The year now drawing to a close will be memorable in the annals of labor because of the organization of the Industrial Workers of the World.
For thirty years I have been connected with the labor movement. All of the years of my young manhood were devoted to the work of organizing my fellow-workingmen, that by the power of united effort they might do something to improve their condition as workers, promote their interests as citizens and advance their general welfare as men. There was a time when I believed that the trade union was in itself sufficient for this work. I have been compelled to revise my opinion and to conclude that something larger, more thorough and comprehensive in the way of organization is required to meet the demands of modern times.
The trade union, itself the product of industrial evolution, is subject to the laws of change, and the union that may have served some purpose a quarter of a century ago is now as completely out of date as the tools of industry that were then in use.
Now, I assume that most of you are more or less familiar with the history of the industrial development of the land; that you know in a general way that in the beginning of industrial society in the United States, when the toot with which work was done was a simple hand tool, made and used by an individual, the average workingman could look forward to the time when he would be an employer instead of an employee; that, having mastered his trade, he could grasp the few simple tools with which his work was done, virtually employ himself, own what he produced and enjoy the fruit of his labor.
At that time one man worked for another, not in the capacity of a wage worker as we understand that term today, but simply to learn his trade, and having become the master of this he was in a position to command most, if not all, his labor produced. It was when the simple toot of the hand laborer was supplanted by the machine and the workingman lost control of the tool with which he worked, that the modern industrial revolution had its beginning. The small employer became the capitalist and the employee became the wage worker; and there began the division of society into two distinct economic classes, and we have these classes before us today, in capitalist society, fully developed.
These two classes, consisting of relatively few capitalists who____________________