Submitted by Juan Conatz on August 30, 2014

The One Big Union Monthly (January 1937)

Articles from the January 1937 issue of The One Big Union Monthly, with articles on fascism, sit-down strikes and the death of Francisco Ascaso. Contributors include Gefion, Tor Cedervall, William Macphee, Melvin W. Jackson, Charles Velsek, John Lind and Jim Seymour.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on September 1, 2014


-The Bridge by Gefion

-The News Guild: will it make papers report honestly on labor news?

-Capitalist democracy: why it must fail by Tor Cedervall

-The Canadian labor situation by William Macphee

-"Aw, sit down!: notes on a new era of direct action by Melvin W. Jackson

-Francisco Ascaso: the life, troubles and death of a Spanish worker (from CNT 'Boletin de informacion)

-Labor is on the move: an analysis of the labor struggles of 1936 by Charles Velsek

-Johnny comes home by John Lind

-Shall America go hungry?

-The roots of Spanish labor

-The dishwasher by Jim Seymour


Capitalist democracy: why it must fail - Tor Cedervall

Tor Cedervall in 1942
Tor Cedervall in 1942

An article by Tor Cedervall that see capitalism and fascism as related, and one cannot fight the latter without fighting the former.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on April 23, 2016

In the world today we hear a great amount of talk and also some degree of organization about and around the issue dubbed "Democracy versus Fascism." Many liberal and humane-minded persons, as well as self-styled radicals, the world over are huddling under the banner of "Democracy" in horrified opposition to Fascism.

In the United States these people supported Roosevelt in the recent elections, side with the "Republic" of Spain, feel a dependent fondness for Great Britain as the fairy godmother of Democracy while she steps designedly into every "situation" with her celebrated "diplomacy," give varying degrees of approval of Soviet Russia, and reserve the hate their simple souls can generate for the black fascist regimes of Italy and Germany.

The philosophy of the out and out liberal of this conglomerate group is that while Fascism is a surly, horrible thing. Capitalism as such is very desirable and should be preserved, albeit improved from time to time.

The "radicals" of this democratic movement are in their hearts not content with Capitalism, but are so frightened by the prospects of Fascism that they are hysterically choosing the fatal Germanic policy of the "lesser evil." Throwing all pretense of radicalism to the winds, these people have crawled out of the dread and darkness of their social cyclone cellars to become the blatant champions of Capitalist Democracy.

The slogan of each group resolves itself into—keep Capitalism, but keep out Fascism!

This slogan, however, is historically incorrect; we cannot keep in Capitalism and at the same time keep out Fascism. Fascism is but the logical development, the irresistible outcome of the class antagonism of Capitalism.

Recent history is bearing this out inexorably. Several nations are already frankly fascist, many more are tending toward that direction. It is a steady albeit uneven, petrifaction of international capitalist society into the hardened forms of fascist death.

Why does fascism everywhere appear as the fated affinity of Capitalism? Why is it that capitalist "Democracy" cannot withstand the attacks of this monster?

It is because Democracy cannot be the theoretically ideal form of government under Capitalism and was not so conceived. The class nature of capitalist society makes this impossible. "Democracy" was the slogan and weapon for the overthrow of feudalism. It cannot be the slogan or the weapon for the frustration of fascism.

At the time of the classic overthrow of feudalism there was no thought of the "Capitalism" of today. All classes subject to the authority and parasitism of the aristocracy and its church—the budding bourgeois, the equally budding "worker," and the peasant were united in a "people’s front" against feudalism.

Because of the authoritative and caste character of feudalism and the intellectual repressiveness of its church, the intellectual and cultural chanticleers of the new day declared the invigorating doctrines of democracy. The "freedom of man" became the inspired rallying cry of the new social order. This, combined with the confused and muddled class interests of the various groups in the "people’s front," none of which had formulated a clearly-defined political and economic policy for itself (and which would have been too weak alone to have imposed it if it had) made democracy the logical pattern of the new political forms.

However, that democracy is not the innate mate of Capitalism is clearly seen by the methods employed by Capitalism everywhere in its development. Where was democracy in the colonial policies and piracies of the democratic nations? Where was democracy in the United States which countenanced chattel slavery naked and unashamed until 1863? Where is democracy up until this day in the industries of Capitalism? Symptomatically defined, Fascism is force and violence. Has not Capitalism always practiced an incipient fascism at the point where its profits are produced?

As for the general domestic democratic forms of government, however, how has Capitalism managed? Ideally unsuited for it, Capitalism has nonetheless in some respects turned democracy into a very powerful aid for itself. Democracy has been of incalculable benefit to Capitalism in its development by serving as a smoke screen for its autocratic exploitation. It has with surprising efficiency served as a social control to combat the rebellion against the concentration process whereby the overwhelming majority of the populace has been reduced to "wage-slavery." Political freedom has obscured industrial serfdom.

In view of this very positive gain from democracy, the capitalist class has with more or less grace subjected itself to the expenses and inconveniences of democracy. Any dangers that might arise through it have been neatly evaded heretofore by outlay to politicians and political parties who have proved themselves very willing to safeguard the interests of the capitalist class and do its bidding with fawning servility.

However, as the relationships of Capitalism are becoming more thoroughly understood, as a pauperized proletariat (actually or relatively) is beginning to stand up in open defiance of its exploiting masters, as strikes and union organizations become larger, as tile ballot box becomes fore-doomed to partial control and eventual capture by the numerically largest group in society—the working class, Democracy must go in order for Capitalism to continue to exist. The bed-rock principle of Capitalism, is the exploitation of the working class, and no group conscious of its subjection and determined to end it can be restrained except by large scale force. Fascism supplies that force—"Democracy" cannot, particularly when its political forms threaten to pass into the hands of the exploited through a "people’s front." When the latter happens, or threatens to occur, or when faced by widespread labor unionism, Fascism will make its supreme bid for power, is in Germany and Spain, as it is preparing to do in France.

