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Title: Socialism As It Is - A Survey of The World-Wide Revolutionary Movement
Author: Walling, William English
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Footnotes have been corrected and moved
to the end of chapters.]


SOCIALISM AS IT IS

A SURVEY OF THE WORLD-WIDE REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT


BY

WILLIAM ENGLISH WALLING


New York

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

1918

_All rights reserved_

COPYRIGHT, 1912,

BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

Set up and electrotyped. Published April, 1912. Reprinted October, 1912;
January, 1915.


Norwood Press
J. S. Cushing Co.--Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.



PREFACE

The only Socialism of interest to practical persons is the Socialism of
the organized Socialist movement. Yet the public cannot be expected to
believe what an organization says about its own character or aims. It is
to be rightly understood only _through its acts_. Fortunately the
Socialists' acts are articulate; every party decision of practical
importance has been reached after long and earnest discussion in party
congresses and press. And wherever the party's position has become of
practical import to those outside the movement, it has been subjected to
a destructive criticism that has forced Socialists from explanations
that were sometimes imaginary or theoretical to a clear recognition and
frank statement of their true position. To know and understand Socialism
as it is, we must lay aside both the claims of Socialists and the
attacks of their opponents and confine ourselves to the concrete
activities of Socialist organizations, the grounds on which their
decisions have been reached, and the reasons by which they are
ultimately defended.

Writers on Socialism, as a rule, have either left their statements of
the Socialist position unsupported, or have based them exclusively on
Socialist authorities, Marx, Engels, and Lasalle, whose chief writings
are now half a century old. The existence to-day of a well-developed
movement, many-sided and world-wide, makes it possible for a writer to
rely neither on his personal experience and opinion nor on the old and
familiar, if still little understood, theories. I have based my account
either on the acts of Socialist organizations and of parties and
governments with which they are in conflict, or on those responsible
declarations of representative statesmen, economists, writers, and
editors which are not mere theories, but the actual material of
present-day polities,--though among these living forces, it must be
said, are to be found also some of the teachings of the great Socialists
of the past.

It will be noticed that the numerous quotations from Socialists and
others are not given academically, in support of the writer's
conclusions, but with the purpose of reproducing with the greatest
possible accuracy the exact views of the writer or speaker quoted. I am
aware that accuracy is not to be secured by quotation alone, but depends
also on the choice of the passages to be reproduced and the use made of
them. I have therefore striven conscientiously to give, as far as space
allows, the leading and central ideas of the persons most frequently
quoted, and not their more hasty, extreme, and less representative
expressions.

I have given approximately equal attention to the German, British, and
American situations, considerable but somewhat less space to those of
France and Australia, and only a few pages to Italy and Belgium. This
allotment of space corresponds somewhat roughly to the relative
importance of these countries in the international movement. As my idea
has been not to describe, but to interpret, I have laid additional
weight on the first five countries named, on the ground that each has
developed a distinct type of labor movement. As I am concerned with
national parties and labor organizations only as parts of the
international movement, however, I have avoided, wherever possible, all
separate treatment and all discussion of features that are to be found
only in one country.

The book is divided into three parts; the first deals with the external
environment out of which Socialism is growing and by which it is being
shaped, the second with the internal struggles by which it is shaping
and defining itself, the third with the reaction of the movement on its
environment. I first differentiate Socialism from other movements that
seem to resemble it either in their phrases or their programs of reform,
then give an account of the movement from within, without attempting to
show unity where it does not exist, or disguising the fact that some of
its factions are essentially anti-Socialist rather than Socialist, and
finally, show how all distinctively Socialist activities lead directly
to a revolutionary outcome.

I am indebted to numerous persons, Socialists and anti-Socialists, who
during the twelve years in which I have been gathering material--in
nearly all the countries mentioned--have assisted me in my work. But I
must make special mention of the very careful reading of the whole
manuscript by Mr. J. G. Phelps Stokes, and of the numerous and vital
changes made at his suggestion.



CONTENTS

                                                                    PAGE
PREFACE                                                                v

INTRODUCTION                                                          ix

PART I

"STATE SOCIALISM" AND AFTER

CHAPTER
     I. THE CAPITALIST REFORM PROGRAM                                  1
    II. THE NEW CAPITALISM                                            16
   III. THE POLITICS OF THE NEW CAPITALISM                            32
    IV. "STATE SOCIALISM" AND LABOR                                   46
     V. COMPULSORY ARBITRATION                                        66
    VI. AGRARIAN "STATE SOCIALISM" IN AUSTRALASIA                     85
   VII. "EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY"                                     97
  VIII. THE "FIRST STEP" TOWARDS SOCIALISM                           108

PART II

THE POLITICS OF SOCIALISM

     I. "STATE SOCIALISM" WITHIN THE MOVEMENT                        117
    II. "REFORMISM" IN FRANCE, ITALY, AND BELGIUM                    131
   III. "LABORISM" IN GREAT BRITAIN                                  146
    IV. "REFORMISM" IN THE UNITED STATES                             175
     V. REFORM BY MENACE OF REVOLUTION                               210
    VI. REVOLUTIONARY POLITICS                                       231
   VII. THE REVOLUTIONARY TREND                                      248

PART III

SOCIALISM IN ACTION

     I. SOCIALISM AND THE "CLASS STRUGGLE"                           276
    II. THE AGRICULTURAL CLASSES AND THE LAND QUESTION               300
   III. SOCIALISM AND THE "WORKING CLASS"                            324
    IV. SOCIALISM AND LABOR UNIONS                                   334
     V. SYNDICALISM; SOCIALISM THROUGH DIRECT ACTION OF LABOR UNIONS 354
    VI. THE "GENERAL STRIKE"                                         387
   VII. REVOLUTION IN DEFENSE OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT                    401
  VIII. POLITICAL AND SOCIAL REVOLUTION                              416
    IX. THE TRANSITION TO SOCIALISM                                  426

NOTES                                                                437

INDEX                                                                447



INTRODUCTION


The only possible definition of Socialism is the Socialist movement.
Karl Marx wrote in 1875 at the time of the Gotha Convention, where the
present German party was founded, that "every step of the real movement
is of more importance than a dozen programs," while Wilhelm Liebknecht
said, "Marx is dear to me, but the party is dearer."[1] What was this
movement that the great theorist put above theory and his leading
disciple valued above his master?

What Marx and Liebknecht had in mind was a _social class_ which they saw
springing up all over the world with common characteristics and common
problems--a class which they felt must and would be organized into a
movement to gain control of society. Fifty years before it had been
nothing, and they had seen it in their lifetime coming to preponderate
numerically in Great Britain as it was sure to preponderate in other
countries; and it seemed only a question of time before the practically
propertyless employees of modern industry would dominate the world and
build up a new society. This class would be politically and economically
organized, and when its organization and numbers were sufficient it
would take governments out of the hands of the old aristocratic and
plutocratic rulers and transform them into the instruments of a new
civilization. This is what Marx and Liebknecht meant by the "party" and
the "movement."

From the first the new class had been in conflict with employers and
governments, and these struggles had been steadily growing in scope and
intensity. Marx was not so much interested in the immediate objects of
such conflicts as in the struggle itself. "The real fruit of their
victory," he said, "lies, not in immediate results, but in the ever
expanding union of the workers."[2] As the struggle evolved and became
better organized, it tended more and more definitely and irresistibly
towards a certain goal, whether the workers were yet aware of it or not.
If, therefore, we Socialists participate in the real struggles of
politics, Marx said of himself and his associates (in 1844, at the very
outset of his career), "we expose new principles to the world out of the
principles of the world itself.... We only explain to it the real object
for which it struggles."[3]

But the public still fails, in spite of the phenomenal and continued
growth of the Socialist movement in all modern countries, to grasp the
first principle on which it is based.

"Socialism has many phases," says a typical editorial in the
_Independent_. "It is a political party, an economic creed, a religion,
and a stage of history. It is world-wide, vigorous, and growing. No man
can tell what its future will be. Its philosophy is being studied by the
greatest minds of the world, and it deserves study because it promises a
better, a safer, and a fairer life to the masses. But as yet it is only
a theory, a hypothesis. It has never been tried _in toto_.... It has
succeeded only where it has allied itself with liberal and opportunist
rather than radical policies."[4]

As the Socialist movement has nowhere achieved political power,
obviously it can neither claim political success or be accused of
political failure. Nor does this fact leave Socialism as a mere theory,
in view of its admitted and highly significant success in organizing and
educating the masses in many countries and animating them with the
purpose of controlling industry and government.

Mr. John Graham Brooks, in the _Atlantic Monthly_, gives us another
equally typical variation of the same fundamental misunderstanding.
"Never a theory of social reconstruction was spun in the gray mists of
the mind," says Mr. Brooks, "that was not profoundly modified when
applied to life. Socialism as a theory is already touching life at a
hundred points, and among many peoples--Socialism has been a faith. It
is slowly becoming scientific, in a sense and to the extent that it
submits its claims to the comparative tests of experience."[5]

Undoubtedly Socialist theories have been spun both within and without
the movement, and to many Socialism has been a faith. But neither faith
nor theory has had much to do with the great reality that is now
overshadowing all others in the public mind; namely, the existence of a
Socialist movement. The Socialism of this movement has never consisted
in ready-made formulas which were later subjected to "the comparative
test of experience"; it has always grown out of the experience of the
movement in the first instance.

Another typical article, in _Collier's Weekly_, admits that Socialism
is now a movement. But as the writer, like so many others, conceives of
Socialism as having been, in its inception, a "theory," a "doctrine"
promoted by "Utopian dreaming," "incendiary rhetoric," an "anti-civic
jargon," he naturally views it with little real sympathy and
understanding even in its present form. The same Socialism that was
accused of all this narrowness is suddenly and completely transformed
into a movement of such breadth that it has neither a new message nor
even a separate existence.

"It is merely a new offshoot of a very old faith indeed," we are now
told, "the ideal of the altruistic dreamers of all ages, an awakened
sense of brotherhood in men. Stripped of all its husks, Socialism stands
for no other aim than that. All its other teachings, the public
ownership of the land, for example, the nationalization of the means of
production and distribution, the economic emancipation of woman, have
only program values, as they lead to that one end. Whether, so stripped,
it ceases to be Socialism and becomes merely the advance guard of the
world-wide liberal movement is not, of course, a question of more than
academic interest."[6]

The moment it can no longer be denied that Socialism is a movement, it
is at once confused with other movements to which it is fundamentally
and irreconcilably opposed. Surely this is no mere mental error, but a
deep-seated and irrepressible aversion to what is to many a disagreeable
truth,--the rapid growth and development, in many countries, of
political parties and labor organizations more and more seriously
determined to annihilate the power of private property over industry and
government.

The radical misconceptions above quoted, almost universal where
Socialism is still young, are by no means confined to non-Socialists.
Many writers who are supposed, in some degree at least, to voice the
movement, are as guilty as those who wholly repudiate it. Mr. H. G.
Wells, for instance, says that Socialism is a "system of ideas," and
that "Socialism and the Socialist movement are two different things."[7]
If Socialism is indeed no more than a "growing realization of
constructive needs in every man's mind," and if every man is more or
less a Socialist, then there is certainly no need for that antagonism to
employers and property owners of which Mr. Wells complains.

Mr. Wells himself gives the true Socialist standpoint when he goes on to
write that political parties must be held together "by interests and
habits, not ideas." "Every party," he continues, "stands essentially for
the interests and mental usages of some definite class or group of
classes in the existing community.... No class will abolish itself,
materially alter its way or life, or drastically reconstruct itself,
albeit no class is indisposed to coöperate in the unlimited
socialization of any other class. In that capacity of aggression upon
the other classes lies the essential driving force of modern
affairs."[8]

The habits and interests of a large and growing part of the population
in every modern country are developing a capacity for effective
aggression against the class which controls industry and government. As
this class will not socialize or abolish itself, the rest of the people,
Socialists predict, will undertake the task. And the abolition of
capitalism, they believe, will be a social revolution the like of which
mankind has hitherto neither known nor been able to imagine.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] John Spargo, "Karl Marx," pp. 312, 331.

[2] John Spargo, _op. cit._, p. 116.

[3] John Spargo, _op. cit._, p. 73.

[4] The _Independent_ (New York), commenting on the Socialist victory in
the Milwaukee municipal elections of April, 1910.

[5] "Recent Socialist Literature," by John Graham Brooks, _Atlantic
Monthly_, 1910. Page 283.

[6] _Collier's Weekly_, July 30, 1910.

[7] H. G. Wells, "Socialism and the Family."

[8] H. G. Wells, "The New Macchiavelli."


SOCIALISM AS IT IS



PART I

"STATE SOCIALISM" AND AFTER



CHAPTER I

THE CAPITALIST REFORM PROGRAM


Only that statesman, writer, or sociologist has the hearing of the
public to-day who can bind all his proposed reforms together into some
large and far-sighted plan.

Mr. Roosevelt, in this new spirit, has spoken of the "social
reorganization of the United States," while an article in one of the
first numbers of _La Follette's Weekly_ protested against any program of
reform "which fails to deal with society as a whole, which proposes to
remedy certain abuses but admits its incapacity to reach and remove the
roots of the other perhaps more glaring social disorders."

Some of those who have best expressed the need of a general and complete
social reorganization have done so in the name of Socialism. Mr. J. R.
MacDonald, recently chairman of the British Labour Party, for example
writes that the problem set up by the Socialists is that of
"co-ordinating the forces making for a reconstruction of society and of
giving them rational coherence and unity,"[9] while the organ of the
middle-class Socialists of England says that their purpose is "to compel
legislators to organize industry."[10]

Indeed, the necessity and practicability of an orderly and systematic
reorganization in industrial society has been the central idea of
British Socialists from the beginning, while they have been its chief
exponents in the international Socialist movement. But the idea is
equally widespread outside of Socialist circles. It will be hard for
British Socialists to lay an exclusive claim to this conception when
comrades of such international prominence as Edward Bernstein, who holds
the British view of Socialism, assert that Socialism itself is nothing
more than "organizing Liberalism."[11]

Whether Socialists were the first to promote the new political
philosophy or not, it is undeniable that the Radicals and Liberals of
Great Britain and other countries have now taken it up and are making it
their own. Mr. Winston Churchill, while Chairman of the Board of Trade,
and Mr. Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer, members of the
British Cabinet, leaders of the Liberal Party, recognize that the
movement among governments towards a conscious _reorganization of
industry_ is general and demands that Great Britain should keep up with
other countries.

"Look at our neighbor and friendly rival, Germany," said Mr. Churchill
recently. "I see that great State organized for peace and organized for
war, to a degree to which we cannot pretend.... A more scientific, a
more elaborate, a more comprehensive social organization is
indispensable to our country if we are to surmount the trials and
stresses which the future years will bring. It is this organization that
the policy of the Budget will create."[12]

Advanced and radical reformers of the new type all over the world, those
who put forward a general plan of reform and wish to go to the common
roots of our social evils, demand, first of all, _reorganization_. But
how is such a reorganization to be worked out? The general programs have
in every country many features in common. To see what this common basis
is, let us look at the generalizations of some of the leading reformers.

One of the most scientific and "constructive" is Mr. Sidney Webb. No one
has so thoroughly mastered the history of trade unionism, and no one has
done more to promote "municipal Socialism" in England, both in theory
and in practice, for he has been one of the leaders of the energetic and
progressive London County council from the beginning of the present
reform period. He has also been one of the chief organizers of the more
or less Socialistic Fabian Society, which has done more towards
popularizing social reform in England than any other single educative
force, besides sending into all the corners of the world a new and
rounded theory of social reform--the work for the most part of Sidney
Webb, Bernard Shaw, and a few others.

Mr. Webb has given us several excellent phrases which will aid us to sum
up the typical social reformers' philosophy in a few words. He insists
that what every country requires, and especially Great Britain, is to
center its attention on the promotion of the "national efficiency." This
refers largely to securing a businesslike and economic administration
of the existing government functions. But it requires also that _all_
the industries and economic activities of the country should be
considered the business of the nation, that the industrial functions of
the government should be extended, and that, even from the business
point of view, the chief purpose of government should be to supervise
economic development.

To bring about the maximum of efficiency in production would require, in
Mr. Webb's opinion and that of the overwhelming majority of reformers
everywhere, a vast extension of government activities, including not
only the nationalization and municipalization of many industries and
services, but also that the individual workman or citizen be dealt with
as the chief business asset of the nation and that wholesale public
expenditures be entered into to develop his value. Mr. Webb does not
think that this policy is necessarily Socialistic, for, as he very
wisely remarks, "the necessary basis of society, whether the
superstructure be collectivist or individualist, is the same."

Mr. Wells in his "New Worlds for Old" also claims that the new policy of
having the State do everything that can promote industrial efficiency
(which, unlike Mr. Webb, he persists in calling Socialism) is to the
interest of the business man.


     "And does the honest and capable business man stand to lose or gain
     by the coming of such a Socialist government?" he asks. "I submit
     that on the whole he stands to gain....

     "Under Socialist government such as is quite possible in England at
     the present time:--

     "He will be restricted from methods of production and sale that are
     socially mischievous.

     "He will pay higher wages.

     "He will pay a large proportion of his rent-rate outgoings to the
     State and Municipality, and less to the landlord. Ultimately he
     will pay it all to the State or Municipality, and as a voter help
     to determine how it shall be spent, and the landlord will become a
     government stockholder. Practically he will get his rent returned
     to him in public service.

     "He will speedily begin to get better-educated, better-fed, and
     better-trained workers, so that he will get money value for the
     higher wages he pays.

     "He will get a regular, safe, cheap supply of power and material.
     He will get cheaper and more efficient internal and external
     transit.

     "He will be under an organized scientific State, which will
     naturally pursue a vigorous scientific collective policy in support
     of the national trade.

     "He will be less of an adventurer and more of a citizen."[13]


Mr. Churchill while denying any sympathy for Socialism, as both he and
the majority of Socialists understand it, frankly avows himself a
collectivist. "The whole tendency of civilization," he says, "is towards
the multiplication of the collective functions of society. The ever
growing complications of civilizations create for us new services which
have to be undertaken by the State, and create for us an expansion of
the existing services. There is a growing feeling, which I entirely
share, against allowing those services which are in the nature of
monopolies to pass into private hands. [Mr. Churchill has expressed the
regret that the railways are not in the hands of the State.] There is a
pretty steady determination, which I am convinced will become effective
in the present Parliament to intercept _all_ future unearned increment,
which may arise from the increase in the speculative value of the
land."[14] (Italics mine.)

Mr. Churchill's declared intention ultimately "to intercept _all_ future
unearned increment" of the land is certainly a tremendous step towards
collectivism, as it would ultimately involve the nationalization of
perhaps a third of the total wealth of society. With railways and
monopolies of all kinds also in government hands, a very large part of
the industrial capital of the country would be owned by the State, and,
though all agricultural capital, and therefore the larger part of the
total, remained in private hands, we are certainly justified in calling
such a state of society _capitalist collectivism_.

But not one of the elements of this collectivism is a novelty. Railroads
are owned by governments in most countries, and monopolies often are.
The partial appropriation of the "unearned increment" is by no means
new, since a similar policy is being adopted in Germany at the present
moment, and is favored not by the radicals alone, but by the most
conservative forces in the country; namely, the party of landed Prussian
nobility. Count Posadovsky, a former minister, has written a pamphlet in
which he urges that the State should buy up the land in and about the
cities, and also that it should fix a definite limit beyond which land
values must not rise. Nearly all the chief cities of Prussia, more than
a hundred, are enforcing such a tax in a moderate form, and the
conservatives in the Reichstag proposed that the national government
should be given a right to tax in the same field. Their bill was
enacted, and, in the second half of 1911, the German government, it was
estimated, would raise over $3,000,000 by this tax, and in 1912 it is
expected to give $5,000,000. This tax, which is collected when land
changes hands by sale or exchanges, rises gradually to 30 per cent when
the increase has been 290 per cent or more. Of course this scale is
likely to be still further raised and to be made more steep as the tax
becomes more and more popular.

Mr. Churchill's defense of the new policy of the British government is
as significant as the new laws it has enacted:--


     "You may say that unearned increment of the land," he says, "is on
     all-fours with the profit gathered by one of those American
     speculators who engineer a corner in corn, or meat, or cotton, or
     some other vital commodity, and that _the unearned increment in
     land is reaped by the land monopolist in exact proportion, not to
     the service but to the disservice done_. It is monopoly which is
     the keynote; and where monopoly prevails, the greater the injury to
     society the greater the reward of the monopolist will be....

     "Every form of enterprise, every step in material progress, is only
     undertaken after the land monopolist has skimmed the cream off for
     himself, and every where to-day the man, or the public body, who
     wishes to put land to its highest use is forced to pay a
     preliminary fine in land values to the man who is putting it to an
     inferior use, and in some cases to no use at all.... _If there is a
     rise in wages, rents are able to move forward because the workers
     can afford to pay a little more_. If the opening of a new railway
     or a new tramway, or the institution of an improved service of
     workmen's trains, or the lowering of fares, or a new invention, or
     any other public convenience affords a benefit to the workers in
     any particular district, it becomes easier for them to live, and
     therefore the landlord and the ground landlord, one on top of the
     other, are able to charge them more for the privilege of living
     there." (Italics mine.)[15]


But we cannot believe that the government of Great Britain, which draws
so much of its support from the wealthy free trade merchants and
manufacturers has been persuaded to adopt this new principle so much by
the argument that a land rent weighs on the working classes, though it
is true that the manufacturer may have to pay for this in higher _money_
wages, as it has by that other argument of Mr. Churchill's that it
weighs directly on business.


     "The manufacturer proposing to start a new industry," he says,
     "proposing to erect a great factory offering employment to
     thousands of hands, is made to pay such a price for his land that
     the purchase price hangs around the neck of his whole business,
     hampering his competitive power in every market, clogging far more
     than any foreign tariff in his export competition; and the land
     values strike down through the _profits of the manufacturer_ on to
     the wages of the workman. The railway company wishing to build a
     new line finds that the price of land which yesterday was only
     rated at its agricultural value has risen to a prohibitive figure
     the moment it was known that the new line was projected; and either
     the railway is not built, or, if it is, it is built only on terms
     which largely transfer to the landowner _the profits which are due
     to shareholders_ and the privileges which should have accrued to
     the traveling public." (My italics.)[16]


No doubt Mr. Churchill's failure to mention shippers was inadvertent.

It was a practical application of these business principles and chiefly
in the interest of the employers, manufacturers, investors, and
shippers, that the State decided, as a first step, to take 20 per cent
of all the increase in land values from the present date and to levy an
annual tax of one fifth of one per cent on all land held for
speculation, _i.e._ used neither for agricultural nor for industrial nor
building purposes.

The collectivist policy, that governments should undertake to reorganize
industry and to develop the industrial efficiency of the population, is
a relatively new one, however, and where non-Socialist Liberals and
Radicals are adopting it, they do so as a rule with apologies. For while
such reforms can be considered as investments which in the long run
repay not only the community as a whole, but also the business
interests, they involve a considerable initial cost, even beyond what
can be raised by the gradual expropriation of city land rents, and the
question at once arises as to who is to pay the rest of the bill. The
supporter of the new reforms answers that the business interests should
do so, since the development of industry, which is the object of this
expenditure, is more profitable to them than to other classes. While Mr.
Churchill declares that Liberalism attacks landlordism and monopoly
only, and not capital itself, as Socialism does, he is at great pains to
show that the cost of the elaborate program of social reform is borne
not by monopolist alone, but by that larger section of the business
interests vaguely known as those possessing "Special Privileges." In
distributing the new taxes in the House of Commons, the question to be
asked of each class of wealth is, he says, "By what process was it got?"
and a distinction is to be made, not between monopoly and competitive
business, but "between wealth which is the fruit of productive
enterprise and industry or of individual skill, and wealth which
represents the capture by individuals of socially created values."[17]

"A special burden," says Mr. Churchill, "is to be laid upon certain
forms of wealth which are clearly social in their origin and have not at
any point been derived from a useful or productive process on the part
of their possessors."[18] And since all income "derived from dividends,
rent, or interest," is, according to Mr. Churchill, unearned increment,
it is evident that nearly every business, all being beneficiaries, ought
to share the burden of the new reforms.[19] At the same time he hastens
to reassure his wealthy supporters, especially among merchants and
shippers, on grounds explained below by Mr. Lloyd George that the new
taxes will not rise faster than the new profits they will bring in, that
they "will not appreciably affect, have not appreciably affected, the
comfort, the status, or even the style of living of any class in the
United Kingdom."[20]

Mr. Lloyd George in proposing the so-called Socialistic Budget of 1910
reminded the representatives of the propertied interests [he might have
added "in proportion to their wealth"] that the State, in which they all
owned a share, should not be looked upon so narrowly as a capitalistic
enterprise. They could afford to allow the State to wait longer for its
returns.


     "A State can and ought to take a longer and a wider view of its
     investments," said Mr. Lloyd George, "than individuals. The
     resettlement of deserted and impoverished parts of its own
     territories may not bring to its coffers a direct return which
     would reimburse it fully for its expenditure; but the indirect
     enrichment of its resources more than compensate it for any
     apparent and immediate loss. The individual can rarely afford to
     wait; a State can; the individual must judge of the success of his
     enterprise by the testimony given for it by his bank book; a State
     keeps many ledgers, not all in ink, and when we wish to judge of
     the advantage derived by a country from a costly experiment, we
     must examine all those books before we venture to pronounce
     judgment....

     "We want to do more in the way of developing the resources of our
     own country....

     "The State can help by instruction, by experiment, by
     organization, by direction, and even, in certain cases which are
     outside the legitimate sphere of individual enterprise, by
     incurring direct responsibility. I doubt whether there is a great
     industrial country in the world which spends less money on work
     directly connected with the development of its resources than we
     do. Take, if you like, and purely as an illustration, one industry
     alone,--agriculture,--of all industries the most important for the
     permanent well-being of any land. Examine the budgets of foreign
     lands,--we have the advantage in other directions,--but examine and
     compare them with our own, and Honorable Members will be rather
     ashamed at the contrasts between the wise and lavish generosity of
     countries much poorer than ours and the short-sighted and niggardly
     parsimony with which we dole out small sums of money for the
     encouragement of agriculture in our country....

     "We are not getting out of the land anything like what it is
     capable of endowing us with. Of the enormous quantity of
     agricultural and dairy produce, and fruit, and the timber imported
     into this country, a considerable portion could be raised on our
     own lands."[21]


The proposed industrial advance is to be secured largely at the expense
of capital, but for its ultimate profit. The capitalists are to pay the
initial cost. Mr. Lloyd George is very careful to remind them that even
if the present income tax were doubled, five years of the phenomenal yet
steady growth of the income of the rich and well-to-do who pay this tax,
would leave them as well off as they were before. He proposes to leave
the total capital in private hands intact on the pretext that it is
needed as "an available reserve for national emergencies." And as an
evidence of this he refused to increase the existing rate of inheritance
tax levied against the very largest estates (15 per cent on estates of
more than £3,000,000). Though up to this point he graduated this tax
more steeply than before, and nothing could be more widely popular than
a special attack on such colossal estates, Mr. Lloyd George draws the
line at 15 per cent, on the ground that a large part of the income from
such estates goes into investments, and more confiscatory legislation
might seriously affect the normal increase of the capital and "the
available reserves of taxation" of the country.[22]

Mr. Lloyd George does not fail to guarantee to capital as a whole,
"honest capital," that it will suffer no loss from his reforms. "I am
not one of those who advocate confiscation," he said several years ago,
"and at any rate as far as I am concerned _honest_ capital, capital put
in honest industries for the development of the industry, the trade,
the commerce, of this country will have nothing to fear from any
proposal I shall ever be responsible for submitting to the Parliament of
this realm." (My italics.)[23]

Mr. Lloyd George is well justified, then, in ridiculing the idea that he
is waging war against industry or property or trying to destroy riches.
He not only disproves this accusation by pointing to the capitalist
character of his collectivist program, but boasts that the richest men
in the House of Commons are on the Liberal side, together with hundreds
of thousands of the men who are building up trade and business.

And the attitude of the Radicals of the present British government is
the same as that of capitalist collectivists elsewhere. However certain
vested interests may suffer, there is nowhere any tendency to weaken
capitalism as a whole. Capitalism is to be the chief beneficiary of the
new movement.

There are many differences of opinion, however, as to the _ultimate_
effect of the collectivist program. In Great Britain, which gives us our
best illustration, there are Liberals who claim that it is Socialistic
and others who deny that it has anything to do with Socialism;
Conservatives who accept part of the program, and others who reject the
whole as being Socialistic; Socialists, who claim that their ideas have
been incorporated in the last two Budgets, and other Socialists who deny
that either had anything in common with their principles.

While it is certain that the present policy of the British government is
by no means directed against the power or interests of the capitalist
class as a whole, and in no way resembles that of the Socialists, were
not Socialist arguments used to support the government's position, and
may not these lead towards a Socialist policy?

Certainly some of the principles laid down seem at first sight to have
been Socialistic enough. For example, when Mr. Churchill said that
incomes from dividends, rent, and interest are unearned, or when Mr.
Lloyd George cried out: "Who is responsible for the scheme of things
whereby one man is engaged through life in grinding labor to win a bare
and precarious subsistence for himself, and when, at the end of his
days, he claims at the hands of the community he served, a poor pension
of eight pence a day, he can only get it through a revolution, and
another man who does not toil receives every hour of the day, every
hour of the night, whilst he slumbers, more than his poor neighbor
receives in a whole year of toil? Where did the table of that law come
from? Whose fingers inscribed it?"[24]

Lord Rosebery has pointed to the extremely radical nature of Mr. Lloyd
George's arguments. The representatives of the Government had urged, he
said, that the land should be taxed without mercy:--


     "(1) because its existence is not due to the owner;

     "(2) because it is limited in quantity;

     "(3) because it owes nothing of its value to anything the owner
     does or spends;

     "(4) because it is absolutely necessary for existence and
     production."[25]


Lord Rosebery says, justly, that all these propositions except the last
apply to many other forms of property than land, as, for instance, to
government bonds, and that it certainly would be Socialism to attempt to
confiscate these by taxation.

Lord Rosebery's task would have become even easier later, when Mr. Lloyd
George enlarged his attack on the landlords definitely into an attack
against the idle upper classes, who with their dependents he reckoned at
two million persons. He accused this class of constituting an
intolerable burden on the community, said that its existence was the
symptom of the disease of society, and that only bold remedies could
help. The whole class of inactive capitalists he viewed as a load both
on the non-capitalist, wage-earning, salaried and professional classes,
and on the active capitalists. Mr. Lloyd George argues with his
capitalist supporters that capitalism will be all the stronger when
freed from its parasites. But Lord Rosebery could answer that the active
could no more be distinguished from the passive capitalists than
landowners from bondholders.

An article in the world's leading Socialist newspaper, _Vorwaerts_, of
Berlin, shows that many Socialists even regarded these speeches as
revolutionary:--


     "The Radical wing of the British Liberals," it said, "is leading
     the attack with ideal recklessness and lust of battle. It is
     conducting the agitation in language which in Germany is
     customarily used only by a 'red revolutionist.' If the German
     Junker (landlord conservative) were to read these speeches, he
     would swear that they were delivered by the Social Democrats of the
     reddest dye, so ferociously do they contrast between the rich and
     the poor. They appeal to the passion of the people; they exploit
     social distinctions in the manner best calculated to fire popular
     anger against the Lords.

     "In the heart of battle the Liberals are employing language which
     at other times they would have considered twice. Their words will
     some day be assuredly turned against them, when more than the mere
     Budget or the existence of the Lords is at stake. When the
     Liberals, allied with the conservative enemy of to-day, are
     fighting the working classes, the Socialists will recall this
     language as proof that the Liberals themselves recognize the
     injustice of the existing order.

     "Mr. Lloyd George made such a speech at Newcastle that the seeds he
     is planting may first bring forth Liberal fruit, but there can be
     no doubt that Socialism will eventually reap the harvest. His
     arguments must arouse the workingmen, and when they have accustomed
     themselves to look at things from this standpoint it is certain
     that once standing before the safes of the industrial capitalists
     they will never close their eyes."


It is perhaps true that the Socialists will at some future day reap the
harvest from Mr. Lloyd George's and Mr. Churchill's campaigns, though a
careful analysis of the expressions of these statesmen will show that
they have said nothing and done nothing in contradiction to their
State-capitalistic or "State Socialist" standpoint.

There is no doubt that the principle of the new taxes and the new
expenditure these statesmen are introducing is radical, and that it
marks a great stride towards a collectivist form of capitalism. Let us
assume that development continues along the lines of their present
policies. In a very few years the increased expenditure on social reform
will be greater than the increased expenditure on army and navy, and the
increase of direct and graduated taxes that fall on the upper classes
will be greater than that of the indirect taxes that fall on the masses.
We will assume even that military expenditure and indirect taxes on
articles the working people consume will begin some day to decrease,
while graduated taxes directed against the very wealthy and social
reform expenditures rise until they quite overshadow them. There is
every reason to believe that the social reformers of the British and
other governments hope for such an outcome and expect it. This would be
in no way inconsistent with their policy of subordinating everything, to
use one of their expressions, to "that trade and commerce which
constitutes the source of our wealth."

For the collectivist expenditures, intended to increase the national
product through governmental enterprises for the promotion of industry,
and for raising the industrial efficiency of the workers, would be
introduced gradually, and would soon be accompanied by results which
would show that they paid financially. And finally, even if railways and
monopolies were nationalized and their profits as well as _all_ the
future rise in land value went to the State to be used for these
purposes, as Mr. Churchill hopes, and even if a method could be found by
which a large part of the income of the idle rich would be confiscated
without touching the active capital of the merchant and manufacturer,
the position of the latter classes, through this policy, might become
still more superior relatively to that of the masses than it is at
present. The industrial capitalists might even control a larger share of
the national income and exercise a still more powerful influence over
the State than they do to-day.

The classes that the more or less collectivist budgets of 1910 and 1911
actually do favor, those whose economic and political power they
actually do increase, are the small and middle-sized capitalists and
even the larger capitalists other than landlords and monopolists. The
great mass of income taxpayers, business men, farmers, and the
professional classes with incomes from about £200 to £3000 ($1000 to
$15,000) are given every encouragement, while those with somewhat larger
incomes are only slightly discriminated against on the surface, in the
incidence of the taxes, and not at all when we inquire into the ways in
which the taxes are being expended. Certainly nothing is being done that
will "appreciably affect the status or style of living of any class in
the United Kingdom," or that will check materially the enormous rise of
this "upper middle" class both in wealth and numbers--for the income tax
payers have doubled their income in a little more than a decade, until
it has reached the total of more than a billion pounds a year. And
surely no tendency could be more diametrically opposed to a Socialism
whose purpose it is to improve the _relative_ position of the "lower
middle" and working classes.

While the new reform programs of the various parties are in general
agreement in all countries, in that they are all collectivist, and favor
as a rule the same social classes, there is much controversy as to
names, whether they shall be called Socialistic or merely radical or
progressive. The question is really immaterial.

"Capital, divested of its perversions, would be natural Socialism,"
says one of Henry George's most prominent disciples.[26] Whether the
proposed reforming is done with a purified and strengthened capitalism
in view, or in the name of "natural Socialism" or "State Socialism," the
program itself is in every practical aspect the same.

If a contrast formerly appeared to exist between "Individualist" and
"State Socialist" reformers, it was never more than a contrast in
theory, quickly dispelled when the time for action arrived. The
individualist radical would have the State do as little as possible, but
still is compelled to resort to an increase of its powers at every turn;
the "State Socialist" would have the State do as much as practicable,
but would still retain State action within the rigid limits imposed by
the need of gaining capitalist support and the desire for immediate
political success. In economic policy the Individualist is for checking
the excess of monopoly and special privilege in order to allow "equal
opportunity" or a free development to whatever competition or "natural
Capitalism" remains, while the "State Socialist" is more concerned with
protecting and promoting the natural checking of the excesses of
competitive capitalism and private property that comes with "natural
monopoly" and its regulation by government. The "State Socialist,"
however critical he is towards competition, recognizes that the first
practical possibility of putting an end to its excesses comes when
monopoly is already established, and when it is relatively easy for the
State to step in to nationalize or municipalize; the Individualist
reformer who wishes to preserve competition where practicable, at the
same time recognizes that it is impossible to do so where monopolies
have become firmly rooted in certain industries, and he also at this
point proposes nationalization, municipalization, or thoroughgoing
governmental control.

Henry George himself recognizes that "State Socialism," which he called
simply "Socialism," and the "natural Capitalism" he advocated, far from
being contradictory, were complementary and interdependent. Mr. Louis
Post says:--


     "Even in the economic chapters of 'Progress and Poverty' its author
     saw the possibility of society's approaching the 'ideal of
     Jeffersonian Democracy, the promised land of Herbert Spencer, the
     abolition of government. But of government only as a directing and
     repressive power.' At the same time and in the same degree of
     approach, he regarded it as possible for society also to realize
     the dream of Socialism."[27]


The following passage leaves no doubt that Mr. Post is correct, and at
the same time shows in the clearest way how the two policies of reform
were interwoven in Henry George's mind:--


     "Government could take up itself the transmission of messages by
     telegraph, as well as by mail, of building and operating railroads,
     as well as of the opening and maintaining common roads. With the
     present functions so simplified and reduced, functions such as
     these could be assumed without danger or strain, and would be under
     the supervision of public attention, which is now distracted. There
     would be a great and increasing surplus revenue from the taxation
     of land values for material progress, which would go on with great
     accelerated rapidity, would tend constantly to increase rent. This
     revenue arising from the common property would be applied to the
     common benefit, as were the revenues of Sparta. We might not
     establish public tables--they would be unnecessary, but we could
     establish public baths, museums, libraries, gardens, lecture rooms,
     music and dancing halls, theaters, universities, technical schools,
     shooting galleries, playgrounds, gymnasiums, etc. Heat, light, and
     motive power, as well as water, might be conducted through our
     streets at public expense; our roads be lined with fruit trees;
     discoveries and inventors rewarded, scientific investigation
     supported; in a thousand ways the public revenues made to foster
     efforts for the public benefit. _We should reach the ideal of the
     Socialist_, but not through government repression. _Government
     would change its character, and would become the administration of
     a great coöperative society. It would become merely the agency by
     which the common property was administered for the common
     benefit_." (Italics mine.)[28]


But the "State Socialist" and the Individualist reformer, who are often
combined in one person, as in the case of Henry George, differ sharply
from Socialists of the Socialist movement in aiming at a society, which,
however widely government action is to be extended, is after all to
remain a society of small capitalists.

Professor Edward A. Ross very aptly sums up the reformer's objections to
the anti-capitalist Socialists. Capitalism must be "divested of its
perversions," the privately owned monopolies and their political
machines, primarily for the purpose of strengthening it _against_
Socialism. "Individualism should make haste to clean the hull of the old
ship for the coming great battle with the opponents of private
capital...."[29] The reformers, as a rule, like Professor Ross,
consciously stand for a new form of private capitalism, to be built up
with the aid of the State. This is the avowed attitude of the larger
part of the "progressives," "radicals," and "insurgents" of the day.

The new reform programs, however radical, are aimed at regenerating
capitalism. The most radical of all, that of the single taxers, who plan
not only that the state shall be the sole landlord, but that the
railways and the mines shall be nationalized and other public utilities
municipalized, do not deny that they want to put a new life into private
capitalism, and to stimulate commercial competition in the remaining
fields of industry. Mr. Frederick C. Howe, for instance, predicts a
revival of capitalistic enterprise, after these measures are enacted,
and even looks forward to the indefinite continuation of the struggle
between capital and labor.[30]

FOOTNOTES:

[9] The _Socialist Review_ (London), April, 1909.

[10] The _New Age_ (London), Nov. 4, 1909.

[11] Edward Bernstein, "Evolutionary Socialism," p. 154.

[12] Winston Churchill, "Liberalism and the Social Problem," p. 345.

[13] H. G. Wells, "New Worlds for Old," p. 185.

[14] Winston Churchill, _op. cit._, p. 80.

[15] Winston Churchill, _op. cit._, pp. 326, 327.

[16] Winston Churchill, _op. cit._, pp. 326.

[17] Winston Churchill, _op. cit._, p. 396.

[18] Winston Churchill, _op. cit._, p. 399.

[19] Winston Churchill, _op. cit._, p. 336.

[20] Winston Churchill, _op. cit._, p. 339.

[21] Lloyd George, "Better Times," p. 163.

[22] Lloyd George, _op. cit._, pp. 94-101.

[23] Lloyd George, _op. cit._, p. 58.

[24] Lloyd George, _op. cit._, p. 174.

[25] Lord Rosebery's Speech at Glasgow, Sept. 10, 1909.

[26] Louis F. Post, "Social Service," p. 341.

[27] _The Public_ (Chicago), Nov. 4, 1910.

[28] Henry George, "Progress and Poverty," Book IV, p. 454.

[29] Professor E. A. Ross, "Sin and Society," p. 151.

[30] Frederick C. Howe, "Privilege and Democracy in America," p. 277.



CHAPTER II

THE NEW CAPITALISM


President Taft says that if we cannot restore competition, "we must
proceed to State Socialism and vest the government with power to control
every business." As competition cannot be revived in industries that
have been reorganized on a monopolistic basis, this is an admission
that, in such industries, there is no alternative to "State Socialism."

The smaller capitalists and business interests have not yet reconciled
themselves, any more than President Taft, to what the Supreme Court, in
the Standard Oil Case, called "the inevitable operation of economic
forces," and are just beginning to see that the only way to protect the
industries that remain on the competitive basis is to have the
government take charge of those that have already been monopolized. But
the situation in Panama and Alaska and the growing control over
railroads and banks show that the United States is being swept along in
the world-wide tide towards collectivism, and innumerable symptoms of
change in public opinion indicate that within a few years the smaller
capitalists of the United States, like those of Germany and Great
Britain, will be working with the economic forces instead of trying to
work against them. Monopolies, they are beginning to see, cannot be
destroyed by private competition, even when it is encouraged by the
legislation and the courts, and must be controlled by the government.
But government regulation is no lasting condition. If investors and
consumers are to be protected, wage earners will most certainly be
protected also--as Mr. Roosevelt advocates. And from government control
of wages, prices, and securities it is not a long step to government
ownership.

The actual disappearance of competition and the growing harmony of all
the business interests among themselves are removing every motive for
continued opposition to some form of State control,--and even the more
far-sighted of the "Captains of Industry," like Judge Gary of the Steel
Corporation and many others, are beginning to see how the new policy
and their own plans can be made to harmonize. The "Interests" have only
recently become sufficiently united, however, to make a common political
effort, and it is only after mature deliberation that the more
statesmanlike of the capitalists are beginning to feel confident that
they have found a political plan that will succeed. As long as the
business world was itself fundamentally divided, small capitalists
against large, one industry against the other, and even one
establishment against another in the same industry, it was impossible
for the capitalists to secure any united control over the government.
The lack of organization, the presence of competition at every point,
made it impossible that they should agree upon anything but a negative
political policy.

But now that business is gradually becoming politically as well as
economically unified, government ownership and the other projects of
"State Socialism" are no longer opposed on the ground that they must
necessarily prove unprofitable to capital. If their introduction is
delayed, it is at the bottom because they will require an enormous
investment, and other employments of capital are still more immediately
profitable. Machinery, land, and other material factors still demand
enormous outlays and give _immediate_ returns, while investments in
reforestation or in the improvement of laborers, for example, only bring
their maximum returns after a full generation. But the semi-monopolistic
capitalism of to-day is far richer than was its competitive predecessor.
It can now afford to date a part of its expected returns many years
ahead. Already railroads have done this in building some of their
extensions. Nations have often done it, as in building a Panama Canal.
And as capitalism becomes further organized and gives more attention to
government, and the State takes up such functions as the capitalists
direct, they will double and multiply many fold their long-term
governmental investments--in the form of expenditures for industrial
activities and social reforms.

Already leading capitalists in this country as well as elsewhere welcome
the extension of government into the business field. The control of the
railroads by a special court over which the railroads have a large
influence proves to be just what the railroads have wanted, while there
is a growing belief among them, to which their directors and officers
occasionally give expression, that the day may come, perhaps with the
competition of the Panama Canal, when it will be profitable to sell out
to the government--at a good, round figure, of course, such as was
recently paid for railroads in France and Italy. Similarly the new
wireless systems are leading to a capitalistic demand for government
purchase of the old telegraph systems.

Mr. George W. Perkins, recently partner of Mr. J. P. Morgan, foreshadows
the new policy in another form when he advocates a Supreme Court of
Business (as a preventive of Socialism):--


     "Federal legislation is feasible, and if we unite the work for it
     now we may be able to secure it; whereas, if we continue to fight
     against it much longer, the incoming time may sweep the question
     along either to government ownership or to Socialism [Mr. Perkins
     recognizes that they are two different things].

     "I have long believed that we should have at Washington a business
     court, to which our great problems would go for final adjustment
     when they could not be settled otherwise. We now have at Washington
     a Supreme Court, composed, of course, of lawyers only, and it is
     the dream of every young man who enters law that he may some day be
     called to the Supreme Court bench. Why not have a similar goal for
     our business men? Why not have a court for business questions, on
     which no man could sit who has not had a business training with an
     honorable record? _The supervision_ of business by such a body of
     men, _who had_ reached such a court in such a way, would
     unquestionably _be fair and equitable to business_, fair and
     equitable to the public." (Italics mine.)


Mr. Roosevelt and Senator Root are similarly inspired by the
quasi-partnership that exists between the government and business in
those countries where prices and wages in certain monopolized industries
are regulated for the general good of the business interests. In the
words of Mr. Root:--


     "Germany, to a considerable extent, requires combination of her
     manufacturers, producers, and commercial concerns. Japan also
     practically does this. But in the United States it cannot be done
     under government leadership, because the people do not conceive it
     to be the government's function. It seems to be rather that the
     government is largely taken up with breaking up organizations, and
     that reduces the industrial efficiency of the country."


As the great interests become "integrated," _i.e._ more and more
interrelated and interdependent, the good of one becomes the good of
all, and the policy of utilizing and controlling, instead of opposing
the new industrial activities of the government, is bound to become
general. The enlightened element among the capitalists, composed of
those who desire a partnership rather than warfare with the government,
will soon represent the larger part of the business world.

Mr. Lincoln Steffens reflects the views of many, however, when he denies
that the financial magnates are as yet guided by this "enlightened
selfishness," and says that they are only just becoming
"class-conscious," and it is true that they have not yet worked out any
elaborate policy of social reform or government ownership. None but the
most powerful are yet able, even in their minds, to make the necessary
sacrifices of the capitalism of the present for that of the future. The
majority (as he says) still "undermine the law" instead of more firmly
intrenching themselves in the government, and "corrupt the State"
instead of installing friendly reform administrations; they still
"employ little children, and so exhaust them that they are poor
producers when they grow up," instead of making them strong and healthy
and teaching them skill at their trades; they still "don't want all the
money they make, don't care for things they buy, and don't all
appreciate the power they possess and bestow." But all these are passing
characteristics. If it took less than twenty years to build up the
corporations until the present community of interests almost forms a
trust of trusts, how long, we may ask, will it take the new magnates to
learn to "appreciate" their power? How long will it take them to learn
to enter into partnership with the government instead of corrupting it
from without, and to see that, if they don't want to increase the wages
and buying power of the workers, "who, as consumers, are the market,"
the evident and easy alternative is to learn new ways of spending their
own surplus? The example of the Astors and the Vanderbilts on the one
hand, and Mr. Rockefeller's Benevolent Trust, on the other, show that
these ways are infinitely varied and easily learned. Will it take the
capitalists longer to learn to use the government for their purposes
rather than to abuse it?

It is neither necessary nor desirable, from the standpoint of an
enlightened capitalism, that the control of government should rest
entirely in the hands of "Big Business," or the "Interests." On the
contrary, it is to the interest of capital that all capitalists, and all
business interests of any permanence, should be given consideration, no
matter how small they may be. The smaller interests have often acted
with "Big Business,"--under its leadership, but as industrial activities
and destinies are more and more transferred to the political field, the
smaller capitalist becomes rather a junior partner than a mere follower.
Consolidation and industrial panics have taught him his lesson, and he
is at last beginning to organize and to demand his share of profits at
the only point where he has a chance to get it, _i.e._ through the new
"State Socialism." Moreover, he is going to have a large measure of
success, as the political situation in this country and the actual
experience of other countries show. And in proportion as the relations
between large and small business become more cordial and better
organized, they may launch this government, within a few years, into the
capitalist undertakings so far-reaching and many-sided that the half
billion expended on the Panama Canal will be forgotten as the small
beginning of the new movement.

It is true that for the moment the stupendous wealth and power of the
"Large Interests," already more or less consolidated, threaten to
overwhelm the rest. Mr. Steffens does not overstate when he says:--


     "To state correctly in billions of dollars the actual value of all
     the property represented in this community of interests, might
     startle the imagination to some sense of the magnitude of the
     wealth of these men. But money is no true measure of power. The
     total capitalization of all they own would not bring home to us the
     influence of Morgan and his associates, direct and indirect, honest
     and corrupt, over presidents and Congresses; governors and
     legislators; in both political parties and over our political
     powers. And no figures would remind us of their standing at the bar
     and in the courts; with the press, the pulpit, the colleges,
     schools, and in society. And even if all their property and all
     their power could be stated in exact terms, it would not show their
     _relative_ wealth and strength. We must not ask how much they have.
     _We must ask how much they haven't got_."[31]


But over against this economic power the small capitalists, farmers,
shopkeepers, landlords, and small business men, have a political power
that is equally overwhelming. Until the "trusts" came into being, no
issue united this enormous mass. Yet they are still capitalists, and
what they want, except the few who still dream of competing with the
"trusts," is not to annihilate the latter's power, but to share it. The
"trusts," on the other hand, are seeing that common action with the
small capitalists, costly as it may be economically, may be made to pay
enormously on the political field by putting into the hands of their
united forces all the powers of governments.

If the principle of economic union and consolidation has made the great
capitalists so strong, what will be the result of this political union
of all capitalists? How much greater will be their power over
government, courts, politics, the press, the pulpit, and the schools and
colleges!

It is not the "trusts" that society has to fear, nor the consolidation
of the "trusts," but the organized action of _all_ "Interests," of "Big
Business" _and_ "Small Business," that is, of _Capitalism_.

A moment's examination will show that there is every reason to expect
this outcome. Broadly considered, there is no such disparity between
large capitalists and small, either in wealth and power, as at first
appears. All the accounts of the tendency towards monopoly have been
written, not in the name of non-capitalists, but in that of small
capitalists. Otherwise we might see that these two forces, interwoven in
interest at nearly every point, are also well matched and likely to
remain so. And we should see also that it is inconceivable that they
will long escape the law of social evolution, stronger than ever to-day,
toward organization, integration, consolidation.

Messrs. Moody and Turner, for example, finished a well-weighed study of
the general tendencies of large capital in this country with the
following conclusion:--


     "Through all these channels and hundreds more, the central machine
     of capital extends its control over the United States. It is not
     definitely organized in any way. But common interest makes it one
     great unit--the 'System,' so called.

     "It sits in Wall Street, a central power, directing the inevitable
     drift of great industry toward monopoly. And as the industries one
     after another come into it for control, it divides the wealth
     created by them. To the producer, steady conditions of labor; to
     the investor, stable securities, sure of paying interest; to the
     maker of monopolies and their allies, _the increment of wealth of
     the continent, and with it the gathering control of all mechanical
     industry_."[32] (My italics.)


Certainly the fundamental social questions in any country at any time
are: Who gets the increment of wealth? Who controls industry? No
objection can be taken to the facts or reasoning of this and some of the
other studies of the "trusts"--_as far as they go_. What vitiates not
only their conclusions, but the whole work, is that written from the
standpoint of the small capitalists, they forget that the "trusts" are
only part of a larger whole.

The increment of wealth that has gone to large capital in this country
in the census period 1900-1910 is certainly less than what has gone to
small capital. Farm lands and buildings have increased in value by
$18,000,000,000, while the increased wealth in farm animals, crops, and
machinery will bring the total far above $20,000,000,000. The increase
in city lands and houses other than owned homes, which has not been less
than that of the country in recent years, must be reckoned at many
billions, and these, like the farm lands, are only to a small degree in
the hands of the "Trusts." Even allowing for the more modest insurance
policies, and savings bank accounts, as belonging in part to
non-capitalists, small capitalists have piled up many new billions
within the same decade, in the form of bank deposits, good-sized
investments in insurance companies, in government, municipal, and
railway bonds, bank stock, and other securities. No doubt the chief
owners of the banks, railways, and "trusts" have increased their wealth
by several billions within the same period, but this is only a fraction
of the increased wealth of the smaller capitalists. It is not true,
then, that "the increment of wealth of the continent" has gone to--"the
makers of monopolies and their allies."

Let us now examine the question of _the control of industry_ from this
broader standpoint. It is admitted that the direct control of the
"Interests" extends only over "mechanical industry"--not over
agriculture. We have seen that it does not extend over the mine of
wealth that lies in city lands, nor over large masses of capital more
and more adequately protected by the government. It might be said that
by their strategic position in industry the large capitalists control
indirectly both agriculture, city growth, savings banks and government.
This would be true were it not for the fact that as soon as we turn from
the economic to the political field we find that not only in this
country, but also in Europe nearly all the strategical positions are
held by the small capitalists. They outnumber the large capitalists and
their retainers ten to one, and they hold _the political balance of
power_ between these and the propertyless classes. The control of
industry and the control of government being in the long run one and the
same, the only course left to the large capitalists is to compromise
with the small, and the common organization of centralized and
decentralized capital with the aid and protection of government is
assured.

The fact that, for the masses of mankind, capitalism is the enemy, and
not "Big Business," is then obscured by the warfare of the small
capitalists against the large. Perhaps nowhere in the world and at no
time in history has this conflict taken on a more definite or acute form
than it has recently in this country. So intense is the campaign of the
smaller interests, and it is being fought along such broad lines that it
often seems to be directed against capitalism itself. The masses of the
people, even of the working classes, in America and Great Britain have
yet no conception of the real war against capitalism, as carried on by
the Socialists of Continental Europe, and it seems to them that this new
small capitalist radicalism amounts practically to the same thing.

The "Insurgents," it is true, differ fundamentally from the Populists of
ten and twenty years ago, in so far they understand fully that in many
fields competition cannot be restored, that the large corporations
cannot be dissolved into small ones and must be regulated or owned by
the government, because they have deserted the Jeffersonian maxim that
"that government is best that governs least."

"With the growing complexity of our social and business relations," says
_La Follette's Weekly_, "a great extension of governmental functions has
been necessary. The authority of State and nation reaches out in
numberless and hitherto unknown forms affecting and regulating our daily
lives, our occupations, our earning power, and our cost of living. The
need for this intervention, for collective action by the people through
their duly constituted government, to preserve and promote their own
welfare, is a need that is growing more and more important and
imperative to meet the rapidly growing power of commerce, industry and
finance, centralized and organized in the hands of a few men."

This is nothing more nor less than the creed of capitalist collectivism.
The analysis of the present political situation of the Insurgents is not
only collectivist, but, in a sense, revolutionary. After describing how
"Big Business," controls both industry and politics, La Follette says:--


     "This thing has gone on and on in city, State, and nation, until
     to-day the paramount power in our land is not a Democracy, not a
     Republic, but an Autocracy of centralized, systemized, industrial
     and financial power. 'Government of the people, by the people, and
     for the people' _has_ perished from the earth in the United States
     of America."


An editorial in _McClure's Magazine_ (July, 1911) draws a similar
picture and frankly applies the term, "State Socialism," to the great
reforms that are pending:--


     "Two great social organizations now confront each other in the
     United States--political democracy and the corporation. Both are
     yet new,--developments, in their present form, of the past two
     hundred years,--and the laws of neither are understood. The entire
     social and economic history of the world is now shaping itself
     around the struggle for dominance between them....

     "The problem presented by this situation is the most difficult that
     any modern nation has faced; and the odds, up to the present time,
     have all been with the corporations. Property settles by economic
     law in strong hands; it has unlimited rewards for service, and the
     greatest power in the world--the power of food and drink, life and
     death--over mankind. Corporate property in the last twenty years
     has been welded into an instrument of almost infinite power,
     concentrated in the hands of a very few and very able men.

     "Sooner or later the so far unchecked tendency toward monopoly in
     the United States must be met squarely by the American people....

     "The problem of the relation of the State and the corporation is
     now the chief question of the world. In Europe the State is
     relatively much stronger; in America, the corporation. In Europe
     the movement towards Socialism--collective ownership and operation
     of the machinery of industry and transportation--is far on its way;
     in America we are moving to control the corporation by political
     instruments, such as State Boards and the Interstate Commerce
     Commission....

     "And if corporate centralization of power continues unchecked, what
     is the next great popular agitation to be in this country? For
     State Socialism?"


When a treaty of peace is made between "Big Business" and the smaller
capitalists under such leadership as La Follette's, we may be certain
that it will not amount merely to a swallowing up of the small fish by
the large. The struggle waged according to La Follette's principles is
not a mere bid for political power and the spoils of office, but a real
political warfare that can only end by recognition of the small
capitalist's claims in business and politics--in so far as they relate,
not to the restoration of competition, but to government ownership or
control. As early as 1905, when governor of Wisconsin, La Follette
said:--

"It must always be borne in mind that the contest between the State and
the corporate powers is a lasting one.... It must always be remembered
that their attitude throughout is one of hostility to this legislation,
and that if their relation to the law after it is enacted is to be
judged by the attitude towards the Interstate Commerce Law, it will be
one of continued effort to destroy its efficiency and nullify its
provision." Events have shown that he was right in his predictions, and
his idea that the war against monopolies must last until they are
deprived of their dominant position in politics is now widely accepted.

The leading demands of the small capitalists, in so far as they are
independently organized in this new movement, are now for protection, as
buyers, sellers, investors, borrowers, and taxpayers against the
"trusts," railways, and banks. Formerly they invariably took up the
cause of the capitalist competitors and would-be competitors of the
"Interests"--and millionaires and corporations of the second magnitude
were lined up politically with the small capitalists, as, for example,
silver mine owners, manufacturers who wanted free raw material, cheaper
food (with lower wages), and foreign markets at any price,--from
pseudo-reciprocity to war,--importing merchants, competitors of the
trusts, tobacco, beer, and liquor interests bent on decreasing their
taxes, etc.

The great novelty of the "Insurgent" movement is that, in dissociating
itself from Free Silver, Free Trade, and the proposal to _destroy_ the
"trusts," it has succeeded in getting rid of nearly all the "Interests"
that have wrecked previous small capitalist movements. At the same time,
it has all but abandoned the old demagogic talk about representing the
citizen as consumer against the citizen as producer. It frankly avows
its intention to protect the ultimate consumer, not against small
capitalist producers (_e.g._ its opposition to Canadian reciprocity and
cheaper food), but solely against the monopolies. Indeed, the protection
of the ultimate consumer against monopolies is clearly made incidental
to the protection of the small capitalist consumer-producer. The wage
earner consumes few products of the Steel Trust, the farmer and small
manufacturers, many. Nor does the new movement propose to destroy the
"trusts" by free trade even in the articles they produce, but merely to
control prices by lower tariffs. With the abandonment of the last of the
"Interests" and at the same time of the "consumers" that they use as a
cloak, the new movement promises for the first time a fairly independent
and lasting political organization of the smaller capitalists.

While Senator La Follette is the leading general of the new movement,
either Ex-President Roosevelt or Governor Woodrow Wilson seems destined
to become its leading diplomatist. While Senator La Follette declares
for a fight to the finish, and shows that he knows how to lead and
organize such a fight, Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Wilson are giving their
attention largely to peace terms to be demanded of the enemy, and the
diplomatic attitude to be assumed in the negotiations. Perhaps it is too
early for such peaceful thoughts, and premature talk of this kind may
eliminate these leaders as negotiators satisfactory to the small
capitalists. Their interest for my present purpose is that they probably
foreshadow the attitude that will finally be assumed when the large
"Interests" see that they must make terms.

Mr. Wilson's language is at times so conciliatory as to create doubt
whether or not he will stand with Senator La Follette and the Republican
"Insurgents" for the whole of the small capitalist's program, but it
leaves no doubt that, if he lives up to his declared principles, he must
aim at the government regulation, not of "Big Business" merely, but of
all business--as when he says that "business is no longer in any sense a
private matter."


     "We are dealing, in our present discussion," he said in an address,
     delivered in December, 1910, "with business, and we are dealing
     with life as an organic whole, and modern politics is an
     accommodation of these two. Suppose we define business as economic
     _service of society for private profit_, and suppose we define
     politics as the accommodation of all social forces, the forces of
     _business, of course, included_, to the common interest." (My
     italics.)


It is evident that if the community gains by an extended control over
business, that business gains at least as much by its claim to be
recognized as a _public service_. And this Mr. Wilson makes very
emphatic:--


     "Business must be looked upon, not as the exploitation of society,
     not as its use for private ends, but as its sober service; and
     private profit must be regarded as legitimate only when it is in
     fact a reward for what is veritably serviceable,--serviceable to
     interests which are not single but common, as far as they go; and
     politics must be the discovery of this common interest, in order
     that the service may be tested and exacted.

     "In this acceptation, society is the _senior partner_ in all
     business. It first must be considered,--society as a whole, in its
     permanent and essential, not merely in its temporary and
     superficial, interests. _If private profits are to be
     legitimatized, private fortunes made honorable_, these great forces
     which play upon the modern field must, both individually and
     collectively, be accommodated to a common purpose." (My italics.)


Business is no longer "to be looked upon" as the exploitation of
society, private profits are to be "legitimatized" and private fortunes
"made honorable"--in a word, the whole business world is to be
regenerated and at the same time rehabilitated. This is to be
accomplished, as Mr. Wilson explained, in a later speech (April 13,
1911), not by excluding the large capitalists from government, but by
including the small, and this will undoubtedly be the final outcome. He
said:--


     "The men who understand the life of the country are the men _who
     are on the make_, and not the men who are made; because the men who
     are on the make are in contact with the actual conditions of
     struggle, and those are the conditions of life for the nation;
     whereas, the man who has achieved, who is at the head of a great
     body of capital, has passed the period of struggle. He may
     sympathize with the struggling men, but he is not one of them, and
     only those who struggle can comprehend what the struggle is. I
     would rather take the interpretation of our national life from the
     general body of the people than from those who have made
     conspicuous successes of their lives."


But the "Interests" are not to be excluded from the new dispensation.


     "I know a great many men," Mr. Wilson says further, "whose names
     stand as synonyms of the unjust power of wealth and of corporate
     privileges in this country, and I want to say to you that if I
     understand the character of these men, many of them--most of
     them--are just as _honest_ and just as patriotic as I claim to be.
     But I do notice this difference between myself and them; I have not
     happened to be immersed in the kind of business in which they have
     been immersed; I have not been saturated by the prepossessions
     which come upon men situated as they are, and I claim to see some
     things that they do not yet see; that is the difference. _It is not
     a difference of interest_; it is not a difference of capacity; it
     is not a difference of patriotism. It is a difference of
     perception....

     "Now, these men have so buried their minds in these great
     undertakings that you cannot expect them to have reasonable and
     rational views about the antipodes. They are just as much chained
     to a task, as if the task were little instead of big. Their view is
     just as much limited as if their business were small instead of
     colossal. _But they are awakening._ They are not all of them
     asleep, and when they do wake, they are going to lend us the
     assistance of truly statesmanlike minds.

     "We are not fighting property," Mr. Wilson continues, "but the
     wrong conception of property. It seems to me that business on the
     great scale upon which it is now conducted is the service of the
     community, and the profit is legitimate only in proportion as the
     service is genuine. I utterly deny the genuineness of any profit
     which is gathered together without regard to the serviceability of
     the thing done.... Men have got to learn that in a certain sense,
     _when they manage great corporations, they have assumed public
     office_, and are responsible to the community for the things they
     do. _That is the form of privilege that we are fighting."_ (Italics
     mine.)[33]


A second glance at these passages will show that Mr. Wilson speaks in
the name rather of struggling small capitalists, business men "on the
make," than of the nation as a whole. His diplomacy is largely aimed to
move the "honest" large capitalists. These are assured that the only
form of privilege that Mr. Wilson, representing the smaller business
men, those "on the make," is attacking, is their freedom from political
and government control. But the large capitalists need not fear such
control, for they are assured that they themselves will be part of the
new government. And as there is no fundamental "difference of
interests," the new government will have no difficulty in representing
large business as well as small.

No better example could be found of the foreshadowed treaty between the
large interests and the whole body of capitalists, and their coming
consolidation, than the central banking association project now before
Congress. Originated by the "Interests" it was again and again moderated
to avoid the hostility of the smaller capitalists, until progressives
like Mr. Wilson are evidently getting ready to propose still further
modifications that will make it entirely acceptable to the latter class.
Already Mr. Aldrich has consented that the "State" banks, which
represent chiefly the smaller capitalists, should be included in the
Reserve Association, and that the President should appoint its governor
and deputy governor. Doubtless Congress will insist on a still greater
representation of the government on the central board.

Mr. Wilson emphasizes the need of action in this direction in the name
of "economic freedom," which can only mean equal financial facilities
and the indirect loan of the government's credit to all capitalists,
through means of a government under their common control:--


     "The great monopoly in this country is the money monopoly. So long
     as that exists, our old variety and freedom and individual energy
     of development are out of the question. A great industrial nation
     is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is
     concentrated. _The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our
     activities are in the hands of a few men_ who, even if their action
     be honest and intended for the public interest, are necessarily
     concentrated upon the great undertakings in which their own money
     is involved, and who necessarily by every reason of their own
     limitations, chill and check and destroy genuine economic freedom.
     This is the greatest question of all, and to this statesmen must
     address themselves with an earnest determination to serve the long
     future and the true liberties of men." (My italics.)


Undoubtedly this is a great question; the establishment of a political
control over credit will mean a political and financial revolution. For
it will establish the power of the government over our whole economic
system and will lead rapidly to a common political and economic
organization of all classes of capitalists for the control of the
government, to a compromise between the group of capitalists that now
rules the business world and that far larger group which is bound to
rule the government. The financial magnates have seen this truth, and,
as Mr. Paul Warburg said to the American Association (New Orleans, Nov.
21, 1911), "Wall Street, like many an absolute ruler in recent years,
finds it more conducive to safety and contentment to forego some of its
prerogatives ... and to turn an oligarchy into a constitutional
democratic federation [_i.e._ a federation composed of capitalists]."

Mr. Roosevelt has announced a policy with regard to monopolies that
foreshadows even more distinctly than anything Mr. Woodrow Wilson has
said the solution of the differences between large and small
capitalists. He urges that a government commission should undertake
"supervision, regulation, and control of these great corporations" even
to the point of controlling "monopoly prices" and that this control
should "indirectly or directly extend to dealing with all questions
connected with their treatment of their employees, including the wages,
the hours of labor, and the like."[34]

This policy is in entire accord with the declarations of Andrew
Carnegie, Daniel Guggenheim, Judge Gary, Samuel Untermeyer,
Attorney-General Wickersham, and others of the large capitalists or
those who stand close to them. It is in equal accord with the
declarations of _La Follette's Weekly_ and the leading "Insurgent"
writers.

It is true that the private monopolies, as Mr. Bryan pointed out (_New
York Times_, Nov. 19, 1911), "will soon be in national politics more
actively than now, for they will feel it necessary to control Colonel
Roosevelt's suggested commission, and to do that they must control the
election of those who appoint the commission."

But the private monopolies will soon be more actively in politics no
matter what remedy is offered, even government ownership. The small
capitalist investors, shippers, and consumers of trust products can only
protect themselves by securing control of the government, or at least
sharing it on equal terms with the large capitalists.

The reason that Mr. Roosevelt's proposal was hailed with equal
enthusiasm by the more far-sighted capitalists, whether radical or
conservative, small or large, was that they have an approximately equal
hope of controlling the government, or sharing in its control. The
unbiased observer can well conclude that they are likely to divide this
control between them--and, indeed, that the complete victory of either
party is economically and politically unthinkable. Already banks,
railways, industrial "trusts," mining and lumber interests, are being
forced to follow a policy satisfactory to small capitalist investors,
borrowers, customers, furnishers of raw material, and taxpayers--while
small capitalist competitors are being forced to abandon their effort to
use the government to restore competition and destroy the "trusts."

In the reorganization of capitalism, the non-capitalists, the wage and
salary earning class are not to be consulted. Taken together with those
among the professional and salaried class who are small investors or
expect to become independent producers, the small capitalists constitute
a majority of the electorate (though not of the population), or at
least hold the political balance of power. It is capitalist interests
alone that really count in present-day politics, and it is for
capitalists alone that government control would be instituted.

Viewed in this light the statements of Mr. Woodrow Wilson that "business
is no longer in any proper sense a private matter," or that "our
program, from which we cannot be turned aside, is, that we are going to
take possession of the control of our own economic life," and the
similar statements of Mr. Roosevelt, are not so Socialistic as they
seem. What their use by the leading "conservative-progressive" statesmen
of both parties means is that a partnership of capital and government is
at hand.

FOOTNOTES:

[31] Lincoln Steffens in _Everybody's Magazine_, beginning September,
1910.

[32] _McClure's Magazine_, 1911.

[33] Governor Woodrow Wilson, Speech of April 13, 1911.

[34] The _Outlook_, Nov. 18, 1911.



CHAPTER III

THE POLITICS OF THE NEW CAPITALISM


We are told that the political issue as viewed by American radicals is,
"Shall property rule, or shall the people rule?" and that the radicals
may be forced entirely over to the Socialist position, as the
Republicans were forced to the position of the Abolitionists when
Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Mr. Ray Stannard Baker
notes also that capital is continually the aggressor, as were the
slaveholders, and that the conflict is likely to grow more and more
acute, since "no one imagines that these powerful men of money will give
up their advantage lightly" any more than the old slaveholders did.

Another "insurgent" publicist (Mr. William Allen White) says that the
aim of radicalism in the United States is "the regulation and control of
capital" and that the American people have made up their minds that
"capital, the product of the many, is to be operated fundamentally for
the benefit of the many." It is one of those upheavals, he believes,
which come along once in a century or so, dethrone privilege, organize
the world along different lines, take the persons "at the apex of the
human pyramid" from their high seats and "iron out the pyramid into a
plane."[35]

If the aim of the "progressives" is the overthrow of "the rule of
property" as Mr. Baker claims--if, in the words of Mr. White again,
"America is joining the world movement towards equal opportunity for all
men in our modern civilization," then indeed the greatest political and
economic struggle of history, the final conflict between capitalism and
Socialism, is at hand.

But when we ask along what lines this great war for a better society is
to be waged, and by what methods, we are told that the parties to the
conflict are separated, not by practical economic interests, but by
"ideas" and "ideals," and that the chief means by which this social
revolution is to be accomplished are direct legislation and the recall
and their use to extend government ownership or control so as gradually
to close one door after another upon the operations of capital until its
power for harm is annihilated, _i.e._ democracy and collectivism. In
other words, the militant phrases used by Socialists in earnest are
adopted by radicals as convenient and popular battle cries in their
campaign for "State Socialism," as to banking, railroads, mines, and a
few industrial "trusts," but without the slightest attempt either to end
the "rule of property" or to secure "equal opportunity" for any but
farmers and small business men. They do nothing, moreover, to bring
about the new political and class alignment that is the very first
requirement, if the rule of property in all its forms is to be ended, or
equal opportunity secured for the lower as well as the comparatively
well-to-do middle classes.

Similarly the essential or practical difference between the "Socialism"
of Mr. Roosevelt's editorial associate, Dr. Lyman Abbott, who
acknowledges that classes exist and says that capitalism must be
abolished, and the Socialism of the international movement is this, that
Dr. Abbott expects to work, on the whole, with the capitalists who are
to be done away with, while Socialists expect to work against them.


     Dr. Abbott claims that the "democratic Socialism" he advocates is
     directly the opposite of "State Socialism ... the doctrine of
     Bismarck," that it "aims to abolish the distinction between
     possessing and non-possessing classes," that our present industrial
     institutions are based on _autocracy_ and _inequality_ instead of
     liberty, democracy, and equality, that under the _wages system_ or
     capitalism, the laborers or wage earners are practically unable to
     earn their daily bread "except by permission of the capitalists who
     own the tools by which the labor must be carried on." He then
     proceeds to what would be regarded by many as a thoroughly
     Socialist conclusion:

     "The real and radical remedy for the evils of capitalism is the
     organization of the industrial system in which the laborers or tool
     users will themselves become the capitalists or tool owners; in
     which, therefore, the class distinction which exists under
     capitalism will be abolished."[36]


And what separates the advanced "State Socialism" of Mr. Hearst's
brilliant editor, Mr. Arthur Brisbane, from the Socialism of the
organized Socialist movement? Has not Mr. Brisbane hinted repeatedly at
a possible revolution in the future? Has he not insisted that the crux
of "the cost of living question" is not so much the control of prices
by the private ownership of necessities of life (as some "State
Socialist" reformers say, and even some official publications of the
Socialist Party), as the _exploitation_ of the worker _at the point of
production_, the fact that he does not get the full product of his
labor--phrases which might have been used by Marx himself?

The _New York Evening Journal_ has even predicted an increasing conflict
of economic interests on the political field--failing to state only that
the people's fight must be won by a class struggle, a movement directed
against capitalism and excluding capitalists (except in such cases where
they have completely abandoned their financial interests).

Asked whether the influence of the Interests (the "trusts") would
increase or diminish in this country in the near future, the _Journal_
answered:--


     "The influence of the interests, which means the power of the
     trusts, or organized industry and commerce, will go forward
     steadily without interruption.

     "Just as steadily as early military feudalism advanced and grew,
     UNTIL THE PEOPLE AT LAST CONTROLLED IT AND OWNED IT, JUST SO
     STEADILY WILL TO-DAY'S INDUSTRIAL FEUDALISM advance and grow
     without interruption UNTIL THE PEOPLE CONTROL IT and own it.

     "The trusts are destined to be infinitely more powerful than now,
     infinitely more ably organized.

     "And that will be a good thing in the long run for the people. The
     trusts are the people's great teachers, proving that destructive,
     selfish, unbrotherly competition is unnecessary.

     "They are proving that the genius of man can free a nation or a
     world. They are saying to the people: 'You work under our ORDERS.
     One power can own and manage industry.'

     "It is hard for individual ambition just now. But in time THE
     PEOPLE WILL LEARN THE LESSON AND WILL SAY TO THE TRUST OWNERS:--

     "'THANK YOU VERY MUCH. WE HAVE LEARNED THE LESSON. WE SEE THAT IT
     IS POSSIBLE FOR ONE POWER TO OWN AND CONTROL ALL INDUSTRY, ALL
     MANUFACTURES, ALL COMMERCE, AND WE, THE PEOPLE, WILL BE THAT ONE
     POWER.'

     "Just as the individual feudal lords organized their little armies
     in France, and just as the French people themselves have all the
     armies in one--UNDER THE PEOPLE'S POWER--so the industries
     organized NOW by the barons of industrial feudalism, one by one,
     will be taken and put together by the people, UNDER THE PEOPLE'S
     OWNERSHIP."[37]


Yet we find the _Journal_, like all the vehicles and mouthpieces of
radicalism, other than those of the Socialists, unready to take the
first step necessary in any conflict; namely, to decide who is the
enemy. Unless defended by definite groups in the community, "the rule of
property," could be ended in a single election. Nor can the group that
maintains capitalist government consist, as radicals suggest, merely of
a handful of large capitalists, nor of these aided by certain cohorts of
hired political mercenaries--nor yet of these two groups supported by
the deceived and ignorant among the masses. Unimportant elections may be
fought with such support, but not revolutionary "civil wars" or "the
upheavals of the centuries." _In every historical instance such
struggles were supported on both sides by powerful, and at the same time
numerically important, social classes, acting on the solid basis of
economic interest._

Yet non-Socialist reformers persist in claiming that they represent all
classes with the exception of a handful of monopolists, the bought, and
the ignorant; and many assert flatly that their movement is altruistic,
which can only mean that they intend to bestow such benefits as they
think proper on some social class that they expect to remain powerless
to help itself. Here, then, in the attitude of non-Socialist reformers
towards various social classes, we begin to see the inner structure of
their movement. They do not propose to attack any "vested interests"
except those of the financial magnates, and they expect the lower
classes to remain politically impotent, which they as democrats, know
means that these classes are only going to receive such secondary
consideration as the interests of the other classes require.

Whether the radical of to-day, the "State Socialist," favors political
democracy or not, depends on whether these "passive beneficiaries" of
the new "altruistic" system are in a majority. If they are not in a
majority, certain political objects may be gained (without giving the
non-capitalist masses any real power) by allowing them all to vote, by
removing undemocratic constitutional restrictions, and by introducing
direct legislation, the recall, and similar measures. If they are a
majority, it is generally agreed that it is unsafe to allow them an
equal voice in government, as they almost universally fail to rest
satisfied with the benefits they secure from collectivist capitalism and
press on immediately to a far more radical policy.

So in agricultural communities like New Zealand, Australia, and some of
our Western States, where there is a prosperous property-holding
majority, the most complete political democracy has come to prevail.
Judging everything by local conditions, the progressive small
capitalists of our West sometimes even favor the extension of this
democracy to the nation and the whole world, as when the Wisconsin
legislature proposes direct legislation and the recall in our national
government. But they are being warned against this "extremist" stand by
conservative progressive leaders of the industrial sections like
Ex-President Roosevelt or Governor Woodrow Wilson.

This latter type of progressive not only opposes the extension of
radical democracy to districts like our South and East, numerically
dominated by agricultural or industrial laborers, but often wants to
restrict the ballot in those regions. Professor E. A. Ross, for example,
writes in _La Follette's Weekly_ that "no one ought to be given the
ballot unless he can give proof of ability to read and write the English
language," which would disqualify a large part, if not the majority, of
the working people in many industrial centers; while Dr. Abbott
concluded a lengthy series of articles with the suggestion that the
Southern States have "set an example which it would be well, if it were
possible, for all the States to follow."


     "Many of them have adopted in their constitutions," Dr. Abbott
     continues, "a qualified suffrage. The qualifications are not the
     same in all the States, but there is not one of those States in
     which every man, black or white, has not a legal right to vote,
     provided he can read and write the English language, owns three
     hundred dollars' worth of property, and has paid his taxes. A
     provision that no man should vote unless he has intelligence enough
     to read and write, thrift enough to have laid up three hundred
     dollars' worth of property, and patriotism enough to have paid his
     taxes, would not be a bad provision for any State in the Union to
     incorporate in its constitution."[38]


Such a provision accompanied by the customary Southern poll tax, which,
Dr. Abbott overlooked (evidently inadvertently), would add several
million more white workingmen to the millions (colored and white) that
are already without a vote.[39]

We cannot wonder, then, that the working people, who are enthusiastic
supporters of every democratic reform, should nevertheless distrust the
democracy of the new movement. It is generally supposed in the United
States that the reason the new "Insurgency" is weaker in the East than
in the West is because of the greater ignorance and political corruption
of the masses of the great cities of the East. But when we see the
radicalism of the West also, as soon as it enters the towns, tending to
support the Socialists and Labor parties rather than the reformers, we
realize that the distrust has no such local cause.

Perhaps the issue is more clearly seen in the hostility that exists
among the working people and the Socialists towards the so-called
commission plan of city government, which the progressives unanimously
regard as a sort of democratic municipal panacea. The commission plan
for cities vests the whole local government in a board of half a dozen
elected officials subject to the initiative and referendum and recall.
The Socialists approve of the last feature. They object to the
commission and stand for the very opposite principle of an executive
subordinate to a legislature and without veto power, because a board
does not permit of minority representation, and because it allows most
officials to be appointed through "influence" instead of being elected.
They object also, of course, to the high percentages usually required
for the initiative and the recall. It is Socialist and Labor Union
opposition, and not merely that of political machines, that has defeated
the proposed plan in St. Louis, Jersey City, Hoboken, and elsewhere, and
promises to check it all over the country. As a device for saving the
taxpayer's money, the commission plan in its usual form is ideal, as a
means for securing the benefits of the expenditure of this money to the
non-propertied or very small propertied classes, it is in its present
form worse in the long run than the present corruption and waste. State
legislatures and courts already protect the taxpayers from any measure
in the least Socialistic, whatever form of local government and
whatever party may prevail. It has caused more than a little resentment
among the propertyless that the taxpayers should actually have the
effrontery to propose the still more conservative commission plan as
being a radically democratic reform.

It is on such substantial grounds that the propertyless distrust the
democracy of the progressives and radicals. They find it extends only to
sections or districts where small capitalist voters are in a majority.
The "State Socialist" and Reform attitude towards political democracy is
indeed essentially opportunistic. Not only does it vary from place to
place, but it also changes rapidly with events. As long as the new
movement is in its early stages, it deserves popularity, owing to the
fact that it brings immediate material benefits to all and paves the
way, either for capitalistic or for Socialistic progress, robs
capitalism of all fear of the masses, and is ready to remove all
undemocratic constitutional barriers and to do everything it can to
advance popular government. These constitutional checks and balances
prevent the small capitalists and their progressive large capitalist
allies from bringing to time the reactionaries of the latter class,
while they are so many that, in removing a few of them, there is little
danger of that pure political democracy which would alone give to the
masses any "dangerous" power. At a later stage, when "State Socialism"
will have carried out its program, and the masses see that it is ready
to go only so far as the small capitalists' interests allow and no
farther, and when it will already have forced recalcitrant large
capitalists to terms, and so have reunited the capitalist class, we may
expect to see a complete reversal of the present semi-democratic
attitude. But as long as the "State Socialist" program is still largely
ahead of us, the large capitalists not yet put into their place, and
full political democracy--in spite of rapid progress--still far in the
distance, a radical position as to this, that, or the other piece of
political machinery signifies little. So many reforms of this kind are
needed before political democracy can become effective--and in the
meanwhile many things can happen that will give ample excuse to any of
the "progressive" classes that decide to reverse their present more or
less democratic attitude, such as an "unpatriotic" attitude on the part
of the masses, a grave railroad strike, etc.

For there will be abundant time before democratic machinery can reach
that point in its evolution, when the non-capitalist masses can make the
first and smallest use of it _against_ their small and large capitalist
masters. If, for example, the Supreme Court of this country should ever
be made elective, or by any other means be shorn of its political power,
and if then the President's veto were abolished, and others of his
powers given to Congress, there would remain still other alternatives
for vetoing the execution of the people's will--and one veto is
sufficient for every practical purpose. Even if the senators are
everywhere directly elected, the Senate may still remain the permanent
stronghold of capitalism unless overturned by a political revolution.

The one section of the Constitution that is not subject to amendment is
the allotment of two senators to each of the States. And even if public
opinion should decide that this feature must be made changeable by
ordinary amendment like the rest, it might require 90 or even 95 per
cent of the people to pass such an amendment or to call a constitutional
convention for the purpose. For Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont,
Delaware, are not only governed by antiquated and undemocratic
constitutions, but are so small that wholesale bribery or a system of
public doles is easily possible. The constitutions of the mountain
States are more modern, but Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, and New Mexico, and
others of these States are so little populated as make them very easy
for capitalist manipulation, as present political conditions show. Now
if we add to these States the whole South, where the upper third or at
most the upper half of the population is in firm control, through the
disfranchisement of the majority of the non-capitalistic classes (white
and colored), we see that, even if the country were swept by a tide of
democratic opinion, it is most unlikely that it will ever control the
Senate. Moreover, if the capitalists (large and small) are ever in
danger of losing the Senate, they have only to annex Mexico to add half
a dozen or a dozen new States with limited franchises and undemocratic
constitutions.

Either the President, or the Senate, or the Supreme Court might prove
quite sufficient to prevent the execution of the will of the people, in
any important crisis--they would be especially effective when
revolutionary changes in property, and rapid shifting of economic and
political power into the hands of the people, are at stake, as
Socialists believe they will be. But to resist such a movement, still
another political weapon is available,--even if President, Senate, and
Supreme Court fell into the hands of the people (and it is highly
probable that the small capitalists, who themselves suffer under the
above-mentioned constitutional limitations, will force the larger
capitalists to fall back on this other weapon in the end),--namely, a
limitation of the suffrage.

The property and educational qualifications for voting which are
directed against the colored people in the Southern States are being
used to a considerable degree, both North and South, against the poorer
whites. While there is no likelihood that this process will continue
indefinitely, or that it will spread to all parts of the country, it is
already sufficient to throw the balance of political power in favor of
the capitalists in the national elections. If we put the total number of
voters in the country at 15,000,000, we can see how significant is the
fact that more than a million, black and white, have already been
directly disfranchised in the South alone.

In view of these numerous methods of thwarting democracy in this country
(and there are others) there is no reason why the capitalists should not
permit political leaders after a time to accept a number of radical and
even revolutionary reforms in political methods. The direct election of
senators, though it was bitterly opposed a few years ago, is already
widely accepted; the direct nomination of the President has become the
law in several States; Mr. Roosevelt threatens that the "entire system"
may have to be changed, that constitutions may be "thrown out of the
window," and the power of judges over legislation abolished, which, as
he notes, has already been advocated by the Socialist member of
Congress[40]; the Wisconsin legislature formally calls for a national
constitutional convention and proposes to make the constitution
amendable henceforth by the "initiative"; Governor Woodrow Wilson
suggests that _many_ of our existing evils may be remedied by national
constitutional amendments[41], and two such amendments are now nearing
adoption after forty years, during which it was thought that all
amendment had ceased indefinitely.

Whether it will be decided to take away the power of the Supreme Court
over legislation and make it directly responsible to Congress or the
people, or to call a constitutional convention, is doubtful. A
convention, as Senator Heyburn recently pointed out in the Senate, is
"bigger than the Constitution" and might conceivably amend what is
declared in that instrument not to be amendable, by providing that the
States should be represented in the Senate in proportion to population.
Even then the existing partial disfranchisement of the electors would
prevent a new constitution from going "too far" in a democratic
direction. It is also true, as the same senator said, that the habit of
amending the Constitution is a dangerous one (to capitalism), and that
it might some day put the capitalistic government's life at stake[42].
But this after all amounts only to saying that political evolution, like
all other kinds, is cumulative, and that its tempo is in the long run
constantly accelerated. Certainly each change leads to more change. None
of these proposed political reforms, however, even a constitutional
convention, _is in itself_ revolutionary, or promises to establish even
a political democracy. All could coexist, for example, with a still
greater restriction of the suffrage.

