(3) Second Convention
The Second convention met in September 1906, with 93 delegates representing about 60,000 members. This convention demonstrated that the administration of the I.W.W. was in the hands of men who were not in accord with the revolutionary program of the organization. Of the general officers only two were sincere--the General Secretary, W.E. Trautmann, and one member of the Executive Board, John Riordan.
The struggle for control of the organization formed the Second convention into two camps. The majority vote of the convention was in the revolutionary camp. The reactionary camp having the chairman used obstructive tactics in their effort to gain control of the convention. They hoped thereby to delay the convention until enough delegates would be forced to return home and thus change the control of the convention. The revolutionists cut this knot by abolishing the office of President and electing a chairman from among the revolutionists.
In this struggle the two contending sets of socialist politicians lined up in opposite camps. The Second convention amended the Preamble by adding the following clause:
"Therefore without endorsing or desiring the endorsement of any political party."
A new executive board was elected. On the adjournment of the convention the old officials seized the general headquarters, and with the aid of detectives and police held the same, compelling the revolutionists to open up new offices. This they were enabled to do in spite of the fact that they were without access to the funds of the organization, and had to depend on getting finances from the locals.
The W.F.M. officials supported the old officials of the I.W.W. for a time financially and with the influence of their official organ. The same is true of the Socialist Party press and administration. The radical element in the W.F.M. were finally able to force the officials to withdraw that support. The old officials of the I.W.W. then gave up all presence of having an organization.
The organization entered its second year facing a more severe struggle than in its first year. It succeeded, however, in establishing the general headquarters again, and in issuing a weekly publication in place of the monthly, seized by the old officials.
During the second year some hard struggles for better conditions were waged by the members. The Third convention of the I.W.W. was uneventful. But it was at this convention that it became evident that the socialist politicians who had remained with the organization were trying to bend the I. W. W. to their purpose; and a slight effort was made to relegate the politician to the rear.
But it was the Fourth convention that resulted in a rupture between the politicians and industrial unionists; determining once and for all that the former were not allowed to control the organization.
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