trade unions, made its slogan "no compromise and no political trading," and insisted that new unions, industrial in structure and socialist in purpose and principle should be created in opposition to the craft unions, whose structure and spirit it despaired of changing by "boring from within." The Socialist party has waxed strong and powerful. Its rival has languished and is today too small a group to be called a party.

The Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance was organized in 1895, the same year which witnessed the birth of the organized syndicalist movement in France in the form of the Confédération Générale du Travail. On December 6th of that year a delegation from District Assembly 49 of the Knights of Labor met in conjunction with the Central Labor[Pg 48] Federation of New York City and launched the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance. The idea of this organization seems to have originated with Daniel DeLeon, whom his enemies called "the Pope of the S. L. P." and who was undoubtedly the leading student of Marxian socialism in this country. He was convinced that, as one of his followers expressed it, "without the organization of the workers into a class-conscious revolutionary body on the industrial field, socialism would remain but an aspiration."[58] "The S. T. & L. A." declares N. I. Stone, "was the most unique example of a socialist trade-union, anti-pure-and-simple organization in the annals of labor history...." "It came down upon us," he said, "full fledged from top to bottom as the masterpiece of our 'Master Workman' [DeLeon] and took us by surprise; but take it did...."[59]

In 1896 at the first convention of the Socialist Labor party after the organization of the S. T. & L. A. the party formally endorsed the latter organization. Mr. Hugo Vogt addressed the convention in behalf of the S. T. & L. A. "The whole of this labor movement," he said, "must become saturated with socialism, must be placed under socialist control, if we mean to bring together the whole working class into that army of emancipation which we need to accomplish our purpose."[60] He went on to explain that "in order to make it impossible for any masked swindlers to obtain influence in the Alliance, and to swing it back to the conservative side, we have provided that every officer ... shall take a pledge that he will not be affiliated with any [Pg 49]capitalist party and will not support any political action except that of the Socialist Labor party."[61]

The Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance was patterned very closely after the Knights of Labor. Wm. E. Trautmann called it "a duodecimo edition of the K. of L."[62] "It had the same district alliances with the same intellectuals as leaders: the same local craft organizations and the same mixed locals [as well as] the same centralized autocracy at headquarters...." He concludes that "the most fatal weakness of all was the political union of the S. T. & L. A. with the S. L. P."[63] The Alliance was, after all, a revolutionary socialist trade union rather than an industrial union. It differed from the American Labor Union and other forerunners mentioned above in this lack of industrial structure as well as in the emphasis it laid on the need of rallying to the support of the Socialist Labor party, with which organization it stood in the most intimate relations and to which most of its members belonged. It was actually sceptical about the efficacy of purely economic action. In common with I. W. W. later on, and in spite of the fact that its own locals were virtually trade or craft locals, it nourished an almost bitter hatred of the craft unions. "We simply have to go at them," said one of its members, "and smash them from top to bottom...."[64] Its animus was directed, however, at their conservatism and not so much at their craft structure.

In its "Declaration of Principles" the Alliance asserted that

the methods and spirit of labor organization are absolutely [Pg 50]impotent to resist the aggressions of concentrated capital ...; that the economic power of the capitalist class ... rests upon institutions, essentially political, which ... cannot be radically changed ... except through the direct action of the working people themselves, economically and politically united as a class.

This Declaration concludes with the following statement of the chief object of the Alliance:

The summary ending of that barbarous [class] struggle at the earliest possible time by the abolition of classes, the restoration of the land and of all the means of production, transportation and distribution to the people as a collective body, and the substitution of the coöperative commonwealth for the present state of planless production, industrial war and social disorder; a commonwealth in which every worker shall have the free exercise and full benefit of his faculties, multiplied by all the modern factors of civilization.[65]

In the body of its constitution the objects of the Alliance are set forth more explicitly. They are declared to be to bring about the adoption of its principles

by bodies of organized labor which are still governed ... by the tenets or traditions of the "Old Unionism Pure and Simple"; to organize into local and district alliances all the wage workers, skilled or unskilled; ... to further the political movement of the working class and its development on the lines of international socialism as represented on this continent by the Socialist Labor party.[66]

The Socialist Labor party naturally greeted the Alliance with enthusiasm. After officially endorsing the Alliance, the 1896 convention passed a resolution of welcome.

[Pg 51]

We hail with unqualified joy [it declared] the formation of the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance as a great stride toward throwing off the yoke of wage slavery.... We call upon the socialists of the land to carry the revolutionary spirit of the S. T. and L. A. into all the organizations of the workers and thus consolidate ... the proletariat of America in an irresistible class conscious army, equipped both with the shield of the economic organization and the sword of the Socialist Labor party ballot.[67]

During this S. T. and L. A. period Daniel DeLeon looked upon revolutionary unionism as being necessarily pro-political rather than pro-industrial and non-political. He then felt that the political movement must dominate the unions as they are in Germany dominated by the Social Democracy. He later became convinced that revolutionary unionism must dominate the political movement, and that the revolutionary union had a decisive mission in the Socialist movement.

The S. T. and L. A. [says Fraina] was largely a weapon to fight conservative A. F. of L. politics. The friends of the A. F. of L. roared in protest and ... split the Socialist movement to save the A. F. of L.... DeLeon's revolutionary unionism was largely a means to prevent the socialist political movement [from] being controlled by the Aristocracy of Labor and the Middle Class—two social groups which ... have certain interests in common and against the revolutionary proletariat.[68]

The composition and membership of the S. T. and L. A. in July, 1898, were as follows:

[Pg 52]

German Waiters 260
Ale and Porter Union 200
United Engineers 60
Marquette Workers 70
Carl Sahm Club 80
Piano Makers 520
Bohemian Butchers 150
Bartenders 90
Furriers 250
Silver Workers 40
Empire City Lodge 35
New York Cooks 55
German Coppersmiths 80
Macaroni Workers 65
Progressive Cigarette Makers 970
Bohemian Typographia 32
Swedish Machinists 98
Progressive Typographia 15
Pressmen and Feeders 18
Independent Bakers No. 33 60
Independent Bakers No. 25 45
Liberty Waiters 65
3,258 [69]

Far from being superior to the old [craft] organization(s), [says Stone] it is very much inferior.... With an insignificant membership, without controlling as much as a large factory, not to speak of a trade, at war not only with the bosses, ... but with every trade union which does not come under its mighty wing—it was unable to undertake any step of importance, in order to improve the condition of its members. The only strike of significance which it had, that at Slatersville [Rhode Island] was a failure after it had cost the Party about $1,500....[70]

The Alliance was scarcely more than a phantom organization on the eve of the launching of the I. W. W. in [Pg 53]1905. The same may be said of all the western unions which in that year merged in the I. W. W., except the Western Federation of Miners. The S. L. P. and the S. T. and L. A. "talk of capturing the convention to be held on June 27 [the 1st I. W. W. convention].... That convention should be not a revival, but the funeral, of the S. T. and L. A."[71] This expressed fairly well the attitude of the Socialist party men. "Born in hatred, suckled in dissension," as one socialist writer sees it, "the sole partisan trade union that ever arose to deny the principles and policies of international socialism came to destruction by its own venom, not however, until it had implanted the poison of its spirit into the Industrial Workers of the World."[72]

The main ideas of I. W. W.-ism—certainly of the I. W. W.-ism of the first few years after 1905—were of American origin, not French, as is commonly supposed. These sentiments were brewing in France, it is true, in the early nineties,[73] but they were brewing also in this country and the American brew was essentially different from the French. It was only after 1908 that the syndicalisme révolutionnaire of France had any direct influence on the revolutionary industrial unionist movement here. Even then it was largely a matter of borrowing such phrases as sabotage, la grève perlée, etc. The tactics back of the words sabotage and "direct action" had been practiced by American working men years before those words ever came into use among our radical unionists. "The Western Labor Union," says Walling, "was applying these principles in the Rocky [Pg 54]Mountains, under the leadership of Haywood and others, several years before the French Confederation of Labor was formed...."[74] Some premonition of the power of a labor union including all—or even a large proportion of—the unskilled was given by the Western Federation of Miners, the American Labor Union, the American Railway Union, and other American organizations already referred to.

During the first five years of this century the idea of militant industrial unionism underwent rapid development. Unionists were coming to have a much broader view of the social rôle of the labor union. The actual trend of events opened the way for reorganization on new lines. The organizations which were to make up the I. W. W. were almost without exception in unprosperous straits, some of them being on the verge of disruption. All of them were bitter in their opposition to the American Federation of Labor—with which organization, indeed, few of them were affiliated. The United Metal Workers had been affiliated but withdrew in December, 1904. There was probably little left but a remnant when they joined the I. W. W. the following year. The same is true of the United Brotherhood of Railway Employees. Even the American Labor Union—except its "mining division," the W. F. M.—was skirting the edge of dissolution.[75] The Socialist Labor party and its "puny child," the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, were in a bad way. Among the United Mine Workers there was dissension in many localities. There was dissatisfaction with the leaders and especially with the upshot of the strike settlement of 1902. Moreover, the miners as [Pg 55]well as the United Brewery Workmen were embittered by constant criticism of their industrial form of organization. The latter were threatened with the prospect of a revocation of their charter by the Federation. There were thus a number of "national" organizations and many locals in other bodies which were anxious to create some central labor organization to strengthen the forces of industrial unionism. The Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, though on the decline, still included a considerable body of workers who were impatient of the conservatism of the A. F. of L. and desired somehow to build up a strong revolutionary (this meaning for them a Marxian socialist) organization. The Western Federation of Miners—stronger than all the others put together—was not excelled by any of them in its revolutionary zeal. It had the power as well as the enthusiasm. Moreover, it represented revolutionary industrial unionism more completely than did the smaller unions in the West and the Alliance in the East. The Alliance, in fact, was a revolutionary union without the industrial character and without much real appreciation of the meaning and importance of the idea of industrial as opposed to craft organization. The miners, however, had a big, powerful union of an emphatically industrial character and their experience had made them very militant.[76]

Much of this hard experience consisted in a gradual process of disillusionment about the virtue and goodness of the state so far as its relations with labor were concerned. The long series of violent and protracted strikes between the Western Federation and the mine operators and the rôle[Pg 56] played therein by the state government convinced the miners that they would be more successful in gaining their political ends if they had more economic power to back up their requests. The miners were convinced, therefore, that the imperative need of the hour was for the extension to other industries of their type of industrial organization inspired by socialist aims. This would make solidarity possible, not only between skilled and unskilled in the metalliferous mines but also in all mines, all shops, all industries. They felt that then indeed would an injury to one be the concern of all.[77]

[Pg 57]


[3] Cf. Brooks, American Syndicalism (New York, 1913), ch. vi and Tridon, The New Unionism, 4th printing (New York, 1917), p. 67.

[4] Cf. C. Osborne Ward, A history of the ancient working people, from the earliest known period to the adoption of Christianity by Constantine (The Ancient Lowly), Washington, D. C., Press of the Craftsman, 1889, p. 140.

[5] "Stellen wir also vor allem fest, das die syndikalistische Bewegung ... in ihren Tendenzen and ihrer Taktik als eine Volksbewegung, eine Bewegung in den Arbeiterkreisen selbst, entstanden ist, deren geschichtlichen Ursprung man ... bis in den Anfang der neunziger Jahre, ja selbst in die Zeit der alten Internationale zurück verlegen muss." (Ch. Cornélissen, "Ueber den internationalen Syndikalismus"—Archiv für Sozial Wissenschaft und Sozial-Politik, vol. xxx (1910), p. 151.)

[6] Webb, History of Trade Unionism (London, 1902), new ed., pp. 144-5.

[7] Ibid., p. 404. In ch. iii, the Webbs give an interesting description of this "revolutionary period" in English unionism.

[8] Commons (Ed.), Documentary History of American Industrial Society (Cleveland, O., A. H. Clark Co., 1910-11), vol. vi, pp. 211-16. Reprinted from The Man (New York), September 6, 1834.

[9] Ely, Labor Movement in America (New York, 1890), p. 69. Tridon (The New Unionism, p. 92), claims that by 1868 it had a membership of 640,000. It was apparently represented at the Basle convention of the International in 1869. Cf. also Hillquit, Morris, History of Socialism in the United States (5th ed., New York, 1910), p. 193.

[10] One of the Knights stated to the U. S. Industrial Commission (Report, vol. vii [1900], p. 420), that in 1888 the Knights of Labor had 1,200,000 members. In 1886 the organization contained nearly 9,000 local unions.

[11] Testimony before U. S. Industrial Commission, Washington, D. C., Dec. 15, 1898. Report of the Industrial Commission, vol. vii, p. 94.

[12] Constitution, Knights of Labor, pp. 3-6.

[13] T. V. Powderly, Thirty Years of Labor (Columbus, O., 1889), p. 151.

[14] Vol. xix (1902), p. 798.

[15] New York Sun, March 29, 1886, p. 1, col. 5. (Interview.)

[16] J. G. Schonfarber, testimony before U. S. Industrial Commission, Washington, D. C., Dec. 5, 1899. Report, vol. vii (1901), p. 423.

[17] Quoted by McNeill (Ed.), The Labor Movement: The Problem of To-day (New York, 1887), p. 410.

[18] Perlman, S., "Plan of an Investigation of the I. W. W." (MS. report to U. S. Commission on Industrial Relations), p. 1.

[19] "Labor Knights Dispute," The New York Times, Jan. 12, 1902, p. 24. For an excellent short historical sketch of the Knights of Labor, see Report of the Industrial Commission (1901), vol. xvii, pp. 3-24.

[20] Commons, Documentary History of American Industrial Society, vol. ix, p. 358.

[21] Tridon, op. cit., pp. 93-94.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Cf. Ebert, Justus, American Industrial Evolution (New York: New York Labor News Co., 1907), p. 64.

[24] Tridon, op. cit., p. 93.

[25] Cf. Compte-rendu officiel du sixième congrès générale de l'association internationale des travailleurs.... Geneva, 1873 (Locle, 1874).

[26] June 18, 1910, p. 2.

[27] L'Internationale: documents et souvenirs 1864-78 (Paris, Cornély, 1905-10), vol. iv, p. vii.

[28] James Guillaume, op. cit., vol. i, pp. 132-133.

[29] Loc. cit., pp. 132-133.

[30] F. T. Carlton, "Ephemeral labor movements," Popular Science Monthly, vol. lxxxv, p. 494 (November, 1914).

[31] Vide reprint of its General Rules, published in 1874, Commons, Documentary History of American Industrial Society, vol. ix, pp. 376-8.

[32] Report of the Industrial Commission, vol. xvii, p. 3, and Powderly, T. V., Thirty Years of Labor (Columbus, Ohio, 1889), p. 126.

[33] Now the International Union of United Brewery, Flour, Cereal and Soft Drink Workers of America.

[34] "The decay of trade unions," Justice, June, 1887, quoted by Webb, History of Trade Unionism, p. 396.

[35] Webb, op. cit., pp. 396-397.

[36] "The General Strike"; iii, In America and France, Oakland (Calif.) World, Dec. 28, 1912.

[37] Justus Ebert, American Industrial Evolution, p. 63.

[38] Op. cit., Oakland World, Dec. 28, 1912.

[39] Now the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers.

[40] Vide, Federal Report on "Labor disturbances in Colorado: 1880-1904," (58th Cong., 3d Sess., no. 122, 1905), pp. 107, 149.

[41] Ibid., pp. 152-155.

[42] Federal Report on "Labor Disturbances in Colorado," p. 42.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Proceedings Tenth W. F. M. Convention, Denver, 1902, p. 161.

[45] Proceedings Tenth W. F. M. Convention, pp. 163-165. Vincent St. John was also interested as a proponent of this plan.

[46] Proceedings Eleventh W. F. M. Convention (1903), pp. 33-34.

[47] Constitution and By-Laws of the Western Federation of Miners (1910), p. 3.

[48] Proceedings Sixteenth Convention W. F. M., p. 17 (Report of President C. H. Moyer).

[49] Cf. Haywood, "The timber worker and the timber wolves," International Socialist Review, vol. xiii, p. 110 (August, 1912).

[50] Proceedings Sixteenth Convention W. F. M., p. 17.

[51] Rudolph Katz, "With DeLeon since '89," Weekly People, September 4, 1915, p. 4.

[52] "Industrial Union Epigrams," Voice of Labor, March, 1905.

[53] Preamble, Constitution and Laws of the A. L. U., p. 20.

[54] Ibid., art. ix, sec. 11 and sec. 12.

[55] Preamble, Constitution and Laws, pp. 4-5.

[56] American Labor Union Journal, Dec., 1904. Quoted by Ebert, American Industrial Evolution, p. 82.

[57] Ebert, American Industrial Evolution, p. 61.

[58] Katz, "With DeLeon since '89," Weekly People, April 24, 1915, p. 3.

[59] Stone, N. I., Attitude of the Socialists to the Trade Unions (pamphlet, New York, 1900, Volkszeitung Library, vol. ii, Apr., 1900), p. 6.

[60] Quoted by Robt. Hunter, "The trade unions and the Socialist Party," Miners' Magazine, March 7, 1912, p. 11.

[61] Hunter, loc. cit.

[62] Voice of Labor, May, 1905.

[63] Ibid.

[64] Delegate Hickey, Proceedings Tenth S. L. P. Convention, p. 220.

[65] Constitution of the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance of the United States and Canada (1902), pp. 3-4. (Italics mine.)

[66] Ibid., p. 5.

[67] Proceedings, Ninth S. L. P. Convention, 1896, p. 30.

[68] Louis Fraina, "DeLeon," The New Review, July, 1914, vol. ii. p. 393.

[69] Stone, op. cit., p. 13. "At the most liberal estimate, the total strength of the Alliance did not exceed 15,000 at that time (1898)." Ibid., p. 14.

[70] Ibid., p. 15.

[71] Letter of Wm. E. Trautmann, Voice of Labor, May, 1905.

[72] Robt. Hunter, "The Trade Unions and the Socialist party," Miners' Magazine, March 7, 1912, p. 11.

[73] Vide, Cornélissen, "Ueber den internationalen Syndikalismus," Archiv für Sozial Wissenschaft und Sozial-Politik, xxx (1910), p. 150. Cf. also Industrial Worker, June 18, 1910, p. 2.

[74] "Industrialism or revolutionary unionism," The New Review, Jan. 11, 1913, vol. i, p. 47.

[75] Proceedings, Sixteenth W. F. M. Convention (Report of President Moyer), pp. 17-18.

[76] Cf. Louis Levine, "The Development of Syndicalism in America," Political Science Quarterly, vol. xxviii, pp. 460-462 (Sept., 1913). Cf. also Selig Perlman, "From Socialism to Anarchism and Syndicalism" (1876-1884), pp. 269-300 (vol. ii, chap. 6), in Commons and others, History of Labor in the United States.

[77] There is an excellent description of the older industrial unions, particularly the Western Federation of Miners and the United Brewery Workmen, in William Kirk's monograph, National Labor Federations in the United States, pt. iii, "Industrial Unions," pp. 117-150, Johns Hopkins University Studies in History and Political Science, ser. xxiv, nos. 9 and 10.

The Birth of the Organization[78]

The Industrial Workers of the World, now more generally known as the I. W. W.[79] was organized at an "Industrial Union Congress" held in Chicago in June, 1905. This first or constitutional convention had its inception in an informal conference held in that city, in the fall of 1904, by six men of prominence in the socialist and labor movement. These conferees were: William E. Trautmann, editor of the Brauer Zeitung, official organ of the United Brewery Workmen; George Estes, President of the United Brotherhood of Railway Employees; W. L. Hall, General Secretary-Treasurer of the United Brotherhood of Railway Employees; Isaac Cowen, American representative of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers of Great Britain; Clarence Smith, General Secretary-Treasurer of the American [Pg 58]Labor Union; and Thomas J. Hagerty, editor of the Voice of Labor, official organ of the American Labor Union.[80] Several others not present at this conference were at that time actively interested in the matter and coöperated in carrying out these prenatal plans. Two of them, Eugene V. Debs and Charles O. Sherman, General Secretary of United Metal Workers International Union, were destined to play important rôles in the organization.

These men were impelled by a common conviction that the labor unions of America were becoming powerless to achieve real benefits for working men and women. This feeling was confirmed and intensified by many recent events in the trade-union movement. It was not the more conservative, "aristocratic" unions alone which were found wanting. Even those labor organizations of the industrial and radical type, such as the American Labor Union, the Western Federation of Miners, and the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, were believed to be, for one reason or another, quite unprepared to negotiate—much less to fight—with the ever more highly integrated organizations of employers. At the constitutional convention in June, 1905, Clarence Smith of the American Labor Union explained the reasons for initiating the movement.

This conviction of ineffectiveness in the face of opportunities for effective work was strengthened [he said] at the general convention of the International Union of United Brewery Workmen last September. It seemed clear that a united, harmonious and consistent request from all unions and organizations of the American Labor Union, backed by an administration in whom the rank and file of the brewery workers had[Pg 59] confidence, would have brought the Brewery Workmen into the American Labor Union at that time. And what would have been true of the Brewery Workmen would have been true also of other organizations of an industrial character. It therefore seemed the first duty of conscientious union men, regardless of affiliation, prejudice or personal interest, to lay the foundation upon which all the working people, many of whom are now organized, might unite upon a common ground to build a labor organization that would correspond to modern industrial conditions, and through which they might finally secure complete emancipation from wage-slavery for all wage-workers.[81]

In order to go over the matter and discuss plans more thoroughly, it was decided to arrange for a larger meeting. On November 29 a letter of invitation was sent to about thirty persons then prominent in the radical labor and Socialist movements. This letter contained the following significant paragraph:

Asserting our confidence in the ability of the working class, if correctly organized on both political and industrial lines, to take possession of and operate successfully ... the industries of the country;

Believing that working-class political expression, through the Socialist ballot, in order to be sound, must have its economic counterpart in a labor organization builded as the structure of socialist society, embracing within itself the working-class in approximately the same groups and departments and industries that the workers would assume in the working-class administration of the Co-operative Commonwealth ...;

We invite you to meet us at Chicago, Monday, January 2, 1905, in secret conference to discuss ways and means of uniting the working people of America on correct revolutionary principles, regardless of any general labor organization of past[Pg 60] or present, and only restricted by such basic principles as will insure its integrity as a real protector of the interests of the workers.[82]

It is noteworthy fact that, although the proposition was concurred in and the invitation accepted with enthusiasm by the great majority of those invited, agreement was not unanimous. There were two dissenters—Victor Berger and Max Hayes. It is not recorded that Mr. Berger even sent his "regrets," but Mr. Hayes explained his position at length. In a letter to W. L. Hall, December 30, 1904, he said:

This sounds to me as though we were to have another Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance experiment again; that we, who are in the trade-unions as at present constituted, are to cut loose and flock by ourselves. If I am correct in my surmises it means another running fight between Socialists on the one side and all other partisans on the other.... If there is any fighting to be done I intend ... to agitate on the inside of the organizations now in existence....[83]

The Western Federation of Miners did not lack enthusiasm for this wider venture in industrial unionism. President Moyer's report to the thirteenth convention, which met just one month before the constitutional convention of June, 1905, contained the following:

The Twelfth Annual Convention instructed your Executive Board to take such action as might be necessary in order that the representatives of organized labor might be brought together and plans outlined for the amalgamation of the entire [Pg 61]wage-working class into one general organization. Following out these instructions at a meeting held in the month of December it was decided to send a committee to meet with the officers of the American Labor Union. This conference took place January 4.... The result ... was the Manifesto.... The question for you to decide is not one of changing the principles, policy or plan of your organization, but as to whether or not the Western Federation of Miners shall become a working part of such a movement as set forth in the Manifesto, which shall consist of one great industrial union embracing all industries.[84]

At about the same time J. M. O'Neill, the editor of the Miners' Magazine, wrote William D. Haywood, the treasurer of the Federation, that

if this convention goes on record giving its unanimous sanction to the movement that is contemplated in Chicago, such action will be heralded from the Atlantic to the Pacific, ... and will create a sentiment that will keep on crystallizing until capitalism will feel that it is threatened in the citadel of its entrenched power.[85]

The secret conference—thereafter to be known as the January Conference—was called to order in the city of Chicago on the second of January by William E. Trautmann. There were twenty-three persons present, representing nine different organizations; that is, of course, exclusive of members of the Socialist and Socialist Labor parties, who were not present formally as such. There were present five officials of the United Brotherhood of Railway Employees and one member of the Brewery Workmen. Among [Pg 62]those present were: Charles H. Moyer, President, Western Federation of Miners; W. D. Haywood, Secretary of the Western Federation of Miners; J. M. O'Neill, editor of the Miners' Magazine; A. M. Simons, editor of The International Socialist Review; Frank Bohn, organizer, Socialist Labor party and the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance; T. J. Hagerty, editor of The Voice of Labor; C. O. Sherman, of the United Metal Workers; and "Mother" Mary Jones. During a three days' session plans for a proposed new labor organization were seriously discussed and carefully worked out. The report of their committee on methods and procedure was worked up by the members of the conference into a "Manifesto"[86] which contained (1) an indictment of "things as they are" in the trade-union world; (2) leading propositions and tentative plans for a new departure in labor organization; and (3) a call for a convention to organize this new union.

The first part of this document is devoted to a discussion of certain modern tendencies in the labor movement. Trade divisions among laborers and competition among capitalists are both disappearing. The machine process is more and more tending to minimize skill and swell the ranks of the unskilled and unemployed. The incidence of the machine process is fatal to labor groups divided according to the tool used. "These divisions," in the words of the Manifesto, "far from representing differences in skill or interests among the laborers, are imposed by the employers that workers may be pitted against one another and spurred to greater exertion in the shop, and that all resistance to capitalist tyranny may be weakened by artificial distinctions." The employees, however, are united on the industrial plan[Pg 63] and reënforce their consequent impregnable position by making use of the military power and their affiliation with the National Civic Federation.

The craft form of organization is severely criticized. It makes solidarity impossible, for it generates a system of organized scabbery, where union men scab on each other. It results in trade monopolies, prohibitive initiation fees and political ignorance. It dwarfs class consciousness and tends to "foster the idea of harmony of interests between employing exploiter and employed slave."

Passing on to the remedy proposed, the Manifesto declares that

a movement to fulfil these conditions must consist of one great industrial union embracing all industries, providing for craft autonomy locally, industrial autonomy internationally, and working-class unity generally. It must be founded on the class struggle ... and established as the economic organization of the working class, without affiliation with any political party.[87]

The phrase, "craft autonomy," is odd—for industrialists. A. M. Simons gives an explanation. He says that any union entering the I. W. W. "will retain trade autonomy in matters that concern each trade as completely as at the present time, but when it enters the field of other trades, instead of being met by trade competition ... will be met by the coöperation of affiliated unions."[88] This phrase referring to political parties was the germ of the ill-fated "political clause" of the preamble, which formulated in an indefinite way the issue on which three years later the organization split into two factions.[89] Other clauses provide that (1) all power shall rest with the collective membership; [Pg 64](2) all labels, cards, fees, etc., shall be uniform throughout; (3) the general administration shall issue a publication at regular intervals; and (4) that a central defense fund be established and maintained. The document concluded with a call to all workers who agreed with these principles to "meet in convention in Chicago, the 27th day of June, 1905,—for the purpose of forming an economic organization of the working class along the lines marked out in this Manifesto."

The Manifesto was signed by all those present at the January conference and sent broadcast to all unions throughout America and to the industrial unions of Europe. At this January conference there was dominant a very radical idea as to what a labor organization ought to be. The conferees decided that such an organization should not only provide a means of unifying all crafts and industries for the better protection and advancement of the immediate interests of the working class, but that it must also offer, and consciously push on towards, a final solution of the labor problem, a solution very frankly assumed to be a socialistic one.

To say that these conferees were, broadly speaking, socialists and that they outlined a socialistic program of a certain sort does not mean, as the daily press report insinuated, that the Socialist party was in any way represented in the conference or that it was a political movement. Max S. Hayes, anxious to disclaim on behalf of party Socialists any responsibility for the new undertaking, explained that

As a matter of record and fairness it should be stated that, first, not a single signer to the above call is officially identified with the Socialist Party; secondly, that not one of the signers has been seen or heard or known on the floor of the American Federation of Labor conventions as an advocate of socialism in recent years; and thirdly, it is doubtful whether any American[Pg 65] Federation of Labor delegate, with possibly an exception or two, had the slightest knowledge that the Chicago [January] conference was to be held.[90]

The American Federation of Labor, as the embodiment of the craft idea, was the subject of bitter attack at this prenatal conference. The general opinion seemed to be that the A. F. of L. had outlived its usefulness, and that its extinction—but not necessarily the extinction of its constituent local unions—was a consummation very much to be desired.

The A. F. of L. very naturally resented its proposed annihilation.

The Socialists have called another convention to smash the American trade-union movement [said President Gompers]. Scanning the list of twenty-six signers of this call, one will look in vain to find the name of one man who has not for years been engaged in the delectable work of trying to divert, pervert, and disrupt the labor movement of the country.... We feel sure that the endorsement of the latest accession to this new movement of Mr. Daniel Loeb, alias DeLeon, will bring unction to the souls of these promoters of the latest trade-union smashing scheme. So the trade-union smashers and rammers from without and the "borers from within" are again joining hands; a pleasant sight of the "pirates" and the "kangaroos" hugging each other in glee over their prospective prey.[91]

But the members of the January conference did not propose any wholesale or indiscriminate "smashing from without." It is true they believed the Federation, as a federation, to be harmful to the interests of labor—and would have been nothing loath to "smash" it—but the federated units they proposed to take over and unite in a very different way.

[Pg 66]

Mr. A. M. Simons, who claims to have given the final draft to the Manifesto, says that "the idea expressed at the conference was to form a new central body, into which existing unions and unions to be formed could be admitted, but not to form rival unions."[92] Discussing the January conference in the International Socialist Review,[93] Mr. Simons traces this idea back to two vital tendencies of the day, viz., (1) the merging of trade lines in the class struggle, and (2) the accelerated growth of class-consciousness on the part of the capitalists. He concludes that "the only question about the desirability of forming such an organization is the question of timeliness."

The organized laborers were only a part of the concern of the conference. Over ninety per cent of those gainfully occupied are unorganized. It was, of course, realized that outside of all unions stood the overwhelming majority of all workingmen, and, as Daniel DeLeon put it, these men did not "propose to go into these organizations run by the Organized Scabbery, because they had burned their fingers thus enough. The organization of the future has to be built of the men who are now unorganized—that is, the overwhelming majority of the working men in the nation."[94]

Thus it was really hoped that much could and would be done by workingmen in the existent unions, without breaking away from these local unions. These latter must be pried away from the A. F. of L., but not themselves destroyed. By all means let us "bore from within" as far as that can be done; also when we can bore no longer, let us hammer from without and pound together new bodies from [Pg 67]out the great unorganized mass. This, in brief, was the position of most of the industrialists. However, not all would yet go this far. Even among the Socialist leaders a note of dissent was heard expressing the belief that to "bore from within" was the only revolutionary method not absolutely suicidal.[95] Just what fate awaited these January ideas was to some extent revealed in the proceedings of the June convention.

The convention called in accordance with the Manifesto of the January conference met two hundred strong in Chicago on Tuesday, June 27, 1905. This gathering was first referred to as the "Industrial Congress" or the "Industrial Union Convention," but since before adjournment it had organized itself as the Industrial Workers of the World, it is referred to as the First Annual Convention of the I. W. W. It was a gathering remarkable and epoch-making in more ways than one, and therefore the story of its activities is essential, not only to an understanding of the subsequent career of the organization, but as a fundamental chapter in the whole history of industrial unionism. The discussions and resolutions of the assembly and the final type of organization which grew out of them can be understood only in the light thrown on them by a study of the composition of this revolutionary group of men. Its occupational, structural, and doctrinal character should each be taken into account.

Perhaps the most striking characteristic of this group of two hundred radicals was the bewildering range of occupations represented. The variety of different trades represented and the varying "quality" levels exhibited in the organization here gathered to sink all differences and become as one, were astonishingly great. The following list [Pg 68]of the different organizations represented at the convention reveals at least forty distinct trades or occupations:

The foreign organizations were each represented by at least one delegate with full powers and instructions. The following named bodies sent uninstructed delegates:[Pg 69]

Aside from the occupations represented above, the following were each represented by one or more individuals: machinists, tanners, electrical workers, bookbinders, editors, teachers, authors, printers, and shoe workers. An attorney-at-law from New York City presented himself at the convention. The committee on credentials recommended that he be seated as a fraternal delegate, on account of the mitigating circumstances that he wrote for several newspapers and was a "friend and sympathizer" of labor. After considerable debate the report of the committee was adopted [Pg 70]"with the exception of that portion which refers to the attorney."[98]

This array of occupational or trade types was scarcely more extensive than that of the structural types here grouped together. Of these there were the following types. (1) the simple industrial union, wherein all workers engaged, in whatsoever capacity, in any particular industry are members of the same union. This type was represented by the Western Federation of Miners[99]—really the strongest taproot of the I. W. W. (2) The multi-industrial type, a federation of industrial unions, such as the American Labor Union, which included railway employees, engineers, and musicians. (3) The so-called "international" union, rarely more than national in scope, and merely a national association of local unions of a given trade. This type was represented by the United Metal Workers International Union of America. (4) The non-federative industrial union, like the United Mine Workers of America with industrial rather than trade units, an industrial organization which excludes federation with similar organizations in other industries, or with employers. (5) The ordinary non-federative trade unions, here seen in two types: (a) the trade amalgamation, a federation of unions wherein the constituent bodies are so united as to preserve their individuality, although trade autonomy is thereby destroyed. This type is illustrated here by the Amalgamated Society of Engineers; (b) national unions of any particular trade like the iron molders, wherein the constituent unions are more subordinated to the national body than in the amalgamation. (6) The state federation—as typified by the Utah State Federation of Labor. And finally (7) the rather unconventional type of "union," represented by the Industrial Workers' clubs and the United Labor League.

[Pg 71]

It should be understood that but a small part of the "international" or national bodies was represented as a whole. The greater number were represented by one or two locals. A number of them were affiliated with the American Federation of Labor at the time, but had become dissatisfied with the policies of that body.[100] However, some of the unions most prominent in the activities of the convention were represented as central or national bodies with all their constituent local unions. Such were the American Labor Union and the United Metal Workers.

Those of the unions present which were affiliated with the American Federation of Labor, though forming a fairly large group numerically, represented no material defection from the ranks of the Federation and, generally speaking, played but a passive rôle in the work of the convention. Of the forty-three organizations seated by the credentials committee sixteen were affiliated with the Federation, but at least eleven of these were represented by but one local union. Of all these organizations which had merely local rather than national representation, the United Mine Workers of America was most widely represented, delegates from nine of its local unions being present.[101] A little study of the list of the organizations seated and the localities from which their delegates came, makes it quite evident that on the whole the strong delegations from powerful local bodies, located at strategic points, were those having no connection with the American Federation of Labor, and, conversely, that the fourteen American Federation of Labor unions just referred to were represented as a rule by small and solitary locals of doubtful strength.[102] The insignificant position of [Pg 72]the American Federation of Labor bodies in the convention will become still more manifest by an inspection of the lists given above.[103] It will be seen that only five of the sixteen local unions of the American Federation of Labor which were present had empowered their delegates to install their respective local unions in the new organization: two locals of the United Mine Workers and one local each in the Bakers and Confectioners, the Brewery Workers and the Journeymen Tailors unions. All the locals of the United Metal Workers were so empowered. The American Federation of Labor was represented in no direct way among the five great powers of this industrialist convention.[104]

It was confidently expected by many members of the January conference that there would be an immediate secession of a number of national unions from the American Federation of Labor. But whatever may have been the hopes of the originators of the movement, the constitutional convention proved by its very make-up that this new insurgent labor body could not, at the outset at least, build a new organization out of disaffected parts of an old organization.

It has been seen that not all organizations were present on equal footing. In the first place, no union could have any influence or any active part in the proceedings of the convention unless it sent its delegates with full power to install. The January conference had drawn up certain rules governing representation in the forthcoming convention:

Representation in the convention shall be based upon the [Pg 73]number of workers whom the delegate represents. No delegate, however, shall be given representation in the convention on the numerical basis of an organization, unless he has credentials ... authorizing him to install his union as a working part of the proposed economic organization in the industrial department to which it logically belongs.... Lacking this authority, the delegate shall represent himself as an individual.[105]

The delegates to the convention were in this way grouped into two classes: representative delegates, with voting power proportional to the number of members represented, and individual delegates with merely their own vote, and in some cases not representing any union even as uninstructed delegates. This separation of the two hundred and three delegates, according to the character of their credentials, may be shown as follows:

Delegates Organizations
With power to install 70 23 51,430 51,430
Without power to install 72 20 91,500 72
Other "individual" delegates 61 61 61
Total 203 43 142,991 51,563 [106]
[Pg 74]

Including the industrial workers' clubs there were forty-three organizations represented, of which number twenty-three were represented by delegates having full power to install. The above analysis shows that of the 142,991 members presumably represented, nearly two-thirds sent delegates merely to take notes of the proceedings and report back. About one-third, some 51,000, were then prepared to cast their lot with the new undertaking. Also it appears that about one-third of the delegates wielded practically the whole voting power of the assembly.

Moreover, the balance of power within this empowered one-third was most unevenly distributed. Of the 51,000 votes aggregated by those organizations prepared to install, 48,000 votes were distributed among five organizations (these being the only ones with a voting strength of more than 1,000) as follows:

Organization Membership No. of
Western Federation of Miners 27,000 5
American Labor Union 16,750 29
United Metal Workers 3,000 2
United Brotherhood of Railway Employees 2,087 19
Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance 1,450 14
Total 50,287 [107] 69

These were the organizations which were most prominent in the activities of the convention. Among their delegates were a goodly number of the most active promotors [Pg 75]of the movement. From them—especially from the Western Federation of Miners—finally came the great bulk of the funds for establishing the new union. It is evident that, numerically speaking, one single organization, the Western Federation of Miners, held the balance of power, and of the remaining votes, three-fourths were in the control of the American Labor Union, these two bodies together outnumbering the others ten to one. The sequel was to show that the numerically weaker organizations exerted an influence quite out of proportion to their numbers, because of the great influence exerted by some of their individual delegates. Their representatives were radicals, representing more or less radical unions.

It might seem that the rôle played in the convention by an organization as comparatively weak in numbers as the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance could be accounted for, in some measure at least, by its proportionately large delegation. A glance at the table given above shows that the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance with a self-estimated strength of 1450[108] had fourteen delegates, while the Western Federation of Miners, 27,000 strong, had but five delegates. This was true to but a limited extent, for in the first place the voting power of each delegate was in direct proportion to the number of members he represented. Thus Haywood and his colleagues of the Western Federation of Miners had each 5400 votes, while DeLeon and each member of his delegation had 103.6 votes. In the second place, it was a contest of personalities. The fourteen Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance delegates comprised Daniel DeLeon and thirteen others. This same prominence of the individual was more or less evident among the other delegations. Some further concentration of power is evidenced [Pg 76]in the fact that William D. Haywood and C. H. Moyer were both empowered delegates from two organisations, since they represented the A. L. U. as well as the W. F. M.

Indeed it is rather significant that several of the organizations which finally merged into the Industrial Workers of the World had little behind them but leaders. In some cases it appears that the membership first credited was greatly exaggerated. Of the organizations installed as a part of the new body, St. John reports that three "existed almost wholly on paper."[109] Several of these labor bodies were really more shadow that substance. The Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, the United Metal Workers, and the American Labor Union, St. John's three "paper" unions, had come upon evil days and were in an advanced stage of disintegration. Hence perhaps their presence here. They did not want to expire. They preferred to be transformed into something yet more militant.

The most significant and interesting phase of this unique body of industrialists was its many-sided intellectual character. Some of the high lights of divergent doctrine preached and defended here show more clearly than anything else how stupendous the undertaking was. Perhaps the least indefinite term which would give them all standing-room would be "revolutionary socialism," though many delegates repudiated the name socialist as being synonymous with reactionist and conservative. If socialists at all, they were socialists with a radical adjective. In reference to some the word "anarchistic" should be substituted for [Pg 77]"revolutionary." They all believed in the "irrepressible conflict" between capital and labor. They were a unit in wishing for and aiming at the overthrow of the wages system—the downfall of capitalism. There was no place here for the "Gomperite" and his program of mutual interests of employer and employee; but the absence from the scene of the "identity of interest" and "coffin society" man did not guarantee harmony.[110]

As usual there was disagreement as to the methods to be used to reach the common end desired. Hence certain divergent types of doctrine were expounded and certain warring factions resulted therefrom. St. John enumerates four main varieties as being predominant: (1) Parliamentary Socialists—two types, impossibilist (Marxian) and opportunist (reformist); (2) Anarchists; (3) Industrial Unionists; and (4) the "labor union fakir."[111] This classification is ambiguous. No doubt the "labor union fakir," who gets into any new move of this sort for what he can get out of it, has no real economic creed except that of the profiteer, but he enters a movement of this kind as an exponent of a certain legitimate doctrine and is at least presumed to belong to that doctrinal faction. It has been seen that during the proceedings of the convention it developed that there were delegates present who were not sincere in their attitude. It is a fact, as St. John points out, "that many of those who were present as delegates on the floor of the first convention and the organizations that they represented have bitterly fought the I. W. W. from the close [Pg 78]of the first convention up to the present day."[112] By no means all of these are necessarily fakirs, since the outcome of the deliberations of the first convention was somewhat different from that anticipated even by the signers of the manifesto.

There was present a very definite group of anarchists which, though in a rather small minority, was a constituent element in the doctrinal types represented. The term "industrial unionist" was one which really included practically all the participants. The industrial unionist may certainly be a socialist, and even of more than one variety; and it is also conceivable that the industrial unionist may be an anarchist. Consequently the term can hardly be used to mark off any particular faction in a convention of industrial unionists. The parliamentary socialists constituted one of the most powerful elements at the convention. In fact, the two main hostile groups were the impossibilists and the opportunists, the first group comprising parliamentary socialists of the Socialist Labor party and anti-parliamentary socialists, naturally having no political affiliations; and the latter comprising members of the Socialist party.

The line of cleavage then was between the Socialist party and the Socialist Labor party, that is, between reformist and doctrinaire elements, both parliamentary and both leaning toward industrial unionism. In a less prominent position at first was the direct-actionist group, anti-political and anarchistic. This antagonism of ideas was of course the root cause of the defection of the Socialist Labor party and the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance elements three years later, and was responsible for the existence between 1908 and 1916 of two national organizations called the I. W. W. The Socialist party, or doctrinaire wing, is very logically the descendant of the doctrinaire wing at the [Pg 79]first convention, but the direct-actionist or anti-political wing has, strange to say, grown out of and drawn its leaders from the reformist Socialist party.

These divergent creeds were given color and life by a few men who really dominated the convention. There is no organization in existence having less room for hero-worship than the Industrial Workers of the World. The manifesto provided that all "powers should rest in the collective membership." Its members seemed firmly convinced that all labor leaders (except I. W. W. organizers!) are really "misleaders" of labor, and throughout their propaganda literature there is evident this repudiation of leaders and apotheosis of the "collective membership." Nevertheless the I. W. W. has been led and misled by leaders ever since its inception. The first convention rang with the dominant notes of a handful of men: Daniel DeLeon, William D. Haywood, "Father" T. J. Hagerty, Eugene V. Debs, William E. Trautmann, A. M. Simons, Clarence Smith, D. C. Coates, and C. O. Sherman. Debs, Haywood and Simons were then, and are today, members of the Socialist party. Simons and DeLeon were leaders in the two opposing Socialist political parties, Simons in the Socialist party and editor of the Coming Nation, and DeLeon, editor of the Daily People and the one dominant and national figure in the Socialist Labor party. T. J. Hagerty was a Catholic priest. With the coöperation of James P. Thompson, and others probably, he framed the original I. W. W. Preamble. He was the designer of the chart which Samuel Gompers referred to as "Father Hagerty's Wheel of Fortune,"[113] and the author of a pamphlet entitled Economic Discontent.

[Pg 80]

Eugene V. Debs, the best known to them all, came into the movement with all his contagious enthusiasm and eloquence, full of optimism for the future of this new organization.

I believe it is possible [he said] for such an organization as the Western Federation of Miners to be brought into harmonious relation with the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance ... and I believe it is possible for these elements ... to combine here ... and begin the work of forming a great economic or revolutionary organization of the working class so sorely needed in the struggle for their emancipation.[114]

From the West came William D. Haywood with many years' experience with the Western Federation of Miners in Colorado. He was an experienced organizer and was full of the militant spirit of the Western Federation of Miners. He scorned agreements and contracts. Speaking of the Western Federation of Miners at the first convention he said: "We have not got an agreement existing with any mine manager, superintendent, or operator at the present time. We have got a minimum scale of wages" and "... the eight-hour day, and we did not have a legislative lobby to accomplish it."[115] And now he came to Chicago to help build up the same sort of an organization for not alone the mining industry but for all industries.

Probably the most striking figure of all was Daniel DeLeon, editor of the Daily People, a man with a university education, and a graduate of the Columbia University Law School. He was active in the organization of the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance in 1895 and was an officer in the Alliance until it was merged in the I. W. W. He came to the first convention as a delegate from the Socialist Trade [Pg 81]and Labor Alliance. He, too, believed that harmony was possible.

During this process of pounding one another we have both learned [he said], both sides have learned, and I hope and believe that this convention will bring together those who will plant themselves squarely upon the class struggle and will recognize the fact that the political expression of labor is but the shadow of the economic organization.[116]

He had been instrumental in creating the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, of which the Socialist Labor party was thenceforward to be the shadow. It transpired, however, that the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance actually became the "shadow" or understudy of the Socialist Labor party, and this fact was looked upon by A. M. Simons and others of the Socialist Labor party as having an ominous significance for any new organization to which DeLeon might wish to hitch the Socialist Labor party as a "shadow." There seemed, in short, to be some suspicion afloat at the first convention that the Socialist Labor party proposed, through DeLeon, to tuck the I. W. W. under its wing. Hillquit asserts that "the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance had a record of having caused more disputes and schisms within the Socialist labor movement in America in recent years than any other factor, and its affiliation with the new movement was fateful for the latter."[117] And Simons declared that if DeLeon "could in some way hitch himself on to this new organization, he would be able to infuse the semblance of life into the political and economic corpses of the S. L. P. and the S. T. & L. A."[118]

DeLeon emphatically opposed the policy of "boring from [Pg 82]within" advocated by the Socialist party opportunists. He believed it had been tried as a constructive policy and found wanting. So he proposed to build up on the outside the necessary economic organization, which finally should move "under the protecting guns of a labor political party."[119]

On the other hand, the Socialist party men believed in making use of the "boring from within" policy among the local unions, and considered it quite unnecessary for the economic organization to have any political connections whatsoever. They considered the political unity of the workers less vitally important than did the DeLeon group of doctrinaires.

These, then, were the elements of the heterogeneous labor mass, which were to be worked up together into "One Big Union." The thing that made union possible in any degree was the binding influence of common antipathies. It has been suggested that all were at one in being opposed to a capitalistic society. They had no difficulty in making common cause of their mutual hatred of the capitalistic scheme of things. They were perhaps even more able to unite because of common opposition to certain things which they believed were helping to perpetuate the capitalist system. Most prominent and powerful of these was the craft form of labor-union organization.

[Pg 83]


[78] The substance of chs. ii and iii was originally published in the form of a monograph: The Launching of the Industrial Workers of the World (University of California Publications in Economics, vol. iv, no. 1, Berkeley, 1913).

[79] The three letters, I. W. W., have lent themselves to various picturesque and derisive translations: "I Won't Work," "I Want Whiskey," "International Wonder Workers," "Irresponsible Wholesale Wreckers," etc. "The Wobblies" is a nickname by which they are quite commonly known, especially in the West. It is said that the I. W. W.'s were so christened by Harrison Grey Otis, the editor of the Los Angeles Times. And now, in 1917, Senator H. F. Ashurst, of Arizona, declares that "I. W. W. means simply, solely and only, Imperial Wilhelm's Warriors." (Congr. Record, Aug. 17, 1917, vol. lv, p. 6104).

[80] St. John, The I. W. W., History, Structure and Methods (revised edition, 1917), p. 2. Ernest Untermann, a writer prominently identified with the Socialist party, was also present at this conference, although he is not mentioned by St. John.

[81] "The Origin of the Manifesto," Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 82.

[82] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, pp. 82-3. The letter was signed by W. E. Trautmann, George Estes, W. L. Hall, Eugene V. Debs, Clarence Smith and Charles O. Sherman. A list of those invited is given in the Proceedings, p. 89. "Mother" Mary Jones seems to have been the only woman invited to the conference.

[83] Ibid., pp. 99-100.

[84] Proceedings, Thirteenth W. F. M. Convention, p. 21. At the same time and place it was definitely recommended that the Federation take part in the convention.

[85] Letter dated May 26, 1905, published in Proceedings, Thirteenth W. F. M. Convention, pp. 230-1.

[86] The Manifesto is reproduced in the writer's Launching of the Industrial Workers of the World, pp. 46-49. The committee's report is given in the Proceedings, p. 88.

[87] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, pp. 5-6.

[88] International Socialist Review, February, 1905, vol. v, p. 499. (Editorial.)

[89] Vide infra, ch. ix.

[90] International Socialist Review, vol. v, p. 501 (March, 1905). For typical press reports of the conference vide infra, p. 107.

[91] Editorial, "The Trade Unions to be Smashed Again," American Federationist, March, 1905.

[92] Private Correspondence, March 26, 1912.

[93] Feb., 1905, article entitled, "The Chicago Conference for Industrial Unionism." For a different interpretation of the Manifesto, vide Frank Bohn's article in the same journal for April, 1905.

[94] DeLeon-Harriman Debate. The S. T. & L. A. vs. The Pure and Simple Trade Union, p. 43.

[95] Among these dissenters were Max Hayes, Victor Berger and A. M. Simons. Cf. letter written by Mr. Hayes to W. L. Hall in Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, pp. 99-100.

[96] Affiliated with American Federation of Labor at the time.

[97] Affiliated with American Federation of Labor at the time.

[98] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 70.

[99] Now called The International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers.

[100] Among these were the Bakers and Confectioners, and the Carpenters and Joiners.

[101] The Journeymen Tailors and the Switchmen each had delegates from two locals.

[102] The United Metal Workers International Union was at least nominally affiliated with the A. F. of L. at the time of the January conference, but Secretary St. John writes "that the United Metal Workers ... as a matter of fact was out of existence before the I. W. W. convention, but existed on paper for the purpose of giving its old officials a standing in the new organization."

[103] Supra, pp. 68-69. Cf. also Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 80.

[104] Vide infra, p. 74.

[105] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 6. According to St. John this provision was drawn up on account of the fact that "all who were present as delegates were not there in good faith. Knowledge of this fact caused the signers of the Manifesto to constitute themselves a temporary committee on credentials."—I. W. W., History, Structure and Methods, revised 1917 edition, p. 3.

[106] The figures here given are those cited by William D. Haywood (Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 204), but cf. St. John (The I. W. W., History, etc., pp. 3, 4), whose figures are somewhat lower. Among the "individual" delegates were "Mother" Mary Jones, A. M. Simons, Eugene V. Debs, and Robert Rives LaMonte. It was assumed that individual delegates were in duty bound to become a part of the revolutionary organization. (Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 54.)

[107] The United Brotherhood of Railway Employees was at that time an integral part of the A. L. U., so that its membership must be deducted from the total. This represents nominal membership only. Hillquit (History of Socialism in the United States, rev. ed., p. 336), reports the A. L. U. as having only seven delegates, whereas there were ten besides the nineteen of the U. B. R. E., which are of course not included in his estimate. Cf. Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, pp. 610-611.

[108] According to its opponents, 600. Cf. Hillquit, History of Socialism in the United States, rev. ed., p. 337.

[109] Cf. supra, p. 71, note 3. The installment vote at the first convention records twelve organizations as voting in the affirmative (for list see Proceedings, First Convention, p. 614, and Brissenden, Launching of the I. W. W., p. 43). St. John (I. W. W. History, etc., p. 4) mentions but seven. H. Richter says that eleven organizations were installed by their delegates: "The I. W. W.: Retrospect and Prospects," Industrial Union News, January, 1912. p. 1, col. 3.

[110] "Coffin society," a term used in derision of a common tendency of trade-unions to place the emphasis on sick and death benefits, etc.

[111] I. W. W. History, etc., p. 5. St. John says (letter of January 5, 1914) that "there were so few anarchists in the first convention that there was very little need to classify them."

[112] I. W. W., History, etc., p. 3.

[113] Reproduced in Appendix i. It also appears in The Miners Magazine, vol. vi, p. 15 (Apr. 20, 1905), and in Carl Legien, Aus Amerikas Arbieterbewegung (Berlin, 1914), p. 176. A less unsophisticated draft by Wm. E. Trautmann is published in his pamphlet, One Big Union (I. W. W. Publishing Bureau).

[114] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 144.

[115] Ibid., p. 154.

[116] Speech before the first convention. Proceedings, p. 148.

[117] History of Socialism in the United States (rev. ed.), p. 337.

[118] Editorial, International Socialist Review, April, 1905 (vol. v, p. 626).

[119] DeLeon-Harriman Debate. S. T. & L. A. vs. The "Pure and Simple" Trade Union, p. 7.

The I. W. W. versus the A. F. of L.

The American Federation of Labor, as the alleged embodiment of everything "crafty," has always been the arch-enemy of the I. W. W. The convention opened with this thought to the fore, and throughout the eleven days of its session it was referred to again and again. William D. Haywood's speech calling the convention to order begins with this paragraph:

This is the Continental Congress of the working class.... There is no organization ... that has for its purpose the same object as that for which ... you are called together today.... The American Federation of Labor, which presumes to be the labor movement of this country, is not a working-class movement.... You are going to be confronted with the so-called labor leader—the man who will tell you ... that the interests of the capitalist and the workingman are identical.... There is no man who has an ounce of honesty in his make-up but recognizes the fact that there is a continuous struggle between the two classes, and this organization will be formed, based and founded on the class struggle, having in view no compromise and no surrender....[120]

"It has been said," remarked Haywood, "that this convention was to form an organization rival to the A. F. of L. This is a mistake. We are here for the purpose of forming a labor organization."[121] This common opposition to what they called the "American Separation of Labor" proved [Pg 84]to be a fairly adequate "harmony plank" in the platform of these disaffected workingmen. The stress of opposition to the Federation was, of course, directed chiefly to its craft formation, but it also featured prominently the reaction against (1) its assumption of identity of interest between employer and employee, and (2) its absolute denial of the necessity of united political action on the part of the working class.

To these industrialists the American Federation of Labor was simply the symbol of the craft type of trade union. It was made the object of the most merciless criticism throughout the convention. One of its committees drew up a comprehensive indictment of "old line trade-unionism." "The A. F. of L., which is the fine consummate flower of craft unionism," it declares, "is neither American, nor a federation, nor of labor." This, they contend, because (1) it is adapted only to such conditions as existed in England sixty years ago; (2) it is divided into 116 warring factions; (3) it discriminates against workingmen because of their race and poverty; (4) its members are allowed to join the militia and shoot down other union men in time of strike; and (5) it inevitably creates a certain aloofness among the skilled workmen—the "aristocrats of labor"—toward those not skilled. "There are organizations which are affiliated," Haywood asserts, "with the A. F. of L. which ... prohibit the initiation of, or conferring the obligation on, a colored man; that prohibit the conferring of the obligation on foreigners."[122]

From the opening of the convention it was quite evident that an ideal labor union was conceived to be something more than an institution for improving the immediate condition of labor. Through it immediate interests must be [Pg 85]advanced, of course, but its primary object must be to make an end of labor as a slave function and to establish in place of the wage or capitalist system an industrial commonwealth of co-operators. The convention was convinced that the craft union was not only comparatively helpless in the matter of advancing immediate interests, but was absolutely useless as a fulcrum for removing the capitalist system. "The battles of the past," declared the manifesto, "emphasize this lesson. The textile workers of Lowell, Philadelphia, and Fall River; the butchers of Chicago; ... the long-struggling miners of Colorado, hampered by lack of unity and solidarity upon the industrial battlefield, all bear witness to the helplessness and impotency of labor as at present organized."[123]

The craft form or organization creates three types very obnoxious to the industrial unionist, viz., the "aristocrat" of labor, the "union" scab, and the "labor lieutenant." The "union" scab—the man who continues at work at his particular trade when the men of an allied trade in the same industry are on strike—is a scab in the sense that he is often—through this indirect scabbing—a fatal, perhaps the only obstacle, to the success of the strike. Haywood gave an illustration of this in the butchers' strike in Chicago:

For instance, [he said] in the packing plants, the butchers' organization was one of the best in the country, reputed to be 50,000 strong. They were well disciplined, which is shown from the fact that when they were called on strike they quit to a man. That is, the butchers quit; but did the engineers quit, did the firemen quit, did the men who were running the ice-plants quit? They were not in the union, not in that particular union. They had agreements with their employers which [Pg 86]forbade them quitting. The result was that the Butchers' Union was practically totally disrupted, entirely wiped out.[124]

It was quite evident that these men who laid so much at the door of the "union" scab, realized that the latter did not scab on his fellow union-men because he enjoyed it. He was forced to be a union scab because his craft had a contract—an agreement with the employer. Craftism is what it is, because it involves a separate binding agreement for each trade. These, being contracted independently by each craft, naturally expired at different dates, so that the several crafts in any given industry can never be free to act in unison. Little reverence for these agreements was shown in the convention.

It is a fact [said DeLeon] ... that it is not the unorganized scab who breaks the strikes, but the organized craft that really does the dirty work; and thus they, each of whom, when itself (sic) involved in a strike, fights like a hero, when not themselves involved, demean themselves like arrant scabs; betray their class—all in fatuous reverence to "contracts."[125]

Debs pointed to these same contracts as the cause of defeat. He cited the strike on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad in 1888:

Some 2,000 engineers and firemen [he said] went out on one of the most bitterly contested railroad strikes in the history of the country. When they were out, the rest of the employees, especially the conductors, who were organized in craft unions of their own, remained at their posts, and the union conductors piloted the scab engineers over the line.[126]

[Pg 87]

"Union scabbery" helped to create a kind of "union snobbery." The craft idea tended to develop the idea of caste among workingmen, and the skilled were set off from the unskilled as the "aristocracy of labor." The industrial unionists emphatically declared that a true labor union must include all workers, the unskilled and migratory as well as the "aristocrats."

We are going down in the gutter [said Haywood] to get at the mass of the workers and bring them up to a decent plane of living. I do not care a snap of my finger whether or not the skilled workers join this industrial movement at the present time. When we get the unorganized and the unskilled laborer into this organization the skilled worker will of necessity come here for his own protection. As strange as it may seem to you, the skilled worker today is exploiting the laborer beneath him, the unskilled man, just as much as the capitalist is.[127]

But ultimately, according to Sherman, all workers—not merely the groups connoted by the term "working-class"—must be grouped in the proposed organization.

We don't propose [he said] to organize only the common man with the callous hands, but we want the clerical force; we want the soft hands that only get $40 a month—those fellows with No. 10 cuffs and collars. We want them all, so that when a strike is called we can strike the whole business at once.[128]

A third type condemned by revolutionary unionists was the so-called "labor lieutenant." This latter "mis-leader" of labor was the symbol of another objectionable feature of the A. F. of L., viz., the identity of interests assumption. Naturally the idea that the interests of employer and employee [Pg 88]are identical, is the only consistent one for an organization based on the craft idea. It is said that Mark Hanna once referred to the organizers and officials of the trade unions as the "labor lieutenants of the captains of industry."

The revolutionary (industrial) unionists believed that collusion existed between the tool-owners and the labor leaders of the country. It was declared on the floor of the convention that "the trade-union movement has become an auxiliary to the capitalist class in order to hold down the toilers of the land."[129] The delegates from the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance (members of the Socialist Labor party, though not formally present as such) were especially uncompromising on this point. At the 1900 convention of the Socialist Labor party the following amendment to its constitution was adopted:

If any member of the Socialist Labor party accepts office in a pure and simple trade or labor organization, he shall be considered antagonistically inclined towards the Socialist Labor party and shall be expelled. If any officer of a pure and simple trade or labor organization applies for membership in the Socialist Labor party, he shall be rejected.[130]

Daniel DeLeon and the other Socialist Labor party men at the convention had absolutely no hope for the "pure and simple" union. DeLeon believed "that the pure and simple leaders give jobs to Socialists for the purpose of corrupting them, on the principle that the capitalist politicians give jobs to workingmen for the purpose of corrupting the working class...." "The labor movement," he said "has been prostituted in this country by the jobs ... that the capitalist politicians give to some individual workingmen...."[131]

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The DeLeon faction was by no means alone in this attitude. The majority felt that the American Federation of Labor was hopelessly entangled in capitalist politics and irrevocably tied up to the captains of industry through its labor lieutenants. On the whole, the industrialists had no hope that the American Federation of Labor could ever become an industrial organization. Some of them, like A. M. Simons, believed it possible to further their industrial aim by "boring from within" certain of the constituent unions in the American Federation of Labor. Others differed—notably the DeLeonites. Their leader said that the theory of the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance was,

That boring from within, with the labor fakir in possession, is a waste of time, and that the only way to do is to stand by the workingmen always; to organize them, to enlighten them, and whenever a conflict breaks out in which their brothers are being fooled and used as food for cannon, to have the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance throw itself in the midst of the fray, and sound the note of sense.[132]

"We call upon the socialists of the United States," said another member of the S. T. & L. A., "to get out of the pure and simple organizations and smash them to pieces."[133]

Eugene Debs, too, was convinced of the futility of boring from within. "There is but one way," he said, "to effect this great change, and that is for the workingman to sever his relations with the American Federation and join the union that proposes on the economic field to represent his class."[134]

The industrialists were most at variance on the question [Pg 90]of the proper political attitude of labor organizations; consequently, they were not unanimous in their condemnation of the Federation's political polity—or want of it. Moreover, as became evident during the hot debate over the political clause, even those who condemned the Federation's attitude on politics were quite at outs about the political position which should be taken on behalf of the new organization.[135]

President Gompers took up the cudgels for the American Federation of Labor. The new movement was inaugurated, he said, "under the pretext that the American Federation of Labor refuses to recognize the changes which are constantly taking place in industry. That it is a pretext inexcusably ignorant and maliciously false any observer must know." He goes on to say that "the permanency of the trade-union movement depends upon the recognition ... of the principle of [craft] autonomy consistent with the varying phase and transitions in industry."[136] Mr. Gompers cited, among others, the case of the Boot and Shoe Workers' International Union. The workers in Lynn, Massachusetts, in a branch of the shoe trade—they were makers of "counters"—applied for a charter in the American Federation of Labor. The Federation authorities advised them first to join the industrial union of their trade, viz., the Boot and Shoe Workers' International Union. This they declined to do, and being refused by the American Federation of Labor, joined the American Labor Union.

The first five days of the convention were taken up with the adjustment of credentials, the explanation of the manifesto, and the indictment of the American Federation of Labor—"the consummate flower of craft unionism." On the sixth day the principal piece of constructive work confronting [Pg 91]the convention—the shaping-up of some sort of a workable constitution—was taken out of the hands of the committee and made the order of the day. Though Simons intimates[137] that the first days of the convention were too much given over to the reign of the "jaw-smith," yet mixed with all the chaff—unquestionably in evidence—was much intellectual grain. The ideas and suggestions brought out in all these discussions, the resolutions proposed, all these, after a crude but critical sifting at the hands of the committee and the speakers on the floor of the convention, became crystallized in the preamble and constitution. The following resolutions, selected and condensed from the report of the committee on resolutions, are fairly typical:[138]

1. To provide for the establishment and maintenance of an Educational Bureau comprising a Literature Bureau and a Lecture Bureau.

3. Resolved, that it be the sense of this convention that the labor of each individual unit of society is necessary to the welfare of society, and that all are entitled to equal compensation.

4. Resolved, that the first day of May of each year ... be designated as the Labor Day of this organization.

6. Resolved, that the seceding workers and seceding organizations in the A. F. of L. be required to make a public statement of the reason for their secession....

8. Resolved, that we recommend as a final solution of the class struggle the Social General Strike....

9. Resolved, that it is the sense of this convention to endorse and provide a perfect system of commercial coöperation.

13. Resolved, that it be the sense of this convention that only those who are wage-workers be eligible to membership in this organization.

[Pg 92]

16. Whereas, there is already established an International Bureau of those industrial unions which are based upon the class struggle, with headquarters at Berlin, therefore be it

Resolved, that this new organization enter into immediate relations therewith.

20. Resolved, that we condemn militarism in all its forms and functions, which are jeopardizing our constitutional rights and privileges in the struggle between capital and labor. Be it further

Resolved, that any members accepting salaried positions to defend capitalism, directly or indirectly, should be denied the privilege of membership in this organization.

To the discussion and emendation of the preamble and constitution was devoted the bulk of the time during the last five days of the convention.[139] The preamble drawn up by the committee on constitution was accepted by the convention practically in the form presented by that committee, and without dissent except for the second clause. The first two clauses read as follows:

The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among the millions of working people, and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.

Between these two classes a struggle must go on until all the toilers come together on the political, as well as on the industrial field, and take and hold that which they produce by their labor, through an economic organization of the working class, without affiliation with any political party.

The reference to the "political field" in the second [Pg 93]clause brought forth immediate challenge and the whole clause was the subject of exhaustive debate. Delegate Gilbert, who favored the clause, very concisely explained its significance.

