27 December 2022

Rebel Voices


Rebel Voices: An IWW Anthology
ed. Joyce Kornbluh
(1964/2011)

WHY STRIKES ARE LOST
William Trautman
pp. 17-23
[orig. "published in Chicago, about 1911"]

[19] ...
What Is Craft Autonomy?

It is a term used to lay down restrictive rules for each organization which adheres to the policy of allowing only a certain portion of workers in a given industry to become members of a given trade union. Formerly, as a rule, a craft was determined by the tool which a group of workers used in the manufacturing process. But as the simple tool of yore gave way to the large machine, the distinction was changed to designate the part of a manufacturing process on a given article by a part of the workers engaged in the making of the same.

...

Evil Effects of Craft Autonomy?

Now, as observed in the beginning, a body of workers, only recently brought together, may walk out on strike, before they have learned to know what craft autonomy implies. In such cases they usually win. As soon as they begin to settle down to do some constructive or educational work, to keep the members interested in the affairs of the organization and prepare for future conflicts with the employers, they learn to their chagrin that they have done wrong in allowing all to be together.

They are told that they had no right to organize all working at one place into one organization. The splitting-up process is enforced, trade autonomy rules are applied, and what was once a united body of workers without knowledge of the intricate meaning of "autonomy" is finally divided into a number of craft organizations.

The result is that no concerted action is possible in the conflicts following. Many a time the achievements of one strike, won only because workers stood and fought together, are lost in the next skirmish. One portion of workers, members of one craft union, remain at work, while others, members of another trade union, are fighting either for improved working conditions, or in resistance against wrongs or injustice done them by the employing class.

Well hello there, Movie Industry.






TESTIMONY OF J.T. (RED) DORAN (1918)
pp. 61-63

[61] ...

I explained that sabotage did not mean destruction of property. Sabotage meant the withdrawal of efficiency, industrial efficiency, and told the workers that they practiced sabotage
[62]
in the interest of their bosses, and illustrated the thing this way:

I said, for instance, down here in California, there is a little colony, what they call Little Landers Colony. It was located at the base of a hill, and at the top of this hill there was an extensive water supply, but in order to conserve that water it was necessary to build a dam. Now the privilege of building the dam was under the competitive system and the dam was known as the Ottay dam. Men went down on that job and it was a slave job right. They kept them on the jump all the time. Naturally, under the competition condition, contractors have to cheat on materials. They have to get the contracts, they have got to live, they cheat on materials, they squeeze and pinch here and there as the circumstances permit, so no one questions the fact but what a concrete dam could be built so solidly that nothing could take it out. I illustrate, by the Chinese wall as it stands today. We could duplicate that; we have the materials, but it is not done, and the reason it is not done is because of this competitive program, and the conditions under which it is operated, but it is the slaves themselves who actually practice the sabotage. Here is a fellow wheeling cement. At the instruction of his foreman he cheats a little on the cement; his gravel is not clean cut and clear. The sand is of a poor or inferior grade and the concrete, when it is poured in there is not what it should be. The consequence is that after a time, as in the case of this Ottay dam, the dam bursts—a storm came along, an unusual storm, that is granted—a storm came along and it burst this dam and the water flowed down off this mountain and drowned out all of these settlers in the low land at the base of the hill, their little one acre farms were ruined; their stock was gone; their homes scattered to the desert in every direction.

Now I explained that the workers had practiced sabotage in the interest of the bosses profits, but that the I.W.W. said, "Go on that job and put so much cement in there, put so much clean stone in there, put so much stuff in there that they can have all the storms that it is possible to brew in southern California and that dam will still stand and there will be no loss of life or property.

On the other hand, I spoke of an incident that occurred in Jersey; I was doing some electrical work in a building one day, one of these little bungalows out in the suburbs, and a fellow was spending some time on the door sill, a carpenter, and he was making a pretty close fit of things, as is necessary if you want protection against the weather in that country, and the boss came along, the real estate man came along and he said, "Holy smoke, man, you are putting in an awful lot of time on that doorsill; you have got to get a wiggle on." This carpenter turned to him, and he said, "Why, man alive, I am only trying to make a good job out of this thing; I am putting in a door sill here as it should be put in; I want to make a house fit to live in." The real estate man said, "Fit to live in! What are you talking about, I am not building this house to live in, I am building it to sell."

