Cartoon art

Item no. 28189
June 1924
Collection: Other

'When the Giant Rests' by Anonymous, Industrial Pioneer, June 1924.

"When the Giant Rests" is a vivid representation of what would occur if labor became conscious of its collective power and refused to work to fill the pockets of exploiting capitalists. When the giant, Labor, decides to put down its tools and rest, society falls into chaos and disarray. The trains, the docks, the mines, and the factories are paralyzed. Production, communication, life itself has come to a halt. The author of this work drives home the absolute dependence of society upon labor and thereby illustrates the inherent power which lies in the concept of the general strike.

The general strike held a high prominence in Wobbly ideology as the recipe for revolution. IWW ideologues viewed the general strike as the peaceful overtaking of the means of production achieved through the paralyzing of industry which occurs when workers simply fold their arms. The general strike was the most effective application of the concept of passive resistance. It was a revolution which resulted from putting down tools rather than picking up arms. Violence was not necessary. Violence was a sign of weakness, the tool of the capitalist state. Bill Haywood spoke of "a new kind of violence, the havoc we raise with money by laying down our tools."

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

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