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International Socialist Review
A Monthly Journal Of International Socialist
Edited by Charles H. Kerr. Associate Editors: Ernest Untermann.
John Spargo, Max S. Hayes, Robert Rives La
Monte, William E. Bohn.
Socialism for Students.
Jos. E. Cohen What is the Use of Theories.
Dr. Friedrich Adler The Transmitter Talks.
Francois Thane The Political Parties in the Great Russian Revolution. M. Verus Out of the Dump
......... Mary E. Marcy Sunrise
Tom Selby Some Notes on a Weismann Lecture
Herman M. Mællering What Life Means to Me
Edlington Moat Gems of Unconscious Humor
The Independent Socialism and Education.
Austin Lewis The Oratory of Debs
Robin E. Dunbar
Editor's Chair:— Thoughts for Thanksgiving Day; The Unending
World of Labor.
The subscription price of the Review is $1.00 a year, payable in advance, postage included to any address in the Universal Postal Union. Advertising rate 15 cents per line, $20,00 per page, no discount for time or space. Address all communications to
CHARLES H. KERR & COMPANY, Co-operative
153 East Kinzie St., Chicago
OCIALISM is the issue today. It inspires
press, pulpit and forum; it is the theme of artist and poet; it is the problem of problems confronting the statesman. For many years the Socialists of Germany, France and other European countries have been able to say truthfully that their governments
formulated no policies without first considering: "How will this effect the Socialist movement?" In America the new force in politics was a little slow in coming to be felt. But the spectre of Socialism has entered the White House and is being wrestled with by the two dominant political parties.
While Socialism is the all-absorbing topic of discussion, it is a subject concerning which the greatest misunderstanding prevails. Within recent years no less a personage than Eugene Richter, while member of the German Reichstag, wrote a book called “Pictures of the Future,” in which he most effectively demolished the straw man who advocates governmental interference in every detail of life. And in the campaign of 1906 our own Speaker of the House of Representatives, Joseph G. Cannon, unburdened his bulging brow of the "stalest of the stale" that “Socialism means dividing up." We are still told that Socialism would reduce us to a dead level, or that human nature is too imperfect to permit of the realization of the new order; that Socialism means paternalism - extension of governmental regulation, or anarchy-destruction of all government; that Socialism existed thousands of years ago, or that it is a thousand years aheail of the times; that Socialism is a beautiful but impossible utopia, or that it is the coming slavery.
One need not pause here to meet these common objections to Socialism. They have been admirably answered by Work, Spargo, Vail, Hundman; Plechanoff; and Marx and Engels. The opjections usually encountered are found to spring from misinformation as to what Socialism is, and, more particularly, of the aim of the Socialist movement. In studying Socialism, we can, in a great measure, note the historical situations that gave rise to other schools of thought and that prompt the criticisms offered by the opponents of Socialism.
If Socialism is not what the non-Socialists declare it to be—what is it?
Here is the word of an authority:
"Modern Socialism,” says Engels, in his Socialism: Utopia and Scientific, is, in its essence, the direct product of the recognition, on the one hand, of the class antagonisms existing in the society of today, between proprietors and nonproprietors, between capitalist and wage-workers; on the other hand of the anarchy existing in production.”
Let us dwell upon this definition. It contains severa; points, all of which are indispensable to a clear understanding of Socialism.
First of all, we are dealing with modern Socialism-not the early Socialism of Owen, St. Simon, Fourier and the like. We are not dealing with the many attempts that, from Plato to Bellamy have been made to picture a beautiful utopia, upon the impression that, irrespective of actual condr tions, it needs but to be presented to any people in order to be promptly accepted. We are not dealing with the prehistoric communism of tribal society, nor with the communism that was practiced in the early days of christianity.
