Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed Mar 18, 2020 5:54 am

R. Palme Dutt [Rajani Palme Dutt]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/1/20

When next the temper of Kashmiri politics boiled over, it was Freda rather than B.P.L. who was on the spot and propelled to prominence. In the spring of 1946, Sheikh Abdullah launched the Quit Kashmir movement. While the Congress's earlier Quit India campaign was directed against the British, Sheikh Abdullah was seeking the eviction of Kashmir's royal family and the establishment of representative government. The maharaja responded with repression. Protests were violently dispersed. Sheikh Abdullah was arrested in May 1946; hundreds of his supporters were also detained. Several of his key colleagues managed to reach Lahore. Some leaders of the National Conference, notably G.M. Karra, operated underground. Bedi was in Lahore and too well-known to make the journey to Srinagar without attracting immediate arrest. Freda, by chance, was in Kashmir on a camping holiday with her new baby, Kabir, then just four months old and still being breastfed. On Kabir's nineteenth birthday, Freda wrote him a long and intensely personal letter in which she dwelt on the political drama in which he was caught up.

In summer, we went up to Kashmir as usual. Papa left me in Haji Brar, and went down to Lahore again, promising to return. Then the storm burst. Sheikh Abdullah started the 'Quit Kashmir' agitation. He was promptly jailed along with all his followers. I felt I must do something. What, I didn't know. Srinagar was a long way away and all the people I could discuss things with were behind bars. I came down to Srinagar. You were always with me like my skin, tucked up in your little Moses basket. I daren't leave you for a minute so wherever you + I had to go, we went together.

How can I put in words that painful summer? The police wanted me to leave Kashmir as they knew Papa and I were friends of the rebels. So they issued a notice to me to leave. I wrote on the back of the notice that I didn't accept it, as I didn't recognise the people who issued it. From then on they pursued me. C.I.D. watching, following. I was doing nothing, of course; just feeding you. Whoever I stayed with, the poor boatman, were called and harassed [sic] by the Police. It was so difficult: they wanted to protect me, but I was giving them trouble. Finally, to save the boat people, I took a room in a cheap Punjabi hotel in the city, with a Frontierman Manager, some Peshawari Hindu, I've forgotten his name, but he had a heart of gold. 'Just you sit here and feed that baby,' he said, 'and don't worry about anything.'

But the hotel food made me sick, + my milk began to suffer. It was then that that saintly old man, a Kashmiri Pandit, ... heard of my plight and sent me every morning and evening a tiffin box full of pure vegetarian food. That kept me going, and you too ....

Once, the 'underground' Kashmiri nationalists wanted to meet me, and I was given a 'burqua' (you were tucked away under it, close to my heart) and slipped out of a house I was visiting by the back door, + so reached a room in the centre of the old city.14

In this intimate letter written many years after the events described, Freda downplayed both the bravery and the political significance of her actions. The state authorities' issuing of an 'externment' or deportation order against Freda in June 1946 was widely reported -- so too was her refusal to comply. This was a political trial of will, and Freda could not be sure that if the maharaja's police moved in, she would be gently treated. The British communist Rajani Palme Dutt -- in Kashmir in late July as a public show of support for Sheikh Abdullah -- complained of the 'reign of terror' let loose by the maharaja and his police. He met Bedi in Lahore, noting that he was 'large' and 'robust'. Bedi, in turn, helped to organise meetings for Palme Dutt in Srinagar, including with Freda. 'I saw armed sentries posted on all the bridges and strategic points,' he wrote in Labour Monthly. 'An Indian journalist who accompanied me to Srinagar was subjected to a police raid at night by ten C.I.D. men, who made a complete search of his room, as well as of the room of Freda Bedi in the same hotel. The driver of the car which I had used in Srinagar was ... arrested and beaten up to extract from him information as to my movements.'

Freda's secret meeting was to pass on messages between the National Conference leaders -- presumably those in Lahore -- and those such as G.M. Karra who were operating undercover in Srinagar. In the absence of much of the male leadership of the National Conference, women activists stepped into the breach. At the behest of some of these women, Freda dressed up in clothes which would have disguised her European appearance but hardly made her inconspicuous. '"People wouldn't put me in an old muddy burka," said Freda. "They wanted to dress me in the best they had, and they would go to the bride's chest." In ballooning garments encrusted with embroidery, and with daintily crocheted inserts just big enough for her blue English eyes to peer through, Freda moved about, relaying directives ... Her temporary retreat into purdah had been an experience for her. "It's a strange sensation it gives you," she said. "You're behind a bridge. You have this queer knowledge that you can observe everybody and no one can see you. It's a peculiar mentality that must develop among Muslim women."' Sajida Zameer Ahmed recalls escorting Freda, disguised in a burqa, on a horse-drawn buggy around Srinagar to meet underground activists. She also took on another invaluable role for Freda -- babysitting Kabir so that his mother could devote herself more fully to the political role she had taken on.

-- The Lives of Freda: The Political, Spiritual and Personal Journeys of Freda Bedi, by Andrew Whitehead

Rajani Palme Dutt
Born: 19 June 1896, Cambridge, England
Died: 20 December 1974 (aged 78)
Political party: Communist Party of Great Britain

Rajani Palme Dutt (19 June 1896 – 20 December 1974), generally known as R. Palme Dutt, was a leading journalist and theoretician in the Communist Party of Great Britain.


Early years

Rajani Palme Dutt was born in 1896 on Mill Road in Cambridge, England. His father, Dr. Upendra Dutt, was a Bengali Hindu surgeon and Indian national, while his mother Anna Palme was Swedish; he was thus half-Bengali and half-Swedish.[1][2]
Anna Augusta Palme Dutt; born January 5, 1868, in Kalmar, H. Sverige, Sweden; daughter of Christian Adolph Palme [Christian Adolph Palme (Kristian Adolf), born 30 April, 1811 in Applerum, Arby, Kalmar, Sverige; died 31 March, 1889 in Kalmar, Kalmar, Sverige; son of Johan Palm and Carolina von Sydow; Secretary of State in Kalmar, lawyer in Kalmar] and Augusta Johanna Amalia Hasselqvist; Sister of Sven Theodor Palme [grandfather of Prime Minister Olof Palme]; married Upendra Krishna Dutt 1890 in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, UK; great aunt of Olof Palme.

Anna Palme was a great aunt of the future Prime Minister of Sweden Olof Palme.[3]

Sven Olof Joachim Palme (/ˈpɑːlmə/; Swedish: [ˈûːlɔf ˈpâlːmɛ]; 30 January 1927 – 28 February 1986) was a Swedish politician and statesman. A longtime protégé of Prime Minister Tage Erlander, Palme led the Swedish Social Democratic Party from 1969 until his assassination in 1986, and was twice Prime Minister of Sweden, heading a Privy Council Government from 1969 to 1976 and a cabinet government from 1982 until his death. Electoral defeats in 1976 and 1979 marked the end of Social Democratic hegemony in Swedish politics, which had seen 40 years of unbroken rule by the party. While leader of the opposition, he parted domestic and international interests and served as special mediator of the United Nations in the Iran–Iraq War, and was President of the Nordic Council in 1979. He returned as Prime Minister after electoral victories in 1982 and 1985.

Palme was a pivotal and polarizing figure domestically as well as in international politics from the 1960s. He was steadfast in his non-alignment policy towards the superpowers, accompanied by support for numerous third world liberation movements following decolonization including, most controversially, economic and vocal support for a number of Third World governments. He was the first Western head of government to visit Cuba after its revolution, giving a speech in Santiago praising contemporary Cuban and Cambodian revolutionaries.

Frequently a critic of United States and Soviet foreign policy, he resorted to fierce and often polarizing criticism in pinpointing his resistance towards imperialist ambitions and authoritarian regimes, including those of Francisco Franco of Spain, Leonid Brezhnev of the Soviet Union, António de Oliveira Salazar of Portugal and Gustáv Husák of Czechoslovakia, as well as John Vorster and P. W. Botha of South Africa. His 1972 condemnation of the Hanoi bombings, notably comparing the tactic to the Treblinka extermination camp, resulted in a temporary freeze in Sweden–United States relations.

Palme's murder on a Stockholm street on 28 February 1986 was the first assassination of a national leader in Sweden since Gustav III in 1792, and had a great impact across Scandinavia. Local convict and addict Christer Pettersson was originally convicted of the murder in district court but was acquitted on appeal to the Svea Court of Appeal.

-- Olof Palme, by Wikipedia

Dutt was educated at The Perse School, Cambridge and Balliol College, Oxford, where he obtained a first class degree in Classics, after being suspended for a time because of his deemed subversive propaganda as a conscientious objector in World War I.[4]

Dutt married an Estonian, Salme Murrik, the sister of Finnish writer Hella Wuolijoki, in 1922. His wife had come to Great Britain in 1920 as a representative of the Communist International.[4]

Salme Murrik was born in Helme Parish, Governorate of Livonia, Russian Empire (present-day Estonia), and spent her childhood in Valga. She was expelled from the A.S. Pushkin Gymnasium in Tartu due to her participation in the Revolution of 1905, and moved to Moscow, and to Siberia, and Finland before settling in Britain. Her first husband was notable Finnish left wing politician Eino Pekkala, brother of Mauno Pekkala.
Eino Oskari Pekkala (29 November 1887 − 30 September 1956) was a Finnish lawyer and politician. He was a member of the Parliament of Finland, representing the Socialist Electoral Organisation of Workers and Smallholders 1927–1930 and the Finnish People's Democratic League 1945–1948...

As the political situation in Finland changed after the World War II, Pekkala was the Minister of Education 1945–1946, and the Minister of Justice 1946–1948...

His brother was the Prime Minister of Finland Mauno Pekkala....

-- Eino Pekkala, by Wikipedia

During the early years of the Communist Party of Great Britain, Murrik, a Comintern agent, acted as Dutt's link to Moscow.

Salme Murrik had been directed to Britain on Lenin's orders to participate in forming the Communist Party there. She remained an ardent admirer of Stalin even after Khruschchev's 1956 secret speech critical of Stalin's cult of personality.

Salme Dutt's treatment of the Chartist movement, When England Arose, was published in 1939. A collection of poems, entitled Lucifer and Other Poems, was published in London in 1966.

-- Salme Pekkala-Dutt, by Wikipedia

Political career

Dutt joined the Labour Research Department, a left wing statistical bureau, in 1919. The following year, he joined the newly formed Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and in 1921 founded a monthly magazine called Labour Monthly, a publication which he edited until his death.

In 1922, Dutt was named the editor of the CPGB's weekly newspaper, the Workers' Weekly.[4]

Dutt was on the Executive Committee of the CPGB from 1923 until 1965 and was the party's chief theorist for many years.[5]

Dutt first visited the Soviet Union in 1923, where he attended deliberations of the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI) relating to the British movement.[4] He was elected an alternate to the ECCI Presidium in 1924.

Following an illness in 1925 which forced him to stand down as editor of Workers' Weekly, Dutt spent several years in Belgium and Sweden as a representative of the Comintern.[4] He also played an important role for the Comintern by supervising the Communist Party of India for some years.

Palme Dutt was loyal to the Soviet Union and to Leninist ideals. In 1939, when the CPGB General Secretary Harry Pollitt supported the United Kingdom's entry into World War II, it was Palme Dutt who promoted Stalin's line, forcing Pollitt's temporary resignation.
As a result, he became the party's General Secretary until Pollitt was reappointed in 1941, after the German invasion of the USSR and consequent reversal of the Communist Party attitude towards World War II.

In his book Fascism and Social Revolution a scathing criticism and analysis of fascism is presented with a study of the rise of fascism in Germany, Italy and other countries, he called fascism a violent authoritarian, ultra nationalist, and irrational theory. In his own words: "Fascism is antithetical to everything of substance within the liberal tradition."[6]

After Stalin's death, Palme Dutt's reaction to Khrushchev's Secret Speech played down its significance, with Dutt arguing that Stalin's "sun" unsurprisingly contained some "spots".[7] A hardliner within the CPGB, he disagreed with its criticisms of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and opposed the CPGB's increasingly Eurocommunist line in the 1970s, retiring from his party positions, although remaining a member until his death[8] in 1974. According to historian Geoff Andrews, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was still paying the CPGB around £15,000 a year "for pensions" into the seventies, recipients of which "included Rajani Palme Dutt".[9]

The Labour History Archive and Study Centre at the People's History Museum in Manchester has the papers of Rajani Palme Dutt in their collection, spanning 1908-1971.[10]


Works:[11] 1920: The Sabotage of Europe
1921: Back to Plotinus, Review of Shaw's Back to Methusela: A Metaphysical Pentateuch
1921: Psycho-Analysing the Bolshevik, Review of Kolnai's Psycho-analysis and Sociology
1922: The End of Gandhi
1923: The British Empire
1923: The Issue in Europe
1926: The Meaning of the General Strike (pamphlet)
1926: Trotsky and His English Critics
1928: Indian Awakening
1931: India
1931: Capitalism or Socialism in Britain? (pamphlet)[12]
1933: Democracy and Fascism (pamphlet)
1933: A Note on the Falsification of Engels’ Preface to “Marx’s ‘Class Struggles in France”
1934: Fascism and Social Revolution
1935: The Question of Fascism and Capitalist Decay
1935: British Policy and Nazi Germany
1935: The British-German Alliance in the Open
1935: For a united Communist Party: an appeal to I.L.P'ers and to all revolutionary workers
1936: In Memory of Shapurji Saklatvala
1936: Anti-Imperialist People's Front in India, written with Ben Bradley
1936: Left Nationalism in India
1938: On the Eve of the Indian National Congress, with Harry Pollitt and Ben Bradley
1938: The Philosophy of a Natural Scientist
1938: The Philosophy of a Natural Scientist, a Rejoinder to Levy
1938: Review of Marx & Engels on the U.S. Civil War
1939: Why this War? (pamphlet)[13]
1940: Twentieth Anniversary of the Communist Party of Great Britain
1940: India Today[14]
1947: Declaration on Palestine, at the Empire Communist Parties Conference, London on 26 February to 3 March 1947
1949: Introductory Report on Election Programme
1953: Stalin and the Future
1953: The crisis of Britain and the British Empire
1963: Problems of Contemporary History
1967: Whither China?[15]


1. Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Of a Certain Age: Twenty Life Sketches, Penguin Books, pp. 135, 2011
2. Faruque Ahmed, Bengal Politics in Britain – Logic, Dynamics & Disharmony pp. 57, 2010.
3. Henrik Berggren, Underbara dagar framför oss. En biografi över Olof Palme, Stockholm: Norstedts, 2010; p.659
4. Colin Holmes "Rajani Palme Dutt", in A. Thomas Lane (ed.), Biographical Dictionary of European Labor Leaders, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995; vol. 2, p.284
5. Francis Beckett Enemy Within: The Rise and Fall of the British Communist Party, London: John Murray, 1995
6. Roberts, Edwin A. (1997). The Anglo-Marxists: A Study in Ideology and Culture. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9780847683963.
7. Rajani Palme Dutt - Biography Archived 15 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine
8. J. Callaghan, Rajani Palme Dutt. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1993.
9. Geoff Andrews, Endgames and New Times, The Final Years of British Communism 1964–1991, Lawrence and Wishart, London 2004, p. 94
10. Collection Catalogues and Descriptions, Labour History Archive and Study Centre
11. Dutt, R. Palme. "R. Palme Dutt Archive". Retrieved 9 February 2018.
12. Dutt, Rajani Palme (1931). Capitalism or socialism in Britain?. Communist Party of Great Britain.
13. Dutt, Rajani Palme (1939). Why this war?. Communist Party of Great Britain.
14. Dutt, Rajani Palme (1949). India today. People's Publishing House.
15. Dutt, Rajani Palme; Britain, Communist Party of Great (1967). Whither China?. Communist Party.

External links

• Fascism and Social Revolution: A Study of the economics and Politics of the Extreme Stages of Capitalism in Decay (1934)
• The Internationale (1964)
• R. Palme Dutt Archive Marxists Internet Archive
• Resistance to the Soul : Gandhi and His Critics


R. Palme Dutt, 79, British Marxist: Chief Voice of Marxism
by Robert D. McFadden
The New York Times
Dec. 21, 1974

LONDON, Dec. 20—R. Palme Dutt, a founder and for many years the leading theoretician of the British Communist party, died here today after a long illness. He was 79 years old.

The author of a score of books and dozens of articles and polemic tracts, Rajani Palme Dutt was for many years the chief voice of British Marxism, an opponent of colonial empire and distinctions of class and air advocate of peace, health and education reforms and a variety of less popular causes.

One of the founding members of the British Communist party in 1920, he served on the party's executive committee from 1922 to 1965. In addition to his role as party theoretician, he was vice chairman from 1956 to 1965, when he resigned, in leadership shuffle.

Mr. Dutt was the first editor of The Workers' Weekly from 1922 to 1924, and was editor of its successor, The Daily Worker, from 1936 to 1938. He also edited The Labour Monthly from 1921 until his death.

A tall, thin intellectual who wore conservative suits and bifocals, parted his grayish hair in the middle and listed his leisure interests in the International Who's Who as “anything except sports,” Mr. Dutt was known in British Communist circles as a hard‐liner on many controversial issues.

But this hard line most often hewed to the official Soviet view of international policy. He opposed British entry into World War II, for example, until the Soviet Union was invaded by Germany and entered the fight.

[b]Opposed NATO Formation

Similarly, he opposed the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, supported the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and opposed Chinese Communist ideologies generally.[/b]

Mr. Dutt was born at Cambridge in 1896, the son of Upendra Krishna Dutt, an Indian physician, and Anna Palme Dutt, who was Swedish and Finnish. He attended the Perse School at Cambridge and Balliol College at Oxford, achieving honors in his studies. But his political activities led to a brief imprisonment in 1916 and he was expelled from Oxford in 1917 for Marxist propagandizing.

Mr. Dutt twice ran unsuccessfully for Parliament on the Communist ticket, in Birmingham in 1945 and in East Woolwich in 1950. He was supported in his first campaign by George Bernard Shaw, who contended that the candidate stood for “intelligence, knowledge of the world and essential righteousness.”

The University of Moscow conferred an honorary doctorate of history on Mr. Dutt in 1962, and he was the recipient of the Lenin Centenary Medal in 1970.

Mr. Dutt's books included “The Life and Teachings of V. I. Lenin,” published in 1934; “World Politics,” 1936; “The Problem of India,” 1943, and “The Crisis of Britain and the British Empire,” 1953.

In a review of “The Problem of India” in The New York Times Book Review on Sept. 5, 1943, Bertram D. Wolfe called the book “a veritable arsenal of arguments for India's freedom.” “World Politics,” was described in a 1936 review in The Times as a “sweeping and often persuasive survey of world politics.”

Mr. Dutt himself was often characterized unfavorably in the western press, particularly during the late nineteen‐forties and early fifties.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:15 am

Anna Louise Strong
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/17/20

In Old Tibet there were small numbers of farmers who subsisted as a kind of free peasantry, and perhaps an additional 10,000 people who composed the "middle-class" families of merchants, shopkeepers, and small traders. Thousands of others were beggars. A small minority were slaves, usually domestic servants, who owned nothing. Their offspring were born into slavery. (13)

In 1953, the greater part of the rural population -- some 700,000 of an estimated total population of 1,250,000 -- were serfs. Tied to the land, they were allotted only a small parcel to grow their own food. Serfs and other peasants generally went without schooling or medical care. They spent most of their time laboring for the monasteries and individual high-ranking lamas, or for a secular aristocracy that numbered not more than 200 wealthy families. In effect, they were owned by their masters who told them what crops to grow and what animals to raise. They could not get married without the consent of their lord or lama. A serf might easily be separated from his family should the owner send him to work in a distant location. Serfs could be sold by their masters, or subjected to torture and death. (14)

A Tibetan lord would often take his pick of females in the serf population, if we are to believe one 22-year old woman, herself a runaway serf: "All pretty serf girls were usually taken by the owner as house servants and used as he wished." They "were just slaves without rights." (15) Serfs needed permission to go anywhere. Landowners had legal authority to capture and forcibly bring back those who tried to flee. A 24-year old runaway serf, interviewed by Anna Louise Strong, welcomed the Chinese intervention as a "liberation." During his time as a serf he claims he was not much different from a draft animal, subjected to incessant toil, hunger, and cold, unable to read or write, and knowing nothing at all. He tells of his attempts to flee:

The first time [the landlord's men] caught me running away, I was very small, and they only cuffed me and cursed me. The second time they beat me up. The third time I was already fifteen and they gave me fifty heavy lashes, with two men sitting on me, one on my head and one on my feet. Blood came then from my nose and mouth. The overseer said: "This is only blood from the nose; maybe you take heavier sticks and bring some blood from the brain." They beat then with heavier sticks and poured alcohol and water with caustic soda on the wounds to make more pain. I passed out for two hours. (16) [16. Strong, Tibetan Interviews, 31.]

In addition to being under a lifetime bond to work the lord's land -- or the monastery's land -- without pay, the serfs were obliged to repair the lord's houses, transport his crops, and collect his firewood. They were also expected to provide carrying animals and transportation on demand. "It was an efficient system of economic exploitation that guaranteed to the country's religious and secular elites a permanent and secure labor force to cultivate their land holdings without burdening them either with any direct day-to-day responsibility for the serf's subsistence and without the need to compete for labor in a market context." (17)

The common people labored under the twin burdens of the corvée (forced unpaid labor on behalf of the lord) and onerous tithes. They were taxed upon getting married, taxed for the birth of each child, and for every death in the family. They were taxed for planting a new tree in their yard, for keeping domestic or barnyard animals, for owning a flower pot, or putting a bell on an animal. There were taxes for religious festivals, for singing, dancing, drumming, and bell ringing. People were taxed for being sent to prison and upon being released. Even beggars were taxed. Those who could not find work were taxed for being unemployed, and if they traveled to another village in search of work, they paid a passage tax. When people could not pay, the monasteries lent them money at 20 to 50 percent interest. Some debts were handed down from father to son to grandson. Debtors who could not meet their obligations risked being placed into slavery for as long as the monastery demanded, sometimes for the rest of their lives. (18)

The theocracy's religious teachings buttressed its class order. The poor and afflicted were taught that they had brought their troubles upon themselves because of their foolish and wicked ways in previous lives. Hence they had to accept the misery of their present existence as an atonement and in anticipation that their lot would improve upon being reborn. The rich and powerful of course treated their good fortune as a reward for -- and tangible evidence of -- virtue in past and present lives....

For the Tibetan upper class lamas and lords, the Communist intervention was a calamity. Most of them fled abroad, as did the Dalai Lama himself, who was assisted in his flight by the CIA. Some discovered to their horror that they would have to work for a living. Those feudal elites who remained in Tibet and decided to cooperate with the new regime faced difficult adjustments. Consider the following:

In 1959, Anna Louise Strong visited the Central Institute of National Minorities in Beijing which trained various ethnic minorities for the civil service or prepared them for entrance into agricultural and medical schools. Of the 900 Tibetan students attending, most were runaway serfs and slaves. But about 100 were from privileged Tibetan families, sent by their parents so that they might win favorable posts in the new administration. The class divide between these two groups of students was all too evident. As the institute's director noted:

Those from noble families at first consider that in all ways they are superior. They resent having to carry their own suitcases, make their own beds, look after their own room. This, they think, is the task of slaves; they are insulted because we expect them to do this. Some never accept it but go home; others accept it at last. The serfs at first fear the others and cannot sit at ease in the same room. In the next stage they have less fear but still feel separate and cannot mix. Only after some time and considerable discussion do they reach the stage in which they mix easily as fellow students, criticizing and helping each other. (42)

The émigrés' plight received fulsome play in the West and substantial support from U.S. agencies dedicated to making the world safe for economic inequality. Throughout the 1960s the Tibetan exile community secretly received $1.7 million a year from the CIA, according to documents released by the State Department in 1998. Once this fact was publicized, the Dalai Lama's organization itself issued a statement admitting that it had received millions of dollars from the CIA during the 1960s to send armed squads of exiles into Tibet to undermine the Maoist revolution. The Dalai Lama's annual share was $186,000, making him a paid agent of the CIA.

-- Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth, by Michael Parenti

Anna Louise Strong Book

A more dramatic piece of evidence — and a reason why the CPSU at this time may have been unwilling to publish the seemingly innocuous statement above, which in subsequent years has been repeated many times by Moscow — was provided by the case of Anna Louise Strong and her book, "Tomorrow's China." This book, based on a year's stay in China from July 1946 to July 1947 and on repeated conversations with the top CCP leaders, was published by the Communist press of many countries late in 1948 and early in 1949. In India, it was published by the CPI's People's Publishing House of Bombay in the fall of 1948 under the title "Dawn Out of China." In this work Miss Strong paid repeated tribute to the experience and authority of the Chinese Communist party and Mao and the particular and unique relevance of Mao's teachings to the revolutions of Asia. She even went so far as to state explicitly that "it is to Mao Tse-tung and to Communist China much more than to present-day Moscow that the nationalist revolutions of Indonesia, Indo-China, Burma, look for their latest, most practical ideas," and that Mao's strategy was made to fit such peoples because China's problems are similar to theirs. Mao's analysis of China's revolution, she said, "is studied eagerly in the colonial lands of Southeast Asia;" and she thought that "Marxists all over the world agree that in order to understand the modern problems of Asia, it is necessary to study Mao's thought," since Mao was the "first Marxist in Asia" to succeed in applying Marxist principles to new conditions and in giving those principles a new development.

One aspect of the Maoist teachings thus lauded by this book is the "New Democracy" line calling for an alliance with the middle bourgeoisie and preservation of some native capitalism for the sake of the common struggle against imperialism and its adherents. In a later private conversation, Anna Louise Strong stated that in her last interview with Mao in 1947, she declared her intention to bring this Maoist line for the anti-imperialist struggle to the attention of other Asian Communist parties; thereupon, according to her account, Mao interrupted her to urge that she bring it to the attention of the Russians as well. In fact, after her book had already been published by a number of Communist parties, she did visit the Soviet Union in an effort to get the work published there, and appears to have been naively surprised at the insistence of the Moscow publishing house that drastic changes be made in the text. Finally, she was arrested in Moscow in February in 1949, charged with espionage, and subsequently expelled from the country. Her old friend Borodin, who had attempted to help her in dealing with the Moscow publishers, was also arrested and later died in prison.

-- The Indian Communist Party and the Sino-Soviet Dispute, by Office of Current Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency

Resolutions... Through a Child's Eyes, by Dr. Anna Louise Strong...Strong, Dr. Anna Louise, National Child Welfare Exhibition Com., New York, N. Y.

-- Proceedings of the first National Conference on Race Betterment, Battle Creek, Michigan, January 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 1914, published by the Race Betterment Foundation

He is a distant cousin of Anna Louise Strong.

