Partial archive of the regular publication of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) revolutionary union in the US, the One Big Union Monthly, which was produced from 1919.
March 1919 issue of The One Big Union Monthly, an early publication of the IWW.
-The Vanguard of Capitalism
-Our Immediate Demands
-The Red Tidal Wave
-A New Program
-Lest We Forget
-The Chinese and the IWW
-The Wave of Persecution
-Who is Guilty of Starting the War
-Why the Silent Defense
-The Sacred Illusion is Broken
-Deportation of IWW Members
-The Standard Oil Gold Brick
-Who Has Profited by the War?
-A Study in Reconstruction by H.P. Herzberg
-The Big Task Before Us
-How the IWW Men Brought About the 8-Hour Day in the Lumber Industry by A.H. Price
-In Memoriam Carl Liebknecht by Covington Ami
-Is Wage Slavery Abolished in Russia
-Triumphant Industrial Democracy by Covington Ami
-The Life of Democracy by Harold Lord Varney
-The Most Important Question by Justus Ebert
-What is the IWW and What Does it Want?
-Was Butte a Defeat? by Harold Lord Varney
-Poisoning the Springs of Knowledge: A Study in Thought Control
-Life in Modern Russia by N. Bucharin
-The Progress of the One Big Union Idea
-As Other People See Us
-A Direct Appeal to the American People: A Statement of the Sacramento Case by a Silent Defense Prisoner
-The Great Unrest
-Butte in the Hands of the IWW by Harold Lord Varney
-The General Strike in Seattle
-The Sacramento "Trial" by Amy Oliver
-Some Items from the Butte Strike
-The Story of the IWW by Harold Lord Varney
-An International Conference of Marine Transport Workers
-Railroad Workers Industrial Union No. 600
-Agricultural Workers Industrial Union No. 400
-Metal and Machinery Workers Bulletin
-IWW Headquarters Bulletin
August 1920 issue of The One Big Union Monthly, an early publication of the IWW.
-Political Stew for 1920, Cartoon by Dust
-Sunrise over the Harvest Fields, Cartoon by Dust
-The Agricultural Workers' Campaign
-The Leaning Tower of Capitalism is Swaying
-The IWW and Politics
-Poland and Italy
-City Central Councils
-Stools and Fools
-The Stool Pigeon and his Sphere
-Fear. Poem by Pacific Red
-Money Madness by WC Weber
-The General Defense by William D. Haywood
-The Harvest Stiff of Ancient Days: a chapter from the Agricultural Workers Handbook. With 8 illustrations by Ralph Chaplin
-The Skookum Boy. Poem by D.S. Dietz
-Renunciation. Poem by Joachim Raucher
-After the War. Poem
-The IWW in California by a Stanford University student
-Solidarity: A Rural Drama of Today by Mary Katherine Reely with two illustrations by Dust
-As A Doctor Sees It. Brief notes by Dr. B. Liber
-Future of the American Working Class by Henry van Dorn
-Instinct and Better Organization by Ralph Winstead
-Conditions on the Pacific Coast by a Wandering Wobbly
-Give Us a Photo Play of Life. Poem by Raymond Corder
-A Near Industrial Plan by Matilda Robbins
-Strike on the Job by Frederick A. Blossom
-The Germans and the IWW. Translation by Wm. Weyh
-The Labor Movement in Argentina
-One Big Union in Japan
-The IWW in Sweden. With photo.
-Mexican IWW Permanently Organized by Jose Refugio Rodriguez
-Philadelphia Strike Over
-One Dollar Per Month After First of August
-The Modern Agricultural Slave: Harvesting in Kansas by E.W. Latchem
-Who Does Not Work, Neither Shall He Eat by C. Devlin
-The Spendthrift Workers by Mary E. Marey
-Loaded for Bear
-IWW Literature List
-The IWW in Theory and Practice: Book Announcement
Part of the August 1937 issue of IWW journal The One Big Union Monthly.
"Class collaboration - old and new", a timely reminder of working class political experience by Joseph Wagner, and A. Shapiro’s Open letter to the CNT which criticised its actions during the Spanish Civil War.
Published in the IWW's One Big Union Monthly, August, 1937
Alone, or in coalition with more or less "liberal" bourgeois political parties, the socialists today are in control of the government machinery in a number of countries while yet in other countries they stand in line awaiting in their turn the call of the economic masters to take over the government and to carry on and administer the collective affairs of the capitalists in the respective countries.
The conclusion of the long and destructive World War brought capitalism to bankruptcy, the bourgeois regime stood everywhere discredited physically and morally and in a state of collapse ; everywhere the working class was in open revolt. The only organized force that yet retained some moral prestige was the socialist movement and its trade unions, who, in one country after another gallantly rushed to the rescue of the moribund regime, until recently their professed enemy.
