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The IWW - its History, Structure and Methods

By Vincent St. John - Edited, with Forward and Epilogue, by Mark Damron, 2001; Originally Published by IWW PUBLISHING BUREAU in CHICAGO, 1917

In the fall of 1904 eight men began to secretly plan a radical new direction for the American Labor Movement.

These men were planning for a new era of solidarity and strength for the American workingmen. They felt that the only hope of the working class was a new labor organization, one not in awe of capitalism, or cowed by government regulations and interference. It was with the hope that they might succeed in forming such an organization that these first eight invited 36 of the leaders of radical labor to Chicago to attend a secret conference to lay the groundwork for a new union.

The invitations read:

Asserting our confidence in the ability of the working class, if correctly organized on both political and industrial lines, to take possession of and operate successfully the industries of the country . . .
We invite you to meet us at Chicago, Monday, January 2, 1905, in secret conference to discuss way and means of uniting the working people of America on correct revolutionary principles, regardless of any labor organization of the past or present, and only restricted by such basic principles as will insure its integrity as a real protector of the interests of the working class.

With these few actions the Industrial Workers of the World was born.

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