Minutes of the IWW Founding Convention - Part 13
Industrial Workers of the World
Wednesday, July 5
The convention was called to order at 9.20 by Chairman Haywood.
The roll of delegates was called by the Secretary.
The Secretary read the minutes of the previous day’s sessions.
CHAIRMAN: You have heard the reading of the minutes. Are there any corrections? I would ask that the Secretary insert the correct number where the vote on the roll call occurs.
THE SECRETARY: The number was 47,728 against the amendment; 3,540 for the amendment.
The minutes were then approved.
The following communication was received from the Socialist Labor Party at Pittsburg, Pa., and on motion it was placed on file:
Pittsburg, Pa., July 4.
The Industrial Union Convention, W. E. Trautmann, Secretary, Brand’s Hall: Comrades, the Socialist Labor Party of Pennsylvania in State Convention assembled at Pittsburg, in the name of the oncoming revolution greet you. Hew to the line of class-conscious solidarity; make no mistake, give us a working men’s and working women’s organization, as harsh and radical as capitalism itself.
D. E. Gilchrist, Sec’y convention, Osmond Hall, 1921 Carson Street, S. S. Pittsburg, Pa.
No report was offered by the Committee on credentials.
DEL. DANIEL MCDONALD: As a member of the committee appointed yesterday for the purpose of a ratification meeting, I will state that the committee has made arrangements to use this hall Friday night, the 7th, and the committee is arranging to advertise the proposition as extensively as the occasion justifies. I believe that is all that the committee has to report.
DEL. Schwartz: A point of information. I would like to ask if the committee has decided upon the list of speakers.
DEL. MCDONALD: Yes, I will state that the committee has agreed upon four speakers: upon Mr. Debs, Mr. Moyer, Mr. Coates and Mr. Sherman as the four principal speakers.
DEL. BARTLETT: Is a motion in order?
THE CHAIRMAN: We are listening now to the report of the committee. Do you want to make a motion as to this report?
DEL. BRADLEY: I would like to amend that by adding Comrade De Leon’s name.
DEL. KNIGHT: I would like to ask that committee how it is that the press gets these reports before the convention gets them. All that has been reported by that committee appears in this morning’s paper.
DEL. MCDONALD: I will state, Mr. President, that the committee thought it was proper for them to get the matter advertised as extensively as possible, and if this paper desired to advertise it it is entirely satisfactory to the committee, and we simply announced that to the newspaper men yesterday afternoon. That is how it came to get into the papers.
DEL. KLEMENSIC: Since we know the names of the four speakers that are intended to speak at that meeting, and I do not see any one from the Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance, I would like to have some comrade from the Socialist & Labor Alliance also speak at that meeting.
DEL. McDonald: I will state that the committee on speakers at the ratification meeting agreed upon this plan: that Eugene V. Debs was representing the Socialists and the radical element in this convention; that Delegates Moyer, Coates and Sherman were representing the trades union end of the proposition, and in that way all the elements in this convention were honestly represented as the speakers are appointed by this committee.
DEL. KIEHN: I move you that the following comrades be added to the list of speakers: Comrade De Leon, Hagerty, Haywood and Trautmann. (Seconded.)
THE CHAIRMAN: It has been regularly moved and seconded that the four names just read be added to the number of speakers at that meeting. Are you ready for the question?
DEL. GUY MILLER: At first there were a great many candidates to be placed on the speakers’ list. At first the committee would have been glad to hear from all of them, but we realized that time was to be considered in this matter. The number of members of the various organizations represented here was taken into consideration, the Western Federation of Miners being the most numerous; and while personally I wanted very much to have the worthy Chairman of this convention on the list of speakers, yet we realized that we had the lion’s share of the honors of this convention. President Moyer had hardly been heard from, and so he was chosen for that place. Now, we thought this is to be purely a trades union meeting, for the purpose of putting before the people the principles of industrial unionism. More than that, we considered also something of the wrangle, something of the ill feeling that has characterized certain sections represented in the convention, and for that reason we thought it best that certain names be left off the program. These matters were talked over, perhaps with some energy, during that committee’s session. I want to say, however, that so far as the members of that committee were concerned, we did not participate in that spirit. The only question which we asked ourselves was, as to what names would contribute most largely to the success of that meeting, and we decided accordingly. Now, if three more names are added to the list of speakers furnished by the committee, it simply means that every man’s time will be cut to such a short limit that he will be unable to enter into details and give this meeting what the people ought to have and what they expect.
DEL. T. J. HAGERTY: Mr. Chairman, I desire to have my name taken off there, as I am not a candidate; but I want to say that this committee, in my opinion, does not represent the big end of what they call this wrangle, and I see in their report a direct slur at the Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance, and particularly at Brother De Leon, who has fought so valiantly for this economic organization. This ratification meeting is for the purpose of showing that at last the workers have got together on the common ground of an economic organization of the working class. Brother De Leon through thick and thin has stood for an economic organization of the working class when to stand for it was to be denounced by the entire American Fakiration of Labor from New York to San Francisco, and if any one in this convention represents an uncompromising fight for an economic organization such as we hope to establish here, that one is Brother De Leon. (Applause).
DEL. RIORDAN: I want to ask the committee a question. Very recently I saw where Eugene V. Debs was wanted in Montana. I would like to ask the committee if they have any assurance that he will be here on Friday evening. If not, it appears to me that we should make some arrangement to have some one to speak in his stead; that is, if we are to decide on adopting the report of the committee.
DEL. Sauer: I will state, in answer to that question, that the committee was practically, while not positively, assured that Mr. Debs would be here on Thursday night, and that he would be in the convention on Friday and that he would be at the meeting on Friday night. Although the committee is not in a position to guarantee to this convention that Mr. Debs will be here, I believe and it is the belief of the committee that he will be here.
DEL. Bradley: As a member of the committee makes the statement that Delegate Debs represents the radical element, I, as one of the radical element, do not believe that Debs represents our ideas at all. I believe he represents the conservative element in this convention; for that reason I do not think he is a representative at all.
DEL. M. P. HAGGERTY, BUTTE: I am in favor of the proposed addition of the names read by this brother here; not on account of the names of the men, but on account of the intellect that they possess. It seems to me that if there is one thing that the laboring man in this country needs to-day, that one thing is a man or men with intellect enough to lead the people right. I believe our past history has conclusively proved that it has been a case of the blind leading the blind, and so we all fall into the ditch. We want intelligence in the labor movement; not men who have got only ordinary intelligence. We want the best we can get, and prejudice and personal feelings should be cut entirely out of this, and let us take the men who are capable of teaching, capable of instructing, giving us more knowledge, which is something that we are hunting for. If De Leon or Hagerty or anybody else has got this knowledge to give, then I say that prejudice should not keep those men from teaching the people. Let us have the best we have, got, and that is none too good. (Applause)
DEL. Luella Twining: I do not want to take part in any factional strife. I am very anxious to hear Debs and the other speakers, but I think the people that come here will want to hear Delegate De Leon. I would like to hear him, and I think his name ought to be added to the list of speakers.
DEL. DINGER: I move to amend that the list of speakers be Eugene V. Debs, Daniel De Leon, Brother T. J. Hagerty, Brother Coates, and so on along down the line as the committee has recommended. I forget the names—Brothers Moyer and Sherman. I move that as an amendment.
A DELEGATE: I move that the name of Thomas J. Hagerty be added to the list of names of speakers.
THE CHAIRMAN: That is already covered by the amendment. You have heard the amendment offered by the delegate over here. Your amendment to the amendment is out of order.
DEL. JAMES SMITH: I believe it would be to the benefit of the meeting to have Mr. De Leon as a speaker at this mass meeting; not because he represents one faction in this convention, but because he represents the cause for which we have come here. Therefore I hope and trust that the delegates assembled in this convention will be consistent enough and broad enough in not only asking but insisting on him, if possible, to be there as a speaker to address them on that evening.
THE CHAIRMAN: The amendment is that the names of Delegates De Leon, Hagerty, Haywood and Sherman be added to the list selected by the committee. Are you ready for the question? (Question called for). Those in favor of the amendment will signify it by saying aye. Contrary no. The amendment is carried. Now, what do you desire to do with the report of your committee as amended?
