American Syndicalism: The I. W. W

By John Graham Brooks | Go to book overview
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II

THE MORE IMMEDIATE DANGER

IN the hope of making more intelligible the general purpose of this study, I wish to connect it with experiences out of which an earlier volume grew--The Social Unrest. The book was at best only the A. B. C. of some economic disorders observable at the time. As in a primer, I tried to interpret those features of the trade union struggle, as it met on one side the resistance of the employer and upon the other an already invading socialism. It seemed to me then, as it seems today, that socialism has no such personal friend as the capitalist possessing power and inclination to crush labor organization. There are other and deeper causes of socialism over which we have little control, but in our relation to labor organization, we can exercise choice and conscious direction. Not all the bulky offences of trade union aggression should obscure the fact that these organizations are among the educational and conservative forces of our time. The trade union expressly recognizes the wage system and tries always, however awkwardly, to make terms with it. Just as expressly, socialism aims to destroy that system as part and parcel of the one "iniquitous despoiler," capitalism; i. e., our present methods of doing business.

Even in theory, if capital once convinces labor that its trade union is futile; that it can have no organic and recognized part with capitalist management, then

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