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IWW History & Organizing

Books About the IWW

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  1. Hobohemia

    Hobohemia

    $12.00

    Emma Golman, Lucy Parsons, Ben Reitman & Other Agitators & Outsiders in 1920s/30s Chicago

    By Frank O. Beck; Introduction by Franklin Rosemont

    From the 1910s through the Depression 30s, when Chicago was the undisputed hobo capital of the United States, a small north side neighborhood known as Towertown was the vital center of an extraordinary cultural/political ferment. It was home to Bughouse Square (the nation's most renowned outdoor free-speech center), Ben Reitman's Hobo College, and the fabulous Dil Pickle Club, a highly unorthodox institution of higher learning that doubled as the craziest nightclub in the world.

    Frank O. Beck's Hobohemia contains a long-time Towertowner's vivid reminiscences of this colorful, dynamic, creative and radical community that flourished for a generation despite constant onslaughts from the Red Squad, the Vice Squad, bourgeois journalists, fundamentalists and other bigots.

    Originally published in 1956, Hobohemia has long been out of print and hard to find. This new edition is long overdue, for the book is still one of the best firsthand accounts of a unique place and time.

     

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  2. Left of the Left - My Memories of Sam Dolgoff

    Left of the Left - My Memories of Sam Dolgoff

    $22.00

    Sam Dolgoff (1902–1990) was a house painter by trade and member of the IWW from the early 1920s until his death. Sam, along with his wife Esther, was at the center of American anarchism for seventy years, bridging the movement's generations, providing continuity between past and present, and creating some of the most vital books and journals from the Great Depression through WWII, the Civil Rights era, and into the last decade of the century. This instant classic of radical history, written with passion and humor by his son, conjures images of a lost New York City, the faded power of immigrant and working-class neighborhoods, and the blurred lines dividing proletarian and intellectual culture. Learn More
  3. Oil, Wheat, & Wobblies

    Oil, Wheat, & Wobblies

    Regular Price: $35.00

    Special Price: $29.99

    Oil, Wheat & Wobblies: The Industrial Workers of the World in Oklahoma, 1905-1930 by Nigel Anthony Sellars

    The Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies, a radical labor union, played an important role in Oklahoma between the founding of the union in 1905 and its demise in 1930. In Oil, Wheat, & Wobblies, Nigel Anthony Sellars describes IWW efforts to organize migratory harvest hands and oil-field workers in the state and relationships between the union and other radical and labor groups such as the Socialist Party and the American Federation of Labor. Focusing on the emergence of migratory labor and the nature of the work itself in industrializing the region, Sellars provides a social history of labor in the Oklahoma wheat belt and the mid-continent oil fields. Using court cases and legislation, he examines the role of state and federal government in suppressing the union during World War I. Oil, Wheat, & Wobblies concludes with a description of the IWW revival and subsequent decline after the war, suggesting that the decline is attributable more to the union's failure to adapt to postwar technological change, its rigid attachment to outmoded tactics, and its internal policy disputes, than to political repression.

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  4. Radical Works for Rebel Workers: Best of the IW 2015

    Radical Works for Rebel Workers: Best of the IW 2015

    $7.00

    Radical Works for Rebel Workers is a hand-picked collection of contemporary writing and imagery from a diverse crowd for the annual Working Writers Contest of the IWW. This Bilingual booklet features 10 contemporary works dealing with sexism, organizing, labor history and how to be a lifelong wobbly. Get two, and remember: IWW literature is better shared with a fellow worker! Learn More
  5. Sister of the Road: The Autobiography of Boxcar Bertha

    Sister of the Road: The Autobiography of Boxcar Bertha

    $18.00

    Another raging slab of real American history you're not likely to find in the textbooks. It's a window into a wildly under-appreciated dropout culture that gets left out of the stultifying fairytales that pass for history books—a much more rowdy and messily interesting tradition than the guardians of propriety, steeped in those other great American traditions of Puritanism and hypocrisy, let on. Hobo jungles, bughouses, whorehouses, Chicago's Main Stem, IWW meeting halls, skid rows, and open freight cars—these were the haunts of the free thinking and free loving Bertha Thompson. This vivid autobiography recounts one hell of a rugged woman's hard-living depression-era saga of misadventures with pimps, hopheads, murderers, yeggs, wobblies, and anarchists. Learn More
  6. The Industrial Workers of the World: Its First 100 Years

