Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

De Leon soon became involved in quarrels which brought the party as a whole in antagonism to each of these national bodies. By the creation of the Socialist Trades and Labor Alliance in 1895, a labor federation under the direct control of the party, a final breach was made, and the Socialist Labor Party remains still opposed to all non-Socialist unions.

During this period insurgency was rapidly developing within the party, and a process of purification” was resorted to from time to time, by which heretics and insubordinates were expelled. A revolt arose, led by the New Yorker Volkszeitung in opposition to De Leon and his paper, The People, then, as now, the official organ of the S. L. P. In 1899 the break proved final, and the seceding members proceeded to form a new organization at Rochester.

Meanwhile Socialism was beginning to emerge in the West, in forms growing directly out of American conditions. Eugene V. Debs, whose imprisonment in connection with the strike of the American Railway Union had made him a Socialist, had gathered together a vaguely Socialist organization, and another group, centering around two Socialist publications, The Coming Nation and The Appeal to Reason, had in 1897 united with these followers of Debs to form the Social Democracy of America. As the majority of the new party, however, inclined more to Utopian schemes of colonization than to political action, a split took place almost immediately, and Eugene V. Debs and Victor Berger, leader of the Social Democracy in Wisconsin, bolted to found still another organization, the Social Democratic Party of America. It was to the last-named group that the Rochester wing of the S. L. P. made its overtures for union in 1899.

Negotiations were at first fraught with much difficulty owing to the mutual distrust of the Eastern and Western sections. For a time the confusion grew still worse and the presidential election of 1900 saw three Socialist parties in the field in New York in addition to the old Socialist Labor Party. For the purposes of the election, however, the three parties adopted a combination ticket; after a campaign of work together all distrust disappeared, and all with the exception of De Leon's wing of the S. L. P. united in 1901 to form what presently received the title of the Socialist Party.

The chief details regarding the subsequent history of both parties are given under the sections that follow. The Socialist Labor Party continued to decline in vote from 82,204 in 1898 to 14,021 in 1908, rising in 1912 to 34,115 but falling by 1914 to 21,827. The Socialist Party, on the contrary, rose steadily from 96,931 in 1900 to 901,062 in 1912, falling to 874,691 in 1914. The Socialist Labor Party continued under the leadership of Daniel De Leon until his

death in 1914. The candidates for President and VicePresident of the United States in 1916 are Arthur E. Réimer and Caleb Harrison. At the present date (1916), committees have been appointed by the two parties to consider a form of union.

The Socialist Party has gradually become entrusted with political power. In 1902-3 Socialist mayors were elected in Haverhill and Brockton, Mass., with two legislators. Other successes at this time were only sporadic except in Wisconsin, where a strong political organization had existed for some time, with representatives in the state legislature and the Milwaukee city council. The first real Socialist victory came in 1910, with the winning of the city of Milwaukee and the election of Victor Berger as the first Socialist Congressman. In 1911 the cities of Berkeley, Cal., Butte, Montana, and Schenectady, N. Y., came under Socialist administrations. Of these four cities Butte re-elected Mayor Duncan, and Milwaukee and Schenectady have both gone back to the Socialist rule (1916) after an interval of the old parties. In 1914 there were thirty Socialist legislators in 12 different states, with one congressman.

Aside from the accomplishments on the political field, and the international situation arising from the European War, the relation of the Socialist parties to the labor unions has been the most significant development of American Socialism in recent years. An outline of these relations is here given, but the reader is directed to other sections of the Year Book for exhaustive treatment.

In 1905 the Industrial Workers of the World was founded, committed to the principles of industrial unionism and the class struggle. The support of Eugene V. Debs was secured and even that of De Leon, who saw in the I. W. W. an opportunity to redeem the failure of the S. T. and L. A. For a time the new organization grew vigorously but this success was transient. In 1906 Debs resigned and the powerful Western Federation of Miners withdrew, and it was not long before De Leon quarreled with the leaders and was expelled. However, the principle of industrial unionism became more and more popular among Socialists, antagonism to the A. F. of L., as representing craft unionism, increased among the more revolutionary of the party, and in 1912 the I. W. W. again became prominent as a result of several hard fought strikes.

In the Socialist Convention of 1912 the industrialist issue was conspicuous, and serious controversy was threatened. Concessions were made on both sides, however. The principles of industrial unionism were endorsed without giving Official support to any special organization; and on the other band, a section was inserted in the party constitution condemning violence and sabotage, a form of the class struggle encouraged by the I. W. W., and rendering any member who advocates these practices or opposes political action liable to expulsion.

In accordance with this decision Wm. Haywood was recalled from the National Executive Committee as opposing political action, but the expulsion provision has remained without enforcement. The questions as to industrialism, sabotage and political action still remain issues within the party, although for the last two years subjects connected with war and militarism have come into the first place.

The international and militarist situation will be taken up in a later section. Suffice it to say that, while important differences in policy have developed in the American party, the majority have stood definitely against war and preparedness, authorizing radical anti-war manifestos and putting in the field for the 1916 campaign candidates conspicuous for their agitation in this direction. For purposes of economy the convention of 1916 has been dispensed with, nominations being made by referendum. Eugene V. Debs and Charles Edward Russell having declined, the latter no doubt because of his difference with the party on the preparedness issue, Allan L. Benson was nominated as the presidential candidate and George R. Kirkpatrick as the vice-presidential.

