Minutes of the IWW Founding Convention - Part 5
Industrial Workers of the World
Thursday, June 29
The convention was called to order at 9.20 A. M. by Chairman Haywood.
The Secretary called the roll of delegates.
The minutes of the first day’s session were read by the Secretary, and there being no corrections, were declared approved.
The minutes of the second day’s session were then read.
THE CHAIRMAN: You have heard the reading of the second day’s minutes. Are there any corrections?
DEL. CLARENCE SMITH: The minutes as read do not show that the motion with regard to the convention desiring a stenographic report was adopted.
THE CHAIRMAN: The Secretary will note the correction. Are there any other corrections? If not, the minutes will stand approved as corrected. They are approved.
The Secretary read a number of communications from the following bodies and places:
L. A. 412, S. T. & L. A. (Garment Workers), New York City.
N. A. Francis, Cincinnati.
Emancipation Club, of Los Angeles, Cal.
General Executive Board of Brotherhood of Metal Workers of North America, New York.
Amalgamated Metal Workers’ Union, New York.
Lawrence & Co., photographer (two communications), in reference to flash-light photographs of delegates.
On motion the communications were received and placed on file. The communications are as follows:
New York, June 28.
Mr. Wm. E. Trautmann,
Industrial Union Convention Hall,
Corner Clark and Erie Streets.
We beg to express our wishes that this convention will accomplish the honest principles of new trade unionism based on the class struggle.
Amalgamated Garment Workers’ Union of Greater New York, L. A. 412, S. T. & L. A.
Cincinnati, O., June 27, 1905.
Mr. W. E. Trautmann,
Your letter and bundle of Manifestoes at hand. I have distributed a number of them and wherever they were shown they inspired interest and enthusiasm. I am confident that from thirty to fifty charter members can be organized in East Cincinnati at an early date.
Please forward to my address as soon as convenient the necessary application blanks together with full information as to fees, about when an organization can be effected, etc.
Very truly yours,
N. A. FRANCIS.
JOINT EXECUTIVE BOARD OF THE BROTHERHOOD OF CHANDELIER, BRASS AND METAL WORKERS OF NORTH AMERICA.
New York, June 20, 1905.
Executive Committee of the Industrial Organization of the Workers,
Mr. Wm. E. Trautmann, Secretary,
Wish to state that our Board coincides with the principle of your movement but do not feel inclined to send delegates at this early date to your convention.
Wishing you success and hoping to hear from you in the future, I remain, yours respectfully,
C. BERTRAN, Secretary.
To Wm. E. Trautmann,
We, the undersigned special committee of the Emancipation Club of Los Angeles, Cal., are hereby authorized to forward the following communication to you, to be read in the convention, and which will serve us instead of a delegate, as we are at present unable to send one:
The Emancipation Club of Los Angeles is an organization formed for the purpose of educating the working class along the lines of purely revolutionary Socialism.
It has for its object the organization of the working class into a proletarian, revolutionary body, both economic and political, having as its sole purpose the complete overthrow of the capitalist system of production and distribution, and the establishment of the Socialist Republic.
From the vitals of such an organization would naturally spring a purely proletarian, revolutionary, political body fully equipped to carry the battle into the camp of the capitalist enemy.
We hold that the existing craft unionism is hopelessly dividing the working class on both the economic and political fields, and constitutes itself, by virtue of its tactics, the greatest obstacle to the unification of the workers.
Therefore we believe that the only hope for the working class, is to unite them all into one collective union based upon the clear lines of the uncompromising class struggle, having in every way the immediate and future best interest of the whole working class as its basic purpose.
We firmly believe that, consequent upon the present phase of capitalist evolution, the time and conditions are fully ripe for the organization of just such a union as we have thus briefly outlined, and do sincerely hope that our comrades in convention assembled, will be moved by the truly revolutionary spirit to repudiate all the old and worthless forms of organization.
We hope that the structure which will then be projected into being, will contain methods which will admit of such practical benefits, as will infuse hope into the minds of the enslaved toilers of America, and give them courage and assurance of success in their final struggle for their permanent emancipation.
CHAS. F. PURDY,
N. C. MADSEN, ANDREW M. JOSEPH.
June 27, 1905.
Mr. W. E. Trautman, Sec’y.,
Industrial Union Convention,
Room 3 Haymarket Theatre Bldg., City.
At the request of Mr. William D. Haywood, I am sending you herewith a written proposal for making a large flashlight interior photograph of the convention now being held.
Will you kindly read this to the members present to-morrow and take the names of those promising to take a photograph and kindly notify us?
We can arrange to make the photograph on Wednesday or Thursday.
Thanking you in advance for this favor, we remain,
Yours very truly,
THE GEO. R. LAWRENCE CO., GEO. R. DUCE, Secretary.
June 27, 1905. To the Delegates of the Industrial Union Convention.
Gentlemen:—We would be pleased to make a large size photograph of the convention while in session. It will be made by our patented flashlight process and we fully guarantee that a perfect likeness will be made of every person in the room.
We shall make this photograph upon a guarantee of the sale of 2d copies at $2 each. Photographs will be suitably engraved and will be a valuable souvenir of this initial convention.
Those who will promise to subscribe for one or more copies will kindly give their names to Mr. W. E. Trautmann.
Yours very truly,
THE GEO. R. LAWRENCE CO., GEO R. DUCE, Secretary.
The Committee on Credentials reported, recommending the seating of the following delegates, with one vote each:
N. C. Marlatt, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Chicago ; H. Arthur Morgan, Local 233, Cleveland, Ohio, Machinists; P. Samuels, journeymen Tailors, No. 359, Chicago.
On motion of Delegate Dinger, the report was concurred in and the delegates seated.
DEBATE ON STENOGRAPHIC REPORT.
Delegate Clarence Smith read the following report from the special committee on ways and means to provide for a stenographic report of the proceedings of the convention:
Chicago, June 28, 1905.
Your committee to provide ways and means for a stenographic report recommends that each delegate in this convention who is being paid for representation in this convention be assessed four dollars to defray the expense of a stenographic report, and that all other delegates be urged to contribute voluntarily as liberally as they can afford.
(Signed by the Committee.)
THE CHAIRMAN: You have heard the report of the committee.
DEL. EVANS: I move to concur in the recommendation of the committee. (Seconded.)
THE CHAIRMAN: It has been regularly moved and seconded that we concur in the recommendation of the committee.
DEL. FAIRGRIEVE: Does that mean that each S. T. & L. A. delegate shall be assessed $4 also? They have already contributed $200 towards providing for the expense, and I do not think it is necessary to impose $4 additional on each delegate here.