And so the same way with my work as an electrical worker. I get a job in competition with other workers, and speed, efficiency,—speed-efficiency, profit-efficiency was the gauge.

I went in to do my work. I had to eat; I had to shoot her in just as I was told to shoot her in. Of course, there were rules and regulations supposedly governing the installation, but nevertheless, I had to pinch and squeeze everywhere, and the consequence was, as a result of speed work and conditions, I had to do the best I could to get done. The idea was to get done. Electrical fires are reported all over the United States; millions of dollars worth of property destroyed because some man has practiced sabotage in the interest of the masters. We I.W.W.s say, we electrical workers can do a good job; you muckers can do a good job. Do it. Practice sabotage in the interest of the safety and security of society. It was along those lines that I spoke of sabotage.

Well hello there, Recording Industry.






Chapter 3

Riding the Rails: I.W.W. Itinerants

(pp. 65-71)
...

[67, quoting Dr. Ben Reitman] "The hobo works and wanders, the tramp dreams and wanders, and the bum drinks and wanders."



...

[71] Hobo songs and poems seldom talked about love or beauty, yet curiously enough, Dick Brazier, author of so many of the verses in the little red songbook, told labor folklorist Archie Green:

. . . the West was a wide open country, the open spaces really existed. There was plenty of room to move around in, and there were scenes of great grandeur and beauty, and there were journeys to be made that took you to all kinds of interesting sections of the country. That's the feeling we all had. I think that's one of the reasons we kept on moving as much as we did. In addition to searching for the job, we were also searching for something to satisfy our emotional desire for grandeur and beauty. After all, we have a concept of beauty too, although we were only migratory workers.






HOW TO MAKE WORK FOR THE UNEMPLOYED
Joe Hill
(pp. 141-143)
[International Socialist Review, December 1914]

[142] What the working class needs today is an inexpensive method by which to fight the powerful capitalist class and they have just such a weapon in their own hands.

This weapon is without expense to the working class and if intelligently and systematically used, it will not only reduce the profits of the exploiters, but also create more work for the wage earners. If thoroughly understood and used more extensively it may entirely eliminate the unemployed army, the army used by the employing class to keep the workers in submission and slavery.

In order to illustrate the efficacy of this new method of warfare, I will cite a little incident. Some time ago the writer was working in a big lumber yard on the west coast. On the coast nearly all the work around the water fronts and lumber yards is temporary.

When a boat comes in a large number of men are hired and when the boat is unloaded these men are "laid off." Consequently it is to the interest of the workers "to make a job last" as long as possible.

The writer and three others got orders to load up five box cars with shingles. When we commenced the work we found, to our surprise, that nearly every shingle bundle had been cut open. That is, the little strip of sheet iron that holds the shingles tightly together in a bundle, had been cut with a knife or a pair of shears, on every bundle in the pile—about three thousand bundles in all.

When the boss came around we notified him about the accident and, after exhausting his supply of profanity, he ordered us to get the shingle press and re-bundle the whole batch it took the four of us ten whole days to put that shingle pile into shape again. And our wages for that time, at the rate of 32c per hour, amounted to $134.00. By adding the loss on account of delay in shipment, the "holding money" for the five box cars, etc., we found that the company's profit for that day had been reduced about $300.

So there you are. In less than half an hour's time somebody had created ten days' work for four men who would have been otherwise unemployed, and at the same time cut a big chunk off the boss's profit. No lives were lost, no property was destroyed, there were no law suits, nothing that would drain the resources of the organized workers. But there WERE results. That's all.

If every worker would devote ten or fifteen minutes every day to the interests of himself and his class, after devoting eight hours or more to the interests of his employer, it would not be long before the unemployed army would be a thing of the past and the profit of the bosses would melt away so fast that they would not be able to afford to hire professional man-killers to murder the workers and their families in a case of strike.