The phenomenon of Fascism is not always simple and uniform in its development. There is a great unevenness throughout the world that may serve to mislead tile unwary into the belief that Capitalist Democracy can be preserved and a fascist coup d’etat prevented. President Roosevelt, for example, is regarded in America as bulwark against Fascism. But, Fascism is still out of the saddle in Washington because Democracy is still under the control of the capitalism class. The "radical" reputation of the President has aroused the hopes of the yet confused American proletariat and its members thus remain at least temporarily quiescent under the rule of their capitalist masters. It may be, too, that the "people’s front" in France, timid and largely unwilling to introduce drastic changes, yet holding the confidence of a trusting proletariat, may still continue to serve largely the class interests of the employers without the necessity of a fascist coup for some time.

Is this the kind of democracy we want? A democracy that is suffered because it presides over an exploited and deluded people unaware of their real interests? Fascism will remain submerged only as long as "democracy" remains workable for the capitalist class; that is, as long as the workers remain content as a submerged and exploited class. `Tis small glory in such democracy or the victories achieved in its name.

The Roman Holiday of Fascism can be thwarted not by hurling the pitiful shafts of a sham capitalist democracy against its iron legions. Only the grimly alert, courageous advance of an organization resolutely determined to root out Capitalism can be expected to "mop up" Fascism. Alternatives are few in dangerous situations. The working class has positively no "stake" in Capitalism; but, even if you fancy that you have, the world cannot eat its cake yet have it too. Preserve Capitalism, invite Fascism; build a cooperative commonwealth and smash Fascism. Out of this a new democracy shall arise—the industrial democracy of cooperative labor.

Originally appeared in The One Big Union Monthly (January 1937)



7 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on April 24, 2016

The two Cedarvale brothers were quite interesting...and quite different

Juan Conatz

7 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on April 24, 2016

How so? I've done some background research on Frank but don't know as much about Tor.

Juan Conatz

7 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on May 8, 2016

By accident, I stumbled upon the information that Tor eventually became a Democratic city councilperson in Rahway, NJ in the 1970s. His brother, Frank, was still doing IWW speaking tours. So, yeah, syndicalist, I see what you mean.


7 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by laborbund on May 8, 2016

One difference: Frank recounted being won over to radical socialism by reading things in the public library, then walking across the Lorraine-Carnegie bridge to the IWW office. One newspaper article I read about Tor said he was won over to socialism by working with his father, an elevator repairman, and watching his father beat a foreman with a pipe wrench. Tor was beaten up by private security very badly during the failed janitors (then called "charwomen") strike at Terminal Tower in Cleveland and some time later became an organizer for MESA.


6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Craftwork on January 20, 2017

Notwithstanding the stuff about unions and "industrial democracy of co-operative labour", this is a good article.

Aw, sit down!: notes on a new era of direct action - Melvin W. Jackson

An article by Melvin W. Jackson about the wave of sitdown strikes across Europe and North America during the 1930s. Originally appeared in The One Big Union Monthly (January 1937)

Submitted by Juan Conatz on September 1, 2014

“A fantastic situation!” exclaims one weekly voice of American employers about sit-down strikes.

“We are tired of having to get passes to enter our own factories,” many French capitalists protest.

Employers become powerless in the face of stay-in or sit-down strikes. The iron hand that holds the economic life of thousands becomes putty when confronted by these aroused workers.

The sacred property rights of the industrial tyrant are being questioned, and the absentee owner trembles lest sit-down strikes become more popular.

A new era of working-class solidarity is dawning. The slumbering giant is stirring and testing his chains.

Orthodox unionism is finding itself swept on in the rising tide of solidarity. Workers are spontaneously realizing they have a weapon more powerful than any ever dreamed.

Totally unorganized workers are arising in protest against deplorable conditions and are awakening to the advantages of industrial unionism. The stay-in strikes in June in France were spontaneous and took the trade unions by surprise. French trade unions are said to be enjoying an unprecedented growth due to the overwhelming success of these strikes. One observer writes, “It can be said roughly that the number of trade unionists has gone up from 600,000 to 4,400,000 since June. Some instances: The number of office employees passed from 25,000 to 825,000, the food workers’ union from 20,000 to 50,000, the Galleries La Fayette, which had not one single organized worker, now numbers 2,000 of them. Even the employees of the Banque de France begin to draw up their demands.”

Two thousand British and Welsh coal miners recently preferred to remain underground in the mines until their demands were met.

Miners at Pecs, Hungary, likewise declared a “stay-down” strike to wring concessions from the owners.

Poland, Czechoslovakia, Silesia, India, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico — all of these countries have witnessed within the past year the solidarity of workers united in economic direct action. Sit-down strikes, stay-in strikes, hunger strikes — all these echo a grim determination of militant workers. Workers who refuse to leave underground mines or who remain at their factory benches or in their stores and restaurants and offices while striking — this is the new type of class struggle confronting capitalism.

Even in Fascist Germany, police and Nazi Storm Troops become powerless in the face of sit-down strikes, which have occurred in protest against further wage cuts. The D. K. W. Motor Works at Spandau, and the Motor Works of Bauer and Schauberte in the Rhineland both witnessed successful stay-in strikes recently.

American rubber and tire companies, Bendix Aviation, General Electric, R.C.A., WPA workers in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and elsewhere, Reading Maid Hosiery, Aluminum Co. of America, New York Shipbuilding Co., and many other corporations can testify to the efficiency of sit-down strikes by their lessened profits — and the workers of many of these places can hold up fatter pay envelopes as mute testimony of their success.

