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  • Jeffrey Scott Brown (a1)


The vogue for the philosophy of Henri Bergson, and the popularity of vitalist ideas more generally, periodically claims the attention of historians of early twentieth-century American thought and culture. There is little appreciation, however, for either the broad epistemic significance of these ideas or for their profound ethical and political implications. This essay explores the activity of Bergsonian vitalism, particularly as applied by Bergson's radical compatriot, Georges Sorel, within the fractious conversation that attended the emergence of revolutionary syndicalism as a significant force in the pre-war 1910s. Understanding the ways in which this seemingly unprecedented menace to the status quo was understood facilitates a rethinking of the relationship between ideas and experience in the rise of the Industrial Workers of the World, and illuminates the attraction of radically empiricist approaches to interpreting social phenomena in the Progressive Era. Here, as elsewhere, Bergsonism challenged dominant materialistic and mechanistic explanations in the name of “life,” a seductive alternative for those alienated by, or suffering under, the juggernaut of urban-industrial modernization.


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1 May, Henry F., The End of American Innocence: The First Years of Our Own Time, 1912–1917 (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1959), 228. Also see Quirk, Tom, Bergson and American Culture: The Worlds of Willa Cather and Wallace Stevens (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990); and McGrath, Larry, “Bergson Comes to America,” Journal of the History of Ideas 74 (Oct. 2013): 599620. The research that launched this project was guided by Robert Westbrook, Daniel Borus, and Joan Shelley Rubin. I am forever grateful for the inspiration and mentorship they provided. Mark Temelini's help with Italian language sources was indispensable. Thanks also to the anonymous readers for their helpful suggestions.

2 “Professor Bergson at City College,” Outlook, Mar. 1, 1913, 467; Randolph Bourne to Prudence Winterrowd, May 18, 1913, in The Letters of Randolph Bourne, ed. Sandeen, Eric J. (Troy, NY: Whitston, 1981), 85; New York Times, Feb. 5, 11, 1913; The New York Times and the Columbia Spectator offer the most complete accounts of Bergson's visit. See esp. the Times, Feb. 3, 4, 5, 7, 11, and 20, 1913; and the Spectator, Jan. 31, Feb. 5, 7, 8, 12, 14, 18, 19, and 20. Also see the Nicholas Murray Butler Papers, Box 73, Columbia University.

3 Roosevelt penned an admiring review of Bergson's Creative Evolution: “The Search for Truth in a Reverent Spirit,” Outlook, Dec. 2, 1911, 819–26.

4 Louis Levine, “The Philosophy of Henry Bergson and Syndicalism,” New York Times, Jan. 26, 1913.

5 Ibid.

6 Brissenden, Paul, The I.W.W.: A Study of American Syndicalism (1919; New York: Russell and Russell, 1957), 274.

7 Foner, Philip S., History of the Labor Movement of the United States, Vol. IV: The Industrial Workers of the World, 1905–1917 (New York: International Publishers, 1965), 157, 23.

8 Dubofsky, Melvyn, We Shall Be All: A History of the Industrial Workers of the World (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1969), 73–74, 169–70. The IWW was not the only revolutionary syndicalist organization in the United States early in the twentieth century, but it was the largest and most influential. Since the focus here is on revolutionary syndicalism at the high point of its notoriety in the early 1910s, and the discussion of this phenomenon—both at the time and since—has centered on the IWW, my analysis will confine itself largely to the union and its interpreters.

9 Brissenden, The IWW, 274. See also Milner, Susan, The Dilemmas of Internationalism: French Syndicalism and the International Labour Movement, 1900–1914 (New York: Berg, 1990); Thorpe, Wayne, “The Workers Themselves:” Revolutionary Syndicalism and International Labour, 1913–1923 (Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1989); and Peterson, Larry, “The One Big Union in International Perspective: Revolutionary Industrial Unionism, 1900–1925,” Le Travailleur: Journal of Canadian Labour Studies 7 (Spring 1981): 4166.

