Industrial Worker (March 8, 1932)

Articles from the March 8, 1932 (Vol. 14, No. 60, Whole No. 793) issue of the Industrial Worker, the newspaper of the revolutionary union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).


-San Jose leads off in 6-hour move

-Boulder Dam Job continues to take toll of workers lives

-Harlan mines cut wages of all employees

-Detroit's ringing challenge

-Jobless seek to enlist in Chinese army

-Editorial: A capitalistic hock shop

-New York plans new campaign

-Thompson and Cogan debate opportunism

-Mother Mooney speaks in N.Y.

-Jas. P. Thompson to make tour through East

-Bad conditions in Norway but syndicalism gains

-The I.W.W. tells its own story by F.W. Thompson

-Bull pen for union men on Boulder Dam

-Relief bills to be vetoed is indicated

This issue scanned for libcom.org as part of an effort which was made possible from funds donated by our users.

Industrial Worker (March 8, 1932).pdf2.69 MB

Thompson and Cogan debate opportunism

An article by x22063 describing a 1932 debate between Fred Thompson of the IWW and J. Cogan of the Communist Party USA-aligned Trade Union Unity League, in Duluth, Minnesota. Originally appeared in the Industrial Worker, March 8, 1932 (Vol. 14, No. 60, Whole No. 793).

Thompson and Cogan debate opportunism

Instructor at Work Peoples College takes Communist advocacy of unemployment insurance to the cleaners in Duluth

DULUTH, Minn.—The question of unemployment insurance was debated for two and a half hours, Sunday afternoon, between J. Cogan, of the Trade Union Unity League and F. W. Thompson of the I.W.W. In order to have the debate it was necessary to accept the Communists' terms of meeting 'in their hall'; this was to be regretted as the interest in the question was such that there was not seating capacity for all who wished to attend. The question as stated was: "Resolved, That the workers should fight for unemployment insurance".

Cogan, in the opening speech for the affirmative, first of all pointed out the ravages of unemployment the world over. He argued that unemployment insurance was not a reform, but a means of focusing the struggle for revolution; that if provided action by which the working class could learn how to do things as they did them in Russia; that it brought about the solidarity of the workers on the job and off the job. He urged that it built up a revolutionary force by bringing in the little business men and the poor farmers. He argued the necessity for making a political struggle based on economic needs, asserting that in the good old days of the I.W.W, Bill Haywood had organized hunger demonstrations to parade to the seats of government!

In his opening speech for the negative .F.W. Thompson established four points. First, whatever degree of unemployment insurance is established by a capitalist state, will be done by and for the capitalist class. Second, the records necessary for any such system, must necessarily, especially in open shop America, constitute a 100% federal blacklist system. Third, the unemployment insurance, [WORD UNCLEAR] mischievously misleading to the working class. It is the view that the capitalists are responsible for the present 'depression and that the capitalists can fix it up; the view that out of the Soviet Business Men's Delegates in Washington and the state capitals can come relief from the ills of capitalism. Fourth, there are much better means for accomplishing the object of the proposal—security of livelihood for the working class. The only real security, he said, will come when the workers take the world and use it; meanwhile he urged the education of workers, as opposed to their mis-education with political opportunism, the industrial organization of those on the job, and the formation of a mighty picket line of the unemployed, to work jointly for shorter hours, higher pay, resistance to speed-up that our class may increase strength until it has the power to take the world and use it. Nowhere' in such a program does a demand for remedial legislation fit.

These opening statements were followed by questions from the audience ranging fronm what to do with policemen's clubs to why "Wicks" are ditched front Dakota freights. In his rebuttal. Thompson answered some thirty odd-such questions then dealt with the arguments of his opponent. He pointed out that in Russia, employment for all had been found under the Communist dictatorship, and that this had been established, not by demanding such sops as unemployment insurance, but to the tune of the slogan "All power to the workers". He ridiculed the notion that such a bill as the communist demanded, providing union rates for all unemployed, would ever be obtained from any capitalist legislature, and argued that this demand, stripped of its revolutionary trimmings,, amounted to the old opportunistic hog-wash.

