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If w 


illiam Z. Foster 

Edited, and with 

an Introduction 




The American Institute for Marxist Studies 
Occasional Paper No. 32(1979) $1.50 


20 EAST 30th STREET 
NEW YORK, N.Y. , 10016 


Hie American Institute for Marxist Studies 
(AIMS) is an educational* research and biblio- 
graphical institute.. Its purposes are to encourage 
Marxist and radical scholarship in the United 
States and to help bring Marxist thought into the 
forum of reasonable debate to produce meaning- 
£ul dialogue among Marxist and non-Marxist schol- 
ars and writers. Its policy is to avoid sectarian and 
dogmatic thinking. It engages in no political ac- 
tivity and takes no stand on political questions. 

To these ends it invites the support and partici- 
pation of: ajl scholars and publiospirited individ- 


ft . 


Edited, and with an IntroduQtip^ i:i by 

Oi Pi .: : J'"-" ' 

Arthur Zipser is&qs 




Institute for Marxist 

Occasional pap 





Tom Mooney.- . 
Mother Jones 
Tom Mann 
George Dimitrov 
Matthew Well' ' * 
Emma Goldman 
President Wilson 





ii:,: places 

T a hi e ' "Mount a in 
Berlin 1910 
Budapest 'iesq 
The South 





Police Work 

On Labor Spies 

Expert Testimony 

The "Chistka" 

The Shark-Dogfish Question 


A Great Lawyer Sets Us Right 
Railroad Rules and Railroad 

On Getting Elected 
The Liquidation of Superstition 
The Boilermaker's Wish 
Swans on' s Dream 
SSIQUTa T3IXHAM flO : -: :ij l?,'4i ViAo.Iyu: 








Copyright 1979 
All 'Rights Reserved 
Made in the U.S.A. 


VO:> , i ■:;...■ : ■ - ■- ■■' ■• ; ■ •' '■ ''"^l^' 

:i ■ ' Introduction . -ri ; - 

William Z. Foster ; , was the Communist candidate for president of the United 
States in 1932, as he had-been in 192lf and 1928. 

Foster was 51 years old when the campaign started. Experience had already- 
taught that Communist candidates, faced a workload "beyond that carried by those 
of major political parties. Foster has listed some of ,, the realities of the ^candi- 
date's task: "incessant -traveling, perpetual speechmaking, -bad food, miserable ' 
hotels, boresome newspaper interviews., being talked half to death or kept from 
badly needed sleep by comrades who felt it to be the function of a Presidential 
candidate to adjust every local. grievance, by after-meeting home gatherings, 
'banquets' and untimely talkfests." 1 s-S-Wirj 

When. ,the campaign. started in June Foster had just behind him a five-months' 
coal miners! strike, yjfei was, obviously in need of a rest. Instead he started off 
on a^Sipeakj^^-toto.-ia^lf^edi-^o cover thirty thousand .miles (all by ground trans- 
portation X, and, .inciude 105 major speeches and numerous radio talks. Local confer- 
ences, demonstrations, at railroad stops, and the special ordeal of "banquets" 
were other,, major;, items in the plan of work. 

On the first day of this challenging grind he experienced heart symptoms 
-which, should haye : .signaled: the wisdom-of :(eai3jaittg:sbhB: whole thing off. These 
were the harbingers., o£ an : ailment of whiQh::h.e.fWasx3iever to be ;totally free::for the 
rest of his life.. But Foster found it unbelievable!, that hey who had -never 'been 
seriously ill before, should now be having the warning signs of a heart ailment. 
He chose to, ignore : th^.signs.; - even though therewere . times when, he-had to cling 
tpj. the speaker 's st,ah'd.'to : keep himself, erect • ^jr,l tfk- . BM&. r; '" £0 

His expectation that his normal and familiar rugged good health would carry 
him through fell short of the actuality by 10,000 miles and twenty-eight major 

speeches. On September 8 he collapsed at Moline, Illinois. "The. pitcher ," as he 
has said, "had gone once too often to the -well." 2 

It was a heart attack and resulted in a total breakdown. Three years were 
to pass before he was able to make a ten-minute speech. 

Bill Foster attributed his eventual substantial recovery to three factors: 
"the intelligent, tireless and loving care of my devoted wife, the loyal assis- 
tance given me by the Party, and my own determination. . .to live on and fight in 
the workers' struggle for emancipation." 3 

Whether the role of his doctors in the success of his campaign to recover 
his health is omitted in the above statement by oversight or by design cannot be 
determined at this late date. When he wrote these words (probably in 1937) he 
certainly showed no sense of impending doom and, indeed, no doom impended. But 
(as, with wry amusement, he recalled tOr the ^present writer in 1955) a doctor had 
said to him in 1935, "Don't worry, Bill. You can live another five years." Foster 
died in 19 6l, in his 8lst year. 

But, never again, after his 1932 illness, was he able to resume the reckless 
schedule of his earlier years. Eventually, in his characteristic fashion, he 
organized himself, and his productivity up to the end of his life was phenomenal. 
But a greater portion of his time than before was now spent in writing. There 
were.: to be no more whistlestop campaigns. In 1932 he had b'een in the field during 
a five-months-long coal strike and written a book at the same tMe. In the last 
twenty-five years of his life his activity slacked off from the phenomenal to the 
merely extraordinary.:- • '* '■■• '* - -" rS^ : '- -' • 

; t ■•..■■ Only one unforeseen, and unforeseeable episode interrupted Foster's long, 
orderly march back to. relativelysgood '■-health.- . A- roadblock was encountered when 
a visit to San Francisco, : intended eas: a 'change of scene for the purpose of rest and 
recuperation, ran smack iinto the San '"Francisco General Strike.' --'';';;';' 

The San Francisco General Strike (July 16-19, 193^) was a -demonstration' of 
workingclass power unprecedented in U.S. labor history. It is necessary only to 
understand the importance of "this event : - and t& %naerWand;pi!llL : ^fof#esr ;^;.*o appre- 
ciate why the. excitement of the occasion made his- "shattered nerves., .about r eady 
to.pexplode."-:-After.Athef.strike had been, on for a couple f of J days, Ci he says/ he "was 
virtually in a .state of collapse from' excitement ahd ; my inability to' gave' any real 
help.>... And'to make thelhazard more acute,' William Green [pt'esi^^^^o^^h^^i'tl* 
like a faithful capitalist henchman, had condemned the general walkout and declared 
that 'Foster is the man behind the strike.' So, in the midst of the struggle, I 
had tobenwithdrawnto-a less exposed position' l ih the nearby -country. M ' /_.' _ ; .. r> 

■■-■'.-;■ -ic/jFoster's. enormous, but carefully husbanded, en ergies' ; produced - between 1935 
and 1939 r- two. books; and a-library-of pamphlets. (The latter dealt mainly with ' '; 
the organizational ;gjiestionsupertaining .. to the new wave of ; lat e ^ 30s unionism) . ;r 

Both books were autobiographical-. Fir St came From Bryan to Stalin ' (1937 ) ','" 
then came Pages from a Worker's Life (1939) > a collection of anecdotes from a life 
ofi'laboE and '.politics';- s, fej.jyr,'. '■.:'-.'- << :r £ ; " : -' -.— '.- s-u 


Pages was written principally in 1937. Though by this time Foster was back 
in his groove as a Party functionary, he still had to adhere to a limiting physical 
schedule. His writing, however, he seemed to consider no labor at all, but as 
natural as breathing. While not exactly a therapeutic .exercise, it became a sub- 
stantial part of his work from 1936 on, reaching a peak in the first half of the 1950s. 

International Publishers , headed by its redoubtable founder Alexander 
("Trachty") Trachtenberg, brought out Pages from a Worker's Life with its 117 brief 
items: in 1939- (It is still in print in cloth and paperbound editions.) The 
author had submitted some 150 items to the publisher of which about three dozen 
were omitted from the book, principally to meet space limitations. 

This "overmatter" remained in manuscript form in the possession of a member 
of William Z. Poster's immediate family after his death. It was subsequently turn- 
ed over to the veteran labor reporter Art Shields. In 197^ and 1975 five of these 
additional Pages appeared in World Magazine , a weekly supplement of the Daily World 
and the People 1 s World . 5 y e have selected some two dozen of the hitherto unpub- 
lished Pages for presentation here, and we hope we have picked those of the most 
enduring interest. Those few words which appear in square brackets were supplied 
by the editor, as were the reference notes. It is probably unnecessary to remind 
the 'reader^ that some r of the terminology and political observations employed by 
Foster, in: the following Pages reflect peculiarly the period' In which? : t hey- ; wer'W written. 

Our thanks go to Art Shields for making FosteTi-'s manuscript available to us 
at this time and to Louis Diskin, presMentrof-Tn^erWtibhal Publishers, r Inc. "/Tor 
encouraging the publication of what is -e^s^htially^an "addendum 5 to a work which -is 
;still on that firm^s^list. 5& ■•s-ml. '■..' ■■<-/.' « +& ■•■svr 

llu'i ( 9' :."3j:'? ;s£ ".. l !X.-j c. ..-.. ".3D'" : 3 ' : - &v;.::\.> stOii 

,'.:;; a nxi>. : 

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I, ... People 

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j ffQM 'MOONEY . r'i' : 

>si od s .-j ■ ■ -: j-I ,g9X- 

■ " She. first time I met ; .Tom.:M6.Q.ney bwasy under rather peculiar and embarrassing 
circumstances. It took place-inv. Chicago in 1913. I was national secretary of 
the Syndicalist League of North America. Mooney, already a well-known revolu- 
tionary; worker of San Francisco^ was:;a<i member of our organization, hut I had 
never.; met. him. personally. However ',o Tom r was elected a delegate from his local 
unioh'tto the Molders' convent ionC.ih' Milwaukee and, on his way-ether 'e', stopped 
over at Chicago to visit me. ¥e "both later went on to MLlwaukee,i where we worked 
together at forming a Syndicalist group inside the Molders union. 

I lived at the rooming house conducted hy Lucy Parsons, widow of Albert R. 
Parsons, one of the Haymarket martyrs. The night Mooney arrived at our place 
it happened that we had a bit of a gathering there. Present were several S.L. 
of N.A. members and half a dozen Wobblies from various cities, delegates to the 
Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W. ) convention which was then being held in 

All of us were much impressed with the personality of Tom Mooney. In 
those days he was a fine, handsome, powerful, upstanding figure, full of spirit 
and vitality. He already had a growing reputation as a militant fighter. But 
little did we dream of the tragic fate that was in store for him. 

We had a pleasant evening together and, as always among revolutionaries, 
our talk centered around the problems of the labor movement. The main subject of 
our discussion was the question of boring-from-within the trade unions.- Mooney 
and the rest of us S.L. of N.A. members strongly favored the policy of working 
inside the conservative labor organizations, while the Wobblies all aggressively 
defended the traditional left wing policy of dual unionism. 

We had had several hours of discussion and all the I.W.W. 's and nearly all 
of the S.L. of N.A. members had gone home, when suddenly Lucy Parsons broke in 
upon us with very disconcerting news. Her watch had disappeared, a beautiful 
gold watch given to her by her husband on the eve of his execution. She said 

it was simply nowhere to be found in the apartment.. Lucy, naturally enough, 
was heartbroken over the loss of her precious keepsake. 

What "had become of the watch? Tom and the rest of us puzzled over the 
matter. It : was impossible to believe that anybody present that evening had 
stolen it. Nevertheless the watch was gone, utterly vanished, nor could all our 
search of the premises dig up the invaluable heirloom. Unpleasant though the ' : ' ,?: ' 
tsskwas, there was nothing to do but to check up on all who had beeh at our ;, *- : 
gathering and'this unpleasant job was done. I took the matter up with the S*L. 
of N,A. members and Lucy Parsons went? to the I.W.W. delegates. We told them of 
the great sentimental value of the watch and begged its return at all costs if ' 
anyone had taken it. But nobody admitted knowing anything of the timepiece. 

Two or three days passed, the watch remained unfound and Lucy was grief- 
stricken. But one day she came to the S.L. of H. A. rooms, which adjoined her 
place, all radiant and' happy, the watch in her hand. It seems that that morning, 
on going to the wood-box on the outdoor porch (the flat being stove-heated), she 
had lifted up a stick of kindling wood and there, under it, was lying Albert R. 
Parsons' gold watch, quite unharmed.-' :< 

We were all overjoyed at the happy outcome. But the whole business became 
still more inexplicable, for the strange circumstance of the watch's finding was 
added to the mystery of its disappearance. Had the watch simply been mislaid by 
Lucy herself , or had somebody stolen it, not knowing its significance, and then 
returned it upon our pleading? We never learned the answer. 

Years later, as Tom Mooney, brutally framed up by California capitalists 
to cripple his militant activities, was developing his long and heroic battle for 
justification and liberty, I often visited him in. San Quentin penitentiary. And 
more than once we smiled over the mysterious disappearance and return of Lucy " 
Parsons' famous watch and wondered how the whole thing had happened. 7 

'mZ "'• MOTHER JONES ; ^ : . - ' : : ' r -^ 

Mother Mary Jones, who died a few years ago [1930] at the extreme old 
age r of 100, was one of the most remarkable figures of her time in the American 
trade union movement. For two full generations she could always be found 
militantly awakening the workers in the current big strikes. She was on the 
payroll of the United Mine Workers-, but she exercised a sort of roving com-- - : 
mission and was sure to turn up in every great A.F. of L. strike, no matter 
in what industry it occurred. She probably participated actively in more : 
important strikes than any other labor leader of her time. 

Mother Jones, a miner's widow, was a born working class agitator. Al- 
though she lacked the burning eloquence of -"Elizabeth Gur.ley Flynn, outstanding 
old-time I.WV : W. leader, and did not possess the fine organizing ability of ' the 
martyred Fannie Sellins , she nevertheless commanded a fiery militancy and '■- 
homely oratory that were highly stimulating to strikers facing terrorism and 
starvation. Her prestige was enormous among the miners and the many other groups 
of workers with whom she did strike service. 


Generally, Mother Jones is to be listed in the progressive wing of the 
labor movement. Once she belonged to the Socialist Party, and .she participated 
in the founding convention of the I.W.W. But she did not have;the revolution- ^ 
ary understanding of Mother Bloor, the remarkable present-day Communist leader , . 
who at the age of 75? is still an active militant. In consequence she made i_^ 
many grotesque political mistakes. In one breath she would be actively ^J?g-y 
ing the Soviet government and snorting fire and brjjnstone against the capitalist 
system, and in the next breath she was naively appealing to the better side 
of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. to improve his workers' conditions, or openly sup- 
porting -the reactionary Harding for President. Notwithstanding her vagaries, 
however, she was a proletarian rebel at heart, and every strike-bound employer 
dreaded her presence among his striking workers. 

One of Mother Jones' most Outstanding characteristics was her tremendous 
vitality. She kept up her active work as a speaker and strike leader almost 
to the very year she died. ,: '.,,'-. r ; ;;: t I 

When the big steel organizing campaign of 1919 got well under way no one 
was surprised when Mother Jones, smelling a great strike brewing,, appeared on 
the scene t 6 help. Although she was 89 years old at the time, she insisted on 
becoming one of the regular staff of organizers and facing all the work and 
danger that the others did. It never occurred to her (or to any of the rest 
of us, for that matter) that her i f bur score and nine years might be any sort 
of handicap. 