10 Foner, History of the Labor Movement, 159; Dubofsky, We Shall Be All, 169.

11 Salerno, Salvatore, Red November Black November: Culture and Community in the Industrial Workers of the World (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989), 4, 22.

12 Salerno, Red November Black November; Rosemont, Franklin, Joe Hill: The IWW & the Making of a Revolutionary Workingclass Counterculture (Chicago: Haymarket, 2002); Topp, Michael Miller, Those Without a Country: The Political Culture of Italian American Syndicalists (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001). A related strand of recent scholarship stresses the union's racial inclusivity. See esp. Cole, Peter, Wobblies on the Waterfront: Interracial Unionism in Progressive Era Philadelphia (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007); Philadelphia's Lords of the Docks: Interracial Unionism Wobbly-Style,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 6 (Jul. 2007): 310–38; and Struthers, David, “The Boss Has No Color Line,” Journal for the Study of Radicalism 7 (Fall 2013): 6192.

13 “Vitalism,” in the broad sense I employ it here, is the proposition that life cannot be reduced to physical formulae or chemical properties. There is, rather, an ineffable force or impulse—Bergson called it the élan vital—that sustains and propels creative life processes.

14 Stansell, Christine, American Moderns: Bohemian New York and the Creation of a New Century (New York: Henry Holt, 2000), 7.

15 Lasch, Christopher, The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics (New York: Norton, 1991), 296.

16 The culpability of Bergsonism in the shaping of the intellectual milieu that spawned fascism after the Great War is the most common of the ethical-political consequences alleged by subsequent commentators. Most famously, Bertrand Russell charged that Bergsonian irrationalism … harmonized easily with the movement which culminated in Vichy.” Russell, A History of Western Philosophy (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1945), 791. This essay suggests that Vichy was only one of a variety of possible political destinations for Bergson's philosophy. See Jones, Donna V., The Racial Discourses of Life Philosophy: Negritude, Vitalism, and Modernity (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010) for a fascinating recent examination of this issue.

17 Kolakowski, Leszek, Main Currents of Marxism: Its Rise, Growth, and Dissolution, Vol. II: The Golden Age, trans. Falla, P. S. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978), 31–60, 98114.

18 Sorel, Georges, “The Decomposition of Marxism” in Radicalism and the Revolt Against Reason, ed. Horowitz, Irving Louis (1908; London: Humanities Press, 1961), 249.

19 Sorel, Georges, Reflections on Violence, trans. Hulme, T. E. (1915; New York: Peter Smith, 1941), 142. Hulme's translation of Reflections on Violence first appeared in the United States in 1912. I use it throughout.

20 Ibid., 137.

21 Ibid., 35.

22 Ibid., 127.

23 Ibid., 130–31.

24 See Barnard, G. William, Living Consciousness: The Metaphysical Vision of Henri Bergson (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2011), 67, on the difficulties of translating “durée.” Sorel's Bergsonism has been extensively documented, from regular attendance at Bergson's lectures in Paris to discussions of his ideas in correspondence with Benedetto Croce. Sorel and Bergson both acknowledged the connection, though Bergson distanced himself from Sorel's politics. See Stanley, John L., The Sociology of Virtue: The Politics and Social Theories of George Sorel (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981); Roth, Jack, The Cult of Violence; Sorel and the Sorelians (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980); Meisal, James H., The Genesis of Georges Sorel (Ann Arbor, MI: GeoWahr, 1959); Jennings, Jeremy, Georges Sorel: The Character and Development of his Thought (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1985); and Fujita, Hitachi, “Anarchy and Analogy: The Violence of Language in Bergson and Sorel,” trans. McMahon, Melissa, in Bergson, Politics, and Religion, eds. LeFebre, Alexandre and White, Melanie (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012), 126–43.