DEL. ROWE: I think the convention is aware of the fact that the committee that formulated those plans are heartily in favor of having a stenographic report of this convention printed, and in order to encourage the representatives from the S. T. & L. A. who started this movement by creating a $200 fund, we felt that it was absolutely essential that we raise the money immediately in order that they could feel assured of perfecting and finishing the good work started by that organization. The thought struck the committee that it might be an injustice to place an additional assessment upon that delegation after they had contributed the sum of $200, or an equivalent of $20 each for the ten representatives to this convention, but before making any provision on that matter we thought that it might be best to leave that question to this convention to be settled. Personally I feel that we should not again request those representatives to contribute, as I feel that they have done their share towards the completion of this work; but I do feel this way, that we should have a stenographic report, and that it is absolutely necessary to raise the money immediately. There are a large number of representatives to this convention who represent themselves as individuals, and they are not in a position to contribute the sum of $4 towards completing this work, but delegates who represent organizations can comply with this committee’s request, and if they do comply, I believe we will be able to go ahead and complete a stenographic report of this convention, according to the sense of the convention as adopted by the motion a few days ago. Now, it is up to the convention to say, and it is up to the representatives from the S. T. & L. A. to state whether or not they feel able to meet this assessment at this particular time. If they do not, I am one who is in favor of excusing them from contributing according to the report of that committee.
DEL. CLARENCE SMITH: It seems to me that the delegates from the S. T. & L. A. cannot properly ask to be excused from this assessment. It is true that that organization has contributed $200 toward this fund, but it is not true that the $200 is being contributed by the delegates from the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance. It is very possible—in fact, I know it to be a fact—that persons who are not connected with that organization at all have contributed to that fund. I take it for granted that each of the delegates from that organization has contributed something. I however, do not know that any of the delegates has contributed anything, and I therefore do not see why the delegation should be excused from this assessment.
DEL. MURTAUGH: It is not entirely clear to my mind what is meant by the report of the committee. I do not believe that the explanation made by a member of the committee has made it as clear as it should be to the minds of those who are presumably assessed. I want to say as an individual that I care very little for the $4. I believe I am amply able to contribute. But the report says those who are being paid to come to this convention and I, perhaps, am being paid to come to this convention. My mileage is paid, nothing else. The convention seats me as an individual, of which I have no complaint to make, because it is in accordance with the Manifesto issued; but yet in this report, seating me as an individual, there seems to be an attempt made to assess me as the representative of an organization that is not represented in the convention. Mr. President, I wish to say further that when this matter was debated yesterday the question of expense came up, and there seemed to be a likelihood of the question being defeated upon that question of expense. There seemed to be also a probability of a stenographic report of the proceedings of this convention being taken whether or not the convention decided in favor of paying for that stenographic report. (Applause.) A motion was passed, if I remember right, that it be the sense of this convention; that a stenographic report be taken, and the inference was that it would be taken without expense to this convention. That was not stated plainly, but it was an inference. Immediately after that a delegate made a motion to appoint a committee on ways and means, for providing the means for meeting the expense of this stenographic report. Another delegate moved that upon that committee should be placed only those delegates to this convention who favored the stenographic report being made, and the Chairman, in endeavoring to be fair, announced that none but such would be placed upon that committee. Now, Mr. Chairman, I wish to repeat that in so far as I am personally concerned, the $4 makes very little difference to me, but I say, Mr. Chairman, openly and above board, that if that was a piece of parliamentary trickery, that I for one absolutely refuse to be assessed in that manner by this convention.
THE CHAIRMAN: Will you permit the Chair to express his opinion?
DEL. MURTAUGH: Yes.
THE CHAIRMAN: That only the members of this convention who are receiving per diem while in attendance will come under the head of this assessment. Inasmuch as you have only received transportation and are not being paid for your time at the convention, you are not liable to this assessment.
DEL. MURTAUGH: I wish to correct a mistake, perhaps. While present I am receiving a little per diem as the business agent of the organization that I represent; nothing in connection with this.
A DELEGATE: Charge him $4.
DEL. GOODWIN: Mr. President and fellow delegates, I think I understand this proposition. The Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance has brought $200 here to help make up a fund for a stenographic report. Now, then, my suggestion is this: it struck me just a moment ago. In the event of a new organization being formed at this convention, it strikes me it would be a pretty good proposition to donate the $200 to guarantee the stenographer his per diem, and after the report is transcribed at his own expense the organization can stand per capita the expense. We have the $200 on hand now, and after the organization comes into existence it can assess its members per capita for the balance.
THE CHAIRMAN: Delegates are requested to confine their remarks to the motion before the convention, that we concur in the recommendation of the committee.
DEL. GOODWIN: Well, I make that as an amendment to that.
THE CHAIRMAN: I did not catch your amendment. You did not make any amendment while you had the floor.
DEL. SCHATZKE: I will try to explain to him more distinctly than Brother Smith, as to all those delegates who are here that are paid. This delegate says he gets paid only as a b-u-s-i-n-e-s-s agent. That means that he does not get paid $10 a day for sitting here. Now, the committee has found it necessary that all those delegates who are being paid here through an organization shall pay an assessment of $4. If they cannot pay from their b-u-s-i-n-e-s-s agent’s salary they could ask their organization to help them to pay the $4, if they like to do so. All others who are here, are here because we know they, have got a certain interest, and they should contribute as much as possible voluntarily. In coming here, I am a poor man and live in Denver in two little rooms, and I came here, and it costs me $200 in this convention, and I don’t get paid as a b-u-s-in-e-s-s agent. (Laughter and applause.)
THE CHAIRMAN: It has been regularly moved and seconded that we concur in the recommendation of the committee. Those in favor of the motion will signify it by saying aye. Contrary no. The Chair is in doubt.
A roll call was asked for.
THE CHAIRMAN: I would ask for the uplifted right hand. Those in favor will signify it by raising their right hands. The motion is that the recommendation of the committee be concurred in. Contrary by the same sign. The motion is lost.
DEL. W. L. HALL: I move you that the matter of finances be again referred to the committee that has in charge the stenographic report.
A DELEGATE: Louder.
THE CHAIRMAN: If the delegates insist on holding private conversations it would be useless for him to speak any louder. It is impossible to conduct the business of the convention and at the same time to carry on innumerable conversations around the hall. Delegate Hall has the floor.
DEL. HALL: I move you that the matter of finances at present under consideration be referred to the same committee that reported, to bring in a different report from the one they have just made to the convention.
DEL. ALBERT RYAN: What is the use of wasting the time of the convention in this way?
THE CHAIRMAN: There is no second to this motion. There is nothing before the convention.
DEL. RYAN: I second it.
THE CHAIRMAN: It has been regularly moved and seconded that the matter of financing the expense of a stenographic report be referred back to the committee. Are you ready for the question?
