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Educate, Organize, Emancipate: The Work People’s College and The Industrial Workers of the World

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Around 8 years ago, the Twin Cities IWW decided to resurrect the idea of Work Peoples College with a series of workshops, one-day educationals, and presentations. This eventually transformed into a multiple day event up in the Iron Range of Northern Minnesota in 2012 and 2013. In Germany, European Wobblies began their own WPC just this summer. But where did this concept come from?

Saku Pinta’s “Educate, Organize, Emancipate: The Work People’s College and The Industrial Workers of the World” gives background on WPC. Originally appearing in the PM Press book Anarchist Pedagogies: Collective Actions, Theories, and Critical Reflections on Education, Pinta’s chapter focuses on the school, which was established by Finnish socialists in Northern Minnesota in the 1910s. It eventually became affiliated with the IWW and continued operation into the 1940s.

Published with permission from the author and PM Press.

Educate, Organize, Emancipate: The Work People’s College and The Industrial Workers of the World (1) by Saku Pinta

Education has always been central to the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union’s vision of working-class liberation. In an April 1927 article published in the Finnish-language IWW periodical Tie Vapauteen (Road to Freedom) the author, William Ranta, noted that “The first star in the I.W.W. emblem means working-class ‘education,’ the second ‘organization,’ and the third ‘emancipation,’” continuing, “An enlightened group organizes itself and an organized group liberates itself.” (“Valistustyöhön,” p. 7) (2)

Founded in Chicago in 1905, the “Wobblies,” as members of the IWW were known, fashioned a conception of “revolutionary industrial unionism” both as an alternative to the dominant union formations organized around trades or crafts and as an organizational form that would prefigure the desired selfmanaged economic arrangements of a post-capitalist society. Trade or craft forms of union organization were regarded by the IWW not only as being exclusionary, divisive, and conservative, but also as organizational forms rendered ineffective and outdated in challenging the power of employers due, in part, to technological changes in the labor process and the resultant “deskilling” of the workforce. Workers in the same industry, they asserted, ought to belong to the same union regardless of ethnicity, gender, or their particular roles in production. By organizing industrially, workers could increase their collective power and leverage in day-to-day struggles with the increasingly concentrated power of employers over wages, hours, and working conditions, while building the capacity of the working class to abolish capitalism. Direct economic action, as opposed to a reliance on “official” bureaucratic channels to settle grievances, was the preferred tactic (Kornbluh, 2011, pp. 35–64).

While direct action could serve to radicalize workers, forge solidarities on the shop floor, and increase the confidence and capacity for collective struggle—simultaneously, through these actions, laying the libertarian and democratic foundations for a new society structured from below—the importance of theory and of spreading of revolutionary ideas was routinely emphasized within the union as a crucial, complementary element. This was positioned alongside a critique of traditional education as promoting bourgeois values such as patriotism and uniformity in a system which, as one Wobbly argued, sought to “adapt one to the social order and teach respect for the class division of society into masters and wage slaves” (quoted in Kornbluh, 2011, p. 366). Workers’ education, then, should augment the classconsciousness generated by direct class conflict experienced at work, but it could not imitate the methods of the traditional education system as this would simply recreate the undesirable hierarchies associated with capitalist institutions. Consequently, strict divisions between leaders and led were eschewed, as were rote or authoritarian methods of instruction that discouraged critical, independent thinking.

One fairly well-known dimension of this commitment to radical working- class education was described in Salerno’s 1989 Red November, Black November, a work focused on the culture of the IWW. Salerno argued that “cultural expressions such as songs, cartoons, and poetry became a critical form and means of communication between the I.W.W. and its members” (p. 149). In print since 1909 and now in its thirty-eighth edition, the famous IWW Little Red Songbook—featuring “songs to fan the flames of discontent”—is but one well-known example of the union’s cultural approach to disseminating revolutionary ideas. In addition to the transmission of ideas through cultural means, the IWW press and enormous pamphlet literature played a key role in working-class self-education, as did two collective spaces—the union hall and the “hobo jungle.” These served as spaces for learning, critical reflection, and debate, particularly through the first three decades of the twentieth century. Rosemont (2003) writes that the union hall functioned as a radical cultural center, “meeting place, reading room, and hangout . . . the union’s alternative to such conservative institutions as church, tavern, gambling parlor, race-track, and men’s club” (p. 33). The hobo jungles “served a similar function” as the union hall, namely, as subversive spaces “in which the most down-and-out wage-slaves could express themselves openly” (ibid., p. 33).

The most significant and sustained achievement by the IWW in the area of workers’ education was the Työväen Opisto (Work People’s College; hereafter WPC), an immigrant institution very closely tied to Finnish working- class communities in the Upper Midwest. The WPC, however, did not begin as an IWW school. Founded as the Suomalainen Kansan Opisto ja Teologinen Seminaari (Finnish People’s College and Theological Seminary) in Minneapolis in 1903, the aims of the college were to provide religious instruction, promote Finnish language and culture, and address the growing need for a formal liberal education among new immigrants. A lack of enrollment prompted a move the following year, in 1904, to Smithville, a suburb of Duluth, Minnesota, where it was hoped that the school could draw on the support of the substantially larger Finnish communities in that region. By 1907, the year that the Western Federation of Miners led a mass strike in the mines of Northern Minnesota’s Mesabi Range, tensions surrounding the college’s religious curriculum had caused a rift between the radicalized Finnish working class and many of the institution’s officials. These divisions would ultimately culminate in the Suomalainen Sosialisti Järjestö (Finnish Socialist Federation; FSF)(3) legally gaining ownership of the college through the purchase of stock, changing the name of the school from the People’s College to the WPC in 1908. All religious instruction was now jettisoned in favor of courses on topics such as the history of socialism, Darwinian evolution, and Marxist economics. Ideological harmony at the WPC, however, would not prevail. In 1914, the FSF underwent a major split which pitted a radical Left faction, supporting the IWW and industrial unionism, against a more moderate, social democratic faction backing the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and embracing a gradual, parliamentary vision toward achieving socialism.(4) Many of the midwestern locals of the FSF, including those grouped around the WPC, had sided with the radicals. In fact, the WPC had been a major center of IWW support in the years leading up to the split, and for this reason had long been considered a nuisance by some of the more moderate eastern-based leadership of the FSF. Radical students at the school were pejoratively labeled tussarit (meaning “gunslingers” or “gunhawks”) by their opponents—a term which was irreverently reclaimed and proudly adopted by pro-IWW WPC students as their own. With the organizational split, the FSF withdrew its financial backing from the WPC and the now independent pro-IWW faction promptly gained stock ownership of the school.