We are here [he said] to effect an economic organization. There are two elements in this convention. One element proposes to do away with political action entirely. Another element is inclined toward political action. All that this paragraph is in essence is this: It first of all states very clearly and plainly that this is primarily an economic organization based upon the conflict of classes. Secondly, it says in essence this: That as individuals you are perfectly free to take such political action as you see fit. As an organization, you cannot.... Thirdly, it says this: You shall not as an economic organization stand committed to any political party at present in existence.[140]

Delegate Simons opposed it, declaring that, "as it stands it says that we are in favor of political action without any political party."[141] Delegate Richter also opposed it on the ground that the struggle has really only begun when the workers are brought together on the political and industrial fields,—whereas the preamble implied that at that stage the struggle ceases.[142]

Delegate DeLeon argued at length in support of the clause. To him this "political clause," as it has since been called, was quite essential to keep the proposed organization "in line and in step with civilization." "The barbarian," he said, "begins with physical force; the civilized man ends with that when force is necessary."[143] He believed it to be absolutely impossible to "take and hold" as the preamble puts it, without the protection—or at any rate the harmony—secured through political unity. Of course, the basis of [Pg 94]this political unity was to have no organic connection—not the remotest—with the economic organization. The clause under discussion recognized the two truths "that political action and the means of civilization must be given an opportunity—and that in this country, for one, it is out of the question to imagine that a political party can 'take and hold.'"[144] This was the Socialist Labor party position. It had been foreshadowed in its 1900 convention when it endorsed the following resolution:

Genuine trade-unionism not only must fight in the shop ... but must especially, uncompromisingly, at all costs and hazards fight the political parties of capitalism on election day. Its chief motto must be—"No union card will justify the political scab. Here is a traitor to his class."... We recognize in the S. T. & L. A. the economic arm of the S. L. P. and its indispensable adjunct in its conflict between the working class and the capitalist class.[145]

The discussion brought out every shade of opinion on the ballot. These men were acutely aware of the fact that business is to a great extent the creator and controller of politics. As one delegate put it, "dropping pieces of paper into a hole in a box never did achieve emancipation for the working class and ... it never will...."[146] Even Daniel DeLeon had nothing but contempt for

the visionary politician, the man who imagines that by going to the ballot box and taking a piece of paper—and throwing it in and then rubbing his hands and jollying himself with the expectation that through that process, through some mystic alchemy, the ballot will terminate capitalism and the socialist commonwealth will rise like a fairy out of the ballot-box.[147]

[Pg 95]

The manifesto was very specific in proposing a purely economic organization. That the issue would be a political organization was the prophecy of Frank Bohn, an official of the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance.

Every industrial unionist [he declared] who thoroughly understands the deeper mission of his organization will reach class-conscious political action. An industrial union cannot increase the average wage. In some cases it may be less likely than the craft unions to prevent the decrease in wages.... Socialist to the core must the new economic organization be—and when the June convention has painted the skull and cross-bones on the door of "pure and simpledom," that last working-class compromise with capitalism, there will probably issue a political organization strong in numbers, but stronger in principle, because raised by the revolutionary spirit high above "mere vote-getting subterfuge."[148]

In reply to this, A. M. Simons, the editor, declares that,

if it is true that the new union is to be less powerful on the economic field than the pure and simple unions, and is simply to constitute a new political party jabbering a lot of jargon about general strikes and installing its officers as rulers of the coöperative commonwealth, then it is doomed to a short and sickening life.[149]

A very reasonable interpretation of this political clause is that the working class must be united politically, but not necessarily that that union is, or is in, or has any connection with, the I. W. W. However, the sequel showed that it was fatal to the unity of the organization. Three years later it proved to be the rock on which the movement split, bringing about the bifurcated organization we know at the present time; with a direct-actionist wing, non-political, and [Pg 96]with a new and expurgated edition of the preamble, and a DeLeonite or doctrinaire wing, pro-political—another Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance—with the same old preamble and the same old political clause.[150]

The constitution provided a highly centralized scheme of administration involving a mixed hierarchy of power. The general organization was divided into thirteen international industrial divisions (later called "departments"). Each of these departmental divisions was supposed to comprise an allied group of industries, grouped together for administrative purposes. In the original report of the constitution committee the industrial or occupational "sphere of influence" of each division was specified in detail. The world's industries were divided into thirteen administrative groups. The report provided that the organization should be composed of thirteen international industrial unions, designated as follows:

Division 1 shall be composed of all persons working in the following industries: Clerks, salesmen, tobacco, packing houses, flour mills, sugar refineries, dairies, bakeries, and kindred industries.

Division 2: Brewery, wine and distillery workers.

Division 3: Floriculture, stock and general farming.

Division 4: Mining, milling, smelting and refining coal, ores, metals, salt and iron.

Division 5: Steam railway, electric railway, marine, shipping, and teaming.

Division 6: All building employees.

Division 7: All textile industrial employees.

Division 8: All leather industrial employees.

Division 9: All wood-working employees excepting those engaged in building departments.

Division 10: All metal industrial employees.

[Pg 97]

Division 11: All glass and pottery employees.

Division 12: All paper mills, chemical, rubber, broom, brush and jewelry industries.

Division 13: Parks, highways, municipal, postal service, telegraph, telephone, schools and educational institutions, amusements, sanitary, printing, hotel, restaurant and laundry employees.[151]

This section provoked instant debate. In fact, two days and a half—about half the time given to the whole constitution—were given over to the discussion of this clause.[152] Many delegates considered that such a specific division was not only a practical impossibility, on account of the very definite limits to the jurisdiction of most industries, but was a very inconsistent step for an industrial organization to take, since in their opinion it was nothing more or less than a recreation of craft lines.[153] There was considerable feeling in evidence that this clause did not satisfy the provision of the manifesto for "craft autonomy locally, industrial autonomy internationally, and working-class unity generally." Flaws and inconsistencies without end could, of course, be found in such a categorical division, and they were pointed out by critical delegates with much gusto. The main idea in this attempt at departmental demarcation of industries was that a centralized administration was imperative. Most of the delegates agreed to this. They believed that even the industry, although the unit or cell of the new structure, should not be the dominant basis of the administration. That must be departmental.

[Pg 98]

Any of these industries [said Delegate Goodwin] are subsidiary and supporting the whole organization.... The tendency of capitalist development is concentration. We are going from industrial production to departmental production. It won't be many years ... till we have departmental production. The tendency in development in the early stages of capital is to go into industries, and the later tendency is to divide into departments, and these departments are international....[154]

As finally amended, the clause omitted any specific category of departments and industries and simply provided for thirteen departments with appropriate subdivisions. It read as follows:

Art. I., Sec. 2.—And shall be composed of thirteen international industrial divisions subdivided into industrial unions of closely related industries in the appropriate organizations for representation in the departmental administration. The subdivisions, international and national industrial unions, shall have complete industrial autonomy in their respective internal affairs; provided, the General Executive Board shall have power to control these industrial unions in matters concerning the interests of the general welfare.[155]

The list of specifically divided industries was later replaced in the constitution, but in a very much improved form. Wm. E. Trautmann has worked this up even further, and in 1911 published a still more improved outline in which the number of departments is reduced to six.[156]

The constitutional convention also made provision for other and subordinate bodies, i. e., industrial councils, which might be formed. These were to comprise seven or more local unions in two or more industries and the local industrial [Pg 99]union. These local unions were the smallest units of organization then provided for, except that when isolated individuals applied for membership in a locality where no local union existed, such persons were admitted into the organization as "individual" members directly attached to the general organization.

The same principle applied throughout. In case, then, there were not a sufficient number[157] of locals in any one industry to form an industrial department, the local was directly responsible to the general organization. Then, as now, the great majority of local unions were chartered directly by the general organization. At the close of the first convention the Western Federation of Miners became the "Mining Department" of the I. W. W.; the Metal Workers became the "Metal Department"; and the United Brotherhood of Railway Employees, the "Transportation Department." All local unions are industrial in character, i. e., each one makes the shop its unit and comprises all the crafts engaged in and around the shop. The mucker in the mine must belong to the same union as the man who runs the drill. The idea is to get into the same union all those workers who are coöperating for the production of a given class of products.

The officers provided for were: a General President, a General Secretary-Treasurer, and a General Executive Board composed of these two officers and the Presidents of the International Industrial Division.[158] The constitutional committee recommended

[Pg 100]

that this convention elect a provisional Board of seven to conduct affairs of this organization until the next national convention. The said provisional Board shall consist of the National President, National Secretary-Treasurer and five other members, two of these five to be elected at large, one to be elected from the W. F. of M., one from the United Metal Workers and one from the U. B. of R. E.... The provisional Board shall also have the duty of a committee on style to revise the constitution and submit a draft to the next convention.[159]

In accordance with this recommendation, the Provisional Board was elected as follows: C. O. Sherman, Metal Workers, General President; William E. Trautmann, Industrial Workers Club, of Cincinnati, General Secretary-Treasurer; John Riordan, American Labor Union, member at large; F. W. Cronin, American Labor Union, member at large; Frank McCabe, United Brotherhood of Railway Employees; Charles Kirkpatrick, Metal Workers, and C. H. Moyer, Western Federation of Miners. The General Executive Board was given great power. In its hands was placed the entire responsibility for the conduct of the affairs of the organization between conventions. This board was given full power to issue charters to all subordinate bodies—industrial departments, industrial councils, and local unions; to supervise the work of general administration and audit the books of the general office; to levy special assessments when any of the subordinate bodies are engaged in strike and the condition of their local treasuries makes it necessary; to supervise and control the publication of the official organ and to elect its editor.

Specially worthy of note were the powers given the General Executive Board in regard to strikes and agreements. The clauses referring to these two points are here given:

[Pg 101]

In case the members of a subordinate organization of the Industrial Workers of the World are involved in strike, regularly ordered by the organization, or General Executive Board, or involved in a lockout, if in the opinion of the President and General Executive Board it becomes necessary to call out any other union or unions, or organization, they shall have full power to do so.

Any agreement entered into between the members of any local union or organization, and their employers, as a final settlement of any difficulty or trouble between them, shall not be considered valid or binding until the same shall have the approval of the General Executive Board of the Industrial Workers of the World.[160]

The President, of course, had more extended authority than the other members of the Board, and was given entire supervision of the organization throughout its jurisdiction; but his official acts and decisions, as well as those of the General Executive Board, were at all times subject to appeal to the general convention, the decisions of which body, in turn, might be put to the final test of ratification by a referendum to the general membership. Thus the rank and file were supposed to be the final arbiters. Throughout the hierarchy "home rule" was to be accorded in all matters of strictly local concern, such as details of administration, by-laws, etc., but matters connected with the general welfare were made subjects of industrial rather than craft autonomy. Revenues were derived from charter fees, initiation fees and dues, all of which were made very low. A fixed proportion of all such revenues was to be paid into a central defense fund.

It is quite apparent that matters which were of purely internal concern were much more narrowly interpreted than in the orthodox union. Most things affecting one craft are [Pg 102]frankly declared to effect all crafts—even all industries—and only a few matters like by-laws and other routine affairs were considered to be of merely local concern. The constitution was built up around the socialistic motto, "An injury to one is the concern of all." The document was merely provisional, and in a crude way served as an initial guide for drawing up a more comprehensive and permanent constitution later on.

That the constitution was at least acceptable to most of the delegates was evidenced by the fact that it was adopted by a six to one vote,[161] and more definitely proven on roll-call for installation of organizations under the new constitution. Besides the five leading organizations—the Western Federation of Miners, the American Labor Union, United Brotherhood of Railway Employees, United Metal Workers, and the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, six local unions and thirty-nine individuals (representing no organization) unanimously voted for installation.[162] Having elected its officers and chosen Chicago as its headquarters, the Convention adjourned, sine die, July 8, 1905.

Delegate Kiehn (representing the Longshoremen of Hoboken, N. J.), among others, refused to install his union. He explained his vote, stating that in his opinion the constitution was "not according to the spirit of the manifesto." He believed that dividing the industrial activities of society into thirteen divisions meant the creation—not the destruction—of [Pg 103]craft lines, and also that "it [the constitution] gives the President or the Executive Board of this organization czarish powers that are not given to the executive officers of any pure and simple organization in this country."[163]

Unquestionably the outcome of the convention was very different from what those most interested had anticipated. In its final form, the preamble and constitution were not exactly shaped to the provisions of the January manifesto—at any rate they did not seem to satisfy the authors of the latter document. This is partly to be explained by the significant fact that Daniel DeLeon was not present at the January conference, although the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance and the Socialist Labor party were represented by one of their organizers—Frank Bohn. We have seen that the fear of Socialist Labor party domination or Socialist Labor party wire-pulling and the fear of the influence of DeLeon were one and the same. A. M. Simons declared several months before the Convention that "nothing could more thoroughly damn the work of the conference which meets in Chicago next June than the prevalence of the idea that it was an attempt to revive the S. T. & L. A...."[164] These fears were to a certain limited extent realized. The same writer says that "At the first conference [the June convention] Daniel DeLeon with a crowd of followers obtained such power in the organization as to destroy its original point of view. Later he was thrown out, or resigned, or threw the others out [according to who is telling the story]."[165] In precisely what way the original point of view was destroyed is not easily determined. Even Simons admitted that "the only line of cleavage between bodies [Pg 104]representing any strength was over the method of organization." And "even here," he believed that "the difficulty was much less fundamental than the heat of the debate would indicate."[166]

Beyond any doubt the influence of the Socialist Labor party (through the delegates of the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance), DeLeonism, as it was called, was wider than this statement would indicate. A "paper" organization, outnumbered by all of the organizations in what we have called the "Big Five," it unquestionably was influential to a degree quite out of proportion to its numbers, and in that way, at least, it dominated the convention. The political clause, which later proved such a rock of dissension and which was not passed in the first convention without considerable opposition, was one mark left in the constitution by DeLeonism. The virtual overthrowing of the "boring-from-within" policy was another mark left out of the constitution by DeLeonism. Both of these departures were of great importance but not the most vital by any means.

The primary importance of the Western Federation of Miners in these beginnings cannot be too much emphasized. In a quite real sense the I. W. W. was born out of the Western Federation. It was from this militant miners union that most of the financial bone and sinew came for setting in motion the machinery of the new union. The Federation constituted probably one-third of the membership of the organization which had in its mining department (while it did have it!) by all odds the most vigorously militant of all American unions. The Federation's bitter fights with the mine operators, especially in Colorado, Montana, and Idaho, prepared the ground and spread the sentiment for the extension of revolutionary industrialism beyond the [Pg 105]relatively narrow limits of the metalliferous mining industry. It was not a coincidence that the I. W. W. sprang into being so hard on the heels of the strike terrors of Telluride and Cripple Creek. A delegate at the second (1906) convention declared that the Butte Miners Union was the father of the I. W. W.[167]

Despite the fact that the I. W. W. did continue to exist, and, periodically, to thrive after the Western Federation broke away, it is safe to say that had it not been for the Federation, with its practical strength and the stimulating example of its history, there would have been no I. W. W. It was Western-Federationism quite as much as DeLeonism that moulded the I. W. W. at its inception.

It certainly is not quite true that the first convention was "captured" by the DeLeon element, as so many insinuate. DeLeon was elected to no office and neither of the General Executive Board members elected at large were members of the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance. Debs insists that "DeLeon did not 'capture' the organization and Debs is not 'disgusted' with it."[168] The dominance of DeLeonism was, then, a supremacy of ideas. These ideas may have been "insane delusions" and finally disastrous to the harmony of the movement; but they were presumably defended by their chief sponsor and his followers, in firm conviction that they were essential to the growth of the movement. DeLeon said on the floor of the convention, "When I came to Chicago to this convention, I came absolutely without any private ax to grind or any private grudge to gratify. In fact ... I have had but one foe ... and that foe is the capitalist class."[169]

[Pg 106]

Hermann Richter, now general secretary of the Socialist Labor party wing of the I. W. W., writes in a recent number of their official organ: "During the proceedings of the [first] convention it became apparent that not all delegates understood, or were in free accord with the spirit and intent of the organization."[170] This was very natural considering the composition of the gathering. The sequel proved that this was the least of the troubles in embryo at that first convention.

All this friction and internal discord was naturally made to loom large in the editorials of the American Federationist; Gompers, in fact, squinted hard enough at the Chicago conference to see absolutely nothing in it. The August (1905) number contained the following, under the caption "Those 'World Redeemers' at Chicago":

After an effort of more than six months ... the distribution of tons upon tons of circulars and "literature" throughout America and every other country throughout the globe ... what was the result? The mountain labored and brought forth a mouse, and a very silly little mouse at that.... And out of this material [the S. T. and L. A. and the A. L. U.] they proclaim themselves the "Industrial Workers of the World." Their nerve is so colossal that it is positively ludicrous. Of course the two and a half million ... workmen in the trade-union movement are entirely oblivious that they are included.... The wheel of fortune, otherwise known as ex-Father Hagerty's chart, was adopted as a "plan" of organization. This plan is so unique and so fantastic that we accord it space in our columns and thus give it historic importance.... [And finally he prophesies that] as time goes on the active participants in the labor movement of the future, students, thinkers, historians, will record the Chicago meeting as the most vapid and ridiculous in the annals of those who presume to speak in the name of labor, and the [Pg 107]participants in the gathering as the most stupendous impossibles the world has yet seen.[171]

But in spite of dissension on the inside and bitter abuse and misrepresentation on the outside, the industrialists were, on the whole, very optimistic about the prospects of the new-born I. W. W. and held high hopes for its future. In spite of the emphatic declaration of the manifesto that the I. W. W. "should be established as the economic organization of the working class, without affiliation with any political party," the newspapers and even the labor press persisted in representing the movement as a political one. Thus the Milwaukee Journal said:

The Socialists are still earnestly advocating the formation of a new national organization in the hope of downing the American Federation of Labor, as the Federation is opposed to making the labor union a political organization.[172]

The Advance Advocate, a labor organ, had this to say:

And now a new industrial union is to be launched in Chicago. It is going to revolutionize the whole labor movement according to the manifesto of its promoters. It is going into politics. We predict that it will fail.[173]

The Iowa State Federation of Labor issued the following statement:

A few disgruntled office-seekers and would-be politicians have seen fit to criticize the present methods of our trade organizations, and these same people have issued a call for a convention to be held in the city of Chicago, June 27, 1905, to form an organization, ... the avowed purpose of which is the complete annihilation of the present trade-union movement by political methods.[174]

[Pg 108]

The expectation that there would be a general secession from the American Federation of Labor to the new organization was not realized and there was practically no American Federation of Labor material in the new body. In numbers it seemed, in view of later shrinkage, to be at high tide. The reports of the convention estimated the membership at 60,000, and A. M. Simons estimated that at the very least the organization would in six months have 100,000 members.[175] The twelve organizations finally installed represented a membership of 49,010. This excluded the thirty-nine "individual" members. In regard to this Vincent St. John writes: "I know that the Annual Convention reports claim 60,000 members, but the books of the organization did not justify any such claim, and in fact the average paid-up membership, without the W. F. of M. (27,000), for the first year of the organization was 14,000 in round numbers."[176]

The I. W. W. was organized, as the constitution expressed it, to "subserve the immediate interests of the working class and effect their final emancipation." The attempt to realize this "final emancipation" was the thing which marked off the I. W. W. from the typical craft union. This latter body is craft conscious; the I. W. W. is class conscious. The structural and organic form it assumed at the first convention made for the stupefaction of craft consciousness and the stimulation of class consciousness. The idea of the class conflict was really the bottom notion or "first cause" of the I. W. W. The industrial union type was adopted because it would make it possible to wage this class war under more favorable conditions.

It is true the Socialist and Socialist Labor parties are working for the ultimate freedom of the working class, but [Pg 109]the (Chicago) I. W. W. considers their method—political action—a snare and a delusion, and (here both the Detroit and Chicago factions came together) absolutely impotent when used alone. It is rather significant that every member of the provisional board elected at the convention was a member of the Socialist party. But they emphatically declared that the Socialist party was not to be involved in any way; and it never did become involved except as an enemy. On the other hand, the Socialist Labor party did, through the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, indirectly affect the work of the first convention.

The anarchist element was weak in 1905, and the anarchistic leanings now so prominent in the direct-actionist wing of the organization were then quite overshadowed by the socialistic and industrial phases of the movement. Carlton says that "the Industrial Workers may be compared with the Knights of Labor shorn of their idealism and saturated with class-conscious Socialism";[177] and he might have added, with their decentralized administrative system replaced by a very strongly centralized one—this constituting a fundamental distinction between the I. W. W. and the Confédération Générale du Travail, a decentralized organization. Nor should the Industrial Workers of the World be quite shorn of idealism. That must surely be idealistic which is "saturated with class-conscious socialism." This was amply demonstrated at the constitutional convention. Their idealism was given more of a pragmatic character by the persistent tendency to place socialism on an industrial rather than a political basis. The immediate struggle must take place primarily in the shop—at the point of production—only secondarily at the polls.

"By organizing industrially," claims the Industrial [Pg 110] Worker, "we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old."[178] And here he evidences an idea of the future state of society and the method of its realization, rather new even to the socialist, and somewhat akin to that of the anarchists. The First Convention surely laid its plans, crude as they were, with an eye to the future. The scope of organization implied that the proletariat of the future would include more, by far, than the unskilled; that all those gainfully employed in whatever kind or grade of work would some day become proletarians, in spirit at least, and get together in this "one big union."

The first constitution, crude and provisional as it was, made room for all the world's workers and so at the beginning is a vast and nearly empty structure, with groups of the lower grades of workers in some of the basic industries in their proper places in the scheme, but with all the rest a hollow shell. Whether this empty structure will ever be "filled up" is a question which time will decide. George Speed, formerly a member of the General Executive Board (direct-actionist wing), has characterized this convention as the "greatest conglomeration of freaks that ever met in convention." This may have been true, for freak ideas often did bob up in the convention and some of them got fixed in the constitution, but at heart this was a vital move, impelled by high and serious motives.[179]

[Pg 111]


[120] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, pp. 1-2.

[121] Ibid., p. 153.

[122] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 1.

[123] Report of Committee on Press and Literature, Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, pp. 4-5.

[124] Speech at the ratification meeting, Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 577.

[125] Speech at Minneapolis, July 10, 1905, on "The Preamble of the Industrial Workers of the World." Published in pamphlet form under this title by N. Y. Labor News Co., 1905, pp. 26-27.

[126] Address on "Revolutionary Unionism," Chicago, Nov., 1905. (Published in pamphlet form under this title by C. H. Kerr Company. Chicago.)

[127] Speech at ratification meeting, Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, pp. 575-576.

[128] Ibid., p. 586. The idea of the general strike was not at all prominent at this convention, but was expressed in one resolution. Infra, p. 91.

[129] Trautmann on the reasons for the manifesto, Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 118.

[130] Proceedings, Tenth Annual Convention S. L. P., p. 211.

[131] Ibid., p. 211.

[132] DeLeon-Harriman Debate (New York: N. Y. Labor News Co., 1900), p. 14.

[133] Delegate Dalton, Tenth Annual Convention Proceedings, Socialist Labor Party, p. 217.

[134] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 143.

[135] Cf. infra, ch. ix.

[136] American Federationist, vol. xii, p. 214 (April, 1905).

[137] International Socialist Review, vol. vi, p. 75, Aug., 1905.

[138] For full text of the report vide Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, pp. 180, et seq., 193, and 213 et seq.

[139] For the preamble vide Appendix ii. For the constitution as originally presented by the committee and discussions of the same, vide Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, pp. 295-512. The amended but unrevised constitution, as adopted at this constituent meeting, is reprinted in condensed form in the author's Launching of the I. W. W., pp. 49-53.

[140] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, pp. 231-232.

[141] Ibid., p. 224.

[142] Ibid., p. 225.

[143] Ibid., p. 227.

[144] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 231.

[145] Proceedings, Tenth Annual Convention S. L. P., pp. 198-199.

[146] "Father" Hagerty, Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 152.

[147] Ibid., p. 228.

[148] "Concerning the Chicago Manifesto," International Socialist Review, vol. v, pp. 588-9, April, 1905.

[149] Ibid., p. 591, April, 1905.

[150] In 1915 the DeLeonite wing changed its name to "The Workers International Industrial Union." Vide infra, p. 253.

[151] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, pp. 299-300. This classification was amended and re-arranged at the Second Convention. Proceedings, p. 207.

[152] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 300, et seq.

[153] This objection was, in part, the cause of the refusal of the delegate of the Longshoremen's Union to install his local. Cf. infra, p. 102.

[154] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 427.

[155] Ibid., p. 496.

[156] Vide I. W. W. Constitution, 1911, art. i, sec. 4, and Trautmann, One Great Union, Detroit, I. W. W. Literary Bureau, n. d. (Chart insert).

[157] Art. vii, sec. 4, Constitution (1905), "So soon as there are ten locals with not less than 3,000 members in one industry, the General Executive Board shall immediately proceed to call a convention of that industry and proceed to organize it as an international industrial division of the Industrial Workers of the World."

[158] The office of general president was abolished at the second convention. Vide infra, p. 143.

[159] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 504.

[160] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 455.

[161] 42,719 to 6,998. Proceedings, First I. W. W Convention, pp. 609-614.

[162] The six locals were the United Mine Workers local union of Pittsburg, Kans. (A. F. of L.); Punch Press Operators of Schenectady, N. Y.; Journeymen Tailors Benevolent and Protective Union of San Francisco (A. F. of L.); Industrial Workers Club of Chicago; Industrial Workers Club of Cincinnati; Workers Industrial and Educational Union of Pueblo, Colo. (Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 614). For detailed vote on installation, vide Brissenden, Launching of the I. W. W., p. 43.

[163] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 527.

[164] International Socialist Review, vol. v, p. 563 (March, 1905).

[165] Private Correspondence, March, 1912.

[166] International Socialist Review, vol. vi, p. 66 (Aug., 1905).

[167] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 447.

[168] "The Industrial Convention," International Socialist Review, vol. vi, p. 86.

[169] Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 147.

[170] "The I. W. W., Retrospects and Prospects," Industrial Union News, vol. i, no. 1 (Jan., 1912).

[171] American Federationist, vol. xii, pp. 514-516.

[172] Quoted in Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention, p. 252.

[173] Ibid.

[174] Ibid.

[175] International Socialist Review, vol. vi, p. 66 (Aug., 1905).

[176] Private Correspondence, October 5, 1911.

[177] F. T. Carlton, History and Problems of Organized Labor (New York, 1911), p. 82.

[178] This clause was inserted in the preamble at the 1906 convention. Cf. Constitution I. W. W. as amended to 1908.

[179] "C'était la première préparation pratique en Amérique à la révolution qui doit conduire la société de la tempête économique au port de la république coopérative." L'Internationale ouvrière et socialiste (ed. française), vol. i, p. 63, Stuttgart, 1907 (Report of the Socialist Labor Party of America to the Congress).


[Pg 112]
[Pg 113]

Maiden Efforts on the Economic Field

The adjournment of the organizing convention in July, 1905, left the body it had created in a very chaotic condition. The time and attention of the delegates was so exclusively taken up with the problem of building up "one big union" out of many little unions and the task of working out a harmony platform of law and policy on which all could come together, that the matter of business management was almost entirely neglected. Indeed some of the circumstances surrounding the I. W. W. at its inception quite precluded the ordered and efficient procedure possible to a well manned and adequately financed organization. The I. W. W. was not well manned and was practically destitute of financial resources. The dearth of ability and especially the want of honesty in its managing personnel were to become all too evident long before the second convention had come to a close, as was also its practically bankrupt financial status. Although there were three rather formidable-looking departments nominally organized as such—viz.: mining, metal and machinery, and transportation—none of these except the mining department represented material accessions either numerically or financially, and the early defection of the Western Federation of Miners quite broke down this one and, what was even more important, cut off from the Industrial Workers of the World the great bulk of its financial resources.

The industrial-union idea made marked headway among[Pg 114] the trade unions of the United States during the first year of the existence of the I. W. W., and this was very largely due to the influence and example of that organization. Organizers were sent to those places where serious friction existed between trade-unionists and employers, or between trade-unionists and the American Federation of Labor. The I. W. W. devoted very little attention at that time to the unorganized; its energy was chiefly centered on the reformation of the craft unions—a policy of dual unionism. The Federation lost rather heavily in some quarters to the I. W. W., the disaffection proving most marked among the brewers and machinists. Max S. Hayes, in reviewing the situation at the end of the year 1905, wrote as follows:

The elements that are dissatisfied with the A. F. of L. are naturally looking askance at the I. W. W., which body appears to be gaining strength in New York, Chicago, and smaller places, especially in the West. A national officer of the brewers told me a few week ago that the rank and file in many parts of the country are clamoring to cut loose from the Federation and join the Industrialists.... Still another national officer, a Socialist, by the way, said he had visited the little city of Schenectady, N. Y., recently and found the machinists, metal polishers and several other trades unions in open revolt against their national organization and going into the camp of the Industrial Workers. Some of the garment working crafts and textile workers are also affected. It begins to look as though we are to have another war similar to the struggle between the old Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor.[180]

This same unrest and dissatisfaction with the condition of trade-union organization was evident among many local [Pg 115]unions of the United Mine Workers of America. Only two local unions of the Mine Workers had finally joined the Industrial Workers of the World at the first convention,[181] but before the end of the year there were several others desiring admission. In many cases, however, they were unable to go into the I. W. W. because they had contracts signed up with the mine operators, and must perforce await their expiration before any action could be taken. The Mine Workers' locals at Barrow, Muddy Valley, and Elkville (Ill.) were in precisely this situation. They reported themselves at the second convention as desirous of admission, but that immediate transfer of allegiance was impossible because they had two-year contracts with the operators which did not expire until April, 1908.[182] Although in these instances the contracts were respected and the locals did not join the I. W. W., that result was not due to any moral influence emanating from the Industrial Workers of the World, who, of course, repudiated the validity of contracts with employers. They believed that, as Haywood expressed it, "as all is fair in love and war, industrial unionists should abrogate all agreements which would compel them to violate the principles of unionism."[183]

Friction between the Industrial Workers of the World and the American Federation of Labor continued, of course, to be in evidence. The nominal possession of a defense fund by the I. W. W., and the want of such a feature in the Federation, doubtless appealed to craft unions in time of need. For that reason, if for no other, many craft unionists have felt that Haywood had some reason for saying that "the only function which the American Federation of Labor can assume is to act as an advisory board of the [Pg 116]trade-union movement," and that "the ideas of Mr. Gompers are hoary, aged, moss-covered relics of the days of the ox-team and the pony express, when the craftsmen owned or controlled the tools of production."[184]

There were a few trade unions which joined the Industrial Workers of the World as a last resort or merely to spite the American Federation. Such was the case with the Stogie Makers, who constituted an independent organization in January, 1906, and who, having been for some reason denied a charter in the American Federation of Labor, finally, and with noisy repudiation of the principles of the Federation, joined the I. W. W.[185]

Trouble most commonly arose between the Industrial Workers and the Federation in time of strike. The Industrial Workers objected to what they called the "unfair interference of the A. F. of L. in I. W. W. strikes." Numerous protests against this alleged meddlesomeness of the Federation were made on the floor of the second convention. The following excerpt from the report of General-Secretary Trautmann to the convention will serve for illustration:

... strike-breakers were engaged by the American Federation of Labor officers to take the places of members of the I. W. W. In Youngstown, Ohio, in San Pedro [Cal.], in Yonkers and in many other places committees were sent to employers demanding the discharge of I. W. W. supporters; special boycotts have been declared against the goods made in factories where members of the Industrial Workers of the World are employed, as, for instance, in St. Louis, Mo., and Butte, Mont.... In Schenectady, where the I. W. W. efforts gained advantages for others, too; in Cleveland, Ohio, where the I. W. W. bricklayers walked out on strike in sympathy with striking hod-carriers, members of the A. F. of L., and refused an offer of [Pg 117]ten per cent increase in wages and a closed shop contract, if they would desert the building laborers, which they refused to do; in Newark, N. J., where the I. W. W. shoemakers refused to work with the strike-breakers engaged to defeat strikers of another organization not in the I. W. W., and similar cases can be recorded to show that the I. W. W. members are not organized for the purpose of retaliation against members of their class....[186]

The American Federation of Labor was undoubtedly often guilty of attempts of the kind just mentioned—activities which were looked upon by the "Wobblies" as crafty methods of undermining and antagonizing the work of their organization. It happened more than once during that first year of the younger organization's existence, and has happened on the occasion of many an industrial conflict since that time. However, the blame lies not entirely at the door of the Federation, nor has it alone been guilty of such practices. It is, in fact, quite likely that the first provocation to interference arose from the persistence of the I. W. W. in the policy of organizing—or rather of annexing to itself—unions already organized, and usually so organized in the American Federation of Labor itself. This policy of double affiliation was warmly discussed at the first convention, but no definite official decision of the convention appears in the stenographic report of proceedings. The I. W. W. has been accused of deliberately agitating among unions already organized, and that in the face of open declarations that the I. W. W. does not believe in dual organization. It is true that such declarations of policy may have been made by I. W. W. speakers, but it has not been officially declared to be the policy of the organization. A sharp distinction should be drawn here between reorganizing, or attempting to reorganize, already organized [Pg 118]bodies—dual organizing activities—which are not expressly approved or condemned, and the condition of dual organism—or dual membership—which last is expressly forbidden. No local union of the I. W. W. may belong to the American Federation of Labor or to any other national organization.[187]

The I. W. W. has constantly been guilty of agitating in and building from the old craft unions, and in the earlier days of its history most of its work consisted in thus "boring from within" the established unions. It is only in later years that it has even approximately lived up to its avowed policy of organizing the unorganized—the unskilled—the floating laborer. Consequently the provocation of the American Federation of Labor, and craft unions generally, to retaliate for the alleged meddlesomeness of the I. W. W. was even greater then than it is now.

The vigor of this retaliation on the part of the craft unions was evidenced by the action taken by such organizations as the International Association of Machinists, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, the United Cloth Cap and Hat Makers, the United Brotherhood of Leather Workers, and others, which "decreed that the mere joining of the Industrial Workers of the World would deprive any man or woman of the right to work in industries controlled by these combinations."[188]

This strenuous opposition was largely the cause of more or less compromising on the part of the Industrial Workers of the World with the craft-union idea, though, of course, the very weakness of the new movement and the hard-fixed habit of years of life and work under the old craft form was a potent factor here. This much is plain from the [Pg 119]record of those early days of I. W. W. history. Many of its constituent unions retained to a considerable degree the characteristics of craft unions, and more than that—some of the I. W. W. locals (boasted types and rallying centers for industrial unionism) were nothing more or less than craft locals. Even this extremity was no doubt forced upon many locals on account of the lack of knowledge of industrial unionism among workingmen, and this made necessary that rather ambiguous phenomenon of a revolutionary industrial union largely composed of craft or pseudo-craft units. The delegates to the second convention had to face this very impossible situation. A typical one was that of the Bartenders and Waiters Local Union No. 83 of Chicago, concerning which Delegate Shenkan of San Francisco said:

[This] local is a craft organization whose members do not even follow the vocation their charter would designate. Most of their members work in other lines of industry, such as cigar-making, shoemaking, painting, and quite a number of diversified kinds of work during week days, while on Sundays they work as bartenders and waiters at picnics, balls, etc. ...[189]

The convention was very desirous that this condition be remedied as soon as possible, and a resolution was finally passed stipulating that the General Executive Board must always organize so far as possible on industrial lines: "The incoming General Executive Board is hereby directed to organize the new recruits in and by industries, and to promote the education in industrialism among those men to whom charters may have been issued upon a craft system before they could be enrolled in the I. W. W."[190] In his report to the convention General Secretary Trautmann recommended that

[Pg 120]

as a safeguard against the possible drifting of such [craft] unions into permanent craft organizations, it should be understood and made mandatory that as soon as a union of employees in any given industry is formed, all those in such craft unions must transfer to the respective industrial body.... But all recruiting craft unions should be chartered directly from the general administration, so that constant control can be kept over the affairs of such organizations, and the proper alignment be directed as soon as such [action] appears to be opportune and necessary.[191]

However, this antagonism from outside craft unions, and these involuntary internal compromises with the craft-union idea were not the most serious difficulties which now beset the Industrial Workers of the World. The organization was threatened with wholesale defection and very soon actually suffered it in some quarters. During the spring of 1906 it became evident that a movement was afoot in the lumber camps of the northwest to organize the lumber workers in a general union outside of the I. W. W. Moreover, it appeared that the moving spirit in the agitation was one Daniel MacDonald—charter member of the Industrial Workers of the World from the old American Labor Union—a man who had not long since been an organizer for the I. W. W., and who must at the time have been a member of that organization, since he was sent as a delegate to the second convention. Mr. MacDonald explained the nature of the proposed organization in a letter to Mr. James Brookfield of Crescent City, California, dated at Butte, Montana, March 27, 1906. He does not mention the I. W. W. He writes that

there is a movement on foot now in this state [Montana] and throughout the western country to organize a United Lumber [Pg 121]Workers' general organization, to be composed of all men engaged in the lumber industry.... This organization is to be constructed on lines broad enough and having sufficient scope to meet every essential requirement of the men engaged in the lumber industry, and to give them general support, uniform benefits and the universal respect and protection so woefully needed.[192]

The attempt was not successful. The lumber industry was destined to be one of the most fertile fields for the propaganda of the I. W. W. and to be one of its most solidly established divisions. This disloyal agitation on the outside in 1906 was a comparatively insignificant movement. It merely deprived the organization of a few individual members, and delayed somewhat the I. W. W. invasion of the lumber industries.

The most serious defections occurred in the Metals and Machinery, and the Mining Departments. The former department at the outset comprised two groups of metal workers: the United Metal Workers International Union and the Amalgamated Society of Engineers. The United Metal Workers had been a part of the American Federation of Labor until shortly before the first I. W. W. convention, and was on its adjournment installed as a part of the Metals and Machinery Department of the I. W. W. The Amalgamated Society of Engineers had also been a part of the American Federation of Labor.

On account of the somewhat industrial structure of that organization, as different kinds of workers in the metal industry comprised its membership, said society had been suspended ... from the American Federation of Labor, but by a referendum vote of the members living in the United States and [Pg 122]Canada it was decided to become an integral part of the American Labor Union....[193]

On the merging of the American Labor Union in the Industrial Workers of the World, the Metal Workers of that union organized in the Amalgamated Society of Engineers were naturally installed with the United Metal Workers in the Metals and Machinery Department. Mutual hostility and friction between these two groups thus arbitrarily forced into one department, added to a deplorable lack of coöperation and assistance from the General Headquarters, finally resulted in the breaking away of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, and the consequent loss to the I. W. W. of about four thousand wage-earners in this one department during the first year of its existence. This left the Metals and Machinery Department, about three thousand strong, practically limited in membership to the United Metal Workers International Union.[194]

The most paralyzing blow of all came with the loss of the whole of the Mining Department in the defection of the Western Federation of Miners in 1907. Indeed, the Federation really ceased to be an active member of the I. W. W. after the second convention of the latter organization in September, 1906. The W. F. of M. defection was so intimately connected with other dark troubles which came to light at the second convention that the subject will best be treated in that connection.[195]

The strikes conducted by the Industrial Workers of the World during the first fifteen months of its existence were almost uniformly unsuccessful. Its strike activities were, [Pg 123]however, quite widespread and pushed in most cases with energy and enthusiasm. The following groups of workers were involved: the Stogie Workers of Cleveland, Ohio; Hotel and Restaurant Workers of Goldfield, Nevada; the Window Washers of Chicago; the Marble Workers of Cincinnati; the Miners of Tonopah and Goldfield, Nev.; the Silk Workers of Trenton (N. J.) and Staten Island (N. Y.); and the Saw Mill and Lumber Workers of Lake Charles, Louisiana. The Stogie Workers were on strike from January 1 to October 1, 1906. They demanded a ten per cent wage increase, abolition of the black list, and one apprentice to every ten employees.[196] Although the strikers were unable to get the aid they needed from the General Organization, the strike seems to have been quite successful.[197]

In Goldfield, Nevada, strikes were conducted by two different locals. The demand of the Hotel and Restaurant Workers for the eight-hour day was finally acceded to. The Miners were on Strike both in Goldfield and Tonopah. They were bitterly opposed by the Allied Printing Trades Council of the American Federation of Labor, and seem not to have reached a settlement until late in 1907.

The Window Washers' strike in Chicago began August 1, 1906, and was on at the time of the second convention. Members of the Window Washers' Union quit work in thirty-five buildings in the down-town district of Chicago. The General Executive Board advised that the striking men be kept at work in other occupations so far as possible in order to keep down expenses. The Marble Workers of Cincinnati demanded a nine-hour day and a Saturday half-holiday. There appears to be no record of the result of their efforts.

The strikes of the Silk Workers at Trenton, N. J., and

[Pg 124]

Staten Island, N. Y., were both lost, the cause assigned by the strikers for their defeat being the fact that they could get no support from the General Organization.[198]

There was a disproportionate amount of energy given to strikes at this time. Moreover, most of this energy was misdirected. President Sherman, in his report to the convention, said: "There has been no time since August, 1905, but what we have had one or more strikes to contend with, which has been more or less responsible for our organization not being in a position to place more organizers in the field than what it has maintained."[199]

In discussing the I. W. W. strike record, Secretary Trautmann declared that "there was not a single solitary strike that the I. W. W. won." They were not rightly conducted, nor called at the right time.

Those organizations [he explained] formed in the last year on a strict observance of the laws and principles of the I. W. W. did not have a strike while those organizations organized on the craft union principle of immediate gains without voluntary coöperation of the membership, those organizations were the only ones that were plunged into a fight immediately after we were organized.[200]

There was certainly little or no coöperative planning of strikes, especially no careful timing of them, between the local unions and the general administration. Often during the first year "strikes were called in times when the general organization was least prepared, and when it required strenuous efforts to meet the requirements of such a conflict with the employers."[201]

[Pg 125]

President Sherman believed that the strike activities had been too exclusively confined to the eastern states, and even suggested that it might be better for the time being to conduct strikes only in the West. He explained his position as follows:

Nearly all the strikes which have taken place during the life of the organization have been in the eastern States. The workers at those points, being so poorly paid, it has been necessary for them to immediately appeal for benefits, which demonstrates the fact that we must prepare for war before war is declared. Many of our strikes ... have taken place immediately after the local union was organized, before the members involved in such strikes were hardened and drilled in the principles of industrial unionism.... One local union in the East ... becomes a greater responsibility to the general organization than three local unions in the West.[202]

At the same time that the industrial unionists were pushing their strike propaganda some of them who were also members of the radical political parties were trying to bring those parties (viz., the Socialist party and the Socialist Labor party) together. To do this they realized that the two parties must agree upon a policy in regard to the attitude which the party should assume toward the trade unions. With this object in view representatives of the two socialist parties called a conference which was afterwards known as the New Jersey Socialist Unity Conference. The sessions of this conference were held in various New Jersey towns—Orange, Paterson, West Hoboken, Newark—at irregular times between September 10, 1905, and March 4, 1906. The purpose of the conference, as expressed in the Manifesto issued at the close of its sessions, was "to consider [Pg 126]the causes of the division between the two [socialist] camps and ascertain, if possible, whether solid grounds could be found for a union of the militant socialist forces ... of the State...."[203]

The conference believed that any union between the revolutionary groups in America depended upon a proper solution of two problems: "First, the proper attitude for a political party of socialism to assume toward the burning question of trades unionism; and second, the proper attitude for a political party of socialism to assume toward the ownership of its press, the voice of the movement."[204]

The first of these two problems took up the greater part of the attention of the conference, and it is the only one which was of special import in the development of industrial unionism. The very fact of such a conference indicates that there was at least that harmony between the two camps which was necessary to enable them to get together to discuss differences. Members of both parties, too, believed that a harmony platform was actually in process of successful application, so far as the economic or labor-union policy of both parties was concerned. For—behold the I. W. W.! "Such a conference," said the secretary of the State Executive Committee of the Socialist Labor party, "taking place at a time when the hitherto divided socialists are approaching one another and joining hands on the basis of the Industrial Workers of the World—such a conference we feel confident, at least feel hopeful, will promote the desired end of socialist unity."[205]

Shall the political party, the radical political party, be [Pg 127]neutral in its attitude towards the economic organization of the working class? This was the real question at issue. The prevailing sentiment at this conference was in the negative.

A socialist political movement [declared one delegate] cannot be neutral with regard to economic movements. The Socialist party itself, on the speakers' banners, says to the workers, "Join the union of your craft. Join the party of your class." Evolution forced the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, the class conscious, economic organization of labor. It was not a mistake. It organized with 25,000 men and today we have the Industrial Workers of the World with 100,000 men, organized on class conscious lines. If it was a mistake, it was the kind of a mistake that helps. Neutrality is nonsense.[206]

Some of the delegates were more hesitant about such a proposition as the unqualified endorsement of the I. W. W. One of the Socialist party representatives expressed his opposition to such support in these words:

The I. W. W. may be good enough now [he said] but it may drift, may become bad. Should the Socialist movement base itself on the I. W. W. and that organization fall, the party would fall with it. I am opposed to recognizing that organization until it has proved itself to be of use. In Colorado the Western Federation of Miners adopted declarations similar to those of the I. W. W., endorsed the Socialist party, then went to the polls, not to cast their ballot for the Socialist candidate, but for a reactionary Democrat. We have nothing definite to show that the I. W. W. would not do the same thing.[207]

The I. W. W. has changed—shifted very decidedly—and in that the delegate proved himself something of a prophet, but its new position is anything but that of a reactionary [Pg 128]labor organization voting for a Democratic—or Republican—candidate!

The majority were emphatically for a recognition of the principle of industrial unionism, but there was some difference of opinion as to whether any particular organization should be endorsed. A number of the conferees felt that the I. W. W. should simply be commended as useful for working out the industrial-union idea, rather than given an unreserved endorsement. The final conclusions of the conference were embodied in a series of resolutions, and also expressed in detail in the Manifesto already referred to. The resolutions pertaining to the question of political-economic relations were as follows:

I. Resolved, that the Socialist political movement of the working class cannot remain neutral to the organized effort of the working class to better their economic conditions on class-conscious, revolutionary lines.

II. Resolved, that the A. F. of L. form of organization and its principles are an obstacle to working class emancipation.

III. Resolved, that the Conference places itself on record as recognizing the usefulness of the Industrial Workers of the World to the proletarian movement....

X. Resolved, ... that ... steps be taken to bring about a national conference between the two organizations in order to bring about unity on a national basis.[208]

The Conference holds [reads this Manifesto] that without the political movement backed by a class-conscious ... economic organization, ready to take and hold and conduct the productive power of the land, and thereby ready ... to enforce if ... and when need be, the fiat of the socialist ballot of the working class; that without such a body in existence, the socialist political movement will be but a flash in the pan ...; that a political [Pg 129]party of Socialism which marches to the polls unarmed by such [an] organization, but invites a catastrophe over the land in the measure that it strains for [and achieves] political success.... It must be an obvious fact to all serious observers of the times, that the day of the political success of such a party in America would be the day of its defeat, immediately followed by an industrial and financial crisis, from which none would suffer more than the working class itself.... By its own declarations and acts the American Federation of Labor shows that it accepts wage-slavery as a finality ... holding that there is identity of interest between employer and employee.... Consequently [the Conference] ... rejects as impracticable, vicious, and productive only of corruption the theory of neutrality on the economic field ..., condemns the American Federation of Labor as an obstacle to the emancipation of the working class ... [and] commends as useful to the emancipation of the working class the Industrial Workers of the World, which instead of running away from the class struggle bases itself squarely upon it, and boldly and correctly sets out the socialist principle "that the working class and the employing class have nothing in common...."[209]

The second I. W. W. convention met on September 17, 1906, with ninety-three delegates. The sessions continued for sixteen days. It had been predicted at the first convention that the Industrial Workers of the World would within a year be one hundred thousand strong. This forecast was, according to Secretary Trautmann's report to the second convention, very much too sanguine. This report indicated that there were some sixty thousand members (including 27,000 in the Western Federation of Miners) at the opening of the second convention. The following tabulation of the growth of the membership during the first year is arranged from the data given in Mr. Trautmann's report:

[Pg 130]

I. W. W. Membership—First Year[210]

Date Unions directly attached Transportation Dept. Metal Dept. Total Membership
Aug. 1 1,900
Sept. 1 4,247 [211]
Oct. 1 1,000 840 5,078
Nov. 1 840 5,482
Dec. 1 840 7,971
Jan. 1 840 8,200
Feb. 1 7,817
Mar. 1 9,275 1,500 10,775
Apr. 1 10,288 3,000 13,228
May 1 13,520 195 3,000 16,715
June 1 21,000
July 1 22,500
Aug. 1 45,000
Sept. 1 60,000

The data, it will be noticed, is very fragmentary in regard to the growth of the various departments, and even the figures representing total membership can be considered by no means conservative. Mr. St. John, until recently Secretary-Treasurer of the organization, wrote "that the Second Annual Convention reports claim 60,000 members, but the books of the organization did not justify any such claims; in fact, the average paid-up membership with the W. F. of M. for the first year of the organization was 14,000 members in round numbers."[212]

As has already been intimated, the Mining Department was from the first not very securely held in the bonds of the [Pg 131]general organization, and it is very doubtful whether the 27,000 miners should be included in I. W. W. membership estimates even during the period while the Western Federation was nominally a department of the Industrial Workers of the World. According to Secretary Trautmann, it was evident "on August 1, 1905, that those brave men of the American Labor Union, numbered then 1,100, and approximately 700 in the Metal Department, [and] could not be swayed by the denunciation of the opposition in the West, those under cover as friends, often more dangerous than those openly fighting the I. W. W." "These 1900 [1800]," continued Mr. Trautmann, "constituted the only force with which the constructive work was begun."[213]

President Sherman reported that on September 10, 1906, the locals holding charters in the Industrial Workers of the World numbered 394, of which number 120 were not at that time in good standing, so that there were at the time of the second convention 274 active locals enrolled.[214] The greater part of this number consisted of local unions directly attached to the general organization without any intervening subordinate division or subdivision. A considerable minority of the total, however, comprised local unions which were only indirectly attached to the general organization, such locals being enrolled in District Councils or National Industrial Unions, or even Industrial Departments and being directly responsible to that council, national union, or department.

There were but three departments actually organized as such during the first twelve months. These were the Transportation Department, the Metals and Machinery Department, and the Mining Department. The Mining Department [Pg 132]was the only one of the three having the members necessary to justify existence as a separate autonomous department, and it was finally the only department recognized as such at the second convention. The Western Federation of Miners was thus the I. W, W.'s only genuine department—and a department, moreover, which was agitating sub rosa all the while against the general organization of which it was even a nominal department for but a few months.

Concerning the Transportation Department, Secretary Trautmann reported to the convention that, "the United Brotherhood of Railway Employees ... installed itself as the Transportation Department of the I. W. W., it being accepted as a fact that said Brotherhood was an integral part of the American Labor Union and had at the time of installment 2,087 members...."

... this so-called department [he said] proved to be a constant drain on the general treasury.... While the Transportation Department has paid in taxes to the Industrial Workers of the World the sum of $130.75, the main organization was constantly paying more into that department in the vain hope that eventually the workers in that industry would rally around the banner of industrial unionism....[215]

Although the convention decided not to recognize the Transportation Department, it did endorse a resolution providing "that the credentials of all local unions of transportation workers who are sending delegates, be recognized and the delegates seated."[216] The break-up of the Metal and Machinery Department and the bolting of that (chief) subdivision of it which was formerly and now again became the Amalgamated Society of Engineers has been referred to above.[217] The convention took the same action in regard to [Pg 133]this as in the case of the Transportation Department, denying recognition to the Department but granting it to those local unions (the United Metal Workers Union in this case) which had sent delegates to the convention.

It was claimed that seven international unions voluntarily joined the Industrial Workers of the World, "even though they were forced by the power of the capitalist combinations to remain ... attached to the American Federation of Labor."[218] The seven "international" industrial unions are nowhere specifically mentioned but must presumably have included unions belonging to the three departments mentioned above and which were organized during the first year. The International Musical Union was one of these so-called international unions. This organization was not even satisfied to be an international industrial union—it insisted on being a Department as well—and claimed the title of

the International Musical and Theatrical Union, Subdivision of the Public Service Department of the Industrial Workers of the World ... [all this] on the grounds ... that organizations comprising 1000 and even less members were allowed autonomous department administration and department executive boards; and so that organization has since been using the prestige of the I. W. W. to justify its existence as a part of a department not at all organized.[219]

There is not now and never has been a genuine, that is to say a constitutional, Public Service Department in the I. W. W., and of course the convention could not recognize a mere fragment of what might some day become a Public Service Department.

Since 1906 there have been no Industrial Departments [Pg 134](i. e., no divisions larger in scope than the National Industrial Union) in the I. W. W. Nevertheless, the Constitution continued, up to the tenth convention in 1916, to speak of the organization as being composed of National Industrial Departments, National Industrial Unions, etc.[220] The Agricultural Workers' Organization (the "A. W. O."), organized in 1914, which now constitutes a large and increasingly important division of the I. W. W., is akin to what the founders wanted to have in the I. W. W. in 1905. There is more body to it today than there was to any of the so-called International Industrial Departments of the earlier period. It is to be noted that in all the editions of the Constitution since 1906 the word "International" has been replaced wherever it occurred by the word "National."

Throughout the whole of its history the Industrial Workers of the World has been composed almost entirely of local unions scattered throughout the United States and Canada, all directly connected with the central office or what is called the General Organization. The development of subdivisions (such as Industrial District Councils, International Industrial Unions, and Industrial Departments), between the general organization and the local union has not been appreciable until within the last two or three years.[221]

[Pg 135]
[Pg 136]


[180] "The World of Labor," International Socialist Review, vol. vi, pp. 434-5 (Jan., 1906).

[181] The Red Lodge, Mont., and Pittsburg, Kans., locals.

[182] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention, p. 324.

[183] Voice of Labor, June, 1905.

[184] Voice of Labor, June, 1905.

[185] International Socialist Review, vol. vi, pp. 434-5 (Jan., 1906).

[186] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention, pp. 71-2.

[187] Cf. Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention, p. 338.

[188] Report of General Secretary-Treasurer Trautmann, ibid., p. 63.

[189] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention, p. 356.

[190] Ibid., p. 294.

[191] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention, pp. 61-2.

[192] For the letter in full vide Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 146.

[193] From the report of General Secretary-Treasurer Trautmann, Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), pp. 51-52.

[194] Ibid., p. 53.

[195] Cf. infra, ch. v.

[196] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 106.

[197] Ibid., p. 169.

[198] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 169.

[199] Ibid., p. 43.

[200] Ibid., p. 377.

[201] Report of General Secretary-Treasurer Trautmann, ibid., p. 59.

[202] Report of President Sherman, Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 46. For partial list of I. W. W. strikes vide Appendix viii.

[203] Proceedings of New Jersey Socialist Unity Conference, p. iv. The Manifesto is reprinted on pp. iv-ix of these Proceedings.

[204] Ibid.

[205] In a letter to W. B. Killingbeck of the Socialist party, ibid., pp. xv-xvi.

[206] Delegate Gallo, S. L. P., Proceedings of New Jersey Socialist Unity Conference, pp. 7-8.

[207] Delegate Killingbeck, ibid., p. 17.

[208] Proceedings of New Jersey Socialist Unity Conference, pp. x and xii.

[209] Proceedings of New Jersey Socialist Unity Conference, pp. v-vi.

[210] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention, p. 60. These figures are based on per capita taxes paid and do not include the mining department which at the time referred to was paying taxes on 22,000 members. Ibid.

[211] Including S. T. & L. A. accession, 1200 members.

[212] Private Correspondence, Oct. 5, 1911. (The italics are mine.)

[213] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 60.

[214] Vide President's report, Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 43.

[215] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), pp. 55-56.

[216] Ibid., p. 9.

[217] Cf. supra, p. 122.

[218] Report of General-Secretary Trautmann, Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 63.

[219] Trautmann, loc. cit., p. 57.

[220] I. W. W. Constitution (1914), p. 4.

[221] The writer is unable to find any complete list of the "individual" locals belonging to the I. W. W. in 1906 or 1907. It is not probable that any such record has been preserved. The following very incomplete list has been put together from scattered references in the Proceedings of the Second Convention:

Local Union No.
144 Power Workers Denver, Colo.
Industrial Workers Union Jersey City (Mixed local).
Retail Clerks Union Flat River, Mo.
Industrial Workers Union Paterson, N. J.
Textile Workers Pawtucket, R. I.
Bakery Workers Butte, Mont.
177 Capmakers New York City.
183 Cement Workers Spokane, Wash.
313 Paper Makers New Haven, Conn.
176 Silk Workers New Haven, Conn.
190 Silk Workers New Haven, Conn.
Marble Workers Cincinnati, Ohio.
90 Shoemakers St. Louis, Mo.
299 Window Washers Chicago, Ill.
Miners Pittsburg, Kans.
Miners Chicopee, Kans.
139 Hod-carriers
Tobacco Workers Cleveland, Ohio.
365 Mixed Industries Jamestown, N. Y.
185 Mixed Industries San Antonio, Tex.
307 Mixed Industries St. Paul, Minn.
83 Bartenders and Waiters Chicago, Ill.
263 Hotel and Restaurant Employees Chicago, Ill.
Arizona State Union No. 3 of the Department of Mining.

The Coup of the "Proletarian Rabble"

The second convention was the occasion of the first split in the ranks of the Industrial Workers of the World. At this time the friction seemed to be chiefly personal, whereas the second schism in 1908 was primarily due to differences in regard to principles and policies. It is true that principles and policies were involved in the feud of 1906, but they lurked obscurely in the background, while personal antagonisms—charges and counter-charges of graft, corruption and malfeasance in office—held the center of the stage. From the inception of the movement the year before a smouldering dissension developed between the poorer and less skilled groups of workers—largely migratory and casual laborers, the "revolutionists" or the "wage-slave delegates" as they were called in the second convention—these on the one side, and the more highly skilled and strongly organized groups called (by the other side) the "reactionaries" or the "political fakirs." It might be remarked in passing that, in this ultra-revolutionary I. W. W., the "conservatism" of the "reactionaries" ought to be heavily discounted and the radicalism of the "revolutionists" raised to the nth degree to get the true perspective! Involved with this group hostility was the trouble stirred up by various members of the two Socialist political parties.

The first years [writes Mr. St. John] was one of internal struggle for control by these different elements. The two[Pg 137] camps of socialist politicians looked upon the I. W. W. only as a battle-ground on which to settle their respective merits and demerits. The labor fakirs strove to fasten themselves upon the organization that they might continue to exist if the new union was a success.[222]

But all this internal antagonism was very obscure. It evidenced itself chiefly in the personal fight between the Sherman-Hanneman-Kirkpatrick faction and the Trautmann-DeLeon-St. John faction at the second convention, which finally resulted in the deposition of C. O. Sherman as General President. Mr. St. John has described the situation as it appeared from his side of the controversy. At the second convention it soon developed, he says,

that the administration of the I. W. W. was in the hands of men who were not in accord with the revolutionary program of the organization. Of the general officers only two were sincere—the General Secretary, W. E. Trautmann, and one member of the Executive Board, John Riordan. The struggle for control of the organization formed the second convention into two camps. The majority vote of the convention was in the revolutionary camp. The reactionary camp, having the chairman, used obstructive tactics in their effort to gain control of the convention. They hoped thereby to delay the convention until enough delegates would be forced to return home and thus change the control of the convention. The revolutionists cut this knot by abolishing the office of president and electing a chairman from among the revolutionists.[223]

The revolutionists, who were referred to later by their opponents as the "proletarian rabble" of the "beggars," held a pre-convention conference in Chicago on August 14, 1906. This little "curtain-raiser" was called by Local [Pg 138]Union No. 23 of the Department of Metal and Machinery which on July 20 sent out a letter to the various I. W. W. locals in Chicago, which declared that "developments during the past year have proven to us that the constitution does not come up to the requirements of the rank and file ...," and urged a preliminary conference to consider the following propositions:

First. Is a president necessary in our form of organization?

Second. Shall this organization be the expression of the membership?

Third. Who shall direct the organization work?

Fourth. Shall the local unions receive a copy of the minutes of the General Executive Board sessions?

Fifth. Shall the local unions be represented at the National Convention, as set forth in Article VI., General Constitution?

Sixth. Any other question that the Conference may deem necessary to discuss.[224]

The conference met with delegates present from about sixteen local unions and unanimously decided that a president was unnecessary, that all organizers, lecturers, etc., should be nominated by the local unions and elected by the "rank and file," that each local should receive reports of all Executive Board sessions, which, moreover, should be open to the rank and file, and that every local union be represented at the approaching convention by at least two delegates.

Whereas, the day is at hand [runs their resolution] when we must abolish anything that pertains to aristocratic power or reactionary policy, the office of president of a class-conscious organization is not necessary. The rank and file must conduct the affairs of the organization directly through an executive [Pg 139]board or central committee ... and, whereas a president can only be in one place at one time and can only personally organize the working class in the district in which he is; he, therefore, can only act in the capacity of an organizer.... [Moreover], the expense of a president [$150 per month] would support at least four class-conscious organizers....[225]

Commenting on the conference, J. M. O'Neill remarks that "there is a vast difference between being class-conscious and being class-crazy."[226]

An inkling of the beautifully chaotic condition of affairs no later than December, 1905, is given by the comments of Max Hayes in the International Socialist Review for January, 1906.

I am told by a prominent member of the I. W. W. [he says] that not all is lovely in that organization, that the original industrialists and the departmentalists are lining up to give battle, and that in some places where the DeLeonites and the Anarchists had combined and held control the Socialists obtained possession of the machinery.... "If a convention were held next month," an industrialist writes, "the element in control in Chicago last July wouldn't be one, two, three, and I predict that at the next convention the academic vagaries forced upon us by the DeLeon-Anarchist combine will be dropped for a plain fighting program that everybody can understand and conjure with." Rumors are in the air that the Western Miners and President Sherman and his friends are souring on DeLeon and Secretary Trautmann and his followers.[227]

The principal charge against President Sherman was that of misdirected and generally extravagant expenditure of the funds of the organization. The auditing committee at the 1906 convention reported that "the expenditures of the [Pg 140]ex-General President show gross extravagance and strong evidence of corruption. During a period of thirty-three days he flung away on a junketing trip, not a single local being organized by him at any time, the sum of $731.55...."[228] William. E. Trautmann, the General Secretary-Treasurer, reported that he was "compelled to pay bills under protest for services never rendered, or for such things as should be considered an insult and outrage against the entire membership."[229]

The opponents of Sherman did not believe that these alleged offenses were either the most important or the most dangerous of his pernicious activities. When the case finally came before the Master in Chancery, there was among the affidavits filed in the case of St. John versus Sherman one by a certain Lillian Farberg,

who swears that Sherman ... told her that a conference had been held at Denver, which was attended by himself (Sherman), James Kirwan, J. M. O'Neill, and Victor Berger (of Milwaukee). At this conference Sherman said an understanding had been reached that the Western Federation of Miners should endorse the Industrial Workers of the World, that later at the convention of the I. W. W. such action would be taken as would result in the radical element [the "tramps" and "beggars"] being thrown out of the organization, and that Victor Berger at the conference had promised that if this was done the Socialist party would endorse the I. W. W.[230]

The foregoing charges were flatly denied by J. M. O'Neill, the editor of the Miners' Magazine; at the fifteenth convention of the W. F. M., he repudiated these and other accusations made by the "DeLeon coterie" and offered $500 [Pg 141]reward for the establishment of the truth of any of them.[231] Delegate Parks, one of the "wage slave" delegates, declared that

... it is the general opinion of the members of the revolutionary element of this convention that there was among some of the departments of the Industrial Workers of the World corruption, graft, and fakiration which would put to shame the worst of the American Federation of Labor.[232]

Immediately on the adjournment of the 1907 convention, ex-President Sherman issued a statement "to officers and members of all local unions and all departments of the Industrial Workers of the World" in which he declared, "that the recent convention ... violated the constitution in various ways"; "that the convention was controlled by the members of the Socialist Labor Party under the leadership of Daniel DeLeon," and that this "most disgraceful gathering" was "illegal and unconstitutional."[233] A month later Sherman issued on his own behalf a letter to the I. W. W. membership, in which he denied the various charges of extravagance and connivance at illegal tactics on his part. In this letter Sherman says that "not a vote was cast on any important matter in this so-called convention until DeLeon had been consulted, or he had given them the 'wise business wink.'"[234]

As far as parliamentary convention tactics are concerned there is no doubt that both factions displayed a lofty contempt for parlor etiquette. Several months later William [Pg 142]D. Haywood wrote to St. John in regard to this matter. He emphatically condemned "Shermanism," but goes on: "You were entirely too harsh, unnecessarily so; the Gordian, presidential and other knots that you cut with a broad axe were only slip knots that could have been easily untied." "In this way," he concludes, "much dissension could have been avoided."[235] An anarchist sympathizer with the "proletarian rabble" frankly writes: "Some might claim that the action of the convention of 1906 was illegal ... [but] in a crisis there is no question of legality. It is the time for deeds...."[236]

Seven days had elapsed since the opening of the convention before the reports of officers were given. During this time—nearly half the time the convention was in session—almost nothing was accomplished. This delay made very plausible indeed the accusation made by the "wage slave" delegates that the reactionaries had deliberately planned to force them out of the convention by resort to these dilatory tactics. Whether or not the Sherman faction had decided on such tactics, there is no question but that the freezing out of the "wage slaves" would be a very natural result. Article VI. of the Constitution provided that "the expenses of delegates attending the convention shall be borne by their respective organizations." Now many of the local unions could afford to provide their delegates with adequate expense money; others could afford but very inadequate provision for expenses. Thus, most of the delegates from unions in the Mining Department—and those in general from the relatively better established unions—were quite well provided for, the Miners' delegates, e. g., receiving mileage plus five dollars per day expense money for every day [Pg 143]they were away from home. The great majority, however, were paid nothing but mileage and were obliged to pay their own expenses and had come with funds absolutely insufficient for a prolonged meeting. Delegate Lingenfelter, in a speech in support of an unsuccessful motion to allow proxies to delegates who were compelled to leave on account of lack of funds, said:

These dilatory tactics that have been pursued by the opposition have prolonged the convention, due to their express determination, in my opinion, to freeze out these wage slave delegates.... Only last night the boys came to me and said: ... "We can't stand it any longer; we are going broke; we can't sleep in boxcars and eat handouts and remain here."[237]

The "beggars" gained the upper hand. Mr. DeLeon succeeded in putting through a motion to suspend the above mentioned article of the Constitution concerning delegates' expenses, and a resolution was finally passed which authorized the payment of $1.50 per day from the general treasury to all without the necessary expense money.[238]

In this way the Trautmann-DeLeon-St. John faction secured control of the convention and brought about the deposition of President Sherman—the first and last President of the Industrial Workers of the World. The convention now proceeded to consider some of the problems of industrial unionism which had cropped out in the course of twelve months' experience. Meanwhile ex-President Sherman and his followers had decided to stand pat—but not on the floor of the convention. They took possession of the General Headquarters and with the assistance of the police successfully held them against all comers.

