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cast by the economic power of the capitalists. Capturing the State would be like catching a shadow. But after we capture the factories, I. W. W.'s boast, find the shadow then, and it

will be our shadow.


Industrial Unionism

The structure of the I. W. W. and that of the W.I.L.U.

are almost identical. The great difference is in the allocation of power. So radically do they differ in this respect that the governments they propose to set up would be wholly


The W.I.I.U. proposes to establish a centralized

Industrial Republic, the 1.w.w. a decentralized Industrial

Democracy which those unkindly disposed have called Anarcho


The I.w.w. slogan, "ONE BIG UNION," means that every worker must be organized into one big union of his industry. It does not mean mass unionism. It does not mean that the railroad worker, the plumber, the teamster, and the baker will all be in the same local union. That form of organization has been proved a failure. The 1.v.W. and the w.1.1.. agree on the necessity of organization according to industry.

"The 'one big union' slogan of the I. w. W., " we are tola, "means CLASS organization according to industry." It means, "All workers of one industry in one union; all unions

1. Grover H. Perry, "The Revolutionary I.W.9.," 3. 2. Ibid.

of workers in one big labor alliance the world over."



great central organization is intended to embrace all workers in all industries throughout the world.

The structure of local unions of the I. W. W. differs little from that of the W. I. I. U. The Industrial Branch Union of the I. W. W. corresponds to the Local Industrial Union of the W. I. I. U., and both organizations provide for an Industrial District Council. They differ slightly in the subdivisions of the local union; for the I. W. W. has, in practice at least, no Trade Branches, although the constitution speaks of workers in a given industry being "welded together as the particular requirements of said industry may render necessary." This is interpreted to mean shop sections primarily, although there may be language sections or department or district sub




The significant difference is in the power and method of operation of the local. In the I. W. W., power resides in the general membership; officers are only clerks. During the present fight against capitalism, "workers, not officials, " we are tola, "call strikes on or off. All power thereby remains in the hands of the man on the job."* This is "a real democracy in action." Officers transact affairs of general con


cern, maintain communication with other branches of the same

1. "One Big Union," 29. 2. Vincent St. John, "The I.W.W., Its History, Structure, and

Methods, " 14-15. 3. Ibid. 4. George Harrison (one of 166 I.W.W.'s indicted in Sept..

1917). "Is Freedom Dead?"

industrial union, and attend to all detail work.

So they

will continue to do when the Industrial Branch Union becomes

a unit in the Industrial Co-operative Commonwealth. But im

portant matters require the attention of the entire local membership. "Such important matters," we are informed, "are referred to a general meeting or a general referendum of the local membership."

Although the Industrial Union of the I. W. W. is identical in structure with that of the . I. I. U., in the latter it would be a State in an Industrial Republic, in the former only a federation of Industrial Branches with a staff of clerks at the head. The Industrial Union would have no such power as under the W. I. I. U. system. Its officials and executive board would transact its affairs, maintain communication between branches, etc., but important matters pertaining to the industry would be dealt with through the referendum. The officials are also expected to maintain unity of action among the branches. They function as a committee, selected by actual workers in the various branches, to facilitate co-operation throughout the in

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dustry, and since the industry. under the I. W. ".. would

recognize no national boundaries, such a committee would

be indispensable.

Authority, however, would rest with the

general membership.

1. B. H. Williams, "The Constructive Program of the I.W.W.,"

in Solidarity, June 7, 1913. 2. Ibid. 3. Ibid.

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