Minutes of the IWW Founding Convention - Part 10
Industrial Workers of the World
Monday, July 3
Chairman Haywood called the convention to order at one o’clock P. M., and called Del. Coates to take his place as Chairman.
Del. McDonald, on behalf of the Committee on Organization, reported back Resolution No. 16, offered by Delegates Trautmann, Hagerty and De Leon, and Resolution No. 18, offered by Delegate Chas. Kiehn, with a recommendation that the convention adopt No. 18 in place of No. 16.
DEL. LA MONTE: Comrade Chairman, I desire to know whether this resolution, which the committee recommends, ties up this body with the International Socialist Bureau at Brussels, Belgium, or whether it opens this up to communication with all international headquarters which may be located in any place all over Europe, London, Berlin or wherever else it may be. I ask as a point of information. I want to know where we are at. We want to know what we are going to do before we act.
DEL. MCDONALD: It simply says here that the incoming Executive Board has instructions to correspond with the trades and labor unions located in Berlin, Germany.
DEL. LA MONTE: Located in Berlin. We have heard that, located in Berlin. Comrades, do you know what the situation in Berlin is?
A delegate raised a point of order.
DEL. LA MONTE: I am willing to yield the floor to another motion. What is before the house at this time?
THE CHAIRMAN: You have the recommendation of your committee.
DEL. LA MONTE: Has any motion been made to adopt it at this time?
THE CHAIRMAN: I think this delegate was going to make a motion before when he arose.
DEL. LA MONTE: I am going to make a motion to this effect, that this resolution be stricken out or laid on the table, either way you please to take it.
THE CHAIRMAN: That the report of the committee be laid on the table?
DEL. LA MONTE: Yes.
THE CHAIRMAN: Is there a second to the motion?
THE CHAIRMAN: That carries with it, of course, the other resolution.
DEL. LA MONTE: Has any motion been made to adopt it at this time?
THE CHAIRMAN: I think this delegate was going to make a motion before when he arose.
DEL. SCHATZKE: I would like to ask for information.
THE CHAIRMAN: Are you through, Delegate La Monte?
Del. La Monte: No, I am not through.
THE CHAIRMAN: What is the information?
DEL. SCHATZKE: I would like to know why we should tie ourselves first to the labor organizations of Berlin in preference to any other place on earth.
THE CHAIRMAN: That is not a question of information.
DEL. SAUNDERS: A point of order. There is nothing before the house except this resolution, and no one can receive or have the floor except it is to rise to make a motion. The brother made a motion, but there was no second. Therefore he is not entitled to speak unless he gets permission.
THE CHAIRMAN: I am just trying to tell him that.
Del. La Monte: I still have the floor?
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.
DEL. LA MONTE: I make a motion that this resolution be stricken out.
THE CHAIRMAN: Is there a second to the motion that the resolution be laid on the table?
DEL. LA MONTE: No, I did not make that. I made a motion that the resolution be stricken out.
THE CHAIRMAN: That is not a proper motion.
DEL. MCDONALD: I move you as the chairman of the Committee on Organization that the report of the Committee on Organization be accepted and the resolution adopted. (Seconded.)
THE CHAIRMAN: It is moved and seconded that the report of the Committee on Organization be accepted.
DEL. KIEHN: As a member of the Committee on Resolutions I would like to give the delegate that spoke just now the information as to the reason that induced me to offer this resolution. The international secretariat of the trade and labor unions of Europe is located in Berlin. It not only consists of the labor unions of Germany, but of all Europe. The international headquarters is fixed in Berlin, Germany. It is an institute for the exchange of views of the different labor organizations, compiling statistics and other matters pertaining to the international trade union and labor movement. It is different from the International Socialist Bureau in Belgium. That is another institution altogether.
DEL. TRAUTMANN: When the general conference met a question came up as to relations with organizations in other countries built upon recognition of the class struggle, and the Secretary of the conference was instructed to communicate with such other organizations as recognized the same principle already as will be the foundation and the fundamental basis of this new proposed organization. There are two bureaus, a bureau for the Socialist political parties with headquarters in Brussels, and a headquarters of international unions based and founded upon the recognition of the class struggle with headquarters in Berlin. Comrade Legien, a Social Democratic member of the German Reichstag, is the general secretary of those organizations. The French organizations give a full report—here it is—from all the bureaus, including Spain, South Australia and New Zealand. I have the answers to the invitation to send delegates to this convention. They will be laid before this convention, and you can then form your opinions. There are five bureaus already attached to the general industrial central organization, and the first report is in conjunction with the report of the Socialist Bureau this year. Here are the addresses of those organizations that are founded on the same fundamental principles that underlie this organization. The object of establishing international relations is to make the industrial unions of Europe co-operate with the organizations in this country so that, for instance, when emigrants from foreign countries, including Japan, leave their country to find shelter in this country, that they may be already advised that here is an organization that will open the doors to every immigrant, no matter where he may come from. (Applause.) Now, I communicated with the unions of Japan. I communicated with all countries with the exception of such countries where such unions are not in existence. In explaining at the general conference the difference between the pure and simple craft unions, the government unions of Russia, the yellow unions of France and the blue unions of Germany, I showed the difference in tactics between those pure and simple European organizations that are used in the same way that the American Federation of Labor is used as the instrument of the capitalist class. I venture to say, from the experience of the last year, if we firmly connect ourselves with that bureau, that the members of our class, members of progressive organizations of labor, will know when they leave the other countries that there are organizations with which they can immediately associate themselves and become a working member of an organization working on the same lines as those in the old countries. Not only will these relations extend to the unions that are to-day connected with the international unions in Berlin, but these relations will go further and extend to Russia. We are aware of the fact that Bakunin or the followers of Bakunin rather have in the last five years organized economic organizations on the class struggle that will certainly come under the head of the organization that we are going to form, and with whom we can establish such relations as to bring the immigrants from foreign countries immediately into the folds of industrial unions of this country. Perhaps it would be taking too much of the time of the convention to go into it in detail, but you can see from letters from Denmark, South Australia, Germany and other countries where we have such organizations existing, that they fully agree with the principles underlying this new organization. If we are ourselves further advanced or represent a further advance it is for the reason that capitalism is further advanced in this country. In my letters that I sent to them I pointed out to them the difference between the American Federation and us, and it was the general secretary of France who grasped at once the significance of this new organization and had a big article in The People, in which he points out the difference between the American Federation of Labor and the proposed organization. I know from experience that men who have been trained and skilled in the Socialist party in the old country, unable to assimilate or affiliate with the old working class organizations, have become stagnant and finally conservative. They became the henchmen of the capitalist class because they did not find an organization that was built on the underlying principles on which we propose to build this in this country.
