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THE VOICE f' O PEOPLE
(Formerly "The Lumberjack.")
Education Freedom in
Published Weekly by National Industrial Union of Forest and Lumber
Workers, Southern District.
Office of Publication:
335 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, La.
COVINGTON HALL, Editor.
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NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL UNION OF' lFORESI' AND LUMBER WORKERS
i)lstrict Headquarters .............1194 Gould Avenue, Alexandria, Louisiana
Jay Smith ................................... Secretary Southern District
EXECU(TIVE IiOAltD-SOUTII N I)ISTRICT.
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Orleans, La., under the act of August 24, 1912.
THE QUESTION OF DE('ENTRAI.IZATION.
Recent events show that our short strike theory does not work
well in practice; that strikes stretch into months in spite of us, and
that, in consequenceU, better arrangements must be made to finance
themn than now exist. The question ofstrike funds is a live one and
may well )give us pause. Shall a national strike fund be establish
e(l and placed untler control of the (G. E. I'., in accordance with cen
tralist principles, or other methods Ie used? Let us first consider
the Iiproloition of a national strike fund under the control of the
G. E. 1T.
It is as true of labor unions, as of other organizations, that
whoever controls the finances controls the union. The French and
German movements furnish striking examplles: In the French
movement the local unions retain about 75 per cent. of their in
come, giving their national office about 25 per cent. In the (;er
man (Socialist) move\ment the proposition is reversed, the local
unions retaininig 25 per cent. and giving their national office 75
Iper ce(t. The result of the French system is that the local unions
have the necessary funds to carry on important local work. such as
strikes, propaganda, etc. They don't have to beg permission and
funds from some far off and unsympathetic committee. The lo
cals are free and the movemeint is able to correctly express itself.
The result of the (;erman system is to throw their local unions
absolutely under the control of their national committees, who
Ilnaturally use their power to furtl ,r their own interests. So l,,)v
erty stricken are the local unions that they can't initiate a strike
mwment or even hire an organizer witlhout ti,,, sanction of their
natioiinal committees. Consequenitly the movement, instead of tak
ingr the natural course of the IFrtnch unions, is warped and pros
tituted by a ftew dictators into an adjutnct of the Socialist Party.
ln,:,mecrablc instances might also Ibe cited to show how the Amer
aan craft union national committees similarly coerce the local
unions through their control of the funds.
In view of these fact:., would it be advisablle for us, by giving
it custody of the strike- funds, to place the control of the power to
strike altogether in thile hands of a (;. 1'. I. that must necessarily
Ie incompetent and mirght easily be corrupt ? Already, according to
the constitution, the (;. E. I. has most dangerous powers in this
respect. Let us briefly review them:
(1) I)eclaration of strikes. The (;. F. B. has full power to
call out any part of the orgtanization it etes fit to in support of a
strike. (',onsequently, to nm,intain its prestige, the (;. E. I., in case
of unendtorsedl strike, would be forced to use its power to prevent
symlpathcetic strikes. Labor history is full of instances of such ac
tion. And, as the (; . B. . has full control of all organizers, the
oflficial lpairsi , iand "the entire affairs of the organization between
conventions," etc., its oliposition would haLc a tremendous, if not
(2) Financing of ,trikes. The (;. E. I. has the power to levy
strike assessments "if it se(,es fit." This gives it the authority to
starve out all unendorsed strikes. What guarantee have we that
it would not use this power when we see other (;. E. B.s constantly
uIsing it in the craft nions? Again, no funds shall be given from
the i)efnc" Fund (a rudimentary strike fund) without the sanc
t ion of the general organization--which means, if anything, that
the (;. '. I:. has charge of this fund.
(:;) Settlement of Strikes. The (;. F. :. has the power to
pasc on all strike settlements before they are valid. This means
the :. . 1. . will le able to dlictate the torms of thl:e same--other
wise it won't endorse it.