It was moved and seconded that the report be concurred in.
THE CHAIRMAN: It has been regularly moved and seconded that the report of the committee be adopted as amended. Are you ready for the question?
DEL. MOYER: I shall have to ask the convention at this time—I do not think any explanation on my part is necessary—that my name be taken from the list of speakers. I have a reason for this, but I do not care to go into details with the convention. I would ask that my name be taken from the list of speakers. I do not want to be arbitrary and insist that it be taken from the list, but I ask that the convention do that.
DEL. DAVIS: Is the motion before the house for discussion again?
THE CHAIRMAN: The motion before the house is to adopt the report of the committee as the list of names has been amended. Are you ready for the question?
DEL. DAVIS: Now, I voted against that amendment for this reason: I believe that the list of speakers should include one name, one individual rather, representing the Western Federation of Miners, one representing the American Labor Union, and one speaker representing the American Labor Union, and one speaker representing the Socialist sentiment of this organization, believing that three speakers will be plenty for one meeting. Therefore I voted against the amendment. Believing that still, I am now opposed to the report as amended, and I hope that the good sense and judgment of this meeting will try to limit the list of speakers. We know that there are very few men that have the faculty of expressing very much to a large audience in the short period of time which will be allotted to them if you have a great number of speakers. I hope you will act along this line; otherwise I will have to vote against the amendment.
DEL. DANIEL MCDONALD: Mr. Chairman, the committee on mass meeting thoroughly discussed and thrashed out the very proposition that is before the convention this very minute. The committee would have been glad to have selected all the gentlemen who are now mentioned by the various gentlemen in this convention. In addition to that, Mother Jones was talked of as being one of those speakers, and nearly every one of the names that have been mentioned was talked of by this committee. The committee, however, believed that it would be impossible to hold the crowd for more than about two hours or two hours and a half at the outside, and that each one of those speakers probably would consume about thirty minutes. Starting at eight o’clock, which was agreed upon by the committee, it would hold the meeting until about ten o’clock. Now, then, if we are to add four more speakers to this proposition, neither one of the speakers will have an opportunity to do anymore than simply pledge his support, without any explanation of what industrial unionism is to the people who come here, thus doing, in my opinion as the chairman of that committee, an injustice to the people who come here for the purpose of hearing something about industrial unionism. Those men who have been selected are the men who are presidents and chief representatives of the different organizations that are going to become a part of this organization and who will put their organizations into this new organization, and those are the men that we want to have the assurance of as the chief officials of the three organizations mentioned, such as the Western Federation of Miners, the American Labor Union and the United Metal Workers’ International Union. They are the men that represent the largest portion of this proposition, the chief proportion of the new organization, and it was the intention of the committee to have those men give their views upon the industrial union proposition; and the committee went to the trouble of seeing the three of them who are here, and we hope to correspond or get in communication with Mr. Debs by wire as to whether he will be here or not, and in the event of Mr. Debs not coming, the committee expect to substitute some one else. But it strikes me that by putting on this large list of speakers at this meeting neither one of the speakers will do the organization or himself justice.
DEL. T. J. HAGERTY: A matter of information. In several conversations that I have had with Brother Debs in the last two weeks he personally stated to me that it was his desire to appear on the same platform in a ratification meeting with Brother De Leon on this question. (Applause). I also state that I have withdrawn my name from that list and am not a candidate.
DEL. ROBINSON: I shall vote against the report of the committee, for I do not believe that it is the sentiment of the convention. I would like to see the speakers’ selected by the delegates to this convention.
DEL. PHIL. VEAL: We as members of the working class have come here for a purpose. That purpose is to line up along the line of solidarity. Now; then, from now on there is no A. L. U., there is no Western Federation of Miners, neither is there a Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance. We merge what is known by those names into the industrial union. But we must profit by the experience of the past, where men have fought for this idea that we are about to launch. The men and women who come here, many of them, have listened to some of these speakers before, but as a wage slave of the mines I want to get the expression of Haywood, I want to see Moyer, and I want to see all these men who have fought, and I want to see Comrade De Leon. I have never heard them before an audience nor in this convention. Hence we must get them on a platform, and recognize the fact that the American proletariat of this age has put them on record where they clasp the hand, not only of international industrial unionism, but the hand of solidarity, pledging themselves to the workingmen of Chicago that from now on they will fight under the same banner. (Applause). We demand as workingmen that these men be given a place. We won’t solve the problem or educate the workingmen in one meeting. It has got to be fought out with the organizers and the agitators when they leave this convention hall. We want to have that spirit of solidarity so engrafted into the minds of the working class of this city to start with that it is beyond the breath of suspicion that here is any prejudice. Hence I stand absolutely for the support of the amendment which says that we shall add these four names.
DEL. DE LEON: It has been carried.
DEL. VEAL: I stand for that proposition that we add these comrades, and refuse absolutely to allow Comrade Moyer to withdraw from this list, because we want to see these men face to face, and I express the sentiments of the men who sent me here.
DEL. SCHATZKE: A point of information. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have another meeting Saturday night and allow these men to express themselves? I believe there are a great many people here in Chicago who would be glad to come back two nights to hear the expressions of these people on the principles of industrial unionism.
DEL. CRANSTON: I think we ought to have about three meetings. Delegate Schatzke is all right. Any speaker that gets on the platform cannot expect to cover the question so that it will be understood by the mass of the people that come here, under thirty or forty minutes, possibly longer. We took Brother Debs, believing that he as a trades unionist was in a position to explain all that was necessary. There is no objection, I think, on the part of the committee to adding Brother De Leon, but we cannot have too many speakers because it will not permit any one to do full justice to the subject. I do not think the committee would object to De Leon’s name being added, but I do not think the convention ought to put on more than one more if we want to give them all time to speak. There will be hundreds of people coming to this meeting to hear this question discussed, and I do not think it would be just and fair to allow the speakers’ time to be cut down as you have suggested.
DEL. DINGER: I move as a substitute for the report of this committee that this convention select the speakers and the order in which they are to speak.
DEL. SAUER: I want to understand what this ratification meeting is for. Is it to explain industrial unionism to the people, the crowd who will be here at the meeting, or is it to show that all the factions on this floor are united?
THE CHAIRMAN: The word “ratification” suggests that it is for the purpose of showing that we are united.
DEL. BRADLEY: I would like to ask if this committee was not given full power to act in regard to the speakers, soliciting for the hall, advertising and so on? If I understand the thing right, they had full power to act, and with that understanding this convention should abide by the decision of the committee. If they don’t want to do that, I say discharge the committee and appoint the speakers at this time, right here. I make that as an amendment.
THE CHAIRMAN: Before the motion is put the chair wants to say this to the convention, that the name of Haywood will have to be taken from the list, as I expect the work of this convention will be concluded before that time and I will not be in the city. However, it will be necessary for President Moyer to remain here, and I am in hopes that the convention will not find it in their wisdom to permit him, unless he insists upon it, to withdraw his name from that list of speakers, because he can tell you many things that will be of interest to the industrial union movement, representing, as he does, one of the most perfect industrial organizations in this country. The motion is to adopt—
DEL. COATES: Before the motion is put I want to tell the convention that I will be very glad to give any time that may be allotted to me to the other speakers that have been mentioned.
A DELEGATE: Are we to vote on this report as amended with the names of Hagerty and Haywood omitted?
THE CHAIRMAN: You are to vote on the motion as amended.
DEL. DINGER: Was my substitute out of order? I think it was seconded.
THE CHAIRMAN: You have heard the report of your committee, and it was amended by adding four names. Delegate Hagerty requests that his name be withdrawn, and I request that my name be withdrawn.
DEL. MOYER: I had hoped that this convention would give me the consideration that I asked for and take my name from the list of speakers. I will have now to say to the convention that it will be impossible for me to speak in this hall on Friday evening. I do not want to disappoint anybody by permitting my name to be included in this list of speakers, when I am satisfied at this time that I will not be able to address a meeting here on Friday night. I desire to see the Western Federation of Miners represented on this list of speakers, and I would ask that the name of James A. Baker, of British Columbia, be placed on the list of speakers.
