American Worker's Councils

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devoration1
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Aug 9 2010 02:07
American Worker's Councils

Awhile back I purchased and read the wobbly book, "The Industrial Workers of the World: Its First 100 Years," by Fred W. Thompson and Jon Bekken ( Link To Book Via IWW Lit Dept ). I no longer have it, though there is a portion of the book that deals with a series of labor events in the US in the years after the October Revolution. Several embryonic soviets are described in different regions/cities. I was trying to find more information about them, and came across a site called "The Seattle General Strike Project":

Quote:
While people may have exaggerated the involvement of the IWW in the Seattle General Strike, the history of the Wobblies in the months and years leading up to the strike did provide their opponents with ammunition and evidence to support their claims. IWW members never shied away from confrontations with their opponents, and made their radical ideas well known. In August 1918 the IWW was reported to be plotting a general strike of miners and lumber workers throughout the West. 32 Wobblies were arrested in Spokane in connection with the plot. Scores of Wobblies were arrested following the passing of anti-sedition laws by the government. The same month that the plot was broken up in Spokane, 70 IWW members were jailed in Seattle for "government investigation as suspected seditionists."

There were also reports of a mass meeting in Tacoma of the Tacoma Soldiers’, Sailors’, and Workmens’ Council where the speakers, including I.W.W. representatives, urged "a peaceful overthrow of the present form of government in the United States and the taking over of government industries by the working class..."

An article in the Oregonian on January 13, 1919 reported on a meeting of "Bolsheviks" in Seattle at 4th and Virginia at which speakers were urging a general strike in large part to prevent the shipping of supplies to Siberia for use by armies who were resisting the Bolsheviks there. These articles all reflect the fact that there was an abundance of activity by the IWW and other radicals in the years prior to the strike. The activities that found their way onto the pages of the newspapers made much of the public resentful, distrustful, and afraid of the Wobblies and their intentions.

http://depts.washington.edu/labhist/strike/anderson.shtml

Does anyone know of any other sources of information concerning the soviets or attempted soviets in the United States, specifically within a few years of the October 1917 revolution?

Their existence and history doesn't seem to be well known or discussed much.

Black Badger
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Aug 9 2010 04:25

"Strike!" by Jeremy Brecher; "Dynamite" by Louis Adamic; "Labor's Untold Story" by Richard Boyer and Herbert Morais

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devoration1
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Aug 9 2010 16:02

Interesting- I have a copy of Dynamite. I'll have to flip through it and post the relevant portions.

petey
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Aug 9 2010 18:02

thanks for that, i've got a copy of dynamite also, will have a look

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klas batalo
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Aug 9 2010 22:34

strike and dynamite are wicked awesome. my crew is lucky to have original copies of each!

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klas batalo
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Aug 9 2010 22:36

also check this out:

http://www.prole.info/texts/seattle1919.html

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Aug 9 2010 23:31

draper's roots of american communism also mentions some workers councils, one being in butte, montana and the other one being in portland, oregon.

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Aug 10 2010 07:35

Toledo Ohio also had a major Workers' council. Most of these were centered (as far as I can tell) around the left-Socialist "Proletarian University" based in Detroit. The Seattle council was also tied into the One Big Union based in Canada, which the Washington State AFL came near to joining in 1919. The Proletarians were close to both the Socialist Party of Canada and SPGB, joined the Communist Party of America as a dissident group. Most left the CPA to form the Proletarian Party of America.

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Aug 11 2010 08:58

also on the seattle strike: http://en.internationalism.org/inter/150/seattle-general-strike-1919

and on the winnipeg strike in canada: http://en.internationalism.org/inter/151/winnipeg-general-strike

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Aug 11 2010 09:47

there was a short-lived Workers’, Soldiers’, Sailors’, and Farmer’s Council of Buffalo and Erie County in March 1919: its manifesto here (pdf) and a report on its suppression here (pdf) ... more documents from this period: http://marxists.org/history/usa/eam/year/year1919downloads.html

petey
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Aug 14 2010 17:52

last night i heard about this, which i never knew before:

