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From the Archives: On Being Happy

By Robert Whitaker This poem appeared in the October 1925 edition of the Industrial Pioneer. Note that this was written before the Great Depression. ❖❖❖ How can a man be happy when the world is so awry?When strong men beg for work to do and unfed millions die?When little children lift their heads and plead […]

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From the Archives: Wobbles

The name ‘Wobbly’ lends to quite a few pun opportunities. One of the more ingenious of these can be found within the pages of the Industrial Pioneer, a monthly IWW publication that ran from 1921-1926. The Industrial Pioneer introduced a humor section, and labeled it ‘Wobbles’ – I’m sure the masterminds behind that were very […]

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The Case For Propaganda

by X389468 It’s no secret that the IWW has seen better days. At one time, our membership was in the hundreds of thousands and we appeared to be on the verge of becoming the voice of “unskilled” labor. Vicious government repression over several years put an end to that, and instead we were forced to […]

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From the Archives: Escaped!

This poem was written by Ralph Chaplain and published in the Industrial Pioneer in 1923. As a side note, the term used at the time for an escaping prisoner is “wildcat”. ❖❖❖ A man has fled…! We clutch the bars and wait;The corridors are empty, tense, and still;A silver mist has dimmed the distant hill;The guards […]

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From the Archives: The Origin of the Term “Wobbly”

The following is an excerpt from a letter written by Mortimer Downing in the year 1923 and was published in the Industrial Pioneer, an IWW monthly paper. “How ‘Wobbly’ Originated” “Up in Vancouver, in 1911, we had a number of Chinese members, and one restaurant keeper would trust any member for meals. He could not pronounce […]

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History of the Sacramento IWW: “Building a Battleship”

As of November 28, 1918, the Sacramento local of the IWW is for the most part languishing in jail. However, in typical IWW fashion their spirits remain unbroken and they continue to be problems for the law and for everyone within earshot. The Sacramento IWW in particular decided to employ a technique called “building a […]

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History of the Sacramento IWW: Alleged Shenanigans

The following are all summaries of articles that appeared in the Sacramento Bee: October 24, 1913 – A verbal fight breaks out between a socialist speaker and some “IWW elements” that apparently needed the presence of two police officers. It’s probably for the best that the panicked citizens of Sacramento lived before Twitter existed. July […]

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poetry

From the Archives: The W.W.I.

“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, […]

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“Why Don’t You Just Work Harder?” – An Answer to a Common Question

If you have ever questioned capitalism, you have most likely at some point been asked, “Well, if you want more money, why don’t you just work harder?” This can make us stop short if we don’t have an answer already prepared. Americans tend to be violently allergic to the slightest indication of laziness, whether that […]

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Those Who Write About Leftists: An Original Poem

Satire is today a popular artWith many practitioners thereofDisplaying a wide array of talentsAnd showing many societal flawsBut as is with all things so widespreadIt has rather gone to some folks’ heads ❖❖❖ It is easy to find and chooseSome helpless target for casual abuseBringing low the mighty and strongCan be dangerous if done for […]