Henry Kuhn, 1920 preface to part 2 of Daniel De Leon, Industrial Unionism - Selected Editorials


*** Henry Kuhn, 1920 preface to Part 2 of
*** _Industrial Unionism -- Selected Editorial by Daniel De Leon_,
*** 1920, scanned from the 1963 edition, pages 40-42
*** PART I
*** Daily People, August 3, 1909
*** Daily People, August 10, 1909
*** Daily People, March 23, 1910
*** Daily People, January 20, 1913
*** Daily People, April 2, 1913
*** Daily People, April 13, 1913

Preface to Part II.

In presenting to the American working class this, the second part of the editorial articles from the pen of Daniel De Leon on the subject of Industrial Unionism, the Socialist Labor Party renders to the Labor Movement, not of America alone but of the world, a signal service.

The first part dealt with the subject at a time when swords had to be crossed only with the traditional foes of true working class organization -- Industrial Unionism -- the pure and simple Craft Unionist under labor faker leadership on the one hand, and, on the other, the pure and simple politicalist "Socialist" party dominated by "intellectual" faker leadership. The present series of articles -- six in number -- deals with the same subject at a time when a new foe had arisen, or, rather, when certain tendencies inimical to true working class organization, present all along in both the pure and simple craftist as well as the pure and simple politicalist camp, had coalesced and had taken on organized form in the present Anarcho-Syndicalist I. W. W.

As the knife-blade can be brought to fine edge only upon a suitable grind-stone, so was the keenly analytical mind of De Leon brought to hair-trigger precision by the rise of this new antagonist. The pure and simplers of the craftist and politicalist pattern were, after all, only "traditional" foes who had to be fought, of course, but in regard to whom one always felt that, in time, they would be overtaken by Social Evolution and then kicked aside. But the pure and simple bombist, the Anarcho-Syndicalist "Direct Actionist," represents a tendency that is as old as the human race and for that reason presents a problem of entirely different complexion. We are in his case face to face with the centrifugal force in human society, the force that tends to drive apart from within and which, once it has taken on organized form, is bound to prove itself a gadfly -- annoyance to the general Movement of Labor. Not that this tendency any character stringnant -- for the trend of Social Evolution that guides the Movement of Labor is plainly the other way but it is nevertheless a force against which incessant war must be waged within the Movement of Labor.

Against this new menace to TRUE INDUSTRIAL UNIONISM, all the more serious because it appeared decked in the garb of that which it is the bitter foe of, and sailing under its name, the trenchant pen of De Leon took on added sharpness. Clear-cut as in a steel-etching, that pen draws the line between the true and the false, between the original and the caricature. So important is the information contained in these articles that no effort should be spared to give them the widest possible circulation, for, let us all bear in mind that, since Anarcho-Syndicalism does not sail under its own flag but takes on the outward appearance of Industrial Unionism, including its very name, It will often corral the unwary, the uninformed, who could not be taken in by the advocacy of out-and-out Anarchism.

For the information of the reader it may be said that the Socialist Labor Party has in preparation the publication of the editorial articles written by De Leon from 1891 to 19l4 on a variety of topics, but all bearing upon the Labor Movement. It is from the first of these topics -- Industrial Unionism -- that the articles contained herein have been selected for circulation in a wider field than can be reached by the larger volumes now being prepared.

In the measure that a clear understanding is disseminated amongst the working class of the destructive tendencies that seek to enter and work within the Movement of Labor, in that measure will the Movement be safeguarded against these tendencies.


Brooklyn, February 1920