Quote:
The St. Louis strike was marked by a bloodless, efficient and quick take-over by dissatisfied workers of commerce and transportation in the area. By July 22, the St. Louis Commune began to take shape as representatives from almost all the railroad lines met in East St. Louis. They soon elected an executive committee to command the strike and issued General Order No. 1, halting all railroad traffic other than passenger and mail trains. John Bowman, the mayor of East St. Louis, was appointed arbitrator of the committee. He helped the committee select special police to guard the property of the railroads from damage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1877_Saint_Louis_general_strike

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Aug 14 2010 18:53

What a depressing quote. Reminds of reading the history of the German revolution of 1918 for the first time. "Comrades, thank you for electing me to the executive committee of the revolutionary worker's and soldier's council of Berlin. First order of business: we must dissolve this worker's and soldier's council. Everyone- return to work."

I tried to find references to early American soviets in 'Dynamite' with no luck. Was anyone else able to find the relevant portions?

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Aug 14 2010 22:15

A link to the story of the Buffalo worker's council:

Quote:
Soldiers’, Sailors’, Workers’ and Farmers’ Council Denied Right of Assemblage
[events of March 6-10, 1919]

http://www.marxisthistory.org/history/usa/parties/spusa/1919/0310-newage-buffalorally.pdf

"Chamber of Commerce in
Deadly Fear of Bolshevism."

grin

A link about a meeting of the Union of Russian Workers ('Soviet of Workingmen's Deputies of the US and Canada') in 1919:

Quote:
From the 6th to the 9th of January, 1919, the
2nd Convention of the Russian Colonies was held in
New York City. One hundred twenty-three delegates
participated in the convention and they represented
33,975 Russians, according to the Soviet of Workingmen’s
Deputies of the US and Canada Weekly. The independent
element was represented by 60 delegates;
Union of Russian Workers, 49; Socialists, 9; Industrial
Workers of the World, 2; and Anarchists, 3. During
the convention, Peter Bianki, who represented the
Union of Russian Workers of the United States and
Canada and the Anarchists, declared from the convention
floor: “The Union of Russian Workers deny any
form of power and Government because where Government
begins, Revolution ends and where there is Revolution
there is no place for Government.” Bianki further
declared that the Union of Russian Workers has found
it possible to support the Bolsheviki in its struggle
against the counterrevolution because the Bolsheviki
undoubtedly are the most Revolutionary part of the
Russian Social Democratic Party.

http://www.marxisthistory.org/history/usa/parties/urw/1919/0408-speer-unionrusworkers.pdf

Both are very interesting. It would be so beneficial if a complete written account (in chronological order) of every soviet and proto-soviet formed after 1917 in North America, along with the activities of RSFSR-linked groups in North America, were available. From intially stumbling upon that quote and little bits and pieces in a couple books, to the information provided by everyone here, there seems to be an incredible historical movement to draw lessons and inspiration from.

In the book 'Wobblies & Zapatistas', Staughton Lynd writes that in his youth he tried to find a period of American history that he could 'relate to', regarding his feelings for revolution, 'progress', etc and was unable to do so. I think a lot of American communists, anarchists, syndicalists, etc feel the same way. Aside from individual groups recording & carrying on their own legacy (IWW, SLP, etc) and archived material for historical value (marxists.org and various books) there isn't a well grounded revolutionary history of the revolutionary American workers. A lot of us just don't know about these events, the people involved, the groups involved, etc.

*Also, regarding the second link, does this mean that the RSFSR recognized Russian migrants to other countries (as in, did this soviet in NYC representing 33k Russian workers have a seat at the table back home)? It would be incredible if they did. If so, it'd be another incident of the IWW participating in the kinds of political action that their constitution repudiates- as the Wobblies snubbed their invitation to join the Third International and then the Profintern. Maybe elsewhere it would be worth trying to get the IWW to take a stance on political action via proletarian dictatorship and worker's councils.

syndicalist
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Aug 17 2010 18:24

Not to be confused with the "Workers Council of the US"

http://www.marxisthistory.org/subject/usa/eam/workerscouncil.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workers'_Council_of_the_United_States

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Aug 17 2010 22:18

Indeed. What a strange thing to call your group. I think the Russians were really hoping that the IWW would become the American branch of the Comintern. If this wasn't the case, they don't have much of an excuse for the shoddy work in trying to create an American communist party with clear directives (CPUSA was a joke from the beginning).