Naturally, the capitalists very graciously allowed the socialists to resurrect and reconstruct the capitalist regime. They were allowed and even invited to form "socialist governments." Times without number these "socialist governments" proved to the master class that they are in the best of positions to save capitalism and to safeguard all their interests not only by the use of brutal military and police forces, but also by their moral prestige over the working class acquired by nearly a century of socialist party and trade union connection within the working class.
To be sure the master class never was conspicuous by its gratitude, as soon as it imagined itself strong enough to rule without the aid of socialists these were discarded, and their governments turned over to the underworld characters, to gangsters parading in differently colored shirts. A few years of experience with the gangsterdom has, however, taught world capitalism the lesson that the socialists make the more efficient and loyal servants of capitalism after all, and at the present time the pendulum is rapidly swinging away from fascism to "socialist" or "Popular Front" governments.
Socialists the world over are proud of the role their parties are playing nowadays, and they look upon their present, internationally approved policy as the acme of "Marxism." Yet, this was not always so.
Before the end of the last century, socialists of all shades were violently and unalterably opposed to the very idea of party members participating in bourgeois (capitalist) governments, thereby making the socialist movement at least indirectly responsible for the acts of their respective capitalist governments. Even the acceptance by a party member of a minor, non-elective government job, was frowned upon as not kosher from a social-democratic standpoint.
When, in 1900, Alexander Millerand, who with Jean Jaures, was heading one of the four or five socialist parties existing then in France, entered into the Waldeck-Rousseau cabinet, a storm of protests was raised in the socialist world. National and World Congresses debated and argued the propriety of the action and in all instances the act was condemned as treason to the international socialist movement. "Millerandism" and "Ministerialism" was synonymous with treason. The arguments lasted for fourteen years, until the outbreak of the World War, when the entire socialist world suddenly became "ministerialists" and governmentalists. And so it has remained to this day.
The foregoing is all old history, but it does no harm to recall it once in a while, the more so as in our days we are suddenly confronted with a new "ministerialism" from an unexpected source. This time the anarchist world is stirred with that same old question in the anti-fascist war now going on in Spain.
It would appear that with the post-war experiences, with the experiences of Bolshevism, Fascism, Nazism, we have learned enough to avoid the old and settled disputes. But we must have been mistaken, for it seems that we have to overcome the same difficulties and misunderstandings at every instance of serious fight that we, the working class, are confronted with.
The old forgotten "Millerandism" or "Ministerialism" is and has been a burning issue in Spain ever since the present war was precipitated by the uniformed bandits of Spain. The only real revolutionary force in the present Spanish war was the CNT and its ideological reflex, the F.A.I. It would have appeared an absurdity for anyone a year ago to state that the old issue of "ministerialism" could bob up—of all things—in this anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist movement, in the time of the acutest crisis that ever confronted not only these two Spanish movements (that are really one), but the anarchist fraternity the world over.
Perseus, of mythological fame, wore a magic cap so that the monsters he hunted down might not see him. I would like to have pulled such a magic cap over my own ears so that I may not see the internal fight in the revolutionary forces of the present Spanish fight. Unfortunately, I can read many languages and am in touch with revolutionary literature of many lands, and no magic cap can prevent me from seeing things I would not like to see. I am giving below a translation of an open letter of A. Shapiro to the CNT I read similar open letters months ago, whose authors have fallen since, either fighting on the bloody battlefields, or through cowardly assassination by the Spanish Branch of the Russian Cheka. Shapiro is not dead yet, he is one of the outstanding figures of the anarchist movement of the world. He was for a number of years one of the Secretariat of the International Workingmens Association. Therefore, whatever the readers of the "One Big Union" may think of his statements, I assure them that Shapiro is sincere and means what he says.
Open letter to the CNT
We read with more surprise than interest the minimal program of the CNT "for the realization of a real war policy." The reading of the program raised an entire series of questions and problems, some of which should be called to your attention.
Certainly none of us was simple enough to believe that a war can be carried on with resolutions and by anti-militarist theories. Many of us believed, long before July 19 (1936) that the anti-militarist propaganda, so dear to our Dutch comrades of the International Anti-militarist Bureau and which found, in the past, a sympathetic enough echo in the columns of your press in Spain, was in contradiction with the organization of the revolution.
Many of us knew that the putsches, that were so dear to our Spanish comrades, such as those of December 8 and January 8, 1934, were far from helping this organization of the revolution, it helped rather to disorganize it.
