Minutes of the IWW Founding Convention - Part 14
Industrial Workers of the World
Wednesday, July 5
The convention met at one o’clock.
THE CHAIRMAN: When the convention adjourned we had under discussion the amendment offered by Delegate Coates to Section 2, Article 1. Delegate Simons has the floor.
DEL. SIMONS: I am not one of those that think that the organization is going to go to wreck and ruin if either side prevails here, but I do feel that there are a few things that incline me to support the amendment, and I hope that what I have to say will be put in such a way that it will apply directly to the question in hand. It seems to me as if a great deal of talk on this subject has taken the universe for a field and humanity for a theme, and bears little relation to the matter under discussion. Questions have been asked and generalities have been gone into and different conclusions have been drawn, with but little connection between the generalities and the conclusions. There has been a great deal of the sort of argument that the capitalists use when they tell you that the Declaration of Independence is an inspired document, and that the constitution was handed down directly from heaven, and therefore that they ought not to pay their laborers more than 50 cents a day. There has been a lack of connection. We are all agreed absolutely on the fact that we want to secure a greater solidarity in working class organization; that we want to reflect in the organization that may come from here the solidarity that is taking place on the industrial field. We are all agreed that trade lines have been all but entirely wiped out. We are all agreed that the lowest man needs the fight the worst; not simply equal to, but needs the fight more than the man who is in the highly skilled trade. We are all agreed upon these things. But now the question comes up as to how to get the application of the views of the committee and of a majority affecting these questions. Now, when I first saw that chart, I was impressed, as I think every one was who has noticed, with its value for propaganda, with the skillful way in which it was presented and the large number of facts it contained. But I never dreamed that we were going to come to a time when that chart was to become a fetich and that we should accept it instead of the facts. I had no idea that the complex society of to-day could be drawn and illustrated upon this chart so as to express all the facts that we want to express in our organization here. Then this amendment came up, and it has been stated upon the floor of this convention that to-day the American working class was divided among 127 different divisions. Those divisions of to-day they propose to recombine by another method. They propose to add thirteen more. No, they do not simply propose to add those thirteen, but it is proposed to split the 127 rather up and down this way, and then we propose to crosshatch then with thirteen more, making 13 times 127 sections in which we propose to split the working class of America to-day. I supposed we were going to come here to form an industrial union. There is not a line upon that chart, as we can see, that provides for organization by industries. That is an organization by departments, if it is anything. Moreover, those departments, I believe—and I believe it has been pointed out here over and over again—instead of being found in the industrial field and transferred to the chart, they were created in the brains of the committee, and then they seek to impose that upon us as a picture of the industrial field. One comrade told us here that if we overturned this position it would destroy the entire work of the committee. Let me tell you that when your committee attempts to go contrary to the industrial facts, those industrial facts will tear that committee and this organization all to pieces. The thing for us to do here is to look into the industrial relations as they are, and reflect them in our organization. Now, then, what are the conditions? Those industrial relations to-day, as we are to set them forth in our organization, as they have been set forth by every speaker upon this floor, are to the effect that the men that are working in one line of industry have common interests. There is nothing whatever in the plan that at all applies to the position that Comrade Sherman took and numerous other delegates here, that the men that work for the Pennsylvania Railroad were going to be split into 50 or 500 different divisions. On the contrary, those men are in one industry, and the amendment specifically says “industries.” It proposes that they should be so organized. The thing that we have got to do here is to make our organization fit the industrial situation as it is to-day, not as we happen to consider it in some beautiful picture of things that we would like to see some time in the future. When we go out from here we are not going to be bothered about 127 organizations, standing ready to jump into this and divide us all up. We are not going to have at the utmost more than ten or eleven industries that would be in a position to organize. Now, I want to call your attention to something that this means. This means that with the organizations as they are to-day, that the men in any one of those departments where we have a union to-day it may go in there and adopt the name of that department and seize the machinery of that department. It means that a little handful of men can control the machinery of that department and keep up such a hubbub within it as to keep all opposition out and those half dozen men can wield exactly the same power within the central council as the same number of men that might represent fifty or a hundred thousand men in some industry that was fully organized. It simply gives an opportunity for the capture of the machinery by a handful of men in those different departments. There is another side to it. It is said that this amendment opened up the road to the adoption of the A. F. of L. form of organisation. Don’t you believe it. This method is an absolutely superior method, and I will tell you why; because the object of this is to represent industries, not trades. The chart represents arbitrary divisions, just exactly the same as we say of the men who are the vice-presidents of the American Federation of Labor at the present time. And you are proposing to duplicate the American Federation of Labor Council when you adopt that chart as it stands there to-day.
Again, as Delegate De Leon told us, we must recognize the time element in this proposition. But again it was a generality from which I believe he drew the wrong conclusion. It seems to me it is more sensible, when we have an industry organized, to adopt that industry and organize it on industrial lines, and then when the time comes for more industries to go in, for more trades to come into that industry, that then we begin to let those industries grow together till the time comes to form an industrial department. That is the point we have got to keep in mind all the way through this.
Now as suggested at the beginning, I do not think things are going to ruin whichever way we vote on this. But I have no desire to force the industrial organization of this country into a sort of departmental chart like that, corresponding in no way to the facts. They have taken one of those divisions and crosshatched it in a dozen different ways which have no relation to the facts as they are to-day. And besides, it seems that when they had got twelve of those, they had to make an unlucky thirteenth and label it the waste basket and throw everything else into it that they could not fit anywhere else along the line, and with nothing corresponding to the facts as they are to-day. And so I say to you that if you adopt this report of the committee, you will tear to pieces not simply the work of the committee, but you will tear to pieces the organization that you are to found, or rather industrial development will tear it to pieces for you. Now, however much we may not like it, we must recognize the facts in the industrial world. There are tremendous facts that we cannot leave out of consideration. So I wish that those who are to speak after me would argue from that standpoint. I want to call the attention of some of these men to the fact that this plan as proposed cuts crosswise across all the 127 divisions of one department and jumbles them together, not in relation to the facts, but in relation to schemes that are of no moment. And second, it enables a mere handful of men to represent one of those divisions, so that if there are half a dozen men organized in the, carpenter trade, we will say, then they represent the department of building, and those men have control of the machinery of that entire department. Again, that they have laid down a plan that is going to duplicate the A. F. of L. by making divisions arbitrary and electing men that represent nothing in the heavens above or earth beneath but simply the control of those organizations. And finally, that they have absolutely neglected the time element in the fact that they are endeavoring to create something that is inconsistent with present development in the trades. I ask you to take those facts and look them over, and if you find that they are sound I ask you to vote for the amendment. If not, I would like to have it pointed out wherein they are not sound.
DEL. TRAUTMANN: Comrade Chairman: I have only a few words to say. When the conference met in January and mapped out the Manifesto or program it was well understood that the eleven original departments of industry should have a right to subdivide into industrial groupings or industrial divisions, under the direction of the advisory board or with the consent of all the different groupings making up that respective department. Now, I hold that it is the sense and I believe it is the sense of the committee that such trades shall be preserved by industrial departments. For instance, take department No. 13. It comprises various groupings, but we see for instance there is the street sweeper classed together with the printer. But at the same time it does not prevent the department administration or the department advisory board, or whatever it may be in the future, from grouping the printers in a separate division of the department as outlined in the diagram. The parks, highways, municipal sanitary department, and so on, would form industrial divisions of that department. The Constitution Committee could not lay down iron rules, and I do not believe that they have intended to lay down arbitrary rules and force men to go into the groupings as outlined in the Manifesto. We only represent a skeleton within an organization. We believe that the rank and file will discuss the various subjects discussed at this convention, and will discuss the form of organization as intelligently as they have discussed the Manifesto, and the heads in that locality will perhaps advise how the groupings should be made, and the industrial formation will be formulated later on at a coming convention. The Constitution Committee has not laid down iron rules to say that you must go into a group. Now, I am, say, a flint glass-worker. The Amalgamated Glass Workers, by the form of organization, by the rules in the constitution, will be forced to come together and form one industrial grouping, and the Amalgamated Glass Worker and any worker in a glass factory will have his representative and his vote on the advisory board or executive committee, whatever it may be. That right has been given to the industrial department, to run their own affairs in compliance with the general rules of this organization. And I am satisfied that if Section 2 of the constitution is adopted, it will preserve the industrial groupings, and they certainly have a right to decide for themselves in what department they belong and as to what would be the best form of administration for the particular division of a given department. The suggestion of Delegate Coates simply means that we will have about 120 industrial unions within this organization, and 120 industrial unions would claim representation on the general executive board. You will have every day and every week a sort of convention and you will be discussing and never will come to a conclusion. I am satisfied that if you adopt the proposed constitution as submitted by the committee and allow the rank and file of the organizations attached to this organization to discuss the faults and the good points of the constitution, that in the next convention we will be able perhaps to outline a better constitution and make better groupings or put the members together as may suit best those who are connected with the organization.
DEL. T. J. HAGERTY: Delegate Simons stated that this chart splits the workers into thirteen times the number of international crafts mentioned by Brother Sherman. If that is true, it splits them in every department. Let us take the department of mining as at present illustrated in the Western Federation of Miners. I notice a great many people are getting “cold feet” about this chart, falling into line with Gompers in calling it a zodiac. This chart did not originate at least in that department of the brains of the committee as a sort of pipe dream, as is intimated. It follows the groupings of the men in that particular union or industrial organization, economic organization. The Western Federation of Miners is more than an industrial union: it is an economic union. The United Mitchell workers, as Pat O’Neil would call them, are an industrial organization, but they are not an economic organization. They are industrial in form. That is, they claim jurisdiction over every man working in and around the mines, but they recognize a community of interest between the capitalist class and the working class. They live by the sufferance of the coal operators, as a joke upon the system. Yet they are in industrial organization. They are, in so far as the organization itself is concerned, in conspiracy with the coal operators. The Western Federation of Miners is not split up, notwithstanding the false statement of Delegate Simons. It is not split but multiplied by the fact that it is the Western Federation of Miners. When you see a man with the three-starred button on in a western camp, you do not ask him if he is a marker, if he is a timber man or an assaying man, if he is a blacksmith or a mill or smelterman, or a solution man. The thing that is emphasized is that button. The thing that is biggest in that button, the thing of which it is the symbol in the Western Federation of Miners, is that that man is a member of the working class so far as it is organized in the mining industry. Never, in all my experience in the mining camps of the west, have I ever yet seen or met any sharpening of any craft distinctions in the Western Federation of Miners. The fact that for the sake of clearness for the workers who read this chart we state the different kinds of work, does not mean that we split them up into that many kinds of workers. The fact that is emphasized in that chart is that we give the economic grouping.
Now, Brother Simons says that this chart does not reflect present social conditions. He makes a broad, blunt assertion, without any proof whatsoever. I think sufficient proof or suggestive proof has been offered before in these discussions as to the economic groupings, and there is hardly any need of my going into that again. We might mention for illustration the department of transportation to-day as it is organized. It is not simply railroads or small railroads; it is practically the department of transportation. If you read the Railway Age, which is practically the official journal of the railway interests of this country, you will find that eighty per cent. of the transportation of this country is controlled by five groups of capitalists. As Marx has well put it, the historical tendency of capitalistic accumulation, the drift into fewer and fewer hands, is to-day entering its final stage of concentration, the centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands. When the teamsters in the city of Chicago went to the Fair and Siegel & Cooper to get an individual settlement before they struck, they got the answer, “Go to our chairman, Mr. Farwell, of the Employers’ Association of Chicago.” The employers in the Manufacturers’ Association, for example, cover that entire sweep of the department of Manufactures in their relations with the working class, and they fight as one organization within that department of manufacture. They do not fight as wood working manufacturers, or as furniture manufacturers, or as metal manufacturers. They fight as the Manufacturers’ Association, as a particular economic grouping in society to-day. And it is to my thinking merely a begging of the question for Comrade—or Delegate rather—Simons to get up on this floor and to say that this committee evolved this thing simply out of their inner consciousness; that it does not reflect anything; that it is a mere arbitrary arrangement; that it does not reflect present economic conditions. He does not prove that it does not at all. He simply makes the broad statement. He says moreover that we are all agreed about solidarity. Let him speak for himself; I do not think we are at this stage of the game. If we were we would agree about an economic organization of the working class and not a splitting up of the workers into a hundred or 500 international and national industrial unions. (Applause.) The word “industrial” is capable of many interpretations. In every one of those departments there might, at a low estimate, be fifty industries which could properly be classed as industries; not as economic groupings, but as industries. At that rate we would simply have an enlargement of the A. F. of L. with a fine rhetorical Preamble stating that we believe in the class struggle, although in practice we are going to split up the workers as much as possible and let the capitalists play hell with them. (Applause). Comrade—or Delegate rather—Delegate Simons states that ten or fifteen men could get together in a department and take the name of a department and capture the power of that department. If he had listened to the report of the constitution submitted by this Constitution Committee he would not make that statement. The constitution expressly guards against any such a state of affairs. The Executive Board elected by this convention or by this organization has the power to specify and classify. It is not going to have six carpenters constitute the department of building. The department of building is not constituted until at least a majority of the different building trades are organized in a department of building. He says that this chart is simply the A. F. of L. Samuel Gompers says the same thing. (Applause). In fact, he has got out a chart very much like this to prove that it is the A. F. of L.—the zodiac and all other kind of things. The A. F. of L. is built on the craft principle. This chart outlines an economic organization from economic groupings of industries. There is all the difference between the antipodes between this proposed form of organization and the American Federation of Labor, which splits up the workers in a department of industry; in the department of building, the carpenter, the hod carrier, the painter, the paper hanger, the plumber, the tinner, the electrician, the glazier, the roofer—all belong to exactly the same economic groupie to the same organization governed by the same economic laws within that organization and working within that organization. To-day the A. F. of L, which Delegate Simons says is the same as this chart, in the building industry is exactly the opposite. The brick layers in the city of Chicago, in their union, agree that if in the future men want to go out on strike when scab lumber is hauled to the building they will have permission of the union to do so as individuals. As a matter of fact the carpenters, many of them in the city of Chicago, worked with scab lumber hauled to the building under protection from deputy sheriffs and police in this strike. And I submit to the intelligence of the assembled delegates here that there is no parity between men organized in an economic group in the building industry and the crafts of the building industry where one trade can stay within the full spirit and letter and content of the American Federation of Labor and scab upon another craft within the same building industry. And any one here who understands the structure of the American Federation of Labor will not agree with Delegate Simons that this chart is just exactly the same as the American Federation of Labor and splits the workers up just as the American Federation of Labor splits them up. It is not designed to split them up. It is designed to bring them together in easy relationship in their economic matters, to deal with those matters with a wise, intelligent economic grouping of the power of that working class. To-day capitalist society, notwithstanding the general, unproved, unsupported and uncorroborated statements of Delegate Simons, the capitalist class is organised in a capitalist society, in exploitation, and organized according to certain well-known economic groupings. There may be lines where they cross. There may be political borders and boundaries, but the main groupings stand out clear and strong. We have to-day a department of mining, a mining industry.
DEL. HAGERTY: I have the floor, and you will have your time to talk after I get through.
It was moved and seconded that the interrupting delegate be required to keep still or be put out.