Nor do any of these measures _in themselves_ constitute the smallest
step in the direction of political democracy as long as a single
effective check is allowed to remain. If there is any doubt on the
matter, we have only to refer to other constitutions than ours which
accomplish the same object of checkmating democracy without a Supreme
Court, without an absolute executive veto, without an effective second
chamber, and in one important case without a written constitution
(England).

Or, we can turn to France, Switzerland, or New Zealand, where the
suffrage is universal and political democracy is already approximated
but rendered meaningless to the non-capitalist masses by the existence
of a majority composed of small capitalists. And in countries like the
United States, where the small capitalists and their immediate
dependents are nearly as numerous as the other classes, a temporary
majority may also be formed that may soon make full democracy as "safe"
for a considerable period as it is in Switzerland or New Zealand.[43]

As soon as "State Socialism" reaches its point of most rapid
development, and as long as it continues to reach ever new classes with
its immediate benefits, it will doubtless receive the support of a
majority, not only of the voters, but also of the whole population.
_During this period_ the "Socialistic" capitalists will be tempted to
popularize and strengthen their movement not only by uncompleted
political reforms, that are abortive and futile as far as the masses are
concerned, but also by the most thoroughgoing democracy. For radical
democracy will not only be without danger, but useful and invaluable in
the struggle of the progressive and collectivist capitalists against the
retrogressive and individualist capitalists. As long as there is a
majority composed of large and small capitalists and their dependents,
together with those of the salaried and professional classes who are
satisfied with the capitalistic kind of collectivism (_i.e._ while its
progress is most brilliant), it is only necessary for the progressives
to hold the balance of power in order to have everything their own way
both against Socialism and reaction. The powerful Socialist and
revolutionary minority created in industrial communities by equal
suffrage and a democratic form of government, _as long as it remains
distinctly a minority_, is unable to injure the combined forces of
capitalism, while it furnishes a useful and invaluable club by which the
progressive capitalists can threaten and overwhelm the reactionaries.

In Great Britain, for example, the new collectivist movement of Messrs.
Churchill and Lloyd George, basing itself primarily on the support of
the small capitalist class, which there as elsewhere constitutes a very
large part (over a third) of the population, seeks also the support of a
part of the non-propertied classes. It cannot make them any plausible or
honest promise of any equitable redistribution of income or of political
power, but it can promise an increase of well-paid government
employment, and it can guarantee that it will develop the industrial
efficiency of all classes and allow them a certain share, if a lesser
one, in the benefits of this policy.

If then "State Socialism," like the benevolent despotisms and
oligarchies of history, sometimes offers the purely _material_ benefits
which it brings in some measure to all classes, as a _substitute_ for
democratic government, it also favors democracy in those places where
the small capitalists and related classes form a majority of the
community. The purpose of the democratic policy, where it is adopted, is
to stimulate new political interest in the "State Socialistic" program,
and by increasing cautiously the political weight of the
non-capitalists--without going far enough to give them any real or
independent power--to check the reactionary element among the
capitalists that tries to hold back the industrial and governmental
organization the progressives have in view. It was in order to shift the
political balance of power that the reactionary Bismarck introduced
universal suffrage in Germany, and the same motive is leading Premier
Asquith, who is not radical, to add considerably to the political weight
of the working classes in England, _i.e._ not to the point where they
have any power whatever for their own purposes, but only to that point
where their weight, added to that of the Liberals, counterbalances the
Tories, and so automatically aids the former party.

The Liberals are giving Labor this almost valueless installment of
democracy, just as they had previously granted instead such immediate
and material benefits as we see in the recent British budgets, _as if_
they were concessions, only hiding the fact that _they would soon have
conferred these benefits on the workers through their own self-interest,
whether the workers had given them their political support or not_.

Mr. Lloyd George has said:--


     "The workingman is no fool. He knows that a great party like ours
     can, with his help, do things for him he could not hope to
     accomplish for himself without its aid. It brings to his assistance
     the potent influences drawn from the great middle classes of this
     country, which would be frightened into positive hostility by a
     _purely class organization_ to which they do not belong. No party
     could ever hope for success in this country which does not win the
     confidence of a _large portion_ of this middle class....

     "You are not going to make Socialists in a hurry out of farmers and
     traders and professional men of this country, but you may scare
     them into reaction.... They are helping us now to secure advanced
     Labor legislation; they will help us later to secure land reform
     and other measures for all classes of wealth producers, and we need
     all the help they give us. But if they are threatened with a class
     war, then they will surely sulk and harden into downright Toryism.
     What gain will that be for Labor?" (My italics.)[44]


The Chancellor of the Exchequer here bids for Labor's political support
on the plea that what he was doing for Labor meant an expense and not a
profit to the middle class, and that these reforms would only be
assented to by that class as the necessary price of the Labor vote. I
have shown grounds for believing that the chief motives of the new
reforms have nothing to do with the Labor vote. However much Mr. Lloyd
George, as a political manager, may desire to control that vote, he
knows he can do without it, as long as it is cast _against_ the Tories.
The Liberals will hold the balance of power, and their small capitalist
followers will continue to carry out their capitalistic progressive and
collectivist program--even without a Labor alliance. Nor does he fear
that even the most radical of reforms, whether economic or political,
will enable Labor to seize a larger share of the national income or of
political power. On the contrary, he predicted in 1906 that it would be
a generation before Labor could even hope to be sufficiently united to
take the first step in Socialism. "Does any one believe," he asked,
"that within a generation, to put it at the very lowest, we are likely
to see in power a party pledged forcibly to nationalize land, railways,
mines, quarries, factories, workshops, warehouses, shops, and all and
every agency for the production and distribution of wealth? I say again,
within a generation? He who entertains such hopes must indeed be a
sanguine and simple-minded Socialist."[45]

Mr. Lloyd George sought the support of Labor then, not because it was
all-powerful, but because, for a generation at least, it seemed doomed
to impotence--except as an aid to the Liberals. The logic of his
position was really not that Labor ought to get a price for its
political support, but that _having no immediate alternative_, being
unable to form a majority either alone or with any other element than
the Liberals, they should accept gladly anything that was offered, for
example, a material reform like his Insurance bill--even though this
measure is at bottom and in the long run purely capitalistic in its
tendency.

And this is practically what Labor in Great Britain has done. It has
supported a government all of whose acts strengthen capitalism in its
new collectivist form, both economically and politically. And even if
some day an isolated measure should be found to prove an exception, it
would still remain true that the present policies _considered as a
whole_ are carrying the country rapidly and uninterruptedly in the
direction of State Capitalism. And this is equally true of every other
country, whether France, Germany, Australia, or the United States, where
the new reform program is being put into execution.

Many "Socialistic" capitalists, however, are looking forward to a time
when through complete political democracy they can secure a permanent
popular majority of small capitalists and other more or less privileged
classes, and so build their new society on a more solid basis. Let us
assume that the railways, mines, and the leading "trusts" are
nationalized, public utilities municipalized, and the national and local
governments busily engaged on canals, roads, forests, deserts, and
swamps. Here are occupations employing, let us say, a fourth or a fifth
of the working population; and solvent landowning farmers, their numbers
kept up by land reforms and scientific farming encouraged by government,
may continue as now to constitute another fifth. We can estimate that
these classes together with those among the shopkeepers, professional
elements, etc., who are directly dependent on them will compose 40 to 50
per cent of the population, while the other capitalists and their direct
dependents account for another 10 per cent or more. Here we have the
possibility of a privileged _majority_, the logical goal of "State
Socialism," and the nightmare of every democrat for whom democracy is
anything more than an empty political reform. With government employees
and capitalists (large and small)--and their direct dependents, forming
50 per cent or more of the population, and supported by a considerable
part of the skilled manual workers, there is a possibility of the
establishment of an iron-bound caste society solidly intrenched in
majority rule.

There are strong reasons, which I shall give in later chapters, for
thinking that some great changes may take place before this day can
arrive.

FOOTNOTES:

[35] William Allen White in the _American Magazine_, January, 1911.

[36] Dr. Lyman Abbott in a series of articles published in the
_Outlook_, 1910, entitled "The Spirit of Democracy," now in book form.

[37] _New York Journal_, Aug. 2, 1910.

[38] The _Outlook_, Sept. 10, 1910.

[39] In his enthusiasm for these undemocratic measures, Dr. Abbott has
retrogressed more than the Southern States, which do not require both a
property and educational qualification, but only one of the two.
Moreover, by the "grandfather" and "understanding" clauses they seek to
exempt as many as possible of the whites, _i.e._ a majority of the
population in most of these States, from any substantial qualification
whatever. Nor does it seem likely that even in the future they will
apply freely; against the poor and illiterate of the white race, the
measures Dr. Abbott advocates. Just such restricted suffrage laws were
repealed in many Southern States from 1820 to 1850, and it is not likely
that the present reaction will go back that far.

[40] The _Outlook_, May 24, 1911.

[41] Governor Woodrow Wilson, Speech in Portland, Oregon, May 18, 1911.

[42] Speech in Senate, May 24, 1911.

[43] Miss Jessie Wallace Hughan in her "American Socialism of the
Present Day" (page 184) has quoted me as saying (in the _New York Call_
of December 12, 1909) that the amendability of the Constitution by
majority vote is a demand so revolutionary that it is exclusively
Socialist property. Within the limitations of a very brief journalistic
article I believe this statement was justified. It holds for the United
States to-day. It does not hold for agrarian countries like Australia,
Canada, or South Africa, for backward countries like Russia, or
dependent countries like Switzerland or Denmark, where there is no
danger of Socialism. And before it can be put into effect, which may
take a decade or more, the increased proportion in the population of
well-paid government employees and of agricultural lessees of government
lands and similar classes, may make a democratic constitution a safe
capitalistic policy, for a while, even in the United States.

[44] Lloyd George, _op. cit._, pp. 33, 34.

[45] Lloyd George, _op. cit._, p. 35.



CHAPTER IV

"STATE SOCIALISM" AND LABOR


State Capitalism has a very definite principle and program of labor
reform. It capitalizes labor, views it as the principal resource and
asset of each community (or of the class that controls the community),
and undertakes every measure that is not too costly for its
conservation, utilization, and development--_i.e._ its development to
fill those positions ordinarily known as _labor_, but not such
development as might enable the laborers or their children to compete
for higher social functions on equal terms with the children of the
upper classes.

On the one hand is the tendency, not very advanced, but unmistakable and
almost universal, to invest larger and larger sums for the scientific
development of industrial efficiency--healthy surroundings in childhood,
good food and healthy living conditions, industrial education, model
factories, reasonable hours, time and opportunity for recreation and
rest, and on the other a rapidly increasing difficulty for either the
laborer or his children to advance to other social positions and
functions--and a restriction of the liberty of laborers and of labor
organizations, lest they should attempt to establish equality of
opportunity or to take the first step in that direction by assuming
control over industry and government. From the moment it approaches the
labor question the "Socialist" part of "State Socialism" completely
falls away, and nothing but the purest collectivist capitalism remains.
Even the plausible contention that it will result in the maximum
efficiency and give the maximum product breaks down. For no matter how
much the condition of the laborers is improved, or what political rights
they are allowed to exercise, if they are deprived of all initiative and
power in their employments, and of the equal opportunity to develop
their capacities to fill other social positions for which they may prove
to be more fit than the present occupants, then the human resources of
the community are not only left underdeveloped, but are prevented from
development.

In the following chapters I shall deal successively with the plans of
the "State Socialists" to develop the productive powers of the laboring
people and their children--_as laborers_, together with the accompanying
tendencies towards compulsory labor, and formation of a class society.

"Our Home policy," says a manifesto of the Fabian Society (edited by
Bernard Shaw), "must include a labor policy, _whether the laborer wants
it or not_, directed to securing _for him, what, for the nation's sake
even the poorest_ of its subjects should have." (Italics mine.)[46]

Here is the basis of the attitude of the "State Socialist" towards
labor. Labor is to be given more and more attention and consideration.
But the governing is to be done by other classes, and the foundation of
the new policy is to be the welfare of society as these other classes
conceive it,--and not the welfare of the masses of the people as
conceived by the masses themselves.

Indeed, a government official has recently pleaded with capital in the
name of labor that the time has come when it pays to treat labor as well
as valuable horses and cattle. George H. Webb, Commissioner of Labor of
Rhode Island, begins his report on Welfare Work by assuring the
manufacturers that it is profitable. He says: "Mankind, at least that
portion of it that has to do with horseflesh, discovered ages ago that a
horse does the best service when it is well fed, well stabled, and well
groomed. The same principle applies to the other brands of farm stock.
They one and all yield the best results when their health and comforts
are best looked after. It is strange, though these truths have been a
matter of general knowledge for centuries, that it is only quite
recently that it has been discovered that the same rule is applicable to
the human race. We are just beginning to learn that the employer who
gives steady employment, pays fair wages, and pays close attention to
the physical health and comfort of his employees gets the best results
from their labor."[47]

Mr. George W. Perkins, recently retired from the firm of J. P. Morgan
and Company, who has managed the introduction of pensions, profit
sharing, and other investments in labor for the International Harvester
Company, has also expressed the view that these measures were profitable
"from a pecuniary standpoint." A good illustration is the calculation of
the Dayton Cash Register Company, which has led in this "welfare work,"
that "the luncheons given each girl costs three cents, and that the
woman does five cents more of work each day." Some such calculation will
apply to the whole colossal system of governmental labor reforms now
favored so widely by far-sighted employers.[48]

In order that the private policy of the more enlightened of the large
corporations should become the policy of governments, which employers as
a class know they can control, only two conditions need to be filled.
Since all employers must to some degree share the burdens of the new
taxes needed for such governmental investments in the improvement of
labor, there must be some assurance, first, that all capitalists shall
share in the opportunity to employ this more efficient and more
profitable labor; and second, that the supply of cheap labor, which has
cost almost nothing to produce, is either exhausted or, on account of
its inefficiency, is less adapted to the new industry than it was to the
old. The impending reorganization of governments to protect the smaller
capitalists from the large (through better control over the banks,
railroads, trusts, tariffs, and natural resources) will furnish the
first condition, the natural exhaustion or artificial restriction of
immigration now imminent together with the introduction of "scientific
management," the second. From a purely business standpoint the greatest
asset of the capitalists' government, its chief natural resource, the
most fruitful field for conservation, and the most profitable place for
the investment of capital will then undoubtedly be in the labor supply.

In presenting the British Budget of 1910 to Parliament, Mr. Lloyd George
argued that the higher incomes and fortunes ought to bear a greater than
proportionate share of the taxes, because present governmental
expenditures were largely on their behalf, and because the new labor
reforms were equally to their benefit.


     "What is it," he said, "that enabled the fortunate possessors of
     these incomes and these fortunes to amass the wealth they enjoy or
     bequeath? The security insured for property by the agency of the
     State, the guaranteed immunity from the risks and destruction of
     war, insured by our natural advantages and our defensive forces.
     This is an essential element even now in the credit of the country;
     and, in the past, it means that we were accumulating great wealth
     in this land, when the industrial enterprises of less fortunately
     situated countries were not merely at a standstill, but their
     resources were being ravaged and destroyed by the havoc of war.

     "What, further, is accountable for this growth of wealth? The
     spread of intelligence amongst the masses of the people, the
     improvements in sanitation and in the general condition of the
     people. These have all contributed towards the efficiency of the
     people, _even as wealth-producing machines_. Take, for instance,
     such legislation as the Educational Acts and the Public Health
     Acts; they have cost much money, but they have made infinitely
     more. That is true of all legislation which improves the conditions
     of life for the people. An educated, well-fed, well-clothed,
     well-housed people _invariably leads to the growth of a numerous
     well-to-do class_. If _property_ were to grudge a substantial
     contribution towards proposals which insure the security which is
     one of the essential conditions of its existence or toward keeping
     from poverty and privation the old people whose lives of industry
     and toil have either created that wealth or made it productive,
     then _property_ would be not only shabby, but shortsighted."
     (Italics mine.)[49]


The property interests should be far-sighted enough to support the
present economic and labor reforms, not because there is any fear in
Great Britain either from a revolutionary Socialist movement or from an
organized political or labor union upheaval, for Mr. Lloyd George
ridicules both these bogeys, but because such reforms _contribute
towards the efficiency of the people, even as wealth-producing
machines_--and increase the incomes of the wealthy and the well-to-do.

Mr. Lloyd George continued:--


     "We have, more especially during the last 60 years, in this country
     accumulated wealth to an extent which is almost unparalleled in the
     history of the world, but we have done it at _an appalling waste of
     human material_. We have drawn upon the robust vitality of the
     rural areas of Great Britain, and especially Ireland, and spent its
     energies recklessly in the devitalizing atmosphere of urban
     factories and workshops as if the supply were inexhaustible. We are
     now beginning to realize that we have been spending _our capital_,
     at a disastrous rate, and it is time we should take a real,
     concerted, national effort to replenish it. I put forward this
     proposal, not a very extravagant one, _as a beginning_." (My
     italics.)[50]


In order to do away with the economic waste of profitable "human
material" and the still more serious exhaustion of the supply, the
propertyless wage earner or salaried man for the first time obtains a
definite status in the official political economy; he becomes the
property of the nation viewed "as a business firm," a part of "our"
capital. His position was much like a peasant or a laborer during the
formation of the feudal system. To obtain any status at all, to become
half free he had to become somebody's "man." Now he is the "man," the
industrial asset, of the government. This paternal attitude towards the
individual, however, is not at all similar to the paternalist attitude
towards capital. While the individual capitalist often does not object
to having his capital reckoned as a part of the resources of a
government which capitalists as a class control,--roughly speaking in
proportion to their wealth,--we can picture his protests if either _his_
personal activity or ability or _his_ private income were similarly
viewed as dependent for their free use and development on the benevolent
patronage of the State. However, for the _workers_ to become an asset of
the State, even while the latter is still viewed primarily as a
commercial institution and remains in the hands of the business class,
is undoubtedly a revolutionary advance.

Mr. Winston Churchill also gives, as the basis for the whole program,
the need of putting an end to that "waste of earning power" and of "the
stamina, the virtue, safety, and honor of the British race," that is due
to existing poverty and economic maladjustment.[51] Mr. John A. Hobson,
a prominent economist and radical, shows that the purpose of the "New
Liberalism" is the full development of "the productive resources of our
land and labor,"[52] and denies that this broad purpose has anything to
do with Socialist collectivism.

Professor Simon Patten of the University of Pennsylvania writes very
truly about the proposed labor reforms, that "they can cause poverty to
disappear and can give a secure income to every family," without
requiring any sacrifice on the part of the possessing classes. No one
has shown more clearly or in fewer words how intimately connected are
the advance of the worker and the further increase of profits. "Social
improvement," Professor Patten says, "takes him [the workman] from
places where poverty and diseases oppress, and introduce him to the full
advantage of a better position.... It gives to the city workman the air,
light, and water that the country workman has, but without his
inefficiency and isolation. It gives more working years and more working
days in each year, with more zeal and vitality in each working day;
health makes work pleasant, and pleasant work becomes efficiency when
the environment stimulates men's powers to the full.... The unskilled
workman must be transformed into an efficient citizen; children must be
kept from work, and women must have shorter hours and better
conditions."[53]

Professor Patten has even drawn up a complete scientific program of
social reforms which lead _necessarily_ to the economic advantage of
_all_ elements in a community without any decrease of the existing
inequalities of wealth. "The incomes and personal efforts of those
favorably situated," says Professor Patten, "can reduce the evils of
poverty without the destruction of that _upon which their wealth and the
progress of society depend_." (Italics mine.)

The reform program begins with childhood and extends over every period
of the worker's life. Ex-President Eliot of Harvard and President Hadley
of Yale and other leading educators propose that its principles be
applied to the nation's children. Dr. Eliot insists that greater
emphasis should be laid on vocational and physical training and the
teaching of hygiene and the preservation of the health, which will
secure the approval of every "State Socialist." Anything that can be
done to elevate the health of the nation, and to increase its industrial
efficiency by the teaching of trades, will pay the nation, considered as
a going concern, a business undertaking of all its capitalists. It might
not improve the opportunity of the wage earners to rise to better-paid
positions, because it would augment competition among skilled laborers;
while it would probably improve wages somewhat, it might not advance
them proportionately to the general increase of wealth; it might leave
the unequal distribution of wealth, political power, and opportunity
even more unequal than they are to-day, but as long as the nation as a
whole is richer and the masses of the people better off, "State
Socialists" will apparently be satisfied.

President Hadley is even more definite than Dr. Eliot. The new
educational policy so thoroughly in accord with the interests of the
business and capitalist classes demands "for the people" every
opportunity in education that will make the individual a better
_worker_, while it allows his development as a _man_ and a _citizen_ to
take care of itself. President Hadley urges that we follow along German
lines in public education. What he feels we still lack, and ought to
take from Germany, are the "industrial training and the military
training of the people": the children are forced to go to the elementary
schools for a time, and during that part of their education they are
kept out of the shops and the factories. They, however, receive
instructions in the rudiments of shop and factory work."[54] In other
words, the children are kept out of the factory, but the shop and the
factory are permitted to enter the school. Doubtless an improvement, but
not yet the sort of education any business or professional man would
desire for his own children at twelve, fourteen, or sixteen years of
age.[55]

"State Socialism" looks at the individual, and especially the
workingman, almost wholly from the standpoint of what the community, as
_at present organized_, the capitalists being the chief shareholders, is
able to make out of him. Each newborn child represents so much cost to
the community for his education. If he dies, the community loses so and
so much. If he lives, he brings during his life such and such a sum to
the community, and it is worth while to spend a considerable amount both
to prevent his early death or disablement and to increase his industrial
efficiency while he lives. According to this view, Professor Irving
Fisher of Yale has calculated that the annual child crop in the United
States is worth about seven billion dollars per annum, a sum almost
equal to the annual value of our agricultural crops. In both cases great
economies are possible. Professor Fisher has estimated that 47 per cent
of the children who die in America less than five years old could be
saved at an average cost of $20 per child, which means an annual loss to
the nation of $576,000,000, according to Professor Fisher's calculation
of what would have been the future value of all the children now lost
(above their cost of maintenance).


     "We have counted it our good fortune," says Professor Fisher, "to
     dwell in a land where nature has been so prodigal that we have not
     needed to fear want. We are only beginning to realize that this
     very prodigality of nature has produced a spirit of prodigality in
     men.

     "It is the purpose of the conservation movement to rebuke and
     correct this national trait, and the resources of science are now
     concentrated in this mighty effort in that direction.

     "The conservation of human life will, I believe, constitute the
     grandest movement of the twentieth century.

     "Not only do human beings constitute by far the greatest part of
     our natural resources, but the waste of human life and strength is
     by far the greatest of all wastes. In the report of President
     Roosevelt's conservation commission, although his commission was
     primarily appointed to conserve our natural rather than our vital
     resources, it was pointed out that _human beings, considered as
     capitalized working power, are worth three to five times all our
     other capital_, and that, even on a very moderate estimate, the
     total waste and unnecessary loss of our national vitality amounts
     to _one and one half billions of dollars per year_."[56]


When the "State Socialist" policy has taken possession of the world,
which may be in the very near future, or, more correctly speaking, when
the world's business and politics are so organized as to give this
policy a chance for a full and free application, is it not evident that
every advanced nation will consider it as being to its business interest
to put an end to this vast, unnecessary loss of life? And if half a
billion a year is lost through unnecessary deaths of very young
children, is it not probable that an equal sum is lost through death
later in childhood or early youth, another similar sum through
underfeeding in later life, or through lack of sufficient exercise,
rest, recreation, and outdoor life, and a far larger amount through lack
of industrial training? Is it not certain that unnecessary industrial
accidents, sickness due to overwork and early old age due to overstrain,
are responsible for another enormous loss? And, finally, is not
unemployment costing a billion a year to the "nation, considered as a
business firm"? This last-named loss has been calculated, for the United
States alone, as 1,300,000 years of labor time annually. If a round
million of these years are saved--if we estimate their value in profits
at the low figure of $1000 each,--we have another billion (even
allowing for 300,000 unemployable).[57]

Is it not clear that nearly every element in the community will soon
combine to do all that is humanly possible to put an end to such costly
abuses and neglect; and that conscientious and wholesale efforts to
preserve the public health and to secure industrial efficiency cannot be
a matter of the distant future, when movements in that direction have
already been initiated in Great Britain, Australia, Germany, and some
other countries? Sir Joseph Ward, Premier of New Zealand, says that the
people of that country have already calculated the value of each
child--and, on this basis, made it the subject of certain governmental
investments. He says:--


     "To return to the annuity fund, apart from the assistance it gives
     to the wife and children if the father is sick, it also contributes
     the services of a medical man for a woman at childbirth, and the
     State pays $30 for that purpose. If all of this is not needed to
     pay the physician, the rest may be used for carrying on the home.
     This has all been done with the view to helping the birth rate and
     bringing into the world children under the most healthy conditions
     possible, so that they may have a free chance of attaining man's or
     woman's estate.

     "We assess the value of an adult in our country as $1500. So, _from
     a business standpoint and on national grounds_, we regard the
     expenditure of a sum up to $30 as judicious, when the value of the
     infant to the country may be fifty times that sum. Thus the small
     wage earner's wife and children are provided for, and his fear
     about being able to provide for a large family is decreased."
     (Italics mine.)[58]


"I am of the opinion," declares Mr. Churchill, "that the State should
increasingly assume the position of the reserve employer of labor," and
that "the State must increasingly and earnestly concern itself with the
care of the sick and aged, and, above all, of the children." He looks
forward "to the universal establishment of the _minimum standards_ of
life and labor, and their progressive elevation as the increasing
energies of production may permit."[59]

Mr. Churchill rejects the supposition that the government intends to
stop with the extension of the eight-hour law to miners. "I welcome and
support this measure, not only for its own sake," he said, "but more
because it is, I believe, simply the precursor of the general movement
which is in progress, all over the world, and in other industries
besides this, towards reconciling the conditions of labor with the
well-ascertained laws of science and health."[60]

It might be supposed that this measure would prove costly to employers,
but this is only a short-sighted view. In the first place, working for
less hours, the miners will produce somewhat more per hour, but an even
more important ultimate benefit comes from the fact that the most
experienced miners, those who are most profitable, being subject to less
overstrain, will have a longer working life.

Another measure already enacted towards establishing "a national
minimum" applies to the wages in ready-made tailoring and some less
important industries, to which shirt-waist making is soon to be added.
These are known as the "sweated" trades, "where the feebleness and
ignorance of the workers and their isolation from each other render them
an easy prey to the tyranny of bad masters and middlemen one step above
them upon the lowest rungs of the ladder, and themselves held in the
grip of the same relentless forces,"--where "you have a condition not of
progress but of progressive degeneration." Mr. Churchill asked
Parliament to regard these industries as "sick and diseased," and "to
deal with them in exactly the same mood and temper as we should deal
with sick people," and accordingly boards were established for the
purpose of setting up a minimum wage.[61]

But if employers are forced to pay higher wages, it may be thought that
they will lose from the law. This Mr. Churchill effectively denies.


     "In most instances," he says, "the best employers in the trade are
     already paying wages equal or superior to the probable minimum
     which the Trade Board will establish. The inquiries I have set on
     foot in the various trades scheduled have brought to me most
     satisfactory assurances from nearly all the employers to whom my
     investigations have addressed themselves.... But most of all I have
     put my faith in the practical effect of a powerful band of
     employers, perhaps a majority, who, whether from high motives or
     self-interest, or from a combination of the two--they are not
     necessarily incompatible ideas--will form a vigilant and instructed
     police, knowing every turn and twist of the trade, and who will
     labor constantly to protect themselves from being undercut by the
     illegal competition of unscrupulous rivals."


Mr. Churchill claims that employers who are trying to pursue such
trades with modern machinery and modern methods are more seriously
hampered by the competition of the "sweaters" than they are by that of
foreign employers. "I cannot believe," he concludes, "that the process
of raising the degenerate and parasitical portion of these trades up to
the level of the most efficient branches of the trade, if it is
conducted by those conversant with the conditions of the trade and
interested in it, will necessarily result in an increase in the price of
the ultimate product. It may even sensibly diminish it through better
methods."[62] Mr. Churchill is able to point out, as with most of the
other reforms, that in one country or another they are already being put
into effect, the legislation against "sweating" being already in force
in Bavaria and Baden, as well as in Australia, under a somewhat
different form.

But the most striking of the British labor reforms has yet to be
mentioned. Not only were the present old age pensions established by the
common consent of all the political parties, but a law has now been
enacted--also with the approval of all parties (and only twenty-one
negative votes in Parliament)--to apply the same methods of state
insurance of workingmen to sickness, accidents, and even to
unemployment. The old age pensions were already more radical than those
of Prussia in that the workingmen do not have to contribute under the
British law, while the National Insurance Bill as now enacted surpasses
both the former British measure and the German precedent in everything,
except that it demands a lesser total sum from the government. In the
insurance against accidents, sickness, and unemployment the government,
instead of contributing the whole amount, gives from two ninths to one
third, one third to one half being assessed against employers and one
sixth to four ninths against employees. At first this reform, it is
expected, will cost only about $12,500,000, and it will be several years
before the maximum expenditure of $25,000,000 is reached. But the
measure is radical in several particulars: it applies to clerks,
domestic servants, and many other classes usually not reached by
measures of the kind,--a total of some 14,000,000 persons; it provides
$5,000,000 a year for the maintenance of sanatoria for tuberculosis and
creates new health boards to improve sanitation and educate the people
in hygiene; and it furnishes physicians and medicines for the insured,
thus organizing practically the whole medical force and drug supply as
far as the masses are concerned.

In fact, the whole scheme may be looked on not so much as a measure to
aid the sick and wounded of industry financially, as to set at work an
automatic pressure working towards the preservation of the health,
strength, and productive capacity of the people, and incidentally to the
increase of profits. As Mr. Lloyd George said in an interview printed in
the _Daily Mail_: "I want to make the nation more healthy than it is.
The great mass of illness which afflicts us weighs us down and is easily
preventable. It is a better thing to make a man healthy than to pay him
so much a week when he is ill."

Mr. Lloyd George points out that the German employers have found that
the governmental insurance against accidents has proved a good
investment:--


     "When Bismarck was strengthening the foundation of the new German
     Empire, one of the very first tasks he undertook was the
     organization of a scheme which insured the German workmen and their
     families against the worst evils arising from these common
     accidents of life. And a superb scheme it was. It has saved an
     incalculable amount of human misery to hundreds of thousands and
     possibly millions of people.

     "Wherever I went in Germany, north or south, and whomever I met,
     whether it was an _employer_ or a workman, a _Conservative_ or a
     Liberal, a Socialist or a Trade-union Leader--men of all ranks,
     sections and creeds, with one accord joined in lauding the benefits
     which have been conferred upon Germany by this beneficent policy.
     Several wanted extensions, but there was not one who wanted to go
     back. The employers admitted that at first they did not quite like
     the new burdens it cast upon them, _but they now fully realized the
     advantages which even they derived from the expenditure_, for it
     had raised the standard of the workman throughout Germany." (My
     italics.)[63]


It is not only worry and anxiety that were removed, but definite and
irregular sums that workers or their employers had formerly set aside
for insurance against accident, sickness, and old age, were now
calculated and regulated on a business basis more profitable to both
parties to the labor contract. It is true that in Germany the employers
only pay part of the cost, the rest being borne almost entirely by
employees, while in Great Britain--as far as the old age pensions
go--the government pays all, and is likely to pay a considerable part,
perhaps a third, in the other insurance schemes. But the plan by which
the government pays all may prove even less costly to the employing
class, since landlords and inactive capitalists on the one hand and the
working people on the other, pay the larger part of the taxes--so that
state insurance in this thoroughgoing form is perhaps destined to be
even more popular than the German kind.

The most radical provision of the new bill is that which deals with
unemployment. Though applying only to the engineering and building
trades, it reaches 2,400,000 people. It proposes to give a weekly
allowance to every insured person who loses employment through no fault
of his own, though nothing is given in strikes and lockouts. And it is
intended to extend this measure to other employments. This is only the
first installment.

It is probable that Mr. Churchill's project that the State should
undertake to abolish unemployment altogether is the most radical of all
the proposed policies, excepting only that to gradually expropriate all
the future unearned increment of land.


     "An industrial disturbance in the manufacturing districts and the
     great cities of this country," says Mr. Churchill, "presents itself
     to the ordinary artisan in exactly the same way as the failure of
     crops in a large province in India presents itself to the Hindoo
     cultivator. The means by which he lives are suddenly removed, and
     ruin in a form more or less swift and terrible stares him instantly
     in the face. That is a contingency which seems to fall within the
     most primary and fundamental obligations of any organization of
     government. I do not know whether in all countries or in all ages
     that responsibility could be maintained, but I do say that here and
     now, in this wealthy country and in this _scientific_ age, it does
     in my opinion exist, is not discharged, and will have to be
     discharged."[64]


Mr. Churchill proposes not only to guard against periods of unemployment
which extend to all industries in the case of industrial crises, but
also to provide more steady employment for those who are unoccupied
during the slack seasons of the year or while passing from one employer
to another. Above all he plans that the youth of the nation shall not
waste their strength entirely in unremunerative employment or in
idleness, but that every boy or girl under eighteen years of age should
be learning a trade as well as making a living. Few will deny that the
program of Mr. Churchill and his associates in this direction marks a
great step towards that "more complete or elaborate social organization"
which he advocates.

One of the most significant of all the measures by which Mr. Churchill
plans to lend the aid of the State to the raising of the level of the
working classes is his "Development" Act. The object of this bill, in
the language of Mr. Churchill, is "to provide a fund for the economic
development of our country, for the encouragement of agriculture, for
afforestation, for the colonization of England (the settlement of
agricultural land), and for the making of roads, harbors, and other
public works." Stated in these terms, the Development Act is a measure
of "State Socialism" for the general industrial advance of the country,
but the main argument in its behalf lies in that clause of the bill
which provides, to quote from Mr. Churchill again: "that the prosecution
of these works shall be regulated, as far as possible, by the conditions
of the labor market, so that in a very bad year of unemployment they can
be expanded, so as to increase the demand for labor at times of
exceptional slackness, and thus correct and counterbalance the cruel
fluctuations of the labor market."[65]

We have seen that Mr. Churchill has justified these measures, not as
increasing the relative share of the working classes, but as adding to
the total product. They are to add to the industrial efficiency of the
nation as a whole, and so incidentally to bring a greater income to
all,--but in much the same proportions as wealth now distributes itself.

In this country Mr. Roosevelt has advocated a typical "State Socialist"
program of labor reforms including:--


     "A workday of not more than eight hours."

     "The abolition of the sweat-shop system."

     "Sanitary inspection of factory, workshop, mine, and home."

     "Liability of employers for injury to body and loss of life" and
     "an automatically fixed compensation."

     "The passage and enforcement of rigid anti-child-labor laws which
     will cover every portion of this country."

     "Laws limiting woman's labor."


All these measures except the first were adopted long ago, in
considerable part at least, by the reactionary government of Prussia and
are being introduced generally in monarchical and aristocratic Europe,
and I have shown that the eight-hour day has been instituted for miners
in Great Britain and that Mr. Winston Churchill proposed to extend it.
Mr. Roosevelt himself concedes that "we are far behind the older and
poorer countries" in such matters. But an examination of the action of
State legislatures during the year just past will show that we are
making rapid progress in the same direction.

"Social" or "industrial" efficiency, promoted by the government, is
already the central idea in American labor reform. Government insurance
against old age, accident, sickness, and unemployment is regarded, not
as the "workingmen's compensation" for injuries done them by society,
but as an automatic means of forcing backward employers to economize the
community's limited supply of labor power--not to wear it out too soon,
not to overstrain it, not to damage it irreparably or lay it up
unnecessarily for repairs, and not to leave it idle. Mr. Louis Brandeis
points out that mutual fire insurance has appealed to certain
manufacturers because in twenty years it has resulted in measures that
have prevented more than two thirds of the expected losses by fire.
Similarly, he says, "if society and industry and the individual were
made to pay from day to day the actual cost of sickness, accident,
invalidity, premature death, or premature old age consequent upon
excessive hours of labor, of unhygienic conditions of work, of
unnecessary risk, and of irregularity in employment, those evils would
be rapidly reduced."[66]

This, as Mr. Brandeis says, is undoubtedly on the "road to social
efficiency" and its practical application will convince employers better
than "mere statements of cost, however clear and forceful." It will
remove a vast sea of human misery, and the process will immensely enrich
society. But like the other State Capitalist reforms (until they are
supplemented by some more radical policy) it will at the same time
automatically bring about an increase of existing inequalities of income
and an intensification of social injustice.

Mr. William Hard in a study of workingmen's compensation for
_Everybody's Magazine_ has reached a similar conclusion to that of Mr.
Brandeis: "Far from attacking the present relationship between employer
and employee, automatic compensation specifically recognizes it. The
backbone of the present so-called 'capitalism'; namely, the hiring of
the unpropertied class by the propertied class to do work for wages, is
not caused by automatic compensation to lose a single vertebra, and
automatic compensation has nothing whatever to do with Socialism except
that it is accomplished under the supervision of the State." If
compulsory insurance against accidents "has nothing whatever to do with
Socialism," neither have compulsory insurance against sickness, against
old age, against certain phases of unemployment.

The social reformers propose a labor policy that is _for_ the people
whether they like it or not; the only "rights" it gives them are "the
right to live" and "the right to work." Its first object is to produce
more efficient and profitable laborers, its second to have the
government take control of organized charity, to which aspect I must now
turn. Most of the labor reforms, enacted to secure for the laborer "what
for the Nation's sake even the poorest of its subjects should have,"
have been urged more strongly by philanthropists and political
economists than by representatives of the workers. In America "the
minimum wage," for example, is being worked up by a special committee
consisting almost exclusively of this class, while workmen's
compensation has been indorsed by the most varied political and social
elements, from the chief organ of American philanthropists, and Theodore
Roosevelt, to the Hearst newspapers.

With "the national efficiency" in view, Mr. Webb asks the British
government to take up the policy of a "national minimum," including not
only a minimum below which wages are not to fall, but also a similar
minimum of leisure, sanitation, and education.[67] Mr. Edward Devine,
editor of the leading philanthropic and reform journal in America, the
_Survey_, outlines an identical policy and also insists like Mr. Webb
that the Socialist can lay no exclusive claim to it.


     "The social economist [_i.e._ reformer]," writes Mr. Devine, "is
     sometimes confused with the Utopian [_i.e._ Socialist]. They are,
     however, very distinct types of reformers. The Utopian dreams of
     ideals. The social economist seeks to establish the normal.... The
     social worker is primarily concerned, _not_ with the lifting of
     humanity to a higher level, but with eradicating the maladjustments
     and abnormalities, the needless inequalities, which prevent our
     realizing our own reasonable standards."


Speaking in the name of American reformers in general, Mr. Devine
demands for the lower levels of society "normal standards" of life,
which are equivalent to Mr. Webb's national minimum, and definitely
denies the applicability of "the question-begging epithet of Socialism
which is hurled at all the reformers engaged in such work."

"Whether it belongs to the Socialist program," Mr. Devine objects, "is a
question so far as we can see of interest only to the Socialists. Our
advocacy of such laws as we enumerate has no Socialist origin." He
claims that the "expenditures legitimately directed towards the removal
of adverse social conditions, are not uneconomic and unproductive," and
that "they do not represent a mere indulgence of altruistic sentiment,"
but are "investments"; of which prison reforms and the expenditures for
the prevention of tuberculosis are examples.[68]

Another phrase for the proposed saving of the national labor resources
and the introduction of minimum standards in its philanthropic aspect is
"the abolition of poverty." When he speaks of this as a definite and by
no means a distant reform, the reformer refers to _that extreme form of
poverty_, so widely prevalent to-day, which results in the physical
deterioration and the industrial inefficiency of a large part of the
population.

This sort of poverty is a burden on industry and the capitalists, and
Mr. Lloyd George was widely applauded when he said that it can and must
be done away with. He has calculated, too, that this abolition can be
accomplished _at half the cost of the annual increase in armaments_.


     "This is a War Budget," said Mr. Lloyd George in presenting the
     reform program of 1910. "It is for waging implacable war against
     poverty and squalidness. I cannot help hoping and believing that
     before this generation has passed away we shall have advanced a
     great step toward the time when poverty, and the wretchedness and
     the human degradation which always follows in its camp, will be as
     remote from the people of this country as the wolves which once
     infested its forests."


Mr. H. G. Wells, who has been a leading figure in the British reform
world and in the Fabian Society for many years, speaks on this reform
movement not merely as a keen outside observer. As an advocate of more
radical measures, he argues that there is nothing Socialistic about "the
national minimum." This "philanthropic administrative Socialism," as Mr.
Wells calls it, is very remote, he says, from the spirit of his own.[69]
Yet, critical as Mr. Wells is, he also advocates a policy that could be
summed up in the single phrase, "industrial efficiency." "The advent of
a strongly Socialistic government would mean no immediate revolutionary
changes at all," he says. "There would be no doubt an educational
movement to increase the economic value and productivity of the average
citizen of the next generation, and legislation _upon the lines laid
down by the principle of the 'minimum wage'_ to check the waste of our
national resources by destructive employment. Also a shifting of the
burden of taxation of enterprise to rent would begin." (My italics.) The
Liberals who are already setting these reforms on foot disclaim any
connection whatever with Socialism, but Mr. Wells argues that they do
not realize the real nature of their policy.

The establishment of this paternal "State Socialism," whether based on a
philanthropic "national minimum" or a scientific policy of "industrial
efficiency," many other "Socialists" besides those of Great Britain
consider to be the chief task of Socialism itself in our generation.
Among the latter was the late Edmond Kelly, a member of the Socialist
party in this country at the time of his death, who, in his posthumous
work, "Twentieth Century Socialism," has summed up his political faith
in much the same way as the anti-Socialist reformer might have done. He
says that three of the four chief objects of Socialism are the
organization of society, first "to prevent that overwork and
unemployment which lead to drunkenness, pauperism, prostitution, and
crime"; second, "to preserve the resources of the country"; and third,
"to produce with the greatest economy, with the greatest
efficiency."[70] Yet Mr. Carnegie and Mr. Rockefeller, as well as Mr.
Roosevelt, agree to all three of these policies. They are precisely what
the leading Socialists have called "State Socialism."

A part of the working people, also, are disposed to subordinate their
own conceptions of what is just, in spite of their own better judgment,
to an exclusive longing for an immediate trial of this kind of State
benevolence. This is expressed in the widely used phrase, "every man to
have the right to work and live,"--employed editorially, for example, by
Mr. Berger, now Socialist Congressman. What is demanded by this
principle is _not a greater proportion of the national income or an
increasing share of the control over the national government, but the
"State Socialist" remedies, employment, and the minimum wage_. In its
origin this is the begging on the part of the economically lowest
element, a class which Henry George well remarks has been degraded by
poverty until it considers that "the chance to labor is a boon."

Some years ago the municipal platform of the Milwaukee Socialists said
that it must be borne in mind "that the famine-stricken is better
served with a piece of bread than with the most brilliant program of the
future" and that "in view of the hopelessness of an immediate radical
betterment in the position of the working class" it is necessary to
emphasize the importance of attaining "the next best."[71] Here again
was admitted complete dependence on those who own the bread and have the
disposition of "the next best" in political reforms. When capitalism is
a little better organized, the working people will be guaranteed "the
next best": steady work and the food, conditions, and training necessary
to make that work efficient--just as surely as valuable slaves were
given these rights by intelligent masters or as valuable horses even are
given care and kindly treatment to-day.

"A Socialist Social Worker" has published anonymously in the _Survey_ a
letter which presents in a few words the whole Socialist position as to
this type of reform. The writer claims that the very fact that he is a
social worker shows that even as a Socialist he welcomes "every addition
to the standard of living that may be wrested or argued from the
Capitalist class," since all Socialists recognize that "no
undernourished class ever won a fight against economic exploitation, but
that the more is given the more will be demanded and secured." But he
does not feel that the material betterments have any closer relation to
Socialism.

"The new feudalism," he says, "will care for and conserve the powers of
the human industrial tool as the lord of the manor looked after the
human agricultural implement...." Here is the essential point: the
efficiency of the human industrial tool is to be improved with or
without his consent.


     "Unrestrained Capitalism," says the same writer in explanation of
     his prediction, "has hitherto invariably meant the physical
     deterioration of the working class and the marginal disintegration
     of society--the loosening of social ties and the pushing of
     marginal members of society over the brink into poverty, pauperism,
     vagrancy, drunkenness, prostitution, wife desertion and crime, _but
     this deterioration is not the main indictment against capitalism_,
     and will be remedied by the wiser capitalists themselves. The main
     indictment of capitalism is that it selfishly and stupidly blocks
     the road of orderly and continuous progress for the race."


The proposal of the social reformers, as far as the workers are
concerned aims to put an end to this deterioration, to standardize
industry or to establish a minimum of wages, leisure, health, and
industrial efficiency. The writer says that the Socialists aim at
something more than this.


     "The criterion of social justice in every civilized community," he
     writes, "is, and always has been, not how large or how intense is
     the misery of the social debtor class, but what is done with the
     social surplus of industry? It was formerly used to build pyramids,
     to create a landed or ecclesiastical or literary aristocracy, to
     conduct wars, or to provide the means of a sensuous life for the
     majority of a privileged class, and the means of dilettantism for
     the minority of it. _The difference between the near Socialist and
     the true Socialist is principally that the main attention of the
     former is given to the negative side of the social problem--the
     condition of the submerged classes, while that of the latter is
     given to the positive side of the problem--the wonderful
     development, power, and life that would come to that race and the
     individual if a wise and social use were to be made of the surplus
     of industry._"


FOOTNOTES:

[46] "Fabianism and Empire," p. 62.

[47] Articles by Hyman Strunsky on Welfare Work, _The Coming Nation_,
1910.

[48] do, do.

[49] Lloyd George, _op. cit._, p. 93.

[50] Lloyd George, _op. cit._, p. 81.

[51] Winston Churchill, _op. cit._, p. 101.

[52] John A. Hobson, "The Crisis of Liberalism," p. 3.

[53] Professor Simon Patten, The Annals of the American Academy of
Political and Social Science, July, 1908.

[54] Speech of President Hadley before the Brooklyn Institute of Art and
Sciences (1909).

[55] A more democratic and truthful view of the German educational
system is that of Dr. Abraham Flexner (see the _New York Times_, October
1, 1911). He says that the Germans have to solve the following kind of
an educational problem:--

"What sort of educational program can we devise that will subserve all
the various national policies--that will enable Germany to be a great
scientific nation, that will enable it to carry on an aggressive
colonial and industrial policy, and yet not throw us into the arms of
democracy? Their present educational system is their highly effective
reply.

"Our problem is a very different one," Dr. Flexner remarks. "Our
historic educational problem has been and is quite independent of any
position we might be able to achieve in the world. That problem has
always been: How can we frame conditions in which individuals can
realize the best that is in them?"

Dr. Flexner is then reported to have quoted the following from a
Springfield Republican editorial:--

"Germany could readily train her masses with a view to industrial
efficiency, whereas our industrial efficiency is only one of the
efficiencies we care about; the American wishes to develop in many other
ways, and to have his educational system help him to do it."

[56] _New York Times_, Nov. 12, 1911.

[57] F. H. Streightoff, "The Standard of Living among the Industrial
People of America."

[58] Interview with Sir Joseph Ward, New York, April 15, 1911.

[59] Winston Churchill, _op. cit._, p. 325.

[60] Winston Churchill, _op. cit._, p. 186.

[61] Winston Churchill, _op. cit._, pp. 240, 243.

[62] Winston Churchill, _op. cit._, pp. 250, 252.

[63] Lloyd George, _op. cit._, pp. 68-69.

[64] Winston Churchill, _op. cit._, p. 197.

[65] Winston Churchill, _op. cit._, p. 197.

[66] The _Outlook_, June, 1911.

[67] Sidney Webb, the _Contemporary Review_ (1908) and "Basis and Policy
of Socialism," pp. 83, 84.

[68] The _Survey_ (New York), 1910, pp. 81-82, 466, 731-732.

[69] H. G. Wells, "First and Last Things," p. 133.

[70] Edmond Kelly, "Twentieth-Century Socialism," p. 314.

[71] _Vorwaerts_ (Milwaukee), Feb. 3, 1898.



CHAPTER V

COMPULSORY ARBITRATION


So far I have spoken only of the constructive side of the new
capitalism's labor program, its purpose to produce healthy and
industrially efficient laborers so as to increase profits. "State
Socialism" gives the workingman as a citizen certain carefully measured
political rights, and legislates actively in his behalf as a
profit-producing employee at work, but its policy is reversed the moment
it deals with him and his organizations _as owners and sellers of
labor_.

Towards the individual workers, who are completely powerless either
politically or economically until they are organized, the new capitalism
is, on the whole, both benevolent and actually beneficent. But it does
not propose that organized labor shall obtain a power either in industry
or in government in any way comparable to that of organized capital.

"Successful State Socialism," as Victor S. Clark says in writing of the
Australian experiments, "depends largely upon perfecting public control
over the individual."[72] But compulsory arbitration of labor disputes
which reaches the wage earners' organizations, is far more important to
"State Socialism" than any other form of control over individual. A
considerable measure of individual liberty may be allowed without
endangering this new social polity, and it is even intended
systematically to encourage the more able among the workers by some form
of individual or piece wages--or at least a high degree of
classification of the workers--and by a scheme of promotion that will
utilize the most able in superior positions, and incidentally remove
them out of the way as possible leaders of discontent.

Nor is it intended to use any compulsion on labor organizations beyond
that which is essential to prevent them from securing a power in society
in any way comparable to that of property and capital. For this purpose
compulsory arbitration is the direct and perfect tool. It can be
limited in its application to those industries where the unions really
occupy a position of strategic importance like railroads and coal mines,
and it can be used to attach to the government those employees that are
unable to help themselves. I have mentioned those weaker groups of
employees who would be unable to improve their condition very materially
except by government aid, and, even when so raised to a somewhat higher
level, have no power to harm capitalism. Compulsory arbitration or some
similar device must therefore replace such crudely restrictive and
oppressive measures as have hitherto been applied to the unions.

In the United States all "dangerous" strikes are at present throttled by
court injunctions forbidding the strikers to take any effective action,
and boycotts are held to be forbidden by the Sherman law originally
directed against the "trusts." Recently the Supreme Court decided that
the officers of the American Federation of Labor were not to be
imprisoned for violation of the latter statute. But the decision was
purely on technical grounds, and the court upheld unanimously the
application of the law to the unions. There is little question that the
attorney for the manufacturers, Daniel Davenport, was right when he thus
summed up the court's opinion:--


     "It held that the boycott is illegal; that the victim of the
     boycott has the right to go into court of equity for protection by
     injunction; that such court has the right to enjoin any and every
     act done in enforcing the boycott, including the sending out of
     boycott notices, circulars, etc., that the alleged constitutional
     right of free speech and free press affords the boycotter no
     immunity for such publication; that for a violation of the
     injunction the party violating it is liable to be punished both
     civilly and criminally."


Against this law and the use of injunctions in labor disputes the
Federation of Labor has introduced a bill through Congressman W. B.
Wilson, which aims to free the unions from these legal obstacles by
enacting that no right to continue the relation of employer to employee
or to carry on business shall be construed as property or a property
right; and that no agreement between two or more persons concerning
conditions of employment or its termination shall constitute a
conspiracy or an offense against the law unless it would be unlawful if
done by a single individual, and that, therefore, such an act is not
subject to injunctions. While neither of the great parties has
definitely promised to support this particular measure, one party has
made a vague promise to restrict injunctions, and the leaders of the
progressive wings of both are quite definite about it. Nearly half of
the House of Representatives voted for the repeal of the Sherman law as
applied against union boycotts. Senator La Follette has demanded the
abolition of this species of injunction, and Governor Woodrow Wilson has
accused our federal courts of "elaborating a theory of conspiracy
destined to bring 'the sympathetic strike' and what is termed 'the
secondary boycott' under legal condemnation."

Such reforms are not as radical as might appear to Americans, for the
boycott is legal in Germany, while the crime of "conspiracy" was
repealed in Great Britain in 1875, and the rights of strikers were
further protected in that country by the repeal of the Taff Vale
decision against picketing a few years ago, and yet unions are in no
very strong position there. And weak as they are, the talk of compulsory
arbitration is growing, and it seems only question of time until some
modification of it is adopted. And, though the abuse of injunctions and
the other forms of anti-union laws and decisions now prevailing will
probably be done away with in this country, there is little doubt that
here also employers will use some great coal or railroad strike as a
pretext for enacting a compulsory arbitration law.[73]

Similarly, as governments continue to take on new industrial functions,
great importance is attached to the right of government employees, now
denied, to organize and to join unions. Senator La Follette and other
progressives also champion this right against President Taft, and will
doubtless win their fight, but, as I shall show later a right to
organize does not mean a right to strike--and there seems no probability
that any government will fail to answer the effort to strike on any
very large scale either by punishment for conspiracy against the State
or by excluding the strikers permanently from government employment.
They will doubtless be offered, as in France, instead of the right to
strike, the right to submit their grievances as a body, if they wish it,
to some government board (see Part III, Chapter VI).

The Australasian labor leaders were the first and are still the chief
advocates of compulsory arbitration among the unionists, and if they
find it used against them they have nobody but themselves to blame. That
Labor is disappointed in the result in those countries is shown by the
fact that of late years, both in Australia and New Zealand, the most
important strikes have been settled outside of the compulsory
arbitration acts, and Mr. Clark states that he is unaware of any
important exception.

But that the workers in Australia still hope to use this legislation for
their purposes is shown by the referendum of 1911, by which they sought
to nationalize the State laws on the subject. At the time of the
railroad strike in Victoria, Australia, in 1903, a law was passed which
imposed a penalty of "twelve months' imprisonment or a fine of one
hundred pounds" for engaging in a strike on government railways, and
made a man liable to arrest without warrant or bail "for advising a
strike orally or by publication, or for attending any meetings of more
than six persons for the purpose of encouraging strikers." Even then the
limit had not been reached. In 1909 the Parliament of New South Wales
passed an act especially directed against strikes in any industry which
produced "the necessary commodities of life [these being defined as
coal, gas, water, and food] the privation of which may tend to endanger
human life or cause serious bodily injury," and the penalty of twelve
months' imprisonment of the Victorian law was extended to all this vast
group of industries also. The law of New South Wales was most stringent,
providing that any one taking part in a strike meeting under these
circumstances is also liable to twelve months' imprisonment, and that
the police may break into the headquarters of any union and seize any
documents "which they reasonably suspect to relate to any walk-out or
strike." Under this law the well-known labor leader, Peter Bowling, was
sentenced to one year of imprisonment.

The unions violently denounced this enactment, but chiefly as they had
denounced previous legislation, on the ground that it permitted
_unorganized_ workmen to apply for relief under the law. That is to say,
while the employers were using the law to make striking a crime, they
were extending such benefits as it produced to the nonunion workers who
can often be used as tools for their purposes. But the astounding hold
that "State Socialism" has on the Australian masses, especially on the
working people, is shown by the steadfast belief that this measure can
be amended so as to operate to their interest. Bowling and his unions
made a serious agitation for the general strike against the coercive
measure just mentioned, but it was only by a tie vote that the New South
Wales Labour Congress even favored protest in the form of cancelling the
agreement which the unions had made under the Industrial Disputes Acts,
while in the next elections New South Wales returned a majority of labor
representatives opposing Bowling's policy of radical protest. That is,
the majority of the working people still express confidence in the
possibilities of compulsory arbitration, and even want to extend it.

Professor Le Rossignol of the United States and Mr. William D. Stewart
of New Zealand have undertaken a careful and elaborate investigation of
compulsory arbitration in New Zealand.[74] A reference to a few of their
quotations from original documents will show the nature and
possibilities of this coercive measure as it has developed in the
country of its origin. The original law in New Zealand was introduced by
the Honorable William Pember Reeves, the Minister of Labor, in 1894, and
was supported by the labor leaders. Mr. Reeves says: "What the act was
primarily passed to do was to put an end to the larger and more
dangerous class of strikes and lockouts. The second object of the act's
framer was to set up tribunals to regulate the conditions of labor."

"Mr. Reeves' chief idea," say our authors, "was to prevent strikes, and
a great deal more was said in Parliament about industrial peace than
about the improvement in the conditions of labor which the act was to
bring about. But there can be little doubt that the unionists, without
whose help the act could not have been passed, thought more of the
latter than of the former result, and looked upon the act as an
important part of the new legislation for the benefit of the working
class." Here is the contrast that we must always keep in mind. _The
purpose of the unionists is to see if they cannot obtain improvements in
their conditions; the purpose of the employers and also of "the public"
is to prevent strikes._ One of the most able students of the situation,
Mr. MacGregor, has shown that since the passing of the law the latter
purpose has been thoroughly accomplished, since it has been used not
only as was originally intended, to settle labor disputes which become
so serious as to threaten to "arrest the processes of industry," but
that it has practically built up a "system of governmental regulation of
wages and conditions of labor in general." That is to say, the law has
accomplished rather the purposes of the employers than those of the
employees.

In another point of the most fundamental importance the law has become
something radically different from what the labor leaders who first
favored it hoped it would be. The act of 1894 was entitled: "An act to
encourage the formation of industrial unions and associations and to
facilitate the settlement of industrial disputes by conciliation and
arbitration." By the amendment of 1898 the words, "to encourage the
formation of industrial unions and associations," were left out. Thus
the law ceased to be directly helpful to the very unions which had done
so much to bring it about and are the only means employees possess to
make the law serve them instead of becoming a new weapon for employers.

An early decision of the Arbitration Court in 1896 had declared that
preference should be given to the unionists. "Since the employer was the
judge of the qualifications of his employees, the unionists did not gain
much by this decision," say Le Rossignol and Stewart. "In later awards
it was usually specified that preference was granted only when the union
was not a closed guild, but practically open to every person of good
character who desired to join." These later decisions brought it about
that the so-called preference of unionists became no preference at all.
"The Arbitration Court, except in a few minor cases, has refused to
grant unconditional preference and the unionists, realizing that
preference to an open union is no preference at all, now look to
Parliament for redress and demand statutory unconditional preference to
unionists."

In 1905 strikes and lockouts were made statutory offenses, and a single
judge was given the power practically to force the individual worker to
labor. After ten years of trial the law had become almost
unrecognizable from the workingman's standpoint, and from this moment on
the resistance to it has grown steadily. In a decision rendered in 1906,
the Chief Justice said: "The right of a workman to make a contract is
exceedingly limited. The right of free contract is taken away from the
worker, and he has been placed in a condition of servitude or status,
and the employee must conform to that condition." Not only do judges
have this power, but they have the option of applying or not applying it
as they see fit, for the amendment of 1908 "expressly permits the court
to refuse to make an award if for any reason it considers it desirable
to do so." With a law, then, that in no way aids the unions, as
such--however beneficial it may be at times to the individual
workingman--and which leaves an arbitrary power in the hands of the
judge elected by an agricultural majority, what has been the _concrete_
result? Especially, what principles have been applied by the judges?

Of course the first principle has been that all the working people
should get what is called a "minimum" or a "living" wage, but our
authors show that merely to keep their heads above the sea of pauperism
was not at all the goal of the workers of New Zealand. No doubt they
were already getting such a wage in that relatively new and prosperous
country, yet this was all the new law did or could offer, besides
keeping existing wage scales up to the rising cost of living. Anything
more would have required, not compulsory arbitration, but a series of
revolutionary changes in the whole economic and political structure.
"Another stumbling block in the way of advance in wages is the
inefficient or marginal or no-profit employer, who, hanging on the
ragged edge of ruin, opposes the raising of wages on the ground that the
slightest concession would plunge him into bankruptcy. His protests have
their effect on the Arbitration Court, which tries to do justice to all
the parties and fears to make any change for fear of hurting somebody.
But the organized workers, caring nothing for the interests of any
particular employer, demand improved conditions of labor, though the
inefficient employer be eliminated and all production be carried on by a
few capable employers doing business on a large scale and able to pay
the highest wages."

Here is the essential flaw in compulsory arbitration in competitive
industries (its limitations under monopolies will be mentioned later).
The courts cannot apply a different standard to different employers. On
the other hand, they cannot fix a wage which any employer cannot afford
to pay or which will drive him out of business. That is to say, the
standard tends to be fixed by what the poorest employer can pay, the
employer who, from the standpoint either of capital or of labor or of
efficient industry, really deserves to be driven from business. An
exception is made only against such employers as cannot even afford to
pay a _living_ wage--these alone are eliminated.

Le Rossignol and Stewart show that in view of these considerations the
court has repeatedly stated that "profit sharing could not be taken as a
basis of awards, on the ground that it would involve the necessity of
fixing differential rates of wages, which would lead to confusion, would
be unfair to many employers, and unsatisfactory to the workers
themselves."

With such a principle guiding the court, and it is probably a necessity
under commercial competition, it is no wonder that some of the
representatives of the unions have claimed that annual real wages have
actually fallen. "It is not easy," say our authors, "to show that
compulsory arbitration has greatly benefited the workers of the Colony.
Sweating has been abolished, but it is a question whether it would not
have disappeared in the years of prosperity without the help of the
Arbitration Court. Strikes have been largely prevented, but it is
possible that the workers might have gained as much or more by dealing
directly with their employers than by the mediation of the court. As to
wages, it is generally admitted that they have not increased more than
the cost of living. A careful investigation by Mr. von Dalezman, the
Registrar-General, shows that, while the average wages increased from
1895 to 1907 in the ratio of 84.8 to 104.9, the cost of food increased
in the ratio of 84.3 to 103.3. No calculation was attempted for clothing
or rent." If we take it into account that rents have risen very rapidly
and are especially complained of by the working people, we can see that
real wages, measured by their purchasing power, probably fell in the
first twelve years of compulsory arbitration, notwithstanding that it
was on the whole a period of prosperity in the Colony. For ten years, as
a consequence, the complaints of the workers against the decisions have
been growing, "not because the wages were reduced, but because they
were not increased and because other demands were not granted."

When the unions perceived that the principles for which they have been
contending were not granted, and that their material conditions were not
being improved, it was suggested that the judge of the Arbitration Court
should be elected by the people, in the hope that the unions might
control the election, "but this would be at variance with all British
traditions and could not be brought about," say our authors. No doubt
British tradition has had something to do with the matter, but the
impracticability of this remedy is much more due to the fact that the
employees confront an agricultural and middle class majority.

At first it was the employers who were displeased, but now they are
becoming converted. The employers, say Le Rossignol and Stewart, "have
come to realize that they might have lost more by strikes than they have
ever lost by arbitration; and, since the workers have been dissatisfied,
the employers are more disposed to stand by the act, or to maintain a
neutral attitude, waiting to see what the workingmen will do."

It would seem, then, that the real gain from the law has been through
the abolition of strike losses, and since these had previously been
borne by employers and employees alike, this saving has been pretty
equally divided between the two classes, neither making any relative
gain over the other. But at the bottom this is a blow to the unions, for
the purpose of every union policy is not merely to leave things where
they were before, but to increase the workers' relative share. Any
policy that brings _mutual_ gain requires no organized struggle of any
kind. It is the workers who are the plaintiffs, and the employers the
defendants. When things are left _in statu quo_ it is a moral and actual
defeat for the employees.

This is why, in the last two or three years, the whole labor movement in
New Zealand has arisen against the law. In 1908 the coal miners' union
refused to pay a fine levied against it, alleging that it had no funds.
"In this position the union was generally condemned by public opinion,
but supported by a number of unions by resolutions of sympathy and gifts
of money. Finally, the Arbitration Court decided to proceed against the
men individually for their share of the fine. The whole of the fine,
together with the costs of collection, amounting to over 147 pounds, was
recovered by means of attachment orders under the Wages Attachment Act
of 1895. According to a recent decision of the Court of Appeals, the men
could have been imprisoned, if they had refused to pay, for a maximum
term of one year, but it was not necessary to do this, and public
opinion was not in favor of imprisonment for the offense."

This and other strikes in 1907 and 1908 "caused a widespread opinion
among _employers_ and the general public that the act should be amended
chiefly for the sake of preventing strikes. The laborers, as a class,
were not enthusiastic about the matter, since the proposed amendments
were designed to compel them to obey the law rather than to bring them
any additional benefit." After having been debated for a year, a new law
was passed, and went into effect January 1, 1909. This new law, though
still compulsory, repeals some of the features of the previous
legislation which were most obnoxious to the unions. Even this act,
however, they found entirely unsatisfactory, and "during the year ending
March 31, 1909, sixteen workers' unions, and a like number of employers'
unions, had their registration cancelled for neglect, while two other
unions formally cancelled their registration." This meant practically
that these unions have withdrawn from the field of the act and expressed
their disapproval of compulsory arbitration, even in its recently
modified form. Not only have the unions been withdrawing, but, freed
from its bondage, they began at once to win their most important
strikes, indicating what its effect had been. Even the employees of the
State have been striking, and successfully.

"The workers' position is embarrassing. The original act was passed for
their benefit as well as to prevent strikes, but when it could no longer
be used as a machine for raising wages, they were the first to rebel
against it." There can be no doubt that our authors are correct, and
that the working people are beginning to feel they have been trapped. In
both New Zealand and Australia they have given their approval to an act
which in actual practice may become more dangerous than any weapon that
has ever been forged against them. The only possible way they could gain
any advantage from it would be if they were able to elect the judge of
the Arbitration Court, but, to obtain a political majority for this
purpose, they would have to develop a broad social program which would
appeal to at least a part of the agriculturists as well as to the
working people, but here we turn to the considerations to be brought out
in the next chapter.

Mr. Charles Edward Russell, as the result of two visits to Australasia,
has very ably summed up the Socialist view of compulsory arbitration in
_The Coming Nation_, of which he is joint editor. Mr. Russell says:--


     "The thing is a failure, greatly to the surprise of many capable
     observers, and yet just such a result might have been expected from
     the beginning, and for two perfectly obvious reasons, both of
     which, strange to say, were universally overlooked.

     "In the first place, the court was nominally composed of three
     persons, and really of one. That one was the judge appointed by the
     government.

     "The representative of the employers voted every time for the
     employers; the representative of the unions voted every time for
     the unions; the judge alone decided, and might as well have
     constituted the whole court.

     "At first the judge decided most of the cases in favor of the
     policy of increasing wages. Fine, again. Many wage scales ascended.

     "But the judge, as a rule, did not like his job. He desired to get
     to the Supreme Court as rapidly as possible; to the Supreme Court
     where the honors were. A succession of judges went by. At last came
     one that agreed with the employers that wages were too high for the
     welfare of the country. This had long been a complaint of the
     manufacturers in particular, who were fond of pointing out how high
     wages discouraged the opening of new factories, and consequently
     the development of the country. This judge, being of the same
     opinion, apparently, began to decide the cases the other way.

     "Then, of a sudden the second fatal defect in the system opened up.

     "The men grew restless under the adverse decisions of the court.
     That raised a new question.

     "How are you going to compel men to work when they do not wish to
     work under the conditions you provide?

     "Nobody had thought of that."


Referring, then, to the failure to prevent the strike of the
slaughterers against the law in 1907, or to punish them after they had
forced their employers to terms, Mr. Russell gives the Socialist opinion
of the legislation of 1908, passed to remedy this situation:--


     "At the next session of Parliament it amended the law to meet these
     unexpected emergencies and find a way to compel men to work.

     "To strike after a case had been referred to the court was now
     made a crime, punishable by a fine, and if the fine were not paid,
     the strikers' goods could be distrained and he could be imprisoned.
     Any labor union that ordered a strike or allowed its members to
     strike was made subject to a fine of $500. Outside persons or
     organizations that aided or abetted a strike were made subject to
     severe penalties.

     "Fine, again. But suppose the labor unions should try to evade the
     law by withdrawing from registry under the act? _Government thought
     once more, and produced another amendment by which the penalties
     for striking were extended to all trades engaged in supplying a
     utility or a necessity, whether such trades were organized or not._

     "You could hardly surpass this for ingenuity. 'Supplying a
     necessity' would seem to cover about everything under the sun and
     to make striking impossible. There must be no more strikes.

     "Sounds like home, doesn't it? To do away with strikes. You see the
     employing class, which all around the world gets what it wants and
     controls every government, had put itself back of the arbitration
     law. It had discovered that the law could be made to be a good
     thing, so it was at the dictation of this class that the amendments
     were passed. What the injunction judges do in America, or try to
     do, the law was to do in New Zealand.

     "Except that not Judge Goff nor Judge Guy, nor any other injunction
     judge of our own happy clime, has dared to go quite so far as to
     declare that all striking everywhere is a crime to be punished with
     imprisonment.

     "How are you going to compel men to work? Why, thus, said the
     government of New Zealand. Put them in jail if they do not like the
     terms of their employment."


Mr. Russell then gives an account of the miners' strike, above referred
to, which he points out was ended by the labor department paying the
miners' fines. He concludes:--


     "Mr. Edward Tregear, a scholar and thinker, had filled for many
     years the place of chief secretary for labor. It is not a cabinet
     office, but comes next thereto. He is a wise person and a sincere
     friend of the worker, as he has shown on many occasions. As soon as
     he heard that the ministry actually purposed to imprison the miners
     because they did not like the terms of their employment, he went to
     the minister of labor and earnestly protested, protested with tears
     in his eyes, as the minister himself subsequently testified,
     begged, argued, and pleaded. No possible good could come from such
     rigor, and almost certainly it would precipitate grave disaster.

     "To all this the minister was obdurate. Then Mr. Tregear said that
     he would resign; he would not retain his office and see men
     imprisoned for exercising their inalienable right of choice,
     whether they would or would not work under given conditions.

     "Now Mr. Tregear was one of the most popular men in New Zealand,
     and his resignation under such conditions would raise a storm that
     no ministry would care to face. Hence the government was in a worse
     situation than ever. On one side it fronted a dangerous venture
     with the certainty of a tremendous handicap in the resignation of
     the chief secretary, and on the other hand was an acknowledgment
     that the arbitration law was a failure and could be violated with
     impunity.

     "In this emergency decision was halted for a few hours while the
     government people consulted. Meantime, by quick and desperate
     efforts, the strike was ended, and the men went back to work.

     "This left the fines unpaid. The labor department solved that
     difficulty and allowed the defeated government to make its escape
     from a hopeless situation by paying the miners' fines.

     "To all intents and purposes it was the end of compulsory
     arbitration in New Zealand. Not nominally, for nominally the thing
     goes on as before; but actually. It is only by breaking our shins
     upon a fact that most of us ever learn anything; and the exalted
     ministry of New Zealand had broken its shins aplenty on a fact that
     might have been discerned from the start.

     "If you are to have compulsory arbitration, you must compel one
     side as much as the other.

     "But in the existing system of society, when you come to compelling
     the workers to accept arbitration's awards, you are doing nothing
     in the world except to compel them to work, and, however the thing
     may be disguised, compulsory work is chattel slavery, against which
     the civilized world revolts.

     "This is the way the thing works out, and the only way it ever can
     work out. There can be no such thing as compulsory arbitration
     without this ultimate situation.

     "If, therefore, any one in America believes in such a plan for the
     settlement of labor troubles, I invite the attention of such a one
     to this plain record.

     "For my own part, years ago I was wont to blame the labor leaders
     of America because they steadfastly rejected compulsory
     arbitration, and I now perceive them to have been perfectly right.
     The thing is impossible."[75]


A somewhat similar act to the Australasian ones, though less stringent,
has been introduced in Canada. The Canadian law, which is a compromise
between compulsory arbitration and compulsory investigation, applies to
mines, railways, and other public utilities. Strikes have been
prevented, but let us see what benefits the employees have received.
Whatever its effect on wages and hours, the law has the tendency to
weaken the unions, which hitherto have been the only reliable means by
which employees were able to advance their condition. Not only does it
make organization seem less necessary, but it takes the most powerful
weapon of the union, the ability to call a sudden strike. If we add to
this the unfavorable influence on public opinion in case the unions are
not contented with the rewards, and the fact that the law works against
the union shop, which is the basis of some unions, we can understand the
ground of their hostility.

"The Canadian Labour Disputes Investigation Act" is especially
interesting and important because it is serving as a model for a
campaign to introduce legislation along similar lines into the United
States. Already Mr. Victor S. Clark, the author of the study of the
Australian Labour Movement, to which I have referred at the beginning of
the chapter, has been sent by Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Taft to investigate
into the working of the act. Ex-President Charles W. Eliot of Harvard
has also advocated strenuously and at some length a similar statute, and
it has been made the basis for the campaign in Massachusetts and other
states. Mr. Clark reported: "Under the conditions for which it was
devised, the Canadian law, in spite of some setbacks, is useful
legislation, and it promises more for the future than most
measures--perhaps more than any other measure--for _promoting industrial
peace by government intervention_."

Here is the very keynote to compulsory arbitration, according to its
opponents, whose whole attack is based on the fact that its primary
purpose is not to improve the condition of the working people, but to
promote "industrial peace by government intervention."

Mr. Clark concedes that "possibly workers do sacrifice something of
influence in giving up sudden strikes," though he claims that they gain
in other ways. "After such a law is once on the statute books, however,
it usually remains, and in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada it has
created a new public attitude toward industrial disputes. This attitude
is the result of the idea--readily grasped and generally accepted when
once clearly presented--that the _public_ have an interest in industrial
conflicts quite as immediate and important in its way as that of the
conflicting parties. _If the American people have this truth vividly
brought to their attention by a great strike, the hopeful example of the
Canadian act seems likely, so far as the present experience shows, to
prove a guiding star in their difficulties._" (Italics mine.)

In the agitation that was made in behalf of a similar law in
Massachusetts, just exactly what is meant by the word "public" began to
appear. It refers not only to the consumers of the article produced by
the industry in which the strike occurs, but also to other dependent
industries, to the merchants of the locality where the workmen live, and
to the real estate interests. Here, then, are definite economic
interests which are concerned primarily in the prevention of strikes and
in the uninterrupted operation of the industry, and only in a secondary
way in rates of wages. _It is not a disinterested and non-partisan
public; it is not on the side of the employers nor on the side of the
employees, but it is opposed to the most effective weapons the working
people have yet found to advance their interests, namely, the strike and
the boycott._

It is said that if the workers lose the right to strike, the employers
lose the right to lockout. It has been customary to set the lockout over
against the strike as being of equal importance, but this is not the
truth. Employers can discharge their workingmen one at a time when they
are dissatisfied with a limited number; and they can often find a
business protest for temporarily shutting down or restricting their
output. To abolish strikes, then, is to take away the employees' chief
means of offense or defense; while to pretend to abolish strikes _and
lockouts_ is to leave in the hands of the employers the ability to
discharge or punish in other ways the men with whom they are
dissatisfied.

When it was proposed to introduce the Canadian law in Massachusetts, no
unionists of prominence indorsed it, but it was favored by a very large
number of employers, while those employers who objected did so for
widely scattered reasons. Mr. Clark is probably right in suggesting
that, while such a law will not be enacted in the United States as
things are now, it is very probable that it can be secured after some
industrial crisis--and there is little doubt that President Eliot and
perhaps also Mr. Roosevelt, for whom Mr. Clark was investigating, and
many other influential public men, are expecting this time to arrive
soon.

The attitude of a large minority of British unions and of a considerable
part of the British Socialists is similar to that of the Canadian and
Australian majority. When in 1907 the railway employees of Great Britain
were for the first time sufficiently aroused and organized, and on the
point of a national strike, a settlement was entered into through the
efforts of Mr. Lloyd George and the Board of Trade (and it is said with
the assistance of King Edward) which involved an entirely new principle
for that country. A board was constituted to settle this and future
strikes of which the Master of Rolls and other British functionaries
were the leading elements. Actually the workers consented for several
years to leave in the hands of the judges over whose election and
appointment they have only an indirect and partial, if indeed any,
control, complete power over their industrial life. The executive of the
Fabian Society issued a manifesto congratulating the government on this
"progressive" settlement, though few prominent labor leaders were
willing to give it their full indorsement. The Fabian manifesto said
that the advance in wages which could be secured by the settlement "will
undoubtedly have been secured on the trade-union program, through the
trade-union organization, by the trade union's representatives, and
finally, in the argument before the arbitrator, by the ability of the
trade union's secretary." But this settlement had nearly all the
features of the Canadian law which I have just mentioned, and especially
in failing to give any recognition to the unions, left the strongest
possible weapon in the hands of their enemies. Nevertheless, more than a
third of the members of the British Trade Union Congress voted since
that time for a compulsory arbitration act, and British radicals like
Percy Alden, M.P., to say nothing of conservatives, agitate for a law
along New Zealand lines. The railway strike of 1911 has decreased the
popularity of this proposal among unionists and Socialists, but has
augmented it in still greater proportion among nearly all other classes.
In the meanwhile, in spite of the employees' efforts, and external
concessions by the employers, the power in the newest railway
conciliation scheme lies also in the hands of the government (see Part
III, Chapter V).

Statements by President Taft and other influential Americans lead us to
believe it will be a very short period of years before similar
legislation is applied to this country, in spite of the hostility of the
unions, or perhaps with the consent of some of the weaker among them,
which have little to gain by industrial warfare. While Secretary of War,
Mr. Taft predicted a controversy between capital and labor which should
decide once and for all how capital and labor should share the joint
profits which they created. In this and many similar utterances there is
foreshadowed the interference of the State. Indeed, the settlement of
the Pennsylvania coal strike in 1903 was a clear example of such
interference, and there is no question that the precedents established
will be followed up on the next occasion of the kind by some arrangement
even less advantageous to employees who now almost universally feel, as
the present demands of the miner's union show, that they got the worst
of the former decision.

The railway and mining situations in Great Britain, and the demand for
the government to take some measure to protect employees against the
"trusts" in this country (to say nothing of the menace of a great coal
strike), promise to make compulsory arbitration an issue of the
immediate future. Mr. Roosevelt, who now proposes that the government
should interfere between monopolies and their employees, is the very man
who is responsible for the coal strike tribunal of 1903, which not only
denounced sympathetic strike and secondary boycott, but failed to
protect the men against discrimination on account of their unionism.
Were he or any one like him President, the institution of government
wage boards would be dreaded like the plague.

Similarly Mr. Winston Churchill, in Great Britain, recognizes the
extreme seriousness of the situation. His position is ably summed up by
the _Saturday Evening Post_:--


     "Winston Churchill has propounded a capital-and-labor puzzle to his
     British constituents.

     "To a modern state, he says in substance, railroad transportation
     is a necessity of life--and how literally true this is of England
     was shown in the general strike of last August, when the food
     supply in some localities ran down to only a few days'
     requirements. So the government cannot permit railroad
     transportation to be paralyzed indefinitely by a strike. It cannot
     sit by and see communities starve. A point will soon be reached
     where it must intervene and force resumption of transportation.

     "Strikes, however, form one of the modern means of collective
     bargaining between employer and employees. They are, in fact, the
     workmen's final and most effective resource in driving a bargain.
     Denied the right to strike, labor unions would be so many wooden
     cannon at which employers could laugh. If the employer knew
     absolutely that the men could not strike, he might offer any terms
     he pleased. In wage bargaining the men would not stand on a level
     footing, but be bound and gagged.

     "If, then, the government takes away, or seriously restricts, the
     right of the men to strike, isn't it bound to step into the breach
     and readjust the balance between them and the employer, by
     compelling the employer to pay them fair wages? There can be no
     free bargaining if it is known that at a certain point the
     government will intervene on one side. Must it not, then, also be
     known that at a certain point the government will intervene on the
     other side and compel payment of adequate wages?

     "Mr. Churchill carries his puzzle only that far. On our own account
     we add, How far will that leave us from regulation of wages as well
     as of rates by the government, and how far will that leave us from
     government ownership?"[76]


In a word, Mr. Churchill's remedy for the evils of "State Socialism" is
more "State Socialism"--and undoubtedly there is an inevitable trend in
that direction. But the government railway strikes of France, Austria,
Italy, Hungary, and other countries ought to show him that his remedy,
advantageous as it may be from many standpoints, is scarcely to be
considered even as a first step towards the solution of the labor
problem. As long as capitalists continue to control government, "State
Socialism," on the contrary, makes the strike more necessary, more
decisive, and invaluable, not only to employees, but to every class that
suffers from the government or the economic system it supports.

The most representative of American Socialists, Eugene V. Debs, has
given us an excellent characterization of this movement as it appears to
most Socialists.


     "Successful leaders are wise enough to follow the people. For
     instance, the following paragraph is to the point:--

     "'Ultimately I believe that this control of corporations should
     undoubtedly, directly or indirectly, extend to dealing with all
     questions connected with their treatment of their employees,
     including the wages, the hours of labor, and the like.'

     "And what Socialist made himself ridiculous by such a foolish
     utterance? No Socialist at all; only a paragraph from his latest
     article on the trusts by Theodore Roosevelt. Five years ago, or
     when he was still in office and had the power, he would not have
     dared to make that statement. But he finds it politically safe and
     expedient to make it now. It is not at all a radical statement. On
     the contrary, it is simply the echo of E. H. Gary, that is to say,
     John Pierpont Morgan, president of all the trusts.

     "Mr. Roosevelt now proposes that Bismarck attempted in Germany
     forty years ago to thwart the Socialist movement, and that is State
     Socialism, so called, which is in fact the most despotic and
     degrading form of capitalism.

     "President Roosevelt, who is popularly supposed to be hostile to
     the trusts, is in truth their best friend. He would have the
     government, the capitalist government, of course, practically
     operate the trusts and turn the profits over to their idle owners.
     This would mean release from responsibility and immunity of
     prosecution for the trust owners, _while at the same time the
     government would have to serve as strikebreaker for the trust
     owners_, and the armed forces of the government would be employed
     to keep the working class in subjection.

     "If this were possible, it would mark the halfway ground between
     industrial despotism and industrial democracy. But it is not
     possible, at least it is possible only temporarily, long enough to
     demonstrate its failure. The expanding industrial forces now
     transforming society, realigning political parties, and reshaping
     the government itself cannot be fettered in any such artificial
     arrangement as Mr. Roosevelt proposes. These forces, with the
     rising and awakening working class in alliance with them, will
     sweep all such barriers from the track of evolution until finally
     they can find full expression in industrial freedom and social
     democracy.

     "In this scheme of State Socialism, or rather State capitalism, Mr.
     Roosevelt fails to inform us how the idle owners of the trusts are
     to function except as profit absorbers and parasites. In that
     capacity they can certainly be dispensed with entirely and that is
     precisely what will happen when the evolution now in progress
     culminates in the reorganization of society."[77] (My italics.)


[72] Victor S. Clark, "The Labour Movement in Australasia."

[73] In her "American Socialism of the Present Day" (p. 185), Miss
Hughan has quoted me (see the _New York Call_ of December 12, 1909), as
classing the abolition of the injunction as one of the revolutionary
demands never to be satisfied until the triumph of Socialism. As a means
to check the growth of the power of the unions, this method of arbitrary
government by judges has never been resorted to except in the United
States. It is evident, then, that this statement was only meant for
America. It should also have been qualified so as to apply solely to the
America of to-day. For as other methods of checking the unions exist in
other countries, it is obvious that they could be substituted in this
country for the injunction, a proposition in entire accord with all I
have written on the subject--though unfortunately not stated in this
brief journalistic expression. I have now come to the belief, on the
grounds given in the text, not only that a new method of fighting the
unions (namely, compulsory arbitration) _can_ be substituted for the
injunction, but that this _will_ be done within a very few years.

[74] Professor Le Rossignol and Mr. William D. Stewart, "Compulsory
Arbitration in New Zealand," in the _Quarterly Journal of Economics_.
Reprinted in their book, "State Socialism in New Zealand."

N. B. The reader who is interested is referred to the whole of both
these volumes. There is little matter in either that does not have a
direct bearing on our subject, and they have been utilized throughout
this and the following chapter.

FOOTNOTES:

[75] _The Coming Nation_, Sept. 2, 1911.

[76] The _Saturday Evening Post_, Nov. 25, 1911.

[77] The _New York Times_, Nov. 25, 1911.



CHAPTER VI

AGRARIAN "STATE SOCIALISM" IN AUSTRALASIA


Australia and New Zealand are commonly taken as the most advanced of all
countries in government ownership, labor reforms, and "State Socialism."
Indeed they are often pictured as almost ideally governed, and the
credulity with which such pictures are received shows the widespread
popularity of "State Socialism."

The central principle of the Australian and New Zealand reforms is,
however, not government ownership or compulsory arbitration, as commonly
supposed, but a land policy. By means of a progressive or graduated land
tax it is hoped to break up all large estates and to establish a large
number of small proprietors. When it was said to Mr. Fisher, the new
"Labour Party" Premier of Australia, that this policy was not Socialism,
he replied laconically, "It is my kind of Socialism."[78]

The "State Socialism" of Australia and New Zealand is fundamentally
agrarian; its real basis is a modernized effort to establish a nation of
small farm owners and to promote their welfare.

Next in importance and closely connected with the policy of gradually
bringing about the division of the land among small proprietors, is the
policy of the government ownership of monopolies. Already New Zealand is
in the banking business, and the Australian Labour Party proposes a
national bank for Australia. National life and fire insurance are
instituted in New Zealand; the same measures are proposed for Australia.
Already many railroads are nationally owned, and it is proposed that
others be nationalized. Already extensive irrigation projects have been
undertaken; it is proposed that the policy should be carried out on a
wider scale. But the Australian Labour Party is not fanatical upon this
form of "State Socialism." It does not argue, like the British
Independent Labour Party, that the civilization of a community can be
measured by the extent of collective ownership, for Australasia's
experience has already shown the immediate and practical limits of this
kind of a movement. New Zealand is already burdened with a very large
national debt; Australia proposes that its debt shall be increased only
for the purpose of building commercially profitable railways or
irrigation schemes, etc., and not in any case for the purpose of
national defense or for other investments not immediately remunerative.

The national debt, aside from that based on profit-making governmental
undertakings, like railways, is to be reduced, and nationalization of
other monopolies is not to be undertaken until new measures of taxation
have become effective. These are a graduated land tax and an extension
of the graduated income and inheritance taxes.[79]

The program concludes with vigorous measures for national defense.
Australia is to own her navy (supported not by loans, but by taxation),
and is to be as independent as practicable of Great Britain. She feels a
need for military defense, but she does not propose to have a military
caste, however small; the whole people is to be made military, the
Labour Party stands for a citizen defense force and not for a
professional army. Finally, Australia is to be kept for the white race,
especially for British and other peoples that the present inhabitants
consider desirable.

