Writings and Speeches of Eugene V. Debs

By Eugene V. Debs | Go to book overview

is victory for the working class and the absorption by that class of all other classes.

When the present Socialist Party has accomplished its mission of uniting the workers of the world into a solid political phalanx the end of capitalist domination is at hand, and the era of industrial peace so long wished for by philanthropists and seers will dawn upon the world.


INDUSTRIAL UNIONISM1

The term Industrial Unionism is used to express a modern form of labor organization whose jurisdiction is not confined to any particular trade or craft, but is co-extensive with the industrial development, and embraces the entire working class. Industrial unionism is the outgrowth of trade unionism and expresses the highest form of industrial organization the working class has yet attained. As its name implies this form of unionism contemplates the organization of industries in their entirety, uniting all employees within the same economic body, subdivided into a number of departments equal to and corresponding with the several trades or general occupations in which they are engaged.

In organizing the workers along the lines of their general industrial interests rather than their particular craft interests, it is claimed that the friction due to overlapping craft jurisdictions is obviated, and that a higher degree of solidarity and efficiency is thus secured in the interest of all.

The industrial union in its present form came but recently into existence, the trade union having preceded it, the latter dating back to a time near the beginning of industrial life in Great Britain, about the middle of the eighteenth century.

The earlier unions were confined principally to the skilled trades, and hence were called trade unions. These unions were built up on the basis of the skilled use of the tools used in the several trades during the period of handicraft in industry, and later on were loosely joined together in a federation of trades, without, however, abridging their autonomy or invading their separate jurisdictions.

Organized upon this basis each craft was left free to negotiate its own wage scale, and enter into agreement with the employer upon terms most advantageous to itself regardless of other crafts that

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1
International Socialist Review, December, 1909.

-323-

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