Well hello again, Recording Industry! We've got to stop meeting this way!

Somewhere, Frank Zappa said/wrote:

Get your fiddle, get your bow
Play some footballs on your hole
Watch your watch, play a little flat
Make the session go overtime, that's where it's at

Hey, saxophone, clarinet
How many doubles can you get
Special rules provide the way
To help you maximize your pay

Whatever his other shortcomings, Frank certainly seems to have understood craft autonomy, sabotage, and d├ętournement as well and as deeply as these early unionists did. What's more, his critique of professionalism did not entail (how could it?) dispensing with craft or technique. (See below the final excerpt of this post for the converse, baby-with-bathwater version, which is the sort of nonsense that forbids us taking such things for granted.)

For those of us so inclined, this new method of warfare isn't going to cut it, because it railroads us (pun intended) into doing a bad job. This must be, I assume, part of the Wobblies' contempt not merely for craft autonomy per se but for the craft ethic writ large. And this, for me personally I would say, presents quite a dilemma of which I certainly can "see both sides."

I should add that I absolutely have seen Culture Industry workers (they happen to be conservative ones who hate unions and activists broadly) make work for each other in a similar-though-not-identical way as above. And I should not say any more about this for the time being.






THE LAST LETTERS OF JOE HILL
(pp. 150-152)

II
[150]
...

I am glad to hear that you manage to make both ends meet, in spite of the industrial deal, but there is no use in being pessimistic in this glorious land of plenty. Self preservation is, or should be, the first law of nature. The animals, when in a natural state, are showing us the way. When they are hungry they will always try to get something to eat or else they will die in the attempt. That's natural; to starve to death is unnatural.

Poignant as this is, ultimately it's just a backdoor rationale for violence, and more insidious than the frontdoor versions precisely for its poignant, intellectual qualities. Cloaked in rhetoric that is literally communistic, beneath the surface it cedes a decisive point to the paleocon right: that because humans are animals we should assume ourselves incapable of anything beyond the scattershot altruism and cooperation found in "nature." Is there any argument for any left-of-center program once this point is conceded? Yet somehow this is the version of "Darwinism" that has become acceptable (been made acceptable?) for certain left-wing voices (and not others!) to articulate.

(Or does die in the attempt just mean falling into a crevass while the other animals cackle Darwin-award style?)






THE PAGEANT AS A FORM OF PROPAGANDA
(pp. 212-214)
(review of the pageant from Current Opinion, July 1913??)

[212] In the revival of one of the earliest forms of drama, the pageant, has been found one of the most "picturesquely vivid means of teaching a lesson or winning devotion to some particular cause." So says Katharine Lord, writing on "The Pageant of the Idea" in the New York Evening Post. Altho this form of drama, Miss Lord points out, is supposed to be nothing but a vivid record of history, the tendency in America has been toward its use for propaganda purposes. The suffrage pageant, recently given in the Metropolitan Opera, was a symbolic pantomime rather than a pageant. The pantomime was weak, says Miss Lord, "in that it is too exlusively symbolic, and has no substructure or human action to carry the idea." On the other hand, she continues, "it is suggestive of a strong, dramatic, forceful, vivid pageant, which would have the inculcation of an idea or the advancing of a cause for its distinct purpose."

A pageant of this type was produced shortly after these words were written. So successful in depicting the cause of the striking silk workers of Paterson, N.J., was the "Pageant of the Paterson Strike," presented in Madison Square Garden on the night of June 7, by one thousand of the strikers and their leaders, that the New York Times found in the performance a veritable menace to existing society. ...

On the other hand, the New York World found in the strike pageant something more poetic and less menacing. Speaking editorially it said: "It was not a drama, and hardly a pageant as the word is understood. It was little more than a repetition of a single scene. But need can speak without elocutionists, and unison of thought in a great mass of highly wrought-up people may well swell emotion to the point of tears. Probably few witnessed the exhibition without sympathy with the sacrifices that made it possible and satisfaction in its material success."