For over twenty-five years (between 1914 and 1941), the WPC served as a residential labor college tied to the IWW and sustained by the Finnish membership of that union. The main three-story building featured classrooms, student dormitories, a drama room, gymnasium, and library with a smaller adjacent building holding a fully staffed kitchen and dining room. For a tuition fee of $39 a month (the equivalent of about $500 today)—a price which included meals and accommodations—students were provided with instruction in the skills necessary for union organizing, administering IWW union infrastructure, and staffing the large network of consumer cooperatives in the Upper Midwest, operating their own press, and ultimately, for selfmanaging a postcapitalist society. Instruction was carried out over the course of a five-month term, which typically stretched from December to April. The school also featured a small number of correspondence courses for students unable to take up residence at the WPC. Altogether, an estimated 1,600 to 2,000 students had studied at the school throughout the nearly four decades it was in operation and through its various transitions (Altenbaugh, 1990, p. 136).

Although the WPC represents the most outstanding historical contribution of the IWW to the area of workers’ education, it has received relatively little in the way of attention from historians, remaining largely unknown outside of a specialist audience. In terms of the existing literature, Ollila (1977) and Heinilä (1995) provide excellent general historical accounts of the WPC while Kostiainen (1980) concentrates on some of the major debates and controversies generated over the course in the school’s early years. The WPC is also mentioned in several accounts of the Finnish-American Left (Wasatjerna, 1957; Karni, 1975a; Ross, 1977; Kivisto, 1984). By far the most indepth analysis of the WPC is Altenbaugh’s well-documented book Education as Struggle (1990), in which the WPC is examined through the lens of Gramscian social theory—alongside the Brookwood Labor College (Katonah, New York, 1921–1937) and Commonwealth College (Mena, Arkansas, 1923–1940)—as “institutions clearly formulated to serve a counter-hegemonic function, promot[ing] proletarian culture, and train[ing] a working-class cadre” (p. 8).

A comprehensive history of the WPC has yet to be written, but such a task goes well beyond the scope of this study. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an historical account of the WPC through its years as an IWW labor college, focusing on the years 1920–1941, and in so doing shed some light on some of the largely overlooked aspects of the school during this period. The first section will provide necessary background and context by discussing the institutions and ideology of the Finnish North American membership of the IWW—the ethnic contingent that established, supported, and sustained the WPC. The succeeding sections will cover WPC curriculum, students, and faculty. Beyond historical interest, there is further reason to revisit the WPC and its contributions to libertarian education. In 2006, the WPC was revived as a free educational project of the IWW Twin Cities General Membership Branch. The conclusion shall be devoted to an assessment of the legacy and impact of this working-class institution along with a discussion of the renewed WPC. If the historical WPC provides a glimpse at how a fairly large-scale self-managed working-class educational institute functioned, its current revival suggests the urgency of developing such emancipatory spaces and the contemporary relevance of these endeavors.

Background and Context: The Work People’s College and the Finnish Wobblies

From 1914 onward, with the split in the FSF, it becomes possible to speak of an organized Finnish presence in the IWW. At this stage, the WPC was politically positioned, in effect, as a kind of “Left-socialist” institution, openly advocating the revolutionary industrial unionism of the IWW but also accepting the necessity of a working-class political party. It was not long before the Finnish supporters of the IWW would adopt an explicitly anti-parliamentary Left outlook, rapidly becoming the largest foreign-language contingent in the union. Kostiainen estimated Finnish membership in the IWW to be somewhere between five and ten thousand through the first two decades of the twentieth century (Kostianen, 1976, section 5, para. 1), however, no systematic analysis of Finnish IWW membership numbers currently exists.

During the 1916 IWW convention in Chicago, a motion to create formal ties between the union and the WPC was presented by representatives of the school, although no arrangement was reached. However, the 1916 convention was also notable for fulfilling the last wishes of the famous IWW labor martyr Joe Hill, namely, that his body be cremated and his ashes spread around the globe. In February 1917, a packet of Hill’s ashes was spread to the winds at the WPC, symbolically cementing the relationship between the union and the school from that point onward. Four years later, a May 28, 1921, report in Industrialisti (Industrialist) on the IWW convention in Chicago carried the news that the union would formally adopt the WPC as its school, ratifying an earlier decision made at the Lumber Workers Industrial Union convention to forge official ties (“Tietoja I.W.W. Liiton 13:sta Koventsionista,” p. 1).

An account of Finnish IWW print media gives some indication as to the size of the Finnish membership in the union and the vibrant working-class culture of which it was a part. The two most important Finnish IWW publications were Industrialisti and Tie Vapauteen. Industrialisti was the daily IWW Finnish-language newspaper from 1917 to 1950, appearing five days a week in the 1950s, and later, published as a weekly until it ceased publication in October 1975.(5) Industrialisti was the only daily newspaper in the history of the IWW and the last of the surviving foreign-language IWW papers from the early days of the union.6 At its peak in the early 1920s, Industrialisti had a distribution of over 10,000 copies and a readership spread throughout the United States and Canada, laying claim to be the largest circulating Finnish-language newspaper in America during this period. Tie Vapauteen was a monthly periodical published first in New York, and later, in Chicago, between 1918 and 1937, with a distribution fluctuating somewhere between 2,500 and 6,000 copies. Industrialisti along with a small number of annual Finnish IWW publications were published by the Workers’ Socialist Publishing Company in Duluth, a cooperative owned by IWW locals.

The September 28, 1927, Industrialisti directory still listed contact addresses for no less than seventy-eight Finnish IWW associations or groups (“Yhdistysten ja Rhymien Osotteita,” p. 3) and in 1930, Industrialisti held a readership of approximately 9,000 (Karni, 1975a, p. 222). By the early 1940s, the number of affiliated groups had fallen to less than forty and the distribution of Industrialisti to 6,000 (ibid., p. 222). Outside of the Upper Midwest, significant pockets of IWW support were to be found in Finnish communities in various locations throughout North America. Examples include the Detroit Finnish Marxian Club, the Butte Finnish Workers Club, the Chicago Finnish IWW Agitation Committee, and the Aberdeen Finnish Workers Association. In Canada, from the mid-1920s onward, Finnish Wobblies organized the Canadan Teollisuusunionistien Kannatus Liitto (CTKL; Canadian Industrial Unionist Support League). The CTKL was an IWW auxiliary organization with a cultural orientation. It was composed mainly of radical-minded small farmers (many of whom were blacklisted miners or lumber workers) who supported the aims of the union but were ineligible for membership as they owned productive property and were not wageworkers. Formed in the mid-1920s, the CTKL grew to include no less than twenty-three halls spread throughout Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia and regularly provided support for IWW strikes and other activities (Radforth, 1987, pp. 119–20). Students of the WPC were drawn from all of these areas, with the region around the Western Great Lakes as the main stronghold of Finnish IWW support. It is in this cultural and associational context that we must place the WPC.

