‘Experiences of a Hobo Miner’ by Frank Little from the Industrial Union Bulletin (Chicago). Vol. 2 No. 28. December 12, 1908.
The experience of a wage slave, seeking a master during the panic of 1907-8:
On December 5, 1907, Fellow Worker Chris Hansen and myself left Prescott, Arizona, for a trip across the desert to see if we could find some kind-hearted parasite who would clasp the chains of wage-slavery upon us and allow us, along with other workers, to produce wealth that would allow a few parasites to live in luxury and idleness, giving us in return for our labor enough bacon and beans to keep us alive. We had heard that the American workers were free and had the right to work when, where and for whom they pleased. But we soon found that this was false.
The first place we went to was Octave, a mining camp south of Prescott, thinking we could get a job there. But one of the first men we met was an overdressed, well-fed parasite, who was in Clifton, Arizona, at the time I was trying to organize the slaves of that place.
We next went to Congress, the worst scab hole in Arizona. The looks of that place were enough to drive a man “nutty.” From there we went to Wickenburg, but this place was full of jobless slaves. We started across the desert towards the Colorado River, stopping at all the mining camps, but could not find a master at any of them.
We crossed the Colorado on the first of February into California, the state of little matches and big scabs. When we struck the main line of the A.T. & S.F. we found the road lined with idle men-or what the parasites call hoboes. On Feb. 28, I attended the meeting of Mojave Miners’ Union, W.F.M. At one time they had a good local-one that a worker could feel proud to belong to. But what a change had taken place. All the radical men were gone, and the local was run in the interest of the company. I was informed that they would not allow a Socialist in camp. And when I got the floor to speak and started to talk on Industrial Unionism, one of the good company tools made a motion that I be barred from the floor. The motion carried, but after the meeting was adjourned I took the floor and showed up the company tools.
We then crossed the hills and went to the fruit country. But we found conditions there in a horrible state. Men with families could not make enough to live on. We arrived at Graniteville in the Sierra Mountains, April 8. I got a job in the mines, worked ten days, got fired and put on the blacklist for being an agitator, and forced to walk out of camp.
I then went to the lumber camps, but there was no work. Have been in Reno, Nevada for some time, but the town is full of idle men and no work. Have tried to organize a local of the I.W.W., but the workers are so full of political dope and are so afraid they may lose their jobs that it is impossible to organize at this time. But we will get a good local here in time.
The I.W.W. offers us the only solution for the present condition, and the only method of overthrowing the present system. So keep at it, you hobo agitators.
F.H. Little, A Hobo Miner.
The Industrial Union Bulletin, and the Industrial Worker were newspapers published by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) from 1907 until 1913. First printed in Joliet, Illinois, IUB incorporated The Voice of Labor, the newspaper of the American Labor Union which had joined the IWW, and another IWW affiliate, International Metal Worker.The Trautmann-DeLeon faction issued its weekly from March 1907. Soon after, De Leon would be expelled and Trautmann would continue IUB until March 1909. It was edited by A. S. Edwards. 1909, production moved to Spokane, Washington and became The Industrial Worker, “the voice of revolutionary industrial unionism.”
PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/industrialworker/iub/v2n28-dec-12-1908-iub.pdf