1920 New York State Senate investigation of the Workers' International Industrial Union (WIIU) as a subversive organization

1920 New York State Senate investigation of the WIIU
***
The following is an OCR scan of an excerpt
from pages 907-915 (only the section on the
Workers' International Industrial Union)
from the document entitled:
***
Revolutionary Radicalism -- Its History,
Purpose and Tactics -- With an Exposition and
Discussion of the Steps Being Taken and Required
to Curb it -- Being the Report of the Joint
Legislative Committee Investigating Seditious
Activities -- Filed April 24, 1920, in the Senate
of the State of New York -- Part I, Revolutionary
and Subversive Movements Abroad and At Home --
Volume I

***
The title page also indicates:
Albany, J. B. Lyon Company, Printers, 1920
***
The entire document is also available
as a PDF file from Google ebooks:
http://books.google.com/books?id=EaoWAAAAYAAJ
number of pages: 1,140
file size: 45,780,826 bytes

CHAPTER II

Workers' International Industrial Union

A comparatively small but aggressive group of industrial unionists are represented in the Workers' International Industrial Union, familiarly known as the W. I. I. U. This organization is an offshoot of the I. W. W. The schism occurred at the annual convention of the I. W. W. in 1908, when the elements which wholly repudiated political action gained control of that organization. The leader of the seceding group was Daniel Le Leon, who, for more than twenty years, was editor of "The Weekly People," and one of the principal figures of the Socialist Labor Party. This group was first known as the Detroit I. W. W., but in 1915 the name was changed to the Workers' International Industrial Union.

This group claims to retain the original Socialist principles which were incorporated in the preamble of the first constitution of the I. W. W. It works in close harmony with the Socialist Labor Party whose leaders are active in its ranks. The similarity between the present preamble of the constitution of the Workers' International Industrial Union and the original preamble of the I. W. W. will be apparent from its reading.

It is as follows:

"The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of working people, and the few who make up the employing class have all the good things of life.

"Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the toilers come together on the political field under the banner of a distinct revolutionary political party governed by the workers' class interests, and on the industrial field under the banner of one great Industrial nion to take and hold all means of production and distribution, and to run them for the benefit of all wealth producers.

"The rapid gathering of wealth and the centering of th-.j management of industries into fewer and fewer hands make the trades union unable to cope with the ever-growing power of the employing class, because the trades unions foster a state of things which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars. The trades unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers.

"These sad conditions must be changed, the interests of the working class upheld and while the capitalist rule still prevails, all possible relief for the workers must be secured. That can only be done by an organization aiming steadily at the complete overthrow of the capitalist wage system, and formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry or in all industries, if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all."

(See pp. 54, 55, stenographer's minutes, Committee Hearings.)

It will be noticed from the foregoing that the W. I. I. U., while aiming at the destruction of the rights of private property, is distinguishable from the I. W. W. by its willingness to employ parliamentary methods as a means of propaganda until such time as direct action offers a prospect of success. The purpose of this organization is to facilitate the use of the general strike as a weapon of offense.

The success of this organization has been largely among metal and machinery workers. A typical example of the propaganda distributed to workmen is as follows:

"ONE GREAT UNION

"THE WAGE WORKERS' MEANS OF EDUCATION AND DEFENSE, A LEVER FOR SOCIAL PROGRESS

"A PLACE FOR EVERY WORKER, EVERY WORKER IN HIS PLACE (Leaflet No. 4)

"If men should cease to aid each other, mankind would perish.

"Mutual help is one of the necessary conditions of existence. The working class labor together to produce the things required to sustain life. Producing plentifully, the workers have to live stingily ; creating by their labor -- skill, ingenuity and sacrifice the wealth of the world, they are restrained by conditions from possessing all that they produce.

"The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of working people, and the few who make up the employing class have all the good things of life.

"Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the toilers come together on the political field under the banner of a distinct revolutionary political party, governed by the workers' class interests, and on the industrial field under the banner of one great industrial union, to take and to hold all means of production and distribution, and to run them for the benefit of all wealth-producers.

"The rapid gathering of wealth, and the centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands, make the trade unions unable to cope with the ever-growing power of the employing class, because the trades unions foster a state of things which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping to defeat one another in wage wars. The trades unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers.

"The time has now come when the workers must organize on lines of industry instead of lines of crafts.

"Loose federation or grouping up of existing trade unions will not do.

"Industrial solidarity must be aimed at, along with local autonomy.