Many locals held regular fundraisers, organized WPC support circles, and purchased stock to support the school. Gust Aakula, a former instructor, recalled “Over 30,000 shares had been sold, and as soon as some chapter had purchased a minimum of 1,000 shares it was granted a vote in the annual meetings of the Institute stockholders” (quoted in Wasatjerna, 1957, p. 230). A board of directors was elected yearly from the ranks of the stockholders. Aside from the purchase of stock, one unique example of the support for the WPC was the stipend program. “Two- or four-month stipends were issued by the school, and tickets were sold as either raffle tickets for donations to the school or as admission tickets to social events, where drawings were held. Winners could use the stipends, sell them to someone else, or give them away to friends” (Altenbaugh, 1990, p. 141). Another method to raise funds for the school was through the activity of the WPC drama troupe, which regularly toured Finnish communities in the United States and Canada during the spring and summer months performing plays, in later years, helping “to raise perhaps a third or half of the school’s annual deficit” (Roediger, 1993, p. 68).

Ideologically, Finnish Wobblies differed little from their organizational comrades, accepting Marxist class analysis and the materialist conception of history along with a deep distrust of parliamentary politics and the strategy of capturing state power. The revolutionary interpretation of Marxism preferred by the IWW was guided by a vision of communism, sometimes referred to as industrial democracy or the cooperative commonwealth, defined as “a form of economic organization in which private and state ownership of the means of production has ceased and replaced with social ownership; in which wage labour, economic exploitation, and all privileges and special powers have been abolished” (“Väärä Tulkinta,” p. 2). Inspiration was also drawn from anarchist-communist theoretician Peter Kropotkin, the most widely read anarchist among the Finnish Wobblies. Kropotkin’s Conquest of Bread was translated into Finnish in 1906,(7) and excerpts from his writings regularly appeared in the Finnish IWW press, particularly in Tie Vapauteen, the annual winter magazine Industrialistin Joulu (Industrialist’s Christmas), and the summer publication Punainen Soihtu (Red Torch). Of note is Kropotkin’s 1880 pamphlet An Appeal to the Young, which was distributed by the Workers’ Socialist Publishing Company. In this work Kropotkin succinctly outlined the role of intellectuals and libertarian educational work in terms that apply to the approach adopted by the WPC. Kropotkin urged those who possess skills and knowledge to offer their services to the oppressed asserting “remember, if you do come, that you come not as masters, but as comrades in the struggle; that you come not to govern but to gain strength for yourselves in a new life which sweeps upward to the conquest of the future” (Kropotkin, 1880, para. 79).

Knowledge Is Power: WPC Curriculum, 1920–1941

The WPC, during its period as an IWW school, did not require entrance examinations, and only one course was compulsory: Essentials of the Labor Movement (Altenbaugh, 1990, p. 99). One student gave the following description of a typical day at the WPC.

In the mornings, after having first gone to the dining area to fill our stomachs with a bit of porridge, we go off to digest in three different classes by playing with numbers. After this we get a good portion of nominatives and verbs in English and Finnish, twisting and turning the English-language into Finnish and vice versa. Now we are in the condition that we can digest a portion of Wobbly-ism [tuplajuulaisuutta]. On other days this is taken under the name of American working-class research which began with Columbus and went up to the Wobbly cooperative commonwealth. On other days we investigate currents in international social affairs, beginning with old-time Greek philosophy up to Wilson and Lenin via Martin Luther and “Kalle” Marx. Then we’ll chew on some hardstack and inflect our voices by reading the American language. After this we rest for an hour chatting with Bogdanoff and “Kalle” Marx. The afternoons get debit and credit for aspiring boarding and rooming house [poikatalo] managers, and those enthusiastic about public speaking and poetry reading get an opportunity to show their skills. (“Opiston Toverikunnan Vaiheista Lukuvuotena 1920–1921,” pp. 39–42)

All courses, at least up until the mid to late 1930s, were available in both Finnish and English, typically in elementary and advanced levels. In total, one week of study generally included around seventy hours of class time in various courses conducted by four full-time instructors. Aside from core courses (working-class history, Marxist economics, sociology, journalism, industrial unionism, IWW delegate duties, commercial studies, and languages) topics fluctuated somewhat, depending on the expertise of the faculty. English as a second-language satisfied the needs of a large segment of the Finnish student body early on, many of whom were first-generation immigrants, while courses in Finnish demonstrated the commitment to helping retain Finnish-language and culture among second and third-generation Finns. Esperanto was also taught for at least one term, in 1928–1929, by Hjalmar Reinikainen, and German was offered in earlier years. The emphasis on language training also included courses on translation. During the 1922– 1923 term, for instance, Justus Ebert’s The Evolution of Industrial Democracy was chosen as the text to be translated by students from English to Finnish.

Practical courses in accounting, bookkeeping, and business mathematics were offered at the WPC. These courses were arranged primarily for the purpose of training and staffing the large network of cooperatives in the Upper Midwest, but also in order to train competent organizational business managers. In 1927, the Central Cooperative Exchange, a network of cooperatives located in the Upper Midwest, boasted a membership of 16,595 members in sixty member societies, “fifty-four of the sixty societies were either exclusively Finnish or mixed with Finns predominating. Only two of the societies were purely ‘American’” (Karni, 1975a, p. 280). Through the 1920s and 1930s, these cooperatives became a major site of political contestation as concerted, and ultimately unsuccessful, efforts were made by the Communist Party to control them (Karni, 1975b, pp. 186–211). Although the Finnish sections of the IWW did not officially regard consumer cooperatives as revolutionary institutions, large numbers of prominent Finnish cooperative movement members in the 1930s had nonetheless been trained at the WPC and came to constitute a radical faction (Karni, 1975a, p. 223).

Labor history courses generally used John R. Commons et al. History of Labor in the United States as a standard text along with various IWW publications and other materials, frequently discussing in detail such pivotal episodes as the 1871 Paris Commune and the Haymarket Affair. Marx’s Capital was, throughout the history of the WPC, the standard text used in courses discussing economic theory. Sessions on public speaking were designed to train effective agitators for union “soapboxing” and faculty with union organizing experience taught regular courses on the tasks associated with carrying out delegate and administrative duties as well as signing up new members.

Among the most innovative and participatory lessons at the WPC were the student-guided “tactical sessions,” organized Friday afternoons, which appear to have been tremendously popular among the student body. One student provided the following description: “During these sessions students in turn present an issue which is then discussed. The issues have always related to class struggle and industrial unionism, so everyone has had something to say about them. Discussions often become very lively and manysided. Matters have come to be considered in detail and from a variety of perspectives. Students have learned a great deal as a result of these sessions” (“Työväen-Opiston Lukukausi, 1923–1924,” p. 26). Summaries of the issues discussed during the tactical sessions routinely appeared in Industrialisti, as did other student writings. The offices of the newspaper, located in Duluth, were also utilized by the WPC for the benefit of students who had an interest in gaining hands on experience in the various tasks associated with running a daily paper.