-- Maurice Strong, by Wikipedia

Anna Louise Strong
Ms. Strong in Moscow, 1937
Born: November 24, 1885, Friend, Nebraska, U.S.
Died: March 29, 1970 (aged 84), Beijing, China
Alma mater: Bryn Mawr College; Oberlin College; University of Chicago

Spouse(s): Joel Shubin (1931–1942)

Anna Louise Strong (November 24, 1885 – March 29, 1970) was a 20th-century American journalist and activist, best known for her reporting on and support for communist movements in the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China.[1][2][3][4] She wrote over 30 books and varied articles.[5]


Early years

Strong was born on November 14, 1885, in a "two-room parsonage" in Friend, Nebraska, the "Middle West," to parents who were middle class liberals active in the Congregational Church and missionary work.[6][7][4][8][9] She lived with her family from 1887 to 1891 in Mount Vernon, Ohio and in Cincinnati beginning in 1891.[7] Her father, Sydney Dix Strong, was a Social Gospel minister in the Congregational Church, active in missionary work, and dedicated pacifist.[10][1][9] Strong worked quickly through grammar and high school, and then studied languages in Europe.[6]

She first attended Pennsylvania's Bryn Mawr College from 1903 to 1904, then graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio in 1905 where she later returned to speak many times.[6][7][8] In 1908, at the age of 23, she finished her education and received a PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago with a thesis later published as The Social Psychology of Prayer.[1][7][4][11][12][8][9] Being an advocate for child welfare while she worked for the United States Education Office, joining the National Child Labor Committee around the same time, she organized an exhibit and toured it extensively throughout the United States and abroad.[1][6][7] When she brought it to Seattle, in May 1914, 6,000 people came to visit it every day, culminating with an audience, on May 31, of 40,000 people.[6]

At this point, Strong was still convinced that capitalism was responsible for poverty, and sufferings of the working class.[6] She was 30 years old when she returned to Seattle to live with her father, then pastor of Queen Anne Congregational Church.[4] Living with her father from 1916 to 1921, she favored the political climate there, which was pro-labor and progressive, with "radicalizing events" like the Seattle General Strike and Everett massacre.[1][6][4]

Strong also enjoyed mountain climbing. She organized cooperative summer camps in the Cascades and led climbing parties up Mt. Rainier, leading to the Washington Alpine Club, formed in 1916.[6][13]

Political career

Anna Louise Strong at the time of her recall from the Seattle School Board in 1918.

In 1916, Strong ran for the Seattle School Board and won easily due to the support she garnered from women's groups and organized labor and to her work on child welfare.[6][7][4][9] She was the only female board member.[1][6] She argued that the public schools should offer social service programs for underprivileged children, with these schools serving as community centers, but other members wanted to "devote meetings to mundane matters like plumbing fixtures."[6][4]

The year she was elected to the Seattle School Board, the Everett massacre happened. The New York Evening Post hired her as a stringer to report on the conflict between armed guards, hired by Everett mill owners, and the Industrial Workers of the World (or "Wobblies").[6][4] Quickly dropping her neutrality, she soon became an dedicated spokesperson for workers' rights.[6][4]

Strong's endorsement of left-wing causes set her apart from her colleagues on the school board.[6] She opposed war as a pacifist. When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, she spoke out against the draft.
[6][4] On one hand, the Parent-Teacher Association and women's clubs joined her in opposing military training in the schools, but the former military veterans of the Spanish–American War, the Seattle Minute Men, took a jingoistic tone, branding her as "unpatriotic."[6][4] The same year, she wrote a letter to the Department of Justice, saying[14] is quite commonly felt in this vicinity that persons with personal grudges need only call in the Department of Justice and lodge complaint, in order to make life miserable for the person they complain has become increasingly evident, however, at least in this vicinity, that the activities of the Department of Justice are doing more than any other one thing to create distrust, suspicion, and dissension among the American people...Wild accusations and attempts to injure persons and organizations who cannot be prosecuted because of lack of evidence does not tend to create confidence in the is my hope that somewhere in your department I may reach some person who sincerely desires to create within this country the unity of democratic loyalty, rather than the hidden disunion of fear.

The pacifist stance of the Wobblies led to mass arrests at the Seattle office where Louise Olivereau was a typist. Olivereau had been mailing mimeographed circulars to draftees urging them to become conscientious objectors.[6] [4] In 1918, Strong stood by Olivereau's side in the courtroom as she was found guilty of sedition and sent to prison.[6][4]

After this, Strong's fellow school board members were quick to launch a recall campaign against her due to her association with the IWW, and won by a narrow margin.[1][6][9] She appeared at their next meeting to argue that they must appoint a woman as her successor. Her former colleagues acceded to her request, but they made it clear that they wanted a mainstream, patriotic representative, a mother with children in the schools. They replaced Anna Louise Strong with Evangeline C. Harper, a prominent country club woman in 1918.[6][4][9] As a result, Strong went "elsewhere in search of socialism in practice" with her search bringing her first to the Soviet Union where she stayed from 1921 to 1940 for part of the year, returning to the U.S. "for a lecture tour, usually between January and April."[1][3]

Journalistic career

Strong became openly associated with the Seattle’s labor-owned daily newspaper, The Union Record, writing forceful pro-labor articles and promoting the new Soviet government.[1][6][7][4][9] On February 6, 1919, two days before the beginning of the Seattle General Strike of 1919, she proclaimed in her famous editorial: "We are undertaking the most tremendous move ever made by labor in this country, a move which will lead — NO ONE KNOWS WHERE!"[6][4][15][16] The strike shut down the city for four days and then ended peacefully and with its goals still unattained.

1921 in Samara, Russia, for the American Friends Service Committee.

At a loss as to what to do she took her friend Lincoln Steffens' advice and in 1921 traveled to Poland and Russia serving as a correspondent for the American Friends Service Committee.[6][9] The purpose of going was to provide the first foreign relief to the Volga famine victims. After a year of that, she was named Moscow correspondent for the International News Service.[4][9] Strong drew many observations while in Europe which inspired her to write. Some of her works are The First Time in History (preface by Leon Trotsky) (1924), and Children of Revolution (1925).[4][17][18]

After remaining in the area for several years, Strong grew to become an enthusiastic supporter of socialism in the newly formed Soviet Union, supporting herself as a foreign correspondent for varying "radical American newspapers" and others such as The Nation.[6][19][20] In 1925, during the era of the New Economic Policy in the USSR, she returned to the United States to arouse interest among businessmen in industrial investment and development in the Soviet Union. During this time Strong also lectured widely and became well known as an authority on "soft news" (e.g. How to get an apartment) about the USSR. As she continued to "wave the banner for the needy and downtrodden" wherever there was a revolution there was "Ms. Strong," and she became further convinced that "socialism might be the answer" to problems in the world.[7] There were even invitations sent out to "hear Anna Louise Strong discuss her travels in Russia."[21]

In the late 1920s, Strong travelled in China and other parts of Asia. She became friends with Soong Ching-ling and Zhou Enlai. As always her travels led to books: China's Millions (1928), Red Star in Samarkand (1929). It was during this time that she became friends with "Communist leader Zhou Enlai."[4] She would visit China in 1925, meeting with Feng Yuxiang and Soong Qing-ling and again in 1927, witnessing the failure of KMT-CPC cooperation, leading to her book, " China's Millions" which was published in the United States.[11]

In 1930 she returned to Moscow and helped found Moscow News, the first English-language newspaper in the city.[4][7][9] She was managing editor for a year and then became a featured writer. In 1931 she married fellow socialist and journalist Joel Shubin, and they remained married until his death in 1942.[22] While Shubin often accompanied Strong during her return trips to the United States, the two were often separated due to work commitments. According to Rewi Alley's account, Strong later said: "perhaps we married because we were both so doggone lonely ... but we were very happy."[1]

While living in the Soviet Union she became more enthused with the Soviet government and wrote many books praising it. They include: The Soviets Conquer Wheat (1931), an updated version of China's Millions: The Revolutionary Struggles from 1927 to 1935 (1935), the best-selling autobiographical I Change Worlds: the Remaking of an American (1935), This Soviet World (1936), and The Soviet Constitution (1937).[4][9] She also wrote several articles for The American Mercury praising Soviet life.[23]

In 1936 she returned once again to the United States. Quietly and privately distressed with developments in the USSR (The "Great Purges"), she continued to write for leading periodicals, including The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, The Nation and Asia.[4][9][24]

A visit to Spain resulted in Spain in Arms (1937); visits to China, visiting anti-Japanese "base areas," leading to her book, One Fifth of Mankind (1938).[11] In 1940 she published My Native Land, the same year that she journeyed to China and met Zhou Enlai several times.[11] The following year, she exposed the plot by Chiang Kai-Shek to divide the "united front" against Japan in the 15-page article, "The Kuomintang-communist crisis in China; a first-hand account of one of the most critical periods in Far Eastern history" published in March.[11][25] Other books include The Soviets Expected It (1941); the novel Wild River (1943), set in Russia; Peoples of the U.S.S.R. (1944), I Saw the New Poland (1946) (based on her reporting from Poland as she accompanied the occupying Red Army); and three books on the success of the early Communist Party of China in the Chinese Civil War.[4] In her book, "The Soviets Expected It," Strong wrote that "the unbroken rise of Stalin's prestige for twenty years both within the Soviet Union and beyond its borders is really worth attention by students of politics."[26]

While in the USSR she travelled throughout the huge nation, including the Ukraine, Kuznetsk, Stalingrad, Kiev, Siberia, Central Asia, Uzbekistan, and many more.[4] She also travelled into Poland, Germany, and Britain. While in the Soviet Union, Strong met with Joseph Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov, and many other Soviet officials.[4] She also interviewed farmers, pedestrians, and factory workers.[27] She wrote articles for newspapers and magazines, along with pamphlets as well, gaining "many friends and to become very popular throughout the world."[7] At the same time, she created "suspicion regarding her political loyalties" among the Soviets and the FBI who gained a large file on Strong herself.[7][3][9] Through all this, she stayed committed to the Soviet political project, defending the USSR from anti-communism, but favoring the Chinese more than the Soviets as time went on, especially after the Soviets expelled her.[3][9][28]

In World War II, when the Red Army began its advance against Nazi Germany, Strong stayed in the rear following the soldiers through Warsaw, Łódź and Gdańsk. Her overtly pro-Chinese Communist sympathies, which had been fostered by her visits to China in 1925 and until 1947 in which she interviewed Chinese Communist leaders like Mao Zedong, may have led to her "arrest, imprisonment and expulsion" from the USSR in 1949, reportedly claiming she was an "American spy," a charge which was reportedly repeated years later, in 1953, by a Soviet newspaper, Izvestia.[1][4][8][9][29] After this, she was cut off from the USSR, shunned by Communists in the United States, and denied a passport by the U.S. government, settling in California where she wrote, lectured, and "invested in real estate."[1] In 1955, she was finally cleared of Soviet charges against her, which the CIA thought was a "gesture to the Chinese Communists." By 1958 her passport was restored, after she won a case at the U.S. Supreme Court, and she immediately went back to China, where she remained until her death.[1][11][8][9][30][31] She was one of the only Westerners to gain "the admiration of Mao Tse-tung."[6]

Living in China

Strong with Mao Zedong in 1967

Strong met W. E. B. Du Bois, who visited Communist China during the Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s, with a photograph of Mao Zedong, Anna Louise Strong, and W. E. B. Du Bois taken on one of Du Bois's trips in circa 1959.[32] Neither Du Bois or Strong ever supported famine-related criticisms of the Great Leap. Strong wrote a book titled When Serfs Stood Up in Tibet based on her experience during this period, which include the Chinese incorporation of Tibet, and criticized individuals such as Allen Dulles, calling him "a man bound by dull words."[11][33] By 1966, Strong had become an "honorary member of the Red Guards" who returned to the Soviet Union from time to time.[3][8][9]

Partly from fear of losing her passport should she return to the USA, she settled permanently in China until her death, publishing a "Letter from China."[3][4] During that time she fostered a close relationship with Zhou Enlai and was on familiar terms with Mao Zedong.[34] It was in an interview with her, in August 1946, that Mao propagated his famous catchphrase of "paper tigers".[35][11][36][37]

Two years after that, she made a keynote speech on China's realities and tried to change the stance of the U.S. government in backing the Chinese nationalists.[11] Strong lived in the old Italian Legation in Beijing which had been converted into flats for the leading "foreign friends". They were allocated on the "bleak basis" of seniority; New Zealand civil servant Gerald Hensley recalled that when he visited Rewi Alley in 1973 Alley was living in the best downstairs front apartment which had been allocated to Strong until she died, at which time Alley moved into it and everyone else moved on one place.[34] Through all of this, she became "disaffected with political systems and people" but did not lose her zeal for justice, continuing to write, with Chinese publishers republishing "much of her writing as a Works set."[7][3] She was not stopped, even by her old age, in her dedication to "Marxist doctrine," especially in China and across the world, writing emotional and colorful accounts which were very popular.[8]

In the later part of her life, Strong was "honored and revered by the Chinese," despite reports in the Toronto Star that the Red Guards were calling her an "imperialist agent," and even remained "in the good graces of the Chinese through the cultural revolution" with Chinese leaders considering her "their unofficial spokesperson to the English speaking world."[1][8][38]

Strong died in a hospital in Beijing (then Peking) on March 29, 1970, pulling out her "intravenous tubes and had refused to eat and take medication." Before her death, she had important visitors like Premier Zhou Enlai who encouraged her to cooperate with the doctors in the hospital because "you have important things to do for us and the rest of the world," Guo Moruo and other "high government officials.[7][4][8][9] After her death, there was "mourning and memorial throughout China" with Strong buried in Beijing's "Revolutionary Martyrs' Cemetery."[39][11]


Strong's papers reside at the Libraries Special Collections at the University of Washington in Seattle.[4] Within the papers of Eleanor Roosevelt are "reports from Anna Louise Strong during and after her visits to Russia and China" although this does not mean there was any relationship, professionally, between Strong and Eleanor.[40] Strong's distant cousin Maurice Strong, would play an important role in the environmental movement, including in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).[41]

Selected works


• - (1904). Storm Songs and Fables. Chicago: Langston Press.
• - (1908). King's Palace. Illinois: Oak Leaves. (one-act play)
• - (c. 1908). The Song of the City. Oak Park, Illinois: Oak Leaves Company.
• - (1937). Ragged Verse. Seattle: Piggott-Washington. (poems, by Anise)
• - (1943). Wild River. Boston: Little, Brown. (novel, set in Ukraine)
• - (1951). God and the Millionaires. Montrose, California: Middlebury College. (poems, by Anise)

Religious tracts and social work

• - (1906). Biographical Studies in the Bible. Pilgrim Press. (co-author with Sydney Strong, her father)
• - (1906–1908). Bible Hero Classics. Hope Publishing Company. (co-author with Sydney Strong, her father), including The story of Jacob in words of the Scripture (found in Genesis) and likely the
• - (1909). The Psychology of Prayer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
• - (1911). Boys and Girls of the Bible. Chicago: Howard-Severance.
• - (1914). On the Eve of Home Rule: snapshots of Ireland in the momentous summer of 1914. Austin: O'Connell Press.
• - (1915). Child-welfare Exhibits: Types and Preparation. Washington: Government Printing Office.

Reportage and travelogues

• - (1924). The First Time in History: Two Years of Russia's New Life. New York: Boni & Liveright. (with preface by Leon Trotsky), also on Internet Archive.
• - (1925). Children of Revolution; story of the John Reed Children's Colony on the Volga, which is as well a story of the whole great structure of Russia. Seattle: Sydney Strong.
• - (1930). Modern Farming – Soviet Style: The Revolution in the Russian Village. Boston: International Publishers., also available at Hathi Trust.
• - (1931). The Road to the Grey Pamir. Boston: Little, Brown & Company.
• - (1931). The Soviets Conquer Wheat. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
• - (1935). China's millions: the revolutionary struggles from 1927 to 1935. New York: Knight Publishing Company.
• - (1936). The Soviet World. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
• - (1937). Spain in Arms, 1937. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
• - (1937). The New Soviet Constitution: A Study in Socialist Democracy. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
• - (1938). One-fifth of mankind. New York: Modern Age Books.
• - (1941). Lithuania's New Way. Boston: Lawrence and Wishart.
• - (1942). The Soviets Expected It. New York: The Dial Press.
• - (1944). Peoples of the USSR. New York: The Macmillan Company., second printing in 1945.
• - (1946). I Saw The New Poland. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company.
• - (1948). Tomorrow's China. New York: Committee for a Democratic Far Eastern Policy.
• - (1949). Inside North Korea: an Eye-witness Report. Montrose, California.
• - (1956). The Stalin Era. New York: Mainstream Publishers., also in a PDF format.
• - (1959). The rise of the Chinese people's communes. Peking: New World Press.
• - (1959). Tibetan interviews. Peking: New World Press.
• - (1960). When Serfs Stood Up in Tibet. Peking: New World Press., also on Internet Archive
• - (1962). Cash and Violence in Laos and Vietnam. New York: Mainstream Publishers.
• - (1963). Letters from China, Numbers 1–10. Peking: New World Press.


• - (1935). I Change Worlds: the Remaking of an American. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. (republished 1979 by The Seal Press, Seattle—the Introduction by Barbara Wilson contains the statement: "She left behind a second volume of autobiography which, so far, has remained in China.")

See also

• Agnes Smedley
• Edgar Snow
• Mikhail Borodin
• Rewi Alley
• Helen Foster Snow


• See Judith Nies. Nine Women: Portraits from the American Radical Tradition, University of California Press, 2002, ISBN 0-520-22965-7 p. 166


1. Archives West, "Anna Louise Strong papers, 1885-1971," deriving from this page, accessed January 26, 2018. Archived here.
2. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Anna Louise Strong: American journalist and scholar, accessed January 26, 2018.
3. John Cory, "TV: 'WITNESS TO REVOLUTION,' ANNA LOUISE STRONG, The New York Times, March 22, 1986.
4. "Today in history: Anna Louise Strong is born, changes worlds," People's World, November 24, 2015.
5. University of Pennsylvania, "Online Books by Anna Louise Strong," accessed January 26, 2018.
6. Mildred Andrews, "Strong, Anna Louise (1885-1970)," HistoryLink, November 7, 1998.
7. B. K. Clinker, "Anna Louise Strong (1885-1970)," Knox Historical Society, 2004, accessed January 26, 2018.
8. Reuters, "Anna Louise Strong Dies in Peking at 84," reprinted in The New York Times, March 30, 1970, accessed January 26, 2018.
9. Darren Selter, "Witness to Revolution: The Story of Anna Louise Strong," University of Washington, accessed January 26, 2018.
10. Hughes, Heather. First President: A Life of John Dube, Founding President of the ANC. Auckland Park, South Africa: Jacana Media. p. 116. ISBN 1770098135.
11. China Daily, "Anna Louise Strong," September 29, 2010, accessed January 26, 2018.
12. Anna Louise Strong, "A Consideration of Prayer from the Standpoint of Social Psychology," 1908, accessed January 26, 2018.
13. Dave Galvin, "Sahalie Historical Note #9:Our Neighbors, Washington Alpine Club," January 2011, accessed January 26, 2018.
14. Anna Louise Strong, "Letter to the Department of Justice in Washington, DC from Anna Louise Strong in Seattle, Dec. 14, 1917," Marxist History, accessed January 26, 2018.
15. Anna Louise Strong, "No One Knows Where," The Seattle Union Record, February 4, 1919, p. 1; Marxists Internet Archive, accessed January 26, 2018.
16. Rebecca G. Jackson, "The Politics of Gender in the Writings of Anna Louise Strong," Seattle General Strike Project, 1999, accessed January 26, 2018.
17. Anna Louise Strong, "Children of Revolution," Piggott Printing, 1925; Marxists Internet Archive, accessed January 26, 2018.
18. Anna Louise Strong, "The First Time in History," Boni & Liveright, 1925; Marxists Internet Archive, accessed January 26, 2018.
19. Anna Louise Strong, "Stalin 'The Voice of the Party' Breaks Trotsky: The Rubber-Stamp Secretary Versus the Fiery Idealist Sidelights on the Russian Revolution," Gateway, mid-December 1925, pp. 18-24; Marxists Internet Archive, accessed January 26, 2018.
20. Anna Louise Strong, "Moscow Looks at Dumbarton Oaks," The Nation, accessed January 26, 2018.
21. Invitation to meet Miss Anna Louise Strong, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries Special Collections and University ArchivesW. E. B. Du Bois Papers, 1803-1999 (bulk 1877-1963), accessed January 26, 2018.
22. Cattoi, Louise (February 26, 1984). "Strong live, strongly written". The Milwaukee Journal via Google News Archive Search. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
23. See, e.g., "We Soviet Wives,"(August 1934), "The Soviets Fight Bureaucracy," (September 1934), and "The Soviet 'Dictatorship'" (October 1934).
24. Anna Louise Strong, "The Terrorists' Trial," Soviet Russia Today, Vol. 5 No. 8, October 1936, accessed January 26, 2018.
25. Anna Louise Strong, "The Kuomintang-communist crisis in China: a first-hand account of one of the most critical periods in Far Eastern history," Reprinted from 'Amerasia,' March 1941, accessed January 26, 2018.
26. Strong, "Stalin," The Soviets Expected It, The Dial Press, New York, 1941, pp. 46-64; Marxists Internet Archive, accessed January 26, 2018.
27. Anna Louise Strong, "Women in The Stalin Era," accessed January 26, 2018.
28. Jack Brad, "Peking versus Moscow: the case of Anna Louise Strong, part 1," Worker's Liberty, October 8, 2009, accessed January 26, 2018.
29. "SOVIET AUTHOR BARES RECORD OF U.S. SPIES AGAINST USSR," CIA reprint of article, February 9, 1953, accessed January 26, 2018.
31. "Strong, Anna Louise," Nebraska Historical Society, accessed January 26, 2018.
32. University of Massachusetts Amherst, "Mao Zedong, Anna Louise Strong, and W. E. B. Du Bois, ca. 1959," University of Massachusetts Amherst, accessed January 26, 2018.
33. CIA, "Anna Louise Strong," 1958, accessed January 26, 2018.
34. Final Approaches: A Memoir by Gerald Hensley, page 171 (2006, Auckland University Press)
35. Lary, Diana (2015). China's Civil War: A Social History, 1945-1949. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 80. ISBN 978-1-107-05467-7.
36. Anna Louise Strong, "Talk with Mao," Selected Works of Mao-Tse Tung Vol. IV, Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1969; Marxists Internet Archive, accessed January 26, 2018.
37. Wilson Center, "Talk with the American Correspondent Anna Louise Strong," August 1946, accessed January 26, 2018.
38. Toronto Star, "Red Guard Accuses Anna Louise Strong," CIA reprint, June 16, 1968, accessed January 26, 2018.
39. Find A Grave, Anna Louise Strong memorial, accessed January 26, 2018.
40. Frances M. Seeber, ""I Want You to Write to Me": The Papers of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt," Summer 1987 issue of Prologue, accessed January 26, 2018.
41. Maurice Strong biography,, accessed January 26, 2018.

Further reading

• Cattoi, Louise, "Strong life, strongly written," Milwaukee Journal, February 24, 1984, book review about the life of Anna Louise Strong.
• Herken, Gregg (2002). Brotherhood of the Bomb: The Tangled Lives and Loyalties of Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
• Jackson, Rebecca, The Politics of Gender in the Writings of Anna Louise Strong, Seattle General Strike Project, 1999.
• Kim Il-sung (August 8, 1947). Talk to American Journalist Anna Louis [sic] Strong (PDF).
• Mao Zedong (August 1946). "Talk with the American Correspondent Anna Luise Strong". Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung. IV. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press. OCLC 898328894.
• — (July 14, 1956). "U.S. imperialism is a paper tiger". Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung. V. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press. OCLC 898328894.
• — (November 18, 1957). "All reactionaries are paper tigers". Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung. V. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press. OCLC 898328894.
• Strong, Tracy B.; Keyssar, Helene (1983). Right in Her Soul: the Life of Anna Louise Strong. New York: Random House.

External links

• Anna Louise Strong Archive at
• Newspaper clippings about Anna Louise Strong in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
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American Friends Service Committee
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/17/20

American Friends Service Committee
Founded: April 30, 1917
Founder: 17 members of the Religious Society of Friends
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
Origins: Haverford, Pennsylvania, US
Area served: Worldwide with U.S. emphasis
Key people: Joyce Ajlouny, General Secretary
Revenue: US$28.6 million
Employees: 350
Volunteers: thousands
Award(s): Nobel Prize in Peace (1947)
Designations: Pennsylvania Historical Marker
Official name: American Friends Service Committee
Type: City
Criteria: Religion
Designated: November 6, 1999
Location: 1501 Cherry St., at Friends Ctr., Philadelphia

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is a Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) founded organization working for peace and social justice in the United States and around the world. AFSC was founded in 1917 as a combined effort by American members of the Religious Society of Friends to assist civilian victims of World War I. It continued to engage in relief action in Europe and the Soviet Union after the Armistice of 1918. By the mid-1920s it focused on improving racial relations in the U.S., as well as exploring ways to prevent the outbreak of another conflict before and after World War II. As the Cold War developed, it moved to employ more professionals rather than Quaker volunteers, over time attempting to broaden its appeal and respond more forcefully to racial injustice, women's issues, and demands of sexual minorities for equal treatment.


Quakers traditionally oppose violence in all of its forms and therefore many refuse to serve in the military, including when drafted. AFSC's original mission grew from the need to provide conscientious objectors (COs) with a constructive alternative to military service. In 1947 AFSC received the Nobel Peace Prize along with its British counterpart, the Friends Service Council (now called Quaker Peace and Social Witness) on behalf of all Quakers worldwide.[1] Although established by Friends, acting individually, AFSC and the Society of Friends have no legal connections, as stated by its long-time Executive Secretary Clarence Pickett in 1945.[2]


In April 1917—days after the United States joined World War I by declaring war on Germany and its allies—a group of Quakers met in Philadelphia to discuss the pending military draft and how it would affect members of peace churches such as Quakers, Mennonites, Brethren, and the Amish. They developed ideas for alternative service that could be done directly in the battle zones of northern France.[3]

A historic AFSC logo

They also developed plans for dealing with the United States Army, since it had been inconsistent in its dealing with religious objectors to previous wars. Although legally members of pacifist churches were exempt from the draft, individual state draft boards interpreted the law in a variety of ways. Many Quakers and other COs were ordered to report to army camps for military service. Some COs, unaware of the significance of reporting for duty, found that this was interpreted by the military as willingness to fight. One of AFSC's first tasks was to identify CO's, find the camps where they were located, and then visit them to provide spiritual guidance and moral support. In areas where the pacifist churches were more well known (such as Pennsylvania), a number of draft boards were willing to assign COs to AFSC for alternative service.[4]

In addition to conducting alternative service programs for COs, AFSC collected relief in the form of food, clothing, and other supplies for displaced persons in France. Quakers were asked to collect old and make new clothing; to grow fruits and vegetables, can them, and send them to AFSC headquarters in Philadelphia. AFSC then shipped the materials to France for distribution. The young men and women sent to work in France, working with British Quakers, provided relief and medical care to refugees, repaired and rebuilt homes, helped farmers replant fields damaged by the war, and founded a maternity hospital.[5]

After the end of the war in 1918, AFSCs began working in Russia, Serbia, and Poland with orphans and with the victims of famine and disease, and in Germany and Austria, where they set up kitchens to feed hungry children.[5] Eventually AFSC was chartered by President Herbert Hoover to provide the United States sponsored relief to Germans.[6]

During the 1930s and through World War II, AFSC helped refugees escape from Nazi Germany, aiding people who were not being helped by other organizations, primarily non-religious Jews and Jews married to non-Jews.[7] They also provided relief for children on both sides of the Spanish Civil War,[8] and provided relief to refugees in Vichy France.[9] At the same time AFSC operated several Civilian Public Service camps for a new generation of COs. When Japanese Americans were "evacuated" from the West Coast into inland concentration camps, the AFSC headed the effort to help college students transfer to Midwest and East Coast schools in order to avoid camp, and worked with Japanese Americans resettling in several cities during and after the war.[10] After the war ended, they did relief and reconstruction work in Europe, Japan, India, and China. In 1947 they worked to resettle refugees during the partition of India, and in the Gaza Strip. Between 1937 and 1943, the AFSC built the Penn-Craft community for unemployed coal miners in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.[11]

As the Cold War escalated, AFSC was involved in relief and service efforts, often supporting civilians on both sides of conflicts around the world including the Korean War, the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, the Algerian War, and the Nigerian-Biafran War. Beginning in 1966, AFSC developed programs to help children and provided medical supplies and artificial limbs to civilians in both North Vietnam and South Vietnam. Unable to secure U.S. State Department approval to send medical supplies to North Vietnam, the committee dispatched goods through Canada. AFSC also supported draft counseling for young American men throughout the conflict.[12]

In 1955, the committee published Speak Truth to Power: A Quaker Search for an Alternative to Violence, drafted by a group including Stephen G. Cary, A. J. Muste, Robert Pickus, and Bayard Rustin.[13] Focused on the Cold War, the 71-page pamphlet asserted that it sought "to give practical demonstration to the effectiveness of love in human relations".[14] It was widely commented on in the press, both secular and religious, and proved to be a major statement of Christian pacifism.

