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THE VOICE te PEOPLE
(Formerly "The Lumberjack.")
Education Freedom in
Organization E Industr ia
Published Weekly by National Industrial Union of Forest and Lumber
Workers, Southern District.
Office of Publication:
8i6 Carendelet Street, New Orleane, La.
COVINGTON HALL, Editor.
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NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL UNION OF FORESI' AND LUMBER WORKERS
District Headquarters ...........1194 Gould Avenue, Alexandria, Louisiana
Jay Smith ..................................... Secretary Southern District
EXECUTIVE BOARD-SOUTHERN DISTRICT.
J. N. Philips, W. E. Hollingsworth, D. R. Gordon, E. L. Ashworth,
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THE QUESTION OF DECENTRALIZATION.
In our preceeding article we concluded that the best type of
organization is that which gives the rank and file the freest ex
pression. Syndicalists have universally recognized this principle
and always make their unions autonomous. Perhaps the finest
type of such autonomous union is the C. G. T. (General Confede
ration of Labor) of France. Let us briefly examine it.
The C. G. T.
The C. G. T. is a double organization. One section (Sec. of
Federation) is a national alliance of all the national craft and in
dustrial unions. The other section (Sec. of Bourses) is a national
alliance of all the bourses du travail, or district councils. The first
is a national organization of crafts and industries. The second a
national organizations of localities. (The Sec. of Bourses has no
equalivent in the I. W. W. or A. F. of L.) It is as tho the various
district councils were united by a seperate national committee.
The C. G. T. proper, or Confed. Com., is the combined committees
of the two sections.
In their sections the national unions and district councils are
highly autonomous. They strike or work, raise funds, hire or
ganizers, print papers and generally transact their own affairs.
The national unions have the fullest autonomy, the district coun
cils, local autonomy. The national committees of the sections have
but slight power. They serve to facilitate co-operation between
the national union and the district councils; enforce convention
decisions;carry on propaganda, etc. They are valuable advisory
The National Federations.
In the individual national craft and industrial unions the same
principle of autonomy prevails. Each local union has the right
to strike or work, set its dues, raise funds, etc. The national com
mittees have functions like those of the two sections.
The National Union of Building Trades Workers is the best
formed, largest and most revolutionary union in France. Its de
centralization is typical. It has 33 local craft union branches in
Paris. Tho all bolong to the same national union they have the
fullest autonomy. They work or strike as they see fit. The na
tional committee cannot force an unwilling union to either strike
or not strike. Neither can even a majority of its sister building
trades unions. Each absolutely reserves to itself the right to de
cide for itself. Yet these 33 unions have had more general strikes
than any other body in the world. The explanation is easy. The
workers, being free to strike, naturally strike together as their
common interests dictate. They are moved by a community of
interests, as they must be, not by the compulsion of a handful of
bureaucrats, as they never can be.
The Bourses du Travail.
The bourse du travail or district council, is by nature more
revolutionary than a national craft or industrial union. The dis
trict council is composed of workers of all categories. It is purely
a class organization. The national union, however broad in scope,
consists of only a portion of the working class. Thruout the world
local central bodies are more revolutionary than national unions.
Naturally the former fights for class interests, the latter for craft
In France, thanks to the autonomy of the local unions, the dis
trict councils have reached their highest development. They are
the backbone of the labor movement. They are the source of mod
ern Syndicalism. From them it spread to the national unions.
The local unions being free they can respond fully to the revolution
ary psychology inherent in the district councils. The local general
strike is an institution in the PFrench movement.
The district councils are the pride of French militants. They
jealously guard their autonomy. It seems high time that the L W.'
W. became aware of their possibilties and took them into consider
ation. At present we dote on the industrial union's neglecting the
no less important district councils. We don't even allow them rep
resentation at the convention. The less said about their autonomy
the better. Remember only the sad fate of the P. C. D. O., when a
few western locals attempted to form a district organization such
as is common in France.
In the A. F. of L. the local central bodies, from which the L W.
W. district councils have been faithfully copied, are sadly crippled.
Let a few instances suffice. Had the central bodies on the Pacific
Coast had autonomy they would have long since settled the electri
cal workers dispute by accepting the affiliation of the radical Reid
faction. As it is, they must accept the scabby McNulty faction
on pain of expulsion. The Chicigo Federation of Labor would
would have expelled the Typographical Union for its scabbery in
the receat newspaper strike had it had the power. Kansas City
offers anotherP pid 4w?e. There the local central body de
clared for a general strike ofall trades in support of the locked out
building trades workers. But as the local unions were without au
tonomy the project was still-born.
With the I. W. W. in its present centralized form a free devel
opment of the invaluable industrial councils is impossible. Paral
ysis is already upon them. The breath of life for them is autono
my for themselves and their component unions. With them, as
with all other labor unions, centralization means stagnation.
