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IWW History & Organizing

Books About the IWW

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  1. Always On Strike

    Always On Strike

    $16.00

    Frank Little is considered by some to be the greatest organizer produced by the U.S. labor movement, and yet precious little has been written about the famous Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) agitator. Little was a key leader of the country’s first free speech fights, organized a number of mass strikes, and was considered such a threat to corporate interests that he was lynched by company thugs for decry attempts at strike breaking. Police and government officials not only turned a blind eye to his murder, they later used his words and actions to justify a campaign to scapegoat and persecute other members of the IWW. Always on Strike chronicles and critically engages with Little’s exploits in hopes of exposing a new generation of radicals to his life, legacy and politics. Learn More
  2. 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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  3. How to Fire Your Boss: A Worker's Guide to Direct Action

    How to Fire Your Boss: A Worker's Guide to Direct Action

    $3.00

    "The indignity of working-for-a-living is well-known to anyone who ever has. Democracy, the great principle on which American society is supposedly founded, is thrown out the window as soon as we punch the time clock at work. With no say over what we produce, or how that production is organized, and with only a small portion of that product's value finding its way into our paychecks, we have every right to be pissed off at our bosses. "Ultimately, of course, we need to create a society in which working people make all the decisions about the production and distribution of goods and services. Harmful or useless industries, such as arms and chemical manufacturing, or the banking and insurance scams, would be eliminated. The real essentials, like food, shelter, and clothing, could be produced by everyone working just a few hours each week. "In the meantime, however, we need to develop strategies that both prefigure this utopia AND counteract the day to day drudgery of contemporary wageslavery.…" Learn More
  4. Joe Hill: The IWW and the Making of a Revolutionary Workingclass

    Joe Hill: The IWW and the Making of a Revolutionary Workingclass

    $20.00

    Joe Hill: The IWW and the Making of a Revolutionary Workingclass Counterculture - By Franklin Rosemont - Bughouse Square Series.

    JOE HILL (1877-1915) is the best-known figure in the heroic history of the Indus trial Workers of the World (a.k.a. Wobblies). U.S. labor's most worldrenowned martyr and celebrated songwriter, he is remembered above all for his songs in the Little Red Song Book 'The Preacher and the Slave' ('Pie in the Sky'), 'Mr Block,' 'There Is Power in a Union,' and many more that are still popular on picketlines today.

    Franklin Rosemont's important new book presents a fresh and in-depth study of the life and work of the famous Wobbly bard, and of the revolutionary counterculture he came to personify.

    Examining Hill's status as a 'near-mythic' figure in history as well as his enormous influence-on Wob artists; other radicals, songwriters, and poets; on movements as varied as the 1910s Chicago Renaissance and the 1950s Beat Generation-Rosemont also examines the many appearances by Hill and the IWW in popular culture, including mass-market mysteries, science-fiction, and rock'n'roll. In chapters on 'The Hobo Contribution to Critical Theory,' 'Wobblies Against Whiteness,' 'Forerunners of Earth First! and Eco-Socialism,' and 'Surrealism, Wobbly Style' he argues that Hill's legacy -the profound but playful old-time Wobbly counterculture-is still the 'most important inspiration and model for a new revolutionary movement' today.

    'The fine chapter on Hill's involvement in the Mexican Revolution is alone well worth the cover price.... No doubt about it: This is the best book ever written about Joe Hill.'
    --Utah Phillips
    'In these 600-plus pages there is not one bit oftedious reading. This is an important book.'
    --Industrial Worker
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  5. 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
  6. Memoirs of a Wobbly

    Memoirs of a Wobbly

    $7.00

    by Henry E. McGuckin

    Published here for the first time, this lively narrative by old-time Wobbly Henry McGuckin (1893-1974) is not like any other book on the Industrial Workers Of The World. Although 'Mac' knew and worked with many of the best-known Wobblies - Big Bill Haywood, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Frank Little and others - his purpose here is not to discuss prominent personalities or world-famous events, but rather to tell of the unsung tens of thousands of militant working men and women who, in the 1910s, made the IWW one of the grandest labor organizations the world has ever seen. Here at last is the Wobblies' inside story: how they lived and worked and hoboed; how they organized; how they ran their legendary strikes and free-speech fights; how they went about 'fanning the flames of discontent' each and every day all across America. Packed with invaluable firsthand information unavailable anywhere else, this splendid, compact chronicle of a rank-and-filer's exciting adventures fighting for working class emancipation takes its place among America's labor classics. Also included are a 1914 article by McGuckin from the International Socialist Review, and a sketch of the author's later life by his son, Henry McGuckin Jr.

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  7. 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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  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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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