In the United States, AFSC supported the American Civil Rights Movement, and the rights of African-Americans, Native Americans, Mexican Americans, and Asian Americans. Since the 1970s AFSC has also worked extensively as part of the peace movement, especially work to stop the production and deployment of nuclear weapons.


In fiscal year 2015, AFSC had revenues of US$28.6 million and expenses of US$36.1 million.[15] AFSC had net assets of US$87.8 million.[16]

Programs and projects

Today AFSC programs address a wide range of issues, countries, and communities. AFSC describes the programs as united by "the unfaltering belief in the essential worth of every human being, non-violence as the way to resolve conflict, and the power of love to overcome oppression, discrimination, and violence".[17]

AFSC employs more than two hundred staff working in dozens of programs throughout the United States and works in thirteen other nations.[18] AFSC has divided the organization's programs between 8 geographic regions, each of which runs programs related to peace, immigrant rights, restorative justice, economic justice, and other causes.[19] AFSC's international programs often work in conjunction with Quaker Peace and Social Witness (formerly the British Friends Service Council) and other partners.

AFSC also provides administrative support to the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) in New York City. This office is the official voice of Quakerism in the United Nations headquarters. There is a second QUNO office in Geneva, Switzerland; support for that office is provided by European Quakers. QUNO is overseen by the Friends World Committee for Consultation.

AFSC carries out many programs around the world. The organization's 2010 annual report[20] describes work in several African countries, Haiti, Indonesia, and the United States. Recently AFSC opened a traveling art exhibit called Windows & Mirrors, examining the impact on the war in Afghanistan on civilians.[21]

Cost of War project

Cost of War are real-time cost-estimation exhibits, each featuring a counter/estimator for the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War. These exhibits are maintained by the National Priorities Project.[22] As of June 1, 2010 both wars had a combined estimated cost of over 1 trillion dollars, separately the Iraq War had an estimated cost of 725 billion dollars and the Afghanistan War had an estimated cost of 276 billion dollars. The numbers are based on US Congress appropriation reports and do not include "future medical care for soldiers and veterans wounded in the war".[23]


Based on National Priorities Project Cost of War concept, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) launched an exhibit title titled "Cost of War" in May 2007, at the close of the National Eyes Wide Open Exhibit. It features ten budget trade-offs displayed on 3x7 foot full-color vinyl banners. AFSC uses to cost of the Iraq War estimated by economists Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz in the article "Economic Costs of the Iraq War: An Appraisal Three Years After The Beginning Of The Conflict", written in January 2006 that estimates the total daily cost of the Iraq War at $720 million.[24] AFSC uses The National Priorities Project's per unit costs for human needs such as health care and education to make budget comparisons between the U.S. budget for human needs to "One Day of the Iraq War".[25] The ten banners read:[26]

• One Day of the Iraq War = 720 Million Dollars, How Would You Spend it?
• One Day of the Iraq War = 84 New Elementary Schools
• One Day of the Iraq War = 12,478 Elementary School Teachers
• One Day of the Iraq War = 95,364 Head Start Places for Children
• One Day of the Iraq War = 1,153,846 Children with Free School Lunches
• One Day of the Iraq War = 34,904 Four-Year Scholarships for University Students
• One Day of the Iraq War = 163,525 People with Health Care
• One Day of the Iraq War = 423,529 Children with Health Care
• One Day of the Iraq War = 6,482 Families with Homes
• One Day of the Iraq War = 1,274,336 Homes with Renewable Energy

There are currently 22 Cost of War exhibits located in Northern and Southern California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas/Missouri, Maryland, Massachusetts/Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York/New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia.

Eyes Wide Open project

In 2004, AFSC started the project Eyes Wide Open in Chicago. Eyes Wide Open is an exhibition on the human cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.[27]

Current key issues

The AFSC has five key issues:[28]

• Building peace
• Immigrant rights
• Addressing prisons
• Just economies
• Ending discrimination

Throughout much of the group's history the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and other government agencies have monitored the work of this and many other similar organizations.[29][30][31]

Since the 1970s, criticism has also come from liberals within the Society of Friends, who charge that AFSC has drifted from its Quaker roots and has become indistinguishable from other political pressure groups. Quakers expressed concern with AFSC's abolition of their youth work camps during the 1960s and what some saw as a decline of Quaker participation in the organization.

In June 1979, a cover article in The New Republic attacked AFSC for abandoning the tradition of pacifism.[32] The criticisms became prominent after a gathering of Friends General Conference in Richmond, Indiana, in the summer of 1979 when many Friends joined with prominent leaders, such as Kenneth Boulding, to call for a firmer Quaker orientation toward public issues.[33] Subsequent to the FGC Gathering, a letter listing the points of criticism was signed by 130 Friends and sent to the AFSC Board. In 1988, the book Peace and Revolution[34] by conservative scholar Guenter Lewy repeated charges that AFSC had abandoned pacifism and religion.[32] In response to Lewy's book, Chuck Fager published Quaker Service at the Crossroads[33] in 1988.[35]

In 2010, Fager described that AFSC was "divorced" from Quakers' life as faith community due to "an increasingly pronounced drift toward a lefty secularism" since the 1970s.[32] It was reported that the Committee in 1975 adopted "a formal decision to make the Middle East its major issue".[36][37]

Some Jewish supporters of Israeli government policies have accused AFSC of having an anti-Jewish bias.[38] In 1993, Jacob Neusner called the Committee "the most militant and aggressive of Christian anti-Israel groups".[39]

The AFSC's position on its web site is that it "supports the use of boycott and divestment campaigns targeting only companies that support the occupation, settlements, militarism, or any other violations of international humanitarian or human rights law. Our position does not call for a full boycott of Israel nor of companies because they are either Israeli or doing business in Israel. Our actions also never focus on individuals."[40]

See also

• Christianity portal
• Philadelphia portal
• Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)
• Peace Testimony about the Quaker peace testimony
• Pacifism in the United States


1. "Nobel Peace Prize". 2010-04-10. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
2. H. Larry Ingle (2016). "'Truly Radical, Non-violent, Friendly Approaches': Challenges to the American Friends Service Committee". Quaker History. 105 (Spring): 1–21. doi:10.1353/qkh.2016.0004.
3. "Origin of the American Friends Service Committee". 2010-03-29. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
4. Origin of AFSC Archived 2010-12-09 at the Wayback Machine by former AFSC Archivist Jack Sutters
5. "American Friends Service Committee – History". Retrieved 2016-07-01.
6. "The Nobel Peace Prize 1947 – Presentation Speech". Retrieved 2016-07-01.
7. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "Quakers". Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
8. Maul, Daniel (2016-01-02). "The politics of neutrality: the American Friends Service Committee and the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939". European Review of History: Revue Européenne d'Histoire. 23 (1–2): 82–100. doi:10.1080/13507486.2015.1121972. ISSN 1350-7486.
9. All in the Same Boat: Non-French Women and Resistance in France, 1940–1944, Hillary Mohaupt, Spring 2010.
10. Austin, Allan W. "American Friends Service Committee" Densho Encyclopedia. Accessed July 10, 2014.
11. "National Historic Landmarks & National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania" (Searchable database). CRGIS: Cultural Resources Geographic Information System. Note: This includes Louis Orslene and Susan Shearer (February 1989). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Penn-Craft Historic District" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
12. "Frances Crowe to read from her memoir at First Churches in Northampton on Sunday". Retrieved 2016-07-01.
13. Wendy Chmielewski, “Speak Truth to Power: Religion, Race, and Sexuality, and Politics During the Cold War”
14. Speak truth to power: a Quaker search for an alternative for violence Archived 2017-08-30 at the Wayback Machine from AFSC's archives
15. "Financial Statements and Report" (PDF). Tait Weller. 2016-02-02. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2016-05-28. Retrieved 2016-07-02.
16. "Annual Report 2015" (PDF). American Friends Service Committee. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2016-04-20. Retrieved 2016-07-02.
17. AFSC's Our Work page;
18. AFSC's Where We Work page;
19. AFSC's structure page;
20. Building Peace One Community at a Time: Annual Report 2010
21. The official Windows and Mirrors Archived 2011-12-09 at the Wayback Machine information page.
22. Official Site; National Priorities Project
23. "The Cost of War – How we got the numbers". Archived from the original on 2003-06-01. Retrieved 2007-02-08.
24. Bilmes, Linda; Stiglitz, Joseph E. (January 2006). "The Economic Costs of the Iraq War: An Appraisal Three Years after the Beginning of the Conflict" (PDF). doi:10.2139/ssrn.832646. KSG Working Paper No. 06-002.
25. "Cost of War to the United States".
26. "Cost of War – How would you spend it?". 2013-02-06. Archived from the original on 2007-08-14. Retrieved 2013-04-29.
27. "Eyes Wide Open". 2010-03-19. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
28. "Key issues". Retrieved 2016-07-02.
29. "Washington Post article, Monitoring America". Archived from the original on 2011-04-02. Retrieved 2011-04-12.
30. Documents released under the freedom of information act are hosted on the FBI's websiteArchived 2014-12-05 at the Library of Congress Web Archives
31. In recent years AFSC has worked with the ACLU on several efforts to end spying by local police, the FBI, the Pentagon Archived 2006-04-26 at the Wayback Machine and the NSA Archived2006-09-07 at the Wayback Machine targeted at AFSC and other organizations.
32. "AFSC & Quakers I: The Background of a Concern – A Friendly Letter". 2010-06-19. Retrieved 2016-07-09.
33. Chuck Fager, ed., Quaker Service at the Crossroads: American Friends, The American Friends Service Committee, and Peace and Revolution, Kimo Press, 1988.
34. Lewy, Guenter (1988-01-01). Peace & revolution: the moral crisis of American pacifism. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. ISBN 978-0802836403. OCLC 17439651.
35. Fager, Chuck (1988). "Quaker Service at the Crossroads" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-07-17.
36. Romirowsky, Alexander Joffe and Asaf. "The Quakers, No Friends of Israel". Retrieved 2016-07-17.
37. Romirowsky, Alexander Joffe And Asaf (2015-11-06). "The Quakers, No Friends of Israel". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
38. Kirk, H. David (1979). The Friendly Perversion: Quakers as Reconciliers: Good People and Dirty Work. Americans for a Safe Israel.
39. Neusner, Jacob (1993). In the aftermath of the Holocaust. Garland. p. 17.
40. Allison Kaplan Sommer (January 8, 2018). "How a U.S. Quaker Group That Won the Nobel Peace Prize Ended Up on Israel's BDS Blacklist". Haaretz.

Further reading

• Austin, Allan W. Quaker Brotherhood: Interracial Activism and the American Friends Service Committee, 1917–1950. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2012.
• Barnes, Gregory A. A Centennial History of the American Friends Service Committee. Philadelphia: FriendsPress, 2016.
• H. Larry Ingle, "The American Friends Service Committee, 1947–49: The Cold War's Effect," Peace & Change, 23 (January 1998), 27–48. doi:10.1111/0149-0508.691998035.
• Mary Hoxie Jones, Swords into ploughshares: an account of the American Friends Service Committee, 1917–1937. New York: Macmillan, 1937.


• Tyree Scott Papers. 1970–1995. 73 cubic feet (73 boxes). Contains records from Scott's service with the American Friends Service Committee, Pacific Northwest Regional Offices in the late 1970s. At the Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.
• Records of the American Friends Service Committee, Midwest Branch, Advisory Committee for Evacuees. 1942–1963. 10 linear ft. (25 boxes).
• Emery E. Andrews Papers. 1925–1969. 2.93 cubic ft. Collection materials are in English and Japanese. At the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.

External links

• American Friends Service Committee
• American Friends Service Committee's FBI files on the Internet Archive
• Quaker United Nations Offices
• Cost of War Official Site
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Part 1 of 3

Industrial Workers of the World [Wobblies]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/18/20

Full name: Industrial Workers of the World
Founded: June 27, 1905; 114 years ago[1][2]
Members: Increase 5,875[a]
Journal: Industrial Worker
Key people: § Notable members
Office location: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Country: International

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), members of which are commonly termed "Wobblies", is an international labor union that was founded in 1905 in Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. The union combines general unionism with industrial unionism, as it is a general union, subdivided between the various industries which employ its members. The philosophy and tactics of the IWW are described as "revolutionary industrial unionism", with ties to both socialist[4] and anarchist labor movements.

In the 1910s and early 1920s, the IWW achieved many of their short-term goals, particularly in the American West, and cut across traditional guild and union lines to organize workers in a variety of trades and industries. At their peak in August 1917, IWW membership was more than 150,000, with active wings in the United States, Canada, and Australia.[5] The extremely high rate of IWW membership turnover during this era (estimated at 133% per decade) makes it difficult for historians to state membership totals with any certainty, as workers tended to join the IWW in large numbers for relatively short periods (e.g., during labor strikes and periods of generalized economic distress).[6]

Due to several factors, membership declined dramatically in the late 1910s and 1920s. There were conflicts with other labor groups, particularly the American Federation of Labor (AFL), which regarded the IWW as too radical, while the IWW regarded the AFL as too conservative and dividing workers by craft.[7] Membership also declined due to government crackdowns on radical, anarchist and socialist groups during the First Red Scare after World War I. In Canada the IWW was outlawed by the federal government.

Probably the most decisive factor in the decline in IWW membership and influence, however, was a 1924 schism in the organization, from which the IWW never fully recovered.[7][8]

The IWW promotes the concept of "One Big Union", and contends that all workers should be united as a social class to supplant capitalism and wage labor with industrial democracy.[9] They are known for the Wobbly Shop model of workplace democracy, in which workers elect their managers[10] and other forms of grassroots democracy (self-management) are implemented. IWW membership does not require that one work in a represented workplace,[11] nor does it exclude membership in another labor union.[12]

In 2012, the IWW moved its General Headquarters offices to 2036 West Montrose in Chicago.[13] The origin of the nickname "Wobblies" is uncertain.[14]

History 1905–1950

Main article: Industrial Workers of the World organizational evolution


Big Bill Haywood and office workers in the IWW General Office, Chicago, summer 1917.

The IWW was founded in Chicago, Illinois, in the United States in June 1905. A convention was held of 200 socialists, anarchists, Marxists (primarily members of the Socialist Party of America and Socialist Labor Party) radical trade unionists from all over the United States (mainly the Western Federation of Miners) who strongly opposed the policies of the American Federation of Labor (AFL). The IWW opposed the American Federation of Labor's acceptance of capitalism and its refusal to include unskilled workers in craft unions.[15]

The convention had taken place on June 24, 1905, and was referred to as the "Industrial Congress" or the "Industrial Union Convention". It would later be known as the First Annual Convention of the IWW.[6]:67 It later became considered one of the most important events in the history of industrial unionism.[6]:67

The IWW's founders included William D. ("Big Bill") Haywood, James Connolly, Daniel De Leon, Eugene V. Debs, Thomas Hagerty, Lucy Parsons, Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, Frank Bohn, William Trautmann, Vincent Saint John, Ralph Chaplin, and many others.

The IWW aimed to promote worker solidarity in the revolutionary struggle to overthrow the employing class; its motto was "an injury to one is an injury to all", which improved upon the Knights of Labor's creed, "an injury to one is the concern of all" which was at its most popular in the 1880s. In particular, the IWW was organized because of the belief among many unionists, socialists, anarchists, Marxists, and radicals that the AFL not only had failed to effectively organize the U.S. working class, but it was causing separation rather than unity within groups of workers by organizing according to narrow craft principles. The Wobblies believed that all workers should organize as a class, a philosophy which is still reflected in the Preamble to the current IWW Constitution:

The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.

Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth.

We find that the centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands makes the trade unions unable to cope with the ever growing power of the employing class. The trade unions foster a state of affairs which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trade unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers.

These conditions can be changed and the interest of the working class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry, or in all industries if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all.

Instead of the conservative motto, "A fair day's wage for a fair day's work," we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, "Abolition of the wage system."

It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only for everyday struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.[9]

The first IWW charter in Canada, Vancouver Industrial Mixed Union no.322, May 5, 1906.

The Wobblies, as they were informally known, differed from other union movements of the time by promotion of industrial unionism, as opposed to the craft unionism of the American Federation of Labor. The IWW emphasized rank-and-file organization, as opposed to empowering leaders who would bargain with employers on behalf of workers. The early IWW chapters' consistently refused to sign contracts, which they believed would restrict workers' abilities to aid each other when called upon. Though never developed in any detail, Wobblies envisioned the general strike as the means by which the wage system would be overthrown and a new economic system ushered in, one which emphasized people over profit, cooperation over competition.

One of the IWW's most important contributions to the labor movement and broader push towards social justice was that, when founded, it was the only American union to welcome all workers, including women, immigrants, African Americans and Asians, into the same organization. Many of its early members were immigrants, and some, such as Carlo Tresca, Joe Hill and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, rose to prominence in the leadership. Finns formed a sizeable portion of the immigrant IWW membership. "Conceivably, the number of Finns belonging to the I.W.W. was somewhere between five and ten thousand."[16] The Finnish-language newspaper of the IWW, Industrialisti, published in Duluth, Minnesota, a center of the mining industry, was the union's only daily paper. At its peak, it ran 10,000 copies per issue. Another Finnish-language Wobbly publication was the monthly Tie Vapauteen ("Road to Freedom"). Also of note was the Finnish IWW educational institute, the Work People's College in Duluth, and the Finnish Labour Temple in Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada, which served as the IWW Canadian administration for several years. Further, many Swedish immigrants, particularly those blacklisted after the 1909 Swedish General Strike, joined the IWW and set up similar cultural institutions around the Scandinavian Socialist Clubs. This in turn exerted a political influence on the Swedish labour movement's left, that in 1910 formed the Syndicalist union SAC which soon contained a minority seeking to mimick the tactics and strategies of the IWW.[17] One example of the union's commitment to equality was Local 8, a longshoremen's branch in Philadelphia, one of the largest ports in the nation in the WWI era. Led by Ben Fletcher, an African American, Local 8 had more than 5,000 members, the majority of whom were African American, along with more than a thousand immigrants (primarily Lithuanians and Poles), Irish Americans, and numerous white ethnics.

Divide on political action or direct action

Main article: Industrial Workers of the World philosophy and tactics

In 1908 a group led by Daniel DeLeon argued that political action through DeLeon's Socialist Labor Party (SLP) was the best way to attain the IWW's goals. The other faction, led by Vincent Saint John, William Trautmann, and Big Bill Haywood, believed that direct action in the form of strikes, propaganda, and boycotts was more likely to accomplish sustainable gains for working people; they were opposed to arbitration and to political affiliation. Haywood's faction prevailed, and De Leon and his supporters left the organization, forming their own version of the IWW. The SLP's "Yellow IWW" eventually took the name Workers' International Industrial Union, which was disbanded in 1924.

The black cat symbol, created by IWW member Ralph Chaplin, is often used to signify sabotage or wildcat strikes.


A Wobbly membership card, or "red card"

"The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all ... The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands – the ownership and control of their livelihoods – are set at naught, we can have neither men's rights nor women's rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease."

— Helen Keller, IWW member, 1911[18]

The IWW first attracted attention in Goldfield, Nevada in 1906 and during the Pressed Steel Car Strike of 1909[19] at McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. Further fame was gained later that year, when they took their stand on free speech. The town of Spokane, Washington, had outlawed street meetings, and arrested Elizabeth Gurley Flynn,[20] a Wobbly organizer, for breaking this ordinance. The response was simple but effective: when a fellow member was arrested for speaking, large numbers of people descended on the location and invited the authorities to arrest all of them, until it became too expensive for the town. In Spokane, over 500 people went to jail and four people died. The tactic of fighting for free speech to popularize the cause and preserve the right to organize openly was used effectively in Fresno, Aberdeen, and other locations. In San Diego, although there was no particular organizing campaign at stake, vigilantes supported by local officials and powerful businessmen mounted a particularly brutal counter-offensive.

1914 IWW demonstration in New York City

By 1912 the organization had around 25,000 members,[21] concentrated in the Northwest, among dock workers, agricultural workers in the central states, and in textile and mining areas. The IWW was involved in over 150 strikes, including the Lawrence textile strike (1912), the Paterson silk strike (1913) and the Mesabi range (1916). They were also involved in what came to be known as the Wheatland Hop Riot on August 3, 1913.


In its first decades, the IWW created more than 900 unions located in more than 350 cities and towns in 38 states and territories of the United States and 5 Canadian provinces.[22] Throughout the country, there were 90 newspapers and periodicals affiliated with the IWW, published in 19 different languages. Members of the IWW were active throughout the country and were involved in the Seattle General Strike,[23] were arrested or killed in the Everett Massacre,[24] organized among Mexican workers in the Southwest,[25] became a largest and powerful longshoremen's union in Philadelphia,[26] and more.

IWW versus AFL Carpenters, Goldfield, Nevada, 1907

The IWW assumed a prominent role in 1906 and 1907, in the gold-mining boom town of Goldfield, Nevada. At that time, the Western Federation of Miners was still an affiliate of the IWW (the WFM withdrew from the IWW in the summer of 1907). In 1906, the IWW became so powerful in Goldfield that it could dictate wages and working conditions.

Resisting IWW domination was the AFL-affiliated Carpenters Union. In March 1907, the IWW demanded that the mines deny employment to AFL Carpenters, which led mine owners to challenge the IWW. The mine owners banded together and pledged not to employ any IWW members. The mine and business owners of Goldfield staged a lockout, vowing to remain shut until they had broken the power of the IWW. The lockout prompted a split within the Goldfield workforce, between conservative and radical union members.[27]

The mine owners persuaded the Nevada governor to ask for federal troops. Under the protection of federal troops, the mine owners reopened the mines with non-union labor, breaking the influence of the IWW in Goldfield.

The Haywood trial and the exit of the Western Federation of Miners

Leaders of the Western Federation of Miners such as Bill Haywood and Vincent St. John were instrumental in forming the IWW, and the WFM affiliated with the new union organization shortly after the IWW was formed. The WFM became the IWW's "mining section." However, many in the rank and file of the WFM were uncomfortable with the open radicalism of the IWW, and wanted the WFM to maintain its independence. Schisms between the WFM and IWW had emerged at the annual IWW convention in 1906, when a majority of WFM delegates walked out.[6]

When WFM executives Bill Haywood, George Pettibone, and Charles Moyer were accused of complicity in the murder of former Idaho governor Frank Steunenberg, the IWW used the case to raise funds and support, and paid for the legal defense. However, even the not guilty verdicts worked against the IWW, because the IWW was deprived of martyrs, and at the same time, a large portion of the public remained convinced of the guilt of the accused.[28] The trials caused a bitter split between Haywood and Moyer. The Haywood trial also provoked a reaction within the WFM against violence and radicalism. In the summer of 1907, the WFM withdrew from the IWW, Vincent St. John left the WFM to spend his time organizing the IWW.

Bill Haywood for a time remained a member of both organizations. His murder trial had made Haywood a celebrity, and he was in demand as a speaker for the WFM. However, his increasingly radical speeches became more at odds with the WFM, and in April 1908, the WFM announced that the union had ended Haywood's role as a union representative. Haywood left the WFM, and devoted all his time to organizing for the IWW.[6]:216–217

Historian Vernon H. Jensen has asserted that the IWW had a "rule or ruin" policy, under which it attempted to wreck local unions which it could not control. From 1908 to 1921, Jensen and others have written, the IWW attempted to win power in WFM locals which had once formed the federation's backbone. When it could not do so, IWW agitators undermined WFM locals, which caused the national union to shed nearly half its membership.[29][30][31][32][33][34][35]

IWW versus the Western Federation of Miners

The Western Federation of Miners left the IWW in 1907, but the IWW wanted the WFM back. The WFM had made up about a third of the IWW membership, and the western miners were tough union men, and good allies in a labor dispute. In 1908, Vincent St. John tried to organize a stealth takeover of the WFM. He wrote to WFM organizer Albert Ryan, encouraging him to find reliable IWW sympathizers at each WFM local, and have them appointed delegates to the annual convention by pretending to share whatever opinions of that local needed to become a delegate. Once at the convention, they could vote in a pro-IWW slate. St. Vincent promised: “… once we can control the officers of the WFM for the IWW, the big bulk of the membership will go with them.” But the takeover did not succeed.[36]

In 1914, Butte, Montana, erupted into a series of riots as miners dissatisfied with the Western Federation of Miners local at Butte formed a new union, and demanded that all miners join the new union, or be subject to beatings or worse. Although the new rival union had no affiliation with the IWW, it was widely seen as IWW-inspired. The leadership of the new union contained many who were members of the IWW, or agreed with the IWW's methods and objectives. However, the new union failed to supplant the WFM, and the ongoing fight between the two factions had the result that the copper mines of Butte, which had long been a union stronghold for the WFM, became open shops, and the mine owners recognized no union from 1914 until 1934.[37]

IWW versus United Mine Workers, Scranton, Pennsylvania, 1916

The IWW clashed with the United Mine Workers union in April 1916, when the IWW picketed the anthracite mines around Scranton, Pennsylvania, intending, by persuasion or force, to keep UMWA members from going to work. The IWW considered the UMWA too reactionary, because the United Mine Workers negotiated contracts with the mine owners for fixed time periods; the IWW considered that contracts hindered their revolutionary goals. In what a contemporary writer pointed out was a complete reversal of their usual policy, UMWA officials called for police to protect United Mine Workers members who wished to cross the picket lines. The Pennsylvania State Police arrived in force, prevented picket line violence, and allowed the UMWA members to peacefully pass through the IWW picket lines.[6][38]

Between 1915 and 1917, the IWW's Agricultural Workers Organization (AWO) organized more than a hundred thousand migratory farm workers throughout the Midwest and western United States,[39] often signing up and organizing members in the field, in rail yards and in hobo jungles. During this time, the IWW member became synonymous with the hobo riding the rails; migratory farmworkers could scarcely afford any other means of transportation to get to the next jobsite. Railroad boxcars, called "side door coaches" by the hobos, were frequently plastered with silent agitators from the IWW.

