JF Ptak Science Books Post 2392
“The object of this work is to awaken the producers to a consciousness of their industrial power. It is dedicated, not to those who advocate but to those who use sabotage.”--Walker C. Smith, in the second of his miniature two-paragraph foreword in Sabotage (1917 edition)
[The original pamphlet is available from this blog's bookstore, here.]
Walker Conger Smith (born 1885 on the same day that Babe Ruth and Elvis Pressley died in later years) was a hard line political seer, a magical agitator and writer for the Wobblies, officially known as the Industrial Workers of the World (and the I.W.W.) He lived a busy 41 years, and in his time raised a lot of attention to the IWW's Socialist vehemently pro-Union organizing, during a time (1910-1927 or so) when big business would respond with their won police/strikebreakers/armies to disrupt and dispel (and trounce) strikers and strikes.
One of Walker's best known works was Sabotage, its History, Philosophy & Function. First published in 1913 and then widely reprinted, it made the case for poor pay for poor work, and that in the long run the wealth produced by the workers belonged to them, and so work slowdowns and then destruction of the means of production was well within the rights of the wronger worker.
The pamphlet certainly found a readers--on both sides of the issue. It was regularly used in legal actions against Unions as proof of their criminal syndicationism and of organized destruction of business/factory property.
The pamphlet ends with these very strong statements:
"Its [Sabotage's] advocacy and use help to destroy the property illusion"...
"Is the machine more than its makers? Sabotage says "No!"
"Is the product greater than the producers? Sabotage says "No!"
"Sabotage places human life--and especially the life of the only useful class--higher than all else in the universe."
...."For Sabotage or for slavery? Which?"
The pamphlet ends with a salutation from Jack London:
"Dear Comrade Smith:
Just a line to tell you that I have finished reading your pamphlet SABOTAGE. I do not find a point in it on which I disagree with you. It strikes me as a straight-from-the-shoulder, clear, convincing, revolutionary statement of the meaning and significance of sabotage.
Yours for the revolution,
Full text here.
The IWW website identifies this printing as 1917. http://www.iww.org/sr/history/library/WCSmith/sabotage