THE TRUTH ABOUT THE PATERSON STRIKE
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn
(pp. 214-226)
[speech before the New York Civic Club Forum
January 31, 1914]

[216] We had the difficulty that silk is not an actual necessity. In the strike among coal miners you reached the point eventually where you had the public by the throat, and through the public you were able to bring pressure on the employers. Not so in the silk industry.

Entrepreneurial musicians and above-named Industries take note.






WHY I AM A MEMBER OF THE I.W.W.
A PERSONAL RECORD BY ONE OF THEM

(pp. 286-289)
[unsigned article, October 1922]


The Workers' Welcome

[287] Have you ever thought of how we, the workers in the woods, mines, construction camps or agricultural fields, are really approached and "entertained" when we visit our present centers of "civilization" and "culture"? What is the first thing we
[288]
meet? The cheap lodging house, the dark and dirty restaurant, the saloon or the blind pig, the prostitutes operating in all the hotels, the moving picture and cheap vaudeville shows with their still cheaper, sensational programs, the freaks of all descriptions who operate on the street corners, from the ones selling "corn removers" and shoestrings to the various religious fanatics and freaks. Did you ever see a sign in the working class district pointing the way to the public library? I have not. Did you ever meet a sign in any one of the rooming houses where we are forced to live, advertising a concert or a real play of any of our great writers...? Never.

I mention this because I, like all others, have certain desires I want to satisfy. We want a break in the monotony of camp life. That's why we go to the cities. We want to see and partake in all those manifestations of civilized society, we want amusements, comfort, leisure. We also want a clean and healthy environment composed of both sexes, we want a home, family, children. We want to see ourselves and our ideals in life perpetuated in our own offspring. And may I say that I hold this to be a blessing for humanity. Whoever does not strive and fight for the good things of life is, in my opinion, dangerous to society. But due to our perverse social system we are prevented from satisfying our desires and the majority of our class accepts whatever is offered as a substitute.

Merely the more extensive and eloquent of several declarations to this effect which appear throughout this collection.






EDUCATION
Clifford B. Ellis
Editor of The Industrial Worker
(pp. 365-369)
[from the I.W.W. pamphlet Twenty-Five Years of Industrial Unionism, Chicago (1930)]

[366] If education is to prepare one to perform the duties of life, as Webster says, it is apparent that it should be specialized to suit the needs of the individual. It is assumed by our educators that all members of society have certain duties in common, such as duties to the State, a common moral code and the amenities of social intercourse. If all the members of society were of approximately equal economic condition, the assumption might be accepted as a practical working proposition; but in a society divided by class lines, it is an absurdity. The most important material fact of modern social organization is completely and deliberately ignored in education; namely, that society is divided into two fairly well-defined classes consisting of those who work for wages and those who exploit the wage workers for profit and live by a species of gambling in the wealth produced by the other class.

Even technical education is divided quite unnaturally and unnecessarily into two branches along class lines. These are the mechanical arts on the one hand and the so-called professions on the other. No one can tell just where the line of division between the two branches should be drawn. No one knows just at what point a carpenter becomes an architect or a building engineer; or at what point a reporter becomes a "journalist" or when a real estate huckster becomes a "realtor." Obviously, the line of division lies outside of the technical factors involved and concerns itself with something else. Roughly, it depends on whether you are going to use the technical knowledge gained by study to do useful and practical things—to produce wealth—or whether you are going to use it in the exploitation of those who do the useful things. ...

And now, formalized credentialing has since rushed in to shade in the line of division. But this has exacerbated rather than alleviated the problem: still no one can tell, but everyone thinks they can.

[367] [The bourgeoisie] soon acquired class consciousness and awareness of the property distinctions that separated it by an immeasurable gulf from the wage workers who created the commodities in which it trafficked. But the ideas and ideology of its origins persisted in its educational system and education was founded on the fallacy that bourgeois society has established its ideal—equality of opportunity.