DEL. HAGERTY: The delegate states that this chart was evolved out of the brain of the committee, or this grouping, without relation to the facts as they exist. I think that that committee did not evolve, and I as one of the committee know that so far as I am concerned we did not evolve this simply as a fanciful scheme. But we had in mind to give, so far as we could at this present provisional stage of organization, the main groupings of industries as they are to-day. He refers to the superstitious thirteen. Politicians nowadays are very superstitious. (Applause). It is a waste basket, he says; a waste basket for all the others, all the left-over goods of the other departments. In support of number thirteen we have a duplicate in the culinary trades of Switzerland, one of the most highly organized, economic, revolutionary unions in the world, or in continental Europe, organized exactly along those same lines; an industrial, economic organization of the various workers unions in the culinary trades; even larger than that thirteenth division, taking in even the groups here, the brewery, wine and distillery workers, including the tobacco workers, the flour mill workers, sugar refineries, and so on up to and inclusive of brewery, wine and distillery workers. So that we are not making a leap in the air or evolving something out of the over-heated imagination of the Constitution Committee, but we have already before us facts and the experience of other workingmen. Much as we may wave the flag of American superiority and supremacy, I want to tell you that our continental fellow-workers, with whom we shall soon be in international, world-wide, revolutionary, economic relationship through this organization if it starts out right, have had the experience that we have not had. They have already organized on these lines. Only last month in Spain a congress was held in Madrid which issued a manifesto somewhat longer than this Manifesto; a manifesto summing up five years’ experience in the experiment that we are about to make. Five years ago in Spain an organization formed along the same lines as this is devised to be formed along, was organized in Madrid, and this manifesto is a summing tip of the five years’ struggle and experience of that organization, and it has been demonstrated to be a success along economic lines, along industrial lines and against craft division, against multiplying the workers into national and international small industries that split up their forces, that decentralize their administration, that complicate the processes of their struggle with the employing class. I hold that that amendment is destructive of the entire principle of economic, revolutionary organization of the working class (applause); that it would simply be a mere reform upon the American Federation of Labor, which to-day under economic pressure is groping in more or less industrial ways. The Typographical Union is ceasing more and more to be a craft union and is broadening out its jurisdiction. It to-day assumes jurisdiction over the machinists, over the linotype operators. It is working toward jurisdiction over other departments within the printing industry itself. And yet that International Typographical Union is, while becoming industrial in form, not an economic organization of the working class. In the St. Louis convention one of the delegates stood on the floor and said, “Lives there a man with soul so dead who never, to himself hath said, this is my own, my native Land?” And then they took up the military resolution. And in some of the Colorado bull pens the soldiers that were guarding the Western Federations of Miners “rebels” had Typographical Union cards in their pockets. (Applause). We do not want industrial organizations of that sort. We want the workers grouped according to the structure of the capitalistic industries themselves. We do not claim as a committee that that grouping is correct, is fixed, is immovable, but that at the present stage it is the nearest reflection we can get of those capitalist groupings of industry, as nearly as we can represent them. It is not designed to tie the progress of the working class, of the economic, revolutionary organization of the workers. It is not a crystal. It does not put any hindrances in the way of broader development and closer coming together in a more and more organic solidarity. It simply was designed as a basis for the present condition of organization work. And I submit that the amendment itself and the spirit of the amendment are absolutely against the Preamble of this proposed organization, and against the whole economic structure, if properly built, of a revolutionary working class organization of the world-wide toilers, of the world-wide workers. (Applause.)
DEL. GUY MILLER: Mr. Chairman and Delegates of the Convention: I deprecate the introduction of personalities that to some extent has disfigured this discussion, for to me every man who has a seat in this convention, by that fact is entitled to recognition as a comrade in the world-wide army for the industrial emancipation of the working class. And so I recognize Delegate Coates and Delegate Simons and Delegate Sherman and Delegate Hagerty as comrades who may differ in their ideas as to the form and meaning of this proposed constitution, but who are united in a common purpose. It seems to me that the discussion that has taken place here is a conflict between forms of expression and not between ideas, and I believe that the Constitutional Committee, with all due deference to their ability, have been unfortunate in their choice of terms, since there seems to be such a wide variance of opinion as to the meaning of the proposed constitution. I think we all realize—our presence on the floor is prima facie proof at any rate that we realize—the industrial solidarity of the working class. Every man who understands the spirit of the Manifesto knows that every line drawn on that chart there is an arbitrary line and not an organic one; an attempt to picture forth an idea. And ideas cannot be pictured. The people who take that chart as a sort of fetich are liable to find a mudhole of misunderstanding in it. It is an attempt to diagram forth the work of this committee, and I know perfectly well that Comrade Coates in his amendment and the Constitutional Committee in that section which they have drafted are aiming at precisely the same thing. And if I have succeeded in understanding the men who have entered into an exposition of the work of the Constitution Committee, everything that Delegate Coates’s amendment provides for is already secured in the work of the Constitution Committee. In other words, this convention goes on record as recognizing the craft autonomy and the industrial unity of the working class of this country. One of the delegates, one of the comrades who addressed the convention shortly before Delegate Sherman, said that we were willing to throw aside all that education and experience had taught the workers of this country. To do so would be nothing less than a crime to the men whom we claim to represent here. We want to take into our consideration every fact that has been brought out in the struggles of the past. We must also consider that the organizations in existence at the present time are to some extent a product of industrial evolution. They have a meaning, and it is our business to interpret that meaning and explain it in such a way that the workers in factory, mine and mill everywhere shall realize that we understand the meaning of those facts. The form of organization is the result of industrial evolution. Now, it seems to me that in meeting the idea of the concentration of capital the organization of the industrial movement had to some extent overlooked another fact, a corresponding fact, that to some men might seem to be in opposition to it, but really is united with it. In other words, Mr. Chairman, this is an age of specialization as well as concentration, and if I understand the meaning of this Manifesto we are to apply that principle in the organization of the working class of the country, to get down out of the realm of principles into the every-day world; in other words, a printer is very much better fitted to discuss and to consider the problems confronting the printing industry of the country than the man engaged at work in the laundry or in the park. We are not so foolish as to overlook or underestimate the importance of that fact. So the proposed industrial organization is to provide for the organization of the printers even into various craft organizations of that highly specialized industry. But remember, at the same time we provide also for industrial unity, because this convention emphasizes the idea of the essential unity of the working class of the world, and the only way in which their interests can be perfectly protected is to unite the power of the entire body of the working class in support of the position of the workers at any particular point in the field. We should be insane to do less than that. The specialization of industry is a principle, I repeat, which, if this organization is going to keep step with progress, it must take carefully into account. The fact that we are able to accomplish so much more to-day in every field than in any other age, is owing to the fact that there are a few men devoting all their energies, their time, their talents, to the solution of particular problems; problems belonging to a small department of industry. I think I may be excused if I take an excursion off at the present time in illustrating matters of this kind. For instance, in the agricultural department a scientist in the last year or two has made an improvement in corn and made a difference of one hundred million bushels to the farmers of Iowa. Another scientist in the chemical department was making investigations in his particular department or bureau, and another scientist in his particular bureau. There was the same spirit directing all those highly specialized industries. Behind each of them there was the capitalist system and the capitalist mind directing the energies of the whole. In the discussion this forenoon one of the comrades made mention of the fact that it was the capitalist behind the newspaper and the capitalist behind the railway industry. It is true enough. There is the capitalist system behind each one, but the capitalist uses the men who understand the railway business to direct the railways of this country, and he uses the men who understand the conduct of newspapers to direct the conduct of his newspapers. And we, if we are intelligent men, will not be a bit behind that capitalist in the realization of the problem of the working class and in directing our organization so as to meet and solve those problems. And so for the mining industry, the Western Federation of Miners, if you please; at the head of that organization there will be a man who is in direct touch with the mining industry of the country. The same thing will be true of the metal workers, the tobacco workers, or any other line of workers that may form a part of this new industrial organization. We must not overlook the fact—I do not believe it can be emphasized too much or too often—the fact that the workers in any particular department or industry are best fitted to solve the problems in that particular department. And after they have brought the best intelligence they possess to the solution of those problems that solution will be backed by the entire strength of the working class, the men engaged in every department of industry. I have felt all along in the discussion of the problems of this convention, that while you were considering the problem of concentration and central administration, you did not recognize to a sufficient extent the principle of democracy as well—the right of the workers in all the various departments, to solve their own particular problems. I want to tell you that the concentration of affairs and the organization of industry must proceed along these two lines. While it gives increased power, that increased power must be directed for the benefit of the working class, and not for a few highly specialized and organized industries. The trouble with the American Federation of Labor and their system of organization in the past is that they have never realized the class struggle; there has never been an honest attempt to organize the workers and present the full force and power of their organization at every point where the capitalist system came in conflict with it. Capitalism is so highly organized at the present time that you finally come to its expression in the person of a single man. That man might well be a Rockefeller who would stand for the oil fields, for the railway fields, for the banks, the manufacturing industries for all that civilization stands for at the present time; and through his spokesmen he presents the position of organized dollars. We must organize the working class in all the wide ramifications of industry until before that cool, magnetic individual there stands a person who in his own individuality stands for the interests of the world of united workers, and against the organization of united dollars presents the power of an organization of united men. (Applause). That, I take it, is what this organization is to secure. That I have understood to be the exposition of the Constitutional Committee. That is precisely what is provided for in the groupings of these various industries, in the work which will confront the organizer when he goes out over the country and presents this plan of organization to the workers. Remember, we must take into consideration not only industrialism, but human nature as well; we must show that this organization provides for the control of these various departments to a certain extent by the workers engaged in those departments. I have been told on this floor, Mr. Chairman, that industry was rapidly tending to a point at which the arbitrary division between the skilled workers and the unskilled workers was being wiped out by the machine. That is absolutely true, and we all agree with that. But I want to inform you that if you jump over the intervening space of time, if you seek to make this association accept and anticipate a fact that will take twenty years to realize, you bring this organization into existence twenty years ahead of its time. It is unable to solve the problems that confront it to-day. The problem that is before us to-day is to bring into the world an organization in absolute harmony with the facts as they exist at the present time. If we do that, the finger of shame is impressed deep on every form of industrial evolution at the present moment, and our organization will bear the imprint of that finger of shame. Let us be ready and able to change its organization in correspondence with the facts of industrial life. It is no compliment to an organization or to a man to insist that the form of organization is ahead of its time. That is the severest censure that can be laid against it. And now, I want to say to you that the Knights of Labor in their organization represented the solidarity of the laborers’ interests. But that organization came before the time when that concentration of capital had completely occurred on the industrial field. As a result it was impossible to form an organization that should represent the absolute solidarity of the working class of the world. That was the product of industrial evolution. The rise of the American Federation of Labor on the ruins of the Knights of Labor was a recognition of the principle of craft autonomy. They had gained nothing from experience of the past. They did not combine the principle of industrial solidarity along with their craft autonomy, and consequently that organization is ineffective to protect the interests of the working class, and, in the final analysis, fundamentally immoral, as every organization of the present day must be that is not founded on the lines of the class struggle and that does not enable the workers to present a united phalanx against every onslaught of the capitalist class.
So it seems to me that the ideas that have been presented very ably on both sides of the field find their expression in the report of the Committee on Constitution. I have heard the idea expressed that the Western Federation of Miners and kindred organizations, for instance, were to be disorganized on account of this fact. I want you to understand this, and if you understand industrial evolution you will grasp the fact as soon as it stated: That with every advance in industry each line of industry becomes more highly specialized. So the necessity of an organization representing the mining industries of this country, organized to protect the interests of the men who work in the mines, will be clearer and better defined ten years from now than it is at the present time.
DEL. DANIEL MCDONALD: Mr. Chairman and Delegates to this Convention: I am just slightly inclined to think that the delegates who have spoken upon this all-important proposition have been just a little inclined to overdraw the proposition. Now, I feel that what I want to know is this: I want to satisfy myself that I understand this proposition. I believe I understand the call for this convention. I believe that we have done two of the things that this convention has been called for. We are now about to do another thing that the convention was called for. This, in my opinion, is the important proposition. This convention was called for what? Passing up the other two propositions that have been passed upon, and taking the matter up from this Manifesto, it clearly says: “A movement to fulfill these conditions must consist of a great industrial union, embracing all the workers, providing for craft autonomy locally, industrial autonomy internationally, and working class unity generally.” Is that not clear? Doesn’t this declaration make the proposition that is before this convention? This proposition is clearer than any of the arguments that have been made yet upon the proposition, to my notion. It is the duty of this convention to clearly set forth, in my opinion, an industrial plan of organization. Now, if we fail to do that, then to my notion we fail to perform largely the purpose that we were brought here to perform. Let us see how this thing will work. We say we are going—I am in favor of the amendment because the amendment suggests that—it says that the organization shall be made up and organized and given jurisdiction over the different industries of the country. Much stress has been laid upon the fact that the Western Federation of Miners is an industrial organization. Let us agree to that. How is the Western Federation of Miners organized? They are organized as miners in the mining camps; in the smelting camps they are organized as smeltermen; in the large camps of the West they are organized as miners, as engineers, as smelters, as ropemen and the other classes associated in that particular industry. The miner has absolute local trade autonomy. The smelterman has absolute local trade autonomy. The ropeman has absolute local trade autonomy. Now, that settles that mining industry proposition. Do you propose to carry the proposition logically out to every other line of industry? If you do, then there can be no dispute or quarrel or fuss about the proposition. If you do not propose to carry that out with the different mechanics and the different groups of workingmen in the other industries, then I say we fail in our purpose; and I believe that the amendment carries it out clearly, more so than the explanation of the proposition submitted by the Constitution Committee. We might take the baking industry, for instance. It is a large industry. Now, there are different kinds of bakers; some of you may think that there are some confounded poor bakers. But there are bakers who bake bread, and there are bakers who make pies, two distinct and separate kinds of bakers. The pie maker would be absolutely in a piemakers union; the bread baker would be in a bread bakers’ union; the people who work in the factories, their shipping clerks, their receiving clerks, their mixers and all kinds of other tradesmen that cannot recall readily; then there is a number of women folks; are those to be brought together and mixed up as dough is mixed? Not at all, in my opinion. The piemakers will have local trade autonomy; the bread bakers will have local trade autonomy; the shipping clerks, receiving clerks and the other bakers in the cracker factories will have their local trade autonomy, and their organizations will be operated locally and they will be permitted to transact and perform their local business in their local way. But the authority granted to those various locals will be given to them by reason of the particular industry. That is to say, neither one of those locals can act arbitrarily, independently and to the disadvantage of the other locals engaged in that industry. Now, you take another large industry, such as the manufacture of all kinds of machinery.
There are a number of trades, well defined trades, in that particular industry. For instance, there is the patternmaker; he is, a woodworker. There is the flaskmaker; he is a woodworker and works all the time in wood. Then comes the molder, who works with the flasks made by the flaskmaker, and works with the patterns made by the patternmaker. And then under the same roof is the machinist, in the same building, working for the same proprietor, for the same employer. He handles the castings, finishes the castings, etc. Then there is the blacksmith, then there is the boilermaker, distinct separate trades. Now, it is not the intention, I do not believe, of this Constitution Committee or of the proposition submitted by them to this convention, to mix all those trades up together. I don’t think so, but it don’t clearly say so; so that the amendment is more clear, in my opinion, and conveys the right intelligence to the workers of the country. Now, if you are going to mix those people, it is absolutely impossible, gentlemen; it is simply impossible to mix them. You want to construct the organization in such matters in accordance with the Manifesto and the sentiments therein expressed. There are ways to give the various industries their industrial autonomy, and then their local management, etc., always subject to the central authority of the general organization. Now, we say that the trades that I have just mentioned, in the manufacture of Machinery, are distinct trades. Let me tell—it is unnecessary to say this—relative to the organization of employers. The American Federation of Labor guarantees—now, remember this—guarantees to every international organization chartered by it or affiliated with it, if you please—guarantees that national organization strict trade autonomy. It does not make any provisions in the charter of that organization about affiliation or any relation to the trade next to it at all. In other words, each organization chartered by the American Federation of Labor has a license to work independently, distinctly, free from any affiliation or association with any organization in the American Federation of Labor. That is to say, that if the molders go on strike, the machinists have a perfect right to remain at work. That is international trade autonomy guaranteed by the American Federation of Labor. They are guaranteed trade autonomy by reason of their charter granted them by their national organization, and those organizations commonly act separately and independently of each other, without any regard for each other’s interests, sometimes catering to the employer, and by reason of one or two of those organizations dickering with the employer at a time means defeating the other trades engaged in that particular industry. That is absolutely and positively wrong. We are here to denounce that, and instead to offer this plan of industrial unionism. Properly worked out, it will eliminate the possibility of such a thing occurring; for the reason that the central general body would compel every one of be obliged to support the particular trade that was in difficulty; for the reason that the central general body would compel every one of the organizations or everyone of those trades to support the trade which now is on strike, and they would all, if it came to a strike of one, would be obliged to strike at one and the same time. Now, I believe it was the intention of the convention to construct such an organization, and I think it is going to do that. But I believe that we want to express that idea, if that is the idea, just as plainly, just as positively, just as absolutely as it is possible for us to make it. Now, if that idea of industrial autonomy is not given to the various and different industries, and then the local autonomy given to the different trades within the particular industries, I fear, Delegates, that this organization will not take on as large proportions as the delegates here hope to see it take on. Now, we cannot mix up, as some of us here would have it—we cannot mix up laundry workers with hotel girls or bakery girls or anything of that sort. I do not believe we want to. Not that there is any particular difference in people, or that we recognize any particular difference so far as the people are concerned. But the trades are so specialized that the waiter girl wants to be in her organization by herself, and the laundry people want to be in an organization by themselves; and so on down the line. That is the only practical way to construct this organization, and that is the only way, in my judgment, that we can go before the public, go before the workingmen and women in this country and secure their support and co-operation in this movement. There is another thing that I want to say in this connection, so far as this matter is concerned. Now, I have absolutely nothing to say as to the action of the committee. I think the committee is an excellent committee, and I think that they did excellent work, much better than what I could have done. But the proposition that the amendment has a bearing upon is this: How this organization should be composed. The section says: “This organization shall be composed of thirteen international industrial unions designated as follows.” Thirteen international unions. It makes no difference if there were fourteen industries, the organization must be arbitrarily and unnaturally confined to thirteen industries; a thing that with all the 120 industries is absolutely impossible to do. You cannot confine it to two industries; you cannot confine it to one industry; and you cannot confine it to thirteen industries if there are fourteen industries, because it is unnatural to do it and it is arbitrary to do it, and the people engaged in that particular industry simply will not recognize the authority of this convention.