But our committee had to use Mother Jones' services judiciously. The 
situation in the steel industry was very touchy ; we were orienting upon the 
'perspective of a national movement and W could not afford to have local strikes 
break out, and such strikes could easily happen after a visit to town^of the 
fiery Mother Jones. So we usually sent her to places where our organizing work 
was only beginning and the danger of a premature strike was negligible. One 
such place was Duquesne, Pa., where she and several others were arrested for 
holding an open air meeting in defiance of the city Burgess, the notorious 
steel trust gunman, James R. Crawford, who had declared that not even Jesus 
Christ could speak in his town for the A.F. of L. 

Once however, despite all our- precautions, Mother iJories put one over dn;^ 
us and nearly spilled the beans; 'It was in Homestead, Pa. , a steel-compatty _ 
controlled city. The authorities had refused to allow tfier-'A.F. of L. steel 
committee to hold meetings, either in halls or in the open, and we were fol- 
lowing a policy of calling street meetings in the center of the city in 
defiance of this prohibition.' For a couple of weeks we had been holding 
these meetings, and they were so heavily attended by steel workers that the 
city authorities did not deem it advisable to molest them. 

3Si£g& the night in question, however, thinking that all was calm, we sent - 1 ' 
Mother Jones as the principal speaker and the Burgess of Homestead got the 
bright idea of arresting her. So the police took her into custody and started 
off to the city Jail. At once they found they had a hornet's next on their 
4iands. The big throng of steel workers followed after them, yelling and hoot- 
ing indignantly. As the tumultuous procession passed along the main street, 
the movie houses emptied themselves of people, and steel workers came running 
from all directions to join the rapidly increasing mass. By the time the 


police reached the station-house with Mother. Jones , the dense crowd numbered 
many thousands. 

The incensed steel workers demanded the instant release of Mother Jones. 
Shoutf- arose,;to break into the jailnand free her by force. : the police were 
in a panic. \ e They realized, that the great crowd outside, oppressed for years: 
by the-steelbarpns, were now actually in control of the city. And theyr^ were 
filled;;. with deadly fear of,. the workers they had so long persecuted; -Frantically , 
they wired f or , s tat e r troopers, but these could not reach Homestead for an- hour, 
and the city: authorities'/burning, need was a matter of minutes. 

So the police speedily turned Mother Jones loose, and she went out on the 
street and delivered an hour's speech on unionism to the great throng of steel 
workers gathered before the police headquarters. All went off peaceably. The 
upheaval did not spread to; the mills, where it might easily have caused a- hope- 
less and costly local strike. The crowd had dispersed by the time the murderous 
state: troopers came roaring into Homestead to recapture the city from the ---: - 
arpused steel workers. 

A stirring; night, indeed, for boss-ridden Homestead. > But it was just another 
day in the life , of that stormy petrel of the class struggle, Mother Jones. 



One of the most prominent and inspiring figures in the whole international 
revolutionary movement is Tom Mann, a leader in the Communist Party of Great 
Britain. How in his eighties 1 ^, Mann has been a prominent militant in the class 
struggle for some 60 years, and he is still as active as many men 25 years his 

! - Every great struggle of the British working class for the past two genera- 
tions ..has: found Tom Mann in the front line. He first came to' fame in the 3 'cele- 
brated London Dockers* strike of 1889 ; he was also an outstanding leader- of the 
historic national strikes of miners, railwaymen and transport workers in- 1912. 
He played a prominent role in the anti-war struggle of 19ll4-l8"and was ah ; active 
figure in' 1 the British national general strike of 5 1926, not to speak of scores 
of other important struggles throughout- the- years. m 

"■■■■ Tom Mann is one of the finest mass educators and agitators eVer produced 
by the working class of Or eat : Britain or any other country. - With a marvelous 
personal vitality and magnetism, a sparkling enthusiasm and wl-t, and a splen- 
did speaking voice and manner, Mann was a powerful platform figure all his' 
mature life. 

"British- trade union - leaders -have long been 'noted- for their- 'stodginess, - 
ultra-respectability and lack- of' progressive and revolutionary' understanding 
and fighting spirit. This is--a reflection of the fact that the' upper layers 
of the British working class, the skilled workers , over a long period were 
heavily "bourgeoisified" hy British imperialism through its policy of petty 
concessions and reform.-' r <>: > : Iva? 


But Tom Mann, like a freed eagle, has soared magnificantly ail- his,. , -,, 
life above this petty labor servility to the imperialists. He has always 
known and fought,, the capitalists as the ; .enemies, .of the workers.,,,, Alt hough 
he himself was a' .skilled machinist., and long a leading trade.uniou .official,,-, 
the English capitalist class was, totally, unable, to fasten its lackey , livery 
on him ,_ as ^ it did upon so many other workers'. leaders.,. Mann has,; always p.-..; 
. . been an' incor|^tible.;.r^9luti6nist ,\a^ symbol^jof all" that, is, bestfj progress,- : 
; .-'-*^^6 V: ^a^-i^sxxrW>e5J4'^?i^l9 the working, class,:.. He T .has,, been, one of the strpng- 
' est and truest voices, of the great British, proletariat.,,. which,- is, revolution,-;, 
ary at heart, despite the heavy fetters of class collaboration and petty 
bourgeois, ideology that have been, fastened, uppn,. it by the, employers . and their 
labor' leader allies. ;"..' : , a ,.,,-., .,.,,,: -, ..,. r - s 

'\ '_'_. Throughout his work in the labor" movement., Tom Mann has been a labor, ., 
pioiieer. .It Was during his/first tour .. to the. United States in 1913 (which 
'" I organized) that, t got personally" acquainted with him. He was one of, the 
pioneers of the British Socialist movement and in the building of the Labor 
Party. He was a valiant fighter for the "new" industrial unionism; and when 
the Communist movement assumed world proportions with the success of . the, 
Russian revolution and the breakdown of . the Socialist International,. Mann -..; 
promptly took his place in this new front line of the world revolution. 

Besides his political and trade union activities in Great Britain, 
Tom Mann, with limitless energy, has also found time for several years' 
work abroad. Millions of workers in South Africa, Australia, Canada, the 
-Ignited States, China and the Soviet Union know him for his activities among 
them,. ! v . Tom Mann is a true son of the British working class.,,,, ,-.■,... ..-;.-.— 

•—' ' '' GEORGE : DIMITROV' 

■'- Dimitrov i General Secretary of the Communist International and indomitable 
■fighter against fascism, isatirue expression of the anti-fascist struggle of 
the world's oppr i: ei'sed millions'/ Ml over the world the masses of tollers - 
- workers, farmers » lower middle class' — are alarmed at the growing menace of 
fascism. They se°e ; this sayageWocial monster spreading .its tentacles over var- 
ious c'ouhtrlespand they are stirred to action" by the imminent 'danger it 
brings to their liberties, their living and cultural standards', arid their very 
lives. In great People's Front movements they are organizing to beat back 
this threat arid to lay the basis for a new order of society." And the leader 
of this popular world movement of the oppressed is the Communist' internation- 
al, at whose 3 head, fittingly -'enough, stand's the most famous' of all fighters 
against fascism, George Dimitrov. 

The Leipzig trial 11 , at which Hitler tried in vain to fasten upon Dimitrov 
and the Communist Party his own "criminal responsibility for the burning of the 
Reichstag buiidingv'was' the mos ! t : striking political trial of'modern times. In 
it DimitrOv 'gave' a brilliant demonstration 1 , of how revolutionaries brought, 
before" 'capitalist 'Courts' should- 1 defend their cause. Hitler, expected to make 
of this .trial-" a great field-day 'of red-baiting' and to do' to Dimitrov person- 
ally what. has been done to Thaelmann 12 and thousands of other brave fightersv 


But he caught a tartar in Dimitrovi. -J? The latter, by his intelligent and coura- 
geous stand, immediately put the whole fascist regime upon; the defensive before 
the bar of world opinion. Dimitrov returned blow for blow against his perse- 
cutors. -The threat of fascist torture could not intimidate -him , nbr the presence 
of the' -highest fascist officials as witnesses overawe himy nor the use of -the' - r 
worBtv'dftscrimination against him in- the court procedure silence. him. Dimitrov' s 
defense-; was so brilliant and daring that the whole world stood amazed, and the 
butcher Hitler was compelled to free this proletarian hero ; and thus practically 
to admit that his own tools had destroyed the Reichstag. -="«&* -'- : 

Dimitrov, a Bulgarian, is a -lifelong revolutionist. His "main field of 
work has been the Balkan countries, dangerous terror-ridden 'territory that tries 
the fiber of Communist militants. He has 'also worked long 1 in the leading com- 
mittees of the Communist International. All of us'who have functioned in these 
committees knew him for a quiet, unassuming and capable revolutionary leader. 
But few, I daresay, suspected that within such a modest personality dwelt, the 
liotthearted courage and superb fighting ability tha% J Dimitrov demonstrated ;ri:5 -- 
at Leipzig. . ' ' J ' i:r;; 

v Dimitrov has had a long training in Marxism-Leninism. His principal 
'theoretical and practical work as head of the Communist -"International Was at 
that organization's 7th World Congress in 1935- This Cbhgr'esS' outlined the 
policy of the People's Front as the means to defeat fascisntarid t&t ; l&f"£\ie< basis 
for an advance towards Socialism. 'Dimitrov' s report andigeneral theoretical 
work in the Congress were of outstanding quality and won "the unstinted "admira- 
tion of 'the big delegation of revolutionaries present from all over the world. 

Dimitrov is the personification of all that is best in the. world revolu- 
tionary movement. He is an inspiration to the -oppressed in all countries. 


.L;-0ne of the most sinister and reactionary figures ever developed by the 
American trade union imovement is Matthew Woll.^ Tied up with the National - ; 
Civic Federation^ and other reactionary organizations, Woll, all his life, Rs -""■■ 
ha Si been a. ibitter :enemy;bf everything honest and progressive in the labor 
.movement..:-- ; He; :is^ indeed j. what Lenin .called an agent of the capitalists in 
the ranks of the. working class and :a menace to the workers' welfare. :--."o..- 

Woll was a great favorite of Gompers. When the latter, because of his 
advanced age, felt :*hat his long term as president of the A.F. of L.JwasJ;'dr awing 
to a close he,' dictator-like, set; about preparing .a successor. HisKchoice I ■ ■'--:•■ : -' 
fell upon i; ,young MattheWj Woll.. : Gompers systematically popularized Woli, 'help»' 
ing him t jtjpj become pre^sidentr Qfo;abhe Photo-Engravers- Union .and making himoah* -^' 
A.F. of „Lt,- r yjce-presiden-t,-. ; TheittWb." became fast 5 cronies and thought so much ' . : ' : 
alike on economic and political questions that the-young. protege Often- 'wrote 
editorials under "the old man's" name. Woll was Gompers' star yes-man and 
he .became known^ as n'the rGrown, Prince'' . .nti. ,nv:y ~.t:£ £i@W ■'?, 

.-: Woll was apparently Sailing straight to the : A>F. of L.rcpresideney- when-,-ov, 


there occurred a "bitter internal fight over the .Plumb Plan that, upset his :■ 
ambitions. The railroad unions, reflecting the war-time radicalism of the 
workers, had gone strong in support of Glenn Plumb's proposal for govern- 
ment ownership and democratic operation" of the railroads.- The sixteen -; 
associated railroad unions were officially on record for this plan, and their • : ■■ 
next step was to try to win the support of the A.F.of L. -itself,..; The matter,,... 
came;to a head in the A.F. of L.'s 1920 convention at Montreal,; where the 
railrbad unions' presented the Plumb Plan, in substance if not actually- by ■ 
name, for endorsement. -. >. 

Gompers, inveterate foe of everything even as remotely progressive as 
the pseudo-socialistic Plumb Plan*. mobilized his forces for- relentless^war^;, * 
against it. He denounced the whole scheme violently , and one after another , ,., 
of his war-horses took the floor to fight it. But the proposal had powerful h- 
support among the delegates. .< .On* . strong leader after another spoke m favor-,,. 
of it. It was nip and tuck asato which side. would win. And a victory for _ = .,,, 
the Plumb Planners would: not .only mean a sharp turn in A. P. of L. policy,: but 
might also cost Gompers his job as president. 

In this crucial situation, Matthew Woll rose to speak. A hush fell over 
the convention.;:, What.would. the "Crown Prince" say? Gompers.., fighting a losing 
battle, -smiled: hopefully towards bis much- cultivated protege. But lo, what, 
an anti-climax tonall .his -preparatory work! Hemming and hawing , Woll spoke 
on : both; aides of-tbe-question* being, so evasive that when he sat down it was 
not ^ clear ;^to- the delegates whether -he was f or or against the Plumb Plan. 
Evidently be-was preparing to go with the current in the approaching vote. 
Exclamations of surprise were to be heard on all sides. Gompers, his face 
a study in i disgust, turned the gavel, over to a vice-president and left the 
platforms < It -was. clear- >t hat his. hand-picked candidate. for the eventual 
A.F.of 1. presidency was running away under fire. 

When the vote came it turned out'tobe-an avalanche for the Plumb Plan. 
Union after union, responding to the alphabetical roll call, voted against 
Gompers' time-honored policy. Old-time oppositionists danced along the 
aisles in unrestrained glee, and I -surely shed no tears. myself . One Socialist 
shouted to 'me: "For: 30 years i have waited for this moment.: . Now we are 
finally going to rid: the American workers of Rompers : and his reactionary 
policies." Gompers-, ;who sat in the chair pale and with bowed head shrank as- 
from blows when one delegation after another, representing;bld-stand-by anions, 
stood up and voted for ^government ownership and democratic operation of the- 
railroads ." . . , .. 

->•'• ■•» '■ Finally the roll call reached Matthew Woll' s union , the Photo-Engravers^ 
well down on the list. Already the die was cast. Manifestly, from the great- 
vote it had- already gotten, the Plumb Plan was easily victorious.. Then-Woll^. 
rose to vote his union. Everybody craned his neck to listen. In a thin voice 
Woll bast his delegation's ypte against his friend, Gompers, and for the Flumb 
Plan v Many delegates groaned. and several hissed. 

As Woll sat down, I turned to Martin Ryan, a' Plumb Plan .leader and^head- 
of the union to which I belonged, the. Railway Carmen, and asked: How did 
you ever get that guy to vote for your proposition?" ."OhvWoll, we had. to 


him! said Ryan, using a current sex expression more 'graphic than 

elegant. "He don't believe in government ownership any more than Gompers 
does. We simply forced the bastard into line.* ".,. : ,.,, , ..'. . 

. The ^convention vote overwhelmingly « supported, the-Plumb Plan.,- H ever in 
the .history ...of the Federation had Gompers ;tJ suffered ; sush R a crushing, defeat. ... 
It looked : yery. much as though he ; would-,f ail of re-election as President.. .But 
he dido,notj- because the opposition,, as .much surprised as he was by their great 
,majority jR had failed to prepare .a. new candidate toitake Gompers;'- place at the 
head -of-ithe A.F. of L. And one. of the.,\bitt§rest ^thoughts for-? Gompers. was ,how 
his -carefully nurtured protege, Woll^ n had, so^grossly betrayedrhim. ■ f: . 