    The Industrial Workers of the World: Its First 100 Years

    $15.00

    by Fred W. Thompson and Jon Bekken

    forward by Utah Phillips

    Many histories have been written of the Industrial Workers of the World, often called the Wobblies. Founded in 1905 in hopes of uniting the working class into One Big Union, the IWW promoted industrial organization at a time when craft unionism was the established pattern. The IWW welcomed all workers, regardless of ethnicity, race or gender when other unions boasted of their exclusionary policies. Its reliance on direct action on the job generated much of the strategy and tactics of the modern labor movement. Often referred to as the singing union, Wobblies wrote hundreds of labor songs and published millions of copies of their Little Red Songbook. The IWW's theme song, 'Solidarity Forever,' became the anthem of the entire American labor movement.

    The IWW: Its First 100 Years is the most comprehensive history of the union ever published. Written by two Wobblies who lived through many of the struggles they chronicle, it documents the famous struggles such as the Lawrence and Paterson strikes, the fight for decent conditions in the Pacific Northwest timber fields, the IWW's pioneering organizing among harvest hands in the 1910s and 1920s, and the wartime repression that sent thousands of IWW members to jail. But it is the only general history to give substantive attention to the IWW's successful organizing of African-American and immigrant dock workers on the Philadelphia waterfront, the international union of seamen the IWW built from 1913 through the 1930s, smaller job actions through which the IWW, Wobbly successes organizing in manufacturing in the 1930s and 1940s, and the union's recent resurgence. Extensive source notes provide guidance to readers wishing to explore particular campaigns in more depth. There is no better history for the reader looking for an overview of the history of the Industrial Workers of the World, and for an understanding of its ideas and tactics. Includes nearly 60 photographs and illustrations, and brief forward from Utah Phillips.

     

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  7. The Rise & Fall of the Dil Pickle Club

    The Rise & Fall of the Dil Pickle Club

    $15.00

    What do Lucy Parsons, Clarence Darrow, Carl Sandburg, Mary MacLane, Lawrence Lipton, Elizabeth Davis (Queen of the Hoboes), Jun Fujita, Sherwood Anderson, Ralph Chaplin, Katherine Dunham, Djuna Barnes, Kenneth Rexroth, Sam Dolgoff, and Slim Brundage have in common? They were all Dil Picklers! Founded in 1914 by former Wobbly Jack Jones, Irish revolutionist Jim Larkin, and a group of fantastic IWW-oriented Bughouse Square hobos and soapboxers, the Dil Pickle Club, in just a few years, was widely recognized as the wildest, most playful, most creative, and most radical nightspot in the known universe—especially after Dr. Ben Reitman joined the club in 1917. In this book, Franklin Rosemont has collected forty-one reminiscences of the Dil Pickle by poets, artists, journalists, novelists, hobos, scholars, anarchist, wobblies, and other assorted radicals and oddballs. This brand new edition (for 2013) includes an introduction by Paul Durica. Learn More
  8. The Union on Our Own Terms

    The Union on Our Own Terms

    $2.00

    This pamphlet is a compilation of the writings of Alexis Buss, who served as General Secretary-Treasurer of the Industrial Workers of the World from 2000 to 2005. These columns concerning minority unionism were originally written as articles for the IWW's newspaper, the Industrial Worker. Fellow Worker Joe Berry, an instructor at the University of Illinois in the Chicago Labor Education Program, put together the list of supplemental references. This pamphlet shows that a small group of workers, even a union of two, can effectively and unofficially keep the boss from putting his hand into our back pockets. Known as minority unionism, this method of winning better conditions is not about assuming strength in numbers or legal recognition, but in the solidarity of workers willing to act on their own behalf to gain controls over their jobs. Workers who recognize that their interests are distinct from those they work for will find this a historical, insightful, and most useful of all, a practical pamphlet to help them get around the more conventional methods of unionism that favor the bosses. Learn More

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