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The Iron Heel by Jack London

It is a dystopian novel by the American writer Jack London, famous for prophesying what would be the fascism of the 20th century. It was published in 1908 and here you can download a copy of The Iron Heel in PDF format.

This has become a bedside book for socialists of the last century and this one. The facts revolve around a hierarchical and oligarchical system that has an industrial monopoly.

The uprising of the working class will set the tone for the conflict that develops throughout the plot.

There is no doubt that this novel is a strong criticism of the capitalist system that subjugates freedoms and appropriates all democratic institutions, permeated by the oligarchic elites.

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The Iron Heel in PDF

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Summary of The Iron Heel

The Iron Heel is the name given by laborer Ernest Everhard to the government that has ruled for 400 years and has taken over the industrial sector and democratic institutions during the 20th century.

In the last 100 years, the working class has organized itself and has carried out a revolution that is gaining more and more strength. The workers’ conflict was so strong that in 1912 they won seats in Parliament in union with the Agrarian Party.

However, the Iron Heel does not stand idly by and attempts to sabotage the workers’ voting and decision-making power, with the support of the judicial system.

In the context of these actions, a war breaks out between Germany and the United States, which the workers’ revolt puts an end to by paralyzing all commercial activity in an unprecedented worldwide strike.

The oligarchic government begins to hatch a plan to carry out a disguised terrorist attack.

Finally, they execute the macabre plan in Congress, wreaking havoc, but now with the perfect excuse to become a hegemonic and totalitarian government that hijacks all democratic powers.

But the workers’ movement is not dead and small groups are beginning to reorganize to overthrow the regime. Everything indicates that the Iron Heel is weakening and eventually collapsing.

This is not made clear in the book, however, some footnotes indicate that the fall of the government is inevitable and that it gives way to a system of social justice called the Brotherhood of Man.

FAQ about The Iron Heel

Why is it called The Iron Heel?

Due to the subjugation of the working and agricultural class by a totalitarian capitalist government at the beginning of the 20th century, a worker belonging to the group that revolted gave it the name of Iron Heel.

This name symbolizes how the oligarchic regime tramples on the underprivileged classes, in turn appropriating all the wealth.

What is the central theme of The Iron Heel?

The dystopian novel The Iron Heel revolves around the struggle of classes to free themselves from a totalitarian government that imprisons them, robbing them of resources and freedoms.

The rebellion of the working class grows stronger, as the system weakens and makes way for a new, more just, and egalitarian government.

What is the Iron Heel doing to stay in power?

Since the workers’ revolution is gaining momentum and to be successful, the government plans a terrorist attack that will serve as an excuse to impose itself totally and thus dominate all spheres of public life.

The plan is successfully executed, although it is the beginning of the end.

How do workers struggle at The Iron Heel?

The approach of the revolutionary groups is to paralyze commercial activity to suffocate the oligarchic elites who have taken over everything.

In parallel, small or big victories are accompanied by the working class’s attempt to occupy spaces in the government.