•;.:, But athep sequel transformed Gompersl. seeming crushing defeat -.into ; one-, of 
the -greatest victories of his career. ; FormWhen. the railroad companies ;- saw 
that a really dangerous agitation was growing aroundrjthe Plumb Plan,, they put 
the screws on the-reactionary railroad union? leaders* Soon these lackeys be- 
gan-to weaken, and within a year after their great convention victory they 
had ingloriously thrown overboard the Plumb Plan and had fled backward to , 
Gompers • position. They surrendered completely to the railroad companies and 
to him. As.-i&~; result, Gompers' prestigeiwas never so high. And great was the 
discomfiture ;of Woll who had thought thatvin joining up with; the powerful ..>■;.- 
opposition he was preempting a choice seat on the bandwagoni In reality, he 
had only succeeded in gravely weakening his own influence in leading circles. 

Gompers died a couple of years later, -vin 192U, and when it came to choos- 
ing his successor, the machine top labor bureaucrats passed up the discredited 
"Grown, (Prince"- Woll, and handed the rich. plum of the presidency to .William 
Green , of the Miners. Other factors also contributed to,.the rejection of Woll, 
but not least important was his cowardly betrayal of Gompers in the.; Plumb Plan 

fight. r' : ,.-■ '4 ,V, !P 

'■/OS Di <'-:... SV- 

,. Woll' s>. cowardice and unprincipledness were on a r ,par with his sudden . 
resignation under fire from the Civic Federation at the..i,93^ A.F.of L. 
convention . ' John L. Lewis had, introduced a- resolution demanding that 
no A.F.of L. official should be. a member of the strike-breaking, union- 
busting Civic Federation. It finally was adopted, but before it could 
pass ,.. ,Wqll. : rushed out to a telegraph office and wired in. his, resignation 

, .as vice-president of .the Civic .Federation. ,,..,,, rT ^ ■[. .j., . ; : .... 



The American Anarchist movement produced many good fighters. Such 
a one was Jay Fox. Born in New Jersey of Irish stock in 1870, Fox was a 
pupil of Albert R. Parsons and a veteran of the Haymarket days. He was a 
worker in many industries and occupied official positions in several trade 
unions (Blacksmiths, Machinists, Wood Workers, Timber Workers, etc.) A 
militant trade unionist all his life, Fox was especially active iri carrying 
the Anarchist program into the labor organizations. Fox participated in the 
spectacular attempt in 1900 to free Alexander Berkman from the Western 
Penitentiary in Pittsburgh by tunneling into the prison. He was also ar- 
rested in the Anarchist raids following the assassination of President 
McKinley in 1901. And William J. Burns tried for years to establish a con- 
nection between Fox and the McNamara brothers 15 in their militant campaigns. 
Fox was a pioneer in building the Syndicalist League of North America and, 
being an experienced and powerful labor journalist, he became editor of its 
central organ. This fine old hero of labor later became a member of the 
Communist Party. 

There were many other revolutionary fighters in the American Anarchist 
movement, but I would not classify the much-publicized Emma Goldman as such. 
I was never an Anarchist myself; but as a Syndicalist I got to know the 
Anarchist movement well, and with it Emma Goldman. And I found her to be a 
shallow-pate and confusionist, an inveterate self-advertiser and publicity- 
hound and an insufferable bureaucrat and petty tyrant. 

The last time I saw Goldman was in Moscow during the terrible hunger 
days of 1921. I was a delegate at the time to the Red Inter national of 
Labor Unions' Congress and I received several Pressing invitations to visit 
her and Berkman. Although, being newly arrived, I did not know their actual 
opinions I suspected they were pretty shaky, so I resolved not to go alone. 
Earl Browder and I talked the matter over and we decided to visit them together 
to learn what they had to say. They lived on a side street, just off Tverskaya, 
not far from the Hotel Lux. Their apartment was located in the same building 
with an Anarchist club, and from their window floated a big black flag. 

While Goldman prepared dinner, I talked with Berkman in the front room. 
He was full of complaints at the course of events in the Soviet Union and it 
was evident at once that he did not know what the revolution was all about. 
Actually he raised such elementary questions as the reason for the Soviet 
Government, the Red Army, and the prisons. Why did such things have to be? 
Did we not have enough of all that in Czarist days? Why not rely upon the 
spontaneous creative instincts of the masses? The Party, the State, the Army, 
the prisons should be abolished. It was clear to me that this Anarchist-' 
dreamer had neither the slightest idea of what were the gigantic tasks of the 
revolution nor of how to solve them. Had his naive ideas been put into prac- 
tice the revolution would have collapsed in 48 hours and the country been 
overrun by counter-revolution. 

After Berkman had regaled us. for an hour or so with his unrealistic com- 
plaints and proposals, Emma Goldman called us into the dining room to eat. 


Here we got a fresh shock. 1921 was a semi-starvation period and the people 
in Moscow (ourselves included) were living on the most meager rations, while 
in whole sections of the country actual famine conditions prevailed. Never- 
theless, Goldman's table was covered with, good.. food--: bread, buttery green 
vegetables , fish , preserves, etc... It.was a layout such- as I ■had not seen -since 
coming to .Soviet ; Russia. Noting our surprise that she and Berkman should- eat. 
so well while, ;the masses were on; the, verge of starvation, Goldman told us that 
friends had -..sent the, food from abroad, an. explanation, which, neither; eof* us be- 
lieved, as we already had learned something of the devious • methods, by which, 
various non-Communist elements lived. The petty-bourgeois Goldman could not 
face, the personal,; rigors.; of the revolution any. more than.-. she could understand 
its problems.. : ixcias.'- 3ii r v .-;«; ,■ '■. sfij - ■■■- 135^.5, '~o ;j-,'s 

.... ,Qur : discussion now turned, around the recently suppressed, count er-r evo lu- 
:tionary ; revolt in Kronstadt.; iMtjka uprising was one of the most, .difficult 
events , in the rent ire; revolutionary struggle* The capitalist world supported 
it and hoped it fwould succeed. While I was passing through London, Lloyd 
George said, in substance: "Kronstadt is the supreme test; if the Bolsheviki 
survive this we will have to sit down,-and. talk business with Lenin." And so 
it turned out in reality. The Red Ar-my- smashed .the revolt and not long after- 
ward hostile capitalist" governments were compelled, one after the other, to 
recognize the Soviet ...Government. ■.- 

Goldman and Berkman, who were already far along their counter-revolution- 
ary path of open opposition to the Soviets, denounced in unmeasured terms the 
suppression of the Kronstadt rebels, Whom they supported. Goldman became 
especially violent in her denunciation. In reply we earnestly pointed out 
to these two enemies the-, counter-revolutionary significance of-their making 
a united front with the capitalist world in support of. the Kronstadt revolt 
against the Soviet Government. Then, without ceremony, we left. As we walked 
along the street homeward bound we kicked ourselves as fools for c haying wasted 
our time and energy in such a fruitless interview. ase-xq -:J:.;« 

It was not long after this incident -that Goldman and Berkman left Soviet 
Russia, avowed enemies of the Soviet Government. And the "Cheka", 1 " against 
which, they have so bitterly inveighed as the destroyer of liberty, let' them 
go itti.peace. Then began. their persistent vilification of the Russian^revolu-^ 
tion -in books , speeches and articles, all;: of which have been.ijoyously^.reviewed 
and well-paid for by the Hearsts and other^arch-enemies- of the working, class.. 
Goldman was a petty bourgeois political adventuress, never a revolutionist. 
Her.; contact with the great .revolution pin real life demonstrated,; that -fact be- 
yond all question. . y-v a;jno ; ' l±£ */£ 




Working" In the revolutionary heart of the labor movement all my adult 
life, not unnaturally my chief contact With the government has been through 
policemen and judges. However, I have sat in conferences with a : number of 
capitalist big-wig politicans, including various congressmen, senators and 
one cabinet officer, Secretary of War Baker. ^T Also, I have met with one 
president, Woodrow Wilson. i,bt - 

The conference 'with President Wilson took place in early September, 1919 » 
on the eve of the great steel strike of that year. The unions' committee had 
been denied a meeting by Judge Gary, head of U.S. Steel, and events were head- 
ing fast toward? an open struggle. Over 30,000 steel workers were already on 
the street, discharged because of union membership; the right 1 to 1 hold meetings 
had been 1 suppressed throughout most of the steel areas; the men had voted for 
a national general steel strike; and an acute tension prevailed generally. 

In this critical situation we requested an interview with President Wilson 
in order to urge him to arrange a cbiifer'ehce' between the -steel owners and the 
steel workers' unions. Our request for an interview with the president was 
granted, and in due time our committee, consisting of Samuel Gompers, John 
Fitzpatrick, Mike Tighe, Wm. Hannon, myself and one or two others, presented 
ourselves at 'the White House. 

We were at once ushered into one of the palatial rooms and had hardly 
gotten seated when the president came in and -shook hands all around. He was 
spry and apparently in good health, showing no -signs as yet of the fatal break- 
down that was' soon to kill him. ' n - } -" • ■ : ' ;, ' : 

Gompers, after a few banalities, opened up : the' discussion, making a weak 
and apologetic presentation of our case. He seemed to be overawed by the 
president. Gompers was followed by Fitzpatrick, who did much better, and then 
the discussion was on. It lasted for over an hour. 

I was struck by the democratic manner !i 6f "President Wilson. He immedi- • 
ately fell into a colloquial English that was Surprising, coming as it- did 
from a past president of Princeton University- and the author "of so many high- 
flown war-time speeches and statements. And td : me- his roughneck talk did 
not look a bit like pretense. Once, - in thecdurse of oui* discussion, the- V: 
president excused himself stating with a smile-that he had : to ; go and "pump •"■'' 
ship". We all laughed at this except Gompers, who probably felt that- it was?: 
not precisely the proper expression for the head of the Great American Republic. 

Wilson stated that he was fully in sympathy with our demand for a con- 
ference, but could not accede to our proposal that he call publicly upon Gary 
to meet with the union representatives. Making no bones about the matter, he 
said, "Gary would surely refuse, and then what would be the position of the 
government? It could not afford to be rebuffed thus openly." 

This seemed to me to be quite a confession of weakness, assuming that the 
president favored our proposition; Gary, apparently, was not much afraid of 
action by the government , nor was Wilson anxious to come to grips with him and 
his powerful backers. 


However, the president thought something might and could be done. He 
would approach Gary privately about the. proposed conference. Pacing up and 
down the room, he began to speculate as to whom he might send as his emissary. 
Could we suggest anybody, he asked. Finally, he settled upon Bernard Baruch. 
He was the man; Baruch should go at once to Judge Gary and try to arrange 
things. Thus our session with the president ended. 

We left the White House feeling that our mission had been a failure. 
Manifestly, Wilson was not going to do anything substantial in the matter 
himself, and we had no illusions about Baruch being able to change the open 
shop policy of the U.S. Steel Corporation through some dark-of-the-moon, 
backdoor negotiations. And so it turned out in fact; Gary sent the presi- 
dent's messenger, Baruch, about his business (if he ever went to him) and that 
was the end of the matter. 

Then, a couple of weeks later, something interesting happened. President 
Wilson suddenly called upon our national s&eel committee by telegram and 
through the press to postpone the strike, which was set for September 22nd, 
until his scheduled national industrial conference should take place in 
October. This conference turned out ;t©vb:e': at; rabidly open shop affair and it 
would haye.been utterly futile for us; to rely upon itfor consideration; [We 
foresaw-: this and refused to delay the strike. But the President's tele^vro 
graphed demand for a postponement was highly demoralizing touour; movement; 
Thus. President Wilson, who refused to openly ask Judge Gary r to sit-, downs with 
his workers to put an end to the 12-hour day, 7-day week and the' -other inhuman 
conditions prevailing in the steel industry, did not hesitate to send us 
publicly an impossible jdemand. that almost broke the steel workers? ranks. 
Nor did he seem to fear any loss of prestige through our refusals ?-■:-: 




Steel Strike -* 1915. ; 5 Foster and 

Mother Jones- ' 

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II. Places 


I Table Mountain^ more than 3500 feet high, dominates the city of " 
Capetown, South Africa. It is butt e-like, with sides sloping steeply' ' n f^ 
upward to its 3 flat ,' table- shaped top. Almost daily clouds hang in the ' 
crest of the mountain and these are poetically known locally as "the 
table-cover". When the Pegasus sailed into -Table Bay and I saw this im- 
pressive mountain I resolved at once to. scale it. r 

, .Shortly after we got paid: off in Capetown, I proceeded to -organize my '-. 
projected mountain climbing party. There were 'four of>'us in it, all young 
and wiry lads: Tim Harrison (American), Ole Hanson (Swede), Jack Manton 
(English) and myself. None of us had ever done any mountaineering, but 
this detail did not bother us appreciably. Life on shipboard had inured 
us to rough climbing and tall heights, so we were pretty sure we could han- 
dle any difficulties that Table Mountain might have to offer, judging it 
from a distance. : ' : '. ; ":- 7 **'. \-' 

Now it would seem to be the part;' of wisdom, when planning a mountain 
climb, to inquire of the natives as to the best route to take. But we 
never bothered about that. The mountain, save for the apparently low cliff 
beneath its crest, looked dead easy; so the climbing strategy we worked 
out was nothing more complicated than a sort of frontal attack on the moun- 
tain. We would start from our lodgings near Adder ly Street and keep on 
walking right up the face of Ihe mountain until we came to the top. Just 
like that . 

So, one morning bright and early we started out, our only climbing 
equipment being a firm determination;' and a few sandwiches apiece that our 
landlady had fixed up for us. Soon,, with the looming mountain as. our lode- 
stone, we reached the edge of the city. Then, disregarding 
trespass signs, we crossed numerous farms and meadows, all sloping more 
and more steeply upward. Then came a long stretch of rocky land and big 
boulders, in scrambling across which' we might easily have broken our legs or 
necks . 

After this, things really "began to get tough. The mountainside became 
very steep, almost precipitous, and our progress became more and more slow 
and difficult. Several times we had the greatest trouble climbing up cliffs. 
I began to wonder if we could reach the still distant crest'. ■ it' seemed 1 as 
though we could get stuck on the mountainside, unable to go either up or -down. 
For the cliffs ahead of us looked quite unscalable and I knew -for sure that 
we could not possibly go back the way we had come. Who t had proposed such a 
stupid expedition, anyhow? r ^- ' : ?*Uua 

By this; time: the view had become magnificent. '■■ Beneath : us lay -Capetown, 
like a checkerboard."' Off to the : right was the famous Lion's Head; -a 2000- " : 
foot mountain, which seen from the city, looks amazingly like a great lion, 
symbol of the British'Empire. Before us stretched Table Bay and the South 
Atlantic. The leper island in the bay, invisible from the city, stood out 
i^sharp and clear, And 'away off on the left, 30 miles away, could be seen 
the Cape of Good Hope" and the beginning of the Indian Ocean. 

With increasing difficulty we went On and : upi ■ But our party finally' 1 
came to grief when not more than 100 feet from 'the top, just when we thought 
^our troubles were about over, three of us had climbed a particularly diffi- 
cult cliff of about 25 feet. The other man, Manton, was also coming along 
when he lost his footing and' fell with a scream to the ledge below. Luckily 
he did not go down the mountain-side altogether. I thought he had surely 
broken his back or neck, but he scrambled to his feet. He had broken a wrist. 

Damn the luck anyway! How what was -to be done? Manton could not climb 
and we had no rope to -haul him up. SoHanson stayed with him, while Harrison 
and I started off to get help. We climbed to the top and then we learned 
what fools we had been to take such a steep and dangerous route. For at the 
summit was a. big pile ; of stones, and leading away from it, a Well-marked and 
easy trail down the other side of the' mountain. '-' 

We; walked half-way^ to town before we finally 'reached a place where we 
could telephone for a doctor. While awaiting his arrival, we scared up a 
long rope from a neighbor* -'-In an hour or so the doctor came and the three -' v 
of: us made our way by the easy trail to the top of the mountain'. It did not 
take us long to drag Manton I over the bad spot and get him up oh the flat :i 
mountain top. There the doctor set his wrist. 