There remains that part of the program which has attracted the most
attention, namely, the labor reforms: workingmen's insurance, an
eight-hour day, and an increase of the powers of the compulsory
arbitration courts. Already in fixing wages it has been necessary for
the court to decide what is a fair profit to the employers, so profits
are already to some degree being regulated. It has been found that
prices and the cost of living are rising still more rapidly than wages;
it is proposed that prices should also be regulated by withdrawing the
protection of the customs tariff from those industries that charge an
unduly high price.

I have mentioned the labor element of the program last, for the
Australian Labour Party is a democratic rather than merely a labor
movement. The Worker's Union, and the Sheep Shearer's Society of the
Eastern States, enrolled from the first all classes of ranch employees,
and "even common country storekeepers and small farmers."[80] Some of
the miners' organizations have been built on similarly broad lines, and
these two unions constitute the backbone of the Labour Party. The
original program of the New South Wales Labour Electoral League, which
formed the nucleus of the Labour Party in 1891, proposed to bring
together "all electors in favor of democratic and progressive
legislation," and was nearly as broad as the present program; that is to
say, it was by no means confined to labor reforms.

But are there any other features in the Australian situation, besides
the dominating importance of the land question, that rob this program of
its significance for the rest of the world? It cannot be denied that
there are. In the first place, it is only this recent social reform
movement that has begun to put New Zealand and Australia under real
democratic government, and this democratization is scarcely yet
complete, since the constitutions of some of the separate Australian
States and Tasmania contain extremely undemocratic elements; while the
federal government is dominated by a Supreme Court, as in the United
States. Consequently it is only a few years in some of the States since
such elementary democratic institutions as free schools were instituted.
It is evident, on the other hand, that countries establishing democratic
or semidemocratic institutions under the conditions prevailing in the
world as late as 1890, when the great change took place in New Zealand,
or during the decade, 1900-1910, when the political overturn gave
Australia to the Labour Party, should be more advanced than France,
Germany, Great Britain, or the United States, where the latest great
overturn in the democratic direction occurred in each instance a
generation or more ago.

So also Australia and New Zealand which, on the one hand, are still
suffering from the disadvantage of having lived until recently under a
system of large landed estates, on the other hand have the advantage of
dealing with the land question in a period when the governments of these
new countries are becoming rich enough, through their own enterprises,
to exist independently of land sales, and when farmers are more willing
to increase the power of their governments, both in order to protect
themselves from the encroachments of capital and of labor, and directly
to advance the interests of agriculture. The campaign to break up the
large estates has kept the farmers engrossed in politics, and this has
occurred in a period when industrial organization has made possible a
whole program of "Constructive State Socialism." By taking up this
program the farmers and those who wished to become farmers have at once
looked to their own interests and secured the political support of other
small capitalists and even of a large part of the workingmen.

But working against the nationalization of the unearned increment,
against the policy of leasing instead of selling the public land,
central features of every advanced "State Socialist" policy, is the fact
that the small farmers, daily becoming more numerous, hope that they
might themselves reap this increment through private ownership. In no
national legislation is it proposed to tax away this increment in
_agricultural_ land, which preponderates both in New Zealand and
Australia. But, while in other countries the agricultural population is
decreasing relatively to the whole, in New Zealand the settlement of the
country by the small farmers has hitherto led it to increase, and the
new legislation in Australia must soon have the same result. So, in
spite of the favorable auspices, it seems that the climax of the "State
Socialism," the transformation of the small farmer into a tenant of the
State is not yet to be undertaken, either in the shape of land
nationalization or in the taxing away of unearned increment. And while
the Australian Labour Party as an organization favors nationalization, a
large part of those who vote for this party do not, and its leaders have
felt that to have advocated nationalization hitherto would have meant
that they would have failed to gain control of the government. And in
proportion as the new land tax creates new farmers, the prospects will
be worse than they are to-day.

The existing land laws of New Zealand are extremely moderate steps in
the direction of nationalization. In 1907, after the best land had been
taken up, a system of 66-year leases was introduced, but only as a
voluntary alternative to purchase. After 1908 the annual purchases of
large estates were divided into small lots and leased for terms of 33
years, but this applies only to a relatively small amount of land. It
was only in 1907 that the graduated land tax began to be enforced in a
way automatically to break up the large estates as it had been expected
to do, and it was only in 1910 that the new and more heavily graduated
scale went into effect. And finally it was only in 1907 that large
landowners were forbidden to purchase, even indirectly, government land.
It has taken all these years even to discourage large estates
effectively, to say nothing of nationalization.


     "Some writers have predicted that the appetite for reform by
     taxation will grow, and that the taxation will be increased and the
     exemptions diminished until all the rent will be taken and the land
     practically confiscated, according to the proposals of Henry
     George. But the landless man, when he becomes a landholder, ceases
     to be a single taxer, and is strongly opposed to Socialism. The
     land legislation of New Zealand, although apparently Socialistic,
     is producing results directly opposed to Socialism by converting a
     lot of dissatisfied people into stanch upholders of private
     ownership of land and other forms of private property. The small
     farmers, then, are breaking away from their former allies, the
     working people of the towns, who now find themselves in the
     minority, but who are increasing in numbers and who will demand,
     sooner or later, a large share in the product of industry as the
     price of loyalty to the capitalistic system."[81]


Without land nationalization the process of nationalizing industry
cannot be expected to proceed faster than it pays for itself--for we
cannot reckon as part of the national profits the increased land values
national enterprises bring about. Nor will capitalist collectivism at
this stage proceed even this fast. Not only do the small taxpayers
oppose the government going into debt, but as taxpayers they are
responsible for all deficiencies, and they want only such governmental
enterprises as both produce a surplus and a sufficient one to pay the
deficits of the nonproductive departments of government. To-day only
about one fifth of the taxpayers pay either land or inheritance taxes.
But the increasing military expenditures and the greater difficulty of
securing large sums by indirect taxation will increase this proportion.
It is likely, then, that State enterprises which, under private
capitalism, were used recklessly as aids to land speculation will now be
required, as in Germany and other continental countries, to produce a
surplus to relieve taxpayers. Private capitalism used the State for
promoting the private interests of its directors, State capitalism uses
it to produce profits for its shareholders, the small farmers, as
taxpayers, or in the form of profits distributed among them as
consumers. Only as the government begins to take a considerable share of
that increased value in land which nearly every public undertaking
brings about, will _all_ wisely managed government enterprises produce
such profits.

The advance of "State Socialism," though it has several other aspects,
can be roughly measured by the number of government enterprises and
employees. The railways, telegraphs, and the few government-owned mines
of New Zealand, have been calculated to employ about one eighth of the
population, a greater proportion than in America or Great Britain, but
scarcely greater than in Germany or France--and not a very great stride
even towards "State Socialism." And it seems likely that the present
proportion in New Zealand will remain for some time where it is.
Government banking, steamships, bakeries, and the government monopoly of
the sale of liquor and tobacco might not prove immediately profitable,
and are less heard of than formerly.

Where "State Socialism" has proceeded such a little distance, the
material benefits it promises to labor (though in a lesser proportion
than to other classes) have not yet accrued. "It must be admitted,"
write Le Rossignol and Stewart, "that the benefits of land reform and
other Liberal legislation have accrued chiefly to the owners of land and
other forms of property, and the condition of the landless and
propertyless wage earners has not been much improved." Indeed, the
condition of the workers is little, if any, better than in America. Mr.
Clark writes: "The general welfare of the working classes in Australasia
does not differ widely from that in the United States. The hours of work
are fewer in most occupations, but the wage per hour is less than in
America. The cost of living is about the same in both countries. There
appears to be as much poverty in the cities of New Zealand as in the
cities of the same size in the United States, and as many people of
large wealth." It is no doubt true, as these writers say, that, of the
people classed as propertyless, "many are young, industrious, and
well-paid wage earners; who, if they have health and good luck may yet
acquire a competency" in this as in any other new country. Yet it is
only to those who "have saved something," _i.e._ to property holders,
that the State really lends a helping hand.

Even when New Zealand becomes an industrial country, the writers quoted
calculate that "it should be possible for the party of property to
attach to itself the more efficient among the working class, by giving
them high wages, short hours, pleasant conditions of labor,
opportunities for promotion, a chance to acquire property, insurance
benefits, and _greater_ advantages of every kind than they could gain
under any form of Socialism. If this can be done, the Socialists will be
in a hopeless minority."

Here we have in a few words the universal labor policy of "State
Socialism." Labor reforms are to be given to the working class first, to
encourage in them as long as possible the hope to rise; second, when
this is no longer effective, to make the upper layers contented, and
finally to "increase industrial efficiency," as these same writers
say--but at no time to put the workers on a level with the
property-owning classes.

Indeed, it is impossible to do more on a national scale, as these
writers point out, for both capital and labor are international. If
"State Socialism" were carried to the point of equalizing the share of
labor, either immigration would be attracted until wages were lowered
again, or capital would emigrate, or the nation would have to defend its
exclusiveness by being prepared for war.


     "It is hard to see how any country, whether Socialistic or
     individualistic in its industrial organization, can long keep its
     advantage over other countries without some restriction of
     immigration. A thoroughgoing experiment in collectivism, therefore,
     could not be made under favorable conditions in New Zealand or any
     other country, unless that country were _isolated_ from the rest of
     the world, _or_ unless the whole world made the same experiment at
     the same time."


As between comparative isolation possibly in the near future and
world-wide or at least international Socialism, certainly many years
ahead, the Australian Labour Party, under similar circumstances to that
of New Zealand, has chosen to attempt comparative isolation. It does not
yet propose to keep out immigrants, but it makes a beginning with all
non-white races, and it stands for a policy of high protection and a
larger army and navy. Naturally it does not even seek admission into the
International Socialist Congress, where if any Socialist principle is
more insisted upon than another it is Marx's declaration that the
Socialists are to be distinguished from the other working class parties
only by the fact that they represent the interests of the entire working
class independently of nationality or of groups within the nation.

Moreover, the militarism necessary to enforce isolation may cost the
nation, capitalists and workers alike, far more heavily than to leave
their country open to trade and immigration. Indeed, it must lead, not
to industrial democracy, or even to capitalistic progress, but to
stagnation and reaction. The policy of racial exclusion will not only
increase the dangers of war, but it will bring little positive benefit
to labor, even of a purely material and temporary kind, since the
farming majority will not allow it to be extended to the white race.
Instead of restricting immigration, the new government projects require
a thicker settlement, and everything is being done to encourage settlers
of means and agricultural experience, and we cannot question that the
coming of white laborers will be encouraged when they are needed.

The size of the farms the government is promoting in New Zealand proves
that the country is deliberately preparing for a class of landless
agricultural laborers, and Australia is following the example. Since
these new farms average something like two hundred acres, we must
realize that as soon as they are under thorough cultivation they will
require one or more farm laborers in each case, to be obtained chiefly
from abroad, producing a community resting neither on "State Socialism"
nor even on a pioneer basis of economic democracy and approximate
equality of opportunity similar to that which prevailed during the
period of free land in our Western States.

Unmistakable signs show that in New Zealand an agrarian oligarchy by no
means friendly to labor has already established itself. Even the
compulsory arbitration act which bears anything but heavily on employers
in general, is not applied to agriculture. After two years of
consideration it was decided in 1908 that the law should not apply on
the ground that "it was impracticable to find any definite hours for the
daily work of general farm hands," and that "the alleged grievances of
the farm laborers were insufficient to justify interference with the
whole farming industry of Canterbury" (the district included 7000
farms). Whatever we may think of the first justification, the second
certainly is a curious piece of reasoning for a compulsory arbitration
court, and must be taken simply to mean that the employing farmers are
sufficiently powerful politically to escape the law. The working people
very naturally protested against this "despotic proceeding," which
denied such protection as the law gave to the largest section of workers
in the Dominion.

What is the meaning, then, of the victory of a "Labour Party" in
Australia? Chiefly that every citizen of Australia who has sufficient
savings is to be given a chance to own a farm. A large and prosperous
community of farmers is to be built up by government aid. Even without
"State Socialism" or labor reform the working people would share
temporarily in this prosperity as they did to a large degree in that of
the United States immediately after the Civil War, until the free land
began to disappear. It was impossible to pay exceptionally low wages to
a workingman who could enter into farming with a few months' notice.

The Labour Party hopes to use nationalization of monopolies and the
compulsory regulation of wages to insure permanently to the working
classes their share of the benefit of the new prosperity. How much
farther such measures will go when the agricultural element again
becomes dominant is the question. It is already evident that the
Australian reform movement, like that of New Zealand, includes, or at
least favors, the same class of employing farmers. The fact that a
Labour Party is in the opposition in New Zealand, while in Australia a
Labour Party has led in the reforms and now rules the country, should
not blind us to the farmers' influence. The very terms of the graduated
land tax and the value of the farms chosen for exemption show
mathematically the influence, not alone of the small, but even the
middle-sized farmers. Estates of less than $25,000 in value are exempt,
and those valued at less than $50,000 are to be taxed less than one per
cent. Such farms, as a rule, must have one or more laborers. Will these
employees come in under the compulsory arbitration law? If they do, will
they get much benefit? The experience of New Zealand and the present
outlook in Australia do not lead us to expect that they will.

Many indications point to a coming realignment of parties such as was
recently seen in New Zealand, when in 1909 it was decided to form an
opposition Labour Party. And it is likely to come, as in New Zealand,
when the large estates are well broken up and the agricultural element
can govern or get all they want without the aid of the working people.
Already the Australian Labour Party is getting ready for the issue. Its
leaders have kept the proposed land nationalization in the background,
because they believe it cannot yet obtain a majority. But it may be that
the party itself is now ready to fight this issue out on a Socialist
basis, even if, like the Socialist parties in Europe, such a decision
promises to delay for a generation their control of the government. If
the party is ready, it has the machinery to bring its leaders to time,
as it has done on previous occasions. For it already resembles the
Socialist parties in Europe in this, that it makes all its candidates
responsible to the party and not to their constituents. That is to say,
while it does not represent the working people exclusively, it is a
class organization standing for the interests of that group of classes
which has joined its ranks, and for other classes of the community only
in so far as their interests happen to be the same.

Already the majority of the Labour Party voters are undoubtedly working
people. When it takes a definite position on the land question, favoring
one-family farms and short leases or else coöperative, municipal, or
national large-scale operation, and states clearly that it intends to
use compulsory arbitration to advance wages indefinitely, including
those of farm laborers, there is every probability that, having lost the
support of the employing farmers, it will gradually take its place as a
party of permanent opposition to capitalism, like the Socialist parties
of Europe--until industry finally and decisively surpasses agriculture,
and the industrial working class really becomes the most powerful
element in society.


     Space does not permit the tracing of the "State Socialist" tendency
     in other countries than Great Britain, the United States, and
     Australasia. Originally a brief chapter was here inserted showing
     the similar tendencies in Germany. This is now omitted, but the
     frequent reference to Germany later in dealing with the Socialist
     movement makes a brief statement of the German situation essential.
     For this purpose it will be sufficient to quote a few of the
     principal statements of the excellent summary and analysis by
     William C. Dreher entitled "The German Drift towards Socialism":

     "The German Reichstag passed a law in May, 1910, for the regulation
     of the potash trade, a law which goes further _in the direction of
     Socialism_ than any previous legislation in Germany. It assigns to
     each mine a certain percentage of the total production of the
     country, and lays a prohibitory tax upon what it produces in excess
     of this allotment. It fixes the maximum price for the product in
     the home market, and prohibits selling abroad at a lower price. A
     government bureau supervises the industry, sees that the prices and
     allotments are observed, examines new mines to determine their
     capacity, and readjusts allotments as new mines reach the producing
     stage....

     "But the radical features of the law are not completed in the
     foregoing description. The bill having reduced potash prices, the
     mine owners threatened to recoup themselves by reducing wages. But
     the members of the Reichstag were not to be balked by such threats;
     they could legislate about wages just as easily as about prices and
     allotments. So they amended the bill by providing that if any owner
     should reduce wages without the consent of his employees, his
     allotment should be restricted in the corresponding proportion....

     "While the law is indeed decidedly Socialistic in tendency, it is
     not yet Socialism. It hedges private property about with sharper
     restrictions than would be thought justifiable in countries where,
     as in the United States, the creed of individualism is still
     vigorous; and yet it is, in effect, hardly more than a piece of
     social reform legislation, though a more radical one than we have
     hitherto seen....

     "In Germany, 'the individual withers' and the world of State and
     Society, with its multifarious demands upon him, 'is more and
     more.' This is, of course, a Socialistic tendency, but the
     substitute that the Germans are finding for unlimited competition
     is not radical Socialism, but organization....

     "The State, of course, takes hold of the individual life more
     broadly, with more systematic purpose. The individual's health is
     cared for, his house is inspected, his children are educated, he is
     insured against the worst vicissitudes of life, his savings are
     invested, his transportation of goods or persons is undertaken, his
     need to communicate with others by telegraph or telephone is
     met--all by the paternal State or city.

     "Twenty-five years ago the Prussian government was spending only
     about $13,500 a year on trade schools; now it is spending above
     three million dollars on more than 1300 schools....

     "The Prussian State had also long been an extensive owner of coal,
     potash, salt, and iron mines. In 1907 a law was passed giving the
     State prior mining rights to all undiscovered coal deposits. In
     general, however, it must cede those rights to private parties on
     payment of a royalty; but the law makes an exception of 250
     'maximum fields,' equal to about 205 square miles, in which the
     State itself will exercise its mining rights. It has recently
     reserved this amount of lands adjacent to the coal fields on the
     lower Rhine and in Silesia. The State has already about 80 square
     miles of coal lands in its hands, from which it is taking out about
     10,000,000 tons of coal a year. Its success as a mine owner,
     however, appears to be less marked than as a railway proprietor;
     experienced business men even assert that the State's coal and iron
     mines would be operated at a loss if proper allowances were made
     for depreciation and amortization of capital, as must be done in
     the case of private companies. The State also derives comparatively
     small revenues from its forest and farming lands of some 830,000
     acres, which were formerly the property of the Crown....

     "The most important State tax is that on _incomes_, which is in all
     cases graduated down to a very low rate on the smallest income; in
     Prussia there is no tax on incomes less than $214. The cities also
     collect the bulk of their revenues from incomes, using the same
     classification and sliding scale as the State.

     "A highly interesting innovation in taxation is the 'unearned
     increment' tax on land values, first adopted by
     Frankfort-on-the-Main in 1904, and already applied by over 300
     German cities and towns....

     "The bill before the Reichstag [since become a law--W. E. W.]
     extends sick insurance to farm laborers and household servants, a
     change which will raise the burden of this system for employers
     from $24,000,000 to $36,000,000. The bill also provides for
     pensioning the widows and orphans of insured laborers at an
     estimated additional expense of about $17,000,000....

     "A better result of the insurance systems than the modest pensions
     and the indemnities that they pay is to be found in their excellent
     work for protecting health and prolonging life. Many offices have
     their own hospitals for the sick, and homes for the
     convalescent....

     "All these protective measures have already told effectively upon
     the death rate for tuberculous diseases. In the three years ending
     with 1908, deaths from pulmonary tuberculosis dropped from 226.6 to
     192.12 per 100,000.

     "The accident system has also had a powerful effect in stimulating
     among the physicians and surgeons the study of special ways and
     means for treating accident injuries, with reference to preserving
     intact the strength and efficiency of the patient....

     "Bismarck once, in a speech in the Reichstag, explicitly recognized
     the laborer's right to work. Some twenty German cities have given
     practical effect to his words by organizing insurance against
     nonemployment; and the governments of Bavaria and Baden have taken
     steps to encourage this movement. Under the systems adopted, the
     laborer pays the larger part of the insurance money, and the city
     the rest; in a few cases money has been given by private persons to
     assist the insurance."[82] [N.B. The word "Socialistic" is used by
     Mr. Dreher in the sense of "State Socialism," as opposed to what he
     calls "radical Socialism."]


FOOTNOTES:

[78] Special Correspondence of _New York Evening Post_, dated Sidney,
Dec. 12, 1909.

[79] The data upon which this chapter is based is also obtained chiefly
from Mr. Victor Clark's "Labour Movement in Australasia," and "State
Socialism in New Zealand," by Stewart and Le Rossignol.

[80] Victor S. Clark, _op. cit._

[81] Stewart and Rossignol, _op. cit._

[82] The _Atlantic Monthly_, July, 1911.



CHAPTER VII

"EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY"


Many reformers admit that no reforms can bring us towards democracy as
long as class rule continues. Henry George, for example, recognizes that
his great land reform, the government appropriation of rent for public
purposes, is useless when the government itself is monopolized, "when
political power passes into the hands of a class, and the rest of the
community become merely tenants."[83] In precisely the same way every
great "State Socialist" reform must fail to bring us a single step
towards real democracy, as long as classes persist.

That strongly marked social classes do exist even in the United States
is now admitted by Dr. Lyman Abbott, Andrew Carnegie, and by innumerable
other, by no means Socialistic, observers.

"The average wage earner," says John Mitchell, "has made up his mind
that he must remain a wage earner. He has given up the hope of a kingdom
to come where he will himself be a capitalist."[84] This feeling is
almost universally shared by manual wage earners, and very widely also
by salaried brain workers. Large prizes still exist, and their influence
is still considerable over the minds of young men. But, as was pointed
out recently in an editorial of the _Saturday Evening Post_, they are
"just out of reach," and the instances in which they actually
materialize are "so relatively few as to be negligible." Even if these
prizes were a hundred fold more numerous than they are, the children of
the wage earners would still not have a tithe of the opportunity of the
children of the well-to-do.

To-day in the country opportunities are no better than in the towns. The
universal outcry for more farm labor can only mean that such laborers
are becoming relatively fewer because they are giving up the hope that
formerly kept them in the country, namely, that of becoming farm owners.
Already Mr. George K. Holmes of the United States Bureau of Statistics
estimates that in the chief agricultural section of the country, the
North Central States, a man must be rich before he can become a farmer,
and so rapidly is this condition spreading to other sections that Mr.
Holmes feels that the only hope of obtaining sufficient farm labor is to
persuade the children of the farmers to remain on the farms.

"Fifty years ago," said _McClure's Magazine_ in a recent announcement,
which sums up some of the chief elements of the present situation, "we
were a nation of independent farmers and small merchants. To-day we are
a nation of corporation employees." There can be no question that we are
seeing the formation in this country of very definitely marked economic
and social classes such as have long prevailed in the older countries of
Europe. And this class division explains _why the political democracies
of such countries as France, Switzerland, the United States, and the
British Colonies show no tendency to become real democracies_. Not only
do classes defend every advantage and privilege that economic evolution
brings them, but, what is more alarming, they utilize these advantages
chiefly to give their children greater privileges still. Unequal
opportunities visibly and inevitably breed more unequal opportunities.

The definite establishment of industrial capitalism, a century or more
ago, and later the settlement of new countries, brought about a
revolutionary advance towards equality of opportunity. But the further
development of capitalism has been marked by steady retrogression. Yet
nearly all capitalist statesmen, some of them honestly, insist that
equality of opportunity is their goal, and that we are making or that we
are about to make great strides in that direction. Not only is the
establishment of equality of opportunity accepted as the aim that must
underlie all our institutions, even by conservatives like President
Taft, but it is agreed that it is a perfectly definite principle. Nobody
claims that there is any vagueness about it, as there is said to be
about the demand for political, economic, or social equality.

It may be that the economic positions in society occupied by men and
women who have now reached maturity are already to some slight degree
distributed according to relative fitness; and, even though this fitness
is due, not to native superiority, but to unfair advantages and unequal
opportunity, it may be that a general change for the better is here
impossible until a new generation has appeared. But there is no reason,
except the opposition of parents who want privileges for their
children, why every child in every civilized country to-day should not
be guaranteed by the community an equal opportunity in public education
and an _equal chance for promotion in the public or semi-public
service_, which soon promises to employ a large part if not the majority
of the community. _No Socialist can see any reason for continuing a
single day the process of fastening the burdens of the future society
beforehand on the children of the present generation of wage earners_,
children as yet of entirely unknown and undeveloped powers and not yet
irremediably shaped to serve in the subordinate rôles filled by their
parents.

But the reformers other than the Socialists are not even working in this
direction, and their claims that they are, can easily be disproved. Mr.
John A. Hobson, for example, believes that the present British
government is seeking to realize "equality of opportunity," which he
defines as the effort "to give equal opportunities to all parts of the
country and all classes of the people, and so to develop in the fullest
and the farthest-sighted way the national resources."[85] But even the
more or less democratic collectivism Mr. Hobson and other British
Radicals advocate, if it stops short of a certain point, and its
benefits go chiefly to the middle classes, may merely increase
middle-class competition for better-paid positions, and so obviously
_decrease_ the _relative_ opportunities of the masses, and make them
_less equal_ than they are to-day.

Edward Bernstein, the Socialist, says: "The number of the possessing
classes is to-day not smaller, but larger. The enormous increase of
social wealth is not accompanied by a decreasing number of large
capitalists, but by an increasing number of capitalists of all degrees."
Whether this is true or not, whether the well-to-do middle classes are
gradually increasing in each generation, say, to 5, 10, or 15 per cent
of the population, cannot be a matter of more than secondary importance
to the overwhelming majority, the "non-possessing classes," that remain
outside. Nobody denies that social evolution is going on even to-day.
But the masses will probably not be willing to wait the necessary
generations and centuries before present tendencies, should they chance
to continue long enough (which is doubtful in view of the rapid
formation of social castes), would bring the masses any considerable
share of existing prosperity.

To secure anything approaching equality of opportunity, the first and
most necessary measure is to give equal educational facilities to all
classes of the population. Yet the most radical of the non-Socialist
educational reformers do not dare to hope at present even for a step in
this direction. No man has more convincingly described what the first
step towards a genuinely democratic education must be than Ex-President
Charles W. Eliot of Harvard, perhaps our most influential representative
of political as opposed to social democracy.

"Is it not plain," asks President Eliot, "that if the American people
were all well-to-do they would multiply by four or five times the
present average school expenditure per child and per year? That is, they
would make the average expenditure per pupil for the whole school year
in the United States from $60 to $100 for salaries and maintenance,
instead of $17.36 as now. Is it not obvious that instead of providing in
the public schools a teacher for forty or fifty pupils, they would
provide a teacher for every ten or fifteen pupils?"[86]

The reform proposed by Dr. Eliot, if applied to all the twenty million
children of school age in the United States, would mean the expenditure
of two billion instead of three hundred and fifty million dollars per
year on public education. Ex-President Eliot fully realizes the radical
and democratic character of this proposed revolution in the public
schools, and is correspondingly careful to support his demands at every
point with facts. He shows, for instance, that while private schools
expend for the tuition and general care of each pupil from two hundred
to six hundred dollars a year, and not infrequently provide a teacher
for every eight or ten pupils, the public school which has a teacher for
every forty pupils is unusually fortunate.

Dr. Eliot says that while there has been great improvement in the first
eight grades since 1870, progress is infinitely slower than it should
be, and that the majority of children do not yet get beyond the eighth
grade (the statistics for this country show that only one out of
nineteen takes a secondary course). "Philanthropists, social
philosophers, and friends of free institutions," he asks, "is that the
fit educational outcome of a century of democracy in an undeveloped
country of immense natural resources? Leaders and guides of the people,
is that what you think just and safe? People of the United States, is
that what you desire and intend?"

In order not only to bring existing public schools up to the right
standard, but to create new kinds of schools that are badly needed, the
plan suggested by Dr. Eliot would take another billion or two. He
advocates kindergartens and further development of the new subjects that
have recently been added to the grammar school course; he opposes the
specialization of the studies of children for their life work before the
sixteenth or seventeenth year, favors complete development of the high
school as well as the manual training, mechanics, art, the evening and
the vacation schools, greater attention to physical education and
development, and, finally, the greatest possible extension and
development of our institutions of higher education. He also advocates
newer reforms, such as the employment of skilled physicians in
connection with the schools, the opening of public spaces, country
parks, beaches, city squares, gardens, or parkways for the instruction
of school children. He specifies in detail the improvements that are
needed in school buildings, shows what is urgently demanded and is
immediately practicable in the way of increasing the number of teachers,
paying them better and giving them pensions, indicates the needed
improvements in the administration of the school systems, urges the
development of departmental instruction through several grades, and the
addition of manual training to all the public schools along with a
better instruction in music and drawing.

There are still other improvements in education which have already been
tested and found to produce the most valuable results. Perhaps the most
important ones besides those demanded by Dr. Eliot are the providing of
free or cheap lunches for undernourished children, and the system,
already widespread in England and the other countries, of furnishing
scholarships to carry the brighter children of the impecunious classes
through the college, high school, and technical courses. Even this
policy of scholarships would lead us to full democracy in education only
if by its means the child of the poorest individual had exactly the same
opportunities as those of the richest. _It is not enough that a few
children only should be so advanced; but that of impecunious children,
who constitute 90 per cent of the population, a sufficient number should
be advanced to fill 90 per cent of those positions, in industry,
government, and society, which require a higher education._

There is no doubt that this actual equality in the "battle of life" was
the expectation and intention of those who settled and built up the
western part of the United States, as it has been that of all the
democracies of new countries. But this reform alone would certainly
require not one but several billion dollars a year; as much as all the
other improvements mentioned by Dr. Eliot put together. We may estimate,
then, that the application of the principle of democracy or equality of
opportunity to education in accordance with the present national income,
would require the immediate expenditure of three or four billion dollars
on the nation's children of school age, or ten times the sum we now
expend, and a corresponding increase as the wealth of the nation
develops. This would be a considerable proportion of the nation's
income, but not too much to spend on the children, who constitute nearly
half the population and are at the age where the money spent is most
productive.

Here is a program for the coming generation which would be indorsed by a
very large part of the democrats of the past. But nothing could make it
more clear that political democracy is bankrupt even in its new
collective form, that it has no notion of the method by which its own
ideals are to be obtained. For no reformer dreams that this perfectly
sensible and practicable program will be carried out until there has
been some revolutionary change in society. "I know that some people will
say that it is impossible to increase public expenditure in the total,
and therefore impossible to increase it for the schools," says Dr.
Eliot. "I deny both allegations. Public expenditure has been greatly
increased within the last thirty years, and so has school expenditure"
(written in 1902). But Dr. Eliot doubtless realizes that what he
advocates for the present moment, the expenditure of five times as much
as we now invest in public schools, at the present rate of progress,
might not be accomplished in a century, and that by that time society
might well have attained a degree of development which would demand five
or ten times as much again. Dr. Eliot is well aware of the opposition
that will be made to his reform, but he has not given the slightest
indication how it is to be overcome. The well-to-do usually feel
obligated to pay for the private education of their own children, and
even where public institutions are at their disposal they are forced to
support these children through all the years of study. This is
expensive, but this very expensiveness gives the children of the
well-to-do a practical monopoly of the opportunities which this
education brings. How are they to be brought to favor, and, since they
are the chief taxpayers, to _pay for_ the extension of these same
opportunities to ten times the number of children who now have them?

In the meanwhile Dr. Eliot himself seems to have become discouraged and
to have abandoned his own ideal, for only seven years after writing the
above he came to advocate the division of the whole national school
system into three classes: that for the upper class, that for the middle
class, and that for the masses of the people--and he even insisted that
this division is democratic if the elevation of the pupil from one class
to the other is made "easy."[87] Now democracy does not require that the
advance of the child of the poor be made what is termed _easy_, but that
he be given an _equal_ opportunity with the child of the rich as far as
all useful and necessary education is concerned. Democracy does not
tolerate that in education the children of the poor should be started in
at the bottom, while the children of the rich are started at the top.

Those few who do rise under such conditions only strengthen the position
of the upper classes as against that of the lower. Tolstoi was right
when he said that when an individual rises in this way he simply brings
another recruit to the rulers from the ruled, and that the fact that
this passage from one class to another does occasionally take place, and
is not absolutely forbidden by law and custom as in India, does not mean
that we have no castes.[88] Even in ancient Egypt, it was quite usual,
as in the case of Joseph, to elevate slaves to the highest positions.
This singling out and promotion of the very ablest among the lower
classes may indeed be called the basis of every lasting caste system.
All those societies that depended on a purely hereditary system have
either degenerated or were quickly destroyed. If then a ruling class
promotes from below a number sufficient only to provide for its own need
of new abilities and new blood, its power to oppress, to protect its
privileges, and to keep progress at the pace and in the direction that
suits it will only be augmented--and universal equality of opportunity
will be farther off than before. Doubtless the numbers "State Socialism"
will take up from the masses and equip for higher positions will
constantly increase. But neither will the opportunities of these few
have been in any way equal to those of the higher classes, nor will even
such opportunities be extended to any but an insignificant minority.

Nor does President Eliot's advocacy of class schools stand as an
isolated phenomenon. Already in America the development of free
secondary schools has been checked by the far more rapid growth of
private institutions. The very classes of taxpayers who control city and
other local governments and school boards are educating their own
children privately, and thus have a double motive for resisting the
further advance of school expenditure. As if the expense of upkeep
during the period of education were not enough of a handicap, those few
children of the wage earners who are brave enough to attempt to compete
with the children of the middle classes are now subjected to the
necessity of attending inferior schools or of traveling impracticable
distances. The building of new high schools, for example, was most rapid
in the Middle West in the decades 1880-1899, and in the Eastern States
in the decade 1890-1900. But within a few years after 1900 the rate of
increase had fallen in the Middle West to about one half, and in the
East to less than one third, of what it formerly had been.[89] It might
be thought that, the country being now well served with secondary
schools, the rate of growth must diminish. This may be true of a part of
the rural districts, but an examination of the situation or school
reports of our large cities will show how far it is from being true
there.

In Great Britain the public secondary schools for the most part and some
of the primary schools, _though supported wholly or largely by public
funds, charge a tuition fee_. The fact that a very small per cent of the
children of the poor are given scholarships which relieve them of this
fee only serves to strengthen the upper and middle classes, without in
any appreciable degree depriving them of their privileged position. In
London, for example, fees of from $20 to $40 are charged in the
secondary schools, and their superintendents report that they are
attended chiefly by the children of the "lower middle classes," salaried
employees, clerks, and shopkeepers, with comparatively few of the
children of the professional classes on the one hand or of the best-paid
workingmen on the other. An organized campaign is now on foot in New
York City also, among the taxpayers, to introduce a certain proportion
of primary pay schools, for the frank purpose of separating the lower
middle from the working classes, and to charge fees in all secondary
schools so as to bring a new source of income and _decrease_ the number
of students and the amounts spent on the schools. This in spite of the
annual plea of Superintendent Maxwell for more secondary schools, more
primary teachers, and primary school buildings. Instead of going in the
direction indicated by Dr. Eliot and preparing to spend four or five
times the present amount, there is a strong movement to spend less. And
nothing so hastens this reactionary movement as the tendency, whether
automatic or consciously stimulated, towards class (or caste)
education--such as Dr. Eliot and so many other reformers now directly or
indirectly encourage--usually under the cloak of industrial education.

The most anti-social aspects of capitalism, whether in its individualist
or its collectivist form, are the grossly unequal educational and
occupational privileges it gives the young. An examination of the better
positions now being obtained by men and women not yet past middle age
will show, let us say, that ten times as many prizes are going to
persons who were given good educational opportunities as to those who
were not. But as the children of those who can afford such opportunities
are not a tenth as numerous as the children of the rest of the people,
this would mean that the latter have only a _hundredth part_ of the
former's opportunities. Under this supposition, one tenth of the
population secures ten elevenths of the positions for which a higher
education is required. As a matter of fact, the existing inequality of
opportunity is undoubtedly very much greater than this, and the unequal
distribution of opportunities is visibly and rapidly becoming still less
equal. In 1910, of nineteen million pupils of public and private schools
in this country, only one million were securing a secondary, and less
than a third of a million a higher, education. Here are some figures
gathered by the Russell Sage Foundation in its recent survey of public
school management. The report covers 386 of the larger cities of the
Union. Out of every 100 children who enter the schools, 45 drop out
before the sixth year; that is, before they have learned to read
English. Only 25 of the remainder graduate and enter the high schools,
and of these but 6 complete the course.

The expense of a superior education, including upkeep during the
increasing number of years required, is rising many times more rapidly
than the income of the average man. At the same time, both the wealth
and the numbers of the well-to-do are increasing in greater proportion
than those of the rest of the people. While the better places get
farther and farther out of the reach of the children of the masses,
owing to the overcrowding of the professions by children of the
well-to-do, the competition becomes ever keener, and the poor boy or
girl who must struggle not only against this excessive competition, but
also against his economic handicap, confronts an almost superhuman task.

It is obvious that this tendency cannot be reversed, no matter how
rapidly the people's income is increased, unless it rises _more rapidly_
than that of the well-to-do. And this, Socialists believe, has never
happened except when the masses obtained political power and made full
use of it _against_ the class in control of industry and government.

No amount of material progress and no reorganization of industry or
government which does not promise to equalize opportunity,--however
rapid or even sensational it may be,--is of the first moment to the
Socialists of the movement. Wages might increase 5 or 10 per cent every
year, as profits increase to-day; hours might be shortened and the
intensity of labor lessened; and yet the gulf between the classes might
be growing wider than ever. If society is to progress toward industrial
democracy, it is necessary that the people should fix their attention,
not merely on the improvement of their own condition, but on their
progress _when compared with that of the capitalist classes, i.e._ when
measured by present-day civilization and the possibilities it affords.

_No matter how fast wages increase, if profits increase faster, we are
journeying not towards social democracy, but towards a caste society._
Thus to insist that we must keep our eyes on the prosperity of others in
order to measure our own seems like preaching envy or class hatred. But
in social questions the laws of individual morality are often reversed.
It is _the social duty_ of every less prosperous class of citizens,
their duty towards the whole of the coming generation as well as to
their own children, to measure their own progress solely by a standard
raised in accordance with the point in evolution that society has
attained. What would have been comparative luxury a hundred years ago it
is our duty to view as nothing less than a degrading and life-destroying
poverty to-day.

Opportunity is not becoming equal. The tendency is in the opposite
direction, and not all the reforms of "State Socialism" promise to
counteract it. The _citizen owes it to society_ to ask of every
proposed program of change, "Will it, within a reasonable period, bring
equality of opportunity?" To rest satisfied with less--a so-called
tendency of certain reforms in the right _direction_ may be wholly
illusory--is not only to abandon one's rights and those of one's
children, but to rob society of the only possible assurance of the
maximum of progress.

FOOTNOTES:

[83] Henry George, "Progress and Poverty," Vol. II, p. 515.

[84] John Mitchell, "Organized Labor" (Preface).

[85] John A. Hobson, "The Crisis of Liberalism," p. 100.

[86] For this and later quotations from Dr. Eliot in this chapter, see
his little book entitled "More Money for the Public Schools."

[87] See article by Dr. Eliot in the _School Review_, April, 1909.

[88] "Knowledge and Education," the _Independent_, 1910.

[89] Dexter, "History of Education in the United States," p. 173.



CHAPTER VIII

THE "FIRST STEP" TOWARDS SOCIALISM


"State Socialism" as I have described it will doubtless continue to be
the guiding policy of governments during a large part, if not all, of
the present generation. Capitalism, in this new collectivist form, must
bring about extremely deep-seated and far-reaching changes in society.
And every step that it takes in the nationalization of industry and the
appropriation of land rent would also be a step in Socialism, _provided_
the rents and profits so turned into the coffers of the State were not
used entirely for the benefit either of industry or of the community as
a whole, as it is now constituted, but were reserved in part _for the
special benefit of the less wealthy, less educated, and less
advantageously placed, so as gradually to equalize income, influence,
and opportunity_.

But what, as matter of fact, are the ways in which the new revenues are
likely to be used before the Socialists are either actually or
practically in control of the government? First of all, they will be
used for the further development of industry itself and of schemes which
aid industry, as by affording cheaper credit, cheaper transportation,
cheaper lumber, cheaper coal, etc., which will chiefly benefit the
manufacturers, since all these raw materials and services are so much
more largely used in industry than in private consumption.

Secondly, the new sources of government revenue will be used to relieve
certain older forms of taxation. The very moderately graduated income
and inheritance taxes which are now common, small capitalists have
tolerated principally on the ground that the State is in absolute need
of them for essential expenses. We may soon expect a period when the
present rapid expansion of this form of taxation as well as other direct
taxes on industry, building, corporations, etc., will be checked
somewhat by the new revenues obtained from the profits of government
enterprises and the taxation of ground values. Indirect taxation of the
consuming public in general, through tariffs and internal revenue taxes,
will also be materially lightened. As soon as new and larger sources of
income are created, the cry of the consumers for relief will be louder
than ever, and since a large part of consumption is that of the
capitalists in manufacture, the cry will be heard. This will mean lower
prices. But in the long run salaries and wages accommodate themselves to
prices, so that this reform, beneficial as it may be, cannot be accepted
as meaning, for the masses, more than a merely temporary relief. A third
form of tax reduction would be the special exemption of the poorer
classes from even the smallest direct taxation. But as employers and
wage boards, in fixing wages, will take this reduction into account, as
well as the lower prices and rents, such exemptions will effect no great
or lasting change in the division of the national income between
capitalists and receivers of salaries and wages.

A third way in which the new and vastly increased incomes of the
national and local governments can be expended is the communistic way,
as in developing commercial and technical education, in protecting the
public health, in building model tenements, in decreasing the cost of
traveling for health or business, and in promoting all measures that are
likely to increase industrial efficiency and profits without too great
cost.

A fourth way in which the new revenue may be expended, before the
Socialists are in actual or practical control, would be in somewhat
increasing the wages and somewhat shortening the hours of the State and
municipal employees, who will soon constitute a very large proportion of
the community. Here again it is impossible to expect any but a Socialist
government to go very far. As I have shown, it is to be questioned
whether any capitalistic administration, however advanced, would
increase real wages (wages measured by their purchasing power), except
in so far as the higher wages will result in a corresponding or greater
increase in efficiency, and so in the profits made from labor. And the
same law applies to most other governmental (or private) expenditures on
behalf of labor, whether in shortened hours, insurance, improved
conditions, or any other form.

The very essence of capitalist collectivism is that the share of the
total profits which goes to the ruling class should not be decreased,
and if possible should be augmented. In spite of material improvements
the economic gulf between the classes, during the period it dominates,
will either remain as it is, or become wider and deeper than before. On
the ground of the health and ultimate working efficiency of the present
and future generation, hours may be considerably shortened, and the
labor of women and children considerably curtailed. Insurance against
death, old age, sickness, and accident will doubtless be taken over by
the government. Mothers who are unable to take care of their children
will probably be pensioned, as now proposed in France, and many children
will be publicly fed in school, as in a number of the British and
Continental places. The most complete code of labor legislation is
practically assured; for, as government ownership extends, the State
will become to some extent the model employer.

A quarter of a century ago, especially in Great Britain and the United
States, but also in other countries, the method of allaying discontent
was to distract public attention from politics altogether by stimulating
the chase after private wealth. But as private wealth is more and more
difficult to attain, this policy is rapidly replaced by the very
opposite tactics, to keep the people absorbed in the political chase
after the material benefits of economic reform. For this purpose every
effort is being used to stimulate political interest, to popularize the
measures of the new State capitalism, to foster public movements in
their behalf, and finally to grant the reforms, not as a new form of
capitalism, but as "concessions to public opinion." At present it is
only the most powerful of the large capitalists and the most radical of
the small that have fully adapted themselves to the new policies. But
this will cause no serious delay, for among policies, as elsewhere, the
fittest are surely destined to survive.

Ten years ago it would have been held as highly improbable that we would
enter into such a collectivist period in half a century. Already a large
part of the present generation expect to see it in their lifetime. And
the constantly accelerated developments of recent years justify the
belief of many that we may find ourselves far advanced in "State
Socialism" before another decade has passed.

The question that must now be answered by the statesman as opposed to
the mere politician, by the publicist as opposed to the mere journalist,
is, not how soon the program of "State Socialism" will be put into
effect, but what is going to be the attitude of the masses towards it. A
movement exists that is already expressing and organizing their
discontent with capitalism in whatever form. It promises to fill this
function still more fully and vigorously in proportion as collectivist
capitalism develops. I refer to the international revolutionary movement
that finds its chief expression in the federated Socialist parties. The
majority of the best-known spokesmen of this movement agree that social
reform is advancing; yet most of them say, with Kautsky, that control of
the capitalists over industry and government is advancing even more
rapidly, partly by means of these very reforms, so that the
_Machtverhaeltnisse_, or distribution of political and economic power
between the various social classes, is even becoming less favorable to
the masses than it was before. The one thing they feel is that no such
capitalist society will ever be willing to ameliorate the condition of
the non-capitalists to such a degree that the latter will get an
increasing _proportion_ of the products of industry or of the benefits
of legislation, or an increased influence over government. The
capitalists will never do anything to disturb radically the existing
balance of power.

While Socialists have not always conceded that the capitalists will
themselves undertake, without compulsion, large measures of political
democracy and social reform,--even of the capitalistic variety,--nearly
all of the most influential are now coming to base their whole policy on
this now very evident tendency, and some have done so for many years
past. For instance, it has been clear to many from the time of Karl Marx
that it would be necessary for capitalist society itself to nationalize
or municipalize businesses that become monopolized, without any
reference to Socialism or the Socialists.

"These private monopolies have become unbearable," says Kautsky, "not
simply for the wage workers, but for all classes of society who do not
share in their ownership," and he adds that it is only the weakness of
the bourgeois (the smaller capitalist) as opposed to capital (the large
capitalist) that hinders him from taking effective action. Indeed, one
of the chief respects in which history has pursued a somewhat different
course from that expected by Marx has been in the failure of capitalist
society to attempt _immediately_ this solution of the trust problem
through government ownership. Marx expected that this attempt would
necessarily be made as soon as the monopolies reached an advanced state,
and that the resulting economic revolution would develop into a
Socialist revolution. But this monopolistic period has come, the trusts
are rapidly dominating the whole field of industry and government, and
yet it seems improbable that they will be forced to any final compromise
with the small capitalist investors and consumers for some years to
come. In the meanwhile, no doubt, the process of nationalization will
begin, but too late to fulfill Marx's expectation, for the large and
small capitalists will have time to become better united, and their
combined control over government will have had time to grow more secure
than ever. The new partnership of capitalism and the State will, no
doubt, represent the small capitalists as well as the large, but there
is no sign that the working people will be able to take advantage of the
coming transformation for any non-capitalist purpose. Nor did Marx
expect national ownership to increase the relative strength of the
workers _unless it was accompanied by a political revolution_.

Another vast capitalist reform predicted by Socialists since the
Communist Manifesto (1847) is nationalization or municipalization of the
ground rent or unearned increment of land. At first Kautsky and others
were inclined to expect that nothing would be done in this direction
until the working classes themselves achieved political power, but it
has always been seen from the days of Marx that the industrial
capitalists had no particular reason for wishing to be burdened with a
parasitic class of landlords that weighed on their shoulders as much as
on those of the rest of the people. Not only do industrial capitalists
pay heavy rents to landlords, but the rent paid by the wage worker also
has to be paid indirectly and in part by the industrial capitalist: "The
quantity of wealth that a landlord can appropriate from the capitalist
class becomes larger in proportion as the general demand for land
increases, in proportion as population grows, in proportion as the
capitalist class needs land, _i.e._ in proportion as the capitalist
system of production expands. In proportion with all this, rent rises;
that is to say, the aggregate amount of wealth increases which the
landlord class can slice off--either directly or indirectly--from the
surplus that would otherwise be grabbed by the capitalist class
alone."[90]

The industrial capitalists, then, have very motive to put an end to this
kind of parasitism, and to use the funds secured, through confiscatory
taxation of the unearned increment of land, to lessen their own
taxation, to nationalize those fundamental industries that can only be
made in this way to subserve the interests of the capitalist class as a
whole (instead of some part of it merely), and to undertake through
government those costly enterprises which are needed by all industry,
but which give too slow returns to attract the capitalist investor.

This enormous reform, in land taxation, which alone would put into the
hands of governments ultimately almost a third of the capital of modern
nations, was considered by Marx, in all its early stages, as purely
capitalistic, "_a Socialistically-fringed attempt to save the rule of
capitalism, and to establish it in fact on a still larger foundation at
present_."[91] Indeed, I have shown in a previous chapter that radical
reformers who advocated this single-tax idea, along with the
nationalization and municipalization of monopolies, do so with the
conscious purpose of reviving capitalism and making it more permanent,
precisely as Marx says. The great Socialist wrote the above phrase in
1881 (in a recently published letter to Sorge of New York) after reading
Henry George's "Progress and Poverty," which had just appeared. He calls
attention to the fact that James Mill and other capitalistic economists
had long before recommended that land rent should be paid to the State
so as to serve as a substitute for taxes, and that he, himself, had
advocated it in the Manifesto of 1847--among _transitional measures_.

Marx says that he and Engels "inserted this appropriation of ground rent
by the State among many other demands," which, as also stated in the
Manifesto, "are self-contradictory and must be such of _necessity_." He
explains what he means by this in the same letter. In the very year of
the Manifesto he had written (in his book against Proudhon) that this
measure was "a frank statement of the hatred felt by the industrial
capitalist for the landowner, who seems to him to be a useless,
unnecessary member in the organism of Capitalist society." Marx demanded
"the abolition of property in land, and the application of all land
rents to public purposes," _not because this is in any sense the
smallest installment of Socialism, but because it is a progressive
capitalistic measure_. While it strengthens capitalism by removing "a
useless, unnecessary member," and by placing it "on a still larger
foundation than it has at the present," it also matures it and makes it
ready for Socialism--ready, that is to say, as soon as _the working
people capture the government and turn the capitalists out, but not a
day sooner_.[92] Until that time even the most grandiose reform is
merely "a Socialistically-fringed attempt to save the rule of
capitalism."

Other "transitional measures" mentioned by Marx and Engels in 1847, some
of which had already been taken up as "Socialistically-fringed attempts
to save the rule of capitalism" even before their death were:--


     The heavily graduated income tax.
     The abolition of inheritance.
     A government bank with an exclusive monopoly.
     A partial nationalization of factories.
       (No doubt, the part they would select would be that operated
       by the trusts.)
     Government cultivation of waste lands.


Here we have a program closely resembling that of "State capitalism." It
omits the important labor legislation for increasing efficiency, since
this was unprofitable under competitive and extra-governmental
capitalism, and in Marx's time had not yet appeared; _e.g._ the minimum
wage, a shorter working day, and workingmen's insurance. As Marx and
Engels mention, however, the substitution of industrial education for
child labor (one of the most important and typical of these reforms),
they would surely have included other measures of the same order, had
they been practicable and under discussion at the time.

There can be little doubt that Marx and Engels, in this early
pronunciamento, were purposely ambiguous in their language. For example,
they demand "the extension of factories and instruments of production
owned by the state." This is plainly a conservatively capitalistic or a
revolutionary Socialist measure entirely according to the degree to
which, and the hands by which, it is carried out--and the same is
evidently true of the appropriation of land rent and the abolition of
inheritance. This is what Marx means when he says that every such
measure is "self-contradictory and must be such of necessity." Up to a
certain point they put capitalism on "a larger basis"; if carried beyond
that, they may, _in the right hands_, become steps in Socialism.

Marx and Engels were neither able nor willing to lay out a program which
would distinguish sharply between measures that would be transitional
and those that would be Socialist sixty or seventy years after they
wrote, but merely gave concrete illustrations of their policy; they
stated explicitly that such reforms would vary from country to country,
and only claimed for those they mentioned that they would be "pretty
generally applicable." Yet, understood in the sense in which it was
originally promulgated and afterwards explained, this early Socialist
program still affords the most valuable key we have as to what Socialism
is, if we view it on the side of its practical efforts rather than on
that of abstract theories. Marx and Engels recognize that the measures I
have mentioned must be acknowledged as "insufficient and untenable,"
because, though they involve "inroads on the rights of property," they
do not go far enough to destroy capitalism and establish a Socialistic
society. But they reassure their Socialistic critics by pointing out
that these "insufficient" and "transitory" measures, "in the course of
the movement, outstrip themselves, _necessitate further inroads on the
old social order_, and are indispensable as a means of entirely
revolutionizing the mode of production." (My italics.)

That is, "State Socialism" is indispensable as a basis for Socialism,
indeed necessitates it, provided Socialists look upon "State Socialist"
measures chiefly as transitory _means_ "to raise the proletariat to the
position of ruling class"; for this rise of the proletariat to the
position of ruling class is necessarily "the _first step_ in the
revolution of the working class."

From the day of this first step the whole direction of social evolution
would be altered. For, while the Socialists expect to utilize every
reform of capitalist collectivism, and can only build on that
foundation, their later policy would be diametrically opposed to it. A
Socialist government would begin immediately an almost complete reversal
of the statesmanship of "State Socialism." The first measure it would
undertake would be to begin at once to increase wages _faster than the
rate of increase of the total wealth of the community_. Secondly, within
a few years, it would give to the masses of the population, according to
their abilities, all the education needed to fill _from the ranks of the
non-capitalistic classes_ a proportion of all the most desirable and
important positions in the community, corresponding to their numbers,
and would see to it that they got these positions.

It is undoubtedly the opinion of the most representative figures of the
international Socialist movement that there is not the slightest
possibility that any of the non-Socialist reformers of to-day or of the
near future are following or will follow any such policy, or even take
the slightest step in that direction; and that there is nothing
Socialists can do to force such a policy on the capitalists until they
are actually or practically in power. Society may continue to progress,
but it is surely inconceivable to any close observer, as it is
inconceivable to the Socialists, that the privileged classes will ever
consent, without the most violent struggle, to a program which, viewed
as a whole, would lead, _however gradually or indirectly_, to a more
equitable distribution of wealth and political power.

FOOTNOTES:

[90] Kautsky, "The Capitalist Class" (pamphlet).

[91] Marx's letters to Sorge.

[92] Marx's letters to Sorge.



PART II

THE POLITICS OF SOCIALISM



CHAPTER I

"STATE SOCIALISM" WITHIN THE MOVEMENT


The Socialist movement must be judged by its acts, by the decisions
Socialists have reached and the reasoning they have used as they have
met concrete problems.

The Socialists themselves agree that first importance is to be attached,
not to the theories of Socialist writers, but to the principles that
have actually guided Socialist parties and their instructed
representatives in capitalist legislatures. These and the proceedings of
international and national congresses and the discussion that constantly
goes on within each party, and not theoretical writings, give the only
truthful and reliable impression of the movement.

In 1900 Wilhelm Liebknecht, who up to the time of his death was as
influential as Bebel in the German Party, pointed out that those party
members who disavowed Socialist principles in their _practical
application_ were far more dangerous to the movement than those who made
wholesale theoretical assaults on the Socialist philosophy, and that
political alliances with capitalist parties were far worse than the
repudiation of the teachings of Karl Marx. In his well-known pamphlet
_No Compromise_ he showed that this fact had been recognized by the
German Party from the beginning.

I have shown the Socialists' actual position through their attitude
towards progressive capitalism. An equally concrete method of dealing
with Socialist actualities is to portray the various tendencies _within_
the movement. The Socialist position can never be clearly defined except
by contrasting it with those policies that the movement has rejected or
is in the process of rejecting to-day. Indeed, no Socialist policy can
be viewed as at all settled or important unless it has proved itself
"fit," by having survived struggles either with its rivals outside or
with its opponents inside the movement.

If we turn our attention to what is going on within the movement, we
will at once be struck by a world-wide situation. "State Socialism" is
not only becoming the policy of the leading capitalistic parties in many
countries, but--in a modified form--it has also become the chief
preoccupation of a large group among the Socialists. "Reformist"
Socialists view most of the reforms of "State Socialism" as installments
of Socialism, enacted by the capitalists in the hope of diverting
attention from the rising Socialist movement.

To Marx, on the contrary, the first "step" in Socialism was the conquest
of complete political power by the Socialists. "The proletariat," he
wrote in the Communist Manifesto "will use _its political supremacy_ to
wrest, by degrees, all capital from the capitalists, to centralize all
instruments of production in the hands of the State, _i.e. of the
proletariat organized as the ruling class_." (My italics.) Here is the
antithesis both of "reformist" Socialism within the movement and of
"State Socialism" without. The working people are _not_ expected to gain
more and more political power step by step and to use it as they go
along. It is only _after_ gaining full political _supremacy_ by a
revolution (peaceful or otherwise) that they are to socialize industry
step by step. Marx and his successors do not advise the working people
to concentrate their efforts on the centralization of the instruments of
production in the hands of governments as they now are (capitalistic),
but only _after_ they have become completely transformed into the tools
of the working people "organized as the ruling class," to use Marx's
expression.[93]

The central idea of the "reformist" Socialists is, on the contrary, that
before Socialism has captured any government, and even before it has
become an imminent menace, it is necessary that Socialists should take
the lead in the work of social reform, and should devote their energies
very largely to this object. It is recognized that capitalistic or
non-Socialist reformers have taken up many of the most urgent reforms
and will take up more of them, and that being politically more powerful
they are in a better position to put them into effect. But the
"reformist" Socialists, far from allowing this fact to discourage them,
allege it as the chief reason why they must also enter the field. The
non-Socialist reformers, they say, are engaged in a popular work, and
the Socialists must go in, help to bring about the reforms, and claim
part of the credit. They then propose to attribute whatever success they
may have gained, not to the fact that they also have become reformers
like the rest, but to the fact that they happen to be Socialists. The
non-Socialist reformers, they say again, are gaining a valuable
experience in government; the Socialists must go and do likewise.
Reforms which were steps in capitalism thus become to them steps in
Socialism. It is not the fashion of "reformists" to try to claim that
they are very great steps--on the contrary, they usually belittle them,
but it is believed that agitation for such reforms as capitalist
governments allow, is the best way to gain the public ear, the best kind
of political practice, the most fruitful mode of activity.

One of the leading American Socialist weeklies has made a very clear and
typical statement of this policy:--


     "_If we leave the field of achievement to the reformer, then it is
     going to be hard to persuade people that reform is not sufficient.
     If Socialists take every step forward as part of a general
     revolutionary program_, and never fail to point out that these
     things are but steps forward in a stairway that mean nothing save
     as they lead to a higher stage of society, then the Socialist
     movement will carry along with it all those who are fighting the
     class struggle. The hopelessness of reform as a goal will become
     apparent when its real position in social evolution is pointed
     out."[94]


The leading questions this proposed policy arouses will at once come to
the reader's mind: Will the capitalist reformers in control of national
governments allow the Socialist "reformists" to play the leading part in
their own chosen field of effort? If people tend to be satisfied with
reform, what difference does it make as to the ultimate political or
social ideals of those who bring it about? If the steps taken by
reformers and "reformists" are the same, by what alchemy can the latter
transform them into parts of a revolutionary program?

Mr. Simons, nevertheless, presents this "reformism" as the proper policy
for the American Party at its present stage:--


     "It has become commonplace," he says, "to say that the Socialist
     movement of the United States has entered upon a new stage, and
     that with the coming of many local victories and not a few in
     State and nation, Socialist activity must partake of the character
     of preparation for the control of society.

     "Yet our propaganda has been slow to reflect this change. This is
     natural. For more than a generation the important thing was to
     advertise Socialism and to inculcate a few doctrinal truths. This
     naturally developed a literature based on broad assertions,
     sensational exposures, vigorous denunciations, and revival-like
     appeals that resulted in sectarian organization.

     "It has been hard to break away from this stage. It is easier to
     make a propaganda of 'sound and fury' than of practical
     achievement. Once the phrases have been learned, it is much simpler
     to issue a manifesto than to organize a precinct. It always
     requires less effort to talk about a class struggle than to fight
     it; to defy the lightning of international class rule than to
     properly administer a township. Yet, if Socialism is inevitable, if
     the Socialist Party is soon to rule in State and nation, then it is
     of the highest importance that Socialists should know something of
     the forces with which they are going to deal; something of the
     lines of evolution which they are going to further; something of
     the government which they are going to administer; something of the
     task which they profess to be eager to accomplish."


It might seem that, after the first stage has been passed, the next
promising way to carry Socialism forward, the way actually to "fight"
the class struggle and to achieve something practical is, as Mr. Simons
says, to talk less and to go in and "administer a township."
Revolutionary Socialists agree that advertising, the teaching of a few
basic doctrines, emotional appeals, and the criticism of present society
have hitherto taken up the principal share of the Socialist agitation,
and that all these together are not sufficient to enable Socialists to
achieve their aim, or even to carry the movement much farther. They
agree that activity is the best teacher and that the class struggle must
be actually fought. But they propose other activities and feel that a
whole intermediate stage of Socialist evolution, including the capture
of national governments, lies between the Socialist agitation of the
past and any administration of a township that can do anything to bring
recruits to Socialism and not merely to "State Socialist" reform.

This is the view of the revolutionary majority of the international
movement. But the "reformist" minority is both large and powerful, and
since it draws far more recruits than does the revolutionary majority
from the ranks of the book educated and capitalistic reformers, its
spokesmen and writers attract a disproportionately large share of
attention in capitalistic and reform circles, and thus give rise to
widespread misunderstanding as to the position of the majority.

Not only are both the more or less Socialistic parties in Great Britain
and the Labour parties of the British colonies "reformist" to the extent
that they are either entirely outside or practically independent of the
international movement, but the parties of Belgium, Italy, and South
Germany have, for a number of years, concentrated their attention almost
exclusively on such reforms as the capitalist governments of their
countries are likely to allow to be enacted--the dominant idea being to
obtain all that can be obtained for the working classes at the present
moment, even when, for this purpose, it becomes necessary to subordinate
or to compromise entirely the plans and hopes of the future. And it is
only within the last year or two that the revolutionary wing in these
last-named countries has begun to grow rapidly again and promises to
regain control.

There can be no doubt that Socialist "reformism" has become very
widespread. President Gompers of the American Federation of Labor, who
had every facility of meeting European Socialists and unionists on a
recent tour, made some observations which are by no means without a
certain foundation.[95] He says that he talked to these people about
Socialism and, though they all knew "the litany, service, and
invocation" and the Socialist text for the coming revolution, they
preserved this knowledge for their speech making, while in conversation
it all faded away into the misty realms of the imagination.
"Positively," writes Mr. Gompers, "I never found one man in my trip
ready to go further into constructive Socialism than to repeat
perfunctorily its time-worn generalities. On the other hand, I met men
whom I knew years ago, either personally or through correspondence or by
their work, as active propagandists of the Socialists' theoretical
creed, who are now devoting their energies to one or other of the
practical forms of social betterment--trade unionism, coöperation, legal
protection to the workers--and who could not be moved to speak of
utopianism [Mr. Gompers's epithet for Socialism]." It is doubtless true,
as Mr. Gompers says, that the individuals he questioned have practically
abandoned their Socialism, even though they remain members of the
Socialist parties. For if such activities as he mentions could be
claimed as "Socialism," then there is very little public work an
intelligent and honest workingman can undertake, no matter how
conservative it may be, which is not to go by that name.

The chief characteristic of the reformists is, indeed, frankly to claim,
either that all the capitalist-collectivist reforms of the period are
Socialist in origin, or that they cannot be put into execution without
Socialist aid, or that such reforms are enacted only as concessions, for
fear that Socialism would otherwise sweep everything before it.

Rev. Carl D. Thompson, formerly a Socialist member of the Wisconsin
Legislature, and now Town Clerk of Milwaukee, for example, claims
Millerand as a Socialist minister, though the French Socialist Party
agreed by an almost unanimous vote that he is not to be so considered,
and attributes to this minister a whole series of reforms in which he
was only a single factor among many others. Many important legislative
changes which have taken place in Italy since 1900, Mr. Thompson
accredits to the opportunist Socialist leader, Turati, with his handful
of members of the chamber, though it is certain that even at the present
moment the Socialists have not yet arrived at a position where they can
claim that they are shaping governmental action as strongly as their
Radical allies. Mr. Thompson states that the "Socialist Independent
Labour Party" of Great Britain had thirty-four representatives in
Parliament at a time when the larger non-Socialist Labour Party, which
included it, had only this number. He claimed that a majority of this
latter party were Socialists, when, as a matter of fact, only a minority
were members of any Socialist party even in the ultra-moderate sense in
which the term is employed in England, and he accredits all the chief
reforms brought about by the Liberal government to this handful of
"Socialists," including even the old age pensions which were almost
unanimously favored by the old parties.[96] He even lists among his
signs of the progress of Socialism the fact that, at the time of
writing, fifty-nine governments owned their railways, while a large
number had instituted postal savings banks.

The same tendency to claim everything good as Socialism is very common
in Great Britain. Even the relatively advanced Socialist, Victor
Grayson, avoids the question whether there is any social reform which is
not Socialism,[97] and it seems to be the general position of British
Socialists that every real reform is Socialism--more or less.

August Bebel, on the contrary, is quoted as saying, "_It is not a
question of whether we achieve this or that; for us the principal thing
is that we put forward certain claims which no other party can put
forward._" The great German Socialist sees clearly that if Socialism is
to distinguish itself from the other parties it must rest its claims
solely on demands which are made exclusively by Socialists. This is what
those who claim that every reform is Socialism, or is best promoted by
Socialists, fail to see. By trying to make the word, "Socialism" mean
everything, they inevitably make it mean nothing.

It is true that for a time the very advertisement of the word
"Socialism," by this method, and even the widest and loosest use of
Socialist phrases had the effect of making people think about Socialist
principles. But this cannot be long continued before the public begins
to ask questions concerning the exact meaning of such expressions as
applied to everyday life. The Socialist paper, _Justice_, of London,
urged that "the very suggestion that any of the Liberal members of
Parliament were connected with the Socialist movement created a more
profound impression than all they ever said or did." This is doubtless
true, but when the novelty has once worn off of this situation it is
what so-called Socialists do that alone will count.

For example, the leading reformist Socialist of Great Britain, Mr. J. R.
MacDonald, wishes to persuade the Socialists of America to carry on "a
propaganda of immediately practicable changes, justified and enriched by
the fact that they are the realization of great ideals."[98] Such a
reduction of the ideal to what is actually going on, or may be
immediately brought about, makes it quite meaningless. Evidently the
immediately practicable changes that Mr. MacDonald suggests are
themselves his ideal, and what he calls the ideal consists rather of
phrases and enthusiasms that are useful, chiefly, for the purpose of
advertising his Party and creating enthusiasm for it.

The underlying motive of the "reformists" when they claim non-Socialist
reforms as their own, and relegate practically all distinctively
Socialist principles and methods to the vague and distant future, is
undoubtedly their belief that reforms rather than Socialism appeal to
the working class.

"The mass of workingmen will support the Socialist Party," a Socialist
reformer wrote recently, "not because they are being robbed under
capitalism, but because they are made to understand that this party can
be relied upon to advance certain measures which they know will benefit
them and their families here and now.

"The constructive Socialist believes that the coöperative commonwealth
will be realized, not by holding it up in contrast to capitalism,--but
only by the working class fighting first for this thing, then for that
thing, until private enterprise is undermined by its rewards being eaten
up by taxes and its incentive removed by the inroads made upon profits."

The working people, that is, are not intelligent enough to realize that
they are "robbed under capitalism," and are not getting their
proportionate share of the increase of wealth, nor courageous enough to
take up the fight to overthrow capitalism; they appreciate only small
advances from day to day, and every step by which "private capitalism"
is replaced by State action is such an advance, while these advances are
to be secured chiefly through a Socialist Party. In a word, the
Socialist Party is to ask support because it can accomplish more than
other parties for social reform under capitalism, which at the present
period means "State Socialism."

For while "reformist" Socialists are taking a position nearly identical
with that of the non-Socialist reformers, the latter are coming to adopt
a political policy almost identical with that of the reformist
Socialists. I have noted that one of America's leading economists
advises all reformers, whether they are Socialists or not, to join the
Socialist Party. Since both "reformist" Socialists and "Socialistic"
reformers are interested in labor legislation, public ownership,
democratic political reforms, graduated taxation, and the governmental
appropriation of the unearned increment in land, why should they not
walk side by side for a very considerable distance behind "a somewhat
red banner," and "without troubling themselves about the unlike
goals"--as Professor John Bates Clark recommends? The phrases of
Socialism have become so popular that their popularity constitutes its
chief danger. At a time when so many professed anti-Socialists are
agreeing with the New York _Independent_ that, though it is easy to have
too much Socialism, at least "we want _more_" than we have, it becomes
exceedingly difficult for non-Socialists to learn what Socialism is and
to distinguish it from innumerable reform movements.

Less than a decade ago the pros and cons of Socialism were much
debated. Now it is usually only a question of Socialism sooner or later,
more or less. Socialism a century or two hence, or in supposed
installments of a fraction of a per cent, is an almost universally
popular idea. For the Socialists this necessitates a revolutionary
change in their tactics, literature, and habit of thought. They were
formerly forced to fight those who could not find words strong enough to
express their hostility; they are rapidly being compelled to give their
chief attention to those who claim to be friends. The day of mere
repression is drawing to a close, the day of cajolery is at hand.

Liebknecht saw what was happening years ago, and, in one of the most
widely circulated pamphlets the Socialists have ever published (_No
Compromise_), issued an impressive warning to the movement:--


     "The enemy who comes to us with an open visor we face with a smile;
     to set our feet upon his neck is mere play for us. The stupidly
     brutal acts of violence of police politicians, the outrages of
     anti-Socialist laws, penitentiary bills--these only arouse feelings
     of pitying contempt; the enemy, however, that reaches out the hand
     to us for a political alliance, and intrudes himself upon us as a
     friend and a brother,--_him and him alone have we to fear_.

     "Our fortress can withstand every assault--it cannot be stormed nor
     taken from us by siege--it can only fall _when we ourselves open
     the doors to the enemy and take him into our ranks as a fellow
     comrade_."


"We shall almost never go right," says Liebknecht, "if we do what our
enemies applaud." And we find, as a matter of fact, that the enemies of
Socialism never fail to applaud any tendency of the party to compromise
those acting principles that have brought it to the point it has now
reached. For Liebknecht shows that the power which now causes a
Socialist alliance to be sought after in some countries even by
Socialism's most bitter enemies would never have arisen had the party
not clung closely to its guiding principle, the policy of "no
compromise."

There is no difficulty in showing, from the public life and opinion of
our day, how widespread is this spirit of political compromise or
opportunism; nor in proving that it enters into the conduct of many
Socialists. Such an opposition to the effective application of broad and
far-sighted plans to practical politics is especially common, for
historical reasons, in Great Britain and the United States. In this
country it has been especially marked in Milwaukee from the earliest
days of the Socialist movement there. In 1893 the _Milwaukee Vorwaerts_
announced that "if you demand too much at one time you are likely not to
get anything," and that "nothing more ought to be demanded but what is
attainable at a given time and under given circumstances."[99] It will
be noticed that this is a clear expression of a principle of action
diametrically opposite to that adopted by the international movement as
stated by Bebel and Liebknecht. Socialists are chiefly distinguished
from the other parties by the fact that they concentrate their attention
on demands beyond "what is attainable at a given time and under given
circumstances." They might _attempt_ to distinguish themselves by
claiming that they stand for the _ultimate_ goal of Socialism, though
their immediate program is the same as that of other parties, but any
politician can do that--as has been shown recently by the action of
Briand, Millerand, Ferri, and other former Socialists in France and
Italy--and the day seems near when hosts of politicians will follow
their example.

Any static or dogmatic definition of Socialism, like any purely
idealistic formulation, no matter how revolutionary or accurate it may
be, necessarily invites purely opportunist methods. A widely accepted
static definition declares that Socialism is "the collective ownership
of the means of production and distribution under democratic
management." As an ultimate ideal or a theory of social evolution, this
is accepted also by many collectivist opponents of Socialism, and may
soon be accepted generally. The chief possibility for a difference of
opinion among most practical persons, whether Socialists or not, must
come from the questions: How soon? By what means?

Evidently such a social revolution is to be achieved only by stages.
What are these stages? Many are tempted to give the easy answer, "More
and more collectivism and more and more democracy." But progress in
political democracy, if it came first, might be accompanied by an
artificial revival of small-scale capitalism, and a new majority made up
largely of contented farmer capitalists might put Socialism farther off
than it is to-day. Similarly, if installments of collectivism came
first, they might lead us in the direction of the Prussia of to-day. And
finally, even a combination of democracy and collectivism, up to a
certain point, might produce a majority composed in part of small
capitalists and favored government employees. Collectivist democracy
completed or far advanced would insure the coming of Socialism. But a
policy that merely gave us _more_ collectivism plus _more_ democracy,
might carry us equally well either towards Socialism or in the opposite
direction. The ultimate goal of present society does not give us a
ready-made plan of action by a mathematical process of dividing its
attainment into so many mechanical stages.

A very similar political shibboleth, often used by Party Socialists, is
"Let the nation own the trusts." Let us assume that the constitution of
this country were made as democratic as that of Australia or
Switzerland, and the suffrage made absolutely universal (as to adults).
Let us assume, moreover, that the "trusts," including railways, public
service corporations, banks, mines, oil, and lumber interests, the
steel-making and meat-packing industries, and the few other important
businesses where monopolies are established, were owned and operated by
governments of this character. Taken together with the social and labor
reforms that would accompany such a régime, this would be "State
Socialism," but it would not _necessarily_ constitute even a _step
towards_ Socialism--and this for two reasons.

The industries mentioned employ probably less than a third of the
population, and, even if we add other government employments, the total
would be little more than a third. The majority of the community would
still be divided among the owners or employees of the competitive
manufacturing establishments, stores, farms, etc.,--and the professional
classes. With most of these the struggle of Capital and Labor would
continue and, since they are in a majority, would be carried over into
the field of government, setting the higher paid against the more poorly
paid employees, as in the Prussia of to-day.

And, secondly, even if we supposed that a considerable part or all of
the government employees received what they felt to be, on the whole, a
fair treatment from the government, and if these, together with
shopkeepers, farm owners, or lessees, and satisfied professional and
salaried men, made up a majority, we would still be as far as ever from
a social, economic, or industrial democracy. What we would have would be
a class society, based on a purely political democracy, and
economically, on a partly private (or individualist) and partly public
(or collectivist) capitalism.

"Equal opportunities for all" would also mean Socialism. But equal
opportunities for a limited number, no matter if that number be much
larger than at present, may merely strengthen capitalism by drawing the
more able of the workers away from their class and into the service of
capitalism. Or opportunities _more_ equal for all, without a complete
equalization, may merely increase the competition of the lower classes
for middle-class positions and so secure to the capitalists cheaper
professional service. So-called steps towards equal opportunities, even
if rapid enough to produce a very large surplus of trained applicants
for whom capitalism fails to provide and so increase the army of
malcontents, may simply delay the day of Socialism.

I have spoken of Socialists whose underlying object is opportunistic--to
obtain immediate results in legislation no matter how unrelated they may
be to Socialism. Others are impelled either by an inactive idealism, or
by attachment to abstract dogma for its own sake. Their custom is in the
one instance to make the doctrine so rigid that it has no immediate
application, and in the other to "elevate the ideal" so high, to remove
it so far into the future, that it is scarcely visible for the
present-day purposes, and then to declare that present-day activity,
even if theoretically subject to an ideal or a doctrine, must be guided
also by quite other and "practical" principles, which are never clearly
defined and sometimes are scarcely mentioned. Mr. Edmond Kelly, for
instance, puts his "Collectivism Proper," or Socialism, so far into the
future that he is forced to confess that it will be attained only
"ultimately," or perhaps not at all, while "Partial Collectivism may
prove to be the last stage consistent with human imperfection."[100] He
acknowledges that this Partial Collectivism ("State Socialism") is not
the ideal, and it is evident that his ideal is too far ahead or too
rigid or theoretical, to have any connection with the ideals of the
Socialist movement, which arise exclusively out of actual life.

This opportunism defends itself by an appeal to the "evolutionary"
argument, that progress must necessarily be extremely slow. Progress in
this view, like Darwin's variations, takes place a step at a time, and
its steps are infinitesimally small. _The Worker_ of Brisbane,
Australia, says: "The complicated complaint from which society suffers
can only be cured by the administration of _homeopathic_ doses....
Inculcate Socialism? Yes, but grab all you can to be going on with.
Preach revolutionary thoughts? Yes, but rely on the ameliorative
method.... The minds of men are of slow development, and we must be
content, we fear, to accomplish our revolution piecemeal, bit by bit,
till a point is come to when, by accumulative process, a series of small
changes amounts to the Great Change. The most important revolutions are
those that happen quietly without anything particularly noticeable
seeming to occur."

What is a Great Change depends _entirely_, in the revolutionist's view,
on how rapidly it is brought about, and "revolutionary thoughts" are
empty abstractions unless accompanied by revolutionary methods. Once it
is assumed that there is plenty of time, the difference between the
conservative and the radical disappears. For even those who have the
most to lose realize in these days the inevitability of "evolution." The
radical is not he who looks forward to great changes after long periods
of time, but he who will not tolerate unnecessary delay--who is
unwilling to accept the so-called installments or ameliorations offered
by the conservative and privileged (even when considerable) as being
satisfactory or as necessarily contributing to his purpose at all. The
radical spirit is rather that of John Stuart Mill, when he said, "When
the object is to raise the permanent condition of a people, small means
do not merely produce small effects; they produce no effect at all."

Some political standard and quantitative measure is as necessary to
social progress as similar standards are necessary in other relations.
If the political standard of the Socialists is so low as to regard
social reform programs which on the whole are more helpful to the
capitalists than to other classes--and therefore "produce no effect at
all" as far as the Socialist purpose is concerned--as if they were
_concessions_, then it follows naturally that the Socialists will be
ready to pay a price for such concessions. They will not only view as a
relative gain over the capitalists measures which are primarily aimed at
advancing capitalist interests, but they will inevitably be ready at a
price to relax to some extent the intensity of their opposition to other
measures that are capitalistic and antipopular. For instance, if old age
pensions are considered by the workers to be an epoch-making reform and
a concession, they may be granted by the capitalists all the more
readily. But if thus overvalued, advantage will be taken of this
feeling, and they will in all probability be accompanied by restrictions
of the rights of labor organizations. On the other hand, if such
pensions, however desirable, are considered as a reform which will
result indirectly in great savings to the capitalist classes, to public
and private charitable institutions, to employers, etc., then the
Socialists will accept them and, if possible, hasten their
enactment,--but, like the French, will refuse to pay for them out of
their own pockets (even through indirect taxation, as the British
workingmen were forced to do) and will allow them neither to be used as
a cloak for reaction, nor as a substitute for more fundamental reforms.

In other words, a rational political standard would teach that a certain
measure of political progress is normal in capitalist society as a
result of the general increase of wealth and the general improvement in
political and economic organization, especially now that the great
change to State capitalism is taking place; while reforms of an entirely
different character are needed if there is to be any relative advance of
the political and economic power of the masses, any tendency that might
lead in the course of a reasonable period of time to economic and social
democracy.

"A new and fair division of the goods and rights of this world should be
the main object of all those who conduct human affairs," said De
Tocqueville. The economic progress and political reforms of this
capitalistic age are doubtless bringing us nearer to the day when a new
and fair division of goods and rights _can_ take place, and they will
make the great transformation easier when it comes, but this does not
mean that in themselves they constitute even a first step in the new
dispensation. That they do is denied by all the most representative
Socialists from Marx to Bebel.

The most bitter opponents of Socialism, like its most thoroughgoing
advocates, have come to see that the whole character of the movement has
grown up from its unwillingness to compromise the aggressive tactics
indispensable for the revolutionary changes it has in view, until it has
become obvious that, _just as Socialism as a social movement is the
opposite pole to State capitalism, so Socialism as a social method is
the opposite pole to opportunism_.

FOOTNOTES:

[93] The Communist Manifesto.

[94] _The Coming Nation_, Sept. 9, 1911.

[95] Mr. Gompers's articles in the _Federationist_ have recently
appeared in book form.

[96] Carl D. Thompson, "The Constructive Program of Socialism"
(pamphlet).

[97] Victor Grayson and G. R. S. Taylor, "The Problem of Parliament," p.
56.

[98] Editorial in the _Socialist Review_ (London), May, 1910.

[99] _Vorwaerts_ (Milwaukee), Jan. 3, 1893.

[100] Edmond Kelly, "Individualism and Collectivism," p. 398.



CHAPTER II

"REFORMISM" IN FRANCE, ITALY, AND BELGIUM


The Socialist parties in Italy, Belgium, and France, where "reformism"
is strong, are progressing less rapidly than the Socialists of these
countries had reason to expect, and far less rapidly than in other
countries. It would seem that in these cases the same cause that drives
the movement to abandon aggressive tactics also checks its numerical
growth.

For example, it is a matter of principle among Socialists generally to
contest every possible elected position and to nominate candidates in
every possible district. The revolutionary French Socialist, Jules
Guesde, even stated to the writer that if candidates could be run by the
party in every district of France, and if the vote could in this way be
increased, he would be willing to see the number of Socialists in
Parliament reduced materially, even to a handful--the object being to
teach Socialism everywhere, and to prepare for future victories by
concentrating on a few promising districts rather than to make any
effort to become a political factor, at the present moment. Similarly,
August Bebel declared that he would prefer that in the elections of 1912
the Socialists should get 4,000,000 votes and 50 Reichstag members
rather than 3,000,000 votes and 100 members. In the latter case, of
course, the Socialist members would have been elected largely on the
second ballot by the votes of non-Socialists.

The policy actually carried out in both Italy and France has of late
been exactly the opposite to that recommended by Guesde and Bebel. In
the elections of 1909, the Socialist Party of Italy put up 114 less
candidates for Parliament than they had in the election of 1904, while
the number of candidates nominated in France was 50 less in 1910 than it
had been in 1906. The consequence was that the French Party received an
increase of votes less absolutely than that gained by the conservative
republicans and scarcely greater than that of the radicals, while in
Italy the Socialists actually cast a smaller _percentage_ of the total
vote in 1909 than they did in 1904, while the party membership
materially decreased.

This policy had a double result; it sent more Socialists to the
Parliaments, in each case increasing the number of members by about 50
per cent; on the other hand, it helped materially those radical and
rival parties most nearly related to the Socialists, for in many
districts where the latter had withdrawn their candidates these parties
necessarily received the Socialist vote. A vast field of agitation was
practically deserted, and even when the agitation was carried on, the
distinction between the Socialist Party and the parties it had favored,
and which in turn favored it, became less marked, and the chances of the
spread of Socialism in the future were correspondingly diminished.

In France it is this policy which has brought forward the so-called
"independent Socialists" of the recent Briand ministry. Being neither
Socialists nor "Radicals," they are in the best position to draw
advantages from the "rapprochement" of these forces, and it was thus
that Millerand came into the ministry in 1900, that Briand became prime
minister in 1910, and Augagneur minister in 1911. These are among the
most formidable opponents of the Socialist movement in France to-day. It
will seem from this and many other instances that the opportunist policy
which leads at first to a show of success, later results in a weakening
of the immediate as well as the future possibilities of the movement.

The opportunist policy leads not only to an abandonment of Socialist
principle, an outcome that can never be finally determined in any case,
but sometimes to an actual betrayal or desertion, visible to all eyes,
as, for instance, when Ferri left the movement in Italy, or Briand and
Millerand in France. That such desertions must inevitably result from
the looseness taught by "reformist" tactics is evident. Yet all through
Briand's early political career, Jaurès was his intimate associate, and
even after the former had forsaken the party, the latter confessed that,
like the typical opportunist, he had still expected to find in Briand's
introductory address as minister "reasons for hoping for the progress of
social justice."

The career of Briand is typical. "One must understand how to manage
principles," he had said in 1900 at the very time he was making the
revolutionary declarations I shall quote (in favor of the general strike
and against the army). Two years later when he made his first speech in
the Chamber, the conservative "Temps" said that Briand was
"ministrable"; that is, that he was good material for some future
capitalistic ministry. Now Briand was making in this speech what
appeared to be a very vigorous attack against the government and
capitalism, but, like some prominent Socialists to-day, he had succeeded
in doing it in such a way that he allowed the more far-seeing of the
capitalistic enemy to understand clearly what his underlying principles
were.[101]

At his first opportunity he became connected with the government, and
justified this step on the ground of "his moral attitude," since he was
the proposer of the famous bill for separating the Church and the State.
He was immediately excluded from the party, since at the time of
Millerand's similar step a few years before the party had reached the
definite conclusion that Socialists should not be allowed to participate
in their opponent's administrations.

When Briand became minister, and later (in 1909) prime minister, he did
not fail at once to realize the worst fears of the Socialists, elevating
military men and naval officers to the highest positions, and promoting
that minister who had been most active in suppressing the post office
strike to the head of the department of justice. So-called collectivist
reforms that were introduced while he was minister, like the purchase of
the Western Railway, were carried through, according to conservative
Socialists like Jaurès, with a loss of 700,000,000 francs to the State.
So that now Jaurès, who had done so much to forward Millerandism and
Briandism felt obliged to propose a resolution condemning Briand and
Millerand and Viviani as traitors who had allowed themselves to be used
"for the purpose of 'capitalism.'"

"'Socialistic' ministers," says Rappoport, "have fallen below the level
of progressive capitalistic governments. No 'Socialistic' minister has
done near so much for democracy as honorable but narrow-minded democrats
like Combes. 'Socialistic' ministers have before anything else sought
the means of keeping themselves in office. In order to make people
forget their past, they are compelled to give continuously new proofs of
their zeal for the government."

In France, where strong radical, democratic, and "State Socialist"
parties already exist, ready to absorb those who put reform before
Socialism, the likelihood that such desertions will lead to any serious
division of the party seems small, especially since the Toulouse
Congress, when a platform was adopted unanimously. Of course, the
leading factor in this platform was Jaurès, who stands as strongly for
a policy of unity and conciliation within the party as he has for an
almost uninterrupted conciliation and coöperation with the more or less
radical forces outside of it.

If Jaurès was able to get the French Party to adopt this unanimous
program, it was because he is not the most extreme of reformists, and
because he has hitherto placed party loyalty before everything. In the
same way Bebel, voting on nearly every occasion with the revolutionists,
is able to hold the German Party together because he is occasionally on
the reformist side, as in a case to be mentioned below. Jaurès looks
forward, for instance, to a whole series of "successful general strikes
intervening at regular intervals," and even to the final use of a great
revolutionary general strike, whenever it looks as if the capitalists
can be finally overthrown and the government taken into Socialist
hands--though he certainly considers that the day for such a strike is
still many years off. Nor does he hesitate to extend the hand of
Socialist fellowship to the most revolutionary Socialists and labor
unionists of his country, though he says to them, "The more
revolutionary you are, the more you must try to bring into the united
movement not only a minority, but the whole working class." He says he
is not against revolution, or the general strike, but that he is against
"a caricature of the general strike and an abortive revolution."

