The IWW Stance on Political Parties and Anarchism
Where does the IWW stand on political parties? Is the IWW anarchist? These questions are a source of lively debate outside of the IWW and sometimes within the ranks of the IWW, however, the simple answer is this:
IWW General Bylaws, ARTICLE IV, Political Alliances Prohibited - To the end of promoting industrial unity and of securing necessary discipline within the organisation, the IWW refuses all alliances, direct or indirect, with any political parties or anti-political sects, and disclaims responsibility for any individual opinion or act which may be at variance with the purposes herein expressed.
This leads some to argue that the IWW is an anarchist or anarcho-syndicalist union and/or organization, but that is also not the case. That is not to say that either anarchists or non-anarchists are unwelcome in the IWW, quite the opposite, in fact. The IWW is open to all workers.
There have been many discussions about this issue. Beyond the IWW's official literature, the following opinions which are not official and should not be regarded as the official position of the IWW, but have been written by IWW members, are offered for informational purposes (in chronological order):
- The I.W.W. and Political Parties - Vincent St. John (1924)
- The Labor Party Illusion - Sam Dolgoff (1980)
- The IWW and Electoral Politics: An Historical Overview - John Sillito (November 1991)
- If Voting Could Change Things ... The Labor Party Illusion - Jon Bekken (November 1991)
- ...They'd Make it Illegal: The Green Party Illusion - Jess Grant (November 1991)
- Politics vs. Syndicalism: a Case Study of the IWW - Luther Gaylord (1995)