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The organizations affiliated nationally include such large unions as the International Seamen's Union, the United Mine Workers, the Bakery and Confectionery Workers, the International Ladies' Garment Workers, and the American Federation of Musicians; there are also four state federations and thirty-five city central labor bodies.
The League has locally as well as nationally a membership among both individuals and organizations sympathetic with its aims and subscribing to its platform, although not themselves part of the labor movement.
League's Activity. In their own districts the local leagues play an important part in labor activities as they concern women, whether it be in time of strike, creating public opinion when the workers find all ordinary channels of publicity closed to them, or again, assisting weak organizations to become strong; educationally in maintaining classes and holding meetings; or in the legislative field, where in co-operation with other groups, they persistently work for suffrage, and such other legislative reforms as will benefit the workers, especially the women workers. But as a federation of women's trade unions, its most important function is to foster unceasingly the spirit of solidarity among the exploited women wage-earners, whether these be doffers in an Eastern textile mill, city waitresses, women in a furniture factory in the Middle West, or teachers in Chicago.
The League was represented by one of its members, Miss Agnes Nestor, on the Federal Commission for Vocational Education. Another, Miss Leonora O'Reilly, went to The Hague last year as the working women's spokesman at the International Congress of Women. Headquarters, 166 West Washington St., Chicago, Illinois. President, Mrs. Raymond Robins; Secretary-Treasurer, Miss Emma Steghagen.
References. For a fuller account of the Women's Trade Union League, and for further information, the reader is referred to the Proceedings of the Biennial Conventions, and to “The Trade Union Woman,” published by Appleton, New York.
INDUSTRIAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD.
(From The World Almanac, 1916.)
Declaration of Principles. “The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the earth and the machinery of production, and abolish the wage system.
“We find that the centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands makes the trades unions unable to cope with the ever-growing power of the employing class. The trades unions foster a state of affairs which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trades unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers.
“These conditions can be changed and the interest of the working class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry, or in all industries, if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all.
"It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only for the every day struggle with capitalists but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old."
The I. W. W. is composed of 300 local unions, 3 national industrial unions (textile, lumber and marine transport workers), having a total membership of 70,000, five national administrations—Hawaiian, Australian, New Zealand, Great Britain and South African.
The scheme of organization is similar to the one described below.
The opposition to political action is expressed in the following:
"That to the end of promoting industrial unity and of securing necessary discipline within the organization, the Industrial Workers of the World refuse all alliances, direct or indirect, with existing political parties or anti-political sects.”
The officers of the I. W. W. are W. D. Haywood, General Secretary Treasurer; Joseph J. Ettor, General Organizer. The headquarters are at 164 W. Washington St., Chicago, Ill.
THE WORKERS' INTERNATIONAL INDUSTRIAL
By H. RICHTER, GEN. SECRETARY W. I. I. U. The Workers' International Industrial Union is the new name adopted in 1915 to designate the socialist industria! class union, which was organized in 1905 under the name of the Industrial Workers of the World. The change of name was deemed advantageous to distinguish the Socialist organization from the one which follows the tenets of anarchy, advocates "sabotage," and so-called “direct action,” usually denoting non-political action. The career of the so-called Industrial Workers of the World was started at the fourth convention of the I. W. W. in 1908 with the slogan: "Strike at the ballot box with an ax.”
The Workers' International Industrial Union maintains today the socialist position on the industrial field as established in 1905, amplified by the experience gained since that time.
The following is the declaration of principles as amended at the Convention in 1915 (amended sections are given in bold type):
The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of working people and the few who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.
Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the toilers come together on the political field under the banner of a distinct revolutionary political party governed by the workers class interests, and on the industrial 'field under the banner of One Great Industrial Union to take and hold all means of production and distribution and to run them for the benefit of all wealth producers.
The rapid gathering of wealth and the centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands make the trades union unable to cope with the ever-growing power of the employing class, because the trades unions foster a state of things which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping, defeat one another in wage wars. The trades unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers.
