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The Voice of the people. (New Orleans, La.) 1913-19??, November 13, 1913, Image 1

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88064458/1913-11-13/ed-1/seq-1/

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An Injury To One Organization* is Power A
Issued To All Workers in the Marine Transportation Industry
By The National Industrial Union of Marine Transport Workers,
Department of Transportation, Industrial Workers of the World.
In the Marine Transportation Industry are en
gaged the following groups of workers, namely:
1, Commae Sailors, or deckhands; 2, Petty offi
cers, such as quartermasters and clerks, etc.; 3,
Oficers; 4, Coalpassers; 5, Firemen; 6, Waterteand
era; 7, Oilers; 8, Engineers Mad Electricians; 9,
Telegraphers; 10, Stewards; 11, Cooks and Kitch
em help; 12, Waiters; 13, Longshoremen and hoist
ing engineers; 14, Truckers; 15, Checkers; 16,
Clerks, etc., etc.; 17, Boat-barge and lighterman;
18, Lighthouas, Customhouse quarantine workers;
19, Wireless Telegraphy Operators on ships.
Every seafaring man knows of other occupa
tions in this industry, quite as important as any
other, but numerically insignificant.
Altogether this department of human activity
extending into the remotest corners of the world
fills one of t.e most important functions of human
ity. It is to humanity as a whole what the circula
tion of the blood is to the human body. Were it to
stop even a short period of time, it would mean a
social wor:d-distress of -the severest kind.
The Marine Transportation Workers hold an im
mense power in their hand. They have society at
their mercy, should they choose to pse t.eir power.
But like the workers in most jther industries
they do not know their power and can therefore
not use it.
Not that we Marine Transportation Workers are
any monsters who would for a moment consider
the paralyzing of human intercouse for the mere
delight of showing our power, but we could, if we
would, use this power for the purpose of raising
the standard of the Luman race by raising our
selves out of the hell in which we now are living.
As a group of workers we constitute the scum
of society. In every port of the world we are the
lowest, the most degraded, in fact we must admit
that it is largely from our ranks that the "bums"
of the cities are recruited. In every port of the
world we live in the most miserable quarters, eat
the poorest of food, wear the dirtiest clothes and
spend our lives in the most sordid and corrupt
surroundings. Vice and sin is generally the at
mosphere that meets us, as soon as we step ashore
among our fellow-men to seek a short recreation
from the breezy but hard and squalid life at sea,
into the details of which we need not enter.
It has been so for ages and it still continues so.
We are the pariahs, the outcasts of modern so
Why should this be so?
Seeing that our work is clean and honorable,
and extremely hazardous, seeing that we are giv
ing.our lives and sacrificing the happiness of a
home for the sake of our fellow-men, seeing that
our activity is of such vital importance to all
why should we ourselves be kept on the outskirts
of human fellowship in poverty, misery and degra
dation ?
Why? Why? Why?
How many of us have a home we can call our
own? How many of us have ever experienced the I
love of wife and children, how many of us have any
prospect of ever finding this happiness? A feeling
of sickening desolation and horror is the answer
that rises in your mind at the thought of past,
present and future. Should you L appen to have a
family on far-away shores, your mind is suffering
a constant pain at the thought of their poverty
and at the thought of your own inability to do for
them what you wish'to do for them. Your wages
will barely suffice to keep you yourself in rags and
to maintain that spark of crushed and dormant
manhood which you necessarily need to uphold in
order to keep from jumping overboard. Why
should this be sot
Why? Why? Why?
Simply because we do not rise in our manhood
and assert our power. Simply because we have
failed to practice that fellowship and that solidari
ty which alone is powerful enough to conquer the
organized force of our masters wt o fatten by our
petty selfishness and our lack of solidarity.
We certainly have tried time and again in the
past to get together for common action against
those who destroy our lives and lower us to the
level of the brute. We have organized time and
again into unions which for a while have held their
sway. But just as fast as we t ave formed them
they have gone to pieces. And at the present time
our living conditions are l ardly influenced by our
own will but by the masters will. And the master
pays us just as much as he has to. No more and no
less. Our labor-power sells in the market at a price
determined by supply and demand, just as wheat.
hogs and potatoes. The supply of labor power be
ing more than plentiful, our wages are below the
minimum needed for the support of ourselves and
the establishing of a family, and, even "t tkis'
price, during a large part of the year we are un
able to find a master willing to buy our labor pow
er-to put us to work. A large part of us are con
stantly unemployed.