[Pg 144]

Upon entering the premises of the General Headquarters the members of the General Executive Board [newly elected] were prevented from entering by thugs engaged by members of the old General Executive Board and two members [of the new board], Vincent St. John and Fred Heslewood, were attacked by these sluggers.[239]

This picturesque situation is explained to the membership in an official announcement issued by the new Executive Board in behalf of the "proletarian rabble":

Sherman and his hired sluggers are now in forcible possession of the general office and all the books, records, papers, roster of local unions, mailing list and other property of the organization, necessitating legal procedure on our part to oust them and regain control of the office and property.... The majority of the General Executive Board was his perfect tool. They winked at his irregularities, endorsed his extravagance and lent their efforts to perpetuate him in this organization as they are now lending their assistance to help him disrupt it.[240]

The success of the "beggars, tramps, and proletarian rabble," that is to say, of the Trautmann-DeLeon-St. John faction, was hardly complete. They were officials without an office in which to do business, without equipment of any sort, and without money. Secretary St. John writes that they "were obliged to begin work after the second Convention without the equipment of so much as a postage stamp." The financial routine in the general office had required the signature of the president on all checks and prohibited the [Pg 145]withdrawal of funds from the bank without that signature. Now the President was deposed, the office abolished, and the deposed President refused to sign the necessary requisitions so that the four thousand dollars belonging to the I. W. W. in the Prairie State Bank of Chicago was safely out of reach of both factions.[241]

The matter was at last taken to the Court of Chancery and a restraining order issued prohibiting Sherman and his friends from appropriating the property of the Industrial Workers of the World. The findings of the Master in Chancery were in substance as follows:

1. That the Industrial Workers of the World is a voluntary association consisting of about 62,000 members residing in various cities and villages throughout the United States and Canada.

2. That its 1906 convention was legal and valid.

3. That the acts of Mr. C. O. Sherman after that convention were illegal, and,

4. That the "attempted abolition" of the office of General President was illegal and void.[242]

The findings were on the whole favorable to the "wage slaves" faction, but even so the latter were in a rather forlorn position now, having been abandoned to their fate by the Western Federation of Miners (whose delegates supported Sherman, some of them bolting the convention before its adjournment), and by the Socialist party. Before long the Western Federation finally withdrew its support from the Sherman faction and early in the year 1907 the "would-be usurpers" gave up the struggle,[243] but the Western [Pg 146]Federation of Miners did not come back into the fold. They decided to withhold payment of dues to either faction pending their anticipated and formally realized secession at their convention in May, 1907.

Mr. Sherman had made a desperate fight. He and his followers conducted what was virtually a duplicate even if spurious general office and organization of the I. W. W. The Shermanites, who had retained control of the "Industrial Worker,"[244] the journal of the organization, continued its publication for several months at Joliet, Illinois. Herein were published refutations of the charges set forth by the "DeLeon-Anarchist Combine" in their special series of Bulletins of the Industrial Workers of the World. With the surrender of the Shermanites the "Industrial Worker" was discontinued, and the Trautmann-DeLeon-St. John faction—now the I. W. W.—established the Industrial Union Bulletin as a weekly organ.

The now triumphant revolutionists considered that the whole trouble was due to an attempt to sell out to the capitalists, to make the organization a conservative—and therefore a perfectly harmless—association. Mr. Trautmann insisted that their "sole object when forcibly taking possession of headquarters and all their documents" was to destroy all evidence of their plots for

surrendering the Industrial Workers of the World to the employing [Pg 147]class and their agents. The stenographic report of the second convention will prove the falsity of every charge made against the "tramps" and "beggars" who saved the I. W. W. to continue its work as the revolutionary economic organization of the working class of America.[245]

"The danger was great," declared Daniel DeLeon in his speech at the adjournment of the 1906 convention. "The conspiracy was deep laid. We see it appearing in the papers from Denver all the way across to New York. It was a conspiracy to squelch the revolution in this convention, and to start over again another American Federation of Labor."[246]

DeLeon's sentiments regarding the schism of 1906 are particularly worthy of note, because of the fact that he was destined two years later to figure with seceders in a split of that same "DeLeon-Anarchist Combine" which was now victorious and of one mind in overthrowing "usurpers" and apparently in harmony in every way. But in two years the "DeLeon-Anarchist Combine" was to change to the DeLeonites versus the Anarchists, each of whom was to constitute a separate organization called the Industrial Workers of the World.

Socialist party leaders were as firmly convinced as was DeLeon that there was a "deep-laid conspiracy," but they believed that DeLeon was the arch conspirator. When the Seventh International Socialist Congress met in Stuttgart in 1907, Morris Hillquit and J. Mahlon Barnes presented the Socialist version of the affair.[247] The fatal trouble from the [Pg 148]very beginning, they thought, was the inclusion in the I. W. W. of the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, the "enfant chétif" (as they expressed it) of the Socialist Labor party.[248] They go on to tell how this alleged conspirator prepared the ground for the "capture" of the convention in the interest of this "enfant chétif":

Several months before the 2nd Convention, the Alliance, under the direction of the adroit chief of the Socialist Labor party, Daniel DeLeon, planned to take possession of the administration of the I. W. W., and by means of a skillful manipulation of the delegates, succeeded in obtaining a majority for itself in the convention. The Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, indeed, dominated the convention. It completely modified the constitution of the organization, abolished the office of General President, and chose a new Executive Board from among its friends and adherents. But the triumph of the Alliance did not last. In conformity with the constitution of the I. W. W., the acts of the convention are not valid unless ratified by a referendum of the members.... The leaders of the Alliance refused to submit the acts of the convention to a vote of the members, and the old officials immediately declared them null and void. The division was therefore complete in the ranks of the I. W. W. The two factions maintained rival bodies of officials and the dispute was carried to the courts, which pronounced in favor of the old administration [Sherman, et al.]. The great majority of the members supported the original organization directed by Mr. Sherman in the capacity of President, while the number of adherents to the DeLeon faction did not exceed 2000 members.[249]

[Pg 149]

Vincent St. John offers some interesting testimony against the allegation that DeLeonism dominated the second convention:

It is my opinion [he says] that they [the Shermanites] are, because of lack of argument with which to sustain a wrong position, hoping to cause the prejudice which exists against DeLeon and the Socialist Labor party to blind many to the true state of affairs, a prejudice to which I plead guilty to having had, but which I was unable to justify upon investigation, a prejudice which exists against this organization and man because it and he stood upon the ground that we now occupy fourteen years ago, struggling against grafters and traitors, and for which they have paid the penalty in being slandered and vilified. This is no eulogy of DeLeon or the S. L. P.... It is my conclusion.[250]

These conflicting opinions are presented for what they are worth. On both sides they should be taken with salt. The writer makes no attempt to pass judgment except to point out that the Socialist party report to the Stuttgart Congress is obviously in error in claiming that the Master in Chancery pronounced in favor of the old (i. e., the Sherman) administration.[251]

The "proletarian rabble" recognized that the power of the opposition would be fatally undermined if it lost the active support of the Western Federation of Miners. It has been seen that they did finally lose that support when the W. F. M. finally cut loose entirely from anything and everything calling itself I. W. W. This—the most staggering defection of all that the young I. W. W. had to face—had been rather plainly foreshadowed as early as the fall of [Pg 150]1905. Within three months of the adjournment of the first convention the report was circulated among various unions in the West that the Western Federation had refused to join the Industrial Workers of the World.[252] This rumor was without foundation. The Western Federation did join the I. W. W.

Immediately after the close of the first convention [according to Secretary Trautmann's report] the officers of the Western Federation of Miners reported to the members of that organization the actions of the first convention, and a referendum was issued for the purpose of having the work of the delegates ratified by the rank and file. At the end of August, notice was received that the members of the Western Federation of Miners had approved, by a big majority, the actions of the delegates in installing that organization as an integral part of the Industrial Workers of the World, and on September 1, 1905, the Western Federation of Miners became the Mining Department of the Industrial Workers of the World.[253]

But this was not to be for long. Although the break did not come for some months after the second I. W. W. convention, some premonitory evidences of disaffection came to the surface at that meeting. As will be seen, there were several things which aggravated the trouble in the Mining Department. The deposition of President Sherman by the delegates to the second convention, and the consequent confusion, especially in regard to finances, resulted in the bolting of the convention by the delegates of the Mining Department (the Western Federation of Miners).[254] From the close of the second convention until the summer of 1907 the Western Federation was nominally a part of the Industrial [Pg 151]Workers of the World, but was all this time becoming more and more alienated in spirit. For all practical purposes, January 1, 1907, may be regarded as marking the termination of the Federation's connection with the I. W. W. This whole controversy between the I. W. W. and its Mining Department, i. e., between the "proletarian rabble" (the Trautmann-DeLeon-St. John faction) on the one hand, and on the other the "reactionaries" (the Sherman-Hanneman faction), supported for the most part by the Western Federation of Miners—all this frenzy of squabbling is given a great deal of space in the Miners' Magazine (the official journal of the Western Federation) during the last three months of 1906.[255]

The men most prominent in the activities of the second convention were Daniel DeLeon, Vincent St. John, C. O. Sherman, and Wm. E. Trautmann. Members of the Socialist party were less prominent and numerous than they had been a year before. Neither Mr. Simons nor Mr. Debs was present at the 1906 meeting. The Socialist Labor party contingent was, however, quite as strong as ever—one of its new delegates being Mr. Paul Augustine, later the National Secretary of the Socialist Labor party.[256] DeLeon's influence was as strong as ever. He was declared to have controlled the convention—this was reiterated by individuals both inside and outside. Ex-President Sherman, in a speech in his own defense on the convention floor, said:

Delegate DeLeon has controlled this convention.... But, ... while I endorse the underlying principles that are advocated by the Socialist Labor party ... I am opposed to their tactics [Pg 152]and I do not hesitate to say that time will demonstrate to the working class that their tactics are suicide [sic] to the movement.[257]

The members of the Socialist party, naturally biased against the Socialist Labor party, were quite ready to accuse its representatives of steam-roller methods at the 1906 convention. As before, these insinuations were quite correct in that the Socialist Labor party, through its unofficial representatives, most of all through DeLeon, did thus indirectly have a great deal of influence in the convention. But it is yet open to question whether this influence was a pernicious one. Moreover, the dominant policy of the convention was not an unmixed DeLeon policy and the dominant group contained another element, viz., the more thoroughgoing non-, or rather, anti-political faction, attaching to no political party whatever. The chief spokesmen of this element were William E. Trautmann, the Secretary-Treasurer, and Vincent St. John,[258] who was to succeed the former in that office several years later. He was a member and official of the Western Federation of Miners, and a radical and enthusiastic devotee of the principle of industrial unionism. He emphatically opposed the action of the Western Federation officials at the 1906 convention and instead of following the majority bolt from the I. W. W., he bolted the Western Federation and was elected a member of the General Executive Board of the I. W. W.[259]

[Pg 153]

These two men represented the alleged Anarchist end of the so-called "DeLeon-Anarchist combine" and were the real spokesmen of the more revolutionary element. They would have preferred to have had the political clause of the Preamble stricken out, but were not powerful enough to swing the majority of the delegates to that position and finally agreed as a compromise to stand with DeLeon and his followers for the retention of the political clause. The fight over the political clause was thus postponed to a later convention.

The financial problem was from the first made more difficult by a kind of dual unionism which was contrary to the spirit, at least, of the I. W. W. law, but which was tolerated because quite unavoidable. The involuntary connection of many local unions with more than one general organization resulted in the subjection of such unions to the payment of dues to each central organization. To relieve this excessive burden of taxation it was decided by the General Executive Board to make a discount from the regular dues in favor of all locals thus situated. This discounting policy, felt to be necessary in order to hold many unions in the organization, meant a loss of revenue which could ill be borne.

Moreover, in consideration of some material equipment in the way of office furniture and supplies, seals and charters were furnished free of charge to all unions formerly with the American Labor Union or the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance. To top all, the mismanagement and extravagance resulting from discord in the general office, and incompetence among the officials, almost strangled the organization before its first anniversary. Debts were contracted with manufacturers and

[Pg 154]

the inability to pay ... nearly endangered the very existence of the organization, when threats were made to disclose the real state of affairs to parties who were straining every nerve to see the smashing of the I. W. W.... Personal loans had to be contracted to deposit money at the bank when the account was overdrawn and for three months in succession the constant fear that these conditions would become known kept the real workers on the administration from engaging enough assistance to carry on the necessary work....[260]

Despite these difficulties there was turned into and expended from the General Defense Fund (in addition to the voluntary subscriptions) the sum of $8,910.00 in behalf of twelve different strikes. The report of the auditing committee showed that there was on hand August 22, 1906, a net balance of $3,555.92.[261]

[Pg 155]


[222] In a letter quoted by Brooks, American Syndicalism: the I. W. W., p. 85.

[223] The I. W. W., History, Structure and Methods (1917 ed.), p. 6.

[224] "I. W. W. Conference Proceedings," Miners' Magazine, Sept. 6, 1906, p. 12.

[225] "I. W. W. Conference Proceedings," loc. cit., pp. 12, 13.

[226] "That Conference at Chicago," Miners' Magazine, Sept. 6, 1906, p. 7.

[227] International Socialist Review, vol. vi, p. 435.

[228] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1901), p. 587.

[229] Ibid., p. 58.

[230] Industrial Workers of the World Bulletin No. 4, Dec, 1, 1906.

[231] Proceedings, 15th W. F. M. Convention pp. 177-8.

[232] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 226.

[233] Statement dated Oct. 4, 1906, Miners' Magazine, Oct, 11, 1906, col. 2, p. 7.

[234] Letter dated Nov. 6, 1906, Miners' Magazine, Nov. 22, 1906, p. 11. Sherman published another letter in his own defence in the Miners' Magazine of Nov. 1, 1906, pp. 10-11.

[235] Letter dated Ada County Jail, Boise, Idaho, March 17, 1907. Published in Proceedings 15th Convention, W. F. M. (1907), p. 584.

[236] Jean Spielman, Mother Earth, Dec. 1907, p. 458.

[237] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 20.

[238] By a vote of 378 to 237, ibid., pp. 80, 94.

[239] William E. Trautmann, "A statement of facts," Industrial Workers of the World Bulletin, No. 4, Dec. 1, 1906. cf. St. John, I. W. W., History, Structure and Methods (3rd ed., 1913), p. 7.

[240] Machinists' Monthly Journal, vol. xviii, pp. 1109-10 (Dec, 1906). This announcement is dated Oct. 5, 1906 and carries the following postscript: "Until we can get charge of the office again we will be unable to furnish local secretaries with due stamps...." p. 1110.

[241] Mr. Sherman could not draw the money because the signature of the Secretary-Treasurer was also necessary.

[242] These statements are condensed from the report given in the Industrial Workers of the World Bulletin, No. 4, Dec. 1, 1906.

[243] "The W. F. M. officials supported the old officials of the I. W. W. for a time financially and with the influence of their official organ. The same is true of the Socialist party press and administration. The radical element in the W. F. M. was finally able to force the officials to withdraw that support. The old officials of the I. W. W. then gave up all pretense of having an organization." (St. John, The I. W. W., History, Structure and Methods, 1917 ed., p. 7.)

[244] There is no connection between this paper and the Industrial Worker later published as a weekly at Spokane, Washington. Nor is this latter the same Journal as the Industrial Worker recently published in Seattle. All are I. W. W. organs.

[245] "A Statement of Facts," Industrial Workers of the World Bulletin, No. 4, Dec. 1, 1906.

[246] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 610.

[247] In the Report of the Socialist party of America to the Seventh International Socialist Congress, L'Internationale ouvrière et socialiste. Édition française, vol. i, pp. 23-32, "Les mécontents de la Fédération."

[248] Loc. cit., p. 30. "La Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance a obtenu le record d'avoir provoqué plus de disputes et de schismes au sein des mouvements socialistes et ouvrièrs en Amérique, pendant ces dernières années, que n'importe quel autre organisime, et son adhésion au mouvement a été fatal à celui-ci." Ibid.

[249] Translated from the French. Loc. cit., pp. 30-31.

[250] "Vincent St. John on the I. W. W. Convention," Letter to the Editor, Miners' Magazine, Nov. 8, 1906, pp. 5-6.

[251] Cf. supra, p. 145. The report of the Master in Chancery, Industrial Workers of the World Bulletin, No. 4, Dec. 1, 1906.

[252] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention, p. 107.

[253] Ibid., pp. 50-51.

[254] The bolting delegates were: Mahoney, McMullen, Hendricks and R. R. McDonald.

[255] Especially important are the various reports on the Second I. W. W. Convention, appearing in the issue of October 18th.

[256] In general the members of the two Socialistic parties were arrayed in opposing camps—the Socialist party men siding with the Shermanites and the Socialist Labor men with DeLeon, of course.

[257] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 271.

[258] Vincent St. John had been a member of the Western Federation of Miners since 1894 and was in 1906 a member of the executive board of that organization, but refused to leave the convention and join the seceding Miners in 1907, choosing rather to bolt the W. F. of M. and remain with the I. W. W.

[259] "St. John has given the mine owners of the [Colorado mining] district more trouble in the past year than any twenty men up there. If left undisturbed he would have the entire district organized in another year." (Statement attributed to mine-owners' detectives and printed in the Rocky Mountain News, Feb. 28, 1906, and quoted by Geo. Speed in a letter to the Weekly People, April 7, 1906, p. 5, col. 1.)

[260] Report of General Secretary-Treasurer, Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention, pp. 57-8.

[261] For complete itemized statement cf. the report of the auditing committee, vide Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), pp. 579-94. The cash balance was for some time after the close of the convention inaccessible to the general officers. Cf. supra, p. 145.

The Structure of a Militant Union

With its "house-cleaning" job off its hands, the convention now turned its attention to some of the specific problems of policy and constructive work. The activities of the past fourteen months had brought new and challenging questions to the fore. One of the most important was the problem of the agricultural laborer. Attention centered upon the farm laborers and the lumber workers. Most of the industrialists agreed that the coöperation of the country workers—farm laborers and lumbermen—and the city proletariat was absolutely necessary for the success of revolutionary industrialism.

The agricultural elements of the working class [said one of the delegates at the second convention] are going to be the last and hardest to be organized into this economic organization, and ... while we may have the wage slaves of the industrial centers organized, when the crisis comes we will find [them] ... in an economic organization and bucking against a combination of capitalists and agriculturists, and when that time comes we will of necessity have to exercise our political rights and overthrow that opposition.[262]

The I. W. W. had already made some headway among the lumber workers, and it was in connection with this element that many believed it most feasible to organize the farm laborers. Secretary Trautmann devoted two solid [Pg 156]pages of his report to the discussion of the relation of the farm and forest workers with the city proletariat. He believed that the failure of revolutionary movements was often due to the lack of coöperation between these sections of the working class. He urged the organization to follow among the farm laborers those methods which had already been applied with some success in the lumber camps.

For this work of organizing the farm laborers [he said] we must look for actual support to the thousands and hundreds of thousands of wage-earners in the lumber camps of the United States and Canada. No element is so faithful to the principle, when once understood, as the hard-working pioneer proletarians in the woods, nor a group of toilers who will fight more vigorously ... than those who ... call themselves "lumberjacks." Their relation with the farm laborers and the ... [seasonal] character of their employment should serve as the key to open the field for the organizing of the farm wage slaves. In the summer months most of the lumbermen work as farm hands or in the saw-mills, and many a blacklisted mechanic from industrial centers seeks as a last refuge from the master's persecution employment as constantly shifting farm laborer and lumberman. The Industrial Workers of the World have organized and are organizing with astonishing success the lumbermen in different parts of the country.... But ... their condition will be jeopardized if the I. W. W. fails to organize the workers in the fields in which they seek and secure employment during the remainder of the year, that is mostly in agricultural occupations, ... [and] ... to assure a successful protection of farm laborers and lumbermen, it is absolutely necessary to get the organizations so organized into direct touch through the general administration of the I. W. W. with the organizations of the Industrial Workers in the cities.[263]

An important change in the geographical distribution of [Pg 157]propaganda and organizing activities was that suggested to the convention by President Sherman. He thought that these activities of the Industrial Workers of the World should not be immediately spread indiscriminately over all parts of the country, believing it to be most expedient to allow the eastern section of the United States to lie fallow for a time, so to speak. He recommended that

the greater part of the money expended for paid organizers be devoted to the western States for the next six months, for the following reasons: West of the Missouri River the industrial conditions are in a far better state ... than they are in the eastern States and organizing can be done there without endangering turmoil in the way of lockouts and strikes.... We must get a substantial organization in the West ... before we will be prepared to make a general campaign in the East, as in the eastern States the workers in many of the industries are so poorly paid that a strike or lockout means starvation if finance is not forthcoming.... Hence I feel the necessity of first fortifying ourselves with a good Western membership before exposing the organization to a general assault by the employers of the East.[264]

This proposal was, however, not very favorably received by the convention. The committee on reports of officers made, among others, this recommendation, which received the endorsement of the convention:

We disagree with our President regarding organizing in the West in preference to the East.... The committee believes that [the fact] that conditions in the East are deplorable is the very reason why organizing work is necessary in the East, that the standard of living may be improved, thus accomplishing a more uniform standard of working-class solidarity.[265]

[Pg 158]

The average member of the Industrial Workers of the World was exceedingly sceptical of the value of undiluted representative democracy for either a labor union or a political state. He suspected that any official might, and probably would, be disloyal. He realized how difficult it is for any organization which depends on representatives to maintain a body of such representatives who really represent. He knew how easy it is for a delegate to be "reached"—to be influenced by one of a score of insidious forms of corruption. This accounts for the stress laid by the Industrial Workers of the World upon the referendum idea, from the very beginning of its existence. Let the acts of delegates in convention be ratified by referendum vote. The convention is the law-making body, but it is always subject to the will of rank and file. All factions, even that one which plotted disruption, united in lip service, at least, to the idea of the referendum. Labor-union democracy must be made democratic by referendum control. How much of all this referendum clamor was "sounding brass" is indicated by some remarks made by Mr. DeLeon (who, of course, believed in the referendum) at the second convention:

I think it is positively comical [he said] to see men who stand convicted before this convention of having trampled on the principles of this constitution ... who have refused the referendum, men who suspended locals because they did not submit to the men who lined up with those elements; I think it is positively comical to have such elements come before this convention and bow down to the referendum and salaam and kowtow to the rank and file, or start off screeching like howling dervishes—"referendum"![266]

The convention had to face the important fact that a very large proportion of the human raw-material for I. W. W. [Pg 159]propaganda were foreigners, new to America and speaking alien tongues. From the very first a very liberal policy in regard to the foreign element had been adopted by the Industrial Workers of the World. Certainly they could not consistently adopt a narrow policy here and draw the color line it they intended really to become an all-inclusive democratic organization. It will be remembered that protest against discrimination against the negro by craft unions was voiced by William D. Haywood at the very opening of the first convention.[267] At the second convention this liberal attitude was maintained in regard to all foreign elements. Moreover, in the work of organizing the immigrants it was proposed to go still further and take the aggressive.

This convention [said Secretary Trautmann] should instruct the incoming Executive Board of the Industrial Workers of the World to immediately find the necessary agencies in Europe, so that immigrants to this country, before leaving, will be already furnished with all the information necessary, and be enlightened as to the real conditions in the United States, and an appeal should be made to them to immediately join the existing organizations of the Industrial Workers of the World immediately after they accept employment in any industry. The literature of the Industrial Workers of the World should be distributed in different languages in the various emigration ports in Europe, and central bureaus be established by the Industrial Workers of the World in American harbors, and be opened to the immigrants, and information should be furnished them [as to] how they could ... participate in the struggles of organized labor....[268]

[Pg 160]

Requests were made at the convention for literature in many foreign languages—Macedonian, Jewish, Italian, Slavonian, Spanish, etc.—on behalf of these and others. Foreign-language publications and pamphlets were issued and foreign-language branches of the local unions had been established and continued to be extended in scope after the second convention. The Italian Socialist Federation asked for the services of an Italian organizer, and one was provided. An Italian paper, Il Proletario, had been appearing for a short time as an official organ of the Industrial Workers of the World, and its publication was continued under the supervision of the General Executive Board.[269]

Furthermore, the structure and scheme of organization in the local unions was modified to suit the requirements of a polyglot membership. A motion was proposed and carried

to allow wage-earners of a given nationality to form unions of their own in the respective industries in which they are employed and where there are not enough to form unions of that kind, the parent unions shall allow the [non-English-speaking] members ... to have branch meetings for educational purposes.[270]

It is worthy of note that sex lines were ignored quite as completely as race lines. Perhaps the organization leaned backwards a little in the policy of special inducements to women and "juniors"—indicated in the resolution carried "to remit for female members, ten cents per member per month to the union, the same to apply to juniors."[271]

The character of the unit group—the local union—as being preëminently industrial in nature, was emphatically reaffirmed and more fully defined than ever before.

[Pg 161]

... the smallest unit of an industrial union [says Secretary Trautmann] comprises the employees in one industrial plant, whether large or small. Likewise should all the employees of industrial corporations, no matter where ... employed, be members in that respective department of wage-earners, if already organized. Taking for illustration the Mining Department, it should embrace within its folds not only the metalliferous, the coal and the salt miners, all the employees in the oil and gas fields, and the various plants connected with that industry, but also the employees in oil and gas refineries, the teamsters and distributors of oil, and any other mining products in the large or small industrial centers. They should belong to the same department in which the workers in the mines, or in the oil fields, are organized.[272]

There was some agitation in New York City in the summer of 1906 to organize that section on a basis of one local union to each industry, with each local divided into sub-branches as the needs and extent of its constituency might require. These latter sub-branches were, moreover, to have no direct connection with the General Organization. This plan was opposed at the convention. It was in conflict with the policy of centralization which characterized the earlier stages of I. W. W. development. It was emphatically condemned by President Sherman as a violation of the constitution. He asserted that it centered the "power of the whole industry in the hands of the members of one local union."[273]

Centralization was wanted—but it was national (or international) centralization, not district centralization. A provision had been made the year before for what were called "mixed locals" which were to include workers in various [Pg 162]industries, but only so to include them temporarily; it being understood that so soon as a sufficient number of the workers in any particular industry came into the locality to warrant their organization into a union that all members of the mixed local who belonged to that industry should immediately withdraw from the "mixed" and join the "pure" industrial union. It was, of course, assumed that no one should join a mixed local or remain in a mixed local when a union of his industry existed in that locality. The privilege of membership in the mixed locals had already been very much abused. In numerous instances it was found that members continued as members of the mixed local, even after their particular industrial union had been organized, or even maintained membership in both the mixed and the industrial body at the same time. This double membership was not only of no value—it was usually positively disastrous. It made confusion and brought on factional fights between "mixed" and industrial bodies,[274] and resulted in a double, and consequently inflated, membership representation at the annual conventions. After an extended discussion of the seemingly unmixed evils of mixed "locals," the convention passed a resolution defining their functions. "The mixed local," runs the resolution, "is not to be a permanent institution in the I. W. W. It is merely the propaganda [body] that will build up an industrial union for the future. It is a recruiting station [only]."[275]

[Pg 163]

Important subdivisions of the organization were the Industrial Councils. These had been constitutionally defined as "central bodies composed of seven or more local unions in two or more industries."[276] Such central bodies had been organized during the first year in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Paterson, N. J., and Flat River, Mo., and were, according to Secretary Trautmann, "in process of formation in Cleveland, Seattle, and Toronto, Canada."[277] Steps had also been taken toward the formation of the Arizona (state) District Industrial Council. These bodies had a definite future rôle as well as an immediate function mapped out for them. Here is given some little conception of the anticipated modus operandi of one part of the coöperative machinery of a future industrial society—of which the Industrial Workers of the World is proposing to be the framework. The work of the industrial councils, present and future, is explained by Wm. E. Trautmann as follows:

If it is the final object of the Industrial Workers of the World to prepare the government for the coöperative commonwealth, then likewise should provisions be made to organize the agency, through which the administration of cities and rural districts [can] be conducted. The Industrial Council should, therefore, be organized for that purpose, and the territory to be covered by such organization should be determined by the central administration.... While the future functions of such councils will consist in the administration of the industries by the chosen representatives of the various industrial unions, their present-day duties should be to direct the propaganda, the organizing work, the education through central agencies, the direction of strikes, and other means of warfare between the workers and the shirkers, and the supervision of organizers; in fact, all such functions as will yield better results, if carried [Pg 164]out by a collective direction, should come within the jurisdiction sphere of such councils.[278]

The original constitution had provided for thirteen international industrial departments, which could be organized in any industry so soon as it contained ten locals with a membership of not less than 3,000 members.[279] The reaction against the departmental idea at the second convention was sufficiently strong to carry an amendment to the constitution making the prerequisite to departmental organization in any industry "ten locals with a membership of not less than 10,000 members." This change was partly the result of a general feeling that the departmental system was not as practicable as had been at first believed. Moreover, it was believed that, so long as departments could be organized on the basis of a membership of only 3,000, departmental autonomy would be an absolute farce, and simply resolve itself into local union or locality domination. The defenders of the departmental idea rightly insisted that that idea be given a fair chance to work itself out. Another group—industrial unionists who laid great stress on the local industrial union as the division which should first of all be possessed of complete autonomy—felt that this change was a change in their favor in so far as it made the attainment of the departmental status more difficult and the existing number of departments actually less. The departments, thought DeLeon,

must be in the nature of the states of the United States and ... there should be no less and no more autonomy, and for the same reason that this government of the United States is not a government of the states but a government of the people, [Pg 165]for the same reason the government of this I. W. W. is not a government of departments, it is a government of the rank and file.[280]

The Universal Label, provided for in Article IV., Section 10, of the original constitution, had not given entire satisfaction. In fact, a number of the delegates wished to abolish the label altogether. This demand grew out of the misuse of the label itself. Many locals suffered it to get into the hands of employers, others coöperated with their employers in its use. Now coöperation with employers in any way whatever is in absolute violation of the spirit and letter of the I. W. W. law. Hence the label was looked upon by many as something of a very compromising nature. It came near being entirely abolished, but finally it was decided that the label be retained, but used only in strict accord with the provisions of "Resolution A," which reveals the rôle of the red (revolutionary) label as opposed to that of the orthodox ("pure and simple") trade-union label. The resolution reads:

Whereas, the universal label of our union has been productive of both good results, such as the general advertising of our name and the graphic presentation of the unity and comprehensive character of the I. W. W. to the minds of the proletariat; and of evil results, such as the advertising of merchandise, the fostering of a tendency towards the coöperation of the classes, the general confusion of the minds of working men in regard [Pg 166]to the nature of the class struggle, and in its failure to explain its own significance as to just what or how much of the work on a product was done by I. W. W. men; and,

Whereas, It should be our endeavor to retain every weapon that is efficient for the proletariat and against the capitalists; be it, therefore,

Resolved, That, in an endeavor to eliminate the evils and continue the good effects of our first year's experiment, we retain the universal label; and be it

Resolved, That the use of the universal label shall never be delegated to employers, but shall be vested entirely in our organization; and be it further

Resolved, That except on stickers, circulars and literature presenting the merits of the I. W. W., and emanating from the general offices of the I. W. W., the universal label shall be retained only as evidence of work done by I. W. W. men; and be it further

Resolved, That when the label is so printed, it shall be done by the authority of our union without the intervention of any employer; and be it further

Resolved, That when our universal label is placed upon a commodity as evidence of work done by our men, it shall be accompanied by an inscription underneath the label stating what the work is that our men have done, giving the name of the industrial department to which they belong and the number or numbers of their local unions, and that the universal label shall never be printed as evidence of work performed without this inscription; and be it further

Resolved, That the universal label shall be of a uniform crimson color and always the same in design.[281]

It has been stated that experience with, and the deposition of, President Sherman resulted in the abolition of the office of General President. No doubt the Sherman controversy [Pg 167]was the principal predisposing cause, but it is very probable that there would have been some agitation for the abolition of that office even if there had not been a single charge against Sherman as President. A good many were a little shy of the name "President"—it savored of the present political state! Others thought it involved too great concentration of power in the hands of one individual. These latter were the sponsors of the "rank and file" and the forerunners of those who later figured as "decentralizers" in the controversy concerning centralization in the Industrial Workers of the World.[282] "The people who direct the Industrial Workers of the World," said Delegate Reid, "are the rank and file.... In a multitude of counsellors there is wisdom, and wisdom is not in the brain of one man to direct this institution."[283] Furthermore, as DeLeon pointed out, "the President is mainly, essentially and exclusively an organizer, a general organizer with a high-sounding title and wages and expenses to match...."[284] The committee appointed to report on the advisability of retaining the office of President reported that it came to its negative conclusion "on the assumption that there was not a man in this convention strong enough or capable enough to assume the office of President."[285]

The efforts of the industrial abolitionists did not end with the attempt to abolish the departments and the universal label, and the successful abolition of the office of General President. Many less important matters were put under the ban. It was decreed that "all rituals, signs, grips and [Pg 168]passwords, borrowed from pure and simpledom, be abolished," and that the use of all terms of salutation of the more orthodox sort, such as "brother" and "comrade" be abolished and the term "fellow-worker" be used on all occasions.[286] Of more material consequence to those concerned was the reduction made in the salaries of the national officers. The salaries of the General Secretary-Treasurer (now the national head of the organization), and Assistant General Secretary-Treasurer were reduced from one hundred and twenty-five dollars per month, to one hundred dollars.[287] The committee making the recommendation felt that former salary was a sum of absurdly bourgeois magnitude!

The question of political action[288] was thoroughly ventilated once more. The more revolutionary group of industrialists renewed their fight to have the clause "until all the toilers come together on the political as well as the industrial field" cleansed from the taint of politics by the striking out of the words "political as well as." The motion involving this change was emphatically opposed by the spokesman of the Socialist Labor party faction. Daniel DeLeon and Hermann Richter both spoke against the motion. Mr. Richter, later the General Secretary-Treasurer of the Detroit (S. L. P.) faction of the Industrial Workers of the World, believed that "if a man takes the obligation as a member of this organization there is a duty upon that [Pg 169]member to be active at all times, and especially on election day, in behalf of his class and of himself as a member thereof."[289]

Neither side was wholly successful. By way of compromise it was finally agreed that the clause containing the rather distasteful word "political" should stand unaltered, but that an additional clause should be appended at the end of the Preamble. This new clause reads: "Therefore, without endorsing or desiring the endorsement of any political party, we unite under the following constitution."[290] Political action was still recognized and no less emphatically endorsed than before,[291] but all political activities would now be subject to very definite constitutional restrictions as to the relations between the Industrial Workers of the World and the political parties.

It would seem that, if politics was to be discounted in the preamble, the discussion of that subject in the local union should surely be subject to restriction if not absolute taboo. This was President Sherman's attitude. He thought

that literature bearing on any complexion of a political nature should be barred from any economic industrial meeting, and that all organizers [of] ... the Industrial Workers of the World shall enforce such principles.... Your president does not hesitate to say that, in his belief, if the Industrial Workers [Pg 170]of the World is not kept clear from all political agitation for the next few years to come ... it will be impossible to build up an industrial organization....[292]

The convention did not agree with him. No doubt this was partly due to the fact that the majority of the delegates could not persuade themselves to tolerate any suggestion (be it ever so wise a one) made by President Sherman. Moreover, it must have been realized that such a prohibition of political literature or political discussion could really never be enforced; that on the contrary it would even stimulate such discussion. However this may be, the committee on good and welfare submitted under this head the recommendation that "in local unions at least ten minutes be given to the discussion of economic and political questions at each meeting." This resolution was endorsed by the convention.[293]

The famous Moyer, Haywood and Pettibone case occupied much of the attention of the second convention. At the time of the convention these three men (of whom the two former were members and officers of the Western Federation of Miners—then the Mining Department of the I. W. W.) were imprisoned in the Ada County jail at Boise, Idaho, charged with the murder of ex-Governor Steunenberg of that state. This great labor case, culminating in 1907 in the trial and acquittal of the three men, makes up one of the most interesting and dramatic chapters in the annals of the labor movement. It was an event which deeply concerned the Industrial Workers of the World, and was a really potent factor in shaping the subsequent history of that organization. The story of the judicial deportation [Pg 171]of these three men had of course become known to the world long before the 1906 convention of the I. W. W., but none the less a brief recital of the event and the part taken by the I. W. W. therein was incorporated in President Sherman's report to the convention. Some excerpts from this report are here quoted. It should be remembered that, at the time of the deportation and trial of these officials of the Western Federation of Miners, that organization was a part of the Industrial Workers of the World, and that (with the exception of Pettibone) these men were, at least formally, I. W. W. men, though they were referred to almost constantly as officials of the Western Federation of Miners.

It pains me to report [said President Sherman] that on Saturday evening, February 17th,[294] Brother Charles H. Moyer, President of the Department of Mining; Brother William D. Haywood, Secretary of the Department of Mining; and Geo. A. Pettibone, ex-member of the Western Federation of Miners, were kidnapped by officers of the state of Idaho and, on the same date, at 11:30 o'clock P. M., were forcibly placed on a special train and taken from the state of Colorado and placed in jail in the state of Idaho, charged with murder. This was done without giving the accused brothers an opportunity for a defense or hearing. They were arrested at night and were given no opportunity to notify their families, friends or legal advisers of their condition.[295]

The Industrial Workers of the World was among the first to come to the defense of the indicted men. The General Office in Chicago immediately sent out thousands of circular letters throughout the country asking for contributions; large amounts were turned over to the Special Defense Fund from the General Defense Fund of the I. W.

[Pg 172]

W., and finally a total of $10,982.51 was raised. This, labor's common extremity, did actually, though but temporarily, achieve that miracle (to appear later in San Diego and Lawrence) of I. W. W.'s, Socialists, Socialist Laborites, Anarchists, and "Pure and Simplers,"[296] even, coöperating in a common activity. The I. W. W. was the first to organize protest meetings, and secured the services of Clarence S. Darrow for the legal defense. The slogan "Shall our brothers be murdered?" was reiterated on every hand and made the watchword of the defense.

The situation was still a desperate one at the time of the 1906 convention. The men were still held in jail awaiting trial. It seems to have been the general belief that they were to be "railroaded" to the penitentiary or the gallows, and the conduct of the prosecution as well as the postponement of the trial, all tended to strengthen that belief. The delegates at the convention decided to turn fifty per cent of the per-capita tax of the Mining Department into the Moyer-Haywood Defense Fund. Some of the delegates undoubtedly exaggerated the influence of the I. W. W. in the Moyer-Haywood affair. Thus William E. Trautmann asserted on the floor of the convention that

Money and the best legal talent would not have been able to save the lives of Charles H. Moyer, William D. Haywood, Geo. A. Pettibone and Vincent St. John;[297] their dead bodies would ... bear testimony to the outrages perpetrated by the class controlling the resources of this land, and all institutions of oppression, were it not for the vigilance of the few.... [Pg 173]men of the I. W. W., who, facing all the calumnies of the public press ... threw their lives into the scale in order to raise the issue. We must prevent the judicial murder.[298]

The jailing of Haywood, especially, one of the most aggressive and influential organizers of the I. W. W., deeply affected the members of that body and really subtracted much from their strength. It was generally felt among laboring men and women that Moyer and Haywood were jailed because they were members of the Industrial Workers of the World, or because they were Socialists. A letter written by Haywood in the Ada County jail on the day that the second convention opened in Chicago indicates the active interest he continued to take in the organization even during his imprisonment. It is here given in part:

Ada County Jail,

Boise, Idaho, Sept. 17, 1906.

To the Officers and Delegates of the Second Annual Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World.

Comrades and Fellow Workers:

While you have been in convention today, I have devoted the hours to a careful review of the proceedings of the initial convention of the I. W. W. and of the conference that issued the Manifesto leading up to the formation of the organization which has ... rekindled the smouldering fire of ambition and hope in the breasts of the working class of this continent.... [Quoting here from his own letter to the fourteenth convention of the Western Federation of Miners] organized industrially, united politically, labor will assume grace and dignity, horny hand and busy brain will be the badge of distinction and honor, all humanity will be free from bondage, a fraternal brotherhood imbued with the spirit of independence and freedom, tempered with the sentiment of justice and love of [Pg 174]order; such will be ... the goal [and] aspiration of the Industrial Workers of the World.[299]

The message was received with boundless enthusiasm. It stimulated all to more determined efforts in behalf of the accused. It doubtless had some share in influencing the minds of that group amongst the delegates, who were inclined to favor the general-strike idea. At any rate, they now urged that that idea be applied in the Moyer, Haywood and Pettibone case. They succeeded in having this resolution presented to the convention:

Resolved, That it is the sense of this convention that in the event of a new delay in the trial of our brothers, Moyer, Haywood, and Pettibone, or in the event of an unjust sentence in their case, the national headquarters of the I. W. W. shall immediately proceed to call a general strike and use every possible means and all the funds at its command in order to warrant the working class to resist and overcome the violence of the masters.[300]

A resolution of this sort would, if it had been presented under similar circumstances, to, say, the 1914 convention of the Industrial Workers of the World, very probably be quite unanimously endorsed, but the I. W. W. of 1906 rejected the proposal. This does not mean that the general-strike principle had not taken root in the I. W. W. at all. It had. Witness the following excerpt from the recommendation of the Committee on the Reports of Officers:

We disagree with our President regarding the general strike and contend that a general lockout of the capitalist class is the method by which ... to emancipate our class. We believe that the general strike be employed temporarily, as a means [Pg 175]to wring concessions from the capitalist class from time to time. The committee believes that a protracted general strike would be no less than an insane act on the part of the working class.[301]

Although the Moyer-Haywood trial and the final acquittal[302] of the accused men made the I. W. W. somewhat more commonly known and understood among the working class throughout the country, it was on the whole nothing less than a calamity for that organization. The I. W. W. did not even get publicity out of the Moyer-Haywood case. The Western Federation got all the advertising. It was a well-established labor organization with an eventful—almost a lurid—history. Its early activities were more or less related to the Moyer-Haywood-Pettibone affair and the general public very naturally thought of the Western Federation when they thought of the Haywood deportation. The I. W. W. was not popularly associated with the Boise trial at all. The organization was obliged almost completely to suspend its vital work of organizing to raise funds for the defense. But this was not the most serious result. The Moyer-Haywood-Pettibone deportation was unquestionably one of the causes operating to split off the Western Federation of Miners. The imprisonment of Haywood certainty weakened that element in the Western Federation which backed the I. W. W. and strengthened the hands of those who were opposed to continued incorporation with it. This, combined with the deposition of President Sherman, which yet further weakened the forces of the Miners who supported the I. W. W., finally gave the I. W. W. knockers in the Western Federation the upper hand. The result was, first a decision by referendum vote of the [Pg 176]Western Federation of Miners not to pay dues to either the Shermanite or the anti-Shermanite factions in the I. W. W., and second, the formal withdrawal of the Mining Department and the reëstablishment of an independent Western Federation of Miners in the summer of 1907.[303]

Several other matters of relatively lesser import were given some attention. Even the difficulty of jurisdictional conflict, the bugbear of the craft union, was known and struggled with in a labor body supposed to be jurisdiction-controversy proof. It was so ideally, but the compromises it was obliged to make with the craft form of union naturally made trouble. Slight changes were made in the system of dues; the preamble and constitution were both somewhat improved in diction and altered in a few other minor details, but they both remained fundamentally as worked out in the first convention, except for the abolition of the presidential office. The following officers were elected for the succeeding year: William E. Trautmann (to succeed himself as) General Secretary-Treasurer, and Messrs. Vincent St. John, A. Maichele, T. J. Cole, C. E. Mahoney and E. Fischer, members of the General Executive Board, and Mr. A. S. Edwards, Editor of the Industrial Union Bulletin. It was decided that the conventions be held the third Monday in September instead of the first Monday in May, and in Chicago unless otherwise specified. The convention adjourned on Oct. 3, 1906.

The prevalent opinion at the time, and since, among the craft-unionists of the American Federation and among the party Socialists—in fact, among all those whose radicalism is comparatively conservative—was that this second convention [Pg 177]marked the beginning of the end of the I. W. W., or at least that the loss of the Mining Department (probably the organization's most conservative element) was an almost irreparable loss. "That the I. W. W. received its death blow at Chicago and will gradually disintegrate" is a fact, according to Max Hayes, "that no careful observer of labor affairs will attempt to dispute."[304] But the I. W. W. continued to exist, and finally to do more than exist, in spite of the upheaval of 1906. It is indeed doubtful if the losses of that year were unmixed calamities. Though they did deprive the organization of its most reputable, best financed, and most respectable elements, their loss tended to give sharp definition and emphatic impulse toward a more revolutionary policy. This policy was now to be applied and tested among those forming the lower stratum of the proletarian mass—the unskilled and migratory workers. This clear-cut definition of policy and its point of application might never have been possible if the complete working-class hierarchy—from lumberjack to locomotive engineer—had been preserved. The I. W. W. became after 1906, and still more after 1908, an organization of the unskilled and very conspicuously of the migratory and frequently jobless unskilled.

[Pg 178]


[262] Proceedings, p. 309.

[263] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), pp. 65-6.

[264] Report of the General President, Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), pp. 45-6.

[265] Ibid., p. 423.

[266] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 252.

[267] Cf. supra, p. 84. Also, Proceedings, First I. W. W. Convention (1905), p. 1

[268] Report of the Secretary-Treasurer, Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 68. There was no action taken by the convention on Trautmann's suggestion that European propaganda agencies be established.

[269] Bulletin of the Industrial Workers of the World, No. 4, Dec, 1, 1906.

[270] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 110.

[271] Ibid.

[272] Report of General Secretary-Treasurer, Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 61.

[273] Report of the General President, ibid., p. 46.

[274] Cf., e. g., the case of the Tinners and Platers of Youngstown, Ohio, as reported, by Delegate Lundy, Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 277.

[275] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 287. The following clause was added to the constitution: "Mixed locals. No member of a trade that is organized in his locality is qualified for admission into a mixed local in the same locality, and no member of a mixed local can remain a member of the same after his trade has been organized in that locality." Ibid., p. 276. For the discussion of the "mixed local" problem, cf. ibid., pp. 276-288.

[276] I. W. W. Constitution (1905), art. i, sec. 2 (b), cf. supra, p, 98.

[277] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 60.

[278] Report of the General Secretary-Treasurer, Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 62.

[279] Constitution (1905), art. i, sec. 2 (a) and art. vii, sec. 4, cf. supra, p. 96.

[280] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 330. Tridon makes this statement concerning departmentalism in 1906: "This system soon appeared impracticable and as the purely industrialist view was beginning to dominate the membership, it was more and more definitely recognized that the New Unionism should organize from below upward. In other words, the local industrial union, not the department, was to be the basis of organization." (The New Unionism, p. 100.) By 1917 the departments had practically vanished from the working structure of the I. W. W. This is shown graphically in the chart diagram of the organization's present structure in Appendix iii.

[281] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 463. In September, 1906, the I. W. W. label had been registered in all but three of the states of the Union. Ibid., p. 45.

[282] Vide infra, ch. xiii.

[283] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 231.

[284] Ibid., p. 225.

[285] Ibid. The amendment abolishing the presidential office was adopted by a vote of 354½ to 253, ibid., p. 246.

[286] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), pp. 567, 420.

[287] Ibid., p. 471.

[288] A recognition of a wider meaning in the term "political action" is evidenced in Delegate Foote's statement that "Every action of every individual in ... organized society is a political action, whether it be as you say on the industrial [political] or on the economic field.... The action of the Industrial Workers of the World as a so-called economic organization is a political action in an organized society." Ibid., p. 311.

[289] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 309.

[290] For discussion of the change in the preamble and on political action in general, cf. ibid., pp. 305-313. The amended preamble is printed in full in the Proceedings, p. 614, and in a pamphlet entitled, Industrial Workers of the World—Preamble and Constitution, published by the Detroit faction. Cf., also, appendix ii.

[291] Spargo to the contrary notwithstanding. He writes: "At the second convention, September, 1906, the preamble was amended and all emphasis on the need for political action omitted." Syndicalism, Socialism and Industrial Unionism, p. 208.

[292] Report of the General President, Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), pp. 44-45.

[293] Ibid., p. 573.

[294] This should be the 19th.

[295] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 47.

[296] A term applied to members of and believers in what Samuel Gompers has called the "pure and simple trade union"—the conventional type of unionist who will have nothing to do with radicalism and accepts implicitly the capitalistic régime.

[297] Vincent St. John, who had been organizing for the I. W. W in the Coeur d'Alene district of Idaho, was arrested at about the same time.

[298] In his report to the convention, Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), pp. 70-1.

[299] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 41.

[300] Ibid., p. 411.

[301] Proceedings, Second I. W. W. Convention (1906), p. 422.

[302] Haywood was acquitted July 28, 1907.

[303] The Miners' Magazine continued to bear the I. W. W. label on its title page until August 1, 1907. As explained elsewhere, the two organizations were virtually divorced as early as January, 1907. Cf. supra, p. 151.

[304] "The World of Labor," International Socialist Review, vol. vii, pp. 31-2.

The Fight for Existence

The third convention of the I. W. W. was in session in Chicago for eight days beginning September 16, 1907. This was a much less turbulent gathering than the one of the preceding year. DeLeon's chronicler says that: "At the third convention of the I. W. W.... almost complete harmony prevailed. The organization had so far recuperated from the blow it had received the year before that several organizers were being employed and many new locals had been formed."[305] He admits, however, that there was some friction, explaining that the anarchistic element "sounded the only note of discord." This, he says, was the "shadow cast before by the pure and simple physical force craze that came into full swing a year after."[306]

This, was a congress of the "proletarian rabble"—the DeLeon-St. John-Trautmann faction. The Sherman faction was no longer in existence. The DeLeonites looked upon the Shermanites as having been from the first nothing more than "a bunch of grafting politicians and labor fakirs." Leaders of the (Chicago) I. W. W. now speak of the 1906 and the 1908 conventions as marking the sloughing-off of the Socialist party politicians at the first, and the Socialist Labor party politicians at the second, respectively. St. John says that at this 1907 convention "a slight effort was made to relegate the politician to the rear."[307] The [Pg 179]Shermanites seem to have had no really substantial constituency at any time. However, it appears that this group did have a convention in July, 1907. No proceedings or other documentary records of this convention have been discovered by the writer. The Miners' Magazine remarked editorially that "The Sherman faction that held its convention in July (1907) was but a burlesque, while the Trautmann faction that held its convention in September was but a grim joke. The treasury was empty, and both factions are confronted with debts which cannot be met."[308] The Shermanite journal, The Industrial Worker, which had been held by the Sherman group and circulated from Joliet, Ill., appeared in July, 1907, and there seems to be no evidence that any subsequent numbers were issued. Both Shermanites and DeLeonites claimed control of the bulk of those I. W. W. local unions which remained after the breaking away of the Western Federation.[309] Sherman continued to present a brave and optimistic front at the time of the fifteenth convention of the Western Federation. On June 3, 1907, he wrote a letter to the convention urging the miners to re-affiliate with the Industrial Workers of the World (i. e., the Shermanite faction). If they would only agree to that, he declared, it would "require not more than two months when the so-called revolutionary movement will die of its own weight, as it is only existing at this time under false pretenses...."[310]

[Pg 180]

Neither did the "proletarian rabble" have any very exalted notion of the power of the "reactionaries."

The plain truth is [declared one of the alleged false pretenders] that the Sherman-McCabe Slugging Company has at no time since the [second I. W. W.] convention had the support of more than 1,000 members—something less than 100 in New York, 100 in Chicago, and the rest (reactionary pure and simple unions) lost in the distances between Ahern's saloon at the St. Regis and Motherwell's saloon at Bingham's Canyon.

The Shermanites, however, claimed the Mining Department, and they seem on the whole to have been justified, for the pro-Sherman or "anti-proletarian" faction, so called, eventually dominated the fifteenth convention of the Western Federation of Miners and made what was already a virtual separation from the I. W. W. a formal and complete divorce. The Shermanite organ, the (old) Industrial Worker, in its issue for April, 1907, claimed that the "Mining Department of the Industrial Workers of the World gained nearly 3,000 members during the month of February" (p. 8). The Shermanites also claimed to have chartered ten locals (outside the W. F. M.) in January.[311]

There were present at the first day's session of the September 1907, convention fifty-one delegates representing sixty-five local unions, and before the close of the convention there were 74 local unions represented by 53 delegates having a total of 129 votes. Few delegates had more than two or three votes. The Paterson (N. J.) delegation had 28 votes; George Speed, representing two locals, had twelve; B. H. Williams, eleven and Daniel DeLeon, three. Contests were made on 26 of the delegates. Among the other delegates to this convention were Rudolph Katz. E. J. Foote, Vincent St. John, F. W. Heslewood, Wm. E. Trautmann, [Pg 181]M. P. Hagerty, and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. Mr. Katz was elected temporary chairman.[312]

The organization was not prosperous at this time. It was weakened and almost torn apart by the exhausting internal struggles it had gone though in its two short years of life. It had lost its strongest member—its main body, almost—the Western Federation of Miners, and with the Sherman contingent a considerable number of individual members in local unions even though the locals themselves retained their affiliation. The writer has not seen any definite statement as to the magnitude of the loss in locals and individuals due to the Shermanite defection. The "proletarian rabble," however, claimed that "139 of the local unions declared themselves in favor of all transactions of the convention."[313] At this time, on the same authority, there were 358 locals "carried on the books," but only 181 in good standing.[314] On a basis of locals in good standing the Shermanites took with them less than twenty-five per cent of the locals in the organization, but if we include all locals, the Shermanites must be allowed to have taken with them sixty per cent of the I. W. W. locals. Further evidence of serious decline is found in the very low proportion of I. W. W. local unions which were represented by delegates at the third convention. If we may accept Secretary Trautmann's statement[315] to the convention that there were at the time about 200 local unions in the organization, it appears that but slightly more than one-third of these locals were represented at the convention. The "Wobblies" had very little to say at this time about the membership of the organization. Indeed, there has [Pg 182]never at any time been much to say about it. In 1907 they were even less aware of their own numerical strength than they usually are. They knew, of course, that it was small and that it had dwindled much since 1905.

The leaders of the Western Federation of Miners followed the proceedings with no friendly eye. J. M. O'Neil declared that "the Trautmann faction does not dare disclose its membership...."[316] He stated further that "a delegate upon the floor of the September convention asked to know the membership of the organization, but he was curtly told by the chairman of the convention to 'never mind counting noses but [to] go home and organize.'"[317]

Official reports to the fifteenth convention of the Western Federation of Miners held the preceding June, credited the I. W. W. with a membership of 32,000, of which number 8,000 were delinquent.[318] This estimate is presumably exclusive of the Western Federation. Delegate F. W. Heslewood (W. F. M. and I. W. W., later a member of the General Executive Board of the [Chicago] I. W. W.) who was one of the so-called "wage-slave delegates" at the second I. W. W. convention, tells the miners' convention that "in one local in the state of Oregon there are over 3,000 members that travel the streets with red flags and red neckties demanding the full product of their toil...."[319] Professor Barnett puts the membership for 1907 at 6,700.[320] General Secretary St. John places it at 5,931.[321] He estimated the membership for 1905-6 as 23,219. Barnett's [Pg 183]figures are: 1905, 14,300; 1906, 10,400.[322] These estimates vary widely, but this at least is evident: there was a marked and progressive decline in membership during the organization's first two years of existence.

During the twelve-month period ending September, 1907, one hundred and eighteen locals were organized.[323] Reports published from time to time in the Miner's Magazine[324] indicate that from the birth of the organization to September 17, 1906, three hundred and ninety-four locals had been organized. A total of 512 locals had, therefore, been organized up to the convening of the third convention in September, 1907. As already noted, there were in the organization at that time about 200 local unions. The necessary inference is that three out of every four locals organized so far in the history of the I. W. W. had either broken away from the organization or simply expired. This condition has been characteristic of the I. W. W. in greater or less degree throughout its brief career. The "turnover" of local unions as well as of individual members has been immense and very irregular. No continuous reports of the new locals chartered have appeared in the I. W. W. press. Weekly reports appeared quite regularly in The Industrial Union Bulletin through the spring of 1907 and showed that four or five new locals were being chartered each week during the three-months period. There is no record of locals disbanded.

In August, 1907, the International Socialist and Labor Congress met at Stuttgart. Both factors of the I. W. W. were represented: the Sherman faction by Hugo Pick and the DeLeon-St. John faction by Fred Heslewood. The [Pg 184]latter group in its suspiciously optimistic report claimed that, "... starting out with only 2,000 members in 1905, the Western Federation of Miners not included, the organization has now 362 industrial unions and branches organized in 37 States and 3 Provinces of Canada ... [and] embraces now 28,000 militant workers...."[325]

The Congress devoted considerable attention to the problem of labor organization. The discussion of this problem centered almost exclusively upon two topics: (1) the relations between the political party and the trade union, and (2) the defects of the craft union. The I. W. W., through its representatives, was actively interested in both of these matters. Its sustained opposition to the craft type of union is characteristically displayed in the report[326] which the Socialist Labor party presented to the Congress. It was evidently written by DeLeon and it may be taken fairly to represent the attitude of the I. W. W. One paragraph of this report, which puts very comprehensively the Industrialist's indictment of the old-line union, reads:

The trades-union field [in America] was found by the political movement of socialism to be preëmpted by what is called craft or pure and simple unionism. This system of unionism organizes the crafts, not simply as units but as autonomous and sovereign bodies. The fundamental error of this system of economic organization was soon found to be desirable by the capitalist class. The craft union rendered all economic movement fruitless. If indeed the wages in these unions were ever found higher than among the unorganized, the price that the [Pg 185]union paid for such higher wages was to divide the working class hopelessly. In the first place, the craft union deliberately excluded the majority of the members of the trade from participation, by means of apprenticeship regulations, high dues, high initiation fees and other devices. In the second place, each of these craft unions, in turn, could earn its Judas pence only by allying itself with the employer each time that some other craft was at war with the employing class. It is superfluous to enumerate the long catalogue of deliberate acts of treason to the working class at home and abroad, and the shocking corruption that such style of unionism was bound to breed. Suffice it to say, as proof, that these craft unions are found amalgamated with an organization of capitalists, known as the "Civic Federation," the purpose of which is to establish "harmonious relations between labor and capital." These craft unions are mainly organized in the American Federation of Labor.[327]

During the discussion of the relations between the political parties and the trade unions a heated argument took place between representatives of the I. W. W. (DeLeon faction) and of the Socialist party.[328] The Socialist party delegation made a long report in which the I. W. W. was referred to in no complimentary terms. F. W. Heslewood, representing the I. W. W.,[329] retorted that the report was "a [Pg 186]tissue of lies and misrepresentations concerning the Industrial Workers of the World in America."[330] He went on to indicate the I. W. W. conceptions of the Socialist party of America in these terms:

This vote-catching machine of which the previous speaker from America (A. M. Simons) is so proud, will stoop to anything and go to any length to secure votes. They have defended a lot of scab unions of the A. F. of L. in California, have endorsed resolutions condemning the Japanese and asking for their exclusion from America, although we find that the Japanese, with very little education in revolutionary unionism, make better union men than the sacred contract scab of the A. F. of L.

At the other end of the continent, in New York, they place their candidates on the same ticket as Randolph Hearst, a Democrat, a trust-buster of the Roosevelt type. I have in my hand here a card ... asking the workers to vote for "Hearst and Hillquit." "Hearst and Hillquit" for good government? "Hearst and Hillquit" for socialism? No. "Hearst and Hillquit" for votes! Hillquit, the "revolutionist," one of the leading stars at this congress, the chief representative of this vote-catching machine: Hillquit, who has fed you on lies concerning the Industrial Workers of the World. If this is the way to get socialism, I hope that such a damnable brand will never be ushered in in my time. What bearing has this criminal work on our grand old slogan, "Workers of the world unite"?

In America we have two kinds of unions, one is known as the American Federation of Labor and the other is the Industrial Workers of the World. One has a million and a half members and the other has over 70,000 members including the Western Federation of Miners, that is 40,000 miners and 30,000 directly chartered members from the headquarters of the Industrial Workers. The larger one is called by the capitalist [Pg 187]masters and their agents, "The bulwark of Capitalist Society," and the chiefs at the head of this scab arrangement were classed by Mark Hanna as his "able lieutenants," and that is what they are.[331]

DeLeon and Heslewood endeavored to put through a resolution in condemnation of the general position of neutrality taken by Socialist parties in their relation with labor organizations. They believed that a Socialist party should definitely endorse radical or socialistic trade unions and officially frown upon all reactionary unions, and especially condemn and discourage reaction wherever it might appear among labor organizations. "Neutrality towards trade unions," reads their resolution, "is equivalent to neutrality toward the machinations of the capitalist class."[332]

The resolutions on this subject which were finally adopted by the congress were much less militant in tone than the I. W. W. statement. The prevailing resolution read in part as follows:

To enfranchise the proletariat completely from the bonds of intellectual, political and economic serfdom, the political and the economic struggle are alike necessary. If the activity of the Socialist party is exercised more particularly in the domain of the political struggle of the proletariat, that of the unions displays itself in the domain of the economic struggle of the workers. The unions and the party have therefore an equally important task to perform in the struggle for proletarian emancipation. Each of the two organizations has its distinct domain defined by its nature, and within whose borders it should enjoy independent control of its line of action. But there is an ever-widening domain in the proletarian struggle of the classes in [Pg 188]which they can only reap advantages by concerted action and by coöperation between the party and the trade unions.[333]

Further along in the same resolution the Congress declared that the unions could not fully perform their duty in the struggle for the emancipation of the workers unless "a thoroughly socialist spirit inspires their policy" and that it was the duty of the party and the unions to render each other "moral support."[334] The editor of the official organ, however, looked upon these resolutions as being very favorable to the I. W. W., which he declared had forced the Congress to "a recognition of the paramount importance of the economic organization, with the result that the Congress itself stands almost on I. W. W. ground."[335]

The 1907 convention was a gathering of the DeLeon-Trautmann-St. John faction. At the fourth convention the first hyphen was to be smashed, but in 1907 both links held firmly. The general tone was one of harmony. An attempt was made, however, to reëstablish the office of President. After a long debate on a resolution to this effect the proposition was defeated. It was decided, however, to establish the office of General Organizer, the incumbent of which was expected also to act as Assistant General Secretary.

The original preamble of 1905 had weathered the second convention without being modified. The first lines of the second paragraph read: "Between these two classes a [Pg 189]struggle must go on until all the toilers come together on the political as well as on the industrial field...." A motion was made at the third convention to strike out the words italicized. It was defeated by vote of 113 to 15.[336]

The "political clause" of the preamble was the subject of extended discussion.[337] At this time all efforts to alter the preamble were unsuccessful. The debate was significant, however, in foreshadowing the much more serious struggle which was to take place a year later when the I. W. W. was literally split in two over the question of the retention or the elimination of the "political clause." Daniel DeLeon was a member of the Committee on Constitution and made a long speech in opposition to the motion to eliminate from the preamble all reference to the "political field," declaring that "the position of the I. W. W. is that when the day [der Tag of the socialists, the day of the Revolution] shall come it shall itself project its own political party."[338] DeLeon was supported in his position by George Speed, who later became a member of the General Executive Board of the so-called anti-political—or Chicago—faction and who has been prominent in the activities of the I. W. W. on the Pacific Coast.[339] Delegate E. J. Foote took the same stand and made a cogent argument for retaining the political clause.

[The word] "political" [he said] does have a meaning.... The point is raised that the working class will not have a "government." With that I might agree, but they will have an industrial [Pg 190]administration ... and that administration must be political in the sense that it is controlled by the ballot on the inside of your own organization.[340]

The constitution committee presented a resolution declaring that "the I. W. W. seeks its political expression only in its own industrial administration." This is vague, and it may have been made designedly so. It might have been brought in to appease those who feared that the I. W. W. would be made the tail to some political party kite.[341]

[Pg 191]


[305] Rudolph Katz, "With DeLeon since '89," Weekly People, Nov. 20, 1915, p. 2, col. 1.

[306] Ibid. Cf. also infra, ch. ix.

[307] The I. W. W., History, Structure and Methods (1917 ed.), p. 7.

[308] November 14, 1907, p. 8, col. 2.

