This site is a static archive. Visit the current IWW website at ▸
Skip to main content

(5) Structure of the I.W.W.

Basing its conclusions upon the experience of the past the I. W. W. holds that it is essential to have the form and structure of the organization conform to the development of the machinery of production and the process of concentration going on in industry in order to facilitate the growth of solidarity on class lines among the workers. Unless the structure of the organization keeps step with the development of industry it will be impossible to secure the solidarity so necessary to success in the struggles with the employing class.

Out of date forms of organization with their corresponding obsolete methods and rules will have to be broken down. To do this in time of a struggle means confusion and chaos that result in defeat.

The I.W.W. holds, that, regardless of the bravery and spirit the workers may show, if they are compelled to fight with old methods and an out of date form of organization against the modern organization of the employing class, there can be but one outcome to any struggle waged under these conditions--defeat.

The I.W.W. recognizes the need of working class solidarity. To achieve this it proposes the recognition of the Class Struggle as the basic principle of the organization, and declares its purpose to be the fighting of that struggle until the working class is in control of the administration of industry.

In its basic principle the I.W.W. calls forth that spirit of revolt and resistance that is so necessary a part of the equipment of any organization of the workers in their struggle for economic independence. In a word, its basic principle makes the I.W.W. a fighting organization. It commits the union to an unceasing struggle against the private ownership and control of industry.

There is but one bargain that the I.W.W. will make with the employing class--COMPLETE SURRENDER OF ALL CONTROL OF INDUSTRY TO THE ORGANIZED WORKERS.

The experience of the past has proven the mass form of organization, such as that of the Knights of Labor, to be as powerless and unwieldy as a mob.

The craft form of union, with its principle of trade autonomy, and harmony of interest with the boss, has also been proven a failure. It has not furnished an effective weapon to the working class. True, it has been able to get for the skilled mechanics improved conditions, but due to the narrow structure of the craft organization, class interest has long since been lost sight of, and craft interest alone governs the actions of its membership. In the last analysis the craft union has only been able to get advantages for its membership at the expense of the great mass of the working class, by entering into a contract with the employing class to stand aloof from the balance of the working class in its struggles. They have become allies of the employers to keep in subjection the vast majority of the workers. The I.W.W. denies that the craft union movement is a labor movement. We deny that it can or will become a labor movement.

Today in the United States in all of the basic (large) industries, whenever any portion of the workers strive for better conditions, they enter into a conflict with the employing class as a whole. The expense of a strike is borne by the organized employers who have reached the point that, regardless of what competition may still remain, they unite to keep the workers in subjection, because of the common interest all have in securing cheap labor power.

Next page: (6) General Outline