DEL. RYAN: I would like to say, as a member of that committee to which this matter was referred, that I do not believe it is proper on the part of the convention at this time to refer it back to the committee for them to make a still further recommendation. The recommendation that they made was the best one they could come to at that time. Now, then, it is up to you. By a vote of something like 100 to 27 you decided that you don’t like to go down in your jeans according to our recommendation. Therefore we think it better to leave it to the convention right now and settle it one way or the other. I don’t see how your committee can go back and frame a further recommendation. What that committee did was to the best of their ability. You practically passed it up to them, and you have their report.
DEL. SPIEGEL: I offer an amendment to the motion, that the committee canvass personally the delegations for contributions, and then if there is any lacking, assess these various groups that we have represented here. I will head that list for the Idaho State Federation with a contribution of $25. (Applause). (Amendment seconded.)
DEL. COATES: I make a motion that the special committee on this matter be discharged, and the entire matter referred to the permanent Ways and Means Committee of this convention, and let them bring in a proper plan. (Seconded).
THE CHAIRMAN: Do you offer that as an amendment?
DEL. COATES: Yes.
THE CHAIRMAN: You have heard the amendment. Are you ready for the question? (Question called for).
DEL. DAVIS: Brother Chairman and Fellow Delegates all, by a large majority yesterday we signified our willingness to assume a certain money obligation. When we gave the assurance to the stenographer here that a certain sum of money would be raised we voluntarily placed ourselves in a position to assume the obligation that the words implied. Now, here to-day, when our committee brings in a report, we endeavor to saddle our own personal money obligations off onto some one else. It is neither fair nor just. The committee in their report made ample provision, I presume, by which the money could be raised. Now, instead of trying to carry out the committee’s report and raise that amount of money, we do like many people in all spheres of life do—try to postpone the evil hour in which we are called upon to raise this sum, and want to saddle our honest debts off upon some one else at some future time. Are you not ashamed of yourselves? I for one am ashamed to look an honest man in the face, when I voluntarily assume an obligation and then try to saddle it off onto some one else or to some future time. Let us find out right here and now, while we have got the matter before us, if there is some way to raise that money. Your Permanent Ways and Means Committee, I do not doubt, will have a report to offer.
THE CHAIRMAN: It is not a question of raising the money now. The question before this convention is whether or not this matter shall be referred to the permanent Ways and Means Committee.
DEL. DAVIS: That is all right. I will try to confine my remarks strictly to that. Now, I do not wish to have this matter referred back again. Being personally acquainted with one member of that special Ways and Means Committee, I am satisfied that the report that it will bring in again will be practically if not identically the same. I refer to Delegate Smith. Now, there is no reason in the world, in my opinion, for prolonging this matter whatsoever. I hope the motion that is now before the house will be voted down, and I for one shall vote against it.
DEL. JORGENSEN: I think the first motion that was made, to refer it back to the same committee, is the best one. Inasmuch as the recommendation of the committee was not adopted, the committee might make a better effort to suit the majority when they bring in a second report. I do not think there would be anything wrong in sending out the committee a second time. It very often happens that a judge will send out a jury a second time to determine whether they shall hang a man or not. This is not as serious a matter as that. But it seems to me that the present bill that is to be paid, ought to be paid, perhaps, for a little less than the $4 as recommended. Now, I represent the carpenters’ organizations that I belong to as an individual. They pay my expenses here and pay me my wages. Now, I am not instructed to vote even to run that organization into debt, but I know that that organization would never kick over as small a matter as $4 for such a purpose. And I think the case is likewise with other organizations that are represented here by individuals.
DEL. T. J. HAGERTY, CHICAGO: As a member of that committee, I would like to call the attention of the convention to a suggestion made in the meeting of the committee as a substitute, that all the delegations here that have power to install their unions assess their membership one cent. That would make $550, and would settle the whole question.
DEL. ROWE: I have no objection to the amendment to the motion, but I would like to know if this committee, Brother Schatzke and all, are going to be honorably or dishonorably discharged.
A DELEGATE: Honorably.
DEL. FRANK KREMER: Mr. Chairman, I gained credentials in this convention because I am a revolutionist. I don’t believe in politics, and don’t suppose that this convention is going to be run by any faction, no matter what it may be, socialistic or anarchistic, trades unionist or anything else. I want to state the fact that I am here as an individual, and I am willing to pay anything that may be decided on to help this movement, and if it is required to pay one cent or ten dollars I am willing to do so. Now, this ought to give me enough reasons to speak before a convention of slaves, because slaves you are, all of you, no matter what you are; if you are handling a pick or shoving a pen, it don’t make any difference.
Calls of order, and that the delegate was not speaking to the motion.
DEL. KREMER: I am speaking to the motion, and the motion is that we should pay $4, and I am willing to pay that and a good many times more.
THE CHAIRMAN: That is not the question.
DEL. KREMER: It don’t make any difference what it may be. Mr. Chairman, if you will permit me—
THE CHAIRMAN: Just a moment.. If you will permit me to state, the motion before the house at this time is the amendment offered by Delegate Coates that this matter be referred to the standing Ways and Means Committee. Now, confine your remarks to the question at issue.
DEL. KREMER: Well, the standing Ways and Means Committee ought to go to work and decide what a man ought to pay. If we have no money, let us raise it; if we don’t have the money, let us raise it. If the standing Ways and Means Committee is to decide whether we ought to pay $4, let us pay it. I am willing to do so, and anybody else will be willing to pay the proper amount to make this thing a success. If this thing is going to be run by some political means, all right; I am willing to get out. I am not a member of any political organization, and I don’t want any political organization to run it. And if the laborers gathering in this hall—
Calls of “Order,” and “Sit down.”
DEL. KREMER: Well, if you will tell me the reason why I should sit down, I am willing to do so. I am willing to sit down if you will tell me why I should sit down.
A DELEGATE: I rise to a point of order. The gentleman is not speaking to the motion. He is speaking about his individual intentions. We don’t care about them.
THE CHAIRMAN: The Chairman has requested that the delegate confine himself to the question before the convention. The chair will insist that you speak to the motion. The amendment is that this matter be referred to the Ways and Means Committee. If you are opposed to referring it, you will confine your remarks in that direction. If in the affirmative, speak in the affirmative.
DEL. KREMER: If that question is referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, then I would like to ask that committee to consider the matter very seriously, because there is not a cent in the bunch as you are all gathered here; none of us has a penny. You are all slaves. But when it comes to the point to raise enough to make this convention a success, let us do it; let us do it.
A DELEGATE: That is good; that is all right.
DEL. KREMER: I mean to say this, if the Committee on Ways and Means can tell us how to raise this fund to make this convention a success, let us do it. That is all I have got to say, and I am willing to say no more.
A DELEGATE: Good boy.
DEL. PAYMENT: Brothers, I think this question ought to be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, but I also think and I know that there are delegates here that have not got the money; but I know that there are some that have the money, and I know that this money will be raised here. I myself, as an individual, will give $10; not that I intend that the local that sent me here shall pay that.
