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Chicago IWW

1700 S Loomis St
Chicago,  IL 60608

Phone: not available

Chicago IWW


Working people have only one real option in today’s economy. We have to resist, with all our might, the big business program of further and deeper poverty for working people.

For the first time in modern history profits are going up while wages and benefits are going down. In the past the two have always been tied, however unequally. Now the game has changed. Worse impoverishment and more of it is the wave of the future if we don’t stand against the tide. The working conditions we see today in Asia and Central America are a good indication of the future of our own working lives in the “Western Democracies.”

We have only one hope of fending off this tidal wave of misery. That hope, that tool, is solidarity. Every working stiff must stand up for every other working stiff, no matter where you live or where you come from, no matter if you are male or female, young or old, we must stand together. Every loss to any worker is a loss to us all, and every gain by any part of the working class is a victory for us all.

We must stand together. We must refuse to handle scab goods, to buy scab products, to cross the picket line. We must extend our hands across the borders and across the seas. We must support each worker’s struggle as if it were our very own because that is exactly what it is.
Together we can win. Together we can make this world a better place to live, to raise our children, to spend our old age.

Direct Action

Direct action can be defined as the use of any tool, tactic or strategy that you can control yourself. It means using tactics, which directly address your problem. It’s straightforward and simple and you can trust it. It succeeds or fails according to how good your idea is, how forcefully it is applied, how appropriate it is to the situation.

Voting for candidates who promise to fix your problems for you is not direct action. To strike, to slow down, to sit down on the job are direct actions. To symbolically protest for the purpose of getting press coverage, in hopes that it will build support or sympathy for your cause is not direct action, no matter what the tactics of your protest may be. To walk the picket line with a fellow worker from a different trade, from a different shop, from a different nation is direct action.

It takes only the briefest glance at history to see that what is given to us can be taken away. The only gains we can hope to hold are those that we take and defend with our own hands and hearts. Those crumbs that are thrown to us from time to time by the rich and their government are always taken back.

The government serves the interest of the ruling class, and will always do so. We can expect the same from them in the future as we have gotten so far, a sop once in awhile perhaps, to confuse us and weaken our resolve, but mostly the boot, the club, and the clanging of cell doors. Direct action plus solidarity equals success.

The only tactics of struggle and defense that we can trust are those that we, the working people, control. Direct action gets the goods. To
defend ourselves we need to stand together and stand up for ourselves.

Every Worker Needs a Union

In recent years union membership has steadily dropped. It’s no real wonder, given the bureaucratic nature of the union movement and the frequency of sellouts, that most working people today don’t have much faith in the union. How could we?

Nonetheless, the need still exists for a working class organization to defend and further the interest of the working people at their jobs. That’s union. We need it. Nobody is going to stand up for us. The political parties will court our votes and our donations, but real money talks, and for now the bosses have the real money. They call the tunes in politics. Our only option is union.

We need to build these unions right. We need to build them so that we can control them, so that we can trust, them, so that they will serve our needs only, not the needs of bosses and bureaucrats and political hacks. That means union democracy. It means recallable elected officials who report directly to the rank and file. It means that all-important decisions are made directly by the membership. It means any job or action or strike is controlled by and settled by the workers on the shop floor. It means full disclosure on financial matters and rank and file control over the union funds.

It means doing things very differently than they are done in the business unions. It means doing things the way we do them in the IWW.

Union Democracy

The unions that most working people belong to today, if they belong to any union at all, are among the most undemocratic organizations on earth. Officials are appointed, not elected. Settlements are arrived at behind closed doors and presented to the rank and file for approval. Maverick locals are put into receivership by the internationals. Union bosses are entrenched for life, never facing the possibility of returning to the shop floor, if indeed they’ve ever been there in the first place.

Is it any wonder that union membership is down and workers’ confidence in their leaders is almost nonexistent? Is it a miracle that we are losing the gains we fought for in years past? Is it a surprise that the sellout and sweetheart contract, the union thug and the wealthy union bureaucrat are clichés that all associate with the modern labor movement, while the fighting union militant rank and file organizer is seen as a quaint concept from a bygone era?