July 19 opened your eyes. It made you realize the mistake you had committed in the past, when, in a revolutionary period, you neglected Seriously organizing the necessary frame-work for the struggle that you knew would be inevitable on the day of the settlement of accounts. Yet, today you are shutting your eyes on another important fact. You seem to think that a civil war brought about by the circumstance of a fascist putsch does not necessarily obligate you to examine the possibilities of modifying and altering the character of that civil war.
A "minimal" program is not something to startle us ; but a particular minimal program (such as yours) cannot have any value unless it creates the opportunity for the preparation of a maximal program.
But, your "real war policy," after all, is nothing but a program for entering the Council of Ministry (government) ; with it you act merely as a political party desirous of participation in an existing government ; setting forth your conditions of participation, and these conditions are so bureaucratic in character that they are far from weakening in the least the bourgeois capitalist regime, on the contrary they are tending to strengthen capitalism and stabilize it.
The surprising part of your program is that you do not consider it as a means for the attainment of some well defined goal, but consider your "real war policy" program as an aim in itself. That is the main danger in your program. It presupposes a permanent participation in the government—not merely circumstantial—which is to extend over a number of years, even if the war itself, with its brutal, daily manifestations would cease in the meanwhile. A monopoly of the Foreign Commerce (have the communists whispered this to you ?), customs policy, new legislations, a new penal code—all of this takes a long time. In order to realize these tasks, your program proposes a very close collaboration on all fields with the bourgeoisie (republican block) and with the communists (marxist block), while almost at the same time you state in your appeal of June 14 that you are sure of triumphing not only against Franco, but also against a stupidly backward bourgeoisie ("the republican block") and against the tricky and dishonest politicians ("marxist block").
You see, therefore, that even your minimal program is beset with flagrant contradictions ; its realization is dependent on the aid of the very sectors against which that program is aimed. Even the freedom with which you state these two mutually excluding programs : collaboration with the bourgeoisie and "marxism" on the one hand and fight to finish against this same bourgeoisie and "marxism" on the other, situates your minimal program as the aim, and your declaration of June 14 becomes a mere verbiage. We would have, naturally, liked to see things the other way.
The problem of Spain’s economic reconstruction does not form a part of your program. And yet, you cannot help but know that a civil war, like the one you are going through, cannot bring the people to its aid unless the victories on the fronts will assure at the same time their own victories in the rear.
It is true—and many of us outside of Spain have known it long before July 19—the Social Revolution cannot be attained in 24 hours, and that a libertarian regime cannot be erected by the turn of the hand. Nevertheless, neither the CNT nor the F.A.I. cared anything about pre-revolutionary organization and about preparing in advance the framework for the social and economic reconstruction. We claim that there is a bridge leading from the downfall of the old regime to the erection of the new regime erected on the ashes and the ruins of the old regime. This bridge is all the more full of dangerous traps and pitfalls as the new regime differs from the old. And it was precisely this period of transition that you have misunderstood in the past and that you continue to misunderstand today. For if you had recognized that the social and economic reconstruction on a libertarian basis is the indispensable condition to victory over fascism, you would have elaborated (having in view the aim to be attained) a minimal revolutionary program that would have given the city and country proletariat of Spain the necessary will and enthusiasm to continue the war to its logical conclusion.
But such a program you failed to proclaim. The few timid allusions contained in your "war program" are far from having a revolutionary character : the elaboration of a plan for the economic reconstruction that would be accepted by the three blocks could only be a naive illusion, if it would not be so dangerous ; the municipalization of land is an anti-revolutionary project since it legalizes something that a coming revolution will have to abolish, since the municipalities are, after all, but cogs in the wheel of the State as long as the State will exist.
Naturally, the elaboration of an economic program for the transition period presupposes a final aim. Does the CNT consider that libertarian communism is an unattainable "Utopia" that should be relegated to the museum ?
If you still think (as you did before July 19) that libertarian communism forms part of the program of the CNT it is your duty—it was really your duty since July 1936—to elaborate your economic program of transition, without regard to the bourgeois and marxist blocks, who can but sabotage any program of libertarian tendency and inspiration.
To be sure, such a program will place you in conflict with these blocks, but on the other hand, it will unite with you the large majority of the workers, who want but one thing, the victory of the Revolution. It is necessary, therefore to choose between these two eventualities.
Such a program will, naturally, nullify your "war program" which is nothing but the expression of a "true" desire for a permanent cabinet collaboration. But this proposition, this "war program" of yours is diametrically contrary to the traditionally revolutionary attitude of the CNT, which this organization has not denied yet. It is therefore necessary to choose.
The CNT should not allow—as it has unfortunately done since July 19—the acceptance of the tactics of the "line of least resistance," which cannot but lead to a slow but sure liquidation of the libertarian revolution.
The ministerial collaboration policy has certainly pushed back to the rear the program of revolutionary economy. You are on the wrong track and you can see that yourselves.