25 Sorel, Reflections, 30.

26 Ibid., 157.

27 Ibid., 86.

28 Ibid., 37–38

29 Kolakowski, The Golden Age, 149.

30 Sorel, Reflections, 133.

31 Ibid., 164.

32 Ibid., 37–38.

33 Sorel, Reflections, 37.

34 Ibid., 131. Sorel's rethinking of the interplay of theory and practice was informed by Bergson, who argued that the intellect could only confer meaning retrospectively, and even here, a dynamic and multitudinous real would escape the conceptual nets thrown upon it. Prospective theorization, the sort that purported to deduce the future scientifically, was inherently untenable. See Vernon, Richard, Commitment and Change: Georges Sorel and the Idea of Revolution (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1978), 10.

35 Jennings, Jeremy, Syndicalism in France: A Study of Ideas (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990), 1.

36 Ibid., 3.

37 See Vernon, Commitment and Change, 70.

38 Ibid., 71.

39 Sombart, Werner, Socialism and the Social Movement, trans. Epstein., M. (1909; New York: A. M. Kelly, 1968), 99, 110–11.

40 Ibid., 98–128, 317. The IWW's founding is noted in the book's appendix.

41 Ernest Dimnet, “A French Defence of Violence,” The Forum, Nov. 1909, 415.

42 Ibid., 414–17.

43 Lee, Vernon (Violet Paget), Vital Lies: Studies of Some Varieties of Recent Obscurantism, Vol. 2 (New York: John Lane Company, 1912), 79, 82. Lee's chapter on Sorel was initially published as “M. Sorel and the ‘Syndicalist Myth,’” The Fortnightly Review, Oct. 1911.

44 Scott Bowen, “The New Labor Spirit in England,” The Independent, Sept. 14, 1911, 570–75.

45 Conlin, Joseph R., Bread and Roses Too: Studies of the Wobblies (Westport, CT.: Greenwood, 1969), 89.

46 “Socialism and Syndicalism,” The Nation, May 30, 1912, 533.

47 Walter Weyl, “The Strikers at Lawrence: Special Correspondence,” Outlook, Feb. 10, 1912, 310–11.

48 Ibid., 311–12.

49 Quoted in “Syndicalism: Working Ethic for Barbarians,” Current Literature, May 1912, 557.

50 “The Industrial Workers,” The Independent, Mar. 9, 1912, 1020.

51 “Syndicalism,” The Nation, Mar. 28, 1912, 305.

52 J. H. Harley, “Syndicalism and the Labour Unrest,” The Contemporary Review, Mar. 1912, 353, 357.

53 Ibid., 356–57.

54 “The Philosophy of Syndicalism,” The Independent, Apr. 18, 1912, 850–51. Also see John Graham Brooks, “The Shadow of Anarchy: The Industrial Workers of the World,” The Survey, Apr. 6, 1912; Lorin Deland, “The Lawrence Strike: A Study,” Atlantic Monthly, May 1912; “Industrial Unionism and Its Ideals,” The American Review of Reviews, June 1912; “Syndicalism: What It Is and What Its Aims Are,” The American Review of Reviews, Aug. 1912; James Boyle, “Syndicalism: The Latest Manifestation of Labor's Unrest,” Forum, Aug. 1912; “Syndicalism and the General Strike,” The Contemporary Review, Sept. 1912; and “Syndicalism: The New Labor Force,” The Chatauquan, Dec. 1912–Feb. 1913.

55 Clay, Arthur, Syndicalism and Labour: Notes Upon Some Aspects of Social and Industrial Questions of the Day (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1911); Lewis, Arthur, Syndicalism and the General Strike: An Explanation (Boston: Small, Maynard, 1912); MacDonald, J. Ramsay, Syndicalism: A Critical Examination (Chicago: Open Court, 1912); Levine, Lewis, The Labor Movement in France: A Study in Revolutionary Syndicalism (New York: Longmans, Green, 1912).

56 MacDonald, Syndicalism, 36–37.

57 Levine, The Labor Movement in France, 148–52.

58 Quoted in Walling, “Industrialism or Revolutionary Unionism,” The New Review, Jan. 11, 1913, 45.

59 Spargo, John, Syndicalism, Industrial Unionism and Socialism (New York: B. W. Huebsch, 1913), preface. The book originated as lectures delivered in Dec. 1912 and Jan. 1913.