(Here Delegate Guy Miller was called to preside in the absence of the Chairman).
DEL. DINGER: Mr. Chairman, I would like through you to ask the speaker a question. Doesn’t it say “industrial unions” instead of “industries” ?
DEL. MCDONALD: It is thirteen industrial unions or groups, yes.
DEL. DINGER: Yes, exactly.
DEL. MCDONALD: It says here that “it shall be composed of thirteen international industrial unions.” Thirteen; isn’t that what I read?
DEL. DINGER: Yes, but you intimated that it was thirteen industries it was to be organized in.
DEL. MCDONALD: That is what it means.
DEL. DINGER: No, sir, not to my mind.
DEL. MCDONALD: It says, “There shall be thirteen international industrial unions, designated as follows.” Is it organized on industrial lines? I cannot understand unless it is thirteen industries; and if it is fourteen you will have to put it into fourteen.
DEL. T. J. HAGERTY: A point of information. The whole intention of this committee is not that it means thirteen unions according to thirteen industries, but thirteen industrial unions; that is, unions industrially organized in thirteen departments or divisions. I wish the speaker would not misinterpret that. It does not mean just thirteen national or international industries, but thirteen groups, thirteen international industrial unions, grouped as follows, according to these divisions: division one, two, and so on to division thirteen.
DEL. SCHATZKE: A point of information. If it is thirteen international industries industrially grouped, it ought to be “internationally grouped,” and nationally.
DEL. MCDONALD: It may be possible that I cannot understand this proposition, and I do not want to misinterpret this, proposition, but I want to get straight on the proposition myself, and I want this convention to get me straight if, I am capable of being put straight. It may be possible that I am dull of comprehension, that I cannot comprehend this thing correctly. “It shall be composed of thirteen international industrial unions, designated as follows.” It shall be composed of all persons working in the following industries: clerks, salesmen, tobacco workers, etc. Then it goes down to breweries, and then we take up mining, milling and smelting. I believe that is absolutely correct, the mining, milling and smelting; I believe that is absolutely correct.
DEL. HAGERTY: It is departments and groups of industries.
DEL. MCDONALD: Well, this proposition proposes the division of industry. I do not think the word “division” represents the proposition of “industrial” at all. I contend that the most effective way is to organize upon industrial lines, and then make the necessary provision for those people engaged in the various industries of the country to afford the different workingmen, laboring men, mechanics and artisans, etc., an opportunity to recognize one central authority in an industry, and then that industry to recognize the general, central authority, of the general organization. I fear that unless we recognize that fact, that it is going to seriously hamper the growth and prosperity and success of this organization. I am satisfied that it is absolutely impossible to mix men and women of various industries and different crafts or trades into one organization, when there is a sufficient number to carry on a successful organization having jurisdiction over that particular trade. But I want you to keep in mind always that those different organizations, in my opinion, must be operated and directed by one central authority, and that neither one of those departments or neither one of those trades in an industry can arbitrarily and independently act to the disadvantage of that particular industry. But we must afford to the laboring men in those various industries an opportunity to manage their own affairs locally. If that is the purpose of this constitutional report, then I say we should make it clear. Why do we suggest the word “division” if it is an industrial proposition? The proposition itself suggests division, while the proposition or the word “industries” would suggest the proposition of unity for those in a particular industry. I thank you, officers and members, for your attention.
DEL. PARKS: I rise to a point of information. You said the piemakers and bakers and shipping clerks in the department of baking constituted the industry, and that it would be a separate industry.
DEL. MCDONALD: Yes.
DEL. PARKS: Now, suppose that there is a large mining industry with a bake shop and laundry attached. The workers in the laundry and bakery would produce commodities for the purpose of running the mining industry, while those in the mining industry want the bread and pies made by the bakers, etc., at that particular point. Now, under the industrial organization according to the report of the Constitution Committee, would those bakers not be organized as miners, and are they not to be organized under the Western Federation of Miners and not according to their craft or their trade as bakers?
DEL. MCDONALD: No, they would be organized as bakers, certainly.
DEL. PARKS: But is it not a fact that they—
THE CHAIRMAN: I shall have to decide that it is out of order to make a speech in asking a question for information.
DEL. PARKS: Do you know to-day whether or not in the Western Federation of Miners they are organized as bakers or as miners?
DEL. MCDONALD: The president of the Western Federation of Miners is a delegate to this convention, and he is more capable of answering that to the entire satisfaction of yourself and to the satisfaction of the convention than I am.
DEL. WHITE: A point of information. If it is in order I would move that those on one side of this question select one member to debate with Delegate Coates, and let those two decide this, and limit the debate down to a point.
THE CHAIRMAN: The chair would decide that this is not a controversy between one side and the other, but merely a discussion to bring out the underlying points in industrial unionism. I therefore decide such a motion to be out of order.
DEL. MURTAUGH: A question of personal privilege. I would like if possible to try to impress upon the minds of the delegates here present that there is really no fundamental difference between either side of this argument.
THE CHAIRMAN: Well, I do not believe that that is a question of personal privilege, brother.
DEL. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a few remarks; I will be very brief. Mr. President and Fellow Delegates to this convention, I would like to know the full interpretation of the remarks put forth here in the convention. I do believe that this Committee on Constitution is made up of fair, honest and upright men; I believe that they are able men, from what I have heard since I have been in this convention; but I do believe, Mr. Chairman and Delegates, that they are not infallible. There are none of us infallible; we all make mistakes; we are all liable to error. But I do say that I want to go back from here with a full and distinct interpretation of the constitution as it is laid down to us. I do not believe in going back with a skeleton report, saying we can amend it after we find out its weakness. Why not amend it now. Why not go back to our people and say, “Here we have got a document that we can work out judiciously and honestly.” How can we install organizations in our various jurisdictions without we have a constitution to go by? Mr. President and Brothers, all the arguments I have heard, to my mind have endorsed ably and nobly the amendment; Brother De Leon, Brother Sherman, and Brother —who was the other brother?—there were three brothers who quoted from this section of the Manifesto—spoke of the intention for which we came here. I represent the Stationary Engineers and Firemen of the city of New York. I believe all the big cities throughout this country have got the same grievances to put forth that we have. I represent a local of engineers who have come out for the industrial movement, who have been discharged from their positions because they advocated it, because they had a contract drawn up for eight hours for a day’s work, and the so-called trade autonomists came along and substituted a contract drawn up for the bosses. Mr. President, I want to bear my testimony on the position of Delegate Trautmann, who has got both contracts. I represent the local of engineers and firemen who have been threatened in an issue of the so-called journal of the International Engineers in either November or December, with assassination. Why? Because we have advocated the industrial movement. Nobody knows that better than Delegate De Leon. Mr. President, suppose I go back to my local; according to this report of the committee, I go back to New York, and I say to our local engineers—well, I am ahead of time. Mr. President and Delegates, we have in New York about fourteen to sixteen thousand engineers and firemen. We have perhaps three to four thousand of those organized, the majority in the Federation. Then suppose we have to call out all the engineers of the various departments; we have no local of engineers; there is no local left for us to join. I would like to ask the committee if that is the sense of the recommendation that they have brought in in that part of the constitution? Can you answer that Brother Hagerty?
DEL. HAGERTY: I think Brother Hall here on the floor will bear me out in the illustration that I am going to take time to use, which will answer that, and which I think is the sentiment of the committee. For instance, we will suppose that we have a building industry and there are three or four engineers working on the construction of a building, and there are carpenters and plumbers and tinners. Now, if any difficulty arises which affects all the engineers as engineers, then your engineers’ committee within the building industry handles that as relating to your fuss. Then if you cannot settle that grievance, it comes before the combined board of all the workers represented in that department.
DEL. SMITH: The local?
DEL. HAGERTY: The local, to be decided by them. Then if it cannot be decided by them, it is carried to the general administration; and in that way you have local autonomy, but not in the A. F. of L. sense.
Del. Smith: No, we have had enough of that. The A. F. of L. says explicitly that “You in Brooklyn must stay in Brooklyn. You cannot come over the bridge. You in Manhattan must stay in Manhattan; you can come up to the bridge.” Those were the words of the A. F. of L. But I want to know from Brother Hagerty, when it states thirteen groups, if it puts us in with the gripmen or what branch of industry; because I hold that we have a right to have this by virtue of the Manifesto, that we have a right to hold our own meetings; we have in the engineers our employment bureau; we have our educational bureaus; the electrical workers have the same; the members of other unions have the same.
DEL. HAGERTY: Just a moment; perhaps I can clear up what you want. In addition to what I said, each division has its own management and makes its own constitution, subject to the general principles of this Manifesto. There is nothing in it that forbids the engineers in the city of New York, for their special benefit, getting together in any local meeting, but at the same time they are also members of whatever industry they are working in. Now, that is impossible with the A. F. of L., but it is possible with this, because they all belong to the same thing, to the Industrial Workers.
Del. Smith: If we have all the engineers working in the brewing industry for instance, or in the printing industry, we are held subject to recognize the grievance of any organization in this body, but will they have to become members of their various industries?
DEL. HAGERTY: They are members of their various industries.
DEL. SMITH: But do we have to recognize them in our local?
DEL. HAGERTY: Not necessarily.
DEL. SMITH: I want to have this explained plainly, so that we may know where we are at when we go to make our report. The report of the committee as to that part of the constitution I am not satisfied with at the present time, but I believe the amendment will clear up that part of it better. I am not entirely satisfied with that part because it doesn’t show clearly.
THE CHAIRMAN: I am afraid it would be a good idea for the speaker to repair to some ante-room with a member of the Constitution Committee and clear up the doubts in his mind.
DEL. HAGERTY: These questions that he is bringing up now are settled later on in the constitution. They cannot he all covered here in one section. but the constitution as a whole must be dealt with.
DEL. BEUCHERT: The amendment, to my conception, means that the national and international organizations in existence now in this country might be able to join this organization, and here is, I guess, the point where we might stumble over the report of our Constitutional Committee. We must consider the fact that there are many of the members of the trades organized in this country in the national and international organizations, and they are organized for the purpose of bettering their condition, their existence. They may not be organized on the principle of this organization, but the rank and file are for the betterment of their conditions in social life, and they have made many sacrifices to build up their organizations. What is the intention of this organization to do with these organizations in existence? Will they pass over them as if they were not in existence, or will they recognize them? Will they give them an opportunity to affiliate with this organization or not? If you take the standpoint that these organizations are no good and you don’t want them, then they have to break up if they want to join us, and is there anybody here who believes they will do that right away? Do you forget about this fight and this trouble that we had to overcome to bring all these people into our organization? I think not. I guess we have plenty to show, just as these organizations are put up and just as the people of these organizations have put it before us. They might join our organization as a body, and by the simple reason that they want to join us then they will recognize our principle of organization. I guess they will do it right away, and they will do it by whole organizations. If they don’t join us, they might have their fight between themselves, and the separate locals might join all right enough, but the situation with the national organization is such that it might be convinced that it better start in the trade union movement to join this industrial movement and shake hands with all the brothers of the world. Now, there is another point that we want to take time on, for it is just on the point which was made by the delegates in their speeches, about centralization and the power this thing had: After the report of this constitution I saw right away from this that the most power of this organization is in the hands of the President. The most power is centralized in one hand, and under certain conditions he might be disposed to use all of his power. I don’t believe in that.
THE CHAIRMAN: The part that you are discussing now belongs later in the constitution. Please confine yourself to the question under discussion.
DEL. BEUCHERT: Well, all the others have spoken on the same line, and I claim the same right as any other.
THE CHAIRMAN: I beg your pardon. It is not the desire of the chair to be arbitrary, but simply to confine the discussion along the line that is before the house.
Del. Beuchert: I want to speak just on the general subject of the organization, and I want to make a few remarks.
THE CHAIRMAN: That comes up later.
DEL. BEUCHERT: No, there is no more chance for it to come up. It is just the general subject of the organization, that is essential in this centralized power.
THE CHAIRMAN: The chair wishes to say that the power vested in the Executive Board and the various officers will be discussed in the report of the Constitution Committee, later on, therefore any discussion on that line is out of order at the present time.
DEL. BEUCHERT: Very well; what I want to know is whether the organizations that are already in existence are ready to join this organization or not.
DEL. FRENCH: I would like to ask the Secretary of the Constitution Committee to read that portion or clause providing for those industrial groups or departments or international industrial unions as they are grouped here.
DEL. T. J. HAGERTY: Here is the section that provides for that, and it might possibly stop the discussion. It is section three: “The financial and industrial affairs of each international industrial department shall be conducted by an executive board of not less than seven nor more than twenty-one, selected and elected by the general membership of said international industrial department; provided, that the executive board and general membership of said international industrial department shall at all times be subordinate to the General Executive Board of the Industrial Workers of the World; subject to appeal, provided the expense of such referendum shall be borne by the international industrial department or international industrial union or unions involved.”
Del, French: Now, Brother Chairman and Delegates-
A DELEGATE: I move you that we take a vote now.
THE CHAIRMAN: The motion is out of order.
DEL. FRENCH: Just these figures is the only question I want to ask about, to get at those figures, to have it made plain that those thirteen groupings provide for conducting the business by an executive board of not less than seven nor more than twenty-one members, selected and elected by the general membership of said international industrial department. That is what I wanted to get at, because I think it is time that we got this discussion back to bedrock, back where we started. We have gone all over the map in the discussion, we have viewed it from all sides, but that does not matter. My only idea in getting up here was to try to clear away any fog that might have gathered as a result of the broad, if I may term it so, discussion that has taken place since this thing was first brought up. Now, the word “fetich” was applied to the report of the committee. I do not believe there is an intelligent, discerning delegate here, man or woman, who believes that anybody who has spoken in favor of the report of the Constitution Committee looks upon it as a fetich at all; I do not believe it. And I do not believe that anybody—any discerning person who had listened to this discussion—can be affected by any insinuations as to the plan here emanating from the brains of a few men, or who will imagine that economic conditions will compel or cause the automatic bringing up of a correct organization without the brains of men being used in forming it. But I want to get back to this, and we need not bother about those things at all. This plan under discussion that the Constitution Committee brings in recommends this section providing for thirteen groups, international unions, with executive boards containing not less than seven nor more than twenty-one representatives; and I believe it provides further on, doesn’t it, in another section, that the president shall be a member of that board?
DEL. HAGERTY: Yes.
DEL. FRENCH: Well, you see this is a skeleton of the new organization intended to be formed, and you bring this in. Now, the amendment proposed by Delegate Coates, as I understand it, is to abolish that arbitrary grouping, as it has been termed, those thirteen arbitrary divisions, and to insert the words, “international industrial unions.” Isn’t that right?
DEL. HAGERTY: Yes.