These sad conditions must be changed, the interests of the working class upheld and while the capitalist rule still prevails all possible relief for the workers must be secured. That can only be done by an organization aiming steadily at the complete overthrow of the capitalist wage system, and formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry or in all industries, if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all.
The W. I. I. U. recognizes and advocates the necessity for a distinct Revolutionary Political Party governed by the workers' interests, as essential to remove capitalism, but as an organization it is not connected with such a political party. The special functions of either organization would be hampered by an organic connection the mutuality of interests will insure such co-operation as serves best the interest of the workers. On the basis of the above, a resolution to indorse the Socialist Labor Party was defeated at the last convention.
The constitution of the W. I. I. U. provides for an organization “embodying thirteen national industrial departments, national industrial unions, local industrial unions, local recruiting unions, industrial councils and individual members."
The Industrial Departments are to consist "of not less than ten local unions, aggregating a membership of not less than ten thousand members. They are to be subdivided in industrial unions of closely kindred industries in the appropriate organizations for representation in the departmental administration. The Departments included are: “Department of Mining Industry; Transportation Industry; Metal and Machinery Industry; Glass and Pottery Industry; Foodstuffs Industry; Brewery, Wine and Distillery industries; Floricultural, Stock and General Farming Industries; Building Industry; Textile Industries; Leather Industries; Woodworking Industries; Public Service Industries; Miscellaneous Manufacturing."
None but actual wage workers could be members of the W. I. I. U. Members of the organization are prohibited from holding office in "a pure and simple trade union.”
In the strike of Textile Workers in 1912 in the state of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, etc., the workers gained material advantages, as well as educational benefits with the industrial organization, with less expenditures in time and money than was possible with the old craft style of union.
The Iron Workers in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Akron, O., Cigarmakers in Baltimore, Md., Furniture Workers in Philadelphia, Pa., etc., experienced the same. It is true that not in all cases the material advantages could be maintained, the organization being too new and not properly developed to eliminate entirely the schemes of the opposing capitalists but enough was demonstrated to warrant the greatest confidence in future growth and power.
The W. I. I. U. has now (February, 1916) distributed throughout the country 26 local unions, the same comprising members of almost all industries, but principally the Textile, Garment, Metal and Machinery, Transportation, Public Service and Building Industries, the total membership approximating 2,500.
The W. I. I. U. publishes an official monthly organ, The Industrial Union News.
The officers of the W. I. I. U. are: General SecretaryTreasurer, H. Richter, Detroit, Mich; General Organizer, Caleb Harrison, Chicago, Ill.
The activities of the “Workmen's Circle” have increased in proportion to its size. Today it pays to sick members $6 per week for an aggregate of 15 weeks a year. It pays $100 to any member afflicted with pulmonary tuberculosis, and in addition gives such members a six months' stay in the sanatorium maintained at Liberty, New York. It is gratifying to be able to state that more than 90 per cent of the patients are cured when leaving the institution. Inmates at Liberty are not made to feel that they are recipients of charity. They are not considered a burden on the organization, because a special sanatorium maintenance fund exists, for which each member pays an equal share annually.
In addition to the sick benefits, and the sanatorium for consumptives, the “Workmen's Circle” provides a death benefit amounting to $100 to $400. All expenses are met by annual membership dues, by assessments, and by the proceeds of branch entertainments, etc.
The educational work of the organization is extensive and important. The Educational Committee issues a monthly magazine, Der Freund, and publishes timely books. Tours by prominent lecturers are arranged taking in the smallest towns, as well as the large cities. For the coming year the "Workmen's Circle” has arranged with the Board of Education of New York City for the use of its school buildings, to give courses for its membership in American History, History of the Socialist and Labor Movement, Hygiene, The Theory of Socialism, History of Jewish Literature, Botany, Civics, and Naturalization. The annual appropriation of this Educational Committee is $4,000.
"The Workmen's Circle” can be considered a thoroughly Socialistic institution. It co-operates with the undertakings of the Socialist Party and with other branches of the Labor Movement. At its annual convention it donates large sums to radical organizations in need of financial assistance. The affiliation of the Workmen's Circle with the Socialist and