Preamble to the IWW Constitution

What is the Preamble?

The IWW Preamble is the union’s statement of its core principles and basic political philosophy.

Our vision is simply stated: we want to organize the working class into a powerful, unstoppable labor movement that helps us build a new world. The Preamble has rarely been amended, and most of its current language dates back to the IWW’s first constitution ratified in 1905. But it is also a product of its time: the language may seem unfamiliar or awkward. There are many terms which need explanation. Our Annotated Preamble puts this document into its historical context so that it can be more widely understood and is intended for new members of the IWW, workers who are considering joining, and those who are not familiar with concepts like class struggle, capitalism, and revolutionary unionism.

The Preamble

The working class and the employing class have nothing in common.

There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.

Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organise as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the earth.

We find that the centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands makes the trade unions unable to cope with the evergrowing power of the employing class. The trade unions foster a state of affairs which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trade unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers.

These conditions can be changed and the interest of the working class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry, or in all industries if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all.

Instead of the conservative motto, ‘’A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work,” we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, ‘’Abolition of the wage system.”

It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organised, not only for everyday struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.


Contact the IWW’s Organizing Department and take one of your first steps towards unionizing your workplace!
We’ll send you a follow-up email as soon as possible.


By providing your mobile number you consent to receive cell phone and text communications from the IWW. You can unsubscribe at any time by texting STOP.

Your response is sent to the IWW North American Regional Administration’s Organizing Department. If you’re outside of the United States, Canada, or Mexico, look at our union directory for IWW contacts in other regions.