DEL. FRENCH: Now, the question then of the practicability or impracticability of either plan is a thing that goes right through this discussion. To my mind, and I think to all those who have watched most closely and who have tried to get on their feet as to the position that we should take in relation to this, is that this proposition is as nearly practicable as can at the present time and under present conditions be devised. Now, we have come here to launch an organization that will stand upon correct principles, the principles laid down in the Manifesto. We come here to launch an organization that will be formed on those lines as nearly as we can possibly make it. We do not come here proposing to cater to the forms already in existence. We do not come proposing to figure on whether we shall as the delegate over there referred to—figure as to what we shall do to placate those international craft unions in the A. F. of L. We do not come here to express a fear lest the lines laid down do not fit the lines already laid down by the A. F. of L. and would not enable them to jump bodily as a craft union into this organization and retain that craft autonomy that enables them to keep the workers divided. We did not come here to worry if some one should be annoyed by our attitude. We came here to try and set the workingman on his feet. We came here to try to establish an organization that represents as near as possible the correct lines that should be retained for an economic organization to fit, as has been previously expressed, the economic conditions that face us. Surely any discerning person can see that the nearest thing outside of the ideal that was laid down by Brother Hall yesterday, the nearest thing that at present we can get, is this proposition of the Constitution Committee. And now my view is this. Delegate Coates’s amendment provides for national industrial unions. It does not define what an industry is. He does not want to be arbitrary, I presume. But what will that lead to? Don’t you see the difference between the attempt at system that has been made by the Constitution Committee, in the attempt to get as much system as possible into the launching of this organization, so that it can be carried out in a manner that will remove or avoid as much as possible of the friction that will come about—don’t you see the difference between that and the condition that would result from the adoption of the course as proposed by that amendment? It does not define what an industry is, and leaves it open to all these organizations which call themselves industrial organizations, that only compose a small part of an industry, if an industry could be definitely defined? As I understand it, the Constitution Committee, in devising this figure, did it under the present economic conditions, while if possible we should have all the workers, because the interdependence of all industry under modern means of production is taking that into consideration, and that they should devise some plan that will at least lend system to the creating and building up of the new organization; that they could to-day, in figuring out the economic groupings of the working class, draw temporarily (I understand that to be the sense of the committee, temporarily) thirteen economic groupings or industrial groupings; not thirteen industries, as has previously been explained, but thirteen economic groupings in which to place the different sets of industries in each one of those groupings, and to launch the organization in this manner, bearing in mind all the time the coming of a convention that will improve upon that skeleton and make it still more centralized. I for one, if nobody else, will on this floor before this convention adjourns make a motion that this constitution when adopted shall stand till the next convention, so that it will not become, as I heard a remark—I think it was Brother Hagerty that made it—a crystal that we will have to smash; but that it will stand as a skeleton structure of the new organization, that can be taken apart and rebuilt on a more improved plan, more consistent with the economic conditions facing us at the next convention. Now, that is why I arose, to try to get this down back to first principles, to the plane of the practicability of an organization which does not draw any hard and fast lines, which leaves it open to interminable discussion, when a local is organized, as to which industrial grouping it should be placed in. As for the practicability of this, it seems to me that there is possibly a misunderstanding in the meaning of some. I have noticed that Brother Smith was in doubt and did not seem to be quite clear on the conditions that we will confront. Now, this Manifesto declares here—
DEL. JAMES SMITH: Do you mean to insinuate that I did not make myself clear?
DEL. FRENCH: I am not arguing the question. I only made the remark.
DEL. SMITH: I want to be understood on the point, if I was not clear. I still hold that I was clear on that point. I still hold for the interests of the local, and I still insist on standing by this Manifesto as adopted.
THE CHAIRMAN: This brother has the floor.
DEL. FRENCH: What I wanted to say was this. There is a possibility, and I drew that conclusion from the remarks of Brother Smith, of some persons misunderstanding the position that we would be in because of this grouping as laid down by this Constitution Committee’s paragraph here. Now, I do not see any difficulty in carrying out the plan of organization laid down in those groupings. This Manifesto provides there in that clause that has been referred to by many others, “A movement to fulfill these conditions must consist of one great industrial union, embracing all industries, providing for craft autonomy locally, industrial autonomy internationally, and working class unity generally.” The conditions are referred to in the previous part of the Manifesto, which describes the modern capitalist conditions where industries are controlled and centralized in management, and interdependent, and necessitate a working class organization to meet them. But it provides for craft autonomy locally and industrial autonomy internationally. Now, what I wanted to know was this. There was nothing said about representation of the various crafts on the various divisions, about the difficulty of having them represented on the executive board of the administrative bodies, and it seemed to me it was a plea for the present A. F. of L. international and national craft unions, and that such bodies as applied to join would want their particular craft or division of the industry represented on the administrative bodies. Well, now, I claim that this plan provides as nearly as possible for all that; as nearly as needed. The executive board of one of those departments is to be composed of seven to twenty-one. Now, take for instance the railroad industry. We can have an executive board in that grouping. On that executive board there will be say twenty-one members. Now, I think twenty-one divisions in one of these industries, represented each by a member of that division on the administration board of that department, will come pretty near covering all important crafts in that department. And they will all be represented on that executive board or advisory board or whatever it may be termed, the administrative board of that particular department, and they elect a president who becomes as I understand the purport of the fifth section, ipso facto a member of the General Executive Board. Isn’t that the understanding?
DEL. HAGERTY: Yes.
DEL. FRENCH: Now, this department elects by referendum a president who is in touch with an executive or advisory board composed of representatives of the various divisions of the crafts, if you may call them crafts, of the department. Being in that position, and being the choice by referendum of the department, he is surely able to represent on the national board his department and the divisions of his department, and you hereby get a national board with thirteen members, and that is about as large as is workable to launch an organization. On the other hand, the amendment as proposed would cut down that arbitrary division, and abolish the system, and at the same time be anarchistic, if you will. If you would draw a hard and fast line, some particular craft or division will kick about it, and what do you get by kicking? You have no definite standard of what an industry can be. You have got to go along guessing at it all the time and arguing it out and trying to build up this industry and that industry, and you can have, as has been stated, anywhere from, 60 to 127 or more various trades claiming to be an industry, which would, according to that constitution if it were adopted, claim representation on the General Executive Board. Otherwise you have a confusion that will be created by the absence of any definition as to what will constitute a division of the workers into any kind of group. Now, I have not talked with the committee about it, but I believe that one of their ideas in putting that together is that they desired some system to start with; they desired to have some ground to stand upon, and they offer that in the belief that they could not get anything better at the present time. I do not believe—I hope that such is not the case—I do not believe that there is any number of men in this hall who want a bad start; yet an outsider who did not know about it and was sitting up in the gallery and watching the debate of to-day and yesterday, would imagine that some of us were trying to do as you will find done in the various legislative bodies of the various countries when something is on hand that needs to obstructed; the obstructionists talk it to death; they keep it going on and on till the hulk of those present are tired of it and want to get rid of the whole business. At present I do not believe that there is anybody or any group of persons in this convention as it now stands that would want to do any such thing. I would rather believe that the actions, or rather the attitude struck by the opposers of this proposition of the Constitution Committee, show that they are honestly striving to have a plan adopted which they believe, as far as their understanding of the proposition goes—which they believe to be the correct thing to do. But this debate or discussion has gone on now a long time, and we have heard it touched upon from all sides, and surely any discerning person in this convention watching the speakers, sizing up their arguments, trying to size them up for himself, and keeping or trying to keep in mind just what this stands for and just what the amendment stands for, and not allowing himself to be diverted by any expressions on the matter, must surely now have reached a conclusion as to the practicability and feasibility and wisdom and correctness of this plan or of the other. And I hope that those present will not indulge in any more lengthy speeches (laughter), but that when any person in the future has something to say in corroboration of what somebody else said, that he will do what I did yesterday when Delegate Hall spoke so cleverly for the constitution—stand up and say he endorses what the previous comrade said, and in that way we will avoid having this proposition talked to death, and more confusion brought about by somebody rushing in with a substitute in order to get another lengthy discussion.
Del. W. F. Morrison: Mr. Chairman and Fellow Delegates: I have not imposed upon your attention a very great deal since I have been in this convention, but I hope to be able in the few remarks that I may make and the few questions that I may ask, to find out just where I am at; not where the convention is at, but where I am at on this proposition. Having received an invitation to visit Chicago, having been invited by the general invitation in this Manifesto, and realizing from a life of experience in the labor movement that there must be something done, and that that thing must be something definitely done for the whole working people, I came to this convention; realizing fully that if the workingman shall ever be emancipated it must be done through the wisdom that lies in the working class. Do we exhibit wisdom in our convention? Will the world at large look upon us as being a wise, deliberative body, when we cannot determine just exactly what we want upon the second proposition presented to us? I have before me a skeleton which was prepared for this committee for the purpose of constituting this conference into a working machine. The brotherhood or organization with which I am immediately affiliated gave instruction to unite our body with this, providing it held to the lines of the Manifesto. Now, are we holding to the lines of the Manifesto on this question? What impresses me very strongly in the arguments on both sides is the indecisiveness of the opinions of the delegates on this floor, and it reminds me of the old religious muddle, that “You shall and you shan’t, can and you can’t, you will be damned if you do and you will be damned if you don’t.” That is the way the thing stands to-day, you shall and you shan’t. Brother Coates on the one hand says this represents one proposition, and Brother Hagerty on the other hand says it represents another proposition. They are all aiming to wipe out these lines of demarcation, and that is what this Manifesto stands for. I see here groupings and there groupings, and they amount to thirteen. Now, let us see whether the Manifesto includes any grouping to speak of except as a universal brotherhood of workingmen. One says, “Let us change the number of these divisions.” The Manifesto says, “A movement to fulfill these conditions”—now I am going to read into it a word when I come to it, embodying the class struggle; let us simply inject the proposition—“must be founded on the class struggle,” and its general administration must be conducted in harmony with a recognition of the class struggle, and it must be international. And now, coming back to the first proposition: “A movement to fulfill these conditions must consist of one great industrial union”; one great industrial union, which our name implies, and which I support and cherish with all my heart. Now, let us go on: “A great industrial union embracing all industries, providing for craft autonomy.” Now, that comes right back to the unity with which this industrial union must be composed. It says, “Granting to each and every local craft its craft autonomy locally.” Now, “Industrial autonomy internationally and nationally”; “embracing all industries, providing for craft autonomy locally, industrial autonomy internationally.” Now, then, I would presume, from what Brother Hagerty said a while ago, that these groups here represent international, industrial conditions; that the industrial grouping would stand for industrial unions, or the union of industries. I understand that each and every craft or trade shall have its local union, and then whatever industry or craft may be found employed in it will organize themselves into a national union of their craft along the industrial lines with other crafts in the same industry, but not in the same group with another craft. That brings us up directly to the centralized government which is represented in the Industrial Workers of the World. The plan as laid down by the committee proposes that they shall arbitrarily say what is individual craft autonomy or what craft individuals shall belong to in a group or division. I am in favor of the amendment. I wish we could be now advanced far enough along that we could wipe out all of these dividing lines, whether they be imaginary or otherwise, and come directly to the individual uniting with the great industrial movement of the workers of the world, in deed and in truth. It was said upon this floor that the Knights of Labor was before its time. My friends, it was not before it was needed, however. The Knights of Labor may have come before the majority of the workingmen were able to handle the situation, and when we came back to divide ourselves up into groups and separate ourselves by these class lines, we see that most of the working people are not yet ready to be organized into an industrial organization that comprises the whole entire working class of the world. Let us tear down, let us wipe out these lines of demarcation, and plant ourselves unitedly upon the proposition of a united brotherhood of the workers of the world.
DEL. DE LEON: I wish to ask the speaker a question. Do I understand that the speaker believes that the proposed amendment would not divide the working class into different trades and crafts?
DEL. MORRISON: No, it would not. It would divide them locally. Will you ask that question again, please?
DEL. DE LEON: I wanted to ask whether you believe that this proposed amendment that you speak in favor of—you say that this grouping divides the working class into thirteen different groups. Now, I want to know, wouldn’t the amendment to this proposition divide the working class into groups, indefinitely? The only difference I can see is that these groups are definitely stated, and the other groups are indefinitely stated.
DEL. MORRISON: It will divide up all the trades, and their own locals will take care of such things as relate to each trade specifically, and those trades shall form internationally into an industrial union embracing all workers in that line. For instance, I am working now in the oil fields. We have a transportation department pertaining to the oil field, yet there is no one working in that field except workers directly employed in the production of oil or identified with transporting the oil, etc. We have derrick men, teamsters, roustabouts, watchmen, pipe men, etc. Then we have the refiner, the blacksmith, the machinist, the tank maker, and all of them work in and around the specialized oil industry from beginning to end. Now, then, if you group the oil men as an industry with some other industry or industries, the direct interests of the men in the oil industry may be under the control of men not in that industry but grouped with them, and they will give the preference to their own industries in this group. But supposing we have groups making up the distinct industries, including nothing but men who work directly in the oil industry, for instance, their interests will be better understood and protected than in any other way. That is my contention. I hope you understand that. Is that satisfactory to you? Now, my friends, I recognize that this is a complex question. I recognize that it is necessary that this convention should construct a constitution which should be perfectly clear to the workingman in the ditch, so the organizer will have no trouble to make him understand his relation to the entire proposition. But when we who are interested and have studied to some extent our relation with the laboring world, cannot agree upon the interpretation of this chart submitted as a part of the constitution and in explanation of it, how do you expect the organizer who goes into the field to make it plain to a man who digs in the ditch? I believe in the Western Federation of Miners or any other organization of that kind, with the knowledge that rests in the individual members of the miners, the organizer could go and explain to them, but with the great mass of men that are found in many organizations they would not understand it. Therefore this constitution must be made plain and simple, with no technical words. Now, let me make another illustration to show you that this plan of grouping is inconsistent even with the line of nature. The whole human anatomy is based upon the cell proposition; life in all forms is based upon the cell. I understand that the individual unit member is a cell in this organization. Those cells are made up into bones and tissues, and they are different in proportion to the tissues that they make up, such as muscle, brain, bone, dermis and all those things. Now, then, you cannot expect to find the cell of a muscle in the brain; therefore you cannot group them together. We find that all of the cells that belong to the brain and form the brain are right in the brain. Now, we have the blacksmith; the blacksmith has interests in common with every other blacksmith, no matter where you find him. Now, to group him for the benefit of his class, he should be placed in relation to his interests as a blacksmith. Now, we have another class, another relation, with reference to skill. We have the relation of the unskilled, and the blacksmith, boiler makers, machinist, pattern-makers, molders, and all those trades that make up a certain industry. Now, in the industrial plan that industry will have an organization, without any other connection except directly upon the center of this chart, which is the administrative department of this organization. It must not come through some other channel, say the miners, unless he is grouped by his organization intimately with the miners’ organization. We take a miner now and put him at the head of this group. Do you believe the miner can represent all these other groups? No it would be just as foolish, as I understand it, as to put the Western Federation of Miners in charge of this central group here, and say, “Administer the whole entire affairs of this organization,” as it is to say that any miner’s union can name a number of individuals and group them together and absolutely represent the industrial interests of a specific industry, and I believe Comrade Coates will bear me out in that. I do not believe that we are going away from this convention without having an understanding. There seems to be a fear on the part of some of the delegates, however, that if we change this one particular clause we tear down the whole entire constitution and all the work of this committee shall have been in vain. I presume that them is wisdom enough in this vast assembly to take that constitution and amend paragraph after paragraph and section after section to conform to the amended condition of this one particular paragraph.
A DELEGATE: Mr. Chairman, does the five-minute rule apply?
