Page:Historical Catechism of American Unionism.pdf/90

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your hands, until the chaos is upon us, and the capitalist is "retrenching" at your expense, why then employ your leisure, you'll have lots of it, in studying the plan and method of the Industrial Workers of the World.

Here is something different, here is something hopeful. We do not have to tell you that your government has done nothing but marshal the forces of capitalism against you. We have proved to you in its pamphlet that the craft union system has shifted you into positions where capitalism can not help but defeat you.

The following manifesto, which was issued as the call for the formation of the I. W. W. is as potent today as when written, 19 years ago.


Social relations and groupings only reflect mechanical and industrial conditions. The great facts of present industry are the displacement of human skill by machines and the increase of capitalist power through concentration in the possession of the tools with which wealth is produced and distributed.

Because of these facts trade divisions among laborers and competition among capitalists are alike disappearing. Class divisions grow ever more fixed and class antagonism more sharp. Trade lines have been swallowed up in a common servitude of all workers to the machines which they tend. New machines, ever replacing less productive ones, wipe out whole trades and plunge new bodies of workers into the ever-growing army of tradeless, hopeless unemployed. As human beings and human skill are displaced by mechanical progress, the capitalists need use the workers only during that brief period when muscles and nerve respond most intensely. The moment the laborer no longer yields the maximum of profits he is thrown upon the scrap pile, to starve alongside the discarded machine. A dead line has been drawn, and an age limit established, to cross which, in this world of monopolized opportunities, means condemnation to industrial death.

The worker, wholly separated from the land and the tools, with his skill of craftmanship rendered useless, is sunk in the uniform mass of wage slaves. He sees his power of resistance broken by