60 Spargo, Syndicalism, Industrial Unionism, and Socialism, 29.

61 Oneal, James, Sabotage, or Socialism vs. Syndicalism: A Critical Study of Theories and Methods, Pamphlet (Saint Louis, MO: National Rip-Saw, 1913), 910.

62 Ibid., 28.

63 Spargo, Syndicalism, Industrial Unionism, and Socialism, 199–200. A resolution passed at the SP's May 1912 convention ruled that “any member of the party who opposes political action or advocates crime, sabotage, or other methods of violence as a weapon of the working class … shall be expelled from membership in the party” (Quoted in Brissenden, The IWW, 280). William D. Haywood was ousted on these grounds in Feb. 1913. See Brissenden, The IWW, 168–69 and Kornbluh, Joyce L., ed., Rebel Voices: An IWW Anthology (Chicago: Charles Kerr, 1998), 3740.

64 William English Walling, “Industrialism vs. Syndicalism,” International Socialist Review, Mar. 1913, 666–67. See also “Syndicalism” in Walling's Socialism As It Is: A Survey of the World-Wide Revolutionary Movement (New York: MacMillan, 1912), 354–86.

65 Walling, “Industrialism or Revolutionary Unionism,” 49.

66 Politics was a flashpoint for the IWW from its inception. The union was conceived in a volatile alliance of anarchist, socialist, and unionist leaders seeking a new space in which to forge working-class solidarity. Its founding in 1905 was enabled through a compromise between those convinced of the futility of electoral politics and those who held that it should play a prominent role in the transformation of society. The compromise hinged on a single clause in the preamble of the union's constitution that endorsed political action even as it stipulated that the purpose of the IWW was to build an “economic organization of the working class unaffiliated with any political party” (quoted in Kornbluh, Rebel Voices, 2). This accommodation collapsed as the balance of power within the union tilted toward anti-political direct actionists. Debs withdrew in 1906, explaining later that the IWW had become “an anarchist organization in all except name.” Daniel De Leon, the leader of the Socialist Labor Party, was expelled in 1908 and all mention of political activity removed from the preamble (“Preamble to the Constitution of the Industrial Workers of the World” in Kornbluh, Rebel Voices, 12–13).

67 Monte, Robert Rives La, The New Socialism, With a Chapter on “You and Your Vote” (Chicago: Charles Kerr, 1912), 1617. This is the pamphlet version of an essay originally published as “The New Socialism,” International Socialist Review, Sept. 1912, 205–16.

68 La Monte, The New Socialism, 17.

69 La Monte, “Industrial Unionism and Syndicalism,” The New Review, May 1913, 527–29. Walling maintained that using “the term ‘Syndicalism’ in speaking of the IWW … only leads to confusion.” La Monte argued the opposite: that obscuring the connection between European and American syndicalism would “breed and foster pernicious confusion.”

70 La Monte, “The New Socialism,” 14–15.

71 Tridon, Andre, The New Unionism (New York: B. W. Huebsch, 1913), 187–88. Also see Antliff, Allan, Anarchist Modernism: Art, Politics, and the First American Avant-Garde (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), 59, 102–5.

72 La Monte, “Industrial Unionism and Syndicalism,” 528.

73 Gaylord Wilshire, “What Is Syndicalism,” Wilshire's, May, 1912, 1. The editorial was originally published in The Syndicalist of London. It was issued in pamphlet form under the title Syndicalism: What It Is (London: Twentieth Century Press, 1912).

74 Ibid., 3.

75 Goldman, “Syndicalism: Its Theory and Practice” (1913) in Red Emma Speaks: An Emma Goldman Reader, ed. Shulman, Alix Kates (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1996), 66.

76 Goldman, “Syndicalism: Its Theory and Practice,” 89.

77 Salerno offers an excellent account of anarchists at the founding convention in Red November Black November, 69–90.

78 Goldman, Emma, Syndicalism: The Modern Menace to Capitalism (New York: Mother Earth Publishing, 1913), (accessed Aug. 1, 2015). The “student” Goldman mentions was Louis Levine.

