(12) The I.W.W. at Present
The organization to date (Jan., 1917) consists of six Industrial Unions: Marine Transport Workers, Metal and Machinery Workers, Agricultural Workers, Iron Miners, Lumber Workers, and Railway Workers, having fifty branches and 200 unions in other industries, together with 100 recruiting unions directly united with the general organization.
The membership today consists very largely of unskilled workers. The bulk of the present membership is in the following industries: Textile, steel, lumber, mining, farming, railroad construction and marine transportation. The majority of the workers in these industries--except the textile--travel from place to place following the different seasons of work. They are therefore out of touch with the organization for months at a period. The paid-up membership of the organization at this time is 60,000. Due to the causes referred to above, this is all of the membership that keeps paid up on the books at all times. The general office, however, has issued 300,000 cards, which is about the number of workers that are in the organization in good and bad standing.
The general practice of exaggerating the membership of the organization is looked upon with disfavor in the I. W. W., as the organization aims to have the membership at all times look at all questions that affect their interests in their actual state. It is absolutely necessary that they do so if they are to be able to judge their strength and their ability to accomplish any proposed undertaking.
As will be seen, the organization in the past has had a continual struggle, not the least of which has been the internal strife engendered by conflicting elements whose activity sprang from many different motives. The future of the organization will be one of greater struggles. We would not have it otherwise. The internal strife will no doubt be present in the future as in the past. The employing class are fully aware that the most effective way of lessening the power of the revolutionary labor organization is to keep it busy with internal wrangles.
As the membership gain experience from actual contact with the problems of their class they will learn to know each other and the internal wrangles will disappear. Then this weapon in the hands of the employers will become useless, because the membership will refuse to be divided where their class interests are involved.
The future belongs to the I.W.W. The day of the skilled worker is passed. Machine production has made the unskilled worker the main factor in industry. Under modern industrial conditions the workers can no longer act in small groups with any chance of success. They must organize and act as a class.
We are looking forward to the time when the organized proletariat will meet in their union the world over "and decide how long they will work and how much of the wealth they produce they will give to the boss."