Building on the success of the AWO, the IWW's Lumber Workers Industrial Union (LWIU) used similar tactics to organize lumberjacks and other timber workers, both in the deep South and the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada, between 1917 and 1924. The IWW lumber strike of 1917 led to the eight-hour day and vastly improved working conditions in the Pacific Northwest. Even though mid-century historians would give credit to the US Government and "forward thinking lumber magnates" for agreeing to such reforms, an IWW strike forced these concessions.[40]

From 1913 through the mid-1930s, the IWW's Marine Transport Workers Industrial Union (MTWIU), proved a force to be reckoned with and competed with AFL unions for ascendance in the industry. Given the union's commitment to international solidarity, its efforts and success in the field come as no surprise. Local 8 of the Marine Transport Workers was led by Ben Fletcher, who organized predominantly African-American longshoremen on the Philadelphia and Baltimore waterfronts, but other leaders included the Swiss immigrant Walter Nef, Jack Walsh, E.F. Doree, and the Spanish sailor Manuel Rey. The IWW also had a presence among waterfront workers in Boston, New York City, New Orleans, Houston, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Eureka, Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, Vancouver as well as in ports in the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and other nations. IWW members played a role in the 1934 San Francisco general strike and the other organizing efforts by rank-and-filers within the International Longshoremen's Association up and down the West Coast.

Wobblies also played a role in the sit-down strikes and other organizing efforts by the United Auto Workers in the 1930s, particularly in Detroit, though they never established a strong union presence there.

Where the IWW did win strikes, such as in Lawrence, they often found it hard to hold onto their gains. The IWW of 1912 disdained collective bargaining agreements and preached instead the need for constant struggle against the boss on the shop floor. It proved difficult, however, to maintain that sort of revolutionary enthusiasm against employers. In Lawrence, the IWW lost nearly all of its membership in the years after the strike, as the employers wore down their employees' resistance and eliminated many of the strongest union supporters. In 1938, the IWW voted to allow contracts with employers,[41] so long as they would not undermine any strike.

Government suppression

Joseph J. Ettor, who had been arrested in 1912, giving a speech to barbers on strike

A newspaper editorial cartoon from 1917, critical of the IWW's antiwar stance during World War I

Anti-socialist cartoon in a railroad-sponsored magazine, 1912

The IWW's efforts were met with "unparalleled" resistance from Federal, state and local governments in America;[7] from company management and labor spies, and from groups of citizens functioning as vigilantes. In 1914, Wobbly Joe Hill (born Joel Hägglund) was accused of murder in Utah and, on what many regarded as flimsy evidence, was executed in 1915.[42][43] On November 5, 1916, at Everett, Washington, a group of deputized businessmen led by Sheriff Donald McRae attacked Wobblies on the steamer Verona, killing at least five union members[44] (six more were never accounted for and probably were lost in Puget Sound). Two members of the police force — one a regular officer and another a deputized citizen from the National Guard Reserve — were killed, probably by "friendly fire".[45] At least five Everett civilians were wounded.[46]

Many IWW members opposed United States participation in World War I. The organization passed a resolution against the war at its convention in November 1916.[47]:241 This echoed the view, expressed at the IWW's founding convention, that war represents struggles among capitalists in which the rich become richer, and the working poor all too often die at the hands of other workers.

An IWW newspaper, the Industrial Worker, wrote just before the U.S. declaration of war: "Capitalists of America, we will fight against you, not for you! There is not a power in the world that can make the working class fight if they refuse." Yet when a declaration of war was passed by the U.S. Congress in April 1917, the IWW's general secretary-treasurer Bill Haywood became determined that the organization should adopt a low profile in order to avoid perceived threats to its existence. The printing of anti-war stickers was discontinued, stockpiles of existing anti-war documents were put into storage, and anti-war propagandizing ceased as official union policy. After much debate on the General Executive Board, with Haywood advocating a low profile and GEB member Frank Little championing continued agitation, Ralph Chaplin brokered a compromise agreement. A statement was issued that denounced the war, but IWW members were advised to channel their opposition through the legal mechanisms of conscription. They were advised to register for the draft, marking their claims for exemption "IWW, opposed to war."[47]:242–244

In spite of the IWW moderating its vocal opposition, the IWW's antiwar stance made it highly unpopular. Frank Little, the IWW's most outspoken war opponent, was lynched in Butte, Montana, in August 1917, just four months after war had been declared.

Cover of The Evolution of Industrial Democracy by Abner E. Woodruff, initialed by illustrator Ralph Hosea Chaplin, published by IWW. Notably stamped as evidence used in a trial.

During World War I the U.S. government moved strongly against the IWW. On September 5, 1917, U.S. Department of Justice agents made simultaneous raids on dozens of IWW meeting halls across the country.[30]:406 Minutes books, correspondence, mailing lists, and publications were seized, with the U.S. Department of Justice removing five tons of material from the IWW's General Office in Chicago alone.[30]:406 This seized material was scoured for possible violations of the Espionage Act of 1917 and other laws, with a view to future prosecution of the organization's leaders, organizers, and key activists.

Based in large measure on the documents seized September 5, one hundred and sixty-six IWW leaders were indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in Chicago for conspiring to hinder the draft, encourage desertion, and intimidate others in connection with labor disputes, under the new Espionage Act.[30]:407 One hundred and one went on trial en masse before Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis in 1918. Their lawyer was George Vanderveer of Seattle.[48] They were all convicted — including those who had not been members of the union for years — and given prison terms of up to twenty years. Sentenced to prison by Judge Landis and released on bail, Haywood fled to the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic where he remained until his death.

In 1917, during an incident known as the Tulsa Outrage, a group of black-robed Knights of Liberty tarred and feathered seventeen members of the IWW in Oklahoma. The attack was cited as revenge for the Green Corn Rebellion, a preemptive attack caused by fear of an impending attack on the oil fields and as punishment for not supporting the war effort. The IWW members had been turned over to the Knights of Liberty by local authorities after they were beaten, arrested at their headquarters and convicted of the crime of vagrancy. Five other men who testified in defense of the Wobblies were also fined by the court and subjected to the same torture and humiliations at the hands of the Knights of Liberty.[49][50][51][52][53]

In 1919, an Armistice Day parade by the American Legion in Centralia, Washington, turned into a fight between legionnaires and IWW members in which four legionnaires and a Centralia deputy sheriff were shot dead. Which side initiated the violence of the Centralia massacre is disputed. A number of IWWs were arrested, one of whom, Wesley Everest, was lynched by a mob that night.[54]

Members of the IWW were prosecuted under various State and federal laws and the 1920 Palmer Raids singled out the foreign-born members of the organization.

Organizational schism and afterwards

IWW quickly recovered from the setbacks of 1919 and 1920, with membership peaking in 1923 (58,300 estimated by dues paid per capita, though membership was likely much higher as the union tolerated delinquent members).[55] But recurring internal debates, especially between those who sought either to centralize or decentralize the organization, ultimately brought about the IWW's 1924 schism.[56]

At the beginning of the 1949 Smith Act trials, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was disappointed when prosecutors indicted fewer CPUSA members than he had hoped, and – recalling the arrests and convictions of over one hundred IWW leaders in 1917 – complained to the Justice Department, stating, "the IWW was crushed and never revived, similar action at this time would have been as effective against the Communist Party."

Activity after World War II


Taft–Hartley Act

An injury to one is an injury to all.

After the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1946 by Congress, which called for the removal of Communist union leadership, the IWW experienced a loss of membership as differences of opinion occurred over how to respond to the challenge. In 1949, US Attorney General Tom C. Clark[57] placed the IWW on the Attorney General's List of Subversive Organizations[58] in the category of "organizations seeking to change the government by unconstitutional means" under Executive Order 9835, which offered no means of appeal, and which excluded all IWW members from Federal employment and federally subsidized housing programs (this order was revoked by Executive Order 10450 in 1953).

At this time, the Cleveland local of the Metal and Machinery Workers Industrial Union (MMWIU) was the strongest IWW branch in the United States. Leading figures such as Frank Cedervall, who had helped build the branch up for over ten years, were concerned about the possibility of raiding from AFL-CIO unions if the IWW had its legal status as a union revoked. In 1950, Cedervall led the 1500-member MMWIU national organization to split from the IWW, as the Lumber Workers Industrial Union had almost thirty years earlier. Unfortunately for the MMWIU, this act would not save it. Despite its brief affiliation with the Congress of Industrial Organizations, it would face serious raiding from AFL and CIO and would be defunct by the late 1950s, less than ten years after separating from the IWW.[59]

The loss of the MMWIU, at the time the IWW's largest industrial union, was almost a deathblow to the IWW. The union's membership fell to its lowest level in the 1950s during the Second Red Scare, and by 1955, the union's fiftieth anniversary, it was near extinction, though it still appeared on government lists of Communist-led groups.[60]

1960s rejuvenation

The 1960s civil rights movement, anti-war protests, and various university student movements brought new life to the IWW, albeit with many fewer new members than the great organizing drives of the early part of the 20th century.

The first signs of new life for the IWW in the 1960s would be organizing efforts among students in San Francisco and Berkeley, which were hotbeds of student radicalism at the time. This targeting of students would result in a Bay Area branch of the union with over a hundred members in 1964, almost as many as the union's total membership in 1961. Wobblies old and new would unite for one more "free speech fight": Berkeley's Free Speech Movement. Riding on this high, the decision in 1967 to allow college and university students to join the Education Workers Industrial Union (IU 620) as full members spurred campaigns in 1968 at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.[61]:13 The IWW would send representatives to Students for a Democratic Society conventions in 1967, 1968, and 1969, and as the SDS collapsed into infighting, the IWW would gain members who were fleeing this discord. These changes would have a profound effect on the union, which by 1972 would have sixty-seven percent of members under the age of thirty, with a total of nearly five hundred members.[61]:14

The IWW's links to the 60s counterculture led to organizing campaigns at counterculture businesses, as well as a wave of over two dozen co-ops affiliating with the IWW under its Wobbly Shop model in the 1960s to 1980s. These businesses were primarily in printing, publishing, and food distribution; from underground newspapers and radical print shops to community co-op grocery stores. Some of the printing and publishing industry co-ops and job shops included Black & Red (Detroit), Glad Day Press (New York),[61]:17 RPM Press (Michigan),[61]:17 New Media Graphics (Ohio),[61]:17 Babylon Print (Wisconsin),[61]:17 Hill Press (Illinois),[61]:17 Lakeside (Madison, Wisconsin), Harbinger (Columbia, South Carolina), Eastown Printing in Grand Rapids, Michigan (where the IWW negotiated a contract in 1978),[61]:17 and La Presse Populaire (Montréal). This close affiliation with radical publishers and printing houses sometimes led to legal difficulties for the union, such as when La Presse Populaire was shut down in 1970 by provincial police for publishing pro-FLQ materials, which were banned at the time under an official censorship law. Also in 1970, the San Diego, California, "street journal" El Barrio became an official IWW shop. In 1971 its office was attacked by an organization calling itself the Minutemen, and IWW member Ricardo Gonzalves was indicted for criminal syndicalism along with two members of the Brown Berets.[60]

These ties to anti-authoritarian and radical artistic and literary currents would link the IWW even more heavily to the 60s counterculture, exemplified by the publication in Chicago in the 1960s of Rebel Worker by the surrealists Franklin and Penelope Rosemont. One edition was published in London with Charles Radcliffe, who went on to become involved with the Situationist International. By the 1980s, the Rebel Worker was being published as an official organ again, from the IWW's headquarters in Chicago, and the New York area was publishing a newsletter as well.
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Return to workplace campaigns

Invigorated by the arrival of enthusiastic new members, the IWW began a wave of organizing drives. These largely took a regional form and they, as well as the union's overall membership, concentrated in Portland, Chicago, Ann Arbor, and throughout the state of California, which when combined accounted for over half of union drives from 1970 to 1979. In Portland, Oregon, the IWW led campaigns at Winter Products (a brass plating plant) in 1972, at a local Winchell's Donuts (where a strike was waged and lost), at the Albina Day Care (where key union demands were won, including the firing of the director of the day care), of healthcare workers at West Side School and the Portland Medical Center, and of agricultural workers in 1974. The latter effort led to the opening of an IWW union hall in Portland to compete with extortionate hiring halls and day labor agencies. Organizing efforts led to a growth in membership, but repeated loss of strikes and organizing campaigns would anticipate the decline of the Portland branch after the mid-1970s, a stagnancy period which would last until the 1990s.[61]:15

In California, union activities were based in Santa Cruz, where in 1977 the IWW engaged in one of its most ambitious campaigns of the 1970s: an attempt in 1977 to organize 3,000 workers hired under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) in Santa Cruz County. The campaign led to pay raises, the implementation of a grievance procedure, and medical and dental coverage, but the union failed to maintain its foothold, and in 1982 the CETA program would be replaced by the Job Training Partnership Act.[61]:15–16 The IWW would win some lasting victories in Santa Cruz, however, with successful campaigns at the Janus Alcohol Recovery Center, the Santa Cruz Law Center, Project Hope, and the Santa Cruz Community Switchboard.[61]:16

Memorial service

Elsewhere in California, the IWW was active in Long Beach in 1972, where it organized workers at International Wood Products and Park International Corporation (a manufacturer of plastic swimming pool filters) and went on strike after the firing of one worker for union-related activities.[62] Finally, in San Francisco, the IWW ran campaigns for radio station and food service workers.[61]:15–16

In Chicago, the IWW was an early opponent of so-called urban renewal programs, and supported the creation of the "Chicago People's Park" in 1969. The Chicago branch also ran citywide campaigns for healthcare, food service, entertainment, construction, and metal workers, and its success with the latter led to an attempt to revive the national Metal and Machinery Workers Industrial Union, which twenty years earlier had been a major component of the union. Metalworker organizing would largely end in 1978 after a failed strike at Mid-American Metal in Virden, Illinois. The IWW also became one of the first unions to try to organize fast food workers, with an organizing campaign at a local McDonald's in 1973.[61]:16

The IWW also built on its existing presence in Ann Arbor, which had existed since student organizing began at the University of Michigan, to launch an organizing campaign at the University Cellar, a college bookstore. The union won National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) certification there in 1979 following a strike, and the store would become a strong job shop for the union until it was closed in 1986. The union launched a similar campaign at another local bookstore, Charing Cross Books, but was unable to maintain its foothold there despite reaching a settlement with management.[61]:17

In the late 1970s, the IWW came to regional prominence in entertainment industry organizing, with an Entertainment Workers Organizing Committee being founded in Chicago in 1976, followed by campaigns organizing musicians in Cleveland in 1977 and Ann Arbor in 1978. The Chicago committee published a model contract which was distributed to musicians in the hopes of raising industry standards, as well as maintaining an active phone line for booking information. IWW musicians such as Utah Phillips, Faith Petric, Bob Bovee, and Jim Ringer also toured and promoted the union,[61]:17 and in 1987 an anthology album, Rebel Voices, was released.

Other IWW organizing campaigns of the 1970s included a ShopRite supermarket in Milwaukee, at Coronet Foods in Wheeling, West Virginia, chemical and fast food workers (including KFC and Roy Rogers) in State College, Pennsylvania, and hospital workers in Boston, all in 1973; shipyards in Houston, Texas, and restaurant workers in Pittsburgh in 1974; unsuccessful campaigns at the Prospect Nursing Home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a Pizza Hut in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, in 1975; and a construction workers organizing drive in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1978.[61]:18


In the 1990s, the IWW was involved in many labor struggles and free speech fights, including Redwood Summer, and the picketing of the Neptune Jade in the port of Oakland in late 1997.

In 1996, the IWW launched an organizing drive against Borders Books in Philadelphia. In March, the union lost an NLRB certification vote by a narrow margin but continued to organize. In June, IWW member Miriam Fried was fired on trumped-up charges and a national boycott of Borders was launched in response. IWW members picketed at Borders stores nationwide, including Ann Arbor; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Miami; Chicago; Palo Alto; Portland, OR; Portland, ME; Boston; Philadelphia; Albany; Richmond; St. Louis; Los Angeles; and other cities. This was followed up with a National Day of Action in 1997, where Borders stores were again picketed nationwide, and a second organizing campaign in London, England.[63]

Also in 1996, the IWW began organizing at Wherehouse Music in El Cerrito, California. The campaign continued until 1997, when management fired two organizers and laid off over half the employees, as well as reducing the hours of known union members. This directly affected the NLRB certification vote which followed, where the IWW lost over 2:1.[63]

A group of seven people stand near the entrance of a building.

Three IWW General Secretary-Treasurers: Mark Kaufman, Jeff Ditz, and Fred Chase, at a funeral for a friend.

In 1998, the IWW chartered a San Francisco branch of the Marine Transport Workers Industrial Union (MTWIU), which trained hundreds of waterfront workers in health and safety techniques and attempted to institutionalize these safety practices on the San Francisco waterfront.[64]

In 1999, the IWW chartered a local branch of the Education Workers Industrial Union in Boston, Massachusetts, which started to organize workers at local colleges and universities.

Additionally, IWW organizing drives in the late 90s included a strike at the Lincoln Park Mini Mart in Seattle in 1996, Keystone Job Corps, the community organization ACORN, various homeless and youth centers in Portland, Oregon, sex industry workers, and recycling shops in Berkeley, California. IWW members were also active in the building trades, shipyards, high tech industries, hotels and restaurants, public interest organizations, railroads, bike messengers, and lumber yards.

The IWW stepped in several times to help the rank and file in mainstream unions, including saw mill workers in Fort Bragg in California in 1989, concession stand workers in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1990s, and shipyards along the Mississippi River.


Members in good standing (legal records)

In the early 2000s, the IWW organized Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics, a fabric shop in Berkeley, California. The shop continues to remain an IWW organized shop.

The city of Berkeley's recycling is picked up, sorted, processed and sent out all through two different IWW-organized enterprises.

In 2003, the IWW began organizing street people and other non-traditional occupations with the formation of the Ottawa Panhandlers Union. A year later, the Panhandlers Union led a strike by the homeless. Negotiations with the city resulted in the city government promising to fund a newspaper written and sold by the homeless.

Between 2003 and 2006, the IWW organized unions at food co-operatives in Seattle, Washington and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The IWW represents administrative and maintenance workers under contract in Seattle, while the union in Pittsburgh lost 22–21 in an NLRB election, only to have the results invalidated in late 2006, based on management's behavior before the election.

In 2004, an IWW union was organized in a New York City Starbucks. In 2006, the IWW continued efforts at Starbucks by organizing several Chicago area shops.[67][68]

In Chicago the IWW began an effort to organize bicycle messengers with some success.

In September 2004, IWW-organized short haul truck drivers in Stockton, California walked off their jobs and went on a strike. Nearly all demands were met. Despite early victories in Stockton, the truck driver union ceased to exist in mid-2005.

In New York City, the IWW has been organizing immigrant foodstuffs workers since 2005. That summer, workers from Handyfat Trading joined the IWW, and were soon followed by workers from four more warehouses.[69] Workers at these warehouses made gains such as receiving the minimum wage and being paid overtime.

In 2006, the IWW moved its headquarters to Cincinnati, Ohio, and in 2010, headquarters was moved back to Chicago, Illinois.

Also in 2006, the IWW Bay Area Branch organized the Landmark Shattuck Cinemas. The Union has been negotiating for a contract and hopes to gain one through workplace democracy and organizing directly and taking action when necessary.

IWW flags at a 2007 rally in Seattle.

The Wobblies are back. Many young radicals find the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) the most congenial available platform on which to stand in trying to change the world.

— Staughton Lynd, 2014.[70]

In May 2007, the NYC warehouse workers came together with the Starbucks Workers Union to form The Food and Allied Workers Union IU 460/640. In the summer of 2007, the IWW organized workers at two new warehouses: Flaum Appetizing, a Kosher food distributor, and Wild Edibles, a seafood company. Over the course of 2007–08, workers at both shops were illegally terminated for their union activity. In 2008, the workers at Wild Edibles actively fought to get their jobs back and to secure overtime pay owed to them by the boss. In a workplace justice campaign called Focus on the Food Chain, carried out jointly with Brandworkers International, the IWW workers won settlements against employers including Pur Pac, Flaum Appetizing and Wild Edibles.[71][72][73][74]

Besides IWW's traditional practice of organizing industrially, the Union has been open to new methods such as organizing geographically: for instance, seeking to organize retail workers in a certain business district, as in Philadelphia.

The union has also participated in such worker-related issues as protesting involvement in the war in Iraq, opposing sweatshops and supporting a boycott of Coca-Cola for that company's support of the suppression of workers rights in Colombia.

On July 5, 2008, the Grand Rapids, Michigan, Starbucks Workers Union and CNT-AIT in Seville, Spain, organized a global day of action against alleged Starbucks union busting, in particular the firing of two union members in Grand Rapids and Seville. According to the Grand Rapids Starbucks Workers Union website,[75] pickets were held in several dozen cities in more than a dozen countries.

IWW in Washington D.C.

The Portland, Oregon General Membership Branch is one of the largest and most active branches of the IWW currently. The branch holds three contracts currently, two with Janus Youth Programs and one with Portland Women's Crisis Line.[76] There has been some debate within the branch about whether or not union contracts such as this are desirable in the long run, with some members favoring solidarity unionism as opposed to contract unionism and some members believing there is room for both strategies for organizing. The branch has successfully supported workers wrongfully fired from several different workplaces in the last two years. Due to picketing by Wobblies, these workers have received significant compensation from their former employers. Branch membership has been increasing, as has shop organizing. As of 2005, the 100th anniversary of its founding, the IWW had around 5,000 members, compared to 13 million members in the AFL-CIO.[77] Other IWW branches are located in Australia, Austria, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Uganda and the United Kingdom.

2011 Wisconsin General Strike
In early 2011, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announced a budget bill which the IWW held would effectively outlaw unions for state or municipal workers. In response, there was an emergency meeting of the Midwestern IWW member organizations. The participants decided that organizing a general strike was an absolute priority. IWW members presented a proposal at a meeting of South-Central Federation of Labor (SCFL) which would endorse a general strike and create an ad-hoc Committee to instruct affiliated locals in preparations for the general strike. The IWW proposal passed nearly unanimously. The Madison branch made an international appeal translating various materials concerning the strike into Arabic, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Additionally, an appeal was made to European unions (CNT – Spain, CGT – Spain and CGT – France) to send organizers to Madison who could present their experience of general strikes at union meetings and help organize the strike in other ways. The CNT (France) sent letters of solidarity to the IWW. This was considered the largest and most successful intervention in a working-class struggle that the IWW has undertaken since the 1930s.[78] In the aftermath, the strike was said by some to be 'The General Strike that didn't happen' because eventually ongoing efforts at industrial action were "completely overwhelmed by the recall effort" against the governor during the crisis.[79]

Since 2012

In 2012, the IWW moved its General Headquarters offices to 2036 West Montrose, Chicago.[13]

The IWW waged an organizing campaign at Chicago-Lake Liquors in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2013. The store, which advertises itself as the highest-volume liquor store in Minnesota, had a wage cap of $10.50 per hour, but in the face of IWW demands for the wage cap to be lifted, store management fired five organizers. On April 6, the Twin Cities branch of the union responded with a picket around the store informing customers of the situation. This was followed by a second picket on May 4, a day which customarily had heavy business at the store. The union claimed to have made "what should have been an extremely busy Saturday into a quiet afternoon inside the store".[80] After several months, the National Labor Relations Board announced that it found merit in the union's unfair dismissal complaint.[81] As a result, the union and store management agreed to a $32,000 settlement as a form of compensation to the fired workers and the campaign officially ended.

Workers at the Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School in Holyoke, Massachusetts were organized with the IWW in 2015, hoping to address the "authoritarian leadership" of the school administration and perceived racial bias in hiring.[82]

On 14 September 2015, after a year long organizing campaign, workers at Sound Stage Production in North Haven Connecticut declared their membership in the IWW.[83] Within a week they were threatened with legal action and fired. After several months of negotiation through the National Labor Relations Board, a settlement was reached and the workers agreed to back pay and severance compensation. As part of the campaign, the workers formed the Production Services Collective and continue as a workers cooperative and organizing with IWW-CT.

The IWW announced the Burgerville Workers Union (BVWU) in April 2016, which focuses on workers at the Oregon regional fast food chain, Burgerville. A subsidiary of the IWW, the BVWU went public on April 26 at a rally of workers and supporters outside a Portland, Oregon Burgerville location. Upon going public, the BVWU was endorsed by a number of local Oregon community organizations, including union locals, the Portland Solidarity Network, and food and racial justice organizations.[84] It was also endorsed by then-Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The union received pushback with a letter from Burgerville's CEO, Jeff Harvey, being distributed to workers discouraging them from joining the union.[85] In June 2017, Burgerville paid a settlement of $10,000 after an investigation by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, which found that the company had violated state-mandated break periods for workers.[86] In April and May 2018 the IWW won NLRB elections in 2 Burgerville Locations.

In August 2016, workers at Ellen's Stardust Diner in Manhattan formed Stardust Family United (SFU) under the IWW, driven by the firing of thirty employees, as well as an unpopular new scheduling system.[87] After going public, the union accused Stardust management of retaliatory firings and posting anti-union materials in the restaurant.[88]

On 9 September 2016, the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison Riots, 900[89] incarcerated workers organized by the IWW and many other prisoners participated in the 9/9 National Prison Strike declared by the IWW's Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. Supported by a number of anti-incarceration and prisoners' organizations such as the Free Alabama Movement, the strike focused on the poor conditions in many American prisons and the low rates of prisoner pay for maintaining prisons and engaging in commercial production of goods for third-party companies.[90] The strike affected an estimated twenty[91] prisons in eleven states and had its epicenter at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Alabama.[91] Estimates of the number of inmates affected range from 20,000,[91] to 50,000,[92] to as high as 72,000,[93] with David Fathi of the ACLU National Prison Project judging it to be the "largest prisoner strike in recent memory".[91] Initial media coverage was slow, with strike organizers complaining of a "mainstream-media blackout", which could be attributed to the difficulty in communicating with prisoners, as many prisons went on lockdown either in response to prisoner strike activity or in anticipation of it.[89]

Outside the US


Australia encountered the IWW tradition early. In part this was due to the local De Leonist Socialist Labor Party following the industrial turn of the US SLP. The SLP formed an IWW Club in Sydney in October 1907. Members of other socialist groups also joined it, and the special relationship with the SLP soon proved to be a problem. The 1908 split between the Chicago and Detroit factions in the United States was echoed by internal unrest in the Australian IWW from late 1908, resulting in the formation of a pro-Chicago local in Adelaide in May 1911 and another in Sydney six months later. By mid-1913 the "Chicago" IWW was flourishing and the SLP-associated pro-Detroit IWW Club in decline.[94] In 1916 the "Detroit" IWW in Australia followed the lead of the US body and renamed itself the Workers' International Industrial Union.[95]

The early Australian IWW used a number of tactics from the US, including free speech fights. However, there early appeared significant differences of practice between the Australian IWW and its US parent; the Australian IWW tended to co-operate where possible with existing unions rather than forming its own, and in contrast with the US body took an extremely open and forthright stand against involvement in World War One. The IWW cooperated with many other unions, encouraging industrial unionism and militancy. In particular, the IWW's strategies had a large effect on the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union. The AMIEU established closed shops and workers councils and effectively regulated management behaviour toward the end of the 1910s.

