What is the IWW?

The I. W. W. is the Industrial Workers of the World (sometimes called “the Wobblies”), a democratic, rank-and-file labor organization dedicated to building workers’ power on the job.

The I. W. W. is run by its members, not by hired staff and union bosses. It has only one full-time paid officer, the General Secretary-Treasurer. All general officers are elected each year by the whole membership. There are no “career officers” in the I. W. W. Local Branches elect their own officers and have complete control over local affairs, as long as they abide by the I. W. W. Constitution. Nobody else can tell workers on a job to go on strike, to end a strike, or to take any other job action.

Organizing is the process by which a group of people take power over some aspect of their lives–on the job or in their communities. The I.W.W. concentrates on organizing our fellow workers in the workplace–where we, as workers, have the industrial power to enforce our demands.

Often, organizing is viewed as leaders’ selling an external agency to workers to ‘represent’ them. A vast body of law and huge bureaucracies exist to reinforce such notions. But this is not what our organization is about. The IWW aims to enable groups of working people to build a union and use it to express their needs and desires and to accomplish the changes they want to make in their economic lives.