Today in labor history: IWW comic strip Mr. Block appears

On November 7, 1912, the famous Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) comic strip “Mr. Block” first appeared in print.  The character with a wooden block head and no class consciousness was created by cartoonist and member of the IWW Ernest Riebe, and commemorated in a song written by Joe Hill.

Riebe worked as a cartoonist for The Industrial Worker, a weekly newspaper published by the IWW. Mr. Block was bitterly satirical of AFL and Socialist Party of America tactics at that time. The comic strip ran for about a decade and was part of the first radical comic books in the United States.

Riebe also wrote and illustrated a forty-seven page booklet, Crimes of the Bolsheviki: Dedicated to the Interests of the International Proletariat, published in 1919. The booklet was written in a tongue-in-cheek manner to show the merits of Bolshevism. Half of the book consists of original illustrations and captions by Riebe, and the other half contains a reproduction of the Constitution of the Soviet Union.

Today is also the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

Photo: Wikipedia. Public Domain.

 

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