William D. Haywood


The Fighting I.W.W.

(September 1912)


Source: From International Socialist Review, Vol. 13 No. 3, September 1912, pp. 246–247.
Transcription: Matthew Siegfried.
HTML mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists Internet Archive (2019).
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2022). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.


“The first fight was in the night. Now comes the dawn, the sword is drawn, the scabbard thrown away.”

THAT the Industrial Workers of the World are in a class by themselves is indicated by the uniformity of condemnation this organization receives from the many diversified sources and representatives of apparently conflicting interests.

Mr. Samuel Gompers gives vent to strictures peculiar to himself. Mr. John Henry Kirby condemns the I.W.W. in no uncertain terms. Mr. Daniel DeLeon has phrases of his own in which he curses the Industrial Workers of the World. Mr. Victor L. Berger joins the chorus with four hands round singing Hallelujah, I’m a bum.

While this redoubtable quartette are cursing and reviling what to them is a growing menace, the overworked and underpaid workers are organizing and understanding themselves, refusing longer to surrender their well-being to the care of any well-meaning representatives. The workers are massing in the I.W.W. and are acting for themselves. Such self-assurance has struck terror to the hearts of wily politicians, lazy labor leaders and greedy capitalists alike.

The militant spirit of the awakened proletariat has brought upon their innocent and unsuspecting heads the most vile abuse and vicious persecution.

The Lumber Trust has inaugurated a most pernicious and inhuman blacklist against the members of the Industrial Workers of the World.

The Los Angeles Labor Council in sycophantic fawning has likewise denied I.W.W. members recognition as an integral part of organized labor in Otis-land. Vigilantes of San Diego in spasms of brutal hysteria have branded the letters I.W.W. in living human flesh.

Authorities of Clinton, Mass., have spattered the headstones of the dead with the blood of living men and women, members of the I.W.W., who were cruelly wounded by the haters of liberty, thus dedicating and consecrating the quiet churchyard to the cause of Industrial Freedom.

Among the cypress and pines of Louisiana at Grabow, a lumber camp, was the scene of a murderous assault that killed and wounded many members of the I.W.W. The echo of the volley sounded the tocsin and the workers are answering the call.

From Aberdeen, Wash., to Perth Amboy, N.J., from Circle City, Alaska, to Juarez, Mexico, brave women and brave men are singing revolutionary songs of discontent.

Prison walls reverberate with the battle cry of the Internationale. Organizers and agitators are afield. But the real work of the organization, the voice of liberty comes from those imprisoned.

From jail Ettor delivers his Sermon on the Common to the multitudes.

Giovannitti’s poems are sung in the tongues of all nations.

Emerson sends his message of hope from a prison cell to the slaves of the Southern forests and swamps.

The pathetic silence of Buccafori adds fuel to the flames of protest and bitterness.

With failing eye-sight Tom Whiteside in the dim light of Canada’s dungeon can see the dawn of labor’s new day.

The martyrs of Imperial Valley join hands with Jack Whyte of San Diego and his fellow workers and start a local in the prison of California.

From hundreds of prison cells and dungeons grim comes the battle cry of the Industrial Workers of the World. Nor can imprisonment, injunctions nor death itself stop the onward march of humanity.

We have been your slaves, your tools, your stepping stones to power. We have been meek, dumb, driven cattle. We know your true worth now, Gompers, Kirby, DeLeon, Berger. You have mocked us in our agony!

One hundred fifty of us in jail in British Columbia, the filthy cells of Hoquiam and Aberdeen are filled with our men. Twenty of us are festering in the prison cell in the prison of San Diego. In the terrible dungeons of Lake Charles, La., we are fifty-four. The hearts of all of us are beating in unison with our fellow workers in New Jersey and Massachusetts jails.

From behind the walls and bars of prisons comes the mighty cry for Industrial Freedom. Those of us who are in jail – those of us who have been in jail – all of us who are willing to go to jail – we care not what you say or what you do! We despise your hypocrisy. The fight is on, on with the fight. We are the Revolution!

Last updated on 10 June 2022