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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
MARCUS: In general, how would you characterize the history of the IWW, say, since World War II?
In his analysis of the American radical press, Kenyon Zimmer argues anarchist immigrants influenced the American IWW's stress on social struggle in global terms.
Thousands of people are involved in as suppliers of raw material for IWW Steel products.
Solidarity Forever: An Oral History of the IWW. Chicago: Lake View Press.
The IWW courses, which are available at no cost, help prepare attorneys and other providers to reach out to the military and their families and provide the specialized care they need.
Stegner, who conducted significant research for his novel, believed that Hill was probably guilty and called him "as violent an IWW as ever lived." (I read his novel a few years back-the book is now in a box several thousand miles away, so I haven't been able to take another look--and I recall Stegner's Hill to be dark, brooding, and psychologically unsound.) The historian Philip Foner, on the other hand, wrote a short non-fiction account, The Case of Joe Hill, and concluded that he was almost certainly innocent.
The CEB helped to crush the operations of the IWW, the American syndicalist organisation that opposed World War I.
Even in this brief treatment Darlington does not advance beyond the obvious and the cliche: 'the appeal of the IWW was related to the growth of corporate power'; the attraction in Spain to syndicalism arose from its 'backward' economic conditions and weak state; in Italy because of 'the profound differences between north and south', in France because 'economic modernisation had proceeded only slowly', and so on.
Kerr's socialist publishing co-op, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, known as Wobblies from about 1913 on), Bughouse Square, the Dil Pickle, the Garvey movement, the African Blood Brotherhood, the Proletarian Party, Turner Hall, the Radical Bookshop, and even a little-known effort to spark a specifically Chicago variant of the international creative/destructive rebellion known as Dada.
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) almost certainly contributed to
Bari's organizing efforts to build solidarity with forestry workers in the tradition of the International Workers of the World (IWW) union (also known as the "Wobblies") was a unique effort in the history of contemporary environmentalism.