"No one industrial union or branch shall act arbitrarily, independently or to the disadvantage of other local union groups in the same industry, union branches to recognize and be operated and directed by one central authority in an industry, and that industry to recognize the general, central authority of the general administration.

"In case the members of any subordinate organization of the one great union are involved in a strike, regularly ordered by the organization or general executive board, or involved in a lockout, the general executive board must have full power to call out any other union or unions if necessary.

"Real wages are being reduced, owing to the lessened purchasing power of money, your standard of living is being daily lowered by the fact that your wages are not keeping pace with soaring prices.

"These sad conditions must be changed, the interests of the working class upheld, and while the capitalist rule still prevails, all possible relief for the workers must be secured. That can only be done by an organization aiming steadily at the complete overthrow of the capitalist wage system, and formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry, or in all industries, if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all.

"A labor organization, truly to represent the working class, must have two things in view:

"1. It must combine the wage workers in such a way that it can successfully fight the battles and protect the interests of the workers in their struggle for less hours, more wages and better conditions generally.

"2. It must offer a final solution of the labor problem an emancipation from strikes, lockouts, injunctions, jailing of strikers, officers and organizers, and the scabbery of the workers against one another.

"Study the plan of the Workers' International Industrial Union, and learn to know how, while giving recognition to control of shop branch affairs, perfect industrial unionism is provided for, and the strength of all organized workers directed to a common center, from which any weak point can be strengthened and protected. An injury to one is an injury to all.

"Know also, that the growth of the Workers' International Industrial Union will build up within itself the structure of an industrial democracy a Workers' Industrial Republic of Labor which must finally burst the shell of capitalistic government and be the agency by which the workers will operate the industries and appropriate the products to themselves.

"How is the Industrial Union organized?

"INITIAL TEMPORARY STEPS

"1. Individual members at large. Any wage worker in a place where no local union has been organized, joins by application to general headquarters.

"Initiation fee, $2, to include six months' subscription to I. U. News, and monthly dues, 50 cents."

"2. Local Recruiting Unions. Organizing of wage workers employed in different industries, until such time as tha respective industry has been organized in the locality. Application for charter is sent to general headquarters, etc. Charter and outfit in books cost $20. Initiation fee and local dues are decided by the local, in accordance with the constitution. Its purpose is to agitate for organizing the workers in their respective industries.

"ORGANIZING INDUSTRIES

"1. A local industrial union, or a branch thereof is organized by ten or more wage workers employed in the same industry applying for a charter from the general administration of the W. I. I. U. The financial obligations are the same as those of a recruiting local.

"2. National industrial union for each industry is organized when enough local industrial unions have been formed, as provided by the constitution.

"3. Departments of industries are organized, of national industrial unions of kindred industries, according to the rules governing these administrations. Such departments elect each a member of the general executive board of the W. I. I. U. Till such departments of industries are organized, the G. E. B. members (7) are elected at large.

"General administration of the W. I. I. U.

"The members of the general executive board.

"The general secretary-treasurer.

"The general organizer.

"The editor of the official organ.

"A literature committee of three members.

"Supplemental Organization. Industrial Councils are organized in each locality or district, of local unions organized therein, to insure action and counsel on all matters affecting all locals, and to communicate direct with the general administration of the Workers' International Industrial Union.

"The following diagram will help to illustrate the structural formation of the One Great Union:

"Join the W. I. I. U. today.

"ONE GREAT UNION

"STRUCTURE OF W. I. I. U.

"LOCAL INDUSTRIAL UNION

"Unite all the actual wage workers in a given industry in a given locality, subdivided into branches as the particular requirements of said industry may call for

"Branch 1 Branch 2 Branch 3

"NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL UNION

"Unites all local industrial unions of the same industry in a country or continent.

"DISTRICT INDUSTRIAL UNION

"For the purpose of establishing in a given district solidarity of action, a council is organized, composed of delegates of local unions of at least five or more, located in that district. Councils are chartered from the General Administration of the W. I. I. U.

"DEPARTMENTS OF INDUSTRIES

Are organized of National Industrial Unions of kindred industries, in accordance with the provisions governing such body.

"INTERNATIONAL BUREAU OF THE W. I. I. U.

"American administration.

"Australian administration.

"British administration.

"GENERAL ORGANIZATION

"American Administration

"The General Executive Board elected by departments, and referendum of membership. The general secretary- treasurer, the general organizer, editor of official paper and literature committee, elected by the regular convention of the Workers' International Industrial Union composed of delegates from all subdivisions of the organization.

