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Capitalist newspapers would make us believe that the main grievance of the Russian people is the lack of a constitutional government like that of England, France or the United States. But Mr. Walling's story brings out clearly that the vital grievances of the Russian peasants and workingmen are economic, not political, and that they wish votes simply as a means for getting control of the land and machinery, without which they can not produce the things they need. The working people of Russia are in some respects far more intelligent than those of America. They are already free from superstitious respect for property, and it is only brute force, only the guns and whips of the Cossacks, that can keep them from appropriating the wealth they have produced. And
this force is ceasing to be effective. No peasant village can resist the Czar's fighting machine, but when that machine has passed on, leaving dead bodies and flayed backs behind it, the surviving peasants can and do attack and plunder the landlords. And within the army itself the revolutionary spirit is growing. The new compulsory recruits are almost sure to be loyal to the people rather than the Czar, and the triumph of the Revolution can not be far off. The government would already have fallen but for the help of the capitalists of western Europe, who wisely feel that a successful revolution in Russia would imperil their own power. We can not follow Mr. Walling in his concluding chapters, where he interprets the revolutionary movement in terms of a semi-mystical philosophy, but we thank him for the clear, strong story of what is beyond doubt the most vital revolutionary movement on the world-stage.
Mr. Hearst's Party. If it were possible to stop the course of evolution and re-enthrone the little capitalist in America, the Independence party ought logically to succeed. As matters stand, its only probable achievement is to take away whatever chance Mr. Bryan might otherwise have had. Its platform advocates direct legislation, the regulation of campaign expenditures, a just distribution of wealth (whatever that may mean), free trade in goods produced by bad trusts, equal freight rates for all, imprisonment of wealthy law-breakers, government ownership of telegraphs, economy in public administration, parcels post, postal savings banks, a national system of good roads, court review of postal rulings, a national department of health, strong navy, a national department of labor, inland waterways, Asiatic exclusion, and other reforms, none of which tend in any way toward the abolition of the wage system. Mr. Hearst opened the convention with a typical speech, one gem from which we quote: "It is a fundamental function of government to maintain morality.” The Independence party will probably take many votes from the Democrats. It will also attract some amiable people who imagine they are Socialists but who deprecate the rude and vulgar phrase "class struggle.” By keeping these people outside the Socialist party where they are harmless, Mr. Hearst is doing us a service. And he is also helping things along by pointing out the practical identity of the methods and programs of the two old parties. Most of the present Socialists of mature age have evolved through a position much like that of the Independence party, and the economic developments of the next few years will almost certainly bring most of its members to us.
Germany.-The Social Democratic victory in the recent Prussian election has done little to lessen the strain under which German Socialists are working. To be sure the victory was even greater than was at first supposed. After the final supplementary elections it turned out that our German comrades, besides electing one representative outside, had secured six of the twelve seats in Berlin. When one takes into account that this result was obtained despite the three-class electoral system he sees how great an achievement it was. It means that in greater Berlin the Socialists have a very large popular majority.
The conditions under which the battle was waged, however, and the methods, used furnish sufficient reason why there should be no let-up in Socialist activity. It is almost impossible for an American to realize how rigdly German society is organized from the top down, how every force is brought to bear by the government against the Social Democracy and the labor movement. There is not even the Anglo-Saxon pretense to "fair play.” Since the ballot is public employers can keep tab on the votes of their employes and the authorities find it possible to enforce strict obedience on policemen, mailcarriers, etc. So onerous did the latter class find this form of oppression during the last election that in Berlin most of them remained away from the polls altogether. One feature of the affair became decidedly amusing. It was generally known that businessmen required fealty of their employees at the polls, so a group of Socialist women determined to see how the same shoe would go on the other foot. They made out a list of shop-keepers who voted nonsocialist-tickets and began to boycott them. Immediately the cry went up, “Socialist terrorism!” After a campaign replete with such incidents it is easy to see why there should be little breathing space allowed.
Furthermore, what has been accomplished amounts to little more than a great popular demonstration. To be sure it will be worth something to have Socialist criticism brought to bear in the feudalistic chamber of the Landtag; but when it comes to legislation the Socialists will be powerless. The make-up of the house remains practically the same as during the last session. The Conservatives have now 152 seats as against 144; the Centrists 105 as against 96; the Free-Thinkers (Freisinnige) 36 as against 33. The Free Conservatives and the National Liberals have lost respectively four and two votes. What can seven Socialists do in a body like this?