It is only by actions, however, that men or parties may be judged, and
though Jaurès has occasionally been found with the revolutionists, in
most cases he acts with their rivals and opponents, the reformists, and
in fact is the most eminent Socialist reformer the world has produced.
No one will question that there are Socialists who are exclusively
interested in reform at the present period, not because they are opposed
to revolution, but because no greater movements are taking place at the
present moment or likely to take place in the immediate future--and
Jaurès may be one of these. But it is very difficult, even impossible,
to distinguish by any external signs, between such persons and those for
whom the idea of anything beyond the reforms of "State Socialism" is a
mere ideal, which concerns almost exclusively the next or some future
generation. Many of those who were formerly Jaurès's most intimate
associates, like the ministers Briand and Millerand, the recent
ministers Augagneur and Viviani, and many others, have deserted the
Party and are now proving to be its most dangerous opponents, while
several other deputies, who are still members like Brousse, recently
Mayor of Paris, are accused by a large part of the organization of
taking a very similar position. Surely this shows that, even if Jaurès
himself could be trusted and allowed to advocate principles and tactics
so agreeable to the rivals and enemies of Socialism, there are certainly
few other persons who can be safely left in such a compromising
position.

In view of these great betrayals on the part of Jaurès's associates, the
mere fact that his own position towards the Party has usually been
correct in the end--after the majority have shown him just how far he
can go--and will doubtless remain technically correct, becomes of
entirely secondary importance. He has openly and repeatedly encouraged
and aided those individuals and parties which later became the chief
obstacles in the way of Socialist advance, as other Socialists had
predicted. The result is, not that the Socialist Party has ceased to
grow, but that a large part of the enthusiasm for Socialism, largely
created by the party, has gone to elect so-called "Independent
Socialists" to the Chamber and to elevate to the control of the
government men like Briand, who, it was agreed by Socialists and
anti-Socialists alike, was the most formidable enemy the Socialists have
had for many years.

The program unanimously adopted by the French at the Congress of
Toulouse must be viewed in the light of this internal situation. "The
Socialist Party, the party of the working class and of the Social
Revolution," it begins, "seeks the conquest of political power for the
emancipation of the proletariat [working class] by the destruction of
the capitalist régime and the suppression of classes." The goal of
Socialism could not be more succinctly expressed than in these words:
"The destruction of the capitalist régime and the suppression of
classes." Any party that lives up to this preamble in letter and spirit
can scarcely stray from the Socialist road.

"It is the party which is most essentially, most actively reformist,"
continues another section, "the only one which can push its action on to
total reform; the only one which can give full effect to each working
class demand; the only one which can make of each reform, of each
victory, the starting point and basis of more extended demands and
bolder conquests...." Here we have the plank on which Jaurès
undoubtedly laid the greatest weight, and it was supported unanimously
partly because of the necessity of party unity. For this is as much as
to say that no reform will ever be brought to a point that wholly
satisfies the working people except through a working class government.
But it cannot be denied that there are certain changes of very great
importance to the working people, like those mentioned in previous
chapters, which are at the same time even more valuable to the
capitalists, and would be carried out to the end even if there were no
Socialists in existence. If the revolutionary wing of the French Party
once conceded to capitalism itself this possibility of bringing about
certain reforms, they would be in a position effectively to oppose the
reformist tactics of Jaurès within the Party. By giving full credit to
the semi-democratic and semi-capitalistic reform parties for certain
measures, they would go as far as he does in the direction of
conciliation and common sense in politics; by denying the possibility of
the slightest coöperation with non-Socialists on other and _still more
important questions_, they could constantly intensify the political
conflict, and since Jaurès is a perpetual compromiser, put him in the
minority in every contested vote within the party. By attacking the
capitalists blindly and on all occasions they have created the necessity
of a conciliator--the rôle that Jaurès so ably and effectively fills.

But, however friendly the Toulouse program may have seemed to Jaurès's
reform tactics, it is not on that account any less explicit in its
indorsement of revolutionary methods whenever the moment happens to be
propitious. It states that the Socialist Party "continually reminds the
proletariat [working class] by its propaganda that they will find
salvation and entire freedom only in a collectivist and communist
régime"; that "it carries on this propaganda in all places in order to
raise everywhere the spirit of demand and of combat," and that "the
Socialists not only indorse the general strike for use in economic
struggles, but also for the purpose of finally absorbing capitalism."

"Like all exploited classes throughout history," it concludes, "the
proletariat affirms its right to take recourse at certain moments to
insurrectionary violence."

The Toulouse Congress showed, not the present position of the French
Party or of the International, but the points on which Socialist
revolutionists and reformers, everywhere else at sword's point, can
agree. The reformers do not object to promising the revolutionaries that
they shall have their own way in the relatively rare crises when
revolutionary means are used or contemplated. The revolutionaries are
willing to allow the reformers to claim all the credit for all reforms
beneficial to the workers that happen to be enacted. Neither gives up
their first principle, whether it be revolution or reform, but in the
matter of secondary importance, reform or revolution, each side
tolerates in the party an attitude in diametrical opposition to its
principles and the tactics it requires. Both do this doubtless in the
belief that by this opportunism they will some day capture the whole
party, and that a split may thus be avoided in the meanwhile.

Since the Toulouse Congress the divisions within the French Party have
become much more acute. Briand's conduct in the great railway strike in
1911 is discussed below. Yet in spite of this experience of how much the
government is ready to pay for railways and how little it is ready to do
to their employees, Jaurès's followers at the Party Congresses of 1911
and 1912 stood again for the policy of nationalization, and Guesde was
impelled to warn the party that Briand's "State Socialism" was the
gravest danger to the movement.

Briand's positive achievements are also defended by Jaurès. The recent
workingmen's pension law, unlike that of England, demands a direct
contribution from the employees. Nevertheless, it contained some slight
advantages, and of the seventy-five Socialist members of the Chamber of
Deputies, only Guesde voted against it. Even when the Federation of
Labor was conducting a campaign against registration to secure these
"benefits," Jaurès's organ, _L'Humanité_ took the other side. The
working people, as usual, followed their unions. Less than 5 per cent
registered; in Paris only 2.5 per cent, and in Brest 22 out of 10,000.

The experience with Millerand and Briand has made it impossible for
Jaurès to tie the French Party to "reformism." But reformism has brought
it about that the Party is often split in its votes in the Chamber of
Deputies. In the Party Congresses, however, Jaurès is outvoted where a
clear difference arises, an outcome he does his best to avoid. The
Congress of 1911 (at St. Quentin) reaffirmed the international decision
at Amsterdam which prevents the party going in for reform as a part of a
non-Socialist administration. It declared that "Socialists elected to
office are the representatives of a party of fundamental and absolute
opposition to the whole of the capitalist class, and to the State, its
tool." And Vaillant said that since the Amsterdam Congress in 1904 the
question of participation in capitalist ministries had ceased to exist
in France.

It is true that Jaurès secured at this Congress, by a narrow majority,
an indorsement of his policy of accepting the government pension offer.
But the orthodox followers of Guesde and the revolutionary disciples of
Hervé joined to secure its condemnation first by the Paris organization,
and later by the National Council of the Party by the decisive vote of
87 to 51. This resolution which marks a great turning point in the
French Party, is in part as follows:--

"The National Council declares that each time a labor question is to be
decided, the Socialist Party should act in accord with the General
Confederation of Labor."

As the Confederation has indorsed Socialism both as an end and as a
means, few, if any, Socialist parties would object to this resolution.
But the Confederation is also revolutionary, and this policy, if adhered
to, marks an end to the influence of the "reformism" of Jaurès.

The precise objections to the government's insurance proposal are also
significant. The National Council protested against the following
features:--


     (1) The compulsory contributions.

     (2) The capitalization (of the fund).

     (3) The ridiculous smallness of the pension.

     (4) The age required to obtain the pension.

     (5) The reëstablishment of workingmen's certificates.


Among the working people there is no doubt that the first feature was
the chief cause of unpopularity. But Socialists know that, through
indirect taxes or the automatic fall in wages or rise in prices, the
same object of charging the bill to the workers may be reached. The
capitalization refers to the investment and management of the large fund
required by a capitalist government, thereby increasing its power. The
last point has to do with the tendency to restrict the workers' liberty
in return for the benefits granted--a tendency more visible with the
pensions of the railway employees which were almost avowedly granted to
sweeten the bitter pill of a law directed against their organizations.

The same orthodox and revolutionary elements in the Party overthrew the
Monis Ministry by refusing to vote for it with Jaurès and his followers.
But this ministry, perhaps the most radical France has had, was in part
a creation of Jaurès, who had hailed it with delight in his organ,
_L'Humanité_. The fact that it only lived for three months and was
overthrown by Socialists was another crushing blow to Jaurès. As it came
simultaneously with his defeat in the National Council, it is highly
improbable that the reformists will succeed soon, if ever, in regaining
that majority in the movement which they held for a brief moment at the
time of the St. Quentin Congress and during the first days of the Monis
Ministry.

It is now in Belgium and Italy only that "reformism" is dominant and
still threatens to fuse the Socialists with other parties. In the last
election in Italy the Socialists generally fused with the Republicans
and Radicals, while the Belgian Party has decided to allow the local
political organizations to do this wherever they please in the elections
of 1912.

In Belgium, Vandervelde, who has usually represented himself as an
advocate of compromise between the two wings in international
congresses, has now come out for a position more reformistic than that
of Jaurès and only exceeded by the British "Labourites." He was one of
the movers of the Amsterdam resolution (see Chapter VII), which he now
declares merely repeated the previous one of Paris (1900) which, he
says, merely "forbids an individual Socialist to take a part in a
capitalist government without the consent of the Party." On the
contrary, this Amsterdam resolution, as Vaillant says, forbids Socialist
Parties to allow their members to become members of capitalist
ministries except under the most extraordinary and critical
circumstances.[102]

We are not surprised after this to hear Vandervelde say that the Belgian
Party has not decided whether it will take part in a future Liberal
government or not, because, though the occasion for this might occur
this year (1912), he considers it too far off in the future for present
consideration--surely a strange position for a Party that pretends to be
interested in a future society. We are also prepared to hear from him
that Socialists might be ready to accept representation in such a
ministry, not in proportion to their numerical strength, or even their
votes, but in proportion to the number of seats an unequal election law
gives them in Parliament. Whether, when the question actually presents
itself, the Party will follow Vandervelde is more than questionable.

In Italy "reformism" has reached its furthermost limit. When last year
(1911) Bissolati was offered a place in the Giolitti Ministry he
hesitated for weeks and was openly urged by a number of other Socialist
deputies to accept. After consultations with Giolitti and the king he
finally refused, giving as a pretext that, as minister, he would be
forced to give some outward obeisance to monarchy, but really because
such an action would split the Socialist Party and perhaps, also,
because he might not be able altogether to support Giolitti on the one
ground of the military elements of his budget. Far from condemning
Bissolati, the group of Socialist deputies passed a resolution that
expressed satisfaction with his conduct and even appointed him to speak
in their name at the opening of the new Parliament. All the deputies
save two then voted confidence in the new ministry and approbation of
its program.

The opinion of the revolutionary majority of the international movement
on this situation was reflected in the position of the revolutionaries
of the two chief cities of the country, Milan and Rome. At the former
city where they had a third of the delegates to the local Socialist
committee they moved that the Socialist Party could neither authorize
its deputies to represent it in a capitalist ministry or give that
ministry its support, "except under conditions determined, not by
Parliamentary artifices, but by the needs and mature political
consciousness of the great mass of workers." At Rome two thirds of the
Socialist delegates voted a resolution condemning the action of
Bissolati as "the direct and logical consequence of the thought,
program, and practical action of the reformist group," and reproved both
the proposal of immediate participation in a capitalist government and
"the theoretical encouragement of such a possibility" as being opposed
to all sound and consistent Socialist activity.

The "reformists," led by Turati, were of the opinion merely that the
time was not yet ripe for the action Bissolati had contemplated. But the
grounds given in the resolution proposed by Turati on this occasion show
that it was not on principle that he went even this far. He declared
that "in the present condition of the organization and the present state
of mind of the Party" a participation in the government which was "not
imposed by a real popular movement, would profoundly weaken Socialist
action, aggravating the already existing lack of harmony between purely
parliamentary action and the development of the political consciousness
and the capacity for victory on the part of the great mass of the
workers."[103] In other words, as in France, the working people,
especially those in the unions, will not tolerate a further advance in
the reformist direction, but Turati and Bissolati, like Jaurès and
Vandervelde are striving to compromise, just as far as they will be
allowed to do so. There is thus always a possibility of splits and
desertions in these countries, but none that the party will abandon the
revolutionary path.

The tactics of the Italian "reformists" were immensely clarified at the
Congress of Modena (October, 1911). For the question of supporting a
non-Socialist ministry and of participating in it was made still more
acute by the government's war against Tripoli, while the Bissolati case
above mentioned was also for the first time before a national Party
Congress. Nearly all Socialists had opposed the war, as had also many
non-Socialists--but after war was declared, the majority of the
Socialist members of Parliament voted against the general twenty-four
hours' strike that was finally declared as a demonstration against it.
This majority had finally decided to support the strike only after it
was declared by a _unanimous_ vote of the executive of the Federation of
Labor, and then its chief anxiety had been lest the strike go too far.
The revolutionary minority in the parliamentary group, however, which
had consisted of only two at the time of the Bissolati affair, was now
increased to half a dozen of the thirty-odd members, while the
revolutionary opposition to "reformism" in the Modena Congress, as a
result of these two issues, rose to more than 40 per cent of the
delegates.

At this Congress the reformists were divided into three groups,
represented by Bissolati, Turati, and Modigliani. All agreed that it was
necessary not only to vote for certain reforms--to this the
revolutionists are agreed--but also at certain times to vote for the
whole budget and to support the administration. Modigliani, however,
declared (against Bissolati) that no Socialist could _ever_ become a
member of a capitalist ministry; Turati, that while this principle held
true at the present stage of the movement, he would not bind himself as
to the future; while Bissolati was unwilling to make any pledge on this
question. As Bissolati did not propose, however, that the Socialists
should take part in the present ministry _at the present moment_, this
question was not an immediate issue. What had to be decided was
whether, in order to hasten and facilitate the introduction of universal
suffrage and other social reforms, the government is to be supported at
the present moment--when it is waging a war of colonial conquest to
which all Socialists are opposed.

The resolution finally adopted by the Congress was drawn up by Turati
and others who represented the views of the majority of reformists.
While purely negative, it was quite clear, and the fact that it was
finally accepted both by Bissolati and by Modigliani is highly
significant. It concluded that "the Socialist group in Parliament ought
not any longer to support the government _systematically_ with their
votes." It did not declare for any systematic _opposition_ to the
administration, even at the time when it is waging this war. It did not
even forbid occasional support, and it left full discretion in the hands
of the same parliamentary group whose policy I have been recording.

As a consequence the Italian Party at this juncture intentionally
tolerated two contradictory policies. Turati declared: "We are in
opposition unless in some exceptional case, in which some situation of
extreme gravity might present itself." Rigola, who was one of the three
spokesmen appointed for the less conservative reformists (with Turati
and Modigliani) said: "We have been ministerialists for ten years, but
little or nothing has been done for the proletariat. Some laws have been
approved, but it is doubtful if they are due to us rather than to the
exigencies of progress itself." In other words, Turati and Rigola
thought there could be occasions for supporting capitalist ministries,
though the present was not such an occasion; while the latter
practically confessed that the policy had always been a failure in
Italy. But in the face of all criticism Bissolati announced that he
refused absolutely _to pass over to the opposition to the ministry of
Giolitti_. Turati and his followers, now in control of the Party, might
tolerate this position; the large and growing revolutionary minority
would not. This could only mean that Socialist group in the Italian
Parliament, like that of France, and even of Germany, would divide its
votes on many vital matters, or at least that the minority would abstain
from voting. Which could only mean that on many questions of the highest
importance there was no longer one Socialist Party, but two.[104]

Turati himself wrote of the Modena Congress:--

"Only two tendencies were to be seen in the discussion and the voting;
_two parties in their bases and principles_: the Socialist Party as a
party of the working people, a class party, a party of political,
economic, and social reorganization, and on the other side a bourgeois
radical party as a completion of, and perhaps also as a center of new
life force for, the sleeping and half moribund bourgeois democratic
radicalism."[105] That is, the "reformist" Turati denied that there is
anything Socialistic about Bissolati's "ultra-reformist" faction. To
this Bissolati answered that compromise and the political collaboration
of the working people with other classes, was not to be reserved, as
Turati had said, for accidental and extraordinary cases, but was "the
very essence of the reformist method."[106] The revolutionaries, of
course, agree with Bissolati that, if the Socialists hold that their
prime function is to work for reforms favored by a large part of the
capitalists, compromises and the habit of fighting with the capitalists
instead of against them are inevitable.

Turati now began to approach the revolutionaries, said that they had
given up their dogmatism, immoderation, and justification of violence,
and that he only differed from them now on questions of "more or less."
The revolutionaries, however, have made no overtures to Turati, and
Turati's overtures to the revolutionaries have so far been rejected.
Turati's "reformism" seems to be less opportunistic than it was, but as
long as he insists, as he does to-day, that it is only conditions that
have changed and not his reformist tactics, that the revolutionaries are
moving towards the reformists, the relation of the two factions is
likely to remain as embittered as ever. Only if the revolutionaries
continue to grow more powerful, until Turati is obliged still further to
moderate his "reformist" principles and to abandon some of his tactics
permanently, instead of saying, as he does now, that he lays them aside
only temporarily, will there be any real unity in the Italian Socialist
Party.

Within a few weeks after the Modena Congress, Turati had already
initiated a movement in this direction when he persuaded the executive
committee of the Party, after a bitter conflict, and by a majority of
one (12 to 13), to enter definitely into opposition to the government,
which in the meanwhile had given a new cause for offense by delaying on
a military pretext the convocation of the Chamber of Deputies.[107]

Among the opportunist and ultra "reformists" who were still anxious to
take no definite action, were such well-known men as Bissolati,
Podrecca, Calda, and Ciotti. Bissolati deplored all agitation in
criticism of the war except a demand for the convocation of the Chamber.
Turati and others who had at last decided to go over definitely to the
opposition, did so on entirely non-Socialist and capitalist grounds such
as the expense of the war, the unprofitable nature of Tripoli as a
colony, the aid the war gave to clericals and other reactionaries
(elements opposed also by progressive capitalists), and the interference
it caused with other reforms (favored also by progressive capitalists).
Turati, indeed, was frank enough to say that he had Lloyd George's
successful opposition to the Boer War as a model, and called the
attention of his associates to the fact that Lloyd George became
Minister (it will be remembered that Turati is not on the whole opposed
to Socialists also becoming ministers--even in a capitalist cabinet).
Even now it was only the revolutionary Musatti who pointed out the true
Socialist moral of the situation, that failure of the non-Socialist
democrats to stand by their principles and to oppose the war, ought to
lead the party to separate from them, not only temporarily, but
permanently, and to make impossible forever either the participation of
the Socialists in any capitalist administration or even the support of
such an administration in the Chamber of Deputies.

It was only when Bissolati secured a majority of the Socialist deputies,
and this majority decided to _compel_ the minority to accept Bissolati's
neutral tactics as to the war and his readiness actively to support the
war government at every point where that government was in need of
support, that Turati rebelled and demanded that his minority, which
announced itself as willing as a unit to obey the decisions of the Party
Congress, should be recognized as its official representative in the
Chamber. Turati's position was the same as before, but Bissolati's
greater popularity among the voters, _including non-Socialists_, gave
the latter control of the Parliamentary group, and forced the former to
a declaration of war. The effect was to throw Turati and his followers
into the arms of the revolutionaries, where they form a minority.

And thus the situation becomes similar to that in France. The reformist
"leaders," Jaurès and Turati, do all that is possible to lead the
Socialist Parties of the two countries in the opposite direction from
that in which these organizations are going. But though these "leaders"
are turned in the direction of class conciliation, they are constantly
being dragged backwards in the direction of class war. Unconsciously
they are doing all they can to retard Socialism--short of leaving the
movement. But as long as they consent to go with Socialism when they are
unable to make Socialism go with them, their ability to retard the
movement is strictly limited.

FOOTNOTES:

[101] Charles Rappaport, "Das Ministerium Briand," _Die Neue Zeit_
(1910).

[102] See _Die Neue Zeit_, April, 1911, p. 46. Article by Vandervelde.

[103] The _Avanti_, April, 1911.

[104] The _Avanti_, Oct. 18, 1911.

[105] _Critica Sociale_, Nov. 1, 1911.

[106] _Azione Socialista_, Nov. 19, 1911.

[107] _Avanti_, Dec. 2 and 3, 1911.



CHAPTER III

"LABORISM" IN GREAT BRITAIN


The British Socialist situation is almost as important internationally
as the German. The organized workingmen of the world are indeed divided
almost equally into two camps. Most of those of Australia, South Africa,
and Canada, as well as a large majority in the United States, favor a
Labour Party of the British type, and even the reformist Socialist
leaders, Jaurès in France, Vandervelde in Belgium, and Turati in Italy,
often take the British Party as model. On the other hand the majority of
the _Socialists_ everywhere outside of Great Britain, including the
larger part of all the _working people_ in every country of continental
Europe, look towards the Socialist Party of Germany as their model, the
political principles and tactics of which are diametrically opposed to
those of the British Labour Party.

Far from opposing their Socialism to the "State Socialism" of the
government, the British Socialists in general frankly admit that they
also are "State Socialists," and seem not to realize that the increased
power and industrial functions of the State may be used to the advantage
of the privileged classes rather than to that of the masses. The
Independent Labour Party even claims in its official literature that the
"degree of civilization which a state has reached may almost be measured
by the proportion of the national income which is spent collectively
instead of individually."[108]

"Public ownership is Socialism," writes Mr. J. R. MacDonald, until
lately Chairman of the Labour Party,[109] while Mr. Philip Snowden says
that the first principle of Socialism is that the interests of the State
stand over those of individuals.[110]

"I believe," says Mr. Keir Hardie, "the collectivist state to be a
preliminary step to a communist state. I believe collectivism or State
Socialism is the next stage of evolution towards the communist state."
"Every class in a community," he said in this same speech, "approves and
accepts Socialism up to the point at which its class interests are
being served." It would appear, then, that Mr. Hardie means by
"Socialism" a program of reforms a part of which at least is to the
benefit of every economic class. He contends only that this "Socialism"
could never be "fully" established until the working class intelligently
coöperate with other forces at work in bringing Socialism into
being.[111]

"State Socialism with all its drawbacks, and these I frankly admit,"
said Mr. Hardie, "will prepare the way for free communism." Mr. Hardie
considers it to be the chief business of Socialists in the present day
to fight for "State Socialism," and is fully conscious that this forces
him to the necessity of defending the present-day State, as, for
instance, when he writes elsewhere, "It is not the State which holds you
in bondage, it is the private monopoly of those means of life without
which you cannot live." Private property and war and not the State Mr.
Hardie believes to have been the "great enslavers" of past history as of
the present day, apparently ignoring periods in which the State has
maintained a governing class which consisted not so much of property
owners as of State functionaries; to periods which may soon be repeated,
when private property served merely as one instrument of an all-powerful
State.

Mr. MacDonald still more closely restricts the word "Socialism" to the
"State Socialist" or State capitalist period into which we are now
entering. "Socialism," says MacDonald, "is the _next_ stage in social
growth,"[112] and throughout his writings and policy leaves no doubt
that he means the very next stage, the capitalist collectivism of which
I have been speaking. The international brotherhood of the nations,
which many Socialist thinkers feel is an indispensable condition for the
establishment of anything like democratic Socialism, Mr. MacDonald
expects only in the distant future, while the end of government based on
force, which is also considered essential by the majority of Socialist
writers, Mr. MacDonald postpones to "some far remote generation."[113]
In other words, the position of the recent Chairman of the Labour Party
is that what the world has hitherto known as Socialism can only be
expected after a vast period of time, and his opinion accords with that
of many bitter critics and opponents of the movement, who avoid a
difficult controversy by admitting all Socialist arguments and merely
asking for time--"Socialism, a century or two hence--but not now,"--for
all practical purposes an endless postponement.

Mr. MacDonald, who is not only a leader of the Labour Party, but also
one of the chief organizers also of the leading Socialist Party of that
country, has given us by far the fullest and most significant discussion
of that party's policy. He says that an enlightened bourgeoisie will be
just as likely to be Socialist as the working classes, and that
therefore the class struggle is merely "a grandiloquent and aggressive
figure of speech."[114] Struggle of some kind, he concedes, is
necessary. But the more important form of struggle in present-day
society, he says, is the trade rivalry between nations and not the
rivalry between social classes.[115] Here at the outset is a complete
reversal of the Socialist attitude. Socialists aim to put an end to this
overshadowing of domestic by foreign problems, principally for the very
reason that it aids the capitalists to obscure the class struggle--the
foundation, the guiding principle, and the sole reason for the existence
of the whole movement.

Mr. MacDonald claims further that a class struggle, far from uniting the
working classes, can only divide them the more; in other words, that it
works in exactly the opposite direction from that in which the
international organization believes it works. The only "natural
conflicts" in the present or future, within any given society, according
to the spokesman of the Labour Party, represent, not the conflicting
interests of certain economic classes, but the "conflicting views and
temperaments" of individuals.[116] And the chief divisions of
temperament and opinion, he says, will be between the world-old
tendencies of action and inaction--a view which does not differ one iota
from that of Mr. Roosevelt.

Mr. MacDonald asserts that "it is the _whole_ of society which is
developing towards Socialism," and adds, "The consistent exponent of the
class struggle must, of course, repudiate these doctrines, but then the
class struggle is far more akin to Radicalism than to Socialism."[117] I
have already pointed out how the older Radicalism, or political
democracy, no matter how individualistic and anti-Socialist it may be,
is often, as Mr. MacDonald says, more akin to International Socialism
than that kind of "State Socialism" or State capitalism Mr. MacDonald
represents.

Mr. MacDonald typifies the majority of British Socialists also in his
opposition to every modern form of democratic advance, such as the
referendum and proportional representation. Far from being disturbed,
as so many democratic writers are, because minorities are suppressed
where there is no plan of proportional representation, he opposes the
second ballot, which has been adopted in the majority of the countries
of Continental Europe--and, in the form of direct primaries, also in the
United States. The principal thing that the electors are to do, he says,
is to "send a man to support or oppose a government."

Mr. MacDonald finds that there is quite a sufficiency of democracy when
the elector can decide between two parties; and far from considering the
members of Parliament as delegates, he feels that they fill the chief
political rôle, while the people perform the entirely subordinate task
either of approving or of disapproving what they have already done.
Parliament "first of all initiates ideas, suggests aims and purposes,
makes proposals, and educates the community in these things with a view
to their becoming the ideals and aims of the community itself."[118]

While Mr. MacDonald continues to receive the confidence of the trade
union party, including its Socialistic wing, the Trade Union Congress
votes down proportional representation by a large majority, apparently
because it does not desire its members to be constituted into a truly
independent group in Parliament, does not care to work for any political
principle however concrete, but prefers to take such share of the actual
powers of government as the Liberal Party is disposed to grant.
Proportional representation would send for the first time a few outright
Socialists to Parliament, but the election returns demonstrate that the
trade unionists, if more independent of the Liberals, would be fewer in
number than at present. A part of the Socialist voters desire this
result and, of course, believe it is their right. The majority of the
trade unionists, however, who have won a certain modicum of authority in
spite of the undemocratic constitution of their party, do not care to
grant it--as possibly conflicting with the relatively conservative plans
of "the aristocracy of labor."

The Fabian Society's "Report on Fabian Policy" says that the referendum,
"in theory the most democratic of popular institutions, is in practice
the most reactionary."[119] Mr. MacDonald refers to it as a "crude
Eighteenth Century idea of democracy," "a form of Village Community
government."[120] At the Conference of the Labour Party at Leicester in
1911 he declared that it was "anti-democratic" and that if the
government were to accept it, the Labour Party "would have to fight them
tooth and nail at every step of that policy." As opposed to any plans
for a more direct and more popular government, he defends the "dignity
and authority" of Parliament and bespeaks the "reverence and deference"
that the people ought to observe toward it.

Contrast with these views Mr. Hobson's presentation of the non-Socialist
Radical doctrine. "Under a professed and real enthusiasm for a
representative system," as opposed to direct government, Mr. Hobson
finds that there is concealed "a deep-seated distrust of democracy." He
acknowledges "that the natural conservatism of the masses of the people
might be sufficient to retard some reforms." "But this is safer and
better for democracy," he says, "than the alternative 'faking' of
progress by pushing legislation ahead of the popular will. It is upon
the whole far more profitable for reformers to be compelled to educate
the people to a genuine acceptance of their reform than to 'work it' by
some 'pull' or 'deal' inside a party machine."[121]

Mr. MacDonald not only puts a high value on British conservatism and a
low one on the French Revolution and the Declaration of Independence,
but declares that no change whatever in the mere structure of government
can aid idealists and reformers in any way, and expects politics and
parties to be much the same in the future as they are at the present
moment. It is this attitude that Mr. Hobson has in mind when he protests
that "the false pretense that democracy exists" in Great Britain has
proved "the subtlest defense of privilege"--and that this has been the
greatest cause of the waste of reform energy not only in England but
also in France and in the United States.[122] Mr. MacDonald says
explicitly, "The modern state in most civilized countries is
democratic," and adds impatiently that "the remaining anomalies and
imperfections" cannot prevent the people from obtaining their will.[123]
To dismiss in so few words the monarchy, the restrictions of the
suffrage, the unequal election districts and other shortcomings of
political democracy in Great Britain, and to insist that the government
is already democratic, is surely, as Mr. Hobson says, "the subtlest
defense of privilege."

Mr. MacDonald comes out flatly with the statement that under what he
calls the democratic parliamentary government of Great Britain it is
practically impossible to maintain a pure and simple Socialist Party. He
says proudly that "nothing which the Labour Parties of Australia or
Great Britain have ever done or tried to do under their constitutions
departs in a hair's breadth from things which the Liberal and the Tory
Parties in these countries do every day."[124] "Indeed, paradoxical
though it may appear," he adds, "Socialism will be retarded by a
Socialist Party which thinks it can do better than a Socialistic
Party."[125]

The Independent Labour Party, indeed, has had a program of reform that
is remarkably similar to that of Ministers Churchill and Lloyd George,
and is indorsed in large part by capitalists--as for example, by Andrew
Carnegie. The first measure of this program provided for a general
eight-hour day. Mr. Carnegie protests that to put the Socialist label on
this is as "frank burglary as was ever committed," and the trade union
movement in general would agree with him.[126]

The second demand was for a "workable unemployment act." The Labour
Party had previously introduced a more radical measure which very nearly
received the support of a majority of Parliament. The third measure
called for old-age pensions. Mr. Carnegie remarked of this with perfect
justice: "Mr. MacDonald is here a day behind the fair. These have been
established in Britain before this [Mr. Carnegie's "Problems of To-day"]
appears in print, both political parties being favorable." It is true
that the Labour party demands a somewhat more advanced measure than that
to which Mr. Carnegie alludes, but there is no radical difference in
principle, and the Labour Party accepted the present law as being a
considerable installment of what they want.

Of the fourth point the "abolition of indirect taxation (and the gradual
transference of all public burdens to unearned incomes)," Mr. Carnegie
remarks that "we must read the bracketed works in the light of Mr.
MacDonald's philosophy," and "that this is a consummation which cannot
be reached (in Mr. MacDonald's words) 'until the organic structure of
society has been completely altered.'" We have seen that Mr. Churchill
also aims at the _ultimate_ expropriation of the whole future unearned
increment of the land.

The fifth point of the program was similar,--a series of land acts
(aimed at the ultimate nationalization of the land).

The sixth point was the nationalization of the railroads and mines. Mr.
Carnegie reminds us that many conservative and reactionary governments
own their own railroads. We have seen that Mr. Churchill is in favor of
the same proposal. Mines also are now national property in several
countries, and there is nothing particularly radical or unacceptable to
well-informed conservatives in the proposal to nationalize them
elsewhere.

The seventh demand of the program was for "democratic political
reforms." While the Independent Labour Party and some of its leaders are
in favor of a complete program of democratic reforms, I have shown that
others like Mr. MacDonald are directly opposed even to many modern
democratic measures already won in other countries.

It would certainly seem that the social reformers, Mr. Carnegie and
others, have as much right as the Socialists to claim such measures as
all those outlined.

Many of the other reforms proposed by the Independent Labour Party are
such as might readily find acceptance among the most conservative.
Indeed in urging the policy of afforestation, as one means of helping in
the solution of the unemployed problem, the party actually uses the
argument that even Prussia, Saxony, and many other highly capitalistic
governments are undertaking it; though it does not mention the
reactionary purposes of these governments, as for example, in Hungary
where it is proposed to use the government's new army of labor to build
up a scientific system of breaking strikes. Afforestation would add to
the general wealth of the country in the future, and would be of
considerable advantage to the capitalist classes, which makes the
largest uses of lumber. Such a policy could undoubtedly be devised in
carrying out this work as would absorb a considerable portion of the
unemployed, and, since unemployment is a burden to the community and
troublesome in many ways, besides tending to bring about a general
deterioration of the efficiency of the working class, it is also to the
ultimate interest of the employers to adopt it.

A leading organ of British Socialism, the _New Age_, went so far as to
say of the Budget of 1910 that it was almost as good "as we should
expect from a Socialist Chancellor in his first year of office," and
said that if Mr. Philip Snowden, were Chancellor, the Budget would have
been little different from what it was.[127] And it is true that the
principles of the Budget as interpreted by Mr. Snowden only a few years
ago in his booklet, "The Socialist Budget," are in nearly every instance
the same, though they are to be somewhat more widely applied in this
Socialist scheme. Of course all Socialists would have desired a smaller
portion of the Budget to go to Dreadnoughts and a larger part to
education, though, in view of the popularity of the Navy, it is doubtful
whether Labour Party Socialist's would materially cut naval expenditure
(see Chapter V). It must also be noted that the Socialists are wholly
opposed to the increase of indirect taxation on tobacco and liquor, some
four fifths of which falls on the shoulders of the workingman. But aside
from these points, there is more similarity than contrast between the
two plans.

Mr. Snowden declared that it was the intention of the Socialists to make
the rich poorer and the poor richer, that they were going to use the
power of taxation for that purpose, and that the Budget marked the
beginning of the new era, an opinion in strange contrast with Premier
Asquith's statement _concerning the same Budget, for which he was
responsible_, that one of its chief purposes was "_to increase the
stability and security of property_."

Indeed the word "Socialism" has been extended in England to include
measures far less radical than those contemplated by the present
government. The Fabian Society, the chief advocate of "municipal
Socialism" and a professed and recognized Socialist organization,
considers even the post office and factory legislation as being
installments of Socialism, while the Labour Party would restrict the
term to the nationalization or municipalization of industries--but the
difference is not of very great importance. The latter class of reform
will undoubtedly mark a revolution in the policy of the British
government, but, as Kautsky says, this revolution may only serve "to
Prussianize it," _i.e._ to introduce "State Socialism."

"The best government," says Mr. Webb, "is no longer 'that which governs
least,' but 'that which can safely and advantageously administer most.'"


     "Wherever rent and interest are being absorbed under public control
     for public purposes, wherever the collective organization of the
     community is being employed in place of individual efforts,
     wherever in the public interest, the free use of private land or
     capital is being further restrained--there one more step toward the
     complete realization of the Socialist Ideal is being taken."


The fight of the British Socialists has thus been directed from the
first almost exclusively against the abstraction, "individualism," and
not against the concrete thing, the capitalist class. John Morley had
said that the early Liberals, Cobden, Bright, and others, were
systematic and constructive, because they "surveyed society and
institutions as a whole," because they "connected their advocacy of
political and legal changes with theories of human nature," because they
"considered the great art of government in connection with the character
of man, his proper education, his potential capacities," and could
explain "in the large dialect of a definite scheme what were their aims
and whither they were going."

"Is there," Mr. Morley had asked, "any approach to such a body of
systematic political thought in our own day?" Mr. Webb announced that
the Fabians proposed to fill in this void. It was primarily system and
order rather than any particular principle at which he aimed. The
keynote of his system was to be opposition to the individualistic
_theory_ of the philosophic Liberals whom the Fabians hoped to succeed
rather than opposition to the _principles_ of capitalism, which lend
themselves equally well either to an individualistic or to a
collectivistic application.

Just as Mr. Webb is the leading publicist, so Mr. Bernard Shaw is the
leading writer, among the exponents of Fabian Socialism. It is now more
than twenty years since he also began idealizing the State, and he is
doing the same thing to-day. "Who is the people? What is the people?" he
asked in the Fabian Essays in 1889. "Tom we know, and Dick; also Harry;
but solely and separately as individuals: as a trinity they have no
existence. Who is their trustee, their guardian, their man of business,
their manager, their secretary, even their stockholder? The Socialist is
stopped dead at the threshold of practical action by this difficulty,
until he bethinks himself of the State as the representative and trustee
of the people."[128] It will be noticed that Mr. Shaw does not say the
State may become the representative and trustee of the people, but that
it _is_ their representative. "Hegel," he continues, "expressly taught
the conception of the perfect State, and his disciples saw that nothing
in the nature of things made it possible or even difficult to make the
existing State if not absolutely perfect, at least trustworthy;" and
then, after alluding with the greatest brevity to the anti-democratic
elements of the British government, Mr. Shaw proceeds to develop at
great length the wonderful possibilities of the existing State as the
practically trustworthy trustee, guardian, man of business, manager,
secretary, and stockholder _of the people_.[129]

Yet Mr. Shaw says that a Social-Democrat is one "who _desires_ through
democracy _to_ gather the whole people into the State, so that the State
may be trusted with the rent of the country, and finally with the land
and capital and the organization of national industry." He reasons that
the transition to Socialism through gradual extensions of democracy and
State action had seriously begun forty-five years before the writing of
the Essays, that is, in the middle of the nineteenth century (when
scarcely one sixth of the adult male population of Great Britain had a
vote, and when, through the unequal election districts, the country
squires practically controlled the situation--W. E. W.). In Mr. Shaw's
reasoning, as in that of many other British Socialists, a very little
democracy goes a long way.[130]

Later Mr. Shaw repudiated democracy altogether, saying that despotism
fails only for want of a capable benevolent despot, and that what we
want nowadays is not a new or modern form of democracy, but only capable
benevolent representatives. He shelved his hopes for the old ideal,
government _by_ the people, by opposing to it a new ideal of a very
active and beneficent government _for_ the people. In "Fabianism and the
Empire" Shaw and his collaborators say frankly: "The nation makes no
serious attempt to democratize its government, because its masses are
still in so deplorable a condition that democracy, in the popular sense
of government by the masses, is clearly contrary to common sense."[131]

Mr. H. G. Wells, long a member of the Fabian Society, has well summed up
the character of what he calls this "opportunist Socialist group" which
has done so much to shape the so-called British Socialism. He says that
Mr. Sidney Webb was, during the first twenty years of his career "the
prevailing Fabian."


     "His insistence upon continuity pervaded the Society, was re-echoed
     and intensified by others, and developed into something like a
     mania for achieving Socialism _without the overt change of any
     existing ruling body_. His impetus carried this reaction against
     the crude democratic idea to its extremest opposite. Then arose
     Webbites to caricature Webb. From saying that the unorganized
     people cannot achieve Socialism, they passed to the implication
     that organization alone, without popular support, might achieve
     Socialism. Socialism was to arrive as it were _insidiously_.

     "To some minds this new proposal had the charm of a schoolboy's
     first dark lantern. Socialism ceased to be an open revolution, and
     become a plot. Functions were to be shifted, quietly,
     unostentatiously, from the representative to the official he
     appointed; a bureaucracy was to slip into power through the
     mechanical difficulties of an administration by debating
     representatives; and since these officials would, by the nature of
     their positions, constitute a scientific government as
     distinguished from haphazard government, they would necessarily run
     the country on the lines of a _pretty distinctly undemocratic
     Socialism_.

     "The process went even farther than secretiveness in its reaction
     from the _large rhetorical forms of revolutionary Socialism_. There
     arose even a _repudiation of 'principles' of action_, and a type of
     worker which proclaimed itself 'Opportunist-Socialist.' This
     conception of indifference to the forms of government, of accepting
     whatever governing bodies existed and using them to create
     officials and '_get something done_,' was at once immediately
     fruitful in many directions, and presently productive of many very
     grave difficulties in the path of advancing Socialism." (Italics
     mine.)[132]


Besides the obvious absurdities of such tactics, Mr. Wells points out
that they ignored entirely that reconstruction of legislative and local
government machinery which is very often an indispensable preliminary to
Socialization. He is speaking of such Socialism when he says:--


     "Socialism has concerned itself only with the material
     reorganization of Society and its social consequences, with
     economic changes and the reaction of these changes on
     administrative work; it has either accepted existing intellectual
     conditions and political institutions as beyond its control or
     assumed that they will obediently modify as economic and
     administrative necessity dictates.... Achieve your expropriation,
     said the early Fabians, get your network of skilled experts over
     the country, and your political forms, your public opinion, your
     collective soul will not trouble you."[133]


Here Mr. Wells shows that, while the practical difficulties of making
collectivism serve all the people were ignored on the one hand, the
first need of the people, political education, was neglected on the
other. It is true that during the first few years of its existence the
Fabian Society made a great and successful effort to educate public
opinion in a Socialist direction, but soon its leading members deserted
all such larger work, to support various administrative "experiments."

Mr. Wells referred to this same type of Socialism in his "Misery of
Boots":--


     "Let us be clear about one thing: that Socialism means revolution,
     and that it means a change in the everyday texture of life. It
     _may_ be a very gradual change, but it will be a very complete one.
     You cannot change the world, and at the same time not change the
     world. You will find Socialists about, or at any rate men calling
     themselves Socialists, who will pretend that this is not so, who
     will assure you that some odd little jobbing about municipal gas
     and water is Socialism, and backstairs intervention between
     Conservative and Liberal the way to the millennium.... Socialism
     aims to change, not only the boots on people's feet, but the
     clothes they wear, the houses they inhabit, the work they do, the
     education they get, their places, their honors, and all their
     possessions. Socialism aims to make a new world out of the old. It
     can only be attained by the intelligent, outspoken, courageous
     resolve of a great multitude of men and women. You must get
     absolutely clear in your mind that Socialism means a _complete
     change, a break with history_, with much that is picturesque;
     _whole classes will vanish_. The world will be vastly different,
     with different sorts of houses, different sorts of people. All the
     different trades and industries will be changed, the medical
     profession will be carried on under different conditions,
     engineering, science, the theatrical trade, the clerical trade,
     schools, hotels, almost every trade, will have to undergo as
     complete an internal change as a caterpillar does when it becomes a
     moth ... a change as profound as the abolition of private property
     in slaves would have been in ancient Rome or Athens." (The italics
     are mine.)


Here is the exact opposite view to that which has been taught for many
years by the Fabian Society to no small audience of educated Englishmen
(and Americans). For there are comparatively few who have neither read
any of the Fabian pamphlets nor seen or read any of Bernard Shaw's plays
in which the same standpoint is represented.

Mr. John A. Hobson classes the Socialist and non-Socialist reformers of
Great Britain together as regards their opportunism. Though a Liberal
himself, he objects that some Socialists are not radical enough, and
that "the milder and more opportunist brand suffer from excessive
vagueness." Of the prevailing tendency towards opportunism, Mr. Hobson
writes:--


     "This revolt against ideas is carried so far that able men have
     come seriously to look upon progress as a matter for the
     manipulation of wirepullers, something to be 'jobbed' in committee
     by sophistical motions or other clever trickery. Great national
     issues really turn, according to this judgment, upon the arts of
     political management, the play of the adroit tactician and the
     complete canvasser. This is the 'work' that tells; elections, the
     sane expression of the national will, are won by these and by no
     other means.

     "_Nowhere has this mechanical conception of progress worked more
     disastrously than in the movement towards Collectivism._ Suppose
     that the mechanism of reform were perfected, that each little
     clique of specialists and wirepullers were placed at its proper
     point in the machinery of public life, will this machinery grind
     out progress? Every student of industrial history knows that the
     application of a powerful 'motor' is of vastly greater importance
     than the invention of a special machine. Now, what provision is
     made for generating the motor power of progress in Collectivism?
     Will it come of its own accord? Our mechanical reformer apparently
     thinks it will. The attraction of some present obvious gain, the
     suppression of some scandalous abuse of monopolist power by a
     private company, some needed enlargement of existing Municipal or
     State enterprise by lateral expansion--such are the sole springs of
     action. In this way the Municipalization of public services,
     increased assertion of State control over mines, railways, and
     factories, the assumption under State control of large departments
     of transport trade, proceed without any recognition of the guidance
     of general principles. Everywhere the pressure of special concrete
     interests, nowhere the conscious play of organized human
     intelligence!...

     "My object here is to justify the practical utility of 'theory' and
     'principle' in the movement of Collectivism by showing that
     reformers who distrust the guidance of Utopia, or even the
     application of economic first principles, are not thrown back
     entirely upon that crude empiricism which insists that each case is
     to be judged separately and exclusively on its own individual
     merits."


Mr. Hobson then proposes his collectivist program, which he rightly
considers to be not Socialist but Liberal merely--and we find it more
collectivistic, radical, and democratic than that of many so-called
Socialists. Moreover it expresses the views of a large and growing
proportion of the present Liberal Party. Then he concludes as follows:--


     "If practical workers for social and industrial reforms continue to
     ignore principles, the inevitable logic of events will nevertheless
     drive them along the path of Collectivism here indicated. But they
     will have to pay the price which shortsighted empiricism always
     pays; with slow, hesitant, and staggering steps, with innumerable
     false starts and backslidings, they will move in the dark along an
     unseen track towards an unseen goal. Social development may be
     conscious or unconscious. It has been mostly unconscious in the
     past, and therefore slow, wasteful, and dangerous. If we desire it
     to be swifter, safer, and more effective in the future, it must
     become the conscious expression of the trained and organized will
     of a people not despising theory as unpractical, but using it to
     furnish economy in action."[134]


Practically all "State Socialists" hold a similar view to that of Shaw
and Webb. Mr. Wells even, in his "First and Last Things," has a lengthy
attack on what he calls democracy, when he tells us that its true name
is "insubordination," and that it is base because "it dreams that its
leaders are its delegates." His view of democracy is strictly consistent
with his attitude toward the common man, whom he regards as "a
gregarious animal, collectively rather like a sheep, emotional, hasty,
and shallow."[135] Democracy can only mean, Mr. Wells concludes, that
power will be put into the hands of "rich newspaper proprietors,
advertising producers, and the energetic wealthy generally, as the
source flooding the collective mind freely with the suggestions on which
it acts."

The _New Age_, representing the younger Fabians, also despairs of
democracy and advocates compromise, because "the democratic party have
failed so far to be indorsed and inforced by popular consent." It
acknowledges that the power of the Crown is "great and even temporarily
overwhelming," but discourages opposition to monarchy for the reason
that monarchy rests on the ignorance and weakness of the people and not
on sheer physical coercion.[136] The _New Age_ opposes those democratic
proposals, the referendum and proportional representation, considers
that the representative may so thoroughly embody the ideals and
interests of the community as to become "a spiritual sum of them all,"
and admits that this ideal of a "really representative body of men"
might be brought about under an extremely undemocratic franchise.[137]
"Outside of a parish or hamlet the Referendum," it says, "is impossible.
To an Empire it is fatal."[138] And finally, this Socialist organ is
perfectly ready to grant another fifty million pounds for the navy,
provided the money is drawn from the rich, as it finds that "a good,
thumping provision for an increased navy would do a great deal to
sweeten a drastic budget for the rich, as well as strengthen the appeal
of the party which professes to be advancing the cause of the poor."
Imperialism and militarism, which in most countries constitute the chief
form in which capitalism is being fought by Socialists, are actually
considered as of secondary importance, on the ground that through
acquiescing in them it becomes possible to hasten a few reforms, such as
have already been granted by the capitalists of several other countries
without any Socialist surrender and even without Socialist pressure of
any kind.

The recent appeal of the _New Age_, for "a hundred gentlemen of ability"
to save England, its regret that no truly intelligent and benevolent
"governing class" or "Platonic guardians" are to be found, and its
weekly disparagement of democracy do not offer much promise that it will
soon turn in the radical direction. On the contrary it predicts that the
firm possession of political power by the wealthy classes is foredoomed
to result, as in the Roman Empire, in the creation of two main classes,
each of which must become corrupt, "the one by wealth and the other by
poverty," and that finally the latter must become incapable of corporate
resistance. The familiar and scientifically demonstrated fact of the
physical and moral degeneration of a considerable part of the British
working people doubtless suggests to many persons such pessimistic
conclusions. "It is hopeless in our view," the _New Age_ concludes, "to
expect that the poor and ignorant, however desperate and however
numerous, will ever succeed in displacing their wealthy rulers. No slave
revolt in the history of the world has ever succeeded by its own power.
In these days, moreover, the chances of success are even smaller. One
machine gun is equal to a mob."[139]

Indeed the distrust of democracy is so universal among British
Socialists that Belloc, Chesterton and other Liberals accuse them
plausibly, but unjustly, of actually representing an aristocratic
standpoint. In an article entitled "Why I Am Not A Socialist," Mr.
Chesterton expresses a belief, which he says is almost unknown among the
Socialists of England, namely, a belief "in the masses of the common
people."[140] Mr. Belloc, in a debate against Bernard Shaw, predicted
that Socialism, if it comes in England, will probably be simply "another
of the infinite and perpetually renewed dodges of the English
aristocracy."

It may be well doubted if any of the more important of the world's
conservative, aristocratic, or reactionary forces (except the
doctrinaire Liberals) are opposed to Socialism as defined by the Fabian
Society, _i.e._ a gradual movement in the direction of collectivism. Not
only Czar and Kaiser but even the Catholic Church may be claimed as
Socialistic by this standard. Mr. Hubert Bland, one of the original
Fabian Essayists and a very influential member of the Society, himself a
Catholic, actually asserts that the Church never has attacked Fabian or
true Socialism. In view of the fact that the Church is at war with the
Socialist Parties of Italy, France, Belgium, Austria, Germany, the
United States, and every country where both the Church and the
Socialists are a political power, in view of the wholesale and most
explicit denunciations by Popes and high ecclesiastics, and the war
being waged against the Socialist Parties at every point, Mr. Eland's
argument has some interest.

Having defined Socialism as "the increase of State rights" and "the
tendency to limit the proprietary rights of the individual and to widen
the proprietary rights and activities of the community" or as the
"control of property by the State and municipality," Mr. Bland has, of
course, no difficulty in showing that the Catholic Church has never
opposed it--though many individualistic Catholics have done so.

"No fewer than two Popes," writes Mr. Bland, "are said to have condemned
Socialism in authoritative utterances, but when I examine and analyze
these condemnations, I find it is not Socialism in the sense I have
defined it here, that is condemned."[141] It is indeed true that few of
the most bitter and persistent enemies of the Socialist movement condemn
"Socialism" as defined by Mr. Bland and his "State Socialist"
associates.

This capitalistic collectivism promoted by the Fabian Society has
embodied itself practically in the movement towards "municipal
Socialism" of which so much was heard some years ago, first in Great
Britain and later in other countries. It is now from ten to twenty years
since many British cities, notably Glasgow, began municipal experiments
on a large scale that were branded by Socialists and non-Socialists
alike, as municipal Socialism. The first of these experiments included
not only the municipalization of street railways, electric light and
current, and so on, but even the provision of municipal slaughter
houses, bathing establishments, and outdoor amusements. The later stages
have developed in a somewhat different direction. The chief reforms
under discussion everywhere seem now to be the proposals that the
municipalities should provide housing accommodations for the poorer
elements of the population, and that the health of the children should
be looked after, even to the extent of providing free lunches in public
schools. If less had been heard of "municipal Socialism" in the last
year or two, this is merely because reforms on a national scale have for
the moment received the greater share of public attention. This does not
necessarily mean that the national reforms are more important than the
municipal, but only that the latter came first because they were easier
to inaugurate, though perhaps more difficult to carry to a successful
conclusion.

But the first popularity of the municipal reform movement, both in Great
Britain and in other countries, has received at least a temporary
setback as the relations between this "municipal Socialism" and taxation
were recognized. Both the non-taxpaying working people and the small
taxpaying middle class saw that the profits of the new municipal
enterprises went to a considerable extent towards decreasing the
taxation of the well-to-do instead of conferring benefits on the
majority. This might appear strange, since under universal suffrage the
non-taxpaying and non-landowning majority would be expected to dominate.
But in Great Britain, as well as elsewhere, central governments, in the
firm control of taxpayers and landowners, exercise a strict control over
the municipalities, so that this kind of reform will prove advantageous
chiefly to the landlords, by enabling them to raise rents in proportion
to the benefits gained by tenants; and to the taxpaying minority, by
making it possible to use the profits of municipal undertakings for the
purpose of reducing taxes.

The tendency toward the extension of municipal enterprises to be noted
in all the important cities of the world, is hastened by the public
belief that there is no other possible means of preventing the
exploitation of all classes, and consequent widespread injury to trade,
building, and industry in general, by public service corporations. But
it must be observed that whatever municipalization there is will
continue to be under the control of the taxpayers, landowners, and
business men and largely in their interest as long as national
governments remain in capitalist hands.

The national social reform administrations that are coming into power in
so many countries are encouraging various forms of taxpayers' "municipal
Socialism." The ultraconservative governments of Germany, Austria, and
Belgium all permit the cities to engage even in the public feeding of
school children, while the reactionary national government of Hungary
has undertaken to provide for the housing of 25,000 working people at
Budapest. The conservative _London Daily Mail_ cries out that the
Hungarian minister, Dr. Wekerle has "stolen a march on the Socialists,"
but that it is the "right sort of Socialism," and that "it has been left
to the leader of the privileged Parliament [the Hungarian Parliament
representing not the small capitalists, but the landed nobility and
gentry] to make the first start." And there is little doubt that both
the provision of houses for the working people and the public feeding of
school children rest on precisely the same principles as the social
reforms now being undertaken by national governments, such as that of
Great Britain, and are, indeed, the "right sort of Socialism" from the
capitalist standpoint.

Taking the municipal reformer as a type of the so-called Socialist, Mr.
Belloc, a prominent Liberal Member of Parliament and an anti-Socialist,
says that "in the atmosphere in which he works and as regards the
susceptibilities which he fears to offend," that the municipal Socialist
is entirely of the capitalist class. "You cannot make revolutions
without revolutionaries," he continues, "and anything less revolutionary
than your municipal reformer never trod the earth. The very conception
is alien to this class of persons; usually he is desperately frightened
as well. Yet it is quite certain that so vast a change as Socialism
presupposes cannot be carried out without hitting. When one sees it
verbally advocated (and in practice shirked) by men who have never hit
anything in their lives, and who are even afraid of a scene with a
waiter in a restaurant, one is not inclined to believe in the reality of
the creed." Mr. Belloc concludes finally that all that this kind of
Socialism has done during its moments of greatest activity has tended
merely to recognize the capitalist more and more and to stereotype the
gulf between him and the other classes.[142]

And just as Mr. Belloc has reproached the Socialists for their
conservatism, so the _New Age_ and other mouthpieces of Socialism
condemn the non-Socialist radicals who constitute one of the chief
elements among the supporters of the present government (including Mr.
Belloc) as being too radical. In the literature of the Fabian Society
also, the accusation against the Liberals of being too revolutionary is
quite frequent. Years ago Mr. Sidney Webb accused them of having "the
revolutionary tradition in their bones," of conceiving society as "a
struggle of warring interests," and said that they would reform
_nothing_ "unless it be done at the expense of their enemies." While
this latter accusation is scarcely true, either of the British Liberals
or of the revolutionary Socialists of the Continent, it is obvious that
the _most important_ reforms of the Socialists, those to which greatest
efforts must necessarily be given, those which alone must be fought for,
are precisely the ones that must be brought about "at the expense of the
enemy."

In no other country has public opinion either within the Socialist
movement or outside of it so completely despaired of democracy and the
people. In none has the spirit of popular revolt and militant radicalism
been so long dormant. Yet, there can be little doubt that the British
masses, encouraged by those of France, Germany, and other countries,
will one day recover that self-confidence and self-assertion they seem
to have lost since the times of the "Levellers" of the Commonwealth, two
hundred and fifty years ago. It may take years before this new
revolutionary movement gains the momentum it already possesses in
Germany and France. But the great strikes of 1910, 1911, and 1912 (see
Part III, Chapter VI) and the changes in politics that have accompanied
these strikes show that this movement has already begun. There is
already a strong division of opinion within the Socialistic "Independent
Labour Party," and this organization has also taken issue on several
important matters with the non-Socialist Labour Party, of which,
however, it is still a part.

After the unsatisfactory results of the elections of 1910 the conflict
within the Independent Labour Party became more acute than ever. Mr.
Barnes, then chairman of the Labour Party itself, and Mr. Keir Hardie,
the chief figure in its Socialistic (_Independent Labour Party_)
section, criticized severely the tactics that had been followed by the
majority, _led also by two members of the same "Socialistic" section_,
Mr. MacDonald and Mr. Snowden. It is true that the difference was not
very fundamental, but it is interesting to note that MacDonald and
Snowden and their avowed non-Socialist trade-union allies were accused
of giving so much to the Liberals as even to weaken the position of the
Labour Party itself to say nothing of the still greater inconsistency
of such compromises with anything approaching Socialism. Mr. Barnes and
Mr. Hardie pointed out that the timid tactics pursued had endangered not
only the fight against the House of Lords, but also the effort to keep
down the naval budget and the proposed solution of the unemployment
question that was to have acknowledged "the right to work." That is, Mr.
MacDonald and Mr. Snowden had been so anxious to please the Liberal
government, that they had risked even these moderate reforms, which were
favored by many anti-Socialistic Radicals.

At the "Independents'" 1911 conference at Birmingham, again, a motion
was proposed by the radical element, Hall, MacLachlan, and others, which
demanded that this Party should cease voting perpetually for the
government merely because the government claimed that every question
required a vote of confidence, and that they should put their own issues
in the foreground, and vote on all others according to their merits.
This very consistent resolution, in complete accord with the position of
Socialist Parties the world over, was however voted down by the
"Independents," as it had been shortly previously at the conference of
the non-Socialist Labour Party of which they are a section. The
executive committee brought in an amendment in the contrary sense to
that of the radical resolution, and this amendment was ably supported by
MacDonald. Hardie and Barnes, however, persuaded the Congress to vote
down both resolution and amendment on the ground that the "Independents"
in Parliament _ought to support the Liberal and Radical government,
except in certain crises_--as illustrations of which Barnes mentioned
the Labourites' opposition to armaments and their demand for the right
to work. Keir Hardie also declared that he was not satisfied with the
conduct of the Labour Party in Parliament; his motion condemning the
government's action in the Welsh coal strike, for example, had secured
only seventeen of their forty votes. He claimed that the influence of
the Liberals over the party was due, not to their social reform program,
but to their passing of the trade-union law permitting picketing after
the elections of 1906, and that he feared them more than he did the
Conservatives. However, he thought that this Liberal influence was now
on the decline, and said that if the Liberals attempted to strengthen
the House of Lords, as suggested in the preamble to their resolution,
abolishing its veto power, the Labour Party would be ready to vote
against the government.

The Labourites did, as a matter of fact, vote against this preamble, and
the government was saved only because Balfour and the Conservatives lent
it their support. It still remains to be seen if the Labourites will
detach themselves from the Liberals on a really crucial question, one on
which they know the Conservatives will remain in the opposition--in
other words, whether they will do the only thing that can possibly show
any real independence or make them a factor of first importance in the
nation's politics, that is, overturn a government. Doubtless this day
will come, but it does not seem to be at hand.

This discussion was much intensified by the decision of the executive of
the Labour Party (in order to retain the legal right to use trade-union
funds for political purposes) to relieve Labour members of Parliament of
their pledge to follow a common policy. This decision again was opposed
by the majority of the "Independent" section including Hardie and
Barnes, but favored by a minority, led by MacDonald. With the aid of the
non-Socialistic element, however, it was carried by a large majority at
the Labour Party's conference in 1911. Thus while one element is growing
more radical another is growing more conservative and the breach between
the Independents and the other Labourites is widening.

Perhaps the closest and most active associate of Mr. MacDonald at nearly
every point has been Mr. Philip Snowden. Even Mr. Snowden finally
declared that a recent action of the Labour Party, when all but half a
dozen of its members voted with the Liberals, against what Mr. Snowden
states to have been the instructions of the Party conference, "finally
completes their identity with official Liberalism." Mr. Snowden asserted
that if the "Independents" would stand this they would stand anything,
that the time had come to choose between principle and party, and that
he was not ready to sacrifice the former for the latter.

Shortly after this incident, which Mr. MacDonald attributed to a
misunderstanding, came the great railway strike and its settlement, in
which he and Mr. Lloyd George were the leading factors. Received with
enthusiasm by the Liberal press, this settlement was bitterly denounced
by the _Labour Leader_, the official organ of the "Independents." Mr.
MacDonald on the other hand expressed in the House of Commons deep
satisfaction with the final attitude of the government and predicted
that if it was maintained no such trouble need arise again in a
generation. No statement could have been more foreign to the existing
feeling among the workers, a part of whom it will be remembered failed
to return to work for several days after the settlement. The
"Independents" as the political representatives of the more radical of
the unionists, naturally embody this discontent, while the Labour Party,
being partly responsible for the settlement, becomes more than ever the
semi-official labor representative of the government--a divergence that
can scarcely fail to lead to an open breach.

It was as a result of all of these critical situations, especially the
great railway strike and its sequels, that an effort has been made to
form a "British Socialist Party" to embrace all Socialist factions, and
to free them from dependence on the Labour Party. It has succeeded in
uniting all, except the Independent Labour Party and the Fabian Society,
and includes even a number of local branches (though only a small
minority of the total number) of the former organization. This Party has
issued an outright revolutionary declaration of principles. Mr. Quelch,
editor of the Social Democratic organ, _Justice_, had proposed the
following declaration of principles, which was far in advance of the
present position of the Independent Labour Party, if somewhat ambiguous
in the clause printed in italics:--


     "The Socialist Party is the political expression of the
     working-class movement, acting in the closest coöperation with
     industrial organizations for the socialization of the means of
     production and distribution--that is to say, the transformation of
     capitalist society into a collective or communist society. Alike in
     its object, its ideals, and in the means employed, the Socialist
     party, _though striving for the realization of immediate social
     reforms demanded by the working class_, is not a reformist but a
     revolutionary party, which recognizes that social freedom and
     equality can only be won by fighting the class war through to the
     finish, and thus abolishing forever all class distinctions."[143]


The phrase in italics was opposed by several of the revolutionary
representatives of Independent Labour Party branches who were present as
delegates and others, and by a narrow vote was expunged. The declaration
as it now stands is as radical as that of any Socialist Party in the
world. The new organization is already making some inroads among the
membership of the Independent Labour Party and there seems to be a
chance that it will succeed before many years in its attempt to free
that organization and British Socialism generally from their dependence
on the Labour and Liberal Parties.

Perhaps the contrast between "Labour" Party and Socialist Party methods
and aims comes out even more clearly in Australasia than in Great
Britain. A typical view of the New Zealand reforms as being steps
towards Socialism is given by Thomas Walsh, of the Auckland _Voice of
Labour_ (see _New York Call_, September 10, 1911).

After giving a list of things "already accomplished," including a
mention of universal suffrage, state operation of the post office,
prohibition of child labor, "free and compulsory secular education up to
the age of fourteen years," and "State-assisted public
hospitals"--besides the other more distinctively capitalist collectivist
reforms, such as government railways, mines, telegraphs, telephones,
parcel post, life and fire insurance, banks and old-age pensions and
municipal ownership, Mr. Walsh concludes:--


     "These are some of the things already done: there is a long list
     more. The revolutionary seize and hold group may label them
     palliatives, may howl down as red herrings across the scent, may
     declare that they obscure main issues, but I want to know which of
     the reforms they want to see abolished, which of them are useless,
     which of them are not necessary? _Contrary to the fond delusion of
     the revolutionary group, the defenders of the present system don't
     and won't hand out anything; everything obtained is wrenched from
     them_; and in the political arena, armed with the ballot box and
     the knowledge of its use, there is nothing that labor cannot
     obtain.

     "Have the reforms secured blurred the main issue, have we lost
     sight of the goal? The objective of the New Zealand Labour Party
     to-day is the 'securing to all of the full value of their labour
     power by the gradual public ownership of all the means of
     production, distribution, and exchange.' Contrary to your critic's
     opinion, what has already been done has but whetted the appetite
     for more, and to-day New Zealand labour is marshaling its forces
     for further assaults on the fortress of the privileged.

     "_Every reform we have secured has been a step toward the goal_;
     every step taken means one step less to take. The progressive
     legislation has not sidetracked the movement--it has cleared the
     road for further advancement.

     "In New Zealand the enumerated reforms are law--_made law in
     defiance of the wealth-owning class_. At the moment labour does
     not possess the power to administer the laws, but far from that
     being an argument to abandon the law, it has convinced New Zealand
     labor that the administrative control must be got possession of,
     and through the ballot box New Zealand labour will march to get
     that control. _Given control of the national and local government,
     the food supplies can be nationalized and more competitive
     State-owned industries established. And by labour administration of
     the arbitration court the prices and wages can be so adjusted that
     the worker can buy out of the market all that his labor put into
     it._

     "To the brothers in America I say, Go on. Don't waste time arguing
     about economic dogma. Get a unified labor movement and _throw the
     whole industrial force into the political arena_. Anything less
     than the whole force means delay. The whole force means victory. We
     have progressed. We have experimented. We have proved. Yours it is
     but to imitate--and improve."


I have put in italics the most important of Mr. Walsh's conclusions that
are contradicted by the evidence I have given in this chapter and
elsewhere in the present volume. The Socialist view of the last two
statements may be best shown by a quotation from Mr. Charles Edward
Russell, who is the critic referred to by Mr. Walsh, and has undertaken
with great success to uproot among the Socialists of this country the
fanciful pictures and fallacies concerning Australasia that date in this
country from the time of the radical and fearless but uncritical and
optimistic books of Henry D. Lloyd ("A Country Without Strikes," etc.).
Mr. Russell shows that a Labor Party as in Australia may gain control of
the forms of government, without actually gaining the sovereignty over
society or industry. (See the _International Socialist Review_,
September, 1911.) In an article that has made a greater sensation in the
American movement than any that has yet appeared (with the exception of
Debs's "Danger Ahead," quoted in the next chapter), Mr. Russell
writes:--


     "A proletarian movement can have no part, however slight, in the
     game of politics. The moment it takes a seat at that grimy board is
     the moment it dies within. After that, it may for a time maintain a
     semblance of life and motion, but in truth it is only a corpse.

     "This has been proved many times. It is being proved to-day in
     Great Britain. It has been proved recently and most convincingly in
     the experience of Australia and New Zealand.

     "In Australia the proletarian movement that began eighteen years
     ago has achieved an absolute triumph--in politics. Under the name
     of the Labor Party it has won all that any political combination
     can possibly win anywhere. It has played the political game to the
     limit and taken all the stakes in sight. The whole national
     government is in its hands. It has attained in fullest measure to
     the political success at which it aimed. It not merely influences
     the government; it is the government.

     "To make the situation clear by an American analogy, let us suppose
     the Socialists of America to join hands with the progressive
     element in the labor unions and with the different groups of
     advanced radicals. Let us suppose a coalition party to be formed
     called the Labor Party. Let us suppose this to have entered the
     State and national campaigns, winning at each successive election
     more seats in Congress, and finally, after sixteen years of
     conflict, electing its candidate for President and a clear majority
     of the Senate and the House of Representatives. This would be
     admitted to be the summit of such a party's aims and to mean great
     and notable success; and it would closely parallel the situation in
     Australia.

     "Exactly such a Labor Party has administered the affairs of
     Australia since April, 1910. Its triumph was the political success
     of a proletarian movement that was steered into the political game.
     What has resulted?

     "This has resulted, that the Labor Party of Australia is now
     exactly like any other political party and means no more to the
     working class except its name. Constituted as the political party
     of that class, it has been swept into power by working-class votes,
     and after almost a year and a half of control of national affairs,
     it can show nothing more accomplished for working-class interests
     than any other party has accomplished. The working class under the
     Labor Party is in essentially the same condition that it has been
     in under all the other administrations, nor is there the slightest
     prospect that its condition will be changed.

     "In other words, the whole machine runs on exactly as before, the
     vast elaborated machine by which toilers are exploited and
     parasites are fed. Once in power, the Labor Party proceeded to do
     such things as other parties had done for the purpose of keeping in
     power, and it is these things that maintain the machine.

     "On the night of the election, when the returns began to indicate
     the result, the gentleman that is now Attorney-General of the
     Commonwealth was in the Labor Party headquarters, jumping up and
     down with uncontrollable glee.

     "'We're in!' he shouted. 'We're in! We're in!'

     "That was an excellent phrase and neatly expressed the whole
     situation. The Labor Party was in; it had won the offices and the
     places of power and honor; it had defeated the opponents that had
     often defeated it. It was 'in.' The next thing was to keep in, and
     this is the object that it has assiduously pursued ever since. 'We
     are in; now let us stay in. We have the offices; let us keep the
     offices.'

     "The first thing it does is to increase its strength with the
     bourgeoisie and the great middle class always allied with its
     enemies. To its opponents in the campaigns the handiest weapon and
     most effective was always the charge that the Labor Party was not
     patriotic, that it did not love the dear old flag of Great Britain
     with the proper degree of fervor and ecstasy; that it was wobbly on
     the subject of war and held strange, erratic notions in favor of
     universal peace instead of yelling day and night for British
     supremacy whether right or wrong--which is well known to be the
     duty of the true and pure patriot. This argument was continually
     used and had great effect.

     "Naturally, as the Labor Party was now in and determined to stay
     in, the wise play indicated in the game upon which it had embarked,
     was to disprove all these damaging allegations and to show that the
     Labor Party was just as patriotic as any other party could possibly
     be. So its first move was to adopt a system of universal military
     service, and the next to undertake vast schemes of national
     defense. The attention and admiration of the country were directed
     to the fact that the Labor administration was the first to build
     small arms factories, to revise the military establishment so as to
     secure the greatest efficiency and to prepare the nation for deeds
     of valor on the battlefield.

     "At the time this was done there was a crying need for new labor
     legislation; the system or lack of system of arbitrating labor
     disputes was badly in need of repairs; workingmen were being
     imprisoned in some of the States for the crime of striking; the
     power of government was often used to oppress and overawe strikers,
     even when they had been perfectly orderly and their cause was
     absolutely just. These with many other evils of the workingman's
     condition were pushed aside in order to perfect the defense system
     and get the small arms factories in good working order, for such
     were the plain indications of the game that the Labor Party had
     started out to play. 'We're in; let us stay in.'

     "Meantime there remains this awkward fact about the condition of
     the working class. It is no less exploited than before. It is as
     far, apparently, from the day of justice under the rule of the
     Labor Party as it was under the rule of the Liberal Party. What are
     you going to do about that? Why, there is nothing to be done about
     that as yet. The country, you see, is not ready for any radical
     measures on that subject. If we undertook to make any great changes
     in fundamental conditions, we should be defeated at the next
     election and then we should not be in, but should be out. True, the
     cost of living is steadily increasing, and that means that the
     state of the working class is inevitably declining. True, under the
     present system, power is steadily accumulating in the hands of the
     exploiters, so that if we are afraid to offend them now, we shall
     be still more afraid to offend them next year and the next. But the
     main thing is to keep in. We're in; let us stay in.

     "Hence, also, the Labor administration has been very careful not
     to offend the great money interests and powerful corporations that
     are growing up in the country. These influences are too powerful in
     elections. Nothing has been done that could in the least disturb
     the currents of sacred business. It was recognized as not good
     politics to antagonize business interests. Let the administration
     keep along with the solid business interests of the country,
     reassuring them for the sake of the general prosperity and helping
     them to go on in the same, safe, sane, and conservative way as
     before. It was essential that business men should feel that
     business was just as secure under the Labor administration as under
     any other. Nothing that can in the least upset business, you know.
     True, this sacred business consists of schemes to exploit and rob
     the working class, and true, the longer it is allowed to go upon
     its way the more powerful it becomes and the greater are its
     exploitations and profits. But if we do anything that upsets
     business or tends to disturb business confidence, that will be bad
     for us at the next election. Very likely we shall not be able to
     keep in. We are in now; let us stay in, and have the offices and
     the power.

     "Therefore, it is with the greatest pride that the Labor people
     point out that under the Labor administration the volume of
     business has not decreased, but increased; the operations of the
     banks have shown no falling off; they are still engaged as
     profitably as of yore in skinning the public; the clearings are in
     an eminently satisfactory condition; profits have suffered no
     decline; all is well in our marts of trade. The old machine goes on
     so well you would never know there had been any change in the
     administration. Business men have confidence in our Party. They
     know that we will do the right thing by them, and when in the next
     campaign the wicked orators of the opposition arise and say that
     the Labor Party is a party of disturbers and revolutionists, we can
     point to these facts and overwhelm them. And that will be a good
     thing, because otherwise we might not be able to keep in. We're in;
     let us stay in.

     "If the capitalists had designed the very best way in which to
     perpetuate their power, they could not have hit upon anything
     better for themselves than this. It keeps the working class
     occupied, it diverts their minds from the real questions that
     pertain to their condition; it appeals to their sporting instincts;
     we want to win, we want to cheer our own victory, we want to stay
     in; this is the way to these results. And meantime the capitalists
     rake off the profits and are happy. We are infinitely better off in
     the United States. The Labor Party of Australia has killed the pure
     proletarian movement there. At least we have the beginnings of one
     here. If there had been no Labor Party, there would now be in
     Australia a promising working-class movement headed towards
     industrial emancipation. Having a Labor Party, there is no such
     movement in sight....

     "You say: Surely it was something gained in New Zealand to secure
     limited hours of employment, to have sanitary factories, clean
     luncheon rooms, old-age pensions, workingmen's compensation. Surely
     all these things represented progress and an advance toward the
     true ideal.

     "Yes. But every one of these things has been magnified, distorted
     and exaggerated for the purpose and with the result of keeping the
     workingman quiet about more vital things. How say you to that?
     Every pretended release from his chains has been in fact a new form
     of tether on his limbs. What about that? I should think meanly of
     myself if I did not rejoice every time a workingman's hours are
     reduced or the place wherein he is condemned to toil is made more
     nearly tolerable. But what shall we conclude when these things are
     deliberately employed to distract his thoughts from fundamental
     conditions and when all this state of stagnation is wrought by the
     alluring game of politics?

     "I cannot help thinking that all this has or ought to have a lesson
     for the Socialist movement in America. If it be desired to kill
     that movement, the most effective way would be to get it entangled
     in some form of practical politics. Then the real and true aim of
     the movement can at once be lost sight of and this party can go the
     way of every other proletarian party down to the pit. I should not
     think that was a very good way to go.

     "When we come to reason of it calmly, what can be gained by
     electing any human being to any office beneath the skies? To get in
     and keep in does not seem any sort of an object to any one that
     will contemplate the possibilities of the Coöperative Commonwealth.
     How shall it profit the working class to have Mr. Smith made
     sheriff or Mr. Jones become the coroner? Something else surely is
     the goal of this magnificent inspiration. In England the radicals
     have all gone mad on the subject of a successful parliamentary
     party, the winning of the government, the filling of offices, and
     the like. I am told that the leaders of the coalition movement have
     already picked out their prime minister against the day when they
     shall carry the country and be in. In the meantime they, too, must
     play this game carefully, being constantly on their guard against
     doing anything that would alarm or antagonize the bourgeoisie and
     sacred businesses and telling the workers to wait until we get in.
     I do not see that all this relieves the situation in Whitechapel or
     that any fewer men and women live in misery because we have a
     prospect of getting in.

     "Furthermore, to speak quite frankly, I do not see where there is a
     particle of inspiration for Americans in any of these
     English-speaking countries. So far as I can make out the whole of
     mankind that dwells under the British flag is more or less mad
     about political success, Parliament and getting in. They say in New
     Zealand that the government can make a conservative of any radical,
     if he threatens to become dangerous, by giving him some tin-horn
     honor or a place in the upper chamber. In England we have seen too
     often that the same kind of influences can silence a radical by
     inviting him to the king's garden party or allowing him to shake
     hands with a lord. I do not believe we have anything to learn from
     these countries except what to avoid."


FOOTNOTES:

[108] Quoted by John Graham Brooks, in article above cited.

[109] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Society," p. 60.

[110] Philip Snowden, "A Socialist Budget."

[111] Speech in Carnegie Hall, New York, Jan. 13, 1909.

[112] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Society," p. 36.

[113] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Government," Vol. I, p. 1.

[114] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Society," p. 114.

[115] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Society," p. 116.

[116] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Government," Vol. II, p. 130.

[117] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Government," Vol. I, p. 91.

[118] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Government," Vol. II, p. 4.

[119] Report on Fabian Policy, p. 13.

[120] The _Socialist Review_, January, 1909, p. 888.

[121] John A. Hobson, "The Crisis of Liberalism," p. 46.

[122] John A. Hobson, "The Crisis of Liberalism," p. 6.

[123] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Society," p. 133.

[124] Editorial in the _Socialist Review_ (London), May, 1910.

[125] "Socialism and Government," Vol. II, p. 12.

[126] Andrew Carnegie, "Problems of To-day," pp. 123 ff.

[127] The _New Age_, Nov. 4, 1909.

[128] "Fabian Essays," p. 180.

[129] "Fabian Essays," p. 187.

[130] "Fabian Essays," p. 184.

[131] "Fabianism and the Empire," p. 5.

[132] H. G. Wells, "New Worlds for Old," pp. 268-275.

[133] H. G. Wells, "New Worlds for Old," pp. 268-275.

[134] John A. Hobson, "The Crisis of Liberalism," pp. 116, 132.

[135] H. G. Wells, "First and Last Things," p. 242.

[136] The _New Age_ (London), June 23, 1910.

[137] The _New Age_, June 2, 1910.

[138] The _New Age_, Dec. 23, 1909.

[139] The _New Age_, Jan. 4, 1908.

[140] The _New Age_, June 23, 1910.

[141] The _New York Call_, Oct. 22 and 29, 1911.

[142] The _New Age_, March 26, 1910.

[143] The _New York Call_, Oct. 22, 1911.



CHAPTER IV

"REFORMISM" IN THE UNITED STATES


Because of our greater European immigration and more advanced economic
development, the Socialist movement in this country, as has been
remarked by many of those who have studied it, is more closely
affiliated with that of the continent of Europe than with that of Great
Britain.

The American public has been grievously misinformed as to the
development of revolutionary Socialism in this country. A typical
example is the widely noticed article by Prof. Robert F. Hoxie,
entitled, "The Rising Tide of Socialism."

After analyzing the Socialist vote into several contradictory elements,
Professor Hoxie concludes:--


     "There seems to be a definite law of the development of Socialism
     which applies both to the individual and to the group. The law is
     this: The creedalism and immoderateness of Socialism, other things
     being equal, vary inversely with its age and responsibility. The
     average Socialist recruit begins as a theoretical impossibilist and
     develops gradually into a constructive opportunist. Add a taste of
     real responsibility and he is hard to distinguish from a liberal
     reformer."[144]


On the contrary, the "theoretical impossibilists," however obstructive,
have never been more than a handful, and the revolutionists, in spite of
the very considerable and steady influx of reformers into the movement,
have increased still more rapidly. That is, revolutionary Socialism is
growing in this country--as elsewhere--and a very large and increasing
number of the Socialists are become more and more revolutionary. From
the beginning the American movement has been radical and the
"reformists" have been heavily outvoted in every Congress of the present
Party--in 1901, 1904, 1908, and 1910, while the most prominent
revolutionist, Eugene V. Debs, has been its nominee for President at
each Presidential election, since its foundation (1900, 1904, and
1908).[145]

Aside from a brief experience with the so-called municipal Socialism in
Massachusetts in 1900 and 1902, the national movement gave little
attention to the effort to secure the actual enactment of immediate
reforms until the success of the Milwaukee Socialists (in 1910) in
capturing the city government and electing one of its two Congressmen.
There had always been a program of reforms indorsed by the Socialists.
But this program had been misnamed "Immediate Demands," as the Party had
concentrated its attention _almost exclusively_ on its one great demand,
the overthrow of capitalist government.

In the fall elections of 1910 it was observed for the first time that
certain Socialist candidates in various parts of the country ran far
ahead of the rest of the Socialist ticket, and that some of those
elected to legislatures and local offices owed their election to this
fact. This appeared to indicate that these candidates had bid for and
obtained a large share of the non-Socialist vote. A cry of alarm was
thereupon raised by many American Socialists. The statement issued by
Mr. Eugene V. Debs on this occasion, entitled "Danger Ahead," was
undoubtedly representative of the views of the majority. As Mr. Debs has
been, on three occasions, the unanimous choice of the Socialist Party of
the United States as its candidate for the Presidency, he remains
unquestionably the most influential member of the Party. I, therefore,
quote his statement at length, as the most competent estimate obtainable
of the present situation as regards reformism in the American Socialist
movement:--


     "The danger I see ahead," wrote Mr. Debs, "is that the Socialist
     Party at this stage, and under existing conditions, is apt to
     attract elements which it cannot assimilate, and that it may be
     either weighted down, or torn asunder with internal strife, or that
     it may become permeated and corrupted with the spirit of bourgeois
     reform to an extent that will practically destroy its virility and
     efficiency as a revolutionary organization.

     "To my mind the working-class character and the revolutionary
     integrity of the Socialist Party are of the first importance. _All
     the votes of the people would do us no good if our party ceased to
     be a revolutionary party or became only incidentally so, while
     yielding_ more and more to the pressure to modify the principles
     and program of the Party for the sake of swelling the vote and
     hastening the day of its expected triumph.... The truth is that we
     have not a few members who regard vote getting as of supreme
     importance, no matter by what method the votes may be secured, and
     this leads them to hold out inducements and make representations
     which are not at all compatible with the stern and uncompromising
     principles of a revolutionary party. They seek to make the
     Socialist propaganda so attractive--eliminating whatever may give
     offense to bourgeois sensibilities--that it serves as a bait for
     votes rather than as a means of education, and _votes thus secured
     do not properly belong to us and do injustice to our Party as well
     as those who cast them_.... The election of legislative and
     administrative officers, here and there where the Party is still in
     a crude state and the members economically unprepared and
     politically unfit to assume the responsibilities thrust upon them
     as the result of popular discontent, will inevitably bring trouble
     and set the Party back, instead of advancing it, and while this is
     to be expected and is to an extent unavoidable, we should court no
     more of that kind of experience than is necessary to avoid a
     repetition of it. The Socialist Party has already achieved some
     victories of this kind which proved to be defeats, crushing and
     humiliating, and from which the party has not even now, after many
     years, entirely recovered [referring, doubtless, to Haverhill and
     Brockton.--W. E. W.].

     "Voting for Socialism is not Socialism any more than a menu is a
     meal....

     "The votes will come rapidly enough from now on without seeking
     them, and we should make it clear that the Socialist Party wants
     the votes only of those who want Socialism, and that, above all, as
     a revolutionary party of the working class, it discountenances vote
     seeking for the sake of votes and holds in contempt office seeking
     for the sake of office. These belong entirely to capitalist parties
     with their bosses and their boodle and have no place in a party
     whose shibboleth is emancipation."[146] (My italics.)


After Mr. Debs, Mr. Charles Edward Russell is now, perhaps, the most
trusted of American Socialists. His statement, made a few months later
(see the _International Socialist Review_ for March, 1912), reaches
identical conclusions. As it is made from the entirely independent
standpoint of the observations of a practical journalist as to political
methods, it strongly reënforces and supplements Mr. Debs's conclusions,
drawn chiefly from labor union experience. As I have already quoted Mr.
Russell at length in the previous chapter, a few paragraphs will give a
sufficient idea of this important declaration:--


     "Let us suppose in this country," writes Mr. Russell, "a political
     party with a program that proposes a great and radical
     transformation of the existing system of society, and proposes it
     upon lofty grounds of the highest welfare of mankind. Let us
     suppose that it is based upon vital and enduring truth, and that
     the success of its ideals would mean the emancipation of the race.

     "If such a party should go into the dirty game of practical
     politics, seeking success by compromise and bargain, striving to
     put men into office, dealing for place and recognition, concerned
     about the good opinion of its enemies, elated when men spoke well
     of it, depressed by evil report, tacking and shifting, taking
     advantage of a local issue here and of a temporary unrest there,
     intent upon the goal of this office or that, it would inevitably
     fall into the pit that has engulfed all other parties. Nothing on
     earth could save it.

     "But suppose a party that kept forever in full sight the ultimate
     goal, and never once varied from it. Suppose that it strove to
     increase its vote for this object and for none other.... Suppose it
     regarded its vote as the index of its converts, and sought for such
     votes and for none others. Suppose the entire body was convinced of
     the party's full program, aims, and philosophy. Suppose that all
     other men knew that this growing party was thus convinced and thus
     determined, and that its growth menaced every day more and more the
     existing structure of society, menaced it with overthrow and a new
     structure. What then?

     "Such a party would be the greatest political power that ever
     existed in this or any other country. It would drive the other
     parties before it like sand before a wind. They would be compelled
     to adopt one after another the expedients of reform to head off the
     increasing threat of this one party's progress towards the
     revolutionary ideal. But this one party would have no more need to
     waste its time upon palliative measures than it would have to soil
     itself with the dirt of practical politics and the bargain counter.
     The other parties would do all that and do it well. The one party
     would be concerned with nothing but making converts to its
     philosophy and preparing for the revolution that its steadfast
     course would render inevitable. Such a party would represent the
     highest possible efficiency in politics, the greatest force in the
     State, and the ultimate triumph of its full philosophy would be
     beyond question."


Thus we see that in America reformism is regarded as a dangerous
innovation, and that, before it had finished its second prosperous year,
it had been abjured by those who have the best claim to speak for the
American Party. Nevertheless it still persists and, indeed, continues
to develop rapidly--if less rapidly than the opposite, or revolutionary,
policy--and deserves the most careful consideration.

