Covington Hall was one of the key organizers of the IWW in the South, building the cross-racial base of IWW in the Souther timber industries. A working class thinker and poet, Hall continued to organize with the IWW throughout his life. Less known however were his agitations against the State within the IWW which were commonly published in the Lumberjack and later the Voice of the People. This is one such piece.
This article considers the issue of workers’ inquiry in light of the qualities and features of working class scholarship within the mass labour movements of the early twentieth century. The ethics and practices that defined the educational and research activities of traditional worker-intellectuals provides the outline of an alternative model of scholarship in the form of a reflective community of worker-organisers.
Despite its gloomy title, The Decline of the IWW is a lively account of the period 1917–1931 and a worthy successor to Paul Brissenden’s seminal The I.W.W. : a study of American syndicalism, which took the story up to 1917. During the period in question, the IWW had to deal with state repression, work out its relations with Communist organizations, survive internal splits, and compete with other forms of industrial unionism. Includes material on the IWW’s educational campaigns and industrial research, plus an extensive bibliography of IWW publications and periodicals.