Violence, rioting, and bloodshed: for years and years these have been the pet bogeys of union haters. “Terrorism, destruction, and gore” meant the same thing as “strike” to labor baiters. They dragged these skeletons out to dangle before the horrified eyes of scissorbills whenever anyone even whispered “strike” or “solidarity”. “See what will happen,” employers have exclaimed as they reached for the telephone to call their tin soldiers or “private detectives” to come and do some rioting and terrorising for them.

Now, alas and alack, these myths which were so conveniently used by the bosses are being dispelled.

“Business Week” complains, “Sit-downs were so frequent that the union set up a system that placed the striking workers in charge of the plant during disturbances. Men were told off beforehand to guard doors, round up supervisors ‘for safekeeping in case of trouble’ and generally take over the plant.”

Order, self-discipline, and responsibility have universally characterized all sit-down strikes. The employers alone have been directly responsible for any bloodshed or destruction of property — because the workers realized that it is not by these tactics that their strikes are won.

In the recent French sit-down strikes which involved so many industries it is said the machines were preciously taken care of. The furnaces which must never go out were kept going; in the tan-yards the skins remained bathed, and every morning the masons wet the stones of the houses they were building. In short all work that could not be stopped without actual damage to valuable materials or machines was kept going by the strikers.

The workers here demonstrated they can take over and run industries without the parasitic control by a master-class, and that they can run them in an orderly and intelligent fashion. This is one thing capitalism has found itself unable to do: run industry in an orderly and intelligent fashion.

Where workers have not given politicians control of their strike, the sit-down strike has been uniformly and universally successful since the first one — the IWW strike of 3,000 General Electric employees in 1906.

The fact that the ownership of an industry belongs to the workers in that industry, just as the toothbrush he uses should belong to him; the fact that a worker has just as definite a right to the job upon which his economic life depends as he has upon his hair; the fact that the rights of the parasitic class should not include the ownership of tools they never use but upon which others’ lives depends — these facts are all understood by a sit-down striker, though he may not recognize them as such.

The worker at his machine which he refuses either to leave or to operate until his demands are granted, and the factory which continues to be operated by strikers, declare the worker’s right to his machine, and his ability to run it when the shackles of capitalist ownership are shaken off, though at the time it be only temporary.

Where economic direct action and working class solidarity are used in struggles against the master class, the workers will never lose.

“Freedom cannot be gained through intermediaries.”

Originally appeared in The One Big Union Monthly (January 1937)


The One Big Union Monthly (February 1937)

The February 1937 issue of The One Big Union Monthly, with articles on mechanization, a Southern lynching and the Works Progress Administration. Contributors include Justus Ebert, Sugar Pine Whitey, A. Yourniek, Bert Russell, Gefion and Tor Cedervall.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on April 23, 2016


-Is machinery destroying organization? by Justus Ebert

-Red Samson goes to work by Sugar Pine Whitey

-Murmansk by A. Yourniek

-A mad world's nightmare

-The brass check buys the air by Bert Russell

-"Nigger lynched" by Gefion

-Woman of Spain by Sophie Fagin

-"Ain't we free Americans?": a story of snoopery on the WPA by I. Stephens

-Direct action

-The gandy dancers by One Of Them

-The mask of fascism by Tor Cedervall

-Notes on books about labor

-The cry of the people by John G. Neihardt


The One Big Union Monthly (March 1937)

The March 1937 issue of The One Big Union Monthly, with articles on the French labor movement, women in the labor movement and homelessness. Contributors include Raymond Corder, Joseph Wagner, Toivo Halonen, A. Yourniek, Evert Anderson, Peo Monoldi and Tor Cedervall.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on April 23, 2016


-Angry waters: the yellow peril by Raymond Corder

-Hot stuff by Ixion

-French labor by Joseph Wagner

-On labor's back by Toivo Halonen

-Women in the labor movement by S.H.A.

-Murmansk by A. Yourniek

-The hobo by L.P. Emerson

-Who is it that gets relief? by Evert Anderson

-Can capitalism house its workers? by Peo Monoldi

-Has a substitute for the IWW been found? by Tor Cedervall


The One Big Union Monthly (April 1937)

Articles from the April 1937 issue of The One Big Union Monthly, with articles on the Spanish Civil War and fascism. Contributors include Justus Ebert, S.I. Stephens, Evert Anderson, Raymond Corder and Pierre Besnard.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on November 30, 2015


-The IWW in theory and practice by Justus Ebert

-So you need a maid! by S.I. Stephens

-Is your job 100% IWW?

-Mr. Scissorbill objects by Evert Anderson

-John Farmer is all washed up by Raymond Corder

-The economics of fascism

-Pioneers in solidarity

-A new age in Spain by Pierre Besnard (Translated by Onofre Dallas)

-Murmansky by A. Yourniek

-What's the difference?: AFL, CIO and IWW


A new age begins in Spain - Pierre Besnard

Preceding the French Syndicalist delegation composed of member of the C.G.T.S.R., and the C.G.T., I wen t to Puigcerda on Dcecmber 10, together with some comrades from the Local Federation of Barcelona and the Regional Confederation of Catalonia. The welcome organized by our friends in Puigcerda was most cordial.

Submitted by ASyndicalist on November 30, 2015

From One Big Union Monthly. April, 1937. Vol. I, №4. P. 25-27.


The economics of fascism

An uncredited article on the economics of fascism from the April 1937 issue of The One Big Union Monthly.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on May 2, 2016


In the days before fascism was heard of, the question whether socialism was inevitable was sometimes approached from this viewpoint: May not the contradictions of capitalism which make its indefinite continuation impossible, be dissolved by the more complete organization of the employing class, or even by the trend toward the concentration of wealth into the hands of some oligarchy small enough to apply an intelligent paternalism to modern productive forces?