A Short Treatise on Wobbly Cartoons

Franklin Rosemont
(pp. 425-444)

[440] Underground comics had a lasting impact on the course of cartooning. Paradoxical as it might seem, one of their most important contributions was their defiant anti-professionalism. Thanks to these sometimes crudely drawn but most always energetic and provocative effusions, many thousands of young recalcitrants were encouraged to try cartooning themselves ("Geez, I could draw as good as that!"), just as years earlier many wage-earners had been inspired to take up the art by seeing cartoons drawn by their fellow workers in the IWW press.

The author lets the professionalist terrorists win here by attacking craftsmanship rather than careerism. He clearly knows more about the latter than the former, having talked someone or other into appending twenty Black Pages of bellicose puffery to this already-sprawling reissue.

This essay's appearance after the notes and bibliographies (plural), formatted for maximum efficiency rather than for the reader's eyes, seems like a good indication that professional considerations got the better of craft considerations here. Let's hope no one's union dues went towards the extra paper and ink.



Linda Nochlin—The Paterson Strike Pageant


Linda Nochlin
"The Paterson Strike Pageant"
(orig. 1974)

in

Making It Modern: Essays on the Art of the Now
ed. Aruna D'Souza
(2022)
pp. 368-376


[372] A combination of visual spectacle and dramatic performance, the pageant can weld together two seemingly disparate forces, the subject and object of the dramatic metaphor. In reenactments like the Paterson Strike Pageant, the "actors" remain themselves yet at the same time play their roles as symbols of broader issues. In the same way, the farm laborers in Hitler's Nuremburg Rally of 1934 played—and were—themselves but at the same time stood for the masses of agricultural workers throughout the country. In like manner, the vast crowds that reenacted in Moscow in 1919 the storming of the Winter Palace were revolutionaries themselves yet also played the role of vaster revolutionary Russian forces.

For leaders of revolutionary movements, as well as for ideologues consciously or unconsciously intent on maintaining the status quo, the pageant was a potent weapon in forging a sense of communal identity for the hitherto inarticulate and unselfconscious lower classes. A pageant could function in the realm of participatory dramatic action rather in the way Diego Rivera's Mexican murals did in the realm of public visual art: to
[373]
forge a sense of contemporary purpose, self-identity and social cohesion out of a vivid recapitulation of historical fact heightened by symbolism.

But the pageant was also a unique political instrument in another way: the effects it had on the performers were as important as those it had on the audience. This can be said of no other performance art form.

I know not which esoteric usages are appealed to by effects, important, and performance art form, but this appears on its surface to be an absurd statement. Some effect is all but assured by most any performance. The question is not one of evidence or absence of effect; rather it is a question of control, of what in admin-speak has come to be known as Measurable Outcomes, without which not even another Paterson Pageant could get the attention of either the institutional art world or the "radicals" who ostensibly aim to countervail its power.

In the case of the Paterson Strike Pageant, the choice of significant incidents—...and the dramatic simplification and compression of events which may have been unclear when experienced in actuality—all made the striking workers conscious of the meaning of what they had lived through.

Later, Golin would emphasize this point even more forcefully. But he insists with equal vehemence that events were hardly unclear to the workers as these events were experienced in actuality.

At such a distance, now, from these events, and thus relying on "secondary" sources to form a yet more tenuous "tertiary" account, the distinction between general morale boosting and making people conscious of the meaning of what they had lived through could be meaningless. It may be lost to history. That much being granted, Intellectual history is both more amenable to continual revision and closer to my own concerns here anyway. And so as a matter of nothing more or less than Intellectual History, this drift from morale-boosting to consciousness-raising does seem worth noting.

This is above all an epistemological concern: often we realize only too late what we should have said or done; but also, we distort memories beyond any semblance of truth pretty much from the moment they are formed. Literary thought elevates the clarifying potential of hindsight to the status of an unquestioned and unquestionable virtue, of an assured result (think control again); but it fails to reckon (quite willfully, I think) with the distortive streak. It is often unclear, at least to me, just what it is that distinguishes the quotidian distortion of memory (surely a "motivated" distortion) from the production of "literature," aside from the packaging.