"MEMBERSHIP AT LARGE

"Wage workers in a locality where no local is organized

"LOCAL RECRUITING UNIONS

"Organized by wage workers employed in different industries where no Industrial Local Union has yet been organized." The International Bureau is not fully constituted, the American Administration is serving in a temporary manner at present.

"The subdivisions -- industrial and national industrial unions -- shall have complete autonomy in their respective internal affairs, within the limits of the general constitution and the control of the G. E. B. in matters concerning the general welfare. All members and divisions of the organization are integral parts of the One Great Union.

"Universal transfer from one union to another, and admittance of all wage workers to membership, without regard to race, creed or color, makes possible that solidarity so much needed for direct improvement of working conditions and social progress generally.

"Every wage worker should be a member of the W. I. I. U.

"Join today.

"Join the Industrial Union of your class.

"THE WORKERS' INTERNATIONAL INDUSTRIAL UNION.

"(Issued by the American Administration Headquarters; address, P. O. Box 651, Detroit, Mich., U. S. A. Write for further information, samples of literature and papers. Distributed locally by the Workers' International Industrial Union. This leaflet, $3.50 a thousand ; 35 cents a hundred.)"

(Label.)

The organization is international in character and revolutionary in aim. It is in complete accord with the Russian Communist Party, as is illustrated by the following quotations from an article entitled "The Russian Revolutionary and Social Industrial Unionism," by S. F. Friedun, which appears on page 12 of the "First of May" magazine for May 1, 1919:

"The feat of the Russian workers has compelled universal attention and heartfelt applause from the class-conscious workers everywhere. The Socialist Industrial Unionist, always on the alert to learn from a defeat of the working class and to be guided by its successes, has eagerly watched the passing of events in Russia. Unfortunately, a sea and continent lie between us and our Russian fellow-workers; yet the reliable information received and the impartial reports? of those who have no interest in adulterating the truth, con- very a clear idea of what has transpired and is transpiring. The Russian revolution has proved a thundering endorsement of the principles of Socialist Industrial Unionism. The Russian workers, first in the throes of Revolution, and now in working out a stable Socialist structure of government, have been compelled by the force of events to adopt the underlying truths of Socialist Industrial Unionism. They are making realities of our theories. It is my purpose to point out, from the facts on hand, wherein the principles of the W. I. I. U. are confirmed by the actual events in Russia."

(Pages 58, 59, stenographer's minutes, Committee Hearings. )

Their approval of the Third International which was launched at Moscow under the leadership of the Russian Communist Party is shown by an article in the same issue of the same magazine, entitled "Revolutionary Socialism and the Third International," appearing on page 3:

"To quote Lenin : 'America is a great country, great in technical achievements. Marvelous developments are possible there. The American Daniel De Leon first formulated the idea of a Soviet government, which grew up in Russia on his idea. Future society will he organized along Soviet lines. There will be Soviet rather than geographical boundaries for nations. Industrial Unionism is the basic state. That is what we are building.'

...

"The Second International is dead! Long live the Third International of Revolutionary Socialism! Long live the International Solidarity of the Workers, reared and cemented by Socialist Industrial Unionism!

"Workers of the World, Unite ! You have nothing to lose but your chains ; you have a world to gain!

"Fellow-workers: Vote and strike as a class, by joining as a mass the union of your class the W. I. I. U."

(Pages 60, 61, stenographer's minutes, Committee Hearings.)

The organization has branches or affiliated organizations in other countries, namely, the British administration, with headuarters at 47 Oswald street, Glascow, Scotland; general secretary, Thomas L. Smith. Its official organ is "Industrial Unionist." The Australian administration headquarters is at Hatte's Arcade, King street, Newton, Sydney, New South Wales, and its official organ is "The One Big Union Herald." Metal and machinery locals of the W. I. I. U. in and about New York are as follows:

Local 228, Branch 1, meets every first and third Friday, 8 P.M., at 411 East 83d street, New York.

Local 217, meets every first and third Tuesday, 8 P.M., at Parkway Assembly, 51st street and Fourth avenue, Brooklyn, N. Y.

Local 221, branches 1 and 2, meet first and third Friday, at 7:30 P.M., at 62 Cannon street, Bridgeport, Conn.

Auto Workers Industrial Union, Local 556, branch 1, meets at 411 East 83d street, New York, every second and fourth Thursday.

Recruiting Local 100, branch 1, meets at 411 East 83d street, New York, every second and fourth Tuesday.

You are invited to the meetings of the above locals. Lectures and discussion at every meeting.

The propaganda carried on by this organization will be treated in that section of this report which deals with propaganda in general.