THE CHAIRMAN: The motion occurs on the report of your committee amended. Those in favor will signify it by saying aye. Contrary no. The proposition is to add the two names, Trautmann and De Leon, to the report of the committee. Those in favor of the report as amended will signify it by saying aye. Contrary no. The ayes seem to have it; the motion is carried.
DELEGATE PAYMENT: It would be wise to have an understanding now as to whether Brother Moyer is to speak or Brother Baker. He asked that he be excused and have in his place Brother Baker, of British Columbia.
THE CHAIRMAN: The request will have to be arranged with the committee. —Reports of standing committees. The Constitution Committee, on Section 2 of Article I.
DEBATE ON CONSTITUTION.
DEL. COATES: Do I understand that we are to vote for now?
THE CHAIRMAN: Sir?
DEL. COATES: As I understand it, the debate and argument was closed last night, and we now vote.
THE CHAIRMAN: No, sir.
DEL. COATES: Well, now, of course I do not want to continue to be interrupted on a proposition of this kind. I am willing to leave it to the rules of the convention or to the convention, as far as that is concerned, but certainly—
DEL. SHERMAN: A point of order. I understood the chair to announce yesterday afternoon that everybody was to speak that desired to on that question, and that Delegate Coates was to make his closing argument. He did so, and he closed and the convention adjourned at that time.
A DELEGATE: I believe Brother Coates stated that he desired the floor after all the delegates had spoken who wanted to, and that he would be given the privilege of the floor to close.
DEL. KLEMENSIC: I move you that we have a further extension of time to discuss the matter. (Seconded).
THE CHAIRMAN: It has been regularly moved and seconded—it occurs to me that there is no occasion for a motion.
DEL. Klemensic: Well.
THE CHAIRMAN: If there is any delegate that desires to speak on the question he may.
DEL. COATES: I haven’t objection to anybody speaking. If we are going to open up this debate again I am gong to claim the right of the mover of the motion. I want to make another speech, too. I want that thing understood before this thing is opened up.
THE CHAIRMAN: Do you make a motion for further debate?
DEL. KLEMENSIC: That further discussion on Section 2, Article I., of the constitution be allowed.
DEL. DE LEON: Does the chair entertain that motion?
THE CHAIRMAN: In view of the ruling of the chair in my absence yesterday, the chair will entertain this motion that there be further discussion.
DEL. COATES: Do I understand you will entertain a motion to suspend the rules and have discussion?
THE CHAIRMAN: To suspend the rules and open up this question for discussion.
DEL. DE LEON: A point of order. My point of order is that the rules were suspended yesterday, and when the rules were suspended the delegate who then had the close was given unlimited time, and I had the floor to ask some question, and at that point the convention adjourned. The rules are suspended now, and the subject is no longer open under the rules. That is my understanding.
THE CHAIRMAN: If that is the understanding of the convention, motion—
DEL. DE LEON: I would like to have a ruling from the chair. My point of order is that upon the vote of this convention the rules were suspended, the convention adjourned, and consequently we are no longer discussing under the rules. I would like to get a ruling upon that. I simply request a ruling from the chair, without any debate from the floor. Is that correct, Mr. Chairman?
THE CHAIRMAN: It is correct.
DEL. COATES: I am opposed to that kind of snap judgment. I simply want to call your attention to this rule. The rule shows that my time was extended by the convention; the rules have not been suspended absolutely, no.
DEL. DINGER: The motion was to suspend the rules.
THE SECRETARY: The motion reads that the rules be suspended and Delegate Coates be given an extension of time, and the motion carried.
DEL. FAIRGRIEVE: According to the rules governing bodies, when that session adjourned that session ends. We did not recess last night; we adjourned till this morning, and with that the session ends and, the rules operate again. The rule was only suspended during yesterday. If we had recessed till nine o’clock this morning this suspension would still have been in effect, but the convention adjourned and this is a new session.
THE CHAIRMAN: In the opinion of the chair, Section 2, Article I. occupies the same position as if there had been no discussion on it. What is the pleasure of the convention?
DEL. COATES: I just want to ask for information. The position of the chair is that I have a right to close the debate?
THE CHAIRMAN: You have the right to close the debate.
DEL. COATES: That is all.
DEL. DE LEON: The only reason I take the floor is that I consider the matter under discussion—Section 2 and the Coates amendment—infinitely more important than the matter of a name, and I do not believe it is the purpose of the committee to railroad anything through this convention. It cannot be our purpose, nor do I believe it is the purpose of those opposed to the proposition of the committee to carry anything high-handedly, by force of votes. I proceed upon the theory that we all desire that when this convention adjourns we can all be agreed, if not upon the wisdom of what was done, nevertheless agreed upon what was actually done. After the address of Delegate Coates it was clear to me that whichever way the vote went—and I have no doubt as to how that vote will go—whichever way the vote went, there would be a vast amount of misconception upon what was voted, or upon what the committee actually proposed. For that reason I took the floor, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour and the condition of the convention, to ask Delegate Coates the questions that I did, and get the answers which I needed for my argument.
I asked Delegate Coates whether I understood him correctly, that he believed that his proposed substitute will not materially affect the structure proposed by the committees and I understood him to say—you are my judges whether I report him correctly or not—I understood him to say that, while he did not want to be bound down by any set of words, that that was his impression. I shall show you that the Coates amendment would smash the structure proposed by your committee. Right here let me say that it is no argument against an argument that a brick proposed to be substituted would smash the structure of the committee. That is no argument against such a brick. It may be a desirable thing to smash that structure. The structure of the committee may be wrong; the brick proposed to be substituted by Delegate Coates may be a good brick; and if so made clear, I am sure that the committee jointly with the convention will join hands in smashing that structure. But it is well that when that proposed brick is voted on we vote on it with a clear knowledge as to what its effect will be. I repeat that it is of itself, no argument against Delegate Coates’s brick that it would smash the structure proposed by the committee; but we should know whether it will or not. It won’t do to vote for that brick, or favor that brick thinking it to be an innocent brick, and that it will not smash the structure, and then find that the brick was full of dynamite and that it brings the structure down over our ears. If that is understood I shall proceed.
I asked Delegate Coates how many industrial unions and industrial international unions he thinks would have to go into that body according to his proposition. He did not answer me, but I do not need him for that. Delegate Smith, who stands with Delegate Coates upon that matter, did not have to indulge in astronomical calculations about the next 4th of July to come to a conclusion. He stated, as I remember, that he thinks the number of industrial international and national unions would not be to exceed sixteen.
Isn’t that it?
DEL. CLARENCE SMITH: I said I did not think to exceed twenty.