It was midnight when we finally got hdme, Harrison and I tired as dogs 
from our double-climbing of Table Mountain. Our shoes were worn out and 
our slim funds were depleted by the doctor's fee. As for myself , when I 
turned in to sleep it was with a firm resolution that when next : I set out 
to climb any mountains I would at least have the foresight to inquire about 
the trail. ' >■■ l<* ■■>■■ 

-5 1 ■ 

3 r.: I : 


BERLIN 1910 

In pre-war Berlin, where I spent six months in 1910, the Kaiser was 
personally very much in evidence. Most afternoons at about four o'clock he 
could be seen traversing Unter den Linden homeward bound to Potsdam after his 
day's "work" in his palace by the river Spree. The-imperial automobiles were 
equipped with special bugle-like horns, forbidden to all other people, and 
they, could be heard for several blocks . As the Kaiser came tearing along the 
famous avenue* his bugles blowing, all traffic stopped and crowds of people, 
ddfflrig their hats, would run to the curbs to watch the autocrat pass. 

-At the place where Unter den Linden connects with the Tiergarten there 
is a traffic bottleneck which constituted a personal hazard for the Kaiser 
and which was always well- guarded. At this point stands the great Brandenburg 
Gate, and the broad avenue harrows down so that its heavy traffic can stream 
through the five archways of the Gate. The two archways on either side were 
used for the traffic going in the opposing directions, but the middle archway 
was reserved for the passage of the imperial family alone. Sentries were 
always on guard to prevent the hoi pbllbi from using this sacred center portal. 

As the Kaiser's car approached the great Gate it would come almost to 
a standstill before going through the middle archway. Altogether the daily 
■situation — with the narrowed street and the nearly-stopped imperial car- 
could have been a tempting one for some terrorist who might want to send the 
Kaiser to Kingdom Come. The authorities were also apparently aware of the 
hazard because the place was ostentatiously guarded, especially around the 
time of the Kaiser's daily trips through it; 

Indeed, the government took few chances with the Anarchists. All 
people known to be such were carefully watched constantly. A Syndicalist 
leader told me that there were then 200 known Anarchists in Germany and that 
each of these had attached ' to him three detectives who, working in eight hour 
shifts, kept close tab on him day and night. If a foreign Anarchist showed 
up in Germany he was deported, without trial, within an hour or two after 
being apprehended. A special section of the secret police had been organized 
with the sole task of carrying out this phase of the elaborate protective 
system built up around the Kaiser. 

The Berlin of 1910 exhibited numerous signs of the militarism of the 
Kaiser. The streets in the middle of town were full of swaggering Prussian 
officers, and soldiers were on all sides. But one day ■especially I saw this 
system in full display. The occasion was a gala field day of the smart Berlin 
garrison troops. There were some>100,000 picked troops in the big pageant, 
which took place in the immense Templehof Field. The Kaiser was on -hand in 
all his glory to review his much advertised troops. There were two or three 
hundred thousand spectators . 

For the review the troops were lined up in two great rows . In the 
great, deep first line stood the infantry, solidly massed, one regiment be- 
side the other. The second line was composed of massed cavalry and artillery. 


The review proper consisted of the Kaiser and his glittering -retinue of r 
princes : and top generals ridingjalong in front of each great row of troops, 
and then of the 100 , 000 troops parading before the reviewing stand. It 
was an imposing spectacle, with the hordes of marching troops, the blaring 
of 60 military bands, the waving of thousands of banners, the gay throng of 
aris tocrats . 

The Kaiser-himself was resplendent, Passing within i 20 feet of -where I 
was standing, he was mounted on a great black charger with gold ando&ilver 
harness. His uniform was dazzling — a ^glittering plumed helmet, a-brilliant 
plush cloak loaded with medals, high patent leather boots, a golden bejewel- 
led sword. But all his barbaric 3 finery ocould not hide his badly withered 
right arm, which dangled by his side » In the Kaiser's entourage were scores 
of brilliantly clad, stiff-necked, fishy-eyed military officers who looked 
hardly human. , : ,r ■ ;; :: ; v ■. ■-<-:," . . ;^--,- ' >ssvk ; : 

As I watched this great military pageant I wondered how long it would 
be before this destructive dog of war, like those of the other imperialist 
capitalist ; countries, would be unleashed. Nor was it mo re r thanj a f ew years : f 
before all Europe was aflame. The; very troops I watched that fine spring day 
at Templehof Field, the cream of the German Army, were among; the first to 
be thrown into the slaughter. , And ;the struggle was hardly ended when the 
gaudy Kaiser was in flight, his army destroyed and his dynasty ended by the 
revolutionary mass upheaval. , xl 

.- • , . ' r .-■. ■ 

Now [1937J Hitler is rebuilding once more the great imperialist German 
war machine. He is sailing straight on to a still greater butchery, to a 
far more complete debacle than that of 1918, and the imperialists of other 
countries are steering the same course. 


;! .0ne -bright morning in Berlin, in July 1911, I received: a letter from 
Vincent; St. John, Secretary; of the I.W.W., instructing me to proceed to 
Budapest to attend the conference of the International Trade Union Secretariat, 
to be held August 10-12. I was. to represent the I *W.W. and; to demand that I 
be seated as American delegate; instead of the reactionary Vice-President James 
Duncan, Civic Federationist,J- 8 of the A. F. of L. St. John must have thought 
hoboing was pretty good in Europe, for he enclosed only $10.00 to pay my fare 
and expenses, and a vague promise of more when I reached Budapest. But like 
a true IiW.W., nothing deterred by these slim finances, I-.; put the $5.00 I 
already had with St. John's , $10,00 and started for Budapest on the .banks of i 
the Danube some; 600 miles away.. ,.,,-. -> T ; 

iFrom Berlin to Nuremberg I w L ent by rail fourth class, which was a sort 
of. cattle-car passenger service about one. degree better than beating your 
way f by freight. It cost less than a cent a mile. Nuremberg, a great, tourist 
center, is a quaint place, with its medieval buildings, walled fortifications, 
torture museum, castles, etc. From Nuremberg, I travelled by foot to Dresden, 
a distance of about 150 miles. It was a lovely hike through Bavaria and 


Saxony. I was enormously interested in the hand- loom cottage weaving, the 
primitive farming and the lumber cutting, which seemed toy-like after the 
gigantic woods and logging operations I had been accustomed to in the Puget ' 
Sound country. In Dresden I spent a couple of days attending the German 
trade union congress. 

Again fourth class I rode to Vienna and also from Vienna to Budapest. 
The International Conference was just about to begin when I arrived. My 
stake by now had dwindled to $1.50, in spite of all my rigid economies. I 
had no funds with which to enjoy. the beauty of the Hungarian capital. 

I duly attended the conference. On the first day I had a big fight with 
the Social Democratic bureaucrats there, and was defeated, Duncan being seated 
as the American delegate. Suffice it here to state that with my fight I had 
made myself thoroughly disliked at the conference by the Socialist trade 
union leaders, who had a constitutional hatred for Syndicalists anyway. 

At the end of the first day of the conference I was flat broke. No 
letter had arrived from St. John. I had nothing to eat on, nor could I buy 
the night's lodgings. To one with my experience as a hobo, however, this 
was not particularly alarming. I was pleased that I had at least carried out 
my mission in the conference. I would manage to live and travel home some- 
how. Thus philosophizing, I went to the outskirts of the town, looking for 
a likely place to sleep. Soon I found one. It was in a horse-drawn inter- 
national moving van; that is, in a sort of tool box it carried underneath. 
Making a bed for myself among the miscellaneous collection of chains, rags, 
rollers, tools,! etc., therein, I was soon fast asleep. 

I had slept no longer than an hour, however, when the door to my tool 
box bed was flung open and a gendarme, searching for sleepers, rattled around 
in the darkness with his naked sword. He came within an ace of pinking me, 
so I lost no time in advising him of my presence. As he spoke only Hungarian, 
I could explain nothing. He took me to the police station. 

There everybody looked on me much like a visitor from Mars.- They found 
papers on me that identified ae as v a conference delegate. My story went that 
I was a delegate and had inexplicably los t my > money . It must have sounded 
pretty 'fishy i ; for they put me in; jail. And what a jail! It was'i)full of 
drmksyT&nd^one insane man shrieked the whole night through. There was no- 
where to sleep but on the floor. The place was full of cockroaches, lice 
and? rats .vt- So sleep was quite impossible^fbr me. 

Next morning I was visited by the jail doctor who talked to me alter- 
nately in French, German and English — - he seemed to think it was a good 
opportunity to brush up a bit on his languages . The doctor told me that I 
stood in serious danger of getting six months in jail for vagrancy, as they 
were very severe in Hungary against such crimes- asc mine . He also informed 
me that the conference had been notified of- my difficulty. This news gave me 
a great pain when I thought of the big fight f T had made there the day before, 
and how cynical Duncan and the others must be- over my misadventure. 


Finally, the head of the Hungarian trade unions, Jaizi, I believe his 
name was, came and talked me out of jail. I was placed in his custody. As 
we walked along the street I asked where he was taking me. The neighborhood 
looked familiar. "To the conference" said he. "I will put your case before 
the delegates and then maybe they will advance you a loan." "Nothing doing", 
said'I, as the thought of asking any favors of that conference of tirade union 
bureaucrats was too much for me. "I'll tell you what I'll do. If the Hung- 
arian unions will lend me a few dollars, I'll pledge the I.W.W. to pay it 
back". This was a rather rash promise. But anyway Jaizi refused, saying he 
had no : authority to make such a loan and insisting that I go to the confer- 
ence. I was convinced by then that he wanted to humiliate me before the 
bureaucrat delegates , 

So I turned on my heel and left him at a street corner, with him calling 
after me that I Would surely be arrested and sent to jail. But I was quite 
resolved on that point. Better jail if need be than to ask that conference 
for help. So Jaizi went one way and I the other. 

The situation looked tough enough. I was hungry and broke, and I sus- 
pected that Jaizi might inform the police that I had left his custody. But 
I still had an ace in the hole. I had two friends at the conference, Jouhaux 
and Yvetot, secretaries of the French General Confederation of Labor, Syndi- 
calists like myself, who had voted for my being seated at the conference. 
So that noon I maneuvred around and met with them in the recess. They 
laughed at my predicament, said I had done right not to appear before the 
conference, fed me a good dinner and made me a loan of 50 francs (then $10.00). 

Now I was sitting pretty again. For a day or two I took ih the sights 
of Budapest. Then the letter arrived from St. John, calling me back to the 
United States and, munificence unbounded, enclosing $50.00 for the trip. The 
modest sum, however, proved ample and I repaid the French delegates, travelled 
fourth class to Hamburg, then steerage to New York ($15.00) and finally beat 
my way to Chicago, arriving there with $4.00 in pocket. It was 26 years later 
(Paris, April 1937) when I next met Jouhaux and we both laughed over Budapest. 

•Vr- ■ 




In 1935-36, I made a trip from New York to Moscow and back, both ways 
via* Odessa and Constantinople, or Instanbul as it is now called;. ; It was -.tin 
oft an American Export Line steamer and it carried my companion and me. through. 
the Mediterranean * Aegean, Marmosa and Black Seas, stopping at a dozen his- 
toric posts along the road. -- ^ -s ~- 

Once inside the Mediterranean the route was packed with interesting 
sights: Italian and Greek prison islands; frowning Mount Athos, home of one 
of the most spectacular and famous monasteries in the world; the Dardanelles, 
at the mouth of which stands sinister Gallipoli, where 500,000 men died in 
the World War, its shores still strewn with the twisted wreckage of. British 
warships ; scores of beautiful; Turkish and Greek Islands, the lovely iBosphoruSi 
lined with modern palaces and round medieval castles; Smyrna (Turkey) , color- ; 
ful and dirty; Constanta (Rumania) for all the. world like a South American 
city; Burgas (Bulgaria), matter-of-fact and poverty-stricken; historic Athens, 
where the King had just that week overthrown the Republic; and seized the 
throne; Salonika (Greece), where several of Venizelos ?iy warships were in 
revolt and where we could not call on one trip because the harbor was strewn 
with floating mines; Odessa, lovely gateway to the new Socialist world. 

It was the time of the Ethiopian war, just when Mussolini was calling 
the bluff of Great Britain, and we saw many signs of the sharp war tension. 
At Constantinople, the fleets of the Turks and Greeks, for centuries violent 
enemies, were holding joint maneuvers under command of a Greek; at Piraeus 
(port of Athens) , several British torpedo boats and an Italian cruiser 
glared menacingly at each other; at Malta, evident preparations for war; at 
Gibraltar,- under the shadow of the bristling guns of the great fortress, a 
tangle of British naval, masts and stacks could be seen;; all along the desert 
coast of French Morocco an occasional war blimp or airplane- was visible and 
beyond the Straits of Gibraltar, in the Atlantic, one night we had a flotilla 
of 'Portuguese torpedo boats cross close before our bow. 

Each trip we stopped at Constantinople for several days. The city is 
beautifully located, but its life is dull and drab. The city's three sec- 
tions ~ Pera, Scutari, Stamboul — are separated from each other by arms of 
the Bosphorus and they differ widely in character. Pera, the hotel- tourist 
district, is modern, European and colorless. Scutari, which is located in 
Asia, is a typically sleepy Turkish town. Stamboul, the heart of old Con- 
stantinople, is the most interesting part of the city. There are located 
the great old-time palaces, the huge mosques, and the Grand Bazaar. There 
also are the hives of handicraft workers, working in surroundings as quaint 
as though they were still in the Middle Ages. Poverty, bitter and incredible, 
on all sides. Workers toiling across the Galata bridge and up the hill to 
Pera, carrying loads that would tire a horse. And nowhere in the whole city 
did I see a factory of any description. 

War tension in Constantinople was so acute that it enveloped one like 
a blanket. Visa complications were great and all foreigners were the objects 
of careful scrutiny. Naturally, we two did not escape this observation, 


having Russian visas in our passports. But the first tangible sign I noted 
of special attention was one day when I found that my baggage in the hotel 
room had been gone through in my absence. It was done skillfully, but some 
papers had been misplaced. 

The next special attention we received was from a waiter in the restaurant 
where we ate regularly. For a few days he established a friendly contact 
with us and then, one noon, he suddenly burst forth with complaints of how -,-, 
bad conditions were in Turkey. He declared that everybody was becoming Com-- 
munist and he complained especially of his trade union, saying he got no re- 
sults from it, all the leaders did was 'collect his dues and live prosperously, 
etc. Now this sounded very familiar, but we listened non-committedly. And 
it was just as well that we did, because we learned next day from a friend who 
knew Constantinople like a native that the waiter's story was all a lie, there 
being no trade union of any kind under the existing dictatorship. .... The: waiter ^ 
was undoubtedly a police spy trying to draw us out. And it is not a healthy: 
thing for travelling Communists to be too much "drawn out" in present-day ,.-; r 
Turkey, where Communism is outlawed. 

We.had another interesting experience along the same lines. My travel- 
ling companion had never been in Asia and he proposed that we take the ferry 
across to Scutari so that he might have that honor. We went down to the 
Galata bridge to take a boat, but I could not read a word of the many ferry 
schedules. Seeing a young army officer standing nearby, I decided to try my 
French on him, as I knew that all bourgeois elements in Turkey speak French* 
The officer replied with alacrity to my inquiry. He not only showed us the 
ferry to Scutari, but joined our party and went along with us. 