79 Goldman, “Syndicalism: Its Theory and Practice,” 65–66.

80 Proudhon called for a “bottom-up” reorganization of society on the basis of primary individual and group experience. “Natural” interactions, “mutualism,” would supplant artificial forms of top-down organization imposed by the state. See Weir, David, Anarchy and Culture: The Aesthetic Politics of Modernism (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1997), 2526.

81 Goldman, “The Power of the Ideal,” Mother Earth, Mar. 1912, 26–27.

82 Quoted in Hippolyte Havel, “Syndicalism,” Mother Earth, Oct. 1912, 257.

83 Goldman, Emma, “Anarchism” in Anarchism and Other Essays, ed. Drinnon, Richard (1917; New York: Dover Publications, 1969), 49.

84 Quoted in Antliff, Anarchist Modernism, 52.

85 Quoted in Stansell, American Moderns, 2; Hutchins Hapgood, “Art and Unrest,” New York Globe, Jan. 27, 1913.

86 Quoted in Antliff, 43; Hapgood, “The Picture Show,” New York Globe, Mar. 17, 1913.

87 Quoted in Golin, Steve, The Fragile Bridge: Paterson Silk Strike, 1913 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988), 10; Hapgood, “Art and Unrest.”

88 Green, Martin, New York, 1913: The Armory Show and the Paterson Strike Pageant (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1988), 20.

89 Jeffrey Scott Brown, “Vitalism and the Modernist Search for Meaning: Subjectivity, Social Order, and the Philosophy of Life in the Progressive Era” (PhD diss., University of Rochester, 2001). Borus, Daniel H., Twentieth-Century Multiplicity: American Thought and Culture, 1900–1920 (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009) offers the most cogent and nuanced account of the cultural politics of the first generation of American “moderns” since May's, The End of American Innocence; Also see Quirck, Bergson and American Culture.

90 See Kallen, Horace, William James and Henri Bergson: A Study in Contrasting Theories of Life (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1914), esp. 3151.

91 Walter Lippmann, “The Most Dangerous Man in the World,” Everybody's Magazine, July 1912, 101.

92 Golin, The Fragile Bridge.

93 Bourne, Randolph, “The Experimental Life” and “A Mystic Turned Radical” in The Radical Will: Selected Writings, 1911–1918, ed. Hansen, Olaf (New York: Urizen Books, 1977), 158, 176.

94 Quoted in Green, New York 1913, 97.

95 The tendency to subordinate theory to experience, termed “hayseed empiricism” by historian Brian Lloyd, was common on the American left during the early twentieth century. Lloyd portrays this “rustic reverence for the immediately given and the plainly real” as the epistemology of the populist petty-bourgeoisie, the class of small producers whose worldview, Lloyd alleges, dominated the socialist movement before the First World War. Lloyd's “hayseeds,” however, partook in a habit of thought of much broader dimensions. Deploying the “rhetoric of experience as a source of legitimation against rational abstraction or the deadweight of unexamined authority,” as Martin Jay describes it, was a vibrant trans-Atlantic phenomenon around the turn of the century. See Lloyd, Left Out: Pragmatism, Exceptionalism, and the Poverty of American Marxism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997); and Robert Westbrook's critique in Democratic Hope: Pragmatism and the Politics of Truth (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005), 114–36. Pittenger, Mark, American Socialists and Evolutionary Thought, 1870–1920 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993) provides an indispensable guide to the intellectual culture of American socialists in this era. For more on the transatlantic discourse of experience see Jay, Martin, Songs of Experience: Modern American and European Variations on a Universal Theme (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005) and Kloppenberg, James, Uncertain Victory: Social Democracy and Progressivism in European and American Thought, 1870–1920 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).

96 Lasch, The True and Only Heaven, 338.

97 See Hapgood, Hutchins, A Victorian in the Modern World (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1972), 292301; and Luhan, Mabel Dodge, Movers and Shakers (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico, 1985), 186–88.