DEL. DE LEON: That it would not exceed twenty. Very well, I accept that. He at any rate stated a figure. Now we have something to go by. I disagree with Delegate Smith that it would not exceed twenty. I am of the opinion that twenty is about one-half the number that would have to be entered on the list. I believe that forty is nearer to the truth, to the correct number, than twenty. Aye, twice as many as forty. Now, I shall take his position presently, but follow my theory for the present. If I am right that the present constitution of the unions will make it impossible to have only twenty of these organizations—if I am right that it will take at least forty, what will be the result? The structure of the committee is industrialism. But industrialism is not a thing of one thing only. Industrialism means a number of things, and among the things that industrialism means is the establishment of an organization so centralized that it can act quickly and as one man. Whatever name you give to something else—call it a thousand times industrialism—if it is not so centralized that it will act promptly, that it can act promptly and as one man, the name of industrialism given to it is a snare and a delusion. Now, then, if I am right that it will take at least forty, is it imaginable that the presidents of these forty international and national unions can constitute a central authority sufficiently centralized to preserve that feature of the structure proposed by the committee? I say no. Forty men is too large a number. You cannot have centralized authority with forty men. This is no longer a matter open to discussion, it is a matter established by human experience. A deliberative body is one thing, an executive body another. You want a smaller body than that to accomplish executive purposes. But now, suppose that, in order to save that feature of industrialism, you, instead of having all the presidents of these forty national and international industrial unions represented, you reduce them below that number, to a number of members of an Executive Board small enough to preserve that centralized and executive power—where do we land? We land right back into the A. F. of L. principle where many of the organizations that are considered integral parts of the whole are not represented, but are wholly ignored on the Executive Board. On the executive board of Gompers organization you have seven men, and you have industrial, national and autonomous unions galore, notwithstanding that, only seven men, only seven officers of seven of these “autonomous” bodies, act as the executive board. A preposterous idea! For an executive board, an effective industrial executive board, it must not only be a small body, but it must be a body consisting of individuals who directly represent their respective constituencies.. My theory is that at least forty such industrial bodies would be needed by the Coates plan. If my theory is right, then you are before this dilemma: either an Executive Board that has no centralized power and won’t have it on account of its numbers; or, if you want to reduce the number, they cease to be direct representatives. But perhaps my theory is wrong. Perhaps Delegate Smith’s theory is correct, that the number would not exceed twenty. I ask you to watch and follow me closely; I am willing to be pinned down to my words; I believe in a man being held to what he says, otherwise we tumble into hopelessly unintelligible confusion. If I am mistaken I shall be glad to be corrected, and if you want to find out my mistake follow me closely. I now take up the theory of Delegate Smith that it will need no more than twenty international unions as a maximum. What will be the result? Just watch. The unions are to-day absolutely interdependent; labor has become interdependent; you cannot think of any one trade but it dove-tails with. another, and is, in turn dove-tailed with by others. Take for instance the Western Federation of Miners; all the men working around the mines, whether they are directly engaged in digging ore or not, are working interdependently, and so are the unions of the crafts. You all know—I hope you do—that there are infinitely more unions, national and international, than twenty. It follows that under the Smith figures and the Coates proposed brick, there will have to be an immediate wiping out of the individual character and autonomy of at least sixty organizations. Under the Smith figure and the Coates system you would then have twenty organizations, twenty national or international unions, and these twenty national or international unions would have to draw to themselves rapidly, quickly, without any period of transition, all the other unions that are over and in excess of that number, and which have kindred qualities with the prevailing twenty. That is a most drastic proposition. It leaves no time for transition. Those men will have to go in immediately, or if not immediately, whenever they do go in they find absolutely no autonomy for their trade. They disappear. It may be compositors and machinists; it may be woodworkers and carpenters, if you like; it may be electricians and mechanical workers, whose work dove-tails very extensively. Nevertheless, those organizations exist to-day, and under that system their autonomy will vanish absolutely, destroying the quality of their occupation which compels and necessitates the continuity of that autonomy. Now, that is a drastic method. Now, what does the committee propose? Delegate Coates asked, “What do you want? Do you want to rule your individuals as a mass, or do you want them separated as locals?” Or would you have this or that or the other?
THE CHAIRMAN: Your time is up.
DEL. JACKSON: I move that Delegate De Leon’s time be extended as provided for by the rules. (Seconded by Delegate Coates).
A DELEGATE: Under the ruling it is not necessary to have this motion. According to the ruling of the chair here the rules were suspended yesterday. You sustained that decision this morning, and it is not necessary for the motion at the present time. Delegate De Leon has the floor until he is done speaking.
THE CHAIRMAN: The question is that the time of Brother De Leon be extended. Those in favor of the motion signify it by saying aye. Contrary no. The motion is carried.
DEL. DE LEON: I do not want to consider this motion as a personal compliment to me. I wish to consider that in voting as you have just done you simply realize that it is important that you should know what you are voting for. (Applause) Delegate Coates asked this question: “What do you propose? Do you propose this or that or the other?” There was no occasion for any such questions. The committee’s proposition is clear on that head. The only explanation I can find for those questions is the difficulty of any person’s remembering a long document which he hears read only once. Now, what does the committee propose? Among the things that the committee proposes is that within each of these industrial organizations into which these various unions are subdivided there shall exist a number of executive boards. The proposition is—I quote from memory, from the fact that I heard it read only once in the committee—that there shall not be fewer than five of them.
DEL. COATES: Seven.
DEL. DE LEON: Seven, and not fewer than seven. So that there is a possibility of there being at least three times seven, or twenty-one sub-heads of the general executive committee, these sub-heads constituting within each of these thirteen departments, the requisite craft executive boards. Now, what does that mean? For each of these sub-divisions there are a number of individuals representing the executives of what? Of a mob? Preposterous! Not of a mob;—representing these various existing craft organizations; these various craft organizations which are the result of the capitalist sub-division of labor. It means, consequently, following closely what the Manifesto says—and when I say Manifesto, I mean exactly what I say. I quote from the text, not from the wheel, so that no one afterwards may say that the wheel has anything to do with it. The written words of the text of the Manifesto provide here, on page 5 (reading) “A movement fulfilling these conditions must consist of a great industrial union embracing all industries, providing for craft autonomy locally, industrial autonomy internationally, and working class unity generally.” That the committee proposes sub-executive boards within each of the divisions, is a complete answer to the various questions put by Delegate Coates. It shows that the committee proposes that the different crafts within each of the main divisions shall organize upon craft lines in sub-divisions, and that the heads of these sub-divisions shall be assembled in sub boards. It means that the committee proposes to put an end to what is harmful in the existing craft organizations, putting executive boards over them, chosen by themselves. They will administer their own affairs, according to the language of this Manifesto, and they will jointly elect one member to the general executive board. That removes what I consider the largest part of the confusion created, unintentionally, by Delegate Coates, and arising from his not having remembered this passage. When he closes I hope he will answer directly upon this, whether or not these sub-executive boards of crafts do not absolutely deny the impression that he attempted to convey. Should he still he of his former opinion, I would like to know the reason why. and I invite you to follow his answer closely when he closes. I recognize that these divisions are not ideal. One of them or two of them are; the others are not. But there Delegate Hall well expressed the sentiment of the committee, and, I hope, of this convention when he said that we must begin to take a step some time. Now, the committee proposes a scheme through these subexecutive boards which would leave time for these craft organizations to amalgamate wherever amalgamation is possible. The proposition of the committee, consequently, is a sane proposition; it is a practical proposition. And this proposition of the committee is decried as a wild theory, notwithstanding its practicability; and the Coates proposition—the craziest of propositions, namely, to suggest that you just squeeze and mutilate and pound those crafts within the number of twenty, without any provision for the separate arrangement of the crafts in different managements—that proposition it is here attempted to be palmed off as “practical!” I hold that the views Delegate Coates expressed are a natural result of what is my contention with regard to his general position—he fails to understand that constitution.