THE CHAIRMAN: Are there any other delegates that wish to speak on this motion?
It was moved and seconded that the report be adopted.
DEL. SCHATZKE: A point of information. The way I understand “international,” it means that we want only one headquarters for international purposes and one secretary. There is already such an organization in Europe as an international movement to adopt our plans. Now, the question is, shall we recognize the German headquarters, or shall the Germans recognize that we will establish the headquarters here? I would like to find out where we shall establish our international headquarters.
THE CHAIRMAN: That is for the international congress to settle.
Question called for.
THE CHAIRMAN: All those in favor of the motion to adopt the report of the committee as a substitute for the original resolution will say aye. Contrary no. The motion is adopted.
LITERATURE AND PRESS.
DEL. BRIMBLE: I made a mistake this morning. When you called for the report of the Committee on Literature and Press I said there was no report and that nothing had been settled by it. There has been a part of the work done.
Del. Dinger read the following report on behalf of the committee, he not being a member :
IS THE INDUSTRIAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD A POLITICAL ORGANIZATION?
The inherent weakness of the arguments against the United Workers and industrial unionism is proven by the fact that the only thing that is used with any effect by its enemies is a lie. That is, that the United Workers is not in fact a labor organization, but a political movement.
On account of many of the organized and unorganized working people being ignorant of the real principles and purposes of this new labor unionism, it is necessary that these charges that are being made by the salaried officials of craft unionism, by the so-called labor papers that depend upon craft unionism for support, and by the capitalist press, be refuted.
In the American Federationist, official magazine of the American Federation of Labor, for March, 1905, Samuel Gompers, its editor, referring to the Industrial Union Manifesto, says
“The Socialists have called another Convention to smash the American trade union movement.”
The Iowa State Federation of Labor, acting upon this misrepresentation, adopted the following:
“A few disgruntled office seekers and would-be politicians have seen fit to criticise the present methods and government of our trade organizations; and these same people have issued a call for a Convention to be held in the City of Chicago June 27, 1905, to form an organization TO BE A POLITICAL INDUSTRIAL LABOR ORGANIZATION, the avowed purpose of which is the complete annihilation of the present trade union movement BY POLITICAL METHODS.”
The Advance Advocate, a so-called labor paper depending upon Gompersism for support, says
“And now a new industrial union is to be launched in Chicago. It is going to revolutionize the whole labor movement, according to the Manifesto of its promoters. IT IS GOING INTO POLITICS. We predict that it will fail.”
The Milwaukee journal, a capitalist daily newspaper, repeating the chorus of all capitalist newspapers, has this to say:
“The Socialists are still earnestly advocating the formation of a new national organization in the hope of downing the American Federation of Labor, as the federation is opposed to making the labor union a political organization.”
These falsehoods have been freely circulated in craft union literature, and more freely by the capitalist press, in spite of the fact that not a word can be found in any of the official acts or utterances of the United Workers, or of the Conferences or Conventions that brought it into existence, or in the Manifesto or other industrial union literature, to justify them.
On the other hand, every official declaration of the United Workers and the Industrial Union movement on this question has been clear and unmistakable AGAINST making it a political organization or a political movement. The Manifesto declares:
“It (the industrial union) should be established as the economic organization of the working class, WITHOUT AFFILIATION WITH ANY POLITICAL PARTY.”
The United Workers is not a political party. It is a labor union. It is made necessary because other so-called labor organizations have proved themselves incompetent and unable to represent the working class. It also declares its final purpose to be the abolition of wage slavery and complete freedom of the working class in the possession of the means of production and distribution.
While the United Workers is not a political party, and does not affiliate with any political party, the capitalists must not delude themselves with the idea that they alone are wise enough to know the value of political power, and that they, through the political ignorance of the working people, will be free and unhampered in placing capitalist servants in charge of the law-making and law-executing powers, and in using for the benefit of the employing class the policemen’s clubs and the guns of the soldiery.
The United Workers and the industrial union movement reserves the right for its members to use, outside this labor organization, in a political way, any weapon that will prove useful in the struggle for economic betterment.
