Why was the IWW subject to so much repression in the Progressive Era? Compare and contrast the “problem of monopoly” with the way today’s issues about economic inequality and the “1%” are discussed. Are there similarities to today’s issues?
The IWW was subject to considerable repression in the Progressive Era because corporate owners opposed labor organizing, which they thought would lead to additional workers’ demands, reduce hours of factory operations due to strikes, and harm their bottom line. As more workers joined the labor movement, owners’ fear of unions likewise increased. Ideological concerns about socialist and communist influence led to federal crackdowns of alleged espionage.
The International Workers of the World, often nicknamed the “Wobblies,” was a coalition of labor organizing groups that was established in 1904. Specifically associated with international socialist currents, the IWW provided a forum for the growing dissatisfaction that labor experienced in trying to wrest concessions from powerful industries such as textiles, automotive, and steel. By 1912, the so-called Bread and Roses strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts and another in Lowell drew some 43,000 textile workers. As industrial owners blamed IWW...
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