The Toverikunta: WPC Students

The tactical sessions are one indication of both the WPCs antiauthoritarian pedagogy and the student direction of WPC affairs. Students were organized into a student union, the toverikunta (literally, “comrade community”). The toverikunta held its meetings on Friday nights and had considerable input into the day-to-day functioning of the WPC. “By and large, the students,” observed one historian, “planned the program themselves and were free to choose their own courses,” with the toverikunta self-managing all matters relating to student conflicts and disciplinary issues, and “although its decisions could be appealed to the school’s board of directors, not much use was made of this right” (Wasastjerna, 1957, p. 228). The toverikunta was also responsible for organizing dances, social events, plays, and athletics. On the topic of extracurricular activities, a former student and faculty member Taisto Luoma noted “No, you don’t have to comb Marx’s whiskers all winter long, not by a long shot” (“The Wobbly Way,” p. 3). Sports and athletics were central to student life. An oft-repeated slogan among the toverikunta was “a healthy mind in a healthy body.”

Between 1920 and 1930, average yearly total enrollment (8) at the WPC hovered around fifty-nine students a year, with a high of ninety-four students during the 1920–1921 term and a low of forty during over the 1929–1930 school year, with return students generally representing around a third of the student body year-to-year. Over this ten-year span, lumber workers, miners, and construction workers were by far the largest occupational groups represented in the student body. Based on available statistical data provided in the director’s annual report to the shareholders and published in Industrialisti (9) (no detailed occupational breakdown was given for 1923, 1926, or 1928), we may surmise that lumber workers and miners together represented approximately half of all students (about 25 percent each), while construction workers made up about 16 percent of the student body. The remainder was composed of a variety of occupations, with workers in the foodstuffs, agricultural, and marine transport industries being among the more prominent occupational groups. Unsurprisingly, around 75 percent of the students during this decade belonged to the IWW, with small numbers coming from the Canadian One Big Union,(10) AFL unions, and “unaffiliated” workers.

Between 1931 and 1941 there was a gradual decline in numbers, with total enrollment averaging thirty-four students a year and only thirty registered over the final 1940–1941 term. Organizational affiliations were not discussed in director’s annual reports during this period, apparently due to requests from students to omit them. However, one of the notable trends during this decade was that, while the WPC had continued to be closely tied with Finnish working-class communities, significant numbers of U.S.-born or raised Finns began enrolling. The 1932 report notes that of the thirty-six students enrolled, twenty spoke English as their first language. In 1934, director Antti Vitikainen’s report noted that out of forty-three students, thirty-seven had been born in the U.S. and of these only two were non-Finns. Similarly, director Carl Keller’s 1937 report suggested that the need for basic-level English-language courses had almost totally disappeared. One year later, for the first time in the history of the WPC, no social science courses were taught in the Finnish language.

Although statistical information published in the annual director’s reports in Industrialisti did not always discuss gender, based on available numbers it is reasonable to assume that less than a quarter of the students were female—a shockingly small number for a segment of the union which had a strong reputation for gender equality (Campbell, 1998). The best known female student, and non-Finnish college alumnus, was Amelia Milka Sablich, popularly known as “Flaming Milka.” Sablich, the daughter of a striking coal miner and of Croatian parentage, at nineteen years old became one of the most prominent figures in the IWW-led coal miners’ strike in Colorado in 1927; a conflict now remembered as the “first Columbine massacre” after police opened fire on striking workers in Serene killing six and wounding dozens (May and Myers, 2005). “The Colorado coal strike,” writes Kornbluh (2011), “introduced innovations in strike technique” (p. 353). Sablich, and other youth and women, helped to maintain picket lines and organize the strike as union miners were arrested and deported, using “car caravans to carry their message to other communities to persuade workers to come off their jobs” (ibid.). Her determination, charisma, and leadership during the strike—as well as her fights with company thugs and her five-week imprisonment— garnered national attention and the adoration of the labor movement. Following a national speaking in support of the striking miners, in February 1928, Sablich became a student at the WPC. In a letter at the end of the term, in April 1928, Sablich wrote an open letter in Industrialisti praising the school and connecting the need for workers’ education with her own direct experience in class struggle:

When I was in jail for five weeks in Trinidad [Colorado] I found out that most of our fellow workers there spent most of the time studying and discussing the strike, the I.W.W. etc. I found out that the experience of former strikes and the labor movement was put in books from which we could learn much about what to do in any given situation.

After I got out of jail and went on a speaking tour in the east it became clearer to me that if I wanted to be a real wobbly I would have to do quite a bit of studying. That it was not everything to have a little experience of strikes, but that I should have to study quite a few books as well, and under the guidance of somebody that understood the connection between them and the labor movement of today. (“There are some deep-rooted questions to be understood in the industrial unionism,” p. 4)

Ollila (1977) lists such figures as August Wesley, Gust Aakula, Ivar Vapaa, George Humon, Fred Jaakkola, Matti Kainu, and Jack Ujanen as key members of the IWW who had studied at the WPC (p. 107). Jack Ujanen, for instance— editor of Industrialisti for that paper’s final twenty-two years (1953–1977), retiring at age eighty-five—received his only formal education at the WPC (“Editor’s Tribute to Jack Ujanen,” pp. 23–25). Nick Viita, one of the leading members of the Finnish-Canadian IWW and CTKL for over five decades, is also included as WPC alumni, having studied there in 1919. Some former WPC students, such as John Wiita, drifted into the orbit of both the Canadian and American Workers (Communist) Parties in the 1920s, becoming a leading figure (Wilson, 1986). Other former students and faculty built on the skills and experiences gained at the WPC, pursuing university education. Walfrid Jokinen, for example, a student and teacher at the WPC, in later years went on to successfully complete postgraduate studies, becoming the chair of the Louisiana State University Sociology Department. Another former Wobbly and WPC faculty member, John Olli, also went on to earn a doctorate, at the University of Wisconsin, and taught at the City College of New York for thirty-six years (Kivisto, 1984, p. 193).

The most prominent Finnish labor movement figure and former WPC student was Niilo Wälläri. Wälläri, a sailor, came to the United States in 1916 after jumping ship in Boston. He joined the IWW in Seattle in 1918, attended classes at the WPC, and became active as a union organizer and agitator in the Great Lakes region. Arrested in 1919 as an illegal alien and radical, and deported back to Finland the following year, Wälläri later assumed the role of chairman of the militant Finnish Seamen’s Union (Suomen Merimies-Unioni; SMU) from 1938 until his death in 1967. Adopting a staunch anti-Stalinist Left position in the 1920s, his contributions to the Finnish labor movement include successfully winning the first labor agreement in coastal and inland waters shipping and the eight-hour day in 1946. The militancy and political autonomy of the union, as well as the industrial structure of the SMU, demonstrates IWW influence. Wälläri and the SMU maintained independence from the left-wing parties in Finland and included all maritime workers regardless of trade in the union. Furthermore, the commitment by Wälläri and the SMU to social justice was evidenced by the support for the antifascist cause during the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939. SMU members helped to smuggled arms to Spain and contributed volunteers, and later, assisted Jews in escaping to Sweden from Nazi Germany (“Mailman Teollisuustyöläisten Litto 100 vuotta,” p. 10; notes from Harry Siitonen, 1999 Seattle FinnFest lecture).

