LaborArts


Cartoon art

Item no. 28184
June 1917
Collection: Other

'The Hand That Will Rule the World' by Ralph Chaplin, Solidarity, June 30, 1917.


According to IWW ideologues, industrial unionism was the logical outgrowth of modern economic development. The displacement of skilled workers by modern machinery and the monopolization of entire industries by trusts had made the practice of craft unionism obsolete. Industrial unionism aimed to reorganize labor in accordance with the scientific principles of capitalist development.

However, the IWW viewed industrial unionism as more than just an adjustment by labor to present conditions. It was also preparation for the future society the IWW intended to create. Industrial unionism provided a structural blueprint for the continuance of production following the overthrow of capitalism. Being organized industrially, a general strike initiated by the workers would lock out the employers and allow for the peaceful conquest of the means of production through which the workers would control industry and use the world's resources to benefit the many instead of enriching the few.

Thus, the IWW linked the everyday struggle for better working conditions with the revolutionary goal of overthrowing capitalism and creating what IWW general secretary Bill Haywood referred to as the "Workers' Co-operative Republic."

Illustration by Ralph Chaplin from the IWW publication Solidarity on June 30, 1917.

See this image in the Solidarity Forever: A Look at Wobbly Culture exhibit.


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