Australian anti-conscription poster, 1916

The IWW was well known for opposing the First World War from 1914 onwards, and in many ways was at the front of the anti-conscription fight. A narrow majority of Australians voted against conscription in a very bitter hard-fought referendum in October 1916, and then again in December 1917, Australia being the only belligerent in World War One without conscription. In very significant part this was due to the agitation of the IWW, a group which probably never had as many as 500 members in Australia at its peak. The IWW founded the Anti-Conscription League (ACL) in which members worked with the broader labour and peace movement, and also carried on an aggressive propaganda campaign in its own name; leading to the imprisonment of Tom Barker (1887–1970) the editor of the IWW paper Direct Action, sentenced to twelve months in March 1916. A series of arson attacks on commercial properties in Sydney was widely attributed to the IWW campaign to have Tom Barker released. He was indeed released in August 1916, but twelve mostly prominent IWW activists, the so-called Sydney Twelve were arrested in NSW in September 1916 for arson and other offences. (Their trial and eventual imprisonment would become a cause célèbre of the Australian labour movement on the basis that there was no convincing evidence that any of them had been involved in the arson attacks.) A number of other scandals were associated with the IWW, a five-pound note forgery scandal, the so-called Tottenham tragedy in which the murder of a police officer was blamed on the IWW, and above all it was blamed for the defeat of the October 1916 conscription referendum. In December 1916 the Commonwealth government led by Labour Party renegade Billy Hughes declared the IWW an illegal organization under the Unlawful Associations Act. Eighty six members immediately defied the law and were sentenced to six months imprisonment. Direct Action was suppressed, its circulation was at its peak of something over 12,000.[96] During the war over 100 members Australia-wide were sentenced to imprisonment on political charges,[97] including the veteran activist Monty Miller.

The IWW continued illegally operating with the aim of freeing its class war prisoners and briefly fused with two other radical tendencies – from the old Socialist parties and Trades Halls – to form a larval communist party at the suggestion of the militant revolutionist and Council Communist Adela Pankhurst. The IWW, however, left the CPA shortly after its formation.

By the early 1930s, most Australian IWW branches had dispersed as the Communist Party grew in influence.[98]

IWW members picket in Sydney, June 1981

The Australian IWW has grown since the 1940s, but due to the nature of the Australian industrial relations system, it is unlikely to win union representation in any workplaces in the immediate future. More significant is its continuing place in the mythology of the militant end of the Australian labour movement.[99] As an extreme example of the integration of ex-IWW militants into the mainstream labour movement one might instance the career of Donald Grant, one of the Sydney Twelve sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment for conspiracy to commit arson and other crimes. Released from prison in August 1920 he would soon break with the IWW over its anti-political stand, standing for the NSW Parliament for the Industrial Socialist Labour Party unsuccessfully in 1922 and then in 1925 for the mainstream Australian Labor Party (ALP) also unsuccessfully. However, this reconciliation with the ALP and the electoral system did not prevent him being imprisoned again in 1927 for street demonstrations supporting Sacco and Vanzetti. He would eventually represent the ALP in the NSW Legislative Council in 1931–1940 and the Australian Senate 1943–1956.[100] No other member of the Australian IWW actually entered Parliament but Grant's career is emblematic in the sense that the ex-IWW militants by and large remained in the broader labour movement, bringing some greater or lesser part of their heritage with them.

"Bump Me Into Parliament"[101] is the most notable Australian IWW song, and is still current. It was written by ship's fireman William "Bill" Casey, later Secretary of the Seaman's Union in Queensland.[96]

New Zealand

Australian influence was strong in early 20th century left-wing groups, and several founders of the New Zealand Labour Party (e.g. Bob Semple) were from Australia. The trans-Tasman interchange was two-way, particularly for miners. Several Tasmanian Labour "groupings" in the 1890s cited their earlier New Zealand experience of activism e.g. later premier Robert Cosgrove, and also Chris Watson from New South Wales.[102]

"Wobbly" activists in New Zealand pre-WWI were John Benjamin King and H. M. Fitzgerald (an adherent of the De Leon school) from Canada. Another was Robert Rivers La Monte from America, who was (briefly) an organiser for the New Zealand Socialist Party (as was Fitzgerald). IWW strongholds were Auckland "a city with the demographic characteristics of a frontier town"; Wellington where a branch survived briefly and in mining towns, on the wharves and among labourers.[103]


The IWW was active in Canada from a very early point in the organization's history, especially in Western Canada, primarily in British Columbia. The union was active in organizing large swaths of the lumber and mining industry along the coast, in the Interior of BC, and Vancouver Island. Joe Hill wrote the song "Where the Fraser River Flows" during this period when the IWW was organizing in British Columbia. Some members of the IWW had relatively close links with the Socialist Party of Canada.[104] Canadians who went to Australia and New Zealand before WWI included John Benjamin King and H. M. Fitzgerald (an adherent of the De Leon school).[103]

Arthur "Slim" Evans, organizer in the Relief Camp Workers' Union and the On-to-Ottawa Trek of 1935 was once a Wobbly, although during the On-to-Ottawa Trek he was with the One Big Union. He was also a friend of another well-known Canadian, Ginger Goodwin, who was shot in Cumberland, British Columbia by a Dominion Police constable when he was resisting the First World War. The impact of Ginger Goodwin influenced various left and progressive groups in Canada, including a progressive group of MPs in the House of Commons called the Ginger Group.

Despite the IWW being banned as a subversive organization in Canada during the First World War, the organization rebounded swiftly after being unbanned after the war, reaching a post-WWI high of 5600 Canadian members in 1923.[105] The union entered a short "golden age" in Canada with an official Canadian Administration located at the Finnish Labour Temple in Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay, Ontario) and a strong base among immigrant labourers in Northern Ontario and Manitoba, especially Finns, which included harvest workers, lumberjacks, and miners. During this period, the IWW would compete for members with a number of other radical and socialist organizations such as the Finnish Organization of Canada (FOC), with the IWW's Industrialisti newspaper competing with the FOC's Vapaus for attention and readership. During this period. Membership slowly decreased during the 1920s and 30s despite continued organizing and strike activity as the IWW lost ground to the One Big Union and Communist Party-controlled organizations such as the Workers' Unity League (WUL). Despite this competition, the IWW and WUL cooperated during strikes, such as at the Abitibi Pulp & Paper Company near Sault Ste. Marie in 1933, where the Finnish workers in the IWW and WUL faced discrimination and violence from the Anglo citizens of the town. The IWW also successfully unionized Ritchie's Dairy in Toronto and formed a fishery workers' branch in MacDiarmid (now Greenstone, Ontario).[106]

In 1936, the IWW in Canada supported the Spanish Revolution and began to recruit for the militia of the anarcho-syndicalist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), in direct conflict with Communist Party recruiters for the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion, a conflict which resulted in a number of violent clashes at recruitment rallies in Northern Ontario. Several Canadian IWW members were killed in the Spanish Civil War and the CNT's ensuing defeat at the hands of both Fascist and Stalinist forces.[106] By the middle of the Second World War, IWW membership had dropped to 500, but had rebounded to 2000 by 1946. After this, the IWW entered a long period of decline, with the Canadian Administration slowly shrinking back to its traditional strongholds in Port Arthur and Vancouver, and becoming more of a social club and mutual aid society of mostly Finnish members in Port Arthur and the co-operative businesses they controlled. An Education Workers Industrial Union branch was established at the University of Waterloo in 1968, but failed to achieve success and dissolved. As well, in 1970 La Presse Populaire du Montréal, an IWW-run print shop, was shut down under the War Measures Act due to its support for the FLQ during the October Crisis. As a sign of the times, the old Canadian Administration in Port Arthur was dissolved in 1973 and replaced by a Canadian Regional Organizing Committee, meaning that Canadian branches would be administrated by the General Administration in the United States. IWW activity in Canada began to shift largely toward strike support and labour activism, such as support for the Artistic Woodwork strike in Toronto in 1974. By the 80s, the Vancouver branch was supporting unemployed activism through the Vancouver Unemployed Action Centre by helping to shut down the scam operation Vancouver Job Mart and supporting the campaign for a fixed-income transit pass.

By the end of the 1990s, the IWW in Canada was following the general pattern of ascendancy, winning government recognition at Harvest Collective in Manitoba, the first shop certified in Canada since 1919. During the 2000s, branches were chartered in several new cities, and existing branches were revitalized. The dissolved Canadian Regional Organizing Committee was refounded in 2011.

In 2009, after Starbucks established policies that would mean demotions and loss of salary for some workers, the Quebec branches of Montreal and Sherbrooke helped found the Starbucks Workers' Union (STTS) which made a breakthrough in Quebec City at an establishment in Sainte-Foy.[107] Leaders Simon Gosselin, Dominic Dupont and Andrew Fletcher were harassed in the months following unionization, and union efforts were defeated by law firm Heenan Blaike in the series of hearings before Quebec Labor Relations Board.[108] Following this episode and judging that the place of a wobblie is on the floor of his workplace and not in a court room, the local decided, once and for all, to abandon the consultation syndicalism of the Commission of labor relations to put forward a para-legal practice with solidarity syndicalism and direct action. This decision was confirmed at the 2011 IWW International Convention where the representatives agreed that no union affiliated with the IWW could sign a contract questioning its right to strike.[109] The result of those tactics provided very good results and Starbucks management backed up on their new policies even though the union process was officially over.

Today the IWW remains active in the country with branches in Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa/Outaouais, Toronto, Windsor, Sherbrooke, Québec City and Montréal.[110] In August 2009, Canadian members voted to ratify the constitution of the Canadian Regional Organizing Committee (CanROC) to improve inter-branch coordination and communication. Affiliated branches are Winnipeg, Ottawa-Outaouais, Toronto, Windsor, Sherbrooke, Montréal and Québec City. Each branch elects a representative to make decisions on the Canadian board. There were originally three officers, the Secretary-Treasurer, Organizing Department Liaison, and Editor of the Canadian Organizing Bulletin.[111] In 2016, CanROC members voted to split the Secretary-Treasurer role into separate Regional Secretary and Regional Treasurer positions.

There are currently five job shops in Canada: Libra Knowledge and Information Services Co-op in Toronto, ParIT Workers Cooperative in Winnipeg, the Windsor Button Collective, the Ottawa Panhandlers' Union and the Street Labourers of Windsor (SLOW). The Ottawa Panhandlers' Union continues a tradition in the IWW of expanding the definition of worker. The union members include anyone who makes their living in the street, including buskers, street vendors, the homeless, scrappers and panhandlers. In the summer of 2004, the Union led strike by the Homeless (the Homeless Action Strike) in Ottawa. The strike resulted in the city agreeing to fund a newspaper created and sold by the Homeless on the street. On May 1, 2006, the Union took over the Elgin Street Police Station for a day. A similar IWW organization, the Street Labourers of Windsor (SLOW), has garnered local,[112] provincial,[113] and national[114] news coverage for its organizing efforts in 2015.

Recently, the IWW has also engaged in campaigns among harm reduction workers (resulting in the Toronto Harm Reduction Workers Union in 2014) and workers at the Québec fast food chain Frite Alors! in 2016.


The largest Canadian General Membership Branch of the IWW is located in Montréal, Québec, where it officially operates under the name of Syndicat Industriel des Travailleurs et Travailleuses de Montréal (IWW-SITT).[115]


Between 2015 - 2017, the IWW-SITT hosted a radio program titled Action en Direct (Direct Action) which was broadcast from Radio Centre-Ville 102.3FM[116] before moving to CHOQ radio at the Université du Québec à Montréal and being placed on hiatus.

Union Locals

The IWW-SITT maintains several active union locals in Montreal, including a freelancers union (Syndicat Associatif des Travailleurs-euses Autonome du Québec),[117][118] and a union for employees of student union, and student-union owned enterprises (Les travailleurs et les travailleuses des milieux associatifs en éducation).[119][120]


Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria

The IWW started to organise in Germany following the First World War. Fritz Wolffheim played a significant role in establishing the IWW in Hamburg. A German Language Membership Regional Organizing Committee (GLAMROC) was founded in December 2006 in Cologne. It encompasses the German-language area of Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, and Switzerland with branches or contacts in 16 cities.[121] In 2015, the GLAMROC is reported as having 200 members in good standing[122]

Wales, Ireland, Scotland, England

The regional body of the union in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland is the Wales, Ireland, Scotland, England Regional Administration (WISERA). Formerly known as the Britain and Ireland Regional Administration (BIRA), its name was changed as a result of a referendum vote by WISERA members.[123]

Early history

The British Advocates of Industrial Unionism, founded in 1906, supported the IWW. This group split in 1908, with the majority supporting Daniel De Leon and a minority supporting E. J. B. Allen founding the Industrialist Union and developing links with the Chicago-based IWW. Allen's group soon disappeared, but the first IWW group in Britain was founded by members of the Industrial Syndicalist Education League led by Guy Bowman in 1913.

The IWW was present to varying extents in many of the struggles in the early decades of the 20th century, including the UK General Strike of 1926, and the dockers' strike of 1947. A Neath Wobbly who had been active in Mexico trained volunteers who went to the International Brigade to fight against Franco but did not return.

During the decade after World War II, the IWW had two active branches in London and Glasgow. These soon died off, before a modest resurgence in northwest England during the 1970s.


IWW membership numbers in WISE from 2006-2018

Between 2001 and 2003, there was a marked increase in UK membership, with the creation of the Hull General Membership Branch. During this time the Hull branch had 27 members of good standing, being at that time the largest branch outside of the United States. By 2005, there were around 100 members in the United Kingdom. For the IWW's centenary, a stone was laid (51°41'598N 4°17.135W Geocacher), in a public access forest in Wales, commemorating the centenary of the union. As well, Sequoias were planted as a memorial to US IWW and Earth First! activist Judi Bari. 2006 saw the IWW formally registered by the UK government as a recognised trade union.

The IWW currently has a presence in several major urban areas as well as regional centres, with chartered branches in London, Glasgow (Clydeside GMB), Bradford, Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Reading, Sheffield, in the Tyne and Wear and West Midlands areas, and most recently in Wales.

Overall, membership has increased rapidly; in 2014, the union reported a total UK membership of 750,[124] which increased to 1000 by April 2015.[125] In 2016, the 1,500 member limit was passed


IWW members were involved in the Liverpool dockers' strike that took place between 1995 and 1998, and numerous other events and struggles throughout the 1990s and 2000s, including the successful unionising of several workplaces, such as support workers for the Scottish Socialist Party.

Recently, the IWW has focused its efforts on health and education workers, publishing a national industrial newsletter for health workers and a specific bulletin for workers in the National Blood Service. In 2007 it launched a campaign alongside the anti-capitalist group No Sweat which attempted to replicate some of the successes of the US IWW's organising drives amongst Starbucks workers. In the same year its health-workers' network launched a national campaign against cuts in the National Blood Service, which is ongoing.

Also in 2007, IWW branches in Glasgow and Dumfries were a key driving force in a successful campaign to prevent the closure of one of Glasgow University's campuses, (The Crichton) in Dumfries.[126] The campaign united IWW members, other unions, students and the local community to build a powerful coalition. Its success, coupled with the National Blood Service campaign, has raised the IWW's profile significantly since then.

In 2011, the IWW representing cleaners at the Guildhall won back-pay and the right to collective negotiation with their employers, Ocean. Also in 2011, branches of the IWW were set up in Lincoln, Manchester and Sheffield (notably workers employed by Pizza Hut).

The Edinburgh General Membership Branch of the IWW along with other branches of the IWW's Scottish section voted in 2014 to become a signatory to the "From Yes to Action Statement" produced by the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh. In 2015, along with similar groups such as the Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty and Edinburgh Anarchist Federation, they joined the Scottish Action Against Austerity network.[127]

In 2016, WISERA promoted a campaign targeting couriers working for companies such as Deliveroo.[128]
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Elsewhere in Europe

An Iceland Regional Organizing Committee (IceROC) was chartered in 2015. The union has become a trailblazer in supporting sex workers in Iceland, who lack access to services which do not automatically treat them as victims of abuse.[129] In particular, the IWW in Iceland has taken a strong position against the Swedish model of policing sex work, where sex workers are not criminalized but their customers are, and instead has argued in favour of "organizing all workers without moral or legal judgement".[130]

Also in 2015, a Greek Regional Organizing Committee (GreROC) was chartered. In July of that year, it released a statement condemning the Greek government's response to the results of the 2015 Greek bailout referendum, saying that "despite the Left tone of dignity that the Left governmental administrators use, this is a one-way blackmail. We need a radical change of shift, not in words but in action."[131]


South Africa

Main article: Industrial Workers of the World (South Africa)

The IWW has a rich and complex history in South Africa, with an original South African IWW organization being founded in 1910 and existing through most of the 1910s until disintegrating by around 1916.[132] The union's insistence on multiracial unionism set it at odds with the white trade union movement and brought severe political repression from the apartheid-era South African government. The major South African port of Durban was an important link in the IWW's international network which was largely maintained by its Marine Transport Workers Industrial Union, that connected the mainline North American IWW to ports in Africa, India, South America, and Australasia.

After the collapse of the formal IWW organization in South Africa, it would be succeeded by an Industrial Socialist League, the Industrial Workers of Africa, and finally the Industrial and Commercial Workers' Union (ICU), which would become the major black union in South Africa in the 1920s and 30s. Nevertheless, IWW and syndicalist influences would decline as the black workers' movement was brought into the trade union fold and came under the domination of the Communist Party of South Africa, which opposed syndicalist tendencies in the unions.[133]

Almost a hundred years later, multiple attempts were made to rebuild the South African IWW, with a short-lived South African Regional Organising Committee being founded in the early 2000s in Durban and attempts made to build a branch in Cape Town in the early 2010s, with neither resulting in success.[134]

Elsewhere in Africa

In 1997, there was a total of 3,240[135] workers in Sierra Leone, mostly miners, who registered themselves as IWW members in Sierra Leone government records largely independently of the international General Administration in Chicago (i.e. without the official issuing of membership cards or taking of dues). Contact between the Sierra Leone members and General Headquarters was lost after a military coup which was an episode in the Sierra Leone Civil War, which would last until 2002. The intensification of the civil war caused a number of IWW members, including the only official union delegate in the country, to flee to Guinea.[136][63]

In 2012, IWW members in Uganda formed a Ugandan Regional Organizing Committee (ROC) and began to raise funds to establish a Ugandan office for the IWW. However, it was discovered that the union officers in Uganda had been violating the Constitution of the IWW in multiple ways, such as by permitting employers to join the union, and the ROC was dissolved.[137]

Folk music and protest songs

Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent: The "Little Red Songbook"

One Wobbly characteristic since their inception has been a penchant for song. To counteract management sending in the Salvation Army band to cover up the Wobbly speakers, Joe Hill wrote parodies of Christian hymns so that union members could sing along with the Salvation Army band, but with their own purposes. For example, "In the Sweet By and By" became "There'll Be Pie in the Sky When You Die (That's a Lie)". From that start in exigency, Wobbly song writing became common because they "articulated the frustrations, hostilities, and humor of the homeless and the dispossessed."[138] The IWW collected its official songs in the Little Red Songbook and continues to update this book to the present time. In the 1960s, the American folk music revival in the United States brought a renewed interest in the songs of Joe Hill and other Wobblies, and seminal folk revival figures such as Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie had a pro-Wobbly tone, while some were members of the IWW. Among the protest songs in the book are "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum" (this song was never popular among members), "Union Maid", and "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night". Perhaps the best known IWW song is "Solidarity Forever". The songs have been performed by dozens of artists, and Utah Phillips performed the songs in concert and on recordings for decades. Other prominent IWW songwriters include Ralph Chaplin who authored "Solidarity Forever", and Leslie Fish.

The Finnish IWW community produced several folk singers, poets and songwriters, the most famous being Matti Valentine Huhta (better known as T-Bone Slim), who penned "The Popular Wobbly" and "The Mysteries of a Hobo's Life". Slim's poem, "The Lumberjack's Prayer" was recorded by Studs Terkel on labor singer Bucky Halker's Don't Want Your Millions. Hiski Salomaa, whose songs were composed entirely in Finnish (and Finglish), remains a widely recognized early folk musician in his native Finland as well as in sections of the Midwest United States, Northern Ontario, and other areas of North America with high concentrations of Finns. Salomaa, who was a tailor by trade, has been referred to as the Finnish Woody Guthrie. Arthur Kylander, who worked as a lumberjack, is a lesser known, but important Finnish IWW folk musician. Kylander's lyrics range from the difficulties of the immigrant labourer's experience to more humorous themes. Arguably, the wanderer, a recurring theme in Finnish folklore dating back to pre-Christian oral tradition (as with Lemminkäinen in the Kalevala), translated quite easily to the music of Huhta, Salomaa, and Kylander; each of whom have songs about the trials and tribulations of the hobo.

In literature

Much of the plot of the U.S.A. trilogy, a series of three novels by American writer John Dos Passos - comprising the novels The 42nd Parallel (1930), 1919 (1932) and The Big Money (1936) - is devoted to the IWW, and several of the more sympathetic characters are its members. Written at the time when Dos Passos was politically on the Left, the novels reflect the author's sympathy, at the time of writing, for the IWW and his outrage at its suppression, for which he expresses his deep grudge for President Woodrow Wilson.


Wobbly lingo is a collection of technical language, jargon, and historic slang used by the Wobblies, for more than a century. Many Wobbly terms derive from or are coextensive with hobo expressions used through the 1940s.[139][140] The origin of the name "Wobbly" itself is uncertain.[14][141][142] For several decades, many hobos in the United States were members of, or were sympathetic to, the IWW. Because of this, some of the terms describe the life of a hobo such as "riding the rails", living in "jungles", dodging the "bulls". The IWW's efforts to organize all trades allowed the lingo to expand to include terms relating to mining camps, timber work, and farming.[143][144]

Some words and phrases believed to have originated within Wobbly lingo have gained cultural significance outside of the IWW. For example, from Joe Hill's song "The Preacher and the Slave", the expression pie in the sky has passed into common usage, referring to a "preposterously optimistic goal".[145]

Notable members

See also: Category:Industrial Workers of the World members.

Members of the Industrial Workers of the World have included:

• Roger Nash Baldwin, ACLU founder
• Judi Bari, labor and environmental organizer
• Harry Bridges (briefly, later helped form ILWU)
• James P. Cannon
• Lee J. Carter
• Ralph Chaplin
• Noam Chomsky
• James Connolly
• Carlos Cortez, graphic artist
• Dorothy Day, Catholic Worker
• Daniel De Leon
• Eugene V. Debs
• David Dellinger
• Sam Dolgoff
• Vincent R. Dunne
• Joseph Ettor
• Anne Feeney, folk musician
• Ben Fletcher
• Ricardo Flores Magón
• Elizabeth Gurley Flynn
• William Z. Foster
• Otis Gibbs, folk musician
• Arturo Giovannitti
• Lala Hardayal, Indian Nationalist
• Big Bill Haywood
• Howie Hawkins
• Ammon Hennacy, Catholic Worker
• Lesbia Harford, Australian poet
• Joe Hill
• Harry Hooton, Australian poet
• Mary Harris "Mother" Jones
• Andy Irvine, folk musician
• Rosie Kane, former Member of the Scottish Parliament
• Helen Keller[146]
• Jim Larkin
• Carolyn Leckie, former Member of the Scottish Parliament
• Frank Little
• Paul Mattick
• Harry McClintock, folk musician
• Kevin McCoy, artist
• Monty Miller
• Tom Morello
• Eugene O'Neill
• Floyd B. Olson, Minnesota Governor[147]
• Lucy Parsons
• Fredy Perlman
• Faith Petric, folk musician
• Utah Phillips, folk musician
• John Reed, journalist
• Kenneth Rexroth, counterculture icon
• Franklin Rosemont, Surrealist
• David Rovics, folk musician
• Hiski Salomaa, Finnish folk music singer
• Gary Snyder, Buddhist beat poet
• Jim Thompson, crime writer
• Dave Van Ronk, folk musician
• Fritz Wolffheim

Former lieutenant governor of Colorado David C. Coates was a labor militant, and was present at the founding convention,[47]:242–78 although it is unknown if he became a member. It has long been rumored, but not yet proven, that baseball legend Honus Wagner was also a Wobbly. Senator Joe McCarthy accused Edward R. Murrow of having been an IWW member, which Murrow denied.[148] Some of the organization's most famous current members include Noam Chomsky, Tom Morello, mixed martial arts fighter Jeff Monson, and anthropologist David Graeber.

