William Haywood : Big Bill Haywood, Founder and Leader of the IWW

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(1869 - 1928)


One of the foremost labor radicals of the American West, "Big Bill" Haywood became a leading figure in labor activities across the United States.

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From : Anarchy Archives


"...I want to urge upon the working class; to become so organized on the economic field that they can take and hold the industries in which they are employed. Can you conceive of such a thing? Is it possible? What are the forces that prevent you from doing so?"

From : "The General Strike," by William D. Haywood, 1911

"...on this great force of the working class I believe we can agree that we should unite into one great organization--big enough to take in the children that are now working; big enough to take in the black man; the white man; big enough to take in all nationalities--an organization that will be strong enough to obliterate state boundaries, to obliterate national boundaries, and one that will become the great industrial force of the working class of the world."

From : "The General Strike," by William D. Haywood, 1911

"...it is only by industrial unionism that the general strike becomes possible."

From : "The General Strike," by William D. Haywood, 1911

"If the workers can organize so that they can stand idle they will then be strong enough so that they can take the factories."

From : c

"...I know I owe my life to the workers of the nation, it is to the working class of the nation that I am under obligation, not to any subdivision of that class. That is why I am here now. That is why I am talking working-class solidarity, because I want to see the working class do for themselves what they did for me."

From : ...I know I owe my life to the workers of the nation, it is to the working class of the nation that I am under obligation, not to any subdivision of that class. That is why I am here now. That is why I am talking working-class solidarity, because I want to see the working class do for themselves what they did for me.

"A few rich people own the lands and machines. The many labor and have nothing. This every worker knows."

From : "Industrial Socialism," by Frank Bohn and William D. Haywood

"...the historians have not been much interested in what the working people have done, although they have done almost everything worth while in the world."

From : "Industrial Socialism," by Frank Bohn and William D. Haywood

"For them it was work or starve. Work or starve it is still, not because nature forces us to do so, but because we have not yet seen our way out of it. We are enslaved not to the soil but to the people who own the machines. The Socialist Movement has come to place the machines, the shops, the railroads, the land and the mines in the possession of the workers. That will mean freedom, security and opportunity for all who live."

From : "Industrial Socialism," by Frank Bohn and William D. Haywood

"Capitalists cannot live without wage-workers. Where one class exists there the other will be found. Furthermore, there is sure to be trouble between the two. The master is always scheming to get more profits out of the worker. The worker fights for more wages from his boss. The less one gets the more there is for the other. Hence we have, between the capitalist and his worker, what is known as the Class Struggle."

From : "Industrial Socialism," by Frank Bohn and William D. Haywood

"For the revolution to be successful, it will have to result in the ownership and control of the land, shops, mines and railroads by the workers."

From : "Industrial Socialism," by Frank Bohn and William D. Haywood


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About William Haywood

 William Haywood 1

William Haywood 1

One of the foremost labor radicals of the American West, "Big Bill" Haywood became a leading figure in labor activities across the United States.

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1869, Haywood had a difficult life. He was only three years old when his father died, and at age nine he both lost an eye and for the first time worked in a mine. The economic desperation which led him to work as a child prevented him from ever receiving much formal education.

In 1884, Haywood became an underground miner at the Eagle Canyon mine in Nevada. After a brief stint as a cowboy and a failed homesteading effort, he returned to mining in 1896, this time in Silver City, Idaho. Here he began his labor career as a founding member of a local chapter of the Western Federation of Miners (WFM), the industry-wide union that had been founded in 1893 in Butte, Montana. Haywood rose quickly in the union ranks, becoming secretary and president of his local, joining the national union's General Executive Board in 1900, and editing the union's magazine and serving as secretary-treasurer in 1901. Haywood became co-president of the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) union in 1902.

Just as Haywood became one of the leaders of Western unions, labor relations in Colorado exploded into violence. Motivated largely by harsh working conditions, similar to the mines of Butte, Montana, the WFM launched a series of mining strikes in Colorado beginning in 1901. The next several years saw near warfare in Colorado's mining fields. The defeat of the strikes led Haywood to stress the need for "one big union" which could bring broader support to individual labor struggles; accordingly, in 1905 he played a key role in the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), commonly referred to as "the Wobblies."

The next year Haywood was charged with plotting the murder of a former Idaho governor. The jury acquitted Haywood, but businessmen and fellow labor leaders would continue to fear and even hate Haywood for his alleged endorsement of violence and sabotage. In 1915, he became the formal head of the IWW and helped to direct strikes from New Jersey to Washington State.