As organized workers we oppose every form of working class ignorance, and urge all working people to study politics, and advise all unions to set apart a time to study political questions, to the end that when the working people use the ballot, their votes may be cast unitedly in their own interests.
The reading of the report was greeted with applause.
DEL. GOODWIN: As I understood that resolution this organization shall have no affiliation with any political party, and yet it is implied throughout that political action, in the parliamentary sense of the word is necessary. I make a motion that that resolution be tabled. (Seconded.)
Motion to table put and lost. A motion was made to adopt.
DEL. DE LEON: I move that this article that was read be referred to the incoming General Executive Board, for final action. (Seconded.)
DEL. CLARENCE SMITH: I do not think there is any necessity of referring this to the Executive Board. It seems to me that this convention is wise enough to know the sort of literature it desires to place before the working people of this country. It seems to me that the combined intelligence of the delegates in this convention is greater than the intelligence of any set of men that can be selected from this convention as an Executive Board. (Applause.) This document is not so long as it appears from the manner in which it, was read. The document contains less than 700 words, and can be easily printed on two small pages. I know that the document does, not provide that the organization shall be committed to politics. It was decided by the Committee on Literature and Press that it was absolutely necessary to answer the question or claim of the enemies of this movement that this organization was to be a political organization. It was absolutely necessary to refute that assertion of our enemies, and in this document the Committee on Literature and Press has attempted to answer it in a clear and concise way without committing the organization to any political party, or to politics at all in fact. I will not read the first part of the document, which simply gives the charge that it is a political organization, but I will simply read a part of the answer to that charge: “On the other hand, every official declaration of the United Workers and the industrial union movement on this question has been clear and unmistakable against making it a political organization or a political movement. The Manifesto declares”—and then quotes from the Manifesto as follows: “The United Workers is not a political party. It is a labor union. It is made necessary because other so-called labor organizations have proved themselves incompetent and unable to represent the working class in its every-day struggles with the employing class.” This sentence asserts that the fundamental principle of the organization is economic. It goes on: “It also declares its final purpose to be the abolition of wage slavery and complete freedom of the working class in the possession of the means of production and distribution. While the United Workers is not a political party and it is not affiliated with any political party, the capitalists must not delude themselves with the idea that they alone are wise enough to know the value of political power and that they through the political ignorance of the working class will be free and unhampered in placing capitalist servants in charge of the law-making and law-executing power and in using for the benefit of the employing class the policemen’s club—and the guns of the soldiery. The United Workers and the industrial union movement reserve the right for its members to use outside of this labor organization in a political way any weapon that will prove useful in the struggle for economic betterment.” It does not even commit the organization to the proposition that politics is a useful weapon. It urges all working people to study politics and advises all unions to set apart a time for political discussion to the end that when union men use the ballot they may cast it unitedly, in their own interest. It seems to me, Mr. Chairman, that if this convention is to decide that the working class through the unions of this proposed organization shall not be permitted to discuss politics and shall not be permitted to consider political questions, it will place this organization on the same narrow basis that the American Federation of Labor now takes on that question. It seems to me that this organization can take a broad stand on this question that will permit a free and unlimited discussion of political questions as well as all other questions that concern the working class in this way. If we do that, if we simply permit the workers in this proposed organization to study these questions in their own way, we can rest assured that if the political field is the field whereon to circumvent capitalism it will be taken advantage of by the members of this organization; and if politics is not a field that will be proper for carrying on the work of the organization the workers in this new movement can never learn that any quicker than by studying political questions for themselves. (Applause.)
DEL. PAT O’NEIL: I am afraid the brother over there did not understand the matter when it was read. He has confused a quotation from Gompers’s paper as the utterance of the committee.
DEL. GOODWIN: No.
DEL. O’NEIL: I think you did. I don’t see how else you can come to the conclusion that you have. The American Federationist and papers of that class have continually charged the Manifesto with being a movement to bring a political movement out of the labor movement. This is simply a statement to the people at large that that is not true. It is not to-day, and it never has been true. The American Federation comes out point blank and instructs its members that they must not meddle with politics. This organization, on the contrary, says that the industrial union, as I understand, is to be an economic organization for the purpose of the betterment of the wage working class or the working class. If that is true, why should not the laborer, who to-day is the most ignorant as to political economy of any man on earth—why should he not be set clear on that point?
DEL. LA MONTE: I protest. The workingman is not the most ignorant man as to the laws of political economy.
DEL. O’NEIL: If he were not ignorant on that subject you would never find him lined up in support of the other fellow. (Applause.) You better keep still after this, till you know the man that you go up against. The position of the committee, therefore, was to strive to bring out a statement to the public at large to set them right in reference to the charges made against this proposed organization by the American Federationist. That is all I wanted to say.
DEL. GOODWIN: The delegate said that I misunderstood this. The address says, “The United Workers is not a political party. It is a labor union. It is made necessary because other so-called labor organizations have proved themselves incompetent”—
DEL. RICHTER: A point of order. We are discussing a motion to refer to the Executive Board, and not what the other people may say.
THE CHAIRMAN: That opens the entire matter for discussion.