This is how activist litterateurs make their own beds and then become reluctant to lie in them. It is less literature itself than the activist imperative overlaid on it, here and elsewhere, which forces the epistemological issue; this because the concrete purpose of the activist demands concrete methods rather than experimental ones. And it is the dissonance between the thesis that workers were the strike leaders, on one hand, and the thesis that events may have been unclear to workers as they were unfolding in real time, on the other, which indicates, in fact, a substantial difference in interpretation even where the later author has exalted the earlier author and turned to her for support.

The fact that Nochlin is utterly unafraid of inviting comparison with Nazi and Soviet productions is at least a welcome preemption of the most tenuous, puritanical, animistic objections that might be raised against certain performing arts. But it also railroads us into judging these "participatory" artworks by our agreement or disagreement with their political orientation, and by little else. This is indeed a new kind of art, though there has been political art before. And it is only now, I think, with the long-awaited penetration of the mainstream entertainment industry by an activist ethic that is self-conscious, totalizing, and surface-oriented, with a supersession of unspoken ideology by loudly proclaimed ideological stances, it is only now that we can have an informed rather than merely speculative conversation, beyond the thick walls of academia or the paper-thin ones of industry, as to whether this is something that we really need or want; of whether we are better or worse off (or perhaps merely the same!) this way. I expect that "epistemology" will continue to play no role whatsoever in these discussions, and that this will be the reason why they continue to go nowhere helpful. But epistemology is the question here, and unlike history's lost secrets it will not disappear simply for not being spoken of.



Martin Green—New York 1913


Martin Green
New York 1913: The Armory Show and the Paterson Strike Pageant
(1990)

[4] ...I derive some terms from Susan Sontag's essay on "The Aesthetics of Silence." She there discusses modernist art primarily, but she uses a vocabulary alien to ordinary
[5]
aesthetics. Her terms belong more to religion than to anything else. She says that, "Every era has to reinvent the project of 'spirituality' for itself." She defines spirituality in various ways which converge on the idea of ultimate value, or a religious transcendence of "the world," and continues, "In the modern era, one of the most active metaphors for the spiritual project is 'art.' The activities of the painter, the musician, the poet, the dancer, once they were grouped together under that generic name (a relatively recent move) have proved a particularly adaptable site on which to stage the formal dramas besetting consciousness . . .":

Well, I loves me some Susan but based on this retelling I'm quite confused as to just how a religious transcendence of "the world" follows quite so directly from any staging of those pesky formal dramas which are always besetting consciousness and sowing general mischief about the psyche.

these are, I take it, the dramas or crises of protest which express our need to transcend the ordinary conditions of life, the limited expectations and temperate temperatures with which we ordinarily pursue even artistic and intellectual concerns.

It would be simpler to say that we create what we need, but then there would be no transcendence and no spirituality to bandy about; and there would be formal dramas prominently involved only where we have either too much or not enough of them.

Steve Golin—The Fragile Bridge


Steve Golin
The Fragile Bridge: Paterson Silk Strike, 1913
(1988)

[18] Paterson manufacturers suffered the cost of hiring experienced, skilled help, with all its attendant labor problems, because they had no good alternative. As the advertisement of a bankrupt manufacturer put it tactfully in 1913, "While this labor is more or less of an agitative character and at times unruly, yet this is due to the fact of its skilled character." ...the cost of training unskilled workers to weave even the plainer silks was very high because damage to the material was both frequent and expensive.