The contradictions were there and were real enough. The swing of the business cycle regularly proclaimed that the growing order and planning inside the factory was not balanced by any such planning in the economy as a whole, and thus the best regulated of plants must periodically close its gates for the lack of market. The market was not there because the growing productivity of labor, which had increased several thousand per cent in the great advance of mechanization since the end of the 18th century, was not balanced by any such increase in the capacity of the proletarized mass of the population to get ad use this wealth, for their living standard at the best times reflected only about twice the purchasing power they had before the industrial revolution.

This disparity was kept within workable limits only by the increasing internal wastefulness of capitalists economy, which often enough spends more to market a product than it does to make it, and by the re-investment of the surplus in new industries at home, or imperialistically, abroad. But every rational growth in capitalism, its trusts and cartels, lessened this easing wastefulness, and the accumulation of capital either enhanced the productivity of labor at home or exploited cheaper labor at the far ends of the earth. The one substantial release on this growing and unused productivity was the military aspect of imperialism which often spent more to gain some object by war that [sic] it would have cost to buy it outright.

The function of industry was social, doing in a large collective way what previously had been done in a small way in men’s homes, but there was little or no social control. Mild-mannered professors were fully aware of this, and likewise aware that much more of the unpleasant disturbance of life, all the way from the increasing nervous disorders to crime waves, was the result of the contradiction between the social function of the productive equipment and its private control. They reasoned optimistically that regulation by commission of democrative [sic] governments would be found increasingly necessary, and would step by step establish the needed balance, thus subordinating socially functioning industry to the public interest and re-establishing the supremacy of human intelligence over the Industrial Frankenstein it had created.

To such liberals, the efforts of labor alike in its strikes or in its building of a philosophy of class struggle, were viewed as just so much more unpleasant disturbance—something that eventually would be regulated or ironed out by a commission appointed in the public interest. The efforts of labor to remedy the great disparity between production and earnings was discussed by such professors under the head of “The Labor Problem.” That there were such workers as the I.W.W. deliberately “fanning the flames of discontent and preaching the doctrine of an irreconcilable struggle between capital and labor”, appeared to such thinkers as a most lamentable thing, as an unintelligent disregard for their text books and their liberal teaching to be excused only by comparison with such other monstrous things as the plug-ugly labor policy of U.S. Steel. To them this class struggle appeared only as another factor holding back their utopia of social regulation by commission in the public interest.

Today this dream of the liberals is fulfilled so far as it can be, in fascism. Now that the omelette is cooked, it is not to their taste, and still mild-mannerdly (sic) as befits them, they ask that the eggs be put back in the shell. The public interest that is being served isn’t their public, and their whole scheme of democracy is squashed. The standard of living under fascism goes down instead of up. Its regulated economy instead of furthering world peace as they had thought a regulated and rationalized economy would surely do, promotes world armament on an unprecedented scale. And man’s intelligence, instead of becoming supreme, is almost completely removed as a disturbing factor in fascist society by being outlawed and sent to a concentration camp.

So there must have been an error somewhere in the reasoning. Were the stresses and strains, the impacts ad blows, the ups and downs of unregulated capitalism due merely to the contradiction between the social function of the productive equipment and its private control? Or did they result fro a quite separate contradiction between productivity and earning? Could the social regulation of the business cycle, even with the most complete restrictions on boom speculation and the best planned postponement of public works to slack times, and the most complete of codes to restrict the insane modern editions of competition, erase the fact that labor does not own what it produces, and that a surplus is produced regardless of whether it be produced evenly or unevenly? And didn’t this contradiction between expanding production and limited earnings only express some still more basic contradiction—that those whose tremendous productive power could undertake the most gigantic tasks of linking oceans, or digging tunnels, or girdling the globe with copper cables, were still powerless to say whether their children should eat or not? Was the labor movements with its persistent demand for “more and more and more” and its philosophy of class struggle, just another unpleasant disturbance of capitalism, a problem to be solved by some commission, or was this labor movement, considered as an element in the historic process, by its continuous struggle for power over production, power over the means of life, the one agent that could dissolve the contradictions of capitalism?

That the answer is yes, is confirmed by an examination of the question: Why doesn’t fascism work?


An examination of the economy of fascism should disclose many things. One very useful bit of information it should yield is what and where this fascism is that we are fighting.

First it should be understood that fascism is not just political dictatorship, not just militant reaction, not just the abridgement of civil liberties, not just the old brought and ready way of trampling on labor, and not just a process of Jew-baiting either. We have had all these things with us before. None of them needed the corporative state; none of them tried to take the whole life in town and regulate it to a plan; none of them sought to invent a new type of society. Neither should fascism be understood as the social realization of a philosophy. Back in 1921 Mussolini said: “During the two months which remain before us, I should like to see us create the philosophy of Italian Fascism.” It was created voluminously within those two months as trimmings for a far more substantial reality.

Fascism is this militant reaction detested by liberals set to the task of realizing the liberal’s regulation of economy in a public interest—the public in fascism as in any other phase of capitalism, being those who pay the regulators.

An examination of who pays to keep fascism going and to get it started will readily disclose that it is not a phenomena confined within the boundaries of Italy, German, or any other nation. Back in 1934 in the “Fortune” article that led to so many disclosures of the internationalism of the armament makers, Adolf Hitler was disclosed as a champion promoted of arms sales on behalf of all the armament makers. Fritz Thyssen, “King of the Ruhr” provided a large part of the fund to get him started. The directors of the large Skoda works controlled by Schneider of France, but in which Vickers-Armstrong of England is also interested, also contributed. And in 1933 before his coup, Adolf paid a most peculiar fine for contempt of court: he had brought suit against a German journalist for stating that he had been financed directly by Schneider-Creusot, French armament makers; in court he was asked the question direct; he refused to answer, and paid 1000 marks fine for contempt of court rather than answer. The French press, controlled by the armament makers, welcomed Hitler with a shriek for further defense, and the investment in Hitler paid well, as France became the leader among nations of the world both for armament and for the export of arms.