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Aug 26 2010 15:03
Quote:
Toledo Ohio also had a major Workers' council. Most of these were centered (as far as I can tell) around the left-Socialist "Proletarian University" based in Detroit. The Seattle council was also tied into the One Big Union based in Canada, which the Washington State AFL came near to joining in 1919. The Proletarians were close to both the Socialist Party of Canada and SPGB, joined the Communist Party of America as a dissident group. Most left the CPA to form the Proletarian Party of America.

That sounds very close to the trajectory of the Winnipeg general strike.

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Aug 27 2010 02:23
devoration1 wrote:
the shoddy work in trying to create an American communist party with clear directives (CPUSA was a joke from the beginning).

I've been reading Draper's book The Roots of American Communism and even bought James P. Cannon's The First Ten Years of American Communism to try to find out more about a few scattered references I'd heard to members of the CPA and CLP who held some positions in common with the communist left. There's still a lot to find out about what became of the various people like Hourwich and Tyverovsky, who Draper claims had long arguments with Lenin about the AFL vs. IWW question (as did John Reed) and a comrade used to talk about a specific delegation of Americans who went to visit Lenin as soon as they had Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder published in the US to ask him what the heck he was thinking and try to change his mind (this may have been confused with the people who went to the 3rd ComIntern congress, during which the Hourwich and Tyverovsky argued with Lenin in private). And eventually some of the PPA people did team up with Mattick in the 1930s. But yes, generally, even when arguing for solid communist positions (against the AFL, for example), the Americans often had rather confused reasons for doing so (arguing against striking for wage-rises, for example).

-soyons tout

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Aug 27 2010 02:44
EdmontonWobbly wrote:
Quote:
That sounds very close to the trajectory of the Winnipeg general strike.

In what way?

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Aug 27 2010 02:56
EdmontonWobbly wrote:

That sounds very close to the trajectory of the Winnipeg general strike.

Indeed. I think the 1912 Brisbane general strike is of the similar 'archetype' as well- even though it was far less 'advanced', some of the basic elements that categorize a mass or general stike and its ability to spread to the point of taking power from the bourgeois state are apparent.

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Sep 22 2010 01:35

Has anyone read (or own) the book The Wobblies: The Story of the IWW and Syndicalism in the United States by Patrick Renshaw? If so, does it contain any references to the American worker's councils/soviets in the 1917-1920 period?

I found this article on Marxists.org- though the file is corrupted or something. Is it worth putting in the Library on Libcom?

Quote:
The Soviets And The I.W.W. By I.E. Ferguson

Published in The Communist [Chicago — CPA], new series v. 1, no, 7 (Nov. 15, 1919), pg. 6.

A new political form has seized upon the imagination of people everywhere as the highest expression of democracy. Not the democracy of phrases and abstract personal liberties, which vanish upon touch, but mass democracy — a democracy which reaches out in a conscious effort to bring ever-widening circles of industrial and rural workers into the active administration and control of the national economy. It seems a strange perversity that at this late date in the history of the proletarian revolution in Russia there are yet among us, in such radical organizations as the IWW and the Socialist Labor Party, many who cannot transpose in their own minds the Dictatorship of the Proletariat as the outward expression of a real democracy of the working class. There is dictatorship in that there is exclusion from suffrage, exclusion of the exploiting groups which have up to this moment used the state power for the bourgeois class purposes, have used this power ruthlessly and brutally, even in the countries which make the greatest pretense
out of the hollow forms of bourgeois democracy as in the United States. The proletarian revolution contrasts with the 18th Century bourgeois revolutions in honesty. The bourgeois revolutionists, some with sinister cunning, others with generous zeal and glow of love and liberty, used the slogans of “liberty, fraternity, equality” as if these meant what they said. The masses responded, under the impulse of their oppressions, and in the faith of Reason and Liberty. Then came the black night of bourgeois rendering of blood and bone and soul into avid profit. The proletarian revolution does not conceal its problems and difficulties — from whom shall it conceal, if it is in truth of the masses? Nor does it deal in hypocrisies with its enemies. It is the Socialist dealing in hypocrisies. The hypocrisies offered for bourgeois consumption converted themselves into the justification for working class betrayal. Even the Liberals, with generous instincts and love of liberty in confusion with compelling upper class loyalty, nevertheless are swept off their feet by the honesty of the proletarian revolution. They are sickened of their own sham democracy, but the bonds of social caste hold them firm. At most they talk for the masses; they do not act with the masses.... The Liberals accept the marking off of the limits of proletarian democracy during the transitional revolutionary period, under the name dictatorship, as a welcome relief from the phrase democracy which is nothing other than finance dictatorship as against the whole people. Not so the IWW, in its official literature. Not so the SLP. There are those who value phrases like their fellows cling to opiates.