A DELEGATE: I rise to a point or order. The gentleman is not speaking to the motion.
DEL. PAYMENT: I am.
The interrupting delegate: He is talking about his personal finances. We want to get through with this business some time.
THE CHAIRMAN: The question is whether or not this matter shall be referred to the standing Ways and Means Committee.
DEL. PAYMENT: I was not here yesterday; I was working. I do not doubt but what the Committee on Ways and Means that this body has appointed is an honest committee. Let us leave it to the Committee on Ways and Means, and then if somebody wants to donate something let them have the privilege of doing so.
THE CHAIRMAN: The question has been called for.
A DELEGATE: A point of information. I would like to ask if this business be urgent and must be debated immediately.
THE CHAIRMAN: We haven’t got any bill yet. We don’t owe any one a cent. It is just a question of raising the money to carry out the sense of the convention with regard to having a stenographic report.
The previous question was called for.
DEL. SHERMAN: I am in favor of the amendment as made by Delegate Coates, that the committee be discharged and the matter referred to the regular committee. I want to state my reasons. I believe that every delegate here is heartily in accord with the good and welfare of this movement, but I believe there are those here who do not realize what this proposition means. I believe that the committee that this should be referred to is a committee who realize the responsibility of the work of this convention, realizing the responsibility of the ways and means and what the ways and means are to be used for and how it is to be paid, and I believe they are better fitted to judge the ways and means in which this fund should be raised or better fitted to make a recommendation to this convention as to whether this report should be got out or not. Many in this convention, I think; believe that this assessment that has been offered here by this committee would meet the expenditure of getting out this report and printing it. I want to say to you, sisters and brothers, that it would simply mean the expense of taking it off on the typewriter, and in order to get it into printed form you will have to make an assessment on somebody and raise from $2,500 to $3,500. Before that is done the New York Daily People will undoubtedly print the greatest part of it, and it will go into history, and most of the people who are interested in it will have read it, and consequently it will have become a dead issue. For that reason I believe that we should stop and consider what debt this means. This means only a part of the. debt that is going to be raised. There are millions in this country that we want to organize, and if we have got any money let us send the agitator and the organizer among the rank and file that is not organized and organize them, rather than print a report that will not be read by anybody. (Applause.)
Question called for.
THE CHAIRMAN: The question has been called for. The amendment is that the special committee be discharged and this matter be referred to the standing Ways and Means Committee. Those in favor will signify it by saying aye. Contrary no. The ayes seem to have it.
Division called for.
THE CHAIRMAN: The motion is carried, the substitute. When the convention adjourned—
DEL. SUNAGEL: I got here late. I would like to have a rising vote on that.
THE CHAIRMAN: I can’t understand a word you say.
DEL. SUNAGEL: I would like to know whether I have a right to vote.
THE CHAIRMAN: The subject has already been disposed of.
APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEES
THE CHAIRMAN: When the convention adjourned you had adopted the report of your Committee on Rules of Order, which provides that this day shall be set aside for the discussion of different topics, providing that the appointments of the regular committees had been made. In the opinion of the chair the convention should at this time proceed to the election of the permanent committees, so that as much of this day as has been set apart by your Committee on Rules of Order can be used for the purpose indicated. Therefore the several groups will announce their appointments for committeemen on constitution. It will be necessary for you to reduce it to writing and lay the same on the Secretary’s desk.
DEL. SCHATZKE: A point of information. There are a good many delegates, I believe, who did not know anything about it, and it takes time to think about those matters, and I believe that it would be a good idea
THE CHAIRMAN: Do you ask for a point of information?
DEL. SCHATZKE: Yes.
THE CHAIRMAN: What is it that you desire?
DEL. SCHATZKE: I would like to ask whether it would not be better to have the convention now appoint a Constitution Committee ; then a delegate will know what he has got to do, and can come back with the idea of what he thinks is best to be in the constitution.
THE CHAIRMAN: I agree with you, yes. Now we want to get a committee so that that committee will know something about it. I think it would be well to permit the Secretary to call the roll of the different organizations that are in groups, so that we can get the positions of all’ their committeemen, and then I will announce the different committeemen from the different groups.
The roll was called as suggested by the Chairman, after which the Chairman announced the composition of the following committees:
COMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTION.
Western Federation of Miners—Charles H. Moyer.
S. T. & L. A.—Thomas J. Powers.
Paper Hangers’ Union—John M. Vail.
U. B. R. E.—E. H. Williamson.
American Labor Union—John Riordan.
United Metal Workers—C. O. Sherman.
Industrial Workers’ Club, Chicago—T. J. Hagerty.
Red Lodge Miners’ Union—Alex. Fairgrieve.
Punch Press Operators, Schenectady—C. W. Roff.
Industrial Club, Cincinnati—Max Eisenberg.
Cloak Makers, Montreal—R. J. Kerrigan.
Flat Janitors’ Union, Chicago—C. H. Cranston.
Individuals appointed by Chairman—T. W. Rowe, Flint Glass Workers; W. C. Critchlow, Laborers; J. C. Sullivan, Miners’ Union, Victor.
COMMITTEE ON RESOLUTIONS.
Western Federation of Miners—Albert Ryan.
S. T. & L. A.—Paul Dinger.
Paper Hangers’ Union—No selection.
U. B. R. E.—J. P. Fitzgerald.
A. L. U.—D. C. Coates.
United Metal Workers—James Smith.
Flat Janitors—C. H. Cranston.
Cloak Makers—R. J. Kerrigan.
Industrial Workers’ Club, Cincinnati—Max Eisenberg.
Punch Press Operators—C. W. Roff.
Industrial Workers’ Club, Chicago—R. C. Goodwin.
Individuals—Eugene V. Debs, Frank R. Wilke, W. F. Weber.
Del. Eisenberg: As I am the only one from Cincinnati, I cannot be on all those committees. Being on another committee, you can fill that with some one else.
Western Federation of Miners—J. A. Baker.
S. T. & L. A.—J. T. L. Remley.
U. B. R. E.—Fred H. Hopkins.
A. L. U.—D. McDonald.
United Metal Workers—C. Kirkpatrick.
Flat Janitors—C. H. Cranston.
Cloak Makers—R. J. Kerrigan.
Punch Press Operators—C. W. Roff.
Paper Hangers—John A. Ayers.
Individuals—A. F. Germer, Mother Jones.
WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE.
Western Federation of Miners—C. H. McKinnon.
S. T. & L. A.—Octave Held.
U. B. R. E.-A. W. Morrow.
A. L. U.—H. S. Davis.
United Metal Workers—J. W. Rowe.
Industrial Workers’ Club, Chicago—Mrs. Bohlmann.
Flat Janitors—Charles McKay.
Punch Press Operators—C. W. Roff.
Cloak Makers—R. J. Kerrigan.
LITERATURE AND PRESS COMMITTEE.