Hitler is not only an excellent arms salesman, but quite willing to reciprocate in mustering up adequate means for other nations to participate properly in our mutual extermination. As Wilson Woodside observes in the February Harpers alongside of idle textile mills, margarine factories and packing plants, idle for the lack of a market, the metal industries of Germany are working overtime, and are far behind in deliveries. They are not only arming Germany, but busy making equipment for England as well; and of 668,000 tons of construction underway in German shipyards, 104,00 tons are for Britain. This fascism is an international undertaking and not confined to the internationalism of the armament makers. Fascist economy, for various reasons to be explained later, runs on a deficit; it is not up to non-fascist capitalism in efficiency; it is kept going by the support of world capitalism. There have been direct loans, unpaid. In 1927 Mussolini was saved from a crisis by a $100,000,000 loan floated in the United States. Last year he had Italian interests sell their control of Mosul Oil Fields Ltd., to the British Iraq Petroleum Co. Last September he floated another $236,000,000 loan purchasable only in foreign currency, not officially floated here because under the recent Johnson Act those governments defaulting on war debts cannot borrow here. Such deals, and the complaisant way in which the government of the “democratic nations” have financed exports to Germany and Italy, and the credits directly extended by such exporters, should all set at rest any notion that non-fascist capitalism desires to check the advance of fascism, and may ally itself with labor in order to do so.

The internationalism of fascism has shown itself in many ways apart from these financial transactions. Class conscious capitalists (and despite their professional patriotism they are all by the nature of their investments good internationalists) saw that their press from 1922 on welcomed Mussolini; and the feature writers who howled over the Bolshevik atrocities presented Benito as a rather jovial administrator of castor oil. The international solidarity of capitalist nations and their labor politicians in aiding France in the fascist invasion of Spain, should puzzle only those who forget that in 1934 it was Italian aid in arms and money that upset the liberal government in Austria and drove Vienna’s socialism underground. Hitler states quite openly his willingness to perform a like service for international investors in Czechoslovakia. That this can be done agreeably to all capitalist concerned, is shown by the fascist seizure of the Rio Tinto copper mines in Spain, with the result that shipments previously delivered to Britain are now delivered to Germany; yet there has been no complain lodged by the British owners. Fascism enters the world at a time when capitalism is well developed as a world economy, years after a world war in which allied soldiers were killed with equipment obligingly furnished by their own nations, and long after the typical business unit had become the corporation selling its stocks and bonds and debentures on all the exchange of the world to any buyer who wished to buy. It is most decidedly an international venture, maintained by international support rendered alike morally, politically, and financially.

Why does international capital support these ventures in “deficit economies?” The answer is largely why capital supports government in the first place. To the investor in stock in the proper German enterprises, fascism is not a deficit economy at all. Since 1929 the profits of German employers have raised six-fold, from 500,000,000 to 3,000,000,000 marks. This has come from a cut in wages by over one half. The employers did not get the full advantage of this extra exploitation of labor; a very substantial part of it as of everything has gone to the official racketeers; but even so a six-fold increase in profits is tempting. Wages are down to an average of 25 marks (about $10) per week; but to pay for this service of smashing up unions, stopping all strikes, and restricting civil liberties as must be done to achieve such wage levels, the taxes run to 9,000,000,000 marks or three times the profits. Even this pays only one half the current budget … And beside the taxes there is a tremendous amount of outright graft and forced donations to the Nazis. Incidentally the resources for future exploitation are being ruined. The shortsightedness of Fascist planning is shown by the depletion of the forests that since they days of Bismarck have been nursed with the utmost of care. Says Herr Goering: “The [sic] say I am using up too much of Germany’s forests…but if I have struck too deep into them so far, I shall strike two or three times as deep, for I had better destroy the forests than the nation.” The physique of the working class deteriorates in a manner that will undermine eventually their productivity and their military usefulness. In relation to world economy, a most necessary element for successful exploitation is the inventiveness to keep technique on a competitive par with the rest of the world; the deterioration of German science and learning in general undermines this perhaps most important resource of all; the inventions made in concentration camps do not usually come under the head of the productive arts. But fascism by its very nature does not look far to the future.

Why is fascism economically a failure? Why can’t the complete regulation of capitalist enterprise result in a more efficient use of resources and equipment than the unplanned an chaotic capitalism of the rest of the world? The answer to this question also answers another: Why, if fascism is international endowed, is it so intensely nationalistic?

A planned economy must be relatively self-contained economy. Thus Mussolini’s famous, though unsuccessful, “Battle for Wheat”, his draining of marsh-land, and his latest supreme effort to colonize Italy and Ethiopia alike in the style of the emperors from Constantine on, his adscription of agricultural labor as serfs to the soil. He calls this serfdom “deproletarianization”, but frankly says that Italy must have “genuine peasants attached to the soil, who do not ask the impossible, who know how to content themselves.” It is a form of sharecropping but with payment in kind that takes Italian agriculture back many centuries and results in some 6,000,000 rural workers, according to an official survey made in 1934, living either in caves or hovels, or in houses, as the report put it “almost absolutely uninhabitable.” The same fact is back of Hitler’s battle for “Rohstoffreiheit” —to need no foreign imports of raw materials. You can’t plan capitalism, and keep it a part of a chaotic world capitalism. At the same time to step out of world economy is most uneconomical. With the free interchange of the products of various parts of the earth in an unbridled competition, goods are normally produced where they can be produced cheapest. German pays for “freedom in raw materials” by using ore or 35 per cent iron content which costs four times as much to smelt as Swedish 65 per cent ore—and now she is mining 5 and 7 per cent deposits in the Hartz Mountains! On the first steps along the old “Berlin to Bagdad” route lie bauxite for making aluminum and oil, and these may explain much of the internal politics of this region, as Germany lacks both.
But if the failure of fascist economy is the result of an attempt to replace the use of the world’s resources with the uneconomic spoliation of the fascist nation’s own, then would not fascism succeed should it blossom out, as it threatens to, in a world fascist economy, or even in some region, as these United States, where nature has endowed the land with most of the resources needed? As to the latter, even the United States could not maintain its present population long without imports; there is scarcely any industrial process in which we engage that does not absolutely require some import. But perhaps world fascism is possible. To capitalists it is not a desirable state of affairs; it means that all but a handful of capitalists would be reduced to the universal serfdom; and the regulation of a world would be most costly. Though the bourgeois historians write of the latter days of the Roman empire as a time when the hand of the state was everywhere regulating all things, the modern business man reading such history understands that the hand of the state was everywhere grabbing things too.