Moreover, there are not wanting those who are discontented with the manner in which the campaign was conducted. The FreeThinkers have always made much of their devotion to the popular cause and especially of their desire for electoral reform. Especially their left wing ,which calls itself the Volkspartei, has made vigorous protestation of reformatory zeal. But when upon the dissolution of the last Landtag the Prussian parties were suddenly plunged into a political campaign the Socialists found the Free-Thinkers their bitterest foes. Throughout the campaign the attacks of Vorwaerts were directed principally against this party; and it was from this party that the Socialist wrested their seats. Edward Bernstein, in the Socialistische Monatshefte for June 25th, tries to show that if for some years past the Social Democracy had employed different tactics it might have co-operated with the Free-Thinkers to good effect. After a hasty analysis of the situation he concludes that such co-operation might have given the Socialists 15 or 20 seats instead of 7 and the Free-Thinkers 60 or 70 instead of 36. With two such groups working together in the Landtag, he maintains, something might have been effected for electoral reform. At least a worse than useless pseudo-reform might have been prevented. To one at this distance it looks as though Bernstein were in the wrong and the editors of Vorwaerts in the right. The Free-Thinkers represent the middle class, the worst enemies of the proletariat. It wiuld be difficult to justify coalition with them by pointing to any possible results, no matter how great or good. This controversy over tactics is an additional reason why the situation of our German comrades remains more than usually tense.
France.—The murder at Draveil of defenseless strikers by the gendarmerie, if it has shown the strength of the French labor movement, has also shown its weakness. The government, close questioned with regard to the matter by Jaurés, got excited, flew into a rage, and concluded by expressing sorrow at the event and sympathy for the bereaved. All of which goes to show the value of political power in the hands of the proletariat. On the other hand the industrial organizations, the syndicats, have shown themselves unequal to the situation. Meetings have been held here and there, but little has been done. Now comes the news that the strike is gradually drawing to a close. Strikebreakers from Paris are effectively guarded by troops, and the strikers are quietly returning to work. In connection with other great recent strikes, particularly the one in the English shipyards, this raises the question as to whether it is possible for labor with its present organization and methods to win an important conflict. To be sure, there is the magnificent struggle of the agricultural laborers of Italy still going on; but their success thus far has been made possible only by the resort to methods almost untried in other countries.
On the 8th of June there met in Paris a labor congress of more than usual interest. It represented the international union of miners. There were in session 131 delegates representing about 2,000,000 miners in England, France, Germany, and other European countries. The United States, though represented at previous international congresses, sent no delegation to this one. The first important debate concerned itself with the demand for an eight-hour day. A resolution was unanimously adopted expressing the conviction of the delegates that the time has arrived for miners everywhere to take measures to secure the eight-hour dav. The general sentiment seemed to be that the best way of doing this is that now being pursued in England. where an eight-hour law for miners is taking its course before Parliament. A resolution in
favor of securing a minimum wage scale through collective bargaining was unanimously accepted. Another resolution was passed recommending the internationl regulation of the supply of coal to the end that large numbers of men should not be put out of work through over production. It was left to the International Committee to suggest means for the carrying into effect of this resolution. Laws protecting the lives of miners and forbidding the labor of women and young children in the mines were demanded after interesting discussions. It appeared from addresses made that in France children of thirteen work regularly in the mines and that in Germany child-labor is alarmingly on the increase. A significant resolution was the one in favor of government ownership of mines. Its unanimous acceptance shows how far the miners have gone in their thinking. In fact, this might be said of the entire activity of the convention. It showed that the miners have really learned to work and think together and that they appreciate and are bent on making the most of the economic function of the craft. For example, it was suggested that the miners might prevent war by refusing to supply war-vessels with coal. Such a feeling of class-consciousness and social responsibility as is shown in this suggestion is surely significant of a real proletarian awakening.
