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 ?
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Before looking at O'Neill's use of radicalism in Iceman as a model for failure in the sense that capitalism could not be used as a model or background for Hickey's failure as a husband and ultimately as a human being, we should look more closely at the Wobblies.
That's a shame - not only would a reader benefit from an account of such developments by someone with Schwartz's great ability to mine mountains of material, but it seems clear that activities rooted in Silicon Valley - ranging from novel ways of structuring corporate environments to the creation of the truly personal computer - have already transformed our daily lives far more profoundly than the activities of the Wobblies or the Communist Party ever did.
On the other side stood the defenders of law, order, state and property who looked upon the Wobblies as a swarm of destructive locusts, bomb throwers, foreigners and parasitic miscreants out to destroy all that was considered sacrosanct.
The Wobblies meet again, but we've dwindled to about 30.
The communists sought, primarily, to advance the party; the Wobblies refused to sign contracts, choosing instead the guerrilla warfare of job actions.
In the West it flourished among miners and other low-paid working people who were drawn to the Wobblies and other unions at the early part of this century.
But when it came to kissing his latest screen lover, he got the wobblies.
But my father was a Wobbly, and my father also gave the whole thing up, like everyone else did, when the Wobblies were not getting anywhere, when they were separated from the communists but not knowing what they were.
At our local wildlife park I overhead a small boy say to his mum: "Can we go and see the wobblies.
On one of the days when Jimmy wasn't working or job-hunting, we did the laundry together and then went to the Rand Labor School, where, for a New School term paper on the Wobblies, I went through all the IWW newspapers since January.