What is the matter with us?
We have organized and failed, time and again.
So there is no hope for us ?
Why have we Failed?
We have failed because we never organized in
the right manner for the right purpose, or on the
right lines. We never yet stodd solidly together
nationally and internationally, as one man. Had we
done that, the world would look different to us.
Had we stood together, all of us in the Marine
Transport Industry, shoulder to shoulder, irrespec
tive of our different occupations, we could have
dictated the terms to our exploiters at our own
wilL As it is, they are doing with us as they please
and we have little or no power to resist.
But instead of standing together we have divid
ed our forces on craft lines, where we have not en
tirely neglected to organize ourselves. The sailors
Lave organized by themselves, the engineers by
themselves, the firemen by themselves, the long
shoremen the same, sometimes in several different
unions, the teamsters have had their separate
union, and so on.
This state of affairs in itself undeniably consti
tutes a fundamental source of weakness, often
enough cropping pp in the form of mutual scab
bing and jurisdiction squabbles between the differ
ent unions.
There are innumerable such instances in our
country and in others.
We have failed to raise ourselves from the slum
level mainly because we have thus divided our
strength on craft lines against a united and force
ful foe with all the money resources of the world
behind them. The little gains we I ave occaszloilaiy
made have either been wiped out by reduced wages
or by the constantly rising cost of living. In fact,
we are at this moment worse off than ever, if we
take into account the general advance of mankind
and the increased demands upon human happiness
incidental to a "higher civilization." We are, in
fact, going downward instead of upward.
Another cause of our distress lies in tie very
nature of our occupation. Most of us being at sea
a large part of the time, we have been compelled
to leave our affairs in the hands of some clever fel
lows whom we were compelled to trust. In our ab
sence these leaders have only too frquently been
swerved from the path of solidarity. Where they
have not directly sold us out, they have either en
tered into silent partnersl ip with those who watce
for us to get our money, or they have dozed off intn
mere dues-collecting without delivering any equiv
alent for the trust we have placed with them. The
leaders of the old kind have led us nowhere exept
into the shambles, and that is why we me wher,
we are-poverty-stricken, homeless, and wreteted.
And it could hardly be otherwise under the ci
Starting our organisation work withoWe
higher ideals or higher aims than m la
certain standard of wages in a society
exploitatios and thievery, we have beesn i
ted by the emploiters and thieves. And
nothing in the old unions to spur a man
thought and purity of action or to any enthu
The craft union has become a poorly conduest
business enterprise which does not pay. That is,
it may pay the leaders, but not the memnbers. We
may say that all union dues paid in the past are
practically thrown away, our only consolation be.
ing that we may consider that money as the pries
of experience.
We have learned by ear Mtbaes..
In view of these facts and eonsles- s, a
large body of the o'ganta MiM"'ll lp
Workers of the United States have broken away
from the old forms of organizations and their
methods of fighting for a human existence, and
formed the
National Industrial Union of Marine Transpert
same to constitute an integral part of the Trans
portation Department of the Industrial Workers
of the World.
Learning from the errors of past generations,
we are now organizing All the workers of our in
dustry, irrespective of their craft or occupation,
into One Big Union, with locals and subordinate
branches of the various occupations and nationali
ties of every locality.
The main point we are aiming at is to, once and
for all, unite all the workers in our industry into
One Big Fighting Force, bound together by the
bonds of industrial solidarity and workman-like
It is plainly and evidently a case of doing this
right now or going down and out.
We are at t: e parting of the ways. Which do
you prefer: Sliding down the steeply inclined
plane of abject poverty and degradation, or raising
yourselves by your own will and intelligence to the
level of manhood, forcing the world to recognize
the human worth that is in you
It is up to yeu Yearslf.
