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What are the forces that prevent you from doing so?
September 3, 2012 12:47 PM   Subscribe

Is there a man (or woman) among us with pluck enough to wear Big Bill Haywood's workingman's pants?
That is what I want to urge upon the working class; to become so organized on the economic field that they can take and hold the industries in which they are employed. Can you conceive of such a thing? Is it possible? What are the forces that prevent you from doing so? You have all the industries in your own hands at the present time. There is this justification for political action, and that is, to control the forces of the capitalists that they use against us; to be in a position to control the power of government so as to make the work of the army ineffective, so as to abolish totally the secret service and the force of detectives. That is the reason that you want the power of government. That is the reason that you should fully understand the power of the ballot. Now, there isn't any one, Socialist, S. L. P., Industrial Worker or any other workingman or woman, no matter what society you belong to, but what believes in the ballot. There are those--and I am one of them--who refuse to have the ballot interpreted for them. I know, or think I know, the power of it, and I know that the industrial organization, as I stated in the beginning, is its broadest interpretation. I know, too, that when the workers are brought together in a great organization they are not going to cease to vote. That is when the workers will begin to vote, to vote for directors to operate the industries in which they are all employed.
posted by notyou (23 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
With a name and a pedigree like that, these had damned well better be made in the States.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:09 PM on September 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I will wear the pants.
posted by bpm140 at 1:18 PM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


What are the forces that prevent you from doing so?

Perhaps the lack of pricing and/or a method of purchasing them on the website.
posted by cmdnc0 at 1:27 PM on September 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


Pxe2000: Hm? I don't think so. With a name and a pedigree like that, it better be made by *organized labor*, I doubt he'd care much where they were from. I mean, "world" is right there in the IWW name.
posted by absalom at 1:34 PM on September 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


Perhaps the lack of pricing and/or a method of purchasing them on the website.

Part of our success stems from strict policies protecting our customers by not selling directly to end consumers. We only sell to approved distributors, retail stores, and Industrial laundries within our uniform industry.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:38 PM on September 3, 2012


absalom: There aren't many union shops in China, Jordan, Pakistan, or Turkey, the countries most commonly associated with organized labor.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:48 PM on September 3, 2012


Perhaps the lack of pricing and/or a method of purchasing them on the website.

IANAL but I'll guess these are called Uniform Trade Secrets?
posted by hal9k at 1:50 PM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I barely have the pluck to drive Big Bill Hell's cars.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 2:41 PM on September 3, 2012


I don't get what's going on here at all.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:48 PM on September 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ideally worn with a Che Guevara T-shirt.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:08 PM on September 3, 2012


If you think China, Jordan, Pakistan, or Turkey has "organized labor," then you grossly misunderstand the term.
posted by absalom at 3:10 PM on September 3, 2012


Why, I'm wearing pants right now.
posted by box at 3:46 PM on September 3, 2012


I'd like to see Mitt and Paul in these pants.
posted by thinkpiece at 5:25 PM on September 3, 2012


oddly and ironically it what the IWW stood for: world wide industrial workers and farmers that is what is needed to offset global crony capitalism. If China (say) gets to make stuff because labor cheap, hen US workers do not matter etc In short: IWW saw that internationally workers had common cause; instead, they are pitted against each other for for cheaper salaries and they lose out. Unions of little importance in the US, where companies simply outsource and move overseas
if labor gets pushy
posted by Postroad at 5:31 PM on September 3, 2012


aeschenkarnos: Ideally worn with a Che Guevara T-shirt.

Big Bill Haywood was a rank and file miner would got involved in the Western Federation of Miners. Over time he lead some succesful strikes and founded one of the most democratic U.S. unions, the IWW, which made huge contributions to the labor movement despite its small size. He was a vocal critic of unions which weren't controlled by the rank and file, and governments which weren't responsive to the people. As OP's quote shows, his goal was industrial democracy, anti-capitalism from below. He wanted to "build a new society in the shell of the old", through "education, organization, and emancipation", as the Wobbly saying goes.

Che Guevara was a self-described Marxist-Leninist revolutionary who believed that a vanguard of radicals needed to seize the state apparatus and begin a campaign of propaganda to affect a revolutionary change of consciousness among the common people. He supported putting to death ideological enemies, sometimes personally. He thought Stalin was a swell guy.

Equating them is no more fair than equating Ron Paul and Hilary Clinton as liberal capitalists.
posted by phrontist at 5:51 PM on September 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


"global crony capitalism"

Lets just call it "existing capitalism" for now.
posted by phrontist at 5:52 PM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I take off my pants, does that make me a scab?
posted by homunculus at 7:15 PM on September 3, 2012


Dammit. I'm not sure why I said "organized labor" when I meant "garment labor".

If anyone needs me, I'll be over here.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:41 PM on September 3, 2012


Ah, I knew I recognized that name. You can still talk to some of the old folks in Boise and hear them get kind of riled one way or another about what they were told concerning the Steunenberg murder. Some folks say he was a total asshole, some think he was a saint caught in a bad situation with the Bunker Hill Mining Company. BHM had a lot of power in the state. One fella at the Historical Museum open house told me Haywood had a reputation as "a real hard man". It's fun to sit and listen to the old folks ramble. I occasionally read this fellow's blog, and he is Steunenberg's great grandson.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:05 PM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


And here's John Dos Passos's biography of Big Bill in The 42nd Parallel:

Big Bill Haywood was born in sixty nine in a boardinghouse in Salt Lake City.
posted by Catchfire at 9:18 PM on September 3, 2012


I'm sure these are fine pants, but what do they have to do with Bill Haywood? Big Bill is a brand, made by Codet-Newport Corp., a privately held company registered in Quebec and Vermont. They do make clothes for industrial workers, but the founder (Charles Audet) doesn't have a connection with Haywood, does he? (Excepting, of course, that this privately held company owns the name "BIG BILL®" now, as a registered trademark for their line of clothing.)
posted by Houstonian at 11:43 PM on September 3, 2012


Regardless of the differences in Haywood and Guevara's ideologies, it is ironic that they seem to have both had their images coopted by a marketing industry that they would likely have despised.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 12:01 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


So is the clothing company actually, definitely named after Haywood?

I looked for an 'About Us' or 'History'-type page on their site, but didn't see anything. (I did not look very hard.)
posted by box at 4:47 AM on September 4, 2012


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