DEL. MORRISON: If it had I would have sat down before now, for I think I have talked all of five minutes. I have no personal feeling in this matter, and I hope that none of the delegates that will talk on this proposition will have any personal feeling on the matter. And I can say that I have interrupted none while they were on the floor, and I have been intensely interested in this proposition because, friends, I am one of those individual delegates that pay their own way; I cut $5 a day from my own earnings, out of my employment, and $10 a day for the two Sundays that I am apt to be here in the discussion of all these questions. I have wanted to save time, and for that reason I have been perfectly quiet. I hoped to be able to have this proposition settled by this convention without my having any say-so whatever, but since it became a general discussion I felt that I might add my little mite, though it might be tiresome to some of the delegates. This is my first time and it will be my last. If we grant that which this document prescribes, local autonomy to the individual crafts, then it follows that we must organize for our safety the craft into its immediate industrial organization, which shall be immediately responsible to the central body, to the central organization, in order that we can have the returning influence of authority pledged to the general membership in case of necessity. Now, then, that being the case, the industry should have a perfect local, and not a complex local and central organization as here represented. I would be glad if we could wipe out all these artificial lines, for I have no use for them, because each and everyone of the industries has been given in the outline here; the industries have all been stated, and why do we want to aggregate them into groups and establish an arbitrary ruling over groups which are not entirely in harmony with each other? They can only be in harmony with conditions affecting them in their ordinary affairs, and do not agree with them otherwise. Then let us leave these lines out. Let us have our representation industrially directly, without any grouping save in the general group, the whole entire group. Then I could go to the least man in the community, in the oil industry, and tell him, “Here, you can give all of the toilers a local organization”—call them common laborers—“you can have your own local, your own grouping,” and then when we have gotten them all into locals to study these conditions under a charter from the main organization, when they come in in this place and in that place in the oil industry, they elect from themselves the necessary officers and they can actually administer the affairs of the oil industry without reference to the administration of the department of mining. But when we go with a complex idea to the workingman he will not be able to understand the necessity for such things as that, and therefore he will not embrace the opportunity of becoming a member. But when we tell him he can come into his local and discuss in his local everything that relates to his particular interests, and then that his local shall have industrial representation directly in the convention and connected with the central organization, he can then be made to understand it, I believe. I thank you very kindly. (Applause.)
DEL. WHITE: Mr. Chairman, as this is getting down to a question of endurance, and possibly to give the stenographer work this afternoon, I propose that we cut the debate short. It is getting monotonous to a majority of the delegates, sitting here and hearing the same ground being covered by every speaker practically in the same channel, simply to be recorded by the stenographer. (Applause.)
THE CHAIRMAN: It is not within the power of the chair to cut this debate short before the people of this convention want to do so. Every other man who gets this floor is entitled to the same courtesy, and I hope that hereafter no one will so far forget the duty they owe to the delegate, the chair and themselves as to needlessly interrupt the speakers; and also that the speakers will be short and quit when they get through. (Laughter.)
Del. Bradley: I am not going to tire you now, but I just want to say a word or two. I don’t believe in this long-drawn-out talk. The Constitution Committee has made thirteen sub-divisions of the workers. The committee recognizes as well as any of us that the interests of the working class are all the same. Now, to-day under capitalism we can divide the working class into three divisions, one the food department, another the shelter department, and the other the clothing department. We could make three groupings if we wanted to do it that way. And whenever a strike is initiated by any portion of the working class which is connected with the production and distribution of food supplies, then that would mean that this particular portion of the working class could be backed up by all the rest of the workers that have anything to do with the production and distribution of foodstuffs. Then, taking the clothing department, the same rule would apply; and so in the building department. And finally we would come to the conclusion that these three groups are mutually dependent upon each other, and that when any question arises it must come right down to a class struggle of the working class against the capitalist class. But for a matter of convenience the Constitution Committee has divided them up into thirteen divisions, just for convenience of dealing with certain elements of the working class that may be instantly involved in a strike, and also for the purpose of communicating with them. And I think that most of the arguments that have been advanced here overlook the point that the Constitution Committee is trying to impress upon your minds; that these groupings are made only for the convenience of communication with the working class. That is all I have to say.
DEL. DINGER: Mr. Chairman and Fellow Delegates, I assure you that I will not take up any more than five minutes of your time. We came here. for the purpose of doing what? We came here for the purpose of organizing an industrial organization. It seems to me that there is one thing above every other that has caused us to come here, and that is the so-called scabbery that has resulted in the jurisdiction quarrels within the American Federation of Labor. We have before us the proposed systematic plan of the Constitution Committee that has labored faithfully for two days in bringing that about, and the proposed amendment. The proposed amendment is that this industrial organization of the world shall be composed of national and international unions embracing all the workers of an industry. There is something indefinite, something that is to be fought out. You will have the same scabbing as you had in the American Federation of Labor. There is nothing definite about that. This committee has tried to give you a feasible, tangible, definite plan, remember that. Whatever may be said about industrial unionism, we must first of all endeavor to make that industrial unionism effective, and this your committee has attempted by making a system, by proposing to you a system upon which this industrial union must be organized. I am not going into details, but want to refer to what the last speaker, but one said. He shows to you the different trades included in the oil industry, the blacksmiths and numerous other trades. He said, “Who is to determine who belongs to that industry and who not?” In order to avoid these so-called jurisdiction squabbles we have to do the best we can and find the best system. Now, if you endorse this amendment you endorse anarchy, if you please. You endorse the same principle upon which the American Federation of Labor has been organized. If you endorse that plan you will have no system and be like the A. F. of L. And you will find out that you will succeed much more rapidly and much more thoroughly than working without a system. I think that has been the experience of the human race.
DEL. SAINER: I have heard a great many speeches about the jurisdictional problems of the different unions. I do not think we came here with the idea of settling any of those problems. We came here to settle the one great problem of securing the organization of all the workers, and the question of what the different unions would do is not the question at issue at all. The fact that we depend on capital for an existence, that is the problem to be settled.
(Question called for.)
DEL. ROSS: I admire the disposition, Mr. Chairman and Delegation of this Convention, to listen to fourteen nearly consecutive hours of debate upon whether or not we shall adopt this substitute amendment offered by one of the brother delegates upon the floor in place of the recommendation of the Constitution Committee. I want to say to you this, in plain and explicit terms: I do not approve of the recommendation of the committee, from the simple fact that it is my understanding, and I think it has developed nearly every delegate with the exception of a few who have spoken, that the object of this convention was to find some solution for the purpose of solidifying the workers, not only of our country, but of the world. And when that is so, I want to ask you, if that is solidarity? Is it? And for that reason I say upon this floor I am not in favor of it. And while I admire the statements of some of the delegates, and while some of you had the pleasant opportunity to sail on spread-eagle wings of oratory, did you not notice yesterday that one of that committee emphatically informed you and me that whatever we might do in regard to accepting or rejecting what that Constitution Committee offered, they would call the roll and carry it over all opposition? And for that reason I have kept my mouth shut, and I think it would have been wise if a great many more of you had done the same thing. Now, there are a few more moments left, and delegates have the opportunity of closing this debate, and I believe—and I arose for that express purpose more than anything else—to say that it is due to the patience of the delegates of this convention and to that of our honored Chairman, that we as delegates refuse to speak longer or take the time, and let Delegate Coates make his speech and then let us do our voting and see whether we take the substitute or whether we take that which is offered by the Constitution Committee. I thank you.
Question called for, and calls for Delegate Coates.
DEL. BOSKY: You have heard a whole lot of stories about this new industrial organization, and you have heard absolutely nothing on the economic principles involved in this question. You have heard of the troubles of the boiler maker and the troubles of the oil field workers and all of these, and we have heard nothing about the wage system. Are we here protesting against the distribution of wealth in this country? There are two things that are closely connected with economics—production and distribution. These two things are absolutely dependent on each other. If you want to create harmony between these two things, you have to make here on this floor a declaration that all things necessary to our life which are produced and distributed in these great industries are equally of necessity, and consequently equal of volume. If you want to found here a new organization on the industrial field, you must not only have wills to go about it, you must have a principle and go out and tell every man that is connected with this production and distribution that his share and his part of the work is the same and equal with any other. If you want to build a house it is just as necessary to dig the foundation as to raise the house, and it must be done before you can have the painting and music and education that are going to be furnished in that house. You have to establish here and declare here for the economic equality that is necessary to our living, and not before will we carry out the purpose for which this convention is here.
Question called for.
THE CHAIRMAN: Delegates from this time on will be required to confine themselves absolutely to the question before the convention; that is that “It shall be composed of national and international unions embracing all workers of an industry. ” That is an amendment to Section 2 of Article 1.
DEL. WILKE: I desire to speak to the amendment.
DEL. MURTAUGH: I desire you to re-read that amendment. I did not understand it.
THE CHAIRMAN: Section 2 provides that there shall be thirteen international industrial unions. The amendment is that it “shall be composed of national and international unions embracing all workers of an industry.”
DEL. WILKE: Mr. Chairman and Delegates, I am opposed to the amendment for the reason that the call of this convention had in view a different object from what the amendment proposes to make it. I came here as one of the attendants of this convention for the purpose of founding an organization along class lines, and not craft lines. (Applause). I wish to lend my co-operation to your efforts with that motive in view, and none else. The amendment as it stands now virtually places this organization in the same category as the A. F. of L. and other craft organizations. (Applause). You speak about organizing them industrially according to the amendment. You have that form of organization to-day. I belong to the craft of printers. Haven’t you got your Allied Printing Trades Council? What does that represent? The printing trade, with the type founder, electrotyper, stereotyper, bookbinder, pressman and compositor. Is it fulfilling its mission? I say no. Therefore, delegates, I hope that you will not place this organization on craft lines, but on class lines, and organize an economic union and not an aristocratic organization. (Applause).
DEL. FAIRGRIEVE: I won’t take up much time, but I want to say something on the subject. I heard Brother O’Neil remark something about the construction of this being wrong. I want to instruct him as to the numerical construction of it. The national executive board of this body, in place of being composed of fifteen members will be composed of thirteen members elected by their different groups as outlined on that chart, and as the balance of the constitution will bear me out when it is read to you. The construction of those thirteen groups will be composed of 273 men, if they carry out the intent of the constitution as far as they want to go. Now, I want to say that I am opposed both to the amendment and to the original motion, and I am going to vote against both of them when the time comes. I endeavored yesterday to lay before you a plan that 18,000 men asked me to do two years ago, for the workers of this country, in the State of Montana, and I am going back to my constituents and report to them as I find things here, and not as I don’t find them. We want one single organization. We don’t want any craft lines. We want industrial lines. We want one central body, centralized in some part of this country, with an executive board so small as to work quickly, and with absolute control of every industry and every workingman in this country. That is what we want in Montana. And we want to organize the industries locally into a central body in order that there may be back of each local body all the force of the central body. That is the plan that I wanted to offer to this convention, and you would not let me do it. Now, I am going to go back to my constituents and tell them what was done here, and see what will happen down there. I don’t want to see any more debate on this. Every man knows how he is going to vote, and for God’s sake proceed with the constitution if you are going to have it.
Delegate Murtaugh was recognized.
DEL. WHITE: I object, because he has spoken twice.
DEL. MURTAUGH: I rise to a question of personal privilege. Did I talk twice?
THE CHAIRMAN: You cannot till all other delegates who wish have spoken.
DEL. MURTAUGH: Then this gentleman ought to be seated.
THE CHAIRMAN: Delegate Murtaugh, have you spoken twice?
DEL. MURTAUGH: I have not.
A DELEGATE: Yes, he has.
DEL. MURTAUGH: I have not.
The Delegate: I appeal to the stenographer’s report on it. He has spoken a couple of times.
DEL. MURTAUGH: I have not. I understand just as well as anybody the limitations of parliamentary law. I have held myself in repression for a long while, and I have listened to the vaporings of others.
Another delegate objected to the use of the term “vaporings,” and the stenographer’s report was again appealed to.
THE CHAIRMAN: The chair takes the position that the delegate has not spoken on this question. If I remember rightly he did rise to a point of order and attempted to make a speech. Delegate Murtaugh has the floor.
DEL. MURTAUGH: Mr. Chairman, I wish to be as brief as possible. I know that in some intelligences I am going to be understood, but to the great composite intelligence of this organization I believe that in a very few words I can make myself clear. I tried to get it in before on a question of personal privilege and failed. I want to say this simply, that in my estimation there has been absolutely nothing said by either side upon the question under discussion for so long that would not apply equally to either side. (Confusion). I cannot speak without having attention paid to me. I am going to try to be brief. I say this, that the grouping that has been attempted there and the other groupings that have not been plainly outlined by the opposition mean practically the same thing. It means the recognition, as Delegate De Leon expressed it, of the present divisions in the crafts or the present tools that we use, and the only difference between the two factions was a difference in degree and not a difference of minds, as to how they should be grouped. We get into that state of mind, Mr. President, necessarily on account of the limitations that are put upon us by the environment in which we are born and raised. When we come into a convention of this kind that embraces every shade of opinion, necessarily each and every shade of opinion expressed here must be something coming from the environment of the particular individual that expresses that shade of opinion. We can expect to get into just such a tempest in a teapot as we have been in for the past twenty-four hours. I want to say further, Mr. President, that the Preamble adopted by this convention expressed just as much of the aspirations of this convention as was possible for the composite intelligence of this convention to express, and that when an organization could be formed it was inevitable that we got into just such a muddle. I want to say further, that I have been very much surprised to find myself a revolutionist among revolutionaries, when I thought that I was a conservative of conservatives, and just take this as my individual conception of what a completely class-conscious organization, with that expression of the kind of, solidarity that is needed in an economic organization and should be, and that should be this: The recognition of the fact that we have certain very, very simple groups as represented by the trade, for instance, that I belong to the molders, whose interests are apparently in some minor instances separate and distinct from the interests of anybody else who might happen to be working in the particular shop or factory in which a molder is working. But I want to emphasize the fact, Mr. President, that that interest is no more emphasized by the fact that we wish to retain our local organization of molders or any other craft, than it is by the chart placed before us there, where we apologize for our present system of organization by saying that this is not an expression of solidarity, irrespective of what the capitalists say, that this is not an expression of the solidarity that we should have in the labor movement. And I want to say that if you are going to have solidarity in the labor movement you are not going to have thirteen groups, any one of which may become powerful, but you are going to have just one expression of solidarity. It is going to be contained in the centralized government of the organization here formed, and, you are not going to have the danger that there is now within the American Federation of Labor of the withdrawal of the United Mine Workers or the Iron Molders or the Machinists or any other organization, and they could withdraw to-morrow out of the American Federation of Labor, or some of them. You are going to have an organization in which each and every individual unit of that organization has something at stake; an organization that will not only inculcate the principles of solidarity and class-consciousness, but in which the individual units composing that organization, irrespective of how you organize the local, has something at stake nationally and internationally, and won’t withdraw. Mr. President, I believe that without going into further details, that expresses my idea. And I wish to offer as a substitute for the whole—I believe embracing the idea—I do not believe that it will do away with the work of the Constitution Committee; I believe that they will grasp the idea, and I believe that on account of the respectful attention that has been given me they have grasped the idea, no matter how imperfectly stated. I hope we will get ourselves out of this muddle and get into a completely class-conscious, solid organization of the workingmen such as we express in our Preamble, and not offer an apology to any form of capitalism or craft organization now extant. I will offer it here: “Resolved, That Section 2 be referred back to the Committee on Constitution with instructions to endeavor to bring in a plan combining local craft autonomy with absolute solidarity nationally and internationally expressed.” (Seconded).
DEL. SHERMAN: I have had the floor once, but I would like to have it five minutes to see if I cannot cover the points that I did not cover in my previous talk to the convention.
(Chairman Haywood resumed the chair).
A DELEGATE: A point of order. We cannot consider the substitute.
THE CHAIRMAN: The substitute is that Section 2 be referred back to the Committee on Constitution with instructions to bring in a plan combining local craft autonomy with absolute solidarity nationally and internationally. You have heard the amendment to the amendment. Are you ready for the question? (Question called for). Those in favor of the amendment to the amendment will signify it by saying aye. Contrary no. The motion is lost. The question occurs on the amendment to Section 2, that is the one introduced by Delegate Coates, which it would probably be well to read, as none of the delegates have spoken to it lately. “It shall be composed of national and international unions embracing all workers of an industry.”
Del. Glasgow took the floor.
DEL. DAVIS: Is all debate shut off? If so, I am perfectly willing to take my seat. If not, I wish to have the floor for an amendment.
THE CHAIRMAN: You have suggested a hard proposition to the chair. The chair at this time would like to tell you a falsehood if he could, but the debate has not been closed, and you have the floor.
