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poetry

From the Archives: The W.W.I.

The Industrial Pioneer was a monthly IWW publication that ran from 1921 to 1926. Shown is the cover of the first edition.

“The W. W. I.” was a poem written by John Banks and appeared in the Industrial Pioneer in 1921. It was inspired by the harsh repression that the IWW faced in this era and is just as sharp as the bosses’ hatred for the IWW.

⯁⯁⯁

By reading the popular press I have found
(And mind you, the press cannot lie)
That the cause of all sin, from without and within
Is the W. W. I.

❖❖❖

The cause of all murder and arson and theft,
Sedition and treason, most high –
In short, the one cause of all insulted laws
Is the W. W. I.

❖❖❖

The scapegoat bore all of the old Hebrew’s sins,
And was left in the desert to die;
But goats are now scant, and so we take a slant
At the W. W. I.

❖❖❖

If Adam had eaten the apple today,
And the Lord in His anger drew nigh,
He would not blame Eve, as he did, but would say;
“‘Twas the W. W. I.”

❖❖❖

Should you call up old Nero and ask whom to blame
For the burning of Rome, he’d reply
“It was not the Christians who kindled the flame,
“But the W. W. I.”

❖❖❖

A hail storm has beaten all the crop down
The chinch bug has taken the rye;
A cyclone has literally wiped out a town;
Pinch the W. W. I.

❖❖❖

If the weather is warm, if there comes a cold storm,
If gloomy or azure the sky;
If it shines, if it snows; if it’s calm, if it blows,
Blame the W. W. I.

❖❖❖

Vile coal miners strike and are ordered to hike;
Bold house-maids their matrons defy;
A menacing stare greets the chaste millionaire;
Cause: the W. W. I.

❖❖❖

You have hammered your thumb, you have bitten your tongue;
A cinder has blown in your eye;
You’ve a catch in your back or you’ve stepped on a tack
Bless the W. W. I.

❖❖❖

If your mother-in-law doth eternally jaw,
If your triplets get cholic and cry;
If their ringlets are red or they fall out of bed,
Curse the W. W. I.

❖❖❖

If your cellar caves in, if you bark your poor shin,
If your old brindle cow goeth dry,
If your pancakes are tough and your sailing is rough
Soak the W. W. I.

❖❖❖

The cause of consumption, of asthma and gout,
The hook worm, the tape worm, the fly,
Of bedbugs and lice, of rats and mice
Is the W. W. I.

❖❖❖

And therefore I bless our Great Popular Press;
On its every report I reply;
It knows whom to blame for all the sin, and the name
Is plain W. W. I.!

⯁⯁⯁

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