Western Federation of Miners—W. D. Haywood.
S. T. & L. A.—H. J. Brimble.
U. B. R. E.—Fred Henion.
A. L. U.—Clarence Smith.
United Metal Workers—C. McKay.
Industrial Workers’ Club, Chicago—Mrs. Lillian Forberg.
Pueblo Tailors—A. Klemensic.
Cloak Makers, Montreal—R. J. Kerrigan.
Punch Press Operators—C. W. Roff.
Flat Janitors—Chas. McKay.
Paper Hangers, Chicago—F. D. Pryor.
Individuals—A. M. Simons, Pat O’Neil, Fred R. Shotak.
THE CHAIRMAN: That is all of the standing committees as provided for by your Committee on Rules. The chair would suggest that there is one other very important committee that should be appointed by this convention, and that is a Label and Emblem Committee.
DEL. SPIEGEL: Being a member of the Committee on Rules, I make a motion that we now appoint or let the chair appoint a committee of five, known as a Label and Emblem Committee, limited to five.
THE CHAIRMAN: The motion could not be entertained by the chair unless the convention reconsiders its action of yesterday wherein it was provided that each one of the groups appoint a member on each committee selected by this convention.
DEL. SPIEGEL: All right, I will withdraw that.
DEL. GLASGOW: I make a motion that this convention reconsider its former action in selecting these committees by the various groups and that the Chairman appoint a Committee on Label and Emblem. (Seconded.)
THE CHAIRMAN: I would ask if the brother here voted in the affirmative. Did you vote in the affirmative on the method of appointing committees yesterday?
DEL. GLASGOW: Yes.
THE CHAIRMAN: The motion is that we now reconsider this action and that the chair appoint a Label and Emblem Committee. The motion is to reconsider the action that you have taken on the method of appointing committees. Are you ready for the question?
DEL. SAINER: I think it is best at the inception of this movement to recognize the fact that to make this organization practical depends upon the character of the members of the organization. I think that following out this line, we ought to vote down anything of that kind.
DEL. T. J. HAGERTY: As the mover of that motion, I favored heartily the action taken yesterday in giving to the groups the selection of the committees, as that was the proper course. But now, after having done that, and this committee being of such grave importance, and believing that the Chairman is one who has had sufficient importance, and relying on his judgment in selecting a committee of this kind, I think it would be wise now, in order to save valuable time, that we reconsider that action and place in the hands of the Chairman the appointment of that Committee on Emblem and Label.
The question was called for.
THE CHAIRMAN: It has been moved and seconded that we reconsider the action of yesterday as to the method of appointing committees. The question has been called for. Those in favor of the motion will signify it by saying aye. Contrary no. The motion is lost.
DEL. FAIRGRIEVE: I move you that there be a special committee of five on Label and Emblem appointed, and that that committee be appointed by the chair. (Seconded.)
A DELEGATE: That was the same motion.
DEL. FAIRGRIEVE: No, the other was a special committee of ten.
DEL. COATES: I move you that such a committee be added to the regular list of committees, and that a list of the members be handed to the Chairman, selected as the other committees of the convention. (Seconded.)
The motion was put and carried.
THE CHAIRMAN: The several groups will take notice and appoint their members on the Committee on Label and Emblem.
DISCUSSION ON THE REASONS FOR THE MANIFESTO.
THE CHAIRMAN: The business before the convention at this time, inasmuch as the standing committees have been disposed of, is the discussion as provided for by your Committee on Rules of Order And Business. Your committee suggests that the following topics be taken up: Reasons for the Manifesto; name of organization; tactics and methods; the first of May as International Labor Day; agreements vs. contracts; international relations. Reasons for the Manifesto will be the first topic tinder discussion, and the chair will not confine the delegates to the topics set forth in the rules of order; that is to say, the convention will not be closely confined to any particular topic during this discussion.
DEL. SAUNDERS: I understand I was appointed on a committee from a group representing an organization that I do not belong to. I want to know if any group having the power to appoint committeemen have a right to go outside of their group and appoint any one on any committee.
THE CHAIRMAN: They would not have a right to go outside of their group and select any one for any committee.
DEL. SAUNDERS: I understand my name was placed on a committee that has been appointed by representatives of an organization or group that I do not belong to.
THE CHAIRMAN: You have no place on that committee. The convention is now open for the discussion of the topics as suggested.
DEL. SCHATZKE: How much time is allowed? Is it only five minutes?
THE CHAIRMAN: Ten minutes is allowed to each speaker.
DEL. WILKE: A point of information. Did I understand you to say that under this head no speaker would be confined to a certain topic?
THE CHAIRMAN: I said that no speaker would be confined closely to the topic set forth. The reasons for the Manifesto cover a broad field for discussion.
DEL. WILKE: My idea is this, that we take up these various phases that are to be discussed, seriatim, and thrash them out one at a time. Otherwise we will find somebody jumping over onto “organization” before we get through.
THE CHAIRMAN: That is the idea. Secretary Trautmann has the floor.
INDICTMENT AGAINST THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR.
Address of W. E. TRAUTMANN.
Comrade Chairman and Delegates: When the general conference was called, it was not so much owing to the form of organization prior to that; it was not so much the methods of the past and the inadequacy of the craft unionism of the American Federation of Labor and the Knights of Labor. It was far more—the conception of the corruption and the crimes that have been perpetrated by capitalist henchmen in the ranks of labor against the toilers of this land (applause) ; realizing this one fact, that the old unions have been established to promote harmony between the masters of the tools and those who toil to bring profit to the few. Knowing very well that under that construction of the trades and crafts union movement these crimes have been perpetrated to perpetuate the system of capitalist robbery, we came together and issued that Manifesto, well aware of the fact that the toilers of this land do not know to the extent that they ought to know the crimes that have been perpetrated in the last fifteen years, and even more. All those who know the history of the fight of the Knights of Labor and have seen the downfall of that once great order; all those who have come into the American Federation of Labor, believing that that organization after the 1886 convention at St. Louis would become an instrument of the class struggle to bring about the emancipation of the working class on the economic field, and have seen how that organization has been debauched and corrupted by the labor leaders; all those who realized that some other methods and some other forms had to be established in order to open the eyes of the working class,—came together and issued the Manifesto with the indictment against the old form of organization. (Applause). It was charged against the issuers of the Manifesto, in some industrial union papers of Europe, as I can prove, that those who issued the Manifesto could not prove that such a thing existed as a collusion between the owners of the tools and the labor leaders of this country. If you file information and charges, you have to prove them, and before this convention we stand to-day ready to prove most of the charges that to-day the trade union movement has become an auxiliary to the capitalist class in order to hold down the toilers of the land. (Applause). All that has been said, all that has been charged against individuals in the trade union movement is absolutely nonsensical if we do not go down to the bottom from which these crimes arise. If you realize the harmony between capital and labor; if you recognize such a thing to exist, then you should not wonder that labor leaders become the labor lieutenants of capitalism, in order, as Mark Hanna stated in his address in Columbus three years ago, and which is in my possession, that “we must try to Americanize the trades unions,” and in order to accomplish that the labor lieutenant of capitalism and the labor lieutenant of the captain of industry must work hand in hand with the labor lieutenant of the working class. I intended before I came to this convention to compile from my own bitter experience in the trades union movement, from the fights and quarrels and battles and tribulations a synopsis so that it might go before the world and prove from the trades union journals and from the documents of the trades unions that they cannot act otherwise and be consistent because they are and recognize that they are under the management of the capitalist class. I bring such as I have already got completed; I bring that in a concise and brief form, with all the documents whereby from the trades union journals to prove that such indictments were in order, and that the world should know that not so much the forms, whether it be industrial or craft unionism, not so much the process that we have seen going on of accumulation of capital in the hands of the few and the concentration of the workers in other lands has so much to do with the coming revolution in the trade union movement, but the fact that we have never, or those who are in the American Federation of Labor have never recognized the fact that an economic organization of the working class must be based upon the recognition of the class conflict, and upon that recognition alone will rest the guidance and emancipation of the workers and the actions of those who are entrusted as its officers. If they recognize those axioms and those laws, then their actions will be governed thereby, and such things as Civic Federation banquets with scab bread and scab cigars will never happen again among those who are enlightened as to the causes of all these debaucheries and all this corruption in the union movement of this land.