Junior Wobblies

Another key segment of the WPC student body over the final decade of its operations, often neglected in the historical literature on the school, were the Junior Wobblies. The Junior Wobblies’ Union was another innovation connected to the 1927 Colorado miners’ strike, formed for the purpose of “class education of workers’ children to prepare them for the organized labor movement in industry” (Rein, 1929, p. 126). To facilitate the growth of the Junior Wobblies the WPC began to organize summer youth courses for children and teenagers aged twelve to eighteen. These courses ran for four to six weeks between the months June and July for a fee of twelve dollars. The WPC summer youth courses proved to be fairly successful through the 1930s. Ollila (1975) reported that in 1929, the first year that a youth program was introduced, 130 students enrolled, eventually dropping to forty-two students a decade later (p. 112). In 1941, the final year of adult and youth courses at the WPC, seventeen students attended the summer sessions (“Uutisia Opistolta,” p. 3). Aside from courses on natural history and the history of the working-class movement, the summer youth program included activities such as swimming and sports. Baseball appears to have been one of the more popular sports.

In 1929, the Workers’ Socialist Publishing Company produced a textbook geared for IWW youth attending summer courses: Nuoriso, Oppi ja Työ (Youth, Learning, and Labor). The book, written by W.M. Rein, was explicitly aimed at a Finnish-American working-class youth audience. The text’s foreword further reveals the libertarian pedagogy adopted by the WPC. Instructors, it noted, should ask, and be asked questions, rather than encouraging memorization, as rote methods of learning would merely result in dogmatism and fail to fully develop the student’s ability to think critically (Rein, 1929, p. 2).

Divided into two sections, the book’s first part was written entirely in Finnish and intended for younger children, given that “the children of Finnish-speaking parents may preserve their ability to speak Finnish with relative ease” (ibid., p. 2). This section, written in the form of a story, follows the adventures of Arvo and Irma as they learn about the natural world, class society, and the working-class movement. The first section closes with the question, “where is the worker’s homeland?” The internationalist, antiracist conclusions were that, despite the fact that patriotism and the superiority of the white race were taught in most schools, all people are equal regardless of skin color, ethnicity, or culture. The workers’ homeland, it goes on to state, is “nowhere or everywhere” since workers will go where they are best able to earn a living, and thus, their “homeland” may change very quickly and often (ibid., pp. 79–80). The second part, written in English, was designed for older children and teenagers. It covered such topics as the evolution of human beings and early human history, the shift from feudalism to capitalism, the history of the American labor movement, industrial unionism (including the IWW Industrial Union Manifesto in full as well as the Preamble), an introduction to socialist theory (focusing on the Marx and the “materialist conception of history” and anarchist theory), and a detailed discussion of the history of the Finnish people and language.

Faculty and Staff

Over its years as an IWW school, the WPC generally employed no less than four full-time faculty during the course of its five-month term. Leo Laukki and Yrjö Sirola were two of the best-known instructors at the WPC as towering intellectual figures in the Finnish-American Left and direct participants in the revolutionary movement in Finland.(11) Their tenures at the school overlap during the period between the WPC as a school of the FSF to its leftward drift to the IWW: indeed both Laukki and Sirola were integral in instigating the radical left orientation of the college. Laukki became the chief theorist of the pro-IWW radical faction in the Finnish left, and under his directorship, the WPC curriculum changed to reflect the ideas and practices of revolutionary industrial unionism over that of parliamentary socialism. Sirola supported these views as well, but as Campbell (1998) notes, “Industrial unionism, the general strike, and basing anticapitalist struggles in the union, rather than the party, made sense to Sirola and other Finnish leftists in a North American context, but not so in a Finnish context” (p. 124). The same perspective might equally apply to Laukki, who enthusiastically supported the Bolsheviks after October 1917.

Indeed, both Laukki and Sirola eventually ended up in the Soviet Union, although under different circumstances. Sirola left for Finland under his own volition in 1917 after revolution had broken out in Tsarist Russia, participating in the short-lived Finnish Socialist Workers’ Republic in the capacity of minister of foreign affairs. Following the defeat of the revolutionary forces in the Finnish Civil War, Sirola fled to the Soviet Union, acting as a leading figure in the Finnish Communist Party in exile, Bolshevik government, and Communist International until his death in 1936. Laukki, on the other hand, was arrested along with 166 other IWW members during the wave of mass arrests in 1917 on charges related to newly created Espionage Act (covering sedition and interference with American military operations) during a period of intense government repression.(12) Laukki was sentenced to a twenty-year prison term, but fled to Moscow along with William Haywood while out on bail pending their appeal—a bitter experience for many in the IWW, as thousands of dollars had been collected for costs associated with the trial and bail (Kivisto, 1984, p. 157). Laukki later disappeared during Stalin’s purges in the 1930s.

George Humon was among the most prominent WPC faculty members during its period as an IWW institute. Humon served as the school’s director for no less than seven terms. His contributions include an original Finnish IWW text, Uusi Yhteiskunta Ja Sen Rakentajat (The New Society and its Builders) and the translation of several IWW pamphlets, including Abner E. Woodruff’s 1919 IWW pamphlet The Advancing Proletariat: A Study of the Movement of the Working Class from Wage Slavery to Freedom. Taisto Luoma is also notable as he went on to become one of the IWW’s most celebrated cartoonists in the 1930s; “most were done in a sullen, grim style, full of dark foreboding” (Rosemont, 1998, p. 433). Luoma taught a course on graphic design at the WPC during the 1938–1939 term. Other long-time faculty included Otto W. Oksanen, Aku Rissanen, Antti Vitikainen, and August Angervo.

Fred Thompson is among the best-known of the English-language faculty members. Thompson began teaching at the WPC in 1927, and continued as an instructor for seven nonconsecutive terms (including as a teacher for five summer youth sessions), ending his career as the school’s last director in 1940–1941. Covington Hall, a celebrated IWW organizer from the U.S. South, described by Kornbluh (2011) as “one of the most prolific of the I.W.W. writers,” (p. 259) taught labor history and industrial unionism at the WPC during the 1937–1938 term. Carl Keller, a leading member of the Chicago IWW for decades, serving as the union’s General-Secretary Treasurer in the late 1960s, was the only other non-Finnish WPC director (in 1933–1934 and 1936–1937).