See also

• Organized Labour portal
• Anarchism portal
• Communism portal
• Socialism portal
• 1933 Yakima Valley strike
• Bérmunkás
• Centralia massacre
• Eugene V. Debs
• History of the Industrial Workers of the World
• Industrial democracy
• Industrial Workers of the World philosophy and tactics
• Labor federation competition in the United States
• List of Industrial Workers of the World unions
• One Big Union (concept)
• Seattle General Strike
• Solidarity unionism
• Syndicalism


1. 3,845 (2019, USA) [3], 1,730 (2018, UK & Ireland), 200 (2015, German-language area), 100 (2019, Australia)


1. "IWW Chronology (1904–1911)". Industrial Workers of the World. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
2. "Minutes of the IWW Founding Convention". Industrial Workers of the World. Retrieved October 14,2018.
4. Caro-Morente, Jaime. "The political culture of the IWW in its first 20 years". Industrial Worker. Vol. 114 no. 1780/3 (Summer 2017 ed.). Retrieved October 14, 2018.
5. Chester, Eric Thomas (2014). The Wobblies in Their Heyday: The Rise and Destruction of the Industrial Workers of the World during the World War I Era. ABC-CLIO. p. xii. ISBN 9781440833021. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
6. Brissenden, Ph.D., Paul Frederick (1920). "The I.W.W.: A Study of American Syndicalism". 83 (193) (2 ed.). Columbia University. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
7. Saros, Daniel E. (2009). Labor, Industry, and Regulation During the Progressive Era. Routledge. ISBN 9781135842338. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
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9. "Preamble to the IWW Constitution". Industrial Workers of the World. Retrieved October 14,2018.
10. Parker, Martin; Fournier, Valérie; Reedy, Patrick (August 2007). The Dictionary of Alternatives: Utopianism and Organization. Zed Books. p. 131. ISBN 978-1-84277-333-8. Retrieved October 14,2018.
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12. "(2) I am a member of another union; can I still I join the IWW?". Industrial Workers of the World. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
13. "IWW General Headquarters". Industrial Workers of the World. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
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18. Keller, Helen; Davis, John (2003). Helen Keller: Rebel Lives. Ocean Press. p. 57. ISBN 9781876175603.
19. "Short history of Pressed Steel Car Company". Archived from the original on August 28, 2009. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
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26. Cole, Peter (2015). "Local 8: Philadelphia's Interracial Longshore Union". Retrieved October 14, 2018.
27. Elliott, Russell R. (1966). Nevada's Twentieth-Century Mining Boom: Tonopah, Goldfield, Ely. University of Nevada Press. ISBN 9780874171334.
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30. Dubofsky, Melvin (2000). McCartin, Joseph A. (ed.). We Shall Be All: A History of the Industrial Workers of the World. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 9780252069055. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
31. "Butte Unions Back Rebels". Los Angeles Times. June 23, 1914. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
32. "Disrupted by I.W.W." Los Angeles Times. June 22, 1914. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
33. "Paid Moyer's Gunmen". Los Angeles Times. February 21, 1915. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
34. "Mine Federation in West Doomed by Faction's War". Chicago Daily Tribune. June 27, 1914. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
35. "Armed Guards Posted in Stores of Butte". Los Angeles Times. June 28, 1914. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
36. Official Proceedings of the Twentieth Annual Convention, Western Federation of Miners, July 1912, p.283-284.
37. Capace, Nancy (January 1, 2000). Encyclopedia of Montana. p. 156. ISBN 9780403096046. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
38. Mayo, Katherine (1917). Justice to All: the Story of the Pennsylvania State Police. G.P. Putnam's Sons. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
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40. One Big Union. 1986.
41. Thompson, Fred W.; Murfin, Patrick (1976). The I.W.W.: Its First Seventy Years, 1905–1975. p. 100.
42. Greenhouse, Steven (August 26, 2011). "Examining a Labor Hero's Death". New York Times. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
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44. Humanities, National Endowment for the (November 6, 1916). "The Tacoma times., November 06, 1916, Image 1". The Tacoma Times. p. 1. Retrieved October 14, 2018. -- also reported 20 IWW and 20 Everett citizens were wounded
45. "Deputy Sheriff Jefferson F. Beard". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved October 14, 2018. Although the exact circumstances are unknown, it is thought that both deputies were struck by friendly fire.
46. "080. Members of Everett Citizens' Committee Killed and Injured in Battle with I.W.W." Retrieved October 14, 2018.
47. Carlson, Peter (1984). Roughneck: The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood. W. W. Norton and Company. ISBN 978-0393302080. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
48. Schlossberg, Stephen I. (August 2, 2017). "The Role of the Union Lawyer". North Carolina Law Review: 650. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
49. "I.W.W. Members Are Held Guilty". Tulsa Daily World. November 10, 1917. p. 2.
50. "Modern Ku Klux Klan Comes into Being". Tulsa Daily World. November 10, 1917. p. 1.
51. "Harlow's Weekly - A Journal of Comment & Current Events for Oklahoma". Harlow Publishing Company. November 14, 1917. p. 4.
52. Paul, Brad A. (January 1, 1999). "Rebels of the New South : the Socialist Party in Dixie, 1892-1920". University of Massachusetts Amherst. pp. 171, 176, 189.
53. CLARK, CARTER BLUE (1976). "A HISTORY OF THE KU KLUX KLAN IN OKLAHOMA" (PDF). The University of Oklahoma. pp. 23–25.
54. See:"Wesley Everest, IWW Martyr" Pacific Northwest Quarterly, October 1986
55. Thompson, Fred. "They didn't suppress the Wobblies". Radical America (September–October 1967). Retrieved February 21, 2018.
56. Higbie, Frank Tobias (2003). Indispensable Outcasts: Hobo Workers and Community in the American Midwest, 1880-1930. University of Illinois Press. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-252-07098-3.
57. Tyler, Robert L. (January 1967). Rebels of the woods: the I.W.W. in the Pacific Northwest. University of Oregon Books. p. 227. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
58. Lee, Frederic S.; Bekken, Jon (2009). Radical economics and labor: essays inspired by the IWW Centennial. Taylor & Francis US. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-415-77723-0. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
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Further reading


• Industrial Workers of the World Archives. Archives contain over 40 archival collections spanning 1903–1996, containing the records of the International Union, several local branches, and numerous personal papers including those of Joe Hill, William Trautmann, and Matilda Robbins. Located at the Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs.
• Documents, Essays and Analysis for a History of the Industrial Workers of the World. Online archive at the Marxists Internet Archive. Retrieved April 16, 2005.
• Industrial Workers of the World Records, 1906–1944, undated. Approximately .05 cubic feet of textual materials, 1 microfilm cassette (negative). At the Labor Archives of Washington State, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.
o Industrial Workers of the World Photograph Collection. Circa 1910s-1940s. 121 Photographs (2 boxes); varying sizes.
o John Leonard Miller Papers. 1923–1986. circa 3.75 cubic feet plus 2 sound cassettes.
o Eugene Barnett Oral History Collection. 1940–1961. .21 cubic feet (1 box), 3 sound cassettes (154 min.), 1 transcript (24 pages).
o Pacific Northwest Labor History Association Records. 1971–1995. 1.83 cubic feet (3 boxes).
• IWW Publications and Ephemera at Newberry Library

Official documents

• The Founding Convention of the IWW—Proceedings. New York: Merit Publishers. 1969. p. 616. Library of Congress Catalog Number 70-85538.
• Proceedings of the Second Annual Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World, Held at Chicago, Illinois, September 17 to October 3, 1906. Chicago: Industrial Workers of the World, 1906.
• Proceedings of the Tenth Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World, Held at Chicago, Illinois, Nov. 20 to Dec. 1, 1916. Chicago: Industrial Workers of the World, 1917.
• With Drops of Blood the History of the Industrial Workers of the World Has Been Written. n.c. [Chicago]: Industrial Workers of the World, n.d. [1919].
• Raids! Raids!! Raids!!! n.c. [Chicago]: Industrial Workers of the World, n.d. [Dec. 1919].


• Bennett, James (2004). Rats and Revolutionaries:The Labour Movement in Australia and New Zealand 1890-1940. Dunedin, NZ: University of Otago Press. ISBN 978-1-877276-49-1.
• Brissenden, Ph.D., Paul Frederick (1920). "The I.W.W.: A Study of American Syndicalism". 83 (193) (2 ed.). Columbia University.
• Buhle, Paul, ed. (2005). Wobblies: A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World. Nicole Schulman. Verso. ISBN 978-1-84467-525-8.
• Chester, Eric Thomas (2014). The Wobblies in Their Heyday: The Rise and Destruction of the Industrial Workers of the World during the World War I Era. Praeger Publishers. ISBN 978-1440833014.
• Cole, Peter (2007). Wobblies on the Waterfront: Interracial Unionism in Progressive-Era Philadelphia. University of Illinois Press. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-252-03186-1.
• Cole, Peter; Struthers, David; Zimmer, Kenyon, eds. (2017). Wobblies of the World: A Global History of the IWW. Pluto Press. ISBN 978-0745399591.
• Dubofsky, Melvyn. We Shall Be All: A History of the Industrial Workers of the World. [1969] First paperbound edition. New York: Quadrangle/New York Times Books, 1973.
• Duda, John, ed. (2009). Wanted! Men to Fill the Jails of Spokane: Fighting for Free Speech with the Hobo Agitators of the Industrial Workers of the World. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr. ISBN 978-0-88286-270-5.
• Flank, Lenny (2007). IWW: A Documentary History. St. Petersburg, Florida: Red and Black Publishers.
• Green, Archie (1993). Wobblies, Pile Butts, and Other Heroes. University of Illinois Press. p. 534. ISBN 978-0-252-01963-0. Archived from the original on September 5, 2006.
• Green, Archie, ed. (2007). The Big Red Songbook. David Roediger, Franklin Rosemont, and Salvatore Salerno. Charles H. Kerr. p. 538. ISBN 978-0-88286-277-4.
• Higbie, Frank Tobias (2003). Indispensable Outcasts: Hobo Workers and Community in the American Midwest, 1880–1930. University of Illinois Press. p. 280. ISBN 978-0-252-07098-3.
• Kornbluh, Joyce L., ed. (1988) [1964]. Rebel Voices: An IWW Anthology (Charles H. Kerr with new introduction and essays ed.). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 419, illustrated. ISBN 978-0-88286-237-8.
• McClelland, John, Jr. (1987). Wobbly War: The Centralia Story. Washington State Historical Society.
• Moran, William (2002). Belles of New England: The Women of the Textile Mills and the Families Whose Wealth They Wove. St. Martin's Press. p. 320.
• Ness, Immanuel (2014). New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class-Struggle Unionism. PM Press. ISBN 978-1604869569.
• Rosemont, Franklin, ed. (2005). Dancin' in the Streets: Anarchists, IWWs, Surrealists, Situationists and Provos in the 1960s as Recorded in the Pages of Rebel Worker and Heatwave. Charles Radcliffe. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr. ISBN 978-0-88286-301-6.
• Rosen, Ellen Doree (2004). A Wobbly Life: IWW Organizer E. F. Doree. Introduction by Melvyn Dubofsky. Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-8143-3203-0.
• St. John, Vincent (1917). The I.W.W.: Its History, Structure & Methods. I.W.W. Publishing Bureau. Archived from the original on August 7, 2007.
• Thompson, Fred (1955). The I.W.W.: Its First Fifty Years. Chicago: IWW.
• Thornton, Steve (2013). A Shoeleather History of the Wobblies: Stories of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in Connecticut. The Shoeleather History Project. p. 150. ISBN 978-0989822404.
• Tyler, Robert (1967). Rebels of the Woods: The I.W.W. in the Pacific Northwest. Eugene, OR: University of Oregon Press.

Documentary films

• The Wobblies. Directed by Stewart Bird, Deborah Shaffer, 1979. DVD 2006 NTSC English 90 minutes. (Includes interviews with 19 elderly Wobblies)
• An Injury to One. A film by Travis Wilkerson, 2003 First Run Icarus Films. English 53 minutes. Chronicles the 1917 unsolved murder of Wobbly organizer Frank Little in Butte, Montana, during a strike by 16,000 miners against the Anaconda Copper Company. The film connects "corporate domination to government repression, local repression to national repression, labor history to environmental history, popular culture to the history of class struggle", according to one review. (Yoshie Furuhashi (August 2005). "Peter Rachleff, "An Injury to One: A Film by Travis Wilkerson"". Retrieved August 20, 2009.)

External links

• Media from Wikimedia Commons
• Quotations from Wikiquote
• Texts from Wikisource
• Data from Wikidata
• Official website
• International Directory of regional and local branches
• Brief History/Timeline 1905–1920 of the IWW
• IWW Strikes, Campaigns, Arrests 1906–1920 (maps)
• IWW Local Unions 1906–1917 (maps)
• IWW Newspapers 1906–1946 (maps)
• IWW Starbucks Workers Union
• IWW Jimmy John's Workers Union
• IWW Sisters' Camelot Canvassers Union
• NYC IWW Newsletter
• Jim Crutchfield's IWW Page current and historical documents
• Paul Buhle, "The Legacy of the IWW", Monthly Review
• Staughton Lynd, "The Wobblies in Their Heyday, a Hard-headed History of the IWW", Monthly Review Magazine
• Songs of the workers to fan the flames of discontent The famous "little red songbook" 32nd ed. April 1968
• Songs of the Wobblies: 1954 LP
• Strikes! Labor History Encyclopedia for the Pacific Northwest, a collection of resources on IWW activity in the region, including their role in the 1919 Seattle General Strike and farm worker organizing in the early 1900s.
• Interview with British Wobblies,, 2013.
• My Whole Foods nightmare: How a full-time job there left me in poverty. Nick Rahaim,, December 8, 2014.
• Why a D.C. bike shop is joining a radical socialist union. The Washington Post. March 5, 2015.
• The radical IWW – "Wobblies" – gaining strength in Oklahoma after an absence of nearly a century. Red Dirt Report, April 3, 2015.
• Rattling the Bars: Industrial Workers of the World Against Prison Slavery. The Real News. May 14, 2017.
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Andrew Harvey (religious writer)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/18/20

Andrew Harvey
Born: 1952 (age 67–68), Coimbatore, India
Occupation: Author, religious scholar, mystic
Language: English and French
Citizenship: British
Alma mater: Oxford University
Period: 1970–1977

Andrew Harvey (born 1952) is a British author, religious scholar and teacher of mystic traditions, known primarily for his popular nonfiction books on spiritual or mystical themes, beginning with his 1983 A Journey in Ladakh. He is the author of over 30 books, including, The Hope, A Guide to Sacred Activism, The Direct Path, the critically acclaimed Way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi, The Return of the Mother and Son of Man.[1][2] He was the subject of the 1993 BBC documentary "The Making of a Modern Mystic"[3] and is the founder of the Sacred Activism movement.[4]

Harvey lives in a rural area of the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas, where he continues to write when he is not lecturing. Harvey conducts workshops on Sacred Activism, the teachings of Rumi, yoga and practices that will lead to deeper spiritual awareness. Harvey travels with students to sacred sites in India, Australia and South Africa, and offers personal spiritual direction. Harvey was listed as number 33 in the Watkins' Mind Body Spirit magazine as one of the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People in 2012.[5] In 2012, he was nominated for the Templeton Prize, which was eventually awarded to the Dalai Lama.

Early life and education

Harvey was born in Coimbatore, India in 1952[6] and lived there until he was nine years old. He was educated at English boarding schools and then Oxford University, where he later taught Shakespeare and French literature until 1977. He wrote his dissertation on madness in Shakespeare and Erasmus.[7]


At 21 in the early 1970s, Harvey became a fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford.[8] By 1977 he had become disillusioned with life at Oxford and returned to his native India, where a series of mystical experiences initiated his spiritual journey. Over the next thirty years he plunged into different mystical traditions to learn their secrets and practices. In 1978 he met a succession of Indian saints and sages and began his study and practice of Hinduism. In 1983, in Ladakh, he met a Tibetan adept, Thuksey Rinpoche,[9] and undertook with him the Mahayana Buddhist bodhisattva vows; later, in 1990, he would collaborate with Sogyal Rinpoche and Patrick Gaffney in the writing of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.[10] In 1984, Harvey began a ten-year-long exploration and explication of Rumi and Sufi mysticism in Paris with a group of French Sufis under the guidance of Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch, the translator of Rumi into French.[11] In 1992, he met Father Bede Griffiths in his ashram in south India near where Harvey had been born. It was this meeting that helped him synthesize the whole of his mystical explorations and reconcile Eastern with Western mysticism.

While in India, Harvey encountered Mother Meera, who became his guru and the subject of his book Hidden Journey.[12] His memoir, The Sun at Midnight, describes their subsequent break and his disillusionment with gurus.

For the last 30 years, Harvey has travelled widely, living in India, London, Paris, New York and San Francisco, studying, teaching at university level and in seminars and workshops. A prolific writer, Harvey has authored or co-authored over 30 books. His focus since 2005 has been the advocacy of what he terms "Sacred Activism". He is the founder and director of the Institute of Sacred Activism, which trains leaders and social justice advocates.[13]


Harvey is a scholar of mystic traditions. He envisions true spirituality to be the divinisation of earthly life through spiritual practice. These practices can take many forms and can be taken from religious traditions. Harvey sees six poets and religious figures as having universal appeal:

Buddha as portrayed in the Dhammapada
Jesus as portrayed in the Gospel of Thomas
Rumi, a 13th century Sufi poet.
Kabir, a 15th century Indian poet
Ramakrishna, a 19th century Hindu sadhu
Aurobindo, a 20th century Hindu philosopher-sage

Harvey also emphasises the Divine Feminine, as expressed in the Virgin Mary, Kali, the Black Madonna and Mother Earth.

Since 2005, Andrew Harvey's work has focused on teaching Sacred Activism around the globe. Harvey describes sacred activism as "the product of the union of a profound spiritual and mystical knowledge, understanding, and compassion, peace and energy, with focused, wise, radical action in the world."[14]


• Hidden Journey: A Spiritual Awakening, 1991[15]
• The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: A New Spiritual Classic from One of the Foremost Interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism to the West (co-editor), 1992[16]
• The Way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi. North Atlantic Books/Frog, 1994.[17]
• The Divine Feminine: Exploring the Feminine Face of God Throughout the World, 1996 ISBN 1-57324-035-4[18]
• Light upon light: inspirations from Rumi. North Atlantic Books, 1996. ISBN 1-55643-206-2[19]
• Mary's Vineyard: Daily Meditations, Readings, and Revelations. with Eryk Hanut. Quest Books, 1996. ISBN 0835607453[20]
• The Essential Mystics: The Soul's Journey Into Truth. Castle Books, 1998[21]
• The Essential Gay Mystics, 1998 ISBN 0-06-250905-5 (cloth), ISBN 0-06-251524-1[22]
• Son of Man: The Mystical Path to Christ, J.P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1998[23]
• Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom, with Eryk Hanut. Quest Books, 1999. ISBN 0-8356-0767-4[24]
• The Return of the Mother, 2000[25]
• A Journey in Ladakh: Encounters with Buddhism, 2000. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000. ISBN 0-618-05675-0[26]
• The Direct Path: Creating a Personal Journey to the Divine Through the World's Traditions, 2001 ISBN 0-7679-0299-8[27]
• The Sun at Midnight: A Memoir of the Dark Night, 2002 ISBN 1-58542-179-0[28]
• A Walk With Four Spiritual Guides: Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, And Ramakrishna. SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2005. ISBN 1594731381[29]
• The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism, Hay House, 2009. ISBN 1-4019-2003-9[30]
• Heart Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism, North Atlantic Books. 2010. ISBN 9781556438974[31]
• Radical passion : sacred love and wisdom in action. North Atlantic Books. 2012. ISBN 9781583945032[32]


1. Author Biography Hay House.
2. O'Reilly, Jane (11 August 1991). "Soul Searching". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
3. The Making of a Modern Mystic (1993), retrieved 18 December 2019
4. Harvey, Andrew, 1952- (2009). The hope : a guide to sacred activism (1st ed.). Carlsbad, Calif.: Hay House. ISBN 978-1-4019-2003-6. OCLC 262892403.
5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 June 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
6. "Conscious TV - Andrew Harvey – The Death and the Birth". Retrieved 18 December2019.
7. Harvey, Andrew (3 October 1993). "The Merry Mystic". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
8. Andrew Harvey Random House.
9. ... y_Rinpoche
10. Rolston, Dean. "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying". Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
11. Harvey, Andrew (30 September 2010). The Direct Path. London. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-4090-0388-5. OCLC 1100655877.
12. Shawn, Author (19 August 2016). "Mother Meera". Retrieved 18 December2019.
13. "Home". Andrewharvey. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
14. "Sacred Activism". Andrewharvey. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
15. Harvey, Andrew, 1952- (1991). Hidden journey : a spiritual awakening (1st ed.). New York: Holt. ISBN 0-8050-1454-3. OCLC 22278056.
16. Sogyal, Rinpoche. (1992). The Tibetan book of living and dying. Gaffney, Patrick, 1949-, Harvey, Andrew, 1952-. [San Francisco, Calif.]: Harper San Francisco. ISBN 0-06-250793-1. OCLC 25552286.
17. Harvey, Andrew, 1952- (2001). The way of passion : a celebration of Rumi. Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, Maulana, 1207-1273. (1st Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam ed.). New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam. ISBN 1-58542-074-3. OCLC 44573434.
18. The divine feminine : exploring the feminine face of God throughout the world. Harvey, Andrew, 1952-, Baring, Anne, 1931-. Berkeley, CA: Conari Press. 1996. ISBN 1-57324-035-4. OCLC 34151580.
19. Harvey, Andrew, 1952- (1996). Light upon light : inspirations from Rumi. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books. ISBN 1-55643-206-2. OCLC 33983720.
20. Harvey, Andrew, 1952- (1997), Mary's vineyard, Quest Audio, ISBN 0-8356-2009-3, OCLC 39665695
21. The essential mystics : the soul's journey into truth. Harvey, Andrew, 1952- (1st ed.). [San Francisco]: HarperSanFrancisco. 1996. ISBN 0-06-250904-7. OCLC 34742352.
22. The essential gay mystics. Harvey, Andrew, 1952-. Edison, N.J.: Castle Books. 1997. ISBN 0-7858-0907-4. OCLC 39865383.
23. Harvey, Andrew, 1952- (1999). Son of Man : the mystical path to Christ (1st trade pbk. ed.). New York: J.P. Tarcher/Putnam. ISBN 0-87477-992-8. OCLC 40954120.
24. Harvey, Andrew, 1952- (1999). Perfume of the desert : inspirations from Sufi wisdom. Hanut, Eryk, 1967- (1st Quest ed.). Wheaton, Ill.: Quest Books. ISBN 0-8356-0767-4. OCLC 39810984.
25. Harvey, Andrew, 1952- (2001). The return of the mother. New York: J.P. Tarcher/Putnam. ISBN 1-58542-073-5. OCLC 44613074.
26. Harvey, Andrew, 1952- (2000). A journey in Ladakh (1st Mariner Books ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-618-05675-0. OCLC 43978270.
27. Harvey, Andrew (30 September 2010). The Direct Path. London. ISBN 978-1-4090-0388-5. OCLC 1100655877.
28. Harvey, Andrew, 1952- (2002). Sun at midnight : a memoir of the dark night. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam. ISBN 1-58542-179-0. OCLC 49719105.
29. Harvey, Andrew, 1952- (2003). A walk with four spiritual guides : Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, and Ramakrishna. Woodstock, VT: SkyLight Paths Pub. ISBN 1-893361-73-X. OCLC 51177404.
30. Harvey, Andrew, 1952- (2009). The hope : a guide to sacred activism (1st ed.). Carlsbad, Calif.: Hay House. ISBN 978-1-4019-2003-6. OCLC 262892403.
31. Harvey, Andrew, 1952- (2010). Heart yoga : the sacred marriage of yoga and mysticism. Erickson, Karuna. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1-55643-897-4. OCLC 430839021.
32. Harvey, Andrew, 1952- (2012). Radical passion : sacred love and wisdom in action. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1-58394-503-2. OCLC 775415649.
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Tibetan Buddhism and Mass Monasticism
by Melvyn C. Goldstein1
[1In Adeline Herrou and Gisele Krauskopff (eds.), Des moines et des moniales dans le monde. La vie monastique dans le miroir de la parenté. Presses Universitaires de Toulouse le Mirail]


Monasticism is fundamental to both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist philosophies and is present wherever Buddhism existed. Tibet was no exception and possessed a monastic establishment that adhered to the basic Buddhist ideological and vinaya norms. At the same time, however, Tibetan monasticism differed markedly from other forms of Buddhist monasticism in its utilization of a philosophy that I have called “mass monasticism”—an emphasis on recruiting and sustaining very large numbers of celibate monks for their entire lives.2 This essay will examine Tibetan monasticism and the institution of mass monasticism as it existed in the modern era (before socialist institutions replaced them in 1959).3

Monasticism in Tibet

Political systems have ideologies that summarize and rationalize their basic premises. In Tibet, the modern state headed by the Dalai Lama and his Gelug ("yellow hat") sect was founded in 1642 after decades of bitter sectarian conflict with a rival (Kargyu) sect. The new polity was based on a value system in which religious goals and activities were paramount. Not only was the ruler, the 5th Dalai Lama (and after him succeeding Dalai Lamas), considered an actual incarnation of the Bodhisattva Avaloketisvara, but monks served alongside laymen as officials and jointly administered the country. In addition, beginning in the 18th century, regents who ruled during the Dalai Lamas’ minority also came to be chosen from the ranks of the incarnate lamas Because of this, Tibetans conceived of their polity as one in which “religion and politics/government were joined together.”4

A prime goal of the Dalai Lama’s new theocratic government was to support and enhance Buddhism, particularly of its own Yellow Hat sect. Fostering Buddhism was seen as a key measure of Tibet’s worth, and as late as 1946, the Tibetan government conveyed this poignantly in a diplomatic a letter it sent to the Chinese government: “There are many great nations on this earth who have achieved unprecedented wealth and might, but there is only one nation which is dedicated to the well-being of humanity in the world [through its practice of monk conducted Buddhist prayer rituals] and that is the religious land of Tibet which cherishes a joint spiritual and temporal system.”5

This religiosity was measured by the number of celibate monks and monasteries, that is to say, by the numbers of males who had renounced having wives and families to join monastic communities and thereby take the first step on a long journey toward spiritual development and enlightenment. There was, therefore, a strong value given to creating as many monks as possible.6 Every male who became a monk was a victory for Buddhism and a reaffirmation of Tibet’s commitment to exalt religiosity. Tibetans, not surprisingly, not only believed that celibate monkhood per se was superior to secular status, but that all monks, even those we might classify as “marginal” or “bad” monks, were superior to their lay counterparts. Several Tibetan sayings expressed by monks reflect this, for example, one monk said: 'jig rten rab la chos ba'i mtha' skyes (“the worst in the religious life is better than the best in secular life”). And another said: gang zhig gser gyi ri la bsnye 'gyur na/ de yi 'dabs chags thams cad gser la 'gyur. (“whatever comes to lean against a golden mountain will become gold"), meaning that the intrinsic value of monasticism was so great (“gold”) that just the fact of being in a monastery would greatly enhance the male.

The theocratic state in Tibet, consequently, existed not simply to administer its territories for the material welfare of its people or to develop Tibet’s wealth and power vis-à-vis its neighbors, but rather primarily to encourage and facilitate large numbers of males to renounce marriage, family and secular life and accept monastic vows for the salvation of the individual and the glory of Tibetan religiosity. The monastery stood physically and metaphorically as a wall keeping out the immediacy of kinship that imbues secular life in village communities and replacing it with an alternative culture where the immediacy of religious rites and practices dominated social life. Traditional Tibet, in essence, measured its success—its pre-modern GDP if you will—spiritually in terms of the number of monks, monasteries and prayer rituals it produced, not materially in terms of the amount of wool, skins and other products it produced and exported. For the Tibetan religious elite, Tibet’s unique contribution to humanity and the world was its maintenance of an enormous system of monasteries and monks—“mass monasticism.” Monasticism in Tibet, therefore, was not the otherworldly domain of a minute self-selected elite, but a mass phenomenon. Size rather than quality was the ultimate measure of the success of monasticism.

