Greater Manchester  

A Brief Introduction to the Industrial Workers of the World


THE IWW IS A UNION UNLIKE ANY OTHER. It is a grassroots, democratic and militant union that seeks to organise ALL workers in ALL industries in ALL countries into 'One Big Union'.

Unlike many of the TUC unions, the IWW has no stifling bureaucracy with fat cat salaries that'll do a deal with the boss behind the membership's back and stitch them up.

The IWW wishes to unite workers along industrial lines in order that they will not be kept divided and competing with each other in their different trades.

THE IWW CANNOT SELL YOU OUT because its leadership is its rank and file - its members make the decisions and have the final say.

The IWW won't try to flog you life assurance or credit cards, but will offer expert advice on labour law and practical help when you experience any work related hassle whether 'large' or 'small’.

We believe in helping workers to help themselves through collective organisation, not in selling services or forming partnerships with employers.

In short the IWW will offer SOLIDARITY, DIRECT ACTION and the WILL TO WIN - things the TUC (to put it mildly) seem to lack!

THROUGHOUT OUR HISTORY we have promoted international solidarity in place of international strife, and through us thousands of workers have won better wages, hours and working conditions. However, we are more than just a 'bread and butter' union as we seek to improve the quality of life in all its aspects.

THE IWW IS WHOLLY INDEPENDENT and is not controlled by or affiliated to any political party or movement.

SUCCESSES! In recent years a growing interest in our 'DIY' brand of international unionism together with our increasing successes in the workplace have led to our ideas being taken seriously once more.

WE CAN PROVIDE advice on legal matters, health and safety, bargaining and negotiating, novel tactics to beat the boss or whatever assistance you may need. If you need to take action against your boss we will try to give you whatever support you ask for. Obviously the more of us there are, the more we can do.

LOW DUES! Dues are paid according to a sliding scale, with low paid or unemployed members paying only £1 a month.

REAL DEMOCRACY! All union-wide decisions are taken by referendum, while IWW workplaces and branches make their own decisions about bargaining and strategy. This keeps bureaucracy to the very minimum within our union and as a result membership is relatively cheap.

AGITATE, EDUCATE AND ORGANISE! If you would like to organise either where you work or in your neighbourhood then our organising manual will come in handy. We also produce a range of material including leaflets, stickers and posters, and these can be tailored to suit individual campaigns.

WE PUBLISH our own magazine called Bread & Roses. Reviews have described this as "Interesting… refreshing… European in flavour… it dares to ask questions that the Left would not even dream of asking." (Direct Action Magazine) and as being "Well printed and so easily accessible… all easy reading and so should be useful for approaching workers... to be welcomed." (Heresy Magazine).

A subscription for three issues, costs as follows: UK £4; EC countries £5; rest of the world £6.

JOIN US! All workers (including the unemployed, pensioners, housewives and students) are welcome to join the IWW, irrespective of colour, age, sex, sexual orientation, religion or nationality. Only employers are not allowed to join.

Preamble to the IWW Constitution

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 the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.

Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth.

We find that the centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands makes the trade unions unable to cope with the ever growing power of the employing class. The trade unions foster a state of affairs which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trade unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers.

These conditions can be changed and the interest of the working class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry, or in all industries if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all.

Instead of the conservative motto, "A fair day's wage for a fair day's work," we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, "Abolition of the wage system."

It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only for everyday struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.




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