DEL. GOODWIN: I will read: “The United Workers is not a political party. It is a labor organization. It is made necessary because other so-called labor organizations have proved themselves incompetent and unable to represent the working class in its everyday struggles with the employing class.” I understand that out of this criticism of other organizations comes this organization. It says it comes to fight the battles of labor on the economic field, and inasmuch as it does that it is nothing more. Do you delegates assembled here believe that this economic union of the working class will remain only economic? The Black Sea events have proved that the struggle in Russia is finally political. There is no ballot box in Russia, and the Russians do not need it, because under their conditions they must struggle without the ballot box. This address says: “It also declares its final purpose to be the abolition of wage slavery and complete freedom of the working class in the possession of the means of production and distribution.” If this is the purpose of this organization as this resolution sets forth here, it makes a denial of the statement going before, that it is not a political movement. The very act of the working class organized into this union, in seizing the means of production and distribution, is of itself political, and I hold that a union which proposes to take from the capitalist class these things and give them to the working class is of itself a political act. The Democratic and Republican parties have the election machinery, and every time we want anything we must go before the capitalist class and ask for it at their ballot. Here is the Socialist Labor Party. Every State in the Union denies its right to the ballot box. In every State it is not recognized as a political party, and it goes before the capitalist class of this country demanding from the capitalist class the right to go on its ballot. I want to know what we are here for. Do we come here asking favors for the working class? This resolution contradicts itself. In one place it says this is a purely economic organization, and then it goes on and says its purposes are political. If this organization goes on record recognizing the need of the ballot box in its parliamentary revolution, if it educates the working class along those lines, then it is going into politics pure and simple. Up till 1896 the idea of “economic organization” was never preached. The subject was never presented before the working class. The S. L. P. started the S. T. & L. A. First the political must dominate the economic. Here it says the economic must dominate the political, or the political organization must justify itself before the economic. I say that the political must justify itself before the economic. If the economic organization is open to justification, then it is wrong to that extent. Now, what does the working class know or care about capitalist politics? You cannot get on the ballot unless you ask the capitalists, and if the capitalists see fit they may keep you off. You belong to the working class, and there has not been a law passed in the interest of labor but what the capitalist supreme court has stood ready to strike it off the statute book. And if you go into politics and elect your candidate the capitalist judges will declare the election unconstitutional or illegal. Take Colorado. A capitalist, supported by labor votes, Adams, was elected governor by an overwhelming majority in Colorado, and the election was thrown out and Peabody put in his place. Go where you will, you have got to ask the capitalists for the right to go on the ballot. I say this convention ought to declare itself on that one point.
DEL. GUY MILLER: It seems to me unnecessary to explain the attitude of the delegate who has just spoken. Every man here understands that political and religious institutions are but the reflection of the economic system of production, and that when this convention sets before itself the task of bringing about an economic revolution it also prepares the way for a revolution in every field of society, and in every other field of thought. That seems to me to need no further discussion. And now the fact that we propose to bring about the industrial union of the workers, that we propose to make the solidarity of the interests of the working class a fact in an organization whose purpose is to do business with the capitalist class and to favor that unity which is to be brought about in the white heat of action, will not be lost sight of or forgotten or overlooked when it comes to the ballot box. This organization is prepared to support the interests of the working class upon every field of action, on every field whereon its interests are at stake. Its purposes are just as wide as the interests and needs of the working class. We do not propose to throw down one censorship of human thought and replace it by another. We propose to be free to express opinions in the union regarding all the interests of the workers of this country. That is what we have been defeated in in the past; that is what we are to secure in the future. I believe that most of the people who have listened to the reading of this resolution recognize the fact that the political movement and the industrial movement are but the two hands that are each to do battle for the interest of the working class. And since government is but a reflection of economic systems of production, through strengthening our arms on the industrial field we shall also make our voices more effective on the political field. The expression at the ballot box, the casting of a Socialist ballot, is something more than putting in a mere piece of paper. That is all right. The fundamental mistake occurs on the part of many who are members of this convention in thinking that that is all. It is the expression of the determination on the part of the men who cast that ballot to back up that expression of the working class by the entire strength of that class; that is what it means to cast a Socialist ballot. So people are fundamentally mistaken when they consider that we are mere theorists. But upon the other hand, if the Socialist believes in the expression of our interest at the ballot box, the industrialist also believes in the union of the worker in the factory and the mine to best conserve and protect that interest which is expressed at the ballot box. Each of these two forms is necessary if we are to secure our freedom. The strike is in its incipiency a revolution, only too often the men who strike are ignorant of the fact. It is a demand for a larger part of the products of their toil, with the power to say something regarding the conditions under which they must earn their bread. Statements have been made here regarding unions, that they were not consciously formed on the lines of the class struggle, most of them. That is the reason why our battles have been so ineffective ; but just the same every union that was ever formed is as expression in some form of the class struggle (Applause.)
DEL. SAUNDERS: I wish to emphasize the last statement of the last speaker. He spoke of the wisdom of having an understanding of this economic movement about to be launched, and the necessity of depositing a Socialist ballot. If you remember, he said a Socialist ballot. I agree with that. I also agree with him when I believe he means to say that that ballot means a working class political ballot. That means the working class and only the working class. I agree with that. But I believe that that is to be seen yet, and when a political organization will come before the working people of America where it is pointed out that they stand for the working class and only the working class, then will be the time when the workingman will be able to deposit a Socialist ballot.
DEL. SCHATZKE: This report states that the workingman has a right to study politics. I would rather that workingman should have a chance to study economy. If he would study economy he would have no need of politics. If he understands economy it will mean the abolition of the parasites. Therefore, I say, let us not say that he should study politics, but I would change the expression that he should study real economy.
DEL. POWERS: We have lost sight of the subject in hand. I would like to have the report read again.