The history of the C. G. T. answers for the success of the
above sketched form of decentralized organization. Let that of
the A. F. of L. and German unions answer for centralization. Even
in the I. W. W., where a machine has had but little opportunity to
develop as yet, the evils of centralization grow more apparent daily.
Centralization must be abandoned and its theory given up. Decen
tralization must be adopted and advocated, not inca half-hearted
way, but in a positive manner befitting its great importance.
PAUL DUPRES, .
Montreal, Can., Sept. 5th., 1913.
Editor's Note:-The French Confederation of Labor at a re
cent convention has declared against the further admission of craft
unions and ordered that all crafts organizations must join the un
ion of their Industry.
The Editor of The Veice, in the articles appearing on Desen
tralization, is responsible only for the views appearing under his
own signature. But his main idea all along has been to strengthen
the City Central Committees and District Councils, making them
more important in the administration of the'I. W. W., the believing
that in them rests the real revolutionary force, as the Commune
is, or will be, the cell from which is builded the Industrial Democ
racy. C. H.
"WORKING-MEN OF THE FORESTS BE REBELSI"
It is by no accident that we find the spirit of discontent grow
ing in every nook and corner of the Southern Lumber Industry. I
say no accident, because the high cost of living is no accident to a
wage worker who works from ten to twelve hours for the sum of
$1.75 per day and then has to pay 20c per lb for meat and other
necessities in proportion. It is no accident when a man finds him
self unable to provide for his family under the existing conditions
in the mills and woods. It is no accident when strong young men
find themselves thrown into "Bunk houses" that the Lumber Kings
would not use as their dog-house. It is by no accident that the
spirit of rebellion has been aroused among the Forest and Lumber
Workers of North America. And it will be no accident when all
this unrest and discontent materializes into the One Big Union of
Forest and Lumber Workers for the sole purpose of meeting the
Lumber Kings upon their own grounds to settle this question of
long hours and short pay.
This argument touches us more closely when we come to the
family question, for there the struggle is pith and substance of dai
ly life. Nations may rest at peace for generations, but the family
must be always on the watch; always defending its members' life
and interest. The family bond is necessarily very strong, and the
old saying that "blood is thicker than water" has a truth which no
philosophy can explain away. This question cannot be solved by
those who hang their heads as slaves, or close their eyes as slug
gards, or gaze into the clouds as dreamers. It calls for proud mil
itant spirit which never flinches from looking facts squarely in the
face, and understands that throughout life's never-ending struggle
we have but the single choice-conquest or death.
"The patience of the poor is the wonder of the world," as
Froude says in his "Life of Caesar." But the greatest patience
has its limits say the "lumberjacks," and under repeated trampling
even the worm will turn. It is the "Lumberjacks" in the South
that have reached the limit of endurance. It is the woodsmen who
are waking up to their own economic interest. They are tired of
being hounetoedFmryaEo place with the "Blacklist" that was
hatched in the "Star Chambers" of the Lumber Operator's Associ
ation. They are tired of being forced to sign an obligation under
oath never to kick at low wages and high commissary prices. They
are tired of paying imaginary hospital and Insurance graft. They
are tired of working for a thing called wages, when the same wages
will buy but one-half the amount it would buy ten years ago. They
are tired of being told that "the Lumber business is dull," and "we
are making no money," when many of the mills are trying to get a
double crew in order to run day and night. They are tired of be
ing promised good treatment when they are wanted by the Lumber
Kings to break a strike and afteiwards thrown into a "Bull Pen"
and worked under armed gunmen. They are tired of being forced
to leave their families and go in search of work after having served
as a slave for years, and then be blacklisted for daring to join the
organization that is fighting for a man's life for all the workers.
It is this state of affairs that is causing all the woodsmen in
the South to agree that the I. W. W. is he only salvation for the hu
man race. It is this state of affairs tha is causing men and women
-to think for themselves, and upon close investigation we find them
reading the principles of the One Big Union of the whole working
class. It is the hellish conditions existing everywhere that has
caused all working men to lose confidence in political or any other
action eccept direct action.
No wonder we see the ljrters" tellg as through the
capitalist papers that the L W. W dead. It is the same old tao
tics which such "featherbrained" witemr to try always, the same
old methods of moulding setn and fooling the workers, but as
the I. W. W. is a new organlsato apd has for its purpose the com
plete overthrow of the capitalist !sstem, then we suppose new
methods will be used in the new :o der of things which is to follow
the old worm-out system of "millk sures" and "tramps."
-The latest news comes to thi4 oice from a Lumber camp for
20 membership books and 40 duep stamps for new members. This
same camp is run on this basis: ýj"n open Union and closed shop."