Meanwhile the matter of union between the S. P. and the S. L. P. has been discussed, and a committee from both parties has been selected to arrange the details of coming together. In 1916, therefore, the prospects are bright for a united American Socialism, coming before the nation not only as the representative of the working class, but also as the only political party with a program of direct opposition to militarism.

(The material in this chapter has been taken to a great extent from the sub-editor's “The Facts of Socialism,” published by John Lane Company. For the early years of Socialism the editor is indebted to Hillquit's “History of Socialism in the United States.")

2. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE SOCIALIST PAR

TY AND THE SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY.

The three most important matters upon which there have been distinct differences of policy between the two parties are the party press, the relation to labor unions, and the apportionment of power between central and local organizations.

The Socialist Labor Party has long supported a party organ, The People, of which De Leon was for many years the editor. Peculiar provisions of the constitution are the following: “Each section shall relentlessly insist upon each member being a regular reader of the party organ, except when none such is published in the language read by the member; no member, committee, or section of the Party shall publish a political paper without the sanction of the National Executive Committee; the National Executive Committee shall have control of the contents of all party organs, and shall act on grievances connected with the same.” (Const. S. L. P., Art. 5, Sec. 14, 15; Art. 9, 10; Art. 2, Sec. 20, 21.)

Until recently the Socialist Party has refused to designate an official party press. In 1914, however, the policy was changed and The American Socialist was established as the organ of the party, published at the national headquarters in Chicago. The party is also in constant friendly relations with many privately owned papers of a political nature, over which it claims no official control.

The Socialist Party, although at the Convention of 1912 it endorsed the principle of industrial unionism, has never definitely advocated the industrial form to the exclusion of the craft union. The S. L. P., however, condemns craft unionism, denounces neutrality toward labor organizations on the part of a political party and urges the workers to organize industrially. (Resolution of April 29, 1916.) The policy of the S. L. P., moreover, unlike that of the S. P., has always been in favor of maintaining separate Socialist labor organizations under the control of the party. The Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, founded in the nineties, was a rival of the American Federation of Labor, as is now its successor, the Worker's International Industrial Union.

While in the Socialist Party the state organization has complete control, subject only to the national constitution, the Socialist Labor Party gives the chief power to the local, on the one hand, and to the National Executive Committee; on the other. The local has supreme disciplinary power over its members, and the National Executive can expel any state executive at pleasure.

Basis of Unity. In the Basis of Unity proposed to the Socialist Party the S. L. P. states an Irreducible Minimum of principles which are to be incorporated in the principles of the United Party, and also a set of Maximum Demands "upon all or some of which the two parties, presumably, may not agree at this stage.” We print the latter in full:

Maximum Demands. 1. Declaration, that the Capitalist Political State,-composed of elected or of appointed representatives of political districts and territorial geographical divisions (county, state, etc.)---must under Socialism, be superceded by the government of Industrial Democracy, composed of workers elected by their fellow-workers in the various industries for the purpose of conducting and regulating the production and distribution of wealth.

2. The exposure of the American Federation of Labor and kindred organizations as the representatives of the reactionary anti-Socialist craft union movement and as an obstacle in the path for the improvement of conditions and the emancipation of Labor.

3. Declaration that the United Socialist Party aims to socialize, along with other means of production of commodities, all land used for the production of commodities whether such land be owned by a big or small farmer, or be tilled by wage labor or otherwise.

4. Endorsement of the Stuttgart resolution on the Immigration ques. tion. That resolution declares that it is proper for Socialists to support only such laws as prohibit importation of strike breakers and of contract labor. But, outside of these two elements, it is improper for Socialists to support any laws which in any way interfere with or abolish the right of a workingman of any country whatsoever, China or Japan not excepted, to go to any other country as individual workman in search of a living That the political and economic labor movement of the country toward which the current of immigration flows should endeavor to offset the possible temporary harmful effect of immigration and turn that current of immigration into a source of strength instead of weakness, by drawing immigrants into the ranks of the labor movement of the new country, and for that purpose doing away with high initiation fees, "closing of union books," and other such methods used by the A. F. of L. craft unions for the purpose of monopolizing jobs for the few inside of such unions.

5. Declaration repudiating the fallacy of the so-called "buying out the capitalists" as the means for the emancipation of the working class.

6. Construction of a constitution of the United Socialist Party which would decentralize and make much more democratic the present constitution of the S. P.

7. Prohibition of the state autonomy being used to advocate prin: ciples or policies which conflict with the general principles of the United Socialist Party.

8. The adoption of the general name of United Socialist Party of America, wherever that does not militate against the state laws. The S. L. P. then reserves for its sub-division the name “Socialist Labor Propagandists."

3. GROWTH OF THE SOCIALIST PARTIES IN THE

UNITED STATES.

1. MEMBERSHIP.
Growth in Membership of the Socialist Party.

(Appeal Almanac, 1916, page 183.) The number of dues paying members of the Socialist party in the United States for the respective years noted is as follows: 1903

15,975 1904.

20,763 1905.

23,327 1906.

26,784 1907.

29,270 1908

41,751 1909

41,479 1910.

58,011

« НазадПродовжити »