Oil, Wheat, and Wobblies: The Industrial Workers of the World in Oklahoma, 1905-1930

Overview

The Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies, a radical labor union, played an important role in Oklahoma between the founding of the union in 1905 and its demise in 1930. In Oil, Wheat, & Wobblies, Nigel Anthony Sellars describes IWW efforts to organize migratory harvest hands and oil-field workers in the state and relationships between the union and other radical and labor groups such as the Socialist Party and the American Federation of Labor.

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Overview

The Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies, a radical labor union, played an important role in Oklahoma between the founding of the union in 1905 and its demise in 1930. In Oil, Wheat, & Wobblies, Nigel Anthony Sellars describes IWW efforts to organize migratory harvest hands and oil-field workers in the state and relationships between the union and other radical and labor groups such as the Socialist Party and the American Federation of Labor.

Focusing on the emergence of migratory labor and the nature of the work itself in industrializing the region, Sellars provides a social history of labor in the Oklahoma wheat belt and the mid-continent oil fields. Using court cases and legislation, he examines the role of state and federal government in suppressing the union during World War I.

Oil, Wheat, & Wobblies concludes with a description of the IWW revival and subsequent decline after the war, suggesting that the decline is attributable more to the union’s failure to adapt to postwar technological change, its rigid attachment to outmoded tactics, and its internal policy disputes, than to political repression.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Sellars history, U. of Oklahoma provides a social history of labor in the Oklahoma wheat belt and the midcontinent oil fields. Using court cases and legislation, he examines the role of the state and federal government in suppressing the Wobblies during WWI, concluding with an analysis of the IWW revival and subsequent decline after the war. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806143279
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 9/18/2012
  • Pages: 314
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Nigel Anthony Sellars is Associate Professor of History at Christopher Newport University, Newport News, Virginia, and author of Oil, Wheat, and Wobblies: The Industrial Workers of the World in Oklahoma.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Of Wobblies and Sooners 3
1 Impossibilists, Reformers, and Labor Fakirs: The IWW in Oklahoma, 1906-1914 15
2 Harvesting the Harvesters: The Agricultural Workers Organization in Oklahoma 35
3 Organizing "Oily Willy": The IWW in the Midcontinent Oil Fields 57
4 With Folded Arms? Or with Squirrel Guns?: The IWW and the Green Com Rebellion 77
5 War and Repression 93
6 Trials and Tribulations: The IWW and the Red Scare in Oklahoma 119
7 A Brief Renaissance: Harvest Stiffs and Rednecks in the Postwar Period 143
8 Decline and Fall, 1922-1930 163
Epilogue: An Ambiguous Legacy 185
Notes 197
Bibliography 259
Index 283
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