Social Solutions to Poverty:
America's Struggle to Build a Just Society
A book by Scott Myers-Lipton


About Scott Purchase Book Speaking Engagements   Katrina Video                     
Solving Poverty


Order direct from
Paradigm Publishers and receive a 15% discount

Also available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Invite Scott Myers-Lipton for a speaking engagement

Email Now>>




In addition to Coxey¹s army, the working class launched two organizations, the IWW (or Wobblies) and the Socialist Party. Both the IWW and the Socialist Party believed in the abolishment of the wage system, collective ownership of the means of production, and the use of wealth to promote the interests of the workers. However, the IWW and the Socialist Party differed in their strategies to replace capitalism with socialism, and they disagreed about how a socialist system would operate. The IWW, which was formed in 1904, encouraged all workers to join their ³One Big Union,² regardless of skill, race, or sex, in contrast to the American Federation of Labor (AFL), which was organized by craft, and was racially exclusive. The IWW¹s method of change was direct action. They believed that the rank and file needed to be engaged in continuous struggle.

The IWW did not want to be restricted regarding when to strike, so they did not give much credence to making contracts with individual employers since this limited their ability to act. Strikes were seen as preparation for a massive general strike that would bring all economic activity to a halt. The general strike was seen as labor¹s most effective weapon since capital needed labor to do the work. The general strike was also seen as the method of change that would replace capitalism with the least amount of violence.
At the conclusion of the general strike, capitalism would be overthrown, and a decentralized, democratic worker-run organization would operate the mines and factories. The industries (coal, lumber, railroad, etc.) would govern the affairs of people. The IWW believed that worker-controlled industries would be much more democratic since they included the voices of women, blacks, immigrants, and youth, all of which had been shut out of democratic capitalism.

The Socialist Party, which was founded in 1901, worked to bring about socialism through the ballot box as opposed to the strike. With Eugene Debs as their leader, the socialists set out to build a political party. Although the Socialist Party initially embraced the militant actions of the IWW and saw no inconsistency between the language of class struggle and socialism through voting, it changed course by 1912 and focused on gradual reform as opposed to immediate class struggle. The Socialist Party also articulated a more bureaucratic and top-down model for controlling the means of production in contrast to the IWW¹s decentralized model.

Myers-Lipton, p. 120-121

  (Excerpted from “Social Solutions to Poverty” © Paradigm Publishers 2006)


To discover the impact of Socialism on poverty reduction, purchase “Social Solutions to Poverty” Click here.





Home   ׀   About Scott   ׀    Purchase Book   ׀  Speaking Engagements  ׀   Contact© 2006