[309] The fifteenth convention of the W. F. M. (June, 1907) may be considered as marking its final separation from the I. W. W.; the connection had been only nominal after the Second I. W. W. Convention in October, 1906. As already stated (supra, p. 151) the Federation was formally suspended from the I. W. W. for non-payment of dues, in January, 1907.

[310] Proceedings, Fifteenth Convention, W. F. M., pp. 232-3.

[311] Industrial Worker, February, 1907.

[312] Proceedings, p. 1.

[313] Industrial Workers of the World Bulletin No. 2, October, 1907.

[314] Ibid.

[315] Official Report [No. 1], Third I. W. W. Convention, p. 2, col. 3.

[316] Editorial, Miners' Magazine, Nov. 14, 1907, p. 8, col. 2.

[317] Ibid.

[318] Proceedings, Fifteenth Convention, W. F. M., p. 614.

[319] Ibid.

[320] "Membership of American Trade Unions," Quarterly Journal of Economics; vol. xxx (Aug., 1916), p. 846.

[321] Private Correspondence, Feb. 1, 1915.

[322] Loc. cit., p. 846.

[323] Report of Secretary-Treasurer to Third Convention, Industrial Union Bulletin, September 14, 1907, p. 7, col. 1.

[324] Especially in the issues from February 22, 1906, on.

[325] Compte Rendu, VIIe Congrès Socialiste Internationale (Brussels, 1908), p. 60.

[326] Cf. also Industrial Union Bulletin, Aug. 10, 1907, p. 3, col. 3, p. 4, col. 5. The report further stated that I. W. W. literature was then being printed in seven different languages and that the official organ—the Industrial Union Bulletin—had attained a circulation of 7,000 paid copies. (Ibid., p. 4, col. 5.)

[327] (Translated from the French of the report.) L'Internationale ouvrière et socialiste. Rapports soumis au Congrès ... de Stuttgart, 18-24, aout, 1907 ... ed. française (Brussels, 1907), v. 1, pp. 61-62.

[328] "Les rapports entre les partis politiques et les syndicats professionels," Compte rendu analytique (Stuttgart Congress, 1907) publié par le Secretariat du Bureau Socialiste International (Brussels, 1908), pp. 184-215.

[329] Unless it is otherwise specifically indicated, the letters "I. W. W." will be used in this chapter in reference to the DeLeon-St. John-Trautmann faction. After the 1908 convention these letters will be understood to refer to the St. John-Trautmann faction, viz., to the (Chicago) I. W. W. of today.

[330] Speech before the Congress on "The relations between trade unions and the political party," Industrial Union Bulletin, September 14, 1907, p. 1, col. 5.

[331] Loc. cit.

[332] Delegate Heslewood's report on the Stuttgart Congress to the Third I. W. W. Convention, Industrial Union Bulletin, Sept. 28, 1907, p. 1, col. 6.

[333] Translated from the French. La résolution relative aux "Rapports entre les partis et les syndicats," Compte Rendu Analytique, Congrès socialiste internationale, Stuttgart, 1907 (Brussels, 1908), p. 424. This resolution was reaffirmed at the Copenhagen Congress in 1910. Compte Rendu Analytique (Ghent, 1911), p. 476.

[334] Compte Rendu Analytique, Stuttgart Congress (Brussels, 1908), p. 477.

[335] Industrial Union Bulletin, November 9, 1907, p. 2, col. 1.

[336] R. Katz. "With DeLeon since '89," Weekly People, Nov. 27, 1915, p. 2, col. 6. See also, Proceedings, Third Convention (Official Report No. 3, p. 5).

[337] Proceedings, Third I. W. W. Convention (Official Report No. 3, passim.)

[338] Ibid., p. 5, col. 3.

[339] Proceedings, Third Convention (Official Report No. 3, p. 3, col. 5).

[340] Proceedings, Third Convention, loc. cit., p. 2, col. 1.

[341] Ibid., p. 1, col. 5.

"Job Control" at Goldfield

It was in a Nevada mining camp that the I. W. W. made the first notable application of its principles of revolutionary industrial unionism. During the years 1906 and 1907 Goldfield as the scene of bitter disputes between the mine operators on the one hand and the Western Federation of Miners and the I. W. W. on the other.[342] These disputes were caused, chiefly, by a more or less successful effort on the part of these two local organizations to supplant the traditional craft unionism in Goldfield by the "new unionism."

The Western Federation of Miners was quite strongly entrenched at Goldfield by the time the I. W. W. made its début in the labor world. Its local union at Goldfield, No. 220, was an industrial union, that is, its membership comprised, as provided for in the W. F. M. constitution, "all persons working in and around the mines, mills and smelters...."[343] Early in 1906 the I. W. W. had a flourishing local (No. 77) composed of the "town workers" of Goldfield. The American Federation of Labor had almost no foothold in Goldfield at the time, the only A. F. of L. locals in the camp being the carpenters' union and the typographical union. The I. W. W. local was a more comprehensive organization even than an industrial union. It was a mass [Pg 192]union which aimed to include all the wage-earners in the community. "We proceed," says an editorial in the I. W. W. official journal, "without force, without intimidation, without deportations and without murder, to organize all wage workers in the community.... In the organization were miners, engineers, clerks, stenographers, teamsters, dishwashers, waiters—all sorts of what are called common laborers."[344]

It was apparently this unconventional type of unionism along with the very radical socialistic leanings of both town unionists (I. W. W., No. 77) and the mine unionists (W. F. M., No. 220, affiliated with the I. W. W.) that brought trouble. The I. W. W. accused the A. F. of L. unions of beginning it,[345] but the controversy was primarily with the Mine Operators' Association. Vincent St. John, in a letter published in the same issue of the Industrial Union Bulletin, says that the carpenters and typos were used "by the Mine Owners' Association as a nucleus to colonize the camp against the Western Federation of Miners and the I. W. W." The dispute began in a "controversy which arose between the Tonopah Sun, supported by A. F. of L. locals in the camp the one side, and the locals of the Industrial Workers of the World and the Western Federation of Miners on the other."[346] The Sun attacked the I. W. W., whereupon the I. W. W. (including the W. F. M.) boycotted the newspaper, and the newsboys, who were organized in the I. W. W., refused to sell it. The Sun then, according to this W. F. M. version of the affair,[347] sought the services of strike-breakers to scab on the newsboys' [Pg 193]union, but were unsuccessful. The miners' union (No. 220. W. F. M.) now called a meeting at which they decided

that local No. 77, Industrial Workers of the World, which comprised all the town workers with the exception of the building trades, cease doing business as a local and go into local 220 of the Western Federation of Miners ... [and thus place] all wage-earners in the camp in No. 220 with the exception of the newsboys who held a charter from the Industrial Workers of the World, and a portion of the building trades, who held membership in their international organizations.[348]

St. John says that this merger was made at the instigation of the Mine Owners.

The plan was finally broached [by them] to consolidate the I. W. W. local—cooks, waiters, teamsters, bartenders, and clerks—with the W. F. of M. This was looked upon with favor by the Mine Owners, as they looked upon the I. W. W. local ... as the radical organization of the district, and the miners ... were in their opinion more conservative, and they reasoned that if the 1,500 miners had a voice and vote on any demands made by the 400 radicals—the conservativeness of the 1,500 miners could blanket the efforts of the 400 radicals. The miners, on the other hand, thought they saw an easy, quick and satisfactory solution of what promised to be a serious struggle.

It was voted on and carried.[349]

At first the project was apparently favored by the employing interests of the district, but they faced about when they saw that the miners' union (No. 220) "practiced solidarity" and apparently used the carpenters' union as their [Pg 194]tool. At any rate the miners' union "passed a motion that all men working in and around the mines as carpenters must become members of the Miners' Union." This demand was ignored.[350] The Mine Owners now issued a statement setting forth that because of the "unreasonable agitation" by the I. W. W. "... we hereby pledge ourselves to absolutely refuse to employ any man in any capacity who is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, ..." and "that the Mine Owners will recognize any miners' union, that is independent of the Industrial Workers of the World...."[351]

Pressure from the Mine Owners' Association finally brought about a referendum on the question of unscrambling. A canvass taken on March 20, 1907, showed a large majority in favor of the miners and the town workers meeting separately but continuing in other respects as one union.[352] Nevertheless, the situation continued to grow more acute, and during the spring the I. W. W. and the W. F. M. were involved in a desperate struggle for their existence in Goldfield.[353] From March 10, 1907, according to St. John's account of it,

until April 22, the W. F. M. and the I. W. W. at Goldfield, Nevada, fought for their existence (and the conditions they had established at that place) against the combined forces of the mine owners, business men, and the A. F. of L. This open fight was compromised as a result of the treachery of the W. F. M. general officers. The fight was waged intermittently [Pg 195]from April 22 till September, 1907, and resulted in regaining all ground lost through the compromise, and in destroying the scab charters issued by the A. F. of L. during the fight. The fight cost the employers over $100,000.[354]

The American Federation of Labor locals in Goldfield during this period were more or less at the mercy of the I. W. W. and the Western Federation. It is admitted that A. F. of L. men who were obnoxious to the I. W. W.s were handled without gloves. Some A. F. of L. members were forced out of town by the more radical unionists who confessed that "they were probably not provided with all the luxuries of modern civilization."[355] This I. W. W. account of the situation continues:

The I. W. W. and the W. F. of M. were on strike for a considerable time in Goldfield and had the town thoroughly unionized. The bosses, realizing that they were up against a rebel class of workers, conferred with their good friends and tools, the A. F. of L., and the result was that the A. F. of L. sent their own members into Goldfield to scab on the strikers. This did not happen once, but continuously, and the strikers ... did use a little direct action by giving the "union" scabs orders to the effect that their room was preferable to their company.[356]

In April it was reported that "seventy-five per cent of the business men of Goldfield have locked out the members of No. 220. They shut down their places of business and told their help they had to join the A. F. of L. or there would be no work...."[357] The situation steadily grew worse, and finally, in December, Governor Sparks telegraphed to [Pg 196]Washington for Federal troops and they were finally sent.[358] The Governor's second telegram to the President (dated Dec. 5. 1907) read in part:

At Goldfield ... there does now exist domestic violence and unlawful combinations and conspiracies, ... unlawful dynamiting of property, commission of felonies, threats against the lives of law-abiding citizens, the unlawful possession of arms and ammunition, and the confiscation of dynamite with threats of the unlawful use of the same by preconcerted action.[359]

Soon after the troops were sent President Roosevelt dispatched a special commission[360] to investigate the trouble at Goldfield. The salient facts of the situation are set forth by this commission as follows:

There has existed at Goldfield, which is exclusively a mining town of an estimated population of between 15,000 and 20,000 in South Nevada, for over a year past, and especially since the spring of 1907, a disturbed industrial situation, due to frequently recurring labor difficulties between the mine operators on the one hand and the miners on the other. The two sides were represented almost completely by the Goldfield Mine Operators' Association, ... on the one hand and by the local union of the Western Federation of Miners on the other, a union comprising substantially all the miners in Goldfield. This union, known as Goldfield Miners' Union No. 220, is a branch of the general organization known as the Western Federation of Miners. It has carried on its rolls a membership [Pg 197]estimated at above 3,000 men, which number, however, included members of crafts in Goldfield other than workers in and about mines. Figures furnished us by the mine operators showed that about 1,900 mine workers went on a strike on Nov. 27, 1907. Although a number of strikes and minor difficulties had occurred during 1907, the only acute situation arising prior to the call for troops existed in the spring of 1907. This controversy involved not only a dispute between the mine owners and the miners at Goldfield, but also between the members of the miners' union and the members of other crafts in Goldfield affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. The Goldfield Miners' union was also affiliated with the organization known as the Industrial Workers of the World, and an effort was made to force members of other crafts not affiliated with this organization to join its ranks. Not only the Mine Owners' Association and members of the miners' union went armed, but members of crafts not affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World felt it necessary to carry arms to protect themselves while at work. The condition of Goldfield at that time was that of an armed camp, and for a time a serious clash seemed imminent. The controversy resulted in the murder of a restaurant keeper[361] and aroused such opposition against the Industrial Workers of the World that a ban was practically put upon them, and the organization under that name was forced to abandon Goldfield. This acute situation disappeared before the spring of 1907. A succession of miners' strikes, however, had taken place throughout 1907, some of them with apparently little justification; and although the operators had yielded to nearby all the demands of the union, it seemed impossible to secure any settled industrial conditions.

[Pg 198]

The mine operators insist that the socialistic doctrine adopted and preached by the Western Federation of Miners practically justified the stealing of ore by the miner.... The industrial situation was further aggravated by the fact that the Goldfield Union would not enter into any contract governing working conditions for any specified length of time, and the mine operators, therefore, could have no assurance at any time that any settlement of a dispute was more than a temporary makeshift, nor could they secure any assurance of stable industrial conditions for any fixed length of time. Moreover, the Goldfield Miners' Union embraces in one single union not only the various crafts working in and about the mines, but also clerks, waiters, bartenders and other miscellaneous crafts and avocations in Goldfield. On Nov. 27, 1907, a strike of the miners was inaugurated and is still in effect. This strike grew out of a refusal on the part of the miners to accept cashier's checks in payment of their wages. The miners insisted upon some form of guaranty by the mine operators of whatever paper was accepted in lieu of cash. Various propositions were made, but no basis of agreement was reached.[362]

The commission reported that there was no adequate excuse for the request for Federal troops.

The action of the mine operators [said the commissioners] warrants the belief that they had determined upon a reduction of wages and the refusal of employment to members of the Western Federation of Miners, but that they feared to take this course of action unless they had the protection of Federal troops, and that they accordingly laid a plan to secure such troops and then put their program into effect.[363]

Although at the time the I. W. W. and the W. F. M. made common cause, after the final separation of the two national [Pg 199]bodies the Federation was not only critical but bitterly denunciatory. The editor of the official organ of the W. F. M.—J. M. O'Neill—was derisive in his comments on the rôle of the I. W. W. at Goldfield. "The I. W. W. took root at Goldfield, Nevada," he says, "and a vast number of the miners became the victims of the sophistry and fell for the propaganda of the spouting hoodlums.... Other mining camps of Nevada became infected with I. W. W.-ism...." But he comes thankfully to the conclusion that "the labor movement of Nevada is slowly recovering from the pestilence of I. W. W.-ism...."[364]

Charges of a very different character were hurled at the I. W. W. and its Goldfield activities from financial circles in Chicago. It was stated that "detectives have substantiated allegations of a conspiracy to commit ten murders, a conspiracy formed and fostered within the hierarchy of the I. W. W...." And that "leaders of the I. W. W.... have been using this labor trouble as a lever for stockmarket jobbery...."[365] This last charge was reiterated in another issue of the same paper, in which it was suggested that "certain stock brokers were working hand in glove with the leaders and agitators at the head of the I. W. W. to break the market...."[366]

A member of the I. W. W. now living in Goldfield, and who took part in the industrial struggles of 1906 and 1907, sends the following brief comment:

In September, 1906, at the behest of the mine owners, 220 of the W. F. M. took a vote to take the town workers, No. 77 of the I. W. W., into their fold. It was carried with the assistance [Pg 200]of the church, and 220 and 77 were amalgamated. The first cry on the streets before they even held a meeting was that the cooks and waiters were running the miners' meeting; then followed the dissensions mapped out by the mine owners, the Citizens' Alliance, the stool-pigeons, spies and gum-shoes, till the following September the convention expelled the W. F. M. for non-payment of per-capita tax and the W. F. M. sent organizers of the Sherman faction, but the dual unions did not last long, and in fact 220 itself was shaking, till finally it went down and the only cry you hear from those whom the powers that be cannot control is the one big union, and it is only a matter of a short time till the workers get aroused, and then there will be something doing.[367]

The I. W. W. and the W. F. M. did win important concessions from the Mine Operators in Goldfield and that, according to officials of the I. W. W., was the reason why they were so roundly abused. "The chief crime of the I. W. W. in Goldfield," said St. John, "was that they had secured the eight-hour day with wages from $3.00 to $5.00 and board for all restaurant and hotel employees; a ten-hour day with $5.00 wages for clerks, and an eight-hour day with $6.00 per day for bartenders."[368] Most I. W. W. leaders point to the Goldfield situation in those early days as a conspicuous illustration not only of improvements gained in wage and hours, but also of the possibilities of job control by the workers. An I. W. W. who was an active participant in the Goldfield achievements of the I. W. W. and is now a district organizer on the Pacific Coast, writes:

At that time we had job control in many mining camps. At

[Pg 201]

Goldfield, I. W. W. miners received $5.00 for eight hours; bakers, $8.00 per eight hours and board; dishwashers, $3.00 per eight hours and board. After three years of I. W. W. prosperity the Nevada employers, with the aid of the A. F. of L. scabs and organizers, conservative Irish-Catholic I. W. W. members(!), detectives, spies, state police and Federal troops, broke up the I. W. W.[369]

St. John also looks back to the Goldfield period as a kind of an I. W. W. Golden Age. In his historical sketch of the I. W. W., he writes:

Under the I. W. W. sway in Goldfield the minimum wage for all kinds of labor was $4.50 per day and the eight-hour day was universal. The highest point of efficiency for any labor organization was reached by the I. W. W. and W. F. M. in Goldfield, Nevada. No committees were ever sent to any employers. The unions adopted wage scales and regulated hours. The secretary posted the same on a bulletin board outside of the union hall, and it was the LAW. The employers were forced to come and see the union committees.[370]

The I. W. W. member quoted above does not agree with St. John as to the cause of the downfall of the I. W. W. in Goldfield. The latter attributes it to the occurrence of a strike during the financial panic of 1907.[371]

Oddly enough, these anti-political, direct actionist I. W. W.s figured rather prominently in Nevada state politics at this time. Among the candidates on the Socialist party ticket in 1906 were the following:

[Pg 202]

Despite the success which mass organization met with in Goldfield, the I. W. W. was not at that time at all partial to the idea of mass organization. F. W. Heslewood declared that he was opposed to taking into one local union every worker around a town, believing as he did that the Goldfield practice was contrary to "the very fundamental principles of industrial unionism...."[373] Another member said:

I claim that we have left the field of mass organization and have got down to the field of industrial integral organization. I claim that industrial organization as it shall be exemplified by the Industrial Workers of the World is of an organic nature.... We recognize that mass organization is a thing that is to be abjured when we come into an industrial organization.... The difference between a mass organization and an industrial organization is that the mass organization is destructive ... [whereas the integral] industrial organization is constructive. It proposes to recognize the laws to the minutest details that environ, govern and control the working class.[374]

The reality of the sentiment in favor of some modification of the original structural form of the I. W. W. in the direction of a more simple or mass form of organization is evidenced by the long discussion on the floor of the convention of a proposal to abolish the departments. Since 1908 the I. W. W. has had a precarious foothold in Goldfield. The [Pg 203]combined effects of the exhausting struggles which have been described and the financial panic of 1907 were overwhelming for an organization which at the best had little in the way of reserve resources. "The strike of the W. F. M. in October, 1907," says St. John, "took place during a panic and destroyed the organization's [i. e., the I. W. W.'s] control in that district."[375]

There is at this time (1916) a struggling local in Goldfield—Metal Mine Workers' Union No. 353, organized in August, 1914. The author recently wrote to the secretary of this local, making inquiries in regard to the present labor situation in Goldfield and the condition of the local union. He replied: "The economic conditions of this camp forbid the answer of the question you ask.... I trust ... it will not be long before 353 can meet openly and above board."[376]

The organization continued to over-indulge in strikes. It was more or less involved in the strike of the Electrical Workers of Schenectady in December, 1906. In 1907 it was involved in the following strikes among others: textile workers, Skowhegan, Maine, February to April; silk workers of Paterson. N. J., March; silk workers of Lancaster, Pa., fall of 1907; piano workers of Paterson, N. J., April; the loggers in Eureka, Cal., May, 1907; the saw-mill workers of Portland, Ore.; the sheet steel workers in Youngstown; the tube-mill workers in Bridgeport, Conn.; the miners in Tonopah, Nevada; the foundry workers in Detroit; and the smeltermen in Tacoma, Wash., in the summer of 1907. Goldfield, of course, was the scene of an almost continuous epidemic of strikes during the years 1906 and 1907.

In his report to the third convention the General Secretary-Treasurer says that

[Pg 204]

Not counting the strike and lockout in Goldfield, ... we had 24 strikes in which approximately 15,500 members participated. Most of these strikes lasted two to six weeks, one nine weeks, two lasted ten weeks and longer, and the strike of the Tacoma smeltermen lasted over six months.... Out of all these strikes ... two [those at Tonopah and Detroit] must be considered flat failures.... All other strikes ended either in compromise or in the complete attainment of what the strikes had been inaugurated for.[377]

The strikers at Schenectady made use of syndicalistic tactics which have been strongly advocated in the I. W. W. literature. "At two o'clock Monday," [December 10] it was reported, "about 3,000 men struck. They did not walk out, but remained at their places, simply stopping production."[378] Reports of this strike from I. W. W. sources give the impression that the American Federation of Labor bodies in Schenectady did much to block the efforts of the I. W. W. It was said that on December 12 the local Trades Assembly of the A. F. of L. sent a statement to the press repudiating the I. W. W. and declaring that the A. F. of L. was not concerned in the strike and that "as to any individual organization affiliated with the American Federation of Labor going out on a sympathetic strike, such action would result in the forfeiture of its charter."[379] In both the Bridgeport and Youngstown strikes, according to St. John, failure [Pg 205]resulted from the alleged obstructive tactics of the American Federation. In both cases the loss of the strike is attributed to "the scabbing tactics of the A. F. of L."[380] The strike of the Portland (Ore.) saw-mill workers in March and April is worthy of more than passing notice. On the first of March 3,000 men walked out on strike, for a nine-hour day and an increase in wages from $1.75 to $2.50 per day. It is not probable that any great proportion of these men were members of the I. W. W. at the time they went on strike. However, I. W. W. leaders soon came upon the scene and most of the strikers very soon joined the organization.[381] The strike lasted forty days.

On account of the exceptional demand for labor ... most of the strikers secured employment elsewhere and the strike played out at the end of about six weeks. [Nevertheless, the employers] were forced indirectly to raise the wages and improve conditions [and] ... this strike gave much impetus to I. W. W. agitation in the western part of the United States.[382]

During this strike the I. W. W. opened an employment office and a restaurant for the benefit of the strikers.[383] The I. W. W. reports of the duration of the strike and the number of men out may be exaggerated. John Kenneth Turner, in his "Story of a New Labor Union," says "that more than 2,000 were out for over three weeks."[384] The Portland saw-mill strike really marked the début of the I. W. W. before the public of the Pacific Northwest, and it was something [Pg 206]of a surprise to the community. The I. W. W. was promptly written up as a feature story for the Oregon Sunday Journal by John Kenneth Turner. The opening paragraphs of his article read:

Portland has just passed through her first strike conducted by the Industrial Workers of the World, a new and strange form of unionism, which is taking root in every section of the United States, especially in the West. The suddenness of the strike and the completeness of the tie-up are things quite unprecedented in this part of the country. These conditions did not merely happen—they came as direct results of the peculiar form and philosophy of the movement that brought the strike into being. "If the street-car men had been organized under our motto, together with all other A. F. of L. men, the street-car strike would have lasted ten minutes," says Organizer Fred Heslewood. The boast is not an extravagant one. Wherever the Industrial Workers of the World are organized they can paralyze industry at almost the snap of a finger. It is the way they work.

"Well, you've tied us up. I didn't think you could do it, but you did. You're clever; I'll give you credit for that. I didn't think any union could close this mill," one of the mill owners is reported as having said to Organizer Yarrow. "You yourself have taught us all we know," replied Yarrow. "We organize on the same plan as you do and we've got you."

One peculiar feature about the great mill strike was that ... there was absolutely no violence, no law-breaking and no crying of "scab." Just one man was arrested for trespassing, and he imagined that he was standing in a public street. Other strange features were the red ribbons, the daily speech-making and the labor night and day shifts of organizers who received not a red cent for their services.[385]

[Pg 207]

In September, 1907, there were undoubtedly not less than 200 locals in the I. W. W.[386] Between September, 1906, and September, 1907, one hundred and eighteen charters were issued to local unions,[387] making the total number of locals chartered since the launching of the organization not less than nine hundred and twenty-eight. It is evident that in this period also the "turnover" of I. W. W. locals was very heavy. There is apparently one report showing the number of locals disbanded during this period. The average membership for 1907 was considerably lower than it was for 1906 and was probably about six thousand.[388] The financial condition of the I. W. W. at this time was indicated by the report of the Secretary-Treasurer to the third convention. For the period from October, 1906, to August, 1907, receipts were given as $30,550.75 and disbursements as $31,578.76.[389]

Considerable progress had been made in organizing the coal miners. Secretary Trautmann reported to the third convention that "fourteen unions of coal miners were organized in Illinois, four big organizations in Pennsylvania, three in Texas, two in Kansas, one in Colorado—a total of twenty-four unions with an approximate membership of 2,000 ...," and he went on to the optimistic conclusion [Pg 208]that "the wedge has been driven into the unholy alliance between operators and the United Mine Workers."[390] Later on, when the convention was discussing the United Mine Workers and the conditions in the Illinois coal mines, Trautmann commented on the remarks made by a delegate of a United Mine Workers' local (No. 1475) which had apparently swung to the I. W. W. He (Trautmann) said:

He represents by a vote of the United Mine Workers an element that is today in rebellion against the United Mine Workers of America, that element being not only that one local which is in rebellion, but three or four or five, and very likely [it] ... will be followed by at least one-third of the locals in the state of Illinois.[391]

A few of the problems of policy and internal organization which were discussed at the third convention deserve consideration. Not least important of these was the problem of the Japanese in California. From the very first the I. W. W. had taken a definite stand against any and all discriminations based upon race, color or nationality. Among the first words uttered by Wm. D. Haywood in calling the first I. W. W. convention to order were words of criticism of the American Federation of Labor for its discriminations against Negroes and foreigners. From that day to this the organization has been unique in the constancy and strength of its appeal to and attraction for foreigners. This particular phase of the I. W. W.'s activities has been given endless publicity in connection with the Lawrence and Paterson strikes. At the third convention, George Speed, a delegate from California, quite accurately expressed the sentiment of the organization in regard to the Japanese question. "The whole fight against the Japanese," he said, "is the [Pg 209]fight of the middle class of California, in which they employ the labor faker to back it up."[392] He added, however, that he considered it "practically useless ... under present conditions for the Industrial Workers of the World to take any steps" to organize the Japanese. This primarily because he felt that the organization had more work on hand than it could well attend to.[393] The North American Times, a daily paper published in the Japanese language in Seattle, printed in the spring of 1906 an editorial on the I. W. W., which ran in part as follows:

To promote the rights and happiness of the workers they have the intention to make ... a grand success so that the I. W. W. will finally become the most powerful labor organization in the world. In the American history of labor there has never been such a union that may contain the laborers of every nationality in its membership.[394]

A reaction from an excessive indulgence in strikes, or at least a sign of the consciousness of this excess, is evident from two resolutions adopted by the third convention:

Resolved, that the convention instruct all our organizers to discourage strikes and strike talk, and to impress upon those whom they are organizing the necessity of realizing that the conquest by the workers of the power to retain and enjoy the full product of their labor should take precedence in their minds of all smaller ameliorations of our conditions.[395]

Resolved, that during this, the constructive period of the I. W. W., no portion thereof shall enter into any strike, unless [Pg 210]conducted in an industrial plant which is thoroughly organized in the I. W. W....[396]

In regard to the general organizing activity of the I. W. W., it was proposed in one of the resolutions adopted, that the organization confine its work for the time being to the smaller cities where the A. F. of L. was comparatively weak, and in connection with this that efforts in organization be concentrated for the present on certain selected industries.[397] Fred Heslewood, member of the General Executive Board, in his report to the convention, said:

I believe it is an entire waste of money at the present time to keep said organizers in cities where the A. F. of L. has the workers divided and organized into crafts. We are not financially able to tear down this barrier of fakerism at present. I do not mean that we should not fight it. I mean that we should pay special attention to the lumber industry before they [sic] are rent into fragments by the American Federation of Labor.[398]

It was urged that special attention be directed to the mining and lumber industries and that for the general organizing propaganda one-half of the income of the general administration be devoted to the payment of organizers and the printing of literature.[399] The editor of the official organ of the I. W. W. declared that the third convention was

free from the sentimentalism and bourgeois reaction which characterized the gathering of 1905, and the pure-and-simple, destructive tactics of the [1906] assembly; ... [that] it marked a distinct advance in an understanding of the philosophy [Pg 211]and structure of the movement and was a gathering typically working-class and loyal ... to the workers....

and that for these reasons there could be no possible doubt of the stability of the organization.[400]

A few weeks after the third convention had adjourned the panic of 1907 struck the country. The I. W. W. was nearly wiped out of existence. Its only organ, The Industrial Union Bulletin, was obliged first to appear fortnightly instead of weekly and finally to suspend publication. "Its locals dissolved by the dozens and the general headquarters at Chicago was only maintained by terrific sacrifice and determination...."[401] The report of the General Secretary to the fourth convention explained that when the third convention closed, General Headquarters expected to collect the moneys due from the local unions, but before collections could be arranged "the industrial panic struck the country with all its force, and the misery following in the wake of that collapse was mostly felt in places where the Industrial Workers of the World had established a stronghold." The Secretary went on to say that the revenue for December, 1907, was not more than half what it had been the year before.[402] To aggravate the situation still more were rumors of internal friction between a group of Socialist Labor party followers of Daniel DeLeon and the rest of the organization. Indeed, very soon after the convention, charges were made that the Weekly People, the official organ of the Socialist Labor party, was being used against the I. W. W.[403]

[Pg 212]

This was the beginning of the most serious internal fight in the career of the I. W. W. It was to turn on that same vexed question that seems eternally to plague those who want to construct labor organizations along radical lines—namely, the relationship that should exist between the union and the political parties, especially the Progressive, Labor and Socialist parties. The second clause of the Preamble (spoken of among the "Wobblies" as "the political clause") held the seeds of discord in its apparently harmless assertion that the class struggle "must go an until all the toilers come together on the political as well as on the industrial field." Here we have the phrase which, at the 1908 convention, was to make the revolutionary syndicalists see red and which was finally to result in a bifurcated I. W. W.

[Pg 213]


[342] Cf. supra, p. 123.

[343] Article I, Section 1, W. F. M. Constitution (1910). In 1916 the Federation changed its name to "The International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers."

[344] Industrial Union Bulletin, March 30, 1907, p. 2, col. 1.

[345] Ibid.

[346] Report of Acting President Charles Mahoney to the Fifteenth Convention W. F. M., Proceedings, p. 33.

[347] Ibid., pp. 33-35. This was in the autumn of 1906.

[348] Report of Acting President Mahoney to Fifteenth W. F. M. Convention, Proceedings, p. 33.

[349] "Review of the facts in the situation at Goldfield," Industrial Union Bulletin, April 6, 1907, p. 1, col. 3.

[350] Report of Acting President Mahoney to Fifteenth Convention W. F. M., Proceedings, p. 34.

[351] Ibid.

[352] Ibid., p. 35.

[353] See Tridon, The New Unionism, pp. 105-6. Tridon states (p. 105) that in April a compromise was reached owing to the weakness of the W. F. M. officials. However, it settled nothing, for the struggle continued intermittently through the summer and fall.

[354] St. John, I. W. W., History (1917 ed.), p. 18.

[355] "What happened at Goldfield," The Industrial Worker, Aug. 27, 1910, p. 3, col. 1.

[356] Ibid. Italics in the original.

[357] Industrial Union Bulletin, April 20, 1907, Special Correspondence.

[358] Labor troubles at Goldfield, Nevada, 60th Congress, 1st Session, House Document No. 607, pp. 3-5.

[359] Ibid., p. 4.

[360] Consisting of Lawrence O. Murray, Herbert Knox Smith and Charles P. Neill. Their report as well as other data bearing on the matter are printed in House Document No. 607, 60th Congress, 1st Session. "Papers relative to labor troubles at Goldfield, Nevada." Their report is reprinted in the Congressional Record, Feb. 3, 1908. pp. 1484-1487, vol. xlii, no. 35.

[361] The reference is to the killing of Tony Silva by M. R. Preston (a member of the Socialist Labor party and its candidate for President of the United States) who was on picket duty for the I. W. W. and the W. F. M. The I. W. W. has always insisted that Preston shot in self-defense and the weight of evidence seems to justify that contention. See "Preston's Crime," The Weekly People, July 18, 1908, p. 3, col. 1. (Author's note.)

[362] 60th Congress, 1st Session, House Document No. 607, Labor troubles at Goldfield, Nevada, pp. 20-21.

[363] Ibid., p. 21.

[364] Editorial, Miners' Magazine, Aug. 1, 1912, p. 7, col. 1.

[365] Special correspondence, Journal of Finance, Chicago, reprinted in the Weekly People, June 1, 1907, p. 2, col. 5.

[366] Special correspondence, Journal of Finance, reprinted in the Industrial Union Bulletin, May 18, 1907.

[367] Letter to the author, dated October 21, 1912.

[368] "The Goldfield Situation," Weekly People, April 6, 1907, p. 1. He tells here the complete story of the Goldfield labor troubles of 1906-07. It was also claimed that the I. W. W. forced the wages of railroad laborers in this region from $1.75 for ten hours to $4.50 for eight hours. Industrial Worker, Jan. 29, 1910. p. 1, col. 5.

[369] Letter to the author dated April 22, 1916. For the Goldfield situation in general, vide, "Papers relative to labor troubles at Goldfield, Nev." 60th Congress, 1st Session, Document No. 607, and St. John, "Review of the facts in the situation at Goldfield," Industrial Union Bulletin, April 6, 1907, p. 1.

[370] St. John, op. cit., p. 18. So capitalized in the original.

[371] See infra, p. 203.

[372] Miners' Magazine, vol. viii, no. 161, July 26, 1906, p. 13.

[373] Fifteenth Convention W. F. M., Proceedings, pp. 832-3.

[374] Delegate E. J. Foote, Proceedings, 3rd Convention, Official Report, no. 3. p. 2, col. 1.

[375] St. John, The I. W. W., History, Structure and Methods, p. 18.

[376] Letter dated April 19, 1916.

[377] Industrial Union Bulletin, September 14, 1907, p. 7, col. 4.

[378] The Weekly People, Dec. 22, 1906, p. 1. This paper is to be considered as virtually an I. W. W. organ between July, 1905 and September, 1908. After the latter date, of course, it backed the Detroit I. W. W.

[379] Weekly People, Dec. 22, 1906, p. 2, col. 5. In the same column is a dispatch containing this statement: "... the general foreman of the turbine department was called upon to fill the places of the strikers; he said he would sooner resign than fill the places with other than I. W. W. men. We may witness in the near future that foremen will join the I. W. W., and then—good-bye, capitalism!"

[380] St. John, The I. W. W., History, Structure and Methods, p. 18.

[381] Industrial Union Bulletin, April 27, 1907, p. 2, col. 4-5.

[382] St. John, The I. W. W., History, Structure and Methods, pp. 17-18. A similar estimate is given in the Industrial Union Bulletin of April 27, 1907, p. 2.

[383] Industrial Union Bulletin, loc cit.

[384] Industrial Union Leaflet No. 16, p. 1.

[385] "Story of a new labor union," reprinted from the Oregon Sunday Journal as Industrial Union Leaflet No. 16, p. 1. This article was also reprinted in the Industrial Union Bulletin of April 27, 1907.

[386] This number was reported to the Third Convention by Secretary Trautmann, Official Report No. 1, p. 2, but in the "Report of the I. W. W. to the Stuttgart Congress" (1907) we read: "... the organization has now 362 industrial unions and branches organized in thirty-seven states and three provinces of Canada." Industrial Union Bulletin, Aug. 10, 1907, p. 3, col. 3.

[387] Industrial Union Bulletin, Sept. 14, 1907, p. 7, col. 1.

[388] Secretary-Treasurer St. John put it at 5,931, (Letter dated Feb. 1, 1915); Prof. Barnett makes it 6,700, (Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol. xxx, p. 846.) Apparently the administration included the Western Federation of Miners when they reported to the Stuttgart Congress, 28,000 members. (Industrial Union Bulletin, Aug. 10, 1907, p. 4.)

[389] Third Convention Proceedings, Official Report No. 8, p. 2, col. 4.

[390] Industrial Union Bulletin, Sept. 14, 1907, p. 8, col. 3, 4.

[391] Proceedings, Third I. W. W. Convention, Official Report No. 1, p. 4.

[392] Proceedings of the Third Convention, Official Report No. 7, p. 1, col. 2.

[393] Ibid.

[394] Reprinted in English in the Weekly People, June 2, 1906, p. 1.

[395] Proceedings of Third Convention, Official Report No. 7, p. 2. col. 3.

[396] Ibid. Official Report No. 4, p. 5, col. 1.

[397] Proceedings, Third Convention, Official Report No. 5, pp. 4-5.

[398] Industrial Union Bulletin, Sept. 28, 1907, p. 2, col. 5.

[399] A few weeks later the editor of the Industrial Union News wrote (in the issue of Nov. 9, 1907, p. 2, col. 1) that the I. W. W. "accomplished the organization of a body of metalliferous miners, nearly 3,000 strong, in the far-off territory of Alaska since the third annual convention which adjourned September 24."

[400] "Reflections on the Third Annual Convention," Industrial Union Bulletin, Oct. 5, 1907, p. 2.

[401] "The I. W. W., its Strength and Opportunity," by "The Commentator," Solidarity, Feb. 25, 1911.

[402] Industrial Union Bulletin, Oct. 24. 1908.

[403] Rudolph Katz, "With DeLeon Since '89," Weekly People, Dec. 4, 1915, p. 2, col. 4.

Doctrinaire versus Direct-Actionist

For a period of nearly two years following the financial panic of 1907, the I. W. W. had a precarious and for the most part uneventful existence. The organization made practically no headway with its recruiting and propaganda work. Indeed, it probably lost ground. There was a falling off in the number of locals in the organization and, at least for 1909, in the number of local union charters issued. Vincent St. John, at that time General Organizer, said in his report to the fourth convention:

The big majority of the locals that have disbanded can be traced to the inability of the general organization to finance the number of organizers needed to see that the membership of these locals have a thorough understanding of the aims and objects of the I. W. W. before leaving them to their own devices. There are several cases where the disbanding of locals is the result of the combined opposition of the employers' associations and their zealous allies, the officials of "harmony of interests" organizations which call themselves labor organizations for no other purpose than to better accomplish their task of deluding the workers.[404]

It is probable also that there was during the same period a decline in membership, as indicated by the figures furnished [Pg 214]by the Secretary-Treasurer.[405] But even during these lean years there was some activity in the textile industry. From first to last, so far as the eastern part of the United States is concerned, it has been among the textile operatives that the I. W. W. has been most active and most successful. In this industry the I. W. W. has a much larger proportion of the total number of organized workers than it has in any other. In the West, of course, the I. W. W. is most strongly entrenched in the unorganized extractive industries—lumber, agriculture, and construction work.[406] In April, 1908, the General Executive Board issued an official call (printed in English, French, German and Italian) for that "First Convention of Textile Workers" to be held May 1, 1908, in Paterson, N. J. In his document the claim is made that "over 5,000 textile workers have already been organized into the Industrial Workers of the World...."[407] During the eighteen months' period following the financial crisis of 1907 the I. W. W. almost entirely gave up its strike activities.[408] Furthermore, the organization seemed to have secured no permanent foothold in those communities where it had been particularly militant and aggressive during the preceding year. Secretary Trautmann admitted this in his report to the Fourth Convention. "There is nothing left in Bridgeport," he said, "nothing in Skowhegan, but in the [Pg 215]Portland [Oregon] district the name of the I. W. W. is cheered and gloried...."[409]

One of the leaders of the Detroit I. W. W. (now the Workers' International Industrial Union) says that at this time "the whole organization was in a state of unrest."[410] In reference to such a distractingly unrestful organization as the I. W. W. has always been, this comment is significant. He attributes this unrest to two causes, internal dissension and the financial panic.

The membership, upon discovering that the officials were acting in a manner that foreshadowed ... conflict within the organization, withdrew in large numbers. The financial and industrial panic which was then on had also a very bad effect upon the newly founded local unions of the I. W. W., and many of these lost members.[411]

The outlook was certainly not encouraging for those who had pinned their faith to the idea of industrial unionism. The prospect for the new unionism was not bright. In 1908 the United Brewery Workmen, another large and important industrial union, patched up their differences with the American Federation of Labor and went back into the craft-union fold. The Western Federation of Miners—the most militant and one of the two or three really powerful unions organized on the industrial plan—had withdrawn, and finally, in May, 1911, joined the American Federation. At the sixteenth convention of the Western Federation, held in the summer of 1908, President Moyer said:

I believe it is a well-established fact that industrial unionism [Pg 216]is by no means popular, and I feel safe in saying that it is not wanted by the working class of the United States. The Knights of Labor, the American Railway Union, the Socialist Trades and Labor Alliance, the Western Labor Union, the United Brotherhood of Railway Employees, the American Labor Union, and last, the Industrial Workers of the World ... [went down] because they failed to receive the support of the working class....[412]

The breach between the Industrial Workers of the World and the Western Federation of Miners continued to grow wider. Until April, 1908, William D. Haywood was a member of both organizations. Even after the complete and formal separation had been accomplished, Haywood had been, since his acquittal at Boise, serving in the capacity of lecturer and organizer for the Federation. His views must have been profoundly intensified in a more radical direction than ever during his incarceration and trial for murder. That his speeches became too rabid even for such a decidedly militant organization as the Western Federation of Miners seems unlikely, although the Federation was gradually growing more conservative. The determining and, in the eyes of the W. F. M., incriminating fact about Haywood now was that he remained an I. W. W. after the administration and presumably the majority of the W. F. M. had renounced and "cast off" the "larger" organization of which it had been a part. So it is not surprising that the following should have appeared on the first page of the Miners' Magazine for April 23, 1908:

[Pg 217]



This is to inform you that the Executive Board of the Western Federation of Miners has decided to terminate the services of William D. Haywood as a representative of the Western Federation of Miners in the field, the same to take effect on the 8th day of April, 1908.

E. Mahoney, Vice-Pres., W. F. M.

A writer in the Evening Post (New York) thinks that but for this official ousting of Haywood by the W. F. M., the I. W. W. might never have survived the trouble, dissension and "hard times" of 1908. "It is doubtful," he says, "if either faction of the Industrial Workers of the World [Detroit or Chicago] would have survived but for a change in the attitude of the Western Miners' Federation ... which left Haywood free to devote all his energies to the Industrial Workers of the World."[413] If we can credit the evidence presented at the 1912 convention of the W. F. M., the I. W. W. had at least sufficient vitality to be plotting, through its officials, to regain control of the Western Federation. In the published proceedings of its twentieth convention is printed a letter, dated August 4, 1908, from Vincent St. John to Albert Ryan, a member of the Western Federation. This letter reads in part:

I believe we could turn in now and lay the wires to defeat the machine at the next W. F. M. convention, and it can be done in this way: by picking out good reliable men with ability, [Pg 218]and getting them to place themselves in local unions of the Federation for the purpose of getting to be delegates to the next convention. To do this they should cultivate the sentiment of the membership in the local to which they go. If the local is a Moyer local, let them be Moyer men. Let them outdo the best of them in worship at his shrine. If the local is indifferent, let them be likewise, but let them be elected as delegates.... Once we can control the officers of the W. F. M. for the I. W. W. the big bulk of the membership will go with them, and the prestige of the W. F. M.... is worth something to the revolutionary movement, and we should make an attempt to get it with us, ... take up the matter with Bechtel and Oppman and have them work with you to control Arizona for the next convention. Pick out a man or two for every local in the state, let them get into them and do the work.... I will try to handle Michigan and Minnesota from here. If you are shy [of] men, or have any to spare, we can trade with the different districts....[414]

President Moyer said that this letter was found among Ryan's effects "after he had received a sentence of life imprisonment in San Quentin penitentiary for having applied direct action in Los Angeles, which resulted in the death of two men."[415] These or similar charges had evidently been made at about the time this letter was supposed to have been written. St. John, in his report to the fourth I. W. W. Convention as General Organizer, denied certain "insinuations of a serious nature" which had been made against him.[416]

The question of "political action" and the bitter and disruptive controversy which waged on that subject at the fourth convention had now become the overshadowing [Pg 219]issue. The "Wobblies" use the expression "political action" in referring to almost every conceivable form of political activity, voting, elections, legislation, etc., and also, more vaguely, in regard to the relationship which does or should obtain between labor organizations and political parties, particularly between radical labor bodies and radical political parties. For some time before this gathering it was evident that the administration was becoming fatally divided against itself. The DeLeon-St. John-Trautmann faction had survived in 1906, to be the administration—the I. W. W.—but in less than two years the sentiment in the organization had developed two sub-factions, so to speak. The I. W. W. appears to develop by fission. The organization originally was a compound of adherents of

Sherman DeLeon St. John or Haywood. Trautmann.
Socialist Party. Socialist Labor Party. Anarchist, or Industrial Socialist. Nihilist.

The Socialists were "abandoned" in 1906, leaving the field to the "proletarian rabble":

DeLeon ... St. John ... Trautmann.

The "Socialist Laborites" were sloughed off (or they "ditched the Anarchists," as they themselves would put it) in 1908, and we had

I. II.
The DeLeonites. The St. John-Trautmann group.
(S. L. P. or Detroit I. W. W.) (Chicago I. W. W., "Bummery.")

Later Trautmann abandoned the "Bummery" and joined the DeLeonites. We now have in 1917:

[Pg 220]

I. II.
The DeLeon-Trautmann group. The St. John-Haywood group.
(The Workers' International Industrial Union.) (Surely the I. W. W.!)

which is the present setting, primed for further hyphen-smashing!

One of the two factions is thus seen to consist, for the most part, of members of the Socialist Labor party—supporters of the revolutionary Marxian tradition and believers in political action—the doctrinaire group. Their prophet was Daniel DeLeon. The other group was composed more largely of Westerners—intellectually more nearly philosophical Anarchists than orthodox Socialists—inclined to scoff at political action and emphatically opposed to allowing the I. W. W. to have any connection with any political body—or to hold any political policy—disbelievers in the state and in both the Socialist parties because they accept the state—"industrialists with their working clothes on"—the essence of the "proletarian rabble." The first group was ultimately to constitute a socialistic I. W. W. with headquarters at Detroit—the doctrinaire wing; the second group an anarchistic I. W. W. with headquarters at Chicago—the direct-action wing, referred to by the Detroiters as "the Bummery."[417]

Rudolph Katz, a member of the Socialist Labor party, writes that after the third convention

all the efforts of DeLeon to preserve harmony in the I. W. W. were unavailing. St. John, Trautmann, Edwards, and the majority of the five members of the General Executive Board [Pg 221]turned over night ... against the fundamental principles of industrialism as laid down in the I. W. W. preamble. They no longer recognized political action as necessary.[418]

When the convention was called to order by Mr. St. John on September 21, 1908, there were twenty-six delegates in attendance, controlling an aggregate of seventy votes. Two delegates were debarred from seats in the convention—Max Ledermann of Chicago and Daniel DeLeon of New York—and St. John was made permanent chairman.[419]

The West—especially the Pacific Coast—was well represented for the first time. There were delegates in attendance from Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and Spokane. The West was spoken of as furnishing the "genuine rebels—the red-blooded working stiffs," and this was said to be the first revolutionary convention ever held in Chicago composed of "purely wage-workers."[420] The largest and most important delegation from the West was popularly known as the "Overalls Brigade," brought together in Portland and Spokane by one J. H. Walsh, a national organizer of the I. W. W. The "Brigade" numbered about twenty men who "beat their way" from Portland to Chicago, holding propaganda meetings en route. A member of the delegation reported this propaganda trip:

We were five weeks on the road [he said]. We traveled over two thousand five hundred miles. The railroad fare saved would have been about $800. We held thirty-one meetings. The receipts of the first week from literature sales and collections were $39.02. The second week, $53.66. The third week, [Pg 222]$45.78. The fourth week, $28.10. The fifth week, $8.57. Total, $175.13. These figures do not include the song sales. The song sales were approximately $200.[421]

In the Industrial Union Bulletin for September 19 was published a long letter from Organizer Walsh giving a detailed record of the trip. It was given such heads as these "I. W. W. Red-Special! Overall Brigade,"—"On its way through the continent—Thousands listen to the speakers—Gompers and his satellites furious with rage!" "The Overall Brigade," according to Rudolph Katz, "consisted of that element that traveled on freight trains from one western town to another, holding street meetings that were opened with the song, 'Hallelujah, I'm a Bum,' and closing with passing the hat in regular Salvation Army fashion."[422]

The Socialist Labor party group take the position that DeLeon was denied a seat in the convention in order to further the designs of the St. John-Trautmann faction. In their "nefarious plot" they had the full coöperation of the "Overall Brigade" which "sat in judgment upon Daniel DeLeon." Katz goes on to say that "St. John was the prosecuting attorney."[423] The pretext for unseating DeLeon (and others) was membership in the wrong local union. DeLeon was present as a delegate of the Office Workers' Local Union. His opponents insisted that he should, as an editor, be enrolled in the Printing Workers' Local. On such technicalities enough delegates were refused seats to give the Overall Brigade all the powers of a steam-roller.[424] "It was a 'machine' of the capitalist political design," said the Weekly People, "organized ... among the boys [Pg 223]from the West."[425] "In the case of Fellow Worker DeLeon representing 'Store & Office Workers' Union' No. 58, the committee recommended that the protest be sustained and the delegate not seated because he is not a member of the local of the industry in which [he is] working, such a local being in existence."[426]

"The very same fellows," writes Katz, "who dared DeLeon to come to the Fourth Convention, closed the doors to him when he arrived ... and his credentials were rejected on flimsy pretenses."

DeLeon was given the floor to state his case, and he did state it in his characteristic fashion. The "Overall Brigade" were seated all in a row on one side of the hall, a tough-looking lot. Vincent St. John was in the chair with sinister mien, wielding the gavel and everything that could be wielded to keep DeLeon out of the convention. Alongside of St. John sat Trautmann, ... [and] he, too, looked as though he had traveled all the way from Seattle by freight train.[427]

"Such remarks as 'I would like to get a punch at the pope' (meaning DeLeon) were overheard in the hall among the 'Overall Brigaders'." "DeLeon told them whither they were drifting—to Shermanism, to Anarchy, to the movement's destruction."[428] DeLeon's speech in defense of his right to a seat in the convention was published in the Industrial Union Bulletin (October 10, 1908) under the title, "The Intellectual against the Worker." Extracts from St. John's reply and his arguments for refusing DeLeon a seat are published in the same issue of the Bulletin under the [Pg 224]title, "The Worker against the Intellectual." Katz says that this published version of DeLeon's speech was full of "the basest kind of misrepresentation." He further declares that the reports of the convention published in the Bulletin were "doctored."[429]

DeLeon expressed his opinion of the "Overall Brigade" very soon after the convention:

Out of this [hobo] element [he declared] Walsh picked ... the "Overall Brigade"; and to the tune "I'm a bum, I'm a bum," very much like the tune of "God wills it! God wills it!" with which Cuckoo Peter led the first mob of Crusaders against the Turks, Walsh brought this "Brigade" to the convention. Some of them ... were among the "delegates." Most of them, I am credibly informed, slept on the benches on the Lake Front, and received from Walsh a daily stipend of 30 cents. This element lined the walls of the convention.[430]

For four days the convention did practically nothing but protest credentials and debate the question whether or not the Socialist Labor party, through Daniel DeLeon, was trying to control the I. W. W. All this was a prelude to the contest over the retention of the political clause of the preamble which was fought out on a personal issue—the admission of DeLeon as a delegate. The DeLeonites accused the St. John-Trautmann group of trying to make the I. W. W. what they called a "purely physical force body."[431] The DeLeonites in turn were charged with attempting to subordinate the interests of the I. W. W. to those of the Socialist Labor party.

Justus Ebert, himself a member of the Socialist Labor [Pg 225]party, believed that this charge was well founded. For this reason, in 1908, and some time before the fourth convention met, he resigned from the Socialist Labor party. Since that time he has been a member of the ("Anarcho-Syndicalist") I. W. W. His letter of resignation, addressed to the members of Section Kings County, S. L. P., runs in part as follows:

The Socialist Labor party believes that the political is the reflection of the economic. With this belief in mind it aided in launching the I. W. W., and protected it from the onslaughts of reaction.... The Socialist Labor party has not, however, had the courage of its convictions, ... [because] having aided in founding and protecting the economic organization that is to reflect the true political party of labor, [it] refuses to vacate the field to its untrammeled and logical development. Instead, it persists in being the political guide and mentor of the I. W. W.... The I. W. W., hampered in its growth by the illogical posture of the S. L. P., is compelled to serve notice in big black type that it has no political affiliations of any kind.... The fate of the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance will be the fate of the I. W. W., if it permits an external political body to dominate its politics.[432]

Now DeLeon was at once the leader of the S. L. P. and of the political element in the I. W. W., and the anti-parliamentarians perhaps felt that the only way to get rid of what they called the "political incubus of the S. L. P." was to eliminate DeLeon and enough of his supporters to make it possible for the Wobblies from the West to carry the resolution to eliminate that fearsome political clause. They were somehow vaguely apprehensive that that phrase in the preamble which declared that the toilers must "come together on the political field" would make possible the subjugation [Pg 226]of the I. W. W. by the Socialist Labor party. This despite the fact that the paragraph in question closes with the words: "without affiliation with any political party."

The report of the General Secretary-Treasurer expresses the position of the simon-pure industrialists of the St. John-Trautmann faction.

Shall the economic organization [the Secretary asks] be permitted to outline and pursue its course in the efforts [sic] to bring the workers together on the industrial field, the only essential, and, if necessary, on the political [field] without the interference and self-assumed guardianship of any political party,... or shall the economic organization, the Industrial Workers of the World, be turned into a tail of a political party and its functionaries and its officers be obedient to the commands and the whims emanating from the emissaries of such political party?[433]

One member of the anti-parliamentarian group—F. W. Heslewood—expressed his opposition to any change in the preamble, saying that he did not want to be called a dynamiter. He insisted that "the changing of the preamble by taking out the word 'political' will inevitably give somebody a chance to denounce the I. W. W. as an anarchist organization."[434] The I. W. W. was precisely so denounced soon after the convention: "The political clause has been stricken out and with that all semblance of the I. W. W. has been wiped out. The clause was considered 'confusing.' Fact is the clause was so clear that it was a thorn in the side of veiled dynamiters."[435]

The proposition to strike out the seductive and dangerous [Pg 227]words about the "political field" was adopted and the second paragraph of the new preamble now reads: "Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the earth and the machinery of production and abolish the wage system."[436]

The "straight industrialists" had now accomplished their coup. By "killing" the political clause they had, presumably, saved the organization from the insidious peril of Socialist Labor party domination; briefly, they had exorcised the demon of DeLeonism. This was the sentiment of the Trautmann-St. John faction. The sentiments of the DeLeonites are officially expressed in a leaflet issued later on by the new but "only genuine and original I. W. W." organization which they proceeded to establish at Detroit:

At the fourth annual convention in September, 1908, [it runs] "certain prominent members of the organization, some of them being officials, endeavored to capture the organization and make of it a purely physical force body. Through their machinations they seated delegates not entitled to a seat, and unseated delegates entitled to a seat, threatening violence to, and committing [it] upon, bona fide delegates assembled there. The general officers acquiesced in, and endorsed, the actions of the irresponsible element that packed the convention against the organization. The delegates who were illegally debarred from a seat in the convention returned to their respective union constituencies and reported the actions of the anarchistic crew who were conducting the so-called convention."[437]

[Pg 228]

The fourth convention did very little of importance except to split the organization very decisively, if discursively, on the rock of "politics." A few unimportant constitutional changes were made[438] and the following officers elected: General Secretary-Treasurer, Vincent St. John; General Organizer, Wm. E. Trautmann; General Executive Board, Fellow Workers Cole, Miller, Ettor, Whitehead and Gains.[439] The records and property of the organization remained with the St. John-Trautmann faction,[440] which will be referred to in the following pages as the Industrial Workers of the World, or simply by the three letters, "I. W. W."

Whether or not the St. John contingent was now legitimately entitled to be recognized as the Industrial Workers of the World is a question which will be discussed in another place. Whether they were usurpers or not, they held and retained control of the offices and property of the organization. The Socialist Labor or DeLeon contingent faced the situation as best they could. These "bona fide industrial unionists rallied," says one of their number, "and held a convention in Paterson, N. J., and elected a new set of general officers and a new General Executive Board."[441]

On November 5, 1908, [reads an official announcement] a conference assembled in Paterson, N. J., of delegates sent by the locals that remained true to the principles of the Industrial Workers of the World. They attended to the interrupted work of the general organization, electing a General Executive [Pg 229]Board and other officials, and attended to such other work as the organization required for its growth and progress.[442]

At this rump convention, "credentials were read for twenty-one delegates from locals of Philadelphia, Boston, Bridgeport, Brooklyn, and Paterson, of which [number] eighteen were present...."[443] This Paterson conference was virtually a meeting of the two District Councils of New York City and Paterson and a handful of Eastern locals. The delegates declared the proceedings of the Chicago convention illegal and naïvely read the "anarchist usurpers" out of the organization. "The pirates in Chicago," says Rudolph Katz in his later reminiscences, "were repudiated by the I. W. W. organizations generally." He adds that only three issues of the Industrial Union Bulletin (official organ of the St. John faction) appeared "after that packed 'convention' had done its deadly work."[444]

The most important action of the convention was to reduce the monthly per-capita to five cents for locals and three cents to National Industrial Departments and National Industrial Unions, the idea being that the money should be controlled locally for organization purposes.[445] Steps were taken toward the publication of an official journal, temporary officials were elected to form a kind of ad interim administration, and New York City was decided upon for the location of General Headquarters.[446] Within a few months, [Pg 230]however, the location of national headquarters was changed to Detroit, Michigan. The Daily and Weekly People served as official journal for the Detroit organization until January, 1912, when the first number of the (monthly) Industrial Union News made its appearance. C. H. Chase (New York) was General Secretary-Treasurer. The Executive Board consisted of C. H. Chase, A. J. Francis (New York), Wm. Glanz (Paterson), R. McClure (Philadelphia), C. E. Trainor (Denver), and H. Richter (Detroit). Richter is at present General Secretary-Treasurer. He was a delegate to the 1905 convention from one of the local unions of the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance.

It is exceedingly doubtful whether the "pirates in Chicago" were really "repudiated by the I. W. W. organizations generally." The figures presented in Appendix IV, (Table A) indicated that a large proportion of the 200 locals (to take the lowest estimate) in the I. W. W. in 1907 had in some way vanished. The Chicago faction admitted that 17 locals went over to Detroit,[447] and Secretary Richter writes that when the Detroit faction was reorganized at Paterson twenty-two locals reported to headquarters.[448] During the months of November and December, 1908, the Weekly People published in its correspondence columns about a dozen letters from locals—chiefly Eastern locals—which expressly repudiated the "Chicago pirates." Both organizations sent out official referendum sheets for the votes of the rank and file of the membership on the resolutions, etc., adopted by the Chicago and Paterson conventions.[449] The writer has not learned of any definite reports [Pg 231]concerning the returns from these referendums. It is quite certain that the Chicago group lost many locals which did not go over to Detroit, inasmuch as only 100 locals are reported for 1909.[450] Secretary Richter reports that in 1909 the Detroit I. W. W. had twenty-three locals.[451]

Now, as to the merits of the controversy. The I. W. W. set out in 1905, somewhat on the order of the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, proposing to wage war on the capitalist, primarily on the "economic field," viz., in the shop, "on the job"; by strikes and boycotts, etc., but expecting to go forward, as DeLeon put it, "under the protecting guns of a labor political party." No particular party was endorsed, however, and any desire for the endorsement of any political party was specifically disclaimed. The words, "without endorsing or desiring the endorsement of any political party," were inserted at the close of the preamble in 1906, but stricken out in 1908 (or possibly 1907). The Detroit I. W. W. at first carried in its preamble the words, "without endorsing any political party," but later struck them out.[452] The western membership was especially bitter in its hostility to the Socialist party as well as the Socialist Labor party, and felt convinced that the I. W. W. was mortgaging its future in allowing itself to get into any entangling political alliances, formal or informal. The western I. W. W.s had not borrowed any theoretical criticism of the state from the French syndicalists, but the actual concrete experiences of the lower grades of workers in the western states had developed in their minds a conception of the political party (reactionary or socialistic) very similar to that of the revolutionary syndicalists of France.

[Pg 232]

Félicien Challaye, one of the intellectuals among the French syndicalists, expresses this common idea very concisely. He says that, "... le parti politique est un agrégat d'éléments hétérogènes, réunis par le lieu artificiel d'une opinion analogue: des hommes venus de toutes les couches sociales s'y condoient, échangent leurs obscurs et stériles bavardages, cherchent à associer par de louches compromis leurs intérêts antagonistes."[453]

Indeed, the Western American Wobblies looked upon the whole modern system of congressional or parliamentary government in much the same way. Parliaments, they say, are little more than clearing-houses for the exchange of "vague and sterile platitudes." In so far as they do more than this, they merely further the designs of the big business groups whom they serve as retainers. In this regard the I. W. W.s are sufficiently Marxian and they would accent with italics Marx's strictures on the "disease of parliamentarism." The Industrial Workers' feeling toward parliamentary government cannot be better described that in the words of the great Socialist. In a letter written to the New York Tribune in 1852 Karl Marx describes

that incurable malady, parliamentary crétinism, [as] a disorder which penetrates its unfortunate victims with the solemn conviction that the whole world, its history, and future, are governed and determined by a majority of votes in that particular representative body which has the honor to count them among its members and that all and everything going on outside the walls of their house—wars, revolutions, railway constructing, colonizing of whole new continents, California gold discoveries, Central American canals, Russian armies, and whatever else may have some little claim to influence upon the destinies of mankind—is nothing compared with the incommensurable events hinging upon the important question, whatever it may [Pg 233]be, just at that moment occupying the attention of their honorable house.[454]

The I. W. W. makes the bald accusation that the political groups which make up national congresses are simply (though perhaps indirectly and adroitly) managing public affairs in behalf of the dominant economic and commercial interests of the country. To whatever degree this is true the I. W. W. is sure of its ground in declaring that parliaments are corrupt. But this no more demonstrates the inherent folly of parliamentary government than the admitted corruption—perhaps even industrial crétinism—of the industrial union proves the inherent folly of industrial unionism. There is a lamentable amount of inherited idiocy in both labor and legislative organizations. Anything in the constitution, and more particularly anything in the preamble (which I. W. W.s looked upon as a Magna Carta of the proletariat), that seemed to commit the organization to any particular political policy was a source of great uneasiness. This uneasiness was much intensified by the constantly increasing sentiment of opposition to the (political) state as it exists today, and to all forms of authority, especially centralized authority.[455] The "Overall Brigade" was the group which was most conspicuously saturated with this anarchistic feeling. These men from the West were suspicious of all parties; thought voting and legislating pleasant forms of ritual for deluding the workers; actively antagonized the craft unions, which also they considered industrial anomalies of use only as "coffin societies"; and were very doubtful about the necessity for leaders of any kind—even leaders of the Wobblies!

[Pg 234]

The eastern membership, on the other hand, more nearly approximated the State Socialist type of radicalism. They were inspired by a group of Socialist Labor party men at whose head was Daniel DeLeon. They abjured anarchy, believed in authority (and in its instruments: leaders), were disillusioned about State Socialism and spared no bitterness and pettiness in criticizing the Socialist party and its program of State Socialism and reform in general. Reform in general was to them anathema. They were revolutionary Marxists—doctrinaire to the bone—saturated with the dialectic.

This doctrinaire faction claimed to be the custodian of the original I. W. W. idea. It felt itself to be the keeper of the original tradition of the founders. This original tradition was expressed in the first preamble if it was expressed anywhere. The DeLeonites held to that original preamble, and the fact that they did so lends weight to their claim that they, and they alone, are the true exponents of the spirit and purpose which animated the first convention. They probably do represent the spirit of the fathers—the men of 1905—more exactly than does the "Bummery outfit" at Chicago. The Direct-Actionists might just as well concede this much to the "Impossibilists." The latter represent revolutionary unionism in the original bottle; the former represent the changed form of militant unionism toward which most of the I. W. W.s had drifted between 1905 and 1908—new red wine under the old label. The Direct-Actionists kept the old label to designate the Western American brand of "industrial unionism," invented (or blundered upon) by the proletarian from the provincial side of the Mississippi, simply because they had the power to keep it. And the whole philosophy of the so-called "Bummery outfit" is the philosophy of power—economic power.

A further reason for conceding to the Direct-Actionists[Pg 235] the original name and label (as indeed the Detroiters wisely did when in 1915 they rechristened themselves "The Workers' International Industrial Union") is that the Direct-Actionists are the ones who, since 1908, have done by far the most extensive organizing and propaganda work. It was the "Bummery" which aroused hope and apprehension at Little Falls, at Lawrence, at Wheatland, and on the Minnesota iron range, and baffled the authorities in its dramatic "free speech fights" at Spokane, Fresno, Paterson, San Diego, Seattle, and Everett. Their membership, though small, is three times that of the Detroit organization.

Some more definite points of difference between the two organizations should be noted. They may be set down here as representing the contrasting viewpoints of Daniel DeLeon and Vincent St. John. The attitude of these two men can be tentatively accepted as representing the opinions of most of those in their respective followings. There is good reason, then, for saying that the lifting of the hyphen between DeLeon and St. John was largely due to their conflicting opinions about (1) industrial union structure—the arrangement of industrial groups; (2) sabotage and direct action; and (3) political action.