DEL. DAVIS: Mr. Chairman and Fellow Delegates to the convention: I wish to say a word in behalf of a vast army of laborers in this country, the vast army of laborers that are not organized—the man who ought to have the chuck-steak or joint but get poor soup principally—in his behalf. In glittering generalities it has been pointed out here that they would be vastly benefited by the adoption of this constitution without amendment, or that portion of it that was before the house, and also as proposed to be amended by Delegate Coates. Now, as one who came from that class, but at the present time is in organized labor and has been for nearly twenty-five years, I wish, to state that that class is pretty thickheaded. I know that, because I am from that class. I wish to state here and now that unless you can point out specifically wherein we are going to be benefited, the particular class from which I came, it will be utterly impossible in the future, as it has been in most instances in the past, to have them with you as an organized body whatsoever. They are the ones who work for small pay. They are the ones who to-day need to have the work started going. If you pick the brainy skilled worker, you will be helpless unless you throw away your pride and your coat collar and get down into the bottom of the sewer or into the hole that is commonly called an excavation for a building on which the structure is to be erected, or whatever it may be. Now, for my part, I can see nothing very encouraging in the plan presented by your Constitution Committee, and I can see nothing in the amendment as presented by Delegate Coates. This is the first time I have raised my voice in this convention, either for or against any proposition that has confronted you, but I feel that I would be false to my particular class if I sat on my chair and refused to raise my voice in their behalf. I have looked over, as carefully perhaps as I will do in the future, the proposed plan as presented by an individual delegate, Brother Fairgrieve of Montana. I have also looked casually over a plan as presented by my Brother delegate Critchlow, representing the International Laborers’ Union. Whether either one is exactly what my class, in my opinion, would want, I do not know; but there is provision made specifically for my particular craft in each of their plans, and I ask you now, in the name of over twenty millions of people, have you presented, any of you, any specific plan for that class of which I am a member?
DEL. DINGER: Certainly; sure.
DEL. DAVIS: I see nothing whatever only glittering generalities. Now, we wish, all that are in this position, you would show us some plan by which we can save ourselves. Now, we don’t want to have to say, like our good fellow Christians say, that Christ will save us, or as many trade unionists say and I have heard them say, that Brother De Leon will save us, and Brother Eugene V. Debs can save us, and Mother Jones, and Brother Samuel Gompers has got a plan that will save you.
THE CHAIRMAN: The delegate will confine himself to the question.
DEL. DAVIS: All right, Mr. Chairman; I have said all I want to say in the general way in which I have spoken. I am coming right back to that part of it for one minute, and that is this: I hope that the good sense of this convention will prevail and vote down that particular part as presented by the Constitution Committee, and also the amendment presented by Brother Coates, and we will then endeavor right here in committee of the whole to submit a proposition to cover that particular phase of the constitution.
DEL. CRITCHLOW: I want to speak on the question before the house, although it was not my intention to do so. I do not want to speak for the purpose of finding out where I am at, because I know where I am at and I know where my organization is at. But I am afraid that there are some of us that don’t know where we are at. Now, then, the one point of difference between these two contentions for consideration has never yet been touched, and I cannot understand how all this discussion has gone on without touching that point. If that is an industrial union, then our organization is not in favor of that industrial unionism. That is not what they stand for. That organization as proposed there is a departmental organization, nothing more nor nothing less. That is not necessarily an industrial organization. The printing industry cannot be organized as a printing industry on industrial lines in that form of organization. The printing industry as such—I think that is the main contention here—would be divided into the different groups to which it was most closely allied and made subservient to the management of those groups. That is the contention at issue. The bakery business, as so cleverly brought out here a moment ago, would not necessarily have an industrial bakery workers’ union under that form of organization, but it would be an organization divided into the groups of trades most closely allied and made subservient to the management of those groups. If that is the proposition it will forever preclude the possibility of this organization organizing the bakery workers or another similar organization. The time has not yet come in the development of the union movement in this country that that form of organization can be made a success. It has been remarked here on the floor, in contradistinction to that argument, that the capitalist industries at this time have reached that stage. Suppose that to be true, is it not a fact that the capitalist industries have reached that stage by reason of the fact that through the breaking down of their different lines of capitalist exploitation they have developed surplus capital which has of necessity forced it to go into other lines of business for the purpose of exploitation, thereby necessitating the formation of other industrial groups? Now, then, it seems to me to be an impossibility to jump from a craft organization into a group of organizations. It seems to me that we have of necessity to pass through the industrial form of organization. The proposition submitted against that proposition of the committee is a proposition to organize on legitimate industrial lines and recognize legitimate industrial organizations embracing the workers in any given and specific industry. There is no one so foolish as to believe that an intelligent man of sound judgment cannot determine whether any industry is an industry or not. It seems to me that if I go back to my organization and submit a proposition like that, they will wipe out the industrial declaration in their constitution. That is a part of their declared program to-day. They will say that they do not understand the industrial constitution or what industrial unionism means, if that is the position of the industrial unionists’ convention. Industrial unionism, as we understand it, is an organization in any given line of industry embracing the workers in that industry, and that is nothing more or less than the contention of Delegate Coates. Now, then, that contention of Delegate Coates will conflict with that proposition there; because for instance the Typographical Union—I say that because I understand that he is a typo—will of necessity be so divided and separated into different groups with which it is most closely allied as to become subservient to the organizations, and we have learned from experience in our organizations that that will not be tolerated. Now, I would like to take up the question of the previous speaker, but I will not digress to that extent. I would like to tell at some time during this convention the different problems that have confronted us in organizing the laborers of this country; because the experience that we have gained and the fact that we are the only powerful organization of laborers on an international scale in the world, so to speak, would I believe be of interest and of vast importance to this assemblage. But on the question now at issue I will simply say this, that if that proposition stands our organization certainly is not nor cannot be an industrial union, and we did not know in the first place what we were doing when we sent representatives here.
THE CHAIRMAN: If the convention will permit the chair, I do not believe that I have spoken on any question that has come up, and it is not my intention to speak at this time, but I would like to appoint Delegate Sherman here to act as Chairman long enough for me to make a motion.
(Delegate Sherman took the chair).
DEL. HAYWOOD: This motion is that Section 2 of Article 1 be referred back to the Committee on Constitution with instructions to specifically satisfy and perform that part of the Manifesto providing for “craft autonomy locally, industrial autonomy internationally, and working class unity generally.” Just a few remarks in favor of this motion. I am opposed to the amendment offered by Delegate Coates. I am not altogether in favor of this subdivision, only inasmuch as it provides for a general administration over this organization. When the members of the Constitution Committee said that there were probably fifty industries in this country, then I say that this Manifesto provides for those fifty industries (applause) and that this organization should be broad enough in its scope to take in every one of them; that this is not a departmental organization; that this Constitution Committee should, as nearly as they can carry out the sense and sentiment of the Manifesto. In my opinion, Division 13, wherein you have grouped together all of those industries which are covered by and may be termed public service—you have included the great) printing industry in that division. The constitution does not provide for international central autonomy for the printing industry. I insist that it should provide for it. And I would like it not only for the printing industry, but for every other industry that is represented here and that we may bring into this organisation. Now, I say that the printer has a craft. To what particular industry does his craft belong? The printing industry is an industry in itself, divided up into twenty or thirty different crafts, and I take it that this organization is formed for the purpose of giving to those different international unions absolute industrial autonomy, to those local unions local autonomy, and let every one of the local unions be installed with the idea of giving to their members as nearly as they can individual autonomy. I am in accord with this proposition as a general proposition, that is in so much as it represents a government, for instance, like the United States government, where we have the department of the navy, the department of war, the interior department, agricultural department, postal departments and other departments. I am perfectly in accord with a general administration of that kind. But that is not carried out in the formation of this organization. And this government with its different departments is carried into effect by different States. Is it possible for the delegates here to consider those different States as international industrial unions, to carry into effect the aims and purposes of the general labor movement which are represented by a central government? If there are forty-five different international unions, they should have absolute autonomy just the same as the State has from the national government. Every county in the State—I mean every local in an international, should have the same relative position or maintain the same relative position towards its international as the county does toward the State. That is my idea of building up an international organization; one where we can have general centralized administration in the general labor movement. But I do not want the general labor movement to interfere with the building up and the maintaining of any industry other than as it affects the general labor movement. It has been said here a number of times that the purpose of this organization is to take over the means of production and distribution. Well, now, how best can you teach the workers in any trade, class or industry as to the aims and purposes and ability of those particular workers other than by giving them absolute autonomy over the business that they know best? Suppose, for instance, that instead of the printers in this particular section here you had put the miners; do you think we would agree to a proposition like that? Now, the printing industry is an industry that is rapidly assuming such proportions that it is of much greater importance than the miners, employing more men. Therefore, I am in accord with the contention that the delegate has raised who made the amendment, that this plan is not correct. I again say that I am satisfied with the plan as a general administration. I am not satisfied with it inasmuch as it does not provide industrial autonomy for the international organizations. Therefore I make a motion that this particular section be referred back to the Constitution Committee with an instruction to carry out the spirit and sense of the Manifesto. (Seconded).
THE CHAIRMAN (DEL. SHERMAN): You have heard the amendment. Are you ready for the question? Delegate Hagerty was recognized.
DEL. GLASGOW: Didn’t you permit me to have the floor?
THE CHAIRMAN (DEL. SHERMAN): No, I was not in the chair when you were recognized. This is an entirely different question, and you had an entirely different Chairman. Now Delegate Hagerty has the floor on this question, on this particular motion on the question to refer back.
DEL. T. J. HAGERTY: It seems to me that that motion to refer ought not to be put until the entire constitution is read and the members find out whether provisions have been made for this allowing of craft autonomy. I am opposed to the term “craft autonomy” in its present interpretation. I do not think it conveys the idea, or perhaps conveys the idea that the Chairman has in mind, if he means by craft autonomy the A. F. of L. interpretation. In that spirit I am opposed to the motion. I oppose the motion on the general ground that it is not reasonable enough, in view of the fact that the rest of the constitution, which must necessarily interpret the preceding portions of the constitution, have not yet been discussed, and we cannot consistently accept, a reference, and I as one, if this committee is compelled to rewrite this, shall withdraw from my previous promise in that committee to support this thing as a whole. I am going into this thing as a free lance, and support Brother Hall’s position from start to finish.
(Delegate Haywood resumed the chair).
DEL. COATES: I only want to add a word or two on this matter of referring. I want to say that I believe it is unfair to me, after we have sat here all day long and listened to this argument on the amendment, to adopt a motion that will prevent my arguing or trying to explain or clear up, if you please, some of the arguments that have been made here to-day. I have been sitting here, Mr. Chairman, ever since nine o’clock this morning, taking notes from the speakers that I desire to answer, who I believe have touched on this question, and I believe that this convention is entitled to my interpretation of my amendment before your motion comes in to refer. I have another reason, that I believe that my amendment, if voted on, will test the sense of the convention as to whether it wants to refer along the lines of your motion. I mean that the original motion and the amendment will settle the proposition here whether we shall have an industrial organization or a departmental organization. And if it decides to adopt my amendment, then your motion to refer back to the committee to provide for industrialism will be absolutely correct. My only contention is that the convention ought to decide first whether it wants industrialism or departmentalism.
DEL. T. J. HAGERTY: A point of information. I would like to have this new word that is coined here, “departmentalism,” defined for this convention.
DEL. COATES: You can define it if you like.
DEL. HAGERTY: I request courteously that the delegate will answer my question, and in the sense in which it was asked, seriously and without persiflage.
DEL. COATES: Mr. Chairman. I have been sitting here all day long for that very purpose, and I really think that the Chairman ought to withdraw that motion and let me cover this proposition, and then I will, I believe, to the satisfaction of the delegates define “departmentalism” and “industrial unionism.”
THE CHAIRMAN: The chair would say to the delegate that in the opinion of the chair the motion to refer opens up the question—all questions under debate.
DEL. COATES: I was going to bring that very point out. Do I understand that if I make a talk now as the mover of this motion, then we will just simply go over the whole thing again; everybody will answer me, and then you will give me the privilege of answering them again?
THE CHAIRMAN: No, you haven’t got any other privileges.
DEL. COATES: I hold only the privilege of talking to this motion to refer this resolution?
THE CHAIRMAN: If you desire to talk to the question of referring, the scope is broad enough to give you an opportunity to present any arguments.
DEL. COATES: Well, the idea is that when I get through the question is still open to every delegate?
THE CHAIRMAN: It is open to every delegate.
DEL. COATES: And that includes me, of course.
THE CHAIRMAN: It includes you.
DEL. COATES: Yes. Well, I am not going to say anything else now.
THE CHAIRMAN: Brother Coates, the chair is not narrow in regard to this. I have no objection to seeing the convention go on record, and I am entirely willing to withdraw my motion to refer until you conclude your argument.
DEL. COATES: Well, the, only point is that I believe the amendment and the original motion will test the sense of this convention whether it wants what I term industrialism or what the other people term industrialism, and then it will be a proper time to. send it back to the committee if it wishes, to carry out that plan.
THE CHAIRMAN: It does not so occur to the chair. Now, in the event of the amendment being defeated, there is no reason why this is going to be adopted. If this amendment was adopted I still would make my motion to refer.
DEL. COATES: Yes, then your motion would be very properly in order, but if my amendment was defeated and the committee’s report adopted it would not be.
THE CHAIRMAN: The mere fact of the amendment being defeated does not suggest that this report here is going to be adopted, Brother Coates.
DEL. COATES: Not at all; not at all.
THE CHAIRMAN: Now, with the consent of my second, I have no objection to withdrawing the motion to refer at this time.
A DELEGATE: I withdraw the second.
Delegate Coates called for from different parts of the hall.
DEL. GLASGOW: I move the previous question.
THE CHAIRMAN: Delegate Coates has the floor.
Motion for previous question seconded.
DEL. DANIEL MCDONALD: I understand that the report of this committee is before the convention. That is correct, is it?
THE CHAIRMAN: Jut a minute. The amendment of Delegate Coates is before the convention.
DEL. MCDONALD: The original proposition?
THE CHAIRMAN: The report of the committee as amended by Delegate Coates.
Del. McDonald: Brother Coates made an amendment to the report of the committee.
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.
Del.. McDonald: The amendment is before the convention in addition to the report of the committee?
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.
DEL. MCDONALD: Now I understand that there was a motion to refer the entire proposition back to the Committee on Constitution. Am I correct?
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. With the consent of the second the motion has been withdrawn and the question now occurs on the Coates amendment.
DEL. MCDONALD: Well, I simply want to make this point, that to refer the proposition was equivalent to the adoption of Brother Coates’s amendment, in my judgment.
THE CHAIRMAN: I thought so. I will state to Brother McDonald that the adoption of this motion to refer, while it may have seemed to be the equivalent of the Coates motion, it gives it into the hands of the Constitution Committee to carry out the provisions of the Manifesto.
CLOSING ARGUMENT OF DELEGATE COATES.
DEL. COATES: Now, Mr. Chairman and Fellow Delegates, I will attempt, in the time that I shall occupy this floor, to confine myself absolutely to the report of the committee and the amendment made to that report. In order, to do that, I want to get clear in the minds of the delegates here the report of the committee, and on the construction of the report of the committee. I do not want this audience to vote on the sayings, of any supporter of this report, but on the report, and nothing else. When the report of this committee is embodied in the constitution, that is the law, and not the interpretations of the framers, or rather of delegates upon this floor. Now, let us see what the report is. “Section 2. And shall be composed”—that is, this industrial organization, the Industrial Workers of the World—“shall be composed of thirteen international unions, designated as follows.” Mind you, thirteen industrial unions is all that can make up this organization. Now, the first industrial union is to be made up as follows—
DEL. T. J. HAGERTY: Divisions.
DEL. COATES: No, sir, I am not talking about divisions. I am talking about industrial unions that this report says shall make up this organization. The first industrial union shall be made up as follows: Clerks, salesmen—
DEL. T. J. HAGERTY: A point of order. I object to the reading of this with an exposition. Read it as the committee reports, and not with interpolations. I object to your interpolations.
DEL. COATES: May I read in a different word?
DEL. HAGERTY: Read in “division.”
DEL. COATES: Well, you read it.
DEL. HAGERTY: No interpolation. Let us get it right. I demand a reading of the report as it is, without any interpolations.
DEL. COATES: The delegate has the language in his mind. Let him read it.
DEL. HAGERTY: No, sir; a point of order.. If he is quoting the report of this committee, then let him quote it as the report.