While "reformism" only became a practical issue in the American Party in
_1910_, it had its beginnings much earlier. The Milwaukee Socialists had
set on the "reformist" course even before the formation of the present
national party (in 1900). Even at this early time they had developed
what the other Socialists had sought to avoid, a "leader"--in the
person of Mr. Victor Berger. At first editor of the local German
Socialist organ, the _Vorwaerts_, then of the _Social-Democratic
Herald_, acknowledged leader at the time of the municipal victory in the
spring of 1910, and now the American Party's first member of Congress,
Mr. Berger has not merely been the Milwaukee organization's chief
spokesman, organizer, and candidate throughout this period, but he has
come to be the chief spokesman of the present reformist wing of the
American Party. His editorials and speeches as Congressman, and the
policies of the Milwaukee municipal administration, now so much in the
public eye, will afford a fairly correct idea of the main features both
of the Socialism that has so far prevailed in Milwaukee, and of American
"reformism" in general.

"Socialism is an epoch of human history which will no doubt last many
hundred years, possibly a thousand years," wrote Mr. Berger,
editorially, in 1910. "Certainly a movement whose aims are spread out
over a period like that need have no terrors for the most conservative,"
commented Senator La Follette, with perhaps justifiable humor.

If Socialism is to become positive, said Mr. Berger again, it must
"conduct the everyday fight for the practical revolution of every day."
Like the word "Socialism," Mr. Berger retains the word "revolution," but
practically it comes to mean much the same as its antithesis, everyday
reform.

It has been Mr. Berger's declared purpose from the beginning to turn the
Milwaukee Party aside from the tactics of the International movement to
those of the "revisionist" minority that has been so thoroughly crushed
at the German and International Congresses. (See Chapter VII.) "The
tactics of the American Socialist Party," he wrote editorially in 1901,
"if that party is to live and succeed--can only be the much abused and
much misunderstood Bernstein doctrine."

"In America for the first time in history," he added, "we find an
oppressed class with the same fundamental rights as the ruling
class--the right of universal suffrage...."[147]

It was the impression of many of the earlier German Socialists in this
country that political democracy already existed in America and that it
was only necessary to make use of it to establish a new social order.
The devices the framers of our Constitution employed to prevent such an
outcome, the widespread distribution of property, especially of farms,
disfranchisement in the South and elsewhere, etc., were all considered
as small matters compared to the difficulties Socialists faced in
Germany and other countries. Many have come more recently to recognize,
with Mr. Louis Boudin, that the movement "will have to learn that in
this country, as in Germany or other alien lands, the fight is on not
only for the use of its power by the working class, but for the
possession of real political power by the masses of the people." Neither
in this country nor in any other does the oppressed class have "the same
fundamental rights as the ruling class." In America the working class
have not even an approximately equal right to the ballot, because of
local property, literacy, residence, and other qualifications, as
alluded to in an earlier chapter, and it is at least doubtful whether
the workers are in a more favorable position here than elsewhere to gain
final and effective control of the government without physical
revolution (as Mr. Berger himself has admitted; see Chapter VI).

In explanation of what he meant by the Bernstein doctrine, Mr. Berger
wrote in 1902: "Others condemn every reform which is to precede the
'Great Revolution.' ... Nothing can be more absurd.... Progress is not
attained by simply waiting for a majority of people, for the general
reconstruction, for the promised hour of deliverance.... We wicked
'opportunists' want action.... We want to reconstruct society, and we
must go to work without delay, and work ceaselessly for the coöperative
Commonwealth, the ideal of the future. But we want to change conditions
now. We stand for scientific Socialism."[148]

It is quite true that there was a Socialist Party in this country before
1900, a large part of which ridiculed every reform that can come before
the expected revolution, but these "Impossibilists" are now a dwindling
handful. Nearly every Socialist now advocates all progressive reforms,
but different views obtain as to which of these reforms do, and which
of them do not, properly come within the Socialists' sphere of action.

Mr. Berger's opinion is that the Socialists should take the lead in
practically all immediate reform activities, and belittles all other
reformers. No sooner had Senator La Follette appeared on the political
horizon in 1904 than Mr. Berger classed him with Mr. Bryan, as
"visionary."[149] And after Senator La Follette had become recognized as
perhaps the most effective radical the country has produced, Mr. Berger
still persisted in referring to him as "personally honest, but
politically dishonest," and was quoted as saying, with particular
reference to the Senator and his ideas of reform, and to the great
satisfaction of the reactionary press: "An insurgent is 60 per cent of
old disgruntled politician, 30 per cent clear hypocrisy, 9 per cent
nothing, and 1 per cent Socialism. Put in a bottle and shake well before
using and you will have a so-called 'progressive.'"[150]

Let us see how the Socialist platform in Wisconsin differs from that of
the insurgent Republicans and Democrats. It begins with the statement
that the movement aims at "better food, better houses, sufficient sleep,
more leisure, more education, and more culture." All progressive and
honest reform movements stand for all these things and, as I have shown,
promise gradually to get them. Under capitalism per capita wealth and
income are increased rapidly and the capitalists can well afford to
grant to the workers more and more of all the things mentioned, not out
of fear of Socialism, but to provide in the future for that steady
increase of industrial efficiency which is destined to be the greatest
source of future profits.

The platform goes on to state that "the final aim of the
Social-Democratic Party is the emancipation of the producers and the
abolition of the capitalist system" and describes the list of reforms it
proposes as "mere palliatives, capable of being carried out even under
present conditions." But it also suggests that these measures are in
part, though not all, Socialistic, whereas a careful comparison with the
Democratic and Republican platforms, especially the latter, shows that
they are practically all adopted by the capitalist parties (not only in
Wisconsin, but in States where the Socialists have no representation
whatever). If the Social-Democrats of Wisconsin demand more government
ownership and labor legislation, the Republicans are somewhat more
insistent on certain extensions of political democracy--as in the demand
for less partisan primaries.

The New York Socialist platform makes very similar demands to that of
Wisconsin, but precedes them by the long explanation (see Chapter VI) of
the Socialist view of the class struggle, which the Wisconsin platform
barely mentions, while containing declarations that might be interpreted
as contradicting it. _The Wisconsin idea is that a Socialist minority in
the nation has actual power to obtain reforms that will advance us
towards Socialism and that would not otherwise be obtained. The New York
idea is that a Socialist minority can have no other reforming power than
any honest reform minority, unless Socialism has actually won or is
about to win a majority._

The legislature of Wisconsin has doubtless gone somewhat faster than
those of other "progressive" States, on account of the presence of the
"Social-Democrats." It has passed the latters' resolutions, for example,
calling for the government ownership of coal mines and of such railroad,
telegraph, telephone, and express companies as pass into the hands of
receivers, and also to apply incomes from natural resources to old-age
pensions as well as other resolutions already mentioned. But an
inspection of the resolutions of the legislatures of other States where
there are no Socialist legislators and only a relatively small per cent
of Socialists shows action almost if not quite as radical. This and the
fact that a very radical tendency appeared in Wisconsin when Mr. La
Follette was governor and before Socialism had any apparent power in
that State, suggests that the influence of the latter has been entirely
secondary.

The _Social-Democratic Herald_ complains significantly, at a later date,
of "the cowardly and hypocritical Socialistic platforms of the two older
parties," while Mr. Berger was lately predicting that Senator La
Follette would be "told to get out" of the Republican Party. The
reformer who was so recently "retrogressive" had now become a rival in
reform. Mr. Berger, however, claims that he does not object when
reformers "steal the Socialist thunder." If both are striving after the
"immediately attainable," how indeed could there be any lasting
conflict, or serious difference of opinion? Or if there is to be any
difference at all between Socialists and "Insurgents," is it not clear
that the Socialists must reject, absolutely, Berger's principles, and
follow Bebel's advice (quoted below), _i.e. concentrate their attention
exclusively on "thunder" which the enemy will not and cannot steal_?

But perhaps an even more striking indication of the nature of Milwaukee
Socialism is shown by the very general welcome it has received among
capitalist organs of all parties, from the _Outlook, Collier's Weekly_,
the _Saturday Evening Post_, and the _American Magazine_, to the _New
York Journal_, the _New York World_, the _Chicago Tribune_, the
_Milwaukee Journal_, and other capitalist papers all over the country.
The _New York Journal_ stated editorially after the municipal election
of 1910, that won Milwaukee for the Socialists of the Berger School,
that the men of Milwaukee who have accumulated millions show no signs of
fear and that "before the election many of the biggest Milwaukee
business men (including at least two of the brewers) had expressed
themselves privately in admiration of Mr. Berger and his character _and
his purposes_." (My italics.)[151]

_La Follette's Weekly_ on this occasion quoted from an editorial of Mr.
Berger in which he had written: "We must show the people of Milwaukee
that the philosophy of international Socialism can be applied and will
be applied to the local situation, and that it can be applied with
advantage to any American city of the present day.... It is our duty to
give this city the best kind of an administration that _a modern city
can get under the present system, and the present laws_." (My italics.)
La Follette's repeats the phrase in italics and adds that this policy
contains "nothing to arouse fear on the part of the business interests
that is tangible enough to be felt or genuine enough to be contagious,"
that the people want "new blood in the city offices," "had confidence in
the Socialist candidates," and "are not afraid of a name."

I have mentioned Liebknecht's remark that the enemy's praise is a sign
of failure. Debs in this country is reported as saying, "When the
political or economic leaders of the wage worker are recommended for
their good sense and wise action by capitalists, it is proof that they
have become misleaders and cannot be trusted."

It may be imagined that the revolutionary Socialists have never approved
these tactics of Mr. Berger's and do so less to-day than ever. His
anti-immigration proposals were defeated by a large majority at the last
Socialist congress and some of the best-known Socialists and organs of
Socialist opinion have definitely repudiated his policy. Mr. J. G.
Phelps Stokes, formerly a member of the National Executive Committee,
declared publicly, after the Milwaukee victory of 1910, that the
Milwaukee Socialists "had compromised with capitalism" by their campaign
utterances, and in certain instances had acted as "mere reformers, not
as Socialists at all." It is not surprising that the anti-Socialist
reform press thereupon took up the cudgels in behalf of Mr. Berger,
including the _New York World_, the _Chicago Tribune_, and _Milwaukee
Journal_. The last-named paper very curiously claimed that, wherever
Socialists "have been intrusted with the powers of the government," they
have taken a similar course to that of Mr. Berger. This is that very
obvious truth of which I have spoken in preceding chapters, namely, that
when Socialists have allowed themselves to be saddled with the
responsibilities of some department or local branch of government,
_without having the sovereign power_ needed to apply _Socialist
principles_, they have frequently found themselves in an untenable
situation. The Socialists have been the first to recognize this, and for
this reason oppose any entrance of Socialists into capitalist
governments, _i.e._ their acceptance of minority positions in national
cabinets or councils of State. (See Chapters II, VI, and VII.)

Expressing the belief of the overwhelming majority of those who are
watching the progress of affairs in Milwaukee, the _Journal_ of that
city stated, "What they [the Socialists] are doing [in Milwaukee] is not
essentially Socialistic, though some of the reforms they propose are
Socialistic in tendency." This need not be taken to mean that the
Milwaukee reforms are supposed to tend to Socialism as Socialists in
general understand it, but rather to that capitalistic collectivism to
which Mr. Taft refers when he says that in the present regulation of the
railroads "we have gone a long way in the direction of State Socialism."

Mr. Stokes's comment upon many widely published defenses of the
Milwaukee Socialists by anti-Socialists was published in a letter to the
_New York World_ which sums up admirably the International standpoint:
"It is surely public opinion out of office and not the party in office,"
wrote Mr. Stokes, "that does the most for progress in this country, and
it seems to me exceedingly doubtful whether any party in power has ever
led public opinion effectively at any time. I share with very many
Socialists the view that it is entirely fallacious to suppose that more
can be done at this stage of the world's progress through politics, than
through 'education, agitation, and perpetual criticism.'"

I have referred to Mr. Berger as a "reformist" to distinguish his
policies from the professed opportunism of some of the British
Socialists. But I have also noted that his tactics and philosophy, as
both he and they have publicly acknowledged, are alike at many points.
For example, his views, like theirs, often seem less democratic than
those of many non-Socialist radicals, or even of the average American.
Years after the labor unions and the farmers of most of the States had
indorsed direct legislation, and in a year when it was already becoming
the law of several States, Mr. Berger, looking out for the interests of
what he and his associates frankly call the "political machine" of the
Wisconsin Party, damned it by faint praise, though it was an element of
his own platform; and he had claimed credit for having first proposed it
in Wisconsin. He acknowledged that the Initiative and Referendum _make
towards_ Socialism and are the surest way in the end, but urged that
they are "also the longest way," and wrote in the _Social-Democratic
Herald_:--


     "The real class conscious proletariat is still in a minority, and
     liable to stay so for a time to come. It can only show results by
     fighting as a well-organized, compact mass.

     "But the initiative, the referendum, and the right to recall have a
     tendency to destroy parties and loosen tightly knit political
     organizations.

     "Therefore, while the Socialist Party stands for direct legislation
     as a democratic measure, we are well aware that the working class
     will be helped very little by getting it. We are well aware that
     the proletariat, before all things, must get more economic and
     political, strength--more education and more wisdom. That, besides
     teaching coöperation, we must build _political machines_."[152] (My
     italics.)


On the question of Woman Suffrage, also, Mr. Berger long showed a
similarly hesitating attitude, saying that intelligent women "have
always exercised great political power" even without the ballot;
doubting whether women's vote would help the advance of humanity "in the
coming time of transition," saying this is a question of fact on which
Socialists may honestly differ, and urging that "no one will deny that
the great majority of the women of the present day--_and that is the
only point we can view now_, are illiberal, unprogressive, and
reactionary to a greater extent than the men of the same stratum of
society." (The italics are mine.) Finally, Mr. Berger concluded as
follows, twice throwing the balance of his opinion from one scale into
another:--


     "Now, if all this is correct, female suffrage, for generations to
     come, will simply mean the deliberate doubting of the strength of a
     certain church,--will mean a great addition to the forces of
     ignorance and reaction....

     "However, we have woman suffrage in our platform, and we should
     stand by it. Because in the end it will help to interest the other
     half of humanity in social and political affairs, and it will be of
     great educational value on both women and men....

     "Nevertheless, it is asking a great deal of the proletariat when we
     are requested to delay the efficiency of our movement _for
     generations_ on that count. And we surely ought not to lay such
     stress on this one point as to injure the progress of the general
     political and economic movement--the success of which is bound to
     help the women as much as the men."[153] (The italics are mine.)


It is no wonder, with such a lukewarm advocacy of its own platform by
the Party's organ and its chief spokesman, that some of the lesser
figures in the Milwaukee movement--such as certain Socialist
aldermen--seem to have lost the road altogether until even Mr. Berger
has been forced to call a halt. For the leader of a "political machine,"
to use Mr. Berger's own expression, may allow himself certain liberties;
but when his followers do the same, disintegration is in sight. Witness
Mr. Berger's words, written only a few weeks after the Socialist victory
in Milwaukee; words which seem to indicate that the tendencies he
complains of were the direct result, not of slow degeneration, but of
the local Party's reformistic teachings and campaign methods:--


     "The most dangerous part of the situation is that some of our
     comrades seem to forget that we are a Socialist Party.

     "They not only begin to imitate the ways and methods of the old
     parties, but even their reasoning and their thoughts are getting to
     be more bourgeois and less proletarian. To some of these men the
     holding of the office--whatever the office may be--seems to be the
     final aim of the Socialist Party. These poor sticks do not know
     that there are many Socialists who deplore that the necessity of
     electing and appointing officeholders will make it twice as hard to
     keep the Socialist Party pure in this country, than in other
     countries where the movement is relieved of this duty and danger.

     "And even some of the aldermen seem to have lost their Socialist
     class consciousness--if they ever had any."


It is difficult to see how Mr. Berger can expect to maintain respect for
principles that he teaches and applies so loosely himself. It is,
furthermore, difficult to understand how he expects submission to the
decisions of his organization when he himself has been on the verge of
revolt both against the national and international movement. He has
always avowed his profound disagreement with the methods of the
Socialists in practically every State but his own. He and his associates
were at one moment so far from the national and international principle
that they sought to support a non-Socialist candidate for judge--on the
specious ground that no Socialist was nominated. But the National
Congress condemned and forbade such action by an overwhelming majority.
Mr. Berger's unwillingness to act with his organization even went so far
at one point that he was punished by a temporary suspension from the
National Executive Committee. And, finally, he even threatened in
Socialist Berlin that if the American Party, which he claimed held his
views on immigration, was not allowed to have its way, it would pay no
attention to the decision of the International Congress; though at the
very time he was threatening rebellion the decision of the recent
Congress showed that two-thirds of the American Party stood, not with
him, but with the International Movement. Should he be surprised if
Milwaukee aldermen, like himself, interpret Socialism as they see fit,
and forget that they are a part of a Socialist Party?

But while Mr. Berger and the present policies that are guiding American
"reformist" Socialists differ profoundly from those of the International
movement, and resemble in some ways the policies of the non-Socialist
reformers of Wisconsin and other States, in other respects there is a
difference. The labor policy of the collectivist reformers and of the
"reformist" Socialists might be expected to differ somewhat--not in what
is ordinarily called the labor legislation, _i.e._ factory reform,
workingmen's compensation, old age pensions, etc., but in their attitude
to labor organizations and the labor struggle: strikes, boycotts, and
injunctions.

Senator La Follette's followers are in the overwhelming majority
farmers; the Wisconsin "Social-Democrats," as they call themselves, have
secured little more than one per cent of the vote of the State outside
of Milwaukee and a few other towns, and even less in the country. On the
other hand, the majority of the workingmen of Milwaukee and several
other towns vote for the Socialists, while those who do not are usually
not followers of Senator La Follette, but Catholics and Democrats. The
Wisconsin "Insurgents" have as yet by no means taken the usual
capitalist position in the struggle between employers and labor unions,
but they have shown repeatedly that they are conscious that they
represent primarily the small property holders and the business
community generally, including the small shareholders of the "trusts."

_La Follette's Weekly_, in an important article defending direct
legislation and the recall, says that the reason "we, the people," do
not give enough attention to public measures is that "we are so busy
with our private affairs," and continues: "Indeed, our success in our
private enterprises, nay even equality of opportunity to engage in
private enterprises, is coming more and more to depend upon the measure
of protection which we may receive through our government from the
unjust encroachments of the power of centralized Big Business." These
"State Socialist" radicals represent primarily small business men and
independent farmers, who are often employers, and their friendship to
employees will necessarily have to be subordinated whenever the two
interests come into conflict.

Mr. Berger and the Wisconsin Social-Democrats on the other hand
represent primarily the workingmen of the cities, especially those who
are so fortunate as to be members of labor unions. The "Social
Democrats" appeal, however, for the votes of the farmers, of "the small
business man," and of "the large business men who are decent employers";
they announce that the rights of corporations will be protected under
their administrations, declare that they who "take the risks of
business" are entitled "to a fair return"; and have convinced many that
they are not for the present anti-capitalistic in their policy, though
they have not as yet succeeded in getting very much capitalistic
support.

For many years, indeed, the struggle between employers and unions has
been less acute in Milwaukee than in many other large cities, while
wages and conditions are on the whole no better. The Milwaukee
Socialists have repeatedly called the attention of employers to this
relative industrial peace and have attributed it to their influence,
much to the disgust of the more militant Socialists, who claim that
strikes are the only indication of a fighting spirit on the part of the
workers. Mr. Berger, for example, has explained "the rare occurrence of
strikes in Milwaukee" as being due largely to the Social-Democrats of
that city who, he says, "have opposed almost every strike that has been
declared here."[154]

Certainly the attitude of the Socialists towards the employers in one of
the largest industries, brewing, has on the whole been exceptionally
friendly, as evidenced among other things by the Socialists' appointment
of one of a leading brewery manager (who was not even a Socialist) as
debt commissioner of the city, and their active campaign for the brewing
interests, including a denunciation of county option, though this
measure has already been indorsed by both of the capitalistic parties
even in the liquor-producing State of Kentucky, as well as elsewhere,
and is favored by very many Socialists, not as a means of advancing
prohibition, but as the fairest present way of settling the controversy.

But even relative peace between capital and labor is not lasting in our
present society and it will scarcely last in Milwaukee. Already there
are signs of what is likely to happen, and the business-men admirers of
Milwaukee Socialism are beginning to drop away. A few more strikes, and
Berger and his associates may be forced to abandon completely their
claim that it is to the interest of employers, with some exceptions, to
elect Socialists to office.

The situation after a recent strike in Milwaukee is thus summed up by
the _New York Volkszeitung_, a great admirer, on the whole, of the
Milwaukee movement:--


     "The new measures which are taken for the betterment of the city
     transportation system, for the preparation of better residence
     conditions and parks for the poorer classes of the people," says
     the _Volkszeitung_, "did not much disturb Milwaukee's 'Best
     Society.' Rather the opposite. For all these things did not at the
     bottom harm their interests, but were, on the contrary, quite to
     their taste, in so far as they rather increased than injured the
     pleasure of their own lives.

     "But at last what had to happen, did happen. The moment a great
     conflict between capital and labor broke out in the great community
     of Milwaukee, the caliber of the city administration was bound to
     show itself....

     "The prohibition which Mayor Seidel issued to the police, not to
     interfere for either side, his grounds and those of the city
     council's presiding officer, Comrade Melms, their instructions to
     the striking 'garment workers' how they should conduct the strike
     in order to win a victory, the admonition that they might safely
     call a scab a scab without official interference--all this is of
     decisive importance, not only for its momentary effect on the
     Milwaukee strike, but especially for the Socialist propaganda, for
     the demonstration of the tremendous advantage the working people
     can get even at the present moment by the election of Socialist
     candidates....

     "And now it is all over with the half well-disposed attitude that
     had been assumed towards our comrades in the city administration.
     With burning words the capitalistic and commercial authorities
     protest against these official expressions, as being likely to
     disturb 'law and order' and as having the object of stirring up the
     class struggle and of undermining respect for the law.

     "That came about which must come about, if our Milwaukee comrades
     did their duty. And they have done it, at the right moment, and
     without hesitation. And this must never be forgotten. But the real
     battle between them and their capitalist opponent _begins now for
     the first time_."


Here is the keynote of the situation. Only as more and more serious
strikes occur will the Milwaukee movement be forced to emphasize its
labor unionism rather than its reforms. It will then, in all
probability, be forced to take up an aggressive labor-union attitude
like that of the non-Socialist Labor Party in San Francisco. One action
at least of Mayor McCarthy in the latter city was decidedly more
threatening to the local employing interests than any taken in
Milwaukee, which after all had met the approval of one of the
capitalistic papers (_i.e._ the _Free Press_). The Bulletin of the
United Garment Workers, though grateful for the attitude of the mayor in
their Milwaukee strike, uses language just as laudatory concerning this
action of the anti-Socialist Labor mayor of San Francisco.[155]

The "reformist" Socialists lay much stress upon their loyalty to
existing labor unions. Some even favor the creation of a non-Socialist
Labor Party, more or less like those of San Francisco or Australia or
Great Britain. Indeed, the reformists have often acknowledged their
close kinship with the semi-Socialist wing of the British Labour Party,
and this relationship is recognized by the latter. All Socialists will
agree that even the reformists, as a rule, represent the interests of
the labor-union movement better than other parties; but the Socialist
Party is vastly more than a mere reformist trade-union party, and most
Socialists feel that to reduce it to this rôle would be to deprive it of
the larger part of its power even to help the unions.

In the statement of Mr. Debs already quoted in part in this chapter, he
also expresses the opposition of the Socialist majority to converting
the organization into a mere trade-union Party:--


     "There is a disposition on the part of some to join hands with
     reactionary trade unionists in local emergencies and in certain
     temporary situations to effect some specific purpose, which may or
     may not be in harmony with our revolutionary program. No possible
     good can come of any kind of a political alliance, expressed or
     implied, with trade unions or the leaders of trade unions who are
     opposed to Socialism and only turn to it for use in some extremity,
     the fruit of their own reactionary policy.

     "Of course we want the support of trade unionists, but only of
     those who believe in Socialism and are ready to vote and work with
     us for the overthrow of capitalism."


It would seem from the expressions of Milwaukee Socialists that they, in
direct opposition to the policy of Mr. Debs, are working by opportunist
methods towards a trade union party, and that form of collectivism
advocated by the Labor Parties of Great Britain and Australia. But they
have been in power now in Milwaukee for nearly two years and have had a
strong contingent in the Wisconsin legislature, while their
representative in Congress has had time to define his attitude in a
series of bills and resolutions. We are in a position, then, to judge
their policy not by their words alone, but also by their acts.

Let us first examine their municipal policy. This assumes special
importance since the installation of Socialist officials in Berkeley
(California), Butte (Montana), Flint (Michigan), several smaller towns
in Kansas, Illinois, and other States, as a result of the elections of
April, 1911. To these victories have recently been added others (in
November, 1911) in Schenectady (New York), Lima and Lorain (Ohio),
Newcastle (Pennsylvania), besides very large votes or the election of
minor officials in many places in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts,
Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Kansas, Illinois,
Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Oregon, Washington, Utah, California,
and other States.

While the officials elected received in nearly every case only a
plurality (this is true also of most of those elected in Milwaukee), and
local or temporary issues existed in many instances, which caused the
Socialist Party to be used largely for purposes of protest, a part of
the vote was undoubtedly cast for a type of municipal reform somewhat
more radical than other parties have, as a rule, been ready to offer in
this country; up to the present time, at least, a considerable part of
the vote is undoubtedly to be accredited to convinced Socialists.

Milwaukee being as yet the only important example of an important
American municipality that has rested in Socialist hands for any
considerable period, I shall confine myself largely to the discussion of
the movement in that city. Some of those already in office in other
places have, moreover, taken the Milwaukee policy as their model and
announced their intention to follow it. Mayor Seidel's statement after a
year in office, and the explanations of the Rev. Carl Thompson (the city
clerk) made about the same time, cover the essential points for the
present discussion.

Both the statement of the mayor and that of the city clerk are concerned
with matters that interest primarily the business man and taxpayer. Mr.
Thompson disclaims that there is anything essentially new even in the
Socialists' plans, to say nothing of their performances. He says of the
most discussed municipal projects under consideration by the Socialist
administration that all were advocated either by former administrations,
by one or both of the older parties or by some of their leading members.
He mentions the proposed river park, railway terminal station, and
electric lighting plans, as well as home rule for Milwaukee, as being
all strictly conservative projects (as they are). Other plans mentioned
by Mayor Seidel--harbor improvements, playgrounds, a sterilization
plant, and isolation hospital--are approved, if not by the conservatives
of Milwaukee, at least by those of many other cities. Some minor and
less expensive proposals, a child welfare commission, a board of
recreation, and municipal dances are somewhat more novel. These are all
the social reforms mentioned by the mayor, as planned or accomplished,
with the exception of those that have to do primarily with efficiency or
economy in municipal administration, such as improvement in street
cleaning, sanitary inspection and inspection of weights and measures,
which all conservative reform administration seek to bring about; many
cities, especially abroad, having been eminently successful in this
direction.

To secure the political support of taxpayers and business men, further
evidence was required to show that the administration is neither doing
nor likely to do anything unprecedented. They want a safe and sane
business policy, and assurances that new sources of income will, if
possible, be secured and applied to the reduction of taxation; or that,
in case taxes are raised, municipal reforms will so improve business and
rental values, as to bring into their pockets more than the increased
taxation has cost them.

Mayor Seidel and City Clerk Thompson presented entirely satisfactory
evidences on all these points. Business methods have been introduced, a
"complete inventory" of the property of the city is being made, "blanket
appropriations" are done away with, "a new system of voucher bills has
been installed," all the departments are being brought on "a uniform
accounting basis." Finally, taxable property is being listed that was
formerly overlooked, and the city is more careful in settling financial
claims against it. Mayor Seidel and City Clerk Thompson both promise
that taxes will not be increased; the former points to the new resources
from property that had escaped taxation and to the future rise in value
of land the city intends to purchase, the latter refers to
"revenue-producing enterprises which will relieve the burden of taxation
rather than increase it." Neither goes so far as to suggest any plan,
like the present law of Great Britain, introduced by a capitalist
government, according to which not only are the taxes of the wealthy
raised, but one fifth of the future increase of value of city lands, as
being due to the community, accrues to the public treasury. It is true
that such measures would have to be approved by the State of Wisconsin,
but this would not prevent them being made the one prominent issue in
the city campaign, and insistently demanded until they are obtained. The
mayor's attitude on this tax question, which underlies all others, far
from being Socialistic, is not even radical.


     The tendency seems to have been widespread in the municipal
     campaigns undertaken by the Socialists in the fall of 1911, to
     abandon even radical, though capitalistic, municipal reformers'
     policy of raising new taxes to pay for reforms that bring modest
     benefits to the workers, but chiefly raise realty values and
     promote the interests of "business," and to substitute for this the
     conservative policy of reducing taxes. Thus the _Bridgeport
     Socialist_ advised the voters:--

     "Municipal ownership means cheaper water, cheaper light, cheaper
     gas, cheaper electricity, and a steady revenue into the city
     treasury _which would reduce taxes_." (Italics mine.)[156]

     One might infer that the masses of Bridgeport were already
     sufficiently supplied with schools, parks, and all the free
     services a municipality can give.

     Of course it is true that a considerable part of the wage earners
     in our small cities own their own homes (subject often to heavy
     mortgages) and, _other things remaining as they are_, would like to
     have taxes reduced. But two facts are indisputable: the average
     taxes paid by the wage earners are insignificant compared with
     those of the wealthier classes, and the wage earner gets, at first
     at least, an equal share in the benefits of most municipal
     expenditures. The Socialists know that most of the economic
     benefits are later absorbed by increasing rents; and that
     capitalist judges and State governments will see to it that only
     such expenditures are allowed as have this result, or such as have
     the effect, through improving efficiency, of increasing profits
     faster than wages. Socialists recognize, however, that at least
     municipal collectivism is in the line of capitalist progress, with
     some incidental benefits to labor, while the policy of decreasing
     taxes on the unearned increment of land is nothing less than
     reaction.

     The only popular ground on which such a policy could be defended is
     the fallacy that landlords transmit to tenants the fluctuations in
     taxes, in the form of increased or diminished rents. Even if this
     were true, the tenants would be as likely as not to profit by
     enlarged municipal expenditures (_i.e._ in spite of paying for a
     _minor_ part of their cost). But in the large cities, as a matter
     of fact, 90 per cent of the wage earners, who are tenants, and not
     home owners, do not feel these fluctuations at all. Increased land
     taxes do not as a rule cause an increase in average rents.
     Increased land taxes force unimproved land upon the market, and
     compel its improvement, to escape loss in holding it unimproved and
     idle. The resulting increased competition for tenants operates on
     the average to _reduce_ rents, not to increase them. The taxes are
     paid at the cost of _reduced profits_ for the landlord--until
     population begins to increase more rapidly than taxes. The
     capitalist leaders perceive the truth as regards this plainly
     enough. Thus, in their anxiety to get both landlord and capitalist
     support in the last municipal campaign in New York City, various
     allied real estate interests claimed credit for their work in
     keeping taxes down. Commenting upon the subject, the _New York
     Times_ said: "Rents do not rise with taxes. If they did, the owner
     would merely need to pass the taxes along to the renter and be rid
     of the subject."[157] The next day Mayor Gaynor in a letter to the
     _Times_ quoted a message he had sent to the city council in the
     previous year in which he had said: "Every landlord knows that he
     cannot add the taxes to rents. If he could, he would not care how
     high taxes grew. He would simply throw them on his tenants."

     It is difficult, therefore, to see why the tenants of New York City
     or Bridgeport should favor lower taxes, so long as they and their
     children are in need of further public advantages that increased
     taxes would enable the municipalities to supply. To favor reduced
     taxes, while private ownership of land prevails, is not Socialism,
     or even progressive capitalism. It is, as I have said, _reaction_.


The _New York Volkszeitung_ expresses in a few words the correct
Socialist attitude on municipal expenditures. After showing the need of
more money for schools, hygienic measures, etc., it concludes:--


     "These increased expenditures of municipalities are thus absolutely
     necessary if a Socialist city government is to fulfill its tasks.
     Since the municipal expenditures must be raised through taxation,
     it is evident that a good Socialist city government must raise the
     taxes if it is up to the level of its duties. Provided that--as
     just remarked--the raising of the taxes is so managed that the
     possessing classes are hit by it and not the poor and the
     workingmen.

     "Most of the Socialist municipal administrations have been
     shattered hitherto by the tax question; that has been especially
     evident in France, where the Socialists lost the towns captured by
     them because their administration appeared to be more costly than
     those of their capitalist predecessors. That has happened
     especially wherever the small capitalist element played a rôle in
     the Socialist movement.

     "We shall undoubtedly have this experience in America, also, if we
     do not make it clear to the masses of workingmen that good city
     government for them means a more expensive city government, and
     that they are interested in this increase of the cost of the city
     administration."[158]


If the Socialists promise much and perform comparatively little, they
have as a valid reason the fact that the city does not have the
authority. But opponents can also say, as does the Milwaukee _Journal_,
that "the administration would not dare to carry out its promises to
engage in municipal Socialism if it had the authority." For while
municipal "Socialism" or public ownership is perfectly good capitalism,
it is not always good politics in a community where the small taxpayers
dominate.

While the plans for municipal wood and coal yards and plumbing shops
were doubtless abandoned in Milwaukee by reason of legal limitations,
and not merely to please the small traders, as some have contended, no
Socialist reason can be given for the practical abandonment years ago of
the proposed plan for municipal ownership of street railways. If the
charter prohibited such an important measure as this, all efforts should
have been concentrated on changing the charter. Socialists do not
usually allow their world-wide policy, or even their present demands to
be shaped by a city charter.

If Mr. Berger had announced earlier and more clearly, and if he had
repeated with sufficient frequency, his recent declaration that
_Milwaukee is administered by Socialists but does not have a Socialist
administration_, he would have avoided a world of misunderstanding. In
fact, if he had enunciated this principle with sufficient emphasis
before the municipal election of 1910, it is highly probable that the
Socialists would not yet have won the city, and would never have felt
obligated to claim, as they often do now, that Socialists, who must
direct part of their energies towards future results, are more efficient
as practical reformers than non-Socialists, who are ready to sacrifice
every ultimate principle, if they have any, for immediate achievements.

The whole question between reformists and revolutionaries refers not so
much to the policy of Socialists in control of municipalities, which is
often beyond criticism, as to the value of municipal activity generally
for Socialist purposes. None deny that it has value, but reformists and
revolutionaries ascribe to it different rôles.

There are two reasons why Socialism _cannot_ yet be applied on a
municipal scale--one economic and one political. I do not refer here, of
course, to municipal ownership, often called "municipal Socialism," a
typical manifestation of "State Socialism," but to a policy that
attempts to make use of the municipality against the capitalist class.

Such a policy is economically impossible to-day because it would
gradually drive capital to other cities and so indirectly injure the
whole population including the non-capitalists. Indeed, Mayor Seidel
especially denies that he will allow any "hardship on capital," and City
Clerk Thompson gives nearly a newspaper column of statistics to show
that "the business of Milwaukee has continued to expand" since the
Socialists came into power, remarking that "there have been no serious
strikes or labor troubles in Milwaukee for years"--surely a condition
which employers will appreciate. Nothing could prove more finally than
such statements, how municipal governments at present feel bound to
serve the business interests.

The political limitations of the situation are similar. Prof. Anton
Menger says of Socialism as applied to municipalities, that "it is
necessarily deferred to the time when the Socialist party will be strong
enough to take into its hands the political power in the whole state or
the larger part of it." It is obviously impossible to force the hands of
an intelligent ruling majority merely by capturing one branch or one
local division of the government. As such branches are captured they
will be prevented from doing anything of importance, or forced to act
only within the limits fixed by the ruling class.

This is especially true in the United States. We have elaborate forms
and external symbols of local self-government, and it may really
exist--as long as the municipalities are used for capitalistic purposes.
When it is proposed to use local self-government for Socialist ends,
however, it instantly disappears. Not only do the States interfere, with
the national government ready behind them, but the centralized
judiciary, state and national, is always at hand to intervene. _This is
potential centralization, and for the purposes of preventing radical or
Socialist measures the government of the United States is as centralized
as that of any civilized nation on earth._

Moreover, the semblance of local power given by municipal victories
brings a second difficulty to the Socialists--it means the election of
administrators and judges. Now even under the system of potential
centralization through the courts, _legislators_ are useful, for they
cannot be forced to serve capitalism. But government must be carried on
and mayors and judges are practically under the control of higher
authorities--in the new commission plan of government, they even do the
legislating. In the words of the _New York Daily Call_:--


     "The Socialist Legislator finds his task a comparatively easy and
     simple one. He proposes or supports every measure of advantage to
     the working class in particular and to the great majority of the
     people in general, barring such as are of a reactionary character.
     But the Socialist executive and the Socialist judge find themselves
     in no such simple situation. Their activities are circumscribed by
     superior and hostile powers, and by written constitutions adopted
     at the dictation of the capitalist class. How to harmonize their
     activities with the just demands of the working class for the
     immediate betterment of its conditions, as well as with the
     Socialist program which has for its goal the ultimate overthrow of
     the capitalist social order, and yet not come into such conflict
     with the superior and hostile powers as would result in their own
     removal from office--this question is bound to assume a gravity not
     yet perhaps dreamed of by the majority of American Socialists.

     "And yet even now, while our political power is still small, the
     charge of opportunism, or the neglect of principle in pursuit of
     some practical advantage, is continually being raised, sometimes
     justly, sometimes unjustly."


The following from the _New York Evening Post_, illustrates both the
political and the economic difficulty of enacting Socialistic or even
radical measures in municipalities. It is taken from a special article
on the situation in Schenectady, where a Socialist, Dr. George R. Lunn
had just been elected mayor:--


     "Schenectady is trying hard to take its dose of Socialism
     philosophically. Its most staid and respectable citizens, who have
     been staid and respectable Republicans and Democrats all their
     life, console themselves with the thought that, after all, Old Dorp
     is Old Dorp--Old Dorp being the affectionate way of referring to
     Schenectady--and that her best citizens are still her best
     citizens, and that Rev. George R. Lunn and all his Socialist crew
     can't do a great amount of harm in two years to a city that
     possesses such an ironclad charter as that with which Horace White,
     when he was a Senator, endowed every city of the second class in
     the Empire State. The conservative element in town back that
     charter against all the reforms that the minister who is to be
     mayor and his following of machinists, plumbers, coachmen, and
     armature winders from the General Electric Works, who are going to
     be common councillors and other things, can hope to introduce....

     "The General Electric works--as everybody agrees--'made'
     Schenectady. Census figures show it and statistics of one sort or
     another show it. The concern employs more than 16,000 men and
     women--as many persons as there are voters in the whole town. It
     owns 275 acres of land, and of this about 60 acres are occupied
     with shops and buildings. Its capital stock is valued at
     $80,000,000. The General Electric, or as it is called up here, the
     'G. E.,' has given work to thousands, has brought a lot of business
     into town, has made real estate in hitherto deserted districts
     valuable. On the tax assessors' books its property is assessed at
     $4,500,000. It is safe to say that this is less than 25 per cent of
     its true value.

     "If Dr. Lunn should attempt to meddle with the 'G. E.'s'
     assessment, Schenectady knows very well what would happen. The
     General Electric Company would pack up and move away to some other
     town that is pining for a nice big factory and does not care much
     how small taxes it pays. That is the situation. Of course everybody
     agrees that the company ought to be paying more, but when it comes
     to a question of leaving well enough alone or losing the company
     entirely, Schenectady says leave well enough alone, by all means.
     The loss of the 'G. E.' works would be a disaster, from which the
     Old Dorp would never recover. Why, even now the company has just
     opened a brand new plant in Erie, Philadelphia, and if Schenectady
     does not behave, what is to prevent the 'G. E.' from moving all its
     belongings to Erie?

     "Dr. Lunn has not had much to say regarding this phase of his
     taxation reforms. The day after his election he issued a statement,
     however, which showed that he did not intend to do anything
     extremely radical:--

     "'In the matter of taxation we have had something to say during the
     campaign, but we Socialists are too good economists not to know
     that the burdening of our local industries in the way of taxation
     above that placed upon them in other cities would be foolhardy.
     Under the present system, to which we are opposed, manufacturing
     concerns have their rights, and any special burden placed upon them
     by one community above that which is placed upon them in other
     communities would inevitably and of necessity, from the standpoint
     of economics, hinder their progress. We are not in favor of
     hindering their progress. We stand for the greatest progress along
     every line. We will not only encourage industries in every way
     consistent with our principles, but will endeavor to bring new
     industries to Schenectady, and furthermore, we will succeed in
     doing it.'"[159]


The newly elected mayor is quoted by _Collier's Weekly_, as saying: "We
are only trying to conduct the city's business in the same honest way
we should run our own business." _Collier's_ says that the Socialists
generally "make their impression by mere business honesty and
efficiency," distinguishes this from what it calls the "harmful kind of
Socialism," and concludes that, "watching the actual performances of
those who choose to call themselves Socialists, we are thus far unable
to be filled with terror."[160]

Nearly all the comment at the time of the Socialist municipal victories
in the fall of 1911 pointed out, in similar terms, the contrast between
the very restricted opportunities they offer for the revolutionary
program of Socialism. The editorial in the _Saturday Evening Post_ is
typical:--


     "Theoretically Socialism is the most ambitious of political
     programs, involving nothing short of a whole-nation-wide or
     world-wide revolution; but, except a solitary Congressman and
     seventeen members of State legislatures, Socialists so far have
     been elected only to local offices, and those usually of an
     _administrative_ rather than legislative nature--elected, that is,
     not to bring in a brand-new, all-embracing revolutionary program,
     but to work the lumbering old bourgeois machine in a little
     honester, more intelligent, kindlier manner perhaps than some
     Republican or Democrat would work it.

     "Designing a new world is more fascinating than scrubbing off some
     small particular dirt spot on the old one--but less practical." (My
     italics.)[161]


Even where _revolutionary_ Socialists carry a municipality, as they did
recently in Newcastle, Pennsylvania, the benefit to the labor movement
is probably only temporary. There the Socialist administration dismissed
the whole police force and filled their places with Socialists. The
result will undoubtedly be that the State will either make the police
irremovable, except by some complicated process, or will still further
extend the functions of the State constabulary in times of strike. The
moral effect of the victory in Newcastle, like that in Schenectady,
after the bitter labor struggles of recent years, cannot be questioned,
and this, together with temporary relief from petty persecution by local
authorities, is doubtless worth all the efforts that have been put
forth--provided the Socialists have not promised themselves and their
supporters any larger or more lasting results.

It is in view of difficulties such as these, which exist to some degree
in all countries, that in proportion as Socialists gain experience in
municipal action, they subordinate it to other forms of activity. Only
such "reformists" as are ready to abandon the last vestiges of their
Socialism persist in emphasizing a form of action that has a constant
tendency to compel all those involved to give more and more of their
time and energy to serving capitalism. Among the first Socialist
municipalities were those of Lille and Roubaix in France--which fell a
number of years ago into the hands of Guesdists, the revolutionary or
orthodox wing of the party. Rappoport reports their present position on
this question as presented at the recent Congress at St. Quentin, 1911.

"Among the Guesdists there are no municipal theorists but a great many
practical municipal men, former or present mayors: Delory (Lille), Paul
Constans (Montucon), Compère-Morel, Hubert (Nîmes), only to mention
those present at the Congress. _Through experience they have learned
that what is called municipal Socialism, is good local government, but
in no sense Socialism._ Free meals for school children, weekly subsidies
for child-bearing women, etc., are useful to the working people; this is
not Socialism, but 'collective philanthropy' according to Compère-Morel.
Reforms are good, but the main thing is Socialism. The Guesdists are no
adherents of the doctrine, 'all or nothing,' but they are also no
admirers of the new doctrine of municipal Socialism."

There can be little doubt that a few years of experience in this country
will persuade those American Socialists who are now concentrating so
much of their attention on municipalities, to give more of their
energies to State legislatures and to Congress. The present efforts will
not be lost, as they can be easily turned into a new direction. And
whatever political reaction may seem to take place, after certain
illusions have been shattered, will be a seeming reaction only, and due
to the desertion from the ranks of the supporters of the Socialist
ticket of municipal reformers who never pretended to be Socialists, but
who voted for that Party merely because no equally reliable
non-Socialist reformers were in the field, or had so good a chance of
election. Such separation of the sheep from the goats will be specially
rapid when some variation of the so-called commission form of government
will have been gradually introduced, particularly where it is
accompanied by direct legislation and the recall. For then municipal
Socialists will be deprived of all opportunity of claiming this, that,
and the other reform as having some peculiar relation to Socialism. And
this day is near at hand.

All municipal reforms that interest property owners and non-property
owners alike will then be enacted with comparative ease and rapidity,
while all political parties, and all prolonged political struggles, will
center around the conflict between employers and employees. State and
national governments will see to it that no municipality in the hands of
the working class is allowed to retain any power that it could use to
injure or weaken capitalism. And this specific limitation of the powers
of municipalities that escape local capitalist control, will be so
frequent and open that all the world will see that Socialists are going
to achieve comparatively little by "capturing" local offices.

I have already mentioned in a general way the position of the Milwaukee
Socialists in the Wisconsin legislature. Let me return now to their
representative in Congress. Mr. Berger had differentiated himself from
previous trade union Congressmen largely by proposing a series of
radical _political_ reforms: the abolition of the Senate, of the
President's veto, and of the power of the Supreme Court over the
legislation of Congress, and a call for a national constitutional
convention. Radical as they are, it is probable that these reforms are
only a foreshadowing of the position rapidly being assumed by a large
part of the collectivist but anti-Socialist "insurgents," and
"progressives." Even Mr. Roosevelt and Justice Harlan, it will be
recalled, protest in the strongest terms against the power of the
Supreme Court over legislation, and the Wisconsin legislature, by no
means under Socialist control, has initiated a call for a national
constitutional convention.

In proposing his "old-age pension" bill, Mr. Berger appended a clause
which asserted that the measure should not be subject to the
interpretation of the Supreme Court, and showed that Congress had added
a similar clause to its Reconstruction Act in 1868 and that it had later
been recognized by the Supreme Court. Later the _Outlook_ suggested that
this was a remedy less radical than the widely popular recall of judges,
and remarked that it would only be to follow the constitution of most
other countries.[162] Also Senator Owen, on the same day on which Mr.
Berger introduced his bill, spoke for the recall of federal judges on
the floor of the United States Senate. It is impossible, then, to make
any important distinction between Mr. Berger's proposed _political_
reforms, sweeping as they are, and those of other radicals of the day.

The attitude of many of the "Insurgents" and "Progressives" of the
West, is also about all that mere trade unionists could ask for. A large
majority of this element in both parties favors the repeal of the
Sherman law as applied to labor union boycotts, and Senator La Follette
and others stand even for the right of government employees to organize
labor unions. The adoption of the recall of judges, owing largely to
non-Socialist efforts in Oregon, California, and Arizona, will make
anti-union injunctions in strikes and boycotts improbable in the courts
of those States, and the widely accepted proposal for the direct
election of the federal judiciary would have a similar effect in the
federal courts. It may be many years before these measures become
general or effective, but there can be no question that they are
demanded by a large, sincere, and well-organized body of opinion outside
of the Socialist Party. The Wisconsin legislature and most other
progressive bodies have so far failed to limit injunctions. But this has
been done in the constitution of Oklahoma, and I have suggested reasons
for believing that this prohibition may soon be favored by
"Progressives" generally.

In the first Socialist speech ever made in Congress, Mr. Berger laid
bare his economic philosophy and program. The subject was the reduction
of the tariff on wool and its manufactures, and Mr. Berger defined his
position on the tariff as well as still larger issues. He declared
himself practically a free trader, though of course he did not consider
free trade as a panacea, and his speech, according to the Socialist as
well as other reports, was received with a storm of
applause--especially, of course, from free-trade Democrats.

He pointed out that the manufacturer, having thoroughly mastered the
home market, had found that tariff wars were shutting him out from the
foreign markets he now needs. He might have added, as evidenced by the
nature of the proposed reciprocity treaty with Canada, that many
manufacturers are more interested in cheap raw material and cheap food
for their workers (cheap food making low wages possible, as in
free-trade Great Britain) than they are in a high tariff, and this even
in some instances where they have a certain need for protection for the
finished product and where no great export trade is in view.

Mr. Berger forgot England when he said that the tariff falls on the poor
man's head, for England has shown that the abolition of the tariff does
not benefit the poor man in the slightest degree. Poverty is far more
widespread there than here. He pointed to the fact that the importation
of goods into the United States was restricted, while that of labor was
not. He forgot that where both are restricted, as in Australia, the
workers are no better off than here.

The arguments employed in Mr. Berger's speech, in so far as they
referred to the tariff, were for the most part not to be distinguished
from those used by the Democrats in behalf of important capitalistic
elements of the population, and hence the welcome with which they were
received by the Democratic Congress and press. The Socialist matter in
the speech relating only indirectly to the tariff was, of course, less
favorably commented upon.

Mr. Berger's second speech before Congress was also significant. It was
in support of governmental old-age pensions, a very radical departure
for the United States and difficult of enactment because of our federal
system--but already, as Mr. Berger said, in force in Great Britain,
France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
Since the legislatures in all these countries are controlled by
opponents of Socialism, it is evident that such measures have been
adopted from other than Socialist motives. In fact they have no
necessary relation to Socialism at all, but, on the contrary, have been
widely enacted for capitalistic reasons without regard to the demands or
power of the workers.

Mr. Berger is reported to have said a few days after this speech: "The
idea will in five years have been incorporated into law. Both of the old
parties within that time will have incorporated the theory into their
platforms. Both the old parties to-day are approaching Socialistic
ideas, and appropriating our ideas to save themselves from the coming
overthrow."[163] The idea of governmental old-age pensions, on the
contrary, has always been popular in certain anti-Socialist circles and
is entirely in accord with any intelligent system of purely capitalistic
collectivism. Its common adoption by progressive capitalists would seem
to indicate that they consider it as being either directly or indirectly
conducive to their own interests. It is unnecessary to assume that they
adopt it from fear of Socialism. Few if any capitalists consider the
overthrow of capitalism as imminent, or feel that Socialism is likely
for many years to furnish them with a really acute political problem. A
combination of Republicans and Democrats, for example, with a full vote,
would easily overwhelm Mr. Berger, the sole Socialist Congressman in
his own Congressional district. If present political successes continue,
it will still take years for Socialism to send a score of
representatives to Congress, and when it does do so, they will be as
impotent as ever to overthrow the capitalist order.

For any independent representative without political power or
responsibility to propose radical reforms in advance of the larger
parties is a very simple matter. Statesmen with actual power cannot
afford to take up such reforms until the time is _politically_ ripe for
their practical consideration. When such a measure is passed, for the
individual or group that first proposed it to claim the credit for the
change would be absurd. These reforms, when conditions have suitably
evolved, become the order of the day, and are urged by all or nearly all
the forces of the time. The radical British old-age pension bill, it
will be remembered, was passed almost unanimously, although in the
Parliament that passed it there were only about 40 Socialist or
semi-Socialist representatives out of a total of 670 members.

What, then, could be more fatuous than such a view as the following,
expressed recently by a well-known Socialist:--

"Do you not think that the whole country should be apprised that this
(Berger's Old-age Pension bill) is a Socialist measure, introduced by a
Socialist Representative, and backed by the Socialist Party--before the
Republicans and Democrats realize the advisability of stealing our
thunder. In England the working-class political movement is stagnant
because the Liberal Party has out-generaled the Socialists by
voluntarily enacting great social reforms."[164]

In his anxiety to prepare a bill that capitalist legislators would
indorse and pass in the near future, Mr. Berger aroused great criticism
within the Party. The _New York Volkszeitung_ pointed out that in
limiting the benefit of the law to those who had been naturalized
citizens of the United States for sixteen years, he was requiring a
residence of twenty-one years in this country, a provision which
involved an excessively heavy discrimination against a very large
proportion of our foreign-born workers. Mr. Berger's project, moreover,
demanded that those convicted of felonies should also be excluded.
Socialists, as is well known, have always asserted that the larger part
of crimes and criminals were due to injustices of the existing social
order, for which the "criminals" were in no sense to blame. Mr. Berger's
secretary, Mr. W. J. Ghent, vigorously defended this clause, on the
typical "State Socialist" ground that the future Society would deal
_more severely_ with criminals than the present one.

Mr. Berger's bill was objected to by New York Socialists on the ground
that the old parties could be expected to give a more liberal bill in
the near future, and that it would then be difficult to explain the
narrower Socialist position. Mr. Ghent answered that nowhere had such a
liberal measure been enacted. To this the _Volkszeitung_ remarked that
there is a tremendous difference between a bill that owes its origin to
a capitalist government and one that comes from a Socialist
representative of the working class: "The former sets up a minimum while
the latter must demand the maximum." Finally, the _New York Local_ of
the Socialist Party resolved: "That we request the National Executive
Committee to resolve that Comrade Berger shall, before introducing any
bill, submit it to secure its approval by the National Executive
Committee."

Mr. Berger's maiden speech also summed up excellently the general policy
of Socialist "reformism."

"When the white man is sick or when he dies," he said, "the employer
usually loses nothing." Mr. Berger does not understand that, in modern
countries, _employers as a class_ are seeing that the _laborers as a
class_ are, after all, their chief asset: and are therefore organizing
to care for them through governmental action, as working animals, even
more systematically and infinitely more scientifically than slaves were
ever cared for. He is exhausting his efforts to persuade, or perhaps he
would say to compel, the government to the very action that the
interests of its capitalist masters most strongly demand.

Curiously enough, Mr. Berger expressed the "reformist," the
revolutionary, and the State capitalist principle in this same speech,
without being in the least troubled with the contradictions. He spoke of
industrial crises, irregular employment and unemployment as if they were
permanent features of capitalism:--


     "These new inventions, machines, improvements, and labor devices,
     displace human labor and steadily increase the army of unemployed,
     who, starved and frantic, are ever ready to take the places of
     those who have work, thereby still further depressing the labor
     market."


The collectivist capitalists have already set themselves aggressively
to work to abolish unemployment, to make employment regular, to connect
the worker that needs a job with the job that needs a worker, and to put
an end to industrial crises, and with every promise of success.

Immediately afterward, Mr. Berger made a correct statement of the
Socialist position:--


     "The average of wages, the certainty of employment, the social
     privileges, and the independence of the wage-earning and
     agricultural population, _when compared with the increase of wealth
     and social production_, are steadily and rapidly decreasing."


The Socialist indictment is not that unemployment, irregularity of
employment, or any other social evil is increasing absolutely, or that
it is beyond the reach of capitalist reform; but that _the share of the
constantly increasing total of wealth and prosperity that goes to the
laborers is constantly growing less_.

A few minutes later in the same speech, Mr. Berger indorsed pure "State
Socialism." Legislation, he said, that does not tend to _an increased
measure of control on the part of society as a whole_ is not in line
with the trend of economic evolution and cannot last. This formulates
capitalistic collectivism with absolute distinctness. What it demands is
not a new order, but more order. What it opposes is not so much the rule
of capitalists, as the disorder of capitalism--which capitalists
themselves are effectively remedying. It is not only our present
government that is capitalistic but our present society, also. Increased
control over industry, over legislation and government, on the part of
the present society _as a whole_, would be but a step toward the
achievement of _State capitalism_. The purpose of Socialism is to
overcome and eliminate the power of capitalism whether in society or in
government, and not to establish it more firmly. Increased control by
society as a whole, far from being a Socialist principle, is not
necessarily even radical or progressive. In fact _the most far-seeing
conservatives_ to-day demand it, for "_control by society as a whole_"
means, for the present, _control by society_ as it is.

Finally, in reply to questions asked on the floor of Congress after this
same speech, Mr. Berger said: "Any interference by the government with
the rights of private property is Socialistic in tendency," that is,
that every step in collectivism is a step in Socialism. Yet this demand
for the restriction of the rights of private property by a conservative
government is the identical principle advocated by progressives who will
have nothing to do with Socialism. (See Part I, Chapter III.)

Mr. Berger and the large minority of Socialist Party members that vote
with him in Party Congresses and referendums may be said to represent a
combination of trade unionism of the conservative kind, and "State
Socialism," together with opportunistic methods more or less in
contradiction with the usual tactics of the international movement.
These methods and the indiscriminate support of conservative unionism
have been repeatedly rejected by the Socialists in this country. But
very many Socialists who repudiate all compromise and will have nothing
of Australian or British Labor Party tactics in the United States are in
entire accord with Mr. Berger on "State Socialist" reform. It is thus a
modified form of "State Socialism" and not Laborism that now confronts
the organization and creates its greatest problem.

Mr. Charles Edward Russell, for example, says that "we are not striving
for ourselves alone, but for our children," that "our aim is not merely
for one country, but for all the world," that "we stand here immutably
resolved against the whole of capitalism."[165] And Mr. Russell will
hear nothing either of compromise or of a Labor Party. But when we come
to examine the only question of practical moment, how his ideal is to be
applied, we are astounded to read that, "every time a government
acquires a railroad, it practices Socialism."[166]

Mr. Russell points out that "almost all the railroads in the world,
outside of the United States, are now owned by government," yet in his
latest book, "Business," he refers to Prussia, Japan, Mexico [under
Diaz], and other countries as having boldly purchased railways and coal
mines when they desired them _for the common good_.[167] Mr. Russell
here seems to overlook the fact that the history of Russia, Japan,
Mexico, and Prussia has shown that there is an intermediate stage
between our status and government "for the Common Good," a stage during
which the capitalist class, having gained a more firm control over
government than ever, intrusts it (with the opposition of but a few of
the largest capitalists) with some of the most important business
functions.

Yet Mr. Russell himself admits, by implication, that government by
Business "properly informed and broadly enlightened" might continue for
a considerable period, and therefore directs his shafts largely against
Business Government "as at present conducted," and he realizes fully
that the most needed _reforms_, even when they directly benefit the
workingmen, are equally or still more to the benefit of Business:--


     "In the first place, if the masses of people become too much
     impoverished, the national stamina is destroyed, which would be
     exceedingly bad for Business in case Business should plunge us into
     war. In the second place, since poverty produces a steady decline
     in physical and mental capacity, if it goes too far, there is a
     lack of hands to do the work of Business and a lack of healthy
     stomachs to consume some of its most important products.

     "For these reasons, a Government for Profits, like ours, incurs
     certain deadly perils, _unless it be properly informed and broadly
     enlightened_.

     "Something of the truth of this has already been perceived by the
     astute gentlemen that steer the fortunes of the Standard Oil
     Company, a concern that in many respects may be considered the
     foremost present type of Business in Government. One of the rules
     of the Standard Oil Company is to pay good wages to its employees,
     and to see that they are comfortable and contented. As a result of
     this policy the Standard Oil Company is seldom bothered with
     strikes, and most of its workers have no connection with labor
     unions, do not listen to muck-rakers and other vile breeders of
     social discontent, and are quite satisfied with their little round
     of duties and their secure prospects in life....

     "Unless Business recognizes quite fully the wisdom of similar
     arrangements for its employees, Business Government (_as at present
     conducted_) will in the end fall of its own weight."[168] (My
     italics.)


Surely nobody has given more convincing arguments than Mr. Russell
himself why Business Government should go in for government ownership
and measures to increase the efficiency of labor. Surely no further
reasons should be needed to prove that when a government purchases a
railroad to-day, it does not practice Socialism. Yet the reverse is
sustained by a growing number of members of the Socialist Party (though
not by a growing proportion of the Party), which indicates that the
Socialism of Bebel, Liebknecht, Kautsky, Guesde, Lafargue, and the
International Socialist Congresses is at present by no means as firmly
rooted in this country as it is on the Continent of Europe.

FOOTNOTES:

[144] _Journal of Political Economy_, October, 1911.

[145] In her "American Socialism of the Present Day" (p. 252) Miss
Hughan _denies that there are many varieties of American Socialism_, and
says that the assertion that there are is justified only the many shades
of _tactical policy_ to be found in the Party, "founded usually on
corresponding gradations of emphasis upon the idea of catastrophe."

I do not contend that there are _many_ varieties of Socialism within the
Party either here or in other countries, but I have pointed out that
there are _several_ and that _their differences are profound, if not
irreconcilable_. It is precisely because they are founded on differences
in tactics, _i.e. on real instead of theoretical_ grounds that they are
of such importance, for as long as present conditions continue, they are
likely to lead farther and farther apart, while new conditions may only
serve to bring new differences.

[146] Eugene V. Debs in the _International Socialist Review_ (Chicago),
Jan. 1, 1911.

[147] The _Social-Democratic Herald_ (Milwaukee), Oct. 12, 1901.

[148] The _Social-Democratic Herald_, Feb. 22, 1902.

[149] The _Social-Democratic Herald_, May 28, 1904.

[150] _Press Despatch_, Aug. 26, 1911.

[151] _New York Journal_, April 22, 1910.

[152] _Social-Democratic Herald_, Vol. XII, No. 12.

[153] _Social-Democratic Herald_, Vol. XII, No. 12.

[154] _Social-Democratic Herald_, Vol. XII, March 24, 1906.

[155] The following account is taken from the Garment Workers'
Bulletin:--

"Recently the hod carriers in San Francisco presented a petition to
their employers for increased pay and pressed for its consideration.
This gave the members of the National Association of Manufacturers the
opportunity they longed for to open war in San Francisco, and they
promptly availed themselves of it. The petition was refused, of course,
and two large lime manufacturers in the city took a hand. The
contractors resolved on heroic measures, and work was stopped on some
sixty buildings to 'bring labor to its senses.' Then Mayor McCarthy came
into the controversy. He called his board of public workers together and
remarked: 'I see all the contractors are tying up work because of the
hod carriers' request. Better notify these fellows to at once clear all
streets of building material before these structures and to move away
those elevated walks and everything else from the streets.' The board so
ordered. Then Mr. McCarthy said: 'Notice that those lime fellows are
taking quite an interest in starting trouble. Guess we had better notify
them that their temporary permits for railroad spurs to their plants are
no longer in force.' And due notice went forth. The result was that the
trouble with the hod carriers was settled in a week, and the
contemplated industrial war in the city was indefinitely postponed...."

[156] The _Bridgeport Socialist_, Oct. 29, 1911.

[157] The _New York Times_, Oct. 20, 1911.

[158] _New Yorker Volkszeitung_, Dec. 9, 1911.

[159] _New York Evening Post_, Nov. 13, 1911.

[160] _Collier's Weekly_, Dec. 9, 1911.

[161] _Saturday Evening Post_, Nov. 18, 1911.

[162] The _Outlook_, Aug. 26, 1911.

[163] The _New York Call_, Aug. 14, 1911.

[164] W. R. Shier in the _New York Call_, Aug. 16, 1911.

[165] Speech at Carnegie Hall, New York, Oct. 15, 1910.

[166] _Hampton's Magazine_, January, 1911.

[167] "Business," p. 290.

[168] "Business," p. 114.



CHAPTER V

REFORM BY MENACE OF REVOLUTION


An American Socialist author expresses the opinion of many Socialists
when he says of the movement: "It strives by all efforts in its power to
increase its vote at the ballot box. It believes that by this increase
the attainment of its goal is brought ever nearer, and also that _the
menace of this increasing vote_ induces the capitalist class to grant
concessions in the hope of preventing further increases. _It criticizes
non-Socialist efforts at reform as comparatively barren of positive
benefit_ and as tending, on the whole, to insure the dominance of the
capitalist class and to continue the grave social evils now
prevalent."[169] (My italics.)

Because non-Socialist reforms tend to prolong the domination of the
capitalist class, which no Socialist doubts, it is asserted that they
are also comparatively barren of positive benefit. And if, from time to
time and in contradiction to this view, changes are bought about by
non-Socialist governments which undeniably do very much improve the
condition of the working people, it is reasoned that this was done by
the _menace_ either of a Socialist revolution or of a Socialist
electoral majority.

"A _Socialist_ reform must be in the nature of a working-class
conquest," says Mr. Hillquit in his "Socialism in Theory and
Practice"--expressing this very widespread Socialist opinion. He says
that reforms inaugurated by small farmers, manufacturers, or traders,
cause an "arrest of development or even a return to conditions of past
ages, while the reforms of the more educated classes if less reactionary
are not of a more efficient type."

"The task of developing and extending factory legislation falls entirely
on the organized workmen," according to this view, because the dominant
classes have no interest in developing it, while the evils of the slums
and of the employment of women and children in industry can be cured
only by Socialism. Such reforms as can be obtained in this direction,
though they are not considered by Mr. Hillquit "as the beginnings or
installments of a Socialist system," he holds are to be obtained only
with Socialist aid. In other words, while capitalism is not altogether
unable or unwilling to benefit the working people, it can do little, and
even this little is due to the presence of the Socialists.

Another example of the "reformist's" view may be seen in the editorials
of Mr. Berger, in the _Social-Democratic Herald_, of Milwaukee, where he
says that the Social-Democrats never fail to declare that with all the
social reforms, good and worthy of support as they may be, conditions
_cannot be permanently improved_. That is to say, present-day reforms
are not only of secondary importance, but that they are of merely
temporary effect.

"There is nothing more to hope from the property-holding classes."

"The bourgeois reformers are constantly getting less progressive and
allying themselves more and more with the reactionaries."

"It is impossible that the capitalists should accomplish any important
reform."

"With all social reform, short of Socialism itself, conditions cannot be
permanently improved."

These and many similar expressions are either quotations from well-known
Socialist authors or phrases in common use. Many French and German
Socialists have even called the whole "State Socialist" program
"social-demagogy." As none of the reforms proposed by the capitalists
are sufficient to balance the counteracting forces and to carry society
along their direction, Socialists sometimes mistakenly feel that
_nothing whatever of benefit_ can come to the workers from capitalist
government. As the capitalists' reforms all tend "to insure the
dominance of the capitalist class," it is denied that they can cure any
of the grave social evils now prevalent, and it is even asserted that
they are reactionary.

"For how many years have we been telling the workingman, especially the
trade unionist," wrote the late Benjamin Hanford, on two successive
occasions Socialist candidate for Vice President of the United States
"that it was folly for him to beg in the halls of a capitalist
legislature and a capitalist Congress? Did we mean what we said? I did,
for one.... I not only believed it--I proved it." Obviously there are
many political measures, just as _there are many improvements in
industry and industrial organization_, that may be beneficial to the
workers as well as the capitalists, but it is also clear that such
changes will in most instances be brought about by the capitalists
themselves. _On the other hand, even where they have a group of
independent legislators of their own_, however large a minority it may
form, the Socialists can expect no concessions of political or economic
power until social revolution is at hand.

The municipal platform adopted by the Socialist Party in New York City
in 1909 also appealed to workingmen not to be deluded into the belief
"that the capitalists will permit any measures of real benefit to the
working class to be carried into effect by the municipality so long as
they remain in undisputed control of the State and federal government
and especially of the judiciary." This statement is slightly inaccurate.
The capitalists will allow the enactment of measures that benefit the
working class, provided those measures do not involve loss to the
capitalist class. Thus sanitation and education are of real benefit to
the workers, but, temporarily at least, they benefit the capitalist
class still more, by rendering the workers more efficient as wealth
producers.

The Socialist platforms of the various countries all recognize, to use
the language of that of the United States, that all the reforms indorsed
by the Socialists "are but a preparation of the workers to seize the
_whole_ power of government, in order that they may thereby lay hold of
the _whole_ system of industry and thus come to their rightful
inheritance." (Italics are mine.) This might be interpreted to mean that
through such reforms the Socialists are gaining control over parts of
industry and government. Marx took the opposite view; "the first step in
the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the
position of ruling power...." He left open no possibility of saying that
the Socialists thought that without overthrowing capitalism they could
seize a _part_ of the powers of government (though they were already
electing legislative minorities and subordinate officials in his day).

Sometimes there are still more ambiguous expressions in Socialist
platforms which even make it possible for social reformers who have
joined the movement to confess publicly that they use it exclusively for
reform purposes, and still to claim that they are Socialists (see
Professor Clark's advice in the following chapter). For example,
instead of heading such proposals as the nationalization of the
railroads and "trusts" and the State appropriation of ground rent
"reforms indorsed by Socialists," they have called such reforms, perhaps
inadvertently, "_Immediate Demands_," and the American platform has
referred to them as measures of relief which "we may be able to _force_
from capitalism." There can be no doubt that Marx and his chief
followers, on the contrary, saw that such reforms would come from the
capitalists without the necessity of any Socialist force or
demand--though this pressure might hasten their coming (see Part I,
Chapter VIII). They are viewed by him and an increasing number of
Socialists not as _concessions to Socialism forced from the capitalists,
but as developments of capitalism desired by the more progressive
capitalists and Socialists alike, but especially by the Socialists_
owing to their desire that State capitalism shall develop as rapidly as
possible--as a preliminary to Socialism,--and to the fact that the
working people suffer more than the capitalists at any delay in the
establishment even of this transitional state.

The platform of the American Party just quoted classes such reforms as
government relief for the unemployed, government loans for public work,
and collective ownership of the railways and trusts, as measures it may
be able "to force from capitalism," as "a preparation of the workers to
seize the whole power of government." But if the capitalists do enact
such reforms as these, not on the independent grounds I have indicated,
but out of fear of Socialism, as is here predicted, why should not the
process of coercing capitalism continue indefinitely until gradually all
power is taken away from them? Why should there be any special need to
"seize" the whole power, if the capitalists can be coerced even now,
while the government is still largely theirs?

Some "reformists" do not hesitate to answer frankly that there is indeed
no ground for expecting any revolutionary crisis. Mr. John Spargo feels
that reforms "will prove in their totality to be the Revolution itself,"
and that if the Socialists keep in sight this whole body of reforms,
which he calls the Revolution, "as the objective of every Reform," this
will sufficiently distinguish them from non-Socialist reformers. Mr.
Morris Hillquit also speaks for many other influential Socialists when
he insists that the Socialists differ from other Parties chiefly in that
they alone "see the clear connection and necessary interdependence"
between the various social evils. That there is no ground for any such
assertion is shown by the fact that the social evils discussed in the
capitalist press, and all the remedies which have any practical chance
of enactment, as is now generally perceived, are due to extreme poverty,
the lack of order in industry, and the need of government regulations,
guided by a desire to promote "efficiency," and to perfect the
_capitalist_ system. Non-Socialist reformers have already made long
strides toward improving the worst forms of poverty, without taking the
slightest step towards social democracy. These reforms are being
introduced more and more rapidly and are not likely to be checked until
what we now know as poverty and its accompanying evils are practically
abolished _by the capitalist class while promoting their own comfort and
security_. This, for example, is, as I have shown, the outspoken purpose
of Mr. Lloyd George and his capitalistic supporters in England.
Similarly, it is the outspoken purpose of the promoters of the present
"efficiency" movement among the business men of America. However the
material conditions of the working classes may be bettered by such
means, their personal liberty and political power may be so much
curtailed in the process as to make further progress by their own
associated efforts more difficult under "State Socialism" than it is
to-day.

The State platform of the Socialist Party of New York in 1910, while
seemingly self-contradictory in certain of its phrases, makes the
sharpest distinctions between Socialism and "State Socialist" reform.
Its criticism of reform parties is on the whole so vigorous and its
insistence on class struggle tactics so strong as to make it clear that
there is no expectation of reaching Socialism through reforms granted,
from whatever motive, by a non-Socialist majority. I have italicized
some significant phrases:--


     "The two dominant political parties pretend to stand for all the
     people; the so-called reform parties claim to speak for the good
     people; the Socialist party frankly acknowledges that it is
     concerned chiefly with the working people....

     "The great fortunes of the wealthy come from the spoliation of the
     poor. Large profits for the manufacturers mean starvation wages for
     the workers; the princely revenues of the landlords are derived
     from excessive rents of the tenants, and the billions of watered
     stock and bonds crying for dividends and interest are a perpetual
     mortgage upon the work and lives of the people of all generations
     to come....

     "_No political party can honestly serve all the people of the
     state_--those who prey and those who toil; those who rob and those
     who are robbed. _The parties as well as the voters of this state
     must take their stand in the conflict of interests of the different
     classes of society_--they must choose between the workers and their
     despoilers.

     "The Republican and Democratic Parties alike always have been the
     tools of the dominating classes. They have been managed, supported,
     and financed by the money powers of the State, and in turn they
     have conducted the legislatures, courts, and executive offices of
     the State as accessories to the business interests of those
     classes.

     "These vices of our government are not accidental, but are deeply
     and firmly rooted in our industrial system. To maintain its
     supremacy in this conflict the dominating class _must_ strive to
     control our government and politics, and must influence and corrupt
     our public officials.

     "The two old parties _as well as the so-called reform parties of
     the middle classes_, which spring up in New York politics from time
     to time, all stand for the continuance of that system, hence they
     are bound to perpetuate and to aggravate its inevitable evils...."


The New York Party had immediately before it the example of Mr. Hearst,
who has gone as far as the radicals of the old parties in Wisconsin, or
Kansas, Oklahoma, California, or Oregon in verbally indorsing radical
reform measures, and also of Mr. Roosevelt, who occasionally has gone
almost as far. Day after day the Hearst papers had sent out to their
millions of readers editorials which contain every element of Socialism
except its essence, the class struggle. The New York Party, like many in
other Socialist organizations, found itself _compelled by circumstances
to take a revolutionary stand_.

For when opportunistic reformers opposed to the Socialist movement go as
far as the Hearst papers in indorsing "State Socialist" reforms, what
hope would there be for Socialists to gain the public ear if they went
scarcely farther, either as regards the practical measures they propose
or the phrases they employ? If the "reformist" Socialists answer that
their _ultimate aim_ is to go farther, may they not be asked what
difference this makes in present-day affairs? And if they answer that
certain reforms must be forced through by Socialist threats, political
or revolutionary, will they not be told, first that it can be shown that
the whole "State Socialistic" reform program, if costly to many
individual capitalists, promises to prove _ultimately profitable_ to
the capitalist class, and second, that it is being carried out where
there is no present menace either of a Socialist revolution or even of a
more or less Socialistic political majority.

But the position of the politically ambitious among so-called "orthodox"
Socialists (I do not refer to personal or individual, but only to
partisan ambition) is often very similar at the bottom to that of the
"reformists"; while the latter contend that capitalism can grant few if
any reforms of any great benefit to the working people _without
Socialist aid_, some of the orthodox lay equal weight on Socialist
agitation for these same reforms, on the ground that they cannot be
accomplished by collaborating with capitalist reformers at all, but
_solely through the Socialist Party_.

"The revolutionary Marxists," says the French Socialist, Rappaport,
"test the gifts of capitalistic reform through its motives. And they
discover that these motives are not crystal clear. The reformistic
patchwork is meant to prop up and make firmer the rotten capitalistic
building. They test capitalistic reforms, moreover, by the means which
are necessary for their accomplishment. These means are either
altogether lacking or insufficient, and in any case they flow in
overwhelming proportion out of the pockets of the exploited
classes."[170]

We need not agree with Rappaport that capitalistic reforms bring no
possible benefit to labor, or that the capitalistic building is rotten
and about to fall to pieces. May it not be that it is strong and getting
stronger? May it not be that the control over the whole building, far
from passing into Socialist hands, is removed farther and farther from
their reach, so that the promise of obtaining, not reforms of more or
less importance, but a fair and satisfactory _share_ of progress
_without conquering capitalism_ is growing less?

Thus many orthodox and revolutionary Socialists even, to say nothing of
"reformists," become mere political partisans, make almost instinctive
efforts to credit all political progress to the Socialist Parties,
contradict their own revolutionary principles. All reforms that happen
to be of any benefit to labor, they claim, are due to the pressure of
the working classes within Parliaments or outside of them; which amounts
to conceding that the Socialists are already sharing in the power of
government or industry, a proposition that the revolutionaries always
most strenuously deny. For if Socialists are practically sharing in
government and industry to-day, the orthodox and revolutionists will
have difficulty in meeting the argument of the "reformists" that it is
only necessary to continue the present pressure in order to obtain more
and more, without any serious conflicts, until all Socialism is
gradually accomplished.

Kautsky makes much of the capitalists' present fear of the working
classes, though in his opinion this fear makes not only for
"concessions" but also for reactions, as in the world-wide revival of
imperialism. Foreign conquests, he believes, are the only alternative
the governing classes are able to offer to the glowing promises of the
Socialists. It is for this reason, he believes, that the capitalists are
relying more and more on imperialism, even though they know that the
conquest of colonies is no longer possible to the extent it was before,
and realize that the cost of maintaining armaments is rapidly becoming
greater than colonial profits. But this also is to underestimate the
resources of capitalism and its capacity for a certain form of progress.
If the capitalists are not to be forced to concessions, neither are they
to be forced, unless in a very great crisis, to reactionary measures
that in themselves bring no profit. The progressive "State Socialist"
program is, as a rule, a far more promising road to popularity from
their standpoint than is reactionary imperialism.

In Kautsky's view the bourgeoisie is driven by the fear of Socialism, in
a country like Germany to reaction, and in one like England to _attempt_
reform. In neither case will it actually proceed to reforms of any
considerable benefit to labor, apparently because Kautsky believes that
all such reforms would inevitably strengthen labor relatively to
capital, and will therefore not be allowed. Similarly, he feels that the
capitalists will refuse all concessions to political democracy (on the
same erroneous supposition, that they will inevitably aid labor more
than capital).

For example, the British Liberals have abolished the veto of the House
of Lords, but only to increase the power of other capitalists against
landowners, while the Conservatives have proposed the Referendum, but
only to protect the Lords. From 1884 to 1911 neither Party had
introduced any measure to democratize the House of Commons and so to
increase the representation of labor. Kautsky reminds us of the plural
voting, unequal electoral districts, and absence of primary and
secondary elections. This he believes is evidence that the capitalists
fear to extend political democracy farther. They even fear the purely
economic reforms that are being enacted, he claims, and at every
concession made to labor desert the Liberals to join the Conservatives.
Land reform, taxation reform, the eight-hour day, are being carried out,
however. But when it comes to such matters as an extended suffrage, the
capitalists will balk. His conclusion is that if economic reforms are to
continue, if, for example, the unemployed are to be set to work by the
government, or if political reforms are to be resumed, the Labourites
have to free themselves from the tutelage of the Liberal Party. And if
they do this, they can play so effectively on capitalist fears as to
force an extension of the suffrage and even change the British
Parliament into a "tool for the dictatorship of the working class." As
in Germany, all political advance of value to labor must be obtained
through playing on capitalist fears--only in England the process may be
more gradual and results easier to obtain.

"Every extension of the suffrage to the working class must be fought for
to-day," says Kautsky, "and it is only thanks to the _fear_ of the
working class that it is not abolished where it exists." By a strange
coincidence Kautsky renewed the prediction that the capitalistic Radical
government of England would never extend the ballot except when forced
by Labor only a few days before Prime Minister Asquith officially,
without any special pressure from Labor, pledged it to equal and
universal (manhood) suffrage. The passage follows:--


     "In England the suffrage is still limited to-day, and capitalistic
     Radicalism, in spite of its fine phrases, has no idea of enlarging
     it. The poorest part of the population is excluded from the ballot.
     In all Great Britain (in 1906) only 16.64 per cent possessed,
     against 22 per cent in Germany. If England had the German Reichstag
     suffrage law, 9,600,000 would be enfranchised, instead of
     7,300,000, _i.e._ 2,300,000 more."[171]


Kautsky's view that capitalists cannot bend a more or less democratic
government to their purposes and therefore will not institute such a
government, unless forced to do so, is undoubtedly based on German
conditions. He contends that the hope of the German bourgeois lies not
in democracy nor even in the Reichstag, but in the strength of Prussia,
which spells Absolutism and Militarism. He admits in one passage that
conditions may be different in the United States, England, and British
colonies, and under certain circumstances in France, but for the peoples
of eastern Europe advanced measures of democracy such as direct
legislation belong to "the future State," while no reforms of importance
to the workers are to be secured to-day except through the menace of
revolution. It would be perfectly consistent with this, doubtlessly
correct, view of present German conditions, if Kautsky said that after
Germany has overthrown Absolutism and Militarism, progressive capitalism
may be expected to conquer reactionary capitalism in Germany as
elsewhere, and to use direct legislation and other democratic measures
for the purpose of increasing profits, with certain secondary,
incidental and lesser (but by no means unimportant) benefits to labor.
But this he refuses to do. He readily admits that Germany is backward
politically, but as she is advanced economically he apparently allows
his view of other countries to-day and of the Germany of the future to
be guided by the fact that the large capitalists now in control in that
country (with military and landlord aid) oppose even that degree of
democracy and those labor reforms which, as I have shown, would result
in an increased product for the capitalist class as a whole (though not
of all capitalists). For he pictures the reactionary capitalists in
continuous control in the future both in Germany and other countries,
and the smaller capitalists as important between these and the masses of
wage earners. The example of other countries (equally developed
economically and more advanced than Germany politically) suggests, on
the contrary, a growing unity of large and small capital through the
action of the state--and as a result the more or less progressive policy
I have outlined. (See Part I.)

But Kautsky's view is that of a very large number of Socialists,
especially in Germany and neighboring countries, is having an enormous
influence, and deserves careful consideration. The proletariat, he says,
is not afraid of the most extreme revolutionary efforts and sacrifices
to win equal suffrage where, as in Germany, it is withheld. "And every
attempt to take away or limit the German laborer's right of voting for
the Reichstag would call forth the danger of a fearful catastrophe to
the Empire."[172] It is here and elsewhere suggested, on the basis of
German experience, that this struggle over the ballot is a struggle
between Capital and Labor. The German Reichstag suffrage was made equal
by Bismarck in 1870 for purely capitalistic reasons, and the number of
voters in England was doubled as late as 1884, and the suffrage is now
to be made universal through similar motives. Yet the present domination
of the German Liberals and those of neighboring countries by a
reactionary bureaucratic, military, and landlord class, persuades
Kautsky that genuine capitalistic Liberalism everywhere is at an end.

Yet in 1910 the German Radicals succeeded, after many years of vain
effort, in forming out of their three parties a united organization, the
Progressive Peoples Party (_Fortschrittliche Volkspartei_). The program
adopted included almost every progressive reform, and, acting in
accordance with its principles, this Party quite as frequently
coöperates with the Socialists on its left as with the National Liberals
immediately on its right. The whole recent history of the more advanced
countries, including even Italy, would indicate that the small
capitalist element, which largely composes this party, will obtain the
balance of power and either through the new party or through the
Socialist "reformists" (the latter either in or out of the parent
organization)--or through both together--will before many years bring
about the extension of the suffrage in Prussia (though not its
equalization), the equalization of the Reichstag electoral districts,
and the reduction of the tariff that supports the agrarian landlords and
large capitalists, put a halt to some of the excesses of military
extravagance (though not to militarism), institute a government
responsible to the Reichstag, provide government employment for the
unemployed, and later take up the other industrial and labor reforms of
capitalist collectivism as inaugurated in other countries, together with
a large part also of the radical democratic program. There is no reason
for supposing that the evolution of capitalism is or will be basically
different in Germany from that of other countries. (See Chapter VII.)

Though he regards Socialism as the sole impelling force for reforms of
benefit to labor, Kautsky definitely acknowledges that no reforms that
are immediately practicable can be regarded as the _exclusive_ property
of the Socialist Party:--


     "But this is certain," he says, "there is scarcely a single
     practical demand for present-day legislation, that is peculiar to
     any particular party. Even the Social Democracy scarcely shows one
     such demand. That through which it differentiates itself from
     other parties is the totality of its practical demands and the
     goals towards which it points. The eight-hour law, for example, is
     no revolutionary demand....

     "What holds together political parties, especially when like the
     Social Democrats they have great historic tasks to accomplish, are
     their final goals; not their momentary demands, not their views as
     to the attitude to be assumed on all the separate questions that
     come before the party.

     "Differences of opinion are always present within the Party and
     sometimes reach a threatening height. But they will be the less
     likely to break up the Party, the livelier the consciousness in its
     members of the great goals towards which they strive in common, the
     more powerful the enthusiasm for these goals, so that demands and
     interests of the moment are behind them in importance."[173]


The only way to differentiate the Socialists from other parties, the
only thing Socialists have in common with one another is, according to
this view, not agreement as to practical action, but certain ideals or
goals. Socialists may want the same things as non-Socialists, and reject
the things desired by other Socialists, and their actions may follow
their desires, but all is well, and harmony may reign as long as their
hearts and minds are filled with a Socialist ideal. But if a goal thus
has no _necessary_ connection with immediate problems or actions, is it
necessarily anything more than a sentiment or an abstraction?

Kautsky's toleration of reform activities thus has an opposite origin to
that of the "reformist" Socialists. _He_ tolerates concentration on
capitalistic measures by factions within the Socialist Party, on the
ground that such measures are altogether of secondary importance; _they_
insist on these reforms as the most valuable activities Socialists can
undertake at the present time.

Kautsky and his associates will often tolerate activities that serve
only to weaken the movement, provided verbal recognition is given to the
Socialist ideal. This has led to profound contradictions in the German
movement. At the Leipzig Congress, for example (1909), the reformists
voted unanimously for the reaffirmation of the revolutionary "Dresden
resolution" of 1903, with the explanation that they regarded it in the
very opposite sense from what its words plainly stated. They had fought
this resolution at the time it was passed, and condemned it since, and
had continued the actions against which it was directed. But their vote
in favor of it and explanation that they refused to give it any
practical bearing had to be accepted at Leipzig without a murmur. Such
is the result of preaching loyalty to phrases, goals, or ideals rather
than in action. The reformists can often, though not always, escape
responsibility for their acts by claiming loyalty to the goal--often, no
doubt, in all sincerity; for goals, ideals, doctrines, and sentiments,
like the human conscience, are generally highly flexible and subtle
things.

Kautsky's policy of ideal revolutionism, combined with practical
toleration of activities given over exclusively to non-Socialist reform,
which is so widespread in the German movement under the form of a too
rigid separation between theory on the one hand and tactics on the
other, agrees at another point with the policy of the reformists. The
latter, as I have mentioned, seek to justify their absorption in reforms
that the capitalists also favor, by claiming that they determine their
attitude to a reform by its relation to a larger program, whereas the
capitalists do not. Kautsky similarly differentiates the Socialists by
the totality of their demands; the individual reform, being, as he
concedes, usually if not always supported by other parties also. Yet it
is difficult to see how a program composed wholly of non-Socialist
elements could in any combination become distinctly Socialist. A
Socialist program of _immediate_ demands may be peculiar to some
Socialist political group at a given moment, but usually it contains no
features that would prevent a purely capitalist party taking it up
spontaneously, in the interest of capitalism.