Now. this was a little more than I had bargained for. The young officer, 
very pqlite, plied us with a hundred questions: where did we live, what were 
we. , doing in Turkey, where were we going, etc. Half a dozen times he returned 
to the question of why we wanted to go to Scutari. My explanation about my 
friend's naive desire to put foot on Asian soil seemed very unconvincing to 
him. Still accompanied by our uninvited guest, we made our stay in Scutari 
very short and perfunctory indeed. Finally, feeling quite uncomfortable, we 
got back to Constantinople and parted from our polite but insistent guide if- r-: 

Next day, upon relating the incident to my Constantinople friend, he 
told us that Scutari is militarily important and this probably accounted for 
the quizzing that we got. He also said that undoubtedly the whole business 
had been reported at once by the officer to police headquarters. But evir- • ■..,-. -:;;• 
dently they believed in the verity of my companion's desire, >to feel Asian 
soil beneath his feet. For we never heard further of the matter, which was.;: 
quite all right with us. 



The white workers of the South have long been especially exposed to anti- 
proletarian propaganda, living as they do in the midst of a ruthless capital- 
ism saturated with vicious remnants. of slavery times. From their earliest 
childhood, they iare deluged with patriotic jingoism, religious superstition 
and racebprejudice in their most brutal forms. The South is the natural home 
of the ;Ku Klux Klan , the symbol of everything ignorant, bigoted, tyrannical 
and fascist in the United States i-n - 0: 

Needless to say, the southern white workers have been much affected by 
the stream of reactionary poison that has been poured into their minds for 
so many years. Yet * these workers are strangely unspoiled by it all. In 
their struggles, especially when influenced by the Communist Party, they dis- 
play as truly proletarian spirit that is both inspiring and amazing. When 
they revolt against the terrible economic and political conditions in the 
South, they seem to slough off as if by magic the reactionary propaganda with 
which they have been so saturated and they face the issue with an admirable 
class instinct, if not class consciousness. They have behind them a record 
of many of the hardest fought strikes in American labor history. 

Time and again I have seen these workers, when in struggle, brush aside 
the vicious blanket of poison propaganda with which they are surrounded and 
develop a militant fighting policy. The bitter strike of the Kentucky miners 
in 1931, under the leadership ofi the National Miners Union, was typical. 
When the N.M.U. entered bloody Harlan County and began to organize the miners 
it was greeted with a wild K.K.K. campaign of red-baiting by press, pulpit 
and radio. The bosses and their tools denounced the N.M.U. organizers as 
"reds," "nigger-lovers" and "atheists," and appealed to the workers, almost 
all of whom were American-born from way back, intensely religious, afflicted 
with race prejudice, and almost completely unacquainted with the principles 
of Socialism. : - .:!#*: 

-..-• But the workers were surprisingly immune to this vicious red-baiting, 
which was backed up with the usual campaign of sluggings, shootings, arrests, 
deportations, etc. The Kentucky miners, in deep revolt against their intol- 
erable working and living conditions, were able to recognize the revolution- 
ary National Miners Union as their leader and they rallied loyally around its 
standards in the face of the gravest opposition. They also accepted the 
Communist Party in the same spirit. One day, at a local conference, one of 
the miners in the cool and quiet way characteristic of southern workers, 
explained to me their position like this: "Now Comrade Foster, from what I 
have heard in this speaking (meeting) I don't reckon it is the exactly cor- 
rect policy, but down in our Country when a man joins the N.M.U. we also make 
him join the C.P." So responded the Kentucky miners to the Communists, not- 
withstanding the generations of cultivated ignorance and intolerance to which 
they had been systematically subjected by their economic masters. 

The heart of the reaction in the South is, of course, the ruling class 
policy of suppressing the Negro people., and of driving a wedge between them 
and the white workers. The theory of "white supremacy" is the gospel of 


every reactionary. The measure of prpgresaiveness in the Southtis the extent 
of one's disagreement with this monstrous doctrine of intolerance and inequal- 
ity. Every political question in the South turns around this central -issue. 

That the southern white workers have been deeply impregnated with the. 
ever-present race prejudice even the most casual observer can see. Ordinarily 
they support the infamous. Jim Crow system; and lynch mobs , unfortunately, 
have often contained in their ranks misguided proletarians and poor farmers. | 
But the southern itfhite workers, especially where they come in contact with 
the Communist Party, can also throw off the corroding race prejudice against 
the Negroes and develop a strong solidarity with them. Needless to say, the 
Negroes respond splendidly to this solidarity and display first class fighting 
qualities . 

I have seen many examples of this, of whites and Negroes jointly striking 
together and joining the same unions; of white workers smashing Jim Crow 
prohibitions, and in one case protecting a Negro union organizer from a white 
lynch mob. One time in a textile workers' conference in Charlotte, N.C., 
during the heat of the great Communist-led Gastonia strike, 20 I saw an inci- 
dent of this kind that warmed my heart. When the conference assembled its 
several hundred delegates, the Negroes, according to the Jim Crow custom, did 
not sit among the body cf the white delegates but took their places.* in the 
gallery. But when we opened the conference we invited the Negroes to come 
downstairs and sit amongst the whites . This was against both law and custom 
in North Carolina, and I wondered how the whites would take it. But they 
responded splendidly. I re^eaier one big worker, a well-known leader in the 
local K.K.K. and I saw a Negro take a seat right next to him. I expected 
trouble but, to my surprise, the Kluxer not, only spoke in a friendly way to 
the Negro, but later on made an excellent speech for common union and strike 
action between the two races. 

The southern white workers are by far the most" religious section of the 
American working class, and their fundamentalist preachers 11 jsedulously cul- 
tivate among them hatred for the atheist Communists. Yet ? many Htimes in 
struggle I have seen these religious jworkers , turning backs upon their pastor's 
warnings, freely accept Communist leadership' And it was curious to see them 
bring their religious terminology,: church practices and revival spirit into 
the revolutionary unions of the Trade Union Unity League. 

To suppress their downtrodden workers the Southern employers, together 
with their K.K.K. jingoism, race prejudice and superstition, also make use of 
ruthless violence. Ordinarily the always prevailing terror conditions are 
directed against the Negroes, but when the white workers dare to stir and to 
make demands the ruling class violence is immediately directed against them. 
But these workers, when aroused to action by their burning grievances, do not 
hesitate to defy this terrorism. They are not easily intimidated by company 
gunmen, police or troops, and know well how to defend themselves. When these 
militant workers go out on strike the employers literally prepare for war, and 
the long list of hard- fought southern strikes provides plenty of evidence 
that the casualties are not all on the workers' side. 


In the great struggles that the coming years hold in store 'for the 
working class the southern white workers will surely play a vital role. 
The whole monstrous control system set up by the Southern capitalists — 
the race prejudice, jingoism, superstition and outright terrorism — will 
never hold them in check. In spite of all, they will achieve organization 
among themselves and unity with the great Negro masses and the toilers of 
both races will march in a solid phalanx against the system of exploitation 
In the South. 

WitciAM I. f'OSTirR. 

a ties' J A i>t*m 

a* (Vo.ikq > V 

j- ■ .- • 

On improving 
Ths Party's Wort 
Among Wom«n 

.t, itfvuAW / KMM 





— m*m mmm*m mm *mmm 

,*oo* 4 


the steel 











III. Incidents 

POLICE WORK :&■*?■■* ?.'. ; 

During the Spokane 1909 free speech fight^ practically the Whole lor - 
cal police forcej for a period of several months, was concentrated In th'er'r. 
middle of the city to fight the I.W.W. Consequently, the outlyiiig sections 
were the easy prey of stickup men and burglars, who flocked to Spokane from 
all over the Pacific Coast for the soft pickings. This is the story of how 
one of these gunmen slipped through the fingers of the Spokane police. ;:; 

At the particular time I was in the "state" cells of the city jail 
doing 60 days for free speech activities . My cell-mates were two I.W.W. „ 
"Blackie" and "Hell- Roaring-Sulphur-Smoke" Jones . The latter, a well-known 
soapboxer, was a remarkable character. He was possessed of a photographic 
memory. Among other astounding feats he could recite word for word Mills '22 
big book, The Struggle for Existence . All one had to do was to call for a 
certain page and Jones, closing his eyes, would start reciting at the top of 
the page and go on to the bottom, word perfect. Time and again we checked 
him from the battered volume he always carried. 

Blackie, Jones and I had been separated from the rest of the I.W.W. 
prisoners, about 75 in number, because we were charged with leading the or- 
ganized jail activities. Our company in the "state" side was not many and 
not very choice. There was, for one, an oily forger who had been sentenced 
to 10 years in Walla Walla. Another type was "Frenchy," clearly a maniac, 
who had just brutally killed his partner. And finally, there was "Indian 
Joe," withr his Oregon boot, *who was on the way from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho * to 
Boise to do 50 years for murdering his wife. '•='-: 

One night another prisoner was brought in. He was an American of about 
35. Strongly built, he looked like a prizefighter, and was clearly a tough 
one. Although charged only with vagrancy, he walked his cell endlessly the 

* The Oregon boot is a substitute for handcuffs and other irons while 
transporting prisoners. It is a heavy iron boot-like arrangement, 
weighing 30-50 pounds, which is locked on the prisoner's leg. A pri- 
soner wearing it must walk slowly and carefully. If he attempts to 
run it will throw him and probably break his leg as well. 

whole first night. We had no need to be told that he had something serious 
on his mind, and in the morning it all came out. 

It so happened that "Blackie," the I.W.W., and another prisoner were 
being released that day. The new prisoner — whom we knew only as Jack — 
heard of this and became highly excited. He was under the most urgent ne- 
cessity of communicating at once; with his partner on the outside, and he saw 
no other way to do so except through one of the prisoners being released. 
So, taking a long chance, he told "Blackie" his difficulty and his wants. 
"Blackie" refused to carry his message but the other released prisoner agreed 
to do so. 

"Blackie" then told me Jack's story and the commission that he wanted 
carried out. Jack was one of the many crooks who had come to Spokane during 
the free speech fight. He was deeply troubled about a suitcase which he had 
sent by express to a town about 30 miles from the city. In it were jewelry, 
guns and miscellaneous items of plunder from about 20 holdups and burglaries — 
in one of which he and his partner had shot it out with the police in a dra- 
matic street battle, which the newspapers of a few days before had duly 
splurged. As a result of this last affair, Jack had concluded that the trail 
was -getting a little too hot for him. Jack's partner left town and he him- 
self decided to do as he had done often before in such circumstances, which 
wass to let the express company . guard the evidence and the swag until the storm 
blew over. ij:\.'-j>>\ -" 

But this time he made a bad error. Previously when he shipped his suit- 
case out of town he had always torn up the express receipt at once, finding 
it an easy matter when he wanted his baggage back to secure it by a carefully 
planned system of identification. His, mistake this time was that in leaving 
the express office he had put the receipt in his pocket instead of tearing it 
up. And he had not gone more than 100 yards when the police grabbed him on 
suspicion and held him on a charge of vagrancy. 

This put Jack into plenty of trouble. The police had his express re- 
ceipt and all they had to do was to go get his suitcase, containing enough 
evidence to tuck him away in Walla Walla pen for many years . The very sus- 
pense of the thing drove him almost frantic. He simply had to beat the po- 
lice to that suitcase. But how? Jack was broke, and had no lawyer that he 
could trust with such a delicate task. Hence his urgent need for one of the 
released prisoners to notify his partner, a local bartender, and urge him to 
hurry and get the deadly suitcase by the usual method of identification before 
the police could get hold of it. ! • 

; We did not know at the time whether or not the released prisoner carried 
Jack's message or if his partner got the suitcase. Nothing appeared to happen. 
Jack seemed to brighten up, however, as time went on and eventually, at the 
end of his 30-day vagrancy sentence, he was turned loose. We were astounded 
at his being released and could not understand how the police, with such 
damning evidence in hand, should let this dangerous crook go. We had also 
learned that Jack was wanted by the California police on a burglary charge. 

• A few months later, however, a bright light was thrown on the whole: 


incident of the release when, one day in Seattle, I ran into Jack's Spokane 
cellmate. "Say", said he, "do you know what happened to Jack and his famous 
suitcase? Well," he went on, "when Jack got out the police gave him his 
purse and other pocket effects, including the express receipt. ; They had made 
no effort to get the suitcase. So Jack rushed out to the small town where it 
had been sent a month: ago and claimed it just as the railroad company had 
about decided to sell it for storage.. His partner, finding it too hot, had 
never .gone for it . " 


'But why," said I, "did the police let Jack go, with all that stuff on 

"Well," said my informant, "Jack happened to be one of the most notori- 
ous undercover fmenl and .sc,abrierders of the nearby Coeur d'Alene mining district. 
So you can draw your own conclusions." 

■-,.-- : ' i- • '■.■'....:■ tsi's ad« 

And I did. Of such material as Jack do the employers , build their strike- 
breaking^ forces .• And the police give' 1 the bosses full cooperation in their 
alliances, with the criminal underworld. ~ '■' • ^'. •■ « '- 

' : .:,."' * ''$ &} '■ - S ■/■'■■ '■'■ ' '■■ ' "'' 

!-) r iA ■■ ' 's.'., ' • * '"'• ■■■'.. r:'i-u:- ■ '■' '";■"!'-■' 

1 ' ; Cf3x r ':$ '■ - - . 

. ,..;v^: ? : ' ON LABOR SPIES 

" :r ' : -' •'■*" : ''- ' % ;" ' -f(j ::.ay i i-~i J.e: -'-*■ 

Bill Haywood" used to say that the soul of a labor spy was so small, 
10,000 of them could dance on the point of a needle and never touch each 
other. Which just about expresses the workers' opinion of such rats. These 
traitorous ' elements, indispensable to the capitalists in their war against 
the workers, infest every kind of labor organization. Many have, heen exposed 
in the Socialist Party; and the Communist Party—for example, th£:chief pros- 
ecution witness in the big Communist trials in St. Joe, Michigan, 1923, was 
one Morrow, a Department of Justice undercover man. But it is the. trade 
unions, 1 . conservative as well as revolutionary, that have always been most 
thickly sprinkled fwxth spies — I have seen large numbers of them exposed — 
in fact as many as '26 at one blow\ in the Machinists' Union in Chicago. The „ 
explanation for the greater prevalence of spies in the labor unions <5f all 
kinds than in the workers' political parties is that the employers have sensed 
a keen immediate danger in the organizing campaigns and strikes of the unions 
and so have developed their huge spying system to defeat them. 

