Synopses & Reviews
The pamphlets reprinted in this collection were first published in the 1910s amidst great controversy; the significant works included are “Direct Action and Sabotage” by William E. Trautmann, “Sabotage: Its History, Philosophy and Function” by Walker C. Smith, and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn's “Sabotage: The Conscious Withdrawal of the Workers' Industrial Efficiency.” Even then, the tactics of direct action and sabotage were often associated with the clandestine activity of a militant minority or the desperate acts of the unorganized. The activist authors of the texts in this collection challenged the prevailing stereotypes. As they point out, the practice of direct action, and of sabotage, have been an integral part of the everyday work life of wage-earners in all times and places; direct action is recognized as a valuable and effective tactic by many movements around the globe, and remains a cutting edge tool for social change.
About the Author
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was a labor leader, activist, and feminist who played a leading role in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). She was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union; a visible proponent of women's rights, birth control, and women's suffrage; and the author of The Rebel Girl. Walker C. Smith was a leading member of the IWW who wrote and edited socialist newspapers, philosophical tracts, pamphlets, satirical plays, and even verse. He is the author of The Everett Massacre. William E. Trautmann was founding General-Secretary of the IWW and one of six people who initially laid plans for the organization in 1904. He is the author of the novel Riot. Salvatore Salerno is the author of Red November, Black November: Culture and Community in the Industrial Workers of the World and has contributed articles to the Haymarket Scrapbook anthology and many other publications. He is a professor on the community faculty staff of Metropolitan State University. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.