World economy could readily enough be coordinated on the basis of a community of interests to effect the highest possible standard of living for all—if run by producers for producers; but to co-ordinate world economy under an iron hell, on the basis of discordant interests, where every petty official of the supreme oligarchy was looking for his graft for doing this dirty work, where everyone was discontent, where the military command was incessantly needed to maintain order and thus made mindful of its own opportunity to become the supreme oligarchy, is to enter a period of even greater chaos and waste than we suffer from now.

Fascism is not a forward looking plan; it is not even to be explained in terms of a far-sighted rationalism on the part of those who support it; it is the blind retreat from the threshold of new order that offers abundance to all, and thus privilege, prestige, and sundry other perverted desiderata of a class society to none. It rallies its support with an irrational appeal, and is not to be fought by any other means than power. The road to fascism is paved with liberal good intentions. Its means of operation is the regulation of the disturbances of capitalism in an alleged public interest. All planned control of economy not vested in labor, and not run by workers for workers, is grist for its mill. Every regulation over workers, whether by union officials or by public bodies on which such union officials sit, is another brick for its world-wide jailhouse. And the materials are being accumulated rapidly the world over.

Against this drift to Mussolini’s serfdom there are tremendous forces that can be rallied—the great dynamic power that has brought the world forward to this alternative of going back to serfdom and family or forward to a greater freedom and plenty. Capital establishes fascism, albeit reluctantly, for the same reason that it establishes and supports any form of government, hollering the while for “more business in government and less government in business. It is done to “police the poor.” It is done on an every increasing and more costly scale because capitalism is ever the breeder of a profounder discontent. Capitalism requires and produces a working class schooled and trained and brought into the contacts requisite for building revolutionary class organization; the most able class that ever his history submitted to exploitation by a class of idlers. It creates abilities that it cannot use; and unused ability is the great disturbing factor that fascism cannot put down.

The contradictions of capitalism—the great basic ones that are involved in the working class struggle for power over the means of life—cannot be ironed out even by an iron heel. They persist as a driving force toward a new society, but as a force that can build this new society only if organized as a class force, on the basis of class struggle, by working vigilantly avoiding every restriction to their own activity, whether from inside their organization or outside it. Therein lies the greater historic role of the I.W.W., more readily visualized today than ever before—by the planned economy of plenty that can be effected by the One Big Union of labor, to complete man’s conquest of nature through the establishment of the supremacy of human intelligence over the Industrial Frankenstein it has created.

Originally appeared in The One Big Union Monthly (April 1937)
Typed up by Erik


The One Big Union Monthly (May 1937)

The May 1937 issue of The One Big Union Monthly, with articles on the Spanish Civil War and the Barcelona May Day. Contributors include x102287, Melvin W. Jackson, Walter Pfeffer, Eugene M. Fisher and Justus Ebert.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on April 22, 2016


-May Day by x102287

-The emigrant by Gefion

-Wanted: One Big Union

-Let's you and him join the army by Melvin W. Jackson

-The life of the gandy dander

-What's what in Spain

-It can happen here by Walter Pfeffer

-Book reviews

-America must have its news by Eugene M. Fisher

-"Conspiracy to raise wages" by Melvin W. Jackson

-Murmansk by A. Yourniek

-Behold in Spain the symbol of May Day! by Justus Ebert


The One Big Union Monthly (June 1937)

The June 1937 issue of The One Big Union Monthly, with articles on Mexico's labor movement and a traveling delegate in the Pacific Northwest. Contributors include x372561, Paul Kolinski, x22063, Fred Thompson and Walter Pfeffer.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on April 22, 2016


-The labor movement in Mexico by x372561

-Escape! by A Convict

-A traveler makes camp

-"No one shall go hungry" by Paul Kolinski

-Current lessons from the experience of labor by x22063

-What excuse for capitalism? by Fred Thompson

-Book reviews

-Make your own intelligence test

-How we got this way

-A page of rebel verse

-"What better times come business will bring them" by Walter Pfeffer

-What of the coming generation



The One Big Union Monthly (July 1937)

The One Big Union Monthly (July 1937)
The One Big Union Monthly (July 1937)

The July 1937 issue of The One Big Union Monthly, with articles on the IWW and the Spanish Civil War. Contributors include Peo Monoldi, Raymond Corder, Walter Pfeffer, and Con Dogan.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on August 31, 2014

-The construction worker by Peo Monoldi
-Papa Schaefer is a man again: a short story by S.I. Stephens
-Industrial unionism in the IWW: the job branch by Raymond Corder
-The future of Spain: industrial democracy or ? by Con Dogan
-Sarah plants a garden by A Ventura Working Woman
-The strait and narrow: a short story by Walter Pfieffer
-In the name of the working class! by Bert Russell
-Songs of the struggle by Con Dogan
-Workers war to stop fascism: reports on the events in Spain by the Secretariat of the International Workingmens Association (Translated by Joseph Wagner)
-Book reviews

Taken from CDs of JPG scans created by San Francisco General Membership Branch of the IWW
CDs provided courtesy of Nate Hawthorne/Twin Cities IWW Archives


OBUMjuly1937.pdf (9.31 MB)


The One Big Union Monthly (August 1937)

The August 1937 issue of IWW journal The One Big Union Monthly with articles on anti-union violence, the Spanish Civil War and capitalist planning. Contributors include Arthur Hopkins, Covington Hall, Frank Little, Paul Kolinsky, Paul Mattick and Walter Pfeffer.

