“You understand we are radical”: the United Mine Workers of America, District 18 and The One Big Union, 1919-1920

The story of the United Mine Workers of America District 18 and their path into, and then later out of, the radical One Big Union.

Against the IWW series part 3: an infantile disorder

The third in Recomposition's series at looking at some of the arguments against the IWW.

[i]The root for many critiques of the IWW came from the thinkers of the Bolsheviks, and the positions of the bureaucracies of the Soviet State via the Comintern. The positions laid out in Lenin’s text Left-Wing Communism: An infantile disorder, remain the references point for many such arguments.

Ghosts of Leninist past: a review of The Roots of American Communism

A review and some comments from Juan Conatz on Theodore Draper’s history of the various factions that would become the Communist Party USA.

The Roots of American Communism; Theodore Draper; Elephant Paperbacks, 1989 (First published in 1957)

The roots of American communism - Theodore Draper

Theodore Draper's incredibly detailed book about the many groups, factions and individuals that would form what became the Communist Party USA. Mostly focusing on the years 1917-1921, Draper traces the roots from the 'Left-Wing' of the Socialist Party of America and the IWW, to the Third International-linked CPUSA.

Strike- Sergei Eisenstein

Eisensteins first film depicting working conditions and repression in Tsarist Russia.

Strike was Sergei Eisenstein's first film (1924). It depicts life at a factory complex in Tsarist Russia and the conditions the workforce experienced. The plot is about the workers organising a strike which due to repression escalates into a full blown occupation. Its most famous scenes like Battleship Potemkin where the violent measures used by the Tsarist authorities.

KKK and IWW wage drawn battle in Greenville, 1924

A 1924 article from the Portland Press Herald about conflict between the Industrial Workers of the World and the the Ku Klux Klan.

From the Portland Press Herald – Tuesday, February 5, 1924

K.K.K. And I.W.W. Wage Drawn Battle in Greenville

175 Workers Patrol The Street After Clash Saturday Night


Woodsmen Ordered Out But Refuse to Leave – Reinforcements Pouring in By the Hundreds

Video footage of Pyotr Kropotkin's funeral

A photograph from Pyotr Kropotkin's funeral, 13th February 1921.

Video footage of Pyotr Kropotkin's funeral which took place from 10th to 13th February, 1921. It was documented by 'Section of social chronicles of all-Russian cinema and photo publishing'.

Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin (Russian: Пётр Алексе́евич Кропо́ткин; 9th December, 1842 – 8th February, 1921).

Futility of Fosterism

William Z. Foster.

A critique of the labor politics of William Z. Foster and the Communist Party of America's Trade Union Education League (TUEL). Author Ben Legare was the main US organizer for the One Big Union (OBU) a socialist union founded in western Canada by dissident members of the American Federation of Labor.

The One Big Union of Canada

Winnipeg general strike, 1919.

A 1920 article descriving conflict within the One Big Union in Canada over industrial vs. regional organization.

Two hostile camps have developed in the Canadian One Big Union. The one is fighting for a militant industrial form of an organization, the other for a geographical (district) beans and soup association.

The former is advocated by the lumber (migratory) workers, and the later by the city "home" guard element.

Ben Fletcher, IWW organizer

An essay on Ben Fletcher's efforts as an IWW organizer.

Originally appeared in Pennsylvania History, Vol. 46, No. 3 (July, 1979)