Industrial Workers of the World

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Industrial Workers of the World

The Industrial Workers of the World—also known as the IWW, or the Wobblies—is a radical Labor Union that had its beginnings in Chicago in 1905.

An outgrowth of the Western Federation of Mines, the IWW was created by william d. haywood, eugene v. debs, and Daniel DeLeon. Its membership was open to all work-ers, skilled or unskilled, with no restrictions as to race, occupation, ethnic background, or sex. The Wobblies opposed the principles of capitalism and advocated Socialism.They followed the tenets of syndicalism, a labor movement that evolved in Europe before World War I.The syndicalists sought to control industry through labor organizations. In their view the state represented oppression, which had to be replaced by the union as the essential element of society. To achieve their goals, the syndicalists advocated practices such as strikes and slowdowns.

The Wobblies adopted many of the ideologies of syndicalism and employed direct-action methods, such as propaganda, strikes, and boycotts. They rejected more peaceful means of achieving labor's goals, such as Arbitration and Collective Bargaining.

From 1906 to 1928, the IWW was responsible for 150 strikes, including a miners' strike in Goldfield, Nevada, from 1906 to 1907; a textile workers' strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1912; a 1913 silk workers' strike in Paterson, New Jersey; and a miners' strike in Colorado from 1927 to 1928.

During World War I, the IWW began to lose much of its strength. Its members were against the military, and many were convicted of draft evasion, seditious activities, and Espionage.In addition, many members left the organization to join the Communist party. By 1930, the IWW was no longer regarded as an influential labor force. Nevertheless, it still exists today.

Despite its radicalism, the IWW was responsible for several gains for organized labor. It brought together skilled and unskilled workers into one union; it achieved better working conditions and a shorter work week in many areas of labor, particularly in the lumber field; and it set a structural example that would be followed by future labor unions.

References in periodicals archive ?
Although the IWW was not as crippled and weak in the 1920s as the extant historiography suggests, by 1927 wartime illegalization and continued state repression had shrunk its Canadian numbers to around 4,400.
You ask me why the IWW is not patriotic for the United States.
We find ecological consciousness in both the history of the IWW and the philosophy and practice of earlier anarchists" (Kaufmann and Ditz, 1992: 41).
This was a popular and deliberate misinterpretation of the acronym IWW along with "I Want Whiskey") In The Hairy Ape Senator Queen in a demogogic speech also calls them "Industrious Wreckers of the World" (215).
They were associated with labor violence like the IWW, or with disreputable views of sexuality involving issues ranging from public nudity to birth control.
Lloyd Churchward's pioneering study of the IWW is one of the most extensive early comparative studies that analyses its Australian support base through exploring the similarities and contrasts with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in its original location in the US.
The IWW was founded on Chicago's Near North Side in 1905 and maintained its international headquarters in the city all through its heroic years and its long decline following a disastrous 1924 split.
The IWW was acting as the principal adversary, calling for one big union that would organize workers all across the United States.
The authors' strong assertion that US organizing in the 1980s and 1990s can be linked to IWW ideology requires more qualification.
Beginning with the earliest labor cases that marked labor organization as criminal conspiracy, essays address key topics in American labor history including the Lowell Mills actions, industrial unionism and the Pullman Strike, the IWW and western radicalism, unions and the unemployed, sit-down strikes, public worker organization, immigrant labor and outsourcing and current, Koch brothers directed anti-union legislation and responses from organized labor.
In protest, thousands of IWW members traveled to Spokane to be arrested for speaking in the streets; they filled the jails, gymnasiums and stadiums at such a cost to the city that the law was repealed.