Submitted by Steven. on November 27, 2012


-Employers use violence

-Class collaboration: old and new by Joesph Wagner

-A tip to a friend by Covami

-The laundry workers - they can be organized by K.T.S.

-Book review by Fred Thompson

-Factful fables by Covington Hall

-The nonsense of planning by Paul Mattick

-:I just got into town" by Paul Kolinsky

-If this be un-American make the most of it! by Arthur Hopkins

-"The age of innocence": a short story by Walter Pfeffer

-Scissorbill strategy by The Wandering Wob

-A letter from apeland by x141738

-Twenty years ago (Frank Little murdered)


Juan Conatz

7 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on April 21, 2016

Have attached a somewhat lower quality PDF, as I only had access to lower quality images for this issue.

Class collaboration - old and new, and Open letter to the CNT, 1937

"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.

Submitted by Steven. on January 15, 2007

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


The One Big Union Monthly (September 1937)

The September 1937 issue of IWW journal The One Big Union Monthly, with articles by John Sershon, Covington Hall, x302661, Fred Thompson, Joseph Wagner, Pierre Besnard, Eli Hill, and Onofre Dallas.

Submitted by Steven. on November 27, 2012

-The right to work
-Noise: an intolerable working condition by John Sershon
-I decide to become a Wobbly by A. Seaman
-Ain't it so! by Covami
-Production for use by Covington Hall
-Another letter from Apeland by Card No. 141738
-Migrating workers by B.R.
-They are fine people: the odyssey of a farm hand by Card No. x302661
-Schools peddle dope by A.B. Cobbs
-What is a scab? by Eli Hill
-School days at Work Peoples College by Fred Thompson
-A soldier returns
-The Spanish Civil War by Joseph Wagner
-Catastrophic revolution by Brandt,Editor Cultura Proletaria (Translated by Joseph Wagner)
-Answer to "Catastrophic revolution" by Pierre Besnard, General Secretary of the IWMA (Translated by Joseph Wagner)
-The CNT and reformism: a reply to "Class collaborationism: old and new" by Onofre Dallas
-Factful fables by Covington Hall
-Book reviews
-'Tis only they by Covami

Taken from CDs of JPG scans created by San Francisco General Membership Branch of the IWW
CDs provided courtesy of Nate Hawthorne/Twin Cities IWW Archives



A soldier returns - letter from an American fighter in the Durruti Column

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.

Submitted by libcom on December 12, 2005

The following letter was published in the paper of the American IWW's paper, One Big Union Monthly in 1937.

Original introduction
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
Marseilles, France
Fellow Worker:-

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.

This text taken and slightly edited for spelling by libcom from the Revolt collection.
Originally from the bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library.



10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ites on October 24, 2012

Wow, real history right there. Feeling every word of it.

The One Big Union Monthly (October 1937)

The October 1937 issue of The One Big Union Monthly, with articles on the General Defense Committee, Spanish Civil War and AFl vs CIO turf wars. Contributors include W.E. Trautmann, James Oppenheim, Covington Hall, John Sershon, Robert Louzon and Walter Pfeffer.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on September 7, 2014

-The source of strength
-Power of folded arms by W.E. Trautmann
-The slave by James Oppenheim
-Factful fables by Covington Hall
-A challenge to organized labor by John Sershon
-If only: a story by Gefion
-Our educational system by A.B. Cobb
-The General Defense Committee: 20 years of activity
-Counter-revolution in Spain by R. Louzon (Introduction and translation by Joseph Wagner)
-West coast chaos: the CIO-AFL inter-union war by Card No. x13068
-A little economics for the home by Walter Pfeffer
-The IWW in theory and practice: a book review
-The march of progress by A Tannery Worker

Taken from CDs of JPG scans created by San Francisco General Membership Branch of the IWW
CDs provided courtesy of Nate Hawthorne/Twin Cities IWW Archives



The One Big Union Monthly (November 1937)

The One Big Union Monthly (November 1937)
The One Big Union Monthly (November 1937)

The November 1937 issue of The One Big Union Monthly, with articles on the Haymarket martyrs, working at Ford and the Kronstadt rebellion. Contributors include Lucy Parsons, Walter Pfeffer, Covington Hall, Johan Korpi, W.E. Trautmann, Joseph Wagner, Art Hopkins and Paul Mattick.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on September 1, 2014

-Working class unity
-November 11 fifty years ago by Lucy Parsons
-"The life abundant": a short story by Walter Pfeffer
-Industrial unionism: its power and promise by Covington Hall
-Fordism's sacrifices by Johan Korpi
-The end of a epoch by A.B.C.
-Truth vs humbug by A.B. Cobb
-The power of folded arms by W.E. Trautmann
-The right kind of education by "A Pal"
-On with the fight! by Cov Ami
-Hijacking the revolution (Translation and introduction by Joseph Wagner)
-Fifty years after Haymarket by Art Hopkins
-Book reviews: the 'hero' of Kronstadt writes history by Paul Mattick

Taken from CDs of JPG scans created by San Francisco General Membership Branch of the IWW
CDs provided courtesy of Nate Hawthorne/Twin Cities IWW Archives



November 11, fifty years ago - Lucy Parsons

An article by Lucy Parsons about the Haymarket martyrs.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on May 11, 2016

Once again on November 11 a memorial meeting will be held to commemorate the death of the Chicago Haymarket martyrs-1937 is the fiftieth anniversary and this meeting bids fair to be more widely observed than any of the forty-nine previous ones.

