"High Spots" of the 13th IWW Convention (Part 2)
By Roy Brown, Industrial Pioneer, July 1921 pages 38 to 42, inclusive. Published by the Industrial Workers of the World
THE MORNING SESSION of the 10th day was taken up in debate over the changing of the universal initiation fee and dues. By a vote of 534 to 208, the present universal initiation fee of $2.00 and $1.00 a month dues still stands.
The afternoon session was taken up by the report of the Auditing Committee, who brought in a statement that they had found all accounts correct and in good shape.
During the morning session of the 11th day the following resolutions were adopted:
"Resolved, that all Branch Defense Committees shall become a part of the General Defense Committee and shall render monthly financial reports to the main office with expense vouchers attached." Committee concurs.
"Resolved, that all stamps, bail and bond receipt books, donation lists, or any other method of raising money shall be issued by the General Defense through the branches and districts." Committee concurs.
"Resolved, that all credentials used for the purpose of raising funds shall bear the seal of the General Defense Committee and the signature of the secretary." Committee concurs.
"Resolved, that all lawyers shall be paid through the General Defense Office only." Committee concurs.
"Resolved, that all defense and relief stamps, donation lists, and bail and bond receipt books now in circulation be declared void and called in." Committee concurs.
"Resolved, that a Rehabilitation Fund be started to insure to those who have served sentences enough money to enable them to recuperate. These funds to be derived from donations and the residue of uncalled for money in the present bail and bond fund." Committee concurs.
"Resolved, that all those who go property bonds on any member of the I. W. W. be notified that the I. W. W. will not be responsible unless agreement is reached between those placing the property bond and the General Defense Committee." Committee concurs.
"Resolved, that the rules regulating the relationship of the branches of the General Defense Committee with the head office be left to the G. E. B. and the General Defense Committee acting as a joint body." Committee concurs.
On the afternoon of the 11th day, the following was concurred in:
"Resolved, that we go on record of leaving the matter of dues and initiations in foreign countries where the I. W. W. are organizing, to their own familiar conditions." Committee concurs.
A resolution was passed that the G. E. B. be instructed to change the design and color of due stamps, general defense stamps and organization stamps once a year. Design of each stamp to contain the year in which stamp is to be used.
A Pan-American Industrial Conference
"Resolved, that we go on record as being in favor of the General Secretary-Treasurer and the G. E. B. of the I. W. W. calling a conference as soon as conditions will allow, of all revolutionary industrial organizations on the American continent, and especially those which are inclined to break away from the old craft form of organization. The fact that an economic conference is being held somewhere in Europe is no reason why we on the American continent should not hold an economic conference to try and outline a program of organization in which all the workers shall come together with one aim, one principle and one object for the abolition of wage slavery." The committee concurs.
"Resolved, that the G. E. B. must relieve at once editors of our papers and magazines who do not uphold the revolutionary principles of the I. W. W." Committee concurs.
During the morning of the 12th it was decided to hold one of the G. E. B. members over for a period of 30 days to function with the new G. E. B. The following resolutions were also adopted:
"Resolved, that the next general convention be held on the second Monday of November, 1922, a special convention to be called if necessary."
"Resolved, that the G. E. B. be requested to get out the minutes of the 1919 and 1920 general conventions in book form at once, also be requested to have minutes of 1921 convention put in book form and circulated among the membership. Committee recommends that 1919 and 1920 general convention minutes be printed just as soon as finances will permit."
"On calling in and destroying the Finnish translation of the pamphlet 'The I. W. W., Its Principles, Objects and Methods,' by John Sandgren. Committee recommends that this resolution be turned over to the G. E. B. for immediate action, and that they make the necessary corrections, etc., to cover same."
The afternoon session was taken up after the following resolution was adopted:
Resolved, that we insert in Art. 2, Sec. 4, under duties of the Secretary-Treasurer: 'Except in case he shall resign or be removed, if he does vacate office longer than a period of two weeks, except in case of sickness or being in jail, his place shall be filled by the chairman of the G. E. B." Committee does not concur.
