On June 27th of each year, we celebrate Industrial Workers of the World Day.
The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life. — Industrial Workers of the World
With the modernization of industry, a move from manufacturing to consumerism, and a general shift in global market operations, industrial processes and businesses are much less common than they used to be. As such, it’s easy to overlook just how big a part industry still plays, and how many people are employed by industrial organizations working in industrial roles.
Industrial Workers Of The World Day draws attention to these workers, and to their importance in producing the goods that we consume and rely on, as well as the organization that represents them, the I.W.W., or as they’re known colloquially “The Wobblies.”
Tensions in the industrial world were high when the Wobblies first came into existence. They were founded as an international labor union in 1905 Chicago. During the following decades, they achieved many of their goals, working to cut across guild and union lines to get workers organized to defend their rights and fight for fair treatment.
The fight wasn’t always peaceful, in fact in 1919 on the day of the Armistice Day parade a gunfight broke out between the Wobblies and the American Legion, resulting in the death of the town deputy and the arrest of multiple members of the IWW. Most notably Wesley Everest, who was lynched by a mob that night from a local overpass. Such was the price that was paid to ensure that International Workers get treated fairly.