It has taken fifty years to dig the facts of this case out from under the mountains of lies that was heaped upon our martyrs by the exploiters in their attempt to cover up their crime of sending five labor leaders to the gallows. You will hear people say today, as one said to me recently, "What! Calling those Haymarket bomb throwers martyrs? Do you think I believe that? You will have to show me."

Now I am writing this article to "show" all such doubting Thomases.

The Protest Meeting

The Haymarket meeting was held as a protest against the brutality of the police who, during the great strike for the eight-hour work day of 188.6, tried with all the vicious power at their command to defeat the hopes of the workers. At noon on May 3, 1886, the striking workers of the McCormick reaper works were discussing their problems in a, mass meeting near the plant when two patrol wagons loaded with policemen appeared. With drawn clubs the police rushed down upon the workers, clubbing them. Two workers were shot.

The next evening the famous Haymarket meet-ing was held to protest against this and other outrages of the police. This meeting was attended by about 3;000 people, men and women. I myself was there with our two children.

The meeting was perfectly peaceful but when it was about to adjourn a company of police charged upon it and ordered the crowd to disperse. At the onrush of these police, violators of the law they were sworn to uphold, someone—to this day he. is unknown—hurled a . bomb into the ranks of the police. Then hell broke loose!

The "Anarchist" Craze

The papers came out next morning with great flare headlines, "The anarchist dynamiters,, bomb-throwers had started a riot and had intended to blow up the city; and but for the courage of the police they would have thrown many more bombs," and so on. They demanded that the leaders be arrested and made examples of.

Six weeks later eight men (our Chicago martyrs) were arraigned in a prejudiced court before a prejudiced judge and a packed jury. They were charged with murder.

Mayor Harrison of Chicago testified for the defense. Here are a few lines from his testimony:

"I went to the meeting for the purpose of dis-persing it should it require my attention, when the meeting was about to adjourn I went to the station (about half a block away) and told Captain Bonfield to send his reserves home, that the meeting was about to adjourn, that the speeches were tame."

But State's Attorney Grinell, pointing to the defendents, said:

"These defendents are, not more guilty than the thousands who follow them; they were selected by the grand jury because they were leaders. Convict them and save our society."

Bailiff Rylance was heard to remark:

"I am managing this case. Those fellows will hang as sure as death. I am selecting men that will compel the defense to waste their challenges, then they will have to take such men as the prosecution wants."

Triumph of Reaction

The trial, so-called, lasted sixty-three days. The jury brought in a verdict of guilty in three hours.

The judge in dismissing the jury-men thanked them for the verdict and told them that carriages were outside to take them home. The capitalists were overjoyed. A sum of $100,000 was paid the jury. The Chicago Tribune on August 20 opened its columns thus:

"The twelve good men and true have rendered a just verdict, let them be generously remembered. Raise a sum of '$100,000 to be paid with the thanks of a grateful public."

When the march to the gallows was begun all the men showed remarkable courage without the slightest tinge of bravado. Parsons was wonderfully composed. The moment his feet touched the gal-lows he seemed to lose his identity . . . "No tragedian ever made a more marvelous presentation of a self-chosen part," a capitalist paper reported.

On that gloomy morning of November 11, 1887, I took our two little children to the jail to bid my beloved husband farewell. I found the jail roped off with heavy cables. Policemen with pistols walked in the inclosure.

I asked them to allow us to go to our loved one before they murdered him. They said nothing.

Then I said, "Let these children bid their father goodby, let them receive his blessing. They can do no harm."

In a few minutes a patrol wagon drove up and we were locked up in a police station while the hellish deed was done.

Oh, Misery, I have drunk thy cup of sorrow to its dregs but I am still a rebel.

Originally appeared in The One Big Union Monthly (November 1937)



7 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on May 11, 2016

I have a crumbling paper version of this piece somewhere
Can't recall if it was cut out of the magazine or a cheapo pamphlet handout

Edit: sorry for these frivolous comments about what aging paper
I might have somewhere in the files

Keep the good stuff rolling, Juan

The One Big Union Monthly (December 1937)

The December 1937 issue of The One Big Union Monthly, with articles on the Spanish Civil War and the CIO. Contributors include John S. Morgan, Bert Russell, Ralph Verlaine, Carl Madsen, x226183, John Sershon, Justus Ebert and A.B. Cobb.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on August 31, 2014

-Christmas in prison
-Sacrifice of the Asturian miners
-"Resistance against fascism depends on us" from Bulletin de Information (FAI)
-The IWW on high seas and waterfront: a history and tradition of action that presages great things for the future by John S. Morgan
-Royalty is out of a job by Bert Russell
-To those who preach passivity
-Soybeans: the story of a worker's education in economics by Ralph Verlaine, x229442, IU 620
-To a hard working lumberjack by Carl Madsen, Card No. x193962
-What will labor's men in jail think this Christmas?
-Who will make an end of war?: labor can stop capitalist's wars and lanor's interests demand that it do so by Card No. x226183
-The growth of wage slavery: development of the process of wage slave exploitation from the beginning of the capitalist system by John Sershon
-The CIO in Lawrence by A Lawrence Worker
-Book reviews: Poor Henry Ford! The bad capitalist did him dirt by Justus Ebert
-The modern stegosaurus: defender of private property by A.B. Cobb
-Education and "humanistic" approach by Chas. J. Miller

Taken from CDs of JPG scans created by San Francisco General Membership Branch of the IWW
CDs provided courtesy of Nate Hawthorne/Twin Cities IWW Archives




7 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on January 13, 2016

I've seen this publication years ago in a public library. Thanks for putting it up electronically.