• • • • •

The Soviets are a form in process of evolution. At the moment they are a blend, not without confusion, of the initial unit both in the Communist political control and of the Communist economic administration. As the reconstruction advances, the political functions diminish and the economic functions come to the forefront. Even now, with the Red Army fighting on some fifteen fronts, there is already a tremendous alteration of the national budget away from military expenditure in favor of educational and economic expenditure. With the intervention out of the way, the Soviet government would already exhibit itself as almost entirely a communist administration of national economy. It goes without saying that such an administration for a great country like Russia, especially immediately following the world war destruction and the Tsaristic chaos, requires a span of years for adjustment in detail. But the actual achievements up to date, and the cementing of the confidence of a vast unenlightened people in the proletarian democracy, and the winning of the acquiescent tolerance of political minorities ranging from Anarchists to Liberals, and the drawing together with the industrial proletariat of the peasantry and large elements of the petty bourgeoisie — these testify to the high adaptability and democratic appeal of the Soviets in operation. The official literature of the IWW describes the Soviets as a makeshift substitute for industrial unions. An analysis of these IWW writings shows that the root of the argument is nothing other than the anarchist conception of the proletarian revolution — that the revolution is the elimination of the state, as against the Communist conception that the revolution is the elimination of the private property system of exploitation, with the disappearance of the state as a necessary sequence of the passing of class exploitation. Careful reading will show that the idea of the industrial union prepared in advance of the revolution for taking into itself all the functions of social reconstruction is not only a phantastical myth, not only an evasion of the obvious reality that the industrial union comes into life under capitalism as an immediate fighting weapon for better conditions of labor (and that this is its whole equipment as an industrial union), but also a mischievous boomerang against the revolutionary movement itself, since it leads to the negation of everything except the unions built according to this theory. The IWW insists that it came into being in direct responsiveness to the life needs of the workers in the mines, in the forests, on the docks, and in the shops. And so do all other unions come into being under like impulse. The difference is that the IWW was built out of such elements and under such conditions of capitalistic exploitation that it took on a special character of desperate struggle, and that it required a kind of organization and methods of action which were in fundamental antagonism to the dominant trade unionism. Under like conditions of exploitation, and with the craft groups losing control as the unskilled and semi-skilled come to the front in unions such as those of the steel workers and the miners and the machinists and the longshoremen, the trend toward aggressive industrial unionism takes its way throughout the labor movement. This process is helped by the agitation and example of the pioneer IWW. But the IWW becomes a perverse element in the labor movement when it loses sight of the realities which brought it into life and insists that it is its theory, not its example, which is of importance; when it insists that the whole revolutionary agitation in the United States that can be nothing except one continuous hallelujah to the IWW.