THE CHAIRMAN: We will have the report read again.
Del. Dinger again read the report.
DEL. POWERS: Comrades, I am going to take up but a few minutes of your time. I want to say to you that no matter what disposition you make of this resolution, when I go out of this convention I intend to exercise my right as an American citizen. I intend to vote against the capitalist behind the judge. I intend to vote against the capitalist behind the policeman’s club. I intend to vote against every politician that is in favor of wage slavery. I intend to vote against the buttress of the worst tyranny, the man behind the gun, and there is nothing in this resolution that will stop me from doing that thing. There has been a great deal said in this convention about the American Federation of Labor. After I leave here I don’t propose to waste five minutes of my time talking about the American Federation of Labor. I intend to go out and do what I can to build up the industrial movement. (Applause). Let the American Federation of Labor waste its time if it wants to talking about this organization. But there are millions of men who are outside of our organization and the American Federation of Labor organization also, and it would be to our advantage to reach out for them and let the American Federation of Labor go the way it is going. Now, comrades, you see the electric motor taking the place of the locomotive. You see the man in uniform directing a train of cars with a simple crank. You see one weaver doing the work of forty. Twenty years ago in Fall River there were 2,000 spinners, and notwithstanding that great union that they have there, made up of good loyal men, I have seen them on strike, and the number of men has decreased in twenty years to about 450 from 2,000, and the number of mills has increased about twenty-eight. The inventor is undoing the American Federation of Labor, and neither the American Federation nor any other power on this planet can deal with this question in any other way than is proposed by this organization here. And when we go outside let us forget the American Federation of Labor. Let us keep this thing in mind, that there are in the American Federation of Labor a lot of good fellows, the rank and file; there are a lot of them. I have seen those fellows from Fall River who belong to the American Federation of Labor, with half an inch of snow on their shoulders, tramping through the streets of the city of Providence collecting dimes and cents to feed the strikers in Fall River. So far as the officers are concerned, I have never bothered much with them, and I don’t propose to. The inventor is writing the doom of such organizations as the American Federation of Labor, and let him go on and do it. Let us attend to these millions who have never been organized at all. Now, comrades, no matter how long we discuss this matter of politics or no politics,—it seems that we cannot get politics out of our heads, this thing has got to go the way it is going. You don’t want to say to me when you go out of here that because you are an industrial unionist you cannot exercise your right as a citizen. Let us tell a man what we think it is best for him to do on election day. And you don’t want to attempt to vote such resolutions as those down. That is what you are trying to do. I do not think we can put this organization on record in any better way than the way that is proposed, and what is the use of going on all day talking about politics and politics and politics?
DEL. MURTAUGH: Mr. President and Fellow Delegates, I wish to say that if our foresight were equal to our hindsight there would be no need of the introduction of such a resolution as I understood from the reading is being introduced here. We have gone through this entire matter in the adoption of the Preamble, and if the foresight of the faction that wishes to continue this wrangling in the convention were equal to their hindsight they would see that the entire question has been done away with in the adoption of our Preamble. If we are going to get down to business, if we are going to confine ourselves to the serious, practical problems that confront this convention, we are going to do away with this wind-jamming, because I am going to tell you that any man of average intelligence that is an attendant at this convention understands just exactly what is meant. When we say that we wish to form a class conscious organization, that expresses it all. The different shades of opinion that are necessarily brought together here and split hairs and talk for hours upon the definition of a word or a phrase, are not going to help the movement along. I have heard it said that the workers of this country are ready for this movement. If the workers of this country are ready for this movement, they are ready for the movement; they are not ready for the hair-splitting definitions that we are going to quibble on in this convention. (Applause). Resolutions of this kind just introduced prolong debate. We are all right from the time our Preamble was adopted; our Preamble covers it all.
DEL. VOEGTLE: I think we ought to settle these points, because every one wants them settled. The question is whether that resolution is contradictory or whether it is not in regard to political action. So I offer as an amendment, so you will not be misunderstood and not go on record as being contradictory—
THE CHAIRMAN: Just a moment, delegate. The motion is to refer. Do you want to discuss that now?
DEL. VOEGTLE: Yes. My view of this matter is this: that working class politics shall consist in the management of the economic affairs of the working class on the political field, without going into the capitalist halls of legislation to perform acrobatic feats and reactionary performances in front of the capitalists in trying to display our strength in their eyes, because you can never gain anything through a bluff or through loud talking, because, as Marx said, the capitalist state is the executive committee of the capitalist class. We are up against it. It is an economic question, and the working class wants to recognize that politics is inherent in the economic power that they hold as an economic organization, and that these go hand in hand. If we think that we can gain political expression, that is, wield political power, by going into the enemy’s camp and trying to outvote him, we are mistaken. Now, that resolution seems to convey the impression that by hitching this economic organization on to the Socialist party or the Socialist Labor Party, that those long-haired phrase-mongers who are in those parties will lead us on to emancipation. Now, we want to get rid of that bogus idea and come right down on earth. (Applause.)
DEL. PARKS: I want to speak on the motion to refer. A motion has been made to refer this matter to the committee
THE CHAIRMAN: No; to the incoming Executive Board.