In rebuttal. Cogan met the charge of reformism with the argument that they were not asking, they were demanding, and that they were not asking for sops, but for something that the capitalist class could not give them. He stated that it would be damaging to the workers on the job to form picket lines of the unemployed, for then the boss could figure out how to make more wage-cuts, and urged that hunger marches were very educational, for the workers who joined them found their real enemy somewhere en route, and lost their faith in him.

Whatever else may be said of the debate, it was conducted in an orderly fashion and a fairly hilarious time was had by all.


Originally appeared in the Industrial Worker March 8, 1932 (Vol. 14, No. 60, Whole No. 793)
Transcribed for libcom.org by Juan Conatz


Industrial Worker (October 11, 1932)

Articles from the October 11, 1932 issue of the Industrial Worker, the newspaper of the revolutionary union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

Education for all is object of Work Peoples College

An article describing the purpose of Work Peoples College, an school run by the Industrial Workers of the World in Duluth, Minnesota until the 1940s. Originally appeared in the Industrial Worker (October 11, 1932).

Education for all is object of Work Peoples College

I.W.W. institution offers unequaled opportunities for sound proletarian education to all wage workers

DULUTH, Minn. — What is Work Peoples College? It is a residential, co-educational school, run by radical workers for radical workers. Its object is education for emancipation. It wants to impart such useful information as, an understanding of the present social and economic system, and of the trend of its development; the major experiences of all phases of the labor movement; the results of labor tactics studied in relation to the social and economic environment; and the necessary "practical" subjects to make use of this information in writing, speaking, organizing.

What distinguishes it from other workers' schools?

It is the only residential school in America with a frank Marxian approach to social and economic question. It is entirely divorced from inter-class liberalism, free from flirtations with fossilized union structures, free from leisure delusions as to the surce of profits and the workings of the capitalistic system.

At the same time it is a school, realizing fully the difference between education and propaganda. It is not impartial in the class struggle, but recognizes the need for dealing with facts objectively that we may have a factual knowledge of the system and circumstances under which we fight. It makes full use of the great advantages of residential tuition to co-ordinate its various studies to yield a well-rounded working class view of life.

What does this school offer you?

No mater what your object in life may be, you need to understand this world. It is the purpose of the school to equip you for efficiency in the most important thing in life —the class struggle; but the increased ability to think clearly and to express yourself fully is an asset everywhere in life.

Work Peoples College offers you knowledge of the things that matter. It offers you facts upon which to build your vision of the world that you are fighting to create. It offers you competent instruction on the tactics of the class struggle. It gives you training on such subjects of practical application as mathematics, grammar, journalism, public speaking, typing and bookkeeping.

The methods of instruction used provide opportunities for general self-development. Its facilities enable you to take up special research work under competent guidance on any phase of the social sciences in which you may have special interest.

All this is yours in an environment that offers the goodfellowship that should exist between rebels battling in the same cause, the material surroundings appropriate to such study, and the sports facilities required to balance intensive study.

What are the requirements of the school?

The school is open to all workers who will use its facilities for the purpose stated. There is no requirement as to previous education. Classes are so arranged that workers who long since left some early grade of the public schools and graduate students alike can study effectively. Instruction is very directed to meet personal needs.

For further information address Work Peoples College, Box 39, Morgan Park Station, Duluth, Minn.

Originally appeared in the Industrial Worker (October 11, 1932)

Transcribed for libcom.org by Juan Conatz


Industrial Worker (December 27, 1932)

Articles from the December 27, 1932 (Vol. 14, No. 102, Whole No. 835) issue of the Industrial Worker, the newspaper of the revolutionary union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).


-Communist heckling threatens to become free speech menace

-Gulf ports marine transport workers feel need of union

-Industrial Worker bazaar in Chicago was colorful affair

-I.W.W. group recieves six month sentences in Sioux lookout

-Tear gas puts an end to strike in Maryland penitentiary

-Underground victim at Boulder Dam is old time hard rock miner

-Editorial: Activity means life

-The "One Big Family" plan is proved a poor substitute for union

-Political action does not help German slaves; wages are cut to bone

-Lenin was wrong by Covington Hall

-Work Peoples College starts on its twenty-sixth successful year

-Review of class war developments in Spain, syndicalists active

-The need for a labor press

This issue scanned for libcom.org as part of an effort which was made possible from funds donated by our users.

Industrial Worker (December 27, 1932).pdf2.58 MB