DEL. COATES: I never saw anybody that was afraid of a discussion except the fellow that wanted to hide something. Now, if there is anyone here that can get any other words out of this report than I am reading I am willing to let him read it.
DEL. HAGERTY: I simply maintain my point of order. If he is going to read the report of the committee, let him read the report of the committee, and not any interpolations.
THE CHAIRMAN: The delegate will proceed to read the report as he sees fit. If you have any corrections to make make them.
DEL. COATES: Now let me tell you what Delegate Hagerty is trying to do.
DEL. HAGERTY: A point of order.
THE CHAIRMAN: No, that is not necessary, Delegate Coates. Confine yourself to the argument.
DEL. COATES: I was not going to make any personal insinuations; not at all. There have been enough of those made. I do not want to insinuate that anyone here is trying to be dishonest, and I want to warn the delegate against insinuating that I am dishonest in this thing. I will read that section again. I am surprised that the language of this report has stirred up so much trouble. “Shall be composed of thirteen international industrial unions, designated as follows.” Now, let me tell you that the report goes on and instead of saying “industrial union No. 1,” it says “Division No. 1.” That is what he was trying to get me to say. And I want to say or I want to ask him why a difference is made in thirteen industrial unions and thirteen divisions. They absolutely mean one and the same thing; because after we get through with these divisions there is not an industrial union mentioned in here. Now, is that satisfactory, that Division No. 1 means Industrial Union No. 1. I believe it is. “Industrial Union No. 1 shall be made up as follows: Clerks, salesmen, tobacco, packing houses, flour mills, sugar refineries,, dairies, bakeries and kindred industries.” I don’t know what they mean by “kindred industries,” I am free to confess.
DEL. HAGERTY: Kindergartens.
DEL. COATES: I cannot understand where tobacco and bakeries are kindred industries, and I do not know what other kind of industries they are going to bring in under the word “kindred.” Industrial Union No. 2, “brewery, wine and distillery workers.” Get that correctly, fellow delegates. An industrial union at last. “Division 3, floriculture, stock and general farming.” That might probably come under an industrial union. “Division 4, mining milling, smelting and refining coal, ores, metals, salt and iron”; a very proper industrial organization. “Division 5, steam railway, electric railway, marine, shipping and teaming.” I am not going to separate those now, but a very improper industrial organization, in my opinion. “Division 6, all building employes”; a proper industrial organization. “Division 7, all textile industrial employes”; a very proper industrial organization. “Division 8, all leather industrial employes;” a very proper industrial organization. “Division 9, all woodworking employes, except those engaged in the building department.” That will need perhaps some further construction to fix more definitely its lines. “Division 10, all metal industrial employes”; perfectly proper. “Division 11, all glass and pottery employes”; perfectly proper. “Division 12, all paper mills, chemicals, rubber, brooms and brushes, and jewelry industries.” A conglomeration that is not very proper. “Division 13, parks, highways, municipal”I suppose that takes in the mayor and police and the rest of them—“postal service, telegraph, telephone, schools and educational institutions, amusements, sanitary, printing, hotels, barber employes, restaurant and laundry employes,” and the rest of them. Now, those are the thirteen industrial unions that are to make up this organization, and none other. I do not care particularly to lay stress upon the conglomeration of the last division, but this one sticks out most glaringly. I want to say that perhaps six of these divisions are proper. And then in order to be sure that there could not be any more than thirteen organizations, all the rest of them are bunched into three or four other international industrial unions. I want to repeat that it is a most impracticable grouping of these organizations in a union. System? Somebody said system. Somebody said that this was a systematic grouping. I want to say that there is absolutely no system in it, except perhaps as it applies to four or five or six of the divisions as mentioned. I am satisfied the intention and the purpose of this committee was to divide these groupings as far as representation on the Executive Board was concerned; and I want to say to you that if they had done that, perhaps we would have had no particular objection to it. We might have tried to straighten this thing out in a limited way, but it would not have been the serious question that it is now. And that as it comes here, comes on interpretation, and I want to say it is widely different, and I want to call the attention of this convention to what I believe the two different explanations of this report make. I shall quote them the nearest to my belief of what they said, and if I misquote anybody I have no purpose to misinterpret what they did say. Delegate De Leon said that my amendment which provided for industrial organizations was a most drastic measure; that it meant the destruction of a great many now national and international organizations. And I took from that that he intended that they should stay just exactly the way they are; that the printers, the stereotypers, the restaurant employes, barbers and so on, should stay absolutely as they are at the present time. And then somebody accused us of advocating the A. F. of L. system. I want at the present time to contrast that now with the other interpretation of what I claim, this explaining of this report by Delegate Sherman. Delegate Sherman just took the opposite view from Delegate De Leon. Here you are, with the two interpretations of the very men on this committee, and we are expected to go out and agree on these things. Delegate Sherman just took the other view, that practically every international organization should be wiped out of existence, and then they have one great central body absolutely operated from this Executive Board with central power. Now, which interpretation of this thing are you going to take? Delegate De Leon, who wants the organizations carried on as they are now, retaining all their trade and craft autonomy, bringing into this organization all the contentious and disrupting quarrels about trade jurisdiction and autonomy, or do you want to wipe out absolutely all the organizations and bring them into one general administration? I want to say to you frankly that I would prefer the latter one, eventually bringing the A. F. of L. bodily into this organization. I am satisfied, Mr. Chairman and Fellow Delegates, that the whole interpretation of the various members of this committee in support of their report has been predicated upon the proposition that they are simply grouped as representatives on the Executive Board. Why, they have gone so far in their interpretation as to agree absolutely with my amendment. I think every argument that there has been in so-called opposition to my amendment has strengthened the amendment, and the longer I listen to the arguments against it the stronger it comes to me. Delegate Hagerty in his explanation and also in answer to several questions put to him on this floor, has said that every individual craft organization should have its organization and its local and international autonomy. Isn’t that correct?
DEL. HAGERTY: No, I did not use those words.
DEL. COATES: What did you say? I am willing to be corrected. I want to be fair about it.
DEL. HAGERTY: Go on. When you get through I will speak.
DEL. COATES: No, I don’t think you will.
DEL. HAGERTY: I believe I will.
DEL. COATES: All right.
DEL. HAGERTY: You have misquoted me.
DEL. COATES: Then this is the time to correct it.
DEL. HAGERTY: Well, I merely say that I did not make the statement that every craft should have its international organization.
DEL. COATES: You did not say that?
DEL. HAGERTY: No, I did not say that. I am positive. I do not think it is the spirit of the Manifesto.
DEL. COATES: Then if it has not been said, that is the impression on this floor. While I may not use just exactly the words that you used, that has been the interpretation that you have put time and time again on this report; that the printers should have their own organization; that the laundry workers should have their own organization; and so on clear down the line. And the impression has gone forth in this convention that we were to have different industrial organizations under this scheme of grouping. I want to show you, Fellow Delegates, that that kind of interpretation is misrepresentation of this group, and you have no right to make that interpretation when you leave this convention after this report shall have been adopted. I read you Division 13, including a great number of craftsmen or wageworkers that absolutely have no kindredship or identity of interest except the general identity of interest of every man and woman who works for wages; and I want to show you that there must be only one industrial union of this great Division 13, because it says further down that only the presidents of these divisions or industrial unions shall become members of the Executive Board. I would like to read that section, if you please. (Section handed to speaker by Delegate Hagerty). “The general executive board shall be composed of the General President, the General Secretary-Treasurer, and one member from each industrial union as provided for in Article II., Section I.” I was in error, and I want to confess it. As I remember that report, it said the president of each one of these divisions should be a member of the Executive Board. I find that it simply says a member of these divisions. Now, there is not very much difference.
DEL. WHITE: Look on, and it does say the president.
DEL. COATES: That was my impression, that that was in the minds of the committee.
DEL. SHERMAN: You are right, Brother Coates.
DEL. COATES: I thought I was right. But suppose you do not do it that way; suppose there is only one of these groups, what does that mean? It means that the laundry workers, the municipal employes, the highwaymen—I mean the fellow that works on the street (laughter)—and the fifteen or sixteen other divisions in Division 13, shall gather together, or their representatives shall gather together and select this member of the Executive Board. Here I am; I have been selected to represent Division 13. (Copy of the constitution handed to the speaker by Delegate Moyer). “Article II., Section I: The officers of the Industrial Workers of the World shall be a General President, a General Secretary-Treasurer and a General Executive Board composed of the above named officers and the President of each international industrial union.” Then there is a contradistinction or a difference right there in the report of the committee. One place it says it shall be the president, and the other place it says it shall be a member, and we certainly cannot correct this after we adopt the report. That is where I got my impression of it. But I am here; I belong to this grand and glorious division of cooks and waiters, the highway employes, the hotel and restaurant employes, the laundry workers, and innumerable others. I am glad they did not put the “kindred organizations” in there. And we have gathered together. I think it provides a time when this member shall be selected.
DEL. MOYER: I want to object to Brother Coates casting slurring remarks as he does on the work of the Constitution Committee. If he has any objection to its work it is all subject to his criticism, but I object to his sneering remarks against the Committee on Constitution. If we have erred in our judgment I am willing to be criticised, but not in the sneering way that Brother Coates has in presenting his argument to the convention. (Applause).
DEL. FAIRGRIEVE: I would like to ask Brother Coates a question. Is the whole constitution under discussion, or just that motion that lie made yesterday?
DEL. COATES: I am not discussing anything except the report and this amendment.
DEL. FAIRGRIEVE: I notice that you are discussing the construction of that just now.
DEL. COATES: I want to apologize to the committee if they think that I am sneering at their work. They put that in in one of the sections, “kindred organizations,” and that gave me the right very properly to refer to the other section. They put the words in my mouth. I did not put them in theirs, and I certainly shall not again refer to them in any way, if the committee believe that I am sneering at their work, because I am not.
DEL. MOYER: I want to state for the information of Brother Coates that I have no objection to referring to “kindred organizations,” but I do object to the tone in which he mentioned that part of the committee’s work. That is what I referred to. (Applause).
DEL. COATES: Well, I will have to use my own tones.
DEL. MOYER: Very well.
DEL. COATES: Now, I am here. But first I am going to say that this latter section is one not showing the composition of the Executive Board, that it shall be the presidents of those great industrial organizations. First let us take that first feature, that he must be the president of this Division 13; then there must only be one organization to elect him president. How can he be president of a division? How can he be president of this industrial union division, if there is more than one industrial organization in that division? How can he be? I will just leave that point right there. And it is an impossibility to claim that he is president of this division, for there would be more than one organization in that division. Isn’t that true? Now we will leave the president go, and we will come back to the other feature; that means the election of a member of this division.
I said a few moments ago that I had been selected to represent Division 13, because I am classified as a wageworker under that division. I am a printer; I have been working at it all my life, and I will be when I get back and go to setting type. But I want you to keep this in mind: The cooks and waiters, the laundry workers. the printers, the highway worker, the municipal worker and the other innumerable crafts under Division 13, have gathered together through their representatives as is provided there, and they elect a representative on the Executive Board. I am the fellow. I am a printer. A question of serious difficulty comes up among the hotel and restaurant employes. I am representing those fellows. “Coates the General Executive Board is confronted with this proposition. The hotel and restaurant employes are trying to improve their conditions in their vocation. Now, as a representative of this organization detailed to see to the conditions of the hotel and restaurant employes, we want this Executive Board to act instantly on this proposition.” I say, “Well, you fellows forget that I am only a printer. I have never worked in a hotel or restaurant in my life, and I know absolutely nothing about their conditions in the kitchen and in the dining room.” What an elegant representative I am of those people. What a beautiful representative I am, to go to the General Executive Board, which, on my representation of the case or misrepresentation of the case, shall decide perhaps to paralyze the industries of this country. I want to tell you that the printer can absolutely be nothing but a misrepresentative of the case of the laundryman, or the highwayman or the workers in any other line. (Applause) I want to tell you that any other fellow that would be selected for that group would be in identically the same position that I am. Suppose we sent a laundry girl, if you please, as a representative on this Executive Board, and the question of the typesetting machine operator is in controversy.
DEL. BRIMBLE: I would like to ask a question. Do you think the printer would not know anything about what these other people want? There would be no sense in saying he would not know. It is an insult to their intelligence.
DEL. COATES: I think I have possibly as much sense as others on this floor, and I do not think there was any insult to the gentleman at all. I simply want to show you, my friends, and my whole purpose is to show you how ridiculous and impracticable, as I said in the beginning, this sort of grouping is. That brings me to the first proposition, as I remember it, that Brother De Leon gave out.
He says that the idea of making these groupings is to make a central power of quick action. Well, if the Executive Board wanted to get quick action, when they asked me as a representative of the cooks and waiters what I knew about their craft, that quick action would mean sending absolutely back to the cooks and waiters and getting them to the Executive Board and chewing the whole rag about the whole business. That is where you would get your quick action. It would merely mean the gathering together of this Executive Board, and not having the information at hand, and then sending back to the seat of difficulty for a committee or something of that kind to come up. That would be your quick action. And then he goes on to say that for that very reason the dividing us into forty industrial organizations is too slow and long. I want to say to you that if the industries of this nation can be divided up into forty—yes, into two hundred—you can gather together in a central point the two hundred just as quick as you can the thirteen that are provided for in this report. The chances are that the entire hundred would not have any further to travel than would the thirteen members, and then absolutely we would have together every man that represented an industry in this organization, and your quick action would come then. He not only would be prepared as a direct representative of that industrial organization, but he would have already been made cognizant of the struggle that is going on in his industry, and he would be equipped with absolute, full knowledge upon that question and could discuss and vote immediately. And so I say your argument for a small executive board that can by misrepresenting hurt the people that they are selected to represent, would be much slower in action than would be a committee of 40 or 50 or 150, made up directly from the industrial organizations. His next statement as a member of the committee that was important to this convention was that we could afford to adopt this method at the present time and let it stand for a year. I believe, delegate, that if we adopt this system of grouping and let it stand for a year, we will not have a single organization back here in a year from now to discuss this thing and change it.
DEL. DINGER: I would like to ask you a question:
DEL. COATES: All right.
DEL. DINGER: Do you say that the only objection you have to this grouping is that there were not enough groups, and otherwise you have no objection?
DEL. COATES: No, you are wrong.
DEL. DINGER: According to my understanding of the report here, you said that certain of these groups, the majority of them I believe, were grouped perfectly.
DEL. COATES: Some of them are.
DEL. DINGER: Well, in all those groups they have printers, and much of the printing is not done by regular printing establishments.
DEL. COATES: I was coming to that pretty soon. I touched upon the proposition of wiping out all of these various organizations. The argument of most of the brothers was that I meant to wipe out, for instance, as an illustration, the printers union. The organization that I would like to see in one industry is now divided into twelve. I am not quite certain about that, but they are divided up into reporters; they are divided up into pressmen internationally, of two different kinds; they are divided up into stereotypers, into typesetters, and the general organization takes in typesetters of all kinds, but nevertheless there is a group of eight or ten different organizations in the printing industry. Delegate De Leon says that if we are to adapt my amendment it means the wiping out of every one, practically, of these organizations; and I want to say this, I absolutely agree with him. That is exactly what I want to do. I want every man and woman and kid that works in the printing industry to come into an industrial organization. And while I am on that feature, I want to say to that delegate here—I forget his name just now; he did not call it—
DEL. DINGER: Dinger.
DEL. COATES: Delegate Dinger says, and so did Delegate Sherman, that printing practically is not done by printing; that is, in a regular separate industry. He says the packing interest and packing trust takes in every kind and character of worker. He did no make it as broad as that, but he said several. He spoke of printing; and consequently it will apply to that industry, as far as the work in those industries. I don’t think even they carry that idea out in this grouping. They certainly do not. The printer inn the packing industry will not be with the packers in this grouping. But suppose he is. My proposition simply means this, that every printer shall belong to the printing industry, whether he works in the packing industry or the oil industry. But just as soon—now, do not misunderstand me—but just as soon as a department of that industry, for instance the packing industry, has a serious grievance they send it on to this General Executive Board for endorsement. They can not strike; they must present their grievance, to this General Executive Board. Now, the packing industry, under my proposition, and the printing industry are separate, industries, and they are in two separate organizations. Under the present scheme of organization in the A. F. of L. the Executive Board could endorse the packers’ strike and the printers would not have to come out. But under my plan, just as soon as the General Executive Board was notified that the packers had a serious grievance and they endorsed that grievance to the extent of authorizing a strike, before they could send out their order they would immediately notify the industrial organization of printers that had its members there, that when the packers struck every other member of this great organization should strike in that one industry. (Applause) They would not order out the entire printing industry, but this Executive Board would say to us, “Mr. Printer in the packing house, come out just as soon as the packers come out in that house.” There you have an absolutely perfect working organization, and at the same time keep these separate industries separate and distinct.
