‘The Militant Harvest Workers’ From The International Socialist Review. Vol. 17 No. 4. October, 1916.
HUNDREDS of swarthy faced, hard muscled harvest workers are now turning their backs upon a hard summer’s work and are bound for the lumber camps and mills in the. north- west, where they will be heard from during the coming winter.
The Agricultural Workers Organization, better known among the farmers as Local 400 I.W.W., is closing its second year’s work 20,000 strong. The members are going to carry their organization with them into the lumber camps and on construction work. Thus insuring not only the continued growth of the organization, but new unions in other industries.
In spite of the fact that crops were small in North and South Dakota, the boys were able to enforce job control on half of the machines, making $3.50 per day for ten hours’ work.
In Montana the harvest is now on in full blast and the farmers insist upon paying their help by the hour, as well as docking the boys every time they take a drink of water.
The officers of the law have been particularly busy in their efforts to break up the organization. Hundreds of members have been arrested at one time or another during the season, on all sorts of flimsy pretexts. At the present time Charles Bonner is being held at Valley City, N.D. When a lawyer for the Organization wrote to the State’s Attorney, he was advised that there was no state charge against Bonner, and referred to the magistrate, who is holding Bonner under $1,000 bail, which shows how the majesty of the law is tangled up in its own machinations. Of course, the big idea on the part of the Commercial Clubs, Citizens’ Alliances and others of like ilk, is to try and break the organization by piling up as much legal expense as possible. All sorts. of false reports are spread thru the little country papers, the following is a fair sample:
“I.W.W. SEIZE TRAIN AS SPECIAL Refuse to Let Nonmembers Ride.
“Great Falls, Mont., Sept. 13. Twenty-five professed members of the Industrial Workers of the World, a portion of a crowd of more than 100 that boarded a Great Northern freight train yesterday at Havre, were arrested on the train’s arrival here last night at the request of Great Northern Railroad officials. The arrests were made by Sheriff Kommers and his deputies, aided by the entire police force of Great Falls. According to Conductor Marcott, the men insisted on running the train as an “I.W.W. special” and refused to let anyone ride who was not a member of the organization.
“At Fort Benton the sheriff was appealed to, but made no arrests because the capacity of the county jail was too small.”
The Annual Convention will be held in Chicago, beginning November 20th, when plans will be made for the coming year.’
The International Socialist Review (ISR) was published monthly in Chicago from 1900 until 1918 by Charles H. Kerr and critically loyal to the Socialist Party of America. It is one of the essential publications in U.S. left history. During the editorship of A.M. Simons it was largely theoretical and moderate. In 1908, Charles H. Kerr took over as editor with strong influence from Mary E Marcy. The magazine became the foremost proponent of the SP’s left wing growing to tens of thousands of subscribers. It remained revolutionary in outlook and anti-militarist during World War One. It liberally used photographs and images, with news, theory, arts and organizing in its pages. It articles, reports and essays are an invaluable record of the U.S. class struggle and the development of Marxism in the decades before the Soviet experience. It was closed down in government repression in 1918.
PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/isr/v17n04-oct-1916-ISR-riaz-ocr.pdf