What is it that drives Kautsky into the position that I have described?
To this question we can find a definite answer, and it leads us into the
center of the seeming mysteries of Socialist policy. The preservation of
the Socialist Party organization, with its heterogeneous constituent
elements, is held to be all-important; and this party organization
cannot be kept intact, and _all_ its present supporters retained,
without a program of practical reforms that may be secured with a little
effort from capitalist governments. In order to claim this program as
distinctively theirs, Socialists must differentiate it in some way from
other reform programs. As there is no practical difference, they must
insist that the ideal is not the same, that Socialists are using the
reforms for different purposes, that only part of their program is like
that of any one capitalist party, while in other parts it resembles
those of other capitalist parties, etc.

That "party necessity" can drive even radical and influential Socialists
into such a position may seem incredible. But when it is understood that
loyalty to party also conflicts with loyalty to principle in many cases
even to the point of driving many otherwise revolutionary Socialists to
the very opposite extreme, _i.e._ to fighting _against_ progressive
capitalist reforms purely for party reasons, this willingness to allow
the Socialist organization to claim such reforms as in some sense its
own, will appear as the lesser deviation from principle.

For example, Kautsky opposes direct legislation--with the proviso that
_perhaps_ it may have _a certain value_ in English-speaking countries
and _under some circumstances_ in France. His arguments in spite of this
proviso are directed almost wholly against it, on the ground that direct
legislation would take many reforms out of the hands of the Party, would
cause them to be discussed independently of one another instead of bound
together as if they were inseparable parts of a program and would weaken
the Party in direct proportion as its use was extended.[174]

Yet Kautsky himself contends, in the same work in which this passage
occurs, that Socialists favor all measures of democracy, even when the
movement at first loses by their introduction. In a word he holds that
the function of promoting immediately practicable political reforms is
so important to the Party, and the Party with its present organization,
membership and activities, is so important to the movement, that even
the most fundamental principle may, on occasion, be disregarded.
Democracy is admitted to be a principle so inviolable that it is to be
upheld generally even when the Party temporarily loses by it. Yet
because direct legislation might rob the Socialists of all opportunity
for claiming the credit for non-Socialist reforms, because it would put
to a direct vote a program composed wholly of elements held in common
with other parties, and differing only in its combination of these
elements, because the Party tactics would have to be completely
transformed and the Party temporarily weakened by being forced to limit
itself entirely to revolutionary efforts, Kautsky turns against this
keystone of democratic reform.

"There is indeed no legislation without compromises," he writes; "the
great masses who are not experienced political leaders, must be much
easier confused and misled than the political leaders. If compromise in
voting on bills were really corrupting, then it would work much more
harm through direct popular legislation than through legislation by
Parliament, ... for that would mean nothing less than to drive the cause
of corruption from Parliament, out among the people."

"Direct legislation," he continues, "has the tendency to divert
attention from general principles and to concentrate it on concrete
questions."[175] But if the Socialists cannot educate the masses to know
what they want concretely, how much less will they understand general
principles? If they cannot judge such concrete and separate questions,
how will they control Socialist officials who, as it is now, so often
build their programs and decide their tactics for them? There is no
mechanical substitute for self-government within Socialist organizations
or elsewhere. Direct legislation will do much to destroy all artificial
situations and place society on the solid basis of the knowledge or
ignorance, the division or organization, the weakness or strength of
character of the masses. The present situation, however useful for
well-intentioned Socialist "leaders," is even better adapted to the
machinations of capitalist politicians. And because it militates against
the politically powerful small capitalists as well as against the
non-capitalists, it is doomed to an early end.

Kautsky, in a word, actually fears that the present capitalist society
will carry out, one by one, its own reforms. For the same reason that he
denies the ability or willingness of capitalism to make any considerable
improvements in the material conditions of labor, except as compelled by
the superior force (or the fear of the superior force) of Socialism, he
would, if possible, prevent the capitalists from introducing certain
democratic improvements that would facilitate reforms independently of
the Socialist Party. However, the economic and political evolution of
capitalism will doubtless continue to take its course, and through
improved democratic methods all Socialist arguments based on the
impossibility of any large measure of working-class progress under
capitalism, and all efforts to credit what is being done to the advance
of Socialism, will be seen to have been futile. The contention between
Socialists and capitalists will then be reduced to its essential
elements:--

Is progress under capitalism as great as it might be under Socialism?

Is capitalist progress making toward Socialism by improving the position
of the non-capitalists _when compared with that of the capitalists_, or
is it having the opposite effect?

Even the "syndicalists," little interested as they are in reform, seem
to fear, as Kautsky does, that so long as considerable changes for the
better are possible, progress towards Socialism, which in their case
also implies revolution, is impossible. I have shown that Lagardelle
denies that Labor and Capital have any interest whatever in common.
Similarly, a less partisan writer, Paul Louis, author of the leading
work on French unionism ("Histoire du Movement Syndicate en France"),
while he notes every evil of the coming State Socialism, yet ignores its
beneficent features, and bases his whole defense of revolutionary labor
unionism on the proposition that important reforms, even if aided by
friendly Socialist coöperation or hostile Socialist threats, can no
longer be brought about under capitalism:--


     "The Parliamentary method was suited by its principle to the reform
     era. Direct action corresponds to the syndicalist era. Nothing is
     more simple.

     "As long as organized labor believes in the possibility of amending
     present society by a series of measures built up one upon the
     other, it makes use of the means that the present system offers it.
     It proceeds through intervening elected persons. It imagines that
     from a theoretical discussion there will arise such ameliorations
     that its vassalage will be gradually abolished."


The belief here appears that a steady, continuous, and marked
improvement in the position of the working class would necessarily lead
to its overtaking automatically the rapidly increasing power of
capitalism. If this were so, it would indeed be true, as Louis contends,
that no revolutionary movement could begin, except when all beneficial
labor reforms and other working-class progress had ended.

I shall quote (Part III, Chapter V) a passage where Louis indicates that
syndicalism, like Socialism itself, is directed in the most fundamental
way against all existing governments. He takes the further step of
saying that existing governments can do nothing whatever for the benefit
of labor, and that their _sole_ function is that of repression:--


     "The State, which has taken for its mission--and no other could be
     conceived--the defense of existing society, could not allow its
     power of command to be attacked. The social hierarchy which itself
     rests upon the economic subordination of one class to another, will
     be maintained only so long as the governmental power shatters every
     assault victoriously, represses every initiative, punishes without
     mercy all innovators and all factious persons....

     "In the new order [syndicalism] there is no room for any
     capitalistic attribute, even reduced to its most simple expression.
     There is no longer room for a political system for safeguarding
     privileges and conquering rebels. If our definition of the State is
     accepted, that it is an organ of defense, always more and more
     exacting because it is in a society always more and more menaced,
     it will be understood that such a State is condemned to disappear
     with that society....

     "The State crushes the individual, and syndicalism appeals to all
     the latent energies of that individual, the State suspects and
     throttles organizations, and syndicalism multiplies them against
     it.... All institutions created by the State for the defense of the
     capitalist system are assailed, undermined by syndicalism."[176]


Here is a view of the State as far opposed as possible to that of
Kautsky, who says truly that it is "a monster economic establishment,
and its influence on the whole economic life of a nation to-day is
already beyond the power of measurement."[177] For Kautsky, the State is
primarily economic and constructive; for Louis it is purely political
and repressive. Yet Kautsky, like Louis, seems to feel that if the State
were capable of carrying out reforms of any importance to the wage
earners, or if it were admitted that it could do so, it would be
impossible to persuade the workers that a revolution is necessary and
feasible. And so both deny that "State Socialism," which they recognize
as an _intervening stage_ between the capitalism of to-day and
Socialism, is destined to give better material conditions, if less
liberty, than the present society. Both the economic and political
revolutionists are, on such grounds, often tempted to agree with the
reformists of the party and of the labor unions, in leveling their guns
exclusively against the private capitalism of to-day--I might almost say
the capitalism of the past--instead of concentrating their attack on the
evils that will remain undiminished under the State capitalism of the
future. The reformists do this consistently, for they see in the
constructive side of "State Socialism," not a mere continuation of
capitalism, but a large installment of Socialism itself, and have
nothing more to ask for beyond a continuation of such reforms.
Revolutionary Socialists are inconsistent, because they may admit that
the conditions of the working people under "State Socialism" may be far
better than they are to-day, without invalidating their central position
that the greater evils of to-day will remain, and that there will be no
progress towards Socialism, no matter what reforms are enacted, until
the Socialists are either actually or practically in power.

When the Socialists have become so numerous as to be on the verge of
securing control of the government (by whatever means), it is unlikely
that the privileged classes will permit peaceful political or
constitutional procedures to continue and put them completely at the
mercy of the non-privileged. In all probability they will then resort to
military violence under pretext of military necessity (see Part III,
Chapter VIII). _If when this time arrives, the Socialists have not only
a large political majority, but also the physical power to back it up_,
or seem about to secure this majority and this power, then indeed,
though not before that time, the capitalists may, possibly, begin to
make concessions which involve a weakening of their position in society,
_i.e._ which necessitate more and more concessions until their power is
destroyed. The revolutionary reformers, if we may apply this term to
Kautsky and his associates, are then only somewhat premature in their
belief that the Socialist Party is _now_, or will _very shortly_ become,
a real menace to capitalism; whereas the political reformers are under
the permanent illusion that capitalism will retreat before paper
ballots.

Moreover, Kautsky and the revolutionary reformers, in order to make
_their_ (physical) menace effective, must continually teach the people
to look forward and prepare to use all the means in their power for
their advance. They are thus thoroughly in accord with the non-reformist
revolutionists who, however much they may welcome certain capitalist
reforms, do not agree that they will be very materially hastened by
anything the Socialists can do. The non-reformist revolutionists assume
that Socialists will vote for every form of progress, including the most
thoroughly capitalistic, and acknowledge that _if they fail in their
duty in this respect, these reforms might be materially retarded_. But
they are willing to let the capitalists take the lead in such reform
work, giving them the whole credit for what benefits it brings, and
placing on their shoulders the whole responsibility for its
limitations. Their criticism of capitalist reform is leveled not against
what it does, but against what it leaves undone.

Revolutions in machinery and business organization under capitalism,
with which Socialists certainly have nothing to do, they regard also as
not only important, but of vast significance, since it is by their aid
alone that Socialism is becoming a possibility. And now a new period is
coming in, during which the capitalists, on grounds that have no
connection whatever with Socialism or the Socialist movement, will
effect another equally indispensable revolution, in the organization of
labor and business by _governmental means_. Revolutionary Socialists are
ready to give the fullest credit to capitalism for what it has done,
what it is doing, and what it is about to do--for, however vast the
changes now in process of execution, they feel that the task that lies
before the Socialists is vaster still. The capitalists, to take one
point by way of illustration, develop such individuals and such latent
powers in every individual, as they can utilize for increasing the
private income of the capitalists as a class, or of governments which
are wholly or very largely in their control. _The Socialists propose to
develop the latent abilities of all individuals in proportion to their
power to serve the community._ The collectivist capitalists will
continue to extend opportunity to more and more members of the
community, but always leaving the numbers of the privileged undiminished
and always providing for all their children first--admitting only the
cream of the masses to the better positions, and this after all of the
ruling classes, including the most worthless, have been provided for.
The Socialists propose, the moment they secure a majority, to make
opportunity, not more equal, but equal.

Those Socialists, then, who expect that reforms of importance to wage
earners are to be secured to-day exclusively by the menace either of a
political overturn or of a Socialist revolution, and those who imagine
that the Socialist hosts are going to be strengthened by recruits
attracted by the rôle Socialists are playing in obtaining such immediate
reforms, make a triple error. They credit Socialism with a power it has
nowhere yet achieved and cannot expect until a revolutionary period is
immediately at hand; that is, they grossly exaggerate the present powers
of the Socialist movement and grossly underestimate the task that lies
before it. They are seemingly blind to the possibilities of
transformation and progress that still inhere in capitalism--the
increased unity and power it will gain through "State capitalism," and
the increased wealth that will come through a beneficent and scientific
policy of producing, through wholesale reforms and improvements, more
efficient and profitable laborers. They fail to see that the strength of
the enemy will lie henceforth more frequently in deception than in
repression. But even this is not their most fatal blunder. In attacking
individualistic and reactionary rather than collectivistic and
progressive capitalism, these Socialists are not only wasting their
energies by assaulting a moribund power, but are training their forces
to use weapons and to practice evolutions that will soon be obsolete and
useless. They are doing the work and filling the function of the small
capitalists. The large capitalists organized industry; the small
capitalists will nationalize it; in so far at least as it has been or
will have been organized. Socialists gain from both processes, approve
of both, and aid them in every way within their power. But their chief
function is to overthrow capitalism. And as the larger part of this task
lies off some distance in the future, it is the capitalism of the future
and not that of the past with which Socialists are primarily concerned.
Evidently but a few years will elapse before State capitalism will
everywhere dominate. In the meanwhile, to attribute its progress to the
_menace_ of the advance of Socialism, is to abandon the Socialist
standpoint just as completely as do the reformist Socialists in
regarding capitalist-collectivist reforms as installments of Socialism,
to be achieved only with Socialist _aid_.

For Socialists will be judged by what they are doing rather than by what
they promise to do. If political reformists and revolutionary reformists
are both directing their chief attention to promoting the reforms of
"State Socialism," it will make little difference whether the first
argue that these beneficial measures are a part of Socialism and a
guarantee of the whole; or the second claim that, though such reforms
are no part of Socialism, the superiority of the movement is shown
chiefly by the fact that they could not have been brought about except
through its efforts. Mankind will rightly conclude that the things that
absorb the chief Socialist activities are those that are also forming
the character of the movement. In direct proportion as reforming
Socialists spend their energies in doing the same things as reforming
capitalists do, they tend inevitably to become more and more alike. Only
in proportion as Socialists can differentiate themselves from
non-Socialists _in their present activities_ will the movement have any
distinctive meaning of its own.

FOOTNOTES:

[169] W. J. Ghent, "Socialism and Success," p. 47.

[170] Rappaport, "Der Kongress von Nimes," _Die Neue Zeit_, 1910, p.
821.

[171] _Die Neue Zeit_, Oct. 27, 1911.

[172] "Parlamentarismus und Demokratie," edition of 1911, p. 121.

[173] "Parlamentarismus und Demokratie," edition of 1911, pp. 132-133.

[174] "Parlamentarismus und Demokratie," edition of 1911, pp. 131-134.

[175] "Parlamentarismus und Demokratie," edition of 1911, pp. 131-134.

[176] "Le Syndicalisme contre L'État," pp. 223-235, 239-242.

[177] "Parlamentarismus und Demokratie," p. 114.



CHAPTER VI

REVOLUTIONARY POLITICS


In the most famous document of international Socialism, the "Communist
Manifesto" (published by Marx and Engels in 1847), there is a
fulmination against "reactionary Socialism," which it will be seen is
approximately what we now call "State Socialism." After describing the
Utopian Socialism of Fourier, of Saint-Simon and of Owen, the
"Manifesto" says:--


     "A second form of Socialism, less systematic but more practical,
     tried to disgust the working people with every revolutionary
     movement, by demonstrating to them that it is not such and such a
     political advantage, but only a transformation of the relations of
     material life and of economic conditions that could profit them.
     Let it be noted that by transformation of the material relations of
     society this Socialism does not mean the abolition of capitalist
     relations of production, but only administrative reforms brought
     out precisely on the basis of capitalist production, and which
     consequently do not affect the relation of capital and wage labor,
     but in the best case only diminish the expenses and simplify the
     administrative labor of a capitalist government.... In the
     promotion of their plans they act always with the consciousness of
     defending first of all the interest of the working class. The
     working class only exists for them under this aspect of the
     suffering class.

     "But in accordance with the undeveloped state of the class struggle
     and their social position, they consider themselves quite above
     antagonism. They desire to ameliorate the material condition of
     life for all the members of society, even the most privileged. As a
     consequence, they do not cease to appeal to all society without
     distinction, or rather they address themselves by preference to the
     reigning class."[178]


Marx points out that the chief aim of these "reactionary Socialists" was
the transformation of the State into a mere organ for the administration
of industry in their interest, which is precisely what we mean to-day by
"State Socialism."

In contrast with this "reactionary Socialism," now prevalent in Great
Britain and Australia, the Socialist parties of every country of the
European Continent (where such parties are most developed), without
exception are striving for a social democracy and a government of the
non-privileged and not for a scheme of material benefits bestowed by an
all-powerful capitalist State. Professor Anton Menger, of the University
of Vienna, one of the most acute and sympathetic observers of the
movement, remarks correctly that--"in all countries, at all times, the
proletariat [working class] has rightly thought that the continuous
development of its _power_ is worth more than any _economic advantage_
that can be granted it."[179]

The late Paul Lafargue, perhaps the leading thinker of the French
Socialist movement, a son-in-law of Karl Marx, made a declaration at a
recent Party Congress which brings out still more clearly the prevailing
Socialist attitude. Denying that the Socialists are opposed to reforms,
he said: "On the contrary, we demand all reforms, even the most
bourgeois [capitalist] reforms like the income tax and the purchase of
the West [the Western railroad, lately purchased by the government]. It
matters little to us who proposes reforms, and I may add that the most
important of them all for the working class have not been presented by
Socialist deputies, but by the bourgeois [capitalists]. Free and
compulsory education was not proposed by Socialists." That is to say,
Lafargue believed that reforms extremely beneficial to the working class
might be enacted without any union of Socialists with non-Socialists,
without the Socialists gaining political power and without their even
constituting a menace to the rule of the anti-Socialist classes.
Capitalism of itself, in its own interest and without any reference to
Socialism or the Socialists, may go very far towards developing a
society which in turn develops an ever growing and developing working
class, though without increasing the actual political or economic powers
of this class when compared with its own.

In Germany especially, Marx's co-workers and successors developed marked
hostility to "State Socialism" from the moment when it was taken up by
Bismarck nearly a generation ago (1883). August Bebel's hostility to the
existing State goes so far that he predicts that it will expire "with
the expiration of the ruling class,"[180] while Engels contended that
the very phrase "the Socialist State" was valueless as a slogan in the
present propaganda of Socialism, and scientifically ineffective.[181]

Engels had even predicted, as long ago as 1880, that the coming of
monopolies would bring it about that the State, being "the official
representative of capitalistic society," would ultimately have to
undertake "the protection of production," and that this necessity would
first be felt in the case of the railways and the telegraphs. Later
events have shown that his prediction was so correct that even America
and England are approaching the nationalization of their railways, while
the proposal to nationalize monopolies is rapidly growing in popularity
in every country in the world, and among nearly all social classes.

Engels did not consider that such developments were necessarily in the
direction of Socialism any more than the nationalization of the railways
by the Czar or the Prussian government. On the contrary, he suggested
that it meant the strengthening of the capitalism.

"The modern State," he wrote in 1880, "no matter what its form, is
essentially a capitalistic machine, the State of the capitalists, the
ideal personification of the total national capital. The more it
proceeds to the taking over of productive forces, the more it actually
becomes the national capitalist, the more citizens does it exploit. The
workers remain wageworkers--proletarians. The capitalist relation is not
done away with. It is rather brought to a head."[182] Engels did not
think that State ownership necessarily meant Socialism; but he thought
that it might be utilized for the purposes of Socialism if the working
class was sufficiently numerous, organized, and educated to take charge
of the situation. "State ownership of the productive forces is not the
solution of the conflict, but concealed within it are the technical
conditions that give the elements of the solution."

As early as 1892 Karl Kautsky, at the present moment perhaps the
greatest living Socialist editor and economist, wrote that the system of
laissez-faire, for which "State Socialism" offers itself as a remedy,
had long ago lost whatever influence it once had on the capitalist
class--which was never very great. If, then, the theory that "that
government is best which governs least" had been abandoned by the
capitalists themselves, there was no ground why Socialists should devote
their time to the advocacy of a view ("State Socialism") that was merely
a reaction against an outworn standpoint. The theory of collectivism,
that the functions of the State ought to be widely extended, had long
been popular among the capitalists themselves.

"It has already been seen," wrote Kautsky, "that economic and political
development has made necessary and inevitable the taking over of certain
economic functions by the State.... It can by no means be said that
every nationalization of an economic function or of an economic
enterprise is a step towards Socialistic coöperation and that the latter
would grow out of the general nationalization of all economic
enterprises without making a fundamental change in the nature of the
State."[183] In other words, Kautsky denies that partial nationalization
or collectivism is necessarily even a step towards Socialism, and
asserts that it may be a step in the other direction. The German
Socialists acted on this principle when they opposed the nationalization
of the Reichsbank, and it has often guided other Socialist parties.

Kautsky feels that it is often a mistake to transfer the power over
industry, _e.g._ the ownership of the land, into the hands of the State
as now constituted, since this puts a tremendous part of the national
wealth at the disposal of capitalist governments, one of whose prime
functions is to prevent the increase of the political and economic power
of the working people. And, although the State employees would probably
receive a somewhat better treatment than they had while the industry was
privately owned, they would simply form a sort of aristocracy of labor
opposed in general to the interests of the working people.


     "Like every State," says Kautsky, "the modern State is in the first
     place a tool for the protection of the general interests of the
     ruling classes. It changes its nature in no way if it takes over
     functions of general utility which aim at advancing the interests
     not only of the ruling classes, but also of those of society as a
     whole _and_ of the ruling classes, and on no condition does it take
     care of these functions in a way which might threaten the general
     interests of the ruling classes or their domination.... If the
     present-day State nationalizes certain industries and functions, it
     does this, not to put limitations on capitalistic exploitation, but
     to protect and to strengthen the capitalistic mode of production,
     or in order itself to take a share in this exploitation, to
     increase its income in this way, and to lessen the payments that
     the capitalist class must obtain for its own support in the way of
     taxes. And as an exploiter, the State has this advantage over
     private capitalists: that it has at its disposal to be used against
     the exploited not only the economic powers of the capitalists, but
     the political force of the State." (My italics.)


As an illustration of Kautsky's reference to the lessening of taxes
through the profits of government ownership, it may be pointed out that
the German Socialists fear the further nationalization of industries in
Germany on account of the danger that with this increased income the
State would no longer depend on the annual grants of the Reichstag and
would then be in a position to govern without that body. The king of
Prussia and the Emperor of Germany could in that event rule the country
much as the present Czar rules Russia.

As a rule, outside of Great Britain, the advocates of the collectivist
program are also aware that their "Socialism" is not that of the
Socialist movement. In an article in the _Atlantic Monthly_, Mr. John
Martin, for example, indicates the "State Socialist" tendency of
present-day reform measures in America, and at the same time shows that
they are removed as far as possible from that anti-capitalist trend
which is held by most Socialist Party leaders to be the essence of their
movement. Mr. Martin points to the irrigation projects, the conservation
of national resources, the railway policy of the national
administration, the expansion of the Federal government, and the
tendency towards compulsory arbitration since the interference of
President Roosevelt in the coal strike of 1902, as being "Socialistic"
and yet in no sense class movements. They tend towards social
reconstruction and to greater social organization and order; and there
are no "logical halting places," says Mr. Martin, "on the road to
Collectivism." But so far is this movement from a class movement in Mr.
Martin's opinion that its advance guard consists in part of millionaires
like Mr. Carnegie and Mrs. Sage, "who aim at a social betterment of both
getting and spending of fortunes," while "behind them, uncommitted to
any far-reaching theory, but patriotic and zealous for an improved
society, there are marching philanthropists, doctors, lawyers, business
men, and legislators, people of distinction." And finally the army is
completed by millions of common privates "_for_ whose children the
better order will be the greatest boon." (The italicizing is mine.) The
privates apparently figure rather as mere recipients of public and
private benefactions than as active citizens.[184]

Some of the reformers openly advise joining the Socialist movement with
the hope of using it for the purpose of reform and without aiding it in
any way to reach a goal of its own. Professor John Bates Clark, one of
America's most prominent economists, says of the Socialist Party that it
is legitimate because "it represents the aspirations of a large number
of workingmen" and because "its immediate purposes are good."


     "It has changed the uncompromising policy of opposing all halfway
     measures," continues Professor Clark. "It welcomes reforms and
     tries to enroll in its membership as many as possible of the
     reformers.... In short, the Socialist and the reformer may walk
     side by side for a considerable distance without troubling
     themselves about the unlike goals which they hope in the end to
     reach.... What the reformers will have to do is to take the
     Socialistic name, walk behind a somewhat red banner, and be ready
     to break ranks and leave the army when it reaches the dividing of
     the ways."[185]


Professor Clark, it will be seen, has no difficulty in suggesting a
"logical halting place on the road to collectivism"; namely, when the
Socialists turn from collectivist reforms and start out towards
Socialism.

Anti-Socialists may share the Socialist _ideal_ and even favor all the
reforms that the capitalists can permit to be put into practice without
resigning their power and allowing the overthrow of capitalism. But
Socialists have long since seen a way to mark off all such idealists and
reformers--by presenting Socialism for what it really is, not as an
ideal, nor a program of reform under capitalist direction, but as a
method, and the only practical method, of ending capitalist rule in
industry and government.

When Liebknecht insists on "the extreme importance of tactics and the
necessity of maintaining the party's class struggle character," he makes
"tactics," or the practical methods of the movement, _identical_ with
its basic principle, "the class struggle." Kautsky does the same thing
when he says that Socialism is, _both in theory and practice_, a
revolution against capitalism.

"Those who repudiate political revolution as the principal means of
social transformation, or wish to confine the latter to such measures as
have been granted by the ruling class," says Kautsky, "are social
reformers, no matter how much their social ideas may antagonize existing
forms of society."

The Socialists' wholly practical grounds against "reformism" have been
stated by Liebknecht, in his "No Compromise." "This political
Socialism, which in fact is only philanthropic humanitarian radicalism,
has retarded the development of Socialism in France exceedingly," he
wrote in 1899, before Socialist politicians and "reformists" had come
into prominence in other countries than France. "It has diluted and
blurred principles and weakened the Socialist Party because it brought
into it troops upon which no reliance could be placed at the decisive
moment." If, in other words, Socialism is a movement of non-capitalists
against capitalists, nothing could be more fatal to it than a reputation
due chiefly to success in bringing about reforms about which there is
nothing distinctively Socialistic. For this kind of success could not
fail ultimately to swamp the movement with reformers who, like Professor
Clark, are not Socialists and never will be.

It must not be inferred from this that Socialists are indifferent to
reform. They are necessarily far more anxious about it than its
capitalist promoters. For while many "State Socialist" reforms are
profitable to capitalism and even strengthen temporarily its hold on
society, they are in the long run indispensable to Socialism. But this
does not mean that Socialism is compelled to turn aside any of its
energies from its great task of organizing and educating the workers, in
order to hasten these reforms. On the contrary, the larger and the more
revolutionary the Socialist army, the easier it will be for the
progressive capitalists to overcome the conservatives and reactionaries.
Long before this army has become large enough or aggressive enough to
menace capitalism and so to throw all capitalists together in a single
organization wholly devoted to defensive measures, there will be a long
period--already begun in Great Britain, France, and other
countries--when the growth of Socialism will make the progressive
capitalists supreme by giving them _the balance of power_. In order,
then, to hasten and aid the capitalistic form of progress, Socialists
need only see that their own growth is sufficiently rapid. As the
Socialists are always ready to support every measure of capitalist
reform, the capitalist progressives need only then secure enough
strength in Parliaments so that their votes added to those of the
Socialists would form a majority. As soon as progressive capitalism is
at all developed, reforms are thus automatically aided by the Socialist
vote, without the necessity of active Socialist participation--thus
leaving the Socialists free to attend to matters that depend wholly on
their own efforts; namely, the organization and education of the
non-capitalist masses for aggressive measures leading towards the
overthrow of capitalism.

Opposition to the policy of absorption in ordinary reform movements is
general in the international movement outside of Great Britain. Eugene
V. Debs, three times presidential candidate of the American Socialist
Party, is as totally opposed to "reformism" as are any of the Europeans.
"_The revolutionary character of our party and of our movement_," he
said in a personal letter to the present writer, which was published in
the Socialist press, "_must be preserved in all its integrity at all
cost, for if that be compromised we had better cease to exist_.... If
the trimmers had their way we should degenerate into bourgeois
reformers.... But they will not have their way." (Italics mine.)

No American Socialist has more ably summarized the dangers opportunism
brings to the movement than Professor George D. Herron in his pamphlet,
"From Revolution to Revolution," taken from a speech made as early as
1903. Later events, it will be noted, have strikingly verified his
predictions as to the growing popularity of the word "Socialism" with
nearly all political elements in this country.


     "Great initiatives and revolutions," Herron says, "have always been
     robbed of definition and issue when adopted by the class against
     which the revolt was directed....

     "Let Socialists take knowledge and warning. The possessing class is
     getting ready to give the people a few more crumbs of what is
     theirs.... If it comes to that, they are ready to give some things
     _in the name of Socialism_.... The old political parties will be
     adopting what they are pleased to call Socialistic planks in their
     platforms; and the churches will be coming with the insipid
     'Christian Socialism,' and their hypocrisy and brotherly love. We
     shall soon see Mr. Hanna and Bishop Potter, Mr. Hearst and Dr.
     Lyman Abbott, even Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Bryan, posing as
     reasonable kinds of Socialists. You will find the name of Socialism
     repeatedly taken in vain, and perhaps successfully. You will see
     the Socialist movement bridled and saddled by capitalism, in the
     hope of riding it to a new lease of capitalistic power....

     "But Socialism, like liberty or truth, is something you cannot have
     a part of; you must have the whole or you will have nothing; you
     can only gain or lose the whole, you cannot gain or lose a part.
     You may have municipal ownerships, nationalized transportation,
     initiative and referendum, civil service reforms and many other
     capitalist concessions, and be all the farther away from Social
     Democracy.... You may have any kind and number of reforms you
     please, any kind and number of revolutions or revivals you please,
     any kind and number of new ways of doing good you please, it will
     not matter to capitalism, so long as it remains at the root of
     things, the result of all your plans and pains will be gathered
     into the Capitalist granary." (The italics are mine.)


Yet no Socialist dreams that the presence in the movement of
semi-Socialist or non-Socialist elements, which is both the cause and
the effect of reformism and compromise, is a mere accident, or that
there is any device by which they may either be kept out or
eliminated--until the time is ripe. The presence of opportunists and
reformists in all Socialist parties is as much an inevitable result at a
certain stage of social evolution as the appearance of Socialism itself.
The time will come when these "Mitlaüfer," as the Germans call them,
will either become wholly Socialist or will desert the movement, as has
so often happened, to become a part of the rising tide of "State
Socialism," but that day has not yet arrived.

The division of the organization at a certain stage into two wings is
held by the able Austrian Socialist, Otto Bauer, to be a universal and
necessary process in its development. The first stage is one where all
party members are agreed, since it is then merely a question of the
propaganda of general and revolutionary _ideas_. The second stage (the
present one) arises when the party has already obtained a modest measure
of power which can be either _cashed in_ and utilized for immediate and
material gains or saved up and held for obtaining more power, or for
both objects in degrees varying according as one or the other is
considered more important. Bauer shows that these two policies of
accumulating power and of spending it arise necessarily out of the
social composition of the party at its present stage and the general
social environment in which it finds itself.

At the third stage, he says, when the proletariat has come to form the
overwhelming majority of the population, their campaign for the conquest
of political power appears to the possessing classes for the first time
as a threatening danger. The capitalist parties then unite closely
together against the Social Democracy; what once separated them now
appears small in comparison to the danger which threatens their profits,
their rents, and their monopolistic incomes. So there arises again at
this higher stage of capitalist domination, as was the case at its
beginning, "a Social Democracy in battle _against all the possessing
classes, against the whole power of the organized state_." (Italics
mine.)[186] When the third stage arrives, these reformists who do not
intend to leave the revolutionary movement, begin to get ready to follow
it. Already the most prominent reformist Socialists outside of England
_claim_ that their position is revolutionary. This is true of the
best-known German reformist, Bernstein; it is true of Jaurès; and it is
also true of Berger in this country. Bernstein argues in his book,
"Evolutionary Socialism," that constitutional legislation is best
adapted to positive social-political work, "to the creation of permanent
economic arrangements." But he also says that "the revolutionary way
does quicker work as far as it deals with removal of obstacles which a
privileged minority places in the path of social progress." As for
choosing between the revolutionary and non-revolutionary methods, he
admits that revolutionary tactics can be abandoned only when the
non-propertied majority of a nation has become firmly established in
power; that is, when political democracy is so deeply rooted and
advanced that it can be applied successfully to questions of property;
"when a nation has attained a position where the rights of the
propertied minority have ceased to be a serious obstacle of social
progress." Certainly no nation could claim to be in such a position
to-day, unless it were, possibly, Australia, though there the empire of
unoccupied land gives to every citizen possibilities at least of
acquiring property, and relieves the pressure of the class struggle
until the country is settled. This view of Bernstein's, let it be noted,
is a far different one from that prevailing in England--as expressed,
for example, in an organ of the Independent Labour Party, where it is
said that "fortunately 'revolution' in this country has ceased to be
anything more than an affected phrase." Certainly there are few modern
countries where the "propertied minority," of which Bernstein speaks,
constitutes a more serious obstacle to progress than it does in England.

Jaurès's position is quite similar to that of Bernstein. He declared in
a recent French Congress that he was both a revolutionist and a
reformer. He indorses the idea of the general strike, but urges that it
should not be used until the work of education and propaganda has made
the time ready, "until a very large and strong organization is ready to
back up the strikers," and until a large section of public opinion is
prepared to recognize the legitimacy of their object. He says he expects
the time to arrive when "the reforms in the interest of the whole
working class which have been promised will have been systematically
refused," and then "the general strike will be the only resource left";
and finally cries, "Never in the name of the working people will we give
up the right of insurrection." This position is verbally correct from
the Socialist standpoint, and it shows the power of the revolutionary
idea in France, when even Jaurès is forced to respect it. But any
capitalist politician might safely use the same expressions--so long, at
least, as revolution is still far away.

So also Mr. Berger has written in the _Social Democratic Herald_ of
Milwaukee that "all the ballot can do is to strengthen the power of
resistance of the laboring people."


     "We whom the western ultra class-conscious proletarians ... are
     wont to call 'opportunists,'" writes Berger, "we know right well
     that the social question can no more be solved by street riots and
     insurrections than by bombs and dynamite.

     "Yet, by the ballot _alone_, it will never be solved.

     "Up to this time men have always solved great questions by _blood_
     and _iron_." Berger says he is not given to reciting revolutionary
     phrases, but asserts that the plutocrats are taking the country in
     the direction of "a violent and bloody revolution."

     "Therefore," he says, "each of the 500,000 Socialist voters, and of
     the two million workingmen who instinctively incline our way,
     should, besides doing much reading and still more thinking, also
     have a good rifle and the necessary rounds of ammunition in his
     home and be prepared to back up his ballot with his bullets if
     necessary.... Now, I deny that dealing with a blind and greedy
     plutocratic class as we are dealing in this country, the outcome
     can ever be peaceable, or that any reasonable change can ever be
     brought about by the ballot in the end.

     "I predict that a large part of the capitalist class will be wiped
     out for much smaller things ... most of the plutocratic class,
     together with the politicians, will have to disappear as completely
     as the feudal lords and their retinue disappeared during the French
     revolution.

     "That cannot be done by the ballot, or _only_ by the ballot.

     "The ballot cannot count for much in a pinch."[187] (My italics.)


And in another number Mr. Berger writes:--


     "As long as we are in the minority we, of course, have _no right to
     force_ our opinion _upon an unwilling majority_.... Yet we do not
     deny that _after we have convinced the majority of the people_, we
     are going to use force if the minority should hesitate."[188] (My
     italics.)


Few will question the revolutionary nature of this language. But such
expressions have always been common at critical moments, even among
non-Socialists. We have only to recall the "bloody-bridles" speech of a
former populist governor of Colorado, or the advice of the _New York
Evening Journal_ that every citizen ought to provide against future
contingencies by keeping a rifle in his home. Revolutionary language has
no necessary relation to Socialism.

Mr. Berger, moreover, has also used the threat of revolution, not as a
progressive but as a reactionary force, not in the sense of Marx, who
believed that a revolution, when the times were ripe and the Socialists
ready, would bring incalculably more good than evil, but in the sense of
the capitalists, for whom it is the most terrible of all possibilities.
It is common for conservative statesmen to use precisely the same threat
to secure necessary capitalist reforms.

"Some day there will be a volcanic eruption," said Berger in his first
speech in Congress; "a fearful retribution will be enacted on the
capitalist class as a class, and the innocent will suffer with the
guilty. Such a revolution would throw humanity back into semi-barbarism
and cause even a temporary retrogression of civilization."

Such is the language used against revolutions by conservatives or
reactionaries. Never has it been so applied by a Marx or an Engels, a
Liebknecht, a Kautsky or a Bebel. Without underestimating the enormous
cost of revolutions, the most eminent Socialists reckon them as nothing
compared with the probable gains, or the far greater costs of continuing
present conditions. The assertion of manhood that is involved in every
great revolution from below in itself implies, in the Socialist view,
not retrogression, but a stupendous advance; and any reversion to
semi-barbarism that may take place in the course of the revolution is
likely, in their opinion, to be far more than compensated in other
directions, even during the revolutionary period (to say nothing of
ultimate results).

Revolutionary phrases and scares are of course abhorred by capitalistic
parties, and considered dangerous, unless there is some very strong
occasion for reverting to their use. But such occasions are becoming
more and more frequent. Conservative capitalists are more and more
grateful for any outbreak that alarms or burdens the neutral classes and
serves as a useful pretext for that repression or reaction which their
interests require. Progressive capitalists, on the other hand, use the
very same disturbances to urge reforms they desire, on the ground that
such measures are necessary to avoid "revolution." The disturbance may
be as far as possible from revolutionary at bottom. It is only necessary
that it should be sufficiently novel and disagreeable to attract
attention and cause impatience and irritation among those who have to
pay for it. Like the British strikes of 1911, it may not cost the
capitalist class as a whole one-hundredth part of one per cent of its
income. And it might be possible to repress, within a short time and at
no greater expense, a movement many times more menacing. Provided it
serves to put the supporters of capitalism on their feet, whatever they
do as a result, whether in the way of repression or of reform, will be
but to carry out long-cherished plans for advancing their own interests,
plans that would have been the same even though there had been no shadow
of a "revolutionary" movement on the horizon. The only difference is
that such pseudo-revolutionary or semi-revolutionary disturbances serve
as stimuli to put the more inert of the capitalist forces in motion,
and, until the disturbances become truly menacing, strengthen the
capitalist position.

The use of revolutionary phrases does not then, of itself, demonstrate
an approach to the revolutionary position, though we may assume, on
other grounds, that the majority of the reformist Socialists, who take a
revolutionary position as regards certain _future_ contingencies, are in
earnest. But this indicates nothing as to the character of their
Socialism to-day. The important question is, how far their revolutionary
philosophy goes when directed, not at a hypothetical future situation
but to questions of the present moment.

In all the leading countries of the world, except Great Britain, the
majority of Socialists expect a revolutionary crisis in the future,
because they recognize, with that able student of the movement,
Professor Sombart, that "history knows of no case where a class has
freely given up the rights which it regarded as belonging to
itself."[189] This does not mean that Socialists suppose that all
progress must await a revolutionary period. Engels insisted that he and
his associates were profiting more by lawful than by unlawful and
revolutionary action. It means that Socialists do not believe that the
capitalists will allow such action to remain lawful long enough
materially to increase the income of the working class and its economic
and political power as compared with their own.

Jaurès's position as to present politics is based on the very opposite
view. "You will have to lead millions of men to the borders of an
impassable gulf," he says to the revolutionists, "but the gulf will not
be easier for the millions of men to pass over than it was for a hundred
thousand. What we wish is to try to diminish the width of the gulf which
separates the exploited in present-day society from their situation in
the new society."[190] The revolutionaries assert, on the contrary, that
nothing Socialists can do at the present time can moderate the class
war, or lessen the power of capitalism to maintain and increase the
distance between itself and the masses. In direct disagreement with
Jaurès, they say that when a sufficient numerical majority has been
acquired, especially in this day when the masses are educated, it will
be able to overcome any obstacle whatever, even what Jaurès calls the
impassable gulf--whether in the meanwhile that gulf will have become
narrower or wider than it is to-day, and they believe that the day of
this triumph would be delayed rather than brought nearer if the workers
were to divert their energies from revolutionary propaganda and
organization, to political trading in the interest of reforms that bring
no greater gains to the workers than to their exploiters. The
revolutionary majority believes that the best that can be done at
present is for the workers to train and organize themselves, and always
to devise and study and prepare the means by which capitalism can be
most successfully and economically assaulted when sufficient numbers are
once aroused for successful revolt.

When revolutionary Socialism is not pure speculation, it takes the form
of the present-day "class struggle" against capitalism. The view that
existing society can be _gradually_ transformed into a social democratic
one, Kautsky believes to be merely an inheritance of the past, of a
period "when it was generally believed that further development would
take place exclusively on the _economic_ field, without the necessity of
any kind of change in the relative distribution of _political_
institutions." (Italics mine.)[191]

"Neither a railroad [that is, its administration] nor a ministry can be
changed gradually, but only at a single stroke," says Kautsky, to
illustrate the sort of a change Socialists expect. The need of such a
complete change does not decrease on account of any reforms that are
introduced before such a change takes place. "There are some
politicians," he says, "who assert that only _despotic_ class rule
necessitates revolution; that revolution is rendered superfluous by
_democracy_. It is claimed that we have to-day sufficient democracy in
all civilized countries to make possible a peaceable revolutionless
development." (My italics.) As means by which these politicians hope to
achieve such a revolutionless development, Kautsky mentions the gradual
increase of the power of the trade unions, the penetration of Socialists
into local governments, and finally the growing power of Socialist
minorities in parliaments where they are supposed to be gaining
increasing influence, pushing through one reform after another,
restricting the power of the capitalists by labor legislation and
extending the functions of the government. "So by the exercise of
democratic rights upon existing grounds, the capitalist society is
[according to these opportunists] gradually and without any shock
growing into Socialism."[192]

"This idyl becomes true," Kautsky says, "only if we grant that but one
side of the opposed forces [the proletariat] is growing and increasing
in strength, while the other side [the capitalists] remains immovably
fixed to the same spot." But he believes that the very contrary is the
case, that the capitalists are gaining in strength all the time, and
that the advance of the working class merely goads the capitalists on
"_to develop new powers and to discover and apply new methods of
resistance and repression_."[193]

Kautsky says that the present form of democracy, though it is to the
Socialist movement what light and air are to the organism, hinders in no
way the development of capitalism, the organization and economic powers
of which improve and increase faster than those of the working people.
"To be sure, the unions are growing," say Kautsky, "but simultaneously
and faster grows the concentration of capital and its organization into
gigantic monopolies. To be sure, the Socialist press is growing, but
simultaneously grows the partyless and characterless press that poisons
and unnerves even wider circles of people. To be sure, wages are rising,
but still faster rise the accumulations of profits. Certainly the
number of Socialist representatives in Parliament grows, but still more
rapidly sinks the significance and efficiency of this institution, while
at the same time parliamentary majorities, like the government, fall
into ever greater dependence on the powers of high finance." (Possibly
events of the past year or two mark the beginning of the waning of the
powers of monopolists, and of the partial transfer of those powers to a
capitalistic middle class; but exploitation of _the working class_
continues under such new masters no less vigorously than before.)

A recent discussion between Kautsky and the reformist leader,
Maurenbrecher, brought out some of these points very sharply.[194]
Maurenbrecher said, "In Parliament we wish to do practical work, to
secure funds for social reforms--so that step by step we may go on
toward the transformation of our class government." Kautsky replied that
while the revolutionaries wish also to do practical work in Parliament,
they can "see beyond"; and he says of Maurenbrecher's view: "This would
all be very fine, if we were alone in the world, if we could arrange our
fields of battle and our tactics to suit our taste. But we have to do
with opponents who venture everything to prevent the triumph of the
proletariat. Comrade Maurenbrecher will acknowledge, I suppose, that the
victory of the proletariat will mean the end of capitalist exploitation.
Does he expect the exploiters to look on good-naturedly while we take
one position after another and make ready for their expropriation? If
so, he lives under a mighty illusion. Imagine for a moment that our
parliamentary activity were to assume forms which threatened the
supremacy of the capitalists. What would happen? The capitalists would
try to put an end to parliamentary forms of government. In particular
they would rather do away with the universal, direct, and secret ballot
than quietly capitulate to the proletariat." As Premier von Buelow
declared while in office that he would not hesitate to take the measure
that Kautsky anticipates, we have every reason to believe that this very
_coup d'état_ is still contemplated in Germany--and we have equally good
reason to believe that if the Socialists were about to obtain a majority
in the governments of France, Great Britain, or the United States, the
capitalist class, yet in control, would be ready to abolish, not only
universal suffrage and various constitutional rights, but any and all
rights of the people that stood in the way of the maintenance of
capitalistic rule. Declarations of Briand and Roosevelt quoted in later
chapters (Part III, Chapters VI and VII) are illustrations of what might
be expected.

The same position taken by Kautsky in Germany is taken by Otto Bauer,
who seems destined to succeed Victor Adler (upon the latter's death or
retirement) as the most representative and influential spokesman of the
Austrian Party. Reviewing the political situation after the Vienna food
riots of 1911, Dr. Bauer writes:--


     "The illusion that, once having won equal suffrage, we might
     peacefully and gradually raise up the working class, proceeding
     from one 'positive result' to another, has been completely
     destroyed. In Austria, also, the road leads to the increase of
     class oppositions, to the heaping up of wealth on the one side, and
     of misery, revolt, and embitterment on the other, to the division
     of society into two hostile camps, arming and preparing themselves
     for war."[195]


Even though underlying economic forces should be found to be improving
Labor's condition at a snail's pace, instead of actually heaping up more
misery, no changes would be required in any of the other statements, or
in the conclusion of this paragraph, which, with this exception,
undoubtedly expresses the views of the overwhelming majority of
Socialists the world over.

"Democracy cannot do away with the class antagonisms of capitalist
society," says Kautsky, referring to the "State Socialist" reforms of
semidemocratic governments like those of Australia and Great Britain.
"Neither can we avoid the final outcome of these antagonisms--the
overthrow of present society. One thing it can do. It cannot abolish the
revolution, but it can avert many premature, hopeless revolutionary
attempts and render superfluous many revolutionary uprisings. It creates
clearness regarding the relative strength of the different parties and
classes."

The late Paul Lafargue stated the same principle at a recent congress of
the French Socialist Party, contending that, as long as capitalists
still control the national administration, representatives are sent by
the Socialists to the Chamber of Deputies, _not in the hope of
diminishing the power of the capitalist State to oppress, but to combat
this power, "to procure for the Party a new and more magnificent field
of battle_."

FOOTNOTES:

[178] Marx and Engels, the "Communist Manifesto."

[179] Anton Menger, "L'État Socialiste" (Paris, 1904), p. 359.

[180] August Bebel, "Woman, Past, Present, and Future" (San Francisco,
1897), p. 128.

[181] Frederick Engels, "Anti-Duhring" (3d ed., Stuttgart, 1894), p. 92.

[182] Frederick Engels, "Socialism, Utopian and Scientific," pp. 71-72.

[183] Karl Kautsky's "Erfurter Programm," p. 129.

[184] John Martin, in the _Atlantic Monthly_, September, 1908.

[185] Professor John Bates Clark, in the _Congregationalist and
Christian World_ (Boston), May 15, 1909.

[186] Otto Bauer, "Die Nationalitaeten-frage und die Sozial-demokratie,"
p. 487.

[187] _Social-Democratic Herald_, July 31, 1909.

[188] _Social-Democratic Herald_, Vol. XII, No. 5.

[189] Professor Werner Sombert, "Socialism and the Socialist Movement,"
p. 59.

[190] Jaurès, "Studies in Socialism."

[191] Kautsky, "The Road to Power," p. 101.

[192] Kautsky, "The Social Revolution," p. 66.

[193] Kautsky, "The Social Revolution," pp. 66-67.

[194] Kautsky, _International Socialist Review_, 1910.

[195] _Die Neue Zeit_, Sept. 11, 1911.



CHAPTER VII

THE REVOLUTIONARY TREND


With the exception of a few years (1899 to 1903) the revolutionary and
anti-"reformist" (not anti-reform) position of the international
movement has become stronger every year. It is a relatively short time,
not more than twenty years, since the reformists first began to make
themselves heard in the Socialist movement, and their influence
increased until the German Congress at Dresden in 1903, the
International Congress of 1904 at Amsterdam, and the definite separation
of the Socialists of France from Millerand at this time and from Briand
shortly afterwards (Chapter II). Since then their influence has rapidly
receded.

The spirit of the international movement, on the whole, is more and more
that of the great German Socialist Wilhelm Liebknecht, who advised the
party to be "always on the offensive and never on the defensive,"[196]
or of La Salle when he declared, "True political power will have to be
fought for, and cannot be bought."[197]

The revolutionary policy of the leading Socialist parties has not become
less pronounced with their growth and maturity as opponents hoped it
would. On the contrary, all the most important Socialist assemblies of
the last ten years, from the International Congress at Paris in 1900,
have reiterated or strengthened the old position. The Congress of Paris
in 1900 adopted a resolution introduced by Kautsky which declared that
the "Social Democracy has taken to itself the task of organizing the
working people into an army ready for the social war, and it must,
therefore, above all else, make sure that the working classes become
conscious of their interests and of their power." The great task of the
Socialists at the present time is the preparation of the social war of
the future, and not any effort to improve the capitalists' society. The
working classes are to be made conscious of _their own strength_--which
will surely not be brought about by any reforms which, however much they
may benefit the workers, favor equally or to a still greater degree the
capitalistic and governing classes.

The resolution continued: "The proletariat in a modern democratic State
cannot obtain political power accidentally. It can do so only when the
long and difficult work of the political and economic organization of
the proletariat is at an end, when its physical and moral regeneration
have been accomplished, and when more and more seats have been won in
municipal and other _legislative_ bodies.... But where the government is
centralized, political power cannot be obtained step by step." (The
italics are mine.)[198]

According to the proposer and mover of this resolution and its
supporters, nearly all, if not all, modern governments are at the bottom
centralized in one form or another. So the resolution amounts to saying
that political power cannot be obtained step by step. The election of
Socialist minorities in the legislatures can only be used to urge
capitalism on its work of bringing up the physical condition and
industrial productivity of the masses, and not for the purpose of
organizing and educating them with the object of seizing the reins of
power, of overthrowing capitalism, and revolutionizing the present form
of government.

The resolution adopted at the following International Congress at
Amsterdam (in 1904) was necessitated by certain ambiguities in the
former one. Yet Kautsky's explanation of his own meaning makes it quite
clear that even the Paris resolution was revolutionary in its intent,
and the Amsterdam Congresses, moreover, readopted its main proposition
that "the Social Democracy could not accept any participation in
government in capitalist society."

At this latter congress Jaurès's proposed reformist tactics were
definitely and finally rejected so that they have not even been
discussed at the later international gatherings. This was a critical
moment in the international movement; for it was about this time that
the tendency to opportunism was at its strongest, and this was the year
in which it was decided against Jaurès that all Millerands of the
future, impatient to seize immediate power in the name of Socialism, no
matter how sincerely they might hope in this way to benefit the
movement, should be looked upon as traitors to the cause. The _terms
upon which such power was secured or held_ were considered necessarily
to be such as to compromise the principles of the movement. Socialists
in high government positions, it was pointed out, by the very fact of
their acceptance of such responsibilities, become servants of a
capitalistic administration--and of the economic régime it supports.

Jaurès began his argument with the proposition that the difference
between Socialism and mere reform consisted in the fact that the former
alone worked for "a total realization of all reforms" and "the complete
transformation of capitalistic property into social property"--which is
merely the statement of Socialism as an ultimate ideal, now indorsed
even by many anti-Socialists. He next quoted Liebknecht to the effect
that there were only 200,000 individuals in Germany, and Guesde,
Jaurès's chief Socialist opponent in France, to the effect that the
number was the same in the latter country, who, on account of their
economic interests, were directly and completely opposed to Socialism;
and this being the case, he held that the task of the body of working
people already organized by the Socialists against capitalism, was
gradually to draw all but this 200,000 into the Socialist ranks. He
concluded that it was the duty of the Socialists to "ward off reaction,
to obtain reforms and to develop labor legislation" by the help of this
larger mass, which, when added to their own numbers, constituted 97 or
98 per cent of the population.

It goes without saying, replied the revolutionaries, that all Socialists
will lend their assistance to any elements of the population who are
fighting against reaction and in favor of labor legislation and reform,
but it does not follow that they should consider this the chief part of
their work, nor that they should even feel it necessary to claim that
the Socialists were _leading_ the non-Socialists in these matters.

In contrasting his section of the French Party with the German movement,
Jaurès claimed that the French were both more revolutionary than the
German, and more practical in their efforts at immediate reform. "You,"
he said, speaking to the Germans, "have neither a revolutionary nor a
parliamentary activity." He reminded them that having never had a
revolution they could not have a revolutionary tradition, that universal
suffrage had been given to them from above (by Bismarck), instead of
having been conquered from below, that they had been forced tamely to
submit when they had recently been robbed of it in Saxony. "You continue
in this way too often," he continued, "to obscure and to weaken, in the
German working class, the force of a revolutionary tradition already
too weak through historic causes." And finally he asserted that the
German Socialists, who, a year or so before this conference, had
obtained the enormous number of 3,000,000 votes, had been able to do
nothing with them in the Reichstag. He said that this was due in part to
the character of the German movement, as shaped by the circumstances of
the past, and partly to the fact that the Reichstag was powerless in the
German government, and claimed that they would have been only too glad
to follow the French reformists' course, if they could have done so,
just as their only reason for not using revolutionary measures was also
that the German government was too strong for them.

"Then," concluded Jaurès, "you do not know which road you will choose.
There was expected from you after this great victory a battle cry, a
program of action, a policy. You have explored, you have spied around,
watched events; the public's state of mind was not ripe. And then before
your own working class and before the international working class, you
masked the feebleness of your activity by taking refuge in extreme
theoretical formulas which your eminent comrade, Kautsky, will furnish
to you until the life goes out of him." As time has not yet tested
Jaurès's accusations, they cannot yet be finally disproved or proved.
The replies of his revolutionary opponents at the Congress were chiefly
counter-accusations. But the later development of the German movement
gives, as I shall show, strong reasons why Jaurès's criticisms should be
accepted as being true only of the reformist minority of the German
Party.

Jaurès referred to the British unionists as an example of the success of
reformist tactics. Bebel was able to dispose of this argument. "The
capitalists of England are the most able in the world," he said. "If
next year at the general elections English Liberalism is victorious, it
will again make one of you, perhaps John Burns, an Under Secretary of
State, not to take an advance towards Socialism, but to be able to say
to the working people that it gives them voluntarily what has been
refused after a struggle on the Continent, in order to keep the votes of
the workers." (This is just what happened.)

"Socialism," he concluded, "cannot accept a share of power; it is
obliged to wait for all of the power."

The Amsterdam resolution, passed by a large majority after this debate,
was almost identical with that which had been adopted by a vote of 288
to 11 at the German Congress at Dresden in the previous year (1903),
and although the Austrian delegates and others, nearly half the total,
had expressed a preference for a substitute of a more moderate
character, they did not hesitate, when this motion was defeated, to
indorse the more radical one that was finally adopted. And in 1909, when
this Dresden (or Amsterdam) resolution came up for discussion at the
German Congress of Leipzig, it was unanimously reaffirmed. Those
opposing it did not dare to dispute it at all in principle, but merely
expressed the mental reservation that it was qualified by another
resolution adopted at a recent Congress which had declared that the
party should be absolutely free to decide the question of _temporary_
political alliances in _elections_. As such electoral combinations,
valid only for the _second ballot_, and lapsing immediately after the
elections, had always been common, the Dresden resolution was never
meant by the majority of those voting for it to forbid them. Its purpose
was only to insist that the object of the Socialists must always be
social revolution and not reform, since, to use its own words, supreme
political power "cannot be obtained step by step."

"The Congress condemns most emphatically," the Dresden resolution
declared, "the revisionist attempt to alter our hitherto victorious
policy, a policy based upon the class struggle; just as in the past _we
shall go on achieving power by conquering our enemies, not by
compromising with the existing order of things_." (My italics.) In a
recent letter widely quoted by the continental press, August Bebel
contended that in Germany at least the Social Democracy and the other
political parties have grown farther and farther apart during the last
fifty years. While Bebel claims that Socialists support every form of
progress, he insists that nevertheless they remain fundamentally opposed
even to the Liberal parties, for the reason, as he explained at the Jena
Congress (1905), that "_an opposition party can, on the whole, have no
decisive influence until it gains control of the government_," that
until the Socialists themselves have a majority, governments could be
controlled only by an alliance with non-Socialist parties. "If you (the
Socialist Party) want to have that kind of an influence," said Bebel,
"then stick your program in your pocket, leave the standpoint of your
principles, concern yourself only with purely practical things, and you
will be cordially welcome as allies." (Italics mine.) At the Nuremburg
Congress (1908) he said: "We shall reach our goal, not through little
concessions, through creeping on the ground, and coming down to the
masses in this way, but by raising the masses up to us, by inspiring
them with our great aims."

Another question arose in the German Party which at the bottom involved
the same principles. It had been settled that Socialists could not
accept a share in any non-Socialist administration, no matter how
progressive it might be. But if a social reform government is ready to
grant one or more measures much desired by Socialists, shall the latter
vote the new taxes necessary for these measures, thus affording new
resources to a hostile government, and shall it further support the
annual budget of the administration, thus extending the powers of the
capitalist party that happens to be in power? The Socialist policy, it
is acknowledged, has hitherto been to vote for these individual reforms,
but never to prolong the life of an existing non-Socialist government.
The fundamental question, says Kautsky, _is to whom is the budget
granted_, and not _what measures are proposed_. "To grant the budget,"
he says, "means to give the government the right to raise the taxes
provided for; it means to put into the hands of the governor the control
of hundreds of millions of money, as well as hundreds of thousands of
people, laborers and officeholders, who are paid out of these millions."
That is to say, the Socialist Party, according to the reasoning of
Kautsky and the overwhelming majority of Socialists, wherever it has
become a national factor of the first importance, must remain an
opposition party--until the main purpose for which it exists has been
accomplished; namely, the capture of the government, and for this
purpose it must make every effort to starve out one administration after
another by refusing supplies. At the National Congress at Nuremburg in
1908 it was decided by a two-thirds vote that in no one of the
confederated governments of Germany would Socialists be allowed to vote
for any government other than that of their own party, no matter how
radical it might be, unless under altogether extraordinary
circumstances, such as are not likely to occur. Some of the delegates of
South Germany said that they would not be bound by this decision, but
later a number expressed their willingness to accede to it, while others
of them were forced to do so by the local congresses of their own party.

This question was brought up at the German Congress at Leipzig in 1909.
The parties in possession of the government had proposed a graduated
inheritance tax, which nearly all Socialists approve. Moreover, a _part_
of the taxes of the year would be used for social reforms. Favoring as
they did the change in the method of taxation, would the Socialist
members of the Reichstag be justified in voting for the proposed tax at
the third reading? All agreed that it was well to express their friendly
attitude to this form of tax at the earlier readings, but approval at
the third reading might have the effect of finally turning over a new
sum of money to an unfriendly government; although it would be collected
from the wealthier classes alone, it might be expended largely for
anti-democratic purposes. The revolutionaries, with whom stood the
chairman of the convention, the late Paul Singer, were against voting
for the tax on the third reading, for they argued that if the Socialists
granted an increased income to a hostile government merely because they
were pleased with the form of the taxes proposed, it might become
possible in the future for capitalist governments to secure Socialist
financial support in raising the money for any kind of reactionary
measures merely by proving that they were not obtaining the means for
carrying them out from the working people.

Half of the members of the Parliamentary group, on the other hand,
decided in favor of voting for the tax on the third reading, the
reformists largely on the ground that it would furnish the means for
social reforms, Bebel and others, however, on the entirely different
ground that if the upper classes had to pay the bill for imperialism and
militarism, the increase of expenditures on armaments would not long
continue.

The "radical" Socialists represented by Ledebour proposed that not one
penny should be granted the Empire except in return for true
constitutional government by the Kaiser. Certainly this was not asking
too much, even though it would constitute a political revolution, for
the majority of the whole Reichstag afterwards adopted a resolution
proposed by Ledebour demanding such guarantees. In other words, he would
make all other questions second to that of political power--no economic
reform whatever being a sufficient price to compensate for turning aside
from the effort to obtain democratic government, _i.e._ more power.

Bebel, however, said he would have voted for the bill if he had been
present, though he made it clear both at this and at the succeeding
congress that he had no intention of affording the least support to a
capitalistic administration (see below).

It appears that Bebel's position on this matter is really the more
radical. Ledebour and Singer seemed to feel that the further
democratization of the government depends on Socialist pressure. The
more revolutionary view is that capitalism in Germany, with the
irresponsible Kaiser, the unequal Reichstag election districts, the
anti-democratic suffrage law and constitution in Prussia, is
impregnable--but that the progressive capitalists may themselves force
the reactionaries to take certain steps toward democracy in order to
check absolutism, bureaucracy, church influence, agrarian legislation,
and certain excesses of militarism. (See the previous chapter.) The
position of the "radicals" was that capitalism was so profoundly
reactionary that even the shifting of the burdens of taxation for
military purposes to capitalist shoulders should not check it. Bebel's
view was more revolutionary. For even conceding to capitalism the
possibility of checking armaments and ending wars, and of establishing
semidemocratic governments on the French or English models, he finds the
remainder of the indictment against it quite sufficient to justify the
most revolutionary policy.

However, the main question was not really involved at this Congress. A
government might be supported on this tax question and the support be
withdrawn later when it came to a critical vote on the budget as a
whole, or on some other favorable occasion.

It was only at the Congress at Magdeburg, in 1910, that the latter
question was finally disposed of. The Magdeburg Congress not only
reaffirmed the revolutionary policy previously decided upon by the
German and International Congresses already mentioned, but it also
showed that the revolutionary majority, stronger and more determined
than ever, was ready and able to carry out its intention of forcing the
reformist minority to follow the revolutionary course. This congress,
besides more accurately defining the view of the revolutionary majority,
made clearer than ever the profound differences of opinion in the
Socialist camp. The subject under discussion was: Can a Socialist party
support a relatively progressive capitalist government by voting for the
budget when no fatal danger threatens the party's existence, such as
some _coup d'état_? Seventeen of the twenty Socialist members of the
Legislature of Baden, without any such excuse, had supported a more or
less progressive government and kept it in power, the very action that
had been so often forbidden.

The importance of this act of revolt lay in the fact that the government
the Socialists had supported, however progressive it might be, was
frankly anti-Socialist. On several occasions the Prime Minister, Herr
von Bodman, has made declarations of the most hostile character, as, for
instance, that no employee of the government could be a Social-Democrat,
and that the local officials should make reports of the personnel of the
army recruits "so that those of Social-Democratic leanings could be
properly attended to." After one of these declarations, even the
Socialist members of the legislature who had previously planned to vote
for the government, were repelled, and decided that was impossible to
carry out their intentions. The Prime Minister thereupon made a
conciliatory speech for the purpose of once more obtaining this vote.
But even this speech was by no means free from the most marked hostility
to Socialism. "To portray the Social-Democracy as a mere disease is not
correct," said he; "it is to be cast aside in so far as it fights the
monarchy and the political order. But, on the other hand, it is a
tremendous movement for the uplift of the fourth estate, and therefore
it deserves recognition."

It will be seen that the Prime Minister withdrew nothing of his previous
accusations. But the Baden Social-Democrats finally decided that, if
they did not support him, some important reforms would be lost,
especially a proposed improvement of the suffrage for town and township
officials. This was not a very radical advance, for even the
_Frankfurter Zeitung_, a strongly anti-Socialist organ, wrote that "from
the standpoint of consistent Liberalism the bill left so many
aspirations and so many just demands unfulfilled that even the parties
of the left, not to speak of the Social-Democrats, would be justified in
declining to pass the measure."

Indeed the South German reformists do not really pretend that it is any
one particular reform that justifies laying aside or temporarily
subordinating the fight against capitalist government. At the Nuremburg
Congress in 1908 the ground given for an act of this kind was that if
Socialists did not vote for that budget particularly, a large number of
the officials and workingmen employed by the government would fail to
receive the raise of wages or salary that it offered. Herr Frank,
spokesman of the Baden Party, now defended the capitalist government of
Baden and the Socialist action in supporting it, on the general ground
that _advantages could thus be secured for the working classes_. Of
course, this brings up immediately the question: if moderate material
advantages are all the working people are striving for, why cannot some
other party which has more _power_ than the Socialists give still more
of these advantages? Indeed, the fact that all these reforms were
supported by capitalist parties and were allowed to pass by a frankly
capitalistic government (progressive, no doubt, but anti-Socialist),
gives this government and these parties a superior claim to the credit
of having brought the reforms about.

What were "the advantages for the struggle of the working class" that
Frank and his associates could obtain by voting for the Baden Budget of
1910--besides the extension of the suffrage? First importance was placed
upon school reforms. Several religious normal schools were abolished;
women were permitted to serve on municipal committees for school affairs
and charities; the wages of teachers were somewhat increased; school
girls were given an extra year; physicians were introduced into the
schools; and a law was passed by which, for the first time, children
were no longer forced to take religious instruction against the will of
their parents. Social-Democrats in the legislature were allowed for the
first time to write the reports for important committees, such as those
on the schools, factory inspection, and town or township taxation. Aside
from these considerable improvements in the schools and in the election
law, the only advantage of importance was a decrease of the income tax
for those who earn less than 1400 marks ($350). One might have expected
that a government which claims to be progressive, to say nothing of
being radical or Socialistic, would altogether have exempted from
taxation incomes as small as $350--modest even for Germany. Frank
mentions also that 100,000 marks ($20,000) was appropriated for
insurance against unemployment, but this sum is trifling for a State the
size of Baden.

It was not denied by the radical Socialists that such measures are
desirable, but they did not feel that it was worth while, on that
account, to lay aside their main business, that of building up a
movement to overthrow capitalist government. As I have shown, capitalist
governments may be expected continually to inaugurate programs of
reform which, while strengthening capitalism, are incidentally of more
or less benefit to the working class. This is neither any part of
Socialism, nor does it tend towards decreasing the economic disparity
between the classes.

"If small concessions and trifles have been referred to," said the
revolutionary Karl Liebknecht, "it must not be understood that by this
it is meant to undervalue the practical work of the Badenese, but that
what has been attained is considered to be small, when measured by the
greatness of our aims. The so-called radicals, these are the true
reformers, the realistic political reformers who do not overlook the
forest on account of the trees."

Bebel, in two long speeches delivered at this Congress, defined the
Socialist attitude to existing governments and existing political
parties in a way that no longer leaves it possible that any earnest
student of Socialism can misunderstand it. He was supported by the
overwhelming majority of the Congress when he said that the policy of
the Baden Social-Democrats meant practically the support of the National
Liberals; that is to say, of the conservative party of the large
capitalists. The Socialists of Germany all consider that the parties
nearest related to theirs are the Radical or small capitalist parties,
formerly called the "Freethinkers" and the "People's" parties
(Freisinnige and Volkspartei) and now united under the name Progressive
Party. But a tacit alliance with these alone could not have been brought
about in Baden, so that the Socialists there favored going so far as to
ally themselves for all practical purposes with the chief organization
representing the bankers, manufactures, and employers--with the object,
of course, of overcoming the conservatives, the Catholic and
aristocratic parties.

"Now all of a sudden we hear that our tactics are false, that we must
ally ourselves with the National Liberals," said Bebel. "_We even have
National Liberals in our party.... But if one is a National Liberal,
then one must get out._ The Badenese speak of the great results which
they have obtained with the help of the Great Alliance [_i.e._ an
alliance with both National Liberals and Radicals]. Now results which
are reached with the help of the National Liberals don't bring us very
far.

"If we combine with capitalistic parties, you can bet a thousand to one
that we are the losers by it. It is, so to speak, a law of nature, that
in a combination of the right and the left the right draws the profits.
Such a combination cripples criticism and places us under obligations."

"_The government can well conciliate the exploited classes in case of
necessity, but never with a fundamental social transformation in the
direction of the socialization of society._" The reader must here avoid
confusion. Bebel does not say that the ruling class cannot or will not
bring about great legislative and political reforms, such as large
governmental undertakings of more or less benefit to every class of the
community, like canals or railways, but that such measures as are
_conceded to the Socialist pressure_ and at _the same time actually work
in the direction of Socialism are few and insignificant_. Bebel's
meaning is clear if we remember that we do not move towards Socialism
unless the reforms when taken together are sufficient both _to
counteract governmental changes and the automatic movement of society in
the opposite direction_.

Frank tried to make out that his action and that of his companions in
allying themselves with a progressive capitalist government was similar
to that taken by the Socialists in other countries. He mentioned
Denmark, England, and Austria, and one of the governments of Switzerland
(Berne), and also claimed that the Belgians would probably support a
Liberal government in case they and the Liberals gained a majority. All
these statements except one (that concerning England) Bebel denied. We
do not need to take his interpretation of the Austrian situation,
however, any more than Frank's, for an Austrian delegate, Schrammel, was
present and explained the position of his party. "If we voted for the
immediate consideration of the budget, we voted only for taking up the
question and not for the budget itself.... I declare on this occasion
that the comrades can rest assured as to our conduct in the Austrian
Parliament, that we would under no circumstances vote for a budget
without having the consent of our comrades in the realm. We will not act
independently, but will always submit ourselves to the decisions of the
majority taken for that particular occasion." It would seem from this
that the Austrians are considering the possibility of voting for the
budget under certain circumstances. But the Germans would also do this
much, and it is uncertain whether the cases in which the Austrians would
take this action would be any more frequent.

As to the English attitude, Bebel said: "The English cannot serve us as
a model for all things, first because England has quite other
conditions, and secondly, because there is no great Social-Democratic
Party there at the present moment. Marx would no longer point to trade
unions there as the champions of the European proletariat. From 1871
Marx showed the German Social-Democracy that it was its duty to take the
lead. We have done this, and we will continue to do it, if we are
sensible." As to Denmark, Bebel said that he was assured by one of the
most prominent representatives of the Danish movement that even if the
Socialists and Radicals had secured a majority in the recent elections,
that the former would not have become a part of the administration.
France had also been mentioned by some of the speakers, since Jaurès and
his wing of the French Party had at one time favored the policy of
supporting a progressive capitalist government. But Bebel reminded the
Congress that Jaurès had expressly declared that he had not been
persuaded to vote against the budget by the resolution to that effect
passed at the International Congress of Amsterdam, but that, after a
long hesitation, he did it "out of his own free conviction."

Bebel did not hesitate to condemn roundly those who were responsible for
this latest effort to lead the party to abandon its principles. He did
not deny that a majority of the organization in Baden and also in Hesse
agreed with its representatives. But he attributed this partly to the
fact that the revisionists controlled the Baden party newspapers, which
he accused of being partisan and of not giving full information, and
partly to the regrettable influence of "leaders." Similar conditions
occur internationally, and Bebel's words, like so much that was said and
done at this Congress, have the highest international significance.

"The peoples cannot at all grasp why one still supports a government
which one would prefer to set aside to-day rather than to-morrow," he
said. "A part of our leaders no longer understand, and no longer know
what the masses have to suffer. You have estranged yourselves too much
from the masses.

"Formerly it was said that the consuls should take care that the state
suffers no harm. _To-day one must say, let the masses take care that the
leaders prepare no harm. Democratic distrust against everybody, even
against me, is necessary. Attend to your editors._" These expressions,
like the others I have quoted, received the greatest applause from the
Congress.

It was almost unanimously agreed that, although the Socialist members of
the Baden legislature had acted against the decision of the previous
Nuremburg Congress, it was neither wise nor necessary to proceed so far
as expulsion, and Bebel especially was in favor of acting as leniently
as possible, but this does not mean that he found the slightest excuse
for the minority or that he failed to let them understand that he would
fight them to the end, if they did not yield in the future to the
radical majority.


     "If a few among us should be mad enough," he said, "to think of a
     split, I know it is not coming. The masses will have nothing to do
     with it, and if a small body should follow, it would not take three
     months until we would have them again in our armies. Our friends in
     South Germany who are against our resolution ought to ask
     themselves if, since the Nuremburg Congress, there has not appeared
     a noteworthy reversal of sentiment. Now to-day North Bavaria is
     thoroughly against the granting of the budget. Nuremburg is
     decidedly against it. Stuttgarters and others who spoke at that
     time occupied an entirely different standpoint to-day. The Hessian
     minority against the granting of the budget was never as strong as
     it is to-day. In Hanover voices are to be heard which expressed
     themselves very differently before, but are now also against it. If
     anybody thinks that he can easily escape from all these phenomena,
     then he is mightily mistaken. I guarantee that I could draw out
     quite another sentiment in Baden." "Try once!" it was called out
     from the audience, and Bebel answered: "Yes, we are ready to do
     this if we must. The proletarians of Baden would have to be no
     proletarians at all if it were otherwise."


The principal resolution on the question, signed by a large minority of
the Congress, proposed that any persons who voted for a budget by that
very act automatically "stood outside the party." Bebel said that this
was not the customary method of the organization, and pointed out that
no means were provided in the constitution of the party for throwing out
a whole group, that the constitution had been drawn up only for
individuals, and provided that any one to be expelled should receive a
very thorough trial. As opposed to this resolution, he offered a report
in the name of the executive committee of the party, which stated,
however, that there was no fundamental difference of opinion between the
executive and the signers of the resolution above mentioned, but only a
difference as to method.

This report declared: "We are of the opinion that in case the resolution
of the party executive is passed, and notwithstanding this the
resolution is not respected, that then the conditions are present for a
trial for exclusion according to Article 23 of the organization
statutes." This article says: "No one can belong to the party who is
guilty of gross misconduct against the party program or of a
dishonorable action. Exclusion of a member may also take place if his
persistent acts against the resolutions of his party organization or of
the party congress damage the interests of the party."

The passage of Bebel's resolution, by a vote of 289 to 80, was an
emphatic repudiation of reformism. In the minority, besides the South
Germans, were to be found a considerable proportion of the delegates
from a very few of the many important cities of North Germany, namely,
Hanover, Dresden, Breslau, and Magdeburg, together with an insignificant
minority from Berlin and Hamburg.

The South Germans claimed to be fairly well satisfied with the somewhat
conciliatory resolution of Bebel in spite of his strong talk. But, as
has been the case for many years, they were very aggressive and, in
closing the debate, Frank made some declarations which brought the
Congress to take even a stronger stand than Bebel had proposed.


     "To-day I say to you in the name of the South Germans," said Frank,
     "that we have the very greatest interest in union and harmony in
     the party. We will do our duty in this direction, but no one of us
     can declare to you to-day what will happen in the budget votings of
     the next few years. That is a question of conditions." This remark
     caused a great disturbance and was taken by the majority as a
     defiance and a warning that the South Germans intended to support
     capitalistic governments in the future. In fact, other remarks by
     Frank left no doubt of this. "In Nuremburg," he said "we rested our
     case on the contents of certain points of the budget, namely, the
     increase of the wages of laborers, and the salaries of officials.
     This time we gave the political situation as a ground. These are,
     as Bebel will concede, different things."... Frank went on to say
     that he and his associates would obey the resolution of the
     Congress not to vote for the budget _under the particular
     conditions_ proscribed at Nuremburg or at Magdeburg. "But," he
     said, "do you believe that there ever exists a situation in the
     world which is exactly like another? Do you believe that a budget
     vote to-day must absolutely be like a budget vote two years from
     now?"


That is to say, Frank openly and defiantly announced that the South
Germans might easily find some new reason for doing what they wanted to
do in the future, in spite of the clear will of the Congress.

A new resolution was then brought in by the majority to this effect: "In
view of the declaration of Comrade Frank in his conclusion that he and
his friends must take exception to the position taken in the resolution
of the Congress, we move that the following sentence from the
declaration of Comrade Bebel in support of the motion of the party
executive should be raised to the position of a resolution; namely, 'We
are of the opinion that in case the resolution of the party executive is
passed, and notwithstanding the resolution is disrespected, that then
the conditions are present for a trial for exclusion according to
article 23 of the organization statutes.'"

When this motion was put, Frank and the South Germans left the room, and
it was carried by 228 to 64, the minority this time consisting mostly of
North Germans. This vote showed the very highest number that could be
obtained from other sections to sympathize with the South Germans; for
the resolution in its finally accepted form was certainly a very sharp
one, and Richard Fisher, a member of the Reichstag from Berlin, and
others for the first time took a stand with the minority. It is
doubtful, however, whether the total support the South Germans secured
at any and all points together with their own numbers reached as high a
figure as 120 or one third of the Congress. In the matter of their right
openly to disobey the majority, the Baden Party could not even secure
this vote, but was only able to bring together against the majority
(consisting of 301) seventy-one delegates, nearly all South Germans.

It appears, then, that the overwhelming majority of the German Party is
unalterably opposed to "reformism," "revisionism," opportunism,
compromise, or any policy other than that of revolutionary Socialism.
For not only the question of supporting capitalist governments, but all
similar policies, were condemned by these decisive majorities.

How much this means may be gathered from the fact that "revisionists" as
the "reformists" are called in Germany, practically propose that the
Socialist Party should resolve itself for an indefinite period into an
ordinary democratic reform party in close alliance with other
non-Socialist parties.

"The weightiest step on the road to power," wrote the revisionist
Maurenbrecher, "is that we should succeed in the coming Reichstag in
shaping the Liberal and Social-Democratic majority (formed) for defense
against the conservatives, into a positive and effective working
majority." In discussing the support of the budget by the
Social-Democrats of Baden, Quessel explained definitely what kind of
positive and effective work such an alliance would be expected to
undertake; namely, "To fight personal government [of the Kaiser], to
protect earnestly the interest of the consumers against the exploiting
agrarian politicians, to undertake limitations of armaments on the basis
of international treaties, to introduce a new division of the election
districts [which has not been done since 1871], and to bring about a
legal limitation of the hours of labor to ten at the most." Already the
radical parties now united, favor all these measures except the
limitation of armaments, which from the analogy with peace movements in
other countries, and certain indications even in Germany, they may favor
within a very few years. Quessel's program is that of the non-Socialist
reformers, and a step, not towards Socialism, but towards collectivist
capitalism.

Karl Kautsky has dealt with the immediate bearing in German Socialism of
what he calls "the Baden rebellion," at some length, in answer to
Maurenbrecher, Quessel, and others. "The idea of an alliance from
Bassermann [the National Liberal leader] to Bebel appears at the first
glance to be quite reasonable," he writes, for "divided we are nothing,
united we are a power. And the immediate interest of the Liberals and of
the Social-Democrats is the same: 'the transformation of Germany from a
bureaucratic feudal state into a constitutional, parliamentary, Liberal,
and industrial State.'" Kautsky, however, combats the proposed alliance,
from the standpoint of the Social-Democratic Party, along three
different lines. First, he shows that the purposes of the Liberals in
entering into such a combination are entirely at variance with those of
the Socialists; second, that the Liberals are discredited before the
German people and are not likely to have the principle or the capacity
even to obtain those limited reforms which they have set on their
program, and, third, that even if the two former reasons did not hold,
the Socialists would necessarily have everything to lose by such common
action.

The second argument seems to prove too much. Kautsky reasons that
neither the Radical not the Liberal parties can be relied upon even to
carry out their own platforms:--


     "The masses now trust the Social Democracy exclusively because it
     is the only party which stands in irreconcilable hostility to the
     reigning régime, which does not treat with it, which does not sell
     principles for offices; the only one which swings into the field
     energetically against militarism, personal government, the
     three-class election system, the hunger tyranny [the protective
     tariff]. On this depends the tremendous efficiency which our party
     has to-day. On this depends the great results which it promises
     us.... The whole effect of the Great Alliance policy [the proposed
     alliance of Socialists with the Radicals and National Liberals], if
     ever it became possible in the nation, at the best would be this:
     that we would serve to the Liberals as the step on which they would
     climb up into the government crib, in order to continue the same
     reactionary policies which are now being carried on, with a few
     unimportant variations: imperialism, the naval policy, increase of
     the army, the increase of officials, the continuation of the
     protective tariff policy, and the postponement of Prussian
     electoral reforms."


But if the Liberals and Radicals refuse to carry out their own pledges,
the conclusion would seem to be, not Kautsky's revolutionary one, but
that the Socialists, far from stopping with a mere alliance, must take
up the Liberals' or the Radicals' functions, as the "reformists" desire.
However, there are strong grounds for believing that the Liberals in
Germany will at last rise to the level of their own opportunities, as
they have done in other countries. Already, the last Reichstag passed a
resolution demanding that the Kaiser should be held responsible to that
body, which means an end to personal rule; already the Radicals are in
favor of Prussian electoral reform, and would undertake sweeping, if not
satisfactory, changes in the tariff; and already the agitation against
militarism is sincere and profound among those powerful elements of the
capitalists whose interests are damaged by it, as well as among the "new
middle-class." If the present tendencies continue, why may not the
Radicals go farther? Is it not probable even that the Reichstag election
districts will be equalized, and possible that equal suffrage in Prussia
will be established by their support? For if the Radicals recognized,
like those of other countries, that equal suffrage would render the
reforms of capitalist collectivism feasible, they could considerably
increase their vote by means of these reforms and hold the balance of
power for a considerable period; the Socialists would be far from a
majority, as they would thus lose those supporters who have voted with
them solely because for the moment the Socialists were advancing the
Radical program more effectively than the Radicals.

The chief Socialist argument against any political alliance with
capitalist parties is, however, of a more general character. Referring
to the elections of 1912, Kautsky said:--


     "How far they will bring us an increase in seats cannot be
     determined to-day.... But an increase of votes is certain--if we
     remain what we have been, the deadly enemy of the existing social
     and political condition, which is oppressing the masses more
     cruelly all the time, and for the overthrow of which they are all
     the time more ardently longing. If, on the other hand, we go into
     the electoral struggle arm in arm with the Freethinkers (Radicals)
     or even with the National Liberals, if we make ourselves their
     _accomplices_, if we declare ourselves ready for the same miserable
     behavior which the Freethinkers made themselves guilty of by
     entering into an alliance with von Buelow, we may disillusion the
     masses; we may push them from us and kill political life. If the
     Social Democracy ceases to be an opposition party, if even this
     party is ready to betray its friends as soon as it becomes by such
     means "capable of governing," those who are oppressed by
     present-day conditions will lose all confidence in progress by
     political struggle; then we shall be sowing on the one side the
     seeds of political indifference and on the other those of an
     anarchistical labor unionism." (Italics mine.)[199]


Here is the generally accepted reason for the Socialist's radical
attitude. In most countries Socialists are unwilling to make themselves
_accomplices_ in what they consider to be the political crimes of all
existing governments. Especially do they feel that no reform to which
the capitalists would conceivably consent would justify any alliance.
The inevitable logic of Kautsky's own position is that, _even if the
liberals in Germany and elsewhere do undertake a broad program of
reform_, including all those Kautsky mentions as improbable, no
sufficient ground for an alliance is at hand.

Kautsky himself now admits that there seems to be a revival of genuine
capitalistic Liberalism in Germany, which may lead the Liberal parties
to become more and more radical and even ultimately to democratize that
country--with the powerful aid, of course, of the Social-Democrats.
Evidence of this possibility he saw both in the support given by
Liberals of all shades to Socialist candidates in many of the second
ballots (in the election of 1912) and the fact that Bebel secured the
overwhelming majority of Liberal votes as temporary President, while
another revolutionary Socialist, Scheidemann, was actually elected by
their aid as first temporary Vice President of the Reichstag.

Kautsky asserts cautiously that this denotes a _possible_ revolution in
German Liberalism. He again mentions Imperialism as the great issue that
forbids even temporary coöperation between Socialists and the most
advanced of the Radicals. But he admits that the rapid development of
China and other Eastern countries will probably check the profits to be
made by Europe and America from their economic development. And after
Imperialism begins to wane in popularity among certain of the middle
classes, _i.e._ the salaried and professional classes, he thinks the
latter _may_ turn to genuine democratic, though capitalistic,
Liberalism.[200]

He reaches this conclusion with some hesitation, however. These new
middle classes differ fundamentally from the older middle classes, which
were composed chiefly of small farmers, shopkeepers, and artisans. The
old middle classes, when they found themselves in a hopeless position,
have often joined with the proletariat to bring about revolutions, only
to betray it, however, after they had won. The new middle class is most
dependent on the large capitalists for favor and promotion, and so is
not in the least revolutionary. It does not care to fight with the
proletariat until the latter becomes very strong, but when victory seems
possible, by a concerted action will be ready, because of its lack of
property, to stand steadfastly for Socialism.

The question remains as to when such a Socialist victory will be
imminent. Kautsky holds that as soon as Imperialism fails as a
propaganda, the ground is ready for Socialism to flourish, and that the
new middle class then divides into two parts, one of which remains
reactionary, while the other becomes Socialistic (_Berliner Vorwaerts_,
February 25, 1912).

I have shown that after Imperialism, on the contrary, we may expect a
temporarily successful Liberal policy based on capitalistic
collectivism, and even on complete political democracy, where the small
farmers are sufficiently numerous. This view would accord with the
latest opinion of Kautsky, except that he expects the new policy to be
supported chiefly by the salaried and professional classes. I have
proved, on the contrary, that it is to the economic interest also of all
those capitalists, whether large or small, who are deeply rooted in the
capitalist system and therefore want its evolution to continue. In favor
of "State Socialism," therefore, will be found most active trust
magnates, the prosperous middle and upper groups of farmers, and those
remaining capitalists who either through their economic or through
their _political_ position have no cause to be alarmed at the present
concentration of capital. Against the collectivist tendency will be all
those capitalists who want to compete with trusts, city landlords, and
real estate dealers, and financial magnates whose power consists largely
in their control over the wealth of inactive large capitalists or small
investors.

Kautsky has begun to see that a progressive capitalistic policy _may_
take hold of the professional and salaried classes in Germany; he would
probably not deny that in many other countries it is being taken up by
certain groups of capitalists also, and that this same tendency may soon
be seen in Germany. And when it is, the German Socialists will obviously
be less anxious about the fate of much-needed reforms, will find
themselves able more frequently to trust these reforms to capitalistic
progressives, and will give themselves over more largely than ever to
the direct preparation of the masses for the overthrow of capitalist
government.