In order to defend ourselves and our families we need to join together in unions. We need our combined strength to face the rich and their government. We need the union, but the union we need is a democratic union. How else will it defend our needs and not those of our bosses? How else can we control our own struggles, choose our own goals and our own issues. We need democratic unions, rank and file control, shop floor direct democracy to fight our fights. No union bureaucrat ever stood up for the workers, and none ever will. We have to stand up for ourselves, together, in democratic union. If we can’t control our union and its leadership, then we can’t trust them. It’s just that simple

Wobble is a Verb

The essential value of union lies in what it can do. What it can do for you and yours and for your class as a whole. What you can do with it. How you can use it to do what you need to do. To do is a verb. Action is what we’re talking about.

When we come together on the job to address our common problems with the shared strength or our common action, we are doing something. We’re not talking about it, though that’s important, and we’re not seeking publicity and making a big show of it, though those things can be valuable in their place. We are acting on it. Doing. We are the subjects, to put it in grammatical terms, and the problem is our object, upon which we, in common activity, act to change. That’s action, Verb.

In the construction trades the verb “to wobble” is commonly used to describe a group action that seeks to address a problem on the job, a problem with the boss, as on the job problems tend to be. To wobble the job is to walk out, slow down, or all go to the boss for a "chat" on work time. Straight up, to come together to address the problems by direct means. That’s what it’s all about.

It’s happening all the time, all over the place. It’s a necessary part of daily life on the job. You can do it too. You and your fellow workers, on your job, can wobble the situation to make it better. That’s job control, and that’s the thing we need to establish and protect, for our own safety and health, to ensure good compensation for our precious time, for fun and profit and relief from the boredom and loneliness that pervades our lives in this modern workaday world.

The key to good wobbling is union. That’s small union, meaning cooperation and concerted effort amongst fellows, people with the same needs and circumstance, i.e.: the people you work next to day after day. Alone we are weak and ineffectual. Together we are awesome in our power. We have only to organize this power and to wield it, for our common good, to make this world a better place. Together we can win. We just have to do (verb) it. Let’s act now.

The Working Class and the Employing Class Have Nothing in Common

“The working class and the employing class have nothing in common” Says the preamble of the constitution of the IWW. That’s the basis of our approach to labor relations and unionism. Let’s look at this statement for a second.

It doesn’t mean that workers and bosses are a different species, that they don’t breathe the same polluted air and drink the same water, though the air and water in a working class neighbor hood are a damn shit filthier than they are up on the hill. It means that the two classes, which first of all do exist, are in opposition, by their very nature.

What’s good for the bosses – cheap labor maximally controlled and passive, is bad for the workers. What’s good for the workers – maximum control over the job, job conditions, objectives and methods, and maximum compensation for our precious time is death to the bosses, and they will fight it tooth and nail. It’s nothing personal, no more than a lion hates a gazelle, it’s just a natural, impersonal, economic enmity that can’t be gotten around nor safely ignored. It’s the principle that runs our lives, capitalist and drove alike.

If a boss gets too chummy with the workers and tries to be their pal, his/her business will suffer. If the worker gets too palsy with the boss, s/he’ll be even more easily exploited and betrayed. Natural enemies on the impersonal plane of economics. You can belong to the same church and even drink at the same bar, but you can’t look out for each other’s interests for long without endangering your own. This is pretty simple and obvious to any working stiff that pays attention to daily life. Smart bosses never forget

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Chicago, a rank-and-file run union for all workers.






The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.

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Founded: Lucy Parsons, Mother Mary Jones, "Big" Bill Haywood, Eugene V. Debs, Daniel De Leon, Thomas Hagerty, Vincent Saint John, Ralph Chaplin.

Categories: Community Organization, Labor & Employment Law, Meeting Room, Organization

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