; From various sources come these stool-pigeons in the ranks of labor. 
Some work directly for individual employers; others are employed by such pro-" 
fessiqnal strike-breaking agencies as Thiel, Burns, Feltz-Baldwin, Pinkerton, 
CorpWatib^%V,4 l ^41 i ^y '* etc.; still others, especially in the revolutionary 
organization^ y^re agents of the Department of Justice. The spies range in 
pay v and activities from the unprincipled worker, who for the sake of a dollar 
a day extra or "even merely to make sure of his job, snitches on his fellow 
workers, to the full time professional detective. It is incredible for how 
little employers can hire spies and also how many there are of them in industry, 

"'The labor spies — I speak principally of those "in the trade unions — 
appear under all kinds of ideological guises. Some make a great show of 




radicalism, being the first to advocate extreme measures. Other spies 
appear as ultra-conservatives. Still others pretend to have no political^ 
views. And one that I knew in the Chicago stockyards, Frzybilski by name,' 
was an inveterate god-killer, never being content unless he was attacking ■ 
religion, either in private conversation or from the platform, although , ; .. \ 
great numbers of the workers were Polish and intensely religious. , ', i^ 

Labor spies use many different methods . Often they follow a line of 
simply reporting to their masters what is taking place among the workers in 
the particular shop or organization. In other cases they are direct provo- 
cateurs, seeking to provoke the workers into untimely strikes or terroristic 
acts. Or, they may be professional perjurers, such as have railroaded many 
Communists, 's and militant trade unionists to jail. As a rule, labor 
spies distinguish themselves by being very active in the workers' organiza- 
tions. I have met several who were most efficient organizers. Such acti- 
vity is necessary for them so they can worm themselves into key positions 
that enable them to know what is going on and to mislead the workers . ^. { 

Often the employers control trade unions through regular paid spies, 
who have managed to become elected officials. Indeed, the line between paid 
spies and ultra-reactionary officials (those corrupt racketeering elements 
who sell out strikes, graft upon employees , steal union funds, etc.) is so 
vague as to be often undistinguishable. Frequently employers have seized con- 
trol of strikes through groups of their own detectives placed among the work- 
ers, especially in open shop industries and among unorganized workers. For 
example, in the 1913 I.W.W. rubber strike in Akron all but one of the leading 
strike committee were stool-pigeons. Many local organizations during the 
steel strike of 19l9 ; were similarly spy- control led and the Trade Union Unity 
League had like experiences in Lawrence and elsewhere . 

The chief characteristic of labor spies is their lack of principle. 
For money or other advantage they will betray their employers or one another 
as readily as they sell out the workers. I have seen this happen many times. 
During the 1919 steel campaign, for example, we received many offers from 
spies who, for a consideration, would expose other undercover men. And once 
in the Soviet Union an expert investigator explained to me in great detail 
how spies were developed and organized under Czarism. One of the principal 
rules,' it seems, was that no two spies working in a given organization knew 
each other as such. This was because if they did they would probably betray 
each other, either for money, jealousy, or to advance their own prestige in 
the organization in which they worked. A fine lot of vermin, indeed. : 

My Bussian friend also described to me the complicated system by whtich 
the Czar's police used to go about developing spies in working class organi- 
zations. Often they would work for months on some weak or venal worker, '" grad- 
ually enmeshing him in spy work by threats, propaganda and, finally, money. 
The Czarist police, in their spy-building, had so many difficulties because, 
of the revolutionary nature, of the working class in general. Potential spy [ 
material was not plentiful among the workers and it was hard to develop. 
Similar conditions prevailed in other European countries. But American em- 
ployers had considerably less dif f iculty . The working class here, less poli- 
tically developed, less class Conscious and more afflicted with capitalistic 


illusions, furnished a more fertile recruiting ground for spies. Thus the 
detective agencies have been able to recruit many spies by such crude methods 
as advertisements in newspapers, more or less direct advances to unprincipled 
workers in the shops, etc. I have even known spy recruiters to approach 
trade union officials and revolutionary militants openly on first acquaint- 
ance, in saloons or even over the telephone with their filthy offers. 

To uncover labor spies is often very difficult. In his memoirs, 
Kropotkin says he could detect them off-hand by their appearance and manner 
of acting. But this is nonsense. Many of them so cunningly cover up their 
tracks as practically to defy exposure. It is a fact that even so brilliant 
a leader as Lenin was deceived by several spies who worked their: way: up to 
key positions in. the Russian Communist Party. : :> ; 

v Although these rats are a menace, and must be relentlessly- fought, care 
must be taken at the same time no$, to start spy scares in unions and thus to 
undermine the workers' confidence in the organization by unreasoning suspicion. 
The old Western Federation of Miners, in its militant fighting days, suffered 
.much from this : evil which they called "pink (Pinkerton) fever"* The best- pre- 
ventive against spies iis a vigilant watch over the policy of the organization 
and real care in the selection of leaders . 


The scene was the court-room at St. Joseph, Michigan, and I was on trial 
for participation in the secret Communist Party convention, held on a farm 
near Bridgman, Mich., in August, 1922.24 Now, in order to convict me of the 
felony charge, unlawful assembly, it was necessary to produce substantial 
proof (besides the testimony of the inside stool-pigeon, Morrow, who attended 
the convention) j:hat the police, actually knew me to fee present. This required 
considerable perjmry, but of course, this was only arminor problem for the 
prosecution. American justice, especially when directed against Communists, 
is very efficient,, and no one-hundred-percenter district attorney would ever 
permit a red-baiting case to fail for want of faked-up ^testimony . tu - 

Here is how a couple of "federal dicks", Spolansky and Hanrahan, draw- 
ing upon their elastic imaginations, established my presence at the convention. 
I quote their ; .testimony only from memory \, but the substance of it is correct. 

Prosecutor: "Now,, Mr. Spolansky, do you know of your ;own personal know- 
ledge that the defendant,, Foster, was present when the convention was being 

held?".;,"' ••■:■- i rmU%f\ hm ■■■■> ,■.■;■.■>.?•* m% ■ htjt ■— 

Spolansky: "Yes. I iwas hidden in %m woods close by and ifrom there I saw 
Foster^ standing at the pump near the: farmhouse." o t:i ■:;:.!•*!■ 

' ""' "~ ■ . ni ' ;■';< 

A little later detective Hanrahan took the stand and here is the way 
this bright representative of Uncle Sam testified ?.:<■■ 

Prosecutor : ; "Mr .^Hanrahan how doyouknow that Fosterwasvat the Communist 

convention?" .. ; .j H$\g ' a srfa 3tgq fbe#r a?ri . Lu'\ -■■■■■: -. 

Hanrahan: "I saw 'Mr. Spolansky see him standing at the pump ." 



The struggle toward a classless, socialist society in the U.S.S.R. had 
its repercussions within the Communist Party itself. These were reflections 
of the desperate battles of the displaced social classes for survival, econcmr- 
ically and politically. Such reflections manifested themselves by the sur- 
reptitious entry into the Party of hostile elements pretending to be Communists, 
and also by the development of deviating inner-Party opposition groupings which, 
behind all their revolutionary phrases, actually represented the interests of 
the expiring landlord and capitalist classes. 

The history of the Russian Communist Party, therefore, is full of struggle 
against anti-revolutionary groups and tendencies within its own ranks. By vir- 
tue of the huge revolutionary tasks it has to perform, the Communist Party must 
be an organization composed solely of clear-seeing, devoted, tireless and res- 
olute fighters for Socialism. Within its structure there can be absolutely 
no place for waverers, sluggards, corrupt persons, and enemies of Socialism. 
So to free itself from such elements, who manage to seep in despite strict 
entrance requirements, the Soviet Party every several years carries out re- 
examination of its whole membership. These are called chistkas or Party 

One of my most interesting experiences in the U.S.S.R. was in attending 
such a chistka at a Party unit meeting one night at a big Moscow electrical 
manufacturing plant in 1929. On the platform of the meeting hall sat the 
examining committee, and the body of the hall was crowded with factory workers. 
Most of these workers were not Party members, for the rule in the chistka 
is that all workers, regardless of Party memberships may appear to bring such 
charges or complaints as they see fit and to express their opinion as to 
whether or not any given individual is fit to belong to the Party. This is 
one of the striking features of Soviet revolutionary democracy. 

: ■■ The routine of this meeting was simple; One by One, the Party members 
were called upon to speak before the gathering, to tell who they were, what 
they did during the revolution, when they joined the Party, and various other 
salient features of their life history. In cases where a worker's record was 
good and no exception was raised against him, he was at once passed. But if 
objection was made either from the floor or the committee he had to stand a 
grilling which he might or might not survive as a Party member. It was a 
long process. Sometimes the chistka would last several weeks in big Party 
units . 

To listen to the workers recite their biographies was enormously inter- 
esting. Their life stories, covering the periods of Czarism, the two revo- 
lutions ,-< the Civil War, the famine and the building of" Socialism, were ex- 
tremely colorful. For the most part the workers were well known to each other 
and they "got by" the chistka with nothing more serious than criticism for 


minor chortcomings . One man,; -however, did not fare so easily. He was a fore- 
man in the plant. This man made a good statement of his life activity, but 
when he concluded several workers arose and sharply attacked him from the 
floor ... It. seems, that he was somewhat of a bureaucrat and the workers deep- 
ly resented his curt methods. He faced an uncomfortable hour- of cutting .crit- 
icism from the workers, but managed to retain. his Party membership, although 
with a strict warning. • - BJP "','. . „.". 

The most interesting case was that of a Hungarian, worker. In broken 
Russian he told his story. He was a Party member of long standing and had 
fought through the Hungarian revolution. He painted a vivid picture of the 
ill-fated history of the Soviet government in Hungary at the close qfi the 
World War and the part he had played in it. It was a blazing story of revo- 
lutionary struggle. 

I thought the passing of this worker would be a mere formality; but when 
he had finished his story, another Hungarian worker exile arose and began to 
question him in Russian. This worker, himself a veteran of the Hungarian rev- 
olution quizzed the speaker closely, and in only a few minutes he had in- 
volved him in hopeless contradictions. .. The speaker, who evidently had not ex- 
pected this close checkup in far away U.S.S.R. stpod in open confusion at the 
conclusion of his grilling from the floor. Everybody was astounded at the 
unlooked-for turn of events, although many had seen Russian impostors uncovered 
at such chistkas . The man's case was held for further,, investigation, by the 
committee. I was interested to learn what came ourt-bf -it.all. and some time 
later I found out that the Hungarian speaker had been finally exposed as a spy. 

In 1937, as I write this, a broad cleansing movement is going on in the 
Party, the Soviets, the trade unions and other organizations in the U*S.S.R. 
The growth of institutions of all sorts has been .so u swift, and gigantic and 
the need for executives to lead them so overwhelming that during the course 
of the last years considerable numbers of self-seekers, bureaucrats and in- 
competents, not unnaturally, have been able to worm themselves into responsi- 
ble posts. They act as a brake upon progress. They are now being removed by 
the double process of democratic action at the bottom and executive decision 
at the top. Their elimination from key positions is making for a big increase 
in efficiency in every department of Soviet life. , ,: 



It was in Table Bay, Capetown. We were in the British bark Pegasus, 
which had just arrived after an exceptionally hard and long (six months) 
trip from Portland, Oregon around Cape Horn. 26 She was a hungry ship, fur- 
nishing the crew the notorious starvation British "whack" or official mini- 
mum rations. We were half famished, especially for fresh food. To make 
things worse, chances for fishing along the way had been bad for the past, 
weeks. ; ij. 

So, hardly had we dropped anchor in the bay than Ned Lyndon put a 
fishing line over the side. Soon his efforts were rewarded by the^capture 
of a fish about four feet long. At once a dispute began in the fo'c's'le 
as to what kind of a fish it might be. Some said it was a young shark; the 
rest declared it to be a full-grown dogfish. The argument waxed hot and . 

Nor was the question an academic one. It was a live issue. If the 
fish were a young shark, so the argument went, we hungry sailors could eat 
it; but if it were a dogfish (which is also a near relative of the shark), 
then it was inedible, maybe poisonous. 

But it proved a knotty question which we could not decide. Amongst us 
were two English fishermen who should have been posted in such things, but 
they found themselves upon opposite sides of the question. Also the second 
mate, the sole officer on board, by his indecision on the question only con- 
fused matters further. ., rV: ...... -;}-; 

Here was a dilemma indeed. We were starved and we had a fine- looking 
fish. But dared we eat it? In this difficulty little "Cockney" Neal got a 
bright idea. "Let's throw up a shilling," said he, "and if it falls 'heads' 
it's a shark and if 'tails' ; it's a dogfish." Everybody agreed at: once with^ 
this happy proposal. So we,; ; ;tpssed the shilling. To our joy it came "heads , 
The piscatorial problem was solved. We ate the shark (?) a bit doubtfully. 
But nobody got sick or died. So, after all, we concluded, it must really 
have been a shark. 


■i'.t:! ,aoijL 



H Q- 

IV. Facts and Fancies 



One day, shortly after the beginning of the big steel strike on 
Septgtobe* 22p 1919 , w.H. Rub*h\ % ? Well-known labor attorney of Washington 
D.C., appeared in Pittsburgh ,■' with ; the ? blessMig of Sam Rompers, and offered t*l 
his legal- services gratis to- the 1 stWeT workeTcs. ; We accepted, of course, with 
pleasure,' arid- at our ensuing national ebmmittfee' meeting I proposed that Mr.' vi " 
Rubin be -retained as our* chief attorney. ^ ( SW Mr. Rub itf rose in the meeting 
and interposed an objection. He did not like the word "retain" as it carried 
the' n i1ripil'cation that he was to be paid. -Then"! reformulated the wording' to 
read 'that we engage Mr .' Rubin's services, but he^l^b 1 objected to the "engage" 
forthe f same reason. He wanted it made perfectly' clear iih the minutes tha ! t " 
his services were to be entirely unpaid. 

M" ; Rubin got busy at once. He said we did not know how tb ; conduct the fight 
to break 5 through the legal terror then prevailing-- tfte !J 'c6mp;Iete suppression ; 
of all union meetings, wholesale slugging and arresrt df v strikers, complete 
prohibitibn of picketing, etc. We had* fought resolutely against this system 
for a whole 1 year, but Rubin said we were all wrong. He would put on a big 
legal offensive and teach the lawless officials' of Pennsylvania that Wfter alii 
this was America. Meanwhile, friends of mine in the Pittsburgh 1 Labor' Temple ™ 
informed me that Rubin had been boasting to the reactionary officials there 
that he had been sent into Pittsburgh by Gompers to take the strike leader- 
ship out of my hands. 

Rubin began his "offensive," of which we were pretty skeptical. He is- 
sued several challenges and attacks against the city and state authorities, 
hired a couple of dozen lawyers to attend to the arrest cases and put a score 
of our organizers to help them. But the steel trust replied to all this with 
a counter-blast that shot it to pieces. The Sheriff of Allegheny County 
laughed at Rubin and hoped that he (and Fitzpatrick27 and I) would get out of 



Pittsburgh as soon as we got the several hundred thousand dollars we were 
taking from the steel workers. Then, those of Rubin's lawyers who did not 
quit immediately under pressure of bribes or threats, were ignored in the 
courts. Several were thrown out altogether and one or two arrested — just 
for trying to represent strikers. The courts were unblushing parts of the 
great steel trust strike-breaking machine. Minor offenders were simply asked 
whether they would go to work in the mills , and if they agreed they were re- 
leased. Strikers were sentenced out of hand after the most perfunctory trials. 

All this flabbergasted Rubin. He was amazed at the whole situation. His 
enthusiasm for steel strike leadership obviously waned. All his fine-spun 
legalism collapsed in the face off the ; steel trust violence; for, as he put it, 
what can a lawyer do in a district that had no law. The man who shortly be- 
fore had boasted that he alone knew how to make the fight and that, on Gompers' 
orders, he was going to take over the strike leadership, formally resigned and 
left for New York. Nor did we shed any tears at his .going. 

I thought we had thus seen the last of Rubin. But it so happened that 
shortly afterward I was kidnaped and run out of Johnstown by steel trust vig- 
ilantes. This caused quite a stir in- the press, and> l°> there came a tele- 
gram from Rubin offering to give me legal defense. Evidently his hunger for 
publicity had not abated despite his bad experiences in steel. 



