Monday, September 2, 2019

World War I and the Domestic Casualty of the Industrial Workers of the World :: World History Workers Work Essays

World War I and the Domestic Casualty of the Industrial Workers of the World The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) worked in the early 20th century to organize all labor to collectively strive for the interests of labor and in order to create a more democratic society, in spite of possible resistance from the interests of capital and the repercussions that were to occur in reaction to organizing (Bird et al 1). Although, in a mostly defunct form, it still exists today as an international labor union, the height of the labor movement occurred towards the mid-late 1910’s, with the practical demise of its influence occurring during the time in which the United States entered into the First World War (Bird et al 4). Persecution and physical harassment by the federal government, the exercising of the force of legal rational authority by state governments, cultural hostility toward the IWW, and internal quarrels of leadership and indecision in the IWW were the key factors that lead to the downfall of the Wobblies. The burden placed on common workers at the turn of the century, whether in industry or agriculture, was great. A mass of surplus labor at this time, literally â€Å"millions of laborers†, (Bird et al 3) had created a situation in which the private owners of the means of production could exercise a great deal of economic power over individual workers. While jobs were relatively few, unemployed job seekers and drifters were many. Thus, using the capitalist values of the marketplace, the market value of the commodity of labor was generally very low, and the workers, each individually powerless against the strength of employers, were, when fortunate enough to land a job, given subsistence level wages while oft working under very hazardous work conditions. While owners were securing what is perhaps the greatest interest of capital, profit, workers were coerced by the situations of reality to sell their labor to merely attempt to survive. Under the desperate drive of many hungry stomachs and desolate lives, workers saw a need to organize, giving rise to labor several labor movements. One of the most prominent and perhaps most radical and revolutionary of the movements was the IWW. The Wobblies, as they would become more commonly known, were officially formed on June 27, 1905. (Bird et al 2) The IWW was founded in the aftermath

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