Industrial Workers of the World

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  • Organized in 1905, this radical-syndicalist labor organization stood for industrial unionism. Dissatisfied with the craft-union policies of Samuel Gompers's American Federation of Labor (AFL), the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)—known as the Wobblies—called for the organization of all workers, skilled and unskilled. Although this militant group never included more than seventy-five thousand members, its greatest strength was in the mining and lumbering areas of the American West. Its political activities encouraged direct action, promoting violence in strikes and undermining capitalistic industry. Its many popular songs hailed the class struggle and working-class revolution. The IWW's opposition to World War I ultimately led to its demise, despite a brief spike in membership after the war until the early 1920s.

    Meeting in Chicago on June 27, 1905, a ...

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