U.S.A. Historical Context

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The Wobblies

The Industrial Workers of the World was founded in 1905 in Chicago at a convention of two hundred socialists, anarchists, radicals, and trade unionists from all over the United States. Its purpose, according to Bill Haywood, who opened the convention, was:

the emancipation of the working-class from the slave
bondage of capitalism. . . . to put the working- class
in possession of the economic power, the means of
life, in control of the machinery of production and
distribution, without regard to the capitalist masters.





The members of the IWW, or "Wobblies," as they came to be known, believed that workers and employers had nothing in common and were fundamentally enemies. The Wobblies aimed to organize all workers in every industry into one big union, which would not be divided by gender, race, or skills. They also believed that negotiating with the owners was a mistake because it often sidetracked...

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