Down at the Low Dive Cafe, Part 6
By Arthur J Miller
Dil said; "I have brought over to you a fair sampling of the people who hangout here at the Low Dive. But if you were to talk to all the people here, you would get from each the same story of how your system abuses and exploits the working people of this land. There is a great diversity among our friends, but we are all united by a common enemy and common solutions."
The Dil got up to get the professor's last interview. "I saved old Louisiana Jack for last. Old Jack is a hard case, a down and dirty mean case," Dil said, and Moll added from a distance; "and a real pain-in-the-ass case," and then she chuckles. Dil continues; "To the bosses Jack is a foul mouth, bad attitude pain in the ass, and being hanged from a yard-iron would be too good for him. But to us, he is the mouth that roars when ever the need arises; our sabcat dinosaur and Wobbly delegate."
Rising up from a table in a darken corner, a man begins to walk in the professor's direction. He is a short, but thick in build and wears an old beat-up hat upon his head.
The professor is startled by the intensity of his eyes, which seem to border between the deranged look of a psychopath and the driven attitude of a fanatic. He carries himself as if he were on a mission, maybe even always on a mission.
Jack sits down at the table and in a low raspy voice; speaks to the professor. "What's up tenderfoot?"
The professor tried to regain his composure and then says; "your a Wobbly? I thought the Wobblies died out long ago?"
Jack gives out a vociferous laugh that seems more sinister than inspired by humor. "As long as there are working stiffs getting the shaft from the bosses, bulls, pie cards and sky pilots, there will always be Wobblies. Being a Wobbly is more than just having a little red card, it is an attitude of stiffs fighting back directly against those who try to screw them. It is a realization that those on the bottom have the industrial power to dump off their backs the greedy parasites that live off their labor."
"Wobblies are members of the Industrial Workers of the World, an industrial organization out to organize all workers of all races, sexes, nationalities from every land across the world into a One Big Union fighting organization. This organization will fight the day to day battles of the class war until the organized power of the working class is greater than the organized power of the capitalist class and at that point we will seize the means of production and end the rule of the capitalist class forever and a day!"
A little shaken by the thought of these low life scoundrels organizing for the demise of his world, the professor comments; "But did not the IWW fail long ago under the suppression of the government? Did not the more moderate unions and social organizations show that through comprise working people are able to make more lasting gains?"
"The rich people's government did try to suppress the IWW and they may tried to do it again. Those swine lackeys of the rich could burn ever Wobbly card, all our records, every book and every pamphlet the IWW every printed, they could hang every Wob or throw them into the deepest dungeons and throw away the keys for all the good it would do 'em! For how do you suppress an ideal that lives in the hearts and minds of every rebel toiler? The Wobblies would always reappear."
"What lasting gains are you referring to? You have sat here a listen to story after story of working people still be abused by fat-cats that don't give a damn about them beyond their ability to produce profit to line their pockets."
"For every rich parasite that has far more than they need, there are many poor working people doing without their needs. All the business unions, all the good farted liberals, all the sky pilots with their pie-in-the-sky, and all the politicians of all the tweedle dip and twiddle dumb persuasions, have done nothing to change the fact that the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer."
"The reformist business unions have done nothing more than to convince some workers that they are a part of some type of labor aristocracy and should act in their own interests only, and all the while the bosses are still getting rich off of their labor and the pie cards are taking their cut of the fruits the labor of their members produces. And when those union folks are forced to strike it is without the organized solidarity of the rest of the labor movement; so they find themselves out on the line by themselves."
"Any strike can be won by organized solidarity. When no union worker ever provides a plant on strike with goods or services, handles goods from a striking plant, crosses a union picket line, does the work that a striking worker would have done, or consumes scab products --- That is when we will make gains."
The professor was about to ask another question when he heard a bit of a commotion at the other end of the room. Looking over he saw Moll, Juan and Sally holding boxes of what looked like meat scraps over by a back door. Jack got up and went over to open the door for them and then said; "chum the waters good for our friends for they'll have a real feast tonight!" With that the three disappeared down a set of stairs. Dil was still sitting at the table and as he continued to fiddle around with his rope he was smiling at some joke he was thinking about. Jack returned to the table, a smile of pure delight upon his face as well.