Do you not think that you should stop following this road, that leads you to certain downfall ?
Text taken from http://raforum.info
Part of the September 1937 issue of IWW journal The One Big Union Monthly.
A letter from an American trade unionist and member of the revolutionary union the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) about his experiences as a fighter in the Spanish Civil War and Revolution of 1936-9 in the International section of the anarchist Durruti Column.
The following letter was published in the paper of the American IWW's paper, One Big Union Monthly in 1937.
The One Big Union Monthly and the Industrial Workers of the World are heart and soul for the success of the anti-fascist fight going on in Spain but we see no reason why we should stick our heads in the sand and pretend not to be aware of the capitalist class element within the Spanish United Front government that is trying to rob the Spanish revolutionary unionists of victory.
No matter what our opinion may be as to the wisdom of the syndicalists' policy of co-operation with political government, the information and arguments contained in this letter from a rank and file fighter in the cause of working class freedom, and in other articles appearing in this magazine, cannot but be valuable reminders that there are still working class enemies among those who favour "democracy" as opposed to fascism - Editor.
A soldier returns
Received your letter the other day in Barcelona. I typed three pages in reply but could not smuggle it out of the country, so I tore it up.
I am out of Spain. The reasons are numerous. I was not wanted by the government as I was in the Durruti International Shock Battalion. The government sabotaged us since we were formed in May and made it impossible for us to stay at the front. No tobacco unless you had money. All of the time I was in the militia I received no money. I had to beg money for postage stamps, etc. I was sent back from the front slightly shell-shocked and put in a hospital in Barcelona. when we registered at the hospital I told them I was from the Durruti International Battalion and they wouldn't register me. In fact they told me to go and ask my friends for money for a place to sleep. I explained to them that I was from Canada and had no friends in Barcelona, then they tried to make me a prisoner in the hospital. I called them all the lousy -- I could think of. Anyway, I ran away from the hospital one day to the English section of the CNT-FAI and the people there insisted that I see the British consul for a permit to leave Spain, which I did, though I hated to leave.
Spain is a wonderful country. At present it reminds me of the stories I have read of the O.G.P.U. [secret police] in Russia. The jails of loyalist Spain are full of volunteers who have more than a single-track mind. I know one of them from Toronto, a member of the L.R.W.P. I wonder if they will bump him off. The Stalinists do not hesitate to kill any of those who do not blindly accept Stalin as a second Christ. One of the refugees who came over with me from Spain was a member of the O.G.P.U. in Spain, which, by the way, is controlled by Russia. Every volunteer in the Communist International Brigade is considered a potential enemy of Stalin. He is checked and double-checked, every damn one. If he utters a word other than commy phrases he is taken "for a ride." This chap (ex- O.G.P.U.) is like all the other commies coming out of Spain, absolutely anti-Stalin and anti-communist. He skipped the country by flashing his O.G.P.U. badge on the trains etc.
I believe that the I.W.W. has lost some members here, as I doubt if they would keep quiet at the front in view of what is taking place.
It was only through sabotage that the government succeeded in disbanding the International Battalion of Anarchists. Four of our bunch died of starvation in one day. Our arms were rotten, even though the Valencia government has plenty of arms and planes. They know enough not to give arms to the thousands of anarchists on the Aragon front. We could have driven the fascists out of Huesca and Saragossa had we had the aid of the aviation. But the Anarchists form collectives where ever they advance, and these comrades would rather let Franco have those cities that the CNT-FAI.
Fenner Brockway, prominent labour leader in England, exposed the way the communists were treating those boys (volunteers) in the International Brigade. They will not let any of them come back unless they are racketeers of the Sam Scarlett type who will say anything they are told as long as the pork chops are coming in.
The CNT-FAI seems to have lost all the power they had in the army. There is a good fort on the top of a hill overlooking Barcelona which the anarchists captured from the fascists. When I left for the front it was still in the hands of the FAI but when I came back the communists had it. The workers of Spain are against the communists, but the latter don't care. They are making a play for the support of the bourgeoisie and other racketeers. As far as the industries are concerned the CNT has a lot of power, far more than any other organization.
Well, Fellow Worker, one day has elapsed since I wrote the above. Last night I had a head ache and I had to postpone finishing the letter. I am eating good since coming to France.
I believe the British consul is going to send me to England or to Canada. If I wasn't such a wreck I would ship on a British ship for Spain. Wages are double on the Spanish run, and ships are tied up because of a shortage of men. I have been on English ships and none of the crew would speak English.
I met two more men from the International Brigade this morning. They say many Canadians are in prison in Spain.
With best wished for the I.W.W.,
I remain Bill Wood
from One Big Union Monthly, September 1937.
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