Join us for a rare look at graphic art created from original print blocks produced by the International Workers of the World (IWW).
The Industrial Workers of the World was founded in Chicago in 1905. Its members, also known as Wobblies, considered themselves revolutionary industrial unionists, fighting against employers and the state, as well conservative mainstream trade unionism.
In August 1917, membership in the IWW approached its highest point at 150,000, spread across the United States, Canada, and Australia. Socialists, anarchists and syndicalists believing in direct action in workplaces joined other militant workers in the Industrial Workers of the World. The IWW strove to organize the entire working class, including immigrants, indigenous workers, and workers of colour not accepted into other unions.
As vocal opponents of World War I, Wobblies came under violent attack. This repression, and differences among the membership, weakened the IWW throughout the 1920s, never fully recovering the influence it exercised in the years leading up to the war. But its spirit of resistance to injustice lives on through the work of IWW chapters around the world today.
This exhibition provides a glimpse into the radical graphic language of the IWW. These prints were made from original print blocks and illustrations by Wobbly artists, used in the publications of the Industrial Workers of the World from the first decade of the 20th century into the 1960s. The exhibition will feature prints, print blocks and selected IWW ephemera and publications from the collection of Bryan Palmer.
One Big Union runs in WAHC’s Community Gallery until Saturday, May 2nd, 2020.
For more information, please contact Tara Bursey, Program and Exhibitions Specialist, Workers Arts & Heritage Centre at (905) 522-3003 ex. 29.