We talked over his, proposal and decided to reject it. So I; commissioned 
Jay G. Brown,, our general organizer, to wire Rubin accordingly.; Now Brown 
had worked with Rubin in his ill-fated legal offensive and he had gained no 
admiration for, him- So he carried out my instructions pretty literally. His [ 
wire ran about, like this: ''Your proposal no good; Foster says you are fired." 

This biting telegram badly ruffled the feathers of the nationally-known 
Mr. Rubin. He protested to me; he called up our, chairman, Fitzpatrick, on 
the long-distance phone to Chicago; he complained to Gompers. But he. stayed 
"fired." - 

,.i , That was, the last I heard from Rubin in connection with steel until long 
after the strike had ended and our national committee was dissolved. A fund 
of more than $100,000 was left over from the strike and the A. F. of L. office 
was in control of it. So,.. up< bobbed Mr. Rubin and put in a bill for $100 for 
each day he had, spent in Pittsburgh as our lawyer — this from the man who had 
been triply insistent that I "make it perfectly clear that he wanted no pay 
whatsoever for his services^,, I 






it ; is a charahteristic of railroading that the Book of Rules is full of V" 
safety regulations that are never enforced. These rules look good on paper 
and they shield the companies from many lawsuits; but their application would 
cost money; so pity'fthe workers who would try to put them, into practiced. A, 
class ical'exbmple^ had to dtr^with the old-time;' link-and-pih; coupler. According 
to the rule bobk : , b the switchmen and brakeinen operating this' murderous, device^" 
were supposed tb'use a club instead of their' 'hatids. But /this was a. slow proe-v 
ess and delayed i:he work, anU aworker who used the rule book club would 
soon find' 'himself 1 out of wdrkrf; ; So Instead of the clubs the meri used their '*' : ; 
bare hands lb : hook the links' 'arid; > ins together in the _ jamming cars, wIP^'thePT 
result thatf literally thousands? bf them had their hands crushed off. i; Such X^i 
wide gap is there between railroad rules and railroad practice that. in Italy' 
just prior to the World War the discontented railroad workers brought the en- 
tire railroad service practically to a standstill merely by rigidly applying 
the printed' rules P :iu ;nx;r<v & '". r ' S " 

Once I had ah 'interesting' and dangerous Experience wlththis contradict 
tion between railroad theory and 3 ' railroad fact. I was firing" J bn the 0. R.& N. , 
between Portland and Umatilla, dtegbh, in 1907. The locomotives on that sys- 
tem were just being converted from coal-burners' into oli-burhbrs . This was a 
welcome change for us, because, so heavy was the work of firing — what with 
long trains 1 , 'i©- 'to 40-hour runs', the poor coal which we", called "real; Estate*" 
and the bad repair of the ehglhes-- that' every fireman" pn ; our division had at 
one time or anbthe'r been' reiibve'd^ oh the; road in such ! lah exhausted condition 
that hb { was unable to prbbeed lurthe;r.'' .7!.!'' 

In firing the new' oil-burners the fireman had tb synchronize skillfully 
the amount of oil fired with the amount of steam used. That is, as the en- 
gineer opened or closed his throttle the fireman had to simultaneously open 
or close 5 his oil--feed valve. 'The fireman thus not only had to guard against 
the grbat' belches of; black smoke that came when he did not cut down his oil 
supply' in time:,' but Especially "tie; had to watch that his fire was not : sucked 7 
out altogether by the heavy exhaust of the locomotive, either through his ^''"'.7. 
failure to open his- valve in time'" "or by shutting it off too far when cutting' 
down 1 the supply of u 6il to bb tmicned. -. 

Thfe latter Contingency espbciMlly could 'very easily 1 happen. The fire- .^ 
mah; lobfcing out ! bf the cab wlfndbw'fpr switching signalsjahd !at the same time 
increasing or decreasing his '^oB? feed; as the* engineer opened Or closed his 
throttle,' would pf ten shut his;'H^tive;'too far/with the «kult that his fire^ ;,, 
its oil supply cut off, would go out and several minutes delay would take 
plate- before' it could be relighted' and the' work' resumed., 1 To prevent thjis^ . "''?., 
happening the company furnished the fireman with metal stoppers' which were 
screwed into the oil-feed valves in such a fashion that the valves could not 
be shut off entirely and the fire thus killed. But, with the characteristic 
contradiction between railroad theory and practice, the official rules for- 
bade the use of such stoppers. This was because if by any chance the fire 


HI r 

*l i 

ill ; 

got sucked out by the exhaust of the engines and the oil continued to flow 
into the fire-box (as it would if the metal stopper were on) then gases would 
generate and a serious explosion might result when the fire was relighted. 
Thus in the name of safety the rules prohibited the use of the oil-feed valve 
stoppers, and in the name of profits the company furnished the stoppers to 
the firemen. ■ .-^n ■■ -:'.:"<• 

One. day I was firing an oil-burner which was in bad repair. Her flues 
leaked badly and so did the oil-feed valve, a dangerous combination of de-- ....... So it was not strange that,, cutting down my oil feed as the engineer 

shut off his throttle, my fire went out. In such cases the routine in re- 
lighting the fire was to remove the stopper and shut off the oil completely, 
then turn on the blower to. drive any , explosive gases out. of the firebox,; 
next throw in a bunch of lighted oily, waste, and finally turn on the fuel , r . s . 
oil; after which, ordinarily,, the fijre would light, and go on burning as y ., 

before. ... ,.. f ...,. ; .. .. _. ;-,-,, ., -. ...;-■ -••;; 

But, this time it did not work that way. I duly shut off my oil-feed and 
turned on the blower; but when I threw the burning waste into the firebox a 
deafening explosion took place. It knocked me on my back across the gangway. 
When I scrambled to my feet and took account of myself I found that my face 
and hands, were badly scorched. How I missed being blinded was a mystery to. 
me. My eyelids were seared, but my eyes were, unharmed . Evidently, quick , 
though the explosion was,, my eye-wink was , even quicker . ._,. 

The engineer and I figured out the cause of, the explosion, as I, my 
face and hands smeared with, the molasses-like cylinder oil, was being hurried 
to the nearest doctor, in a town 10 miles away. -Clearly at fault was the 
leaking oil-feed valve which, because I did not shut off the supply of fuel 
oil, had resulted in filling the firebox with gas that exploded as soon as I 
threw in the lighted oily-waste. The bad repair of the engine was to blame, 
not I. , 

But, now the famous contradiction between railroad rules and practice : . -. - 
entered into the picture. When a few days later I duly appeared before the . 
Master-Mechanic to explain matters to, him he promptly absolved the company - 
from a ; ll responsibility and blamed me for the accident. He actually had the 
crust;, ,to tell me that it happened because I was,-,- -using a stopper on my oil- 
feed valve, which thus had caused oil to flow into the firebox while the fire, 
was out and created the gas that exploded. I denied this manifestly false 
analysis, of the accident, and. I also informed him. that the metal stoppers, 
the r use of which he condemned so roundly, were made by the company itself and 
furnished to, the firemen who were practically compelled, to use them. Upon 
my saying this he became very angry and threatened to discharge me for my 
"insolence." And it ^ was only by the vigorous intervention of the union griev- 
ance man that I saved my job and forced the company to pay me for the time I 
was laid up by the accident. , I f . >-- : 




Reactionaries in f , the trade union movement have learned during their long 
years of leadership many tricks of control that help mightily in maintaining 
them in power. They know fore and aft the trick clauses of their union con- 
stitutions; th^yjare, skilled in parliamentary maneuvering, and s they have, much 
thumbThand knowledge of mass, psycho logy,. In their union natjpna.1 conventions, 
esnei^allv, !fh| V 3 ^ke use of all these stratagems to great^ef f eet ^3 xthey :, ejar- ■-■ 
ploy ; the dpdge,of,the previous question to stifle discussion; they, .dilly-dally 
with the convention's business .until the last day and then rush through a lot 
of important .matters post-haste virtually without discussion; they speed 
adoption of .vital n matters in the . opening minutes of the session before the, ; . , 
delegates .have arrived; they, win weaker delegates, by flattery, lavish enterr 
tainment andj high per-^diem rates, .etc. , etc., -not to speak of more, shady 
practices.,, \% . \\ ,..<■>,- i\ : 

Revolutionary and progressive trade unionists, with their eyes focussed 
solely on the merits of their proposals, have usually scorned to learn these 
devices, even to the extent of being able to guard themselves against trick- 
ery. Consequently, on numerous occasions they have lost good causes simply 
through being outmaneuvered by the reactionaries, although the majority was 
favorable to them. 

;, Once^n my trade union experience I, myself, used what my -opponents cal- , 
ljed T j%3it' J qf sharp practice, but which I considered just a piece qf, f gQod 
pa^r^iament^ry strategy.. In any event I,, always figured that, in this .-Instance 
the end^fUjlly justified the means! .„. ,. ... i iSfc . ii: .- 

it was Jat the outset of the big 1918-20 steel campaign. I had intro- , :.-■:.. 
duced, shortly before, a resolution in the Chicago Federation of Labor ST , which 
had been adopted, calling upon the A.F. of L. to launch a great organizing 
drive in steel,. It was essential that ,1 should q go, to , the approaching A.F. of L. 
convention as the delegate of ....the,. Chicago. Federation ^of Labor in order to ;..,.,, 
fight for the steel resolution. But this was easier , -said, than done. Al- : , 
though, Fitzpatrick and Nockels were elected President and Secretary -pf the , 
Chicago Federations of Labor year after year in routine fashion, the- > job of . 
A.F. of L. delegate, which was generally looked upon as a fine two weeks' : n.; 
vacation, was always hotly contested. 

On the occasion , in quqstipn there were several prospective, candidates,! 
all powerful., ..local trade , union leaders. I was secretary .pf r the Stockyards 
Labor Council (55, Q 00 members) and had a great, deal, of prestige for, .having 
led the national packinghouse drive that had .-recently organized 200^000 work- 
ers ; but 1 was not sure that I could win the delegates in the face^pf such a ,.,; 
strong". field. So .1 decided on securing it by strategem. %£>$?' 

My strategy was that I would keep my candidacy a secret and then spring ^ 
it suddenly at the election meeting. By this means I might make the. steel !V ;-. 


campaign the main issue of the delegateship and thus prevent the nomination 
of some or all of my opponents. The key to the plan was to get my name in 
nomination first; so that when the question of steel was raised .the other 
contenders, who had nothing to offer on this matter, would be afraid to ac- 
cept nomination. I felt sure, however, that if I were not nominated first, 
the others who might be named ahead of me would not resign. So I organized 
matters according to this theory. 

In those days the Chicago Federation of Labor was the most progressive 
central labor union in the country, and my nominator's speech went over big 
with the delegates. They applauded long and loudly and several demanded that., 
nominations be closed. But. Fitzpatrick called for further nominations, and V,;' 
nobody responded. Evidently the bureaucrats, with the two weeks' vacation ,T 
idea of the delegate's job, did not care to take the very serious chances of 
defeat. Instead, one of these prospective candidates arose and proposed that \ 
my nomination be made unanimous, which was done. And so I went to the St; Paul 
A.F. of L. convention in June, 1918, and there the historic steel drive, pre- 
cursor of the C.I.O. 1937 drive, was launched. Old-timers in the Chicago Fed- 
eration of Labor told me later that I was the first delegate in their memory 
•»' ever to be elected unanimously as delegate from that body to the A.F. of L. 


Workingclass organization may suffer from two basic defects: it may be 
so highly centralized that the whole control of the movement is concentrated 
at the top and the rank and file have little or no say in the running of things: 
or, in the other extreme, it may be so decentralized that the organization is 
rendered powerless by an excess of "democracy". It has remained for Commu- 
nists to develop an organizational system, democratic centralism (its great 
theoretician was Lenin) , that at once combines a strong centralization with a 
broad democratic control. "' 

In the generally highly organized life of the United States we are accus- 
tomed to seeing examples of the first defect of mass organizations --over- 
centralization— as for instance in trade unions where the officials rule as 
uncontrolled autocrats. But we' have also had one striking example, the syndi- 
calistic Industrial Workers of the World, of the anarchistic ultra-decentrali- 
zation tendency. 

The I.W.W., because of special conditions needless to detail here, made 
a fetish of 'decentralization. It habitually denied its officials sufficient 
power, funds and tenure of office to develop the organization's potential - 
strength. For example, the absurd spectacle was to be seen of delegates at 
the interminable national I. W.W. conventions discussing in. full session such 
minor routine administration matters as whether or not the price of an out- J 
dated pamphlet should be reduced and if so, how much. Let a simple incident, 
taken from the life of the I. W.W. of Spokane, Washington, of which I was a 
member, serve to illustrate the paralyzing effects of the naive and infantile 
decentralization tendency. 


One day in the local I.W.W. office, I remarked to the secretary, 
C.L. Tlligno: 

§fi ;•) v"Why do you keep your books all scattered about? Why not get a piece 
a 'oSS&aifcer and build yourself a shelf for them?" - s '^ '' in 

;-v ."Fine," said he, "but I have to' secure authorization from the city com- 
mittee to do it- I'll take it up at the coming meeting." '"'-'" 

Which he did. This meant a 10 days' delay, as it was that long before 
:; the committee next met. Now the committee was composed of eight delegates, ' 
twos apiece from the four Spokane locals. When the "shelf matter was placed 
before this body, the delegates v in all good decentralization, must needs 
refer it for decision totbeir^ -respective local unions and it was so ordered. 

Two weeks later the city committee met again, but' the shelf" issue could 
not be settled. It seems that two of the locals had failed to vote on the 
matter, so it all had to be held in abeyance for the meeting two weeks hence. 
When^that meeting also finally rolled around something else intervened to' 
.prevent action. And thus two months passed away. 

One morning, however, when I came into the office, there was the shelf 
all in order, a three foot piece of white pine with a couple of ten cent iron 
brackets holding it up, and the books all strung along it as books are wont 
to string. "Good", said I to Tlligno, "so at last you got action out of the 
city committee?" '.ki >■ j >v>i^L- ,9m;; 'sa ■) 

o: "Oh, no," he replied, "at' 'the last meeting two of the locals came in with 
a new proposal that we; get a second-hand bookcase, and that tied everything 
up again. So next day I put up the shelf myself." 


When I first arrived in Moscow 16 years ago [1921] it was on & Saturday 
night. 'The next morning I was awakened early by the ringing bf 'Moscow's 
famous bells. I never had heard anything like it. Moscow had "40' times -3}0" 
churches; each was equipped with a big chime of bells, 1 and' !•& seemed %s° thbugh 
they were all clanging at once, thousands of them. They were of all sizes and 
tones; the small ones were beating a rapid clatter, while the great ones 
boomed along in solemn measured tempo. The whole city throbbed with the tre- 
mendous ringing, which lasted for several hours. 

This was nearly four years after the revolution and evidently religion 
was still strong in Moscow. And indeed, it did not require the Sunday bells 
to show this. Nearly all the churches were in operation, and well patronized. 
A hundred times a day one could see people crossing themselves and bowing in 
the streets before some favorite ikon in the elaborate Russian manner. Be- 
whiskered, long-robed Orthodox priests could be seen on every block. And 
daily one encountered great religious processions; that is, masses of people 
carrying bej eweled ikons and marching along f ormlessly , singing as they went . 