The Socialism of our time flows out of circumstances "existing in the society of today," not that of five hundred years ago or ten thousand years ago. Here we at once part company
with many non-Socialist political econom mists. Unlike them, we shall not trespass upon Robinson
Crusoe's mythical islan. The Indian, with his bow and arrow, shall, for the time being, he allowed to rest liis ofttroubled bones in peace in his happy hunting ground; the Esquimaux and South Sea islanders, too, shall be permitted to go their own way rejoicing. For, in this connection, we shall deal only with countries in a state of civilization.
The circumstances which concern us here are the heritage especially of the industrial revolution of the last century. Certain inventions and discoveries gave us steam and elec tricity for power, which, applied to the simple, inexpensive tool, through the transmitting mechanism of fly-wheels, shafting, pulleys, etc., transformed it into a complicated, expensive machine. The industrial revolution thus separated society, roughly speaking, into two classes: those who ow? the machines and those who
In other words, a small number of the people, capitalists, possess as their exclusive, private property the land, mines, factories, railroads and other important instruments by the use of which goods are produced to satisfy human wants; while the great mass of the people, workers, possess only their brain and brawn, which they dispose of to the capitatalists for wages.
Capitalists and workers meet upon the labor market, the capitalists as buyers, the workers as sellers, of labor power. The capitalists aim to buy the labor power of the workers as cheaply as possible; the workers aim to sell their labor power as dearly as possible. Out of this inherent conflict of interests between capitalists and wage-workers arises the class struggle.
The industrial revolution, at the same time, brought about the factory system with its division of labor and the world market. In the factory thousands of men and wos men and children toil together, each performing but a single task, the results of hundreds of operations being finally assembled into the finished article. More than that, the four corners of the earth vie with each other to contribute food and clothing for employer and employe, and the building material, illumination, fuel, raw material, machinery and power, for the factory. Again, the factory product is not retained by those who have toiled together to bring it forth, but by the factory owner. But rarely does the owner use even a morsel of the goods produced in his factory. He produces, not for his own use, but for sale. Almost invariably he thrusts the article upon the market' in competition with the wares of all lands. Commerce thus breaks down all barriers, destroys all geographical boundaries, establishes international relations and makes the working class of the
whole world kin. Merchandise is your most persistent globe trotter.
But while the production of goods is a social affair, it is nevertheless carried on by the capitalist class for their private profit: that is to say, production is socia! while ownership and distribution are individual. The
The workers make and the capitalists take. It is this contradiction between socialized production and capitalistic appropriation which causes the waste, the lack of order and the anarchy that prevails in the making and disposing of goods.
Thus we have the anarchy in production and the consequent class struggle. To explain fully the capitalist system of production; showing that the more useless the capitalists become the richer do they wax in the unpaid labor of the workers; showing that the system is responsible for all the economic ills from which we suffer; showing that ihe trend of industrial progress is toward the collective, social ownership by all the people of the means of production they use in common—that is Socialist political economy. To organize, upon the basis of the class struggle, all who are dissatisfied with present arrangements, voicing the aims of the oppressed, fighting their battles and having for its ultimate object the elimination of the anarchy in production and the ending the class struggle—that is the Socialist movement.
To aid him in clearly understanding present society, the Socialist turns to the discoveries in the modern sciences, em: braces the theory that all life is a change from the simple to the complex, and that every organism and organization rises, flourishes and carries within itself the seeds of its own destruction. The Socialist brings to light the hidden secrets of past society as his contribution toward the solution of the “riddle of the universe.” And the result of this excursion is the materialistic interpretation of history, the theory that, from epoch to epoch, changes in the forms of government, human nature, arts, sciences, philosophies and conceptions of the purpose of existence can be accounted for only by considering the changes in the manner of securing a livelihood; that, consequently, since prehistoric communism one struggle between oppressors and oppressed has followed another, these struggles being always political in character, and that the time has now come when the industrial revolution must be supplemented by a political and social revolution, whereby the workers, in securing power, once and for all time abolish class distinctions. Modern Socialism is therefore scientific. The Socialist movement is therefore a political movement.