Cartoon art

Item no. 28199
May 1937
Collection: Other

"Pointing the Way to Emancipation" by "Dust" Wallin, One Big Union Monthly, May 1937.

The IWW's anti-political stance derived from the Marxist notion that political power is the mirrored reflection of economic power. The capitalist class holds political power because it controls the means of production. Accordingly, Wobblies argued that before workers could become effective on the political field it must first organize on the economic field. The power of the worker lies in his/her power to produce wealth. Once workers organized and harnessed their collective labor power they could lock their capitalist masters out and produce wealth on their own terms.

In this cartoon an IWW organizer attempts to talk some sense into the self-proclaimed friends of labor. The socialist and communist together with the priest ("sky-pilot") and the anarchist all inhabit the realm of abstract, metaphysical philosophy. Wobblies believed that the problems of the working class could not be resolved through political reforms, appeals to the heavens or utopian dreams. Concrete economic conditions were the root of labor's exploitation. Only by directly taking control of industry could workers come to control the conditions under which they labor.

See other IWW tactics and stances as presented in cartoons like "The Only Tool That's Effective" and "Organize Where You Are Robbed". 

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

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