In the arguments and indictments against the old form of labor organization and its methods reference must be made to certain persons intimately connected with the American Federation of Labor. In so far as the nature of my task requires me to deal with individuals I shall be guided by the rule which Karl Marx lays down in the preface to his work on Capitalist Production, to wit: “Here individuals are dealt with only in so far as they are personifications of economic categories, embodiments of particular class-relations and class-interests.” In this view the harmful actions of officers of the American Federation of Labor must be understood as the natural outcome of their attitude toward the problems of capital and labor.
Since, then, most of the organizations chartered by the A. F. of L. are based upon a presumed agreement of interests between the capitalist class and the working class, the general trend of their official administration is more or less consciously in the direction of capitalist supremacy with all its evils and the corruption which marks its sway.
You are gathered here to hear the proofs which warrant the general indictment of craft unionism as set forth in the Manifesto. With you rests the decision as to whether or not the facts which I am about to relate are strong enough in number and significance to justify the formation of a new organization rooted in the class struggle and the adoption of new methods to promote the interests of the working class.
In the days of the small manufacturer trades unions were able to wrest from the owner of the tools certain rights and concessions without, however, any protest against the basic principles of profitmaking. Here and there, workingmen made demands which invaded the inner sanctuary of exploitation and, as a result of strikes and lockouts, the machinery of capitalism was threatened with serious damage. Many of the far-seeing members of the capitalist class perceived the importance of making the craft unions serve the purposes of commerce by keeping them within the bounds of capitalist economics. To accomplish this end it is plain that the workers must be held in ignorance of the true reasons which draw them together into unions. The very nature of craft unionism made this end easy of achievement, and developed unscrupulous men who performed the service for the capitalist class of keeping the laboring class divided by trade aristocracies and endless jurisdiction quarrels and by preaching, in season and out of season, the doctrine of the community of interests— between the workers and the shirkers.
Thus, in the official publication of the St. Louis, Mo., Exposition, 1904, of the American Federation of Labor Exhibit in Social Economy Building, Samuel Gompers, president of the A. F. of L., argues:
“It is not without reason that the members of this vast federation have been inspired with confidence in the ability and devotion of their officers, All of these latter are working officers of the most successful national unions, and as such have proved their capacity before being promoted to their present positions. It should be remembered that it was the council of the American Federation of Labor, acting in conjunction with the chiefs of the railway brotherhoods, which refused to participate in the great strike on the railroads centering in Chicago in 1894, and thus averted a bloody and disastrous conflict with the military forces of the United States. It was this same council that in refusing to affiliate with the Central Federation of New York, with its fifty-nine local unions and some 18,ooo members, because it included a branch of the Socialist Labor Party, struck the key-note of resistance against the dangerous delusion that the emancipation of the working class can be achieved by placing in the hands of shallow politicians the business enterprises now conducted by private persons. And it was the same council whose policy after an envenomed conflict of five years’ duration, was vindicated in open convention by a decisive vote of 1,796 against 274 and the programme of the common ownership of all the means of production and distribution was declared alien to the trade union movement.”
And here is the document (holding up printed report). And it is the same story in the railway strike of 1894. So you men who were in the battles then, you have it under the seal of the American Federation of Labor, with the signature of Samuel Gompers attached, that he was one of the lieutenants of capitalism who broke the strike.
“By the systematic pursuit of a policy as above illustrated, the American Federation of Labor has demonstrated to the world that the spirit of the trade union is essentially conservative, and that in the measure of its conservation it has become the most valuable agent of social progress. This is a truth only grasped by the most capable minds, and it is the recognition of this truth, and its practical application in the industrial world, that has enabled the American Federation of Labor to transform the old-time trade union forces and tactics into a disciplined army, only engaging in industrial war when diplomacy has utterly failed.”
In this statement Mr. Gompers outlines what has been evidently agreed upon between him and his colleagues in the National Civic Federation: namely, that the craft union movement is to act as the Praetorian Guard of the capitalist system. Indeed, the very purpose of the National Civic Federation and the reason of its existence is to use, and in the using to corrupt, the labor movement to the lasting enslavement of the working class.
Out of the great mass of evidence which I have gathered to show the practical operation of craft unionism along the lines of capitalist exploitation I have selected first that pertaining to the Cigar Makers’ International Union of America. Its constitution establishes an aristocracy of labor and discriminates against workingmen because of their race and the poverty of their circumstances.
Section 64, page 17 of the tenth edition of the constitution, provides that “All persons engaged in the cigar industry, except Chinese coolies and tenement-house workers, shall be eligible to membership; this shall include manufacturers who employ no journeymen cigar makers, and foremen who have less than six members of the union working under them.” It is further specified that “the acceptance of rollers and filler breakers as members by initiation or by card shall be optional with local unions, except in places where the system has already been introduced.” This section is manifestly designed to foster a monopoly of a few craftsmen in collusion with a certain class of manufacturers against outsiders. Section 154, page 39, reveals additional evidence in the clause that “no union shall be allowed to furnish the labels for cigars made in whole or in part by machinery.” Thus the blue label of the Cigar Makers’ International Union of America, instead of being a mark of improved conditions for all workers in the cigar industry, is merely the medium whereby a small proportion of trades unionists, by mutual agreement with employers on the selling price of cigars, preserve some rights which they refuse to extend to those of their craft who work in shops where machinery is used and to those whose employers cannot be forced to sell their goods at the prices stipulated by the union. Yet in spite of these restrictions and notwithstanding membership discrimination against Chinese and tenement-house workers, section 154 of the constitution provides that “where the manufacturer deals in Chinese, tenement-house or scab cigars, it shall be optional with local unions to withhold the label from such a firm.”