Thus in the inaugurating, financing and settling of strikes the
C,. I. I:. has almost complete control. To give it charge of the
strike funds would to make this control complete. If the C,. E. B.
has so far failed to use its wide constitutional powers it is because
all our strikes to date have been spontaneous local uprisings pre
ceded by but little organization. A machine had not yet had time
Needless to repeat that to put the G. E. B. in complete control
of strikes would be to invite certain disaster. It can't, therefore,
be given charge of the strike funds. Some other plan must be
adopted. Doubtless the best extant is that in vogue in the German
Syndicalist unions. This plan is briefly as follows:
There are no national strike funds. In case of a strike the
local unions involved send to the national secretary full details re
garding their membership, etc., and ask for a national assessment,
whereupon the national secretary, without further ado, assesses
the general membership accordingly. He has no authority what
ever in the matter but must levy the assessment. The assessment
is voluntary. But those bodies not paying it are not given finan
cial support when they in turn strike. To prevent wildcat strikes
and impositions on the general membership each local union, to be
entitled to the national assessment, has to maintain a strike fund
equal to one weeks wages of each of its members. Only when this
fund is exhausted is a striking local given the national assessment
The excellent feature of the plan is that, besides preventing
automatic control of the locals power to strike, it puts the expres
sion of financial solidarity upon a scientific basis. The usual unsat
isfactory, haphazard plan of soliciting financial support by a cam
paign of begging is abandoned. Each union knows that it must do
its share if it is to have co-operation extended to it when it needs
support. As a result strike dues are paid punctually.
So far this system has worked well, and the I. W. W., which
will soon have to adopt some orderly method of financing its
strikes, will do well to study its details thoroughly. No doubt, with
some modifications the system could be readily transplanted into
this country. At any rate the fatal mistake must not be made of
giving the already too powerful G. E. B. still more power in the
matter of the strike. The local unions must have absolute liberty
to strike when and how they see fit. No G. E. B. can be trusted
to direct them.
PAUL DUPRES, Ottawa, Can., Sept. 10, 1913.
THE "DEPUTY SHERIFF."
When God had created Harrison Greywolf Otis, Alden Jackal
Blethen, "President" Diaz, Harry Orchard and Ortie McManigal,
each after his own kind and each with the soul of a hyena, he said:
"What now else can I send down on the planet earth to DRIVE
the workers into Revolution? I have done my derndest, but they,
the Earth workers, verily they are THE suckers of the Universe."
After thinking long and hard God decided he would try an experi
ment in cross breeding instead of a direct creation. So he penned
up a he-hyena and a she wolf and, when they had bred, he took
their pups and extracted from them their terrible life or soul-stuff.
This soul-stuff he ordered to be given to a drunken devil who had
just returned from Earth, where he had won honor as an "expert"
in the service of a great Defective Agency, with instructions to
return to Earth and inject the frightful dehumanizing virus into
the veins of certain of the piCked men who the capitalists had cho
sen from among the workers to do their duty work.
In great joy over the task assigned him, the fiend returned to
Earth that very night (which was on the day after "Reconstruc
tion" had fallen in the "Sunny South"), and the next morning men
who had gone to bed just ordinary human brutes woke up, endow
ed with blind tiger courage and honkytonk ethics, to become the
white Apache called the "Deputy Sheriff."
THE POWER THAT MOVES THE WORLD.
By W. M. Witt.
"Money moves the world." "Labor creates ALL things."
These two phrases are OFTEN used but by MANY people who
LIITLE understand them. Money alone could move NOTHING
but when centralized and in control of a FEW and used to exploit
the workers, who are NOTED for their poverty, ignorance and gen
eral stupidity, it becomes a RULING rod.
Money in its final analysis is MERELY a time certificate rep
resenting hours of toil performed by the producing class. Strange
as it may seem to some, these time checks called money, are NOW
MOSTLY in possession of a limited number of parasites. Their
title to these checks known as currency, and representing metalic
money, is DUE to their INGENUITY in outwitting the workers
who SLEEP upon their rights.
