You are here

publications

Post Scarcity Anarchism (Murray Bookchin)

By Murray Bookchin - Ramparts Press, 1971

This book is a collection of essays by Murray Bookchin, first published in 1971 by Ramparts Press. Bookchin outlines the possible form anarchism might take under conditions of post-scarcity. It is one of Bookchin's major works, and its radical thesis provoked controversy for being utopian in its faith in the liberatory potential of technology.

Bookchin's "post-scarcity anarchism" is an economic system based on social ecology, libertarian municipalism, and an abundance of fundamental resources. Bookchin argues that post-industrial societies are also post-scarcity societies, and can thus imagine "the fulfillment of the social and cultural potentialities latent in a technology of abundance". The self-administration of society is now made possible by technological advancement and, when technology is used in an ecologically sensitive manner, the revolutionary potential of society will be much changed.

Bookchin claims that the expanded production made possible by the technological advances of the twentieth century were in the pursuit of market profit and at the expense of the needs of humans and of ecological sustainability. The accumulation of capital can no longer be considered a prerequisite for liberation, and the notion that obstructions such as the state, social hierarchy, and vanguard political parties are necessary in the struggle for freedom of the working classes can be dispelled as a myth.

Downloadable PDF File

Lumberjack (Tom Scribbner)

By Tom Scribbner - IWW, 1966

Image (right): statue of Tom Scribbner with his musical saw, located in downtown Santa Cruz, California.

Web Editor's Introduction: this book is included primarily for historical accounts as well as entertainment.

Tom Scribner was a timber industry worker and a union organizer his entire life. He joined the IWW in 1914 and was a part of the LWIU's fight for the eight-hour day. He participated in the formation of the once radical International Woodworkers of America (IWA) of the CIO (now merged with the International Association of Machinists (IAM) in the AFL-CIO). He was an unabashed member of the American Communist Party during its heyday in he 1930s. He founded two newspapers, Lumberjack News and Redwood Ripsaw. He was a radical all his life, and wrote a great deal. Much of his best work, he self-published in Lumberjack.

This website includes a complete, unabridged copy of Tom Scribner's self-published book, Lumberjack, originally published in 1966. Between 1990-94, the members of Santa Cruz General Membership Branch of the IWW reproduced several hundred copies of Lumberjack, however they made a conscious decision not to make any alterations to Scribner's original work. This meant that no corrections were made to spelling, grammatical, or punctuation errors. Furthermore, it meant that they made no annotations or clarifications where Scribner's politics differed from their own, even though the work was circulated and sold as unofficial IWW literature. As a result, there are several potential problems that we found it necessary to address.

It is most appropriate to leave unaltered numerous grammatical errors made by Scribner, as he was a timber worker his entire life and not a scholar. Scribner himself apologizes in his own introduction for "bloopers on the Kings English". Members of the Santa Cruz IWW believed, as do we, that to change these would be to ruin the character of the writing and the tenor of the work. however, where we part company with our Fellow Workers' concerns spelling and punctuation errors. We have cleaned these up, as we found it necessary to do so, because retention of spelling errors could cause unsuspecting visitors to this website to regard us as dolts and radicals on the left are always subject to much greater criticism then just about anybody else. Furthermore, corrections of such errors make the writing easier to understand. We feel nothing has been lost in the translation and transcription.

We have also made some additions, notably the assignment of "chapter numbers" to allow for easy reference (even though Scribner didn't even include a table of contents). Furthermore, we have made an occasional annotation (in the form of footnotes) to clarify points that might be obscure to most readers. A few footnotes note, admittedly ideological difference that we have with Scribner. Most of these concern his position on Communism. Scribner was an unapologetic pro-Soviet Communist, i.e. he believed that the Soviet Union represented a step forward for the Working Class (it is not clear whether or not Scribner was a Stalinist. He has nothing to say about Mao or Trotsky in any of the writings featured here, nor does he offer any criticism of Stalin for that matter). History has, in our opinion, proven Scribner quite wrong. Furthermore, the IWW Constitution and the theories that most Wobblies have about industrial unionism differ very sharply from Scribner's concept of Proletarian Revolution.

The IWW believes that the only way that we can achieve true, maximum individual freedom for everyone as well as a world in which we can all live sustainably, is through industrial organization. Direct action at the point of production, and organization in the workplace (or at the community level). Political parties (not to be confused with political action which is any action that involves political issues, be they labor, environmental, or social justice) and seizure of state power are a tactical and strategic cul-de-sac that will only result in the continued oppression of he working class. Scribner did not hold the same views and because of this, he quit the IWW after the organization suffered a damaging split in 1924.

Why include his writings then, if he was no longer a complete believer in the industrial unionism of the IWW? The answer is simple. He was a member of the IWW (at least for ten years) and a timber worker all of his life. Despite his ideological disagreements with the IWW, he rightfully points out that the IWW did more for timber workers in North America than any other organization. Furthermore, he describes aspects of the timber industry that can be found nowhere else. Finally, he was a union organizer, whatever his politics, and the IWW believes that organizing the unorganized is essential to abolishing wage slavery.