Nobody is going to do this for you. Neither
leaders nor philanthropists. The masters,, you
know them well enough to expect nothing from
them, except further oppression and degradation.
You have nobody to depend upon except your
selves. You are the masters of your own fate if
you will but act together as one man. Otherwise
the master rules over you at his hard will, and it is
getting harder every day.
By thus uniting into One Big Uniou, bound to
gether organically with all other workers in this
great country, we not only hope, but feel positive
ly sure, that we soon shall have the power to dio
tate our will to our masters.
We are not organizing merely to "pull off a
strike," or taking chances at a temporary gain
although such gains will of necessity come to us
we are organizing to stay. We intend to become a
permanent limb of the social body.
For the-present we shall, towever, concentrate
our efforts upon an attempt to materially improve
our living conditions, raising our standard of liv
ing and redeeming ourselves as men.
It is as plain as a simple example in addition in
our school books that it we organize as One mlid
body, we can take what we want-or we paralie
the world. We shall, as soon as we are numerous
enough and strong enough:
1st. WIYe ad A oba., whpther It be ter.
tion by *h!t moasters or bad eai mat a
boadl or 11m .
2nd. Wle e the masters to lhsta mu .
tors om boml .e s, eald at least to s ess et am.
and cabh ya . Why itomld not wet Ae
we not h.o J d s e aanyi?
id. We gob the masers fdmee Ire
dignifie d mes ICagg eas a bom at starved
4th. We sars to p us
Ć½waes that e fSlpi -_isves men.
tally and .so.ia.. st the m dependlm upon us
and, estuaaly, pgrt a f ly nt our a.
5h. We err hemrn enugh to make
rotm fir th +ereby slht e to 00m.
6th. We dsabl s fts master ema to eor
union head4p in tha, hweby asrv re.
selves thme lo *meres7 eg huatig *r a
master, rn we ag dd
7tM. W biii eant
compel the respect sad res l ma o[ r adey.
Generally speaking, we sLaol ourselves aam
control of our industry and distate the onmditioms
of work.
What are Yes Going ts De?
Would you have things go along towards your
own destruction, as they surely will do, or will you
join hands with us, the initiators of this hal move
of the working class? It is the last battle. Your
choice is between manhood and slavery-for yomur
self and your children, if you have any, or expect
to get them.
Which are Yoe Geoing to Do?
We are already, many thousands of as In this
new union, anxiously awaiting to an what eourse
you will take.
We expect you to come up to our headquarters
and see us at your first opportunity. Let us talk to
The address of our various Headquarters are:
Local No. 1, 214 West St., New York, N. Y.;
Local No. 2, 284 Commercial St., Boston, Mass.;
Local No. 4, 29 Church St., Norfolk, Va.;
Local No. 7, 3807 North Peters St., New Or
leans, La.; Local No. 8,121 Catherine St., Philadel
phia, Penn.; Local No. 9, 9 Mission St., San Fran
cisco, Cal.; Local No. 10, 422 Cummings Ave., Su
perior, Wis.; Local No. 245, Box 688 San Pedro,
Cal.; Local No. 252, 211 Ocidental Ave., Seattle,
Wash.; Local No. 880, 110 So. 14 St., Tacoma,
We do not charge any high initiation fees, Just
enough to show your serious intention and pay ex
Let us hear from you Immediately. Help to
make this grand undertaking a success, as they,
the workers, are at this very time trying to do in
most civilized countries of the world.
Yours for Industrial Freedom,
National Industrial Union of Mariae Trans
port Workers, L W. W.,
C. L. FILIGNO, Nat. Sea.
214 West St, New York City.
Correspondence promptly attended to.
The following are some of the papers that will
contain news important to the Marine Transporta
tion Workers:
The Veice of the Pep .....New Or~Ieas, La.
Seolidarity _c eland4, 0.
The Weeden Shee I s Angeles, Cal.
Cultura Obrere. New York, N. Y.
El Obrere IadustriaLiTampa, Fla.
La Huelga Gemen l .... Aagele_ Cald
Solidarmoes CaiBsa IL
Bermunkas New York, N. Y.
H Prletario ..w York, N. Y.
L'averame ._ _New Yok, N. Y.

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