In the discussion of the proposition of accepting records of paid-up union cards and outside unions in lieu of initiation fee of the I. W. W., it was finally decided that the records are not to be taken unless authorized by the G. E. B., or Industrial Union G. O. C.'s.
Convention Favors the Six-Hour Day
During the morning session of the 13th day there was a lengthy discussion about getting out literature advocating the 6-hour day as a means to fight unemployment. The Convention passed a resolution as being in favor of it.
It was also resolved that continuation cards be issued only by the headquarters of the industrial unions.
The following resolution was rejected:
"Resolved, that in the future a description of the delegate be placed on the credentials, thus enabling a member to see at a glance that the person carrying credentials is a duly authorized delegate. This description should include some distinguishing mark."
A General Propaganda Bureau
During the afternoon session the following resolutions were adopted:
"Resolved, that our delegates to the Convention will impress the urgent need of organization among the construction workers in the East; that we must get organizers as soon as possible."
"Resolved, that the G. E. B. shall establish a General Propaganda Bureau, which shall consist of the editors of the organization publications, who shall be appointed by and be responsible to the G. E. B. The General Propaganda Bureau shall convene at least semi-monthly to discuss and act upon the maintenance and promotion of the various publications, pamphlets, and literature in general. At these meetings different issues of a conflicting nature shall be decided upon, and not in the columns of our press. The General Propaganda Bureau shall be assisted in its work by a propaganda committee of each paper, but said committee shall not interfere with the regular functions of the industrial unions, such as handling of initiations, dues, assessments, delegate reports, routing of organizers, etc. The General Propaganda Bureau shall be responsible for the management of the organization publishing plant. The G. E. B. shall appoint a general propaganda secretary, who shall have supervision over the affairs that come under the jurisdiction of the General Propaganda Bureau."
"Resolved, that the Convention of Lumber Workers' Industrial Union No.120 submit to the annual Convention of the I. W. W. for them to consider the endorsing of the Work People's College as an institution of learning, and to determine more specifically to what extent the I. W. W. as an organization can finance, control and make public the Work People's College, which is now maintained by a small group of I. W. W.'s." Committee concurs, and recommends that we give publicity through our I. W. W. publications for the Work People's College of Duluth, Minnesota.
"Resolved, that as all literature got out by the I. W. W. is for the purpose of education and not for profit, it be sold at as near cost as possible."
Preamble to Be Translated Into Japanese
The morning session of the 14th day was taken up in devising ways and means to produce new literature and to discontinue some of the old. It was recommended that the Preamble and Constitution, and an explanation of them, be translated into the Japanese language, and that new literature dealing with the general construction, railroad, and coal mining industries be put out.
Some of the old literature on hand was ordered to be given away free.
Industrial Departments Voted Down
The afternoon session was taken up in discussing the changing of the constitution in regard to the departments.
The following resolution caused much discussion, but was rejected:
"Resolved, that an Industrial Department shall consist of Industrial Unions of closely kindred industries appropriate for representation in the Departmental Administration. As soon as two or more Industrial Unions in closely related industries see fit, they shall proceed to call a convention of those Industrial Unions and organize themselves as an Industrial Department of the Industrial Workers of the World, as hereinafter outlined. A Departmental Administration may be formed in any part of the I. W. W., providing it is ordered done by the membership of such Department, as hereinafter provided.
"Any two or more Industrial Unions may form a Departmental Administration regardless of size of membership; when such action is desired by a group of members in one existing Industrial Union, they shall meet and draw up resolutions and send out call for seconds to the membership of their respective Industrial Unions in their Department. Upon receiving sufficient seconds the General Office of the I. W. W. shall submit a referendum to the members of the Department calling for such, the referendum to be voted on only by the members of said Department.
"If the members of the Department decide by referendum upon a Departmental Administration, the Chairman of the G. E. B. of the I. W. W. shall immediately call a convention of said Department.