One of the questions I asked Delegate Coates was this, whether I understood him right with regard to what he said on the matter of railroad companies and the like. He said I was wrong. I have here the transcript from the stenographer. This is exactly what he said: (reading) “Whenever capital goes into the railroad business it organizes a railroad company, and the railroad companies, variously as they are grouped together, come together as railroad companies. Whenever the same men who are interested in these railway companies want to go into the newspaper business they organize a separate company and go into the newspaper business.” Now, listen: “AND THAT COMPANY HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE RAILROAD BUSINESS.” Now, that statement I consider to be an unqualified blindness to the facts. There is not one single capitalist organization, capitalist concern, capitalist board of directors, but embraces a dozen or more different industries. (Applause). When capitalists come together to organize a newspaper, perforce it is a newspaper that they are going to set up, but to say that they have absolutely nothing to do with the railroad business is to ignore a glaring fact,—by this time, you see, the gentleman has gone beyond the domain of “theory” and has run foul of the field of facts. If capitalists want to organize a newspaper business, a newspaper company, they look for railroad magnates, for mining magnates, for factory magnates, for financial magnates, and they come together; ostensibly for a newspaper, but de facto to promote the interests of these industries that are amalgamated within or behind that mask of a newspaper. (Applause). Time was that when we Socialists said these things we were said to he “wild-eyed men.” I think the time has come when Delegate Coates should know from experience and from facts that he can gather from the capitalist press, that we are not “wild-eyed men.” Look at what is going on in New York, now. Capitalists had met to organize an insurance company—an INSURANCE company, mind you. And what are the facts that are now being unearthed? There is not a banking trust, there is not a railroad trust, there is not a Standard Oil interest, there is hardly a factory industry, but is represented on that board of directors; an examination of the Equitable Life Assurance Society proves that what they have there is ostensibly a “life insurance association,” but de facto a means by which to gather money for the industries that each of these various directors represents. (Applause). Is it “insurance” that takes Depew there? Is it “insurance” that takes there the man who owns the stocks of the Fall River weaving mills? Oh, no! It is something entirely different. There is a book that I recommend to all of you. It is not a book with a yellow cover; yet it is thrilling enough for yellow covers, although its cover is red. It is called the “Directory of Directors.” It is a publication from the capitalist camp. It gives a list of the directors in the leading industries of the United States, and the leading corporations of the country. In it you will find innumerable instances of men who pose as directors in one concern and are directors in half a dozen others. Few comparatively are the instances of importance in which a man is a director in one concern alone. Those men pick themselves out and elect themselves and each other, here out of the railroad business, there out of some other business, but all with an eye to the interests of the various industries that they represent. The capitalist system has reached a point where it is no longer a lot of little individual blisters; it is one general blister. (Applause). The theory upon which this committee has proceeded is that the working class should be organized as one body, without ignoring the necessary craft sub-division. We recognized the fact of the different trades, the different tools that they have to use, and we look to the ultimate ideals, the absolute amalgamation, but we recognize the necessity of a period of transition, and the committee’s proposition provides for a period of transition. I do not believe that that period of transition will be very long; I do not share the opinion of Delegate Coates that the ideal of ultimate emancipation lies distantly remote—a thousand years or so.
DEL. COATES: I did not say a thousand years.
DEL. DE LEON: You stated it would be a thousand years and more, to the very day.
DEL. COATES: Not a thousand years.
DEL. DE LEON: A hundred years?
DEL. COATES: Yes.
DEL. DE LEON: You stated a thousand, I think. If there were time I would look for it in the stenographer’s report. I understood you to say that, to the very day. But let it go at a hundred. Even that I consider a serious error, however sincere the error may be. It is a harmful error. Delegate Coates has repeatedly assured us of the loyalty of his intentions; but the best of intentions do not preclude a person’s acting wrongly—though, perhaps, not wrongfully. It is wrong to place the ultimate consummation of this movement into the remote distant future. If you want to encourage a tired man you do not tell him that the goal of his trip lies innumerable hours thence. At times you may even have to imitate Columbus: you tell the man that the goal is near, and you give him courage, and add elasticity to his step. Do not deceive him. Do not make him think that the goal is near when the goal is away out of sight.
But, as I stated and explained on the third day of this convention, I hold that the goal IS IN SIGHT. (Applause). Consequently I consider it wrong to conduct ourselves as though the goal were indefinitely far off. I hold that the proposition of the committee is correct. It takes in the situation and its nearby possibilities. I believe that the committee, as one man, will join Delegate Coates or anybody else if he can propose a better method. But unless a better method is proposed, unless a method is proposed which is agreeable to facts, not to fancies—unless that is proposed, I for one shall stick to the proposition of that committee. And since the debate has been opened and the rules have been suspended I shall listen carefully and attentively with no hobby to ride, or ill temper. When I yesterday asked my questions to Delegate Coates he went to pieces and forgot his exquisite parliamentary manners. The occasion is solemn. It demands cool judgment. We want that when we adjourn from this body, those who have fought—for it is a fight—against a thing, may, although not agreed in their action, be agreed upon what was done. (Applause).
DEL. SHERMAN: Mr. Chairman and Delegates, as one of that committee I will state that with all of the arguments that have been put forth, both on the floor of this convention and in conversations that I have heard on the street, I have as yet not changed my mind. While I will agree with Brother De Leon that perhaps the plan partially may be not a success, yet I feel at this time that the plan outlined is the best that can be done for a start; and whatever I may say in opposition to any arguments that may be put forth by any of those who participate, I seriously hope and trust that no delegates will feel that I am addressing them personally. I am speaking to the principle, and no matter how this fight goes, when I leave this hall I shall have the same love and respect for those that oppose me as I have for those who are with me. (Applause). There is a principle involved that we must all adhere to, and while we may be divided on opinions we must be united on action. (Applause). A few remarks were made by the brother who preceded me, referring to those who took issue with the proposition. If this amendment prevails it would practically mean that this convention is not prepared to state what the lines would be in the industrial movement, but it would be left to some other committee—I do not know where they are going to select them from, some one that is wiser than this committee or this convention—to lay out the lines of what industrial unionism shall be. It means a longer deliberation than what this whole convention will be and the only way that I can see that the committee could reach any conclusion would be to go among the various trade unionists and get their various opinions and then outline as to what they believe would meet with the approval of the trade unionists of the United States. Which would mean what? It would mean multiplying forty by three. It would not be forty divisions that would meet the approval of the trade unionists of the United States. There are one hundred and twenty-seven distinct divisions and charters now standing out, issued by the American Federation of Labor. In several of those organizations to-day there are arguments being put forth by men who claim to be posted on the trade union movement that they should be re-subdivided and charters issued to different trade unions that are represented in the one hundred and twenty-seven. If we are going to be industrial unionists and we are going to expand greater than thirteen, I feel that we should strike out the name “industrial unionism” and not represent ourselves to be that which it would not represent. (Applause). Brother Coates is a printer. First of all I will say that I am confident that he has traveled several thousand miles to reach this convention with the right heart. He is here with the spirit of brotherhood, to do something to emancipate the producing class. I know that he is here honest and earnest, and in the argument that he makes against this proposition he personally believes that he is right. I concede that he has got a right to his opinion. He represents the printers, and his contention is that the printers should have an organization of their own. There is an organization of that class existing at the present time. Does Brother Coates know that the printers don’t work in a way that they can be identified as an industrial organization? Does Brother Coates realize that the printing of this country is done by a printing establishment? Does Brother Coates realize that at the great meat strike in Chicago not many months ago there were over a hundred printers in the printing department of the packing industries that were not included in the packers strike? Does Brother Coates realize that in the meat industries, the packing industries, they are also running laundries? They are in the laundry business, yet they are in the industrial packers’ business because they do work for the packing industry. They have restaurants too, if you please, in the same industry. Does Brother Coates not realize that under the proposition that he offers here it is nothing more than purely and simply what we have got at the present time—what we are assembled here to tear down?
(Great applause). Last November at Montgomery Ward’s plant all the garment workers walked out into the streets of Chicago and declared a strike. It took some four months to defeat that strike. After the garment workers had been annihilated and defeated the teamsters that were working in the same industry came to the conclusion that they should have assisted the garment workers.
Those are the kind of decisions that the employers like. “Just let us get at you one at a time and we will skin you to a finish.” That is their proposition. (Applause). If the garment working industry were organized on the industrial system there could not have been one man or woman, whether he or she be driving a team, running a sewing machine or working a hand needle, but what would have stopped work and at once have paralyzed that industry. But under Brother Coates’s proposition, before anything of that kind could be done, conciliation must be brought about between five or six executive heads, just as we have got them at the present time. I would not object if somebody would make a motion to strike out the thirteen lines and make it three. (Applause). What is a mechanic? He is a slave; he is nothing; he is a workingman. I do not recognize one man to be any different than another. He is only one cog in the wheel that goes to make up the general machinery that grinds out the product. (Applause). And I care not whether it requires two or three years to become an efficient mechanic, or whether he is only the common laborer that comes across the water and all he can do is to pick up the shovel and dig and excavate for the factory that is going to accommodate the employes; it is just the same to me. (Applause). There is no particular business at the present time. Take the transportation department, as the Pennsylvania Company, go up to Monroe street, and on the sidewalk there you find a line of cabs that it has been decided by the City Council belongs to the Pennsylvania Company, that has a full right to the streets of Chicago to stand there to accommodate the people that the Pennsylvania Company, that furnishes transfers, that they may go to other points or to go to other depots. Go right into the depot; there we find the terminus of the Pennsylvania Railroad; follow it all the way down, with every slave and every one that works for that company as a part of that corporation, away on to Jersey City, and there we find the Pennsylvania with a great monster vessel backed in there, and there the passengers of the Pennsylvania are put onto that boat and transported across. Many of them are going to foreign countries, and they go on a Pennsylvania line because the Pennsylvania people have got lines that run to various ports in Europe. Away the Pennsylvania Company goes to the foreign ports, and you don’t stop there, but they have their agents that go out representing them and misrepresenting the conditions in this country, and they go into Ireland, they go into Wales, they go into Sweden and in all of the congested ports, and there they misrepresent to them the golden harvests they have in America, and if they come over here they travel by the Pennsylvania lines. It is one straight system all the way through, representing nearly every industry.
