Hellraisers Journal: Big Bill Haywood on the A. F. of L., the I. W. W., and Class Struggle

Don’t Mourn, Organize!
-Joe Hill


Hellraisers Journal, Monday November 27, 1916
From the Review: Haywood on Revolutionary Industrial Unionism

From the International Socialist Review of November 1916:



(Note — The following letter was written by Fellow Worker Haywood, to a worker in Indiana. It so well explains the difference between craft and industrial unionism, that we reprint it here in full.)

Carlo Tresca & Big Bill Haywood, ISR, Oct 1916

YOU ask me to give you ten good reasons why any craft union should withdraw from the A. F. of L. Here they are:

If the membership of a craft union has no broader outlook on life than the narrow confines and limitations of their craft, there is no reason why they should withdraw from the American Federation of Labor, as that is the institution in which they belong.

But, if the membership of the said craft union has had experience and knocks enough to make them realize the class struggle that is going on every minute in present-day society, then there are reasons why they should change from the craft to the industrial form of organization.

1st. The modern method of production, new inventions and the development of machinery, has eliminated many craft unions. I have on my desk a glass paper weight, in which is a picture of the Owens Glass Bottle Blowing Machine. This machine has eliminated the trade or craftsman in that particular branch of industry. Other machines are doing the same thing in other lines.

2nd. The American Federation of Labor recognizes what does not exist, and that is mutual interest between capital and labor. The Industrial Workers of the World deny that there is any such mutual interest and reply that labor creates all wealth, some of which is converted into capital.

3rd. The American Federation of Labor asks for a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work. The Industrial Workers of the World demand the best wages paid, but wants wages abolished altogether and the worker to receive the full social value of his labor.

4th. The American Federation of Labor is a loosely constructed association of craft unions without common industrial and social interests. The Industrial Workers of the World are One Big Union of the working class, organized as the workers are assembled on the job in the industries without regard for state lines or national boundaries.

5th. The American Federation of Labor divides industries into small craft unions. The Industrial Workers of the World unites the crafts and trades into large industrial unions.

6th. The American Federation of Labor discriminates against women. The Industrial Workers of the World recognize women as industrial units and the cards they carry are the same as the men and are acceptable universally, transferring them into any branch of industry in which they may be employed.

7th. The American Federation of Labor refuses children admittance into their unions. The Industrial Workers of the World recognize children are doing much of the labor and carrying a great part of the burden of industry. We say that those who are old enough to work are old enough to say the conditions under which they shall work, whether they have passed an apprenticeship or not.

8th. The American Federation of Labor discriminates against the negro, the Asiatic and other foreigners. The Industrial Workers of the World freely admit the negro, barring neither race, color nor creed.

9th. The American Federation of Labor fosters the apprenticeship system and limits the number of boys that should learn a trade. The Industrial Workers of the World proclaim that every mother’s son and every mother’s daughter should have the privilege of learning applied mechanics, that they should be encouraged in acquiring such knowledge that will urge them into some vocation where they would produce things beneficial to society.

10th. The initiation of many of the unions affiliated with the A. F. of L. is prohibitive, made so to restrict membership. The Industrial Workers of the World say that membership in a class labor union is a necessity of life to a worker. Therefore it is fixed annually at $2.00.

11th. The American Federation of Labor, in some of its departments applied rigid examinations to applicants for membership. The Industrial Workers of the World has no such examinations, leaving it to the boss to discover his employe’s ability.

12th. The American Federation of Labor in all of its branches stands ready to divide against itself and enter into contracts and agreements with the employing class, thus dividing labor’s great force into smaller groups or sections. The Industrial Workers of the World recognize that these contracts are the death warrants of labor. No time agreement has ever been entered into by any part of the organization. The settlement of any difficulty between the workers and the employing class is but an armed truce. The workers organized are ever ready to take advantage of any situation that will improve their condition, and thru this kind of action, unity and solidarity, will emancipation be achieved.

13th. Some unions of the American Federation of Labor, when times are slack, close their books and refuse to accept new members. The roster of the Industrial Workers of the World is always open. New members are ever welcome.

These reasons will apply to nearly all kinds of crafts. These should be sufficient to convince a member of any craft union, but I know that they will not, as most craft unionists have the same psychology as small business men. They are getting a little more than the majority of the working class, and with this little improvement they are satisfied. They are craft conscious instead of class conscious.

[Photograph added.]

Also from the November Review-Ida Rauh on the Labor Defense:

The National Labor Defense Counsel


Ida Rauh, Wives Should Demand Wages, Akron Eve Tx, Dec 24, 1914

A PROMOTING committee consisting of Fremont Older, Helen Marot, Dante Barton, Lincoln Steffens and Ida Rauh has obtained the consent of the five following lawyers to form a National Labor Defense Counsel. They are: Frank P. Walsh, C. E. S. Wood, Edward P. Costigan, Austin Lewis and Amos Pinchot. These men are known thruout the whole country not only in their legal profession, but for the position they have taken in the struggle of labor against capitalist exploitation. The members of the counsel are serving without compensation.