Lasch—Theatrical Possibilites


Christopher Lasch
The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics
(1991)

[336]
The social conditions that generated the syndicalist explosion in Europe—the imposition of industrialism on economies still dominated by small workshops, a highly combustible mixture—had their nearest American equivalent in the West, where the traditions of the mining camp, the logging camp, and the bankhouse came face to face with corporate capitalism in its most ruthless, predatory form. The IWW was the direct descendant of the Western Federation of Miners, a union that ap-
[337]
pealed to the same sense of manly independence and the same love of combat to which syndicalism appealed in France and Italy. Here too, workers experienced industrialism and the wage system not only as a decline in their standard of living but above all as a drastic infringement of their control of the workplace, of their very status as free men. The company towns that sprang up in the mining states seemed to make "wage slavery" a literal description of the new order, not just a rhetorical analogy. The company controlled not only the workplace but housing, credit, and all the other necessaries. The worker who could remember life as a prospector or cowboy now found that he owed his soul to the company store. He felt literally sold into slavery, and he embraced the philosophy of "direct action" as the only way out.

While social conditions in the West bore some resemblance to those created by the early stages of industrialism elsewhere, the cultural tradition that workers were trying to defend obviously differed from those that underlay European syndicalism. In the American West, the ideal of independence was associated not with the small proprietor's control over his household, his land or shop, and his tools but with the wandering life of the unattached male. It was not surprising that the IWW glorified the hobo, the drifter, the "nomadic worker of the West," in the words of its newspaper, Solidarity. The West was still a "man's country," according to Charles Ashleigh, an English radical who emigrated to the Pacific Northwest and became a "hobo and a Wobbly," like the hero of his novel, Rambling Kid. Ashleigh admired the "reckless rambling boys who despised the soft security and comfort of a dull city-paced existence." Ralph Chaplin, the Wobbly poet and songwriter, was attracted to the movement by its "glamorous courage and adventure," which he too associated with the West. Those who admired the Wobblies from a distance likewise emphasized its western origins. The Lawrence strike was a "western strike in the East," Lincoln Steffens wrote; "a strike conducted in New England by western miners, who have brought here the methods and the spirit employed by them in Colorado, Idaho, and Nevada.

European syndicalism was informed by an austere ethic of thrift and self-denial. In America, the syndicalist movement came to be associated with an ethic of self-expression and defiant irresponsibility—the new "paganism" of Greenwich Village. Literary intellectuals saw the Wobblies as cultural outcasts like themselves, free spirits, rebels against re-
[338]
spectability. They sensed the affinity between their own ideal of the emancipated individual, unburdened by the cultural baggage of the past, and the hoboes and migratory workers glorified by the IWW. Having absorbed from modern literature an image of the "beauty of the essentially homeless and childless and migratory life," as Floyd Dell put it, they recognized the Wobblies as soul mates. "Anarchism and art," said Margaret Anderson, editor of the Little Review, "are in the world for exactly the same kind of reason." Hutchins Hapgood, the personification of the bohemian intellectual, called anarchism the fine art of the proletariat. He compared the Armory Show, which brought modern art to New York in 1913, to a "great fire, an earthquake, or a political revolution."

The Wobblies did not object to this assimilation of art and revolution. They too saw themselves as artists. "I have lived like an artist, and I shall die like an artist," said Joe Hill before his execution for murder. Bill Haywood allowed himself to be lionized by Mabel Dodge and other members of her famous salon. He regarded the Paterson Strike Pageant of 1913—the fruit of his rapprochement between the IWW and Greenwich Village—as the high point of his career. Conceived by Mabel Dodge, the pageant was intended to dramatize the workers' exploitation by capitalism, but it exposed them to a more insidious kind of exploitation by turning radical politics into entertainment. "Life passed over insensibly into a certain, simple form of art," said Hapgood. ". . . That is the great thing about it, the almost unpredecented thing." Papers opposed to the IWW gave the pageant enthusiastic reviews: what was condemned as politics could be savored as theater. Both Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, the IWW's most flamboyant orator, had earlier turned down invitations to put themselves on the lecture circuit or stage. In her case, the offer came from no less an impressario than David Belasco, who could see the theatrical possibilities of revolutionary activism as clearly as John Reed. At the pageant, Reed led the Paterson strikers in a song he had written for the occasion, "The Haywood Thrill." Haywood thus resisted the lecture agents only to fall into the clutches of the avant-garde, leaving Flynn to wonder whether the distractions of the pageant had not contributed to the defeat of the strike itself.