Henry Kuhn, 1920 preface to part 1 of Daniel De Leon, Industrial Unionism - Selected Editorials


*** Henry Kuhn, 1920 preface to Part 1 of
*** _Industrial Unionism -- Selected Editorial by Daniel De Leon_
*** 1920, scanned from the 1963 edition, pages 5-7
*** PART I
*** Daily People, January 25, 1905
*** Daily People, March 4, 1905
*** Daily People, March 19, 1905
*** Daily People, June 27, 1905
*** Daily People, September 6, 1906
*** Daily People, January 23, 1906
*** Daily People, June 29, 1907

Preface to Part I.

Of prime general importance at this day and hour is the subject dealt with in this pamphlet -- Industrial Unionism. And, dealt with as it is by the master mind of American Socialisn, and Industrialism -- Daniel De Leon -- who, during the last decade of the 19th Century, sank deep the foundations upon which the structure of Industrial Unionisn, has been and will continue to be reared -- special importance is added. The articles contained herein -- six in number -- have all been culled from the files of the Daily People, the official organ of which De Leon was the chief editor until the day of its suspension early in 1914. From these files -- a veritable mine of priceless information upon the subject of the American Labor Movement -- the Socialist Labor Party is now engaged in preparing a series of volumes dealing with the various topics taken up by De Leon during his incumbency, the first of which is the topic of Industrial Unionism. It is from the matter thus being prepared that the editorial articles contained herein have been selected for circulation in a wider field such as can be covered by a low-priced booklet.

The first set of articles, contained in Part I of this pamphlet, are such as were written on the subject of Industrial Unionism during the period prior to the year 1908, that is to say, before the 4th annual convention of the Industrial Workers of the World was raped by an Anarcho-Syndicalist element, which, usurping the name of the Organization, and fundamentally changing its Preamble, or Declaration of Principles, impressed upon it the stamp that the I. W. W. bears today. Part II is composed of articles written after that event and dealing, clitically, with what De Leon himself, in one of these articles, designates as "Haywoodism," besides contrasting the constructive tendencies of TRUE INDUSTRIAL UNIONISM with the caricature the Anarcho-Syndicalist has ever since sought to foist upon the American Labor Movement.

The working class reader, to whom this matter now becomes accessible, can not but profit by a close and thoughtful perusal thereof. The times we live in are portentous: they are pregnant with change. Everywhere about us we observe signs of disintegration while integration, as yet barely discernible, is nevertheless present and in action, weaving the strands of the new fabric as the old, in a more obvious and often even spectacular manner, proclaims its own decomposition. All the institutional arrangements of capitalism its political State, the pure and simple Craft Union, the absurdly false relation between Capital and Labor which Craft Unionism has ever sought to impregnate and narcotize the working class mind with -- all that is today in the crucible to be fire-tested in the light of the new conditions arising day by day.

And the million-fold working-class mind, receiving impression after impression, day in and day out, each impression driving home with cumulative force the untenableness of the conditions confronting that class, can not but gain, by the close study of the matter here presented, the information and the stimulus that will serve not only as an antidote and a mental counterbalance against the spurious and misleading propaganda of the capitalist information-distorting press and other agencies, but also as solid ground upon which to stand and view the ever-changing panoranla of capitalist dissolution with an understanding eye and a comprehending lliind. To know, to understand, to comprehend what Industrial Unionism is -- its goal, its methods and tactics, as well as its external form -- is today a matter of utmost importance to every working man and working woman, for it means nothing less than to obtain a clear perception of the framework of Future Society, that Society which the Present is laboring to give birth to.

The hour of birth-pangs seems to have arrived and the hour of delivery can not be too far distant.


Brooklyn, January l920