[Marxism] Anti-Imperialism and the IWW

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Aug 15 08:27:02 MDT 2005

Calvin wrote:
>Maybe so, but the IWW were certainly not consistent and often tended to 
>abjure 'political' positions in line with their reformist syndicalist 
>worldview, including principled anti-imperialism. Thus, J. Sakai has written:
>"Ricardo Flores Magon, the revolutionary syndicalist who was the first 
>major leader of Mexicano workers, had ties to the I.W.W. during his long 
>years of exile in the U.S. His organization, the Partido Liberal Mexicano 
>(PLM), led thousands of Mexicano miners in strikes on both sides of the 
>artificial "border". Magon was imprisoned four times by the U.S. Empire, 
>finally being murdered by guards to prevent his scheduled release from Ft. 
>Leavenworth. His proposal for the I.W.W. to join forces with the [then 
>revolutionary] Mexicano proletariat in armed struggle fell on deaf ears. 
>Although some wobblies (such as Joe Hill) went to Mexico on an individual 
>basis for periods of time, the I.W.W. as a whole rejected such 
>cooperation. Magon once angrily wrote his brother from prison: 'The 
>norteamericanos are incapable of feeling enthusiasm or indignation. This 
>is truly a country of pigs... If the norteamericanos do not agitate 
>against their own domestic miseries, can we hope they will concern 
>themselvs with our?" (J. Sakai, *Settlers: the Mythology of the White 
>Proletariat*, pp. 71-72).
>LOUIS PROYECT WROTE: <http://www.swans.com/library/art11/lproy24.html>
>If there was anything that defined the IWW, it was its resistance to 
>imperialist war, especially World War One.

But was Magon referring to the IWW or to the average worker? There were 
many problems with the IWW but they can hardly be described as "reformist". 
This term might only apply to the "sewer socialism" wing of the SP, but not 
to the Debs wing or to the IWW. These two groups went on to form the CP 
after 1917.



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