98 See Lasch, The True and Only Heaven, 336–40; May, The Culture of Innocence, 305–14; Green, New York 1913; Golin, The Fragile Bridge; and Tripp, Anne Huber, The IWW and the Paterson Silk Strike of 1913 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987).

99 Frank Chester Pease, “The IWW and Revolution,” The Forum, Aug. 1913, 167.

100 There were scattered references to Sorel in the IWW's foremost periodicals, The Industrial Worker and Solidarity, including some quotations from Reflections on Violence (Industrial Worker, Feb. 17, 27, 1913). There was more discussion in the newspapers of W. Z. Foster's Syndicalist League, The Agitator and The Syndicalist, which extolled the history and ideology of the French movement, including the ideas of Sorel, in their argument that revolutionary workers should join craft unions and “bore from within” rather than assemble in “one big union” (Foster, “As to My Candidacy,” Industrial Worker, Nov. 2, 1911; also see The Agitator, July, Aug. 1912).

101 Quoted in Miller, Eugene and Panofsky, Gianna Sommi, “The Beginnings of the Italian Socialist Movement in Chicago” in Support and Struggle: Italians and Italian Americans in Comparative Perspective, eds. Tropea, Joseph L., Miller, James E., and Beattie-Repetti, Cheryl (New York: American-Italian Historical Association, 1986), 58.

102 Topp, Those Without a Country, 56.

103 Dubofsky, We Shall Be All, 228.

104 Roth, The Cult of Violence; Roberts, David, The Syndicalist Tradition and Italian Fascism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1979); Zeev Sternhell, with Mario Sznajder and Maia Asheri, trans. Maisel, David, The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989).

105 Roth, Cult of Violence, 71; Roberts, Syndicalist Tradition, 50–51; Sternhell, Birth of Fascist Ideology, 131–59.

106 Roth, Cult of Violence, 68–82; Sternhell, Birth of Fascist Ideology, 133–38; Roberts, Syndicalist Tradition, 50–51.

107 Roth, Cult of Violence, 72.

108 Topp, Those Without a Country, 54–55.

109 Ibid., 5.

110 Sternhell argues that Sorel “played the crucial role in the intellectual development of Italian syndicalism” and so influenced all associated with it (Sternhell, Birth of Fascist Ideology, 154). The identification of Rossoni, Vecchi, Tancredi/Rocca, and Venanzi as Sorelian is substantiated by such articles as: Nicola Vecchi, “Per l'organizzazione: e contro il morfinismo cattolico,” Sept. 12, 1911; “La Guerra,” Nov. 9, 1912; Edmondo Rossoni, “Io conto per uno,” Apr. 30, 1911; “Per una piu’ grande vita,” Aug. 25, 1911; “La Vittoria Conquistatta!: Catene Spezzate,” Mar. 15, 1912; “Primo Maggio di Guerra,” May 1, 1912; “Per l'azione diretta,” June 29, 1912; Libero Tancredi, “La gloria d'un’ infamia,” Sep. 15, 1912; and Flavio Venanzi “I Martiri,” Oct. 12, 1912. Also see the anonymous editorials: “L'ABC Sindicale,” Feb. 10, 17, 1911; “Lo Sciopero Generale,” Mar. 17, 1911; “Una morale proletaria,” Mar. 24, 1911; “Una grande battaglia,” Aug. 25, 1911; Nemo, “Vittoria Operaia: Manifestazioni di Forza,” June 8, 1912; Le Gamin, “Violenza alla Violenza,” July 20, 1912; Le Gamin, “Sindacalismo,” July 27, 1912; Le Gamin, “La tirannide Borghese,” Aug. 17, 1912; “La funzione rivoluzionaria del sindacato,” Dec. 21, 1912; and “Lo Sciopero Generale,” Apr. 5, 1913.