That is to say, the Socialist movement, like all the other forces of
individual and social life, becomes more aggressive as it becomes
stronger--and it is, indeed, inexplicable how the opposite view has
spread among its opponents.

Not only does it seem that the German movement is showing little or no
tendency to relax the radical nature of its demands, but it does not
appear that its enemies are, for the present at least, to be given the
satisfaction of seeing even a minority split off from the main body.
That a split may occur in the future is not improbable, but if the
movement continues to grow as it has grown, it can afford to lose many
minorities, just as it has suffered comparatively little damage from the
desertion of several prominent individual figures.

It is true that the division of opinion in the Party might now be
sharper but for the artificial unity created by the great fight for a
more democratic form of government that lies immediately ahead. If the
needed reforms are granted without any very revolutionary proceedings on
the part of the Socialists, as similar reforms were granted in Austria,
the Party might then conceivably divide into two parts, in which case it
is probable that a majority of the four million Socialist _voters_ might
go with the anti-revolutionist and reform wing, but it is equally
probable that a large majority of the Party members--now nearly a
million (including women)--would go with the revolutionists. In case of
a split, the reform wing of the party, already in the friendliest
relations with the non-Socialist radicals, would doubtless join with
them to constitute a very powerful, semidemocratic party, similar to the
Radicals and Labourites of Great Britain or the so-called "Socialist
Radicals" and "Independent Socialists," who dominate the Parliament of
France. Besides a difference in ideals, which counts for little in
practical politics,--for nothing, in the extremely opportunist policies
of the "reformists,"--the only difference of importance between them is
in their attitude towards militarism and war. If peace is firmly
established with France, it is difficult to see what can keep the
reformers and the "reformists" of Germany much longer apart.

A more or less "State Socialistic" Party, such as would result from this
fusion would, of course, involve concessions by both sides. While the
non-Socialist "reformers" would have to adopt a more aggressive attitude
in their fight for a certain measure of democracy and against
militarism, and would have to be ready to defend the rights of the more
conservative labor unions, the "reformists" would have to take up a
still more active interest in colonies and still further their
republicanism. Many of them have already gone far in these directions.
Colonialism even had the upper hand among the Germans at the Stuttgart
Congress (1907); and the tendency of the South Germans to break the
Socialist tradition and tacitly to accept monarchy by participation in
court functions is one of the most common causes of recrimination in the
German Party. It is difficult, then, to see how these two movements can
long keep apart. The only question is whether, when the time comes,
individuals or minorities will leave the Socialist Party for this
purpose, or whether in some of the States the Party organization will be
captured as a whole, leaving only a minority to form a new Socialist
Party.


     "It is a well-known fact," says W. C. Dreher, expressing the
     prevalent view of the German movement, "that, for some years, many
     voters have been helping those who by no means subscribe to the
     Socialists' creed,--doing so as the most effective means of
     protecting against the general policy of the government. It is
     equally certain that a large part of the regular Socialist
     membership is composed of discontented men who have but a lukewarm
     interest in collectivism, or believe that it can never be
     realized.... If a change should come over Germany, if Prussia
     should get rid of its plutocratic suffrage reform and give real
     ballot reform, if the protective duties should be reduced in the
     interest of the poorest class of consumers,--it may be safely
     assumed that the tide of Socialism would soon begin to ebb."[201]

     If Mr. Dreher had added the reduction of military burdens to tariff
     reform and equal Reichstag election districts, an extended suffrage
     for Prussia, and a responsible ministry, there would have been at
     least this truth in his statement--that _if all these things were
     accomplished_, the tide of Socialist _votes_ would for the moment
     be checked. His interpretation of the situation, however, is
     typical of the illogical statements now so commonly made concerning
     the growth of the German movement. That political tide which is
     wrongly assumed to be wholly Socialist would indeed be suddenly and
     greatly checked; but there is no reason to suppose that the
     Socialist tide proper, as indicated by growth of the Socialist
     Party membership, would be checked, nor that the Socialist vote
     even, after having been purified of the accidental accretions,
     which are its greatest hindrance, would rise less rapidly than
     before.


The German Socialist situation is important internationally for the
decisive defeat of the "revisionists," and for the light it throws on
party unity, but it is still more important for the _means_ that have
been adopted for preserving that unity. If Socialist parties are to
reconstruct society, they must first control their own members in all
matters of common concern, especially those who are elected to public
office. For before a new society can arise against the resistance of the
old, the Socialist parties, according to the prevailing Socialist view,
must form a "State within a State."

This principle is soon to be put to a severe test in the United States.
The policy which says that the Socialist movement must be directed by
organized Socialists, who can be taxed, called on for labor, or expelled
by the Party, and not by mere voters, over whom the Party has no
control, becomes of the first moment when forms and methods of
organization are prescribed for all parties by law. By the primary laws
of a number of States, anybody who for any reason has voted for
Socialist candidates may henceforth have a voice not only in selecting
candidates, but in forming the party organization, and in constructing
its platform. In some States even, any citizen may vote at any primary
he pleases. This makes it possible for capitalist politicians to direct
or disrupt the Socialist Party at any moment, until the time arrives
when it has secured a majority or a very large part of the electorate,
not only as Socialist voters, but as members of the Socialist
organization. As Socialists do not expect this to happen for some years
to come, or until the social revolution is at hand, it is evident that
this new legislation may destroy Socialist parties as they have been,
and necessitate the direction of Socialist politics by leagues or
political committees of Socialist labor unions--while the present
Socialist parties become Populist or Labor parties of the Australian
type. _This might create a revolution for the better in that it would
free the new Socialist organization from office seeking and other forms
of political corruption._ But it would at the same time mark the
complete abandonment of the present Socialist method, _i.e._ the strict
control of all persons elected to office by an independent organization
which in turn controls its conditions of admission to membership.

One of the most widely circulated of the leaflets issued from the
national headquarters of the American Socialist Party, entitled
"Socialist Methods" appeals for public support largely on the ground
that "in nominating candidates for public offices the Socialists require
the nominee to sign a resignation of the office with blank date, which
is placed in the hands of the local organization to be dated and
presented to the proper officer in case the candidate be elected and
fails to adhere to the platform, constitution, or mandates of the
membership."

The newer primary laws taken in connection with the recall, as practiced
in many American cities and several States, threaten this most valuable
of all Socialist methods and may even undermine the Socialist Party as
at present organized. The initiative in this process of disruption
comes, of course, from Socialist officeholders who owe either their
nomination or their election or both, in part at least, to declared
non-Socialists, and still more largely to voters who only partially or
occasionally support the Socialist Party and have no connection with the
organization.

Thus, Mayor Stitt Wilson of Berkeley, California, has refused to comply
with this custom of executing an undated resignation from office in
advance of election, and the local organization has defended his action
on the ground that the "Berkeley municipal charter, providing as it does
for the initiative, referendum, and recall, there is no necessity for
any official placing his resignation in the hands of the local,"
ignoring the fact that a handful of the least Socialistic of those who
had voted for Mr. Wilson in coöperation with his opponents could defeat
a recall unanimously indorsed by the Socialist Party. According to this
principle a mere majority in the Socialist Party would be helpless
against a mayor who is allowed to make his appeal to the far more
numerous non-Socialist and anti-Socialist public.

As the custom of requiring signed resignations, by which alone the
Socialist Party controls its members in public office, is not yet
prescribed by the Party constitution, local and state organizations have
a large measure of autonomy, and the Berkeley case was dropped until the
next national convention (1912). But the action taken by the Socialists
of Lima, Ohio, indicates that the Party will not allow itself to be
destroyed in this manner. Mayor Shook, by his appointment to office of
non-Socialists, and even of a prominent anti-Socialist, caused the local
that elected him to present his signed resignation to the city council,
which the latter body ignored at the mayor's request. The mayor was
promptly expelled from the Party, and the Socialists of the country have
almost unanimously approved the expulsion.[202]

The comment of the _New York Call_ on this incident undoubtedly reflects
the feeling of the majority of the Socialist Party:--


     "Owing to the multiplicity of elections we must go through, owing
     to the peculiar division and subdivision of the administrative
     authority in this country, this is a thing we shall have to face
     with accumulating frequency. But that the Socialist Party is sound
     on the theories of what it is after, and on its own rights as an
     organization, are both demonstrated by the action taken by Local
     Lima. The members permanently expelled the traitor. Now let him go
     ahead and do what he can, personally gain what he can. He does it
     as a non-Socialist, as a man who is held up to contempt by every
     decent party member, and is probably held in the most absolute
     contempt by those who were able to seduce him with such ease.

     "At the present state of our development, it is easy for a
     plausible adventurer to take advantage of the Socialist movement
     and to use it to a certain point. Where such an adventurer falls
     down never to rise again, is when he tries 'to deliver the goods'
     to those whom he serves....

     "That he did not possess even rudimentary honesty is shown by the
     fact that he prevented his letter of resignation from being
     received by the City Council. This manner of resignation is not and
     never has been with the Socialists a mere formality. It is a
     vital, necessary thing, and should be insisted upon at all times
     and in all places. No man should go on the ticket unless he has
     signed the resignation, and no man, unless he is a scoundrel, will
     sign it unless he intends to live up to it.

     "There may be other Shooks in the party, but they should be
     searched out before nominations, instead of being permitted to
     reveal themselves after nomination."[203]


"The Socialist Party must conform to the conditions imposed upon other
parties," says Mr. J. R. MacDonald in agreement with Mr. Wilson's
position.[204] On the contrary, no Socialist Party could possibly
survive such an attitude. It is only the refusal to conform that assures
their continued existence.

There is no possibility that the Socialist parties of Continental Europe
would for a moment allow the State to prescribe their form of
organization. Kautsky thus describes the German and the French methods
of control:--


     "A class is only sure that its interests in Parliament will always
     be furthered by its representatives in the most decisive and for
     the time being most effective manner, if it is not content with
     electing them to Parliament, but always oversees and directs their
     Parliamentary activities."


Kautsky illustrates this principle of controlling elected persons by
referring to the methods of labor unions, and proceeds:--


     "The same mass action, the same discipline, the same 'tyranny'
     which characterize the economic organizations of labor is also
     suitable to labor parties, and this discipline applies not only to
     the masses, it also applies to those who represent them before the
     public, to its leaders. No one of these, no matter in what position
     he may be, can undertake any kind of political action against the
     will or _even without the consent of his comrades_. The Social
     Democratic representative is no free man in _this capacity_, as
     burdensome as that may sound, but the delegate of his party. If his
     views come into conflict with theirs, then he must cease to be
     their representative.

     "The present-day Member of Parliament ... is not the delegate of
     his election district, but, as a matter of fact, if not legally,
     the delegate of his party. But this is not true of any party to
     such an extent as it is of the Social Democracy. And while the
     party discipline of the bourgeois parties is, in truth, the
     discipline of a small clique which stands above the separated
     masses of voters, with the Social Democracy it is the discipline of
     an organization which embraces the whole mass of the aggressive and
     intelligent part of the proletariat, and which is stretching
     itself more and more to embrace the whole of the working class."
     (My italics.)[205]


In the introduction to the same booklet, Kautsky sums up for us in a few
words the methods in use in France:--


     "Our French comrades have created for the solution of this
     difficulty a body between the Party Congress and the Party
     Executive like our Committee of Control, but different from the
     latter in that it counts more members who are elected not by the
     Congress, but directly by the comrades of the various districts
     which they represent. A right to elect five members to the Party
     Congress gives the right to elect one member to the National
     Council.

     "The National Council elects from the twenty-two members of the
     permanent Executive Committee the five party secretaries, whose
     functions are paid. It conducts the general propaganda, oversees
     the execution of party decisions, prepares for the Congresses,
     oversees the party press and the group in Parliament, and has the
     right to undertake all measures which the situation at the moment
     demands."[206]


We see that the Socialist members of the national legislatures, both in
Germany and France, are under the most rigid control, and we cannot
doubt that if such control becomes impossible on account of legislation
enacted by hostile governments, an entirely new form of organization
will be devised by which the members of the Socialist Party can regain
this power. Either this will be done, or the "Socialist" Party which
continues to exist in a form dictated by its enemies, will be Socialist
in name only, and Socialists will reorganize--probably along the lines I
have suggested.

It would seem, then, that neither by an attack from without or from
within is the revolutionary character of Socialism or the essential
unity of the Socialist organization to be destroyed.

The departure from the Party of individuals or factions that had not
recognized its true nature, and were only there by some misunderstanding
or by local or temporary circumstances is a necessary part of the
process of growth. On the contrary, the Party is damaged only in case
these individuals and factions remain in the organization and become a
majority. The failure of those who represent the Party's fundamental
principles to maintain control, might easily prove fatal; with the
subordination of its principles the movement would disintegrate from
within. In fact, the possibility of the deliberate wrecking of the
Party in such circumstances, by enemies within its own ranks, has been
pointed out and greatly feared by Liebknecht and other representative
Socialists. This tendency, however, seems to be subsiding in those
countries in which the movement is most highly developed, such as
Germany and France.

FOOTNOTES:

[196] Quoted by Chairman Singer at the Congress of 1909.

[197] Quoted by _Vorwaerts_ (Berlin), Sept. 24, 1909.

[198] The proceedings of most of the German Party Congresses may be
obtained through the _Vorwaerts_ (Berlin), those of the International
and American Congresses from the Secretary of the Socialist Party, 180
Washington St., Chicago, Ill.

[199] Kautsky, "Der Aufstand in Baden," in the _Neue Zeit_, 1910, p.
624.

[200] The _Socialist Review_, April, 1909.

[201] The _Atlantic Monthly_, July, 1911.

[202] The _New York Call_, Jan. 6 and 8, 1912.

[203] The _New York Call_, Jan. 9, 1912.

[204] The _Socialist Review_ (London), April, 1909.

[205] "Parlamentarismus und Demokratie," 1911 edition, pp. 114-116.

[206] "Parlamentarismus und Demokratie," 1911 edition, pp. 14-15.



PART III

SOCIALISM IN ACTION



CHAPTER I

SOCIALISM AND THE "CLASS STRUGGLE"


Socialists have always taught that Socialism can develop only out of the
full maturity of capitalism, and so favor the normal advance of
capitalist industry and government and the reforms of capitalist
collectivism--on their constructive side. But if capitalism in its
highest form of "State Socialism" is the only foundation upon which the
Socialism can be built, it is at the same time that form of capitalism
which will prevail when Socialism reaches maturity and is ready for
decisive action; and it is, therefore, the very enemy against which the
Socialist hosts will have been drilled and the Socialist tactics
evolved.

The older capitalism, which professed to oppose all industrial
activities of the government, must disappear, but it is not the object
of attack, for the capitalists themselves will abandon it without
Socialist intervention in any form. Socialists have urged on this
evolution from the older to the newer capitalism by taking the field
against the reactionaries, but they do not, as a rule, claim that by
this action they are doing any more for Socialism than they are for
progressive capitalism.

Socialism can only do what capitalism, after it has reached its
culmination in State capitalism, leaves undone; namely, to take
effective measures to establish equal opportunity and abolish class
government. To accomplish this, Socialists realize they must reckon with
the resistance of every element of society that enjoys superior
opportunities or profits from capitalist government, and they must know
just which these elements are. It must be decided which of the
non-privileged classes are to be permanently relied upon in the fight
for this great change, to what point each will be ready to go, and of
what effective action it is capable. Next, the classes upon which it is
decided to rely must be brought together and organized. And, finally,
the individual members of these classes must be developed, by education
and social struggles, until they are able to overcome the resistance of
the classes now in control of industry and government.

The popular conviction that the very _existence_ of social classes is in
complete contradiction with the principles of democracy, no amount of
contrary teaching has been able to blot out. What has not been so
clearly seen is the active and constant _resistance_ of the privileged
classes to popular government and industrial democracy, _i.e._ the class
struggle.

"We have long rested comfortably in this country on the assumption,"
says Senator La Follette, "that because our form of government was
democratic, it was therefore automatically producing democratic results.
Now there is nothing mysteriously potent about the forms and names of
democratic institutions that should make them self-operative. Tyranny
and oppression are just as possible under democratic forms as under any
other. We are slowly realizing that democracy is a life, and involves
continual struggle."[207]

Senator La Follette fails only to note that this struggle to make
democracy a reality is not a struggle in the heart of the individual,
but between groups of individuals, that these groups are not formed by
differences of temperament or opinion, but by economic interests, and
that nearly every group falls into one of two great classes, those whose
interests are with and those whose interests are against the capitalists
and capitalist government.

Why is the sinister rôle of the upper classes not universally grasped?
Because the ideas and teachings of former generations still survive,
however much contradicted by present developments. At the time of the
American and French Revolutions and for nearly a century afterwards,
when political democracy was first securing a world-wide acceptance _as
an ideal_, it was looked upon as a creed which had only to be mentally
accepted in order to be forthwith applied to life. The only forces of
resistance were thought to be due to the ignorance or possibly to the
unregenerate moral character of the unconverted. The democratic faith
was accepted and propagated by the French and others almost exactly as
religion had been. As late as the middle of the last century this
conception of democracy, due to the wide diffusion of small and in many
localities approximately equal farms and small businesses, continued to
prevail.

About the middle of the nineteenth century the first advance was made.
It became recognized with the coming of railroads and steamships that
society could never become fixed as a Utopia or in any other form, but
must always be subject to change,--and the ideal of social evolution
gained a considerable acceptance even before the evolution theory had
been generally applied to biology. It was seen that if the ideal of
democracy was to become a reality, a certain degree of intellectual and
material development was required,--but it was thought that this
development was at hand. It was a period when wealth was rapidly
becoming more equally distributed, when plenty of free land remained,
and when it was commonly supposed that universal free trade and
universal peace were about to dawn upon the nations, and equal
opportunity, if not yet achieved, was not far away. The obstacles in the
way of progress were not the resistance of privileged classes, but the
time and labor required for mankind to conquer the world and nature.
With the establishment of so-called democratic and constitutional
republics in the place of monarchies and landlord aristocracies, and the
abolition of slavery in the United States, all systematic opposition to
social progress, except in the minds of a few perverted or criminal
individuals, was supposed to be at an end.

A generation or two ago, then, though it was now recognized that the
golden age could not be attained immediately by merely converting the
majority to a wise and beneficent social system (as had been proposed in
the first half of the century), yet it was thought that, with the
advance of science and the conquest of nature, and without any serious
civil strife, "equality of opportunity" was being gradually and rapidly
brought to all mankind. This state of mind has survived and is still
that of the majority to-day, when the conditions that have given rise to
it have disappeared.

Not all previous history has a greater economic change to show than the
latter half of the nineteenth century, which converted all the leading
countries from nations of small capitalists into nations of hired
employees. Even such a far-sighted and broad-minded statesman as
Lincoln, for example, had no idea of the future of his country, and
regarded the slaveowners and their supporters as the only classes that
dreamed that we could ever become a nation of "hired laborers" (the
capitalism of to-day), any more than we could remain in part a nation of
"bought laborers." Lincoln puts a society based on hired labor in the
same class with a society based on owned labor, on the ground that both
lead to an effort "to place capital on an equal footing, if not above
labor in the structure of the government." This effort, marked by the
proposal of "the abridgment of the existing right of suffrage and the
denial to the people of the right to participate in the selection of
public officers except the legislative" (so similar to tendencies
prevailing to-day), he calls "returning despotism." And so inevitable
did it seem to Lincoln that a nation based on hired labor would evolve a
despotic government, that he fell back on the fact that the population
was composed chiefly not of laborers, but of small capitalists, and
would probably remain so constituted, as the only convincing ground that
our political democracy would last. In a word, our greatest statesman
recognized that our political democracy and liberty were based on the
wide distribution of the land and other forms of capital. (See Lincoln's
Message of December 3, 1861.) If Lincoln foresaw no class struggle
between "hired labor" and the "returning despotism," this was only
because he mistakenly expected that the nation would continue to consist
chiefly of small capitalists. Yet his conclusions and those of his
contemporaries, so clearly limited to conditions that have passed away,
are taught like a gospel to the children in our public schools to-day.

The present generation, however, is slowly realizing, through the
development of organized capitalism in industry and government, and the
increase of hired laborers, that it is not nature alone that
civilization must contend against, not merely ignorance or poverty or
the backwardness of material development, but, more important than all
these, the systematic opposition of the employing and governing classes
to every program of improvement, except that which promises still
further to increase their own wealth and power.

The Socialist view of the evolution of society is that the central fact
of history is this struggle of classes for political and economic power.
The governing class of any society or period, Marx taught, consists of
the economic exploiters, the governed class of the economically
exploited. The governing class becomes more and more firmly established
in power, until it begins to stagnate, but the machinery of production
continues to evolve, and falls gradually into the hands of some
exploited element which is able to use this economic advantage as a
means for overthrowing its rulers. Marx felt that with the vast
revolution in society marked by modern science and modern machinery, the
time is fast approaching when the exploited classes of to-day will be
able to overthrow the present ruling class, the capitalists, and at the
same time establish an industrial democracy, where all class oppression
will be brought to an end.

However his predictions may turn out in the future, Marx's view of the
past is rapidly gaining ground and is possibly accepted by the majority
of those most competent to speak on these questions to-day, including
many leading economists and sociologists and prominent figures in
practical political life. Winston Churchill, for example, says that "the
differences between class and class have been even aggravated in the
passage of years," that while "the richer classes [are] ever growing in
wealth and in numbers, and ever declining in responsibility, the very
poor remain plunged or plunging even deeper into helpless, hopeless
misery." This being the case, he predicts "a savage strife between class
and class," unless the most radical measures are taken to check the
tendency. Nor are his statements mere rhetoric, for he shows
statistically "that the increase of income assessable to income tax is
at the very least more than ten times greater than the increase which
has taken place in the same period in the wages of those trades which
come within the Board of Trade returns."[208] In other words, the income
of the well-to-do classes (which increased nearly half a billion pounds,
that is, almost doubled, in ten years) is growing ten times more rapidly
than that even of the organized and better paid workmen, who alone are
considered in the Board of Trade returns.

Here is a situation which is world-wide. The position of the working
class, or certain parts of it, may be improving; the income of the
employing and capitalist class is certainly increasing _many fold_ more
rapidly. Here is the financial expression of the growing _divergence_ of
classes which Marx had in mind, a divergence that we have no reason
whatever for supposing will be checked, as Mr. Churchill suggests, even
by his most "Socialistic" reforms, short of surrendering the political
and economic power to those who suffer from this condition.

At the German Socialist Congress at Hanover in 1899, Bebel said that
even if the income of the working class was increasing, or even if the
purchasing power of total wages was becoming greater, the income of the
nation as a whole was increasing much more rapidly and that of the
capitalist class at a still more rapid rate. The great Socialist
statesman laid emphasis on the essential point that capitalists are
absorbing continually a greater and a greater proportion of the national
income.

The class struggle, says Kautsky, rests not upon the fact that the
misery of the proletariat is growing greater, but on _its need to
annihilate a pressure that it feels more and more keenly_.

"The class struggle," he writes, "becomes more bitter the longer it
lasts. The more capable of struggle the opponents become in and through
the struggle itself, _the more important become the differences in their
conditions of life, the more the capitalists raise themselves above the
proletariat by the ever growing exploitation_."[209]

This feature of present-day (capitalistic) progress, Socialists view as
the very essence of social injustice, no matter whether there is a
slight and continuous or even a considerable progress of the working
class. The question for them is not whether from time to time something
more falls to the workingman, but what proportion he gets of the total
product. It would never occur to any one to try to tell a business man
that he ought not to sell any more goods because his profits were
already increasing "fast enough." It is as absurd to tell the workingman
that the moderate advance he is making either through slight
improvements as to wages and hours, or through political and social
reforms, ought to blind him to all the possibilities of modern
civilization from which he is still shut off, and which will remain out
of his reach for generations, unless his share in the income of society
is rapidly increased to the point that he (and other non-capitalist
producers) receive the total product.

The conflict of class interests is not a mere theory, but a widely
recognized reality, and the worst accusation that can be made against
Socialists is not that they are trying to create a war of classes where
none exists, but that some of them at times interpret the conflict in a
narrow or violent sense (I shall discuss the truth or untruth of this
criticism in later chapters). Yet Mr. Roosevelt voices the opinion of
many when he calls the view that the maximum of progress is to be
secured only after a struggle between the classes, the "most mischievous
of Socialist theses," says that an appeal to class interest is not
"legitimate," and that the Socialists hope "in one shape or another to
profit at the expense of the other citizens of the Republic."[210]

"There is no greater need to-day," said Mr. Roosevelt in his Sorbonne
lecture, "than the need to keep ever in mind the fact that the cleavage
between right and wrong, between good citizenship and bad citizenship,
runs at right angles to, not parallel to, the lines of cleavage between
class and class, between occupation and occupation. Ruin looks us in the
face if we judge a man by his position instead of judging him by his
conduct in that position."

This is as much as to say that there are only individuals, but no class,
which it is better to have outside than inside of a progressive
majority. The Socialist view is the exact opposite. It holds that _the
very foundation of Socialism as a method_ (which is its only aspect of
practical importance) is that the Socialist movement assumes a position
so militant and radical that every privileged class will voluntarily
remain on the outside; and events are showing the wisdom and even the
necessity of these tactics. Socialists would say, "Ruin looks us in the
face if, in politics, we judge the men who occupy a certain position
(the members of a certain class) by their conduct as individuals,
instead of judging them by the fact that they occupy a certain position
and are members of a certain class."

Again, to the Chamber of Commerce at New Haven, Mr. Roosevelt expressed
a view which, to judge by their actions, is that of all non-Socialist
reformers: "I am a radical," he said, "who most earnestly desires to see
a radical platform carried out by conservatives. I wish to see great
industrial reforms carried out, not by the men who will profit by them,
but by the men who will lose by them; by such men as you are around me."

Socialists, on the contrary, believe that industrial reforms will never
lead to equality of opportunity except when carried out wholly
independently of the conservatives who will lose by them. They believe
that such reforms as are carried out by the capitalists and their
governments, beneficent, radical, and even stupendous as they may be,
will not and cannot constitute the first or smallest step towards
industrial democracy.

Mr. Roosevelt's views are identical on this point with those of Mr.
Woodrow Wilson and other progressive leaders of the opposite party.
Mayor Gaynor of New York, for example, was quoted explaining the great
changes that took place in the fall elections of 1910 on these grounds:
"We are emerging from an evil case. The flocking of nearly all the
business men, owners of property, and even persons with $100 in the
savings bank, to one party made a division line and created a contrast
which must have led to trouble if much longer continued. The
intelligence of the country is asserting itself, and business men and
property owners will again divide themselves normally between the
parties, as formerly." Here again is the fundamental antithesis to the
Socialist view. Leaving aside for the moment the situation of persons
with $100 in the savings bank, or owners of property in general (who
might possess nothing more than a small home), Socialists are working,
with considerable success, towards the day when at least one great party
will take a position so radical that the overwhelming majority of
business men (or at least the representatives of by far the larger part
of business and capital) will be forced automatically into the opposite
organization.

Without this militant attitude Socialists believe that even the most
radical reforms, not excepting those that sincerely propose equal
opportunity or the abolition of social classes _as their ultimate aim_,
must fail to carry society forward a single step in that direction.
Take, as an example, Dr. Lyman Abbott, whose advanced views I have
already referred to (see Part I, Chap. III). Notwithstanding his
advocacy of industrial democracy, his attack on the autocracy of
capitalism and the wages system, and his insistence that the distinction
between non-possessing and possessing classes must be abolished, Dr.
Abbott opposes a class struggle. Such phrases amount to nothing from the
Socialist standpoint, if all of these objects are held up merely as an
ideal, and if nothing is said of the rate at which they ought to be
attained or the means by which the _opposition_ of privileged classes is
to be overcome. No indorsement of any so-called Socialist theory or
reform is of practical moment unless it includes that theory which has
survived out of the struggles of the movement, and has been tested by
hard experience--a theory in which ways and means are not the last but
the first consideration,--namely, the class struggle.

Mr. Roosevelt and nearly all other popular leaders of the day denounce
"special privilege." But the denouncers of special privilege, aside from
the organized Socialists, are only too glad to associate themselves with
one or another of the classes that at present possess the economic and
political power. To the Socialists the only way to fight special
privilege is _to place the control of society in the hands of a
non-privileged majority. The practical experience of the movement_ has
taught the truth of what some of its early exponents saw at the outset,
that a majority _composed even in part_ of the privileged classes could
never be trusted or expected to abolish privileges. Neither Dr. Abbott,
Mr. Roosevelt, nor other opponents of the Socialist movement, are ready
to indorse this practical working theory. For its essence being that all
those who by their economic expressions or their acts stand for anything
less than equality of opportunity should be removed from positions of
power, it is directed against every anti-Socialist. Dr. Abbott, for
example, demands only "opportunity," instead of equal opportunity, and
Mr. Roosevelt wishes merely "to start all men in the race for life on a
_reasonable_ equality." (My italics.)[211]

Let us see what Marx and his successors say in explanation of their
belief that the "class struggle" must be fought out to an end. Certainly
they do not mean that each individual capitalist is to be regarded by
his working people as their private enemy. Nor, on the other hand, can
the expression "class struggle" be interpreted, as some Socialists have
asserted, to mean that there was no flesh and blood enemy to be
attacked, but only "the capitalist system." To Marx capitalism was
embodied not merely in institutions, which embrace all classes and
individuals alike, but also in the persons of the capitalist class. And
by waging a war against that class he meant to include each and every
member of it who remained in his class, and every one of its supporters.
To Marx the enemy was no abstraction. It was, as he said, "the person,
the living individual" that had to be contended with, but only as the
embodiment of a class. "It is not sufficient," he said, "to fight the
general conditions and the higher powers. The press must make up its
mind to oppose _this_ constable, _this_ attorney, _this_
councilor."[212] These individuals, moreover, he viewed not merely as
the servants or representatives of a system, but as part and parcel of a
class.

The struggle that Marx had in mind might be called _a latent civil
war_. It was not a mere preparation for revolution, since it was as real
and serious in times of peace as in those of revolution or civil war.
But it was a civil war in everything except the actual physical
fighting, and he was always ready to proceed to actual fighting when
necessary. Throughout his life Marx was a revolutionist. And when his
successors to-day speak of "the class struggle," they mean a conflict of
that depth and intensity that it may lead to revolution.

None of the classical Socialist writers, however, has failed to grasp
the absolute necessity to a successful social movement, and especially
to a revolutionary one, of making the class struggle broad, inclusive,
and democratic. In 1851 Marx wrote to the Socialists: "The forces
opposed to you have all the advantages of organization, discipline, and
habitual authority; unless you bring _strong odds_ against them you are
defeated and ruined." (The italics are mine.)

Edward Bernstein, while representing as a rule only the ultra-moderate
element of the Party, expresses on this question the views of the
majority as well. "Social Democracy," he says, "cannot further its work
better than by taking its stand unreservedly on the theory of
democracy." And he adds that in practice it has always favored
coöperation with all the exploited, even if "its literary advocates have
often acted otherwise, and still often do so to-day."

Not many years ago, it is true, there was still a great deal of talk in
Germany about the desirability of a "dictatorship of the proletariat,"
the term "proletariat" being used in its narrow sense. That is, as soon
as the working class (in this sense) became a political majority, it was
to make the government embody its will without reference to other
classes--it being assumed that the manual laborers will only demand
justice for all men alike, and that it was neither safe nor necessary to
consult any of the middle classes. And even to-day in France much is
said by the "syndicalists" and others as to the power of well-organized
and determined minorities in the time of revolution--it being assumed,
again, that such minorities will be successful only in so far as they
stand for a new social principle, to the ultimate interest of all (see
Chapter V). It cannot be questioned that in these schemes the majority
is not to be consulted. But they are far less widely prevalent than
they were a generation ago.

The pioneer of "reformist" Socialism in Germany (Bernstein) correctly
defines democracy, not as the rule of the majority, but as "an absence
of class government." "This negative definition has," he says, "the
advantage that it gives less room than the phrase 'government by the
people' to the idea of oppression of the individual by the majority,
which is absolutely repugnant to the modern mind. To-day we find the
oppression of the minority by the majority 'undemocratic,' although it
was originally held up to be quite consistent with government by the
people.... Democracy is in _principle_ the suppression of class
government, though it is not yet the _actual_ suppression of
classes."[213]

Democracy, as we have hitherto known it, opposes class _government_, but
countenances the existence of classes. Socialism insists that as long as
social classes exist, class government will continue. The aim of
Socialism, "the end of class struggles and class rule," is not only
democratic, but the only means of giving democracy any real meaning.

"It is only the proletariat" (wage earners), writes Kautsky, "that has
created a great social ideal, the consummation of which will leave only
one source of income, _i.e._ labor, will abolish rent and profit, will
put an end to class and other conflicts, and put in the place of the
class struggle the solidarity of man. This is the final aim and goal of
the class struggle by the Socialist Party. The political representatives
of the class interests of the proletariat thus become representative of
the highest and most general interests of humanity."[214]

It is expected that nearly all social classes, though separated into
several groups to-day, will ultimately be thrown together by economic
evolution and common interests into two large groups, the capitalists
and their allies on the one side, and the anti-capitalists on the other.
The final and complete victory of the latter, it is believed, can alone
put an end to this great conflict. But in the meanwhile, even before our
capitalist society is overthrown and class divisions ended, the very
fusing together of the several classes that compose the anti-capitalist
party is bringing about a degree of social harmony not seen before.

Already the Socialists have succeeded in this way in harmonizing a large
number of conflicting class interests. The skilled workingmen were
united for the first time with the unskilled when the latter, having
been either ignored or subordinated in the early trade unions, were
admitted on equal terms into the Socialist parties. Then the often
extremely discontented salaried and professional men of small incomes,
having been won by Socialist philosophy, laid aside their sense of
superiority to the wage earners and were absorbed in large numbers.
Later, many agricultural laborers and even agriculturists who did all
their own work, and whose small capital brought them no return, began to
conquer their suspicion of the city wage workers. And, finally, many of
those small business men and independent farmers, the _larger part_ of
whose income is to be set down as the direct result of their own labor
and not a result of their ownership of a small capital, or who feel that
they are being reduced to such a condition, are commencing in many
instances to look upon themselves as non-capitalists rather than
capitalists--and to work for equality of opportunity through the
Socialist movement.

The process of building up a truly democratic society has two parts:
first, the organization and union in a single movement of all classes
that stand for the abolition of classes, and class rule; and second, the
overthrow of those social elements that stand in the way of this natural
evolution, their destruction and dissolution _as classes_, and the
absorption of their members by the new society as individuals.

It becomes of the utmost importance in such a vast struggle, on the one
hand, that no classes that are needed in the new society shall be marked
for destruction, and on the other that the movement shall not lean too
heavily or exclusively on classes which have very little or too little
constructive or combative power. What, then, is the leading principle by
which the two groups are to be made up and distinguished? Neither the
term "capitalist classes" nor the term "working classes" is entirely
clear or entirely satisfactory.

Mr. Roosevelt, for example, gives the common impression when he accuses
the Socialists of using the term "working class" in the narrow sense and
of taking the position that "all wealth is produced by manual workers,
that the entire product of labor should be handed over to the
laborer."[215] I shall show that Socialist writers and speakers, even
when they use the expression "working class," almost universally include
others than the manual laborers among those they expect to make up the
anti-capitalistic movement.

Kautsky's definition of the working class, for example, is: "Workers
who are divorced from their power of production to the extent that they
can produce nothing by their own efforts, and are therefore compelled in
order to escape starvation to sell the only commodity they
possess--their labor power." In present-day society, especially in a
rich country like America, it is as a rule not sheer "starvation" that
drives, but needs of other kinds that are almost as compelling. But the
point I am concerned with now is that this definition, widely accepted
by Socialists, draws no line whatever between manual and intellectual
workers. In another place Kautsky refers to the industrial working class
as being the recruiting ground for Socialism, which might seem to be
giving a preferred position to manual workers; but a few paragraphs
below he again qualifies his statement by adding that "to the working
class there belong, just as much as the wage earners, the members of the
new middle class," which I shall describe below.[216]

In other statements of their position, it is the context which makes the
Socialist meaning clear. The party Platform of Canada, for instance,
uses throughout the simple term "working class," without any
explanation, but it speaks of the struggle as taking place against the
"capitalists," and as it mentions no other classes, the reader is left
to divide all society between these two, which would evidently make it
necessary to classify many besides mere manual wage earners rather among
the anti-capitalist than among the capitalist forces.

The platform of the American Socialist Party in 1904 divided the
population between the "capitalists," and the "working or _producing
class_." "Between these two classes," says this platform, "there can be
no possible compromise ... except in the conscious and complete triumph
of the working class as the only class that has the right or _power_ to
be."

"By working people," said Liebknecht, "we do not understand merely the
manual workers, but _every one who does not live on the labor of
another_." His words should be memorized by all those who wish to
understand the first principles of Socialism:--


     "Some maintain, it is true, that the wage-earning proletariat is
     the only really revolutionary class, that it alone forms the
     Socialist army, and that we ought to regard with suspicion all
     adherents belonging to other classes or other conditions of life.
     Fortunately these senseless ideas have never taken hold of the
     German Social Democracy.

     "The wage-earning class is most directly affected by capitalist
     exploitation; it stands face to face with those who exploit it, and
     it has the especial advantage of being concentrated in the
     factories and yards, so that it is naturally led to think things
     out more energetically and finds itself automatically organized
     into 'battalions of workers.' This state of things gives it a
     revolutionary character which no other part of society has to the
     same degree. We must recognize this frankly.

     "Every wage earner is either a Socialist already, or he is on the
     high road to becoming one.

     "We must not limit our conception of the term 'working class' too
     narrowly. As we have explained in speeches, tracts, and articles,
     we include in the working class all those who live exclusively _or
     principally_ by means of their own labor, and who do not grow rich
     from the work of others.

     "Thus, besides the wage earners, we should include in the working
     class the small farmers and small shop keepers, who tend more and
     more to drop to the level of the proletariat--in other words, all
     those who suffer from our present system of production on a large
     scale." (My italics.)


The chief questions now confronting the Socialists are all connected,
directly or indirectly, with these producing middle classes, who, on the
whole, do not live on the labor of others and suffer from the present
system, yet often enjoy some modest social privilege.

While Liebknecht considered that the wage-earning class was more
revolutionary and Socialistic than any other, he did not allow this for
one moment to persuade him to give a subordinate position to other
classes in the movement, as he says:--


     "The unhappy situation of the small farmers almost all over Germany
     is as well known as that of the artisan movement. It is true that
     both small farmers and small shopkeepers are still in the camp of
     our adversaries, but only because they do not understand the
     profound causes that underlie their deplorable condition; it is of
     prime importance for our party to enlighten them and bring them
     over to our side. _This is the vital question for our party,
     because these two classes form the majority of the nation._... We
     ought not to ask, 'Are you a wage earner?' but, 'Are you a
     Socialist?'

     "If it is limited to the wage earners, Socialism cannot conquer. If
     it included all the workers and the moral and intellectual élite of
     the nation, its victory is certain.... Not to contract, but to
     expand, ought to be our motto. The circle of Socialism should
     widen more and more, _until we have converted most of our
     adversaries to being our friends_, or at least disarm their
     opposition.

     "And the indifferent mass, that in peaceful days has no weight in
     the political balance, but becomes the decisive force in times of
     agitation, ought to be so fully enlightened as to the aims and the
     essential ideas of our party, that it would cease to fear us and
     can be no longer used as a weapon against us."[217] (My italics.)


Karl Kautsky, though he takes a less broad view, also says that the
Socialist Party is "the only anti-capitalist party,"[218] and contends
in his recent pamphlet, "The Road to Power," that its recruiting ground
in Germany includes three fourths of the nation, and probably even more,
which (even in Germany) would include a considerable part of those
ordinarily listed with the middle class.

Kautsky's is probably the prevailing opinion among German Socialists.
Let us see how he proposes to compose a Socialist majority. Of course
his first reliance is on the manual laborers, skilled and unskilled.
Next come the professional classes, the salaried corporation employees,
and a large part of the office workers, which together constitute what
Kautsky and the other Continental Socialists call the _new_ middle
class. "Among these," Kautsky says, "a continually increasing sympathy
for the proletariat is evident, because they have no special class
interest, and owing to their professional, scientific point of view, are
easiest won for our party through scientific considerations. The
theoretical bankruptcy of bourgeois economics, and the theoretical
superiority of Socialism, must become clear to them. Through their
training, also, they must discover that the other social classes
continuously strive to debase art and science. Many others are impressed
by the fact of the irresistible advance of the Social Democracy. So it
is that friendship for labor becomes popular among the cultured classes,
until there is scarcely a parlor in which one does not stumble over one
or more 'Socialists.'"

It is difficult to understand how it can be said that these classes have
no special "class interest," unless it is meant that their interest is
neither that of the capitalists nor precisely that of the industrial
wage-earning class. And this, indeed, is Kautsky's meaning, for he seems
to minimize their value to the Socialists, because _as a class_ they
cannot be relied upon.


     "Heretofore, as long as Socialism was branded among all cultured
     classes as criminal or insane, capitalist elements could be brought
     into the Socialist movement only by a complete break with the
     whole capitalist world. Whoever came into the Socialist movement at
     that time from the capitalist element had need of great energy,
     revolutionary passion, and strong proletarian convictions. It was
     just this element which ordinarily constituted the most radical and
     revolutionary wing of the Socialist movement.

     "It is wholly different to-day, since Socialism has become a fad.
     It no longer demands any special energy, or any break with
     capitalist society to assume the name of Socialist. It is no
     wonder, then, that more and more these new Socialists remain
     entangled in their previous manner of thought and feeling.

     "The fighting tactics of the intellectuals are at any rate wholly
     different from those of the proletariat. To wealth and power of
     arms the latter opposes its overwhelming numbers and its thorough
     organization. The intellectuals are an ever diminishing minority,
     with no class organization whatever. Their only weapon is
     persuasion through speaking and writing, the battle with
     'intellectual weapons' and 'moral superiority,' and these 'parlor
     Socialists' would settle the proletarian class struggle also with
     these weapons. They declare themselves ready to grant the party
     their moral support, but only on condition that it renounces the
     idea of the application of force, and this not simply where force
     is hopeless,--there the proletariat has already renounced it,--but
     also in those places where it is still full of possibilities.
     Accordingly they seek to throw discredit on the idea of revolution,
     and to represent it as a useless means. They seek to separate off a
     social reform wing from the revolutionary proletariat, and they
     thereby divide and weaken the proletariat."[219]


In the last words Kautsky refers to the fact that although a large
number of "intellectuals" (meaning the educated classes) have come into
the Socialist Party and remain there, they constitute a separate wing of
the movement. We must remember, however, that this same wing embraces,
besides these "parlor Socialists," a great many trade unionists, and
that it has composed a very considerable portion of the German Party,
and a majority in some other countries of the Continent; and as Kautsky
himself admits that they succeed in "dividing the proletariat," they
cannot be very far removed politically from at least one of the
divisions they are said to have created. It is impossible to attribute
the kind of Socialism to which Kautsky objects to the adhesion of
certain educated classes to the movement (for reasons indicated in Part
II).

While many of the present spokesmen of Socialism are, like Kautsky,
somewhat skeptical as to the necessity of an alliance between the
working class and this section of the middle class, others accept it
without qualification. If, then, we consider at once the middle ground
taken by the former group of Socialists, and the very positive and
friendly attitude of the latter, it must be concluded that the Socialist
movement _as a whole_ is convinced that its success depends upon a
fusion of at least these two elements, the wage earners and "the new
middle class."

A few quotations from the well-known revolutionary Socialist, Anton
Pannekoek, will show the contrast between the narrower kind of
Socialism, which still survives in many quarters, and that of the
majority of the movement. He discriminates even against "the new middle
class," leaving nobody but the manual laborers as a fruitful soil for
real Socialism.


     "To be sure, in the economic sense of the term, then, the new
     middle class are proletarians; but they form a very special group
     of wage workers, a group that is so sharply divided from the _real_
     proletarians that they form a special class with a special position
     in the class struggle.... Immediate need does not _compel_ them as
     it does the real proletarians to attack the capitalist system.
     Their position may arouse discontent, but that of the workers is
     unendurable. For them Socialism has many advantages, for the
     workers it is an _absolute_ necessity." (My italics.)[220]

     The phrase "absolute necessity" is unintelligible. It is
     comparatively rarely that need arises to the height of actual
     compulsion, and when it does instances are certainly just as common
     among clerks as they are among bricklayers.

     Pannekoek introduces a variety of arguments to sustain his
     position. For instance, that "the higher strata among the new
     middle class have a definitely capitalistic character. The lower
     ones are more proletarian, but there is no sharp dividing line."
     This is true--but the high strata in every class are capitalistic.
     The statement applies equally well to railway conductors, to
     foremen, and to many classes of manual workers.

     "And then, too," Pannekoek continues, "they, the new middle class,
     have more to fear from the displeasure of their masters, and
     dismissal for them is a much more serious matter. The worker stands
     always on the verge of starvation, and so unemployment has few
     terrors for him. The high-class employee, on the contrary, has
     comparatively an easy life, and a new position is difficult to
     find."

     Now it is precisely the manual laborer who is most often
     blacklisted by the large corporations and trusts; and the
     brain-working employee is better able to adapt himself to some
     slightly different employment than is the skilled worker in any of
     the highly specialized trades.

     "For the cause of Socialism we can count on this new middle
     class," says Pannekoek, "even less than on the labor unions. For
     one thing, they have been set over the workers, as superintendents,
     overseers, bosses, etc. In these capacities they are supposed to
     speed up the workers to get the utmost out of them."

     Is it not even more common, we may ask, that one manual worker is
     set over another than that a brain worker is set over a manual
     laborer?

     "They [the new middle class] are divided," writes Pannekoek, "into
     numberless grades and ranks arranged one above the other; they do
     not meet as comrades, and so cannot develop the spirit of
     solidarity. Each individual does not make it a matter of personal
     pride to improve the condition of his entire class; the important
     thing is rather that he personally struggles up into the next
     higher rank."

     If we remember the more favorable hours and conditions under which
     the brain workers are employed, the fact that they are not so
     exhausted physically and that they have education, we may see that
     they have perhaps even greater chances "to develop their
     solidarity" and to understand their class interests than have the
     manual workers. It is true that they are more divided at the
     present time, but there is a tendency throughout all the highly
     organized industries to divide the manual laborers in the same way
     and to secure more work from them by a similar system of
     promotions.

     Pannekoek accuses the brain workers of having something to lose,
     again forgetting that there are innumerable groups of more or less
     privileged manual laborers who are in the same position. And
     finally, he contends that their superior schooling and education is
     a disadvantage when compared to the lack of education of the manual
     laborers:--

     "They have great notions of their own education and refinement,
     feel themselves above the masses; it naturally never occurs to them
     that the ideals of these masses may be scientifically correct and
     that the 'science' of their professors may be false. As theorizers
     seeing the world always with their minds, knowing little or nothing
     of material activities, they are fairly convinced that mind
     controls the world."

     On the contrary, nearly all influential Socialist thinkers agree
     that present-day science, _poorly as it is taught_, is not only an
     aid to Socialism, but the very best basis for it.

     Pannekoek is right, for instance, when he says that most of the
     brain workers in the Socialist movement come from the circles of
     the small capitalists and bring an anti-Socialist prejudice with
     them, but he forgets that, on the other side, the overwhelming
     majority of the world's working people are the children of farmers,
     peasants, or of absolutely unskilled and illiterate workers, whose
     views of life were even more prejudiced and whose minds were
     perhaps even more filled up with the ideas that the ruling classes
     have placed there.


The arguments of the American Socialist, Thomas Sladden, representing
as they do the views of _many thousands of revolutionary workingmen in
this country_, are also worthy of note. His bitterness, it will be seen,
is leveled less against capitalism itself than against what he considers
to be intrusion of certain middle-class elements into Socialist ranks.


     "We find in the United States to-day," writes Sladden, "that we
     have created several new religions, one of the most interesting of
     which is called Socialism, and is the religion of a decadent middle
     class. This fake Socialism or middle-class religion can readily be
     distinguished from the real Socialist movement, which is simply the
     wage working class in revolt on both the industrial and political
     fields against present conditions.... Yesterday I was a bad
     capitalist--to-day I am a good Socialist, but I pay my wage slaves
     the same wages to-day as I did yesterday.... They never take the
     answer of Bernard Shaw, who, when asked by a capitalist what he
     could do, saying that he could not help being a capitalist, was
     answered in this manner: You can go and crack rock if you want to;
     no one forces you to be a capitalist, but you are a capitalist
     because you want to be. No one forces Hillquit to be a lawyer; he
     could get a job in a lumber yard. There is no more excuse for a man
     being a capitalist or a lawyer than there is for him being a
     Pinkerton detective. He is either by his own free will and accord.
     The system,--they acclaim in one breath,--the system makes us do
     what we do not wish to do. The system does nothing of the kind; the
     system gives a man the choice between honest labor and dishonest
     labor skinning, and a labor skinner is a labor skinner because he
     wishes to be, just the same as some men are pickpockets because
     they wish to be."


It can readily be realized that such arguments will always have great
weight with the embittered elements of the working class. Nor do the
most representative Socialists altogether disagree with Sladden. They,
too, feel that if the war is not levied against individuals, neither is
it levied against a mere abstract system, but against a ruling class.
However, they make exceptions for such capitalists as the late Paul
Singer, who definitely abandon their class and throw in their lot with
the Socialist movement, while Sladden would admit neither Singer, nor
those other millions mentioned by Liebknecht (see above), for he demands
that the Socialist Party must declare that "no one not eligible to the
labor unions of the United States is eligible to the Socialist Party."

The high-water mark of this brand of revolutionism was reached in the
State of Washington, when these revolutionary elements in the Socialist
Party withdrew to form a new workingmen's party, the chief novelty of
which was a plank dividing the organization into "an active list and an
assistant list, only wage workers being admitted to the active list."
The wage workers were defined as the class of modern wage laborers who,
having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their
labor power in order to live. These are the active list, and they alone
hold office and vote. "The assistant list cannot hold office and cannot
vote," and the Party will "do active organizing work among wage earners
alone." This reminds one very much of the notorious division into active
and passive citizens at the early stages of the French Revolution, which
gave such a splendid opportunity to the Jacobines to organize a revolt
of the passive citizens and was one of the chief causes leading up to
the Reign of Terror and the Napoleonic reaction that followed. The
Washington plan, however, has been a complete failure. It has had no
imitators in the Socialist movement, nor is it likely to have.

On the other hand, the most influential representatives of the extreme
revolutionary wing of the movement, like Hervé in France, have
championed the non-wage-earning elements of the movement as fearlessly
as the reformists.


     "In the ranks of our party," writes Hervé, "are to be found small
     merchants, small employers, wretched, impoverished, educated
     people, small peasant proprietors, none of whom on account of
     occupation can enter into the general Federation of Labor, which
     only admits those receiving wages and salaries. These are
     revolutionary elements which cannot be neglected; these volunteers
     of the Revolution who have often a beautiful revolutionary
     temperament would be lost for the Revolution if our political
     organization was not at hand to nourish their activity. Besides,
     the General Federation of Labor is a somewhat heavy mass; it will
     become more and more heavy as it comprises the majority of the
     _working class which is by nature rather pacific at the bottom_."


While there is no sufficient reason for the accusation that the
Socialist movement neglects the brain workers of the salaried and
professional classes, there is somewhat more solid ground, in spite of
the above quoted declarations of Liebknecht and Hervé, for the
accusation that it antagonizes those sections of the middle classes
which are, even to a slight degree, small capitalists, as, for example,
especially the farmers.

"The unimaginative person," says Mr. H. G. Wells, "who owns some little
bit of property, an acre or so of freehold land, or a hundred pounds in
the savings bank, will no doubt be the most tenacious passive resister
to Socialist ideas; and such I fear we must reckon, together with the
insensitive rich, as our irreconcilable enemies, as irremovable pillars
of the present order."[221]

This view is widespread among Socialists, and is even sustained by
Kautsky. "Small merchants and innkeepers," he writes, "have despaired of
ever rising by their own exertions; they expect everything from above
and look only to the upper classes and to the government for
assistance," though they "find their customers only in laboring circles,
so that their existence is absolutely dependent upon the prosperity or
adversity of the laboring classes." The contradiction Kautsky finds goes
even further. He says, "Servility depends upon reaction--and furnishes
not only the willing supporters, but the fanatical advocates of the
monarchy, the church, and the nobility." With all this they (the
shopkeepers, etc.) remain democratic, since it is only through democracy
that they can obtain political influence. Kautsky calls them the
"reactionary democracy."[222] But if they are democratic and in part
economically dependent on the laboring classes, then why should not this
part cast its lot economically and politically with the working class?

Kautsky extends his criticism of the small capitalists very far and even
seems in doubt concerning the owners of small investments such as
savings bank deposits. "Well-meaning optimists," he says, "have seen in
this a means of decentralizing capital, so that after a while, in the
most peaceable manner, without any one noticing it, capital would be
transformed into social property. In fact, this movement really means
the transformation of all the money of the middle and lower classes,
which is not used by them for immediate consumption, into money capital,
and as such placing it at the disposal of the great financiers for the
buying out of industrial managers, and thereby assisting in the
concentration on industry in the hands of a few financiers."

The classes which have invested their capital directly or indirectly in
stocks or bonds through savings banks and through insurance companies
number many millions, and include the large majority of all sections of
the middle class, even of its most progressive part, salaried employees,
and the professional element. It is undoubtedly true, as Kautsky says,
that small investors are not obtaining any direct control over capital,
and that their funds are used in the way he points out, constituting one
of the striking and momentous tendencies of the time. But it does not
follow that they are destined to lose such investments altogether, as
the legislative reforms to protect banks may be extended to the
railroads and other forms of investments. The small investors will
scarcely be turned to favor capitalism by their investments, which bring
in small profit and allow them nothing to say in the management of
industry, but neither will the losses they sometimes suffer from this
source be sufficient in themselves to convert them into allies of the
working class.

As in the case of the farmers and small shopkeepers, everything here
depends upon the economic and political program which the working class
develops and offers in competition with the "State Socialism" of the
capitalists. If it were true that the ownership of the smallest amount
of property brings it about that Socialism is no longer desired, not a
small minority of the population will be found aligned with the
capitalists, but all the four million owners of farms, and the other
millions with a thousand dollars or so invested in a building and loan
association, an insurance policy or a savings bank deposit, a total
numbering almost half of the occupied population. A bare majority, it is
true, might still be without any stake in the community even of this
modest character. But neither in the United States nor elsewhere is
there any hope that a majority of the absolutely propertyless, even if
it becomes a large one, will become sufficiently large within a
generation, or perhaps even within a century, to enable it to overthrow
the capitalists, unless it draws over to its side certain elements at
least, of the middle classes, who, though weaker in some respects are
better educated, better placed, and politically stronger than itself.
The revolutionary spokesmen of the international Socialist movement now
recognize this as clearly as do the most conservative observers.

The outcome of the great social struggle depends on the relative success
of employers and employed in gaining the support of those classes which,
either on account of their ownership of some slight property, or because
they receive salaries or fees sufficiently large, must be placed in the
middle class, but who cannot be classified _primarily_ as small
capitalists That this is the crux of the situation is recognized on all
sides. Mr. Winston Churchill, for instance, demands that everything be
done to strengthen and increase numerically this middle class, composed
of millions of persons whom he claims "would certainly lose by anything
like a general overturn, and ... are everywhere the strongest and the
best organized millions," and his "State Socialism" is directed chiefly
to that end. He believes that these millions, once become completely
converted into small capitalists, would certainly prevent by an
overwhelming resistance any effort on the part of the rest of the people
to gain what he curiously calls, "a selfish advantage."

Mr. Churchill says that "_the masses of the people should not use the
fact that they are in a majority as a means to advance their relative
position in society_." There could not be a sharper contrast between
"State Socialism" and Socialism. To Socialists the whole duty of man as
a social being is to persuade the masses to "use the fact that they are
in a majority as a means to advance their relative position in society."
Mr. Churchill seems to feel that as long as everybody shares _more or
less_ in the general increase of prosperity from generation to
generation, and, as he says, as long as there is "an ever increasing
volume of production and an increasing wide diffusion of profit," there
is no ground for complaint--whether the relative division of wealth and
opportunity between the many and the few becomes more equal or not. But
he realizes that his moral suasion is not likely to be heeded and is
wise in putting his trust in the middle-class millions. For these are
the bone of contention between capitalism and Socialism.

While the new middle class (that is, the lower salaried classes,
corporation employees, professional men, etc.) is increasing numerically
more rapidly than any other, large numbers within it are being deprived
of any hope of rising into the wealthy or privileged class. As a
consequence they are everywhere crowding into the Socialist ranks--by
the hundred thousand in countries where the movement is oldest. Even in
the organized Socialist parties these middle-class elements everywhere
form a considerable proportion of the whole. Practically a third of the
American Party according to a recent reckoning were engaged either in
farming (15 per cent) or in commercial (9 per cent) or professional
pursuits (5 per cent).

It is plain that certain sections of the so-called middle class are not
only welcomed by Socialist parties, but constitute their most dependable
and indispensable elements. Indeed, the majority of the Socialists agree
with Kautsky that the danger lies in the opposite direction, that an
unreliable small capitalist element has been admitted that will make
trouble until it leaves the movement, in other words, that Socialist
friendship for these classes has gone to the point of risking the
existence of their organization. Surely their presence is a guarantee
that Socialists have not been ruled by the working class or proletarian
"fetish," against which Marx warned them more than half a century ago.

FOOTNOTES:

[207] The _American Magazine_, October, 1911.

[208] Winston Churchill, _op. cit._, p. 389.

[209] _Die Neue Zeit_, Oct. 27, 1911.

[210] Speech just before Congressional Elections of 1910.

[211] Speech delivered by Mr. Roosevelt, Dec. 13, 1910.

[212] John Spargo, "Karl Marx."

[213] Edward Bernstein, "Evolutionary Socialism," p. 143.

[214] Karl Kautsky, "The Social Revolution," pp. 58-59.

[215] The _Outlook_, March 13, 1909.

[216] Karl Kautsky in _Vorwaerts_ (Berlin), Feb. 7, 1909.

[217] Quoted by Jaurès, "Studies in Socialism," p. 103.

[218] Karl Kautsky, "Erfurter Programm," p. 258.

[219] Karl Kautsky, "The Social Revolution," pp. 48-49.

[220] The _International Socialist Review_ (Chicago), October, 1911.

[221] H. G. Wells, "This Misery of Boots," p. 34.

[222] Karl Kautsky, "The Social Revolution," p. 51.



CHAPTER II

THE AGRICULTURAL CLASSES AND THE LAND QUESTION


I have pointed out the relation of the Socialist movement to all classes
but one,--the agriculturists,--a class numerically next in importance to
the industrial wage earners.

On the one hand most agriculturists are small capitalists, who, even
when they do not own their farms, are often forced to-day to invest a
considerable sum in farm animals and machinery, in rent and interest and
in wages at the harvest season; on the other hand, a large part of the
farmers work harder and receive less for their work than skilled
laborers, while the amount they own, especially when tenants, scarcely
exceeds what it has cost many skilled workers to learn their trade. Are
the great majority of farmers, then, rather small capitalists or
laborers?

For many years Socialists paid comparatively little attention to the
problem. How was it then imagined that a political program could obtain
the support of the majority of the voters without presenting to the
agricultural population as satisfactory a solution of their difficulties
as that it offered to the people of the towns? On the other hand, how
was it possible to adapt a program frankly "formulated by or for the
workingmen of large-scale industry" to the conditions of agriculture?

The estimate of the rural population that has hitherto prevailed among
the Socialists of most countries may be seen from the following language
of Kautsky's:--


     "We have already seen how the peasant's production [that of the
     small farmer] isolates men. The capitalists' means of production
     and the modern State, to be sure, have a powerful tendency to put
     an end to the isolation of the peasant through taxation, military
     service, railways, and newspapers. But the increase of the points
     of contact between town and country as a rule only have the effect
     that the peasant farmer feels his desolation and isolation less
     keenly. They raise him up as a peasant farmer, but awake in him a
     longing for the town; they drive all the most energetic and
     independently thinking elements from the country into the towns,
     and rob the former of its forces. So that the progress of modern
     economic life has the effect of increasing the desolation and
     lonesomeness of the country rather than ending it.

     "The truth is that in every country the agricultural population is
     economically and politically the most backward. That does not imply
     any reflection on it; it is its misfortune, but it is a fact with
     which one must deal."[223]


Not only Kautsky and Vandervelde, but whole Socialist parties like those
of Austria and Germany, are given to the exploitation of the supposed
opposition between town and country, the producer and the consumer of
agricultural products. At the German Socialist Congress of 1911, Bebel
declared that to-day those who were most in need of protection were the
consumers of agricultural products, the workingmen, lower middle classes
and employees. He felt the day was approaching when the increased cost
of living would form the chief question before the German people, the
day when the German people would raise a storm and tear down the tariffs
on the necessaries of life as well as other measures that unduly favor
the agriculturists--while the proposal of socialization would come up
first in the field of agriculture.

While, in view of the actual level of prices in Germany, there is no
doubt that even the smallest of the agriculturists are getting some
share of the spoils of the tariffs and other measures Bebel mentions,
there can also be little question that in such a storm of revolt as he
predicts the pendulum would swing too far the other way, and they would
suffer unjustly. It is true that the agriculturist produces bread, while
the city worker consumes it, but so also do shoe workers produce shoes
that are consumed by garment workers, and certainly no Socialist
predicts any lasting struggle between producers of shoes and producers
of clothing. It is true also that if the wage earner's condition is to
be improved, some limit must be set to prices as wages are raised. But
the flour manufacturer and the baker must be restrained as well as the
grain producer. Nor do Socialists expect to accomplish much by the mere
regulation of prices. And when it comes to their remedy, socialization,
there is less reason, as I shall show, for beginning with land rent than
with industrial capital, and the Socialist parties of France and America
recognize this fact.

But it is the practical result of this supposed opposition of town and
country rather than its inconsistency with Socialist principles that
must hold our attention. Certainly no agricultural program and no appeal
to the agricultural population, perhaps not even one addressed to
agricultural laborers, can hope for success while this view of the
opposition of town and country is maintained; for all agriculturists
want what they consider to be reasonable prices for their products, and
their whole life depends directly or indirectly on these prices. When
the workmen agitate, as they so often do in Europe, for cheap bread and
meat, without qualifying their agitation by any regard for the
agriculturists, all hope of obtaining the support of _any_ of the
agricultural classes, even laborers, is for the time being abandoned.

The predominance of town over country is so important to Kautsky that he
even opposes such a vital piece of democratic reform as direct
legislation where the town-country population is the more numerous than
that of the towns. "We have seen" he says, "that the modern
representative system is not very favorable to the peasantry or to the
small capitalists, especially of the country towns. The classes which
the representative system most favors are the large owners of capital or
land, the highly educated, and under a democratic electoral system, the
militant and class-conscious part of the industrial working class. So in
general one can say parliamentarism favors the population of the large
towns as against that of the country."

Far from being disturbed at this unjust and unequal system, Kautsky
prefers that it should _not_ be reformed, unless the town population are
in a majority. "Direct legislation by the people works against these
tendencies of parliamentarism. If the latter strives to place the
political balance of power in the population of the large towns, the
former puts it in the masses of the population, but these still live
everywhere and for the most part in a large majority, with the exception
of England, in the country and in the small country towns. Direct
legislation takes away from the population of the large towns their
special political influence, and subjects them to the country
population."[224]

He concludes that wherever and as long as the agricultural population
remains in a majority, the Socialists have no special reason to work for
direct legislation.

Of course Kautsky and his school do not expect this separation or
antagonism of agriculture and industry to last very far into the future.
But as long as capitalism lasts they believe agriculturists will play an
entirely subordinate rôle in politics. "While the capitalist mode of
production increases visibly the difficulties of the formation of a
revolutionary class (in the country), it favors it in the towns," he
says. "It there concentrates the laboring masses, creates conditions
favorable to every organization for their mental evolution and for their
class struggle.... It debilitates the country, disperses the
agricultural workers over vast areas, isolates them, robs them of all
means of mental development and resistance to exploitation."[225]

Similarly Vandervelde quotes from Voltaire's essay on customs a sentence
describing the European peasantry of a hundred and fifty years ago as
"savages living in cabins with their females and a few animals," and
asks, "who would dare to pretend that these words have lost all their
reality?" He admits that "rural barbarism has decreased," but still
considers the peasantry, not as a class which must take an active part
in bringing about Socialism, but as one to which "conquering Socialism
will bring political liberty and social equality."[226]

Kautsky says that either the small farmer is not really independent, and
pieces out his income by hiring himself out occasionally to some larger
landowner or other employer, or else, if entirely occupied with his own
work, that he manages to compete with large-scale cultivation only "by
overwork and underconsumption, by barbarism, as Marx says."

"To-day the situation of the city proletariat," Kautsky adds, "is
already so superior to the barbaric situation of the older peasants,
that the younger peasants' generation is leaving the fields along with
the class of rural wage earners." There can be no question that small
farms, those without permanent hired labor, survive competition with the
larger and better equipped, only by overwork and underconsumption. But
the unfavorable comparison with city wage earners and the repetition
to-day of Marx's term "barbarism" is no longer justified. Where these
conditions still exist, they are due largely to special legal obstacles
placed in the way of European peasants, and to legal privileges given to
the great landlords,--in other words, to remnants of feudalism.
Kautsky's error in making this as a statement of general application
would seem to be based on a confusion of the survivals of feudalism, as
seen in some parts of Europe, with the necessary conditions of
agricultural production, as seen in this country.

Kautsky himself has lately given full recognition to another factor in
the agricultural situation--the horrors of wage slavery, which acts in
the very opposite manner to these feudal conditions and _prevents_ both
small agriculturists and agricultural laborers from immigrating to the
towns in greater numbers than they do, and persuades them in spite of
its drudgery to prefer the life of the owner of a small farm.

"Since labor in large-scale industry takes to-day the repulsive form of
wage labor," he says, "many owners of small properties keep holding on
to them with the greatest sacrifices, for the sole purpose of avoiding
falling into the serfdom and insecurity of wage labor. Only Socialism
can put an end to small production, not of course by the forceful
ejection of small owners, but by giving them an opportunity to work for
the perfected large establishments with a shortened working day and a
larger income."[227] Surely there is little ground to lay special stress
on the "barbarism" of small farms, if such a large proportion of farmers
and agricultural laborers prefer it on good grounds to "the serfdom and
insecurity" of labor on large farms or in manufacturing establishments.

It is doubtless chiefly because European conditions are such as to make
the conversion of the majority of agriculturists difficult, that so many
European Socialists claim that an existing or prospective preponderance
of manufacturers makes it unnecessary. But, while in many countries of
Europe the remnants of feudalism, or rather of eighteenth-century
absolutism and landlord rule, to which this backward political condition
is largely due, have not only survived, but have been modernized,
through the protection extended to large estates, so as to become a part
and parcel of modern capitalism, this condition does not promise to be
at all lasting. There are already signs of change in the agricultural
sections of Bohemia, Hungary, and Italy, while in France, where the
political influence of the large landlord class is rapidly on the
decline, the Socialists have appealed successfully, under certain
conditions, not only to agricultural laborers, but also to small
independent farmers.

As Socialists come to take a world view, giving due prominence to
countries like France and the United States, where agriculture has had
its freest development, they grow away from the older standpoint and
give more attention to the rural population. The rapid technical
evolution of agriculture and the equally rapid changes in the ownership
of land in a country like the United States have encouraged our
Socialists to reëxamine the whole question. I cannot enter into a
discussion, even the most cursory, of agricultural evolution in this
country, but a few indications from the census of 1910 will show the
general tendencies.

Farm owners and tenants probably now have $45,000,000,000 in property
(1910), fully a third of the national wealth, and with 6,340,000 farms
they are just about a third of our population. This calculation does not
allow for interest (where farmers have borrowed) or rent (where they are
tenants); on the other hand, it does not allow for the fact that many
farmers have bank accounts and outside investments. But it indicates the
prosperity of a large part of the farming class.

The value of the land of the average farm has doubled since 1900 ($2271
in 1900--$4477 in 1910) in spite of a decrease in the size of farms,
while the amount spent for labor increased 80 per cent, which the
statistics show was due in part to higher wages, but in larger part _to
the greater amount of labor and the greater number of laborers used_.
Other expenditures increased almost proportionately, and the capital
employed in land, buildings, machinery, fertilizers, and labor has
almost doubled in this short period. As prices advanced less than 25 per
cent during the decade, all these increases were largely _real_. The
gross income of the average farm owner, measured in what it could buy,
evidently rose by more than 50 per cent, and his _real_ net income
nearly as fast. The average farm owner then was receiving a fair share
of the increase of the national wealth.

But farmers cannot profitably be considered as a single class. Tenants
are rarely at the same time landlords. Farmers paying interest are
usually not the same as those holding mortgages. A few of the debtors
may be very successful men who borrow only to buy more land and hire
more labor. But very few tenants are in this class. We may safely assume
that those who own without a mortgage or employ labor steadily with one
are getting _more_ than an average share of the national wealth, while
tenants or those who have mortgaged their land heavily and do not
regularly hire labor (except at harvest) are, in the average case,
getting less. Investments of borrowed money in the best machinery or
farm animals by a single family working alone and on a very small scale,
may give a good return above interest, but this return is strictly
limited unless with most exceptional or most fortunate persons.

Now the statistics of the increase of agricultural _wages_ show that
they rose in no such proportion as the increase of agricultural
capital--and the possibility of a farm hand saving his wages and
becoming the owner of one of these more and more costly farms is more
remote than ever. But there is a third solution--the agricultural
laborer may neither remain a laborer nor become an owner. If he can
accumulate enough capital for machinery, horses, farm animals, and seed,
he can pay for the use of the land from his annual product, he can
become a tenant. On the other side, if the value of the usual 160-acre
homestead rises to $20,000 or $30,000, the owner is easily able to make
a few thousand dollars in addition by selling his farm animals and
machinery and to retire to the country town and live on his rent.

It is evident that the position of most of these farm tenants is very
close to that of laborers. Though working on their own account, it is so
difficult for them to make a living that they are forced to the longest
hours and to the exploitation of their wives and children under all
possible and impossible circumstances. Already farm tenants are almost
as numerous in this country as farm owners. The census figures indicated
that the proportion of tenants had risen from 23 per cent in 1880 to 37
per cent in 1910. Not only this, but a closer inspection of the figures
by States will show that, whereas in new States like Minnesota, where
tenancy has not had time to develop, it embraced in 1900 less than 20
per cent of the total number of farms, in many older States the
percentage had already risen high above 40. This increase of tenants
proves an approach of the United States to the fundamental economic
condition of older countries--the divorce of land cultivation from land
ownership, and the census of 1910 shows that three eighths of the farms
of the United States are already in that condition.

Land and hired labor are the chief sources of agricultural wealth, and
capital is most productive only when it is invested in these as well as
other means of production. That is, if the small farmer is really a
small capitalist, if he is to receive a return from his capital as well
as his own individual and that of his family labor, he must, as a rule,
either have enough capital to provide work for others and his family, or
he must get a share of the unearned increment through the ownership of
his farm, or long leases without revaluation. Farm tenants who do not
habitually employ labor, or those whose mortgages are so heavy as
practically to place them in the position of such tenants, are, for
these reasons, undoubtedly accessible to Socialist ideas--_as long as
they remain farm tenants_.

But now after discarding all the European prejudices above referred to,
let us look at the other side. Tenants everywhere belong to those
classes which, as Kautsky truly says, in the passage quoted in a
previous chapter, are also a recruiting ground for the capitalists. They
are more likely to be the owners of the capital, now a considerable sum,
needed to _operate_ a small farm (cattle, machinery, etc.) than are farm
laborers, and it is for their benefit chiefly that the various
governmental plans for creating new small farms through irrigation,
reclamation, and the division of large estates are contrived. And it is
even possible that practically all the present tenants may some day be
provided for.

By maintaining or creating small farms then, or providing for a system
of long leases and small-sized allotments of governmentally owned land,
guaranteed against any raise in rents during the term of the lease,
capitalist governments may gradually succeed in firmly attaching the
larger part of the struggling small farmers and farm tenants to
capitalism. While still in the individualistic form capitalism will
establish, wherever it can, privately owned small farms; when it will
have adopted the collectivist policy, it will inaugurate a system of
national ownership and long leases.

Even the small farmer who hires no labor, and does not even own his
farm, will probably be held, as a class, by capitalism, but only by the
collectivist capitalism of the future, which will probably protect him
from landlordism by keeping the title to the land, but dividing the
unearned increment with him by a system of long leases, and using its
share of this increment for the promotion of agriculture and for other
purposes he approves.

Socialists, then, do not expect to include in their ranks in
considerable numbers, either agricultural employers or such tenants,
laborers, or farm owners as are becoming, or believe they will become,
employers (either under present governments or under collectivist
capitalism).

Only when the day finally comes when Socialism begins to exert a
pressure on the government adversely to the interest of the capitalist
class will higher wages and new governmental expenditures on wage
earners begin to reverse conditions automatically, making labor dearer,
small farms which employ labor less profitable, and a lease of
government land less desirable, for example, than the position of a
skilled employee on a model government farm. All governments will then
be forced by the farming population itself to lend more and more support
to the Socialist policy of great national municipal or county farms,
rather than to the artificial promotion or small-scale agriculture.

For the present and the near future the only lasting support Socialists
can find in the country is from _the surplus_ of agricultural laborers
and perhaps _a certain part_ of the tenants, _i.e._ those who cannot be
provided for even if all large estates are everywhere divided into small
farms, all practicable works of reclamation and irrigation completed,
and scientific methods introduced--and who will find no satisfactory
opportunity in neighboring countries. It must be acknowledged that such
tenants at present form no very large part of the agricultural
population in the United States. On the other hand, agriculturists are
even less backward here than in Europe, and there is less opposition
between town and country, and both these facts favor rural Socialism.

If, however, the majority of farmers must remain inaccessible to
Socialism until the great change is at hand, this is not because they
are getting an undue share of the national wealth or because they are
private property fanatics, or because agriculturists are economically
and politically backward, or because they are hostile to labor, though
all this is true of many, but because of all classes, they are the most
easily capable of being converted into (or perpetuated as) small
capitalists by the reforms of the capitalist statesman in search of
reliable and numerically important political support.

I have shown the attitude of the Socialists towards each of the
agricultural classes--their belief that they will be able to attach to
themselves the agricultural laborers and those tenants and independent
farmers who are neither landlords nor steady employers, nor expect to
become such. But what now is the attitude of laborers, tenants, etc.,
towards Socialism, and what program do the Socialists offer to attract
them? Let us first consider a few general reforms on which all
Socialists would agree and which would be acceptable to all classes of
agriculturists. Socialists differ upon certain _fundamental_ alterations
in their program which have been proposed in order to adapt it to
agriculture. Aside from these, all Socialist parties wish to do
everything that is possible to attract agriculturists. They favor such
measures as the nationalization of forests, irrigation, state fire
insurance, the nationalization of transportation, the extension of free
education and especially of free agricultural education, the
organization of free medical assistance, graduated income and
inheritance taxes, and the decrease of military expenditures, etc. It
will be seen that all these reforms are such as might be, and often are,
adopted by parties which have nothing to do with Socialism. Community
ownership of forests and national subsidies for roads are urged by so
conservative a body as Mr. Roosevelt's Commission on Country Life. They
are all typical "State Socialist" (_i.e._ State capitalist) measures,
justifiable and indispensable, but not intimately related with the
program of _Socialism_. The indorsement of such measures might indeed
assure the Socialists the friendly coöperation of political factions
representing the agriculturists, but it could scarcely secure for them
the same partisan support in the country as they have obtained from the
workingmen of the towns.

Besides such legislative reforms as the above, the Socialists generally
favor legislative encouragement for every form of agricultural
coöperation. Kautsky says that coöperative associations limited to
purchase or sale, or for financing purposes, have no special connection
with Socialism, but favors _productive_ coöperation, and in France this
is one of the chief measures advocated by the most ardent of the
Socialist agriculturist agitators, Compère-Morel, who was elected to the
Chamber of Deputies from an agricultural district. Compère-Morel notes
that the above-mentioned governmental measures of the State Socialistic
variety are likely to be introduced by reformers who have no sympathy
either with Socialism or with labor unions, and _as a counterweight_ he
lays a great emphasis on coöperative organizations for production, which
could work with the labor unions and their coöperative stores and also
with Socialist municipalities. In France and elsewhere there is already
a strong movement to municipalize the milk supply, the municipalization
of slaughterhouses is far advanced, and municipal bakeries are a
probability of the near future. Such coöperative organizations, however,
like the legislative proposals above mentioned, are already so widely in
actual operation and are so generally supported by powerful
non-Socialist organizations that Socialist support can be of
comparatively little value.

There is no reason why a collectivist but capitalist democracy should
not favor both associations for productive coöperation and friendly
relations between these and collectivist municipalities; nor why they
should fail to favor an enlightened labor policy in such cases, at least
as far as the resulting increase of efficiency in the laborer justified
it, _i.e._ as long as his product rises, as a result of such reforms,
faster than what it costs to introduce them.

Socialists also favor the nationalization of the land, but without the
expropriation of self-employing farmers, as these are felt to be more
sinned against than sinning. "With the present conservative nature of
our farmers, it is highly probable that a number of them would [under
Socialism] continue to work in the present manner," Kautsky says. "The
proletarian governmental power would have absolutely no inclination to
take over such little businesses. As yet no Socialist who is to be taken
seriously has ever demanded that the farmers should be expropriated, or
that their goods should be confiscated. It is much more probable that
each little farmer would be permitted to work on as he has previously
done. The farmer has nothing to fear from a Socialist régime. Indeed, it
is highly probable," he adds, "that these agricultural industries would
receive considerable strengthening through the new régime."

Socialists generally agree with Mr. A. M. Simons's resolution at the
last American Socialist Convention (1910): "So long as tools are used
merely by individual handicraftsmen, they present no problem of
ownership which the Socialist is compelled to solve. The same is true of
land. Collective ownership is urged by the Socialist, not as an end in
itself, not as a part of a Utopian scheme, but as the means of
preventing exploitation, and wherever individual ownership is an agency
of exploitation, then such ownership is opposed by Socialism."[228]

Exploitation here refers to the employment of laborers, and this is the
central point of the Socialist policy. To the Socialists the land
question and the labor question are one. Every agricultural policy must
deal with both. If we were confronted to-day exclusively by large
agricultural estates, the Socialist policy would be the same as in other
industries. All agricultural capital would be nationalized or
municipalized as fast as it became sufficiently highly organized to make
this practicable. And as the ground rent can be taken separately, and
with the least difficulty, this would be the first to go. Agricultural
labor, in the meanwhile, would be organized and as the day approached
when the Socialists were about to gain control of the government, and
the wages of government employees began rapidly to rise, those of
agricultural and all other privately employed labor would rise also,
until private profits were destroyed and the process of socialization
brought rapidly to completion.

But where the scale of production is so small that the farmer and his
family do the work and do not habitually hire outside labor, the whole
case is different. The chief exploitation here is self-exploitation. The
capital owned is so small that it may be compared in value with the
skilled worker's trade education, especially when we consider the small
return it brings in, allowing for wages for the farmer and his family.
Even though, as owner, he receives that part of the rise in the value of
his land due to the general increase of population and wealth and not to
his own labor (the unearned increment), his income is less than that of
many skilled laborers.

Two widely different policies are for these reasons adopted by all
reformers when dealing with large agricultural estates and small
self-employing farmers. On this point there is little room for
difference of opinion. But small farmers are not a sharply defined
class. They are constantly recruited from agricultural laborers and
tenants on the one hand, and are constantly becoming employing farmers
on the other--or the process may take the opposite course, large farms
may break up and small farmers may become laborers--for all or a part of
their time. All agricultural reforms may be viewed not only in their
relation to existing small farmers, but as to their effect on the
increase or decrease of the relative proportions of small self-employing
farmers, of employing farmers, and of agricultural laborers.

And here appears the fundamental distinction between the Socialist
program and that of collectivist capitalism as far as the small farmers
are concerned. Socialists agree in wanting to aid those small farmers
who are neither capitalists nor employers on a sufficient scale to
classify them with those elements, but they neither wish to perpetuate
the system of small farms nor to obstruct the development of the more
productive large-scale farming and the normal increase of an
agricultural working class ready for coöperative or governmental
employment. They point to the universal law that large-scale production
is more economical, and show that this applies to agriculture. Small
farming strictly limits the point to which the income of the
agricultural population can rise, prevents the cheapening of the
production of food, and furnishes a constant stream of cheap labor
composed of discontented agricultural laborers who prefer the more
steady income, limited hours, and better conditions of wage earners.


     "Even the most energetic champions of small farming," says Kautsky,
     "do not make the least attempt to show its superiority, as this
     would be a hopeless task. What they maintain is only the
     superiority of labor on one's own property to wage labor for a
     strange exploiter.... But if the large farm offers the greater
     possibility of lessening the work of the agricultural laborers,
     then it would be a betrayal of the latter to set before them as a
     goal, not the capture and technical development of large forms, but
     their break up into numerous small farms. That would mean nothing
     less than a willingness to perpetuate the drudgery under which the
     agricultural laborers and small farmers now suffer."[229]


But how shall Socialists aid small farmers without increasing the number
of small farms? It might be thought that the nationalization of the land
would solve the problem. The government, once become the general
landlord, could use the rent fund to improve the condition of all
classes of agriculturists, without unduly favoring any, agricultural
evolution could take its natural course, and the most economical method
of production, _i.e._ large farms or large coöperative associations,
would gradually come to predominate. But the capitalist collectivists
who now control or will soon control governments, far from feeling any
anxiety about the persistence of small-scale farming, believe that the
small farmers can be made into the most reliable props of capitalism.
Accordingly collectivist reformers either promote schemes of division of
large estates and favor the creation of large masses of small owners by
this and every other available means, such as irrigation or reclamation
projects, or if they indorse nationalization of the land in order to get
the unearned increment for their governments, they still make the leases
on as small a scale and revaluations at as long intervals as possible,
and so do almost as much artificially to perpetuate the small farm under
this system as they could by furthering private ownership.

Although there is no necessary and immediate conflict of interest
between wage earners and small farmers, it is evident that it is
impossible for Socialists to offer the small farmers as much as the
capitalist collectivists do,--for the latter are willing in this
instance to promote, for political purposes, an uneconomic mode of
production which is a burden on all society.

Here, however, appears an economic tendency that relieves the situation
for the Socialist. Under private ownership or land nationalization with
long leases and small-scale farms, it is only once in a generation or
even less frequently that farms are subdivided. But the amount of
capital and labor that can be profitably applied to a given area of
land, the intensity of farming, increases very rapidly. The former
self-employing farmer, everywhere encouraged by governments, soon comes
to employ steadily one or more laborers. And it is notable that in every
country of the world these middle-sized or moderate-sized farms are
growing more rapidly than either the large-scale or the one-family
farms. This has an economic and a political explanation. Though large
farms have more economic advantages than small, the latter have nothing
to expend for superintendence and get much more work from each person
occupied. The middle-sized farms preserve these advantages and gradually
come also to employ much of the most profitable machinery, that is out
of reach of the small farmer. Politically their position is still
stronger. They are neither rich nor few like the large landholders.
Their employees are one, two, or three on each farm, and isolated.

Here, then, is the outcome of the agricultural situation that chiefly
concerns the Socialist. The middle-sized farmer is a small capitalist
and employer who, like the rest of his kind, will in every profound
labor crisis be found with the large capitalist. His employees will
outnumber him as voters and will have little hope that the government
will intervene some day to make them either proprietors or possessors
of long-term leases. The capital, moreover, to run this kind of farm or
to compete with it, will be greater and greater and more and more out of
their agricultural laborer's reach. These employees will be Socialists.

We are now in a position to understand the divisions among the
Socialists on the agricultural question. The Socialist policy as to
agriculture may be divided into three periods. During the ascendency of
capitalistic collectivism it will be powerless to do more than to
support the collectivist reforms, including partial nationalization of
the land, partial appropriation of unearned increment by national or
local governments, municipal and coöperative production, and the
numerous reforms already mentioned. In the second period, the approach
of Socialism will hasten all these changes automatically through the
rapid rise in wages, and in the third period, when the Socialists are in
power, special measures will be taken still further to hasten the
process until all land is gradually nationalized and all agricultural
production carried on by governmental bodies or coöperative societies of
actual workers.

If the Socialists gain control of any government, or if they come near
enough to doing this to be able to force concessions at the cost of
capital, a double effect will be produced on agriculture. The general
rise in wages will destroy the profits of many farmer employers, and it
will offer to the smallest self-employing farmers the possibility of an
income as wage earners so much larger, and conditions so much better,
than anything they can hope for as independent producers that they will
cease to prefer self-employment. The high cost of labor will favor both
large scale production, either capitalistic or coöperative, and
national, state, county, and municipal farms. Without any but an
automatic economic pressure, small-scale and middle-scale farming would
tend rapidly to give place to these other higher forms, and these in
turn would tend to become more and more highly organized as other
industries have done, until social production became a possibility. Not
only would there be no need of coercive legislative measures, but the
automatic pressure would be, not that of misery or bankruptcy pressing
the self-employing farmer from behind, but of a larger income and better
conditions drawing the majority forward to more developed and social
forms of production.

In France a considerable and increasing number of the Socialist members
of Parliament are elected by the peasantry, and the same is true of
Italy. In Hervé the French have developed a world-famed
ultra-revolutionary who always makes his appeal to peasants as well as
workers, and in Compère-Morel, one of the most able of those economists
and organizers of the international movement who give the agriculturists
their chief attention. The latter has recently summed up the position of
the French Party in a few incisive paragraphs--which show its similarity
to that of the Americans. His main idea is to let economic evolution
take its course, which, in proportion as labor is effectively organized,
will inevitably lead towards collective ownership and operation and so
pave the way for Socialism:--


     "As to small property, it is not our mission either to hasten or to
     precipitate its disappearance. A product of labor, quite often
     being merely a tool of the one who is detaining it, not only do we
     respect it, we do something more yet, we relieve it from taxes,
     usury, scandalous charges on the part of the middlemen, whose
     victim it is. And this will be done in order to make possible its
     free evolution towards superior forms of exploitation and
     ownership, which become more and more inevitable.