The IWW is capitalizing the sympathy which it has won by the capitalistic brutalities against it as an offensive against the Communist movement in this country. It goes to unbelievable extremes in its official denunciation of mass action and Dictatorship of the Proletariat, conceptions which are the essence of the world proletarian revolution now in full swing. It still makes attacks upon the Communist Party for advocating political action, even though the Communist Party puts overwhelming emphasis on industrial organization and action as the most effective means of political assertion by the workers of the United States today. Again it is the anarchist infusion which explains why these IWW propagandists shun anything done in the name of political power, even though it is the politics of the revolution itself, not the Socialist politics of parliamentarism against which the Syndicalist movement was a protest. The Syndicalists set up the general strike in opposition to the indirect, futile, wheedling method of legislative reformism. The Left Wing Socialists accepted the challenge, and in the European countries, in Australia, and in Canada there is the closest cooperation between the radical unionists and the revolutionary Socialists, who in almost all the countries now differentiate themselves as Communists. This opposition of radical unionism to Communism and Sovietism is a distinctive American phenomenon. In other countries one cannot discover the line between the revolutionist within the union and the revolutionist as an advocate of Dictatorship of the Proletariat. The mass action conception, even more, has its practical exemplification in the activities of the Syndicalists. The IWW, for the moment, lines up with the Scheidemann-Ebert-Kautsky regime against the Communist movement, the cardinal principal principal of which is:

All power to the Soviets.

All power to the special new organs of power, political and industrial, by which the working class makes itself the ruling class of society, using this power for dictatorial inroads upon the private property system of labor exploitation.
The IWW, for the moment, refuses to realized that the struggle for proletarian class power and the process of revolutionary reconstruction will determine new forms of organization and management, just as the struggles in the capitalistic industries have produced unions of one kind and another. The IWW, for the moment, refuses to concede that Sovietism does not in the least negate the immediate importance of the industrial unions as units within the general Soviet system. In other words, there is nothing for the IWW to surrender to the general revolutionary movement in the United States except an arrogant conceit, and failing this, the present official policy of the IWW will result in a miserable betrayal of all the splendid courage and sacrifice that have gone into making of IWW history. The Communist Party stands for a unity of revolutionary proletarian propaganda in the United States, a unity based on the Manifesto and Program of the Communist International.

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Entdinglichung
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Sep 22 2010 09:28

freshly uploaded on archive.org: George Harrison's The red dawn : the Bolsheviki and the I.W.W. (1918)

David in Atlanta
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Sep 25 2010 18:29
devoration1 wrote:
. Maybe elsewhere it would be worth trying to get the IWW to take a stance on political action via proletarian dictatorship and worker's councils.

It's been several years since I've been a member but I would imagine it would be a complete waste of time and would only serve to piss off a great deal of the membership.

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May 24 2012 09:09

Article called 'American Soviets May Hold Convention' from The Revolutionary Age, which was the paper for the left wing of the Socialist Party
http://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/revolutionaryage/v1n28-apr-26-1919.pdf

From Rose Pesotta's Bread upon the Waters

Quote:
All industrial activity in Seattle was stopped by the general strike of 1919. Technically, it was voted in support of a walk-out by the shipyard workers of Seattle and Tacoma, 30 miles south, who wanted guarantees against unemployment and wage-cuts following World War I. But the unions which had pushed the demand for a city-wide tie-up had been stirred into action largely by the passage of a criminal syndicalism law over the Governor's veto; they knew well that this would be used as a legal club against outspoken union members. The militant locals, too, had been inspired by the recent Russian Revolution; a month earlier the Metal Trades Council had set up a Soldiers, Sailors, and Workmen's Council, after the manner of the Russians, to aid demobilized war veterans in finding work.

In the book, For All the People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, the author describes councils formed in Portland, Butte and Seattle by former Socialist Party members and Wobblies who had joined the Communist Labor Party and the Communist Party USA. The footnote on this claim though isn't accessible through the Google Book preview.