111 The work of Arturo Labriola was periodically reprinted in Il Proletario. See, for example, “L'economico e l'extra-economico,” Aug. 4, 11, 1911; “La Devastazione Riformista,” Oct. 26, 1912; and “Anarchici e riformisti,” Mar. 15, 1913. See also Enrico Leone, “Che Cos' E’ Il Sindacalismo,” Jun. 29, 1912; “L'Azione Diretta,” Mar. 22, 1913; “Forza e Violenza,” Mar. 29, 1913; and “Il Sindacalismo e gli intellettuali,” Apr. 19, 1913; Alceste De Ambris, “L'Azione Diretta,” Sept. 8, 1911; “La nostra debolezza,” Sep. 15, 1912; and Agostino Lanzillo, “L'Elogio Della Vilta,” Sept. 15, 1912.

112 Brooks, John Graham, American Syndicalism, The I.W.W. (New York: MacMillan Company, 1913), 21. Brooks's point has been elaborated by subsequent historians. See esp. Salerno, Red November Black November, 58; and Rosemont, Joe Hill, esp. 19–35.

113 See Rosemont, Joe Hill, 19–35; and Kornbluh, Rebel Voices, 65–93.

114 Quoted in Kornbluh, Rebel Voices, 66–67.

115 Lippmann, Walter, Drift and Mastery (New York: Kennerly, 1914).

116 Bergson, Henri, Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness, trans. Podgson, F. L. (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1911), 232. See also Kern, Stephen, The Culture of Time and Space, 1880–1918 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983). Kern maps the cultural revolution of this era through an analysis of the experience and interpretation of temporality, arguing that the acceleration and regimentation fostered by the standardization “public” time prompted attempts to reaffirm “the reality of private time.” Bergson's philosophy formed the “theoretical core” of this response. For Kern, this was a phenomenon of the intelligentsia. Analysis of anarcho-syndicalist thought and culture in the United States suggests that the “politics of temporality” operated also in the quotidian milieu of workers' struggles.

117 Wyckoff, Walter, The Workers: An Experiment in Reality, The West (New York: Scribner's Sons, 1904), 331. See Higbie, Tobie, “Crossing Class Boundaries: Tramp Ethnographers and Narratives of Class in Progressive Era America,” Social Science History 21 (Winter 1997); and Pittenger, Mark, “A World of Difference: Constructing the ‘Underclass' in Progressive America,” American Quarterly 49 (Mar. 1997).

118 London, Jack, “The Tramp” in Jack London on the Road: The Tramp Diary and other Hobo Writings, ed. Etulain, Richard W. (1904; Logan: Utah State University Press, 1979), 77, 134. The emergence of a heroic literature of the road that competed with the dominant discourse of the “tramp menace” was propelled by the vagabonding poetry of Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey, the tramp verse of Harry Kemp and Vachel Lindsay, and the hobo ethnography of Josiah Flynt. See Brown, Jeffrey S., “Situating the Hobo: Romancing the Road from Vagabondia to Hobohemia” in The Chicago School Diaspora: Epistemology and Substance, Low, Jacqueline and Bowden, Gary, eds. (Montreal: McGill Queens University Press, 2013).

119 An evocativeness informed for me, in part, by my reading of the latter-day Bergsonian theory of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. See esp. their Treatise on Nomadology” in A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Massumi, Brian (London: Althone Press, 1988).

120 Scott, J. W., Syndicalism and Philosophical Realism: A Study in the Correlation of Contemporary Social Tendencies (London: A. C. Black, 1919), 125.

121 See Quirck, Bergson and American Culture; Ardoin, Paul, Gontarski, S. E., and Mattison, Laci, eds., Understanding Bergson, Understanding Modernism (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013); Burwick, Frederick and Douglas, Paul, eds., The Crisis of Modernism: Bergson and the Vitalist Controversy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); Douglass, Paul, Bergson, Eliot, and American Literature (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1986); Fink, Hilary L., Bergson and Russian Modernism, 1900–1930 (Boston: Northwestern University Press, 1998); Gillies, Mary Ann, Henri Bergson and British Modernism (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1996); Moses, Omri, Out of Character: Modernism, Vitalism, Psychic Life (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014); and Schwartz, Sanford, The Matrix of Modernism: Pound, Eliot, and Early Twentieth-Century Thought (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985).


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