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revolutionary unions

Chapter 3 - Some Proposed Tentative Demands

The Industrial Workers of the World Railroad Workers Industrial Union No. 520 unites all railroad workers from the section men upwards to dispatcher in order to secure protection and economic equality for all.

Chapter 2 - How the I. W. W. Functions

The I.  W.  W. has no President nor Vice-Presidents, no lobbyists in Washington nor politicians to clutter up or obstruct the workers in running their union and economic affairs. A General Secretary-Treasurer is nominated and elected by General Referendum ballot, voted on by all members of the I.  W.  W. The G.S.T. is elected for only one year and cannot serve more than three terms in office. The G.S.T.

Chapter 1 - Why This Booklet

The vast majority of railroad workers of all crafts are dissatisfied with their present form of organization, with leadership, and most of all, with their wages and working conditions.

In office and round-house, in switch-shanty and caboose, there is constant grumbling and "beefing." But obviously grumbling and beefing, though they may relieve the feelings, don't help much on payday.

The General Strike (Ralph Chaplin)

Introduction - (from the 1985 republication of this pamphlet):

Thousands of thoughtful and class-conscious workers in years past have looked to the General Strike for deliverance from wage slavery. Today their hopes are stronger than ever. Their number has been increased with additional thousands who are confident that the General Strike, and the General Strike alone, can save Humanity from the torture and degradation of the continuation of capitalism and the misery and privation of its recurrent wars and depressions.

The General Strike is the child of the Labor Movement. It is Labor's natural reaction to a system of society based upon the private ownership of the machinery of production. It is Labor's ultimate attitude in the class struggle. It is Labor's answer to the problem of economic disorganization.

Logically enough the General Strike has become the rallying-cry of millions of persons the world over who favor it simply because they do not wish to see the highly industrialized modern world sink into chaos, and human society sink to the level of savage survival.

The idea of the General Strike is here to stay. It came into being with the perfection of the machine process and the centralization of control which made it possible. And it will remain as a constant challenge to capitalism as long as the machinery of production is operated for profit instead of for use.

What is the General Strike?

When Ralph Chaplin wrote this pamphlet in 1933, fascism was on the march in Europe and America. He saw the general strike not just as a broad work stoppage, but rather as the occupation of industry by the workers themselves. It was his belief then that only worker control of industry could combat fascist repression and insure world peace.

 This conception of the general strike influenced the stay-in strikes of the '30s here and was modified by Japanese workers after World War II when they occupied the industries to make sure they were kept running. More recently, in the 1980s, workers in Bolivia, the Phillipines, Poland and South Africa have militantly taken up the tactic. It remains to be applied on a mass level once and for all to do away with the dangerous foolishness of private or State ownership of production. It is an idea both revolutionary and constructive, with a tremendous future.

Current IWW literature urges that workers the world over need to reach an understanding among ourselves as to what we will make, where we will ship it, and how we will distribute it in order to make optimal use of our skills and Earth's productive resources without either raping the Earth or making slaves of her people.

Coal-Mine Workers and Their Industry (IWW)

By the Education Bureau of the IWW for the Coal Mine Workers Industrial Union 220, 1923

Preface from the original:

THIS HANDBOOK for the coal-mining industry is issued by the Industrial Workers of the World for the Coal-Mine Workers' Industrial Union No. 220, of the I. W. W.

It is the opinion of the above organization that the main thing which separates the workers from control over and possession of the industries is their industrial ignorance. They may be mechanics and experts in their particular lines, but very few of them have that general grasp of all the facts pertaining to their industry which is indispensable in an age when the burning question is the taking over and the running of the industries by the organized workers. The first actual attempts in this line in Russia in the early stages of the revolution collapsed, mainly for lack of the necessary knowledge by the workers. We ought to learn from the mistakes made by others.

This handbook is the first book to be issued by the I. W. W. for the coal-mining industry. For that reason it is in the nature of a general introduction to the industry. The object of it is to arouse the interest of the coal-miners in the idea of taking over the mines and their operation through the unions, in accordance with the general program of the I. W. W., and to make them join Coal-Mine Workers' Industrial Union No. 220 of the I. W. W.

We have tried to make each chapter a more or less independent link in the chain of 18 chapters, in order to make them suitable for reprinting in periodicals without any considerable changes. This accounts for the repetitions that occur now and then.

In due time this general introduction to the various phases of the coal-mining industry should be supplemented with one work after another, written with a view to teaching the workers to manage the industry on a world basis, in such a manner that there will be no risk of industrial collapse with subsequent reaction.

We hope the coal-miners reading this book will help us in circulating it to the limit of their possibilities.

The IWW in the Lumber Industry (James Rowan)

By James Rowan, Lumber Workers Industrial Union #500 - IWW; Seattle, Washington - 1920

About the author:

James Rowan began organizing in the Lumber Industry for the IWW as early as 1916, witnessed the Everett Massacre, and became involved in the great IWW LWIU organizing campaigns from 1917-23. During this time he became to be known as the "Jesus of the Lumberjacks".

Unfortunately, post World War I defeats and factional disputes led to James Rowan leading a splinter faction called the "Emergency Program" (or "E.P.") which ultimately failed. The "E.P." died out around 1930. James Rowan was quite possibly its last remaining member.

Before this disastrous split, however, Fellow Worker Rowan's efforts contributed to and documented the success of the LWIU 120 (then known as LWIU 500).

The following represents the complete, unabridged edition of James Rowan's Sixty-One Page account of the (then) short but colorful history of the IWW in the Lumber Industry of the American Pacific Northwest from 1907-20. 

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