Here's the proceedings of an AFL meetingthat endorsed the servicemen councils. Not sure if this is the same thing, or if the scant references to councils mean the same as soviets at this point.

http://books.google.com/books?id=ZaJFAQAAIAAJ&pg=RA3-PA61&lpg=RA3-PA61&dq=Tacoma+Soldiers’,+Sailors’,+and+Workmens’+Council&source=bl&ots=hMbYVWZA7T&sig=_DAaafLYD_R6UPXZ7l7uct9_T9o&hl=en&sa=X&ei=v_a9T4XZC-z1sQL-3rjkDA&ved=0CGkQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=Tacoma%20Soldiers%E2%80%99%2C%20Sailors%E2%80%99%2C%20and%20Workmens%E2%80%99%20Council&f=false

From an anti-IWW/anti-Communist account from the Mayor of Seattle called 'AMERICANISM VERSUS BOLSHEVISM'. There's a bunch mentioned here about soldiers/sailors councils set up by the IWW, but who knows the accuracy, given the source and bias.

Quote:
With additional recruits pouring into the shipyards daily, the activities of the I. W. W.'s on the outside were redoubled, if such a thing were possible. In the early part of January, 1919, five leading members of the I. W. W. met in secrecy in Room 310, Collins Building — the headquarters of the Metal Trades Council — and after carefully studying the procedure used in Russia, formed among themselves a soviet, which was to be called the "Soldiers, Sailors, and Workmen's Council." Several revolutionary speeches were made and it so happened that every word was overheard, except the words of one man who was clever enough to hold his hand over his mouth as he spoke, so that his words were but an indistinct mumble.

Thus a soviet came into existence by secrecy and
stealth with only five members present. It was decided
to call a great mass meeting on the corner of Fourth
Avenue and Virginia Street. The meeting was to be
called "on behalf of Russia," as a camouflage, then
was to be turned into an organization meeting of the
"Soldiers, Sailors, and Workmen's Council." A great
parade was to be formed which, following the Red Flag,
would march to the city jail and release the prisoners.
An advertisement appeared in the Union Record, giving
notice of the meeting. Circulars were distributed all
over the city, stating that Hulet M. Wells, already
convicted of sedition and out on bail, would be one of the speakers and Mr. , of Canada, would be the other. On some of the circulars it was stated that "The meeting is to be held under the auspices of the
Metal Trades, Central Labour Council and Hope Lodge
No. 79, Machinists."

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May 24 2012 09:32

Ward Churchill mentions in The COINTELPRO Papers, Soldiers, Sailors and Workers Councils set-up in Butte, Portland, Seattle, Toledo and Denver. It's part of a quote from Political Repression in Modern America: 1870 to the Present by Robert Justin Goldstein, but the footnote says see also: Into the Twenties: The United States from Armistice to Normalcy and Red Scare: A Study in National Hysteria.

In Dauve's The Communist Left in Germany 1918-1921, he mentions:

Quote:
The miners strike in Butte (Montana) was led by a “council of soldiers, sailors and workers” in which almost all of Butte’s trade unions participated.

This also mentions a 'Workers Council in Butte', but I don't have access to the article.

At the 1919 Socialist Party convention in Newark, there was a proposal (presumably from the left faction of the party) to start “the formation of shop committees, organization by industries, and election of industrial councils to prepare for taking over the large enterprises now in capitalist hands".

petey
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May 24 2012 15:22
Entdinglichung wrote:
freshly uploaded on archive.org: George Harrison's The red dawn : the Bolsheviki and the I.W.W. (1918)

thanks, just downloaded. i'll be interested to read it in light of this on page 3,

Quote:
The I. W. W. and Bolshevism

(which i'd pull a quote from but when you cut-and-paste the text corrupts)
http://marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/thecommunist/thecommunist1/n07-ny-communist.pdf
(this link also provided by Entdinglichung)

syndicalist
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May 24 2012 15:27
Quote:
to start “the formation of shop committees, organization by industries, and election of industrial councils to prepare for taking over the large enterprises now in capitalist hands".

This was an expression of much of the thinking of the revolutionary left and most syndicalists at this time (late 1910s). The British Isles Shop Stewards & Workers Committees were prolly the more advanced of form of lt.

Within the left wing of the NYC needle trades (including the anarchists) the idea of real shop committees and real shop delegates lead rise to a big moevment (and formation of the Shop Delegates League). One rally by the needle trades left packed
Yankees Stadium in the Bronx. This movement ultimately split, with the newly organized US bolshevists trying to dominate the movement.