The possession of money NO matter how achieved is permiss
ible under the present system which is basd on GRAFT, including
profit, interest, and rent.
But, "Labor creates ALL things." Therefore, after ALL, it
is REALLY labor that moves the world, and keeps "the pot boil
COMPLETE organization by the workers into ONE BIG
UNION would be the GREATEST force on earth. But unorgan
ized they art as "chaff before the wind" and SIMPLY tools in the
handls of the exploiters.
After ALL that can be said or done, money MERELY repre
sent- the stor,'l up capital of the working class, which is labor.
The capitahists can NEVER give the workers anything in ex
change for their services, because what the capitalists have, or
claim to have, ALREADY belongs to the laboring class who pro
The so-called wage that the worker receives today is ONLY
a fractional part of the values he produced yesterday. Therefore,
it is apparent to ALL intelligent workers that they receive practi
cally NOTHING for their toil. This so-called wage is JUST a po
lite name for physical nourishment sufficient to keep strength in
their frames in order that they may be able to create MORE wealth
for their Masters. Thiis so-called wage is handed RIGHIT back to
the class who gave it in exchange for food, shelter and clothing,
ma le NECESSARY by civilization.
When the workers are ALL united or a mnjority organized
into ONE BIG UNION, they can then take a hand in slicing the
"cheese" which they AND THEY ALONE produced.
Of COURSE the POOR should expect NO corforts or pleas
ures on earth. From time immemorial it has been a custom
of the ruling class and their henchmen to teach the POOR that
their reward awaits them in some future existence, (provided of
COURSE), that they do their Master's bidding here below. It's
a BEAUTIFUL promise and to those NOT posted, it might assist
in making "life's walk EASY."
But, the man or woman who gets NOTIHING hut that myste
ous reward has one consolation, and that Is, they will NEVER be
troubled with indigestion or stomachl omplleations, .DU to eces
sive indulgence in things that tickle the palate. And they wil
NEVER have pneumonia caused by a SUDDEN or careless change
of dress. 'On the other hand, they may became SO toughened by
hardships and exposure that with the aid of a little nourishment
they will be able to eke out a LONG lingering existeace.
But poverty is a passport to heaven. If you are the HAPPY
possessor of one of these you will flMid the "Pearly Gates" ajar, and
old Peter waiting to THRUST a crown of "jewels" upon your sun
burnt brow. However, my advice would be to not waste your time
in day dreams of some "sweet bye and bye" but use your influence
in assisting to make SWEETER the ALL important NOW and
So the malady (mixed locals) has tinued within the L W.
W. until now at the Eighth Conventiod we find it assuming the
form of a conflict supposedly between "cetralisation" and "decen
tralization." In reality, this' is a conflit between INDUSTRIAL
ORGANIZATION according to the pre st requirements of cap.
italist development; and a REACTIONARY LOCALISM, which
ignores capitalist development, and would threfore, result in the
complete disintregation of the I. W. W. This fact was clearly
brought out in the debate at the Eighth Convention, on the pro
posal to abolish the General Executive! Board. These delegates
from the mixed locals, for the most part were found to have very
crude conceptions of the structure of industrial organization, while
many of those from purely industrial uhions were able to outline
the form of organization, from the branch to the G. E. B. This
question of "mixed" locals will be. dealt with more thoroughly in
future numbers of Solidarity. Suffice it to say, that the Eighth
Convention seems to be grappling with this problem in such a way
as to admit at its early solution. As it is more deep-seated than
the other mentioned "diseases," it may not be possible to rid the
organization of it completely at this time. But already the Eighth
Convention, at the date of writing, has taken a decisive stand for
industrial organization, against "decentralized localism," and we
have hopes that it may go to the root of the matter. The separa
tion of purely propaganda bodies from the administrative affairs
of the industrial union proper is now seen to be necesary, if our
organization is to move forward in its development. The disease
of the "mixed" local must be eradicated, inorder that the I. W.
