FOR our own country, it has considerable significance that the newer immigrant is everywhere conspicuous in the I. W. W. The older American leadership has to consider him in all its tactics. That so many of these new-comers are without votes is no mean asset for revolutionary propaganda.
In the language of English suffragettes, "Because we have no votes, we must choose other means to gain our ends," is an argument I have heard used with the same effect, as the lack of funds in French trade unions is thought to be good reason for direct action. They can neither afford nor wait results of slow and indirect activity.
Of the same nature as a characteristic is the youth of the membership. The groups I saw in the West bore this stamp so unmistakably as to suggest bodies of students at the end of a rather jolly picnic. The word "bum" usually applied to them in that region does not fit them. There are plenty of older men, as there are men with every appearance of being "down and out"--with trousers chewed off at the heels, after the manner of tramps, but in face and bearing they are far from "bums."
In one of the speeches the young were addressed as "best material," because they could stand the wear and tear of racking journeys. They were free from