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Chapter II

The W. I. I. U.

All varieties of industrial unions stand out more

sharply, like separate trees silhouetted black against the

sunset afterglow, when they are seen before the luminous

background of Daniel De Leon's philosophy of industrial

unionism, which is embodied in the Workers' International

Industrial Union (W. I. I. U.)

But whatever their differ

ences in regard to goal, or mode of organization and tac

tics employed to attain their goal, on one thing they agree

entirely with De Leon, namely, his analysis of the situa

tion with which they are confronted.

1. Analysis of the Industrial Situation

Looming up ominously before them is the fact that

"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.1

On one side stands a small pro

pertied class that owns the factories, the means of com

munication, machines, and raw materials, all the means of


On the other side stand the workers in their mil

lions, without the means of life.

Of all the wealth

created by their toil they receive only just as much as

enables them to eke out a miserable existence.

And this

1. Preamble to w. I. I. U. Constitution.

in an age of machine production!

With modern machinery the

working class has produced, and is producing, an ever-in

creasing abundance of wealth.

There is no ghost of an excuse

for poverty, want, child labor, unemployment, and wage-slavery.

Yet the working people become all the time more and

more impoverished; they are able to buy less and less of the

products they have produced.

Their condition is going from

bad to worse.

Although labor alone, as they believe, pro

duces all wealth, less and less of this wealth comes to the

working class, and more and more of it is plundered by the


capitalist class. Their relative share of the wealth which
they produce keeps shrinking.

annah ni lol ha
At the same time, they observe the concentration of

wealth and the centering of the management of industry into

fewer and fewer hands. "The present system,

"The present system," they exclaim, "is robbery, daily, hourly robbery." "This wealth, under

the present system, ....is STOLEN by the capitalist class of parasites.....DOWN with Capitalism!"


There can be no peace in industry so long as the present system of distribution of

2 the products of Labor exists.

Why is it possible for a small non-producing class

to amass millions while the large producing class eke out

a bare existence? Why are the capitalists able to appro

priate to themselves what the working class produce?


this simple reason:

that the working class has


"The American Socialist Labor Party." 1. Industrial Union News, Nov. 15, 1919. 2. Constitution of W. I. I. U., Preamble.

stripped of the tool, or machine, without which it cannot earn

a living. The development of modern machine production has divorced the operation of industry from its ownership and manage


The power of the capitalists is rooted in their economic

control of the socially necessary means of production.


over, the machine or tool, says De Leon, "has reuched such a

state of development that it can no longer be operated by the individual, but needs the collective efforts of many.


The same facts are thus expressed by Debs; "At the be

ginning of industrial society men worked with hand tools; a

boy could learn a trade, make himself the master of the simple

tools with which he worked, and employ himself and enjoy what

he produced; but that simple tool of a century ago has become

a mammoth social instrument; in a word, that tool has been socialized. Not only this, but production has been socialized.

As small a commodity as a pin or a pen or a match involves for its production all of the social labor of the land. -2

In the evolution of capitalism, society has thus been

divided mainly into two economic classes: a relatively small class of capitalists who own machines they do not use, and a

great body of many millions of workers who use the machines

and whose very lives depend upon them, yet who do not own them.

The workmen who operate the industries furnish only their la

bor-power, in consideration of which they receive just enough


1. De Leon, Daniel, "What Means This Strike?" 2. Debs, Eugene V., "Industrial Unionism," 18.

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