Of course the WPC, nor any other educational institution for that matter, could not function without the many key tasks carried out by a support staff. In addition to faculty, the WPC also employed a business manager, responsible for the organization’s accounting, bookkeeping, and preparing annual financial reports to shareholders; kitchen staff; and a caretaker. A September 16, 1927, Industrialisti job advertisement for a head cook, two kitchen helpers, and a caretaker for the upcoming WPC school term notes that successful candidates must be members of the IWW or be prepared to join. Responsibilities of the head cook included preparing meals for the toverikunta and baking. It states that the WPC possessed both a gas and a coal oven [kooliuuni]. Kitchen helpers were tasked with cleaning, dishwashing, serving, and general duties as required, while the caretaker’s position mainly centered around the cleaning, upkeep, and heating of the building.

Conclusion: Evaluating the Impact and Legacy of the Work People’s College

At the close of the 1940–1941 term, the decision was made by the WPC shareholders to suspend courses for the upcoming year. Falling enrollment contributed to the decision, but the writing was clearly on the wall when, during the final term, several student stipends had remained unused. The property was leased and eventually sold, in 1962. One of the original WPC buildings still stands and now functions as an apartment building.

How might the experience of the WPC as an IWW labor college be evaluated? During the polarizing period of the Cold War and an era of government sanctioned social democratic labor relations—the era when much of the literature on the WPC was written—many previous commentators on the school’s history may be forgiven for attributing the school’s decline on the staunch and “sectarian” adherence to Wobbly precepts, which were argued to have alienated more moderate potential supporters, and the resultant failure of the school to shift to more “realistic” Communist or social democratic- oriented alternatives. How distant this all now seems with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the centrist political trajectory of modern social democracy, declining union membership numbers, and the global resurgence of an antistatist Left libertarian alternative. To be sure, the strong ties between the WPC and its radical Finnish support base, that are frequently cited in the historical literature, served as both a major strength and a weakness. In failing to penetrate more deeply into the broader North American working class, the ethnic ties and solidarities that helped sustain the WPC gradually unraveled as the second, third, and fourth generations of the Finnish immigrant population gradually assimilated into the dominant culture, often abandoning not only the language and culture of their predecessors, but also their associational, radical, and egalitarian commitments. In contrast and by way of conclusion, the WPC and its impact on labor organizing, its contributions to the radical counterculture on the Finnish membership of the IWW, and its broader legacy will be examined. That the decline of the IWW approximately mirrors that of the WPC is evident, however, it is in the context of the specifically Finnish contingent of the union that the lasting contributions and achievements of this institute, and the culture of which is was part, must be assessed.

Aside from the role of a few individuals, as noted above, it is somewhat difficult to accurately assess the impact that the WPC had in the field of industrial conflict, given the absence of documentation directly linking students to union organizing and strike activity. This in itself is a task that requires a much longer and more in-depth study. However, since a significant proportion of the student body were drawn from the mining industry, it is reasonable to assume that the IWW-led mass strike of miners on Minnesota’s Mesabi Range in 1916 included the contributions of WPC trained organizers and agitators. The same assumption might also be applied to industrial actions carried out in the logging industries in Northern Minnesota and Northern Ontario in the 1920s. At least one former WPC faculty member, Kristen Svanum, an instructor during the 1924–1925 term, was identified in the reports of company-hired labor spies as a leading organizer in the 1927 Colorado miners strike (Rees, 2004, pp. 32–35). Fred Thompson held a more cynical outlook on the effectiveness of WPC organizer training, stating that his major criticism of the school was that “I.W.W. unions should have arranged to make more systematic use of it” and that he felt fortunate “if among the sixty or so students, there were a dozen who came there with the idea of increasing their capacity as organizers or labor educators” (Roediger, 1993, p. 67). It should be noted that Thompson’s comments may more accurately reflect the period of the institute’s general decline during his time there in the 1930s, rather than the WPC as a whole. His reflections, however, also hold invaluable insights. Thompson suggested, in retrospect, that the WPC should have sent “organizer-students” to places where organizing campaigns were happening at the time (namely, Detroit and Cleveland in the 1930s), where they could concentrate “partly on organizing chores, partly in systematic study and always trying to relate one to the other” (ibid., p. 69).

The tenacity of the Finnish Wobblies, however, most certainly owed much to the training and sense of camaraderie that the WPC provided. Industrialisti, with former WPC student Jack Ujanen as editor, as mentioned above, survived until 1975—a remarkable feat for a foreign-language radical newspaper in North America—as did the CTKL and several IWW-supported halls and cooperatives in the United States and Canada. Even as IWW unions began a sharp decline through the 1930s, Wobbly methods, ideas, and organizers remained devoted to the principles of direct action, solidarity, and labor militancy in the broader working-class movement. In the late 1930s, Wobblies or former members in Northern Minnesota and Northern Ontario actively participated in strikes in the lumber industry through “mainstream” unions—their inclination to rank-and-file control and direct action, instead of negotiating binding collective agreements, often aggravating union bureaucrats (Hudelson and Ross, 2006, pp. 190–92; Campbell, 1998, pp. 118–19).

At a later stage, the WPC and the militants it trained served as an important generational link between the “old guard” of the IWW and the New Left radicals of the 1960s who began the task of rebuilding the IWW. When Franklin Rosemont joined the union in 1962 in Chicago, establishing the Rebel Worker group and journal, he fondly recalled meeting former WPC students and faculty like Carl Keller, Aino Thompson (Fred Thompson’s wife— the two met at the college), and Jenny Lahti Velsek (Rosemont and Radcliffe, 2006, p. 19). Rosemont also noted that the Solidarity bookshop in Chicago, included “a couple thousand old books from the IWW’s Work People’s College” (ibid., p. 30).

Fittingly, the latest incarnation of the WPC is in Minneapolis, the city in which the original People’s College was established over a century ago. In 2006, a decision was made by the IWW Twin Cities General Membership Branch to begin providing “free, radical, and practical education to the working women and men of our communities, education that will further the aims of the working class revolution that we advocate as a union” (WPC Mission Statement). Jeff Pilacinski, one of the leading figures behind the WPC revival, explains that the historical WPC was chosen as the model for this project for several reasons:

One, the obvious historical connection between the school and the I.W.W. was important to maintain. Second, as a self-managed workingclass institution, the historical WPC offered educational opportunities whereby workers were teaching workers in an organized, yet loosely-structured environment. This is something that branch members wanted to replicate given the fact that there were few if no other opportunities of this kind available at the time. Third, we took inspiration from the school’s core curriculum and structured our offerings around working-class culture/history, sociology, Marxist economics, and industrial unionism.(13)

Courses, which began in mid-October 2006, have typically been organized during evenings for six to eight weeks at an accessible venue, such as a meeting room in a public library, usually for two hours sessions. Facilitators are responsible for creating a course framework and a list suggested readings combined with a strong participatory focus. Students largely guide the direction of each course with instructional methods varying widely course-tocourse from group discussions and lectures to role-plays and media presentations. The revived WPC, like its historical namesake, is open to all workers and the occupational backgrounds of both its facilitators and study body are reflective of the working class in contemporary capitalism—the miners and lumberjacks of the historical WPC have now been replaced with workers from the service, education, and telecommunications industries.