"The delegates to such convention shall, after agreeing upon all fundamental points, proceed to draw up such by-laws and rules as may be deemed necessary and practical in their particular Department, they shall nominate the officials of the Departmental Administration, which same shall consist of one Secretary-Treasurer, one Chairman, and Department Organization Committee. The size of the Committee, its duties and salary, as well as basis of representation of the Industrial Unions on Committee, shall be determined by the Department Convention, all subject to a referendum vote of the entire membership of the Department.
"Said Departmental Convention and Administration shall pass no legislation contrary to the General Constitution of the I. W. W., and shall at all times be subordinate to the G. E. B. and the General Convention of the I. W. W.
"Sections 3 and 5 in Article 1 to be stricken out concurringly."
The following resolutions were adopted:
"Resolved, that the committee recommends that all delegates representing the I. W. W. in foreign countries shall be credentialed by the G. E. B. and the credentials must bear the signature of the General Secretary-Treasurer and the Chairman of the G. E. B."
Philadelphia Branch Given 90 Days' Grace
"Resolved, that we instruct the G. E. B. to give the Philadelphia Branch of M. T. W. I. U. No. 510, Local 8, ninety days to comply with terms laid down by the Convention, and thereafter start a branch of I. U. 510 in Philadelphia, and transfer all members of the old branch who agree to abide by the constitution."
On the morning of the 15th day the following motions were carried:
"Resolved, that all seamen taken in by Philadelphia Branch No. 510, Local 8, under the universal initiation fee of $2.00 and monthly dues of $1.00, before the expiration of the 90 days allowed Philadelphia Branch No. 510, Local 8, to conform to constitution, be eligible to transfer into the I. W. W."
"Resolved, that no more supplies be furnished Philadelphia Branch No. 510, Local 8, while they stand suspended. Any Secretary, G. O. C. member, or other member of the I. W. W. furnishing them any supplies to be expelled." Carried.
The Industrial Pioneer Put on a Returnable Basis
"Resolved, that the price of the magazine (Industrial Pioneer) remain at 25c., and the magazine to be furnished the news dealers on returnable basis."
"Resolved, that we substitute for Art. 6, Sec. 4. in the general constitution: 'Industrial Union Secretaries shall give a statement on their monthly financial report of their indebtedness to all industrial unions, general headquarters, general defense cornmittee and all subordinate parts of the I. W. W., and remit all indebtedness at the end of each month. Any unit of the I. W. W. who fails to do so at the end of ninety days (three months) is hereby declared delinquent and the G. E. B. must regulate the financial affairs of the delinquent unit until their accounts are paid.'
Moved by Bare, seconded by White, that we concur with the resolution.
Moved by Craig, seconded by Murray, that we amend the last sentence to read, 'Any unit of the I. W. W. who fails to do so at the end of ninety days (three months) is hereby declared on an unsound basis and the G. E. B. must regulate the financial affairs of the unit until the accounts are paid." Amendment carried.
Next, the following resolutions were passed:
"Resolved, that the G. E. B. be instructed to install a budget system in General Headquarters."
"Resolved, that this body go on record in favor of the sustaining fund for the Industrial Research Bureau."
Moved by Sigal, seconded by Archibald, that we concur with the resolution.
Moved by Craig, seconded by Monoek, that the resolution be amended to read that all money expended on a Bureau of Research must come from voluntary contributions and not from the funds of the organization." [sic] Amendment carried.
After the above resolutions were adopted the Convention adjourned early to allow the Trial Committee to investigate the bonds of those bond holders who had forfeited them on account of some I. W. W. class war prisoners not returning back to the penitentiary.
During the morning session of the 16th day the Trial Committee brought in the following report with recommendations, that were concurred in by the Convention:
"On bonds forfeited by Haywood and Rothfisher: The Committee wishes to report that we went to lawyer Otto Christensen's office at 8:30 P. M. and interviewed him in regards to the property that was put up as bail on Leavenworth prisoners. We found that certain individuals had signed a writ of indemnity (dated April 23rd, 1919), to guarantee any loss which might be sustained by William Bross Lloyd in furnishing bail for Haywood and 37 other prisoners, including Rothfisher.