DEL. PARKS: Well, to the incoming Executive Board. It should be referred to some board or back to this committee, and as there is no other motion, I will speak in favor of the motion that is before the house. The document says that the United Workers is a political organization or in favor of political activity or something of that kind, and the term “United Workers” is used as if that was going to be the name of the coming organization. A little further on it uses the term “Industrial Workers” as the name of the proposed body. Those are errors, it seems to me, in that kind of a document which we are about to adopt as an official declaration of this convention. And then it contains some other errors, it seems to me. Another statement contained in the paper is that no official utterance of any industrial unions or industrial union literature shall contain an endorsement of any political party or anything of that kind. Now, the American Labor Union is an industrial union organization organized on the principles of industrial unionism, and it seems to me—I am pretty sure that my recollection is correct—that in the preamble of the A. L. U. they endorse the principles of international Socialism, and that might be interpreted by some to be a political pronouncement. Therefore, I hope that this question will either be referred to this incoming committee or back to some other committee to get the errors out of the document.
DEL. O’BRIEN: I believe that this convention is facing two positions, at least from the spirit of the discussion upon this question, and these two positions are of very great importance and have a direct relation to referring this question to the incoming Executive Committee. These two questions, as they appear to me, are simply these: On the one side it is a question of making this organization a political organization, and on the other it is a question of repudiating by implication or by direct statement the question of politics. Now, it seems to me the statement provided by the Literature and Press Committee is not clear and distinct enough. It is neither a political marriage with any existing political party nor is it an attempt to bring out a political party as the result of this organization. And on the other hand it does not repudiate any efforts of the working class on the political field to better their conditions. Accordingly I am in favor of referring this report.
DEL. SIMONS: I rise to a point of information. I would like to know how we are to interpret the action on this report. Are we to consider this motion to refer as repudiating the work of the committee and to repudiate political action or not? We have had a lot of arguments on one side and the other, and I would like to ask the mover of the motion or the Chairman, what are we to understand?
DEL. DE LEON: It seems to me clear from the utterances of the speakers that an article of that length should not be acted on at one hearing. I have now heard it twice, and understood it better the second time; but I would hesitate to act after reading it only twice, just because it is so important. As far as I understand the purport of it I believe I am in full sympathy with it. But I know there are expressions there that you yourselves (referring to the committee) will very likely expunge. The Committee on Constitution has not adopted the name of United Workers for this organization. They may adopt another name. Suppose they do, are you going to reconsider the question? Are you going to change the name? Another delegate mentioned some other imperfection. The thing as a whole, it seems to me, is all right, but if it is to be referred to a final committee for further information on these details, to what is actually called a committee on style, they would eliminate those imperfections. I am in hearty accord with the thing itself, but I think we are not in condition to adopt it as it is. We are not yet far enough advanced in the convention. We might be to-morrow, and for that reason if it was sent to the incoming G. E. B. that body will find it necessary to issue as soon as possible its announcement on the lines that have been promulgated by the Preamble. Have I answered your question?
DEL. SIMONS: I thank the gentleman for the answer. I am a member of the committee, and it seems we have to act before going to the Executive Committee. I want to make the point of order then that the rest of the discussion is entirely out of order and none of these questions are in order. I ask the chair to rule on that.
THE CHAIRMAN: What is that?
DEL. SIMONS: I make the point of order that all discussion is out of order on a matter of a mere correction of style. I want to say that if the convention does not adopt the name that we put in there we might as well leave the word blank. Under the circumstances I make the point that all discussion on the question of political action or non-political action is certainly out of order.
THE CHAIRMAN: I agree with you.
DEL. KLEMENSIC: As a member of the Committee on Literature and Press I wish to say that the committee agreed to form three sub-committees to state clearly and exactly the position of this body, and from that standpoint I think that discussion on the subject is proper now, because in order for the committee to do its work it ought to have proper guidance. At the same time we do not want to delay our work. The question with us was this, that we should have a proper knowledge of exactly what was wanted, and the committee drew up these lines for discussion, and if they were eventually approved and printed, money must be used, whether it was to be in the form of a small handbill, or four pages, or whatever was found most practical and cheap, in order to explain the position of this industrial union. Now, as far as politics goes, in this latter part, I do not know how it came in here; it came in without any knowledge of mine as a member of the committee. They say that “the United Workers in the industrial union movement reserves the right for its members to use outside of this labor organization in a political way any weapon that will prove useful in the struggle for economic betterment.” Thus far I agree completely. But further on it says, “As organized workers we oppose every form of working class ignorance, and urge all working people to study politics, and advise all unions to set apart a time to study political questions, to the end that when the working people use the ballot their votes may be cast unitedly in their own interest.” Now, I have nothing against that, but since I do not believe in the efficacy of the ballot—and to be honest with myself, I never can get one—in this case it is something I never can agree upon, although I recognize that those that think the ballot is an effective weapon may do so. I would not oppose it, but from my individual standpoint I do not use it as far as I am individually concerned. Therefore I think that the whole matter should be referred back to the Executive Board, so that whenever we come to political questions they will come before the Executive Board, and we will then have intelligence enough and be broad enough to size up the proposition in the right way and take proper action.
DEL. GLASGOW: This report of the Literature and Press Committee calls attention to the charges made in the American Federationist and other papers charging this organization with trying to bring about another political organization, and also an industrial organization with it. Now, I believe all of us are in favor of endorsing the declaration to the effect that we are not trying to bring into existence any political organization at all. The committee also recommend that there be set aside a certain portion of the time of the labor organizations for the purpose of discussing political questions. I am heartily in favor of that portion of the recommendation. I do not believe that this body is ready to take the position of some who do not believe there is any efficacy in the ballot. I believe nine-tenths of the people still believe in the efficacy of the ballot, and that the labor organizations will repudiate the idea that there is no efficacy in the ballot, and if we do set apart a portion of the time for the purpose of discussing political and economic questions we will be able to educate them so that they will use their ballot along with their economic methods, and it will not be a very long while before we will be able to realize the emancipation of the wage working class.
