Direct Action and Sabotage
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Three Classic IWW Pamphlets from the 1910s
By Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Walker C. Smith & William E. Trautman
PM Press & Charles H. Kerr Publishing
These IWW pamphlets from the 1910s are reprinted here to reaffirm the IWW spirit of rank-and-file initiative and solidarity at a time when direct-action tactics are again stimulating debate. Action on the part of indigenous peoples throughout the world, anti-racists, environmental groups such as Earth First!, animal rights activists, the homeless, computer hackers, pirate radio broadcasters, as well as self-organization by rank-and-file workers and community struggles for self-determination are again challenging us to rethink these tactics.
‘Direct Action & Sabotage’ (1912) by William Trautman, ‘Sabotage: It’s History, Philosophy And Function’ (1913) by Walker Smith, and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn’s ‘Sabotage: The Conscious Withdrawal Of The Workers’ Industrial Efficiency’ (1916), edited, and with an introduction by Salvatore Salerno. “The activist authors of the text s in this collection challenged the prevailing stereotype….As they point out, the practice of direct action, and of sabotage, are as old as class society itself, and have been an integral part of the everyday worklife of wage-earners in all times and places. To the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) belongs the distinction of being the first workers’ organization in the US to discuss these common practices openly, and to recognize their place in working class struggle. View direct action and sabotage in the spirit of creative nonviolence, Wobblies readily integrated these tactics into their struggle to build industrial unions.”
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