Stogie-makers and common workers in cigar factories and employes of the Cigar Trust are absolutely debarred from the union, and when they tried to organize under the American Federation of Labor they were refused a charter because the Cigar Makers’ International Union of America objected to its issuance. (See Proceedings of A. F. of L. Convention, held in Detroit, 1899). This is also true of the Tobacco Workers’ International Union into whose membership no employes of the Tobacco Trust may be admitted and whose regulations provide that whenever an independent union factory becomes absorbed by the trust the label shall be withdrawn and the employes either leave the factory or the union.
That the Cigar Makers’ International Union of America have the support of some manufacturers to the extent of the latter’s readiness to assist them in a strike against rival manufacturers is borne out by a statement in the Cigar Makers’ Official Journal, March, 1905, page 5, namely: Daniel S. Jacobs, writing from New York, sums up the method for fighting the trust through a strike of their employes and affirms that “the independent manufacturers would encourage the strike in every way. They could be relied upon for every possible support.”
The Cigar Makers’ Official Journal, December, 1903, publishes without editorial protest a letter from a cigar maker named David Goldstein in which the writer upholds the Boot and Shoe Workers’ Union of Lynn, Mass., for scabbing on the Knights of Labor cutters and avers that “the vital principle at stake, the maintenance of the contracts, of its integrity, forced the Boot and Shoe Workers’ Union to furnish men in the teeth of fierce opposition to fill the places of the K. of L. cutters who had quit work.”
Not only is scabbing thus endorsed in the interests of the sanctity of contract but it is also practised by the cigar makers themselves. In the well-known case of the Resistencia of Tampa and Key West, Florida, a militant working class organization, the Cigar Makers’ International Union of America, assisted the manufacturers to crush out of existence this admirably class conscious union.
Another organization which is even more notably in collusion with the employers than the Cigar Makers’ International Union of America is the United Garment Workers of America. In 1903 the Association of Manufacturers of Workingmen’s Garments met in Chicago to confer with officials of the United Garment Workers concerning the regulation of the prices of garments and the use of the union label. Agreements were made between the two contracting parties by which the union became the facile tool of the employers. On January 26th and 27th, 1904, the Association met again in New York. According to the Weekly Bulletin of the Clothing Trades, February 5, official organ of the United Garment Workers of America, “the chairman was Mr. H. S. Peters, a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen, and a manufacturer . It was voted by each firm to subscribe a liberal sum to the fund of the national union for advertising the union label and to assist the union in improving the quality of the goods bearing the label. One of the principal objects of the Association is to remedy selling abuses that create an injurious competition and the effects of which are to depress wages and make difficult an increase . Walter Charriere, president of the Shirt, Waist and Laundry Workers, spoke on the label of his union. He said that his union wanted the shirt, waist and laundry workers’ label to be placed on both working and dress shirts. He also stated that he had attended the convention for the purpose of trying to assist the manufacturers in preventing competition between those manufacturers using his label and the label of the U. G. W. of A. General Secretary White replied that his organization objected to a divided jurisdiction in one shop.” The convention then passed a resolution favoring the United Garment Workers of America as against the other union because its plans were ordered with a view to using the United Garment Workers for its own aggrandizement.
This jurisdiction fight occurred in Chicago, you will remember, when the so-called Independent Clothing Makers caused a lockout and the members of our class were clubbed on the street in battling with the police and lieutenants of the capitalist class, without knowing that they were hoodwinked.
At the annual convention of the Association of Overall Manufacturers using the union label held in New York, January, 1904, the general officers of the United Garment Workers were invited to participate in the work of the convention, and, according to the Weekly Bulletin of the Clothing Trades, the general secretary attended and delivered an address. A Baltimore manufacturer, Mr. Moses Morris, is quoted by the Bulletin as saying in the course of his address to the convention:
“I had a talk with Henry White, of the Garment Workers, in which he agreed with me that an organization of the manufacturers using the label could be made of great benefit to his organization as well, and that by concerted action a great many evils might be remedied, or at least lessened, and new evils prevented to a great degree . . . After all is said and done, none of us is more or less than a labor organizer himself, in the large sense, and I am proud of being able to term myself an organizer of labor, and I sincerely hope that those whom I have organized, with a view of producing certain articles economically and good, realize that in being one of their head workers I assume a great deal of responsibility that some labor organizers do not seem to realize.”
You find in one industry in the American Federation of Labor the organization has made a contract with the manufacturers for the use of the label on scab goods because the representative of the manufacturers was a personal friend of the executive head of the organization.
That this combination of worker and shirker is carried on in the interest of the latter is amply proved by the fact that the union label is used as an advertising agency for the manufacturer. Thus, according to the Bulletin of April 15, 1904:
“W. H. Scott, advertising manager of Sweet, Orr & Co., has organized a Union Label Advertising League, his mode of advertising being by public demonstrations in conjunction with those retail merchants who sell union made products. Exhibitions of labels and other union symbols are given in halls or theatres, and to this method is added street parades on a grand scale, with unique features.”
The union label, it will be observed, is practically the manufacturers’ label. In the account of the 1905 convention of the Union Made Garment Manufacturers of America the Weekly Bulletin of the Clothing Trades, under the title of Perfect Harmony with “Union Made” Firms, reports that “a uniform national scale for the overall trade is to be considered by a special committee and a committee of the union prior to the union’s convention. To cap the climax the manufacturers selected as their secretary and labor commissioner Walter Chuck, the well-known General Executive Board member of our international union.” And in rebuttal of a charge made by the Daily Trade Record the Bulletin avers that “the only hostility shown is toward those employers, label or non-label, who refuse to come up to the standards demanded equally and invariably of all manufacturers.” These standards you will perceive from what I have already said are measured by the selling price agreements of the union manufacturers.
The same “harmony of interests” conspiracy exists between the International Boot and Shoe Workers and the shoe manufacturers as evidenced in the business transactions of the international officers of that union in the last four years. Their official journal openly admits that the label should be issued to manufacturers at the discretion of the national officers, and that “the shoe worker must come to the realization of the fact that owing to existing conditions the majority of the manufacturers do not derive anywhere near as large a profit from their business as the manufacturers in other directions . . . The opponents of the present policy of the Boot and Shoe Workers’ Union claim that wages should be increased before the union stamp is issued. At the present time there is about as much sense in this as there would be in a shoe worker with a sturdy pair of legs buying crutches to navigate on, or taking a dose of Paris green for an invigorator.”