DEL. CLARENCE SMITH: I simply want to correct a misunderstanding that has appeared. It is said that this report ought not to be adopted because it fixes a name for the organization, and that that may be changed when the constitution is adopted. As stated by a member of the Literature and Press Committee, this name was used in the report simply because no other name was at hand. I want to correct the person who said that two different names were used—although it is immaterial in the discussion. One name was used throughout. The document refers to the industrial union movement, but wherever the name United Workers occurs in this document it is as a name favored for adoption by this organization as an industrial union.
The previous question was then moved and carried.
The question on referring the document to the incoming Executive Board was then put. The result of a viva voce vote being in doubt, the Chairman called for a raising of hands, and the motion was declared carried by a vote of 35 to 29.
DEL. DE LEON: Will you accept a motion at this stage, “With a recommendation that they act promptly upon it—the Executive Board”? If you think it would arouse debate I will take my seat.
THE CHAIRMAN: I don’t think any action on that is required.
DEL. DE LEON: All right.
Del. Held, on behalf of the Ways and Means Committee, reported back Resolution No. 2, heretofore printed, providing for a ratification meeting not later than July 7th.
DEL. HELD: The report of the Ways and Means Committee is as follows: Your committee recommend that you concur in the resolution, and recommend that the convention select a special committee whose duty it shall be to carry out the sense of the resolution.
On motion the report was concurred in.
Del. Held, from the Ways and Means Committee, also reported back Resolution No. 9, on the subject of providing a system of commercial co-operation, with the following recommendation:
DEL. HELD: Your committee report that this resolution does not come within the sphere of the Ways and Means Committee, and recommend that the resolution be referred to the Committee on Constitution.
On motion, the report was concurred in and the resolution referred to the Committee on Constitution.
COMMITTEE ON RATIFICATION MEETING
DEL. HELD: I move that a committee of five be appointed by the chair, whose duty shall be to carry out the sense of Resolution No. 2.
THE CHAIRMAN: A committee of five to provide for this public meeting?
DEL. HELD: Yes.
THE CHAIRMAN: I want to say to the convention that the method of appointing committees is provided for. The rules provide that all committees of this convention shall be selected by the various groups, with three appointed by the chair.
DEL. DE LEON: That is standing committees, is it not?
THE CHAIRMAN: It says “all committees.” Unless there is some objection the chair will entertain this motion for this special committee. Is there any objection?
DEL. MURTAUGH: I move that it be the sense of this convention that the chair be allowed to appoint this committee.
THE CHAIRMAN: If there is no objection the motion will be put before the house, that a special committee of five be selected by the chair to arrange this meeting. Are there any remarks on the motion? All those in favor will say aye. Contrary no. It is carried. The chair will attempt to announce the committee pretty soon.
The Secretary then read Resolution No. 21, submitted by Delegate Chas. Kiehn, of Hoboken, N. J.:
Whereas, The aim and object and purpose of this organization should be to unite the organized working class into one economic organization for the purpose of gaining ultimate complete emancipation for the working class from wage and all other forms of slavery; therefore, be it
Resolved, That the members of this organization who participate in political action are also expected to support daily such political parties as stand unconditionally for the absolute overthrow of the existing capitalistic system of society and the inauguration of a co-operative system of production and distribution; and be it further
Resolved, That support by members of this organization of political parties which do not stand for the principles of this organization as above enumerated shall be deemed treason to the most vital interests of this organization and to the working class in general.
DEL. BARTLETT: I move that that be tabled. (Seconded.)
THE CHAIRMAN: The proper course is to send that to the committee. I will send this to the Committee on Resolutions. I was just going to say this would be covered pretty much by the Committee on Literature and Press, and I will send it to the Committee on Literature and Press.
The Secretary read the following resolutions from the Butte, Mont., local of the Socialist party:
Whereas, A convention of unionists is now in session in the city of Chicago, whose purpose as expressed is to build an economic organization of the working class, to build an industrial union founded on the class struggle, in which to bring about the solidarity of labor on the industrial field and the inauguration of the workers’ republic; therefore, be it
Resolved, That Butte Local of the Socialist party extends congratulations to said convention and urge that the delegates now assembled in Chicago be alive to the responsibility resting upon them; that they spare no effort to so construct the new organization that it shall avoid the errors of the pure and simple craft unions now making up a greater part of the organized labor movement in America, and that the new union may be able to take care of the economic and ultimate interests of the entire working class of this country.
Resolved, That a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the aforesaid industrial union convention in Chicago, that another copy be placed on file in this organization, and that a copy be furnished each of the daily papers of Butte for publication.
(Adopted at a regular meeting of the Butte Socialist party.)
THE CHAIRMAN: That is simply in the nature of a communication.
THE SECRETARY: It is brought in as a resolution.
DEL. DAVIS: No, it is simply a communication.
THE CHAIRMAN: The communication will be received and placed on file.
The following communication was read
F. J. U.—102.
Chicago, Ill., July 3rd, 1905.