From 1905 to 1920, the IWW organized hundreds of thousands of workers in mines, lumberyards, farms and factories; it never had more than about 150,000 members at any one time, but over 3 million people joined at one time or another. The IWW was strongest in the West, where it organized women and men, African-Americans and whites, recent immigrants and native-born Americans into large industry-wide unions. Wobblies were explicit about their eventual goal of toppling capitalism, and many of their leaders, including Haywood, expressed open admiration for the young Soviet Union. Wobblies quickly became a part of the folklore of the West, celebrated for their staunch egalitarianism and no-holds-barred style.

The domestic repression which World War I brought ultimately crushed both Haywood and the IWW. In 1917, the federal government arrested Haywood and one hundred others and charged them with violating espionage and sedition acts for calling strikes during wartime. All were convicted. When the Supreme Court rejected his final appeal in 1921, Haywood jumped bail and fled to the Soviet Union, where he died in 1928.

From : Anarchy Archives


This person has authored 5 documents, with 32,084 words or 191,482 characters.

Bill Haywood Remembers the 1913 Paterson StrikeSource, William D. Haywood,"On the Paterson Picket Line," International Socialist Review, 13 (June 1913): 850-851. In this excerpt from an article published during the 1913 Paterson Silk Strike by "Big" Bill Haywood, he comments on the women’s role in the strike. Haywood was a founder and national leader of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).   ...The women have been an enormous factor in the Paterson strike. Each meeting for them has been attended by bigger and bigger crowds. They are becoming deeply interested in the questions of the hour that are confronting women and are rapidly developing the se... (From : Rutgers University.)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the International Institute for Social History Speech by William D. Haywood at Meeting Held for the Benefit of the Buccafori Defense, at Progress Assembly Rooms, New York, March 16, 1911.    Comrades and Fellow Workers: I am here to-night with a heavy heart. I can see in that Raymond Street jail our comrade and fellow-worker Buccafori in a cell, a miserable cell, perhaps 4 1/2 feet wide, 7 feet long, sleeping on an iron shelf, wrapped up in a dirty blanket, vermin-infested perhaps; surrounded by human wolves, those who are willing to tear him limb from limb, those who will not feel that their duty to the political state is entirely fulfilled until B... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
FOREWORD Socialism is the future system of industrial society. Toward it America, Europe, Australasia, South Africa and Japan are rapidly moving. Under capitalism today the machines and other means of wealth production are privately owned. Under Socialism tomorrow they will be collectively owned. Under capitalism all popular constitutional government is merely political. Its main purpose is the protection of private property, Industry is at present governed by a few tyrants. Its purpose is to take from the workers as much wealth as possible. Under Socialism industrial government as well as political government will be democratic. Its purpose will be to manage production and to establish and conduct the great social institutions required ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
On the Case of Ettor and Giovannitti Coooper Union, New York Dedicated to the World's Workers, In Behalf of Ettor and Giovannitti, By the Speaker PRICE FIVE CENTS Published By The ETTOR-GIOVAKNITTI DEFENSE COMMITTEE NOBLE FIGHTERS FOR THE WORKERS' CAUSE The pathway to civic liberty and Industrial freedom is marked with blood, its miles are the cross, stake, gibbet, guillotine, scaffold, and the firing squad. Shall the electric chair be added to that bloody list.- ARTURO GIOVANNITTI JOSEPH J. ETTOR In a prison cell, accused by capitalists' agents of a crime committed by a policeman. Ettor and Giovannitti organized the 85,000 Lawrence textile workers, whose wages averaged less than six dollars per... (From : Archive.org.)
WITH DROPS OF BLOOD THE HISTORY OF THE INDUSTRIAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD HAS BEEN WRITTEN Ever since the I. W. W. was organized in June, 1905, there has been an inquisitorial campaign against its life and growth, inaugurated by the Chambers of Commerce, Profiteers, large and small, and authorities of State and Nation in temporary power. The Industrial Workers of the World is a Labor organization composed of sober, honest, industrious men and women. Its chief purposes are to abolish the system of wage slavery and to improve the conditions of those who toil. This organization has been foully dealt with; drops of blood, bitter tears of anguish, frightful heart pains have marked its every step in its onward march of progres... (From : Marxists.org.)


February 04, 1869 :
Birth Day.

May 18, 1928 :
Death Day.

November 15, 2016 ; 5:22:13 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Added to https://www.RevoltLib.com.

April 21, 2019 ; 5:01:44 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Last Updated on https://www.RevoltLib.com.


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