The professor asked; "With all the power that is behind the rich, the government and its laws, armies, police, judges, jails and prisons; their ownership of industry, their money in the banks and their managers to enforce their interests with the power to fire unruly workers . . . with them organizing their interests with others throughout the world, how could you Wobblies ever hope to defeat your foes?"
The smile of Jack's face grew even larger as he thought about his response, and when Jack began to speak it was as if he were hit by divine inspiration: "You rich folks exist in the arrogance of what you think is real power, but your power is just an illusion. For there is a power far greater than your class could ever accumulate, even if you were to possess all the money in the world. It is the power of one group of folks that no society can do without . . . and it ain't your class. No society can do without us working folks. We produce your food, your clothes, your homes, your medicine, your cars and the fuel that runs them. We produce all that is consumed by your class, and provide all the services that your class depends upon. Without us you are nothing!"
"We serve in your armies and we can turn those guns around. We can withhold everything you depend upon, and then see how long you can survive eating your money, deeds and laws! Even if you continue to have armed thugs serving you, remember one thing: We are everywhere! We are in all shops of production, all markets of goods, all restaurants and hospitals . . . we even serve in your homes. You are completely surrounded and we can strike you at anytime or anyplace."
"There is nowhere you can run to, nowhere for you to hide; we are everywhere! Now that is real power, and the day will come when our class uses that power against your class. When that happens, your class will be no more."
"Our organization, the IWW, seeks to organize the power of the working class to its greatest possible effectiveness. Every worker on the same job belongs to the same industrial job organization, all workers in the same industry belong to the same industrial union, all workers in related industries belong to the same Industrial Department, all members who live and work with the same region belong to the same Industrial District Council, all workers everywhere belong to the One Big Union. We are able to have both local rank and file control of job organizations and at the same time have universal solidarity. We would be able to strike through direct action in any given location or and given industry, or all industries at the same time."
Poor old Professor Armchair was feeling rather depressed at the idea of such power every being used. He then thought that he should try to justify his existence. "I believe that I do serve a useful purpose to the disadvantaged class. I write books about the history of working class events, and I try to bring their stories to others so that there is some understanding of their suffering and of the need of those that are better off to improve the lives of those that have less. In the great university I am a history professor and I specialize in labor history. I am recognized as one of the premier authorities in my field."
Jack stood up and started in on poor Professor Armchair.
"Labor historians are to workers as anthropologists are to Indians. You exploit our class for your own personal gain and agendas. You know nothing of what it is like to be poor and exploited . . . to have the bulls on your ass for no other crime that mere existence. To have to work in a deep coal mine, or drive a long haul truck, to slave away in the belly of a ship or down upon a speedup assembly line. You have no concept of how a child feels that is forced to labor so that your decadent society has its latest fashion statements. You have no idea what it is like to work so damn hard, for so damn long and have so less to show for it. You never spoiled your hands in the hard labor of the farm workers who produce the food that you eat. To you, we workers are only to be studied, or hung on the walls of your museums as artifacts. Even though you may write your books and give your lectures; you know nothing about us. If you were to live even one day in our world you could not survive, and we would not be willing to guide you."
"We do not need you; we can tell our own stories. We do not need your history; we live our history. We do not need your pity, for that is only a narcotic to dim the reality of you class' guilt. You are only a parasitic vampire with your fangs buried deep into our necks feeding upon us, and the day will come when our class pulls the bloody fangs of your class out of our necks and extract your parasitic class from the host body of humanity!"
Without thinking the Professor responded in anger; "You're not leaders of your class, there is no nobility in your cause! You can't go in to my book! You are just terrible low life, criminals, and outlaws; the scum of the earth! You are a threat to every decent person that has every existed!"
Jack just smiles and says; "that we are!" Then the door to the under part of the establishment opens up and Moll, Juan and Sally reappear. Moll states in a joyous tone; "our friends are here and they are ready for their feast!"
Then as if the timing had been preordained, the door to the cafe opens up and an elderly woman walks in. Moll calls out; "Grandma Marie your timing is right on the mark! We have a grand feast for our friends tonight!" The woman then looks over at the professor and smiles. The professor then notices that while he was venting his anger, Dil had tied him to his chair with his rope. Then he notices that his chair is sitting on top of what looks like a trap door and then he looks up to see that everyone is standing and smiling at him.
As we leave our friends at the Low Dive Cafe, Northend Dil is still thinking about tying up the bad guys and dropping them into a shark pit as an effective way of disposing of human garbage.