To the Officers and Delegates, Industrial Union, Brand’s Hall,
Gentlemen and Brothers:—Whereas, A Manifesto has been issued by certain members, men and women, to form an Industrial Union based on economic lines, to the betterment and emancipation of the working class; and
Whereas, Said Manifesto has been duly approved by Flat Janitors’ Union, No. 102, Chicago Flat janitors; therefore, be it
Resolved, That our delegates to the Industrial Convention are instructed to do all in their power to make this convention a success, and our fearless order is, to work against plutocracy, creed and popery; and, be it further
Resolved, That our delegates are empowered to install this organization as a drop into the sea of workingmen and women; and, be it further
Resolved, That our wish and order is: Go and multiply thousand folds; and, be it further
Resolved, That the secretary of this organization is directed to forward this resolution to the convention.
GEO. A. NEW MILLER, Sec’y.
Local No. 102, Chicago Flat Janitors.
GEO. A. NEW MILLER, ANDREW ANDERSON,
Received and filed.
The Secretary then read a resolution (No. 22) handed in by delegates from the Industrial Workers’ Club of Chicago, reading as follows:
RESOLUTION No. 22.
Whereas, 1. Owing to the fact that the legislatures of certain States have passed bills making it a misdemeanor for workingmen to persuade or attempt to persuade other workingmen from joining Military Organizations; and
Whereas, 2. We, as united workers, recognize that Patriotism is one of the cardinal virtues, and should be inculcated into the minds of all those having their country’s interests at heart; and
Whereas, 3. It is a well-known fact that a well trained Regiment is superior to ten thousand not so trained, and military training would be absolutely indispensable to the property interests of the country in the face of a foreign invasion ; and
Whereas, 4. By emulating the example of our beloved President it is possible for any among us to attain to the same exalted position ; and
Whereas, 5. A contingency might even arise in which such training, and the membership in such an organization might be of value to the workingman, as a workingman; therefore, be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of this organization that its members affiliate at once with the different State Military Bodies, and that they also show their loyalty to the present government by persuading all brother members to do likewise.
BERT M. SAUER,
Industrial Workers’ Club, No. 1, Chicago, Ill.
The reading of the resolution was greeted with derisive laughter.
THE SECRETARY: I did not read over that resolution (the resolution of the Industrial Workers’ Club) before reading it to the convention.
A DELEGATE: Who is that from? The Typographical Union?
DEL. T. J. HAGERTY: That should be referred to the Literature and Press Committee.
DEL. DINGER: Refer it to the Fire Marshal.
THE CHAIRMAN: We will ask the Secretary to consign it to the waste basket. (Applause.)
DEL. MURTAUGH: I rise to object to the autocratic decision of the President in asking the Secretary to consign that resolution to the waste basket.
A delegate rose to make a point of order.
THE CHAIRMAN: Do you want to make a motion now?
DEL. MURTAUGH: I want to make a motion, yes.
THE CHAIRMAN: All right.
DEL. MURTAUGH: I want to move that that resolution be referred to some committee, I care not which, but that it be reported back to this convention. If I were to have my say, I should say the Resolution Committee. Now, Mr. President.
THE CHAIRMAN: Is there a second to the motion?
The motion was seconded.
THE CHAIRMAN: Let me ask you, delegate, did you introduce the resolution?
DEL. MURTAUGH: No, sir, I did not.
THE CHAIRMAN: Just a moment. Let us find out. Is the delegate on the floor that introduced this resolution?
DEL. SAUER: I introduced the resolution.
THE CHAIRMAN: I thought it was handed in from outside.
DEL. MURTAUGH: Now, Mr. President, if you will permit me just a minute—
THE CHAIRMAN: The motion before the house is that this communication be considered by the convention and sent to the proper committee.
DEL. MURTAUGH: Correct. I want to say, Mr. President—
A delegate rose to a point of order.
THE CHAIRMAN: To save any talk I will refer it to the Resolution Committee. Is there any further new business? Any other business before the convention? If there is no other business—
DEL. POWERS: I would like to ask, if you have power, after a motion is made, to refer this matter to a committee without action, haven’t you the power to take it away from the convention? I consider that motion now before the house, and I want to discuss it.
THE CHAIRMAN: It was simply to correct the error of the chair that it was not referred to the committee in the first place. As I understood the comrade back here, it came from the outside, but it seems it came from a delegate. I did that, referred it, so that the chair could correct its own mistake. Is there any other business before the house? I would like to have some suggestions on this ratification committee.
DEL. DE LEON: I suggest that Chicago delegates be appointed upon that committee.
A number of names were suggested by various delegates.
COMMITTEE ON RATIFICATION MEETING.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN, COATES: The chair will appoint as the special committee to arrange the meeting as provided for in this resolution just adopted, Delegates O. M. Held, Daniel McDonald, W. J. Bradley, John Cranston, Guy N. Miller.
Del. Jorgensen suggested that the proposed meeting be so arranged as to reach the organized workingmen of Chicago especially, those not belonging to organizations not being so important to reach at the present time.
DEL. O’BRIEN: In connection with the matter referred to the Executive Board a little while ago, I wish to move, in order to place the matter before the house, that in the event the Executive Board finds the report of the Press Committee needs correction or amendment, it present us an alternative report or alternative statement.
DEL. DE LEON: It has a right to.
THE CHAIRMAN: It is within their power to do that.
There being no further business, the Chairman declared the convention adjourned until nine o’clock July 4th.