(1) DeLeon believed that the workers should be grouped in the local industrial union according to the product turned out but that within the local union the lines of demarcation for segregating trade or shop branches must be drawn with reference to the particular tool used.[456] St. John believed that production should be the criterion throughout, with all workers whose activities contribute toward the output of a given product enrolled in the same union. The driver of a brewery wagon contributes his labor power to the production of beer (as also does the stenographer in the office of [Pg 236]the brewery!) and he should be in the Brewery Workers' Union, as indeed he actually is in this particular case.

(2) Direct action and sabotage were condemned by DeLeon and approved by St. John. DeLeon's opposition was not based upon moral grounds. He simply had no confidence in the efficacy of these methods. He was firmly convinced that the habitual indulgence in sabotage and in destructive tactics in general was a poor preparation for a working class which expected some day to manage and control the industries of the world. It was a poor educational policy.

(3) St. John was unconditionally opposed to political action. DeLeon advocated it as a temporary aid in the struggle for emancipation. He appears to have looked forward to the ultimate abolition of political or representative government and the establishment of a literal industrial democracy.[457]

The constitution of the I. W. W. is not anti-political. It is merely non-political. Any wage-earner is admitted regardless of creed, race or political opinion. But it is also true that in actual practice, as Levine remarks, "the Industrial Workers have played and are playing the game of antipolitics."

[Pg 237]

"Their spokesmen," he says, "ridicule the 'politicians'; severely criticized the Socialist party and insult its most prominent leaders. The non-political portion of the I. W. W. is therefore practically anti-political."[458]

The bitterness of feeling engendered in this controversy over politics can well be imagined. The two factions of the I. W. W. hate one another with a hearty fervor that is only equaled by their united opposition to the American Federation of Labor. Both claim to be the simon-pure revolutionary article. If any "malefactor of great wealth" thinks that he is being scandalously abused by the I. W. W.s, he should read some of the things the "red I. W. W.s" have to say about the "yellow I. W. W.s" and, a fortiori, the "yellows" about the "reds," or attend a debate between any kind of an I. W. W. and what he (the I. W. W.) calls a "coffin society" man of the American Federation of Labor.

The Secretary of the Detroit I. W. W. (now W. I. I. U.) says that

to speak of factions of the I. W. W. is doing violence to the facts in the case. The I. W. W. organized in Chicago, 1905, established certain principles, methods, and aims, which can be readily ascertained from the stenographic reports of the first, second, and third conventions. Among them one of the most essential and characteristic of the I. W. W. is the distinct and specific declaration: The workers must organize as a class, on the political and industrial field, to achieve the emancipation from wage slavery. The so-called Chicago "I. W. W." has repudiated this position, and carries since 1908, falsely, the name. Its claim is bogus, as amply demonstrated by its doings since that time....[459]

[Pg 238]

"We hold," says this official, "that our organization is The I. W. W. Chicago headquarters, and those who follow that organization, became a different body since 1908."[460]

At the International Socialist Congress at Vienna in 1914 the Socialist Labor party made a report in which it was declared that

... the Anarcho-Syndicalist element [which] caused the split in the I. W. W. in 1908, went forth throughout the land under the name, Industrial Workers of the World, and by its advocacy of Anarchy, sensationalism, sabotage, "direct action," and "free speech," riots, and similar disorderly tactics, has cast an odium upon the name of the I. W. W.[461]

Such a characterization of the Chicago faction is hardly to be wondered at in view of some of the statements made by organs representing the direct-actionists. Thus we are told that what "the now famous 'Hobo Convention' ... actually did was to restore the preamble to its pristine syndicalist purity...."[462]

The break was not, however, entirely caused by disagreement over political and economic principles. It was partly a matter of personal temperament—and primarily the personal temperament of Daniel DeLeon. We have seen that, rightly or wrongly, DeLeon has been, time after time charged with being the instigator of trouble and dissension. It's difficult to say just why his presence so often seemed to bring friction and revolt. It was partly due, no doubt, to the really heroic and rigidly uncompromising way in which he adhered to his beliefs. It must be attributed in part, the writer believes, to defects of temper. "The strain of love [Pg 239]and hate aroused by DeLeon's peculiar personality," writes one who knew him, "colors all judgments of his career."[463] The same writer says that DeLeon was temperamentally a Jesuit, and that his personal attacks were Jesuitical.[464] This fact surely should be kept in mind when considering the controversies in the socialist movement which have been laid at his door. The present Socialist party broke away from DeLeon's leadership nearly twenty years ago,[465] and has since thrived, while the Socialist Labor party has been reduced to a negligible quantity. In the same way, in 1908, the followers of DeLeon seceded and their fate has been about the same.

Eugene Debs thought that DeLeon's critics made too little allowance for his peculiar temper. He insists that whatever "opposition to the Industrial Workers [is] inspired by hatred for Daniel DeLeon and the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, is puerile, to say the least.... DeLeon is sound on the question of trade unionism," Debs continues, "and to that extent, whether I like him or not personally, I am with him."[466] In another place Debs writes:

The fact is that most of the violent opposition of Socialist party members to the I. W. W. is centered upon the head of DeLeon and has a purely personal animus.... DeLeon is not the I. W. W., although I must give him credit for being, since its inception, one of its most vigorous and active supporters.

[Pg 240]

It may be [he continues] that DeLeon has designs upon the Socialist party and expects to use the I. W. W. as a means of disrupting it in the interest of the Socialist Labor party, and if he succeeds it will be because his enemies in the Socialist party, in their bitter personal hostility to him, are led to oppose ... the revolutionary I. W. W. and support the reactionary A. F. of L....[467]

DeLeon's name was synonymous with revolutionary socialism—that socialism which rejects compromise, recognizes the social value of reform but refuses to deal in reform, and considers revolutionary industrial unionism as the indispensable basis of socialist political action and the revolutionary movement as a whole. DeLeon saw clearly the impending menace of State Socialism, particularly within the Socialist movement: and his whole program was an answer to that menace.... Nearly every American expression of revolutionary theory and action bears the impress of his personality and activity; and revolutionary unionism hails him as its philosopher and foremost American pioneer.[468] ... DeLeon's espousal of Industrial Unionism and the I. W. W. and his development of an industrial philosophy of action, constitute his crowning contribution to American socialism.[469]

DeLeon's personal character and intellectual leanings were curiously reflected in the party to which he so unselfishly gave the best years of his life. The Socialist Labor party is doctrinaire, unyielding, Jesuitical as was its leader. It has always seemed to be suspended after a fashion in an atmosphere charged with a kind of a pedantic essence of the Marxian dialectic. It is so impressed with the importance [Pg 241]of its own "mutterings in the Marxian law," that when, for example, one of Fellow Worker Walsh's "blanket stiffs" asks what the western lumberjack is to do when he is "fleeced" for a three-day job, the party, metaphorically speaking, simply loses its temper and rails at him and all the rest of the "Overalls Brigade." The Socialist Labor party has been pretty accurately summed up by Fraina:

The S. L. P. ignored the psychology of struggling workers [he says]. Its propaganda was couched in abstract formulas; just as its sectarian spirit developed a sort of subconscious idea that revolutionary activity consisted in enunciating formulas. This sectarian spirit produced dogmas, intemperate assertions, and a general tendency toward caricature ideas and caricature action; and discouraged men of ability from joining the S. L. P.[470]

Since the first edition of this book was published some references to DeLeon have appeared in the dispatches from Russia. Robert Minor, in an interview with Nikolai Lenin, quotes him as declaring that "the American Daniel DeLeon, first formulated the idea of a soviet government, which grew up in Russia on his, DeLeon's idea." In the same interview Lenin is further quoted as saying: "Future society will be organized along soviet lines. There will be soviet [occupational] rather than geographical boundaries for nations. Industrial unionism is the basic state...."[471]

Additional light on the relation between Bolshevism and I.W.W-ism as conceived by Lenin appears from the following account given by Arthur Ransome:

Lenin said he had read in an English socialist paper a comparison of his own theories with those of ... DeLeon. He

[Pg 242]

had then borrowed some of DeLeon's pamphlets from Reinstein (who belongs to the [Socialist Labor] party which DeLeon founded in America), read them for the first time, and was amazed to see how far and how early DeLeon had pursued the same train of thought as the Russians. His theory that representation should be by industries, not by areas, was already the germ of the soviet system.... Some days afterwards I noticed that Lenin had introduced a few phrases of DeLeon's ... into the draft for the new program of the Communist [Bolshevik] party.[472]

Finally, mention should be made of the fact that the National Labor Committee of the Socialist Labor party has just published a memorial volume on DeLeon. It is written by a group of his friends and co-workers in the Socialist Labor party.[473]

[Pg 243]


[404] Industrial Union Bulletin. Nov. 7, 1908, p. 1. Cf. appendix vi.

[405] See Appendix iv, Table A. Professor Barnett's returns, however, indicate a net gain in membership from 1907 to 1909. (Quarterly Journal of Economics, August, 1916.) His figures, too, were secured from the I. W. W. general headquarters. The writer is not able to reconcile the two sets of figures.

[406] Cf. appendix iv, Table B.

[407] Industrial Union Bulletin, April 11, 1908, col. 1.

[408] In April, 1908, there was a strike of [presumably] I. W. W. quarry workers at Marble, Colo. The I. W. W. papers reported that it was successful. There is also reported in August, a strike against reductions in wages by the French branch of the textile workers' local at Lawrence, Mass.

[409] Industrial Union Bulletin, Oct. 24, 1908.

[410] Rudolph Katz, "With DeLeon since '89," Weekly People, Dec. 18, 1915, p. 3, col. 1.

[411] Ibid.

[412] Proceedings, Sixteenth Convention, W. F. M., p. 18. This report of the death of the I. W. W. was, to say the least, premature.

[413] "The Industrial Workers of the World," Evening Post (N. Y.) Saturday Supplement, Nov. 9, 1912, p. 3, col. 5. This article is one of a series of three published under the above title in the Evening Post's Saturday Supplements beginning November 2, 1912. The reader is referred to them for an excellent short historical sketch and general estimate of the I. W. W.

[414] Proceedings, Twentieth Convention, W. F. M., pp. 283-4.

[415] Ibid., p. 283.

[416] Industrial Union Bulletin, Nov. 7, 1908, p. 1, col. 6.

[417] From one of the favorite songs of the floating "Wobbly" of the West. The refrain begins: "Hallelujah, I'm a bum." I. W. W. Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent (5th ed.), p. 34. Vide appendix ix.

[418] "With DeLeon since '89," Weekly People, Dec. 11, 1915, p. 2, col. 1.

[419] Industrial Union Bulletin, Oct. 10, 1908, p. 2. The proceedings were published in the Bulletin and in the Daily People (New York City). Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was the only woman delegate present.

[420] Ibid., col. 3.

[421] Industrial Union Bulletin, Oct. 24, 1908.

[422] "With DeLeon since '89," Weekly People, Dec. 18, 1915, p. 3, col. 1.

[423] Ibid., Dec. 25, 1915, p. 5, col. 4.

[424] Ibid.

[425] Oct. 10, 1908, p. 1, col. 6.

[426] "Report of the Committee on Credentials," Industrial Union Bulletin, Oct. 10, 1908, p. 4, col. 3.

[427] Weekly People, Dec. 18, 1915, p. 3.

[428] Ibid.

[429] Katz, op. cit., Dec. 25, 1916, p. 5, col. 5.

[430] "The I. W. W. Convention," Weekly People, Oct. 3, 1908, p. 1, col. 7.

[431] Detroit I. W. W. leaflet. The Two I. W. W's.

[432] Industrial Union Bulletin, April 18, 1908, p. 2, col. 4.

[433] Industrial Union Bulletin, Oct. 24, 1908.

[434] "Proceedings of the Fourth Convention," Industrial Union Bulletin, Nov. 7, 1908, p. 3, col. 4.

[435] Editorial, Weekly People, Oct. 10, 1908, p. 1, col. 6.

[436] The new preamble, which has survived five subsequent conventions unscathed, is reproduced in Appendix ii. For the original preamble of 1905, vide, Brissenden, Launching of the Industrial Workers of the World (University of California Press), p. 46.

[437] Detroit I. W. W. leaflet, The Two I. W. W.'s.

[438] Cf. report of the eighth day's session, Industrial Union Bulletin, Dec. 12, 1908, p. 3.

[439] Ibid., March 6, 1909, p. 4, col. 2.

[440] H. Richter, General Secretary-Treasurer of the Detroit (S. L. P.) I. W. W., now officially known as the Workers' International Industrial Union, in a letter to the author, dated February 17, 1915.

[441] H. S. Carroll, "The Industrial Workers of the World. A brief sketch of some history of the organization." Weekly People, Dec. 21, 1912.

[442] Detroit I. W. W. leaflet. A message to the membership of the Industrial Workers of the World and the working class in general.

[443] Weekly People, Nov. 7, 1908, p. 1, col. 6.

[444] "With DeLeon since '89," Weekly People, Dec. 25, 1915, p. 5. The Bulletin was published more or less regularly until the Spring of 1909. The issue of March 6 appears to have been the last. On March 18, No. 1 of Vol. 1 of the Industrial Worker [II] was issued at Spokane, Wash.

[445] Weekly People, Nov. 7, 1908, p. 1, col. 6.

[446] Ibid.

[447] Industrial Union Bulletin, No. 7, 1908, p. 2, col. 2.

[448] Letter to the author, Feb. 17, 1915.

[449] The referendum on the Chicago convention, sent out by the Trautmann-St. John administration, was published in the Industrial Union Bulletin, Oct. 24, 1908. The DeLeonites issued a special referendum circular signed by the ad interim officers.

[450] Massachusetts Bureau of Statistics of Labor, Annual Reports on Labor Organisations, 1909-1914. Cf. also Appendix iv (Table A).

[451] Letter to the author, Feb. 17, 1915.

[452] Vide Preamble and Constitution of the W. I. I. U. (1915), pp. 3-4.

[453] Syndicalisme révolutionnaire et syndicalisme réformiste, pp. 13-14.

[454] Revolution and Counter-Revolution (2nd ed., 1904), pp. 109-10.

[455] Cf. infra, ch. xiii, where the controversy at the seventh and eighth conventions between the "Centralizers" and the "Decentralizers" is described.

[456] DeLeon, Industrial Unionism (New York: N. Y. Labor News Co., 1918), pp. 8-9.

[457] The author wishes to take this opportunity to express his indebtedness to Emil J. Kern, of the Socialist Labor party, for many suggestive ideas, especially in connection with the DeLeon-St. John controversy. Whatever merit there may be in the above comparison is due to him. On the second point, however, Mr. Kern simply states that the difference was merely a difference of views in regard to stealing. St. John, he says, approved of it. (Not per se, of course, but because, as he assumed—[on Kern's hypothesis], it helped the interests of the workers.) DeLeon disapproved of it, not on moral grounds, but for the reasons given above in paragraph 2. The author does not know whether St. John approves of stealing or not. Some color may be given to Mr. Kern's contention by the charges which were circulated in Goldfield, Nev., that the W. F. M. sanctioned the wholesale stealing of ore by its members. Cf. supra, p. 198. and E. J. Kern, "Socialism and Direct Action" (San Francisco Labor Clarion, May 31, 1912).

[458] Louis Levine, "The Development of Syndicalism in America," Political Science Quarterly, vol. xxviii, p. 474 (Sept., 1913). This is perhaps the best short record and general description of the career of the I. W. W. as a whole.

[459] Herman Richter, private correspondence, March 30, 1912.

[460] Private correspondence, Oct. 23, 1911.

[461] Weekly People, Aug. 22, 1914, p. 2, col. 2.

[462] "Some Preamble History," Voice of the People (Los Angeles), Oct. 30, 1913, p. 3, col. 3.

[463] Louis Fraina, "DeLeon," The New Review, July 1914, p. 391. This excellent portrayal of DeLeon's personality and achievements as well as the rôle he played in the I. W. W. and the socialist movement in general makes it unnecessary to attempt more than the briefest comment here.

[464] Fraina, op. cit., p. 397.

[465] Cf. Hillquit, M., History of Socialism in the United States (5th ed.), pp. 294-301. "The disintegration of the Socialist Labor party."

[466] "The Coming Labor Union," Miners' Magazine, vol. vii, no. 122, Oct. 26, 1905, p. 13.

[467] "The Socialist Party and the Trade Unions," The Worker (New York), July 28, 1906. Reprinted in the Miners' Magazine, Aug. 30, 1906, p. 9.

[468] Fraina, "DeLeon," New Review, July, 1914, vol. ii, p. 390.

[469] Ibid., p. 394.

[470] "DeLeon," New Review, vol. ii, p. 398 (July, 1914).

[471] The World (New York), February 4, 1919, p. 2, col. 1. Reprinted in the Liberator, March, 1919. p. 6.

[472] Ransome, Arthur. Russia in 1919 (New York, B. W. Huebsch, 1919), pp. 120-121. The section of the book containing this paragraph is reprinted in the Liberator, August, 1919, p. 31.

[473] Daniel DeLeon, the Man and his Work: a Symposium (New York, 1919), 336 pp. The volume includes a reprint of the series of articles by Rudolph Katz, "With DeLeon since '89", first published serially in the columns of the Weekly People.

The I. W. W. on the "Civilized Plane"

The Detroit faction of the I. W. W. which in 1915 changed its name to the Workers' International Industrial Union, never attained a strength at all comparable to that of the direct-actionist group. In Appendix IV are given what membership figures are available for both locals and individual members. For the total membership, the figures in columns 3 and 4 (Table A) are probably the most accurate. They show that the Detroiters had in 1910, two years after the schism of 1908, about 3,500 members. The following year their membership was about the same, but in 1912 it very nearly reached 11,000. That was the year of maximum membership, as it was also, except possibly for the year 1916, for the Chicago faction. In every year the figures show a very much smaller membership for the Detroit than for the Chicago faction. The difference in favor of the direct-actionists is still more marked in regard to the number of local unions. The Secretary-Treasurer of the Detroit faction says that only one new local was organized in 1909—the year following the split.[474] The following table shows the growth of local union membership:[475]

[Pg 244]

Detroit I. W. W.—Membership Figures

Year. New locals formed. Defunct locals. Total No. of locals.
Mixed. Industrial. Total.
1908-9 ... ... 1 ... 23
1910 2 5 7 16 14
1911 6 12 18 6 26
1912 7 25 32 24 34
1913 6 16 22 17 39
1914 5 9 14 4 49
1915 1 1 2 ... 51[476]

The reports of membership from the Detroit office are probably generous, to say the least. The Secretary wrote on October 23, 1911: "Our membership at present is about 10,000. Locals ... in nearly all states as well as Canada. Organizations identical with ours ... in principle and method are active in England, Australia and Africa."[477] On March 30, 1912, he wrote that the membership had "passed the 20,000 mark." When the Detroiters held their national convention in 1913—it was called by them the Sixth I. W. W. Convention—there were 17 locals represented by delegates and the Secretary reported a membership of 11,584. Twenty-two new locals had been organized, he said, during the year ending September, 1913.[478] "The principal reverse," says the correspondent of the Weekly People, "was the lapsing of 14 locals, an unfortunate occurrence caused solely by the financial inability of headquarters to send out organizers...." The local unions represented at the convention included the silk workers of Paterson, N. J.; car [Pg 245]and foundry, carpenters', and a "mixed" union in Detroit; a metal and machinery, and a "mixed" local in Chicago; metal workers of Erie, Pa.; hotel and restaurant, "public service" and lumber workers in Seattle; mattress makers in Columbus, Ohio; and "mixed" locals in Lynn, Mass., San Francisco, Portland, Ore., Los Angeles, and New York City. The convention voted down a resolution to change the name of the organization and alter the "political clause" of the Preamble—the vital part of it which kept the I. W. W. high and dry on the civilized plane.[479] The Secretary reports that while the membership of the Detroit faction includes workers from nearly all industries the chief industries represented are the following: textile, garment making, metal and machinery, tobacco, food stuffs, furniture, transportation, automobile, building, lumber, printing, shoe making, and public service.[480]

The DeLeonites probably held a convention in 1914, but the writer has not come across any report of it. In September, 1915, they held an "Eighth I. W. W. Convention" in Detroit. A brief report of the proceedings in their official organ indicates that, in addition to three officers, there were present seven accredited delegates from the following cities: Hartford, Conn., St. Louis, Columbus, Detroit and Cristobal, Panama.[481]

Not only were DeLeonite locals fewer in number than the direct-actionist locals, but their average length of life was undoubtedly shorter. The General Secretary-Treasurer says that the more important reasons for the disbanding of locals were opposition by employers after strikes, [Pg 246]the removal of members to other cities in search of work, and the lack of men and women for the work of organizing.[482] In reply to a letter addressed to the secretary of a certain local in New York, the writer was informed that "there is now no such local union."

We had an organization [the former secretary says] under the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, which was begun in 1897 and which, though greatly reduced, was continued until the I. W. W. was organized in 1905. [Then] ... it grew to about 250 members, but after the split in 1908 it began to decline, and though we tried several times to reorganize, we failed and it has gone out of existence.[483]

Another typical case is that of a cigarmakers' local in Baltimore, which, according to its former secretary, started in November, 1913, with 22 members and "increased the wages of all the cigarmakers in the city from 50 cents to $1.00 per thousand." In January, 1914, the local had 350 members. Then came evil days. "The strike forced on us by the Royal Havana ... demoralized the membership [and] the S[ocialist] P[arty] members added to the confusion by creating dissensions. In the year 1915 the organization was non-existent," and remains so, probably.[484]

The Detroit faction being much less exclusively reliant on the more strictly economic methods of carrying on the labor struggle, was naturally much less addicted to strikes. Nevertheless they did conduct a number of them. In May, 1910, the laborers of the Michigan Malleable Iron Company of Detroit, after being on strike two weeks, were given an increase in wages. In April, 1911, the DeLeonites conducted a strike of structural-iron painters in New York, [Pg 247]in which 200 men were involved. The following month they called out 40 machinists in Canton, Ohio. Their most important strike efforts were made in 1911 and 1912 in the silk mills of Paterson and Passaic, N. J., and Easton, Pa. In these strikes the two I. W. W.s very often clashed. Rudolph Katz, of the Detroiters, reports that during the silk strike of 1911-12 "the silk workers of Paterson ... joined the Detroit I. W. W. en masse" but that "in the midst of the strike Wm. D. Haywood was brought to Paterson and Passaic ... and the apple of discord was thrown among the strikers."[485] The Socialist Labor party reported the Paterson-Passaic situation to the Socialist Congress at Vienna in 1914: "In the big textile strike in Passaic, N. J.," their report says, "this organization [i. e., the S. L. P. or Detroit I. W. W.] was fought by both the Socialist party and the Chicago I. W. W.-ites, with Haywood leading this opposition and the capitalist press ably supporting their flank.... That strike of 4,000 men, women and children was lost through such treachery." The report adds that a few months earlier in 1912 "the Detroit I. W. W. won a great strike of 6,000 silk weavers."[486] On December 20, 1913, one of the Paterson members of the DeLeonite faction sent the following dispatch to the Weekly People: "Local 152, Bummery Bunch, did their best to pack last night's meeting [of the Paterson silk workers] but only partly succeeded. Many legitimate delegates raised their voices against anarchy expressed through sabotage and direct action...."[487] Contrary to the foregoing evidence, the testimony of Adolph Lessig before the United States [Pg 248]Commission on Industrial Relations seems to indicate that there were no serious differences between the two I. W. W.s during the Paterson strike. Lessig says that there was no attempt to either quarrel or get together.[488]

In 1913 the Detroiters were also concerned in several smaller strikes. They report a successful strike of textile workers at Mystic, Conn., in January; a successful strike involving 50 Philadelphia mechanics in August, and one involving 16 cigarmakers in Baltimore, who won the wage increase demanded. In 1914 and 1915 a few San Francisco ladies' tailors were on strike against the piecework system and alleged bad treatment. They were both reported as successful.

The two I. W. W.s continued to hate each other quite as much as they hated the capitalists, reformers, progressives, and Socialists. St. John has a paragraph in his historical sketch of the (Chicago) I. W. W. which may very well stand as the official expression of the direct-actionists' opinion of the doctrinaires. He says:

The politicians [i. e., the Socialist Laborites] attempted to set up another organization claiming to be the real industrial movement. It is nothing but a duplicate of their political party and does not function at all. It is committed to a program of the "civilized plane," i. e., parliamentarism. Its publications are the official organs of a political sect that never misses an opportunity to assail the revolutionary workers while they are engaged in combat with some division of the ruling class. Their favorite method is to charge the revolutionists with all the crimes that a cowardly imagination can conjure into being. "Dynamiters, assassins, thugs, murderers, thieves," etc., are stock phrases. Their only virtue is that they put their [Pg 249]assertions into print, while the other wing of the politicians [the Socialist party men] spread their venom in secret.[489]

In May, 1914, St. John testified as the official representative of the I. W. W. before the United States Commission on Industrial Relations. The Detroit I. W. W.s, he said, "have no information—do not give out any information; have no organization except on paper, and are committed to the program of capturing plates at the political pie-counter ... and trading ... on the name of the I. W. W. That is the way they keep alive."[490] At the Seattle hearings of the Commission in August, 1914, James P. Thompson, at one time the General Organizer of the Chicago I. W. W., expressed himself on the subject of the other I. W. W. He said that the Detroiters were "quite different from the I. W. W."

They stole our name [he went on]. They have a political idea instead of the union idea.... After the 1908 convention, when the politicians of the Socialist Labor Party found themselves outside of the I. W. W., they held a conference in Paterson, N. J., and they decided they would [have] an organization of their own, with a political clause; and when they came to decide on a name there was much debate. [The name "Socialist Labor Union" was proposed.] ... But another motion prevailed, and they stole the name of the I. W. W., and called themselves the Industrial Workers of the World, although they don't amount to much.[491]

What the doctrinaires thought of the direct-actionists—or at least what their leaders wanted workingmen in general to think of them—is of equal importance. In a leaflet published [Pg 250]by the Detroit faction we are told that "the anarchist element that still calls itself the I. W. W. proceeded from the close of the 1908 convention to reveal its true nature by its actions. The western official organ of this element 'The Industrial Worker,' of Spokane, Wash., began to advocate theft, petty larceny, chicken-stealing, breaking up small employment agencies, and also advised the workers to 'strike at the ballot-box with an ax.'"[492]

When the doctrinaires held their 1915 convention (the "Eighth I. W. W. Convention") General Secretary Richter, in his report, took pains to pay his compliments to the direct-actionists.

The anarcho-syndicalist aggregation [he said], the so-called "Chicago I. W. W." which in 1908 with great blare of trumpets was going to show the workers how to get out of capitalism, via "sabotage" and "direct action" in double-quick time—what is left of them has a precarious existence, trimmed to a frazzle by the relentless forces of social progress, their panaceas shrivelled, they make indeed a sorry-looking crowd.[493]

A few months before this, Richter remarked: "Many of the followers of the Saint [St. John] and 'Big Bill' [Haywood] are a sadder but wiser lot. Hundreds have already joined the Socialist [meaning the Detroit] I. W. W., and more are on the way."[494]

The Chicago I. W. W. was bracketed with the American Federation of Labor as being equally with it a snare and a delusion to the working class.

We find the Bummery [the Chicago I. W. W.] denying the ballot-box; we find the American Federation of Labor denying [Pg 251]the class struggle and proclaiming the identity of interest between master and slave; we find the Socialist party of America ... seeking the support of the craft union; ... we find the Socialist Labor party which says the workers must own collectively the land and the tools; ... we find the I. W. W. of Detroit which says the workers must come together on the political and industrial fields....[495]

A sober explanation of the DeLeonites' position as compared with the American Federation of Labor and the "Bummery" was made by Rudolph Katz to the Commission on Industrial Relation. He said that the Chicago I. W.W.s look upon the ballot as a gift from the capitalist class. The Detroit I. W. W.s consider the ballot "a conquest of civilization, and," continued Katz,

we are going to use it. Now a body that repudiates the ballot naturally has to take something else, such as sabotage and direct action. Now the American Federation of Labor does not preach sabotage, but it practices it; and the Chicago I. W. W. preaches sabotage but does not practice it.... The position that we take [he concluded] is that if we have the majority, and the capitalists [and] officials who count the ballots ... refuse to count us in, well,—then there will be a scrap. But we are going to test the peaceful method first.[496]

The DeLeonites cite the recent strike of the clothing workers in Baltimore in support of their strictures on the Federation and the Chicago I. W. W. They call it "a desperate attempt" by the "Bummery" I. W. W. and the American Federation of Labor to crush out the Amalgamated Clothing Workers. The strike was directed, they say, by leaders of the United Garment Workers, the American Federation of Labor, and the Chicago I. W. W.[497]

[Pg 252]

The struggle that is raging in Baltimore between the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, on the one side, and the American Federation of Labor and the Bummery I. W. W. on the other side, is a struggle of clean versus corrupt unionism.... In this Baltimore affair we have revealed the kinship between the Bummery I. W. W. and the American Federation of Labor. These are both nothing more than parasites upon workingmen....[498]

The Detroiters and the Socialist Labor party fight the anarcho-syndicalist faction of the I. W. W., according to the report of the party to the International Socialist Congress at Brussels in 1911, because the direct-actionists "advocate physical force exclusively; at the same time it [the Socialist Labor party] gives all possible support to the workers who, even under the otherwise baneful leadership of anarchy, are trying to throw off the yoke of the capitalist masters and the reactionary trade-union lieutenants of those masters."[499]

The doctrinaires consider the Chicago I. W. W.s anarchists and themselves socialists—but socialists of a simon-pure Marxian stripe as opposed to the opportunist socialism of the Socialist party. In one of their propaganda leaflets they declare that "the only labor organization in the United States today which is wholly dominated by anarchists is the so-called Industrial Workers of the World, with headquarters, [Pg 253]in Chicago, Ill."[500] A propaganda leaflet already quoted sums up in very characteristic fashion the theoretical position of the DeLeonites:

This, then, is the inspiring task of the I. W. W., and its purpose and reason of being: To decry the ballot, which is a civilized method of settling social issues; to advocate physical force only; to preach petty larceny, rioting, smashing machines, and all these things that come under the term "direct action," is unnecessary, and also invites disaster to the workers and helps the forces of reaction. Such measures are suicidal and condemned by civilization. For these reasons the bona fide I. W. W. sets its face like flint against any organization that teaches such tragedy-producing tactics. The working class cannot "sabotage," cannot dynamite itself into possession of the plants of production. Its only requisite and available might is its sound, class-conscious, properly-constructed Industrial Union. With such it is irresistible. By such agency, and by it alone, can it take permanent possession of the tools of production, and only in that way can civilization be saved from a catastrophe. As has been well said, "Right without Might is a fool's pastime; Might without Right is the sport of the savage."[501]

Eugene Debs, who was one of the leading spirits in the organization of the I. W. W. in 1905, and who thought that the elimination of the political clause by the Chicago faction in 1908 was a monstrous blunder, endorsed the position of the DeLeonites on political action. "This faction," said Debs, "is corner-stoned in the true principles of unionism in reference to political action."[502] He thought that there was "no essential difference between the Chicago and Detroit [Pg 254]factions of the I. W. W." "If I am right in believing that a majority of the rank and file of the Chicago faction favor political action," he said, "then there is no reason why this majority should not consolidate with the Detroit faction, and thus put an end to the division of these forces."[503] Debs was of the opinion that, if the I. W. W. had continued as it began, "a revolutionary industrial union, recognizing the need of political as well as industrial action, instead of being hamstrung by its own leaders and converted ... into an anti-political machine, it would today be the most formidable labor organization in America, if not the world."

The end of the bifurcated era of I. W. W. history came in September, 1915, when the DeLeonites at their national convention (called the "Eighth I. W. W. Convention") changed their name to the Workers' International Industrial Union, and the Weekly People[504] announced: "The Industrial Workers of the World as founded at Chicago in 1905 is no more." The reason given by the Detroiters for the change was virtually that the "Bummery" had disgraced the letters "I. W. W." "The name I. W. W.," declared Fellow Worker Crawford, "has come to be associated with petty larceny and other slum tactics. It is up to us to choose a new name so as to escape the odium attached to the one we now bear."[505] Their attitude was more fully explained in an announcement by the General Secretary-Treasurer in their official journal.

While the principles, methods and form of organization adopted in 1905 have stood the test of time [the announcement runs] a new element has asserted itself under the name of I. W. W. whose practices and beliefs are different and opposed [Pg 255]to socialist Industrial Unionism. The capitalists and their hirelings, quick to exploit any condition that serves their interests, boosted along the shouters of "sabotage" and "direct action" with such success since 1906 that today "I. W. W." stands for lunatics on a rampage, in the public mind and a large portion of the workers.[506]

The name Socialist Labor Union, originally proposed in 1908, was again discussed and considered very seriously because their desire was appropriately to label an organization which claimed to stand for "socialist class unionism." Finally, however, the name, Workers' International Industrial Union, was decided upon "as most appropriate for the designation of the economic wing of the Socialist movement."[507]

The W. I. I. U. soon issued a "Manifesto of Socialist Industrial Unionism" which explained the principles of the newly-christened organization. The W. I. I. U., declares the Manifesto,

refuses to conduct the class struggle on the lines of a dog fight. It does not sanction lawlessness on the part of employers, the capitalists and their hirelings by doing likewise. It condemns "sabotage" and all such childish practices by any one as useless for the working class and harmful to real progress.[508]

[Pg 256]
[Pg 257]


[474] Private correspondence, Feb. 17, 1915.

[475] Arranged from figures given by Secretary-Treasurer Richter in letter dated Feb. 17, 1915.

[476] Includes 15 mixed locals.

[477] Private correspondence.

[478] Report of the convention by Russell Palmer, Weekly People, September 27, 1913.

[479] Palmer, op. cit.

[480] Private correspondence, H. Richter, Feb. 17, 1915. "Public service" refers, for the most part, to unskilled laborers working for municipalities—on street work, etc.

[481] Industrial Union News, October and November, 1915.

[482] Private correspondence, Secretary H. Richter, Feb. 17, 1915.

[483] Private correspondence, H. D. Deutsch, April 23, 1916.

[484] Letter from the former secretary, April 14, 1916.

[485] "With DeLeon since '89," Weekly People, Jan. 22, 1916, p. 3.

[486] Weekly People, Aug. 22, 1914, p. 2, cols. 2, 3. Report of Socialist Labor party to the International Socialist Congress, Vienna, Aug. 23-9, 1914.

[487] "R. H. P." in Weekly People, Dec. 27, 1913, p. 1.

[488] Report of Testimony U. S. Commission on Industrial Relations, vol. iii, p. 2456.

[489] "The I. W. W. History, Structure and Methods" (1st ed.), pp. 9-10.

[490] Report of Testimony, U. S. Commission on Industrial Relations, vol. ii, p. 1458.

[491] Ibid., vol. v, pp. 4240 (Aug. 12, 1914).

[492] "The Two I. W. W.'s" (Detroit I. W. W. leaflet).

[493] Industrial Union News, October, 1915, p. 3, col. 5.

[494] "The I. W. W. and its Activities," The Weekly People, March 20, 1915, p. 2, col. 2.

[495] Weekly People, February 21, 1913, p. 2.

[496] Report of Testimony, U. S. Commission on Industrial Relations, vol. iii, p. 2482.

[497] Weekly People, Aug. 19, 1916, pp. 1-2.

[498] Weekly People (Editorial), Aug. 19, 1916, p. 4, col. 4.

[499] "Le Socialist Labor party combat ceux-ci parce qu'ils prêchent 'seulement la force physique', mais en même temps je donne tout l'appui qu'il peut aux travailleurs qui, même sous la direction autrement funeste de l'anarchie, tentent de se délivrer du joug des maîtres capitalistes et de leurs réactionnaires lieutenants des syndicats de métier." ["L'Unité socialiste en Amérique: Memoire de la Commission Executive Nationale du Socialist Labor party (Parti Socialiste Ouvrière) au Bureau Socialiste Internationale"—Bulletin Périodique du Bureau Socialiste Internationale. 2e année, no. 7, p. 30. (Brussels, 1911).]

[500] Detroit I. W. W. leaflet, "Two Enemies of Labor."

[501] Detroit I. W. W. propaganda leaflet, "The Two I. W. W.'s."

[502] "A Plea for Solidarity," International Socialist Review, March, 1914, vol. xiv, p. 536, col. 2.

[503] Ibid., p. 537, col. 1.

[504] October 9, 1915, p. 1.

[505] Report of the convention, Industrial Union News, October, 1915, p. 2.

[506] H. Richter, "The Workers' International Industrial Union," Industrial Union News, January, 1916, p. 1.

[507] H. Richter, ibid.

[508] W. I. I. U. leaflet No. 1, "Principles of the W. I. I. U."


[Pg 258]
[Pg 259]

Free Speech and Sabotage

The existence between 1908 and 1915 of two national labor organizations bearing the name, Industrial Workers of the World (or "I. W. W."), with labels of identical design—bodies closely paralleling each other in scope and structure despite their disparity in doctrine and tactics—makes it very difficult to discuss either group, or I. W. W.-ism in general, without ambiguity. The I. W. W. which has been most advertised in the United States is the Chicago, or "Direct-Actionist," or "Anarcho-Syndicalist," or "Anti-Political," or "Bummery" or "red" I. W. W. This is the I. W. W. which was actively interested in the strikes at Lawrence, Massachusetts, Wheatland, California, and many other places, and in "free speech" fights at Spokane, Fresno, and San Diego. They are the "Wobblies" of the West. In this present work they are considered, entirely without prejudice to the admittedly more "correct" and consistent position of the doctrinaires of the Detroit wing, to be the I. W. W. The doctrinaires are the socialistic, pro-political, "yellow" I. W. W.

It is proposed in these chapters to sketch the main lines of development of the Chicago organization from 1908 to the present time, as well as to indicate the general character of its activities from year to year. The important and bitterly fought struggle at the seventh and eighth conventions in 1912 and 1913 over the question of decentralization is described as faithfully as possible. The relations between the I. W. W. and the Socialist party are set forth,[Pg 260] especially in connection with the adoption of the famous sabotage clause by the Socialist party at its Indianapolis convention in 1912. The newer phases of the organizing and propaganda work of the I. W. W., the free-speech fights, and its increased activity among the unskilled and floating laborers are described. No attempt is made here to go into the various strikes and free-speech controversies in more than a very cursory manner. This is not because their importance is underestimated. The writer feels that the field work of the "Wobblies" is really the most significant part of their history, if for no other reason than that the I. W. W. expends perhaps more energy in proportion to its strength and resources in propaganda, organizing and advertising work afield than does almost any other labor organization in the country. The more striking episodes in the career of the I. W. W., like the Lawrence strike and the Wheatland hop riots, have, however, been extensively written up in the magazines and recorded as well in scientific journals and government reports. On the contrary, the vicissitudes of the career of the I. W. W. as an organized body of workers have never even been recited.

The split of 1908 left the direct-actionists in almost as weak a condition as the doctrinaires. The weakness of the latter has been chronic. The former were able to develop great strength because they had modified their theories to the extent necessary to make some appreciable application of them to the actual conditions of economic life. They were confronted by conditions and met them at the cost of doctrinal consistency. They were unconscious pragmatists and the result is that they have made themselves felt to a much greater extent than the doctrinaires. They have been strikingly successful as gadflies—stinging and shocking the bourgeoisie into the initiation of reforms. If the "anarcho-syndicalist" I. W. W. may not properly be called a success[Pg 261]ful organization, there is at least this much to be said for it: it has been a far less unsuccessful organization than has the doctrinaire faction.

For some time after the split in 1908 the Industrial Workers of the World scarcely more than kept alive. The membership dwindled and locals expired by the score. Between September, 1908, and May 1, 1910, only sixty-six new local unions were chartered.[509] Only in 1911 did their number begin to increase, and even then it was a halting and fitful progress. Levine writes that the I. W. W. had "shrunk to a mere handful of leaders, revolutionary in spirit and ideals, and persevering in action, with a small, scattered and shifting following and an unsatisfactory administrative machinery."[510]

During the year 1909 the organization was actively interested in a number of strikes. The most important of these was the McKees Rocks (Pennsylvania) strike in which 6,000 employees of the Pressed Steel Car Company were out for two months. Other strikes of the year involved the lumbermen at Somers and Kalispell, Montana; Eureka, California, and Prince Rupert, B. C.; the sheet and tin plate workers at New Castle and Shenango, Pennsylvania; and the farm laborers at Waterville, Washington. Secretary [Pg 262]Trautmann believed that these "constant irritative strikes" were more than all else responsible for the fact that less than one-third the gross membership was active (dues-paying) membership. These strikes, he said, involved half the membership in the course of one year.[511]

It was in this same year that the I. W. W. made its bow to the American public as the militant jail and soap-box belligerent in the free-speech fight. As early as April, 1906, there was a minor clash between the police and the "Wobblies," but it was not until nearly three years later that the I. W. W. free-speech epidemic assumed national proportions. Since 1909 the I. W. W.s have attracted quite as much attention by their dramatic free-speech controversies with municipal authorities here and there as they have by the time-honored resort to the strike. During the next few years after the schism of 1908 these free-speech struggles became rather frequent. The Pacific slope is the most fruitful soil for these conflicts. Labor is more mobile there, and when the organizers in any particular town are arrested for preaching revolution a more effective call to "foot-loose Wobblies" for an "invasion" is possible. On the Pacific slope the "Wobblies" almost literally broke into the jails by hundreds. They came to speak, but with the nearly certain foreknowledge that they would be collared by the police before they said many words. They simply crowded the jails, and in this way, as they intended, clogged the machinery of municipal administration by making themselves the guests of the city in such numbers as to be no inconsiderable burden to their real hosts, the taxpayers. Vincent St. John, then Secretary-Treasurer of the I. W. W., recently told the United States Commission on Industrial Relations [Pg 263]that "wherever any local union becomes involved in a free-speech fight they notify the general office and that information is sent to all the local unions, ... with the request that if they have any members that are foot-loose to send them along." Mr. St. John stated, however, that the general (i. e., the national) organization does not in any way finance or manage these free-speech fights except to contribute, so far as possible, at the call of the locals. The management of the struggle is in the hands, of the local union or unions most interested.[512] The same tactics are pursued in nearly every instance—a policy of sullen non-resistance on the part of the I. W. W. and of wholesale jailing by the authorities. The trouble always seems to begin because local authorities are revolted by—or at least nervously apprehensive about—either the substance of the I. W. W. speeches or the language in which their ideas are conveyed, or both. The remarks are alleged to be seditious, incendiary, unpatriotic, immoral, etc., or, whether they are any or all these or none of them, they are alleged to be profane or vulgar beyond the limits of forbearance. In the judgment of the writer the latter charge can be laid at the door of the I. W. W. with far greater justification than can the former. Refinement is not the Wobblies' long suit. How could it be? Our town fathers ought to be somewhat more tolerant of a want of refinement which is more or less inevitable under the conditions—for which conditions, moreover, they are in part responsible.

As to the first charge, it can only be remarked that suppression of what authorities think is subversive and seditious almost invariable has the same effect as would an effort to smother an active volcano. The ideas get expressed anyhow—and more bitterly, with the added circumstance that [Pg 264]those who try to do the smothering are burnt. Of course, it is not easy to determine at just what point language becomes directly provocative to violence. This limit of possible official tolerance is far less often reached than would be indicated by the actual conduct of local officials in these circumstances. "It cannot be considered as provocative of immediate disorder," says Police Commissioner Arthur Woods, of New York, "if speakers criticize, no matter how vehemently, the existing order of things, or if they recommend, no matter how enthusiastically, a change which they believe would improve things."[513] When George Creel was police commissioner in Denver he took a similar position and worked on the theory that all ideas could be safely given a hearing. He is reported to have given the following answer to an I. W. W. committee which applied to him for a "soap-box permit": "Go ahead, boys; speak as much as you like; only there's just one favor I'm going to ask. I wish you wouldn't spout directly under the army headquarters. They're not important, but they're childish, and they'll make me lots of bother if you do."[514] The result: nothing more happened than happens when the mine operators say that the leaders of the United Mine Workers ought to be taken out and shot. There was free speech but no fight.

After the experience of Spokane, Fresno, and San Diego some members of the organization at least recognized that no matter how absolute their right to pitch into established institutions from every angle, the sober necessities of a successful propaganda for revolutionary industrial unionism demanded more concentration upon that subject. In September, [Pg 265]1913, Ewald Koetgen, a member of the General Executive Board, made this suggestion to the delegates at the eighth convention:

If you confine yourself strictly to the propaganda of industrial unionism, and then they prohibit you from using the street corner, you have a much stronger case. Many ... attack everybody, the police, the city officials, religion, politics, and everything else. They speak about everything under the sun and these pretexts are used in order to keep them off the street, whereas, in a good many cities, the organizer could go and speak on industrial unionism, and be left there a whole lot longer....[515]

In the fall of 1909 there were no less than three important free-speech campaigns conducted by the I. W. W. These were staged at Missoula, Montana; Spokane, Washington; and New Castle, Pennsylvania. In 1910 small "fights" were conducted in the spring and summer in Wenatchee and Walla Walla, Washington, and during the fall a much more important one at Fresno, California. This latter struggle continued until March, 1911. From this time until the end of the year 1913 hardly a mouth elapsed that did not witness a more or less important free-speech controversy between the Wobblies and the municipal authorities in some part of the United States. In the five-year period, 1909-1913, there were at least twenty free-speech campaigns of importance, continuing under definite I. W. W. direction for periods ranging from a few days to more than six months. The most important of these disturbances was that at San Diego, which broke out about February 1, 1912, and continued until late the following summer. Since 1913 free speech has been a less important issue with the I. W. W., and there have been comparatively few such disturbances.

[Pg 266]

Paterson, New Jersey, Aberdeen, South Dakota, Old Forge, Pennsylvania, and Everett, Washington, are almost the only cases of any great importance. The most serious of these was the Everett free-speech controversy which culminated in the fatal tragedy of November 6, 1916.

The attitude of the residents of the cities where free-speech fights have been staged was naturally bitterly hostile. This was most strikingly noticeable in business and commercial circles and was of course reflected in the daily press. In San Diego during the free-speech fight the local papers, almost without exception, kept up a running fire of editorial abuse of the I. W. W.s. "Hanging is none too good for them," said the Tribune; "they would be much better dead, for they are absolutely useless in the human economy; they are the waste material of creation and should be drained off into the sewer of oblivion there to rot in cold obstruction like any other excrement."[516] In the face of such a tirade it is interesting to read the report of the Special Commissioner sent by Governor Hiram Johnson to investigate the disturbances in San Diego. Commissioner Weinstock took pains to follow up the stories of the brutality and cruelty of the self-constituted citizens' committee of Vigilantes not only to the I. W. W.s but also to any who were outspoken enough to defend them or who were alleged to have aided and abetted them. Mr. Weinstock says that he "is frank to confess that when he became satisfied of the truth of the stories ... it was hard for him to believe that he was not sojourning in Russia, conducting his investigation there instead of in this alleged 'land of the free and home of the brave.'"[517]

[Pg 267]

The organization made no attempt to hold a convention in 1909, but in May, 1910, the fifth convention met in Chicago. On the first day there were twenty-two delegates present, representing forty-two local unions in the following states: California, Colorado, Montana, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Oregon, Washington, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Indiana, and in British Columbia. Judging from the very fragmentary records available there was little business of any importance transacted at this meeting. The delegates adopted a resolution to "reaffirm the original [Industrial Union] Manifesto of 1905,..."[518] and dispersed.

In September, 1911, fifteen months later, a somewhat more successful convention was held. This sixth annual meeting of the I. W. W. was in point of size almost as insignificant as the preceding one, thirty-one delegates from eleven states being present. In addition to the regular delegates there were present three "fraternal delegates" from the Brotherhood of Timber Workers. Twenty-one locals were represented in addition to the locals included in the Textile Workers National Industrial Union of the I. W. W.—the only "national industrial union at that time included in the organization."[519] The convention was harmonious, and there is, therefore, the less to chronicle. "Most of the delegates were young men full of the fire and enthusiasm of youth. 'Intellectuals' were conspicuous by their absence."[520] We are told that very few changes were made in the organic law of the organization. Proposals were made, however, by the score. In the appendix to the Minutes is a list containing seventy resolutions which were presented on [Pg 268]the floor of the convention.[521] The question of politics was scarcely touched upon. An anti-parliamentary resolution was voted down without discussion. The bulk of the delegates were undoubtedly non-parliamentarians, that is to say, indifferent about politics and legislative action. An official report of the convention in the Industrial Worker says that the report of General Organizer Trautmann, which it declared would be published later in Solidarity,

was a scathing indictment of the criminal alliance between the A. F. of L. fakirs and the self-styled revolutionary socialist politicians, who, as the report shows, time and again have acted in full concert in defeating strikes rather than to allow the workers to win with I. W. W. methods—methods whose success spells ruination for the political and craft union movements which are sucking the life blood of the working class.[522]

Mr. Trautmann later transfered his allegiance to the Socialist Labor party faction. The Weekly People (the official S. L. P. organ) of July 26, 1913, published (on page 2) a letter from Trautmann to Eugene V. Debs in which he says:

In the convention of 1911 of the Industrial Workers of the World my report contained a scathing attack on the anti-political politicians and the never-will-I-work scavengers who pose as organizers and spokesmen of the organization. The convention ordered that report to be printed ... [but] Vincent St. John and his clique put away the report and it never appeared.

Official reports of the convention claimed that there had been "a gradual increase in the moral, financial and numerical strength of the I. W. W." This claim is not entirely justified by available figures. The number of locals in the [Pg 269]organization was but slightly, if any, greater. Fewer charters were issued and more locals disbanded in 1911 than in 1910. The membership figures are conflicting, those furnished by the Secretary-Treasurer making a less favorable showing than those of Professor Barnett.[523] Mr. St. John says that the membership of the organization in good standing in October, 1911, was about 10,000.

We do not claim anything [he said] except membership in good standing; as a matter of fact, however, the General Office has issued 60,000 due books in the past eighteen months and of this number only about one in ten keeps in good standing, due to the kind of work the membership of the most part follow. They are engaged in construction, harvesting and working in the woods, etc. This means that they are out of touch with the organization the greater part of the year either on the job or moving about the country looking for work, and of course they cannot and do not keep in good standing, but as they drift into town they pay up. In passing, it may be stated that the above number is the largest membership the I. W. W. has had since its inception, except when the W. F. of M. was supposed to be a part of the organization. I know that the second annual convention reports claim 60,000 members, but the books of the organization did not justify any such claim; in fact, the average paid-up membership with the W. F. of M. for the first year of the organization was 14,000 members in round numbers.[524]

There was at this time a very considerable gain in particular industries, such as metal working and railroad and building construction. This development is indicated in Table 1, which shows the average membership of the I. W. W. in the specified industries during the period 1910-1913:

[Pg 270]

TABLE 1[525]

Average Membership (Chicago) I. W. W.—1910-1913, by Industries

Industry. Average Membership.
1910 1911 1912 1913
Textile 4300 4397 9637 1550
Lumber 1200 800 1227 650
Marine transport ... ... ... 2100
Metal 200 2000 144 300
Automobile 300 500 83 150
Hotel and Restaurant 150 100 151 50
Building Construction 150 600 204 1200
Railroad Construction 1000 1800 2366 1755
Tobacco 100 400 200 450
Packing House 100 75 69 50
Public Service ... ... ... 1700
Coal Mining 200 200 207 250
Railroad Transportation ... ... ... 100
Street Railways ... ... ... 50
Farm Workers ... ... ... 100
Oil ... 50 61 50
Rubber ... ... ... 150
Furniture ... ... ... 100
Electric Power ... ... ... 150
Reed and Rattan ... ... ... 100
Amusement ... 25 130 50
Musical Instruments (Piano, etc.) 100 200 226 450
Leather ... ... 150 ...
Mixed Locals 1300 1537 3532 2800
9100 12834 18387 14305

If figures are ever misleading, they are so in reference to the "Wobblies." They are presented, however, in the belief that they have some significance. The organization was now unquestionably picking up. In 1910 there had been a number of I. W. W. strikes—nine at any rate in which the organization was actively interested. In April, the farm hands of North Yamhill, Oregon, who "had been handing out the principles of revolutionary unionism in huge, raw [Pg 271]chunks,"[526] walked out on account of the discharge of some of their number. In August, the Gas Works' laborers in southern California, chiefly Mexicans, were out for about two weeks for higher wages. The settlement as reported fixed wages at $2.25 and provided that only I. W. W.s were to be employed in the future. A strike of the window cleaners in Providence for a wage increase and the closed shop was reported won. These instances will give an idea of the character of the strikes and the workers involved. In 1910 there appear to have been very few strikes in which the I. W. W. was interested. Such meager data as are available about I. W. W. strikes have been gathered together in Appendix VIII.

Although 1911 was an inactive year as regards strikes, the condition of the organization was not nearly so hopeless as it had been.

Despite the prevailing "hard times," [writes "The Commentator"] the I. W. W. is (in February, 1911) upheld by six weekly papers of its own.... Far from being weak and emaciated, as in 1907, the I. W. W. is putting up a robust fight for free speech and assemblage at Fresno, Cal.; and is giving the Shoe Manufacturers' Association of Greater New York the struggle of their lives—a struggle in which for the first time the employers combat an organization which means to make the shop the collective property of the workers....[527]

Another indication of growth was the expansion of the I. W. W. press. At the close of the fourth convention the I. W. W. had only one paper, the Industrial Union Bulletin, which suspended publication early in 1909 and whose place was filled by the Industrial Worker (II.) (Spokane), which [Pg 272]in turn passed out in September, 1913. The Industrial Worker (I.) was published from January, 1906, until the summer of 1907. The Industrial Worker (III.) (Seattle) began publication in April, 1916, and continues to appear.[528] It is stated in Solidarity, July 2, 1910, that in that year the I. W. W. had seven papers in as many different languages.

During the twelve months preceding the sixth convention (September, 1911) seventy locals were organized and forty-eight disbanded. They were distributed among specified industries, as shown in Table 2.

TABLE 2[529]

Industry Organized Disbanded
Metal and machinery 11 10
Food stuffs (Bakers) 2 2
Recruiting locals 13 8
Tobacco 1
Building 4 4
Shoe 1 1
Public Service 8 4
Clothing 3 3
Furniture 1
Mining (coal) 4
Transportation 7 2
Smelting 1
Lumber 9 4
Farming 2 2
Car building 2 4
Steel 1 4
70 48

Secretary-Treasurer St. John presented an interesting classification of the reasons given for the disbanding of these forty-eight local unions. He distributes them as follows:

[Pg 273]

Disrupted by lack of interest 22
Disrupted by strike 6
Disrupted by other organizations 6
Work closing down 5
Disrupted by members leaving locality 2
Incompetent secretary 2
Disrupted by internal dissension 1
Members left for Mexico 1
No record 3
48 [530]

It was at this meeting that the question of the authority of the general administration over the rank and file was first seriously considered in the I. W. W. A number of constitutional changes were proposed and most of them were brought forward with the more or less definite idea of minimizing, or at least modifying in some way, the authority of the national officers and the other members or the General Executive Board. These amendments originated chiefly from local unions in the Rocky Mountain and Pacific States. The debates lasted several days and involved a rather thorough discussion of the relations between the different parts of the organization. All of these proposed amendments were lost, the delegates being of the opinion probably that few constitutional changes were necessary.[531]

At this (1911) convention, W. Z. Foster presented his report as representative of the I. W. W. at the seventh conference of the International Labor Secretariat which met at Budapest in August. He was unable to make a very favorable report. The international conference, after giving an entire day to a discussion of the question of the admission of the I. W. W., refused it unanimously despite the fact [Pg 274]that his claims were backed by the representatives of the Confédération Générale du Travail of France.[532] At about this time the French syndicalists were facing a serious crisis, which threatened them as well with complete division. They escaped then, but there have since developed two groups in the C. G. T.: the "red" (revolutionary) syndicalists, and the "yellow" (conservative) syndicalists.[533]

Karl Kautsky quotes M. Lagardelle as having admitted in 1911 that "the present crisis compels a general revision of the facts and the ideas of syndicalism. After a glorious beginning we find ourselves faced with that which is generally the result of forced marches in complete exhaustion."[534]

The I. W. W. had had no direct contact with French syndicalism previous to 1908. Moreover, its relations with the French movement have not at any time been as close or as definite as is generally imagined. The I. W. W. organization is an indigenous American product, if there ever was such a thing. The tactics used have come in part through the reading by I. W. W.s of the writings of Pouget, Sorel, Lagardelle, and others of the French syndicalist school. This contagion of ideas has also spread through personal contacts. In 1908 William D. Haywood went to Europe and there met some of the leaders of the C. G. T. Again in 1910 he was present at the International Labor and Socialist Congress at Copenhagen. He nominally represented the Socialist party of America, but he also, in an unofficial way, championed the cause of American syndicalism as it had been developed by the Industrial Workers of the World.[535]

[Pg 275]

The biennial conference of the International (Labor) Secretariat met at Budapest, Hungary, August 10-12, 1911. The entire first day's session was taken up with a lengthy argument over the admission of W. Z. Foster, the I. W. W. delegate. His credentials were finally rejected since he had only the support of the French Confédération Générale du Travail.[536] President Gompers of the American Federation of Labor, in his report to its convention held later on in the same year, refers to "the repudiation of the so-called Industrial Workers of the World" at the Budapest conference. "Inasmuch," he said, "as the would-be delegate for the corporal's guard that composes the Industrial Workers of the World professed to support the policies and program of the Confédération Générale du Travail of France, his pretensions were supported by the latter organization."[537] James Duncan, the A. F. of L. delegate at Budapest, reported that "a misguided man, named Foster, from Chicago, claiming to represent an alleged organization of labor in America, called the International [sic] Workers of the World, had been for some time in Paris ..." and had apparently convinced the C. G. T. that he should be recognized at the Budapest conference instead of the A. F of L. representatives. "During the discussion Foster lost control of his temper," said Duncan; "he even threatened assault ...—ocular demonstration of what an I. W. W. really is(!) ... [But] the Frenchmen were not dismayed at their tricolor being smudged with I. W. W. mire."[538]

French syndicalism, then, has entered the I. W. W. to give it certain characteristic strike tactics and a set of foggy [Pg 276]philosophical concepts about the General Strike, the "militant minority," etc. To this extent the I. W. W. is a syndicalist union. In structure it is a decentralized body (to the extent that it has any body to be decentralized), whereas the C. G. T. is decidedly centralized. In its organization and in its attitude toward compatriot labor bodies it is at variance with the French Confédération. The French idea has taken more definite form in the United States in the shape of the Syndicalist League of North America.

The Syndicalist League is a propaganda body rather than a labor organization. It is directed largely against the I. W. W.—opposing syndicalism to the industrialism of the American organization. It believes in the possibility of reforming the American Federation of Labor from within and condemns the dual-unionism of the I. W. W. It is optimistic regarding the craft union. "It is aware," says William English Walling, "that it will be impossible to secure a revolutionary majority in these organizations, whether of a socialistic or of an anarchistic character, and it has imported for this contingency the French syndicalistic theory of the power of the 'militant minority.'"[539] A number of the anarchists were inclined to favor the Syndicalist League because they feared the "centralized government" of the I. W. W.[540]

In this connection it may be well to note here the organization in New York City in October, 1912, of the Syndicalist Educational League with Hippolyte Havel, secretary, [Pg 277]and Harry Kelly, treasurer. This, we are informed, "is an organization of active propagandists formed for the purpose of spreading the idea of syndicalism, direct-action and the general-strike among the organized and unorganized workers of America."[541]

In 1911 the trial of the MacNamara brothers for the dynamiting of the Los Angeles Times building was stirring the country. The I. W. W. so vigorously championed the cause of the indicted men that the San Francisco Chronicle was moved to say:

... Now comes every socialist agitator and every rascal who calls himself a socialist, and declares that even the arrest of the indicted men is an "outrage." That hobo gang which calls itself the "Industrial Workers of the World" calls for a "general strike" as a protest against the alleged "kidnapping" of the men who have been indicted.[542]

A few days later the Industrial Worker carried in capitals on the front page the following


"Arouse! Prepare to Defend Your Class!"

"A general strike in all industries must be the answer of the workers to the challenge of the masters! Tie up all industries! Tie up all production! Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." Issued Apr. 25, 1911, by the Industrial Workers of the World.[543]

When the seventh convention met in 1912 the General Executive Board declared that the MacNamara case "demonstrated [Pg 278]beyond doubt that no legal safeguard can be invoked to protect any member of the working class who incurs the enmity of the employers by standing between them and unlimited exploitation of the workers." Furthermore, it charged that the A. F. of L. "did not come to their assistance as it should have done ... [because] the moral support guaranteed these members of the working class was practically nil so far as the American Federation of Labor was concerned."[544]

These militant utterances of the I. W. W. served to increase a growing hostility to that organization in the Socialist party. This increasing opposition was directed against the methods and tactics of I. W. W.-ism rather than against its criticism of capitalist society, its form or organization or its idea of the character of the society of the future. The Socialists objected in general to the whole philosophy of direct action, and more particularly to certain phases of direct action—viz., the use of sabotage and violence in general.

One I. W. W. official defines direct action as the "withdrawal of labor power or efficiency from the place or object of production."[545] Emma Goldman, a prominent anarchist, describes it as the "conscious individual or collective effort to protest against or remedy social conditions through the systematic assertion of the economic power of the workers."[546] Professor Hubert Lagardelle, one of the intellectuels of the French syndicalist movement, explains that "Direct Action is opposed to the indirect and legalized action of democracy, of Parliament and of parties. It means that instead of delegating to others the function of action (following [Pg 279]the habit of democracy), the working class is determined to work for itself."[547] Sabotage has been defined by the leading English Syndicalist, Tom Mann, as "the taking of advantage for personal or class gain."[548] Pouget says that "le sabotage est la mise en pratique da la maxime: à mauvaise paye, mauvais travail."[549] In its mildest form sabotage is simply the time-honored trade-union practice—restriction of output. Gustav Hervé, the editor of La Guerre Sociale, advocates its use as a kind of gymnastique révolutionnaire or training for the revolution which many socialists believe may be precipitated by the violence of the capitalists, in the guise, perhaps, of martial law. It may be convenient to think of direct action as the inclusive term. Thus it may take the form of concerted abstention from work and be simply a strike, or it may take the form of working "in a way detrimental to the boss" and be one kind of sabotage.

An interesting example of the I. W. W.'s press campaign for the methods of sabotage and direct action was furnished when in the summer of 1913 the I. W. W. locals of Los Angeles began the publication of a semi-official weekly paper called The Wooden Shoe. This name was selected on the strength of the legend that the word sabotage was coined in France when a workman with a grievance threw his sabot or wooden shoe into the machinery and so clogged it and stopped production. This kind of direct action is picturesquely advocated on the front page of each issue of this paper. Grouped around the title heading—The Wooden Shoe—are the following boxed mottoes and slogans:

[Pg 280]

"A kick in time saves nine."
"Kick your way out of wage slavery."
"Our coat-of-arms: The shoe rampant."
"A kick on the job is worth ten at the ballot-box."
"Immediate demands: Wooden shoes on all jobs."
"The foot in the wooden shoe will rock the world."
"An injury to one is the concern of all."

These tactics had been more and more talked about if not practised by the I. W. W. for several years past. Indeed, it is safe to say that the practical application of those forms of direct action which the "Wobblies" consider expedient was becoming constantly more general. When the Socialists met in convention at Indianapolis in May, 1912, the problem of the proper attitude for the Socialist party to take toward the I. W. W., and more especially toward the "direct action" propaganda, was made the occasion of a violent controversy. The discussion centered on a motion to insert a new clause in the constitution of the Socialist party providing (in Article II, Sec. 6) that "any member of the party who opposes political action or advocates crime, sabotage, or other methods of violence as a weapon of the working class to aid in its emancipation shall be expelled from membership in the party...."[550] After a long debate the amendment was adopted by a vote of 191 to 90, and the now famous Article II., Sec. 6, became a party law.[551] During the discussion there were some quite violent criticisms made of direct action and violence. Delegate W. R. Gaylord said: "We do not want any of it. None of it! We don't want the touch of it on us. We do not want the hint [Pg 281]of it connected with us. We repudiate it in every fibre of us."[552] Victor Berger expressed himself very emphatically on the "sabotage clause."

