Is the IWW democratic?


The IWW is a fortress of democracy. While majority vote rules, there is scrupulous regard for the right of a minority to hold differing views. All the important questions, including the election of officials, are decided by referendum vote of the membership. Officials who fail to carry out the desire of the majority are subject to immediate recall. "Pie cards" are not tolerated in the IWW.

Wages of officials and employees of the union are set to the average pay received by the members in industry. Terms in office are rigidly limited. Most of the work in the IWW is done without charge because the organization is composed of workers who believe in their movement and gladly give their utmost to promote its growth.

A cornerstone of the IWW is the belief that the rank and file must control the union and its officers, instead of being controlled by them. No union can be rank and file that limits the freedom of its members or muzzles minorities by a host of unnecessary regulations. Therefore the IWW makes no more rules than there is genuine need for.


While the structure and constitution of the IWW jealously protect democracy, no law devised can secure or retain democracy once the will for it is lost. The root of freedom is not law, which people can change, but people themselves. Best guarantee of democracy lies in the membership of the IWW; its members, who war against tyranny and injustice, will never allow freedom to be abridged in labor's finest organization.