England. Though the chief topic of conversation in England is the suffragette movement our comrades across the water fail to wax enthusiastic over it. To be sure, none can deny that it has reached colossal proportions. Premier Asquith asked for an "overwhelming" demonstration-and he surely got it. On June 13th 12,000 women marched in procession through the streets of London, applauded by additional thousands of sympathizers. Seventeen bands furnished music and there were banners and floats without end. Other and even greater demonstrations occurred on the 15th, 21st and 30th. On the last date a countless mob besieged the Houses of Parliament for four hours. The reports to American dailies tried, as usual, to belittle the whole affair, but England was visibly impressed. Evidently the women are fast learning how to make themselves felt; at least they have forced their demands into the field of “practical” politics. The reason
our Socialist comrades are not in the heart of the movement is that, like Socialists everywhere, they stand for adult suffrage. About 3,500,000 adult English men have no vote, and if the proposals of the suffragettes are carried out the women, because their smaller earning power, will be even
worse off. There is much to justify the "votes-for-ladies" cry raised by the Socialists. What is needed is, not more votes for the propertied class, but one vote for every man and every woman.
At the Pan-Anglican, held during the middle of June, Socialism was the subject that aroused the most vital interest. It was discussed by clergymen and laymen of all degrees from England, America and Australia; and only one or two straggling representatives of the cloth were found to make the stereotyped protests against the uprising of the proletariat. Their tritely-put statements that "modern, popular Socialism is profoundly unchristian,” that it idealizes ignorance, that it contravenes “eternal and divine laws,” would stille individual initiative, etc., aroused some amusement, but were politely passed over without much notice. The most striking characteristic of the majority of the addresses was their fine candor. The reverend gentlemen claimed not the least credit for the church: they said, in substance. "Here is this great movement, it is in line with the teachings of Christianity, we are simply forced to recognize
it.” There was a good deal of hedging and qualifying, but in general it was recognized that the demands of the Socialists are just and that in the long run the church cannot gain by opposing them. Perhaps Mr. Silas McBee, of New York, editor of The Churchman, put the case best when he said that the church does not represent Christ, that man under the modern system is indeed his brother's keeper, but "only to keep him down forever." One wonders, as he reads, what all these candid speakers are going to do about it. Why do they remain outside the party which represents their belief?
Australia. In Australia the war between the Socialists and Laborites goes merrily on. The Socialists have taken up the I. W. W. with great enthusiasm. But the Australian labor unions object to getting out of politics, as adhesion to the I. W. W. would require them to do. At a labor congress held in May this matter was the chief subject for discussion. The Socialists claimed that the “immediate” form of legislation had failed; the Laborites denied this. A resolution to indorse the I. W. W. was finally lost, but the Socialists were neither disappointed nor discouraged.
During the month of May The Socialist, Melbourne, and The International Socialist Review, Sidney, made a vigorous campaign against the jingoism that goes with the celebration of Empire Day, May 27th. On that day the school children are wont to sing "patriotic" hymns and in other ways have impressed upon them the glories of empire and military dominion. This year the protest raised, not only by the Socialists but by the Laborites also, took such tangible form that the purpose of the celebration must have come near being defeated. For every jingo imperialist meeting there was another at which the hollowness of the whole thing was exposed. Though the party in Australia is as yet comparatively weak in numbers, it leaves nothing to be desired in point of enthusiasm.
New Zealand. More than usual interest attaches to the stir the Socialists are making in New Zealand. There, where they have long enjoyed the blessings of compulsory arbitration, it is discovered now that capitalism is running its regular course. And since capitalism is developing, Socialsm develops also. Tom Mann, of Australia, has recently been touring the country and has aroused tremendous enthusiasm everywhere. At a party convention held recently it was decided not to put up candidates at present, but to carry on a general educational propaganda. The Commonweal, the organ of New Zealand Socialism, is to be changed from a monthly to a weekly publication. It is to be hoped that American investigators will take note of these things.
Italy. The agrarian struggle in Parma grows constantly more bitter. Early in June there was an attempt at arbitration. But the strikers insisted on a minimum wage scale-about five cents an hour for day laborers and $120 a year for regular employes, men, of course—and this the employers would not consent to. So splendid is the support given the strikers that they are by no means at the end of their tether. The government, neutral at first, has now resorted io the most violent means. All the union officials have been imprisoned, the union headquarters have been occupied by troops, and the union funds have been confiscated. Thet authorities exercise a news censorship so complete that it is impossible to report definitely as to recent developments. Though there have been violent encounters between troops and strikers, peace seems pretty generally to have been maintained. There is talk of a general strike, but the prevailing opinion seems to be that workers outside the affected district