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2. Structure and Functions of the Industrial Union

The goal of the proletariat is the overthrow of Class Rule. The overthrow of Cluss Rule means two things: (1) The abolition of the capitalist system of private ownership in the machinery of production, which must be collectively owned and operated by the people. (2) The wrenching of the control of government from the clutches of the capitalist class, after which the political State will either wither away by disuse, or be amputated, and in its place will arise an Industrial Republic. The ultimate goal is, therefore, the substitution of Industrial Government for the Political State.

The problem, then, is to organize the working class in a way to attain this goal. Gouls determine methods. And, since the capitalist class is intrenched in an economic citadel -- i. e., its ownership of the socially necessary means of production, which are absolutely indispensable to society

-- what economic power can be marshalled for its overthrow?


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The v. I. I. U. answers: The power of the capitalists must be met with the superior economic power of the workers. In what does that economic power consist? "The working class, being toolless and stripped of every vestige of property, cannot organize its economic forces along the lines of ownership. The economic power of the proletariat rests not...... in the power of ownership, but in.......its actual indispensability as a producing class." Experiences during the war

1. Dannenberg, Karl, "The Road to Power",


made labor realize its importance, and it comes to this conclusion: "The present war has shown that the workers are the most indispensable class in society today. Appeals are made to them to cease their struggles in order to save the State. Labor must see to it that, having seved the State, it claims the right to mould it in accordance with what is known to be best for social progress as a whole." The physical and intellectual productive faculties of the workers must be organized on a class-conscious basis, in line with the dictates of economic development.

Economic solidarity, it has been shown, is the supreme need of the working class; and solidarity is best attained, De Leon asserted, by organizing the workers at the point of production into units corresponding to the industries in which

they work.

Locally, the unit of organization is the Local Industrial Union, which presents to the employer a class alignment on the job. Although the local is merely a cell in the National Industrial Union, it nevertheless typifies the structure of the whole. Boundaries are traced by facts in production. The fact of production which determines the external boundary line of the Local Industrial Union is

output. Whatever the product turned out may be, whether electrical apparatus, coal, or postal service, the product, - not the tool, – fixes the boundary. All the wage-earners in a given locality who are engaged in the same industry, which turns out à particular product, would belong to one


1. Industrial Union News, May 17, 1919.

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