I desire to say [he declared] that articles in the Industrial Worker, of Spokane, the official organ of the I. W. W., breathe the same spirit, are as anarchistic as anything that John Most has ever written. I want to say to you, comrades, that I for one do not believe in murder as a means of propaganda; I do not believe in theft as a means of expropriation; nor in a continuous riot as a free-speech agitation. Every true Socialist will agree with me when I say that those who believe that we should substitute "Hallelujah, I'm a bum" for the Marseillaise, and for the Internationale, should start a "bum organization" of their own. (Loud laughter and great cheering.)[553]

It was not alone the advocacy of "direct action" which incurred for the I. W. W. the enmity of the Socialists. The latter felt that when the I. W. W. in 1908 "repudiated political action," it really declared war on the Socialist party. That party obviously could not consistently approve of the Detroit I. W. W. because that faction was really the ward of a rival political organization, the Socialist Labor party. Ernest Untermann, who was one of the founders of the Industrial Workers of the World, said at a previous convention of the Socialist party: "When we organized the I. W. W., we hoped that it would be both a political and an economic organization.... Instead of that, from the very outside there crept in an element that made for disintegration, and today the I. W. W. has drifted back toward syndicalism."[554] He declared, moreover, that the I. W. W. [Pg 282]deeply in debt to the Socialist party, as he intimated, had ungratefully obstructed the work of the party:

We helped the I. W. W. in its fight for free speech in Spokane and for working-class power on the coast, [he said] and yet while our speakers were collecting money [in San Francisco] ... to help the I. W. W., the fighters from the I. W. W. were on the outside of our meetings and knocking.... They sent their fighters over to Local Oakland, right across the bay, with the avowed purpose of breaking up that local and destroying the activity of the Socialist party.... I shall be true to the principle of industrial unionism, but the I. W. W. can go to hell. (Applause.)[555]

Finally the last tie that connected the I. W. W. with the Socialist party was broken when, in February, 1913, William D. Haywood was recalled from the National Executive Committee of the party.[556]

[Pg 283]


[509] Cf. Appendix iv, Table A. The industrial distribution of fifty-nine of these is given in Solidarity (May 14, 1910) as follows:

Quarry workers 1
Bakery workers 1
Metal and machine workers 3
Building workers 8
Lumber workers 2
Public service workers 2
Hotel workers 2
Packing house workers 2
Garment workers 1
Glass workers 1
Coal miners 7
Harbor workers 1
Steel workers 5
Car builders 5
Transportation workers 1
Wood workers 1
Textile workers 1
Mixed locals 15

[510] "The development of syndicalism in America," Political Science Quarterly, vol. xviii, p. 470 (Sept., 1913).

[511] Report of the General Secretary-Treasurer to the Fourth Convention, Industrial Union Bulletin, Oct. 24, 1908. For list of strikes, vide Appendix viii.

[512] Industrial Relations (Testimony at hearings). vol. ii, pp. 1460, 1461.

[513] Ninth annual meeting of the American Sociological Society, Dec., 1914. Publications, vol. ix, "Restrictions upon freedom of assemblage," p. 32.

[514] "Free, Speech Fights of the I. W. W." Report to the U. S. Commission on Industrial Relations. Typewritten MS., p. 20.

[515] Proceedings, p. 102, col. 1-2.

[516] San Diego Tribune, March 4, 1912 (editorial).

[517] Harris Weinstock, Report to the governor of California on the disturbances in the city and county of San Diego in 1912, p. 16.

[518] Proceedings, Industrial Worker (II), June 25, 1910, p. 3.

[519] Minutes of the Sixth Convention (Typewritten MS.), pp. 1-3.

[520] B. H. Williams, "The Sixth I. W. W. Convention," International Socialist Review, vol. xii. p. 302, November, 1911.

[521] Appendix to the Minutes, pp. 1-9.

[522] Industrial Worker (II), Sept. 28, 1911, p. 4. col. 1.

[523] See Appendix iv, Table A.

[524] Letter to the author, Oct. 13, 1911.

[525] Compiled from figures furnished by General Secretary St. John (Letter of Feb. 1, 1915).

[526] Industrial Worker, April 23, 1910.

[527] "The I. W. W., its Strength and Opportunity," Solidarity, Feb. 25, 1911, p. 3, col. 1.

[528] Since this was written its publication has been suspended by the government.

[529] From report of General Secretary-Treasurer St. John to Sixth Convention; in Appendix to Minutes.

[530] Report to the Sixth Convention. Appendix to Minutes. In appendix vi, the causes for suspension of locals are shown by individual unions.

[531] B. H. Williams, "Sixth I. W. W. Convention," International Socialist Review, vol. xii, pp. 300-302, Nov., 1911.

[532] International Socialist Review, vol. xii, p. 245, October, 1911.

[533] Cf. F. Challaye, Le syndicalisme révolutionnaire et le syndicalisme réformiste, passim.

[534] Chicago Evening World (July 13, 1912).

[535] Compte Rendu (Ghent, 1911), p. 42.

[536] Proceedings, Thirty-first Annual Convention, A. F. of L. (Atlanta, Ga., Nov., 1911), p. 29.

[537] Ibid.

[538] Ibid., p. 149. Report of James Duncan, delegate to the Budapest Conference. This report is also published in pamphlet form.

[539] Internationalist Socialist Review, Mar., 1913, vol. xiii, p. 667, col. 1.

[540] This view is presented by Harry Kelly, "A Syndicalist League" (a plea for the launching of a Syndicalist League in the United States), Mother Earth, Sept., 1912. Cf. also Foster, Wm. Z., and Ford, E. D., Syndicalism, which ably draws the distinction between the semi-anarchistic and semi-conservative syndicalism of the C. G. T. which some writers have tried to import, out of hand, into the United States, and the Industrial Socialism of the I. W. W.

[541] Mother Earth, Nov., 1912, vol. vii, p. 307.

[542] May 2, 1911 (Editorial). Reprinted in Solidarity, May 20, 1911. p. 4, col. 1.

[543] May 11, 1911.

[544] On the Firing Line, pp. 7-9.

[545] William E. Trautmann, One Great Union, p. 24. note.

[546] Syndicalism (New York, Mother Earth Publishing Assn.), p. 9.

[547] Le Mouvement Socialiste, December, 1908, vol. xxiv, p. 453.

[548] Interview in the New York World, Aug. 3, 1913, Sec. N, p. 1, col. 8.

[549] La Confédération Générale du Travail (2nd ed., Paris, n. d.), p. 46.

[550] Vide, National Constitution of the Socialist Party (Chicago, Socialist Party, 1914), p. 2.

[551] Proceedings, National Convention of the Socialist Party, 1912, pp. 136-7. In an analysis of the vote, W. J. Ghent has shown (National Socialist, June 1, 1912) that between 67 and 75 per cent of the delegates who voted against the clause "were not proletarians."

[552] Proceedings, p. 123. col. 1.

[553] Ibid., p. 130.

[554] Proceedings, National Socialist Congress, Chicago, May, 1910, p. 281. See also Untermann, No compromise with the I. W. W., typewritten MS. (published in 1913 in the New York Call and the National Socialist).

[555] National Convention of the Socialist Party, op. cit., p. 163, col. 1.

[556] Since this chapter was written several laws have been enacted which have been more or less directly aimed at the Industrial Workers of the World. Australia led off with the "Unlawful Associations Act" passed by the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth in December, 1916. (Reported in the New York Times, December 20, 1916, p. 5. col. 2. Cf. infra, p. 341.) Within three months of the passage of the Australian Act, the American States of Minnesota and Idaho passed laws "defining criminal syndicalism and prohibiting the advocacy thereof." In February, 1918, the Montana legislature met in extraordinary session and enacted a similar statute. (These three state laws are printed in appendix x.) Vide also infra, pp. 344-6.

At Sacramento, on January 16, 1919, according to daily press reports, all of the 46 defendants in the California I. W. W. conspiracy case tried there in the Federal District Court were found guilty of conspiring to violate the Constitution of the United States and the Espionage Act and with attempting to obstruct the war activities of the Government. All of the defendants were members—or alleged members—of the I. W. W. and the case is similar to the one tried in Chicago in 1918. On January 17 Judge Rudkin is reported to have sentenced 43 of the defendants to prison terms of from one to ten years (New York Times, January 17 and 18, 1919.) The trial is reported in The Nation of January 25, 1919. Cf. supra, p. 8.

Lawrence and the Crest of Power (1912)

The year 1912 marks the high tide of I. W. W. activity. From Lawrence, Massachusetts, to San Diego, California, these restless militants stirred the nation with their startling strike and free-speech propaganda. Reports of strikes and free-speech activities in Solidarity and the Industrial Worker show a higher frequency for both these types of industrial warfare in 1912 and 1913 than for any other corresponding period in the organization's career. During the years 1911, 1912 and 1913 there were some fifteen free-speech fights of considerable importance—more than have been staged in all the rest of its history before or since.[557] The dynamic prominence of this period is less marked for the free-speech propaganda than for the then strange and novel syndicalist strike propaganda of the I. W. W. The strike activities were, however, confined quite largely to a shorter period—1912 and 1913. As already noted,[558] the years 1909 and 1910 were more crowded with I. W. W. strike activities than any previous period. These fat propaganda and lean organizing years were followed by twelve months of a general all-round leanness which was only saved from complete sterility by about half a dozen rather lively free-speech fights. Then followed the "Wobblies'" two big years, during which more than thirty "I. W. W. [Pg 284]strikes"[559] ran their course in different parts of the country. In Table 3 are given what facts are available concerning I. W. W. strike activities in 1912.

Overshadowing all others in importance was the gigantic strike of the textile workers at Lawrence. This great struggle set new fashions in strike methods. It Americanized the words, "sabotage," "direct action," and "syndicalism" and revealed to the hitherto ignorant public the manner and effectiveness with which these alleged French importations could be applied to an existing industrial situation. Lawrence, together with San Diego, and one or two other "free-speech" cities, really introduced the Industrial Workers of the World to the American public. The organization and its activities were known to students of the labor problem and to others who happened to be on the spot when a fight was on, but they were not known to the great body of citizens. Lawrence and the free-speech fights made the name of this little group of intransigents a household word, hardly less talked about and no whit better understood than the words "socialist" and "anarchist."

On January 11, about 14,000 of the textile operatives left their work. During the strike, which continued until March 14, this number was increased to 23,000. According to a Federal report, "the immediate cause of the strike was a reduction in earnings, growing out of the State law which became effective January 1, 1912, and which reduced the hours of employment for women, and for children under 18 years of age from 56 to 54 hours per week."[560] At the beginning of the struggle only a small minority of the operatives were organized.

[Pg 285]


I. W. W. Strikes in 1912 (Partial List).[561]

Local Union No. Industry. Location. Strikes. Number Involved. Number Arrested. Duration. Result.
10 Electrical Supply Fremont, O. 1 30 ... ... Lost.
161 Textile and Shoe Wkrs. Haverhill, Mass. 2 572 60 7 weeks Won.
194 Clothing Seattle, Wash. 10 ... 15 A few hrs to 2 mos. 1 lost.
327 R. R. Construction Prince Rupert, B. C. 2 2,350 12 ... Won.
326 Laborers Shenna Crossing, B. C. 1 ... ... ... Won.
327 R. R. Construction Lytton, B. C. 1 5,000 300 7 months. Compromise.
N.I.U.F. &L. W.,[562] 72 Unions involved Louisiana & Pac. N. W. 2 7,000 "Several hundred" 1-3 wks., 1-2 mos. Compromise.
436 Textile Lowell, Mass. 2 18,000 26 ... 1 won, 1 lost.
557 Piano Boston 1 200 ... 5 weeks. Lost.
20 Textile Lawrence 5 29,000 333 ... Won.
157 Textile New Bedford 1 13,000 ... ... ...
Total strike expenditures. No. involved. Aggregate duration. No. of arrests. No. of convictions.
$101,504.05 75,152 74 weeks. 1,446 577
[Pg 286]

Up to the beginning of the strike [says the Federal report just quoted] there was little or no effective organization among the employees, taken as a whole. A few of the skilled crafts, composed principally of English-speaking workers, had their own separate organizations, but the 10 crafts thus organized had at the time of the strike only approximately 2,500 members. The Industrial Workers of the World had also some years before this established an organization in Lawrence. At the beginning of the strike they claimed a membership of approximately 1,000. They had at different times names on their rolls in excess of this number, but it is estimated by active members of the organization that at the beginning of January, 1912, there were not more than 300 paid-up members on the rolls of the Industrial Workers.[563]

This statement of the situation is borne out by Mr. John Golden's testimony before the House Committee on Rules. He said that when the strike broke out, "according to the official books of the Industrial Workers of the World, they had 287 members."[564]

During the period of the strike there were many violent demonstrations and numerous acts of violence on the part of deputies, police, and militiamen, as well as on the part of the strikers. Early in the strike, Joseph J. Ettor and Wm. D. Haywood, both I. W. W. officials, came to Lawrence and thereafter figured prominently in the conduct of the strike, preaching "solidarity," "passive resistance," "direct action," and "sabotage" as means to victory. The daily press reports of the strike greatly exaggerated the violence of the strikers and almost uniformly neglected to mention [Pg 287]acts of violence on the other side. In the I. W. W. press the situation was reversed, and the lawlessness of the constituted authorities greatly overdrawn. A writer who is, at any rate, not sympathetic with the I. W. W. describes the strike activities. He says that shortly after five o'clock (a.m., January 29, 1912), when it was still dark, an attack was made upon the street-cars, during which the trolleys were pulled off the feed-wire, the windows smashed with chunks of ice, the motormen and conductors driven off, and the passengers in some cases not allowed to leave the cars, and in others, pulled from the cars and thrown into the streets.[565] And while conferences were still going on, according to the same authority, the leaders of the Industrial Workers of the World

made a determined effort, by violence and intimidation of various sorts to prevent those wishing to resume work from reaching the mills. The endless chain system of picketing was put into force, and women ... who did not work in the mills, along with "strong arm" men, were pressed into service. Women were assaulted by men, and pepper thrown in the eyes of operatives and police officers. Early in the morning powerful men followed, threatened, and seized girls on their way to the mills, twisting their wrists, snatching their luncheons, and terrorizing them generally. During the night strangers visited the homes of the workers and threatened to cut their throats if they persisted in going to work....[566]

On the other hand, there is fairly conclusive evidence that the advent of Ettor and Haywood resulted, if not in the entire elimination of violent tactics, at least in their marked reduction and shifting of emphasis to the tactics of passive [Pg 288]resistance. According to one who was on the spot, the riots occurred

before Ettor's organization was effected, when the strikers gathered about the mills as an organized mob and mill bosses turned streams of water upon them in zero weather. After the "blood-stained anarchists" arrived on the scene, a policy of non-resistance to the aggressions of the police and the militia prevailed.[567]

Howsoever passive the strikers may have been in their attitude to the police and the militia, they were probably quite aggressive in their campaign to win recruits to the ranks of the strikers. A Lawrence mill overseer reports that the I. W. W. strike committee[568] did it in this way:

The addresses of the men working are given to a committee. They are visited after nine o'clock at night by strangers, generally Poles: "Working today?" "Yah." (The man speaking has a sharp knife and is whittling a stick.) "Work tomorrow?" "I d'no." "If you work tomorrow, I cut your throat." "No, no. I no work." "Shake." And they shake hands.[569]

There is strong evidence of at least one attempt on the part of the business and commercial interests of Lawrence to discredit the strikers. In three places in the city a total of twenty-eight sticks of dynamite were found. The strikers declared that it had been "planted." Later a business man of Lawrence, who had no connection with the strikers, [Pg 289]was arrested and finally tried and "convicted of conspiracy to injure by the planting of dynamite." He was fined $500.00![570]

There was great friction between the I. W. W. and the locals of other labor organizations. The Socialists and I. W. W.s accused the American Federation of Labor leaders of trying to break the strike. "All the mechanical crafts," we read in a pro-I. W. W. journal, "including engineers, firemen, electrical workers, machinists and railroaders ... remained at work, scabbing on their fellows with the full sanction ... of their officials."[571] In the face of this antagonism the rank and file of the A. F. of L. membership contributed liberally to the strike fund, giving about $11,000 to the cause of the strikers. Socialist contributions are placed at $40,000 and those of the I. W. W. local unions at $16,000.[572] The Federal investigators report that "these relief funds came from all sections of the country and average $1,000 a day throughout the strike."[573]

The Lawrence strike furnished the opportunity for some parading of the idea of a general strike. William D. Haywood, in his first speech to the strikers after his arrival in Lawrence, said: "If we prevail on other workers who handle your goods to help you out by going on strike, we will tie up the railroads, put the city in darkness and starve the soldiers out."[574] This agitation became more vigorous, however, after the strike itself and during the subsequent trial of the two I. W. W. agitators, Ettor and Giovannitti.

[Pg 290]

They were in jail at Salem, Massachusetts, at the time of the seventh I. W. W. convention in September, 1912, and the General Executive Board, in its report, threatened that unless these "fellow-workers are acquitted the industries of this country will feel the power of the workers expressed in a general tie-up in all industries...."[575]

In addition to the general strike, a boycott was demanded. Under the caption, "Boycott Lawrence," a heavily headlined announcement was printed on the front page of the Industrial Worker.[576] It ran in part:

Boycott Lawrence.... Railroad men: Lose their cars for them! Telegraphers: Lose their messages for them! Expressmen: Lose their packages for them! Boycott Lawrence! Boycott it to the limit!...

Let nothing, cars, messages, packages, mails or anything whatsoever that bears the sign, label or address of an official of the Wool Trust, or of a bank, business house, or prostituted newspaper, which favors them, or of a judge, policeman or cossack, or any one who lends the slightest aid to the mill-owners, go on its way undisturbed!

Boycott Lawrence!

Against the bludgeons of Industrial Despotism bring the silent might of the Industrial Democracy!

Boycott Lawrence!

The result of the strike was a decided victory for the strikers. The Federal government's investigators reported that

some 30,000 textile mill employees in Lawrence secured an increase in wages of from 5 to 20 per cent; increased compensation [Pg 291]for overtime; and the reduction of the premium period from four weeks to two weeks. Also, as an indirect result of the Lawrence strike, material increases in wages were granted to thousands of employees in other textile mills throughout New England.[577]

It is a significant fact that the highest percentages of increases in wages were given to the unskilled employees. The General Executive Board of the I. W. W. reported the range of wage increases as being "from 5 per cent for the highly paid workers to 25 per cent for the lowest paid workers."[578] Moreover, there were other effects, no less important. This strike demonstrated that it was possible for the unskilled and unorganized workers (preponderantly immigrants of various nationalities) to carry on a successful struggle with their employers. It showed what latent power there is in the great masses of semi-skilled and unskilled workers. Moreover, it demonstrated the power of a new type of labor leaders over the ignorant and unskilled immigrant workers. A writer who has little sympathy for revolutionary unionism says concerning Joseph J. Ettor:

This man ... steeped in the literature of revolutionary socialism and anarchism, swayed the undisciplined mob as completely as any general ever controlled the disciplined troops ... [and was able] to organize these thousands of heterogeneous, heretofore unsympathetic and jealous nationalities, into a militant body of class-conscious workers. His followers firmly believed, as they were told, that success meant that they were about to enter a new era of brotherhood, in which there would be no more union of trades and no more departmental distinctions, but all workers would become the real bosses in the mills.[579]

[Pg 292]

The Lawrence Citizens' Association reports that Ettor

avowed himself an advocate of the doctrine of "direct action," of violence, as a believer in the philosophy of force, for he proclaimed time and again ... that "he who has force on his side has the law on his side." He also advocated destroying the machinery of employers who did not grant all the demands of the strikers.[580]

The effect of the strike on the membership of the I. W. W. in Lawrence was to increase it greatly but only temporarily. Just after the strike the organizers claimed 14,000 members in Lawrence. In October, 1913, there were 700.[581] An investigator for the Federal Commission on Industrial Relations reports that they had over 10,000 members immediately after the strike.[582] The I. W. W. itself claimed 20,000 in Lawrence in June, 1912, as well as 28,000 in Lowell, and boasted that "in nearly every town in the New England states there are locals ranging from 800 to 5,000 in membership."[583] The Federal investigator referred to puts the Lawrence membership of the I. W. W. in 1914 at about 400 and says that local I. W. W. officials attribute this low figure to unemployment, but he himself thinks that other factors entered.[584] The wage increase gained was, he said, offset by the increased speed required on the machines.

[Pg 293]

This amounted to 50 per cent. Another factor was the forced scattering of I. W. W. leaders after the strike. He found in 1914 only one of eight local I. W. W. leaders who were there at the time of the strike and reports that the employers established a system of espionage in the mills.[585]

Lawrence made the I. W. W. famous, especially in the East. It stirred the country with the alarming slogans of a new kind of revolution. Socialism was respectable—even reactionary—by comparison. The "Wobblies" frankly abjured the rules under which, as they would express it, the capitalist game is played. They said: "If it serves our interests as members of the working class to obey certain accepted canons of conduct, we will obey them because it would be detrimental to our class to disobey them." Lawrence was not an ordinary strike. It was a social revolution in parvo. St. John is said to have written to Haywood, "a win in the Lawrence mills means the start that will only end with the downfall of the wage system."[586] This was a class war and the I. W. W. insists that the principle of military necessity justifies it in a policy of schrecklichkeit, at least to property, which on the syndicalist hypothesis was stolen anyway, in the beginning. The I. W. W. abjures current ethics and morality as bourgeois, and therefore inimical to the exploited proletarian for whom a new and approved system of proletarian morality is set forth. In this proletarian code the sanctions of conduct are founded on the (material) interests of the proletarian, as such. The criterion is expediency—effectiveness to one particular end, the overthrow of the wage system and the establishment of—something else—the words industrial democracy or coöperative commonwealth are commonly used in reference to that nebulous future state that all radicals see as in a glass, more [Pg 294]or less darkly. This means that staid old New England was confronted with an organization which derided all her fond moralities. The most shocking défi of these I. W. W.s was the défi they hurled at the church. Only less so was the défi they leveled at the flag. The I. W. W. said that the church, obedient to the dictates of big business, preached to the workers a servile obedience now for the sake of a hypothetical heaven of comfort later; "ergo," they said, "the church is unethical and we abjure it for a superior proletarian ethics." It considered that the flag was being made the excuse for a jingo patriotism which made the enlargement and conquest of markets and the further exploitation of labor the end and aim of patriotism. In brief, the church and the flag are made to serve commercialism. Commercialism is evil because unjust. Therefore, its servants are, pro tanto, evil also and rightly to be repudiated.

The conflicting attitudes are well illustrated by two placards carried along Lawrence streets during the strike. The I. W. W. paraded first with, among others, a placard reading:

XX Century civilization.... For the progress of the human race we have jails, gallows, guillotines, ... and electric chairs for the people who pay to keep the "soldiers" to kill them when they revolt against Wood and other czars of capitalism.

Arise!!! Slaves of the World!!! No God! No Master! One for all and all for one!

The citizens (no reference here to the textile operatives) of Lawrence paraded their righteous indignation as follows:

"For God and Country,
The Stars and Stripes forever,
The Red Flag never.
A Protest against the I. W. W.,
Its principles and methods."

[Pg 295]

Perhaps there is no better illustration of the reaction of the great bulk of the progressive citizenship of the country to the I. W. W. strike-drama than the following editorial paragraph published during the strike:

On all sides people are asking: Is this a new thing in the industrial world?... Are we to see another serious, perhaps successful, attempt to organize labor by whole industrial groups instead of by trades? Are we to expect that instead of playing the game respectably, or else frankly breaking out into lawless riot which we know well enough how to deal with, the laborers are to listen to a subtle anarchistic philosophy which challenges the fundamental idea of law and order, inculcating such strange doctrines as those of "direct action," "sabotage," "syndicalism," "the general strike," and "violence"?... We think that our whole current morality as to the sacredness of property and even of life is involved in it.[587]

At the seventh convention held in Chicago in September, 1912, there were present forty-five industrialists; twenty-nine of these being delegates from as many regular local unions; one delegate each represented the two National Industrial Unions which were component parts of the I. W. W., viz., the Textile Workers and the Forest and Lumber Workers; seven were General Executive Board members, and seven "fraternal delegates" from the Brotherhood of Timber Workers. Locals in eight states and in British Columbia were represented.[588] During the time the [Pg 296]convention was in session, Joseph J. Ettor, a member of the General Executive Board, was awaiting trial in the Essex County jail in Salem, Mass. He wrote to the delegates that

all of the past term's progress is mainly due to the policies adopted, particularly by the sixth annual convention, and ... I feel it an urgent duty on my part to advise that as much as conditions will allow, the lines laid down by the last convention be ratified....[589]

The General Executive Board specifically recommended to the convention the use of direct action as a weapon of the working class.

The only effective weapon that the workers have with which to meet this condition [runs the Board's report] is to [sic] render unproductive the machinery of production with which they labor, and have access to. Militant direct action in the industries of the world is the weapon upon which they must rely and which they must learn to use.[590]

With the growing interests of the I. W. W. in the workers in the agricultural and lumber industries came a realization of the need for some kind of a land policy. Delegate Covington Hall presented a petition which was adopted as a resolution by the convention:

Why not ... proclaim today [the resolution asks] what we will be compelled to proclaim tomorrow—a land policy? Why not base this policy on the motto of the Russian peasant, "Whose the sweat, his the land," and couple this with a new I. W. W. motto: "Whose the sweat, theirs the machines"? In other words, proclaim that we will recognize no title to machinery except that which vests its ownership in the users.[591]

[Pg 297]

The most important aspect of this convention was the sentiment which was evidenced by some of the delegates in favor of reducing the power of the national administration—the central office—often referred to in this and following conventions as "Headquarters." This agitation for decentralization was not particularly successful, but the idea was given a hearing. At the following convention a much more extended discussion took place and the subject will be resumed in connection with the discussion of that meeting.[592] At this 1912 meeting the question of decentralization came up in the discussion of a motion to give the General Executive Board jurisdiction over the calling, management and settlement of all free-speech fights. The alleged object of the motion was to restrict the number of such controversies. The "Wobblies" had been even more inclined to overindulge in free-speech fights than in strikes, and some thought this appetite might be kept in better control if it were made more difficult for locals to get support for such struggles from the national office. The motion was lost by an overwhelming majority. The vote expressed a significant reaction from the traditional I. W. W. policy of centralization. That the latter policy was still strong was indicated in the overwhelming defeat of motions to deprive the General Executive Board of its power over the strike activities of the organization.[593] The policy of the convention was centralist on strike and decentralist on free-speech fights. The editor of The Agitator, an anarchist exponent of industrial unionism, believes that this was due to the fact that the I. W. W. had had much experience of "free-speech fighting" and realized the need for local autonomy, whereas it had had limited strike experience and so had "not yet learned the danger of allowing a few men ... to control [Pg 298]its strike activities." The writer imagines that geography was also a factor. The proponents of continued centralization of strike power were the more disciplined eastern members. The defenders of local autonomy in free-speech fights were the western "Wobblies," and the nature of their life and experience bred in them much of the anarchistic spirit of individualism.

The Socialist Labor party and the doctrinaires of Detroit thought that this convention was a very insignificant gathering. One of the DeLeonites described it: "About thirty men acting in the capacity of delegates and about a score of onlookers, leaning with their backs against the walls leisurely smoking their pipes or chewing tobacco.... This constituted the convention...."[594] It is interpreted differently by one who is with the direct-actionists at least in sympathy. He says:

It is a significant proof of the sound base of the I. W. W. philosophy that the tremendous growth of the past year has not brought with it the germ of opportunism. There was no suggestion of a desire on the part of any of the delegates to swerve from the uncompromising and revolutionary attitude of the organization; nor was there any reaching out for "respectability." Every man was a "Red," most of them with jail records, too.... All striving ... to hasten the day when "the whistle will blow for the Boss to go to work."[595]

[Pg 299]


[557] Cf. appendix vii.

[558] Supra, p. 261 et seq.

[559] An "I. W. W. strike" may or may not be managed by the I. W. W. Also, it may be managed by I. W. W. leaders, but include no appreciable proportion of "Wobblies" among the strikers. The writer has endeavored to exclude here all strikes in which the I. W. W. did not in some way actively participate. Cf. appendix viii.

[560] Report on Strike of Textile Workers in Lawrence, Mass., 62nd Congress, 2nd Session, Senate Document No. 870, p. 9.

[561] Compiled from data in St. John, I. W. W. History, Structure, Methods (1917 ed.), pp. 20-23.

[562] National Industrial Union of Forest & Lumber Workers.

[563] Op. cit., p. 11.

[564] Hearings on the Lawrence Strike (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1912), p. 75.

[565] McPherson, The Lawrence Strike of 1912 (Reprint from Sept., 1912, Bulletin of the National Association of Wool Manufacturers), p. 25.

[566] Ibid., pp. 43-44.

[567] Mary K. O'Sullivan, "The Labor War at Lawrence," Survey, vol. xxviii, p. 73 (April 6, 1912).

[568] The chairman of the committee belonged to the I. W. W. but its personnel included those with other affiliations. (The Strike of Textile Workers in Lawrence, Mass. [Federal report], p. 66.)

[569] "Statements by people who took part." Survey, April 6, 1912, vol. xxviii, no. 1, p. 76.

[570] Federal report, op. cit., p. 39.

[571] L. H. Marcy and F. S. Boyd, "One Big Union Wins," International Socialist Review, vol. xii, p. 624, Apr., 1912.

[572] Ibid., pp. 618-619.

[573] Federal report. op. cit., p. 66.

[574] Mary E. Marcy, "The Battle for Bread at Lawrence," International Socialist Review, vol. xii, p. 538, March, 1912.

[575] On the Firing Line, p. 20. This is a pamphlet containing extracts from the report of the General Executive Board to the Seventh Convention. The report is published in full in The Industrial Worker (Oct. 24, 1912).

[576] March 21, 1912.

[577] Federal report, op. cit., p. 15.

[578] Ibid.

[579] McPherson, op. cit., pp. 9-10. For a different view see W. E. Weyl, "The Strikers at Lawrence," Outlook, Feb. 10, 1912, p. 311. Weyl thinks that "the workers' real attitude is that of the ordinary trade-unionist."

[580] "Lawrence as it really is—not as syndicalists, anarchists, socialists, suffragists, pseudo-philanthropists, and muck-raking yellow journalists have painted it." Congressional Record, vol. xlviii, no. 82, 62nd Congress, 2nd Session, March 18, 1912, p. 3544.

[581] R. F. Hoxie, "The Truth About the I. W. W.," Journal of Political Economy, vol. xxi, p. 786 (Nov., 1913).

[582] Selig Perlman, "The Relations between Capital and Labor in the Textile Industry in New England." Report to the Commission, typewritten MS., p. 12.

[583] Industrial Worker, July 4, 1912, p. 1, col. 4.

[584] Perlman. op. cit., p. 17.

[585] Perlman, op. cit., pp. 12-16.

[586] McPherson, op. cit., p. 15.

[587] Editorial, "After the Battle," Survey, vol. xxviii, no. 1, April 6, 1912, pp. 1-2.

[588] Report of the Seventh Convention, pp. 2-3. Wm. E. Trautmann, who had gone over to the Socialist Labor party faction, charged that "two-thirds of the voting power of the whole convention" was lodged in the hands of two delegates, one of whom was a paid officer. ("Open letter to Wm. D. Haywood," Weekly People, May 31, 1913. p. 2.)

[589] Letter dated September 14, 1912, Report of the Seventh Convention, pp. 26-27.

[590] Industrial Worker, Oct. 24, 1912, p. 4, col. 3.

[591] Report of the Seventh Annual Convention, pp. 9, 24.

[592] Vide infra, p. 305 et seq.

[593] "The I. W. W. Convention," The Agitator, Oct. 15, 1912.

[594] Arthur Zavels, "The Bummery 'Congress'", Weekly People, Oct. 12, 1912, p. 1.

[595] J. P. Cannon, "Seventh I. W. W. Convention," International Socialist Review, vol. xiii, p. 424, col. 2 (Nov., 1912).

Dual Unionism and Decentralization

In 1913 the visit of Tom Mann, the well-known English labor leader and advocate of revolutionary unionism, revived the discussion of "dual unionism" and the respective merits of what the French Syndicalists called la pénétration and la pression extérieure,[596] or what the American "Wobbly" calls "boring from within" and "hammering from without," respectively. Even before his visit a growing minority had been feebly protesting against the accepted I. W. W. policy of creating a new organization without regard to existing labor (or craft) unions in the locality instead of allowing the unorganized—and especially the radicals—to enter the old unions (of the A. F. of L.) and "bore from within" their conservative shells to let in the light of revolutionary industrial unionism. This renewed interest was largely due to the exchange of ideas with European radicals at international congresses. The policy in Europe and in England has been precisely "the boring from within" policy, and European unions—especially the Confédération Générale du Travail of France—has prospered by it both in numbers and influence. In 1911, William Z. Foster, a member of the I. W. W., visited Europe and made a careful examination of the labor organizations there. He returned fully convinced that the I. W. W. should change its policy on "dual unionism" and begin to "bore from within" the American Federation of Labor.

[Pg 300]

In connection with the proposal of his name for the office of editor of the Industrial Worker he sent a letter on the subject to that paper. He makes such a cogent exposition of the case against dual unionism that the greater part of it is here given:

The question, "Why don't the I. W. W. grow?" is being asked on every hand, as well within our ranks as without. And justly, too, as only the blindest enthusiast is satisfied at the progress, or rather lack of progress, of the organization to date. In spite of truly heroic efforts on the part of our organizers and members in general ... the I. W. W. remains small in membership and weak in influence. It is indeed time to examine the situation and discover what is wrong.

The founders of the I. W. W. at its inception gave the organization the working theory that in order to create a revolutionary labor movement, it was necessary to build a new organization separate and apart from the existing craft unions which were considered incapable of development. This theory and its consequent tactics has persisted in the organization, and we later comers have inherited them and, without any serious investigation, accepted the theory as an infallible dogma. Parrot-like and unthinking, we glibly re-echo the sentiment that "craft unions cannot become revolutionary unions," and usually consider the question undebatable. Convincing arguments in favor of the theory I have never seen nor heard—I used to accept it without question like the vast majority of the I. W. W. membership does now, and in practice it has achieved the negative results shown by the I. W. W. today with its membership of but a few thousands. The theory's strength is due to its being the one originally adopted by the founders of the I. W. W., and to me this is but a poor recommendation, as these same founders, in addition to giving us a constitution manifestly inadequate to our needs and the changing and ignoring of which occupies a large share of our time, made the monumental mistake of trying to harmonize all the various conflicting elements among them into one "Happy[Pg 301] Family" revolutionary organization—a blunder which cost the I. W. W. three years of internal strife to rectify and one that gives these founders—who have mostly quit the organization, anything but an infallible reputation. And if we look about us a little, at the labor movements of other countries in addition to considering our own experiences, we will be more inclined to question this theory that we have so long accepted as the natural one for the revolutionary labor movement. It has been applied in other countries and with similar results as here.

The German syndicalist movement, with a practically stationary membership of about 15,000, is a pigmy compared to the giant and rapidly growing socialist unions with their 2,300,000 members. The English I. W. W. is ridiculously small and weak; the German syndicalist organization, the English I. W. W. and the American I. W. W., using the same dual organization tactics in the three greatest capitalist countries, are all afflicted with a common stagnation and lack of influence in the labor movement. On the other hand, in those countries where the syndicalists use the despised "boring from within" tactics, their revolutionary movements are vigorous and powerful. France offers the most conspicuous example. There the C. G. T. militants, inspired by the tactics of the anarchists who years ago, discontented at their lack of success as an independent movement, literally made a raid on the labor movement, captured it and revolutionized it, and in so doing developed the new working-class theory of syndicalism, have for one of their cardinal principles to introduce [sic] competition in the labor movement by creating dual organizations. By propagating their doctrines in the old unions and forcing them to become revolutionary, they have made their labor movement the most feared one in the world. In Spain and Italy, where the rebels are more and more copying French tactics, the syndicalist movements are growing rapidly in power and influence. But it is in England where we have the most striking example of the comparative effectiveness of the two varieties of tactics. For several years the English I. W. W. with its dual-organization theory carried on a practically bar[Pg 302]ren agitation. About a year ago, Tom Mann, Guy Bowman and a few other revolutionists, using the French "boring from within" tactics, commenced in the face of a strong I. W. W. opposition to work on the old trades unions, which Debs had called impossible. Some of the fruits of their labors were seen in the recent series of great strikes in England. The great influence of these syndicalists in causing and giving the revolutionary character to these strikes which sent chills along the spine of international capitalism, is acknowledged by innumerable capitalist and revolutionary journals alike.

Is not this striking success of "boring from within" after continued failure of "building from without" tactics, which is but typical of the respective results being achieved everywhere by these tactics, worthy of the most serious consideration on the part of the I. W. W.? Is it not time that we get up off our knees before this time-honored dual organization dogma and give it a thorough examination? And I'll promise—or threaten—that if I am elected editor the matter will get as thorough an investigation as lays in my power.... At Berlin a few months ago Jouhaux, secretary of the C. G. T. [Confédération Générale du Travail], in a large public meeting advised them to give up their attempt to create a new movement and to get into the conservative unions where they could make their influence felt. At Budapest he extended the same advice to the I. W. W. via myself, and I am frank to state that I am convinced that it would be strictly good tactics for both movements to adopt it. I am satisfied from my observations that the only way for the I. W. W. to have the workers adopt and practice the principles of revolutionary unionism ... is to give up its attempt to create a new labor movement, turn itself into a propaganda league, get into the organized labor movement and by building up better fighting machines within the old unions than those possessed by our reactionary enemies, revolutionize those unions even as our French syndicalist fellow-workers have so successfully done with theirs.[597]

[Pg 303]

Upon the arrival of Mr. Mann, Mr. Foster again took up the cudgels for the opponents of dual unionism.

Among many of the syndicalists [he said] the sentiment is strong, and growing ceaselessly, that the tactics followed by the I. W. W. are bad, and that endeavors should be made inside the A. F. of L.; that it is in the existing unions that the syndicalists must struggle without ceasing....[598]

Mr. Mann agreed with him. In a speech published in the International Socialist Review[599] he expressed his belief that "if the fine energy exhibited by the I. W. W. were put into the A. F. or L. or into the existing trade-union movement ... the results would be fifty-fold greater than they now are." He went on to "urge the advisability, not of dropping the I. W. W., but certainly of dropping all dual organizations and serving as a feeder and purifier of the big movement." William D. Haywood replied that "it might as well be said that if the fine energy exhibited by the I. W. W. were put into the Catholic church, that the results would be the establishment of the control of industry."[600] He went on to show that it is well-nigh impossible for the unskilled man to get into the A. F. of L., even when he does desire to do so, because of what Haywood characterizes as "a vicious system of apprenticeship, exorbitant fees," etc.[601] Mr. Haywood's fellow-worker, Joseph J. Ettor, joined him in his attack on Tom Mann's position:

The theory that what is needed to save the Federation is the energetic and vigorous men who are now in the I. W. W. is on a par with the "socialist" advice of [sic] how to save the [Pg 304]nation; but we don't want to save the Federation any more than to save the nation. We aim at destroying it. The Socialists advised us to roll up our sleeves and become active politically within capitalism—"We must capture the government for the workers," etc. We tried, but the more we fooled with the beast the more it captured us. Our best men went to "bore from within" capitalist parliaments, and city councils, only to be disgusted, thrown out, or fall victims of the game and environment in which they found themselves.... We learned at an awful cost particularly this: That the most unscrupulous labor fakers now betraying the workers were once our "industrialist," "anarchist" and "socialist" comrades, who grew weary of the slow progress we were making on the outside, went over, and were not only lost, but ... became the greatest supporters of the old and [the] most serious enemies of the new.[602]

Mr Mann's attitude was not appreciably changed during his trip through the United States. His reaction to the situation so far as the principle of "dual unionism" is concerned is explained in an article contributed to a French journal. He wrote:

As the situation appears to me after many deep conversations and discussions with working men of all conditions, I say very emphatically that the I. W. W. should work in harmony with the American Federation of Labor. There is not the least necessity for having two organizations. The field of action is wide enough for all to be able to coöperate in the economic struggle....

The greatest danger to which it [the A. F. of L.] is subject at present is the firm hold the politicians have on it. Their influence grows in the unions as well as in the Federation, and that because the energetic, militant, enthusiastic men (les hommes énergiques et ardents) who comprise the I. W. W. refuse to work on the inside of the unions, so that they leave a [Pg 305]free field to the politicians, to whom the task becomes relatively easy.... We know what comes to pass when politicians get control of the unions and direct them.[603]

In reporting the eighth convention of the "Bummery" I. W. W., the Weekly People[604] declared that the St. John crowd was in control and that a wooden shoe was made use of in calling the convention in order and attempting to maintain it in order. This meeting continued in session from the 15th to the 29th of September, 1913. There were present thirty-nine delegates and the seven members of the Executive Board. Three national industrial unions were represented: the Textile Workers by two delegates having thirty-one votes; the Forest and Lumber Workers (formerly the Brotherhood of Timber Workers) by one delegate with thirteen votes; and the Marine Transport Workers by one delegate with forty-two votes. The other thirty-five delegates represented eighty-five local unions with one hundred and ninety-two votes.[605]

Attention has been called to the rather tepid discussion of the problem of centralization at the 1912 convention.[606] During the intervening year this question had called forth [Pg 306]such bitter factional animosity in the organization that we find it in 1913 divided into two hostile camps and threatened again with disruption. The issue is significantly comparable to the "states' rights" controversy in our political history. The I. W. W. administration and its supporters were, very naturally, "centralists." They favored a strong federal government for the I. W. W. and attacked the "decentralizers'" program for the emasculation of the general administration and the establishment of a loose confederation of sovereign local unions—the states' rights program in industry. The states' rights doctrine failed of acceptance in the I. W. W. as it has failed in American politics. Nevertheless, the decentralization crisis in the I. W. W. deserves more than passing notice. In the first place, the doctrine was not annihilated in 1913; it was merely smothered. The I. W. W. may yet be "unscrambled." In the second place, this issue is perhaps the most fundamental one ever given wide discussion by the I. W. W. membership. It involves directly the whole question of the structure of the organization, the proper distribution of functions and authority among the several parts of the organization and, indirectly, questions of efficiency in carrying on propaganda and organizing work and of the relative merits of authoritarian (state) socialism and so-called "voluntary socialism." As the two groups lined up at Chicago in 1913, we may say that the controversy between the administration's supporters and the defenders of the local unions was, on the whole, a struggle between the western membership, individualistic and tainted with anarchism, and the eastern membership, more schooled to subordination—infected with state socialism.

The attack of the decentralizers took the form of specific resolutions for the abolition of various features of the general administration and the restriction of the powers of[Pg 307] the Executive Board and general officers. The abolition of the office of president in 1906 was in part an expression of this revolt against centralized authority. But now, with the presidency eliminated, with very little organization at the best, with a degree of central power and authority which the United Mine Workers of America would consider mild indeed, and with a constantly shifting membership of less than 15,000, we find that there is actually a little group of western locals which assumes that there is already a dangerous centralization of power and authority at "Headquarters." Some five hundred resolutions were introduced at the convention and a large number of these were assorted decentralist proposals for giving the local union relatively greater power—demands, in other words, for readjustments which were expected to result in increased "local autonomy." This local autonomy was to be secured for the benefit of the "rank and file," i. e., the individual members, and particularly for the "rank and file" membership of the "mixed" locals so predominant in the western part of the country. From the standpoint of the mixed local, "the disease within the I. W. W. is ... the gigantic machine formation attempted to be [sic] foisted upon it by the authoritarian socialists who presided at its birth...." "Decentralization deals essentially," we are told, "with the right of the locals to control themselves and through their combined wills to run the general organization."[607] Following up the attack, the knights of the rank and file proposed to abolish, inter alia, the General Executive Board, the office of the General Organizer, and the national convention![608] One wonders that the Constitution [Pg 308]itself was not put bodily on the index! Indeed, a year later, a leader in the movement in California did write an article to show that the I. W. W. Preamble is syndicalistic, and the Constitution state-socialistic, therefore that the latter should be abolished.[609] For two weeks the delegates wrangled over propositions of this kind and the general subject of decentralization. Two and a half days were devoted to the proposal to abolish the General Executive Board. This action was desired by locals in southern California and other parts of the West, as well, as by a few of the eastern locals.[610] Concerning their demands, a supporter of the administration said:

They [the decentralizers] claim they will never submit to the rule of a minority of four or five men.... They do not want to submit to the rule of the G. E. B. composed of four or five, but they will submit to the authority of the General Secretary and the General Organizer whom they want to function in the place of the G. E. B. The authority of the minority of five or seven men is something terrible, but the authority and rule of the minority of two is not so terrible.[611]

The locals of Calgary [Canada], Portland, Oregon, Seattle and Spokane, Washington, and Phoenix, Arizona, presented a resolution asking that "the function of the headquarters [i. e., the general administration] be reduced to a mere correspondence agency." No action was taken.[612] "We ... are working ... to overthrow this [wages] system," said [Pg 309]a decentralist fellow-worker, "and we claim ... that the rank and file of the proletariat will have to do this themselves." The General Executive Board members, according to this delegate, "place themselves in exactly the same position over these people [the workers] and put themselves in the same [position of] unique power over them as the capitalist class."[613] Said another: "The minority in this organization is ... ruling ... today, namely, the G. E. B. I am certainly in favor of abolishing the G. E. B. I don't see any use for it. I don't see what they can do for the rank and file."[614] According to the majority report of the constitution committee (which was lost) all authority was, in the absence of the G. E. B., to be vested in the General Secretary-Treasurer and the General Organizer, both responsible to the rank and file.[615] In line with the foregoing was a resolution providing for a reduction in the per-capita tax of "mixed" locals from fifteen to five cents per month. The proponents of this resolution insisted that the "mixed" locals bore more than their share of the financial burden—that they practically supported the national organization.[616] The proposition was given extended debate and finally killed. Naturally it was opposed by the General Executive Board.[617]

This attack on the already weak central authority took the form of an attempt, first, to abolish the G. E. B.; second, to cut down the financial support of the general office; third, to abolish the convention and substitute for it the initiative and referendum; fourth, to place agitators under the direct control of the rank and file; and fifth, to make [Pg 310]the general officers mere clerical assistants. The only real success achieved by the decentralizers in these efforts in 1913 was the introduction into the I. W. W. constitution of a provision for the initiative and referendum.[618] The introduction of the referendum feature is another illustration of the unconscious tendency to follow the lines of our political development. Note, too, that the I. W. W. referendum advocates hailed from those very states which have recently attracted attention by introducing this feature into their political structure. The I. W. W. is now much more decentralized than it was in 1905 or even 1913, and it appears to be drifting toward further changes in that direction. So far, the movement away from what little centralized power it could boast may be seen in two phases: (1) The abolition of the presidency; (2) the placing of the General Executive Board under the control of a general referendum which can be initiated at any time and upon any subject by request of not less than ten locals in not less than three different industries.

In discussing the proposed abolition of the convention, Delegate B. E. Nilsson asserted that only at the second and fourth conventions had anything worth while been done, and that in both these cases all that had been accomplished had been done against the constitution, and concluded with the statement that "this [eighth convention] has cost us over $3,000 and it isn't worth three cents."[619] Delegate Elizabeth Gurley Flynn advocated the abolition of the convention. She said that it was not genuinely representative, inasmuch as all the locals could not afford to send delegates.[620] The proposal was finally defeated. In general, the decentralizers—anarchistic advocates of the doctrine of [Pg 311]the militant minority—found themselves decidedly in the minority, and so far unsuccessful. "Fully a hundred of the resolutions," says one prominent anarchist who attended the convention, "were progressive, favored decentralization, and were fathered, mothered, and nursed by half a dozen militants. But every radical resolution," he thought, "was either lost, laid on the table, or amended so that it was useless. The motion for decentralization was lost by three to one, as was the motion to do away with the G. E. B."[621] Another opponent of centralized authority explained how "for two long and tedious weeks they [the decentralizers] presented their ideas ... and the centralists slaughtered them by the brute force of voting power...." "The decentralizers held," lie said, "that a revolutionary movement does not depend [so much] upon votes as it does upon the recognition ... of the fact that all minorities are to have an equal voice ... with the majorities ... [because] the minority is always more militant than the majority."[622] In the same issue which carried this statement, the Voice of the People said editorially:

[The decentralization struggle in the I. W. W. is] a war between the advocates of "I am going to save myself" and those of "let me save you."... Centralization in labor unions is nothing less than government by representation, or political action. The advocates of centralization in the I. W. W. are socialists, in fact, if not in profession.... Only when they repudiate labor-union governmentalism will they become real direct-actionists.[623]

The "decentralist agitation" first assumed definite form [Pg 312]at a conference of the Pacific Coast locals of the I. W. W. held at Portland, Oregon, in February, 1911. At this conference the eight-hours movement, plans for the establishment of agitation circuits for organizers, and—this most of all—the evils of centralized authority were discussed.[624] At this conference was established the Pacific Coast District Organization, known among the I. W. W.s as the "P. C. D. O." This organization was an interesting compromise between the idea of absolutely self-governing locals on the one side and servile locals completely controlled by a bureaucratic national machine on the other. It undertook to exercise some of the sovereign functions of "Headquarters." According to a member of the General Executive Board,

this P. C. D. O. was to have its own due stamp books, headquarters, General Secretary, General Executive Board, and paper—this paper was the [Industrial] Worker. But the P. C. D. O. made no success ... because of not having a strong enough ground to build upon in order to interest the western membership.[625]

It was believed in some quarters—especially at "Headquarters"—that the real purpose of the Western Slope constituency which organized the P. C. D. O. was to disrupt the I. W. W., or to effect a secession from the national body. Some months after the Conference above referred to an editorial appeared in Solidarity—the administration, organ. It declared that their purpose

was to disrupt the I. W. W. and form an independent organization in the West. The Conference itself proposed that the G. E. B. reduce the per capita [tax] to the P. C. D. O. to five cents and allow the locals in that district organization to buy [Pg 313]their stamps directly from the district headquarters.... The final conclusion of the sixth convention was that such an organization as the P. C. D. O., for purposes of closer unity, localized activity and propaganda, was fully justified and should be supported, but efforts to divide or disrupt the organization as a whole would be fought to the bitter end.[626]

The administration saw in the P. C. D. O. a very subversive imperium in imperio, and when the eighth convention met, the G. E. B. issued the following statement concerning the western promoters of the P. C. D. O. idea:

Decentralization is what they want. To gain this point of control in the movement, they begin with the officials by saying they have too much power, and to break up the machine we must divide up in various parts, do away with the General Executive Board and the General Office. The first move ... was ... when the scheme of a Pacific Coast District Organization was launched under the mask of perfecting more organization [sic] in the I. W. W. At the [P. C. D. O.] convention held in Portland, Ore., they were to establish a western headquarters, ... get control of the western organ, The Industrial Worker, elect their own General Executive Board, and get out their own due-books and stamps, etc. This idea ... is now prevailing in various sections throughout the organization. The P. C. D. O. scheme ... failed because of [lack of] support [and] died with its first convention because of the fact that it smacked of disruption and decentralization....[627]

In the I. W. W., as in all voluntary organizations covering areas of continental magnitude, doctrines are allocated territorially. There are many points of contrast between [Pg 314]the eastern and the western constituencies of the Industrial Workers of the World. At present we are only concerned with the eastern and western attitudes toward the idea of decentralization. The western environment drives the petit bourgeoisie to demand political home rule or local autonomy in legislative government. The result is the recent remarkable spread of the initiative, referendum and recall in the three Pacific Coast states. In these same three states we find the chief strongholds of industrial autonomy. The life of the western proletarian imbues him with the more individualistic kind of rebellion which expresses itself in the more or less coherent demand for an industrial state made up of self-governing local groups of workers. The results have been the partially successful drive from the West for the referendum idea in union government, the chronic decentralist mutterings which have constantly emanated from the West, the open but unsuccessful decentralist attack at the eighth convention and—the P. C. D. O. In the long run the decentralist pressure has had its effect and the organization, as already intimated, is now less centralized than it was a decade ago. The writer realizes that the analogy between western political pioneering and labor-union or industrialist pioneering in that section must not be pushed too far. For example, the ultimate result of I. W. W. decentralization is anarchist communism, which is quite different from the kind of political society resulting from the home-rule and referendum statutes enacted by a middle-class electorate.

The I. W. W. leaders were not unaware of the effect of the geographical environment. B. H. Williams, the editor of Solidarity puts it in this way:

We see in the West, individualism in practice, combined with a theory of collective action that scoffs at individual or group initiative by general officers and executive boards and con[Pg 315]ceives the possibility of "direct action" in all things through the "rank and file." Hence the proposal ... for minimizing the power of the general administration.

He explains that the eastern delegates come from a different environment. Industry in the East is highly developed and centralized. They don't think of Pennsylvania in a geographical sense.

Without the individualistic spirit himself, the eastern worker nevertheless recognizes the value of individual initiative in promoting mass action and in executing the mandates ... of the organization. The problem before the sixth convention was to preserve the balance between these two sets of ideas. In that the convention succeeded admirably.[628]

Another industrialist thinks that "the western part of the country, being very little developed industrially, has a tendency to develop individualism in the minds of the workers.... On the other hand, the workers in the large industrial centers develop a strong collectivism which expresses itself in mass action," and which requires a "close[ly] centralized organization."[629]

The western local union is usually a "mixed" union, and it is therefore not directly connected with any "shop" or industry. It is more nearly a propaganda club. It usually has a hall of some kind for meetings, and in many cases this hall is open all the time. Sometimes there is a "jungle kitchen" attached and meals can be served to itinerant Fellow Workers who are passing through. This means that there is naturally more hall-room conversation and less [Pg 316]solid "shop talk" in the western local than there is in the strictly industrial shop organization of the East. Many members felt that too much time was wasted in talking politics and religion. At the eighth convention there was some criticism of the loquaciousness of the western "wobbly" and of his personal appearance as well.

To-day you have got to have a man go up and address the public that looks like a human being [said Delegate Olson]. [See what] you have got in the western country by their ragged agitators; you have got nothing but disappointment, and then you holler at the General Secretary.... If the rank and file were educated well enough to make use of the organization instead of arousing animosity they would do away with this spittoon philosophy.[630]

Frank Bohn, in describing the methods by which this group of so-called "spittoon philosophers" in the mixed locals is said to have attempted to disrupt the I. W. W., asks, "Is this chair-warming sect now the leading element in the I. W. W.? Is it in a majority? If it is, the I. W. W. is not dying. It is dead."[631]

Whatever may be the merits or demerits of philosophic anarchism, it is unquestionable that the anarchist—the naïve anarchist, at any rate—is an unmitigated nuisance. Perhaps the General Executive Board had something of this sort in mind when they said that "word pictures of the ideal will not serve to satisfy the cry for bread for any great length of time regardless of how beautifully they may be portrayed ...," and reminded the delegates that "responsibilities, financial, moral and physical, must be met and not shirked."[632] The Board was more specific farther on in its report:

[Pg 317]

There is an element in the I. W. W. [it declares] whose sole purpose seems to be to disrupt the organization. We refer to the syndicalists or decentralizers, as they are all the same, in their attempt to disrupt the I. W. W.... While we do not believe in a highly centralized organization, neither is the I. W. W. such. In fact, it is the most decentralized movement in the world today. It does not interfere with the action of the locals as long as they abide by the fundamental principles of the organization.... We find a situation in the West that if carried on means a complete disruption of the only industrial organization in the world. In time of strike they sit around the hall talking of what ought to be done or devising ways and means to do away with General Headquarters.... They will talk of sabotage and direct action but leave it to the boss to use it on the few who take up the fight. If these conditions continue, the I. W. W. will die of dry rot.[633]

Delegate Foss, in a despondent moment, remarked that there was "a general tendency to prevent organization of any kind in this [I. W. W.] movement."[634] At another time he remarked: "The western portion of this organization does not need any decentralization. Decentralization has got hold of it now and that is the very reason why this organization has no job control in the West...."[635]

In 1912 the G. E. B. had assured the membership that they were "not unmindful of the danger that will ever live in centralized power," but they asserted that "it does not follow that to centralize the administrative machinery of your organization necessarily means a centralized power," and that "the only means by which centralization of power can be avoided is by correct education and a thoroughly intelligent membership...."[636]

[Pg 318]

A writer who favored the decentralists says that their defeat was due very largely to their "crudity and inexperience." "Possessed of a red-hot issue, they failed," he said, "to make good with it" partly "because of their unfamiliarity with the principles of decentralization."[637] Alexander Berkman, one of the most prominent anarchists in the United States, regretted the victory of what he might have called the "entrenched oligarchy" at Chicago.

The question of local autonomy [he says], in itself such an axiomatic necessity of a truly revolutionary movement, has been so obscured in the debates of the convention that apparently sight was lost of the fact that no organization of independent and self-reliant workers is thinkable without complete local autonomy. It does not speak well either for the intelligence or spirit of the convention delegates that the efforts of the decentralists were defeated. The convention has given a very serious blow to the ... spirit of the social revolution by [passing] the resolution that the publications of the I. W. W. should come under the supervision of the General Executive Board. That is centralization with a vengeance.... We consider the convention ... a sad failure [and] ... we sincerely hope that the real militants and revolutionists of the I. W. W. will take the lesson to heart and exert all their energies to stem the tide of conservatism and faint-heartedness in the I. W. W. organization.[638]

In a very interesting article Ben Reitman, another anarchist, has set down his more personal impressions of this eighth I. W. W. convention. After assuring us that 98 per cent of the "extremely interesting crowd" of delegates had in all probability been in prison, but that none of them were criminals, he continues:

[Pg 319]

As I sat in the hot, stuffy, smoky room of the convention hall day after day and heard the discussions, and saw how little regard the delegates had for grammar and the truth, and realized that most of the delegates knew as much about the real labor movement as they did about psychology, and that they cared little about the broad principles of freedom, ... I marvelled at the big things the I. W. W. have done during their short career; ... and I said to myself,—"God! Is it possible that this bunch of pork-chop philosophers, agitators who have no real, great organizing ability or creative brain power, are able to frighten the capitalistic class more than any other labor movement organized in America? Is it true that this body of politicians were able to send 5,000 men to jail in the various free-speech fights?... Are these the men who put a song in the mouth and a sense of solidarity in the heart of the hobo? Are the activities of these men forcing the A. F. of L. and the sociologists to recognize the power and necessity of Industrial Unionism?" And as I looked at the delegates and recounted their various activities, I felt that each one could say, "Yes, I'm the guy." And then I wondered how they did it.[639]

The I. W. W. was by this time developing some slight capacity for introspection. A few of the leaders at any rate clearly understood some of the weaknesses of the organization. The editor of the official organ makes the frank admission that "at present we are to the labor movement what the high diver is to the circus—a sensation marvelous and nerve-thrilling. We attract the crowds ... [but] as far as making industrial unionism fit the every-day life of the worker, we have failed miserably."[640]

[Pg 320]


[596] E. Pouget, La confédération générale du travail (2nd ed.), p. 47.

[597] "As to my candidacy," Industrial Worker (II), Nov. 2, 1911.

[598] The Syndicalist (London), March, 1913.

[599] Vol. xiv, p. 394 (Jan., 1914).

[600] "An appeal for industrial solidarity." International Socialist Review, March, 1914, vol. xiv, p. 546.

[601] Ibid.

[602] "I. W. W. versus A. F. of L." The New Review, May, 1914. p. 283.

[603] "Impressions d'Amérique," La Vie Ouvrière (Paris), vol. v, pp. 722-723. "Je dis que c'est grand dommage et que cela peut préparer un désastre, que l'admirable ardeur combattive des industrialists actuellement groupés dans le I. W. W. ne s'exerce pas à l'intérieur de la Fédération Américaine du Travail." Ibid., p. 723. Cf. his pamphlet, Prepare for Action, p. 14. For an excellent discussion of dual unionism, see William English Walling, Labor Union Socialism and Socialist Labor Unionism (Chicago, C. H. Kerr Co., 1912), chap. xviii, "The Question of the Moment—Dual Organization" (pp. 90-96).

[604] October 4, 1913. Editorial.

[605] Proceedings of the Eighth Convention of the I. W. W., September, 1913, p. 2. The distribution of voting power among the delegates depends, as explained in chapter ii, upon the membership of the locals represented. Cf. article iv, section 7, of the I. W. W. Constitution (1914 ed., pp. 14-16).

[606] Supra, p. 297.

[607] Covington Hall in The Voice of the People, Oct. 9, 1913, p. 2, col. 3.

[608] Proceedings, p. 43. All of these resolutions were proposed by a delegate from Phoenix, Arizona. In connection with the resolutions it was "moved and seconded that a committee on style be called for, whose duties shall be to strike from the constitution all references to the powers of the General Executive Board, General Organizer, and General Secretary." Ibid.

[609] Caroline Nelson, "Economic socialism or State capitalist socialism, Which?" The Voice of the People, July 30, 1914, p. 4, col. 3.

[610] Proceedings, 8th I. W. W. convention, p. 81.

[611] Delegate Schrager, ibid., p. 71, col. 1.

[612] Ibid., p. 84, col. 1.

[613] Delegate Van Fleet, op. cit., p. 69.

[614] Ibid., p. 69 (Fellow-worker McEvoy).

[615] Ibid., p. 71.

[616] Ibid., p. 112.

[617] Ibid., p. 33. An unsuccessful effort had been made at the third convention in 1907 to abolish the initiation fee.

[618] Preamble and Constitution (1914), article vii.

[619] Proceedings, p. 117, col. 1.

[620] Ibid., p. 118, col. 1.

[621] Ben Reitman, "Impressions of the Chicago Convention." Mother Earth, October, 1913, vol. viii, p. 240.

[622] G. G. Soltes, "Convention Notes," Voice of the People, Oct. 23, 1913, p. 2, col. 3. The italics are not in the original.

[623] "The question of decentralization," p. 2.

[624] Report of Committee. Solidarity, Feb. 18, 1911, p. 2, col. 4.

[625] J. M. Foss in his report to the eighth convention, Proceedings, p. 37.

[626] Solidarity, Oct. 21, 1911, p. 2, col. 3.

[627] Report to the eighth convention, Proceedings, p. 36. Some of the delegates at this convention appeared to think that the P. C. D. O. "scheme" was instigated indirectly by the capitalists. Delegate Foss said: "... it is much cheaper for the masters to work within our organization rather than to fight us openly." Ibid., p. 38, col. 1.

[628] "The sixth I. W. W. convention," International Socialist Review, vol. xii, pp. 301-2, Nov., 1911.

[629] Ewald Koeltgen, "I. W. W. Convention" (8th, 1913), International Socialist Review, vol. xiv, p. 275, Nov., 1913. Professor Hoxie took the same general view that decentralization was the slogan of the western membership. "The Truth about the I. W. W.," Journal of Political Economy, Nov., 1913. vol. xxi, p. 788.

[630] Proceedings, Eighth Convention, p. 52.

[631] International Socialist Review, vol. xii, p. 44, July, 1911.

[632] Report of the Eighth Convention, Proceedings, p. 37, col. 1, 2.

[633] Report of the Eighth Convention, Proceedings, pp. 103-4.

[634] Ibid., p. 70.

[635] Ibid., p. 56, col. 2.

[636] Report to the Seventh Convention, Industrial Worker, Oct. 24, 1912, p. 6, col. 1.

[637] Onlooker, "The Question of Decentralization," Voice of the People, Oct. 9, 1913, p. 4, col. 2.

[638] Alexander Berkman, "The I. W. W. Convention," Mother Earth, Oct., 1913, vol. viii, pp. 233, 234.

[639] Ben Reitman, "Impressions of the Chicago Convention," Mother Earth, October, 1913, vol. viii, pp. 241-242.

[640] Editorial, "Sensationalism vs. Organizing Ability," Solidarity, Aug. 23, 1913.

Recent Tendencies

The mutual hostility between the Western Federation of Miners and the I. W. W. has not lessened since 1907. This antagonism has been most acute in Arizona, Nevada and Montana mining camps. In the Arizona-Montana territory the feeling on the side of the Federation is indicated by the following extract from a letter written to the twenty-first convention of that organization by a member in Jerome, Ariz.

We are very sorry [he writes] that we are unable to send a delegate to Denver, but we have the fight of our life here with an I. W. W. bunch. They are coming here from all over; already they have got in some dirty work by getting some of our members to quit the W. F. M., ... there seems to be a concerted movement on the part of the I. W. W. to get in where the W. F. M. are doing good work and disrupt the union.[641]

It is not unnatural that there should be increasing friction between the two organizations, inasmuch as the Western Federation has become on the whole more conservative, while the I. W. W. has grown constantly more revolutionary. In June, 1910, the W. F. M. voted for affiliation with the American Federation of Labor and the alliance was finally consummated in May, 1911. "What the mine owners failed to do by force," declares the I. W. W., "they [Pg 321]have accomplished through Civic Federation methods. The process will doubtless continue, until the W. F. of M, becomes as completely the football of metalliferous mine owners as the United Mine Workers is of the coal barons."[642] At its twentieth annual convention in 1912, the W. F. M. now not only divorced from the I. W. W., but wedded to the A. F. of L., reversed its traditional embargo on agreements and accepted the policy of entering into contracts with the operators.[643]

Article V, section 4. of the Federation's Constitution (1910 edition) stipulated that "no local union or unions of the W. F. M. shall enter into any signed contract or verbal agreement for any specified length of time with their employers." This clause was stricken out in 1912. The revised edition of the Constitution for that year expressed the new policy of the Federation (now the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers) in these terms: "Local unions or groups of local unions may enter into wage agreements for a specified time, providing such agreements have the approval of the Executive Board...."[644]

The bitterness between the two organizations was most acute in the Butte (Mont.) mining fields. The situation reached a dramatic climax in the summer of 1914 when, on June 13, the Union Hall of Butte Miners' Union No. 1 (W. F. M.) was dynamited. The writer is not sufficiently familiar with the facts to tell this story in detail, or to express an opinion as to whether or to what extent the I. W, W. element in Butte was responsible for the dynamiting.