"The names of those who signed the writ were as follows:
George F. Vanderveer $10,000.00
Otto Christensen 5,000.00
C. E. Payne 1,000.00
John Burke 5,000.00
John Korpi 500.00
Tom Doyle 1,200.00
James Scott 1,000.00
Arthur Proctor 1,000.00
Roscoe Tobias 1,000.00
T. V. Cooper 1,000.00
"We found that William Bross Lloyd together with Mary E. Marcy furnished property bonds to secure $4,500.00 on Haywood, also that Lloyd furnished property bonds to the amount of $5,000.00 on Chas. Rothfisher.
"On further inquiring we found that Otto Christensen and friends had deposited $3,500.00 in Liberty Bonds on Haywood, and that Chas. Kerr and Co. furnished property bonds to cover $2,000.00, making a grand total loss of $15,000.00 on Haywood and Rothfisher.
"We find that Howe, who is Secretary to Lloyd, is of the opinion that those who signed this writ of indemnity were representing the organization in doing so, also that Christensen holds this opinion.
"The Committee recommends, inasmuch as these bondsmen consider the organization as being responsible for any loss to them, that Bross Lloyd, Mary E. Marcy and Otto Christensen and friends be compensated as soon as finances permit.
Walter Smith, Tom Connors,
E. W. Latchem, Joe Monoek,
Charles Craig, Charles J. Miller."
In the afternoon session the following resolution was adopted:
"Whereas, the convention of the M. M. W. I. U. No. 440 has gone on record for the Department Administration, followed by a like action in the conventions of F. W. I. U. No. 460 and P. & F. W. I. U. No. 450, be it hereby resolved, that the G. E. B. be instructed to issue a referendum to the Department of Manufacturing and General Production No. 400 on the question of a departmental administration for department No. 400. The department administration to function as outlined in Solidarity No. 116, issue of January 22nd, 1921."
Greetings from the Workers' Committee Movement of Great Britain
A letter from the Workers' Committee Movement of Great Britain was read and accepted by a unanimous vote. The letter follows:
"To the I. W. W. Convention from the Workers' Committees of Great Britain. May the 6th, 1921.
"To the revolutionary proletarian fighters of the I. W. W. in Congress we convey our revolutionary greetings:
"Fellow Workers, you are met in Congress in an age of remarkable revolutionary activities, when the working masses of the world are being forced to a world-wide struggle and when our class enemies are becoming increasingly savage in their attacks upon the workers. This intensification of savagery is no longer confined to particular countries. It is now extensive and general. A few years ago the I. W. W. was almost an isolated body, suffering terrific onslaughts from the class-conscious employers, who did not hesitate to attack you with every conceivable weapon.
"With the advent of the Russian Revolution and the triumph of the Russian Proletariat, your isolation is forever gone. We have entered the epoch of the World Revolution. With the crash of a capitalist peace the workers of every country west of Russia are thrust into the economic mess from which the capitalists can find no way out. In this situation we revolutionary workers have special functions to perform and a special role to fulfill. We are the advance guard of the industrial organization and must accordingly accept the full responsibility of such a position.
"We believe that the Workers' Committee Movement of Britain has accepted its full responsibilities, both nationally and internationally. In the present industrial struggles in this country we are working with might and main to extend the strike of the miners, believing by these means we intensify the growth of class solidarity and bring our fellow workers to face, through experience, the class challenge to the capitalist state. In this struggle we do not hesitate to co-operate with the Communist Party or other revolutionary bodies which are waging revolutionary struggle. Internationally we have declared ourselves with the Russian Proletariat, and have unhesitatingly allied to the Russian Trade Unions in the Red Industrial International. We have responded to their call for an International Congress of revolutionary industrial organizations and are sending delegates to the Congress.