W. may take a vital hold of the industrial problem, and organize
definitely for the overthrow of capitalism and the substitution of
the Industrial Commonwealth.
Froni "Solidarity" (editorial) of Sept. 27, 1913.
COMMENT, by Covington Hall--The retention or abolition of
the Mixed Local has absolutely nothing to do with the question of
Decentralization, which is FUNDAMENTALLY, an attempt to
throw all real power into the hands of the membership at large
and to reduce to its utmost limit DELEGATED power. There
fore, the abolition of the Mixed Local could in no way affect nor
settle the question now disturbing the I .W. W., andall other or
ganizations functioning for whatsoever class within the body pol
There is no "LOCALISM" about it, for it is a world-wide is
sue. Everywhere, in all lands, climes and nations, THE PEOPLE
are struggling to take back to themesives their SOCIAL POWERS
and are more and more strenuously every day denying the right
of "Authority," delegated or otherwise, to say what is and what is
not for the general public good.
The "disease" within the I. W. W. is NOT the Mixed Local per
se-it is the gigantic machine formation attempted to be foisted
upon it in the begidhing by the authoratarian socialists who pre
sided at its birth and who immediately left it to shift for itself as
best it could when the "ungrateful child"' insisted that it didn't
need and didn't want the army of wet-nurses that had been so
considerately provided for it by its great midwives.
That the I. W. W. must take on the true Industrial form of
Organization before it can ever move forward, no thinking man
denies, but that Industrial ORGANIZATION and DECENTRALI
ZATION of POWER are antagonistic is proven untrue by the
French Confederation of Labor, which is, as has long been known,
DECENTRALIZATIZED as to POWER but which is probably the
greatest fighting working class ORGANIZATION in existence to
The abolition of the Mixed Locals has no more to do with
the questiodi of DECENTRALIZATION than has the abolition of
the G. E. B. DECENTRALIZATION deals essentially with the
right of the Locals to CONTROL themeselves and through their
combined wills to run the General Organization, and this right
they, being the life of the Organization, the cells on which it rests
and must depend-this right they will without any doubt conquer.
The General Officers of the I. W. W. and its G. E. B. have no
more right to a vote in the General Convention than I have, and
I have none such right whatsoever. They represent no one ex
cept themselves and, even under capitalist laws, judges must re
cuse themselves when a question comes before the court in which
they are interested. This right (?) should be taken away from
all officers of the I. W. W. and its constituent bodies, for it is a
remnant of the "divine right of kings" and has no place in a Dem
Then the method of electing and organizing the Convention
should be changed to somewhat on the lines in use by the C. (;. T.,
which Paul Dupres gives as follows:
"THE C. G. T. SYSTEM IS TO GIVE TO EACH LOC'AL
;UNION ONE VOTE. DELEGATES MAY VOTE FIVE I'PROX
IES. INDUSTRIAL UNIONS, DISTRICT COUNCILS ANDI
GENERAL (OFFICERS HAVE A VOICE BUT NO VOTE. TillSI
SYSTEM THROWS THE CONTROL OF THE CONVENTION
INTO THE HANDIS OF THE IOCAL UNIONS, WHICH ARE
RECOGNIZED AS THE BASIS OF THE LABOR MOVEMENT."
With a Convention organized on that system, Godamity him
self could not organize a governing or any other kind of machine,
for SUPREME POWER would always be in the hands of the riank
and file, where it should ALWAYS be in a DEMOCRACY.
DIECENTRALIZERS, CENTRALIZE your effortl or.
these creative ideas, and make the old I. W. W. the greatest fight
ing working class machine on earth! Build up all the Locals and
put life and virility in all the City Central Committees and I)i.;
For around the great PREAMBLE we can ALL-UNITE!