[Pg 322]

The friction between I. W. W. sympathizers and the management of the local W. F. M. union—Butte Miners' Union No. 1—was unquestionably a factor in the quarrel which culminated in the dynamiting outrage. There were certainly other factors. The local organization had been gradually dividing into two factors—the "Reds" and the "Yellows." Among the "Reds," I. W. W. members and sympathizers predominated. The "Yellows" comprised the local officials of the union and their followers, and they were in a majority. It was alleged by the "Reds" that at the union meetings the administration element deliberately packed the hall with the "reactionaries" before the hour of opening, so that the "Reds" could not even voice their grievances. Then the hall was blown up. The administration accused the I. W. W. and pointed out that such a deed was to be expected of a group which avowed its belief in the doctrine of "direct action by the militant minority." The Miners' Magazine declares that "the 'Red' faction composed of I. W. W. members dynamited the Union Hall."[645] At the last W. F. M. convention (1916), President Moyer said that the real cause of the Butte tragedy was the "poison the I. W. W. promoters were scattering" in the minds of the Butte miners.[646] A large portion of the two weeks' session of the twenty-first W. F. M. convention (Denver, 1914) was taken up with a discussion of the Butte dynamiting and the alleged complicity of the I. W. W. therein. One of the delegates related the following incident, which he said took place in front of the Union Hall in Butte a short time before the dynamiting:

Three of the mob ... presented I. W. W. cards ... at the [Pg 323]door and asked to be admitted to the meeting, and on being refused, one of them laid his I. W. W. card on the sidewalk, stooped down and patted it with his hand and said, "We will make you fellows eat that card before long."[647]

Lewis J. Duncan, the Socialist mayor of Butte, declared that the I. W. W.s did not take part in the dynamiting. In a letter dated June 29, 1914, and addressed to the United Labor Bulletin (Denver), he asserts that

the responsibility for Tuesday's disturbance cannot truthfully be placed on the I. W. W. The "600 itinerant I. W. W. trouble-makers" on whom your report lays the blame for the June 13th trouble, are non-existent.... The men in revolt against the local officers of the miners [union] and against the W. F. of M. officials are a majority of the miners of Butte, and only a small minority of them are connected with the Propaganda League of the I. W. W. here, or are even sympathetic with the I. W. W.s. We have no economic organization of the I. W. W. in this city. It is untrue that even all those in the lead of the local revolt are connected with the I. W. W....[648]

But scarcely more than a week after the dynamiting it was announced in the newspapers that

plans for forming an independent union of miners were made today at a meeting ... attended by 5000 miners.... The seceders [the dispatch continued] have an executive committee of twenty, a majority of whom are known to be members of the Industrial Workers of the World....[649]

Apparently nothing came of this in the way of an I. W. W. [Pg 324]organization, for there was no I. W. W. local in Butte in 1914. At the present time, however, there is an active local there.

Entirely apart from the Butte controversy there has been a marked feeling among the officials of the Western Federation that the I. W. W. had deliberately attempted to disrupt the Federation. President Moyer thought the I. W. W.s had tried by crooked methods to get control of, or disrupt the W. F. M.[650] He alleged that "there had been a conspiracy entered into both in and out of the Western Federation of Miners ... to secure control of this organization for the purpose of getting it back into the I. W. W.,"[651] and that "publications edited by this direct-action, sabotage-howling coterie have lent their aid to this campaign...."[652] Mr. J. M. O'Neill, the editor of the Miners' Magazine, a man who has since 1907 been particularly lavish of epithets on I. W. W.-ism, complained that

Since the Western Federation of Miners repudiated by referendum vote the aggregation of characterless fanatics, who make up the official coterie of the International Workless Wonders, the officials of the Western Federation of Miners have been assailed by every disreputable hoodlum in the I. W. W....[653] The time has come [he went on] when the labor and socialist press of America must hold up to the arc-light these professional degenerates who create riots, and then, in the name of free speech, solicit revenue to feed the prostituted parasites who yell "scab" and "fakiration" at every labor body whose members refuse to gulp down the lunacy of a "bummery" that would disgrace the lower confines of Hades.[654]

[Pg 325]

Each faction of the I. W. W., according to O'Neill, claims to be "the genuine brand of unionism that is ultimately destined to shatter empires, scatter kingdoms and strangle economic slavery to death...."[655] Another editorial in the same journal declares that the Federation is

unalterably opposed to their tactics and methods.... Industrial unionism will not come through soup houses, spectacular free-speech fights, sabotage or insults to the flags of nations.... Men will not be organized or educated by means of violence, for violence is but the weapon of ignorance, blind to the cause that subjugates humanity and sightless to the remedy that will break the fetters of wage slavery.

There has been less trouble between the coal miners' union and the I. W. W. because the United Mine Workers have always been much less radical than the Western Federation and the I. W. W. has really never succeeded in making inroads of any consequence among the United Mine Workers. Max Hayes, International Vice President of the U. M. W., told the United States Commission on Industrial Relations that the I. W. W. was "rather an unknown quantity among the coal miners. In fact," he said, "we do not let them propagate their doctrines; at least, we try to prevent their ideas from becoming accepted by our people.... There is nothing constructive about their philosophy: it is all destructive."[656]

The Mine Workers' Union is perhaps the most constructively business-like, and certainly one of the most successful, unions in the world. Their hard-headed constructive work is most of all evidences in the business agreements which they negotiate with the operators at regular intervals.

[Pg 326]

To the I. W. W., agreements—particularly all time agreements—are in themselves evil. Consequently the friction between the world's smallest and most revolutionary industrial union and its largest and most conservative industrial union was experienced primarily in connection with these agreements. "Wherever the bona fide labor unions have succeeded in effecting a satisfactory agreement with the employers," declares the Miners' Magazine, "... there will be found the I. W. W. organizer, attempting to create dissension."[657]

The Wobblies justified their attacks upon the Mine Workers [said President John Mitchell at the U. M. W. convention in 1906] by saying that we make trade agreements which so tie the hands of our members as to render us unable to strike at any time during the year when conditions would seem propitious. They lost sight of the fact that if we ... were ... at liberty to strike at our own sweet will, the operators would have precisely the same right and could lock us out whenever trade was dull....[658]

The most recent conflict between the I. W. W. and the Mine Workers was in the anthracite region around Scranton, Pennsylvania. In April, 1916, entirely against the will of the United Mine Workers, according to a conservative writer,

the I. W. W. leaders decided to close down certain of the collieries about Scranton. The method ... was to picket the collieries in the early morning hours, from four o'clock until seven, to urge the men not to go to work, and then, if unsuccessful by that means, to drive them off by force.[659]

[Pg 327]

At about this time (1914) Eugene Debs, one of the founders of the I. W. W., was again urging the formation of a great revolutionary industrial union. He proposed to begin with the two big miners' unions—the Western Federation and the United Mine Workers—which organizations were to form the head and center of the new union.

It is vain to talk about the I. W. W. [he said]; the Chicago faction, it now seems plain, stands for anarchy. So be it. Let all who oppose political action and favor sabotage and the program of anarchism join that faction. The Detroit faction, for reasons not necessary to discuss here, will never amount to more than it does today. A new organization must be built with the miners, the leading industrial body, at the head of the movement.[660]

"The consolidated miners and the reunited I. W. W.," he said, "would draw to themselves all the trade unions with industrial tendencies, and thus would the reactionary federation of craft unions [A. F. of L.] be transformed from both within and without, into a revolutionary industrial organization."[661] In the same article Debs advocated a reunion of the Socialist and Socialist Labor parties, and William English Walling in commenting on Debs' proposal for uniting the W. F. M. and the U. M. W. says that such an outcome "if not immediately probable, is decidedly possible."[662]

The ninth I. W. W. convention, which met in Chicago, Sept. 21, 1914, as not an important one. It was in session [Pg 328]less than a week and there were not more than twenty-five delegates present.[663] The writer attended the sessions of September 22, 23 and 24. On the 22nd he counted ten delegates actually present, and about the same number of spectators. The next morning there were sixteen delegates on hand, and on the 27th, seventeen. No stenographic report of the proceedings—indeed, no complete report of any kind whatsoever—has ever been issued. A very brief account was printed in Solidarity, which emphasized the fact that all the delegates were "typical specimens of the working class rank and file, with some contempt for empty theorizing and a marked preference for action."[664] On the 23rd, resolutions were presented asking for a reduction in the amount of dues payable to the national office and proposing to limit convention delegates to one vote each irrespective of the size of the locals which they represented. Both were lost. The latter resolution was supported by a militant minority which very naturally believed that the majority is sluggish—always behind time—and therefore nearly always wrong. They insisted that the new and fruitful ideas always come from the minority and that it should, therefore, be given representation rather according to its (assumed) revolutionary initiative than according to its numerical strength. Their attitude was primarily the result of the difficulty they experienced both in and out of the organization in getting their militant ideas "across" to the large majority. In a lesser degree they were stimulated by the example set them by their fellow syndicalists in France where the "militant minorities" in the small unions of the C. G. T. are given the same representation and voting power as the large unions of that body. For this reason small groups which make up the "extreme left" in the C. G. T. [Pg 329]have more influence than similar groups in this country.[665]

The unemployment situation had been particularly acute the preceding winter and it was reported that the greater part of the membership of the I. W. W. were out of employment at the time of the convention. "... the I. W. W. has no apologies to offer," says Solidarity, "for the smallness of its last convention ... most of our members are out of work, and few, if any, Pacific Coast locals could have financed a delegate for even four days in Chicago."[666]

According to the account appearing in the I. W. W. press, it was the understanding of the convention

that [unemployed] parades to City Halls, Capitols, etc., should be discouraged as nothing more substantial than hot air is to be found in these political centers. The delegates agreed with Haywood that the places for the unemployed to demonstrate were the places where there was plenty of food and clothing so that they could help themselves.[667]

At the same time the delegates decided to take definite steps toward organizing the unemployed. According to the Chicago papers, Haywood had said: "Millions have been appropriated for the militia; nothing for the wealth producers who will be without work. Where warehouses are full of food, go in and take it; where machinery is lying idle, use it for your purposes; where houses are unoccupied, enter them and sleep."[668] At a later session (on September 24) [Pg 330]there was adopted unanimously and without discussion a resolution which, in effect, stipulated that all speakers be instructed to recommend to the workers the necessity of curtailing production by "slowing down" and the use of sabotage. The resolution also suggested the publication of an explanatory leaflet on this subject.[669] The Daily News dispatch, just quoted, reports F. H. Little, an executive board member from California, as saying, "Wherever I go, I inaugurate sabotage among the workers. Eventually the bosses will learn why it is that their machinery is spoiled and their workers slowing down."

At the same session it was proposed that a conference on harvest organization be held, and from this time on the harvest and the other agricultural workers attracted more and more of the organization's attention.

There was some discussion of the methods used in conducting the business of the local unions, especially in regard to the bookkeeping system—or lack of system. No definite decision was reached, but the remarks of the delegates show that they were beginning to realize that financial and membership records cannot be kept by the futurist or impressionistic methods which are so effective on the soap-box. It was realized also that responsible persons must be selected for the work of the local secretary-treasurer, and it was urged that some uniform system of bookkeeping be adopted for the use of local secretaries. Some I. W. W. officials, like some bank officials, no doubt abuse the confidence placed in them, although the daily press probably heralds to the world the I. W. W. defalcation with greater promptness and enthusiasm than it does that of the banker. A dispatch in the Omaha Bee (Nov. 24, 1916) says that the local "secretary-treasurer of the Industrial Workers of the World [Pg 331]has been missing for the last four days and so is $250 which was to be used for the relief of strikers and their families in Duluth, Minn." In another instance, according to Vincent St. John, "the National Secretary [of the 'National Industrial Union of Forest and Lumber Workers' of the I. W. W.] left with all the funds in his charge six or eight months ago and the organization had to start all over again...."[670]

The European war had broken out less than two months before this convention met and the delegates did not fail to adopt a resolution against war. It was worded in part as follows:

... The ignorance of the working class is the reason for the continuation of the war.... The [German] Social Democracy was a movement that engendered a spirit of patriotism within political boundary lines. The industrial movement will wipe out all boundaries and will establish an international relationship between all races engaged in industry.... We, as members of the industrial army, will refuse to fight for any purpose except for the realization of industrial freedom.[671]

Only two constitutional amendments of importance were passed at the ninth convention. One was a further development of the machinery of the referendum and constituted a victory for the decentralist boosters of the "rank and file." The first three clauses read as follows:

(a) Any local union in good standing with the General Office may institute or initiate a call for a referendum to be submitted to the General Office at once, with reasons and arguments for same.

(b) Upon receipt of the initiative call for a referendum the [Pg 332]General Office shall publish same with arguments for and against, and must submit it to all Local Unions, National Industrial Unions and Industrial Departments for seconds within 30 days.

(c) Before any referendum shall be submitted, the call for the same must be seconded by at least ten [local] unions in good standing in at least three different industries.[672]

The other amendment expressed in more specific terms than ever before the attitude of the organization toward agreements between employers and employees. It replaced the former blanket prohibition with a clause which specifically defines the kinds of agreements which must be avoided, and, inferentially, permits the making of agreements which are free from the objectionable features specified. The amendment is to Article III., and is as follows:

No Local Union affiliated with the General Organization, Industrial department, or National Industrial Union of the I. W. W. shall enter into any contract with an individual, or corporation of employers, binding the members to any of the following conditions:

1. Any agreement wherein any specified length of time is mentioned for the continuance of the said agreement.

2. Any agreement wherein the membership is bound to give notice before making demands affecting hours, wages or shop conditions.

3. Any agreement wherein it is specified that the members will work only for employers who belong to an Association of the employers.

4. Any agreement that proposes to regulate the selling price of the product they are employed in making.[673]

These two years of unprecedented field activity were naturally years of growth in membership. This is more [Pg 333]especially true of 1912 than of 1913, during the latter part of which a decline set in. The membership was at its high tide in 1912 after the Lawrence strike. The I. W. W. then boasted more than 18,000 members.[674]

Never since that time has it reached that point nor had it previously, unless we include the W. F. M. in the membership for 1905. There was also during both years a net increase in the number of locals in the organization. During the year ending August 31, 1913, two hundred and thirty-six new locals were organized, and during the same period one hundred were disbanded. The new locals were organized in largest numbers in the lumber, textile, and metal and machinery industries. Thirty were "mixed" locals.[675]

In the following table is a complete list of these new and defunct locals classified to show the number gained and lost in each industry:


Number of local unions organized and disbanded during the year ending August 31, 1913, classified by industries as reported.[676][Pg 334]

Industry Organized Disbanded
Agricultural 1 2
Amusement 1 ...
Automobile 1 1
Bakery 4 1
Brass 1 ...
Brewery and distillery 1 ...
Brick, tile and terra cotta 1 2
Building construction 13 2
Building employees 1 2
Button 2 2
Clerks, butchers and delivery 2 1
Confectionery and fruits 2 1
Car ... 1
Coal miners 3 2
Construction (general) 4 2
Corn products ... 1
Department store 1 1
Domestic service 1 1
Electrical 1 1
Fishermen ... 1
Furniture 2 ...
Glass 1 1
Hotel and restaurant 2 3
Laborers, general 2 3
Leather 2 2
Light and power plant 1 ...
Lumber 41 ...
Marine transport 3 ...
Match 1 1
Metal and machinery 18 10
Miners 1 ...
Mixed locals 30 19
Musical and theatrical 1 ...
Oilcloth ... 1
Oil workers 3 1
Packing house 1 3
Paper mills ... 1
Piano and instruments 4 ...
Plaster composition 1 ...
Pottery 1 1
Printing plant 1 1
Propaganda League 1 2
Public service 10 2
Railroad construction 5 4
Railroad employees 5 5
Reed, willow, and rattan 4 1
Rubber 3 3
Ship construction 1 ...
Steel 5 4
Street car 2 ...
Sugar plant 2 2
Textile 32 ...
Tobacco 6 3
Transport 1 2
Watch and clock ... 1
Wood 3 ..
236 100
[Pg 335]

The membership declined considerably in 1913 and 1914, since which time it appears to have increased slightly. Conservative estimates fix it at about 15,000 in 1913, 11,000 in 1914, and 15,000 in 1915.[677] The author has not yet been able to get a reliable estimate of the membership for 1916. The reports of the tenth convention (November, 1916) as published in Solidarity give no clue. A dispatch to the Weekly People (December 9, 1916, p. 1) reports that the delegates claimed to represent a constituency of 35,000 to 40,000. As to 1912, Professor Hoxie said the average paid-up membership was 14,300 and that "local and national bodies have an additional dues-paying membership of 25,000 on which no per-capita tax has been paid to the General Organization," and credits the organization (for 1913) with a "nominal non-dues-paying enrolment of from 50,000 to 60,000." He came to the conclusion "that 100,000 or more men have had I. W. W. dues cards in their possession during the past five years."[678] The figures in Appendix IV indicate that more than 191,000 persons have at one time or another during the last ten years been members of the I. W. W. This table also shows that the I. W. W. often gives very exaggerated membership estimates. This was true in 1913 when unofficial I. W. W. estimates ran into the hundreds of thousands. At this time, it is reported that, "Hoxie walked into the office of St. John, the General Secretary, and said, 'Look here, St. John, I've got the goods on you. You have only 14,300 members.' 'You're a liar, Hoxie,' replied St. John, 'we have [Pg 336]14,310.'"[679] Levine gives an estimate (doubtless furnished by the general office of the I. W. W.) which is unquestionably much too high. He puts the membership for August, 1913, at 70,000, distributed as follows: textile industry, 40,000; lumber industry, 15,000; railroad construction, 10,000; metal and machinery industry, 1,000; and miscellaneous, 4,000.[680] The numerical insignificance of the I. W. W. as compared to the American Federation of Labor was strikingly indicated by Professor Hoxie in the course of his remarks before the American Economic Association in December, 1913. He said that in 1913 the I. W. W. had paid-up membership amounting to

(1) Less than one-hundredth of the membership of the American Federation of Labor;

(2) Less than one-sixtieth of the voters of the Socialist ticket in 1912;

(3) Less than one-twentieth of the membership of a single industrial union in the A. F. of L.;

(4) Less than six one-thousandths of the general body of organized workmen;

(5) Less than one in 2,000 of American wage-workers.[681]

The years 1914 and 1915 were marked by a definite slump in the fortunes of the I. W. W. followed in 1916 by a noticeable increase of activity. St. John says that the decrease in membership during these years was most marked in the following industries: "lumber, railroad construction, building, packing house, amusement workers and the public service industries."[682] A possible exception to this general inactivity [Pg 337]is the National Industrial Union of Marine Transport Workers of the I. W. W., which affiliated with the I. W. W. in April, 1913, and has since made some progress.[683] St. John informed the United States Commission on Industrial Relations that the cause of this falling-off was the industrial depression. He said that "the membership on the Pacific Coast from one end of it to the other, seventy-five per cent of them, have been out of work in the last year and have not paid any dues."[684] Leonard Abbott thought that the reaction or slump of 1914-15 in the I. W. W. was "due perhaps to the great emotional strain of revolutionary activity...."

There is something almost pathologic [he said] in the present reaction of the I. W. W. It has stressed too much the destructive side—sabotage, violence. Acts of violence have a very violent rebound—the boomerang effect. Violence should not be made a tactic. You can see the apotheosis of violence in Europe today. The I. W. W. has too much gloried in it.[685]

In the latter part of 1915 and in 1916 came a revival of I. W. W. activity. The most energetic group of all has been the Agricultural Workers' Organization or the "A. W. O." (organized April, 1915), which has taken great strides in pushing the propaganda of industrial unionism among the farm laborers and harvest hands and organizing these hitherto unorganized workers. At the tenth convention "the A. W. O. held the center of the stage, being represented [Pg 338]by seven delegates with 36 votes each."[686] The "A. W. O." has its headquarters in Minneapolis and is strongest in the Middle West and Northwest. The following extracts from a daily press dispatch will give an idea of the stir which is being made by the "A. W. O." of the I. W. W. The accuracy of the report is questionable but it is presented for what it is worth.

State and city officials of the states comprising the great American grain belt are considering holding a conference in the near future to devise methods of coping with the Industrial Workers of the World. Thousands of these migratory mendicants have thronged the Middle West this year creating a reign of terror throughout the rural communities and intimidating all who do not join their organization....

Coming with the slogan "Six Dollars a Day or No Work," thousands of I. W. W. members and organizers have spread over the agricultural district of the Middle West, attempting to organize harvest hands into a semblance of a union and compel the farmers to grant their demands....

I. W. W. gangs have taken possession of trains, clubbing off all who could not show a membership card in their organization. In most cases they have even driven trainmen from their trains.... Often they travel in mobs of 300 or 400....

Great camps are established, not only by the I. W. W. but by those who are not members of that organization. The men congregate at these "jungles," cook their food, often pilfered from nearby farms, wash their clothes, bathe, and not infrequently stage drunken orgies. This year the I. W. W.s have posted signs at their "jungles" reading, "For I. W. W.s only," and any man who dares wander into their camp without proper credentials is due for a beating.... This year they have been more numerous than ever....

[Pg 339]

All methods of handling the situation have proven unavailing.... One method suggested is for each state to employ forces of mounted police similar to the famous Northwest Mounted Police of Canada to keep the bands from congregating, break up their "jungles" and otherwise deal with them. Power seems the only force they recognize, and they laugh at the county sheriffs and town constables.[687]

The year 1916 saw a recrudescence of both free-speech and strike activities. The most important were the Everett Free Speech fight culminating in the tragedy of November 6 and the miners' strike on the Mesaba range during the spring and summer. The scope of the present study does not permit of a detailed account of either of these highly important labor struggles. Indeed, this is hardly possible now, since in neither case is the story complete.

Many signs suggest the possibility of a split in the I. W. W. before many months. The growing strength of the A. W. O. and its natural yearning to be a big independent organization as well as the failure of the Pacific Coast to send more than one solitary delegate to the tenth convention, both indicate a possible development of internal discord sufficient to divide the I. W. W. into eastern and western wings. Mr. Roger W. Babson in one of his recent confidential labor reports suggests another way in which a shifting of power may come. "A very large labor organization ... has taken steps," he says, "to leave the Federation of Labor and form an industrial union.... A convention for this purpose is planned for Chicago in the near future. The Industrial Workers of the World plan to gain control of this convention and may succeed."[688]

[Pg 340]

A correspondent in the Weekly People says that one delegate at the tenth I. W. W. convention declared that there was very likely to be a split in the organization and intimated that, in such an event, the Agricultural Workers' Organization would be the chief factor in bringing it about.[689] The same writer continues:

The A. W. O.... has a membership of from 18,000 to 20,000. This seems to be a lot, but last night one who just arrived from the harvest fields told me that workers traveling through the West on box cars were thrown off if they had no red card of the I. W. W., and many were beaten up.... He told me that eight or more go in groups with revolvers and board trains going out from the limits of a town and go through the train kicking and beating-up anyone who has no red card.[690]

No convention was held in 1915. The tenth convention met at Chicago in the latter part of November, 1916. Fairly complete reports have been published in the columns of Solidarity.[691] There were in attendance about 25 delegates, including three members of the General Executive Board and the General Secretary. The delegates were almost entirely from the East and Middle West, only one coming from the Pacific Coast.[692] The editor of Solidarity, commenting upon the charter of the convention, says that "the tenth convention is remarkable as denoting the decline of the 'soap-boxers' as the dominant element." "The dominant tone," he says, "was constructive rather than controversial and the general demand was for such constitutional and other changes as would make for greater efficiency [Pg 341]in the work of the organization," and he approvingly quotes one delegate as exclaiming, "The I. W. W. is passing out of the purely propaganda stage and is entering the stage of constructive organization."[693]

The most recent official report says that the organization now (January 1, 1917) "consists of six industrial unions: Marine Transport Workers, Metal and Machinery Workers, Agricultural Workers (A. W. O.), Iron Miners, Lumber Workers, and Railway Workers, having fifty branches and 200 unions in other industries, together with 100 recruiting unions directly united with the general organization."[694] The paid-up membership is put at 60,000 on January 1st, 1917, up to which date it is claimed that an aggregate of 300,000 membership cards had been issued since 1905.[695] The bulk of the present membership is distributed among the following industries: textile, steel, lumber, mining, farming, railroad construction, and marine transportation. Except in the textile industries, the majority of these workers are migratory unskilled laborers.[696]

The activities of the I. W. W. are by no means confined to the United States and Canada. The organization has been gradually extending its propaganda in most English-speaking countries. This study is primarily concerned with the I. W. W. in the United States. But in any case it would be impossible to present any adequate record of its work in other countries because of the difficulty of getting at the [Pg 342]facts of the situation. The announcements from the Chicago headquarters make reference to four foreign jurisdictions, viz.: its British, New Zealand, Australian and South African "administrations." It is unlikely that the "British Administration" amounts to anything. The writer has happened upon vague references to an "I. W. W. local" in London, but has not been able to either disprove or verify them. It is in the British colonies of South Africa[697] and Australia that the I. W. W. has made headway with its propaganda and organizing work. After the outbreak of the European War the I. W. W. in Australia became the object of no little attention on the part of the government because of their anti-militarist agitation. Finally in Australia several of the Wobblies were arrested, tried and convicted on charges of high treason.

All the machinery of the capitalist state has been turned loose against us [says an I. W. W. paper published in Sydney]. Our hall has been raided periodically as a matter of principle, our literature, our papers, pictures, and press have all been confiscated; our members and speakers have been arrested and charged with almost every crime on the calendar; the authorities are making unscrupulous, bitter and frantic attempts to stifle the propaganda of the I. W. W.[698]

Some idea of the nature and seriousness of that propaganda may be had from the meagre reports which have reached this country. A writer in the Sunset Magazine[699] says that the striking coal miners

had Australia at their mercy.... In vain did the government [Pg 343]plead with the strikers for coal to start troop and wheat ships.... As a last resort, the leaders ... were arrested.... The Industrial Workers of the World, the militant aggressive organization whose doctrine of a general rebellion is rapidly spreading through the "paradise of labor," demanded the release of the miners [and] threatened to burn down Sydney if their demands were not complied with. They made good. Night after night the incendiary work went on in Sydney.... Terrorized by the handful of industrial rebels, the commonwealth was forced to yield. The strike leaders were finally released [and] the demands of the strikers were granted.

A month later the New York Times published some special correspondence on the subject. It appears that in October, 1916, charges were preferred against 15 I. W. W.s in New South Wales.[700] These charges involved, in Sydney, according to this report, treason, and wholesale arson amounting to $1,250,000. The chief issue involved was the conscription policy of the government, to which the I. W. W. was opposed. They were brought to trial on October 10th. The warrant against them charged that they were preaching sabotage by means of surreptitious pamphlets and openly upon the streets. Further, the warrant alleged, says the Times correspondent, "that they plotted rebellion against the King; that they conspired to burn down buildings in Sydney ... endeavored to put force or restraint upon the Parliament of New South Wales, [and that] they endeavored to intimidate and overawe Parliament."[701]

Their anti-war campaign at last became so obnoxious to the government that the House of Representatives, in December, 1916, passed a statute, called "The Unlawful Associations [Pg 344]Act," which practically made it a criminal offense to be a member of the I. W. W.; the apparent intention of the authorities being to arrest all prominent I. W. W. speakers and hold them for the duration of the war.[702]

The Australian Unlawful Associations Act[703] is to "continue in force for the duration of the present war and a period of six months thereafter, but no longer." Section 3 runs in part as follows: "The following are hereby declared to be unlawful associations, namely: (a) the association known as the Industrial Workers of the World; and (b) any association which, by its constitution or propaganda, advocates or encourages, or incites or instigates to, the taking or endangering of human life, or the destruction or injury of property...." The act imposes the penalty of imprisonment for six months upon any person who "continues to be a member of an unlawful association," who "advocates or encourages [or who "prints or publishes any writing advocating or encouraging"] ... the taking or endangering of human life, or the destruction or injury of property," who "advocates or encourages ... any action intended or calculated to prevent or hinder the production, manufacture or transport ... of troops, arms, munitions or war-like material," or who "knowingly gives or contributes money or goods to an unlawful association."

In Australia as in the United States there were prior to the war two I. W. W. organizations in existence: a political I. W. W. and a non-political I. W. W. In that country, however, the political group (counterpart of the Detroit [Pg 345]wing in the United States) has been by all odds the more influential. Although both these groups were pretty well smothered by the war and the Unlawful Associations Act, the I. W. W. industrial union idea made its appearance in another form in the summer of 1918. In July of that year representatives of some of the most powerful unions of New South Wales held a conference in Sydney. This so-called "Industrial Conference Board" drew up a constitution for an organization on the I. W. W. model, adopted the I. W. W. preamble almost word for word, and launched "The Workers Industrial Union of Australia."[704] Four of the six clauses of the preamble are almost identical in phrasing with that of the American I. W. W. The other two clauses are worded as follows:

Between these two classes [proletarian and capitalist] the struggle must continue until capitalism is abolished ... by the workers uniting in one class-conscious economic organization to take and hold the means of production by revolutionary industrial and political action. "Revolutionary action" means to secure a complete change, namely the abolition of capitalistic class ownership of the means of production—whether privately or through the state—and the establishment in its place of social ownership by the whole community.... We hold that, as the working class creates and operates the socially operated machinery of production, it should direct production and determine working conditions.[705]

[Pg 346]

In the United States the Federal government has enacted no law analogous to the Australian Unlawful Associations Act. Several of the individual States, however, have passed so-called "criminal syndicalism" laws and the United States Senate on May 6, 1918, passed a so-called anti-sabotage bill[706] which the newspapers declared was aimed at the I. W. W. The State laws referred to are quite generally understood to be directed against that organization. None of these statutes, however, mentions the I. W. W. by name. The Senate bill referred to declares to be unlawful any association

one of whose purposes or professed purposes is to bring about any governmental, social, industrial or economic change within the United States by the use, without authority of law, of physical force, violence or physical injury to person or property, or by threats of such injury, or which teaches, advocates, advises or defends the use ... of physical force, violence or physical injury to person or property, or threats of such injury, to accomplish such change or for any other purpose, and which, during any war in which the United States is engaged, shall by any such means prosecute or pursue such purpose or professed purpose, or shall so teach, advocate, advise or defend....[707]

The penalties proposed in the bill are more severe than in the Australian law. It would punish by imprisonment for not more than ten years or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment, anyone who, while the United States is at war, (a) acts as an officer, or speaks as the representative, of such an association, (b) becomes or continues to be a member of, or contributes anything to, such an organization, or (c) publishes or distributes [Pg 347]any publication whatever which defends the use of "physical force, violence of physical injury to person or property ... as a means of accomplishing any governmental, social, industrial or economic change." The last section of the bill would impose a fine of not more than $500 and imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, upon any landlord who permits on his premises, while the United States is at war, any meeting of such an association or any assemblage of persons who teach or advocate the use of physical force or violence, etc.[708]

So-called "criminal syndicalism" or sabotage laws have been enacted by the States of California,[709] Idaho,[710] Michigan,[711] Minnesota,[712] North Dakota,[713] Montana,[714] South Dakota,[715] and Nebraska.[716] In the State of Washington a "syndicalism bill," and in Arizona a "sabotage" law, were passed by the State legislatures in 1918 but were vetoed by the governor in each case.[717] The "criminal syndicalism" laws of Minnesota, [Pg 348]Idaho and Montana are reprinted in Appendix X. The South Dakota statute is very similar to that of Minnesota. It defines criminal syndicalism "as any doctrine which teaches or advocates crime, sabotage (sabotage as used in this act means wilful and malicious damage or injury to the property of another), violence or other methods of terrorism, or the destruction of life or property, for the accomplishment of social, economic, industrial or political ends." It declares such advocacy to be a felony and punishes "by imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not less than one nor more than twenty-five years, or by a fine of not less than $1000 nor more than $10,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment ..." anyone who (1) advocates or "suggests" such doctrines, (2) publishes, circulates or has in his (or her) possession printed matter which advocates or "suggests" any doctrine that economic or political ends should be brought about by "crime, sabotage," etc., (3) belongs to or assembles with any group or organization which advocates or suggests such a doctrine, or (4) permits in any room or building owned or controlled by him (or her) any assemblage of this character. This statute is not limited to the duration of the war, which, indeed, is not mentioned. The North Dakota and Nebraska laws are less comprehensive and less drastic than the law of Minnesota. They are anti-sabotage laws within the scope of the definition of sabotage given above in the South Dakota act. Of all the "criminal syndicalism" statutes referred to in these pages that of South Dakota inflicts the heaviest penalties. The Minnesota law has recently come into the courts[718] and the State Supreme Court, in a decision rendered April 19, 1918, held it to be constitutional.[719]

[Pg 349]

The I. W. W. does not lack constructive ideas. The trouble has been always that those ideas have not been applied very extensively. They have remained merely a part of the Wobblies' varied collection of slogans and doctrines. As the delegates at the tenth convention realized, the first decade of I. W. W.-ism in America has been marked by excessive propaganda activity—critical and non-constructive, if not destructive ... and very little constructive activity.[720] This fact is strikingly illustrated by the very transient character of its membership. The "turnover" for the decade 1905-1915 has been exceedingly heavy—not only as measured by individual members but also by local unions. The most favorable report of the present strength of the I. W. W. is given in the World Almanac for 1917, where it is stated that the I. W. W. is composed of five hundred and thirty-five recruiting and industrial unions (not including five [foreign] "national administrations") and has a membership of 85,000.[721] This latter figure probably included delinquent members, and in any case is almost certainly much exaggerated. The same statement applies to the figure given for local unions. But even on such a generous assumption, the figures in columns 7 and 11 of Table A (Appendix IV) show, first, that there have been more than five times as many local unions chartered by the I. W. W. as are now in the organization, and second, that there have been at least twice and probably ten times as many membership cards issued during the past ten years as there are members in the organization today. But the real situation is much worse. Conservative estimates of the active [Pg 350]membership in 1915 put it at 15,000, distributed among 150 local unions.[722] Not less than 2,000 locals were chartered and approximately 200,000 membership cards issued in the ten-year period 1905-1916. This indicates that only 7.5 per cent of the locals chartered and of the individuals enrolled in the I. W. W. have remained in the organization. This means an average annual turnover (of individual members and locals) for the past ten years of 133 per cent. As the table shows, the numerical strength of the I. W. W. in comparison with the whole number in labor organizations and the whole number gainfully employed is very insignificant. Its membership in 1910 was four-tenths of one per cent of all trade-unionists and two-hundredths of one per cent of all gainfully employed. In the textile industry where the I. W. W. is numerically strongest, the Detroit I. W. W. had enrolled in 1910 one per cent and the Chicago I. W. W. fourteen per cent of all trade-unionists.

It is not easy to say to what extent the I. W. W. is likely to develop its constructive features. In so far as more and more stress is placed on job organization, the I. W. W. is and will continue to become a more constructive organization. But it is not easy to credit the statement made at the tenth convention that the I. W. W. has "passed out of the propaganda stage." It will become more actively constructive, probably, but only its complete annihilation can put a period to its propaganda work.


[641] T. P. Esmond, letter dated July 17, 1914, Proceedings, 21st Convention, W. F. M. (1914), p. 26.

[642] Editorial, Solidarity, July 9, 1910, p. 2, col. 4.

[643] Proceedings, 20th W. F. M. Convention, p. 426.

[644] Constitution and By-Laws of the W. F. M. (1912), art. viii, sec. 4. President Moyer discusses this change of policy on trade agreements in his report to the 22nd (1914) convention (Proceedings, pp. 37, 40). For constitutional provisions of the I. W. W. on contracts, cf. infra, p. 332.

[645] July 2, 1914, p. 5.

[646] Report of Proceedings, 22nd W. F. M. Convention, Miners' Magazine, Aug. 17, 1916, p. 2.

[647] Delegate Murray, Proceedings, 21st Convention W. F. M. (1914), p. 146.

[648] Miners' Magazine, July 16, 1914, p. 7. Mayor Duncan's statements were denied by the editor, ibid., pp. 8-10.

[649] The New York Times, June 22, 1914, p. 18, col. 3. Butte dispatch, dated June 21.

[650] Report to the 20th Convention, W. F. M., Proceedings (1912) p. 14.

[651] Proceedings, 20th Convention, W. F. M., p. 283.

[652] Ibid., p. 24.

[653] Editorial, Aug. 1, 1912, p. 6, col. 1.

[654] Ibid., p. 7, col. 2.

[655] Miners' Magazine, June 20, 1912, p. 9.

[656] Hearings, Washington, D. C., Apr. 6, 1914. Final report and testimony, vol. i. p. 453.

[657] Editorial, United Mine Workers' Journal, reprinted in Miners' Magazine, July 2, 1914, p. 9.

[658] Report to 17th Annual Convention (1906), Minutes, pp. 53-4.

[659] Katherine Mayo, Justice to All: The Story of the Pennsylvania State Police (Putnams, 1917), p. 225.

[660] "Industrial Organization," Miners' Magazine, May 7, 1914, p. 6, col. 2.

[661] "A plea for solidarity," International Socialist Review, March, 1914, p. 538.

[662] "Debs, revolutionary unionist," New Review, vol. ii, p. 426, July, 1914.

[663] Solidarity (Oct. 3, 1914, p. 1).

[664] Ibid., Oct. 3, 1914, pp. 1, 4.

[665] Cf. Louis Levine, Revolutionary Syndicalism in France, ch. viii, for a more adequate description of the "one union, one vote" plan of representation.

[666] Editorial, Oct. 24, 1914, p. 2, col. 2.

[667] Solidarity, Oct. 3, 1914, p. 1, col. 4.

[668] Chicago Daily News, September 22, 1914. This same dispatch stated that there were fifty delegates present—twice as many as the "Wobblies" themselves claimed.

[669] See the report in Solidarity, Oct. 3, 1914, p. 4, col. 4.

[670] Letter dated July 16, 1913, to W. Beech, Proceedings, 8th Convention, I. W. W., p. 24, col. 1.

[671] Solidarity, Oct. 3, 1914, p. 4, col. 4.

[672] Preamble and Constitution of the I. W. W., 1916, art. vii, sec. 5.

[673] Ibid., art. iii, pp. 11-12.

[674] Cf. Appendix iv.

[675] Proceedings, Eighth I. W. W. Convention, p. 30.

[676] Adapted from data in Proceedings, Eighth I. W. W. Convention, p. 30.

[677] Cf. appendix iv, table A. For the status of the I. W. W. in California in 1914, see the writer's report to the U. S. Commission on Industrial Relations on "The I. W. W. in California."

[678] "The Truth about the I. W. W.," Journal of Political Economy, Nov., 1913, vol. xxi, p. 786.

[679] "The Development of Hoxie's Economics," Journal of Political Economy, vol. xxiv, p. 875, note (Nov., 1916).

[680] "The Development of Syndicalism in America," Political Science Quarterly, Sept., 1913, vol. xxviii, p. 478.

[681] Proceedings of the 26th meeting, American Economic Review, vol. iv, no. 1, supplement, pp. 140-141 (March, 1914).

[682] Letter to the author, Feb. 1, 1915.

[683] Proceedings, Eighth I. W. W. Convention, p. 5, col. 2, p. 6, col. 1. In this branch of the I. W. W. in New York City there were in 1917 about 5000 members (mostly Spaniards) of whom not less than half were in good standing.

[684] Industrial Relations (Hearings), vol. ii, p. 1462.

[685] Speech at the I. W. W. Hall in 81st Street, New York City, January 31, 1915.

[686] Solidarity, Dec. 2, 1916, p. 1. General Secretary Haywood reported to the convention that the A. W. O. had enrolled at that time 18,000 members. Proceedings, p. 36.

[687] The New York World, Aug. 13, 1916, p. 11, col. 1 (dated Sioux City, Ia., Aug. 12).

[688] R. W. Babson, Reports on Labor, "The I. W. W.'s latest move," Confidential Bulletin of the Co-operation Service, no. L-59, Aug., 1916.

[689] Dec. 9, 1916, p. 1, col. 3. Dispatch signed "R. E. P."

[690] Ibid.

[691] Issues of December 2, 9, and 16, 1916. The Proceedings were published in full in 1917.

[692] Solidarity, Dec. 2, 1916, p. 1, col. 1.

[693] Solidarity, Dec. 2, 1916, p. 1.

[694] St. John, The I. W. W., History, Structure and Methods (1917 edition), p. 23.

[695] Ibid., p. 24. Charters were issued to 116 locals (in 27 States and 2 Canadian provinces) during the two years ending Sept. 1, 1916. These included 8 recruiting unions and 9 Propaganda Leagues. (Vide Report of General Secretary, Proceedings, Tenth Convention [1916], pp. 33-36, where there is a list of these new locals.)

[696] St. John, op. cit., p. 23.

[697] In the summer of 1918 it was reported in a press dispatch from Johannesburg that a branch of the I. W. W. had been established among the natives at Durban (New York Times, July 19, 1918, p. 15, col. 5).

[698] Direct Action (Sydney), reprinted in Solidarity, Mar. 17, 1917, p. 4.

[699] March, 1917, p. 11, col. 1, "The Raised Fist of Labor."

[700] One of them was the editor of Direct Action, an I. W. W. paper published in Sydney.

[701] New York Times, April 14, 1917, p. 6.

[702] Cf. letter from the General Secretary of the Australian Administration, in Report of General-Secretary-Treasurer to the Tenth I. W. W. Convention (1916), Proceedings, pp. 42-43. Vide, also, New York Times, Dec. 20, 1916, p. 5, col. 2.

[703] The Unlawful Associations Act (No. 41 of 1916), assented to Dec. 21, 1916, and amended by the Unlawful Associations Act (No. 14 of 1917), assented to July 27, 1917.

[704] Christian Science Monitor, October 4, 1918.

[705] The preamble is printed in full in The World (Oakland, Cal.), October 18, 1918, p. 3. (Reprinted from the British Columbia Federationist, Sept. 27, 1918, article by W. Francis Ahern, Australian correspondent.) Mr. Ahern gives a detailed description of the structure of the new union and shows that in this respect, also, it follows the American I. W. W. very closely. Other meetings in furtherance of this project are reported to have been held in the fall of 1918 in Brisbane and Melbourne. (Ibid.) This recrudescence of militant industrialism in Australia appears to be an indirect outcome of the defeat of the Labor party in the federal election of 1917.

[706] 65th Cong., 2nd sess., S. 4471.

[707] Ibid. The bill was amended by the Judiciary committee and favorably reported to the House.

[708] 65th Cong., 2nd sess., S. 4471. The one hundred odd members of the I. W. W., who were indicted in 1917, were indicted, tried and convicted, not under any specific anti-sabotage, "criminal syndicalism" or unlawful associations statute, but under section 4 of the "Espionage Act" of June 15, 1917, and sections 6, 19 and 37 of the Criminal Code of the United States. (The United States of America vs. William D. Haywood et al., no. 6125 in the District Court of the U. S., Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.)

[709] Acts of 1919, ch. 188. Approved May 5, 1919.

[710] Acts of 1917, ch. 145. Approved Mar. 14, 1917.

[711] Act no. 139.

[712] Acts of 1917, ch. 215. Approved Apr. 13, 1917.

[713] Approved Jan. 30, 1918.

[714] Acts of 1918, ch. 7. Approved Feb. 21, 1918.

[715] Special Session, 15th legislative assembly (1918), Senate bill no. 12. Approved Mar. 23, 1918.

[716] Laws and resolutions passed at the 36th (extraordinary) session of the legislature (1918), ch. 9. Approved Apr. 9, 1918.

[717] On January 14, 1919, the Washington Syndicalism bill was passed over the Governor's veto. Session laws of 1919, ch. 3. [S. B. 264, Session of 1917].

[718] In the case of State vs. Moilen, 167 N. W. 345.

[719] A digest of the court's opinion is given in the Monthly Labor Review (U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), vol. vii, pp. 177-179 (July, 1918).

[720] Cf. Caroline Nelson on "The Constructive Side of the New Unionism," in her pamphlet, Aggressive Unionism, pp. 20-24.

[721] P. 125. The five "national administrations" reported are: Australia, Great Britain, Hawaii, New Zealand, and South Africa. The World Almanac for 1916 reported 300 local unions.

[722] In the case of the United States of America vs. William D. Haywood et al., now (June, 1918) being tried in Chicago, the Government indictment credits the I. W. W. with a membership of 200,000. The author believes this is much too high, although the organization has unquestionably grown. It is probably based on gross accumulated memberships and would give a fair indication of the number of persons who have, at one time or another, been members of the I. W. W. (Indictment in U. S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, no. 6125, p. 7).

First I. W. W. Classification of the Industrial Population[723]

[Pg 351]


[723] Reproduced from The Miners Magazine, vol. vi, p. 15 (April 20, 1905). Cf. supra, p. 79.

The I. W. W. Preamble[724]


The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.

[Between these two classes a struggle must go on until all the toilers come together on the political, as well as on the industrial field, and take hold of that which they produce by their labor through an economic organization of the working class, without affiliation with any political party.]

Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the earth and the machinery of production and abolish the wage system.

We find that the centering of management of industries into fewer and fewer hands makes the trade unions unable to cope with the ever-growing power of the employing class. The trade unions foster a state of affairs which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trade unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the workers have interest in common with their employers.

These conditions can be changed and the interest of the working class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry, or in all industries [Pg 352]if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all.

Instead of the conservative motto, "A fair day's wage for a fair day's work," we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, "Abolition of the wage system." It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only for the every-day struggle with capitalists, but to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old. [Therefore we, the working class, unite under the following constitution.]

[Therefore without endorsing or desiring the endorsement of any political party, we unite under the following constitution.]

Knowing, therefore, that such an organization is absolutely necessary for our emancipation, we unite under the following constitution:


The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace as long as hunger and want are found among millions of working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.

[Between these two classes a struggle must go on until all the toilers come together on the political, as well as the industrial field, and take and hold that which they produce by their labor through an economic organization of the working class, without affiliation with any political party.]

Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the toilers come together on the political field under the banner of a distinct revolutionary political party governed by the workers' class interest, and on the industrial field under the banner of One Great Industrial Union to take and hold all means of production [Pg 353]and distribution, and to run them for the benefit of all wealth producers.

The rapid gathering of wealth and the centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands make the trade unions unable to cope with the ever-growing power of the employing class, because the trade unions foster a state of things which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars. The trade unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers.

These said conditions must be changed, the interests of the working class upheld and while the capitalist rule still prevails all possible relief for the workers must be secured. That can only be done by an organization aiming steadily at the complete overthrow of the capitalist wage system and formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry or in all industries, if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all.

[Therefore, without endorsing any political party, we unite under the following constitution.]

Therefore we unite under the following constitution.

[Pg 354]


[724] Additions to the original preamble are printed in italics. Clauses dropped from it are enclosed in square brackets.

[725] Additions to the original preamble are printed in italics. Clauses dropped from it are enclosed in square brackets.

Structural Organization of the I. W. W.[726]


[726] For chart showing structure of the I. W. W. in 1912 vide St. John, The I. W. W.—its history, structure and methods, (1st ed.) p. 2, St. John's chart is reproduced in the author's Launching of the I. W. W.

APPENDIX IV. Membership Statistics.

TABLE A.—Membership Figures—Detroit and Chicago Factions

Total Membership. Membership cards issued. Number of National Industrial Unions.[N] Number of Local Unions.[O] Number of Charters issued to Local Unions.[P] Cumulative number of charters issued.[S] Number of locals disbanded. Cumulative number of locals disbanded.
Secretary-Treasurer. Barnett.[G] Miscellaneous.[H]
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
1905 14,000 14,300 —- [E] 2 [E] [E] [E] [E] [E]
1906 23,219[A] 10,400 60,000 [E] 2 394 466[Q] 466 185[T] 185
113 579
200 281 860
1907 5,931 6,700 28,000 [E] [E] 362 118 928
Chicago. Detroit. C. D. C. D. C. C. C. D. C. D. C. D. C. D. C. D.
1908 5,397 —— 13,200 —— —— [E] [E] 322 164 1102 63[U] 248
1909 3,719 —— 10,700 —— —— —— [E] [E] 100 23 90 1 1192 1 33 281 [E]
1910 4,617 —— 9,100 —— 9,137[I] 3,475[I] [E] 1 97 14 160 7 1352 8 54 16 335 16
1911 4,330 10,000 12,800 3,500 —— —— 60,000[J] [E] 115 26 150 18 1502 26 69 6 404 22
1912 18,387 20,000 18,300 10,700 —— 9,765 9,000[K] [E] 210 34 190 32 1692 58 53 24 457 46
1913 14,851 11,000[C] 14,300 5,000 23,061 —— [E] 3 236 58 236 22 1928 80 99 17 556 63
70,000 39
1914 11,365 —— 12,000 2,000 14,310 —— [E] 3 150 50 78 14 2006 94 125 4 681 67
23,840 128 49
1915 15,000[B] 5,000[D] —— —— 70,000 —— 191,293[L] [E] 300 51 [E] 2 [E] 96 [E] [E] [E] [E]
15,000[M] 150 25
1916 60,000 [E] 35,000 4 535 33[R] [E] [E] [E]
300,000[L] 350
1917 60,000[F] —— 200,000 [E] 6 [E] [E] [E] [E] [E]
[Pg 355]


Here are assembled most of the available figures relating to I. W. W. membership and fluctuations in membership during the period 1905-1917. The figures are fragmentary and, for the most part, approximations; those in columns 1, 6, 7 and 11 being especially rough and fragmentary. For example, it will be observed, in comparing columns 7 and 9 with column 11 for the year 1914, that there must have been at least 1784 defunct locals at that time instead of 681 as the record shows.

The figures in italics were furnished by the secretary-treasurers, Vincent St. John for the Chicago I. W. W., and Hermann Richter for the Detroit I. W. W.

[Pg 356]

[A] Average membership 1905-1906. Computed from record of receipts for the General Defense Fund (Proceedings Second Convention, p. 586.)

[B] Approximate. W. D. Haywood before U. S. Commission on Industrial Relations, Washington, D. C., May 12, 1915. (Final Report and Testimony, vol. xi, p. 10581.)

[C] Weekly People, Sept. 27, 1913; also testimony of Rudolph Katz before U. S. Commission on Industrial Relations (Final Report and Testimony, vol. iii, 2485).

[D] Only 2000 were "in good standing."

[E] No data available.

[F] St. John, The I. W. W.—Its History, Structure and Methods (1917 ed.), p. 23.

[G] The figures in column 3 are from Professor Geo. E. Barnett, "Membership of American Trade Unions," Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol. xxx, p. 846 (August, 1916). His figures come, apparently, from I. W. W. headquarters in Chicago, but they do not agree entirely with those furnished the author by Secretary St. John.

[H] In this and some of the following columns more than one figure has been included in years for which varying estimates were found. The sources for column 4 are as follows: Proceedings 2nd I. W. W. Convention, p. 60; Report of the I. W. W. to the Stuttgart International Socialist Congress, Industrial Union Bulletin, Aug. 10, 1907, p. 4; Bulletin New York State Department of Labor, no. 67 ("International trade union statistics"), p. 3; Louis Levine, "The development of syndicalism in America," Political Science Quarterly, vol. xxviii, p. 478 (Sept., 1913); Vincent St. John's testimony before U. S. Commission on Industrial Relations (Final Report and Testimony, vol. ii, p. 1456; Weekly People, Dec. 9. 1916, p. 1, col. 3).

[I] Leo Wolman, "Extent of labor organization," Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol. xxx, p. 603 (May, 1916). Wolman shows sex distribution as follows:

Chicago I. W. W.: males 7137, females 2000.
Detroit I. W. W.: males 3130, females 345.

[J] Number issued between February 1910, and October, 1911.

[K] For the Detroit I. W. W. Approximate number issued during the textile workers strikes.

[L] Accumulated number from 1905.

[M] For the Detroit I. W. W. Approximate. October 1, 1908, to February 1, 1915.

[N] Sources: Industrial Worker (I), August, 1906; Miners Magazine, Sept. 7, 1905, p. 15; Marot, American Labor Unions, p. 59; St. John, op. cit., p. 23.

[O] Sources: Proceedings 2nd I. W. W. Convention, p. 43; Third I. W. W. Convention, Official Report No. 1, p. 2; Report of the I. W. W. to the Stuttgart International Socialist Congress, Industrial Union Bulletin, August 10, 1907, p. 3, col. 3; Massachusetts Bureau of Labor and Industry, Annual Report on Labor Organizations, 2nd to 7th, inclusive (1909-1914); The Industrial Worker, May 14, 1910, p. 2, and Jan. 5, 1911, p. 2; Marot, op. cit., Appendix.

[P] Sources: Miners Magazine, issues from Oct. 1, 1906, to Feb. 1, 1907; Report of the secretary-treasurer to 3rd I. W. W. Convention, Industrial Union Bulletin, Sept. 14, 1907, p. 7, col. 1.

[Q] Number issued up to Feb. 1, 1906, including 185 charters issued to the Mining Department (W. F. of M.) (Miners Magazine, Feb. 22, 1906, p. 14).

[R] Solidarity, May 27, 1916, p. 3, col. 1. This figure is for the first five months of 1916.

[S] Figures in the Detroit column are from Oct. 1, 1908.

[T] W. F. M. (Mining Department) locals. Miners Magazine, Sept. 7, 1905, p. 15.

[U] Oct. 1, 1907, to Oct. 1, 1908 (Industrial Union Bulletin, Oct. 10, 1908, p. 2, col. 3).

[Pg 357]

TABLE B.—Comparative Membership Figures, 1910[727]

Industry. Total number of persons in the industry. Members of Labor Organizations. Members of the I. W. W.
Number. Per cent. of all trade unionists. Per cent. of total in industry.
Number. Per cent. Chicago. Detroit. C. D. C. D.
Mining[728] 834,456 254,779 30.5 200 ... 0.1 ... 0.0 ...
Clothing industries[729] 608,892 102,972 16.9 ... 300 ... 0.3 ... 0.0
Quarrying 85,919 6,309 7.3
Production of salt, oil and natural gas 37,476 ... ...
Chemical and allied industries 73,585 268 0.4
Clay, glass and stone industries 309,341 63,416 20.5
Food and kindred products[730] 299,176 22,744 7.6 100 ... 0.4 ... 0.0 ...
Iron and steel products 1,746,387 173,169 9.9 300 600 0.2 0.4 0.0 0.0
Leather industries 293,035 42,644 14.5
Liquor and beverage industries 73,475 49,665 67.6
Lumber and furniture 597,174 63,934 10.7 1300 200 2.0 0.3 0.2 0.0
Metal industries (except iron and steel) 320,041 15,013 4.7
Paper and pulp industries 101,797 2,683 2.6
Printing and bookbinding 249,456 85,479 34.3
Textile industries 800,251 29,862 3.7 4300 300 14.4 1.0 0.5 0.0
Miscellaneous industries:
Button factories 12,879 32 0.2
Broom & brush factories 12,922 897 6.9
Charcoal and coke works 23,294 500 2.1
Cigar and tobacco factories 170,904 46,742 27.3 100 200 0.2 0.4 0.0 0.1
Electric light & power plants, electric supply factories, etc. 252,883 36,092 14.3
Gas works 22,783 605 2.6
Oil refineries and turpentine distilleries 22,551
Rubber factories 45,864 50 0.1
Straw factories 6,458 684 10.6
Other miscellaneous and not specified industries 323,534
Transportation[731] 2,862,260 494,662 17.3 1000 ... 0.2 ... 0.0
Hand trades 713,659 4,346 0.6
Building trades 2,444,395 396,674 16.2 150 400 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0
Stationary engineers 215,053 9,990 4.6
Stationary firemen 84,685 8,100 9.5
Trade 3,411,677 17,676 0.5
Public service (not elsewhere classified) 441,180 11,843 2.6
Professional service 1,628,970 77,976 4.8
Domestic and personal service 3,691,493 65,579 1.8 150 ... 0.2 ... 0.0
Agriculture, forestry and animal husbandry 12,640,734 2,262 0.0
Proprietary, official and supervisory groups 980,012
Clerical groups 1,696,061 28,853 1.7
I. W. W. mixed locals ... ... ... 1437 1475
Total 38,134,712 2,116,500 5.5 9037 3475 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.0
[Pg 358]

TABLE C.—Membership of Certain Unions and Groups of Unions in the United States, 1897-1914[732] (00's omitted.)

Name of union and industrial group 97. 98. 99. 00. 01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.
Mining and Quarrying (8 organizations).
W. F. M. 80 100 120 140 177 196 283 241 263 286 442 305 353 371 502 492 495 369
U. M. W. 97 329 618 1155 1980 1753 2472 2510 2650 2307 2607 2520 2652 2314 2563 2893 3777 3390
Total in group 209 442 749 1307 2171 1964 2795 2789 2962 2653 3120 2897 3071 2749 3107 3429 4315 3802
United Metal Workers ... ... ... 10 21 43 87 96 [733]
Textile group (9 organizations)
Textile Workers 27 25 22 34 27 106 150 105 100 100 114 129 100 100 100 109 162 180
Total in group 81 85 69 80 70 147 195 151 145 147 161 176 148 214 217 230 295 303
Lumber and Wood Working group (8 organizations) 55 117 159 256 318 341 479 516 419 359 270 198 190 280 290 255 251 248
Bakery Workers 20 21 31 45 64 102 154 162 120 106 110 105 107 127 138 146 151 157
Brewery Workers 100 100 107 183 235 291 300 305 340 360 400 425 452 454 533 625 650 676
Restaurant and Trade group (6 organizations) 64 92 121 280 408 575 1144 1338 949 895 916 949 581 594 631 686 913 948
I. W. W. (Chicago) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 143 104 67 132 107 91 138 183 143 120
I. W. W. (Detroit) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 35 107 50 20
Total in all groups 4445 4971 6041 8654 11,236 13,743 19,129 20,726 19,450 19,063 20,776 20,904 20,031 21,380 23,365 24,408 27,010 26,744
[Pg 359]

TABLE D.—Membership of the I. W. W. (Chicago and Detroit) and of all Labor Organizations in the U. S., 1905-1917[734]

Members of labor organizations in the U. S. Members of the I. W. W.
Chicago. Detroit.
(St. John)[735] (Barnett) (Barnett)
1905 1,945,000 23,219 14,300
1906 1,906,300 ... 10,400
1907 2,077,600 5,931 6,700
1908 2,090,400 5,397 13,200
1909 2,003,100 3,719 10,700
1910 2,138,000 4,617 9,100 3,475[739]
1911 2,336,000 4,330 13,800 3,500
1912 2,440,800 18,387 18,300 10,700
1913 2,701,000 14,851 14,300 5,000
1914 2,674,400 11,365 12,000 2,000
1915 ... 15,000[736] ... 2,000
1916 ... 60,000[737]
1917 ... 200,000[738]
[Pg 360]


[727] Adapted by permission from Wolman, Leo, "Extent of Labor Organization," Quar. Jour. Econ. (May, 1916), 30: 606-13.

[728] All I. W. W. membership in coal mines.

[729] All I. W. W. membership in clothing, shirt, collar and cuff factories.

[730] All I. W. W. membership in slaughter and packing houses.

[731] All I. W. W. membership on steam railroads.

[732] Adapted by permission from Geo. E. Barnett, Quar. Jour. Econ. (Aug., 1916, Appendix), vol. 30: pp. 838-46.

[733] Merged in the I. W. W. in 1905.

[734] Adapted from Barnett, op. cit. (Quar. Jour. Econ., Aug., 1916.)

[735] Private correspondence. (1905-1914.)

[736] Haywood, W. D. Testimony Industrial Relations Commission, Washington, May 12, 1915 (Final report and testimony, vol. xi, p. 10581).

[737] St. John, V. The I. W. W. History, Structure and Methods. (1917 Ed. p. 23.)

[738] Credited in the government indictment in the case of The United States of America v. William D. Haywood, et al., no. 6125, p. 7.

[739] Wolman, op. cit.

APPENDIX V. Local Unions of the I. W. W.—Chicago and Detroit, 1914[740]

State. City. Chicago. Detroit.
Local unions numbered— Industrial character. Local unions numbered— Industrial character.
California Brawley 439 Mixed
Eureka 431 Lumber
Fresno 66 Mixed
Los Angeles Propaganda league Mixed 103 Mixed
Oakland 174 Mixed
Redding 88, 313 Mixed
Sacramento 71, 334, 489 Mixed
San Francisco 9 Marine transport 3 Garment
147, 173 Mixed 8 Musicians
173 Branch 2 Mixed 107 Mixed
Stockton 5 Marine transport
73 Mixed
Taft 453 Mixed
Canada Amherst, N. S. 122 Mixed
Edmonton, Alta. 339 Mixed
Vancouver, B. C. 332
Colorado Denver 26 Mixed
Connecticut Bridgeport 112 Mixed
Hartford 69 Machinists
Moosup 303 Textile
Mystic 35 Textile
Norwalk 535 Textile
Florida Tampa 102 Mixed
Key West 108 Mixed
Idaho Wallace Propaganda league Mixed
Illinois Chicago 3, Br 2; 85; Mixed 52 Machinists
85, Br 2; Mixed 431 Foodstuffs
85, Br 3; Mixed 102 Mixed
85, Br 5; Mixed 102 Br 2 Mixed
85, Br 6; Mixed
144; Mixed
144, Br 3; Mixed
341; Mixed
Propaganda league Mixed (Hungarian)
Rockford 480 Mixed
Indiana Indianapolis 52 Mixed 105 Mixed
Iowa Sioux City Propaganda league Mixed
Valley Junction 577 Mixed
Kansas Kansas City 146 Mixed
Louisiana Alexandria 282 Lumber
New Orleans 7 Marine transport
Massachusetts Boston 2 Marine transport
Brookline Propaganda league Mixed
Fall River 204 Textile
Holyoke 205 Textile
Lawrence 20 Textile
Lowell 436 Textile
Lynn 209 Machinists
Malden 190 Textile
New Bedford 157 Textile
Quincy 34; Mixed
34, Br 3; Mixed
Quincy Point 34, Br 2 Mixed
Roxbury 121 Mixed
Maryland Baltimore 192; Textile 275 Tobacco
192, Br 2; Textile
371 Mixed
Michigan Detroit 16; Mixed 603 Building
16, Br 1; Mixed 26; 551; Automobile
16, Br 2; Mixed 551, Br 1; Automobile
16, Br 3 Mixed 551, Br 2 Automobile
62 Mixed
Minnesota Duluth 136 Mixed
Minneapolis 64; 221 Mixed 500 Transportation
St. Paul 307 Mixed
Missouri Kansas City 61 Mixed
St. Louis 84 Mixed 101 Mixed
Montana Missoula 40 Lumber
Butte Propaganda league Mixed
Great Falls 571 Mixed
Nebraska Omaha Propaganda league Mixed
Nevada Goldfield 353 Mixed
Reno 588 Mixed
Tonopah Propaganda league Mixed
New Jersey Hoboken 504 Transportation
West Hoboken 514 Textile
Newark 90 Mixed 123 Mixed
Paterson 152 Textile 25 Textile
Summit 212 Textile
New York Buffalo 5 Mixed 317 Mixed
Jamestown 114 Mixed
214 Machinists
Little Falls 207 Textile
Rochester 191 Textile
76 Mixed
Utica 113 Mixed
New York City 527 Textile 277 Tobacco
1 Marine 100 Mixed transport
9, 46, 179; Mixed
179, Br 3 Mixed
Brooklyn 179, Br 1, 466 Mixed 213 Machinists
701 Printing
North Dakota Minot 585 Mixed
Ohio Cincinnati 107 Mixed
Cleveland 33; 33, Br 3 Mixed 104 Mixed
Columbus 450 Furniture
Dillonvale 240 Mixed
Rayland 236 Mixed
Toledo 86 Mixed
Oregon Portland 93 Lumber 600 Building
Panama Cristobal, C. Z. 505 Transportation
Pennsylvania Erie 210 Machinists
Homestead (West) 205 Machinists
Old Forge 97 Mixed
Philadelphia 425; Textile 404 Musicians
425, Br 1; Textile 451 Furniture
533 Textile 218 Textile
8 Marine transport
57; Mixed
57, Br 2; Mixed
405; Mixed
405, Br 1; Mixed
Pittsburgh 215 Mixed
Shelly 276 Tobacco
Rhode Island Olneyville 530 Textile
Woonsocket 513 Textile
South Carolina Easley 537 Textile
Greenville 512 Textile
Texas Galveston 3 Marine transport
Utah Salt Lake City 69 Mixed
Virginia Norfolk 4 Marine transport
Washington Bellingham 337 Lumber
Seattle 317; 432 Lumber 400 Public service
252 Marine transport 427 Foodstuffs
178; 178, Br 2 Mixed 675 Lumber
382 Mixed
Spokane 315 Lumber
Tacoma 338 Lumber 169 Mixed
380 Marine transport
Wisconsin Milwaukee 118 Mixed
[Pg 365]


Totals: Mixed locals 74
National industrial unions: Textile 22 locals.
  Lumber 9 locals.
  Marine transport 10 locals.
  Agricultural Workers Organization (L. U. no. 400)
Propaganda leagues 8
Total 123

Mixed locals 20
Textile locals 2
Lumber 1
Transportation 3
Musicians 2
Garment workers 1
Machinists 5
Foodstuffs 2
Tobacco 3
Automobile 4
Building 2
Printing 1
Furniture 2
Public service 1
Total 49
[Pg 366]


[740] Based on mailing lists furnished by Secretary-Treasurers St. John and Richter of the Chicago and Detroit factions of the I. W. W., respectively. Cf. Helen Marot, American Labor Unions, Appendix.

