The IWW and the Profintern

The exchange between the USSR directed Red International of Labour Unions (a.k.a. the Profintern) and the IWW.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on August 17, 2011


Juan Conatz

12 years 11 months ago

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Submitted by Juan Conatz on August 18, 2011

Some articles by James Cannon on the issue

From one of the articles

The August 1920 “Special Bolshevik Number” of the IWW’s One Big Union Monthly had published a lengthy appeal to the IWW by the Executive Committee of the Communist International, which explained: “Soviet Russia is on strike against the whole capitalist world. The social revolution is a general strike against the whole capitalist system. The dictatorship of the proletariat is the strike committee of the social revolution.” This appeal had an impact on the IWW membership-after he finished reading it, Big Bill Haywood exclaimed, “Here is what we have been dreaming about; here is the IWW all feathered out!” But support for Soviet Russia and Communism remained a very controversial question in the IWW.

In the fall a new, anti-Communist General Executive Board took over IWW administration. The new leadership opened up a 90-day discussion period on the question of whether the IWW should affiliate to the Third International. They also submitted the question to a membership referendum, recommending against affiliation. During the discussion the pages of the Chicago-based IWW weekly paper Solidarity were full of pro-Bolshevik articles, while the Seattle Industrial Worker published an editorial, quoted by Cannon below, which opposed affiliation until the IWW received “accurate information as to the actual condition of the workers of Russia.”

The results of the referendum, announced in mid-December, shortly after Cannon’s article was published, were murky. The proposal for “unconditional affiliation to the Third International” lost, 602 votes to 1658. But a motion for affiliation so long as the IWW would not have to take part in “parliamentary action” was passed. In any case, the General Executive Board declared the proposal to affiliate to the Third International defeated, and the 13th IWW Convention, which met in May 1921, declared the referendum null and void.


10 years 10 months ago

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Submitted by syndicalist on September 15, 2013

Open Letter to V.I. Ulianov (N. Lenin) in Moscow from the Communist Unity Committee in New York[, circa Feb. 28, 1921 ---- Published in Communist Unity [New York], v. 1, no. 5 (March 15, 1921), pp. 2-4.