Our Synthetic Environment

By Murray Bookchin - 1962

In his very first published book, Murray Bookchin, writing under the pseudonym "Lewis Herber", warns of the dangers of pesticide use, and espouses an ecological and environmentalist worldview.

Our Synthetic Environment was one of the first books of the modern period in which an author espoused an ecological and environmentalist worldview. It predates Silent Spring (1962) by Rachel Carson, a more widely known book on the same topic widely credited as starting the environmental movement.

PDF File

A Union For All Railroad Workers (IWW Railroad Workers)

Transcribed by J. D. Crutchfield from an original kindly lent by FW Steve Kellerman, Boston GMB. Some misprints silently corrected. Reformatted slightly for easier reading.

Last updated 8 March 2004.

A Foreword About Those Who Wrote This Booklet

This booklet, like the movement to organize railroad workers into the One Big Union of the I. W. W., comes from actively engaged railroad workers themselves. The authors do not make their living by writing or by organizing. For over thirty years each of them has made his living by working in the railroad industry. They were selected as a committee by their fellow workers who wanted the best possible working conditions and who realize they will need the best possible unionism to get them.

For this reason they selected the I. W. W. because of its structure, policies, principles and its 43 years' clean record of no sell-outs, no crossing of picket lines, no scabbery and continuous working rank and file control.

They have made rapid progress. At the present time they have delegates in the following departments of railroad transportation: Engineers, Firemen, Conductors, Trainmen, Car Inspectors, Dispatchers, Switchmen, Signal Operators. Not one of these is drawing pay from the union for his work. They give the necessary hours to their boss on the job and the other hours are devoted to rest and organization activity. This shows their sincerity and determination. Every delegate has years of experience in railroad transportation and in the more than twenty unions that keep railroad workers divided. It is their firm determination to organize all who work for the railroads.

In making this booklet to explain why they want industrial unionism, and what they hope to accomplish with it, they have picked up whatever good idea they could find anywhere, without concerning themselves with crediting the originator, certain that a good idea should be circulated.

They propose Tentative Demands. They are tentative because a democratic organization does not get its demands shoved down its throat. It is not enough to re-organize railroad labor industrially. An industrial union with the policies of the present craft-union leadership, while it might be better than craft unionism, is not good enough. The men who have sat up nights to prepare this booklet want you to read it, to think about it, and circulate it.



 LISTEN, RAILS!

 Every click of the rails is singing to you,
"Get more, get more, get more !"
Every exhaust of every engine is saying,
"You can do it, you can do it, you can do it !"
And the deep-throated wampus says:
"Organize, Organize, Organ-i-i-ze!"

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 Lumber Industry and Its Workers (James Kennedy)

This lengthy text was published by the Industrial Workers of the World in 1922. While by now some of the information is considerably dated, this study is still thoroughly exhaustive for its time. The breadth of knowledge possessed by the workers in the Lumber Industry is demonstrated here, and it shows that, even in 1922, control of the industry by the workers was entirely possible. So while technology and conditions have changed, the song remains the same. The working class and the employing class have nothing in common.

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. 

The Centralia Conspiracy (Ralph Chaplin)

By Ralph Chaplin - 1919

Note to readers:  the web version of this document omits the many images (due to the images' poor contrast and resolution) and their descriptive captions, which--although informative--are also covered in the general narrative.  For the complete document, including images and captions, please download this PDF Version of the document.

This document has been subdivided to allow for quicker load times and more digestable reading.  The following divisions are not part of the original document.

The Everett Massacre: A History of the Class Struggle in the Lumber Industry (Walker C Smith)

By Walker C. Smith - IWW, 1917

This book is dedicated to those loyal soldiers of the great class war who were murdered on the steamer Verona at Everett, Washington, in the struggle for free speech and free assembly and the right to organize:

FELIX BARAN,
HUGO GERLOT,
GUSTAV JOHNSON,
JOHN LOONEY,
ABRAHAM RABINOWITZ,
and those unknown martyrs whose bodies were swept out to unmarked ocean graves on Sunday, November Fifth, 1916.

Preface

By C. E. PAYNE.

In ten minutes of seething, roaring hell at the Everett dock on the afternoon of Sunday, November 5, 1916, there was more of the age-old superstition regarding the identity of interests between capital and labor torn from the minds of the working people of the Pacific Northwest than could have been cleared away by a thousand lecturers in a year. It is with regret that we view the untimely passing of the seven or more Fellow Workers who were foully murdered on that fateful day, but if the working class of the world can view beyond their mangled forms the hideous brutality that was the cause of their deaths, they will not have died in vain.

This book is published with the hope that the tragedy at Everett may serve to set before the working class so clear a view of capitalism in all its ruthless greed that another such affair will be impossible.

Pages

The Fine Print I:

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) unless otherwise indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s, nor should it be assumed that any of these authors automatically support the IWW or endorse any of its positions.

Further: the inclusion of a link on our site (other than the link to the main IWW site) does not imply endorsement by or an alliance with the IWW. These sites have been chosen by our members due to their perceived relevance to the IWW EUC and are included here for informational purposes only. If you have any suggestions or comments on any of the links included (or not included) above, please contact us.

The Fine Print II:

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc.

It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.