THE CHAIRMAN: Your time is up.
DEL. TRAUTMANN: I move you that Brother Sherman be granted the same privilege as other delegates who have spoken; that his time be extended.
Motion seconded by Delegate Simons.
DEL. COATES: To settle this whole business, I move that each speaker be allowed to speak till he finishes. (Seconded).
THE CHAIRMAN: It has been moved that every speaker be allowed to speak till he has concluded.
DEL. MURTAUGH: I am opposed to that for the reason that the majority of what was said by the two speakers that have just spoken on the subject seemed to imply that those who are here in the names of the industrial unions, with the exception of a few, do not understand all the ramifications of the capitalistic system, and that in order to awaken our minds to these ramifications time is wasted in listening to other things that they are discussing. I for one want to resent that imputation. I do not believe in it, and I believe—
THE CHAIRMAN: You are doing pretty well towards a speech yourself, Brother Murtaugh. The amendment is that each delegate be allowed to speak until he has concluded. Are you ready for the question? (Question called for).
DEL. FAIRVIEW: I believe that a motion of that kind is useless. There are something like 251 delegates here, and we would be here for the next three months if that motion prevails. I believe each side should have two or three speakers and let them present the arguments. I am opposed to this motion. We don’t want to sit here for two weeks, when two or three on each side can explain the situation.
DEL. COATES: The that reason I made the motion was to save time. Every speaker that speaks we are going to give an extension of time, and it would not be proper if we did not do it, and we are merely wasting five minutes at least every time in making the motion, and putting the motion.
The question was put, and the Chairman being in doubt, a vote by uplifted hands was taken, resulting in forty for the motion and twenty-four against.
THE CHAIRMAN: The amendment is carried. The original motion is that Brother Sherman be allowed an extension of time, and that other delegates be given time till they conclude their arguments. Those in favor of the amended motion will signify it by saying aye. Contrary no. Carried. Brother Sherman will proceed.
DEL. SHERMAN: We had the Pennsylvania under discussion. That is only one of the few combines in this country, and they are getting fewer; they are pushing out their lines every day. Pennsylvania also does its printing, under the system of class organization, the same conditions which exist, no matter if we do call it by the name of industrial unionism. I don’t want anything called by name, but I want it in operation. We don’t want anything called; we want co-operation and industrialism a fact. We want the workers to be working on correct principles and educating themselves to the fact that there is identity between labor; that they only represent the producing class. There is too much plutocracy now in labor, and that is the curse of it at the present time. (Applause). I do not think that there is a sister or a brother on the floor of this convention but what realizes that the products now are handled by corporations and trusts that are so intermingled that they are practically one organization, no matter whether it is on the industrial or the political question. They own and control the power from the fact that the workers are divided industrially. You unite them industrially, and when they realize what they can accomplish on those lines there is nothing impossible on anything that we want to do after that. (Applause). The powers against labor are nothing. The index finger of the producing class would push every enemy into the sea. All you have got to do is to get them all to push at once. The only enemy that labor has got is labor. Capital never won a strike nor never won a battle. It was labor, and we must educate labor that they must turn around and face one way. There never was but one railroad strike ever won, and that was with an industrial organization, the A. R. U. (Applause). And it was won against the opposition of the old brotherhoods and all of the political trickery that they could bring into line. It was demonstrated at once when they telegraphed to the seat of the United States government that “transportation was paralyzed, and we want to place this proposition in your hands, and that you run these trains with bayonets.” When labor is organized right and educated, they will own the bayonet. (Applause). They make them, and after they are made and polished and fitted to the weapon that will do the most destruction you hand them over to the enemy, and you say, “Now I am going back here a few hundred yards to see if it spits you.” Thus far it has given entire satisfaction. It is a well-known fact that there is a prize offered to-day to the man who will create or invent a machine that will destroy the most human lives with a single shot. You have got all these things to contend with, and I beg of you, Brother Coates and your friends, for God’s sake don’t cut off that arm, but put your arm out and come together and work together. Division does not mean strength. I don’t care how you divide it, it does not mean strength. You have got to unite them. And I believe that the committee has done as well as any committee could do under the circumstances. I took into consideration the Manifesto as we understood that we should work from it. When I say “Manifesto,” I want you to understand that that chart on the back of the Manifesto is not considered the Manifesto. That chart was not in the conference when that Manifesto was adopted. That Manifesto was simply given to a brother who drew it up, and we have given this just as a little outline or diagram showing the centralization of our power. I am not unmindful of the fact that there will be in these various places here thousands of men probably representing one particular vocation. I am not unmindful also of the fact that undoubtedly to facilitate matters and to relieve the burden of this executive board in that department that they will have to have sub-committees or sub-executive boards; that they will create those to confer with these people, the same as we have at the present time. It is a fact that the national organizations now have their local unions; their local unions have their sub-bodies; they have their representatives known as business agents to assess them, like my friend from St. Louis (laughter); a delegate who, though he is in opposition to that, I love him and respect him because he was in one of the A. R. U. organizations which I initiated into the organization. That is the best redeeming feature I know about him, because he embraced industrial unionism eleven years ago.
Now, I believe this is misunderstood. I believe that even Brother Coates has not stopped to consider that it is possible in the different crafts and in the industrial divisions that they can be handled to the best interests of the movement, just the same as the regular army is handled, the infantry, the artillery and the various parts. Then there are the industrial organizations co-operating within one certain body; they are handled by certain divisions, but those divisions come to a head just as the army does, which makes it possible for united action. And that is what we have to have, sisters and brothers—united action. Now, to change that, to take out one line, means the adjourning of this convention and the appointing of another committee, because the committee that served once would not feel capable of forming anything that was within reason. Taking out one line or adding one line means the reconstruction of this whole constitution that has been made, because that is the basis of the organization; and when you change that, it is just like undermining a building, and the whole thing comes down and must be built up again.
Now, Brother Coates and delegates, I think you are right when you are fearful, and that it will not be possible between now and the next convention to organize all the workers in any one of those divisions. You may be all right, if you are afraid that they will become organized and get disrupted from the fact that they will have no way of handling each other. But I don’t think, you will see it that way. I think, brothers and sisters, that bravely as we have started, we will perhaps find places where changes could be made by the next convention. But for a start I cannot see or I cannot believe that it would be advisable or feasible to change that proposition and then call ourselves and be an industrial organization. Industrial organization, as I understand it, means that when an industry represented in any department is involved, it involves every one in that industry. Whether he is a printer, whether she is a lady that waits on the table, whether he or she is a laundry worker or a clerk or a stenographer, if they are in that industry it includes them all. And the only way that you can have concentrated action and momentary movement is to have them organized in industries, regardless of what part of the industry they belong to, so that when you touch the button the signal goes to every man and woman in that industry. It is not a question of assembling six or seven months before and taking action and writing to the high moguls that belong to the various national organizations and getting their consent. You don’t have to call a board together to fight and quarrel and consider whether an organization is now in a position where it would be possible to bring them out on strike, or whether it would be feasible if they have a contract that has not expired, as is the condition at the present time. I tell you, those that are arguing on the proposition of tearing down this chart or this little outline, I believe they are making a mistake, and before you go seriously into the matter I hope you will consider and think what we are trying to do. We are not trying to please the American Federation of Labor. We know that we are going to displease them. We know that in the transportation department we are going to displease the Switchmen’s organization, but we are going to please the switchmen. We are going to displease the officers of the trainmen’s organization, but many of the rank and file are going to be pleased. We are going to displease many of the firemen as officials, and the engineers with “the great proud eagle eye,” the one that is known as a national scab as an organization—we are going to displease all of those people, but we are going to please the rank and file, because we are going to offer them a proposition that they can come in on one platform and fight in one cause. I hope you will receive it and ponder it and endorse this proposition as it stands. (Applause).
