Industrial Workers of the World
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is an international union for industrial workers that was founded in 1905. Its preamble begins: "The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life." It believes the wage system should be abolished.
Members of the IWW are commonly referred to as "Wobblies", and the organization itself is known as "Wobbly". Wobbly is a nickname of unknown origin for a member of the Industrial Workers of the World. Many believe "wobbly" refers to a tool known as a "wobble saw." One often repeated anecdote has it that a sympathetic Chinese restaurant owner in Vancouver would extend credit to IWW members and, unable to pronounce the "W", would ask if they were a member of the "I Wobble Wobble". Another explanation is that the term was first used pejoratively by San Francisco Socialists around 1913 and adopted by IWWs as a badge of honor.
- Preamble to the IWW constitution
- Mark Leier, Where the Fraser River Flows: The Industrial Workers of the World in British Columbia. Vancouver: New Star Books, 1990, 35, 54 n 8.
- IWW website: What is the Origin of the Term Wobbly?