To date five courses have been offered: Lessons of the Spanish Revolution, Imagination and Social Liberation (the thought of Cornelius Castoriadis), Political Economy in Karl Marx’s Capital, Chomsky 101: An Introduction to Noam Chomsky’s Life and Political Thought, and Coup de Sabots and the Creativity of Direct Action. The flier for one course offering stylishly asserted that “credit for participation in this class is not transferrable to any state or private institution, but only to the daily struggle for the emancipation of the working class.”(14) Currently, the branch educational committee responsible for organizing logistics (room bookings, photocopies, child care, etc.) for the WPC is aiming to structure the WPC as a quarterly series of weekend sessions composed of workshops, panels, speakers, films, debates, and trainings.(15)

In considering the importance of, and relationship between, theory and working place organizing, Pilacinski observes:

Each course included components that developed I.W.W. members and non-members’ abilities to situate themselves in and further understand the history and dynamics of their class—these developments fundamentally bolster the I.W.W. and its members capacities to organize where they work.(16)

He also notes that “the union also has a dedicated and successful workplace organizer training program that the Twin Cities runs several times throughout the year, including times when WPC courses are offered.”(17) These efforts have contributed to some of the most innovative and pioneering workplace organizing campaigns in Minnesota and beyond. Recent campaigns initiated by the Twin Cities IWW include substantial work in the poorly paid, notoriously difficult, and almost totally unorganized fast-food industry.

If the best and most sincere tribute to the working-class militants of the historical WPC is to carry on their work, then certainly the revival of the school in the Twin Cities must be considered as the most important and critical component of the school’s legacy.


(1) The author would like to extend his thanks all those who supported the writing and research of this essay: the friendly and helpful staff at the Northern Studies Resource Centre at Lakehead University; Gary Kaunonen, who took the time togive a number of insightful comments and suggestions on an earlier draft, helping to greatly improve the rigour and quality of this work; and Harry Siitonen, who generously provided his personal lecture notes, a number of difficult-to-find sources on the Work People’s College, and his encyclopedic knowledge of the IWW and Finnish North American labor movements. Last, but not least, the author would like to thank the Twin Cities General Membership Branch of the IWW, and specifically, Jeff Pilacinski, Erik W. Davis, and Kieran Knutson for their support and the information they gave about their efforts to revive the Work People’s College.

(2) All translations from original Finnish sources in this chapter are by the author.

(3) During this period, the FSF was the largest foreign-language federation in the Socialist Party of America, with an influence and membership disproportionate to the relatively small number of Finnish immigrants in the United States. In 1912 the FSF was composed of over eleven thousand members in 225 local chapters. “At that date,” writes Ollila (1975), “the organization included four newspapers, the Work People’s College with 123 students, seventy-six club houses, eighty libraries, and a combined income $184,128.83, coupled with an overall valuation of $558,201.14” (p. 156).

(4) The split in the FSF mirrored a similar division in the ranks of the Englishspeaking sections of the Socialist Party of America in 1912, when IWW members including William Haywood were expelled from the National Executive of the party. This also presaged a second split in the FSF in the early 1920s that witnessed the exit of Communist Party supporters. We might consider, perhaps somewhat schematically, the Finnish left in North America as more or less crystallizing into three distinct currents in the years following the First World War: 1) a social democratic tendency, with Raivaaja (The Pioneer) in the United States and Vapaa Sana (The Free Word) in Canada as representative newspapers; 2) a Leninist tendency, represented by the Workers (Communist) Party in the United States and Canada and their newspapers Työmies (Working Man) and Vapaus (Freedom), respectively; and 3) an antistatist, libertarian socialist tendency represented by the IWW, auxiliary organizations, and their newspaper Industrialisti (Industrialist).

(5) The newspaper began as Sosialisti (Socialist) in June 1914, changing to Teollisuustyöläinen (Industrial Worker) in December 1916, and finally to Industrialisti in March 1917. For an excellent account of the early years of the paper, see A. Kostiainen, A dissenting voice of Finnish radicals in America: The formative years of Sosialisti-Industrialisti in the 1910s. American Studies in Scandinavia, 23, 1991 (pp. 83–94). Retrieved from

(6) In 1920, the IWW had no fewer than thirteen foreign-language publications.

(7) Translated by Kaapo Murros (born David Gabriel Ahlqvist, an early Finnish advocate of industrial unionism in the United States) as Taistelu Leivästä (Tampere: Työväen Osuuskirjapaino) who, that same year, also provided the first Finnish translation of Marx and Engels’s Communist Manifesto.

(8) Total yearly enrollment represents the total number of students enrolled over the course of an entire term. Some students were not able to study for an entire term due to financial constraints or left when employment opportunities arose. Interestingly, the very low cost of attending the WPC was argued, in school’s advertisements and outreach material, to be an ideal way for seasonal workers to save money as it was a cheaper alternative to staying in boarding houses or arranging other temporary accomodations during the off-season.

(9) Compiled from director’s reports through the years 1920–1941. See references below for a complete listing.

(10) Not to be confused with the IWW, the Canadian One Big Union (OBU) was formed in 1919 as a Western alternative to the Trades and Labour Congress. See D. Bercuson (1990), Syndicalism sidetracked: Canada’s One Big Union” (pp. 221–36) in M. van der Linden and W. Thorpe (eds.) Revolutionary Syndicalism: An International Perspective, Aldershot: Scolar Press. Finnish-Canadian OBU members, particularly lumber workers, switched organizational affiliation to the IWW in large numbers in the early 1920s.

(11) Laukki, as a young lieutenant, fled to the United States in 1907 after his participation in the Sveaborg (now Suomenlinna) military fortress rebellion against Tsarist rule. Sirola, on the other hand, was a well known Finnish socialist politician, who also fled after Tsarist repression of the revolutionary movement in Finland.

(12) Four additional Finnish Wobblies were among the 166 arrestees: Fred Jaakkola, Frank Westerlund, William Tanner, and Charles Jacobson. During this period, IWW union offices in Duluth were raided and destroyed by the National Guard and a newly constructed WPC building burned to the ground amid widespread rumors that vigilantes were responsible. In 1918, Olli Kinkkonen, a Duluth longshoreman and vocal opponent of the war, was forcibly removed from his boarding house lodgings by vigilantes, tarred, feathered, and hanged. The official explanation for Kinkkonen’s death was suicide.