It has been stated time and time again, and I think Delegate De Leon led off in the statement—at least I have him so reported here—that this grouping is practically laid down in the Manifesto. I do not mean by that that he said that the grouping on the wheel in the Manifesto was a part of the Manifesto; no. But he claimed that this system of organization was practically outlined in the Manifesto. I want to take issue with him on that proposition. The Manifesto, I believe, was adopted solely and wholly without a solitary dissenting voice in that convention called for the purpose of organizing industrially, as industrial organizations. Delegate Smith told you yesterday that it was. And if you will read the section in the Manifesto applying to this you will find that the Manifesto is absolutely and unequivocally unmistakable upon that proposition. The Manifesto provides for industrial organization internationally and craft autonomy locally. That is, it means that the printing industry shall be in one national organization with power over every one of its various divisions of that industry. That is all my amendment means.
And that is where I come to the proposition that this is a departmental organization. I wish to say to you that if we are to have a president of this department to be a member of this General Executive Board, that there must be only one organization of that department. That is where my amendment differs. My amendment simply says that it must be made up of international and national industrial organizations made up of wage workers in any industry. Some one said, I believe, in the argument, that that was indefinite, that “I don’t understand any such thing as that.” Some one cried out that this system and the amendment are absolutely indefinite. Can there be anything indefinite in saying that every man and woman in the printing industry shall belong to the printers’ industrial union, and every man in the packers’ industry shall belong to their industrial union, and every toiler in the mining industry shall belong to the mining industrial union? Not at all. It seems to me the clearest and the best proposition or provision that you can put into this constitution. The reason I did not name specifically every man or every wage worker that should go into that industrial union was that I might overlook some, or I might put some temporarily over in another industry, and when this industrial organization is made up and comes in to this organization for a Charter the Executive Board can very properly look it over and grant it and transact all these things according to circumstances. If there is any organization that gets into an into an industry where it does not belong, it is only a question of time when experience will teach them and teach this general organization the right place in another industrial group, and it will go there entirely without any contention, because they will go where they can get the best protection.
DEL. EISENBERG: I want to submit just one question. You said the textile workers group was all right.
DEL. COATES: As far as I know.
DEL. EISENBERG: Would a clothing cutter keep on working as a textile worker? I am a clothing cutter, and we have a better organization.
DEL. COATES: I have not time to go through all these other divisions to answer the many questions that might be asked.
DEL. EISENBERG: I ask the question, will my trade, the clothing cutters, be divided from the textile workers?
DEL. COATES: Certainly, I do not include the textile workers with the clothing workers.
DEL. EISENBERG: It is included there.
DEL. COATES: Then it is a mistake, I think. Now the next proposition. I don’t want to be too long, but, delegates, this is a serious proposition to settle without an understanding. I maintain now, as I maintained yesterday, that the formation of this organization means its success or its failure, and I can afford to stay here tomorrow arguing this question of the formation of this organization.
DEL. T. J. HAGERTY: Let me ask one question, and it may probably clear up a doubt that I have in my mind. Will you kindly define “industrial union?”
DEL. COATES: To a certain extent I have tried to do that.
DEL. HAGERTY: You call a packing house an industry, don’t you?
DEL. COATES: Yes.
DEL. HAGERTY: Well, you say the printers in the packing all belong to the printing industry?
DEL. COATES: Yes.
DEL. HAGERTY: There are lots of other industries in the packing house industry, and each worker would have to be a member of his particular organization in the packing industry, so there would really be no packing industry.
DEL. COATES: My point was simply this, that only the people who are directly allied shall come into an industrial organization. For instance, the printers—
DEL. HAGERTY: Let me ask a question.
DEL. COATES: Let me finish, please. I want to finish my answer, and you can keep on as long as you please; because I am not going to be swept off my feet by a few questions. I want to answer that by saying this, that as far as it is possible, as far as it is practicable, the workers in an industry will find their own union. And if, sir, there are twelve or fifteen or a hundred other craftsmen that do not properly, from a craft standpoint, belong in that industry, they will belong to another under which we shall have control and under which we shall control them as I outlined with the printers in the packing house.
DEL. WILKE: The delegate is using the printers as an illustration. Is it not a fact that in the printing industry you have photoengravers and so forth? Where would you attach me?
DEL. COATES: I put them in their own organization. That is, I should think that the printer will belong to the international union of that trade. Brother Critchlow seems to think that the printer must cease work when he ceases work. I cannot see for my life on what principle he would expect that. But here is an all-powerful organization; it is not going to let one craftsman work in an industry when it calls another one out.
A DELEGATE: When a printer works in another industry, is the printer’s trade subsidiary in general to the industry?
DEL. COATES: It is only subsidiary in a small degree.
The Delegate: Aren’t there many among the other industries, for instance the packing, divided among them all?
DEL. COATES: Only very insignificantly so.
THE DELEGATE: Is it not generally so?
DEL. COATES: No, Sir. I will guarantee that out of two or three hundred thousand people in the printing industry there is not a thousand working outside of that industry among other industries.
THE DELEGATE: Is it not a fact that the printers working in the packing houses have particular grievances to adjust that do not arise in the printing industry in general?
DEL. COATES: I could not answer as to them. But if you organize them industrially they won’t. That is exactly the reason I don’t want the packers to stop work without the printers in that industry stop. I want them all together.
DEL. SHERMAN: You referred to the magnificent organization to which the brother in the chair belongs. Does it not occur to you that the time is not far distant when the timber of this country is going to be obliterated, and the timbering now in the mining industries is going to be done by iron? Now, I want to ask you if those who set those iron bracers and those who prepare the iron for the bridge and bench and rivet and the material that goes into the mines—whether they would belong to the metal industry or whether they would belong to the mining industry.
DEL. COATES: Well, sir, I want to say that if their work came under the head of the skilled crafts of the metal industry, that is exactly where they belong. (Applause.)
Del. Veal: I desire to ask Delegate Coates a question. He has used the term industrial unionism. The United Mine Workers to-day is made up of tributary bodies of miners in branch groups, but they have not industrialism. We want to know about industrialism. Is it industrialism without any mention of the class struggle? Are we to lose sight of the industrial revolution? I want him to make specific what he means by industrial unionism.
DEL.COATES: I mean the industrialism that is behind that, the class struggle. Now, let me take up the Arkansas hog. I believe I can use it very nicely on that question. I think it was Delegate O’Neil that introduced the Arkansas razorback hog, and he told you that when a capitalist or some fellow who wanted to capture that hog—I suppose he meant the capitalist by that illustration—when he chased the hog it ran to a group of its fellows, and they put up their tails, or had a strike as you might say, and their entire bodies came into a kind of solid organization and whipped the capitalist. Now, I want that kind of a razorback hog, but when that razorback hog runs I want him absolutely to run here, and I want to see him fight as a whole hog. I want him to run this general organization as an industrial hog. I want him to run here, for instance, as a printing department hog. I don’t want his tail to be a dishwasher. I don’t want his hind leg to be a municipal worker. I don’t want his other hind leg to be a laundry worker. I don’t want his head to be nothing but a candy maker. I want his grunt simply to be the mouthings of the printer; ,I want him to be a printer’s hog. And then in order to have the class struggle behind that industrial hog, I want him to do just like the razorback hog of Arkansas does. He comes to his fellow hogs and he gets them all together and he defies the capitalist class as a class. (Applause.) That is what I mean by an industrial this organization. That is what I mean by the class struggle underlying this organization.
DEL. LILLIAN FORBERG: According to your statement in the beginning you stated that the printers belonged in a separate industry by themselves. A moment ago, in answering a question, you said, for instance, that the stenographers and clerks and typewriters that were engaged in the printing industry would belong to their separate organizations and not to the printer’s union.
DEL. COATES: Yes.
DEL. FORBERG: Now, that being the case, isn’t that exactly the same form of organization that we have at he present time, so far as the printers are concerned? (Applause.)
DEL. COATES: I want to say no. I am very glad you cheered, but I want to say no. I want to say to you that instead of twelve or seven, as there might be, divisions in the printing industry, there should only be one organization in the printing industry. It was Delegate De Leon that wanted the same craft organizations that we have now.
DEL. DE LEON: N-o-o ! Not by a jug-full!
DEL. COATES: That is what you said. I want to say that his very language and the interpretation of this group is such. He said, “I don't want to destroy these unions.” That meant that the amendment would destroy them. I want to say to you that as far as the typewriters and the stenographers in that department were reporters or editorial writers in that department I would say that they belong to the printing department, but if they are simply stenographers taking the dictation of somebody in that department, or typewriters, then they belong to the stenographers and typewriters’ organization, to be taken out with the printers when they strike through their international organization. (Applause.)
DEL. SCHATSKE: Didn’t you say you came two thousand miles to this convention to organize all the working class, and not the labor crafts?
DEL. COATES: I want to say as far as I understood the question, the first part, did I come two thousand miles to help organize this union, I want to say yes, and I can afford to travel several more thousand miles to organize it right rather than see it organized wrong. (Applause.)
DEL. SAINER: Would you place the machinists and molders along with some other crafts by the side of the printers?
DEL. COATES: If I did I would misrepresent them. But it is the same principle; I would apply the same principle to the machinists and the molders as to the printers, and I will tell you why; I would not undertake to represent them because I do not know anything about the machinery business. But as there are intelligent men in the machinery and molding business, I would follow the same general principle, and they will get into that line of industrial organization that they deem correct for them.
DEL. SCHWARTZ: Don’t you believe there is a difference between men in different lines of work?
DEL. COATES: The question is, do I not believe that there is a difference in workingmen. For instance, this way, to put the two extremes: The question is, do I believe there is a difference between the street sweeper and the locomotive engineer? I am trying now to give you the two extremes. No. I want to say to you that I believe that the street sweeper who works want for the health of the people and the life of the people, is just as essential as in the locomotive engineer that draws you from one end of the country to the other. (Applause.) I want to say to you that all my life in the trade union work my aim has been to put absolutely upon an equality every man and woman who work by their daily toil for their living. I wish the street sweeper could get the wage of the locomotive engineer, and I wish the engineer to get the full product of his toil. (Applause.)
DEL. ROSS: Isn’t the section man worth as much to society as the engineer?
DEL. COATES: I have just said he was.
DEL. WHITE: Let Brother Coates proceed with his argument.
DEL. COATES: There was a remark made this morning, and I took it very personally, that while I was sincere and honest, I was simply bounded by my conditions. I just want to say to this convention that I will put my soundness on economics on the plane of any other man’s soundness on economics in this convention, I don’t care who he may be. (Applause). I don’t want this organization for you alone. I want it for me. Now, that ought to satisfy you. Now, Delegate De Leon said, in talking about my statement of yesterday that when the capitalists wanted to organize a railroad they organized a railroad company, and when they wanted to organize a newspaper they organized a newspaper company,—he said that I was blind to the fact that they were simply organizing the newspaper to support the railroad company. I want to say that perhaps that will apply merely to a few instances. The brother says that when a great number of capitalists organize a company they organize it because of the surplus that they want to earn more dividends, and they go into some other industry because they want it to support the original industry that they are in. And in that statement he went on to say that his grouping was in line with the economic development.
(A hiss was heard in the hall.)
DEL. COATES: Did you hiss then, Mr. De Leon?
DEL. DE LEON: You know it was not I, Mr. Coates.
DEL. WHITE: No, it was I. I wanted one of the comrades to keep quiet so that I could hear your argument.
DEL. COATES: I thought he was thinking that I had made a misstatement. I want to take issue with them on that point. I want to say that the motion that I have made for the industrial organization is absolutely in line with the economic development of even capitalism. I want to maintain the same position that I took last night, that when these capitalists go into a separate and distinct industry they operate it as a separate and distinct industry. They may perchance support each other, and Delegate Hagerty, I believe, said in support of that theory that when the teamsters went to the employers, Siegel, Cooper & Co., I think he said, for a settlement of their difficulty, they referred them to the Citizens’ Alliance, or rather Employers’ Association. And by that he meant to support the idea that they are absolutely controlling all industries. I want to say, my friends, that the thing I am attempting to get you to do is the very thing that the capitalists are doing at the present time. When they told the teamsters to go to the Employers Association they did not say to them that this Employers’ Association ran all these industries as a single group of industries; of course not. They simply said to them that “We have finally come into a central body where we, the various groupings of employers and capitalists, have thrown all settlement of these difficulties into their hands.” That is the very thing that we want to do with them. When the capitalist comes to the printer to settle his difficulty in his organization, I want him to say to the employer’s representative, “Go to the general executive board of the wage workers representatives.” (Applause). I want him to say that “We are organized economically just as you, sir, are organized. While you divide your people up into industries as you do, some of you operating dry goods stores and others railways, we have done identically the same thing and we have reached the same conclusion that you have reached, that this struggle is a class struggle and we have to settle our difficulties as a class.” (Applause.) And I want to say to you that we are absolutely on the same plane and are attempting to organize on lines identical with the capitalist groupings and the economic development of today. And again I will repeat, that I will match my soundness upon this proposition with the soundness of any other delegate, be he even Mr. De Leon.
THE CHAIRMAN: Delegate Coates, will you permit the Chair to ask you a question?
DEL. COATES: Yes.
THE CHAIRMAN: Do you regard the Western Federation of Miners as an industrial organization?
DEL. COATES: Well, yes, in its general feature. I differ with it, however, in some of its features.
THE CHAIRMAN: Now, you have said to Delegate Sherman that in the event of iron being used in place of timber to hold the ground up, that you would grant to the structural iron workers the right of jurisdiction over that craft in the mining industry. Do I understand you to mean that that would carry out the ideas of industrial unionism? (Applause.)
DEL. COATES: I said, if the delegates will remember, and I applied the same principle throughout clear through my argument—I applied it to the timberman in that instance,—talking about the metal worker, for instance, that brought into the mine the metal to prop the sides of the mine; I said very distinctly that if the work that was to be done by the man who handled that metal compelled him to be a mechanic sufficiently to place him side by side with the skilled metal worker, that he belonged in the metal workers union; if it does not, if it simply means drilling a hole as a common laborer, then he belongs in the mining industry.
THE CHAIRMAN: Permit the Chair to state that a common laborer cannot drill a hole at all.
DEL. COATES: I think he can.
THE CHAIRMAN: I want to ask a question with reference to skilled work.
DEL. COATES: What I mean was this, that if this metal worker in the mine is simply a metal worker in the metal industry without connection with some other feature of the mining industry, then he belongs to the metal workers.
THE CHAIRMAN: Now, I am going to ask this question: If, in your opinion, the skilled blacksmith, the skilled engineer, the skilled smelter, the skilled mill man, the assayer and the other skilled mechanics, or the timberer around the mine, along your line of reasoning, belong to their separate craft organizations, and if they do, would it not destroy what we now are as an industrial organization ? (Applause.)
DEL. COATES: I want to say again, no. While I am on trial, that must be my position. I am not afraid to do that. I want to say no; for the reasons that I have said, that under this general organization we are going to have a central power that will compel these people to work together. It makes very little difference to me, if you please, how many divisions we make in this as long as we have that power; only I want the great mass of people whose work is similar in any industry to belong to the one general organization. Now, I want to say a word about this Western Federation of Miners. It is not under discussion here, and I don’t want to discuss it fully; but the Western Federation of Miners recognize that very principle right now indirectly. Take, for instance, the city of Butte, Montana, and you will find industrial organization. They have a number of organizations, as somebody has pointed out, I believe Delegate McDonald; they have the miners together; they have the pumpmen together; they have the engineers together; they have the ropemen together. But they have one central power that can force them all together.
DEL. DINGER: I wish to ask one question. Isn’t that precisely the same plan that the committee proposes, local autonomy?
DEL. COATES: No, no.
Adjourned until nine o’clock July 6.