Reasons for Locals Disbanding[741]
(Aug. 31, 1910 to Sept. 1, 1911)

Location. Industry. Reasons for Disbanding.
Muncie, Ind. Metal workers Strike.
Jackson, Mich. Metal workers Lack of interest.
Reading, Pa. Metal workers Strike.
Dunkirk, N. Y. Metal workers Members left town.
W. Pullman, Ill. Metal workers Shop closed.
Missoula, Mont. Lumber Lack of interest.
Olean, N. Y. Mixed Strike.
Negaunee, Mich. Mixed Lack of interest.
National, Nev. Mixed W. F. M. and Business Men's Asso'n.
Lorain, Ohio Mixed Lack of interest.
New York. Building workers Members left town.
Woonsocket, R. I. Mixed Lack of interest. (?)
Anaconda, Mont. Mixed Disrupted by A. F. of L. & W. F. M.
Providence, R. I. Mixed Lack of interest. (?)
Seattle Hotel Lack of interest.
Honolulu Building constructors Lack of interest.
Roundup, Mont. Building constructors Members blacklisted out of town.
Sioux City, Ia. Building constructors No record.
Pittsburgh Packing house Internal wrangles.
Chicago Show workers Lack of interest.
New York Public service Lack of interest.
St. Louis Clothing Joined A. F. of L.
New York Clothing Disrupted by A. F. of L.
Chicago Clothing Lack of work.
Anderson, Ind. Metal workers No record.
Pittsburgh Mixed Lack of interest.
New Haven R. R. workers Lack of interest.
Portland, Ore. R. R. workers Lack of interest.
Providence Metal workers Lack of interest.
Pittsburgh Steel workers Shut down.
Woods Run, Pa. Car builders Shut down.
McKees Rocks Steel workers Shut down.
Massillon, Ohio Tin plate Strike.
New Castle, Pa. Tin plate Strike.
Lyndora (?), Pa. Car builders "Bum" [defaulting?] secretary.
Hammond, Ind. Car builders "Bum" [defaulting?] secretary.
Hegewisch (?), Ill. Car builders Lack of interest.
South Chicago, Ill. Steel workers Lack of interest.
East Chicago, Ind. Steel workers Lack of interest.
Fostoria, Ohio Metal workers Strike.
Anacortes, Wash. Lumber Lack of interest (?)
San Diego, Cal. Public service Mexican Revolution.
Vancouver, B. C. Public service Lack of interest.
Butte, Mont. Bakery Joined A. F. of L.
Redlands, Cal. Agricultural No record.
Kalispell, Mont. Lumber Lack of interest.
Deer River, Minn. Lumber Lack of interest.
Honolulu Agricultural Lack of interest.
[Pg 367]


[741] Adapted from Report of Secretary-Treasurer to the 6th I. W. W. Convention; Appendix to Minutes.

Free Speech Fights of the I. W. W.
(Partial list.)

Date. Begun. Place.
1906. April San Francisco, Cal.
1909. October Missoula, Mont.
November Spokane, Wash.
December New Castle, Pa.
1910. May Wenatchee, Wash.
June Walla Walla, Wash.
October Fresno, Cal.
1911. July Duluth, Minn.
Victoria, B. C.
August Denver, Colo.
Superior, Wis.
September Kansas City, Mo.
November Aberdeen, Wash.
1912. February San Diego, Cal.
Aberdeen, S. D.
June New Bedford, Mass.
September Minneapolis, Minn.
1913. February Denver, Colo.
April Grand Junction, Colo.
July Minot, N. D.
Seattle, Wash.
December Kansas City, Mo.
1914. July Aberdeen, S. Dak.
1915. November Paterson, N. J.
1916. September Old Forge, Pa.
November Everett, Wash.
[Pg 368]

Partial List of Strikes Managed or Participated in by the I. W. W.

Year and month called. Place. Class of workers affected. Issue.
Aug New Haven, Ct. Paper makers.
Dec West New Brighton, Ct. Silk workers. Account of discharge of I. W. W.
? Skowhegan, Me.
? Goldfield, Nev. Miners and others.
Feb Somers, Mont. Lumbermen Recognition of I. W. W.; company store; hospital.
Apr Portland, Ore. Saw-mill workers.
May Missoula, Mont. Lumbermen Higher wages.
Oct Vancouver, B. C. Lumbermen Against cut in wages and longer hours.
Nov Yonkers, N. Y. Street car men.
Nov Lancaster, Pa. Silk workers.
Apr Marble, Colo Quarry workers.
Aug Lawrence, Mass. Textile Against wage cuts.
May Somers, Mont. Lumbermen.
May Kalispell, Mont. Lumbermen.
May Prince Rupert, B. C. Lumbermen.
July New Castle, Pa. Sheet and tin plate. For open shop.
Aug Shenango, Pa. Sheet and tin plate.
? McKees Rocks, Pa. Pressed Steel Car Co. Wages, hours and general conditions.
? Waterville, Wash. Farm laborers For $3.00 a day.
Mar Muncie, Ind. Glass workers Higher wages.
Apr North Yamhill, Ore. Farm hands. Against discharge of I. W. W.'s.
May New Bedford, Mass. Textile Against cut in wages.
June St. Louis, Mo. Garment workers.
July Reading, Pa. Auto. workers.
Aug San Diego, Cal. Gas works laborers Wages (Mexicans).
Oct Providence, R. I. Window cleaners. Closed shop; wages.
Nov Pittsburgh, Pa Meat packers.
Nov Brooklyn, N. Y. Shoe workers Wages.
Jan La Grande, Wash. Miners Against cut in wages.
Jan New York, N. Y. Boot and shoe.
Jan Lawrence, Mass Textile workers Against cut in wages.
Apr Willimantic, Ct. Textile workers Wages.
Apr Kansas City, Mo. Street railroad construction.
Apr New York Piano and organ.
Mar Hoquiam, Wash. Lumbermen Wages.
Mar Aberdeen, Wash. Lumbermen.
May Portland, Ore Street car workers Wages.
June White Salmon, Wash. Construction workers. Wages; conditions.
June Clinton, Mass Textile.
[Pg 369] July New Bedford, Mass Textile.
July San Pedro, Cal Dock workers.
Oct Little Falls, N.Y. Textile. Against cut in wages.
Nov Cleveland, Ohio Cyclone wire fence works. Laborers (Slavonian I. W. W.'s).
Dec Portland, Ore Construction laborers. Against cut in wages (to camps on the Portland, Eugene and Eastern, between Portland and Eugene, 300 out).
Dec Merryville, La Lumbermen.
? Grays Harbor
? British Columbia Construction camps on the Canadian Northern.
? North Yamhill, Ore Farm Laborers 30 cents per hour and decent quarters.
Jan Big Creek, Cal. Construction work (Stone and Webster) Wages, hours, conditions.
Feb Akron, Ohio Rubber workers.
Feb Paterson, N.J. Silk workers.
Feb Hazelton, N.J. Silk workers. Wage increase.
Jan San Francisco, Cal. Cannery workers. Against cut in wages.
Mar Esmond, R.I. Textile.
Mar Cleveland, Ohio Rubber workers.
Mar Seattle, Wash Tailors.
Apr Stockton, Cal Electrical workers.
Apr Rock Island, Ill. Sash and door.
May Marshfield, Ore. Lumbermen.
June Ipswich, Mass Textile.
Aug Wheatland, Cal. Hop pickers. General conditions.
Sept Pittsburgh, Pa. Tobacco workers.
Nov Shelton, Conn Textile.
? Duluth, Minn Dock laborers.
? New York, N.Y. Barbers.
June Mesaba Range, Minn Iron miners.
June Red Granite, Wis Quarry workers. Discharge of I. W. W.'s.
Aug Scranton, Pa Miners.
Oct Old Forge, Pa Miners.
Feb Philadelphia, Pa Sugar workers. Wages, hours, conditions.
Feb Philadelphia, Pa Longshoremen. In sympathy with sugar workers.
Apr Exeter, Cal Irrigation construction. Wages and hours.
[Pg 370]

Selections from the I. W. W. Song Book[742]

Are You a Wobbly?


(Tune: "Are You from Dixie?")

Hello, there, worker, how do you do?
You're up against it; broke, hungry, too.
Don't be surprised, you're recognized,
I know a slave by the look in his eyes.
You want what I want—well, that's liberty,
Your frowning face seems to tell it to me.
Where there's a will, Bill, there's a way, Bill,
So listen to what I say.


Are you a wobbly? then listen, Buddy,
For the One Big Union beckons to you—
The Workers' Union, the Industrial Union;
Tell every slave you see along the line:
It makes no difference what your color,
Creed or sex or kind,
If you are a worker, then it's kick right in and join.
Become a wobbly and then we'll probably
Free ourselves from slavery.
You like the idea, but then you say,
"How can we do it—when is the day?"
When all the ladies and all the babies
And every man who works for a wage
Gets in the Union—One Union Grand—
[Pg 371] All hands together we'll make our demand;
When you and I, Bill, lay down our tools, Bill,
Fold up our arms, Bill, and walk off the job.

Dump the Bosses Off Your Back


(Tune: "Take it to the Lord in Prayer")

Are you poor, forlorn and hungry?
Are there lots of things you lack?
Is you life made up of misery?
Then dump the bosses off your back.
Are your clothes all patched and tattered?
Are you living in a shack?
Would you have your troubles scattered?
Then dump the bosses off your back.
Are you almost split asunder?
Loaded like a long-eared jack?
Boob—why don't you buck like thunder?
And dump the bosses off your back.
All the agonies you suffer,
You can end with one good whack—
Stiffen up, you orn'ry duffer—
And dump the bosses off your back.

Hallelujah! I'm a Bum![743]

O! I like my boss,
He's a good friend of mine.
And that's why I'm starving
Out on the picket-line!
Hallelujah! I'm a bum!
Hallelujah! Bum again!
Hallelujah! Give us a hand-out
To revive us again!

[Pg 372]

Mr. Block


(Air: "It Looks to Me like a Big Time Tonight")

Please give me your attention, I'll introduce to you
A man that is a credit to "Our Red, White and Blue";
His head is made of lumber, and solid as a rock;
He is a common worker and his name is Mr. Block.
And Block he thinks he may
Be President some day.


Oh, Mr. Block, you were born by mistake,
You take the cake,
You make me ache.
Tie on a rock to your block and then jump in the lake,
Kindly do that for Liberty's sake.
Yes, Mr. Block is lucky; he found a job, by gee!
The sharks got seven dollars, for job and fare and fee.
They shipped him to a desert and dumped him with his truck,
But when he tried to find his job, he sure was out of luck.
He shouted, "That's too raw,
I'll fix them with the law."
Block hiked back to the city, but wasn't doing well.
He said, "I'll join the union—the great A. F. of L."
He got a job next morning, got fired in the night,
He said, "I'll see Sam Gompers and he'll fix that foreman right."
Sam Gompers said, "You see
You've got our sympathy."
Election day he shouted, "A Socialist for Mayor!"
The "comrade" got elected, he happy was for fair,
But after the election he got an awful shock.
A great big Socialist Bull did rap him on the block.
And Comrade Block did sob,
"I helped him to his job."

[Pg 373]

Tie 'Em Up!

(Words and music by G. G. Allen)

We have no fight with brothers of the old A. F. of L.
But we ask you use your reason with the facts we have to tell.
Your craft is but protection for a form of property,
The skill that you are losing, don't you see.
Improvements on machinery take your tool and skill away,
And you'll be among the common slaves upon some fateful day.
Now the things of which we're talking we are mighty sure about.—
So what's the use to strike the way you can't win out?


Tie 'em up! tie 'em up; that's the way to win.
Don't notify the bosses till hostilities begin.
Don't furnish chance for gunmen, scabs and all their like;
What you need is One Big Union and the One Big Strike.
Why do you make agreements that divide you when you fight
And let the bosses bluff you with the contract's "sacred right"?
Why stay at work when other crafts are battling with the foe?
You all must stick together, don't you know?
The day when you begin to see the classes waging war
You can join the biggest tie-up that was ever known before.
When the strikes all o'er the country are united into one
Then the workers' One Big Union all the wheels shall run.

A. F. of L. Sympathy


(Tune: "All I Got was Sympathy")

Bill Brown was a worker in a great big shop,
Where there worked two thousand others;
They all belonged to the A. F. of L.,
And they called each other "brothers."
One day Bill Brown's union went out on strike,
And they went out for higher pay;
All the other crafts remained on the job,
And Bill Brown did sadly say:

[Pg 374]


All we got was sympathy;
So we were bound to lose, you see;
All the others had craft autonomy,
Or else they would have struck with glee,
But I got good and hungry,
And no craft unions go for me.
Gee! Ain't it hell, in the A. F. of L.
All you get is sympathy.
Bill Brown was a thinker, and he was not a fool,
And fools there are many, we know.
So he decided the A. F. of L.
And its craft divisions must go.
Industrial Unions are just the thing,
Where the workers can all join the fight;
So now on the soap box boldly he stands,
A-singing with all of his might:


The Message from O'er the Sea

(Tune: "Don't Bite the Hand that's Feeding You")

One day as I sat pining
A message of cheer came to me,
A light of revolt was shining
On a country far over the sea,
The forces of rulers to sever
And the flag of the earth to unfold
To secure our freedom forever
And a world of beauty untold.

[Pg 375]


All hail to the Bolsheviki!
We will fight for our Class and be free,
A Kaiser, King or Czar, no matter which you are
You're nothing of interest to me;
If you don't like the red flag of Russia,
If you don't like the spirit so true,
Then just be like the cur in the story
And lick the hand that's robbing you.
We have lived in meek submission
Thru ages of toil and despair,
To comply with the plutes' ambition
With never a thought nor a care.
An echo from Russia is sounding
'Tis the chimes of a True Liberty,
It's a message for millions resounding
To throw off your chains and be free.

Scissor Bill


(Tune: "Steamboat Bill")

You may ramble 'round the country anywhere you will,
You'll always run across the same old Scissor Bill.
He's found upon the desert, he is on the hill,
He's found in every mining camp and lumber mill.
He looks just like a human, he can eat and walk,
But you will find he isn't when he starts to talk.
He'll say, "This is my country," with an honest face,
While all the cops they chase him out of every place.


Scissor Bill, he is a little dippy,
Scissor Bill, he has a funny face.
Scissor Bill should drown in Mississippi,
He is the missing link that Darwin tried to trace.

[Pg 376]

Paint 'Er Red


(Tune: "Marching through Georgia")

Come with us, you workingmen, and join the rebel band;
Come, you discontented ones, and give a helping hand,
We march against the parasite to drive him from the land.
With One Big Industrial Union!


Hurrah! hurrah! we're going to paint 'er red!
Hurrah! hurrah! the way is clear ahead—
We're gaining shop democracy and liberty and bread
With One Big Industrial Union!

"Slaves" they call us, "working plugs," inferior by birth,
But when we hit their pocketbooks we'll spoil their smiles or mirth—
We'll stop their dirty dividends and drive them from the earth
With One Big Industrial Union!
We hate their rotten system more than any mortals do,
Our aim is not to patch it up, but build it all anew,
And what we'll have for government, when finally we're through,
Is One Big Industrial Union!

Casey Jones—the Union Scab


The Workers on the S. P. line to strike sent out a call;
But Casey Jones, the engineer, he wouldn't strike at all;
His boiler it was leaking, and its drivers on the bum,
And his engine and its bearings, they were all out of plumb.

[Pg 377]


Casey Jones kept his junk pile running;
Casey Jones was working double time;
Casey Jones got a wooden medal,
For being good and faithful on the S. P. line.
The Workers said to Casey: "Won't you help us win this strike?"
But Casey said: "Let me alone, you'd better take a hike."
Then some one put a bunch of railroad ties across the track,
And Casey hit the river with an awful crack.
Casey Jones hit the river bottom;
Casey Jones broke his blooming spine,
Casey Jones was an Angeleno,
He took a trip to heaven on the S. P. line.
When Casey Jones got up to heaven to the Pearly Gate
He said: "I'm Casey Jones, the guy that pulled the S. P. freight."
"You're just the man," said Peter; "our musicians went on strike;
You can get a job a-scabbing any time you like."
Casey Jones got a job in heaven;
Casey Jones was doing mighty fine;
Casey Jones went scabbing on the angels,
Just like he did to workers on the S. P. line.
The angels got together, and they said it wasn't fair,
For Casey Jones to go around a-scabbing everywhere.
The Angels' Union No. 23, they sure were there,
And they promptly fired Casey down the Golden Stair.
Casey Jones went to Hell a-flying.
"Casey Jones," the Devil said, "Oh, fine;
Casey Jones, get busy shoveling sulphur;
That's what you get for scabbing on the S. P. line."

[Pg 378]

The Preacher and the Slave


(Tune: "Sweet Bye and Bye")

Long-haired preachers come out every night,
Try to tell you what's wrong and what's right;
But when asked how 'bout something to eat
They will answer with voices so sweet:


You will eat, bye and bye,
In that glorious land above the sky;
Work and pray, live on hay,
You'll get pie in the sky when you die.
And the Starvation army they play,
And they sing and they clap and they pray.
Till they get all your coin on the drum,
Then they'll tell you when you're on the bum:


Holy Rollers and jumpers come out,
And they holler, they jump and they shout.
"Give your money to Jesus," they say,
"He will cure all diseases today."
If you fight hard for children and wife—
Try to get something good in this life—
You're a sinner and bad man, they tell,
When you die you will sure go to Hell.
Workingmen of all countries, unite,
Side by side we for freedom will fight:
When the world and its wealth we have gained
To the grafters we'll sing this refrain:


You will eat, bye and bye,
When you've learned how to cook and to fry
Chop some wood, 'twill do you good,
And you'll eat in the sweet bye and bye.

[Pg 379]

The Red Flag


The workers' flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyred dead;
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold
Their life-blood dyed its every fold.


Then raise the scarlet standard high;
Beneath its folds we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.
Look 'round, the Frenchman loves its blaze,
The sturdy German chants its praise;
In Moscow's vaults its hymns are sung,
Chicago swells its surging song.
It waved above our infant might
When all ahead seemed dark as night;
It witnessed many a deed and vow,
We will not change its color now.
It suits today the meek and base,
Whose minds are fixed on pelf and place,
To cringe beneath the rich man's frown,
And haul that sacred emblem down.
With heads uncovered, swear we all,
To bear it onward till we fall;
Come dungeons dark, or gallows grim,
This song shall be our parting hymn!

[Pg 380]

What We Want


(Tune: "Rainbow")

We want all the workers in the world to organize
Into a great big union grand
And when we all united stand
The world for workers we'll demand.
If the working class could only see and realize
What mighty power labor has
Then the exploiting master class
It would soon fade away.


Come all ye toilers that work for wages,
Come from every land,
Join the fighting band,
In one union grand.
Then for the workers we'll make upon this earth a paradise
When the slaves get wise and organize.
We want the sailor and the tailor and the lumberjacks,
And all the cooks and laundry girls;
We want the guy that dives for pearls,
The pretty maid that's making curls,
And the baker and staker and the chimneysweep;
We want the man that's slinging hash,
The child that works for little cash
In one union grand.
We want the tinner and the skinner and the chambermaid,
We want the man that spikes on soles,
We want the man that's digging holes,
We want the man that's climbing poles.
And the trucker and the mucker and the hired man,
And all the factory girls and clerks—
Yes, we want every one that works,
In one union grand.

[Pg 381]


[742] I. W. W. songs to fan the flames of discontent, 14th [General Defense] Edition, Chicago, I. W. W. Publishing Bureau, April, 1918.

[743] Not published in the 14th edition. (Quoted only in part.)

Copies of State "Criminal Syndicalism" Statutes


Chapter 215—S. F. No. 942[744]

An act defining criminal syndicalism, prohibiting the advocacy thereof and the advocacy of crime, sabotage, violence, or other unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political ends, and assemblage for the purpose of such advocacy; declaring it unlawful to permit the use of any place, building or rooms for such assemblage in certain cases; and providing penalties for violations of the provisions thereof.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Minnesota:

Section 1. Criminal syndicalism defined.—Criminal syndicalism is hereby defined as the doctrine which advocates crime, sabotage (this word as used in this bill meaning malicious damage or injury to the property of an employer by an employee), violence or other unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political ends. The advocacy of such doctrine, whether by word of mouth or writing is a felony punishable as in this act otherwise provided.

Sec. 2. Teaching or advocating syndicalism declared a felony.—Any person who by word of mouth or writing, advocates or teaches the duty, necessity or propriety of crime, sabotage, violence or other unlawful methods of terrorism as a means [Pg 382]of accomplishing industrial or political ends, or prints, publishes, edits, issues or knowingly circulates, sells, distributes or publicly displays any book, paper, document or written matter in any form, containing or advocating, advising or teaching the doctrine that industrial or political ends should be brought about by crime, sabotage, violence or other unlawful methods of terrorism; or openly, wilfully and deliberately justifies by word of mouth or writing, the commission or the attempt to commit crime, sabotage, violence or other unlawful methods of terrorism with intent to exemplify, spread or advocate the propriety of the doctrines of criminal syndicalism, or organizes or helps to organize or becomes a member or voluntarily assembles with any society, group or assemblage of persons formed to teach or advocate the doctrine of criminal syndicalism, is guilty of a felony and punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or both.

Sec. 3. Assembling for purpose declared a felony.—Wherever two or more persons assemble for the purpose of advocating or teaching the doctrines of criminal syndicalism defined in this act, such an assemblage is unlawful and every person voluntarily participating therein by his presence, aid or instigation is guilty of a felony and punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 10 years or by a fine of not more than $5,000.00 or both.

Sec. 4. Owner or lessor of buildings for assemblage liable for gross misdemeanor.—The owner, agent, superintendent, or occupant of any place, building or rooms who wilfully and knowingly permits therein any assemblage of persons prohibited by the provisions of section 3 of this act, or who, after notification that the premises are so used, permits such use to be continued, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than $500.00 or both.

Sec. 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date of its passage.

Approved April 13, 1917.

[Pg 383]


Chapter 145—S. B. No. 183

An act defining the crime of criminal syndicalism and prescribing punishment therefor.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:

Section 1. Criminal syndicalism is the doctrine which advocates crime, sabotage, violence or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform. The advocacy of such doctrine, whether by word of mouth or writing, is a felony punishable as in this Act otherwise provided.

Sec. 2. Any person who:

(1) By word, of mouth or writing, advocates or teaches the duty, necessity or propriety of crime, sabotage, violence or other unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform; or

(2) Prints, publishes, edits, issues or knowingly circulates, sells, distributes or publicly displays any book, paper, document or written matter in any form, containing or advocating, advising or teaching the doctrine that industrial or political reform should be brought about by crime, sabotage, violence or other unlawful methods of terrorism; or

(3) Openly, wilfully and deliberately justifies, by word of mouth or writing, the commission or the attempt to commit crime, sabotage, violence or other unlawful methods of terrorism with intent to exemplify, spread or advocate the propriety of the doctrines of criminal syndicalism; or

(4) Organizes or helps to organize or becomes a member of, or voluntarily assembles with any society, group or assemblage of persons formed to teach or advocate the doctrines of criminal syndicalism;

Is guilty of a felony and punishable by imprisonment in the State Prison for not more than ten years or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars, or both.

Sec. 3. Whenever two or more persons assemble for the purpose of advocating or teaching the doctrines of criminal[Pg 384] syndicalism as defined in this Act, such an assemblage is unlawful, and every person voluntarily participating therein by his presence, aid or instigation is guilty of a felony and punishable by imprisonment in the State Prison for not more than ten years or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars, or both.

Sec. 4. The owner, agent, superintendent, janitor, caretaker, or occupant of any place, building or room, who wilfully and knowingly permits therein any assemblage of persons prohibited by the provisions of Section 3 of this Act, or who, after notification that the premises are so used, permits such use to be continued, is guilty of a misdemeanor and punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars, or both.

Approved March 14, 1917.


An act defining criminal syndicalism, and the word sabotage; prohibiting the advocacy, teaching or suggestion thereof; and prohibiting the advocacy, teaching or suggestion of crime, violence, or the commission of any unlawful act or thing as a means to accomplish industrial or political ends, change or revolution; and prohibiting assemblages for the purpose of such advocacy, teachings or suggestions: declaring it unlawful to permit the use of any place, building, rooms or premises for such assemblages in certain cases; and providing penalties for the violation thereof.[745]

Be it enacted by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Montana:

Section 1. Criminal syndicalism is hereby defined to be the doctrine which advocates crime, violence, force, arson, destruction of property, sabotage, or other unlawful acts or methods, or any such acts, as a means of accomplishing or effecting industrial or political ends, or as a means of effecting industrial or political revolution.

[Pg 385]

Section 2. Sabotage is hereby defined to be malicious, felonious, intentional or unlawful damage, injury or destruction of real or personal property, of any form whatsoever, of any employer, or owner, by his or her employee or employees, or any employer or employers or by any person or persons, at their own instance, or at the instance, request or instigation of such employees, employers, or any other person.

Section 3. Any person who, by word of mouth or writing, advocates, suggests or teaches the duty, necessity, propriety or expediency of crime, criminal syndicalism, or sabotage, or who shall advocate, suggest or teach the duty, necessity, propriety or expediency of doing any act of violence, the destruction of or damage to any property, the bodily injury to any person or persons, or the commission of any crime or unlawful act as a means of accomplishing or effecting any industrial or political ends, change or revolution, or who prints, publishes, edits, issues or knowingly circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any books, pamphlets, paper, hand-bill, poster, document, or written or printed matter in any form whatsoever, containing, advocating, advising, suggesting or teaching crime, criminal syndicalism, sabotage, the doing of any act of violence, the destruction of or damage to any property, the injury to any person, or the commission of any crime or unlawful act as a means of accomplishing, effecting or bringing about any industrial or political ends, or change, or as a means of accomplishing, effecting or bringing about any industrial or political revolution, or who shall openly, or at all attempt to justify, by word of mouth or writing, the commission or the attempt to commit sabotage, any act of violence, the destruction of or damage to any property, the injury of any person or the commission of any crime or unlawful act, with the intent to exemplify, spread, or teach or suggest criminal syndicalism, or organizes, or helps to organize or becomes a member of, or voluntarily assembles with any society or assemblage or persons formed to teach or advocate, or which teaches, advocates, or suggests the doctrine of criminal syndicalism, sabotage, or the necessity, propriety or expediency of doing any act of vio[Pg 386]lence or the commission of any crime or unlawful act as a means of accomplishing or effecting any industrial or political ends, change or revolution is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for a term of not less than one year or more than five years, or by a fine of not less than $200.00 or not more than one thousand dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Section 4. Wherever two or more persons assemble or consort for the purpose of advocating, teaching or suggesting the doctrine of criminal syndicalism, as defined in this act, or to advocate, teach, suggest or encourage sabotage, as defined in this act, or the duty, necessity, propriety, or expediency of doing any act of violence, the destruction of or damage to any property, the bodily injury to any person or persons, or the commission of any crime or unlawful act as a means of accomplishing or effecting any industrial or political ends, change or revolution, it is hereby declared unlawful and every person voluntarily participating therein, by his presence aids or instigates, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the State prison for not less than one year or more than five years, or by a fine of not less than two hundred dollars, or more than one thousand dollars, or by both such imprisonment and fine.

Section 5. The owner, lessee, agent, superintendent, or person in charge or occupation of any place, building, room or rooms, or structure, who knowingly permits therein any assembly or consort of persons prohibited by the provisions of Section 4 of this act, or who after notification that the place or premises, or any part thereof, is or are so used, permits such use to be continued, is guilty of a misdemeanor and punishable upon conviction thereof by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than sixty days or for not more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars, or more than five hundred dollars, or by both such imprisonment and fine.

Section 6. This act shall take effect and be in full force from and after its passage and approval.

Approved February 21, 1918.

[Pg 387]


[744] Session Laws of Minnesota for 1917, pp. 311-312.

[745] Laws of the State of Montana passed by the Extraordinary Session of the Fifteenth Legislative Assembly, Helena, February, 1918. (Chap. 7, S. B. No. 2).


This bibliography makes no pretense of being exhaustive. The writer has endeavored, however, to list all the source material he has been able to lay hands on. But source material is very fugitive and no doubt there are numerous omissions, especially of leaflets and pamphlets. In general, secondary material has not been included unless it (1) deals directly with the I. W. W. as an organization, (2) is published by the I. W. W. or under its label, (3) is written by a person who has, at one time or another, been a member of the I. W. W. or unless (4) it has been cited in the foregoing pages.

There is a vast amount of periodical material dealing with the real or alleged activities and escapades of the I. W. W.: its strikes, free-speech fights, etc. There is also an extensive literature (in English, French, Italian and other languages) devoted to special aspects of syndicalism or I. W. W.-ism. Among the important topics covered are the following: industrial versus craft unionism; parliamentarianism and political action; war and militarism; I. W. W.-ism and (state) socialism; I. W. W.-ism and anarchism; syndicalist tactics; direct action, sabotage, the General Strike, job control, etc.; unskilled and migratory labor, etc., etc. A few items of this vast secondary reference material have for obvious reasons been included in this bibliography but the bulk of it has been omitted. Vide note to sec. 5, infra, p. 403.

1. Official Documents of the Industrial Workers of the World

Constitution and By-Laws of Industrial Workers of the World (adopted at Chicago, 1905), (at head of title "Labor is Entitled to all it Produces"), Chicago, I. W. W. Pub. Bureau, n. d., 32 pp. Original constitution of the I. W. W.

Constitution of the Transportation Department of the I. W. W., and By-Laws of the Steam Railway Sub-Division. 1905.

Die Industriellen Arbeiterverbänder der Welt, Vorwort u. Konstitution, Chicago, 1906, 24 pp.

Industrial Workers of the World, Industrial Council of New York City and Vicinity, Constitution and By-Laws, adopted at New York, 1905, 16 pp., n. d.

Industrial Workers of the World, founded at Chicago, June 27-July 8, 1905, "Preamble and Constitution, amended 1906, 1907 and 1908,[Pg 388] ratified by referendum vote" (at head of title "Labor is Entitled to all it Produces"), Detroit, General (I. W. W.) Headquarters, n. d., 32 pp.

Industrial Workers of the World, Report to the International Socialist and Labor Conference at Stuttgart, Germany, August 18 to 24, 1907. [Chicago, I. W. W. Press, 1907.] 16 p.

Lumber Workers' Industrial Union of the I. W. W. Fifth semi-annual convention of L. W. I. U. 500, Seattle District, Saturday, August 23, 1919. 8 p.

L'Union industrielle du monde, Avant-propos et constitution, amendés, 1906, Chicago, I. W. W., 1906, 31 pp.

Preamble and constitution of the Industrial Workers of the World, Organized July 7, 1905 (at head of title "Labor is Entitled to all it Produces"), Chicago, General (I. W. W.) Headquarters, no date, 32 p., pamphlet (as adopted 1905 and amended by conventions and ratified by referendum vote 1906, 1907, 1908, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913 and 1914).

Translations of the constitution printed in German, French, Italian, Polish, Finnish and Lithuanian.

Preamble and Constitution of the Industrial Workers of the World, Amended to 1908, Chicago, General Headquarters, no date, 32 pp.

Preambolo e Costituzione de la Industrial Workers of the World (Lavoratori Industriali del Mondo), Chicago, I. W. W., 1906, 35 pp.

Proceedings of the First Convention of the I. W. W., New York Labor News Company, New York, 1905. Reported by W. E. McDermutt and revised by Wm. E. Trautmann, Secretary of the Convention, 616 pp.

"Proceedings of a Conference of Delegates from Local Unions of the Industrial Workers of the World, held in Chicago, August 14, 1906" (signed by the Committee), Miners' Magazine, September 6, 1906, vol. viii, no. 167, pp. 12, 13.

The pre-convention conference of 1906.

Proceedings of the Second Annual Convention of the I. W. W., Chicago, 1906. Published by I. W. W., Chicago, 1906, 619 pp.

"Proceedings of the So-called Second Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World," Industrial Worker, vol. ii, no. 1, January, 1907, pp. 4-9, continued in February, March, April and May, 1907.

(Sherman's version; not stenographic.)

"Proceedings of the 'Rump' Convention of Socialist Labor Party (or Detroit) faction, Paterson, N. J., November 1, 1908," published serially in the Weekly People, during months immediately following the convention.

Proceedings of the Third I. W. W. Convention, called to order by Wm. E. Trautmann, Monday, September 16, 1907, at Chicago adjourned[Pg 389] September 24 (stenographically reported by W. E, McDermutt) "official report" published by authority of the Convention, printed on unbound sheets, 54 pages, Chicago, no date.

Proceedings of Fourth I. W. W. Convention, 1908, 5th-10th days sessions in Industrial Union Bulletin, Oct. 24, Nov. 7, Dec. 12, 1908, Feb. 20, Mar. 6, 1909.

(The writer is unable to find anywhere the proceedings of the first days of the convention.)

"Proceedings of the Fifth Annual Convention of the I. W. W.," Chicago, 1910. Published in Industrial Worker, vol. ii, nos. 8-10, 12-14, May 14, 21, 28; June 11, 18, 25, 1910.

"Proceedings of the Sixth Convention of the I. W. W." (Detroit), Industrial Union News, October, 1913, pp. 1, 3-4, Detroit, September 15-17, 1913.

Minutes of Sixth I. W. W. Convention. 55 typewritten sheets (September 18th to September 28th, 1911), Chicago, 1911.

In U. S. Department of Labor Library.

Report of the Seventh I. W. W. Convention, Chicago, Ill., September 16-26, 1912, 40 unbound printed pages (I. W. W. label), no date.

Proceedings of the Eighth I. W. W. Convention, September 15 to 29, 1913, stenographic report, Cleveland, I. W. W. Pub. Bureau, no date, 164 pp.

"Proceedings Tenth I. W. W. Convention (1916)," Solidarity, December 2, 9, 16, 1916.

Proceedings Tenth Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World, Chicago, Nov. 20-Dec. 1, 1916, Chicago, I. W. W. Publishing Bureau, 1917, 155 pp.

"President Sherman's Report to 1906 Convention," Miners' Magazine, October 11, 1906, pp. 8-10, vol. viii, no. 172.

"Report of the General Secretary-Treasurer, I. W. W., Second Annual Convention, Chicago, Ill., September, 1906, Chicago, International Press, no date, 42 pp.

"Report of the General Executive Board of the I. W. W. to Seventh I. W. W. Convention, Chicago, September 17-27, 1912." Printed in full in Industrial Worker, October 24, 1912, pp. 4, 5, 6. Extracts in pamphlet, On the Firing Line, Spokane, 1912.

On the Firing Line. Extracts from the report of the General Executive Board to the Seventh Annual Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World, Chicago, September 17 to 27, 1912, Spokane, Wash., 46 p. (This report published in full in Industrial Worker, October 24, 1912.) Contains also Smith, Walker C., "What is the I. W. W.?" pp. 42-46.

Report of General Executive Board to Eighth I. W. W. Convention, Proceedings, pp. 33-37.

[Pg 390]

Report of General Secretary-Treasurer St. John to Eighth I. W. W. Convention, Proceedings, pp. 29-31.

Report of the General Secretary-Treasurer Industrial Workers of the World, Tenth Convention. Held at Chicago, November-December, 1916. Signed by Wm. D. Haywood, Chicago, I. W. W. Press, 1917, 30 pp.

[Extracts from] Report of the Provisional General Executive Board to the Eleventh Annual Convention, I. W. W. One Big Union Monthly, June, 1919, pp. 48-49.

2. Propaganda Leaflets and Miscellaneous Official Publications


Address to Railroad Workers. Chicago, I. W. W., n. d.

"Address to Street Car Workers," Industrial Union Leaflet No. 19, Chicago, I. W. W., no date.

"Address to Wage Workers by the Industrial Workers of the World." Industrial Union Leaflet No. 18, Chicago, I. W. W., no date.

Agricultural Workers Attention. Chicago, I. W. W. [1918].

Ameringer, Oscar, Union Scabs and Others, New Castle, Pa.: I. W. W. Publicity Bureau, n. d.

Doran, J. T. ("Red"), Big Business and Direct Action. Leaflet pub. by Lumber Workers Industrial Union No. 500, I. W. W. N. p., n. d.

----, Law and the I. W. W., Chicago, I. W. W. Publishing Bureau, n. d.

Dougherty, T. F. G., How to overcome the High Cost of Living. Cleveland, I. W. W. Publicity Bureau, no date, 15 pp., booklet, 2c.

It is to be done by organizing industrially.

Do you want Mob Rule? [1918]. A general defence of the I. W. W. on the five counts made in the Federal indictment of 1917.

Ebert, Justus, Is the I. W. W. Anti-Political? Cleveland: I. W. W. Publicity Bureau, 1913.

Everett's Bloody Sunday, the Tragedy that horrified the World, a Story of Outraged Toilers. Seattle: 1916.

Facts for Marine Transport Workers. N. p., n. d., 7 p.

Fraina, L. C., The I. W. W. trial. A Socialist Viewpoint. Chicago, I. W. W. Publ. Bureau, 1917.

Hammond, Edward, Two Kinds of Unionism. New Castle, Pa.: I. W. W. Publicity Bureau, n. d.

Hardy, George. American workmen. N. p., n. d.

Helen Keller scores I. W. W. Prosecutions, Chicago, I. W. W. Pub. Bur., 1918. Reprinted from the New York Call.

The I. W. W. [Chicago, I. W. W. Pub. Bureau, 1917?].

"Industrial Unionism in the Textile Industries," Industrial Union Leaflet No. 10.

Is Justice Dead in Tonopah? The true Pacts of the Pancner Case, Tonopah-Pancner Defence Committee, Publicity Bureau, no date.

[Pg 391]

Lake Marine Workers on Ships and Docks. A few words to you, Cleveland, I. W. W. Publishing Bureau, n. d.

Lewis, Austin, A War Measure, Chicago, I. W. W., n. d.

Melis, Louis, Hotel and Restaurant Workers, Chicago, I. W. W. Publicity Bureau, no date, I. W. W., leaflet.

Metal and Machinery Workers organize (4-page folder). Chicago [?], n. d.

Metal Workers and Industrial Unionism ("To all Workers Employed in the Metal and Machinery Industry...."), Industrial Union Leaflet No. 17, Chicago, I. W. W., no date.

Misconceptions of the I. W. W., N. Y. I. W. W. Defense Committee. 1918, 4 p. Reprinted from The Labor Defender, Dec. 1, 1918, pp. 4-5.

Mitchell, "Rusty," Address to Railroad Graders, I. W. W. leaflet, New Castle, Pa., I. W. W. Publicity Bureau, n. d.

Nelson, E. S., Appeal to Wage Workers, Men and Women, New Castle, Pa., I. W. W. Publicity Bureau, no date.

Russia in America. Bloody Sunday in Everett, Washington, Seattle, 1916.

St. John, Industrial Unionism and the I. W. W., New Castle, Pa,. I. W. W. Publishing Bureau, n. d., 15 pp. booklet.

St. John, Vincent, Is the I. W. W. all-sufficient for the Workers' needs? Leaflet (1917?). Originally printed in Solidarity, July, 1915.

St. John, Vincent, Political Parties and the Industrial Workers of the World. Cleveland: I. W. W. Publicity Bureau; n. d.

St. John, Vincent, Why the American Federation of Labor cannot become an Industrial Union. New Castle, Pa.: Solidarity Literary Bureau, n. d.

Smash the I. W. W.! N. d. [On the Federal conspiracy prosecutions of 1917-1918.]

Smith, Walker C., War and the Workers, New Castle, Pa., I. W. W. Publishing Bur., n. d.

Some Tips for Railroad Workers, Chicago (?), n. d. (4-page folder).

Stirton, A. M., Getting Recognition, Cleveland, Ohio, I. W. W. Publicity Bureau, no date.

To Colored Workingmen and Women, Chicago, n. d.

To the Lumberjacks of Northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan (copies in Finnish, Swedish and Polish), Cleveland, Solidarity Publicity Bureau, no date.

Unions Fight for the Right to Strike, Chicago, I. W. W. Pub. Bureau, n. d.

Unskilled Labor Problem [Chicago, I. W. W. Pub. Bureau, 1917]. Reprinted from The Public.

Varney, H. L., The Truth about the I. W. W., Chicago, I. W. W. Publishing Bur., n. d.

[Pg 392]

Walquist, August, Eight Hour Work Day, What it will Mean, and How to get it, I. W. W. leaflet. Cleveland, I. W. W. Publicity Bureau, 1913.

Warning. The Deadly Parallel. Comparison of I. W. W. and A. F. of L. statements on the war. (I. W. W. label.) N. p., n, d.

What do you think of this? Chicago, General Defense Committee, 1917. On the Tulsa, Okla., affair.

Who are the Conspirators, Chicago, I. W. W., Feb. 21, 1918. (Issued by the General Defense Committee.)

Why? How? When? leaflet, New Castle, Pa., I. W. W. Publicity Bureau, no date.

Why You should Join the I. W. W. With cartoons under title "Don't be a Mr. Block ... Be an I. W. W.!" Minneapolis, Minn., Agricultural Workers' Organization, I. W. W., no date.


Constructive Industrialism—The Structure of Industrial Unionism, leaflet, Detroit Branch, Los Angeles, no date.

Industrial Unionism, Detroit leaflet. Same as, The Industrial Workers of the World; One Union for all Wage Workers, no date.

Industrial Unionism versus Anarchy and Reform, leaflet, Detroit Branch, Detroit, Mich., no date.

The Industrial Workers of the World: One Union for all Wage Workers, leaflet, Detroit Branch, Detroit, no date.

Manifesto of Socialist Industrial Unionism, Principles of the Workers' International Industrial Union, Leaflet No. 1, issued by the General Executive Board, Detroit, 1916.

Trainor, C. E., Richter, H., and McClure, Robt. (General Executive Board of the [Detroit] Industrial Workers of the World). A Message to the Membership of the Industrial Workers of the World and the Working Class in General, leaflet, Detroit Branch, Detroit, no date.

The Two I. W. W.s., leaflet, Detroit Branch, Detroit, no date.


Edwards, A. S., "Analysis of the Preamble of the Industrial Workers of the World." (Insert in Trautmann, Wm. E., Handbook of Industrial Unionism. Large folding sheet on which the principles of industrial unionism are analyzed and expanded in successive tabular columns.)

"The Industrial Organization of the Workers" (Chart of Industrial Divisions), Voice of Labor, June, 1905.

Industrial Union Manifesto—in St. John, The I. W. W., its History, Structure and Methods (1917 edition), pp. 25-9.

[Pg 393]

I. W. W. Songs: to fan the flames of discontent, general defense (14th) edition, Chicago: I. W. W. Publishing Bureau, April, 1918. 57 pages.

Riebe, Ernest, Twenty-four Cartoons of Mr. Block, Minneapolis, Minn., Block Supply Company (1912?) [27 pp.], ("Most of the cartoons ... were originally published in the Industrial Worker of Spokane, Wash."—Introd.)

Scandinavisk I. W. W. Sangbok, Minneapolis, Scandinavian Propaganda League, n. d.

Trautmann, Wm. E., Industrial Unionism: Handbook No. 2, Means and Methods, Chicago, I. W. W.: no date, 32 pp.

----, Handbook of Industrial Unionism: 3rd edition, revised. Explanation of the principles of the I. W. W., 34 pp., pamphlet (Chicago): I. W. W., no date; contains also (in form of insert sheet) Edwards, A. S., "Analysis of the Preamble, Industrial Workers of the World" (published also in Italian and Polish).

----, One Big Union. An outline of a possible industrial organization of the working class. C. H. Kerr Company, Chicago, 1911, 31 pages and chart (Fifth revised edition called "One Great Union," Detroit).

----, One Great Union (fifth revised edition). "A complete portrait of industrial organizations; with a map outlining the inter-relationship of the industrial enterprise the world over, compiled from statistical tabulations of Bureaus of France, Germany, Denmark and the United States of America...." Previously published by C. H, Kerr under title: "One Big Union." On inside front cover the author states that the Hungarian, Polish and Bohemian "translations now in the book market have not been authorized ... and the revenues derived [therefrom] ... are not being used for the propaganda of industrial unionism but to support a band of irresponsible scavengers on the labor movement." At head of title: "An Injury to One is an Injury to All—One Union, One Emblem, One Enemy." (Detroit: I. W. W. Literary Bureau, no date), 31 pp., 10c.


American Labor Union, Preamble, Constitution and Laws. Adopted at Salt Lake City, Utah, May, 1898. Revised to June, 1902, Denver, Scollin and Baker, no date, 26 pp.

Duncan, Jas., Report of James Duncan, delegate of the American Federation of Labor to the Budapest Labor and Socialist Conference, August, 1911, pamphlet, Quincy, Mass., Nov., 1911, 34 pp. Reprinted in International Molders' Journal, March and April, 1912, 48: 172; 255-63.

International Musical Union, Constitution, By-Laws and General Laws[Pg 394] (affiliated with the American Labor Union). In effect September 1, 1903, Cleveland, International Musical Union, 1903, 36 pp.

L'Internationale Ouvrière et Socialiste (International Socialist Congress, 7th, Stuttgart, 1907). Édition française publiée par le Secrétariat du Bureau Socialiste Internationale, 2 vols., Brussels, International Socialist Bureau, Maison du Peuple, 1907, 422 pp., 584 pp.

Knights of Labor, Constitution of the General Assembly and for State, National, Trade, District and Local Assemblies of the Order. Revised to 1892, Philadelphia, published by the General Assembly, 1893, 92 pp.

Socialist Labor Party of the United States of America, Constitution (Adopted at the Tenth National Convention held in New York City, June 2 to 8, 1900), 16 pp.

Socialist Labor Party, Constitution as amended to 1908, New York, N. Y., Labor News Co., 1908, pamphlet.

Socialist Labor Party, Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Convention, Grand Central Palace, New York, July 4-10, 1896, New York, Goldman, 1896.

Socialist Labor Party, Proceedings of the Tenth Convention, New York, June, 1900. Stenographic report by B. F. Keinard (with an appendix containing the constitution and platform of the party and numerous historical and official documents). New York, New York Labor News Company, 1901, 325 p.

Socialist Labor Party, Programma e Statuto e Manifesto della S. T. and L. A. (Libreria del Proletario, serie ii, vol. iv), New York, Tipografia del "Proletario," pamphlet.

"Socialist Labor Party. Report to the International Socialist Congress at Amsterdam, August, 1904," pamphlet. Published also in Report of the Socialist Labor Party of the United States of America to the International Congress held in Stuttgart, August 18-25, 1907, signed by DeLeon and Henri Kuhn (Stuttgart Reports, édition française, vol. i, pp, 44-56).

Socialist Labor Party—"Report of Socialist Labor Party to Stuttgart (1907) International Socialist Congress," by Daniel DeLeon (contains report on I. W. W., Socialist Unity Conference, and relations between Socialist Labor party, Socialist party and I. W. W.) (in L'Internationale Ouvrière et Socialiste, Stuttgart, 1907, édition française, vol. i, pp. 43-72).

Socialist Labor Party of the United Slates of America, Report to the International (Socialist) Congress held in Stuttgart, August 18-25, 1907, signed by Daniel DeLeon and F. Bohn, 20 pages (New York: New York Labor News Company, 1907). (Includes, pp. 4-9, Socialist Labor Party Report to Amsterdam Congress, 1904).

----, As to Socialist Unity in America. Memorial of the National[Pg 395] Executive Committee of the Socialist Labor Party of the United States to the International Socialist Bureau, Brussels (Belgium). In Bulletin périodique du bureau socialiste international, 2 année, no. 7 (Brussels, 1911), pp. 28-35. In French, German and English.

Socialist party, National Constitution Amended to August 3, 1915, pamphlet, Chicago, issued by the National Office of the Socialist party, no date, 20 pp.

Socialist party, National Convention, Indianapolis, May 12-18, 1912, Proceedings. Stenographic report by W. E. McDermutt. Edited by Jno. Spargo, Chicago, National Socialist Press, 1912, 248 pp.

Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance of the United States and Canada, Constitution. Adopted at its First Convention, New York, June, 1896. Revised at its Sixth Convention, Providence, R. I., 1901. Issued by the General Executive Board, New York, 1902, 30 pp.

Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance of the United States and Canada: Proceedings of the Second Annual Convention, Roxbury, Boston, Mass., July, 1897. New York: Published by the General Executive Board, no date, 20 pp.

Socialist Unity Conference, Proceedings of the New Jersey, Newark, March 4, 1906, Jersey City, J. M. Reilly and Jno. Hossack, 1906, 80 pp.

Socialist Unity Conference, 1917, New York City, January 6 and 7. Proceedings reported in the Weekly People, January, 1917.

Western Federation of Miners: Constitution and By-Laws (Amended to July, 1910). Denver: Pearl Print Shop, no date, 32 pp.

Western Federation of Miners, Official Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Convention, Salt Lake City, May 22-June 9, 1905. Denver: Reed Publishing Company, 1905.

"Father" T. J. Hagerty's "Wheel of fortune," reproduced on p. 220, with reprint of the January [1905]., Manifesto.

Western Federation of Miners [Proceedings] Fourteenth Annual Convention, Denver, May 28-June 13, 1906. Denver: Reed Publishing Company, 1906.

(Bears I. W. W. label.)

The Workers' International Industrial Union. "Founded at Chicago, June 27-July 8, 1905. New name adopted 1915." Preamble and Constitution amended 1906, 1907, 1908, 1913, 1914 and 1915. Ratified by referendum vote. New name of the Detroit I. W. W. Detroit, Mich.: General Headquarters [1916], 32 pp.

3. Official and Semi-official Periodical Publications of the I. W. W.

Alarm. Swedish-Norwegian-Danish, Minneapolis, Minn., monthly, 50 cents.

[Pg 396]

A Bérmunkás (The wage worker), Hungarian, Cleveland, weekly, $1.50. Published by the Hungarian-speaking locals of the I. W. W.

The Boomer. Official Organ of Metal and Machinery Workers' Industrial Union No. 300, Industrial Workers of the World. Monthly. Chicago. (September, 1919-____.)

Bulletin, Lumber Workers Industrial Union No. 500, I. W. W. (Spokane district), Spokane, Wash. (small news sheet, published irregularly).

Buoreviestnik, Bulgarian, Chicago; weekly, vol. i, no. 1, April 15, 1917, $1.00.

Cal[ifornia I. W. W.] Defense Bulletin (weekly), San Francisco (Nov. 4, 1918-____).

Darbininku Balsas (The Voice of the Workers), Lithuanian; Baltimore, weekly, I. W. W. organ.

The Defense News Bulletin (weekly), Chicago. Published by the General Defense Committee of the I. W. W. (has no mailing privileges), (1917-____). Name changed to The New Solidarity, November 16, 1918.

Direct Action, "Australian administration," I. W. W. organ; Sydney, N. S. W., Australia; weekly (Jan., 1914-____).

L'Émancipation, Olneyville, R. I., monthly.

A Felszabadulás (Emancipation), Hungarian I. W. W. journal, $2.00 (Dec., 1918-____), Chicago.

Glas Radnika (The Worker's Voice), Croatian I. W. W. paper. Twice a month, $2.00, Chicago (1919-____).

Golos Truzenka (The voice of the laborer), Russian I. W. W. paper (1918-____), $1.00, Chicago.

La Huelga General, "Organ de la union de los trabajadores industriales del mundo"; I. W. W. organ; Los Angeles, weekly, Año 1, Aug. 23, 1913; pub. by Spanish branch of the I. W. W.

The [I. W. W.] Defense Bulletin of the Seattle District, Seattle. "Published weekly by the Seattle District Defense Committee."

I. W. W. Trial Bulletin, Chicago. Single-page news sheet "issued by the Defense News Service," I. W. W. Publishing Bureau. (For the first month published daily. Title: Daily Bulletin.) Twice a week. No. 1, about Apr. 1, 1918.

Industrial Union Bulletin, Official publication of the I. W. W., Chicago; weekly, Mar. 2, 1907-Mar. 6, 1909; suspended publication with Mar. 6, 1909; Aug. 8-Dec. 12, 1908 publ. semi-monthly; (anti-Shermanite organ of the "proletarian rabble").

Industrial Union News, organ of S. L. P. faction of I. W. W., Detroit, Mich.; monthly, pub. by the General Executive Board, vol. i, no. 1, January, 1912. (Now the organ of the Workers International Industrial Union.)

The Industrial Unionist, Jewish, Brooklyn. Quarterly. (15c. a year.)

[Pg 397]

The Industrial Unionist, Auckland, Australia, monthly. Published by the Auckland I. W. W. local.

The Industrial Unionist, Seattle, Wash. Published irregularly (1918-____). "Organ of the Western branches, Industrial Workers of the World."

The Industrial Worker, I. W. W. organ, Joliet, Ill.; monthly, vol. i. no. 1, Jan., 1906 (suspended publication).

Industrial Worker (II), I. W. W. organ; weekly, Spokane, Wash.; published by the General Executive Board of the I. W. W.; Fred Heslewood, editor; (1909-1918).

Industrial Worker (III), I. W. W, organ; Seattle, Wash.; weekly, April 1, 1916-____, suspended publication.

Industrial Worker (IV), weekly; Seattle, Wash. (1919-____). "Organ of the Western Branches, Industrial Workers of the World."

Industrial Workers of the World, Organ of the Trautmann-St. John faction 1906-1907; No. 4, Chicago, Dec. 1, 1906; No. 5, Chicago, Jan. 10, 1907; a series of irregularly published bulletins.

The Industrial Worker, London. (Organ of the "British I. W. W. Administration.")

Der Industrialer Arbeiter, Chicago, monthly (Feb., 1919-____). "Issued by the Jewish Press Committee under the direction of the G. E. B. of the I. W. W."

Industrialist (The Industrialist), Finnish daily, Duluth, Minn.

Industrijalni Radnik (Industrial Worker), Slavonian; I. W. W. organ; Duluth, Minn. ("can be read by Croatians, Slovenians, Dalmatians, Servians and Montenegrins"). $1.50 per year.

The Labor Bulletin, published monthly by the Portland (Ore.) locals of the I. W. W.; June, 1912-____.

The Labor Defender, New York [Feb. 16, 1918-____]. Published semi-monthly by the Industrial Workers of the World Defense Committee. (Affiliated with the General Defense Committee of Chicago.) Name changed to The Rebel Worker, February, 1919.

Het Licht (The Light) (Flemish), Lawrence, Mass. Monthly, 50 cents.

Loukkataistelu (The Class Struggle), New York (January, 1919-____). Finnish.

The Lumber Jack, Alexandria, La.; weekly, vol. i, no. 1, Jan. 9, 1913-____; published by National Industrial Union of Forest and Lumber Workers—Southern District (I. W. W.). Later published as The Voice of the People at Portland, Ore. Publication suspended.

A Luz (Light), (Portuguese), New Bedford, Mass. Semi-monthly, 50 cents.

The New Solidarity, weekly (Nov. 16, 1918-____), Chicago. Published by the General Executive Board of the I. W. W. Official organ. (Successor to the Defense News Bulletin.)

[Pg 398]

The New Unionist, Seattle, Wash., vol. i, no. 1, July 6, 1918. Published weekly by the New Unionist Publishing Co. Publication suspended.

News Bulletin [of the] Lumber Workers Industrial Union, [Seattle district], Seattle. (Four-page news sheet.)

La Nueva Solidaridad (Spanish), Dec., 1918-, Chicago, $1.50.

Il Nuovo Proletario, Italian I. W. W. paper (Dec., 1918), Chicago, $1.50.

Nya Världen (The New World), Chicago (February, 1919-), $2.00.

The One Big Union Monthly, Chicago (March, 1919-). Published by the General Executive Board of the Industrial Workers of the World.

Probuda (Awakening), Bulgarian weekly, Chicago (1919-), $1.50.

Il Proletario (The Proletariat), Italian, Boston. Weekly, $1.00.

Pråm ny Dĕník (Industrial Worker), Bohemian; semi-monthly, Chicago.

Rabochaya Rech (The Voice of Labor), Russian, Chicago. Weekly, 50 cents.

Ragione Nuova, Italian I. W. W. organ; monthly, Providence, R. I.; 25c. a year.

The Rebel Worker, New York (February, 1919-). New name of the Labor Defender.

El Rebelde (The Rebel), Spanish, Los Angeles. Semi-monthly, $1.00. Published by I. W. W. local union, no. 602.

"Organo de los Trabajadores Industriales del Mundo."

The Textile Worker, Paterson, N. J. Published monthly by the Paterson branch of Textile Workers' Industrial Union No. 1000 of the I. W. W. (August, 1919-).

Tie Vapauteen (The Road to Freedom), monthly, New York City.

Socialist Union World, Detroit I. W. W. organ; monthly, published by L. U.'s 400, 427, 675, Seattle; 50c. a year; (August, 1914-).

Solidaritet (Swedish monthly), Seattle, Wash.

Solidarity, official organ of I. W. W.; weekly, published by I. W. W. Publ. Bureau, Chicago; Dec. 18, 1909-1917. Suppressed by the Government.

Solidarnosc (Solidarity), Polish, Chicago. Semi-monthly, $1.00. Official Polish organ of the I. W. W.

Teollisuustyo lainen (Industrial Worker), Finnish, I. W. W. organ (daily?); Duluth: The Socialist Publishing Company; formerly called Socialisti.

Timber Worker, Seattle, Wash.; weekly, suspended publication.

La Union Industrial, Spanish, Phoenix, Ariz.; published by the Local Unions of the I. W. W. at Phoenix, Ariz.

Voice of Labour, Johannesburg, S. Africa, organ of "South African administration I. W. W."

[Pg 399]

Voice of Labor, Chicago. Organ of the American Labor Union, monthly from January, 1905. Suspended in 1905.

Voice of the People, weekly, published weekly by National Industrial Union of Forest and Lumber Workers, Southern District, New Orleans, La.; Jan. 9, 1913-, Covington Hall, Editor; beginning with vol. iii, no. 29, July 30, 1914, published in Portland, Ore.; published weekly by the City Central Committee of the I. W. W. of Portland ("owned by the Lumber Jacks"); originally published at Alexandria, La., under title The Lumber Jack; $1.00, publication suspended.

Der Weckruf, Chicago, weekly (1912-).

Weekly Bulletin of Lumber Workers Industrial Union No. 500, I. W. W., Main Office, Chicago. (Two-page leaflet news sheet.)

The Wooden Shoe, published weekly by the I. W. W. locals of Los Angeles; Bill C. Cook, James O'Neil, editors (Aug., 1912-), suspended publication.

Der Yacker, Jewish, I. W. W. organ; Brooklyn; monthly, May 1, 1915.

The following journals though not organs of the I. W. W. contained during the periods specified a vast amount of news and controversial discussion of the I. W. W. and I. W. W.-ism:

The Miners' Magazine, 1905-1909. Official organ of the Western Federation of Miners (now the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers), Denver.

The Weekly People, 1905-1908. Official organ of the Socialist Labor Party, New York.

The New Review, 1913-1916, New York. (Publication suspended.)

The International Socialist Review (1905-1918), monthly, Chicago. This magazine was for several years past virtually an I. W. W. organ. Publication suspended.

4. Other Syndicalist and Revolutionary Labor Periodicals

La Acción Obrera (Syndicalist), Buenos Ayres.

L'Action Directe, Syndicalist weekly, Paris, vol. i, no. 1, January 15, 1908.

Adelante, Syndicalist, Punta Arenas, Chile.

The Agitator (changed to The Syndicalist, January, 1913), Lakebay, Wash.; semi-monthly, Jay Fox, editor. A workers' semi-monthly advocate of the modern school, syndicalism and individual freedom.

American Labor Union Journal, Butte, Mont.; published by the American Labor Union, Jan., 1903-Dec., 1904 (vols. i-ii).

The Anarchist, London, weekly.

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De Arbeid, Syndicalist, Holland, bi-weekly.

L'Avvenire (The Future), Italian, advocates syndicalism, New York; weekly, published by Carlo Tresca of the I. W. W.

Il Avvenire Sociale, Rome; fortnightly review.

Bataille syndicaliste, Paris; daily.

The Blast, San Francisco; weekly, Revolutionary Labor Weekly; Alex. Berkman, formerly editor and publisher. Vol. i, no. 1, January 15, 1916.

Brand, weekly organ of the revolutionary syndicalist movement of Sweden, Stockholm.

Le bulletin international du mouvement syndicaliste, Bourg la Reine, France, weekly, Ch. Cornélissen, Aug., 1907-; contents reproduced every week in English in Solidarity and The Industrial Worker, various syndicalist papers in Europe and La Acción Obrera (Buenos Ayres).

The Class Struggle, New York (1917-), published every two months by the Socialist Publication Society, devoted to International Socialism.

The Decentralizer, socialist and industrialist, Hallettsville, Texas; monthly, 25c. a year.

Direkte Aktion, Stockholm.

Direkte Aktion, Christiania, Norway, Dec. 1, 1910.

Divenire Sociale, Rome; published fortnightly; syndicalist, 1905, edited by É. Leone.

Die Einigkeit, syndicalist organ of the "Freie Vereinigung Deutscher Gewerkschaften," Berlin; weekly, 1906-. Started 1896 but radically syndicalistic only since 1906; represents revolutionary syndicalism in Germany.

L'Émancipation, Industrial unionist monthly, Lawrence, Mass.

Freedom, San Francisco, monthly (publication suspended).

Der Freie Arbeiter, Anarchist, Berlin; weekly.

Golos Truda (Voice of Labor), Russian, advocates Syndicalism, New York; weekly, published by the Russian Labor Group.

La guerre sociale, Paris.

Herald of Revolt, Anarchist, London; monthly, Jan., 1911-____.

L'Humanité, Socialist daily published since 1905, Paris. Contains many articles by Revolutionary and Reformist Syndicalists, strong syndicalist leanings.

The Industrial Socialist (semi-syndicalist organ), Bridgeport, Conn.

The Industrial Syndicalist, London, monthly. Edited by Tom Mann, vol. i (1910-1911) issued monthly in pamphlet form, a special article making up each number.

The Industrial Unionist, London; weekly.

The Industrialist, official organ "Industrialist League," London, monthly.

The International. "A journal devoted to the cause of Syndicalism,"[Pg 401] San Diego, semi-monthly; Laura Payne Emerson, editor and publisher, Aug. 17, 1914-.

International Socialist Review (Industrial Socialism), Chicago, monthly; C. H. Kerr, editor; C. H. Kerr & Co., publishers. Suspended.

The Journal of the Knights of Labor, Washington, D. C. (1890-), early volumes published in Philadelphia; suspended publication May, 1904 to July, 1905.

Land and Liberty, Anarchist monthly, Apr., 1914, Hayward, Calif., Wm. C. Owen, editor. Suspended.

The Liberator, New York, monthly (Max Eastman, ed.), vol. i, no. 1, March, 1918-. Successor to The Masses.

The Masses, New York, monthly, publication suspended.

The Maoriland Worker (industrial unionism), weekly, Wellington, New Zealand.

Miners' Magazine, The, weekly; published by the Western Federation of Miners (International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers), Denver, Colo.

Mother Earth, Anarchist monthly, New York; Emma Goldman, editor.

Le mouvement socialiste, Paris. Revue de critique sociale, littéraire et artistique—bi-mensuelle internationale, 1899-; semi-monthly, Jan., 1903 to August, 1905; monthly, September (1905-). Hubert Lagardelle, editor.

Neo-Marxian. Especially valuable for student of revolutionary syndicalism. Was for a time the organ of the intellectuels of the French syndicalists.

The Nevada Workman, Goldfield. A weekly newspaper devoted to the organization of the workers along industrial lines, August, 1907.

The New International (published monthly by the Socialist Propaganda League) (1917-) "A journal of revolutionary socialist reconstruction." New York.

The New Review. A critical review of international socialism, New York, weekly to April, 1913, then monthly to April, 1915, then semi-monthly. Publication suspended.

Pagine Libere, Lugano.

The People, Sydney, N. S. W., So. Australia; weekly, Industrial unionism.

The People (continued as The Weekly People, q. v.), New York, 1891-1908, vol. xi-vol. xvii has title "The Worker," vol. xviii title reads, "New York Socialist," ceased publication with vol. xviii, 1908, daily.

Pionier, Unabhängiges sozialrevolutionäres Organ; Berlin, weekly, Jan., 1911-. Represents the revolutionary syndicalist movement in Germany.

Pluma Roja, Anarchist, Los Angeles, Calif., Oct., 1913.

El Producidor, Santiago, Chile, weekly, syndicalist paper.

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The Proletarian. In Japanese, with some articles in English, Chicago; a monthly advocate of Industrial unionism for Japanese workers; 35c. a year.

The Proletarian (monthly), Detroit, Proletarian Publishing Co. (vol. i, May, 1918).

The Proletariat. Published every other month by the Jack London Memorial Institute, vol. i, no. 1, May-June, 1918, San Francisco.

Pueblo Courier (Pueblo Labor Advocate, 1904-), Pueblo, Colo.; official newspaper of the Western Labor Union.

The Question, official organ of the Unemployed Army; San Francisco; Jan., 1914-; published irregularly, no. 5 appeared. Suspended publication.

The Radical Review ("Devoted to the critical study of scientific socialism"). Published monthly by the Radical Review Publishing Association, New York, vol. i, no. 1, July, 1917.

The Referendum. Exponent of Marxian socialism and industrial unionism, weekly, Faribault, Minn.

Regeneración, Los Angeles, Calif.; syndicalist weekly. Includes an English section.

Revolt. "The voice of the Militant Worker"; advocates industrial socialism; weekly, San Francisco, July, 1910-. suspended. Thos. J. Mooney, publisher.

Social Justice, Pittsburgh.

The Social War, anarchist, published every three weeks; subscription voluntary, New York, 1913-.

Solidarity, monthly syndicalist magazine issued by the Industrial Democracy League of New South Wales.

Solidarity, organ of the Industrial Democracy League (London, England); monthly, "A journal of industrial unionism."

The Syndicalist (formerly The Agitator), Chicago. Edited by W. Z. Foster and J. A. Jones twice a month, published by the Syndicalist Publ. Association, vol. iii, no. 1, Jan. 1, 1913.

The Syndicalist, London, monthly, 1912-(formerly the Syndicalist Railwayman).

The Syndicalist and Amalgamation News, London, monthly, edited under auspices of Industrial Syndicalist Education League, February, 1914.

Syndicalist Railwayman, London, monthly.