"Fellow Workers, we believe we have much in common with the I. W. W. We believe that every industrial organization responding to the call of the Red International has much in common with you and us. We are confident that to fail in response to the call of the Red International would be to fail in our loyalty to the Russian workers. We, therefore, in sending our delegate to your Congress, appeal to you to rally with us to the Congress of July 1st, 1921, and help to fashion an industrial international weapon capable of carrying the workers' international struggle to victory.
"Yours, on behalf of the National Workers' Committee Movement,
J. R. Campbell."
Fraternal delegate Jack Tanner made a report, the import of which appeared in the previous issue of this magazine.
A discussion took place on establishing a clearing house for the organization, which resulted in the following action being taken:
"Resolved, that the General Headquarters be the clearing house for all supplies, and that sub-stations be set up where necessary, and numbered as branches, and to issue supplies to all industrial unions in that given locality and the same to be under the jurisdiction of Joint Organization Committees, and as supplies are issued to branches of the different industrial unions, said supplies as issued will be charged to same. And that expense of same be paid on the pro-rata basis of actual receipts for organization."
"Resolved, that when an industrial union notifies Clearing House to cut off supplies from any subordinate part of the industrial union, and such supplies are not cut off, the industrial union shall not have to pay for them."
Letter to Workers' Committee Movement
The following communication was drawn up and sent to the Workers' Committee:
"To the National Workers' Committee Movement of Great Britain: Fellow Workers:
"Your communication conveying revolutionary greetings to the 13th Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World was received by a unanimous vote.
"We are agreed with you that our common enemy is 'World Capitalism.' We therefore extend the hand of International Solidarity for the purpose of eliminating the parasite class and establishing an Industrial International of the World's Workers for the benefit of the working class.
'Yours for Industrial Freedom,
Industrial Workers of the World.
Walter Smith, Chairman of Convention.
Tom Wallace, Recording Secretary."
The rest of the forenoon was taken up in going through resolutions and suggestions that had been previously acted upon.
During the afternoon session a motion was made and carried that monthly educational features covering different industrial unions be run in the official bulletin, parallel with the structure of the I. W. W., technical routine work, etc.
Educational Workers' Industrial Union No. 630
The following resolutions were also concurred in:
"Whereas, it has been the policy of the members of the different industrial unions to line up their mothers and wives into the industrial union in which the members themselves are organized, regardless of whether their mothers and wives work in that industry or not, and
"Whereas, by doing this we are misdirecting a lot of useful energy, due to the fact that these mothers and wives of wage workers have no function to perform in the industry in which they do not work and consequently cannot understand how to best function in the affairs pertaining to that industry, and
"Whereas, primarily the mothers and wives are now functioning through the schools' bi-monthly mother meetings, which are being conducted as regular business meetings, and
"Whereas, the mothers and wives of members have a function to perform in the I. W. W., and can perform that function more effectively when they are placed in proper industrial unions, and
"Whereas, the function of the Educational Workers' Industrial Union No. 630 is the physical and mental development of children,
"Therefore be it resolved, that the I. W. W. place this important energy of the mothers and wives of I. W. W. members into the Educational Workers' Industrial Union No. 630, so they can function under their natural environment, the same as other industrial workers."
Other Important Resolutions
"Resolved, that we recommend to the G. E. B. that a committee be formed of I. U. Secretary-Treasurers and G. O. C. Chairmen to work as an advisory committee to the G. E. B."
"Resolved, that we instruct the G. E. B. to take steps to find ways and means of establishing an I. W. W. school for the promotion of the educational training of job delegates, organizers and speakers for the General Organization."
Nomination of Officers
The next order of business was the nomination of officers. Roy Brown was nominated and elected to function for a period of 30 days after the expiration of his term with the newly elected members of the General Executive Board.
John Grady, Tom Doyle and George Bradley were nominated as candidates to go on the ballot for General Secretary-Treasurer. After this the Convention adjourned, singing "Hold the Fort."