DEL. KLEMENSIC: Brother Chairman and Fellow Delegates, the way I look at this discussion we are facing two different attitudes or conditions, if you please. One is practical and the other theoretical. Now, theoretically, in everything that Brother Sherman and the other brother said about it, I agree with them. It is the only way we can bring the ultimate results to a focus where we want all industrial co-operators. On the other side, we know the fact that as we stand to-day at this convention the only properly organized organizations in this convention are represented by the Western Federation of Miners and the Metal Workers. Now, as far as I can see, those two organizations are the only two here in this body. Now, we do want the rest of the labor organizations in this industrial movement. The question is, how are we gong to proceed about it? How can we get to the rank and file and show the rank and file that our conception of organization will bring immediately and ultimately better results than the American Federation of Labor? Now, we have to take these things as practical men, that would come in our daily lives, in our struggle for every day bread and butter. For my part, I will read the Manifesto and the statements thereof. In the first place, “All power shall rest in the collective membership.” The question is, how can we bring our organization to that form whereby we can have all power rest in the collective membership? This I think we can only have through an organization locally, that the local organization will have more latitude to deal with local affairs. Now, we know that the conditions in the city of Chicago in any given trade are different than in the rest of Illinois, or maybe the State of Colorado or other places. Where the congestion of your population has risen to a high pitch, the state of affairs is different from where the population is scattered. Now, furthermore, we say, “Local, national and general administration, including union labels, buttons, badges, transfer cards, initiation fees and per capita tax, shall be uniform throughout. All members must hold membership in the local, national or international union covering the industry in which they are employed, but transfers of membership between unions, local, national or international, shall be universal.” Now, the point at issue will be this: I am say a member of the Journeyman Tailors’ Union. Now, I do not know whether our Executive Board may be satisfied with the local tailors’ union in Pueblo, that we are joining in this movement. It is certainly against Lennon’s advice and his personal letters as stated to our unions. We referred the case to the Executive Board, and Mr. Lennon wrote us back again that it is his own personal wisdom to tell us and advise us that we should not mingle with an organization that is Socialistic. Now, this is the condition, that in the journeymen Tailors’ Union that man is the absolute boss and power of that union. The condition then will be that we will be kicked out of the international union; and in this case, as the Manifesto says that all members must hold membership in the local, national or international union covering the industry in which they are employed, in that case we could not comply with this point in our Manifesto. Now, again, it stands to reason that it is better that every union that is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor—that it is better to stay and stand in the central organization and fight for industrial unionism. Now, then, if that is to be the case, we have got to have some protection one way or another. But the only plausible way we can come to the members and show up the advantages of industrial unionism is to explain to them the difference between the old organization and the new one. For instance, in our trade, the tailors, now we have custom tailors, garment makers, cloak makers, cap makers, and I think four or five like organizations in the garment trades. Now, when the Journeyman Tailors’ Union is trying to amalgamate with the garment workers, we would try to push the idea furthermore in that particular union that all garment trades should be included. If that is the idea of industrial unionism it is practical and feasible. And then it should be understood that the laundries and other trades will not mix in our affairs when it comes to a local issue, or an issue in a similar organization; because we must understand that if one of our organizations gets into trouble, while we will always try to avoid it as far as we can, but there is no doubt that in practical life we will be up against it, either in one locality or in another one, that is as far as the tailor trade is concerned. But now, you take for instance, the condition of the printers here in this town or the wood workers, and the difference between the men that are working in this city and the mill hands in Michigan and other places. The men out in the country can work cheaper and under better conditions than the man that has a little cottage here in this city. These are local issues, and this is only known particularly to the craft that those men are employed in. If I understand the Manifesto rightly, and there is no desire on my part to alter it, we should build the whole thing up side down. But there is one particular point that I want to call attention to, and that is this, that centralization produces authority and despotism. That is the point we are up against in human history all the way through. On the other hand, we have got to try to centralize our actions, as we know that only centralized action is efficient. Now, we should have centralization and local authority without despotism. It is a possibility. And on this point I think we may consider the seven departments as they exist in the United States government; the navy department, the war department, the postal department, commerce, interior affairs, foreign affairs, etc., and that every one of those different unions that would be affiliated with it, that it has its own autonomy as a trade, but at the same time it be centralized in one principal department. In this way we might have no more than seven instead of thirteen as now. But I am satisfied that this committee, as the brother states to us, have given us in this the best they could make; I believe it is so, although I think it more expedient to have a secretary to do the work necessary as far as writing and correspondence is concerned, and have seven men representing those seven industries on the Executive Board, and among the seven they can pick out a President, or he could be appointed here from the convention to perform the work. But practically the work necessary for this organization would be only the work of a secretary, with whatever he would need in the way of advice from the Executive Board; because we have to keep in mind, as has been stated several times over and over again, that we don’t want to keep up a pile of hangers-on in our organizations as walking delegates and the man that would become ultimately a figurehead. We must not give them an opportunity to prey on us, and if we don’t give them an opportunity they will stay away, but if you do give them a chance they will take the chance, and no one else but ourselves are to blame if we give them that opportunity. Now, another thing. We have got the Western Federation of Miners. Now, we know that the Western Federation of Miners tried to organize their own craft or their own industry the best they understood, and it would be folly for the tailors or shoemakers or carpenters or any other trade to mix into their convention and say, “This is the way you should run those affairs.” So we say it is not the purpose. of this organization to turn upside down the different trades. All those that are working around the mines in whatever capacity, they have got their say-so in their locality. That is the thing that is understood by the system of industrial unionism. Furthermore, we know that as a matter of expediency and for better administration the Western Federation of Miners would have say over such a thing as a District of Cripple Creek. Furthermore, we have got such a thing as the State Federation of Utah, and of California. Now, all the mines that are in those particular States find it to their interest to have a State organization. They do it for their own protection and to further their interests. Now, you see it may be necessary, as Brother Fairgrieve of Montana pointed out, that in some ways and in small localities it is very advisable if you can group the people of that particular State where it is necessary that all co-operate together. But the essential point is this, that we never overlook the fact that we should all belong to the same big family, the Industrial Workers of the World. That is the point that the American Federation of Labor never had and never can, that they are under a common jurisdiction, but they have no ultimate purposes. The only organization that we have got is for ultimate purposes, and that is as far as we want to go, but all these minor questions we have to settle among ourselves.
The next point is this, that many of the organizations have a sick benefit and death benefit. Now, in many organizations we will be up against it, because they would not withdraw and lose the benefits. It is the sick and death benefits that keep them back, or maybe insurance. These are all points in practical life that with some individuals or some organizations we will be up against. I think that in some ways the ideas of Brother Coates are correct, for what he means is probably those. I do not know whether I am correct or not, That designation is not broad enough to take in all these; it is either too small or too broad. Take for instance the printers. The printers say you will not know how to manage their affairs, and he would not like to be mixed up with the laundries, which is a trade recently mixed up with the large packing houses, as Brother Sherman presented us the evidence. Maybe Brother Coates did not know, as Brother Sherman properly pointed out, that there are commercial houses, industrial houses, that are running printing and laundry and restaurant and all these businesses under one management. But Brother Coates was probably figuring out just the conditions in the trade that he knows about out in Montana. But this is the only way we can get at it. We know that in the big majority of the locals where we are that in every locality we are up against something different. Now, I would like to suggest that we take into consideration the organization of the French organizations, as shown by the letter of Comrade Pouget. That organization is organized on the principle as I outlined to you before. There is a committee of seven with practical charge of all the big business when they are in executive board session, and all the business is done by the secretary. He is the man that is responsible for the transactions during the time that the executive board is not in session and during the time that the convention is not in session. Now, you see, that lightens the expense, and at the same time there is a central organization and it is effective. There is no doubt but what in time we should have a kind of organization which will come under this head when progress has been made. But as a suggestion I would like to have it understood by the committee that they should be given ample latitude in the different trades to take up the suggestion, and it will be the result of our intelligence and a way in which we can do it better. We. must not be understood to direct in their internal affairs. As an organization we must not be fanatics. If we start out with fanaticism we might get into many difficulties which we can avoid if we think it over coolly and carefully.