The demography of monasticism

There are no real data on how many monks and monasteries existed in Tibet when the 5th Dalai Lama came to power four hundred years ago in 1642, although his chief minister, Desi Sangye Gyatso, wrote in his history of the Yellow Hat sect (Vaidurya Serpo (Yellow Beryl)) that there were 1,807 monasteries and 97,538 monks (of all sects) in 1694 (including Kham but not Amdo).7 For later periods, the Tibetan exile government has estimated that their were 2,700 monasteries and 115,000 monks in 1951 or about 10-15% of the population and 20-30% of all males.8 This figure must have included many temples (lhakhang) where one or two monks presided as overseers since the average number of monks per monastery otherwise would be only 40 and that is far too few. Chinese government reports also state that surveys conducted in the 1950s revealed more than 2,700 monasteries and temples and 120,000 monks, or about 24% of the male population.9 Although these are obviously just crude guesstimates, they show interesting similarities and generally reveal the extent of mass monasticism in traditional Tibet. By contrast, in Thailand, another prominent Buddhist society, only about 1-2 percent of the total number of males were monks and most of these were not life-long permanent monks.10

Another way to assess at the magnitude of Tibetan monasticism is by looking at its great monastic centers. It is clear that Tibet was the home to the largest monasteries in the world in the modern era and of the many Tibetan monasteries in the 1950s, a number, perhaps as many as 15, were large establishments with over one thousand monks. It is these that Tibetans saw as exemplifying and providing proof of the greatness of the Tibetan monastic system. In and around Tibet’s capital Lhasa, for example, there were three huge Yellow Hat monastic seats—Drepung, Sera, Ganden— that together housed about 20,000 monks. Drepung alone had about 10,000 monks. By contrast, Lhasa, the capital and largest city, had only about 30,000 inhabitants. Major monastic centers also existed in other parts of political Tibet such as Tashilhunpo monastery in Shigatse as well as outside of political Tibet in Qinghai (Kumbum monastery), Gansu (Labrang monastery) and in Kham (Litang, Derge, Batang). Other Tibetan Buddhist sects such as Sakya and Karmpa also had large monasteries, although the focus in this paper is on the dominant Yellow Hat sect.

To create a Buddhist society with a large monastic segment, however, meant there had to be thousands upon thousands of men willing to cut attachments to lay society and family life and adopt lives in an alternative culture—a community of celibate monks each of whom in their eyes stood on his own like a single stick of incense. To facilitate this, Tibet developed effective mechanisms for recruiting large numbers of monks, socializing them into an alternative culture, and retaining them in lives of celibacy.

Monastic recruitment and organization

In Tibet, monks were almost always recruited as very young children through the agency of their parents or guardians. It was considered important to recruit monks before they had experienced sexual relations with girls, so monks were brought to the monastery as young boys, usually between the ages of 6-12. On the other hand, it was not considered important what these boys themselves felt about a lifetime commitment to celibate monasticism and they were basically made monks without regard to their personality, temperament or inclination.

Parents sometimes broached the subject with a son but usually simply told him of their decision. Monastic rules officially required that monks enter of their own volition and the monastery formally asked each entrant whether they wanted to be a monk but this was actually just a token inquiry. For example, if a young monk found the transition to monastic life unpleasant and tried to run away, the monastery did not take this as evidence that the boy did not want to be a monk and therefore let him leave. To the contrary, it invariably sent older monks to search for and forcibly return the runaway child monks. Parents agreed with this view so even if a runaway child monk managed to reach his home, he typically received not sympathy and support but a scolding and the immediate return to the monastery. Interestingly, the process of monastic socialization ultimately worked and all of the many monks who related incidents of running away, in retrospect, did not see this as abusive. Rather, they laughed at how stupid they had been to want to give up being a monk when young. Tibetans traditionally felt that young boys could not comprehend the privilege of being a monk and it was up to their elders to see to it that they had the right opportunities.11 All of this, of course, greatly facilitated the operationalization of mass monasticism.

This system of recruitment through child monks occurred not only in the three great Yellow Hat monastic seats around Lhasa, but also in the thousands of smaller monasteries scattered throughout Tibet proper and the ethnic Tibetan areas of Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan.

Recruiting young boys as lifelong monks made sense from the viewpoint of the mass monastic ideology, but posed practical problems in terms of daily life. Tibetan monasteries were not run as communes with monk canteens providing food for all monks. Neither did monks make daily begging trips to secure food. Rather, individual monks were responsible for securing their own foodstuffs and cooking their own meals.12 Consequently, young child monks needed an adult to take care of them, at least until they reached their late teens when they would be able to live independently. The mechanism used to achieve this was to incorporate young monks into what we can think of as monk households (shagtshang), that is to say, young monks moved in with an older monk. These monk households operated much like lay village households in that they had an internal authority hierarchy and combined co-residence and economic cooperation. The older monk who was the head of the monk household was responsible for the economics of the household and for raising the boy—for providing housing, food, discipline, etc. In turn the junior monk was obligated to turn over any income he received from alms or monastery salary to the household head, just as members of lay families turned over any income they earned to their household. And, like lay households, the junior monk worked at whatever the monk household head instructed, e.g., sweeping, fetching water, etc. Lay and monk households, therefore were structurally and functionally similar, the obvious key difference being that monk households were comprised of only males and reproduced themselves not via marriage, sex and reproduction, but by conscious selection of the household head.13

Consequently, Tibetan parents seeking to make a son a monk had to search among friends and relatives to find an older monk who was willing to take in their son and assume responsibility for the boy’s livelihood. In some cases, the older monk would be related to the boy and would likely have met him previously, but in other cases, e.g., if the boy was the child of a friend of a friend, they would have had no prior contact or connection. Thus, although the members of monastic households were sometimes related through kinship, this was not at all necessary.

Moreover, the relationship between the senior and junior monks in a household was not couched in terms of lay kinship terminology nor was kinship terminology used in the monastery between monks.14 Rather, monks in households used the core monastic idiom of “teacher-disciple” in a fictive manner. For example, the younger monk(s) in a monk household all referred to the senior monk as their “teacher” (gegen or gen) and the senior monk would in turn say that he had one or two “disciples (gidru). However, no one in the monastery mistook the “guardian” gegen heading the household for real “teachers” and the official term of reference for them was actually dopderra gegen (lto ster ba’i dge rgan) which translates as “the gegen who gives food.” In contrast, the real teachers were known as beja gegen (dpe cha dge rgan) or “a gegen who teaches religious texts.” Sometimes a single older monk in a monk household played both roles, but usually they were separate.

The duration of monk households varied but usually they lasted until the senior monk died. If there were only two people in the household, normally the younger monk inherited the property and apartment, but if there were more than one, the late household head would have selected one to become the new household head. Often the household by that time would have taken in another young monk so in these cases the household had continuity across generations. Generally, therefore, these monk households stayed together for many decades with mutual sentiments of attachment and affection developing. Ironically, therefore, while the institution of monk households served to allow child monks to sever their attachments to lay society at a young age and be readily incorporated into monastic communities, at the same time it created, to a degree at least, a system that fostered lasting attachments and dependence.

At the same time, the ties of real kinship were not totally severed when boys became monks. Not only, as mentioned above, were some boys placed in monk households with an older relative, but monks maintained loose ties with their families. At some stages of the life cycle of a monk, the families of monks might help to support the monk by sending food to the monk household, whereas at other stages, a successful monk might assist his relatives family, as the following example illustrates.

In this example, an adult monk who had just risen in the monastic hierarchy used his new position to help a poor relative by taking two of her sons into Drepung monastery so as to eliminate two mouths for her to feed.
He explained how this occurred:

Just after I became the steward (nangnyer) for the Loseling Chiso [the head manger of the entire monastery]. I heard that my maternal aunt who was [a nomad] living in Damshung had become very poor. So when they asked me to visit them, I took a 15 day home-leave and went. They … wanted to show the others in the community that their nephew was now a powerful official. …

When I arrived, I found that they were extremely poor. They had no sheep or goats of their own and only a few head of livestock on lease. They were so very poor. The father sewed fleece-lined dresses (bagtsa) and the mother dug up droma (wild sweet potatoes) and sold them. They had more children than animals.... I made one of the young boys a new fleece-lined dress and then took him to Lhasa as part of my monk household [in the monastery]. This boy was very clever so I thought it was better not to make him a monk at once. Instead, I sent him to a private school in Lhasa where he would learn to read and write [the cursive script]. Later he could be made a monk and could become a high official in the monastery [from his household] because he would know how to write the cursive script well.15 The next year I told my aunt to send me another of her sons. He wasn’t as clever as the first son so I directly made him a monk in Drepung. I found a poor monk who was living alone and told the poor monk, "Please keep this boy as your disciple. I am the servant of someone [the Chiso] and can’t help much at home now, but every year I will give you 2.5 khe16 of flour and 2.5 khe of barley to help with his subsistence. Later [as you get older], this boy will be a help to you. The poor monk said okay and took him." He agreed to be the gegen [so this boy became part of a household with an unrelated dopderra gegen].17

A separate category of monk households were the great households (labrang) of incarnate lamas. Unlike the households of ordinary monks, these always continued across generations with leadership being passed on by reincarnation succession. In other words, when the incarnate lama who was the head of the labrang died, that lama was believed to reincarnate into an infant who, when discovered a few years later, became the new head/owner of the labrang. Although actual control rested with monk stewards and managers during the new incarnation’s minority, when he became an adult he assumed control.

Parental motives

There were many reasons why parents made a son a monk. As was indicated earlier, making one’s son a monk was culturally valued, even if the boy never became a great religious thinker or practitioner. Just his presence in a monastery would benefit him in this and future lives. It was, therefore, a way of giving a son a prestigious status which required little of the hard manual labor that permeated village life while also, as mentioned earlier, exempting the boy from all corvée obligations to his lord. At the same time it created positive “merit” for the parents. One nomad monk related that in his region making a son a monk was considered equivalent to building a stupa in terms of merit gained.18

A second motivation for enrolling one’s son derived from the divination of lamas or monks. Parents frequently sought divination when their children were ill. Sometimes the remedy prescribed by the practitioner involved propitiating some god who was causing the illness but on other occasions, the prescription called for the parents to promise to later dedicate this boy to religion—to a monastic life. Similarly, in times of sickness, parents sometimes prayed on their own to their protective deity and promised that if he spared their son they would later make him a monk.

A third type of situation occurred when a young boy showed a liking for monks. This type of boy might hang around a monk uncle when he was visiting the family and might cry when his monk relative left asking to go with him. If the uncle encouraged this and urged the family to make the boy his disciple-ward in his monastic household, the family often would agree. In some cases, there were family traditions of uncles and nephews joining a monastery (and monk household) generation after generation.

A fourth, and extremely common, type of situation occurred when parents made a son a monk as part of a strategy for organizing their family’s human resources so as to minimize the likelihood of family fragmentation and land division in the next generation.
The basic family in rural Tibet was (and still is) is an extended stem family formed through the mechanism of fraternal polyandry (2 or more brothers jointly taking a bride) or monogamy. Fraternal Polyandry is a functional equivalent of primogeniture in that it seeks to produce only one heir. As there is only one wife per generation and all the brothers are jointly considered the father, all the children of the wife are considered a single heir. In the next generation, the multiple male children will also together marry polyandrously. This type of stem family precludes each of several sons taking his own bride either within the natal family or by setting up new neolocal families.

However, marrying all sons polyandrous is not always possible because of age differences between the brothers. For example, if the eldest of three brothers was 23 and the next brother 17 and the youngest brother only 12 years old (several daughters having been born between the sons), the parents might decide it will be too difficult for the youngest son to become incorporated into the marriage when he matures so will only marry the eldest two sons polyandrously. Because they are seeking to create only one set of heirs per generation, they will not bring a second bride into the household for the youngest son but rather will send him out of the household either by making him a monk or by sending him later as a bridegroom to a family with only daughters. An unintended consequence of this system is an excess of unmarried daughters. Roughly 25% of females age 20-40 do not marry and live separately either as spinsters or single mothers (if they have had affairs and children). 19

Poverty also was very important in motivating parents to make sons monks. Very poor Tibetans with many children had two main mechanisms for balancing their income with subsistence needs. One was making one or more sons a monk as the above mentioned case of the nomad illustrated. Another was to send young sons and daughters as servants to other households. In such cases, the children lived with the other family and were fed by them. Often there was also a small annual salary in grain that went to the parents.

Finally, another very different type of monastic recruitment derived from the right of some monasteries to conscript boys as a corvée tax if the number of their monks fell below a certain limit. This was called tratre (grwa khral) or "monk tax".

Structure and function of a large monastery

Tibet is a large country with important regional differences and four major Buddhist sects each of which had its own monasteries. In addition there is a non-Buddhist sect known as Bon which also had a monastic tradition. Within these traditions there were major large monastic seats as well as many small monasteries located in remote areas. Some of these were completely independent but others were branch monasteries of larger monastic seats such as Drepung, Sera and Ganden. Consequently, it is difficult to generalize about “all” monasteries, although regardless of size and fame, Tibetan monasteries recruited monks as children. However, for the purpose of further illustrating Tibetan “mass monasticism,” the mega-monastery Drepung with its 10,000 monks will be used as an example.

Large monasteries like Drepung were complex institutions that were internally structured like segmentary lineages being divided internally into semi-autonomous sub-monastic units called tratsang of which there were four in Drepung: Gomang, Loseling, Deyang and Ngagpa. Tratsang are normally called “colleges” in the literature due to certain similarities with English universities like Oxford which also were made up of a number of semi-autonomous units. Just as students enrolled in one of Oxford’s colleges, young boys enrolled in one of Drepung’s colleges, although the use of the term college is misleading since tratsang were not schools per se, but rather communities of celibate males who remained there their entire lives.

Drepung monastery as a whole had little control over its four constituent colleges each of which had their own estates, serfs, capital funds, endowments, officials, teaching curriculum, monks and an abbot. On the other hand, the monastery as a whole also had its own estates, capital funds and administrative officials and was headed by a committee of current and ex-abbots (from the various colleges).

Each monastic college, in turn, was internally sub-divided into a number of named semi-autonomous residence units called khamtsen which also had their own resources and officials. Gomang College, for example, had 16 khamtsen in 1959, one of which, Hamdong, alone had about 2,000 monks. New monks were affiliated to khamtsen units based on their natal region so that monks coming from distant areas with non-standard dialects would be housed together with others from their same region.20 Individual monks, therefore, belonged to a khamtsen, which was part of a college, which was part of the overall monastery. Individuals, therefore, had cross-cutting allegiances. Two monks could have the same overall institutional allegiance (Drepung) but different college allegiances, or the same college affiliation but different khamtsen affiliation. Nevertheless, despite this similarity to a segmentary kinship system, no kinship ideology was used, just as none was used in universities like Oxford.

At the level of the individual, Drepung’s ten thousand monks were divided into two broad categories—those who studied a formal curriculum of Buddhist theology and philosophy and those who did not. The former, known as pechawa, were a small minority, amounting to only about 10 percent of the total monk population. These “scholar monks,” pursued a long curriculum that took approximately fifteen years to complete.21 The curriculum in each college used a slightly different set of texts, although in the end they all covered the same material. The scholar monks in Gomang, Loseling, and Deyang met three times a day to practice debating in their respective college’s outdoor walled park called a chöra, or dharma grove. Monks came to Drepung from all over the Tibetan Buddhist world (including Mongolia) to see if they could master the difficult curriculum and obtain the advanced degree of geshe. The intellectual greatness of the Yellow Hat sect’s monastic tradition was measured by the brilliance of these scholar monks.

The overwhelming majority of monks, the so called “common” monks (tramang or tragyü), however, did not pursue this arduous curriculum and were not involved in formal study. Many could not read much more than one or two prayer books, and some, in fact, were functionally illiterate, having memorized only a few basic prayers. These monks had some intermittent monastic work obligations in their early years (as a kind of “new monk tax”), but otherwise were free to do what they liked within the overall framework of monastic (vinaya) rules).

Despite the monastic segment’s commitment to the ideology of mass monasticism, Tibetan monks had to support themselves. In general, their income came from a combination of sources: 1) salary from their monastery/college/khamtsen (which in itself was normally not sufficient to subsist), 2) alms given to individual monks at the time of the prayer assemblies, 3) income from their own labor, and 4. support in food from their natal family. Many monks in Tibet actually spent a considerable amount of time engaged in income-producing activities including crafts like tailoring and medicine, working as servants for other monks, engaging in trade, or even leaving the monastery at peak agricultural times to work for farmers.

This is surprising since mega-monasteries like Drepung were owners of huge estates and serfs. According to 1959 Chinese statistics, 36.8 percent of the total amount of cultivated land in Tibet was held by monasteries and lamas (and another 24% by aristocratic families, and 38.9% by the government itself). Drepung Monastery itself is said to have owned 185 manorial estates, 20,000 serfs, 300 pasture areas and 16,000 nomads each of which had a population of hereditarily bound peasant families who worked the monastery’s (or college’s) land without wages as a corvée obligation.22 Moreover, since there were no banks in Tibet, monasteries like Drepung had huge capital funds which lent out money and grain at high interest. Scores of monks went out yearly to rural Tibet to collect payment of interest and principal at harvest time. The income from these resources and activities could have supported the subsistence of the monks fully had it been allocated predominately for that purpose, but it was not.

Drepung (and its constituent colleges, etc.) instead allocated a substantial portion of their income to support rituals and prayer chanting assemblies. Such prayer ceremonies were formal meetings in huge assembly halls that involved all of the monks belonging to the sponsoring unit (the monastery as a whole, the college or the khamtsen). Thousands of monks sitting in long rows intoning prayers together for the benefit of humanity is an image Tibetans cherished and was considered as one of the most important functions of the monastery. However, these prayer sessions were also expensive since each of the monks attending was served butter-tea during breaks in the chanting. Consequently, sponsoring the prayer assemblies meant providing tea for many thousands of monks daily which required the monastery to use large amounts of butter, tea and firewood. This was one of the monastery’s biggest expenses.

Mega-monasteries like Drepung, of course, could have restricted the number of monks they accepted in order to both fund all its monks adequately and still do the prayer ceremonies. In fact, the Tibetan government at one point had tried to place limits on the number of monks (e.g., Drepung’s limit was set at 7,700), but the monasteries ignored this and allowed all who came to join. In the ideology of mass monasticism, having large numbers of monks took precedence, so how monks financed what they needed in addition to their monistic salary was, by and large, seen as the monks own problem.

The monks most affected by the insufficient funding were those who had made a commitment to study Buddhist theology full-time, that is, the scholar monks. They received no special funds from the monastery and had no time to engage in trade or other income-producing activities because of their heavy study burdens. Consequently, they typically lived solely on their monastery salary and alms and were forced to lead extremely frugal lives unless they were able to find wealthy patrons to supplement their income or were themselves wealthy, as in the case of the incarnate lamas. Tales abound in Drepung of famous scholar monks so poor that they had to eat the staple food—tsamba (parched barley flour)—with water rather than tea, or worse, who had to eat the leftover dough from ritual offerings (torma).

Consequently, in the traditional era, the great monasteries like Drepung, Sera and Ganden were full of very different sorts of monks, some rich, some poor, some devoted to study, some involved in administration and others doing a wide range of labor and trading, and some doing very little and just barely subsisting.

Leaving the monastery

Enrolling young monks without regard to their wishes or personalities meant inevitable problems of adjustment. Monks had the right to leave the monastic order, and as they became young adults in their twenties, had the ability to do so. Consequently, powerful mechanisms were needed to retain most of the young adult monks who were unsure about living a lifetime of celibacy. The monastic system was structured to facilitate this. On the one hand, while monks enjoyed high status, ex-monks were somewhat looked down on. On the other hand, the great large monasteries generally did not place severe restrictions on comportment or demand educational achievement. Rather than diligently weeding out all novices who seemed unsuited for a rigorous life of prayer, study, and meditation, the Tibetan monastic system expelled monks only if they committed murder or engaged in heterosexual intercourse. There were also no exams that novices or monks were required to pass in order to remain in the monastery (although there were required exams for higher intellectual statuses within the monastic ranks). Monks who had no interest in studying or meditating were as welcome as the virtuoso scholar monks. Even totally illiterate monks were accommodated because, in the ideology of mass monasticism, they too had made the critical break from the attachments of secular life. The monks of Drepung conveyed the great diversity of types of monks in their monastery with the pithy saying: “In the ocean there are fishes and frogs.”23

Furthermore, leaving the monastery posed economic problems. Monks lost whatever rights they might otherwise have had to their family’s farm when they entered the monastery, so monks who left the monastery had to find some new source of income. They also reverted to their original serf status when they left so were liable for corvée service to their lord. By contrast, if they remained monks, their basic economic needs were met without having to work too hard. All these factors made it both easier and more advantageous for monks to remain in the monastery.

As mentioned above, the monastic leadership espoused the belief that since the Tibetan state was first and foremost the supporter and patron of religion, the needs and interests of religion should take primacy. And since mass monasticism represented the greatness of Tibetan religion, they believed that the political and economic system existed to facilitate this and that they, not the government, could best judge what was in the short- and long-term interests of religion. Thus, it was their religious duty and right to intervene whenever they felt the government was acting against the interests of religion. This, of course, brought them into the mainstream of political affairs and into potential conflict with the Dalai Lama/regent and the government. And while the Dalai Lama and the rest of the government agreed with mass monasticism in principle, there was often disagreement on specific issues. For example, in 1946 when the government hired an English teacher and opened a modern school in Lhasa to better prepare Tibet to deal with the modern world, the monks in Lhasa perceived this as a threat to the dominance of religion and protested, threatening the students with bodily harm. The government quickly backed down and the school was disbanded after a few weeks.24

The domination of the mass-monastic ideology in traditional Tibet is illustrated vividly by a serious dispute that occurred in Drepung in 1958, the year before the uprising in Lhasa that ended the traditional system.

The Gomang dispute

As indicated earlier, Drepung monks did not have to pass examinations to remain part of the monastic community, and only about 10 percent of the monks were actively engaged in the Buddhist study curriculum leading to the geshe degree. This became a problem for Drepung’s Gomang College when the number of monks annually receiving the geshe degree became so low that it embarrassed the abbot of the college. The Gomang College prayer chant master (umdze) of the time explained,

During the six-year term of each abbot, it was expected that 60 geshes would be produced. But in recent years in Gomang College, only two, three, or four were graduating each year. Because of this, the government asked Drepung why there were so few geshes now whereas in the past there had been so many. When we looked into this, we found…that the number of geshes produced was declining because in general only 100 to 200 of Gomang College’s over 4,000 monks were engaged in active study. So we decided that we had to do something to reverse this trend.25

Part of the reason for this dearth was Drepung’s policy of not providing special financial support for monks engaged in full-time theological studies. As explained earlier, these monks had no time to engage in income-producing work like ordinary monks and faced lives of hardship and poverty unless they had some other source of support.

Nevertheless, there was very little support in the monastery for providing extra income to scholar monks or, alternatively, for forcing all monks to study and pass exams. Most of the monks, particularly the common monks and monk administrators, in fact, felt that the scholar monks were studying for their own benefit, not for the welfare of the monastery, so deserved nothing special. They were not considered better than the “common monks.” Consequently, the Gomang College reformers decided that the best way to proceed was indirectly. They convinced the abbot to make a new rule shifting the site of the monastic salary payments to the dharma grove where the scholar monks debated. The logic behind this move was explained by one of the leaders of the reform faction: “We thought that if we distributed salaries in the dharma grove, more monks would come to it, and if we did this continually, then some of these monks would get used to the dharma grove [and come even when there was no salary distribution and get interested in studying].”

The abbot’s new order meant that all monks, even monk-administrators, had to go to the dharma grove and sit through the prayers that preceded the debating session before collecting their salaries. Although they did not have to study, or participate in the debates, or even attend the dharma grove during the rest of the year, this order produced an outcry of protest from the monk officials who handled the college’s administrative work. At their instigation, the mass of common monks became involved, insisting that the rules of the monastery were sacred and could not be changed.

This controversy polarized Gomang College’s monks and eventually led to violence when a mob of angry monks broke into a meeting on this issue and dragged three of the reform leaders outside where they tied them to pillars, beat them, and then locked them up as prisoners. Ultimately, the Dalai Lama’s government intervened and freed the monks, but while it expelled the leaders of both the pro and anti reform factions, it did not force the monks to go to the dharma grove to collect their salaries. The reform program, therefore, had failed because the fundamental premise of the mass monastic ideology gave equivalence to all monks regardless of their knowledge or spirituality.

In conclusion, therefore, the Tibetan monastic system was a distinctive form of Buddhist monasticism that gave priority to recruiting large numbers of young boys into an alternative monastic culture and society that included a commitment to a lifetime of celibacy. It was an orientation that I have called mass monasticism because its priority was to provide an opportunity for very large numbers of males to become monks, even though many of these would never study religion deeply or engage in serious meditation. As mentioned earlier, about 90% of the monks in the great monastic centers like Drepung were not “scholar monks” actively studying Buddhism philosophy to attain the advanced degree of geshe. However, in the dominant emic perspective, all monks were viewed as having equally made the critical first step in religious progress by cutting their attachments to wife, children, and secular life and becoming part of monastic communities. Monasticism in Tibet, therefore, was not focused on creating a few great scholar monks, but rather on creating the conditions wherein large numbers of boys could have an opportunity to become monks for their entire lives. Some would study and debate at the highest intellectual levels, others would only participate in prayer assemblies where they chanted memorized texts and some would not even do that. But they were all seen as having successfully made the difficult commitment to follow the Buddha’s teaching and leave the secular world behind them.

Until its demise in 1959, this system of mass monasticism was extremely successful, creating and sustaining the largest monasteries in the modern world and the largest proportion of full-time celibate monks.



1 Melvyn C. Goldstein is the John Reynolds Harkness Professor in Anthropology and Co-Director of the Center for Research on Tibet, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.

2 Goldstein and Kapstein, 1998, p. 15.

3 Tibetan monasticism still exists in Tibet although in an attenuated form due to government limitations on the numbers of monks. For a broad discussion of Buddhism in contemporary Tibet see Goldstein, 1998a and b.

4 In Tibetan, chos srid gnyis ldan or chos srid gnyis 'brel.

5 Goldstein 1989, p. 816.

6 There were, of course, also nuns and nunneries in Tibet, but these were fewer in number and not considered as important.

7 Dunggar 1991, p. 75. Data from a Qing dynasty survey reported in 1733 that there were 3,477 monasteries and 356,230 monks (Dunggar 1991, p. 76) but this seems too high.

8 Goldstein 1998, p. 15.

9 Information Office of the State Council. “Tibet’s march toward modernization.” White Paper China Daily , 8 November 2001. At present there are limitation on the number of monasteries and monks in China but the Chinese government still reports that there are 1,700 monasteries, temples and other sites of religious activity, with over 46,000 Buddhist monks. (white paper ... tibet.html).

10 Tambiah 1976: 266-67.

11 Another category of monks came to the Three Great Monastic Seats in Lhasa as young adults after spending their childhood monk years studying the basics in distant monasteries. They were called tharingga (“ones from far away”) and were organized slightly differently from the normal monks who entered directly as children since they were self-sufficient and were expected to return to their home monasteries after completing their advanced studies.

12 Monks received a salary from the monastery several times a year but this was typically not enough to subsist.

13 Actually, homosexual relations between the older monks and their young wards was not unknown in the great monastic seats and there were also some long-term “sexual” relationships among older monks living in households, but that issue goes beyond the scope of this paper. Suffice to say here that Tibetan monks considered homosexual sexual relations a breach of the vow of celibacy only if it involved penetration of an orifice such as the anus. Homosexual intercourse, therefore, was normally done between the thighs, and while not completely acceptable, was widely tolerated in the large monastic seats.

14 See Herrou, 2005 for an case where pseudo-kinship was utilized in a Taoist monastery in contemporary China.

15 Drepung did not teach its monks the calligraphic cursive writing script that was used by Tibetan government officials and higher monastic officials who dealt with managing monastic resources, so monks who wanted such positions had to learn it on their own.