But such religious scenes in the Russian capital are now gone, never to 
return. No more do Moscow's hells break the still morning air with their 
thousand-tongued clamor. No longer do the primitive mass religious proces- 
sions march the streets, and not for several years have I seen anyone bowing 
and praying before a public ikon. Seldom does one now see a priest on Moscow's 
streets. Though a few of the churches remain open, they are patronized chief- 
ly with but a sprinkling of old folks. Many of the other churches have been 
converted to other purposes . * gj 

This is revolutionary Moscow and the picture is about the same in every 
other Russian city. .In, the villages the anti-religion tendency is also evident, 
but the tempo of religion's decline is slower. This is because the peasants.: 
were much more deeply saturated, with religious superstition than the city- .-.'' 
dwellers and, besides, it is only in the last few years, under the collective 
farm movement, that they have been drawn deeply into the broad current of 
Socialist reconstruction. 

During the 16-year period of which I speak the priests and worshippers 
grew fewer and fewer. The religious -processions shrank in size, became more 
confined to older people, occurred more rarely and finally died out altogether. 
I can imagine that an old-time ikon procession would create a sensation in the 
present-day "Besboshnik" Moscow. ; or ,-> c 

ir, The right, jto religious belief and worship has always been recognized in: •' 
the; Soviet Union, and it is specifically guaranteed in the new [1936] U.S.S.R+. 
Constitution. There has never been any compulsion used against the Orthodox 
church, although the latter, in the Czarist days, was the willing ally of the 
exploiting classes; and had blessed every torture and exploitation visited upon 
the Russian people through the centuries by their Czarist oppressors. 

Religion has no basis in an enlightened Socialist society. Free workers 
face the real facts of material existence calmly and need no fairy tale of a 
heaven hereafter to sustain them. h 

The gigantic task of mass enlightenment goes on on many fronts — a 
tremendous spread of general youth education, the elimination of adult illi- 
teracy, the political education of the whole people and the wide dissemination 
of general scientific knowledge. Before this advancing wave of enlightenment;, 
religious superstition inevitably retreats, 

•rod " j? 



H When I was a kid, I worked for awhile with an old "Pennsylvania Dutch" • •■ 
boilermaker, as I planned to learn that noisy trade; One' day, ; as we were ; 
working together and he had been hammering away for hours without a stop, I 
said to himf-' "Sam, I wish I had a dollar for every time yoii have istruck a 
blow with 1 M- -hammer in the 40 years you have spent at the trade." ■' 

**) •■'' Old Sam, who was a Socialist and never failed to seize a chance to make 
propaganda, temporarily suspended his everlasting hammering' and looked at me 
quizzically. "Yes, my boy," he agreed, "that would indeed be a lot of money. 
But if 1 you are going to express such covetous wishes why not make one in the 
true spirlt'of capitalist greed. Let me give you a real capitalistic wish;;' 
I wish" , he went on, —that I had the Great Eastern '('the largest steamer of 
its time) loaded full with needles that ; were worn down to Ptheeyes sewing up 
my money bags ." ~* 3fr* "••■.-'; ;J.s :-J 

Sam's was indeed ah 'all— comprehending wish, a sort of beau ideal' of the 
capitalist grabber of everything in sight. The magnitude of Sam's -wealth, 
were his wish to come true ^staggered my youthful imagination. I tried to 
figure out how many thousands of money bags one needle could sew up before 
it would show even the slightest sign of wear, much less wear down to the eye, 
and then to estimate the incredible number of such needle eyes, each of which 
would 1 weigh practically nothing, it would take to make a 20,000 fan :cargo of 
the Greafcj Eastern . But I had to give it all up as the calculation required ; 
astronomical figures far beyond my ^conceptions. 1 figured that even a typi- 
cally greedy capitalist would be satisfied with such an amount of gold, but- 
old Sam doubted it. At any rate, I had to yield the wishing palm to the old 
boilermaker, who had long since resumed his eternal hammering. vr '"'-"• 

h*<:$I< ■ *itu SWANSON T S DREAM -- ■- S - i ": •"' "W^a 

Ole Swanson was a husky Swedish immigrant, one of those millions of 
toilers ; who poured past the Statue of Liberty into New York, their hearts 
beating 'high and their eyes shini«g with the wonder of the new world. and its 
promise; Swanson eventually- found' hifiiself in the great 'timber country of the 
Pacific Northwest fiand it W«S'"thett that I met and worked with him as a ! logger. 
n-His mind was f ;set ;«n becoming : : well-to-do; He would 'break with the poverty r : " 
that had (been his family/ s^-lot for generatidnsVi' ^He^wSuld realize in r fuli the 
promiseHof Amerida^P !Q To|thl^ ;etid;he' worked ''add- skimped' and saved; he denied'' 
himselft:trest, recreationvPedQGation and even prdpet- food and clothing; 

Swanson 's dream of prosperity began to Veome true. He finally got together 
a few hundred dollars and, some twenty years ago, he went into the cutoff 
timberiandsnet far "from Astoria, Oregon, and bought cheaply about twenty acres 
of logged^off land. Here he would carve himself' a comfortable home out of the 


stump land. It was a very difficult prospect as the land would 'cost at least 
$200 per acre to clear and living conditions were hard. But, nothing daunted, 
Swanson plunged into his task. : 

The next years were full of heavy labor for Ole. Gradually, however, he 
cleared his place. In the neighboring camps, saw mills, and fishing fleets, 
he occasionally -earned a few dollars to help him get by. r Slowly he built a 
home. fhen> like inany others in the neighborhood, he branched into, the .chick- 
en business. Now he really began to prosper. Times were ; good, prices for , 
eggs were high and the other factors were favorable. Soon the number, of his 
hens ran into the thousands. Money flowed to Ole in a goodly stream,,. And. as 
Ole prospered he cast off his allegiance to the Socialism which he had learned 
as a worker in Sweden; for manifestly such radicalism was not needed in this 
great land of opportunity. \V,.'.l' pi • ., . . I; ,;, ; ,. ;i 

Meanwhile, with his own hands and the labor of his wife and growing boys, 
Swanson kept on improving his chicken ranch. He bought 40 acres mo fee land, 
several cows and his flock of chickens prospered. He built a beautiful, bun- 
galow, eventually equipping it with electricity and sanitary plumbing,-- doing 
it all with the hands of himself and family as he was an excellent jack-of- .,,. 
m all-trades. In front of his home, with infinite labor, he constructed a large 

and beautiful lawn with gorgeous flower beds, a spouting fountain, and a 
swell-stocked fishpond. His chicken houses, barn and other farm buildings, , 
always freshly painted^ were the last word in neatness, cleanliness and effi-^ 
r ciency; his little orchard, and garden were gems of their kind. His big new-, 

automobile shone slick and, bright. ,,.. ■, ,' f; .,. ;"," ',*," ,. t ~-y,, ...... fi - : ., ;; ■ . rr ... 

Altogether, Swanson 's place was beautiful !sn Jit stood out in the midst 
of the many slatternly nearby ranches of the> impoverished stump farmers. 
Automobile parties going along the road and suddenly coming upon it in the 
unlovely logged off country would stop to admire the place, the product of 
this efficient and tireless toiler. It seemed that Swanson's dream had indeed 
come true. He had wrested from the dense wilderness a home that gladdened, 
the heart of himself, his wife and his growing boys. He had money in the bank; 
he would send his children to college to get such an education as he had 
never had. And in creating all this prosperity, Swanson had displayed quali- 
ties of diligence, energy and intelligence which would have carried him very 
far if applied in a more fruitful field of operation. 

Then came the great crisis of 1929. Its effects upon western chicken rcJ 
ranching, as upon agriculture generally , r were devastating. The prices of . ;T , r i 
eggs and chickens collapsed, but chicken, feed, taxes. and other expenses re.-,-, 
mained near their old levels, and sc>me even increased. Swanson,, like, other 
chicken raisers , soon learned that his hens had suddenly been transformed from 
a gold-giving asset into a heavy liability. Gradually they "ate their heads, 
off." Ole hung on desperately, hoping that times would get better. He spent 
his bank account, he mortgaged his places but prosperity did not return. .Be 
had to get rid of all but a few of his hens, and at panic prices; he also sold 
his cows one by one, and his shiny auto, .... : ..^ a , ._ r , » r fr . 

What, then, to do for a Hying, with his once so reliable hens gone?,. i,,rr 
Taxes and other debts continued tp f . .pile tip. With the camps , mills, r and : other , 

industries of the vicinity practically closed down, even an occasional day's 
work was almost impossible to get. Nor could his boys find work, and they 
all hung around the place more or less demoralized. To sell the produce of 
his garden was also impossible; indeed, it 'Could hardly' be given away. He 
even tried in vain for county relief. Whichever way he turned, he was up 
against an economic stone wall. 

Swanson, like millions of other small farmers, was economically ruined. 
His enticing dream of creating a lovely home and comfortable livelihood for 
himself and his family was hopelessly shattered. It had turned into the : night- 
mare that faces so many small farmers : that one day they will be compelled 
to rwalk- : "6f f "their places and^join = the : -unemployed in the- city. . He was 1 one of 
the many millions of workers, small farmers and small middle class elements 
who had their living standards slashed, their savings dissipated, their°hopes 
ruined in the great economic holocaust. 

I learned his story from Ole in the fall of 1932. Remembering me from 
our old days as workers together, he showed up at the Portland meeting -where 
I was speaking as Presidential candidate of the Communist Party. He told me 
all his troubles. He felt that he had practically wastedhis life in Strug- 
gling to build the place that had so ruthlessly been taken away from him. 
But he took consolation in the fact thatif^e had lost his property he had - 
likewise gotten rid of his capitalist illusions at the same time. He had 
learned that: the Socialism he had absorbed in the old country was valid not 
only for Sweden but also for the United States. Ole's petty bourgeois dream 
of capitalist prosperity was gone, even as in the case of many millions of 
other cheated and robbed producers, never to return. He and eventually they, 
in their search for prosperity, will turn their eyes in a new direction, to- 
wards Socialism, and their new hope will not fail them. 

:w rtfaa 

V'r</ T 001 v i ^.fi/OA ) * V <* 

\:i nx 


I'XX ilffiL 


(ST^giixta a^°- 

j; o '■ '- ' 

■ *v ; n "tens'; a ~ssT\s 
O .'-••: -d bsuxok-t: 







1. William Z. Foster, Pages from a "Worker's Life (International Publishers, 
1939), pp. 282-283. 

2. Ibid ., p. 284. 
3sn Ibid. 

h tf, 

m 1 
:) an 
j Xb.o 

4v Ibid., pp. 194-195. -s 
5.' 'The : five items not included: in Pages from a Worker's Life but subsequently 
■'^published in World Magazine (weekly supplement to Daily World and People's 
World ) are as follows, with dates of appearance in Daily World : 
Unemployment (9-28-74) : rtt- 

' Jeff Joins the Party (10-12-74) 
The Butte Miner's Split (12-14-74) 
Ultra-leftism and Right Opportunism (3-8-75) 
Prisoners (5-3-75) 


6. Thomas J. (Tom) Mooney was convicted on perjured testimony of being 

implicated in a San Francisco bombing outrage in 1916. His death sentence 
was commuted to life imprisonment and, after a generation-long struggle, 
he was released in 1939, having been pardoned by Gov. Culbert L. Olsen of 
California. Mooney died in 1941. 


7. Lucy Parsons was still alive when this was written (and Tom Mooney still 
in prison) i Mrs. Parsons joined the Communist Party in 1939. She was 
89 years old when she died in a fire which destroyed her home in 1942. 

8. Mrsw fanrt£e : 'Sell ins, ail organizer for the United Mine Workers of America, 
assisted in the organization of steel workers during tne h Great Steel 
Strike of 1^19. r °She was killed by company gunmen at West Natrona, Pa. , 
onAiignsi 26, %U. mhU p ' ys> " : " Vl " ; t3eH " f: " "'' 

9. "Mother" Ella Reeve Bloor remained active until her death in 1951 at 
' age 8$' .-■"i'---* ■-- ; E-iaaxia s* st ufs nxv ■>:; 

10. Tom Mann, born 1856, died in 1941, aged '85. Before becoming a Communist 
he had been, like Tester, a syndicalist ." r 

11. George Dimitrbv (1882-1949) was General Secretary of the Comintern' 

(the Third, or Communist, International) from 1934 until it was dissolved 
"in 1943, during-- and because of — the Second World War. The Leipzig 
trial was in 1933. 

12. Ernst Thaelmanh, the General Secretary of the German Communist Party, 
i; was imprisoned by the Nazis' in 1933. He was murdered by the Nazis in 1944. 

13. Matthew Woll (1880 - 195o) ih 

14. The National Civic Federation was an employer dominated organization in 
which 'the AFL participated in a fraudulent quest for labor-management 
"harmony." It lasted from 1900 to the mid-thirties. 

15. J. B. McNamara and J. J. McNamara were convicted of participating in the 

, ' "if 

bombing of the 1 LPs Angeles times building' in 19 11 . J. B. died in prison 
after serving' 29° years ':' Hfehad joined the' Communist Party several years 
before his death. William J. Burns headed a notorious private detective 


16., The political police. . u ,.-,; 'wei^-i 

17. Newton Diehl Baker (1871-1937) was appointed by President Wilson in 1916. 

18. Seennote 14* • ■■: ! - ! -, g r_, =h.-' g'-'sf 
19 . , .Eleutherios Venizelos , former Greek premier , opposing tie monarchy , had 

joined in an; armed uprising in 1935**8 ':■?.- as? ?ff1 ' r ' t - 

20. A h ard-f ought istrike against the Loray mill of the Manville-Jenckes Co. 
was conducted by the National. Textile Workers Union at ^Gastoniav^N^Cvv 
starting r on ;Ap^ilj2 s 1929. -j R:4;;ipPS ■■-^ci-J -v-bo- ;P- r ?*' 

21. Spokane: The struggle to win the use of the streets for meetings by the 
j, Indus trial qWorkers; of the World- lasted Afrom November 1909 to June 1910. 

More than 1200 persons were arrested^ Foster and Elizabeth Gurley Flynh 
among them. (Flynn, married =at [that time- to IWW organizer Jack A. Jones , - 
.was 19 years old and pregnant.); ^.-rr^ .,- - .^ •■■-«r- 

22. William Thomas Mills , The Straggle for Existence (Berkeley: International 
School of Social Economy, 1904). . 

23. William IX. (Big Bill} Haywood (1869^-1928)= was a leader of the Western 
_ ; x .,>. o Federation of Miners , a founder and outs tanding leader of the Indus trial 

. Workers of the World and, from 1920 until his death, a member of the 
CommuniS;t ; Party^ s:i ;-fi;H'':;. yj*v<}I(^- r - ■'- $£% •■ ''■■'•'■■ ?-;\ : . :,i: 

24. The ^trrial .ended on April 5*; lj923 when the jury disagreed. 'The' Case was 
dismissed some ten years latere -j>j .) ■'; r 

25. .Popular name : for rthe Model T Fordv :■■■■ — "~.-Tsy~.M .1 •■- 

26. ..... Sailing in square-rigged vessels^ between l?0sfe and 1904 Foster covered 

50 ,000 miles and qualif iedvas an able seamanai Seealso "Table Mountain" 
,,-inj Chapter : IIj. ,. s^ctao-on ■; i>ehi-*'1 znfd- -p or-; ;Tt ? -pl&eb %hi ' 

27. John Fitzpatrick was chairman of the National Committee for Organizing: Iron 
and Steel Workers besides being president of the Chicago Federation of Labor. 




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