DEL. POWERS: I am not going to take up over five minutes of your time, probably not that long. I think this organization is going to seriously disturb the present organizations. The Western Federation will pass through an experience in the next ten years that will shake them seriously. The printers will get a shake-up. Organized labor as we know it to-day is going to get a severe shaking, and that shaking is going to be done by the men who are now at the bottom, living on chuck-steak and digging in the sewers. The trades unionist of to-day has an advantage, and it is the result of his organization. He has said to those who are not organized, “Organize and get the benefit of organization,” and the people have not heard his voice. The condition of the printer to-day is the result of his organization. But now this organization is going out and through its educational department it is going to reach the man in the sewer. It is going to reach the laborer who is earning $1.30 a day,. and who pulls the truck for the man who is getting $3 a day. his laborer in overalls who supports a wife and family on $7 a week, while the tradesman lives on the best with his $3 a day—this laborer is :going to be lifted tip, and he is going to say to the tradesman, “It is as important that the truck should be taken to the drill as it is that you should lay out this hole where it is to be drilled. It requires muscle to pull the truck, and it requires food to give muscle.” And the main work which this organization will have in the future is not protecting those that are already organized, but lifting those that are down in the gutter, so to speak, and those that are at the starvation point, up to a level with those that are now organized. That will be the work of this organization. The organized labor of to-day is an aristocracy. It is a conceited, selfish aristocracy, no better than the other aristocracies. The man who is not the heir to a million, but is heir to a crafty father who looks out into society—or the son of a wise father, I will put it that way—who takes his boy and puts him to a trade, and supports him while he is learning the trade, and then after he has passed through his three years’ experience he has learned something and he becomes superior to the other fellow, the son of a $7-a-week man, the boy who has been cheated out of as opportunity to learn a trade, and who has probably been a bobbin boy in a mill for $10 a month. This whole thing is running through the working class in America to-day, and the purpose of this organization, as I understand it, is to convince every man who works for a living, to write this deep and indelibly in his memory, that every man and woman on this planet has a right to the best that progress can give him or her, and it does not matter whether the man digs in the sewer or whether he records the course through which the planets pass. (Applause). And mind you—
A DELEGATE: A point of order.
THE CHAIRMAN: What is your point of order?
THE DELEGATE: That in the discussion he is engaged in he should not be trying to cover the whole field, but that he should discuss the proposition before the convention.
THE CHAIRMAN: The point of order is well taken. The delegate will confine himself to the question before the convention.
DEL. POWERS: I thought I was. I think the trade unions will be in this movement in a very few years. The strength of this movement will be given to the lifting up of those that are down. It will not be given to the protection of those who are already comparatively well off. So far as the international feature of it is concerned, look at what we have right here in America. We have got the Swede in his fraternal organization. We have got the Irishman in his fraternal organization. We have got the Pole, we have got the Frenchman. We have got all those different nationalities in every city, with their charters hung up, and what are they doing? They are trying, each of them, to convince the other nationality that notwithstanding all that may be said to the contrary, they are eminently respectable. We have had in England the trades union movement for seventy years. We have had the wise mechanic, the wise printer, the wise stone mason, and all the rest of the skilled labor, and what have we got in England? We have got the poor-house there; we have got poverty there; we have got deformity there. And the same is true in France, and the same it true in Ireland, and the same is true all over the world.
THE CHAIRMAN: The delegate will take notice that the proposition is that this amendment of Delegate Coates be adopted, and that that hasn’t anything to do with the question on which you are speaking at the present time, or the subject which you are covering.
DEL. POWERS: Well, the argument has been on such a broad gauge that I did not think that I went beyond the distance that most of the other members did. However, I did not start out to take up much of your time. I believe that the broader the gauge you can put this movement on the better. I would ignore all the education and all the experience that the trades union movement has got to-day. I would ignore the whole thing. I would pay no attention to it today. This organization is launched in recognition of the class struggle by the working class. It is the working class, and not for those trades organizations that are not willing to come into this movement, thoroughly understanding that this movement is not for the protection of any particular trade, and is not going to concern itself very much as to preserving the advantages that the particular trades have to-day as a result of their organization, but it is going to concentrate all its efforts on the lifting up of the men who are down. I think that is what we want to keep in view, and I think if we do that we will go along the right course.
DEL. Pat O’Neil: Mr. Chairman and Fellow Delegates, down in our country—I am led to tell a little story, but it will take up but a minute or two—down in our country we have what is called the Arkansas hog. We have got hogs that can outrun anything. They have big bristles on their backs, and if they get after you you want to climb. They will put their bristles up and give a “buh, buh, buh,” and jump right over a hickory sapling. They will jump over a fence and get into a potato patch, and if a man goes after one of them the hog will run to his fellows and they will get in a bunch and if they go for him he had better get up a tree. So I find there is here a spirit of that same kind. I don’t care whether it is the Typographical Union hog that has jumped into my potato patch or not. Now, why the American workingman can’t have as much sense as the Arkansas razorback hog has, is what puzzles me. Now, I want to ask you just a plain, practical question. You have got a big strike on right here in this city. The teamsters’ portion of your transportation department are out on strike. About two months ago a large shipment of machinery was made from this city down to Spadra, about thirty-five miles from where I live. Now, mark you, I want to show you that these fellows recognize that an injury to one is an injury to all, in spite of the evidence of John Mitchell to the contrary. When that machinery got there at Spadra our men refused to unload it. Then they went over to Russellville and got a few men, mostly negroes and a few white men, and when they came over there the men had a talk to them, and they too refused to unload it. Now, mark you, the proposition. The president of our district went down there; Peter Handy, the president of the U. M. M. A., District No. 21, went down to Spadra and ordered the union men of Spadra to unload that machinery under threat of losing their charter. They still refused to do it, and on the day when I left for Chicago twenty-five of them were in the United States jail. Now, I want to ask you a question, every one of you men who can’t get into your head what industrial unionism means, I want to ask you this question: Suppose when your teamsters refused to handle stuff here, and those non-union teamsters had put that stuff on the train, if we had industrial unionism the railroad could not move the stuff. That is what industrial unionism means, and I am sorry to see any one come here and try to talk along the old, craft union lines.
Delegate Simons took the floor.
DEL. COATES: It is now about five minutes to twelve, and I don’t wish to split any speaker’s talk in two, so I move that we adjourn till one o’clock. (Seconded).
DEL. SIMONS: I won’t take over ten minutes. But it is not important to me.
DEL. COATES: I think it is better to adjourn.
DEL. SIMONS: Just as you say.
THE CHAIRMAN: It has been regularly moved and seconded that we adjourn till one o’clock.
DEL. FAIRGRIEVE: I rise to a point of order. It is not twelve o’clock. You will have to suspend the rules.
THE CHAIRMAN: A motion to adjourn is always in order.
The motion to adjourn was lost.
DEL. DANIEL MCDONALD: The committee on mass meeting and ratification desires to announce to the convention—that is four members of them do, there being five on the committee—there are four members who desire to withdraw their names from the committee, and if the convention sees fit to appoint another committee it is entirely within their pleasure. Mr. Bradley, Mr. Guy Miller, Mr. Cranston and Mr. McDonald desire to have their names withdrawn from that committee on ratification and mass meeting.
DEL. DE LEON: I move you that these committeemen be allowed to withdraw. (Seconded).
The motion was put and carried.
The convention then at twelve o’clock adjourned until one in the afternoon.