(13) Correspondence with Jeff Pilacinski, January 11, 2011.

(14) Correspondence with Eric W. Davis, December 6, 2010.

(15) Correspondence with Kieran Knutson, January 11, 2011.

(16) Correspondence with Jeff Pilacinski, January 11, 2011.

(17) Ibid.


“Tietoja I.W.W. Liiton 13:sta Koventsionista” (1921, May 28) Industrialisti, 1.

“Työväen-Opiston Johtajan Tomintakertomus,” (WPC Director’s Activity Report, 1921– 1941, Industrialisti): 1921, May 21, G. Humon; 1922, April 24, G. Humon; 1923, May 10, A. Vitikainen; 1924, April 22, A. Vitikainen; 1925, May 7, G. Humon; 1926, May 12, G. Humon; 1927, May 3, G. Humon; 1928, May 11, J. Kiviniemi; 1929, April 20, J. Kiviniemi; 1930, May 21, G. Humon; 1931, April 16, A. Rissanen; 1932, May 9, G. Humon; 1933, May 15, I. Vapaa; 1934, April 21, C. Keller; 1935, April 25, A. Vitikainen; 1936, May 16, F. Thompson; 1937, May 3, C. Keller; 1938, May 2, F. Thompson; 1939, April 22, G. Humon; 1940, May 24, F. Thompson; 1941, May 2, F. Thompson.

“Väärä Tulkinta” (1936, October 10) Industrialisti, 2.

Work People’s College Mission Statement. Retrieved from branches/US/MN/twincities/wpc.

“Yhdistysten ja Ryhmien Osotteita” (1927, September 28) Industrialisti, 3.

Altenbaugh, R. (1990). Education for struggle: The American labor colleges of the 1920s and 1930s. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Campbell, J. The cult of spontaneity: Finnish-Canadian bushworkers and the Industrial Workers of the world in Northern Ontario, 1919–1934. Labour/Le Travail, 41 (Spring 1998), 117–46.

Etholén, K. Mailman Teollisuustyöläisten Litto 100 vuotta. Merimies-Sjömannen 2, 2006, 10.

Hannula, R. Editor’s tribute to Jack Ujanen. Finn Heritage, 5(2) 1988, 23–25.

Heinilä, H. (1995). Work People’s College. Finnish Americana: A Journal of Finnish American History and Culture, 11, 22–31.

Hudelson, R. & Ross, C. (2006). By the ore docks: A working people’s history of Duluth. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Jaska. (1924, April). Työväen-Opiston Lukukausi, 1923–1924. Tie Vapauteen, 4(6), 23–27.

Karni, M. (1975a). Yhteishyvä—or, for the common good: Finnish radicalism in the western Great Lakes region, 1900–1940 (Doctoral dissertation). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.

Karni, M. (1975b). Struggle on the cooperative front: The separation of central cooperative wholesale from communism, 1929–1930. In M. Karni, M. Kaups & D. Ollila Jr. (Eds.), The Finnish experience in the western Great Lakes region: New perspectives, 186–201. Turku, Finland: Institute for Migration.

Kivisto, P. (1984). Immigrant socialists in the United States: The case of Finns and the left. Cranbury/London/Mississauga: Associated University Presses.

Kornbluh, J. (Ed.). (2011). Rebel voices: An IWW anthology. Oakland: PM Press.

Kostiainen, A. (1976). Finnish-American Workmen’s Associations. In V. Niitemaa, J.

Saukkonen, T. Aaltio & O. Koivukangas (Eds.), Old friends—strong ties: The Finnish contribution to the growth of the USA, 205–34. Vaasa. Retrieved from http://www.

Kostiainen, A. (1980). Work People’s College: An American immigrant institution. Scandinavian Journal of History, 5, 295–309. Retrieved from http://www.genealogia. org/emi/art/article243e.htm#Alku.

Kostiainen, A. (1991). A dissenting voice of Finnish radicals in America: The formative years of Sosialisti-Industrialisti in the 1910s. American Studies in Scandinavia, 23, 83–94. Retrieved from

Kropotkin, P. (1880). An appeal to the young. Retrieved from daver/anarchism/kropotkin/atty.html.

Luoma, T. “The Wobbly Way” (1938, September 6) Industrialisti, 3. May L. &

Myers, R. (Eds.). Slaughter in Serene: The Columbine coal strike reader. Denver: Bread and Roses Workers’ Cultural Center.

Mukana ollut. (1921, May). Opiston Toverikunnan Vaiheista Lukuvuotena 1920–1921. Ahjo, 39–42.

Ollila, D. (1975). From socialism to industrial unionism (IWW): Social factors in the emergence of left-labor radicalism among Finnish workers on the Mesabi, 1911–19. In M. Karni, M. Kaups & D. Ollila Jr. (Eds.), The Finnish experience in the western Great Lakes region: New perspectives, 156–71. Turku, Finland: Institute for Migration.

Ollila, D. (1977). The Work People’s College: Immigrant education for adjustment and solidarity. In M. Karni & D. Ollila Jr. (Eds.), For the common good: Finnish immigrants and the radical response to industrial America, 87–118. Superior, WI: Työmies Society.

Oppilas. “Uutisia Opistolta” (1941, June 20) Industrialisti, p.3.

Radforth, I. (1987). Bushworkers and bosses: Logging in northern Ontario, 1900– 1980. Toronto/Buffalo/London: University of Toronto Press.

Ranta, W. Valistustyöhön. (1927 April) Tie Vapauteen (4) 9, 7.

Rees, J. “X,” “XX” and “X-3”: Labor spy reports from the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company archives. Colorado Heritage (Winter) 2004, 28–41.

Rein, W. (1929). Nuoriso, Oppi ja Työ (Youth, Learning and Labor). Duluth: Workers’ Socialist Publishing Company.

Roediger, D. (Ed.). (1993). Fellow worker: The life of Fred Thompson. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr Publishing Co.

Rosemont, F. (2003). Joe Hill: The IWW & the making of a revolutionary working-class counterculture. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr Publishing Co.

Rosemont, F. (2011). A short treatise on Wobbly cartoons. In J. Kornbluh (Ed.), Rebel voices: An IWW anthology, 425–43. Oakland: PM Press.

Rosemont, F. & Radcliffe, C. (2006). Dancin’ in the streets! Anarchists, IWWs, surrealists, situationists & provos in the 1960s as recorded in the pages of Rebel Worker and Heatwave. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr Publishing Co.

Ross, C. (1977). The Finn factor in American labor, culture and society. New York Mills, MN: Parta Printers Inc.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on An almanac for concerned citizens and boysenberry jam fans and commented:
    Origins and history of the Work People’s College of the IWW, our union.

    August 31, 2014

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