Now it is up to all Lumber Came to fall in line and follow tle ex
ample of local 276. This local has done its own work without speak
ers or any one else except the local mpembership. All other camps
can accomplish the same and qui4k if the workers have the "Gis
zardTto make the effort. Besides, this camp pulled off two strikes
this summer and was victorious in both.
Yes can do the same by joining the L W. W.
REVERIES Oft THE STATE.
(By Voc T14 Barbarian.)
Precilct:-A small area blue4encilled off on the map, wherein
the politicians herd their voting qttle for counting purposes.
Ward:-An aggregation of precincts cultivated for the pur
pose of producing pap for counil$en and legislators.
Vilage:-A country store apd saloon surrounded by shacks
that are beginning to run into eacl other. The embryo of the town
Tows:-Several country sto'es and saloons or blind tigers
surrounding a sawmill or some other industry and "incorporated"
for the purpose of bringing about more harmonious relations be
tween the parasites who prey on the useful workers.
City :-An agglomeration of wards, villages and towns char
tered for the purpose of issuing bonds to Bankers and furnishing
taxes to feed mayors, commissioner* councilmen, policemen, detec
tives, jailors and judges, to the en4 that "law and order" may be
maintained and the businessmen and manufacturers be not dis
turbed in their right to peacefully rob the workers of the products
of their toil. N. B.-"Civilizatibn" began with the city; it is its
stronghold. P. S.-It is also the powder magazine of Industrial
County -The precincts, wards and villages that function as
the backyards of the towns and cities; a peice of country marked
off on the map whose denizens are first done to pay for a court
house and jail and then stung to support the sheriff, his deputies,
constables and bloodhounds.. Npte:-The "Justice of the Peace"
infests the county; his main duaeb are to sentence workingmen
thrown out of work by capitalists to building automobile roads for
capitalists and to see that the blind tigers and honkytonks "act
square" with the sheriff and hiq deputies. A by-product of the
country is a State Senator.
Congressieual District :-A Congressional District is a string
of jerrymandered counties doompd to elect representatives to the
United States Congress in ordef that the Lobby of the National
Association of Manufacturers mty know what laws to promulgate
and repeal for the bullconization of the "common people."
Addenda:-Congress is run jy the Lobby with the able assist
ance of the Senate and the Sup .me Court, which last two bodies
are select and limited corporation of millionaires and lawyers cre
ated by the "forefathers" to see to it that none of the principles
enunciated in the "immortal Declaration of Independence" were
ever attempted to be put into prActice.
The State:-In the United States the "State" is a conglomera
tion of precincts, wards, villages, towns, cities and Congressional
Districts, the chief purpose of which is to supply more bonds to the
Bankers and to pay the salaries. of the Governor and his cabinet,
I. e., hangers on. Note:-The piinciple industries run by the State
are hospitals, insane asylums, chain-gangs, convict camps, court
houses, jails, armories, penetent!iaries and public schools, the last
being run mainly to supply the fihst named with populations. The
militia are the guardian angels qf the State. (The children don't
aearn this in the public schools, but it is truth all the same. There's
a lot the children don't learn in the public schools.)
The Nation--In the United States the different States are
trustified and thus is formed the nation, making as it were, the
United Trusts of America. Al the people, even the workers, ex
isting on the inside of a State or, Nation are much better an'd nobler
than those existing on the outside thereof, and this is true even
though the outsiders are of thesame breed as the insiders, for the
insiders have sworn allegiance to the flag. I suppose you know that
each Nation must have a flag, f r, in case of war, but for the flag,
the damphool soldiers and men-of-warsmen wouldn't know who
they were shooting and sinking, outsiders or insiders. The flag is al
so useful in protecting the capitalists and politicians, who own the
Nation, against the workers who feed, clothe and house the Nation.
Each Nation is cursed with a working class which is never satisfied,
no matter how much the capitalists and politicians do to them, but
machinery is getting more pezfect and automatonlike every hour
and the State hopes soon to dispense with this disturbing element
Each Nation has a militia, An anry and a navy; these institu
tions are made up of human-looking automatons trained to do noth
ing but stab and shoot, burn, r4pe and kill, and which are used by
the capitalists to keep their foieign markets from being stolen by
the capitalists of other Nations rnd to protect themselves and their
countries from irreligious and uipatriotic workingmen. Religion is
a great bulwark to the State andipriests and preachers are well paid
to dig the brains and backbone out of the working class. Patriot
ism is also a strong and long ans over-played suit of the State, the
Fourth and Fourteenth of July suffering from delerium tremens,
the last refuge of the scoundrel and the statesman.
Polities:-Politics is the scjence of government, or the art of
running States, or, in other woids, the system of chicanery fraud
by and through which the capitalists, politicians, priests and
preachers first proletarianize the people and then rob the workers
of; all save a slum existence. This process is also called "advanc
ing the cause of Christian Civilization."
It is hell, but, it is the State.