From all accounts, the popularity of "councils" ("soviets") tend to originate with the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917. But the practice seems to be heavily ingrained in the syndicalism and industrial unionism and post-"new unionism" period of the late 1890s.

I found Rocker's take interesting, but also colored by the time period in which he wrote it. Nevertheless, Rocker poisted that this goes back to the origins of the First International: http://theanarchistlibrary.org/HTML/Rudolf_Rocker__Anarchism_and_Sovietism.html

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May 25 2012 13:03

syndicalist: what are some good books on the needle trade unions? especially the radical elements within them?

syndicalist
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May 25 2012 13:44
fnbrill wrote:
syndicalist: what are some good books on the needle trade unions? especially the radical elements within them?

I was just reading this sorta hack-job article "American Jewish Communism and Garment Unionism in the 1920s" (which I just emailed you)
and realized there is not a lot of stuff out there. The article does refence most of the "main" sources on garment workers. Has an intersting section on the Shop Delegates League.

Certainly not one definative book. There is very little on the anarchists in the neddle trades, with brief mentions of the IWW in most of the works which are out there.

Although social democratic in orientation, this reading list has many of the base sources:

"Readings on the American Jewish Labor Movement
General Works; Specific Unions, Organizations and Movements; Autobiographies, Biographies, Memoirs; Unpublished Works.

http://www.jewishlaborcommittee.org/2006/01/readings_on_the_american_jewis.html "

Another source would be Philip Foner's (pro-CP orientation) "Fur Workers History" and these 4 volumes of his American labor history:

Vol. 7: Labor and World War I, 1914-1918. New York: International Publishers, 1987.
Vol. 8: Postwar Struggles, 1918-1920. New York: International Publishers, 1988.
Vol. 9: The T.U.E.L. to the End of the Gompers Era. New York: International Publishers, 1991.
Vol. 10: The T.U.E.L., 1925-1929. New York: International Publishers, 1994.

At some point, I hope to do something in regard to "our" history within the needle trades. But I am pittifully inadequate in readng Yiddish and the slowest and poorest writer around.

petey
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May 25 2012 13:57
petey wrote:
Entdinglichung wrote:
freshly uploaded on archive.org: George Harrison's The red dawn : the Bolsheviki and the I.W.W. (1918)

thanks, just downloaded. i'll be interested to read it

this is getting off topic, just to finish the thought, i read that booklet last night. it was written immediately after oct 1917 and the author can't praise the bolsheviks enough. the IWW position certainly changed by the time of the article in the NY Communist, a year and a half later.

syndicalist
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May 25 2012 14:44
petey wrote:
petey wrote:
Entdinglichung wrote:
freshly uploaded on archive.org: George Harrison's The red dawn : the Bolsheviki and the I.W.W. (1918)

thanks, just downloaded. i'll be interested to read it

this is getting off topic, just to finish the thought, i read that booklet last night. it was written immediately after oct 1917 and the author can't praise the bolsheviks enough. the IWW position certainly changed by the time of the article in the NY Communist, a year and a half later.

I don't want to pretend to be an IWW expert here.
At the time of Harrison's writing, as in a number of syndicalist-oriented unions, you had the devekopment of "syndicalist-communists". A number of them went on to play roles domestic and internatiuonal bolshevik movements.

While decidely pro-bolshevik, this book is informative
in this regard: "Syndicalism and the Transition to Communism" by Ralph Darlington. There's discussion of the IWW in it as well. But read with a grain of salt, cause there's lots of prejudices.

Another prominent IWW George, George Harding, became a Comintern functionary. Headed up the Comintern's Martime Workers bureau in Germany, as I recall.

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Juan Conatz
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Aug 3 2012 02:05


The Workers, Soldiers, and Sailors Council (WSSC) was formed in Seattle and began publishing The Forge in early 1919. With links to the One Big Union movement, WSSC was one of a number of revolutionary organizations competing with the new Communist Parties in the Pacific Northwest.

http://depts.washington.edu/labhist/cpproject/ko.shtml