In many legal cases Frank P. Walsh has acted as the unpaid counsel for labor, but it is as chairman of the Federal Commission on Industrial Relations and later as chairman of the Industrial Relations committee, organized to carry forward the recommendations of that commission, that his position is thoroly understood and his place as a leader nationally appreciated. C. E. S. Wood and Austin Lewis have become two of the leading legal advisers of the Pacific Coast. Edward P. Costigan was in charge of some of the most important legal developments of the great strike of the miners of Colorado in 1914. Amos Pinchot has spoken and written for labor in every industrial crisis that has arisen in the last few years.

It is the service of such men as these that the well organized unions command; it has been valuable to them not only in the defense of their members in court, but has brought their cases before the country and the labor world thru the attention they forced from the press.

In order to give the unorganized workers the advantages of the organized workers, the National Labor Defense Counsel has been formed. It is obviously impossible for the counsel to give personal attention to the innumerable cases which continuously arise. Therefore, the counsel proposes to employ a man who is intimately connected with the labor movement; who is competent to report situations to the counsel; who is able to carry out the advice of the counsel; employ local attorneys; who will represent the counsel locally, and who will raise the money for the conduct of the trials. To maintain such an agent in the field will need money.

The need of such a counsel has been recognized in scores of cases in the past few years, and the need is increasing. More and more the fate of a strike depends upon the abuse of the courts of their power, and this abuse is proportionate to the obscurity and helplessness of the victims. It is only necessary to name the most recent instances—Pittsburgh, Youngstown and Minnesota.

The existence of this counsel gives to every man and woman in the country who stands behind the unorganized workers a chance to make an investment where the returns to labor will be the greatest. All sympathizers of labor, all advocates of fair play in the courts, all members of well organized trades will make the work of this National Defense Counsel possible by becoming a subscribing member—by giving his share to the fund of $5,000 necessary to maintain the field work.

The individual subscription is not fixed at a definite sum. The Promotion committee believes that in a project as important as this is to the most helpless workers, if the sum be left to the decision of individuals, they will contribute more. The counsel are giving their service without compensation. You who cannot give such service can give money.

The Promotion committee will have no part in the administration of the National Defense Counsel but will continue to act as the executive of the sustaining membership fund, that is, it will resolve itself into a finance committee.

Remittances are to be sent to Ida Rauh, treasurer, 33 West 14th street, New York City.

In a letter directed to the counsel, Miss Rauh says:

At no time in the struggle of labor for justice has a defense against the abuses of the law been more needed than at present.

A sense of solidarity is beginning to express itself among organized workers and the unorganized are feeling the defenselessness of their position and are groping toward organization.

The unscrupulous power entrenched behind capital knows this and is using the force of the militia and the machine gun against them and the more insidious force of the law. Alien and unbelievable as it seems to the average American, who is remote from the struggle, the owning class can and does control the judicial powers, from the petty official to many of the judges themselves. In some cases unconsciously this is so; in many cases defiantly.

This method of justice, dictated by corrupt capitalists, gives the great corporations the power to defeat any effort of the workers to improve their conditions. They can arrest or kill any leader of the working class who has aroused their anger and then find sanction and justification in their own courts. This they are doing and doing it repeatedly. We must stop this.

For that reason the National Labor Defense Counsel has been formed. Help us to crush the forces that are trying to crush labor.

Address 33 West 14th street, New York City.


Socialism Made Easy, James Connolly, Ad, ISR, Nov 1916

[Photograph of Ida Rauh and emphasis added.]


The International Socialist Review, Volume 17
-ed by Algie Martin Simons, Charles H. Kerr
Charles H. Kerr & Company,
July 1916-June 1917
ISR Nov 1916
“Organize-Organize Right!” by William D. Haywood
National Labor Defense Counsel by Ida Rauh


Carlo Tresca & Big Bill Haywood, ISR, Oct 1916
Ida Rauh, Wives Should Demand Wages, Akron Eve Tx, Dec 24, 1914
Socialism Made Easy, James Connolly, Ad, ISR, Nov 1916

Ida Rauh, Married Clings to Maiden Name, OR Dly Jr, Dec 10, 1911

See also:

Tag: National Labor Defense Council

Ida Rauh

Ida Rauh was married to Max Eastman-
Ida Rauh, Married Clings to Maiden Name, OR Dly Jr, Dec 10, 1911

Max Eastman

James Connolly, Marxist Internet Archive

Socialism Made Easy by James Connolly


One Big Industrial Union – May Day Chorus of Asheville