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 ?
The grandson of an organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World, Snyder grew up during the Depression on a small dairy farm outside of Seattle.
See Melvyn Dubofsky, We Shall Be All: A History of the Industrial Workers of the World (New York, 1971).
In 1905, he joined with Daniel De Leon and William Haywood in launching the Industrial Workers of the World.
Du Bois and Mark Twain, recent political philosophers such as John Rawls and Michael Walzer, former presidents such as Kennedy and Reagan, and even such radicals as Malcolm X and representatives of the Industrial Workers of the World (erroneously referred to here as the International Workers of the World).
He thus creates a convincing picture of how we might begin to build a new society "within the shell of the old," to use a phrase from the Industrial Workers of the World.
Disillusionment with the lack of commitment by Irish labour and an inability to provide for his growing family led Connolly to the United States, where he spent the years 1903-1910, an organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World.
The current staff felt those employees were forced from their jobs, and they organized with the Industrial Workers of the World last summer.
It was here that the Industrial Workers of the World waged one of the nation's first free-speech fights.
He discusses how Montana's 1918 sedition law essentially used the patriotic fervor stirred up by the war to cast radical groups such as the Industrial Workers of the World as disloyal and potential saboteurs allowing the use of beatings, lynchings, raids, censorship, and jailings to repress the IWW and attempt to silence its demands for economic justice.
In other regions the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) succeeded in organizing silk workers, but, Stepenoff argues, the strength of the United Mine Workers of America in the coal region, many of whose members were fathers of workers, and the condemnations of the IWW by community and church leaders, prevented success there.
In the spring, workers at the bookstore joined the Industrial Workers of the World (the Wobblies) union.
Other entries, usually longer than the ones mentioned above, deal with major events, movements, and concepts important to the history of literature and politics, with typical examples including entries on Yugoslav literature, Romanticism, the Spanish Civil War, utopian fiction, and the Industrial Workers of the World.

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