In the February, 1905, edition of the Boot and Shoe Workers’ Journal the following argument is made in favor of the manufacturer:
“The sentiment of the meeting of the manufacturers was that an advance in the selling price of shoes was absolutely necessary, not only in the welfare of the shoe manufacturers, but also the jobber and retailer. To this should be added the shoe workers. Unless the manufacturers get together and formulate some practical agreement or plan fixing a fair price for their product a large number of them must continue to operate their factories at a little above the expense of carrying on the business.”
There can be little doubt that a more or less formal agreement exists between the manufacturers and the union officials for the purpose of limiting the number of those manufacturers who may use the union stamp so that, with the aid of the union officials, any increased demand for union made shoes may redound to the profit of the manufacturers in the combination rather than to the enlargement of wages for the boot and shoe workers.
It is not overstepping the bounds of truth to say that, whatever crimes have been perpetrated against the workers by agents of the capitalist class in the ranks of labor, none is more atrocious than those committed by international officers of the Boot and Shoe Workers, notably by Tobin, their general president and a member of the Civic Federation; Eaton, their former secretary, Skeffington and Gordon—vampires all who fatten upon the life-blood of the toilers.
Now I will recall a case from memory because I have not the documents here. There is present at this convention as one of the delegates a man who was a victim in this case. Here comes the General Secretary of the Boot and Shoe Workers’ Union, offering the Hamilton-Brown factory to operate one of their non-union factories with union men, to show the manager of that firm after a certain lapse of time that shoes can be manufactured cheaper in union than in non-union factories, and the result showed that the cost under the agreement with the Boot and Shoe Workers’ organization, the wages of the slaves in the union factories, were less than where you have no organization. (Applause). And here are men in St. Louis thrown out on the street because, as letters in my possession from the Boot and Shoe Workers’ Union will prove, the officers insisted that the boot and shoe workers be not organized in St. Louis; and when the men in the factories insisted that they had a right to come together, and when they were forced to go on the street, it was the same Boot and Shoe Workers’ Union that filled the places of the men and crushed the spirit of those people.
If I had time to compile the facts I could show many instances where the organizations have been used as the instruments of the capitalist class against the interests of the toilers.
Now as to the indictment against the high initiation fee. Here comes over to this country a Bohemian by the name of Richard Czarniak, belonging for eleven years to the industrial unions of Germany, Switzerland, Bohemia, France, and Denmark, and everywhere recognized with his card as a glass blower. He comes upon the shores of this country, and being imbued with the class solidarity of the toilers and believing that the doors of the unions would be open to him, he applies for a job in a factory in New Jersey. The manufacturer tells him he can give him work, but before he can give him work he will have to apply for admission in the Green Bottle Blowers’ Union. He makes application for admission to an organization belonging to the American Federation of Labor, and the Vice President of the Federation sends a reply, and the letters are on file, that unless he pays down $500 as an initiation fee he will not be allowed to work, and that man has been made a scab because he could not get work under the union.
You go to the City of New York and you find unions charging $100 initiation fee, and you find also a press censorship against those who rebel against this condition of things. You find the National Civic Federation fostering this condition through the trade journals in the last few years, and through the trade unions of this land, including the machinists’ journals, annexed to the so-called literary education club of the Civic Federation, and dictating what should be admitted into the labor journals and what should be rejected.. A press censorship has been established in this country, not by the capitalist class, but by the lieutenants of the capitalist class in the labor ranks. (Loud applause). And when you realize that the Green Bottle Blowers’ organization could not exist except by the permission of the capitalists; when you realize the fact that the Annheuser Busch Brewing Company of St. Louis, was the first one that organized the Green Bottle Blowers in the belief that it would be a club which the American Federation of Labor could hold over the heads of other manufacturers of beer in this country by creating a monopoly through a $500 initiation fee; when you realize that the same Green Bottle Blowers’ organization is fighting against all inventions and fighting them if possible out of existence so as to uphold its monopoly of a $500 initiation fee, then you will see that it is you workers that are interested in the destruction of this condition.
I have letters from engineers and firemen who were driven out of their country over the sea, who were union men all their lives from the time they were eighteen years of age, and who tried to get positions in New York City with a good-standing card from the Socialist Labor Party of Bohemia, with a good-standing card in the union for twelve years, and on account of so-called restrictions in the license laws these same good revolutionary union men were denied the right to work in union factories. There are delegates on the floor of this convention that know these facts.
It was the realization of these facts, the realization of the many crimes perpetrated, a realization of facts that my own bitter experience can prove; when we see men and women of our class standing. in line fighting injunctions and detectives, and the labor leaders saying: “We will fill your places if you don’t go back to work”; and when we see them compelled to submit by the mandate of Samuel Gompers and the mandate of the American Federation of Labor, and forced to go back to work and lose their strike;—it is the realization of these facts that has forced men to become the enemies of the craft union movement. (Applause.)
In the Western Federation of Miners, it can be proved by uncontroverted evidence, that by collusion between Mr. Gompers and the Executive Board of the American Federation of Labor prior to the Cripple Creek disaster, it was decided to crush that Western Federation organization out of existence because it would not submit to the mandates of the Executive Council of the American Federation of Labor. (Applause). It can be proved that letters were sent to unions three years ago to withdraw support from the Western Federation of Miners. It can be proved that after the mine disaster in Independence Mr. Easley, of the Civic Federation, on behalf of the American Federation of Labor Executive Board, sent a telegram to Peabody, Governor of Colorado, ordering that no discrimination should be made against members of the American Federation of Labor. It is on record that Governor Peabody said, “We have no objection against organizations working in harmony with the capitalist class.” (Applause). They have no objections because they are practically auxiliaries of the capitalist class. But they must fight these revolutionary unions which stand and fight for something better for the working class; who believe not, as Mitchell believes, that the toiler should practically give up hope of ever bettering his present conditions, but which rather foster the idea that our mission is to free the working class from the bondage of wage slavery and do away with the henchmen of the capitalist class who are acting as the labor lieutenants of this land.
We have the evidence to back up, as this evidence has been collected, that every crime charged in the last five years can be proved. Here in the teamsters’ strike in Chicago a year prior, Mr. Shaw went to Chicago and threatened the common brewery workers that they would fill the places of the brewery workers if they should insist on demanding one dollar more wages. The threat was made in black and white that they would fill the places of the union men, and by that means the breweries were saved $850,000.
It is this indictment of the pure and simple craft union movement that has brought the men and women together to fight for a better organization, to struggle for a better economic organization that will, in conjunction with all that makes for progress, bring us to the desired goal where the workers will be free. (Prolonged applause.)
During the delivery of Secretary’s indictment, on motion of Delegate A. M. Simons, the speaker was granted unlimited time to complete his remarks.
During the address, also, Mother Jones was called to the chair, and presided during the remainder of the morning session.
At the conclusion of the address the convention adjourned until one o’clock.