16 A khe (khal) is a traditional volume unit that was equal to about 31 pounds of barley.

17 Interview, 1991, M.0142.01, Drepung, Tibet.

18 Interview, 1991, M.0030.01, Drepung, Tibet.

19 For discussions on Tibetan polyandry and the family see Goldstein 1971, 1976, 1978, and 1987.

20 Monks coming from distant regions were older and had already entered the monastic order in their home area so were treated very differently with respect to guardian teachers and monk households.

21 Anon. 1986.

22 White paper ( ... tibet.html), page 1. Epstein 1991 cites 151 estates and 540 pasture areas.

23 White paper ( ... tibet.html), page 1. Epstein 1991 cites 151 estates and 540 pasture areas.

24 See Goldstein 1989.

25 Goldstein 1998b, p. 34.


Anon. The Education of a monk. Chöyang: The Voice of Tibetan Religion and Culture. 1(1): 41-45. *

Israel Epstein. Tibet Transformed. Beijing: New World Press, 1983.

Dunggar, Losang Trinley. The Merging of Religious and Secular Rule in Tibet. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1991.

Melvyn C. Goldstein. Stratification, Polyandry and Family Structure in Tibet." Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 27, no. 1: 64-74, 1971.

________________. Serfdom and Mobility: An Examination of the Institution of 'Human Lease' in Traditional Tibetan Society. Journal of Asian Studies. Vol. XXX, No. 3, pp. 521-34. 1971.

_______________. Fraternal Polyandry and Fertility in a High Himalayan Valley in Northwest Nepal. Human Ecology. Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 223-233, 1976.

________________. Adjudication and Partition in the Tibetan Stem Family. In D. Buxbaum (ed.), Chinese Family Law and Social Change. University of Washington Press, 1978.

________________. Pahari and Tibetan Polyandry Revisited. Ethnology. 17(3): 325-347, 1978.

________________. When Brothers Share a Wife. Natural History. March, 1987

________________. A History of Modern Tibet, 1913-1951: The demise of the lamaist state. Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1989.

________________. The Revival of Monastic Life in Drepung Monastery. In Goldstein and Kapstein (eds.) Buddhism in Contemporary Tibet: Religious Revival & Cultural Identity. pp.16-52, 1998a.

_______________. Introduction. In Goldstein and Kapstein (eds.) Buddhism in Contemporary Tibet: Religious Revival & Cultural Identity. pp.1-15, 1998b.

Melvyn C. Goldstein and M. Kapstein. Eds. Buddhism in Contemporary Tibet: Religious Revival and National Identity. U. of California Press, 1998.

Melvyn C. Goldstein and P. Tsarong. Tibetan Buddhist Monasticism: Social, Psychological and Cultural Implications. The Tibet Journal. 10(1): 14-31, 1985.

Adeline Herrou. La Vie entre soi les moine taoister aujourd’hui en China. Société d’ethnologie. Paris, 2005.

Stanley J. Tambiah, World Conqueror and World Renouncer. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1976.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Thu Mar 19, 2020 7:55 am

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/19/20

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio
Bust of Derozio at the Esplanade
Born: 18 April 1809, Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India
Died: 26 December 1831 (aged 22), Calcutta, India
Resting place: South Park Street Cemetery, Mother Teresa Sarani
Occupation: Poet and teacher
Language: English and Bengali
Citizenship: British Indian
Genre: Academic, Educator
Literary movement: Bengal Renaissance
Notable works: To India - My Native Land


Henry Louis Vivian Derozio (18 April 1809 – 26 December 1831), was an Indian poet of Portuguese origin and assistant headmaster of Hindu College, Kolkata. He was a radical thinker of his time and one of the first Indian educators to disseminate Western learning and science among the young men of Bengal.

Long after his death (by cholera), his legacy lived on among his former students, who came to be known as Young Bengal and many of whom became prominent in social reform, law, and journalism.


Early life

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio was born on 18 April 1809 at Entally-Padmapukur in Kolkata. His parents were Francis Derozio, a Christian Indo-Portuguese office worker, and Sophia Johnson Derozio, an Englishwoman.[1][2] His original family name was 'De Rozario'.[3]

Derozio attended David Drummond's Dhurramtallah Academy school, where he was a pupil from the age of six to fourteen.[1][3][4] Derozio later praised his early schooling for its liberal approach to education, and particularly for its unusual choice to teach Indian, Eurasian and European children from different social classes together as peers.[4] Derozio's later religious skepticism is sometimes attributed to influence from David Drummond, who was known as a freethinker.[4] Derozio was a successful student: notices in the India Gazette and the Calcutta Journal at the time mentioned Derozio's academic excellence (including several academic prizes) and his success performances in student plays.[4]

At age 14, Derozio left school to work.[1] He initially joined his father's office in Kolkata, and later shifted to his uncle's indigo factory in Bhagalpur.[1] Inspired by the scenic beauty of the banks of the River Ganges, he started writing poetry, which he submitted to the India Gazette.[1] His poetic career began to flourish, with poems published in multiple newspapers and periodicals, in 1825.[4]

In 1827, when Derozio was eighteen, the editor John Grant took notice of Derozio's poetry, offering to publish a book of his work and inviting him to return to Kolkata.[1] He soon became an assistant editor for Grant, as well as publishing in several other periodicals, and founding his own newspaper, the Calcutta Gazette.[1]

Hindu College and Young Bengals

In May 1826, at the age of 17, he was appointed teacher in English literature and history at the new Hindu College. Derozio's intense zeal for teaching and his interactions with students created a sensation at Hindu College. He organized debates where ideas and social norms were freely debated. At the age of 18, became a Professor of English Literature and History at the Hindu College.[1] In 1828, he motivated his students to form a literary and debating club called the Academic Association.

This was a time when Hindu society in Bengal was undergoing considerable turmoil. In 1828, Raja Ram Mohan Roy established the Brahmo Samaj, which kept Hindu ideals but denied idolatry. This resulted in a backlash within orthodox Hindu society. Derozio helped release the ideas for social change already in the air. Despite his youth, he was considered a great scholar and a thinker. Within a short period, he drew around him a group of intelligent boys in college. He constantly encouraged them to think freely, to question and not to accept anything blindly. His teachings inspired the development of the spirit of liberty, equality, and freedom. They also tried to remove social evils, improve the condition of the women and the peasants, and promote liberty through freedom of the press, trial by jury, and so on. His activities brought about the intellectual revolution in Bengal. It was called the Young Bengal Movement and his students, also known as Derozians, were fiery patriots.

Due to backlash from conservative parents who disliked his wide-ranging and open discussion of religious issues, Derozio was dismissed from his post in April 1831, shortly before his death.[1]

His students came to be known as Derozians. In 1838, after his death, members of the Young Bengal movement established a second society called the Society for the Acquisition of General Knowledge. Its main objective was to acquire and disseminate knowledge about the condition of the country.


Derozio died of cholera at an early age of 22 on 26 December 1831 in Calcutta. His body was buried in South Park Street Cemetery of Kolkata.


Derozio was generally considered an Anglo-Indian, being of mixed Portuguese descent, but he considered himself Indian.[2] Derozio was known during his lifetime as the first 'national' poet of modern India,[4] and the history of Anglo-Indian poetry typically begins with Derozio.[2] His poems are regarded as an important landmark in the history of patriotic poetry in India, especially "To India - My Native Land" and The Fakeer of Jungheera. He is influenced by Romantic poetry, especially the orientalism of poets like Lord Byron and Robert Southey.[5]


• Poems (1827)[1]
o "The Harp of India"[1][5]
o "Song of the Hindoostani Minstrel"[5]
• The Fakeer of Jungheera: A Metrical Tale and Other Poems (1828)[1]
o The Fakeer of Jungheera[1]
o "To India - My Native Land"[1]
• The Poetical Works of Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, ed. B.B. Shah (1907)[1]
o "To the Pupils of the Hindu College"[1]


Commemorative stamp of Derozio issued in 2009

Derizio's ideas had a profound influence on the social movement that came to be known as the Bengal Renaissance in early 19th century Bengal. And despite being viewed as something of an iconoclast by Alexander Duff and other (largely evangelical) Christian Missionaries; later in Duff's Assembly's Institution, Derozio's ideas on the acceptance of the rational spirit were accepted partly as long as they were not in conflict with basic tenets of Christianity, and as long as they critiqued orthodox Hinduism.

Derozio is generally believed to be partly responsible for the conversion of upper-caste Hindus like Krishna Mohan Banerjee[6] and Lal Behari Dey to Christianity. Samaren Roy, however, states that only three Hindu pupils among his first group of students became Christians, and asserts that Derozio had no role to play in their change of faith.[7] He points out that Derozio's dismissal was sought not only by Hindus such as Ramkamal Sen, but also by Christians such as H. H. Wilson.[7] Many other students like Tarachand Chakraborti became leaders in the Brahmo Samaj.[8]

Derozio's political activities have also been seen as crucially important to the development of a public sphere in Calcutta during British imperialism.[4]

A commemorative postage stamp of Derozio was issued on December 15, 2009.[5]

See also

• Poetry portal
• Young Bengal
• To India - My Native Land


1. Black, Joseph; Conolly, Leonard; Flint, Kate; Grundy, Isobel; Lepan, Don; Liuzza, Roy; McGann, Jerome J.; Prescott, Anne Lake; Qualls, Barry V.; Waters, Claire, eds. (4 December 2014). "Henry Louis Vivian Derozio". The Broadview anthology of British literature (Third ed.). Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. ISBN 978-1-55481-202-8. OCLC 894141161.
2. Reddy, Sheshalatha (2014). "Henry Derozio and the Romance of Rebellion (1809-1831)". DQR Studies in Literature. 53: 27–42. ISSN 0921-2507.
3. Bhattacharya Supriya (1 September 2009). Impressions 8, 2/E. Pearson Education India. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-81-317-2777-5. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
4. Chaudhuri, Rosinka (2010). "The Politics of Naming: Derozio in Two Formative Moments of Literary and Political Discourse, Calcutta, 1825–31". Modern Asian Studies. 44 (4): 857–885. doi:10.1017/S0026749X09003928. ISSN 0026-749X.
5. Roberts, Daniel Sanjiv (2013). ""Dark Interpretations": Romanticism's Ambiguous Legacy in India". In Casaliggi, Carmen; March-Russell, Paul (eds.). Legacies of Romanticism: Literature, Culture, Aesthetics. Routledge. pp. 215–230.
6. Das, Mayukh (2014). Reverend Krishnamohan Bandyopadhyaya. Kolkata: Paschimbanga Anchalik Itihas O Loksanskriti Charcha Kendra. ISBN 978-81-926316-0-8.
7. Jump up to:a b Roy, Samaren (1999). The Bengalees: glimpses of history and culture. New Delhi: Allied Publishers. p. 119. ISBN 81-7023-981-8. OCLC 45759369.
8. "Derozio And The Hindu College". Hindu School, Kolkata. Archived from the original on 10 August 2019.

External links

• Derozio section
• Old Poetry
• Poetry of Derozio
• Works by Henry Louis Vivian Derozio at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Thu Mar 19, 2020 8:01 am

Presidency University, Kolkata [Hindu College] [Presidency College]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/19/20

Presidency University
Former names: Hindu College (1817–1855); Presidency College (1855–2010)
Motto: Excellence since 1817
Type: Public
Established: 20 January 1817; 203 years ago
Founders: Raja Rammohan Roy; David Hare; Sir Edward Hyde East; Raja Radhakanta Deb; Baidyanath Mukhopadhya; Rani Rashmoni; Rasamay Dutt
Chancellor: Governor of West Bengal
Vice-Chancellor: Professor Anuradha Lohia
Students: 2,198[1]
Undergraduates: 1,462[1]
Postgraduates: 736[1]
Alumni: Full list
Location: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Campus: Urban
Affiliations: UGC, NAAC, AIU

Presidency University, Kolkata, formerly known as Hindoo College and Presidency College,[2] is a public state university located in College Street, Kolkata.[3] It is probably the oldest institution in the world to have no religious connection, having being established in 1817.[4] The institution was elevated to university status in 2010 after functioning as a top constituent college of the University of Calcutta for about 193 years. The University had its bicentenary celebrations in 2017.[5]

In its first cycle as a university, Presidency received the A grade with a score of 3.04/4.00 by the NAAC.[6] Presidency has been recognized as an "Institute of National Eminence" by the UGC.[7] It appeared in the inaugural top 50 of NIRF rankings in 2016. However, NIRF rankings in 2017 and 2018 excluded universities like Presidency University which taught only science and humanities but not engineering, commerce, agriculture, etc.[8]


The main entrance of the university at College Street

The Main Building corridor

With the creation of the Supreme Court of Calcutta in 1773 many Hindus of Bengal showed an eager interest in learning the English language. David Hare, in collaboration with Raja Radhakanta Deb had already taken steps to introduce English language education in Bengal. Babu Buddinath Mukherjee advanced the introduction of English as a medium of instruction further by enlisting the support of Sir Edward Hyde East, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Fort William, who called a meeting of 'European and Hindu Gentlemen' at his house in May 1816.[9] The purpose of the meeting was to "discuss the proposal to establish an institution for giving a liberal education to the children of the members of the Hindu Community". The proposal was received with unanimous approbation and a donation of over Rs. 100, 000 was promised for setting up the new college. Raja Ram Mohan Roy showed full support for the scheme, but chose not to come out in support of the proposal publicly for fear of "alarming the prejudices of his orthodox countrymen and thus marring the whole idea".[10]

The College was formally opened on Monday, 20 January 1817 with 20 'scholars'. The foundation committee of the college, which oversaw its establishment, was headed by Raja Rammohan Roy. The control of the institution was vested in a body of two Governors and four Directors. The first Governors of the college were Maharaja Tejchandra Bahadur of Burdwan and Gopee Mohan Thakoor. The first Directors were Gopi Mohun Deb of Sobhabazar, Joykissen Sinha, Radha Madhab Banerjee, and Gunganarain Doss. Buddinath Mukherjee was appointed as the first Secretary of the college. The newly established college mostly admitted Hindu students from affluent and progressive families, but also admitted non-Hindu students such as Muslims, Jews, Christians and Buddhists.

At first, the classes were held in a house belonging to Gorachand Bysack of Garanhatta (later renamed 304, Chitpore Road), which was rented by the college. In January 1818 the college moved to 'Feringhi Kamal Bose's house' which was located nearby in Chitpore.[11] From Chitpore, the college moved to Bowbazar and later to the building that now houses the Sanskrit College on College Street.[12]

Transformation to University

Memorial plaque of Ram Eqbal Singh

A part of the university

In 1972, an unsigned article was released by the faculty members of the college demanding that the college be given full university status. It is an open secret that the author of the article was Dipak Banerjee, the legendary economics professor of the college. The state government, then under the chief ministership of Siddhartha Shankar Ray, showed the willingness to listen to the demands of the faculty members, but it was still too early to grant full autonomy to the college. In 2007, the state government, under the chief ministership of Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Higher Education ministership of Sudarshan Raychaudhuri, appointed a seven-member committee, under the leadership of Chittotosh Mookerjee. The other members of the committee included Ashes Prasad Mitra, Barun De, Bimal Jalan and Subimal Sen, to look into the possibility of upgrading the status of the college. The report of the committee suggested that the state government, while granting the college partial autonomy, should create more professorships and scholarships for meritorious students, thus making it possible for the grant of full autonomy to the college in the future.

In 2009, the Governing Body of the college unanimously adopted the proposal that the college should be given full university status. On 16 December 2009, the Government of West Bengal tabled a bill in Bidhansabha titled the Presidency University Act, 2009, in which the West Bengal Legislative Assembly granted full university status to the college. The bill stated that once the college becomes a full state-aided university it will be renamed Presidency University.

The new logo of the Presidency University has been created by Sabyasachi Dutta (সব্যসাচী দত্ত) as reported in a letter to the Editor of Anandabazar Patrika on 1 April 2013.

On 19 March 2010, the West Bengal Government passed the Presidency University Bill, 2009 in the State Legislative Assembly.[3] On 7 July 2010, the governor of West Bengal, M K Narayanan gave his assent to the Presidency University Bill.[13] On 23 July 2010, the Government of West Bengal published the gazette notification completing all the legal formalities for Presidency to become a full university.[14] Amiya Bagchi was given the responsibility of chairing a committee set up to select and appoint the first vice-chancellor of the university. Amita Chatterjee, a retired professor of philosophy at Jadavpur University, was appointed as the first Vice-Chancellor of Presidency University on 5 October 2010.[15]

In 2011, Higher Education Minister Bratya Basu suggested that a mentor group, along the lines of the Nalanda mentor group, would be formed to oversee the work of the university. At the beginning of June 2011, the chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, announced that a committee would be formed with Amartya Sen as its chief mentor and Harvard-based Sugata Bose as its chairman to oversee the running of the college and perform the task of appointing all its officials and faculty members. The Presidency mentor group [16] also includes as its members 2019 Economics Nobel Prize winner Abhijit Banerjee, Ashoke Sen, Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, Nayanjot Lahiri, Himadri Pakrashi, Rahul Mukerjee and Isher Judge Ahluwalia, Swapan Kumar Chakravorty. Sukanta Chaudhuri resigned from the committee in 2012.[17]

In October 2011, Malabika Sarkar, formerly Professor of English at Jadavpur University, was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Presidency University. During her term as Vice-Chancellor more than 150 faculty members - Presidency University's first faculty - were recruited and joined. Presidency's first officers and the first set of the non-teaching staff were also recruited. A new logo was created by an alumnus, infrastructural projects were initiated and the Presidency University Vice-Chancellor's Fund for Excellence was set up. In December 2012, UGC recognized the Presidency as an Institution of National Eminence. MOUs for international collaboration with Trinity College, Dublin, Groningen University, Netherlands, and D'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po, Paris) was signed. Presidency University's First Convocation was held on 22 August 2013 and the Foundation Stone for Presidency's Second Campus at Rajarhat was unveiled by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on 6 February 2014. Presidency's First Statutes were completed. Sarkar's tenure as Vice-Chancellor ended in May 2014.

After Sarkar's time-period expired, a new search committee was built by the state govt. and Chancellor of West Bengal. The search committee published a list of 3 Professors and sent it to the Chancellor. The first person in the list Sabyasachi Bhattacharya refused to join the administration and choose to teach at Presidency as the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Distinguished Chair Professor in the Department of Physics. Ultimately the position went to Anuradha Lohia, a past graduate of Presidency College, who was a senior professor at Bose Institute, a premier institution of research and scholarship in Kolkata. Lohia had taught a number of students for their Ph.D. research over many years in Bose Institute, affiliated for its Ph.D. degree with the Calcutta University.

The entrance of the campus is marked with a small guardhouse on the left. On the wall of the guard room is a plaque dedicated to durwan (guard) Ram Eqbal Singh, who died defending the institute from the rioters.[18]

Organisation Structure

Like every state university in West Bengal, Presidency is headed by the ceremonial post of the Chancellor. The Governor of West Bengal is the Chancellor of every university in the state. Jagdeep Dhankhar is presently incumbent in this post.[19]

The Vice-chancellor is the academic and administrative head of the institution. The post of the Vice-chancellor replaced that of the Principal after the Presidency received University status. Professor Anuradha Lohia is the first permanent vice-chancellor of the institution.[20] Administratively, Presidency is further headed by the Registrar. Dr. Debajyoti Konar is incumbent in this post.[21]

Academically, the University is composed of two faculties - Faculty of Natural and Mathematical sciences and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Both Faculties are headed by the respective deans. A total of 16 departments function under the university. They are: Bengali, English, Hindi, History, Performing Arts, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Life Sciences, Chemistry, Economics, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics.[22]

The Controller of Examinations, the Chief Librarian, the Finance Officer and the Dean of Students are other important office holders of the university.[22]

The University is guided by a mentor group. The Mentor Group is chaired by Sugata Bose, the Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs at Harvard University. Nobel Laureate and economist Amartya Sen serves as the Advisor to the Chair.[23][24]

List of Principals and Vice Chancellors

Principals of Presidency College

• J. Kerr, 1842–1848
• David Lester Richardson, 1848–1849
• E. Lodge, 1849–1852
• J. Sutcliff, M.A., 1852–1856
• Leonidas Clint, 1856-1857
• E. Lodge, 1857-1858
• J. Sutcliffe, M.A., 1858–1863
• W. Grapel, 1863-1864
• J. Sutcliffe, M.A., 1864–1875
• H. Woodrow, 1875
• C. H. Tawney, 1875
• J. Sutcliffe, M.A., 1875
• Alfred Croft, 1876
• C. H. Tawney, 1876–1881
• G. Bellet, 1881–1882
• John Elliot, 1882–1883
• Alexander Pedler, 1883
• John Elliot, 1883
• G. Bellet, 1883
• John Elliot, 1884-1885
• C. H. Tawney, 1885
• W. Griffiths, 1885-1886
• C. H. Tawney, 1886–1887
• Alexander Pedler, 1887
• C. H. Tawney, 1887
• Alexander Pedler, 1887-1889
• C. H. Tawney, 1889
• Alexander Pedler, 1889
• Frederick James Rowe, 1889
• C. H. Tawney, 1889
• W. Griffiths, 1892–1896
• Alexander Pedler, 1896–1897
• J .H. Gilliland, 1897
• Frederick James Rowe, 1897-1898
• J.H.Gilliland, 1898
• Frederick James Rowe, 1898
• William Booth, 1898
• A. Clarke Edwards, 1899-1902
• Prasanna Kumar Roy, 1902
• A. Clarke Edwards, 1902–1903
• Prasanna Kumar Roy, 1903
• A. Clarke Edwards, 1903
• M. G. D. Prothero, 1904-1905
• Prasanna Kumar Roy, 1905-1906
• Alexander Macdonnell, 1906
• A. Clarke Edwards, 1906–1907
• Henry Rosher James, 1907–1909
• Hugh Melville Percival, 1909
• Henry Rosher James, 1909–1911
• C. W. Peake, 1911-1912
• Henry Rosher James, 1912–1916
• William Christopher Wordsworth, 1916–1917
• John Rothney Barrow, 1917-1924
• William Christopher Wordsworth, 1924
• H. E. Stapleton, 1924-1926
• T. S. Sterling, 1926-1927
• H. E. Stapleton, 1927–1928
• R. B. Ramsbotham, 1928–1929
• John Rothney Barrow, 1929–1930
• Jahangir Cooverjee Coyajee, 1930–1931
• Bhupatimohan Sen, 1931-1934
• Bhupatimohan Sen, 1934–1936
• Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, 1936
• Bhupatimohan Sen, 1936–1942
• Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, 1942
• Bhupatimohan Sen, 1942–1943
• Apurbakumar Chanda, 1943
• Jyotirmoy Ghosh, 1943-1944
• Apurbakumar Chanda, 1944
• Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, 1945-1946
• Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, 1946–1947
• Muhammad Qudrat-i-Khuda, 1947
• Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, 1947
• Jogischandra Sinha, 1947
• Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, 1948
• Jyotirmoy Ghosh, 1948–1950
• Jyotishchandra Sengupta, 1950
• Jyotirmoy Ghosh, 1950–1951
• Jyotishchandra Sengupta, 1951–1956
• F. J. Friend-Pereira, 1956–1958
• Sanat Kumar Basu, 1958–1967
• Rajendralal Sengupta, 1967–1969
• Samerendranath Ghoshal, 1969–1970
• Sudhir Chandra Shome, 1970
• Pratul Chandra Mukherjee, 1970–1975
• Sudhir Chandra Shome, 1975–1976
• Pratul Chandra Mukherjee, 1976–1979
• Bijoy Shankar Basak, 1979–1982
• Achinta Kumar Mukherjee, 1982–1986
• Sunil Kumar Rai Chaudhuri, 1986–1991
• Amal Kumar Mukhopadhyay, 1991–1997
• Nitai Charan Mukherjee, 1997–2000
• Amitava Chatterjee, 2001–2005
• Mamata Ray, 2005–2008
• Sanjib Ghosh, 2008–2010
• Amitava Chatterjee, 2010

Vice Chancellors of Presidency University

• Amita Chatterjee, 2010–2011
• Malabika Sarkar, 2011-2014
• Anuradha Lohia, 2014–present


Admission to this institution for undergraduate and postgraduate courses is currently granted on the basis of marks secured in admission tests, PUBDET and PUMDET respectively. Both PUBDET and PUMDET are organised by West Bengal Joint Entrance Examinations Board.

Notable alumni

See also: List of Kolkata Presidencians

Presidency University has many notable alumni. They include at least four heads of states, five Chief Ministers of West Bengal, four Chief Justices of India, one Governor of RBI, one Oscar winner, multiple Padma awardees, at least six Sahitya Akademi Awardes, Several national award winning Film Directors, at least 15 Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar laureates, one Breakthrough Prize winner, two Nobel laureates (Presidency is the only institution in India to have provided foundational education for more than one), one Kyoto Prize winner, multiple academics serving as professors in premier Universities of the world and several civil servants serving in senior capacities.


1. CU information brochure for MSc, BTech Retrieved 25 November 2011
2. Chakraborty, Rachana (2012). "Presidency College". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
3. Our Bureau (20 March 2010). "The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Frontpage | CM beats Mamata to Presidency". Retrieved 1 August 2012.
4. Jan 6, Subhro Niyogi | TNN |; 2017; Ist, 6:00. "Presidency University, probably world's first secular institute: Amartya Sen | Kolkata News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 14 January2020.
5. "200 Years of a Legacy". Tribune India. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
6. "Presidency university gets top NAAC rating - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
7. "Legacy of Presidency University". Retrieved 26 June 2018.
8. "'Presidency University missed rank as it offers only arts, science' - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
9. "Presidency University". Retrieved 26 June 2018.
10. "Presidency University". Retrieved 26 June 2018.
11. This building is a historic one because Raja Ram Mohan Roy inaugurated his Brahma Sabha there and Alexander Duff of the Scottish Missionary Board started his educational establishment, the General Assembly's Institution there as well a few years later in 1830.
12. "Ad Age Homepage - Ad Age". Retrieved 26 June 2018.
13. Presidency varsity bill gets governor's assent
14. Express News Service (24 July 2010). "Presidency University legal steps complete". Express India. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
15. "The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Frontpage | Comfort factor confines Presidency to home pool". 6 October 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
16. "Presidency Mentor Group". Retrieved 26 November 2013.
17. "Sukanta Chaudhuri quits". Retrieved 26 November 2013.
18. Our Bureau (14 April 2013). "Presi guardian angel". The Telegraph, Calcutta. Retrieved 6 May2014.
19. "Presidency University vice-chancellor meets Governor, Partha - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
20. "Decks cleared for re-appointing Anuradha Lohia as the VC of Presidency University - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
21. "Presi Registrar invites nominees for VC". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
22. "Presidency - Organisation Structure". Retrieved 28 June 2018.
23. "Quality faculty top priority: Presidency mentor group". The Hindu. Special Correspondent, Special Correspondent. 26 August 2011. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
24. India, Press Trust of (24 December 2017). "Presidency Mentor Group to reach out to brilliant students in". Business Standard India. Retrieved 28 June 2018.

External links

• Official website
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