Statement of the I.W.W. of their opposition to the war, expelling members that have already joined the army, and pledging support to members that refuse to enlist. It was part of the deposition of John W. Hughes for the Michael Simmons vs. the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad Company.
UA Special Collections AZ 114 Box 1, folder 2, exhibit 53.
Statement of the General Executive Board of the I.W.W. on War.
The General Executive Board of the I.W.W. in session assembled, reaffirm with unfaltering determination the un-alterable opposition of the Industrial Workers of the World and its membership to all wars, and the participation therein of the membership of the Industrial Workers of the World.
We wish to draw to the attention of the membership of the I.W.W. the fact, that any member of the Industrial Workers of the World who becomes a member of the military or naval forces of this, or any other country where we organized, cannot retain his membership in this organization.
Members of the I.W.W. who at the outbreak of the European War enlisted in the Canadian forces, were summarily expelled from the organization, this action will be strictly followed in all cases.
In this mad chaos of bloodshed and slaughter that has engulfed the world, all the rights we have fought so long and bitterly to retain and enlarge, are in danger of being crushed and suppressed by the ruthless powers of Capitalism, therefore it behooves the membership of the I.W.W. to lock well to their rights, and to battle for their principles with intensified vigor and courage. We must not allow the masters of industry, under the cloak of “military expediency” or the subtle and hypocritical lie of this being a “war for Democracy” to destroy every vestige of our organization, to stifle the voice of the workers, to crush the working-class press, by abrogating the rights of Free Speech, Free Press and Free assemblage, as they are now doing on every hand, these tyrannical acts and usurpation of power, we cannot and shall not tolerate without protest and resistance by all methods within our power, we must let these tyrants understand that they cannot fool us with their “War for Democracy” lies, by destroying Democracy here.
We of the Industrial Workers of the World who have always opposed war and any participation therein, consider our membership exempt from any participation in this or any other war, just as much as the Quakers or any religious sect that oppose war, we oppose war not from religious motives, but from motives of principle, abhor war, because we abhor murder, rapine and wanton destruction.
We further wish to assure the membership that the entire strength of the organization, morally, economically and financially will be used to support any of our members in their refusal to kill or be killed.
We wish to serve notice on our Capitalist masters, that we are just as bitterly opposed to their wars of commercialism, to-day, as we ever were, and our refusal to endorse of participate in their wars is just as firm to day, as it ever was, and that we will resent with all power at our command any attempt upon their part, to compel us – the disinherited, to participate in a war, that can only bring in its wake death and untold misery, privation and suffering to millions of workers, and only serve to further rivet the chains of slavery on our necks, and render still more secure the power of the few to control the destinies of the many.