     "This means that there is no necessity at all to appeal to
     violence, to use constraint and power in order to inaugurate in the
     domain of rural production, the only mode of ownership fit to
     utilize the new technical agricultural tools: collective ownership.

     "On the other hand, a new form of ownership cannot be imposed; it
     is the new form of ownership which is imposing itself.

     "It is in vain that they use the most powerful, the most
     artificial, means to develop, to multiply, and animate the private
     ownership of the land; the social ownership of the land will impose
     itself, through the force of events, on the most stubborn, on the
     most obstinate, of the partisans of individual ownership of the
     rural domain."


The French Socialists do not propose to interfere with titles of any but
very large properties, or even with inheritance. Whether they have to
meet government ownership and 33-year leases now being tried on a small
scale in New Zealand, or whether a capitalist collectivist government
allows agricultural evolution and land titles to take their natural
course, they expect to corner the labor supply, and in this way
ultimately to urge agriculture along in the Socialist direction. From
the moment they have done this, they expect a steady tendency on the
part of agriculturists to look forward, as the workingmen have done, to
the Socialist State:--


     "The question arises, under a Socialist régime, will small
     property, the property cultivated by the owner and his family, be
     transmissible, allowed to be sold, or left as inheritance to the
     children, to the nephews, and even to very remote cousins? From the
     moment this property is not used as an instrument of
     exploitation--and in a Socialist society, _labor not being sold_,
     it could never become one--what do we care whether it changes hands
     every morning, whether it travels around through a whole family or
     country?"


For, since the Socialist State will furnish work for all that apply, at
the best remuneration, and under the best conditions, especially as it
will do this in its own agricultural enterprises, relatively few farmers
will be able to pay enough to secure other workers than those of their
own families.

In the United States the Party has definitely decided by a large
majority, in a referendum vote, that it does not intend to try to
disturb the self-employing farmer in any way in his occupation and use
of the land. In a declaration adopted in 1909, when, by a referendum
vote of nearly two to one, the demand for the immediate collective
ownership of the land was dropped from the platform, the following
paragraph was inserted:--

"There can be no absolute private title to land. All private titles,
whether called fee simple or otherwise, are and must be subordinate to
the public title. The Socialist Party strives to prevent land from being
used for the purpose of exploitation and speculation. It demands the
collective possession, control, or management of land to whatever extent
may be necessary to attain that end. It is not opposed to the occupation
and possession of land by those using it in a useful bona fide manner
_without exploitation_." (My italics.)

Those American Socialists who have given most attention to the subject,
like Mr. Simons, have long since made up their minds that there is no
hope whatever either for the victory or even for the rapid development
of Socialism in this country unless it takes some root among the
agriculturists. Mr. Simons insists that the Socialists should array
against the forces of conservatism, privilege, and exploitation, "all
those whose labor assists in the production of wealth, for all these
make up the army of exploited, and all are interested in the abolition
of exploitation."

"In this struggle," he continues, "farmers and factory wage workers
must make common cause. Any smaller combination, any division in the
ranks of the workers, must render success impossible. In a country where
fundamental changes of policy are secured at the ballot box, nothing can
be accomplished without united action by all classes of workers.... The
better organization of the factory workers of the cities, due to their
position in the midst of a higher developed capitalism and more
concentrated industry, makes them in no way independent of their rural
brothers. So long as they are not numerous enough to win, they are
helpless. 'A miss is as good as a mile,' and coming close to a majority
avails almost nothing."[230]

Looking at the question after this from the farmers' standpoint, Mr.
Simons argues that many of the latter are well aware that the ownership
of a farm is nothing more than the ownership of a job, and that the
capitalists who own the mortgages, railroads, elevators, meat-packing
establishments, and factories which produce agricultural machinery and
other needed supplies, control the lives and income of the
agriculturists almost as rigidly as they do those of their own
employees. Mr. Simons's views on this point also are probably those of a
majority of the party.

Mr. Victor Berger does not consider that farmers belong to that class by
whom and for whom Socialism has come into being. "The average farmer is
not a proletarian," he says, "yet he is a producer."[231] This would
seem to imply that the farmer should have Socialist consideration,
though perhaps not equal consideration with the workingman. Mr. Berger's
main argument apparently was that the farmers must be included in the
movement, not because this is demanded by principle but because "you
will never get control of the United States unless you have the farming
class with you," as he said at a Socialist convention.

Thus there are three possible attitudes of Socialists towards the
self-employing farmer, and all three are represented in the movement.
Kautsky, Vandervelde, and many others believe that after all he is not a
proletarian, and therefore should not or cannot be included in the
movement. The French Socialists and many Americans believe that he is
practically a proletarian and should and can be included. The
"reformists" in countries where he is very numerous believe he should be
included, even when (Berger) they do not consider him as a proletarian.
The Socialist movement, on the whole, now stands with Kautsky and
Vandervelde, and this is undoubtedly the correct position until the
Socialists are near to political supremacy. The French and American
view, that the self-employing farmer is practically a wage earner, is
spreading, and though this view is false and dangerous if prematurely
applied (_i.e._ to-day) it will become correct in the future when
collectivist capitalism has exhausted its reforms and the small farmer
is becoming an employee of the highly productive government farms or a
profit-sharer in coöperative associations.

At the last American Socialist Convention (1910) Mr. Simons's resolution
carefully avoided the "reformist" position of trying to prop up either
private property or small-scale production, by the statement that, while
"no Socialist Party proposes the immediate expropriation of the farm
owner who is cultivating his own farm," that, on the other hand, "it is
not for the Socialist Party to guarantee the private ownership of any
productive property." He remarked in the Convention that the most
prominent French Marxists, Guesde and Lafargue, had approved the action
of the recent French Socialist Congress, which had "guaranteed the
peasant ownership of his farm," but he would not accept this action as
good Socialism. Mr. Berger offered the same criticism of the French
Socialists, and added that the guarantee would not be worth anything in
any case, because our grandchildren would not be ruled by it.


     However, there is a minority ready to compromise everything in this
     question. Of all American States, Oklahoma has been the one where
     Socialists have given the closest attention to agricultural
     problems. The Socialists have obtained a considerable vote in every
     county of this agricultural State, and with 20,000 to 25,000 votes
     they include a considerable proportion of the electorate. It is
     true that their platform, though presented at the last national
     convention, has not been passed upon, and may later be disapproved
     in several important clauses, but it is important as showing the
     farthest point the American movement has gone in this direction.
     Its most important points are:--

     The retention and _constant enlargement of the public domain_.

     By retaining school and other public lands.

     By purchasing of arid and overflow lands and the State reclamation
     of all such lands now held by the State or that may be acquired by
     the State.

     By the purchase of all lands sold for the non-payment of taxes.

     Separation of the department of agriculture from the political
     government.

     Election of all members and officers of the Board of Agriculture by
     the direct vote of the actual farmers.

     Erection by the State of grain elevators and warehouses for the
     storage of farm products; these elevators and warehouses to be
     managed by the Board of Agriculture.

     Organization by the Board of Agriculture of free agricultural
     education and the establishment of model farms.

     Encouragement by the Board of Agriculture of coöperative societies
     of farmers--

     For the buying of seed and fertilizers.

     _For the purchase and common use of implements and machinery._

     For the preparing and sale of produce.

     Organization by the State of loans on mortgages and warehouse
     certificates, the interests charges to cover cost only.

     State insurance against disease of animals, diseases of plants,
     insect pests, hail, flood, storm, and fire.

     Exemption from taxation and execution of dwellings, tools, farm
     animals, implements, and improvements to the amount of one thousand
     dollars.

     _A graduated tax on the value of rented land and land held for
     speculation._

     Absentee landlords to assess their own lands, the State reserving
     the right to purchase such lands at their assessed value plus 10
     per cent.

     Land now in the possession of the State or hereafter acquired
     through purchase, reclamation, or tax sales to be rented to
     _landless_ farmers under the supervision of the Board of
     Agriculture at the prevailing rate of share rent or its equivalent.
     The payment of such rent to cease as soon as the total amount of
     rent paid is equal to the value of the land, and the tenant thereby
     acquires for himself _and his children_ the right of occupancy. The
     title to all such lands remaining with the commonwealth.[232]

     I have italicized the most significant items. The preference given
     to landless farmers in the last paragraph shows that the party in
     Oklahoma does not propose to distribute its greatest favors to
     those who are now in possession of even the smallest amount of
     land. On the other hand, once the land is governmentally "owned"
     and speculation and landlordism (or renting) are provided against,
     the farmer passes "the right of occupancy" of this land on to his
     children. European Socialist parties, with one exception, have not
     gone so far as this, and it is doubtful if the American Party will
     sustain such a long step towards permanent private property. It may
     well be doubted whether the Socialist movement will favor giving to
     children the identical privileges their parents had, simply because
     they are the children of these parents, especially if these
     privileges had been materially increased in value during the
     parents' lifetime by community effort, _i.e._ if there has been
     any large "unearned increment." Nor will they grant any additional
     right after forty years of payments or any other term, but, on the
     contrary, as the land rises, through the community's efforts they
     would undoubtedly see to it that _rent was correspondingly
     increased_. Socialists demand, not penalties against landlordism,
     but the community appropriation of rent--whether it is in the hands
     of the actual farmer or landlord. Why, moreover, seek to
     discriminate against those who are in possession _now_, and then
     favor those who will be in possession after the new dispensation,
     by giving the latter an almost permanent title? May there not be as
     many landless agricultural workers forty years hence as there are
     now? Why should those who happen to be landless in one generation
     instead of the next receive superior rights?

     Not only Henry George, but Herbert Spencer and the present
     governments of Great Britain (for all but agricultural land) and
     Germany (in the case of cities), recognize that the element of land
     values due to the community effort should go to the community. The
     political principle that gives the community no permanent claim to
     ground rent and is ready to give a "right of occupancy" for two _or
     more_ lifetimes (for nothing is said in the Oklahoma program about
     the land returning to the government) without any provisions for
     increased rentals and with no rents at all after forty years, is
     _reactionary_ as compared with recent land reform programs
     elsewhere (as that of New Zealand).

     Even Mr. Roosevelt's Commission on Country Life goes nearly as far
     as the Oklahoma Socialists when it condemns speculation in farm
     lands and tenancy; while Mr. Roosevelt himself has suggested as a
     remedy in certain instances the leasing of parts of the national
     domain. Indeed, the "progressive" capitalists everywhere favor
     either small self-employing farmers or national ownership and
     leases for long terms and in small allotments, and as "State
     Socialism" advances it will unquestionably lean towards the latter
     system. There is nothing Socialistic either in government
     encouragement either of one-family farms or in a national leasing
     system with long-term leases as long as the new revenue received
     goes for the usual "State Socialistic" purposes.


The American Party, moreover, has failed so far to come out definitely
in favor of the capitalist-collectivist principle of the State
appropriation of ground rent, already indorsed by Marx in 1847 and again
in 1883 (see his letter about Henry George, Part I, Chapter VIII). In
preparing model constitutions for New Mexico and Arizona (August, 1910),
the National Executive Committee took up the question of taxation and
recommended graduated income and inheritance taxes, but nothing was said
about the State taking the future rise in rents. This is not a reaction
when compared to the present world status of non-Socialist land reform,
for the taxation of unearned increment has not yet been extended to
agricultural land in use, but it is decidedly a reaction when compared
with the Socialists' own position in the past.

In a semiagricultural country like the United States it is natural that
"State Socialism" should influence the Socialist Party in its treatment
of the land question more than in any other direction, and this
influence is, perhaps, the gravest danger that threatens the party at
the present writing.


     By far the most important popular organ of Socialism in this
     country is the _Appeal to Reason_ of Girard, Kansas, which now
     circulates nearly half a million copies weekly--a large part of
     which go into rural communities. The _Appeal_ endeavors, with some
     success, to reflect the views of the average party member, without
     supporting any faction. As Mr. Debs is one of its editors, it may
     be understood that it stands fundamentally against the compromise
     of any essential Socialist principle. And yet the exigencies of a
     successful propaganda among small landowners or tenants who either
     want to become landowners or to secure a lease that would amount to
     almost the same thing, is such as to drive the _Appeal_ into a
     position, not only as to the land question, but also to other
     questions, that has in it many elements of "State Socialism."

     A special propaganda edition (January 27, 1902) is typical. Along
     with many revolutionary declarations, such as that Socialism aims
     not only at the socialization of the means of production, but also
     at the socialization of _power_, we find others that would be
     accepted by any capitalist "State Socialist." Government activities
     as to schools and roads are mentioned as examples of socialization,
     while that part of the land still in the hands of our present
     capitalist government is referred to as being socialized. The use
     of vacant and unused lands (with "a fair return" for this use) by
     city, township, and county officials in order to raise and sell
     products and furnish employment, as was done by the late Mayor
     Pingree in Detroit, and even the public ownership of freight and
     passenger automobiles, are spoken of as "purely Socialist
     propositions." And, finally, the laws of Oklahoma are said to
     permit socialization without a national victory of the Socialists,
     though they provide merely that a municipality may engage in any
     legitimate business enterprise, and could easily be circumscribed
     by state constitutional provisions or by federal courts if real
     Socialists were about to gain control of municipalities and State
     legislature. For such Socialists would not be satisfied merely to
     demand the abolition of private landlordism and unemployment as the
     _Appeal_ does in this instance, since both of these "institutions"
     are already marked for destruction by "State capitalism," but would
     plan public employment at wages so high as to make private
     employment unprofitable and all but impossible, so high that the
     self-employing farmer even would more and more frequently prefer to
     quit his farm and go to work on a municipal, State, or county farm.


The probable future course of the Party, however, is foreshadowed by the
suggestions made by Mr. Simons in the report referred to, which, though
not yet voted upon, seemed to meet general approval:--

"With the writers of the Communist Manifesto we agree in the principle
of the 'application of all rents of land to public purposes.' To this
end we advocate the taxing of all lands to their full rental value, the
income therefrom to be applied to the establishment of industrial plants
for the preparing of agricultural products for final consumption, such
as packing houses, canneries, cotton gins, grain elevators, storage and
market facilities."[233]

There is no doubt that Mr. Simons here indorses the most promising line
of agrarian reform under capitalism. But there is no reason why
capitalist collectivism may not take up this policy when it reaches a
somewhat more advanced stage. The tremendous benefits the cities will
secure by the gradual appropriation of the unearned increment will
almost inevitably suggest it to the country also. This will immensely
hasten the development of agriculture and the numerical increase of an
agricultural working class. What is even more important is that it will
teach the agricultural laborers that far more is to be gained by the
political overthrow of the small capitalist employing farmers and by
claiming a larger share of the benefit of these public funds than by
attempting the more and more difficult task of saving up the sum needed
for acquiring a small farm or leasing one for a long term from the
government.

The governmental appropriation of agricultural rent and its productive
expenditure on agriculture will in all probability be carried out, even
if not prematurely promised at the present time, by collectivist
capitalism. Moreover, while this great reform will strengthen Socialism
as indicated, it will strengthen capitalism still more, especially in
the earlier stages of the change. Socialists recognize, with Henry
George, that ground rent may be nationalized and "tyranny and spoliation
be continued." For if the present capitalistic state gradually became
the general landlord, either through the extension of the national
domain or through land taxation, greater resources would be put into the
hands of existing class governments than by any other means. If, for
example, the Socialists opposed the government bank in Germany they
might dread even more the _present_ government becoming the universal
landlord, though it would be useless to try to prevent it.

It is clear that such a reform is no more a step in Socialism or in the
direction of Socialism than the rest of the capitalist collectivist
program. But it is a step in the development of capitalism and will
ultimately bring society to a point where the Socialists, if they have
in the meanwhile prepared themselves, may be able to gain the supreme
power over government and industry.

Socialists do not feel that the agricultural problem will be solved at
all for a large part of the agriculturists (the laborers) nor in the
most satisfactory manner for the majority (self-employing farmers) until
the whole problem of capitalism is solved. The agricultural laborers
they claim as their own to-day; the conditions I have reviewed lead them
to hope also for a slow but steady progress among the smaller farmers.

FOOTNOTES:

[223] Karl Kautsky, "Parlamentarismus und Demokratie," edition of 1911,
p. 127.

[224] Karl Kautsky, "Parlamentarismus und Demokratie," edition of 1911,
pp. 126-128.

[225] Quotations from Kautsky following in this chapter are taken
chiefly from his "Agrarfrage."

[226] Émile Vandervelde, "Le Socialisme Agraire."

[227] _Die Neue Zeit_, June 16, 1911.

[228] Proceedings of 1910 Convention of the Socialist Party of the
United States.

[229] _Die Neue Zeit_, June 16 and 30, 1911.

[230] A. M. Simons, "The American Farmer," pp. 160-162.

[231] The 1908 Convention of the Socialist Party of the United States.

[232] Reprinted at frequent intervals by the _Industrial Democrat,_
Oklahoma City.

[233] Mr. Simons's resolution also contains another proposition,
seemingly at variance with this, which would postpone Socialist action
indefinitely:--

"In the field of industry what the Socialist movement demands is the
social ownership and control of the socially operated means of
production, not of all means of production. Only to a very small extent
is it [the land] likely to be, for many years to come, a socially
operated means of production."

On the contrary, it would seem that "State Socialism," the basis on
which Socialists must build, to say nothing of Socialism, will bring
about a large measure of government ownership of land in the interest of
the farmer of the individually operated farm. Socialism, it is true,
requires besides government ownership, governmental operation, and
recognizes that this is practicable only as fast as agriculture becomes
organized like other industries. In the meanwhile it recognizes either
in gradual government ownership or in the taxation of the unearned
increment, the most progressive steps that can be undertaken by a
capitalist government and supports them _even where there is no
large-scale production or social operation_. For "wherever individual
ownership is an agency of exploitation," to quote Mr. Simons's own
resolution, "then such ownership is opposed by Socialism," _i.e.
wherever labor is employed_.

The Socialist solution, it is true, can only come with "social
operation," but that does not mean that Socialism has nothing to say
to-day. It still favors the reforms of collectivist capitalism. Where
extended national ownership of the land is impracticable there remains
the taxation of the future unearned increment. To drop this "demand"
also is to subordinate Socialism completely to small-scale capitalism.



CHAPTER III

SOCIALISM AND THE "WORKING CLASS"


If the majority of Socialists are liberal in their conception of what
constitutes the "working class," they are equally broad in their view as
to what classes must be reckoned among its opponents. They are aware
that on the other side in this struggle will be found all those classes
that are willing to serve capitalism or hope to rise into its ranks.

In its narrow sense the term "capitalist class" may be restricted to
mean mere idlers and parasites, but this is not the sense in which
Socialists usually employ it. Mere idlers play an infinitely less
important part in the capitalist world than active exploiters. It is
even probable that in the course of a strenuous struggle the capitalists
themselves may gradually tax wholly idle classes out of existence and so
actually strengthen the more active capitalists by ridding them of this
burden. Active exploiters may pass some of their time in idleness and
frivolous consumption, without actual degeneration, without becoming
mere parasites. All exploitation is parasitism, but it does not follow
that every exploiter is nothing more than a parasite. He may work
feverishly at the game of exploitation and, as is very common with
capitalists, may be devoted to it for its own sake and for the power it
brings rather than for the opportunity to consume in luxury or idleness.
If pure parasitism were the object of attack, as certain Socialists
suppose it to be, all but an infinitesimal minority of mankind would
already be Socialists.

Nor do Socialists imagine that the capitalist ranks will ever be
restricted to the actual capitalists, those whose income is derived
chiefly from their possessions. Take, for example, the class of the
least skilled and poorest-paid laborers such as the so-called "casual
laborers," the "submerged tenth"--those who, though for the most part
not paupers, are in extreme poverty and probably are unable to maintain
themselves in a state of industrial efficiency even for that low-paid
and unskilled labor to which they are accustomed. Mr. H. G. Wells and
other observers feel that this class is likely to put even more
obstacles in the path of Socialism than the rich: "Much more likely to
obstruct the way to Socialism," says Mr. Wells, "is the ignorance, the
want of courage, the stupid want of imagination in the very poor, too
shy and timid and clumsy to face any change they can evade! But even
with them popular education is doing its work; and I do not fear but
that in the next generation we will find Socialists even in the
slums."[234]

"Misery and poverty are so absolutely degrading, and exercise such a
paralyzing effect over the nature of men, that no class is ever really
conscious of its own suffering," says Oscar Wilde. "They have to be told
of it by other people, and they often entirely disbelieve them. What is
said by great employers of labor against agitators is unquestionably
true. Agitators are a set of interfering, meddling people, who come down
to some perfectly contented class of the community and sow the seeds of
discontent amongst them."[235] It is the "very poor" who disbelieve the
agitators. They must be embraced in every plan of social reconstruction,
but they cannot be of much aid. The _least_ skilled must rather be
helped and those who can and do help them best are not any of their
"superiors," but their blood brothers and sisters of the economic class
just above them--the great mass of the unskilled workers.

The class of casual workers and the able-bodied but chronically
under-employed play a very serious rôle in Socialist politics. It is the
class from which, as Socialists point out, professional soldiers,
professional strike breakers, and, to some extent, the police are drawn.
Among German Socialists it is called the "lumpen proletariat," and both
for the present and future is looked at with the greatest anxiety. It is
not thought possible that any considerable portion of it will be brought
into the Socialist camp in the near future, though some progress has
been made, as with every other element of the working class. It is
acknowledged that it tends to become more numerous, constantly recruited
as it is from the increasing class of servants and other dependents of
the rich and well-to-do.

But Socialists understand that the mercenary hirelings drawn from this
class, and directly employed to keep them "in order," are less dangerous
than the capitalists' camp followers. Bernard Shaw calls this second
army of dependents "the parasitic proletariat." But he explains that he
means not that they do not _earn_ their living, but that their labor is
unproductive. They are parasitic only in the sense that their work is
done either for parasites or for the parasitical consumption of active
capitalists. Nor is there any sharp line between proletarian and middle
class in this element, since parts of both classes are equally conscious
of their dependence. Shaw makes these points clear. His only error is to
suppose that Socialists and believers in the class war theory, have
failed to recognize them.


     "Thus we find," says Shaw, "that what the idle man of property does
     is to plunge into mortal sin against society. He not only withdraws
     himself from the productive forces of the nation and quarters
     himself on them as a parasite: he withdraws also a body of
     propertyless men and places them in the same position except that
     they have to earn this anti social privilege by ministering to his
     wants and whims. He thus creates and corrupts a class of
     workers--many of them very highly trained and skilled, and
     correspondingly paid--whose subsistence is bound up with his
     income. They are parasites on a parasite; and they defend the
     institution of private property with a ferocity which startles
     their principal, who is often in a speculative way quite
     revolutionary in his views. They knock the class war theory into a
     cocked hat [I shall show below that class war Socialists, on the
     contrary, have always recognized, the existence of these facts,
     "whilst the present system lasts."--W. E. W.] by forming a powerful
     conservative proletariat whose one economic interest is that the
     rich should have as much money as possible; and it is they who
     encourage and often compel the property owners to defend themselves
     against an onward march of Socialism. Thus we have the phenomenon
     that seems at first sight so amazing in London: namely, that in the
     constituencies where the shopkeepers pay the most monstrous rents,
     and the extravagance and insolence of the idle rich are in fullest
     view, no Socialist--nay, no Progressive--has a chance of being
     elected to the municipality or to Parliament. The reason is that
     these shopkeepers live by fleecing the rich as the rich live by
     fleecing the poor. The millionaire who has preyed upon Bury and
     Bottle until no workman there has more than his week's sustenance
     in hand, and many of them have not even that, is himself preyed
     upon in Bond Street, Pall Mall, and Longacre.

     "But the parasites, the West End tradesman, the West End
     professional man, the schoolmaster, the Ritz hotel keeper, the
     horse dealer and trainer, the impresario and his guinea stalls, and
     the ordinary theatrical manager with his half-guinea ones, the
     huntsman, the jockey, the gamekeeper, the gardener, the coachman,
     the huge mass of minor shopkeepers and employees who depend on
     these or who, as their children, have been brought up with a
     little crust of conservative prejudices which they call their
     politics and morals and religion: all these give to Parliamentary
     and social conservatism its real fighting force; and the more
     'class conscious' we make them, the more they will understand that
     their incomes, _whilst the present system lasts_, are bound up with
     those of the proprietors whom Socialism would expropriate. And as
     many of them are better fed, better mannered, better educated, more
     confident and successful than the productive proletariat, the class
     war is not going to be a walkover for the Socialists."[236]


If we take into account both this "parasitic proletariat" and the
"lumpen proletariat" previously referred to, it is clear that when the
Socialists speak of a class struggle against the capitalists, they do
not expect to be able to include in their ranks all "the people" nor
even all the wage earners. This is precisely one of the things that
distinguishes them most sharply from a merely populistic movement.
Populist parties expect to include _all_ classes of the "common people,"
and every numerically important class of capitalists. Socialists
understand that they can never rely on the small capitalist except when
he has given up all hope of maintaining himself as such, and that they
are facing not only the whole capitalist class, but also their hirelings
and dependents.

Socialists as a whole have never tended either to a narrowly exclusive
nor to a vaguely inclusive policy. Nor have their most influential
writers, like Marx and Liebknecht, given the wage earners _a privileged
position in the movement_. I have quoted from Liebknecht. "Just as the
democrats make a sort of a fetish of the words 'the people,'" wrote Marx
to the Communists on resigning from the organization in 1851, "so you
may make one of the word 'proletariat.'"

But it cannot be denied that many of Marx's followers have ignored this
warning, and the worship of the words "proletariat" or "working class"
is still common in some Socialist quarters. Recently Kautsky wrote that
the Socialist Party, besides occupying itself with the interests of the
manual laborers, "must also concern itself with all social questions,
but that _its attitude on these questions is determined by the interests
of the manual laborers_."

"The Socialist Party," he continued, "is forced by its class position to
expand its struggle against its own exploitation and oppression into a
struggle against all forms of exploitation and oppression, to broaden
its struggle for class interests into a struggle for liberty and
justice for all members of the community." According to this
interpretation, the Socialist Party, starting out from the standpoint of
the economic interests of the "manual laborers," comes to represent the
interests of all classes, except the capitalists. We may doubt as to
whether the other non-capitalist classes will take kindly to this
subordination or "benevolent assimilation" by the manual workers.
Kautsky seems to have no question on this matter, however; for he
considers that the abolition of the oppression and exploitation of the
wage earners, _the class at the bottom_, can only be effected by the
abolition of all exploitation and oppression, and that therefore "all
friends of universal liberty and justice, whatever class they may spring
from, are compelled to join the proletariat and to fight its class
struggles."[237] Even if this is true, these other classes will demand
that they should have an equal voice in carrying on this struggle in
proportion to their numbers, and Socialist parties have usually (though
not always) given them that equal voice.

The kernel of the working class, "the layers of the industrial
proletariat which have reached political self-consciousness," provides
the chief supporters of the Socialist movement, according to Kautsky,
although the latter is the representative "not alone of the industrial
wage workers, but of all the working and exploited layers of the
community, that is, the great majority of the total population, what one
ordinarily calls 'the people.'" While Socialism is to represent all the
producing and exploited classes, the industrial proletariat is thus
considered as the model to which the others must be shaped and as by
some special right or virtue it is on all occasions to take the
forefront in the movement. This position leads inevitably to a
considerably qualified form of democracy.


     "The backbone of the party will always be the fighting proletariat,
     whose qualities will determine its character, whose strength will
     determine its power," says Kautsky. "Bourgeois and peasants are
     highly welcome if they will attach themselves to us and march with
     us, but the proletariat will always show the way.

     "But if not only wage earners but also small peasants and small
     capitalists, artisans, middle-men of all kinds, small officials,
     and so forth--in short, the whole so-called 'common people'--formed
     the masses out of which Social Democracy recruits its adherents, we
     must not forget that these classes, with the exception of the
     class-conscious wage-earners, are also a recruiting ground for our
     opponents; their influence on these classes has been and still is
     to-day the chief ground of their political power.

     "To grant political rights to the people, therefore, by no means
     necessarily implies the protection of the interests of the
     proletariat or those of social evolution. Universal suffrage, as it
     is known, has nowhere brought about a Social Democratic majority,
     while it may give more reactionary majorities than a qualified
     suffrage under the same circumstances. It may put aside a liberal
     government only to put in its place a conservative or catholic
     one....

     "Nevertheless the proletariat must demand democratic institutions
     under all circumstances, for the same reasons that, once it has
     obtained political power, it can only use its own class rule for
     the purpose of putting an end to all class rule. It is the
     bottommost of the social classes. It cannot gain political rights,
     at least not in its entirety, except if everybody gets them. Each
     of the other classes may become privileged under certain
     circumstances, but not the proletariat. The Social Democracy, the
     party of the class-conscious proletariat, is therefore the surest
     support of democratic efforts, much surer than the bourgeois
     democracy.

     "But if the Social Democracy is also the most strenuous fighter for
     democracy, it cannot share the latter's illusions. It must always
     be conscious of the fact that every popular right which it wins is
     a weapon not only for itself, but also for its opponents; it must
     therefore under certain circumstances understand that democratic
     achievements are more useful at first to the enemy than to itself;
     but only at first. For in the long run the introduction of
     democratic institutions in the State can only turn out to the
     profit of Social Democracy. They necessarily make its struggle
     easier, and lead it to victory. The militant proletariat has so
     much confidence in social evolution, so much confidence in itself,
     that it fears no struggle, not even with a superior power; it only
     wants a field of battle on which it can move freely. The democratic
     State offers such a field of battle; there the final decisive
     struggle between bourgeoisie and proletariat can best be fought
     out."


The reader might understand this somewhat vacillating position on the
whole to favor democracy, but only a few pages further on Kautsky
explains his reasons for opposing the initiative and referendum, and we
see that when the point of action arrives, his democratic idealism is
abandoned:--


     "In our opinion it follows from the preceding that the initiative
     and referendum do _not_ belong to those democratic institutions
     which must be furthered by the proletariat in the interest of its
     own struggle for emancipation everywhere and under all
     circumstances. The referendum and initiative are institutions which
     may be very useful under certain circumstances if one does not
     overvalue these uses, but under other circumstances may cause
     great harm. The introduction of the initiative and referendum is,
     therefore, not to be striven for everywhere and under all
     circumstances, but only in those places where certain conditions
     are fulfilled.

     "Among these conditions precedent we reckon, above all, the
     preponderance of the city population over that of the country--a
     condition which at the present moment has only been reached in
     England. A further condition precedent is a highly developed
     political party life which has taken hold of the great masses of
     the population, so that the tendency of direct legislation to break
     up parties and to bridge over party opposition are no more to be
     feared.

     "But the weightiest condition precedent is the lack of an
     overwhelmingly centralized governmental power, standing
     independently against the people's representatives."[238] (My
     italics.)


The first condition mentioned I have discussed in the previous chapter;
the second indicates that Kautsky, speaking for many German Socialists,
for the present at least, puts party above democracy.

The industrial proletariat is supposed to have the mission of saving
society. Even when it is not politically "self-conscious," or educated
to see the great rôle it must play in the present and future
transformation of society, it is supposed that it is _compelled_
ultimately "by the logic of events" to fill this rôle and attempt the
destruction of capitalism and the socialization of capital. This
prediction may _ultimately_ prove true, but time is the most vital
element in any calculation, and Kautsky himself acknowledges that the
industrial proletariat "had existed a long time before giving any
indication of its independence," and that during all this long period
"no militant proletariat was in existence."

The chief practical reason for relying so strongly on the industrial
wage earners as stated by Bebel and other Socialists is undoubtedly that
"the proletariat increases more and more until it forms the overwhelming
majority of the nation." No doubt, in proportion as this tendency
exists, the importance of gathering certain parts of the middle class
into the movement becomes less and less, and the statement quoted, if
strongly insisted upon, even suggests a readiness to attempt to get
along entirely without these elements. The figures of the Census
indicate that in this country, at least, we are some time from the point
when the proletariat will constitute even a bare majority, and that it
is not likely to form an overwhelming majority for decades to come. But
the European view is common here also.

The moderate Vandervelde also says that the Socialist program has been
"formulated by or for the workingmen of large-scale industry."[239] This
may be true, but we are not as much interested to know who formulated
the program of the movement as to understand its present aim. Its aim,
it is generally agreed, is to organize into a single movement all
anti-capitalistic elements, all those who want to abolish capitalism,
those exploited classes that are not too crushed to revolt, those whose
chief means of support is socially useful labor and not the ownership of
capital or possession of some privileged position or office. In this
movement it is generally conceded by Socialists that the workingmen of
industry play the central part. But they are neither its sole origin nor
is their welfare its sole aim.

The best known of the Socialist critics of Marxism, Edward Bernstein,
shares with some of Marx's most loyal disciples in this excessive
idealization of the industrial working class. Indeed, he says, with more
truth than he realizes, that in proportion as revolutionary Marxism is
relegated to the background it is necessary to affirm more sharply the
class character of the Party. That is to say, if a Socialist Party
abandons the principles of Socialism, then the only way it can be
distinguished from other movements is by the fact that it embraces other
elements of the population, that it is a class movement. But Socialism
is something more than this, it is a class movement of a certain
definite character, composed of classes that are naturally selected and
united, owing to certain definite characteristics.

"The social democracy," says Bernstein, "can become the people's party,
but only in the sense that the workingmen form the _essential_ kernel
around which are grouped social elements having identical interests....
Of all the social classes opposed to the capitalist class, the working
class _alone_ represents an invincible factor of social progress," and
social democracy "addresses itself principally to the workers." (My
italics.)

Perhaps the most orthodox Socialist organ in America, and the ablest
representative in this country of the international aspects of the
movement (the _New Yorker Volkszeitung)_, insists that "the Socialist
movement consists in the fusion of the Socialist doctrine with the labor
movement and in nothing else," and says that students and even doctors
have little importance for the Party. The less orthodox but more
revolutionary _Western Clarion_, the Socialist organ of British
Columbia, where the Socialists form the chief opposition party in the
legislature, asserts boldly, "We have no leaning towards democracy; all
we want is a short supply of working-class autocracy."

Some of the ultra-revolutionists have gone so far in their hostility to
all social classes that do not work with their hands, that they have
completed the circle and flown into the arms of the narrowest and least
progressive of trade unionists--the very element against which they had
first reacted. The Western Socialist, Thomas Sladden, throwing into one
single group all the labor organizations from the most revolutionary to
the most conservative, such as the railway brotherhoods, says that all
"are in reality part of the great Socialist movement," and claims that
whenever "labor" goes into politics, this also is a step towards
Socialism, though Socialist principles are totally abandoned. Mayor
McCarthy of San Francisco, for instance, satisfied his requirements.
"McCarthy declares himself a friend of capital," says Sladden, but, he
asks defiantly, "Does any sane capitalist believe him?" Here we see one
of the most revolutionary agitators becoming more and more "radical"
until he has completed the circle and come back, not only to "labor
right or wrong," but even to "labor working in harmony with capital."

"The skilled workingman," he says, "is not a proletarian. He has an
interest to conserve, he has that additional skill for which he receives
compensation in addition to his ordinary labor power."

Mr. Sladden adds that the _real_ proletarian is "uncultured and uncouth
in appearance," that he has "no manners and little education," and that
his religion is "the religion of hate." Of course this is a mere
caricature of the attitude of the majority of Socialists.

Some of the partisans of revolutionary unionism in this country are
little less extreme. The late Louis Duchez, for example, reminds us that
Marx spoke of the proletariat as "the lowest stratum of our present
society," those "who have nothing to lose but their chains," and that he
said that "along with the constantly diminishing number of the magnates
of capital who usurp and monopolize all the advantages of this process
of transformation, grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery,
degradation, exploitation; but with this, too, grows the revolt of the
working class." It is true that Marx said these things and said them
with emphasis. But he did not wish to make any rigid or dogmatic
definition of "the proletariat" and much that he has said pointed to an
entirely different conception than would be gained from these
quotations.

In speaking of "the lowest stratum of society" Marx was thinking, not of
a community divided into numerous strata, but chiefly of three classes,
the large capitalists, the workers, and the middle class. It was the
lowest of these three, and not the lowest of their many subdivisions,
that he had in mind. From the first the whole Socialist movement has
recognized the almost complete hopelessness, as an aid to Socialism, of
the lowest stratum in the narrow sense, of what is called the "lumpen
proletariat," the bulk of the army of beggars and toughs. Mr. Duchez
undoubtedly would have accepted this point, for he wishes to say that
the Socialist movement must be advanced by the organization of unions
not among this class, but among the next lowest, economically speaking,
the great mass of unskilled workers. This argument, also, that the
unskilled have a better strategic position than the skilled on account
of their solidarity and unity is surely a doubtful one. European
Socialists, as a rule, have reached the opposite conclusion, namely,
that it is the comparatively skilled workers, like those of the
railways, who possess the only real possibility of leading in a general
strike movement (see Chapters V and VI).

FOOTNOTES:

[234] H. G. Wells, "This Misery of Boots," p. 34.

[235] Oscar Wilde, "The Soul of Man under Socialism", (brochure).

[236] Bernard Shaw's series in the _New Age_ (1908).

[237] Karl Kautsky, the _New York Call_, Nov. 14, 1909.

[238] Karl Kautsky, "Parlamentarismus und Demokratie," pp. 124, 125,
138.

[239] Émile Vandervelde, "Le Socialisme Agraire," p. 236.



CHAPTER IV

SOCIALISM AND THE LABOR UNIONS


One of the grounds on which it is proposed by some Socialists to give
manual labor a special and preferred place in the movement is that it is
supposed to be the only numerically important non-capitalist element
that is at all well organized or even organizable. Let us see, then, to
what degree labor is organized and what are the characteristics of this
organization.

First, the labor unions represent manual wage earners almost
exclusively--not by intention, but as a matter of fact. They include
only an infinitesimal proportion of small employers, self-employing
artisans, or salaried employees.

Second, the unions by no means include all the manual wage earners, and
only in a few industries do they include a majority. Those organized
are, as a rule, the more developed and prosperous, the skilled or
comparatively skilled workers.

Third, their method of action is primarily that of the strike and
boycott--economic and not political. They demand certain legislation and
in several cases have put political parties in the field; they exert a
political pressure in favor of government employees. But their chief
purpose, even when they do these things, is to develop an organization
that can strike and boycott effectively; and to secure only such
political and civil rights as are needed for this purpose.

The unions are primarily economic, and the Socialist Party is primarily
political--both, to have any national power, must embrace a considerable
proportion of the same industrial wage-earning class. It is evident that
conflict between the two organizations is unnecessary and we find,
indeed, that it arises only in exceptional cases. Many Socialists,
however, look upon the unions primarily as an economic means, more or
less important, of advancing political Socialism--while many unionists
regard the Socialist parties primarily as political instruments for
furthering the economic action of the unions.

There are several groups of Socialists, on the other hand, who ascribe
to the economic action of the unions a part in attaining Socialism as
important or more important than that they ascribe to the political
action of the party. These include, first, all those for whom Socialism
is to be brought about almost exclusively by wage earners, whether by
political or by economic action; second, those who do not believe the
capitalists will allow the ballot to be used for anti-capitalistic
purposes; third, those who believe that, in spite of all that
capitalists and capitalistic governments can do, strikes and boycotts
cannot be circumvented and in the end are irresistible.

Other Socialists, agreeing that economic action, and therefore labor
unions, both of the existing kind and of that more revolutionary type
now in the process of formation, are indispensable, still look upon the
Socialist Party as the chief instrument of Socialism. As these include
nearly all Party members who are not unionists as well as a considerable
part of the unionists, they are perhaps a majority--internationally.

As the correct relationship between Party and unions, Mr. Debs has
indorsed the opinion of Professor Herron, who, he said, "sees the trend
of development and arrives at conclusions that are sound and commend
themselves to the thoughtful consideration of all trade unionists and
Socialists." Professor Herron says that the Socialist is needed to
educate the unionists to see their wider interests:--


     "He is not to do this by seeking to commit trade-union bodies to
     the principles of Socialism. Resolutions or commitments of this
     sort accomplish little good. Nor is he to do it by taking a servile
     attitude towards organized labor nor by meddling with the details
     or the machinery of the trade unions. It is better to leave the
     trade unions to their distinctive work, as the workers' defense
     against the encroachments of capitalism, as the economic
     development of the worker against the economic development of the
     capitalist, giving unqualified support and sympathy to the
     struggles of the organized worker to sustain himself in his
     economic sphere. But let the Socialist also build up the character
     and harmony and strength of the Socialist movement as a political
     force, that it shall command the respect and confidence of the
     worker, irrespective of his trade or his union obligations. It is
     urgent that we so keep in mind the difference between the two
     developments that neither shall cripple the other."[240]


Here is a statement of the relation of the two movements that
corresponds closely to the most mature and widespread Socialist opinion
and to the decisions of the International Socialist Congresses.

This view also meets that of the unions in most countries. The President
of the American Federation, Mr. Gompers, understands this thoroughly and
quotes with approval the action taken recently by the labor unions in
Sweden, Hungary, and Italy, which demand the enforcement of this policy
of absolute "neutrality." Formerly the federation of the unions of
Sweden, for example, agreed to use their efforts to have the local
unions become a part of the local organization of the Social Democratic
Party. These words providing for this policy were struck out of the
constitution by the Convention of 1909, which at the same time adopted
(by a considerable majority) a resolution that "by this decision it was
not intended to break up the unity and solidarity of labor's forces, for
the convention considers the Social Democratic Party as the natural
expression of the political ambitions of the Swedish workers." A similar
relation prevails in nearly every country of the Continent.

The Secretary of the German Federation (who is its highest officer)--a
man who is at the same time an active Socialist,--has defined accurately
the relation between the two organizations in that country. He says that
the unions cannot accomplish their purposes without securing political
representation "through a Party that is active in legislative bodies."
This is also the view now of the British unions, which in overwhelming
majority support the Labor Party. And they do this for the same purposes
mentioned by Legien: to protect the working people from excessive
exploitation, to enact into law the advantages already won by the
unions, and so to smooth the way for better labor conditions. Similarly,
the American Federation of Labor secures representation on legislative
bodies, and hesitates to form a national Labor Party, not on principle,
but only because American conditions do not in most localities promise
that it would be effective.

Mr. Mitchell expresses the position of the American Federation when he
says that the "wage earners should in proportion to their strength
secure the nomination and the election of a number of representatives to
the governing bodies of city, State, and nation," but that "a third
Labor Party is not for the present desirable, because it would not
obtain a majority and could not therefore force its will upon the
community at large." The European Socialists would perhaps not
understand the political principle of our governmental system, which
requires a plurality in the State or nation in order to obtain immediate
results. For in this country the more important branches of the
government are the executive and judges, and these, unlike the
legislatures, cannot as a rule be divided, and therefore give no
opportunity for the representation of minorities, and are necessarily
elected by State or national pluralities and usually by majorities. In
the monarchical countries of the Continent either such officials are not
elected, or their powers are circumscribed, and even England lies in
this respect halfway between those countries and the United States. What
Mr. Mitchell says is in so far true; it would certainly require a large
number of elections before a party beginning on the basis of a minority
of representatives in Congress or the legislatures could win enough
control over the executive and judges to "force its will upon the
community at large." Mr. Mitchell and the other leaders of the
Federation are, it is seen, unwilling to undertake a campaign so long
and arduous, and, since they have no means of attracting the votes of
any but wage-earning voters, so doubtful as to its outcome.


     Mr. Mitchell says that the workingmen in a separate party could not
     even secure a respectable minority of the legislators. The
     numerical strength of the Unions in proportion to the _voting_
     population is scarcely greater than it was when he wrote (1903),
     and what he said then holds true as ever to-day.

     Mr. Gompers has also stated that labor would not be able to secure
     more than twenty-five or fifty Congressmen by independent political
     action. This is undoubtedly true, and we may take it for granted,
     therefore, that, unless the unions most unexpectedly increase their
     strength, there will be no national or even State-wide Trade Union
     or Labor Party in this country, though the San Francisco example of
     a city Labor party may be repeated now and then, and State
     organizations of the Socialist Party, which enjoy a large measure
     of autonomy, may occasionally, without changing their present
     names, reduce themselves to mere trade-union parties in the narrow
     sense of the term. President Gompers has claimed that 80 per cent
     of the voting members of the American Federation of Labor followed
     his advice in the election of 1908, which was, in nearly every
     case, to vote the Democratic ticket. There were not over 2,000,000
     members of the Federation at this time, and of these (allowing for
     women, minors, and non-voting foreigners) there were not more than
     1,500,000 voters. About 60 per cent of this number have always
     voted Democratic, so that if Mr. Gompers's claim were conceded it
     would mean a change of no more than 300,000 votes. It is true that
     such a number of voters could effect the election or defeat of a
     great many Democrats or Republican Congressmen, but, as Mr. Gompers
     says, it could only elect a score or two of Independents, a number
     which, as the example of Populism has shown, would be impotent
     under our political system. Moreover, as such a Congressional group
     would be situated politically not in the middle, but at one of the
     extremes, _it could never hold the balance of power in this or any
     other country_ until it became _a majority_.


Mr. Mitchell is careful to qualify his opposition to the third party (or
Labor Party) idea. He writes: "I wish it to be understood that this
refers only to the immediate policy of the unions. One cannot see what
the future of the dominant parties in the United States will be, and
should it come to pass that the two great American political parties
oppose labor legislation, as they now favor it, it would be the
imperative duty of unionists to form a third party in order to secure
some measure of reform."[241] Certainly both parties are becoming more
and more willing to grant "some measure" of labor reform, so that Mr.
Mitchell is unlikely to change his present position.

Whether the unions form a separate party or not, is to them a matter not
of principle, but of ways and means, of time and place. Where they are
very weak politically they seek only to have their representatives in
other parties; where they are stronger they may form a party of their
own to coöperate with the other parties and secure a share in
government; where they are strongest they will seek to gain control over
a party that plays for higher stakes, brings to the unions the support
of other elements, and remains in opposition until it can secure
undivided control over government, _e.g._ the Socialist Party. Whether
the unions operate through all parties or a Labor Party or a Socialist
Party, is of secondary importance also to Socialists; what is of
consequence is the character of the unions, and the effect of their
political policy on the unions themselves. In all three cases the
principles of the unions may be at bottom the same, and in any of the
three cases they may be ready to use the Socialist Party for the sole
purpose of securing a modest improvement of their wages--even
obstructing other Party activities--as some of the German union leaders
have done. They may also use a Labor Party for the same purpose--as in
Great Britain. Or they may develop a political program without really
favoring any political party or having any distinctive political aim--as
in the United States.

The labor unions, even the most conservative, have always and everywhere
had some kind of a political program. They have naturally favored the
right to organize, to strike and boycott, free speech and a free press.
They have demanded universal suffrage, democratic constitutions, and
other measures to increase the political power of their members. They
have favored all economic reform policies of which working people got a
share, even if a disproportionately small one, and all forms of taxation
that lightened their burdens.[242] And, finally, they have usually
centered their attacks on the most powerful of their enemies, whether
Emperor, Church, army, landlords, or large capitalists.

In economic and political reform, the American unions, like those of
other countries, support all progressive measures, including the whole
"State Socialist" program. As to political machinery, they favor, of
course, every proposal that can remove constitutional checks and give
the majority control over the government, such as the easy amendment of
constitutions and the right to recall judges and all other officials by
majority vote. Like the Socialists, they welcome the "State Socialist"
labor program, government insurance for workingmen against old age,
sickness, accidents, and unemployment, a legal eight-hour day, a legal
minimum wage, industrial education, the prohibition of child labor, etc.

The unions and the parties they use also join in the effort of the small
capitalist investors and borrowers, consumers and producers, to control
the large interests--the central feature of the "State Socialist"
policy. But the conservative unions do not stop with such progressive,
if non-Socialist, measures; they take up the cause of the smaller
capitalists also _as competitors_. The recent attack of the Federation
of Labor on the "Steel Trust" is an example. The presidents of the
majority of the more important unions, who signed this document, became
the partisans not only of small capitalists who buy from the trust, sell
to it, or invest in its securities, but also of the unsuccessful
competitors that these combinations are eliminating. The Federation here
spoke of "the American institution of unrestricted production," which
can mean nothing less than unrestricted competition, and condemned the
"Steel Trust" because it controls production, whereas the regulation or
control of production is precisely the most essential thing to be
desired in a progressive industrial society--a control, of course, to be
turned as soon as possible to the benefit of all the people.

The Federation's attack was not only economically reactionary, but it
was practically disloyal to millions of employees. It applies against
the "trust," which happens to be unpopular, arguments which apply even
more strongly to competitive business. The trust, it said, corrupts
legislative bodies and is responsible for the high tariff. As if all
these practices had not begun before the "trusts" came into being, as if
the associated manufacturers are not even more strenuous advocates of
all the tariffs--which are life and death matters to them--than the
"trusts," which might very well get along without them. Finally, the
Federation accuses the "Steel Trust" of an especially oppressive policy
towards its working people, apparently forgetting its arch enemy, the
manufacturer's association. It is notorious, moreover, that the smallest
employers, such as the owners of sweat shops, nearly always on the verge
of bankruptcy and sometimes on the verge of starvation themselves, are
harder on their labor than the industrial combinations, and that in
competitive establishments, like textile mills, the periods when
employers are forced to close down altogether are far more frequent,
making the average wages the year round far below those paid by any of
the trusts. The merest glance at the statistics of the United States
census will be sufficient evidence to prove this. For not only are
weekly wages lower in the textile mills and several other industries
than they are in the steel corporation, but also employment year in and
year out is much more irregular. Here we see the unions adopting the
politics of the small capitalists, not only on its constructive or
"State Socialist" side, but also in its _reactionary_ tendency, now
being rapidly outgrown, of trying to restore competition, and actually
working against their own best interests for this purpose.


     A writer in the _Federationist_ demands "a reduction of railway
     charges, express rates, telegraph rates, telephone rates," and a
     radical change in the great industrial corporations such as the
     Steel Trust, which is to be subjected to thorough regulation.
     Swollen fortunes are to be broken up, together with the power of
     the monopolists, of "the gamblers in the necessities of life,
     etc."[243] In this writer's opinion (Mr. Shibley), the monopolists
     are the chief cause of high prices and the only important
     anti-social group, and all the other classes of society have a
     common interest with the wage earners. But business interests,
     manufacturers, the owners of large farms, and employers in lines
     where competition still prevails, would also, with the fewest
     exceptions, take sides against the working people in any great
     labor conflict--as the history of every modern country for the past
     fifty years has shown. It is not "Big Business" or "The Interests,"
     but business in general, not monopolistic employers, but the whole
     employing class, against which the unions have contended and always
     must contend--on the economic as well as the political field. Mr.
     Gompers and his associates, like Mr. Bryan and Senator La Follette,
     demand that the people shall rule, but they all depend upon the
     hundreds of thousands of business men as allies, who, if opposed to
     government by monopolies, are still more opposed to government by
     their employees or by the consumers of their products, and are
     certain to fight any political movement of which they are a
     predominating part.


The American Federation of Labor, and the majority of the labor unions
comprising it, are thus seen to have a political program scarcely
distinguishable from that of the radical wing of either of the large
parties,--for it seeks little if any more than to join in with the
general movement against monopolists and large capitalists in a conflict
that can never be won or lost, since the leaders in the movement are
themselves indirectly and at the bottom a part of the capitalist class.

The President of the American Federation views this partly reactionary
and partly "State Socialist" program as being directed against
"capitalism." "The votes of courageous and honest citizens in all
civilized lands," says Mr. Gompers, "are cutting away the capitalistic
powers' privilege to lay tribute on the producers. Capitalism, as a
surviving form of feudalism,--the power to deprive the laborer of his
product,--gives signs of expiring."[244] Democratic reform and
improvement in economic conditions are apparently taken by Mr. Gompers
as a sign that capitalism is expiring and that society is progressing
satisfactorily to the wage earners. Although the constitution of the
Federation says that the world-wide "struggle between the capitalist and
the laborer" is a struggle between "oppressors and oppressed," Mr.
Gompers gives the outside world to understand that the unions have no
inevitable struggle before them, but are as interested in industrial
peace as are the employers. He has expressed his interpretation of the
purpose of the Federation in the single word "more." He sees progress
and asks a share for the unionists as each forward step is taken. He
does not ask that labor's share be increased in proportion to the
progress made--to say nothing of asking that this share should be made
disproportionately large in order gradually to make the distribution of
income more equal. A capitalism inspired by a more enlightened
selfishness might, without any ultimate loss, grant all the Federation's
present demands, political as well as economic. Therefore, Mr. Gompers,
quite logically, does not see any necessity for an aggressive attitude.

"Labor unions," says Mr. John Mitchell, who takes a similar view, "are
_for_ workmen, but _against_ no one. They are not hostile to employers,
not inimical to the interests of the general public. They are for a
class, because that class exists and has class interests, but the unions
did not create and do not perpetuate the class or its interests and do
not seek to evoke a class conflict."[245] Here it is recognized that the
working class exists as a class and has interests of its own. But, if,
as Mr. Mitchell adds, the unions do not wish to perpetuate this class or
its interests, then surely they must see to it, as far as they are able,
that members of this class have equal industrial opportunities with
other citizens, and that its children should at least be no longer
compelled to remain members of a class from which, as he expressly
acknowledges, there is at present no escape.

Both Mr. Gompers and Mr. Mitchell have gone to the defense of the
leading anti-Socialist organization in this country, Civic
Federation--and nothing could draw in stronger colors than do their
arguments the complete conflict of the Gompers-Mitchell labor union
policy to that of the Socialists. Mr. Gompers defends the Federation as
worthy of labor's respect on the ground that many of its most active
capitalist members have shown a sustained sincerity, "always having in
mind the rights and interests of labor," which is the very antithesis to
the Socialist claim that nobody will always have in mind the rights and
the interests of labor, except the laborers--and least of all those who
buy labor themselves, or are intimately associated with those who buy
labor.

Mr. Mitchell says that through the Civic Federation many employers have
become convinced that their antagonism to unions was based on prejudice,
and have withdrawn their opposition to the organization of the men in
their plants. No doubt this is strictly true. It shows that the unions
had been presented to the employers as being profitable to them. This,
Socialists would readily admit, might be the case with some labor
organizations as they have been shaped by leaders like Mr. Mitchell and
conferences like those of the Civic Federation. To Socialists
organizations that create this impression of harmony of interests do
exactly what is most dangerous for the workers--that is, they make them
less conscious and assertive of their own interests.

The Civic Federation, composed in large part of prominent capitalists
and conservatives, endeavors to allay the discontent of labor by
intimate association with the officers of the unions. Socialists have
long recognized the tendency of trade-union leaders to be persuaded by
such methods to the capitalist view. Eight years ago at Dresden, August
Bebel had already seen this danger, for he placed in the same class with
the academic "revisionists" those former proletarians who had been
raised into higher positions and were lost to the working classes
through "intercourse with people of the contrary tendency." It is this
class of leaders, according to the Socialists, which, up to the present,
has dominated the trade unions of Great Britain and the United States
and occasionally of other countries.

No Socialist has been more persistent in directing working-class opinion
against all such "leaders" than Mr. Debs, who does not mince matters in
this direction. "The American Federation of Labor," he writes, "has
numbers, but the capitalist class do not fear the American Federation
of Labor; quite the contrary. There is something wrong with that form of
unionism whose leaders are the lieutenants of capitalism; something is
wrong with that form of unionism that forms an alliance with such a
capitalist combination as the Civic Federation, whose sole purpose is to
chloroform the working class while the capitalist class go through their
pockets.... The old form of trade unionism no longer meets the demands
of the working class. The old trade union has not only fulfilled its
mission and outlived its usefulness, but is now positively reactionary,
and is maintained, not in the interest of the workers who support it,
but in the interest of the capitalist class who exploit the workers who
support it."

In a recent speech Mr. Debs related at length the Socialist view as to
how, in his opinion, this misleading of labor leaders comes about:--


     "There is an army of men who serve as officers, who are on the
     salary list, who make a good living, keeping the working class
     divided. They start out with good intentions as a rule. They really
     want to do something to serve their fellows. They are elected
     officers of a labor organization, and they change their clothes.
     They now wear a white shirt and a standing collar. They change
     their habits and their methods. They have been used to cheap
     clothes, coarse fare, and to associating with their fellow workers.
     After they have been elevated to official position, as if by magic
     they are recognized by those who previously scorned them and held
     them in contempt. They find that some of the doors that were
     previously barred against them now swing inward, and they can
     actually put their feet under the mahogany of the capitalist.

     "Our common labor man is now a labor leader. The great capitalist
     pats him on the back and tells him that he knew long ago that he
     was a coming man, that it was a fortunate thing for the workers of
     the world that he had been born, that in fact they had long been
     waiting for just such a wise and conservative leader. And this has
     a certain effect upon our new-made leader, and unconsciously,
     perhaps, he begins to change--just as John Mitchell did when Mark
     Hanna patted him on the shoulder and said, 'John, it is a good
     thing that you are at the head of the miners. You are the very man.
     You have the greatest opportunity a labor leader ever had on this
     earth. You can immortalize yourself. Now is your time.' Then John
     Mitchell admitted that this capitalist, who had been pictured to
     him as a monster, was not half as bad as he had thought he was;
     that, in fact, he was a genial and companionable gentleman. He
     repeats his visit the next day, or the next week, and is
     introduced to some other distinguished person he had read about,
     but never dreamed of meeting, and thus goes on the transformation.
     All his dislikes disappear, and all feeling of antagonism vanishes.
     He concludes that they are really most excellent people, and, now
     that he has seen and knows them, he agrees with them there is no
     necessary conflict between workers and capitalists. And he proceeds
     to carry out this pet capitalist theory, and he can only do it by
     betraying the class that trusted him and lifted him as high above
     themselves as they could reach.

     "It is true that such a leader is in favor with the capitalists;
     that their newspapers write editorials about him and crown him a
     great and wise leader; and that ministers of the gospel make his
     name the text for their sermons, and emphasize the vital point that
     if all labor leaders were such as he, there would be no objections
     to labor organizations. And the leader feels himself flattered. And
     when he is charged with having deserted the class he is supposed to
     serve, he cries out that the indictment is brought by a discredited
     labor leader. And that is probably true. The person who brings a
     charge is very likely discredited. By whom? By the capitalist
     class, of course; and its press and pulpit and 'public' opinion.
     And in the present state of the working class, when he is
     discredited by the capitalists, he is at once repudiated by their
     wage slaves."[246]


Mr. Debs's attitude toward Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Gompers is by no means
exceptional among Socialists. Mr. Gompers visited Europe in 1909, spoke
at length in Paris and Berlin, and was viewed by the majority of the
European Socialists and unionists almost exactly as he is by Mr. Debs.
Among other things he said there, was that the very kernel of the
difference between the European and the American labor movement and the
reason why the wages are so much better in America than in Europe was
the _friendlier_ relations between the government and the working people
in this country--this after all the recent court decisions against the
unions, decisions which, even when outwardly milder, have precisely the
same effect as the hostile legislation and administration of the
Continent. Mr. Gompers, while in Europe, said that it was unnecessary
that governments and the working people should misunderstand one
another, and asked, "Is there not for us all the common ground of the
fatherland, of common interest and the wish that we feel to make our
people more prosperous, happier and freer?" "I do not know what I will
see there [in Hungary]," he continued, "but this much I will say, that I
know that nothing will convince me that this readiness of the workingmen
to fight against the government and of the government to fight against
the workingmen can bring anything good to either side."[247]

Such expressions naturally aroused the European Socialist and Labor
press, and Kautsky even devoted a special article to Gompers in the
_Neue Zeit_.[248] It was not necessary in a Socialist periodical to say
anything against Gompers's preaching of the common interests of capital
and labor, since there is practically no Socialist who would not agree
that such a belief amounts to a total blindness to industrial and
political conditions. But Kautsky feared that the German workingmen
might give some credit to Gompers's claim that the non-Socialist policy
of the American unions was responsible for the relatively greater
prosperity of the working people in America. "The workingmen," he
explained, referring to this country, "have not won their higher wages
in the last decade, but have inherited them from their forefathers. They
were principally a result of the presence of splendid lands from which
every man who wanted to become independent got as much as he needed."

Then he proceeded to show by the statistics of the Department of Labor
that daily real wages, measured in terms of what they would buy, had
actually decreased for the majority of American workingmen during the
last decade. It is true, as Mr. Gompers replied, that the hours have
become somewhat less, and that therefore the amount of real wages
received _per hour of work_ has slightly increased, though there are few
working people who will count themselves very fortunate in a decrease of
hours if it is paid for _even in a part_ by a decrease of the real wages
received at the end of the day. And even if we compare _the early_
nineties with the _last years_ of the recent decade, we find that the
slight increase in the purchasing power of the total wages received
(_i.e._ real wages) amounted at the most to no more than two or three
per cent in these fifteen years. In a word, the disproportion between
the prosperity of the wage earning and capitalist classes has in the
past two decades become much greater than ever before.

The basis of the Socialist economic criticism of existing society--and
one that appeals to the majority of the world's labor unionists also--is
that while the proportion of the population that consists of wage
earners is everywhere increasing, the share of the national income that
goes to wages is everywhere growing less. There is no more striking,
easily demonstrable, or generally admitted fact in modern life. The
whole purpose of Socialism--in so far as it can be expressed in terms of
income, is to reverse this tendency and to keep it reversed until
private capital is reduced to impotence, as far as the control of
industry is concerned.

Contrast with the position of Gompers and Mitchell the chief official of
the German unions, Karl Legien, a relatively conservative representative
of Continental unionism.


     "The unions," he says, "are based on the conviction that there is
     an unbridgeable gulf between capital and labor. This does not mean
     that the capitalists and laborers may not, as men, find points of
     contact; it means only that the accumulation of capital, resting as
     it does on keeping from the laborer a part of the products of his
     labor, forces a propertyless proletariat to sell its labor at any
     price it can get. Between those who wish to maintain these
     conditions and the propertyless laborers there is a wall which can
     be done away with only by the abolition of wage labor. Here the
     views prevailing in the unions are at one with those of the Social
     Democratic Party."

     "The unions are chiefly occupied in the effort to use their power
     to shape the labor contract in their favor, and do not consider it
     as their task to propagate this view, but holds the propaganda as
     being the task rather of the Social Democratic Party and its
     organizations."


Even the struggle for higher wages and shorter hours carried on by the
unions, Legien says, is fought in the consciousness that it will make
labor "more capable of the final solution of the social problem." He
reminds us that the overwhelming majority of the German unionists are
Socialists, and says that the labor conflict itself must have led to
this result, though he does not want the unions to support the party as
unions. In other countries of the Continent, unionists go even farther.
In Austria, Belgium, and elsewhere the two organizations act as a single
body, and in France, not satisfied with working for Socialism as members
of the party, unionists also make it a declared end of their unions,
independently of all political action, and shape their everyday policies
accordingly.

It is only when we come to Great Britain that we find the unions in a
conciliatory relation with employers such as has hitherto prevailed in
the United States. The relation between the unions and capitalistic
"State Socialists" of Great Britain has been friendly. As I have already
noted, the enthusiasm of the British unions for the social reforms of
the Liberal Party and government has hitherto been so great that they
consented that the increase of the taxation needed to pay for these
reforms should fall on their shoulders, while the wealthy classes made
the world ring with epithets of "revolution" because a burden of almost
exactly the same weight was placed on them to pay for the Dreadnoughts
they demanded, and because land was nationally taxed for the first time,
Mr. Churchill himself conceded that his social reform budget "draws
nearly as much from the taxation of tobacco and spirits, which are the
luxuries of the working classes, who pay their share with silence and
dignity, as it does from those wealthy classes upon whose behalf such
heart-rending outcry is made."[249]

Perhaps the fact that the labor unions of Great Britain _up to 1910_
spent less than a tenth part of their income on strikes was a still
stronger ground for Mr. Churchill's admiration, since he had to deal
with the strikers as President of the Board of Trade. While the national
income of the country has been increasing enormously in the past two
decades, and the higher or taxed incomes have more than doubled (which
is a rate of increase far greater than the rise in prices), the income
even of unionized workers has not kept up with this rise. In a word, the
propertied classes are getting a larger and larger share of the national
income (see Mr. Churchill's language in preceding chapter). Now should
the unions continue in the moderation of their demands,--or even should
they obtain a 10 or 20 per cent increase (as some have done since the
railway and seamen's strike of 1911),--_the propertied classes would
still have been getting a larger and larger share of the national
income_. From 1890 to 1899 prices in England are estimated to have
fallen 5 per cent, while wages _of organized working-men_ rose 2 per
cent; from 1900 to 1908 prices rose 6 per cent, while these wages fell 1
per cent. A 7 per cent improvement in the first decade was followed by a
7 per cent retrogression in the second--_among organized workers_.[250]
There is then no probability that the British unions will check the
constant decrease in the share of the total wealth of the country that
goes to the wage earner, until they have completed the reversal of older
policies now in progress. That this may soon occur is indicated by the
great strikes of 1911 (which I shall consider in the next chapter).

The American unions also are beginning to take a more radical and
Socialistic attitude. At its Convention at Columbus, Ohio (January,
1911), the United Mine Workers, after prolonged discussion, passed by a
large majority an amendment to their constitution, forbidding their
officers from acting as members of the Civic Federation. This resolution
was confessedly aimed at Mr. John Mitchell, as Vice President of the
Civic Federation, and resulted in his resignation from that body. It
marks a crisis in the American Labor movement. The Miners' Union had
already indorsed Socialism, its Vice President is a party Socialist, and
its present as well as its former President vote the Socialist ticket.
Having forced the Federation of Labor to admit the revolutionary Western
Federation of Miners into the Federation of Labor Congresses, the
element opposed to Mr. Gompers and Mr. Mitchell's conservative tactics
has, for the first time, become formidable, embracing one third of the
delegates, and is likely to bring about great changes within a few
years, both as to the Federation's political and as to its labor-union
policy.

This action of the Miners was followed a few months later by the
election to office of several of Mr. Gompers's Socialist opponents in
his own union (the Cigarmakers). Then another of Mr. Gompers's most
valued lieutenants (after Mr. Mitchell), Mr. James O'Connell, for many
years President of the very important Machinists' Union, was defeated by
a Socialist, Mr. W. H. Johnston,--after a very lively contest in which
Socialism and the Civic Federation, and their contrasting the labor
policies, played a leading part. The old conservative trade unionism is
not only going, but it is going so fast that one or two more years like
the last would overwhelm it in the national convention of the Federation
of Labor and revolutionize the policy of the whole movement.

The change in the political attitude of the American unions has been
equally rapid. Until a few years ago the majority of them were opposed
to coöperation with any political party. Then they decided almost
unanimously to act nationally, and for the time being with the
Democrats, and this decision still holds. More recently several local
labor parties have been formed, and the Socialist Party has occasionally
been supported. The only question that interests us, however, is the
purpose behind these changing political tactics.

It is natural that unionists on entering into the Socialist Party
should seek to control it. Socialists make no objection at this point.
The only question relates to their purpose in seeking control. A
prominent Socialist miner, John Walker, has frankly advocated a Labor
Party of the British type, while others wish to turn the Socialist Party
into that sort of an organization; while the Secretary of the Oklahoma
Federation of Labor, on joining the Party said: "Let us get into the
Socialist Party--on the inside--and help run it as we think it should be
run," and then gave an idea of how he proposed to run it by accusing the
Party of containing too many people "who are Socialists before anything
else." This is a common feeling among new labor-union recruits in the
Party. It is difficult to see the difference between those who share
Walker's view and want to carry out the present non-Socialist political
program of the unions through a non-Socialist Labor Party and those who,
like this other union official, expect to use the Socialist Party for
the same purpose. Let us notice the similarity of certain arguments used
in favor of each method.


     "The Socialist Party," says the organ of the Garment Workers'
     Union, "does not command the confidence of American labor to the
     extent of becoming a national power in our day and generation, and
     it is, therefore, necessary that the working class should turn its
     attention to the formation of a party that will be productive of
     practical results in sweeping away the legislative and the legal
     obstacles that now stand in the way of our rights and
     progress."[251]

     "Much is being written and said nowadays as to the danger of
     Socialism and in favor of trades unionism," writes the _Mine
     Workers' Journal_, "To us the condemnation of the Socialists,
     coming as it does from the capitalistic press, is a reminder that
     of the two evils to their selfish class interest, they prefer the
     least.... It is useless to attempt to divide trades unionism from
     Socialism. It cannot be done. They have all learned that their
     interests are common; they know that labor divided will continue to
     suffer, and will hang together before they will allow capital to
     hang them separately.

     "Indeed, looking at trades unionism in all its phases and from
     every angle, we fail to see why Socialism and it should be
     separated. The man or men in the movement to-day who are not more
     or less Socialistic in their belief are few and far between and do
     not know what the principles of unionism are, or what it stands
     for. We are all more or less Socialistic in our belief."[252]


A perusal of the labor papers in general shows that while a number agree
with the Garment Workers a still larger number share the opinion of the
_Mine Workers' Journal_. Yet what is the essential difference?

The Garment Workers' organ claims that the European Socialists and trade
unionists support one another's candidates and unite their power without
the Socialists demanding the indorsement of their program, and argues
for that policy in this country. This statement is not accurate. Only in
England, where there has hitherto been no independent Socialist action
of any consequence, has there been any such compromise. On the Continent
of Europe the Socialists usually agree to leave the unions perfect
freedom in their business, and not to interfere in the slightest with
their action _on the economic field_, but there is no important instance
in recent years where they have compromised with them at the ballot box.
And this error is shared by the _Mine Workers' Journal_, which, as I
have just shown, is friendly rather than hostile to Socialism. In
another editorial in this organ we find it said that "whenever Socialism
in America adopts the methods of the British, and other European toilers
and pulls in harness with trade unionism, it is bound to make headway
faster than at present, because there is scarcely a man in the labor
movement that is not more or less of a Socialist." Here again the
British (Labor Party) and the Continental (Socialist) methods are
confused. It is true that the Socialist parties and the labor unionists
everywhere act together. But there are two fundamental differences
between the situation in Great Britain and that on the Continent. A
large part of the unions on the Continent are extremely radical if not
revolutionary in their labor-union tactics, and secondly, the
overwhelming majority of their members are Socialists in politics.
Surely there could be no greater contrast than that between the
swallowing up of the budding Socialist movement by non-Socialist labor
unions in Great Britain and the support of the Socialist Party by the
revolutionary unionist on the Continent.

In America only a minority of the unions are definitely and clearly
Socialist. The local federations of the unions in many of our leading
cities have declared for the Party. Among the national organizations,
however, only the Western Federation of Miners, the Brewers, the Hat and
Cap Makers, the Bakers, and a few others, numbering together no more
than a quarter of a million members, have definitely indorsed Socialism.
The Coal Miners, numbering nearly 300,000, have indorsed collective
ownership of industry, but without saying anything about the Socialist
Party. Besides these, the Socialist Party, of course, has numerous
individual adherents in every union. On the whole the Socialists are
very much outnumbered in the unions, and as long as this condition
remains, the majority of Socialists do not desire anything approaching
fusion between the two movements.

Half a century ago, it is true, Marx himself favored the Socialists
entering into a labor union party in England. He assumed that English
unions would soon go into politics, whereas they took half a century to
do it; he assumed, also, that when they entered politics they would be
more or less militant and independent, and he never imagined that during
fifteen years of "independent action" they would oppose revolutionary
and militant ideas more than ever, and would even go so far in support
of the Liberal Party as almost to bring about a split within their own
anti-revolutionary ranks. Certainly Marx expected that they would accept
his leading principles, whereas only the smallest minority of the
present Labor Party has done so, while the majority has not yet
consented to make Socialism an element of the Party's constitution,
confining themselves to a broad general declaration in favor of "State
Socialism"--and even this not to be binding on its members.

Marx's standard for a workingmen's party was Socialism and nothing less
than Socialism. In his famous letter on the Gotha program addressed in
1875 to Bebel, Liebknecht, and others, at the time of the formation of
the Socialist Party and perhaps the greatest practical crisis in Marx's
lifetime, he said, it will be recalled, that "every step of real
movement is more important than a dozen programs," but he was even then
against any sacrifice of essential principle. He saw that the workingmen
themselves might be satisfied by "the mere fact of the union" of his
followers with those of LaSalle, but he said that it was an error to
believe that this momentous result could not be bought too dearly, and
if any principle was to be sacrificed, he preferred, instead of fusion,
"a simple agreement against the common enemy."

While Socialist workingmen, then, are inclined to attach more importance
to the Socialist Party than to conservative unionism, they expect the
new aggressive, democratic, and revolutionary unionism to do even more
for Socialism, at least in the expected crisis of the future, than the
Party itself. The tendency of the unions towards politics is merely an
automatic result of the tendency of governments and capitalists towards
a certain form of collectivism. Far more significant is their tendency
towards Socialism whether through politics or through the strike, the
boycott, and other means.

Trade unionism, transferred to the field of politics, is not Socialism.
The struggles against employers for more wages, less hours, and better
conditions has no necessary relation to the struggle against capitalism
for the control of industry and government. The former struggle may
evolve into the latter, and usually does so, but long periods may also
intervene when it takes no step in that direction. Moreover, a trade
union party of the British type, whether it takes the name Socialist or
not, if it acts as rival to a genuine Socialist Party, checks the
latter's growth.

When revolutionary labor organizations composed largely of genuine
Socialists enter into politics, the situation is completely
reversed--even when such organizations take the step primarily for the
sake of their unions rather than to aid the Socialist Party. This
situation I shall consider in the following chapter.

FOOTNOTES:

[240] Eugene V. Debs, "His Life and Writings," p. 140.

[241] John Mitchell, "Organized Labor," p. 208.

[242] Miss Hughan in her "American Socialism," p. 220, quotes an
expression of mine (see the _New York Call_, March 22, 1910) in which I
said that "petty reforms never have aroused and never will arouse the
enthusiasm of the working class and do not permit of its coöperation,
but leave everything in the hands of a few self-appointed leaders."

Miss Hughan herself points out that I have never considered all
so-called reforms as petty (see "American Socialism of the Present Day,"
p. 216) and quotes (on p. 199) an expression from the very article above
mentioned in which I define what reforms I consider are of special
importance to the wage earners, namely, those protecting the strike, the
boycott, free speech, and civil government. I even mentioned labor
legislation on a national scale. The petty reforms I referred to were
State labor laws. These will not only be carried out by non-Socialists,
but receive very little attention from active labor bodies such as the
city and State federations, which are almost wholly absorbed in the
greater and more difficult task of defending the strike, boycott, free
speech, and sometimes civil government. Labor will do everything in its
power to promote child labor laws, workingmen's compensation etc.,
except to give them its chief attention instead of the struggle for
higher wages and the rights needed to carry it on effectively. As a
consequence these matters are left to a few selfish or unselfish
persons, who are "self-appointed leaders," even when the unions consent
to leave these particular matters in their hands. For active coöperation
of the masses in the legal, economic, and political intricacies of such
legislation is not only undesirable, but impossible under the present
system of society and government. Labor must govern itself through
instructed _delegates_, while such work can be done only by
_representatives_, who must often have the power to act without further
consultation with those who elected them.

[243] George H. Shibley in the _American Federationist_, June, 1910.

[244] Samuel Gompers in the _American Federationist_, 1910.

[245] John Mitchell, "Organized Labor" (Preface).

[246] Eugene V. Debs, _op. cit._

[247] Karl Kautsky in _Die Neue Zeit_, 1909, p. 679.

[248] Karl Kautsky in _Die Neue Zeit_, 1909, p. 680.

[249] Winston Churchill, _op. cit._, pp. 77, 336, 337.

[250] _Die Neue Zeit_, June 11, 1911.

[251] The Weekly Bulletin of the Garment Trades (New York), 1910.

[252] The _Mine Workers' Journal_ (Indianapolis), Aug. 26, 1909, and
April 21, 1910.



CHAPTER V

SYNDICALISM; SOCIALISM THROUGH DIRECT ACTION OF LABOR UNIONS


In America, France, Italy, and England, as well as in Germany (in a
modified form) a new and more radical labor-union policy has been
rapidly gaining the upper hand. This new movement--in its purely
economic, as well as its political, bearings--is of far greater moment
to Socialists than the political tendencies of those unions that
continue to follow the old tactics in their direct relations with
employers.

In America and in England, unfortunately, the name given to this new
movement, "industrial unionism," is somewhat ambiguous. A more correct
term would be "labor" unionism as distinct from "trade" unionism, or
"class unionism" against "sectional unionism." By "industrial unionism"
the promoters of the new movement means that all the employees of a
given industry are to be solidly bound together in a single union
instead of being divided into many separate organizations as so often
happens to-day, and so as to act as a unit against the employer, as, for
example, the steel workers, machinists, longshoremen, structural iron
workers, etc., are all to be united against the Steel Trust. The
essential idea is not any particular form of united action, but united
action. Certainly the united action of all the trades at work under a
single employer or employers' association is of the first importance,
but it is equally important that "industrial" unions so composed should
aid one another, that the united railway organizations, for example,
should be ready to strike with seamen, dockers, etc., as was done in the
recent British strike. An interview with Mr. Vernon Hartshorn, who
recently headed the poll in the election for the executive committee of
the important South Wales Mining Federation, indicates the tendency in
Great Britain at the present moment--when both coal and railway strikes
are threatened on a national scale--not merely towards industrial
unionism, but towards the far more important _union of industrial
unions_, which is really the underlying idea in the minds of most,
though not all, of the propagandists of "industrial unionism."


     "I think it a very silly business," exclaimed Mr. Hartshorn
     emphatically, "for the workers in different industries to be
     proceeding with national movements independently of each other. A
     short time ago we had a national stoppage on the railways; that, as
     a matter of course, rendered the miners idle. Before that we had
     something in the nature of a national stoppage in the case of the
     seamen's dispute; that, also, in many districts paralysed the
     mining industry and rendered idle the workmen. Now it appears
     likely that the miners will be taking part in a national stoppage
     which, in turn, will render the railway men and seamen idle.

     "The idea is gradually dawning upon all sections of organized labor
     that the right thing to do would be for these three unions, through
     their executives, to establish a working alliance by means of which
     united action should be taken to secure reforms which would result
     in the raising of the standard of living of the whole of the
     workmen employed in these undertakings. Of course the grievances in
     different trades differ considerably in points of detail, but they
     all have a common basis in that they relate to wages and conditions
     of work. If the three organizations could be got to act together
     with a view of establishing a guaranteed minimum wage for all
     workmen employed, then not all the forces of the Crown, nor all the
     powers of government, could prevent them from emancipating
     themselves from their present deplorable position."[253]


It is equally necessary for the unions in order to obtain maximum
results that a special relation should be established between the
members of such trades as are to be found in more than one industry.
Teamsters, stationary engineers, machinists, and blacksmiths, for
example, whether employed by mines, railways, or otherwise, can aid one
another in obvious ways--as by securing positions for blacklisted men
and preventing non-unionists from obtaining employment--by means of a
special "trade" organization or federation that cuts across the various
"industrial" unions or federations. All this, indeed, is provided for in
the plans of the "industrial unionists," in the idea of gradually
reorganizing the present loose Federation of Labor into "a union of
unions," or, as they express it, "One Big Union." This last term also is
not very fortunate, for it is by no means proposed to form one
absolutely centralized organization, like the former Knights of Labor,
but to preserve a considerable measure of autonomy for the constituent
industrial unions. Neither does the new unionism require, as some of its
exponents allege, the abolition of the older _trade_ unions, either
local or national, but only that all unions shall be democratically
organized and open to unskilled labor, and that the general
organization, of which they are all a part, shall be the first
consideration, and the local groupings whether by trade or industry only
secondary.

The principle of the new union policy is exactly the same translated
into terms of economic action, as the principle of revolutionary
Socialism as conceived by Marx, and hitherto applied by Socialists
chiefly on the political field. In the Communist Manifesto Marx says
that the chief thing that distinguishes the Socialists from the other
working-class parties is that the former "always and everywhere
represent the interests of the movement as a whole." So while the older
unions represented the economic struggle of certain more or less
extensive parts of the working class, the industrial unionists aim at a
unionism that represents the whole of the working class, and, since the
ranks of labor are always open, all non-capitalist humanity. A closely
organized federation of all the unions will rely very strongly upon
numbers and embrace a large proportion of unskilled workers. It will,
therefore, be forced to fight the cause of the common man. But this can
only be done by fighting against every form of oppression and
privilege--all of which bear on the men at the bottom.

The industrial policy idea has received its most remarkable indorsement
in the great British railway strike of 1911. Before showing what lay
behind this epoch-making movement, let me refer to the great change in
the British Union world that preceded it.

In 1910 there occurred an unprecedented series of strikes in the four
larges industries of the country, the railroads, shipbuilding, cotton,
and coal-mining--all within a few months of one another, _and all
against the advice of the officials of the unions_. The full and exact
significance of this movement was seen when the hitherto conservative
Trade Union Congress, after a very vigorous debate, decided, on the
motion of Ben Tillett, to take a referendum of the unions on the
question of the "practicability of a confederation of all trades" and on
the "_possibility of terminating all trade agreements on a given date
after each year_."

In the same year a great agitation began, led by the most prominent
advocate of industrial unionism in Great Britain, the Socialist, Tom
Mann, who with John Burns had been one of the organizers of the great
dockers' strike in 1886, and who had returned, in 1910, from many years
of successful agitation in Australia to preach the new unionism in his
home country. That this agitation was one of the causes of the great
seamen's, dockers', and railway strikes that followed is indicated by
the fact that Mr. Mann was at once given the chief position in this
movement.

His first principle is that the unions should include _all_ the workers,
in their respective industries:--


     "Skilled workers, in many instances doing but little work, receive
     from two to seven or eight pounds a week, whilst the laborer,
     having the same responsibilities as regards family and citizenship,
     is compelled to accept one third of it or less.

     "This must not be. We must not preach social equality and utterly
     fail to practice it; and for those receiving the higher pay to try
     and satisfy the demands of the lower-paid man for better conditions
     by telling him it will be put right under Socialism, is on a par
     with the parson pretending to assuage the sufferings of the
     poverty-stricken by saying, 'It will be better in the next world.'
     It must be put right in _this_ world, and we must see to it _now_."


Unions composed exclusively of skilled workers, as many of the present
ones, operate against the interests of the less skilled--often without
actually intending to do so. Mr. Mitchell, for instance, concedes that
the trade unions bring about "the elimination of men who are below a
certain fixed standard of efficiency." This argument will appeal
strongly to employers and believers in the survival of the fittest
doctrine. But it will scarcely appeal to the numerous unskilled workers
eliminated, or the still more numerous workers whose employment is thus
lessened at every slack season. Mr. Edmond Kelly shows how the principle
acts--"Where there is a minimum wage of $4 a day the workman can no
longer choose to do only $3 worth of work and be paid accordingly, but
he must earn $4 or else cease from work, at least in that particular
trade, locality, or establishment."[254] The result is that the highest
skilled workmen obtain steady employment through the union, while the
less skilled are penalized by underemployment. The unions have equalized
daily wages, but the employer has replied by making employment and
therefore annual wages all the more unequal, and many of the workers may
have lost more than they gained. Whereas if each man could secure an
equal share of work, he might be paid according to his efficiency and
yet be far better off than now. But the only way to secure an equal
amount of work for all is through a union where all have an equal voice
and where the union is strong enough to have a say as to who is to be
employed.

It is this tendency either automatically or intentionally actually to
injure unskilled labor, that has led men like Mann and Debs and Haywood
to their severe criticism of the present policies of the unions, and
even affords some ground for Tolstoi's classification of well-paid
artisans, electricians, and mechanics among the exploiters of unskilled
labor. In the days of serfdom, the great writer said, "Only one class
were slave owners; all classes, except the most numerous one--consisting
of peasants who have too little land, laborers, and workingmen--are
slave-owners now." The master class, Tolstoi says, to-day includes, not
only "nobles, merchants, officials, manufacturers, professors, teachers,
authors, musicians, painters, rich peasants, and the rich men's
servants," but also "well-paid artisans, electricians, mechanics," etc.

Mr. Mann thus defines the attitude of this new unionism to the old:--


     "It is well known that in Britain, as elsewhere, there is only a
     minority of the workers organized; of the ten millions of men
     eligible for industrial organization only one fourth are members of
     trade unions; naturally these are, in the main, the skilled
     workers, who have associated together with a view to maintaining
     for themselves the advantage accruing to skilled workers, when
     definite restrictions are placed upon the numbers able to enter and
     remain in the trades.

     "We have had experience enough to know that the difficulties of
     maintaining a ring fence around an occupation, which secures to
     those inside the fence special advantages, are rapidly increasing,
     and in a growing number of instances, the fence has been entirely
     broken down by changes in the methods of production. We know,
     further, that ... the majority of trade unionists still remain
     _sectionally isolated_, powerless to act except in single'
     sectional bodies, and incapable of approaching each other and
     merging and amalgamating forces for common action. _This it is that
     is responsible for the modern practice of entering into lengthy
     agreements between employers and workers. Sectional trade unions
     being incapable of offensive action, and gradually giving way
     before the persistent power of the better organized capitalist
     class, they fall back upon agreements for periods of from two to
     five years, during which time they undertake that no demands shall
     be made._" (My italics.)


The industrialists, therefore, advocate the termination of all wage
agreements simultaneously and at short intervals or even at will (like
tenancies at will, or call loans). They claim that employers are
practically free to terminate _existing agreements_ whenever they
please, as they can always find grounds for dismissing individuals or
for temporarily shutting down their works or for otherwise
discriminating against active unionists or varying the terms of a
contract before its expiration. But it is in America that the policy of
no agreements, or agreements at will is most advanced. In Great Britain
it is thought that agreements for one year and all ending on the same
day may lead to the same results. If there is a central organization
with power to call strikes on the part of any combination of unions, and
the large majority of the workers are organized, it is held that the new
unionism will soon prove irresistible, even if agreements in this form
are retained.

The recent strikes have not only been stimulated by this gospel and led
by its chief representatives, Tom Mann, Ben Tillett, and others, but
from the very first they have been an actual application of the new idea
and have marked a long step towards the complete reorganization of the
British unions. They were started with the seamen's strike in June, when
the dockers in many places struck in sympathy, at the same time adding
demands of their own. When the seamen won their strike, they refused to
go back to work at several points, against the advice of their
conservative officials, until the dockers received what they were
striking for. With the dockers were involved teamsters, and these from
the first had agreed to support one another, for _they were both
connected with Mr. Mann's "National Transport Workers' Federation_." And
the railway strike was largely due to the fact that the railway unions
decided at least _to coöperate_ with this federation. The dockers had
remained on strike at Liverpool in sympathy with the railway porters who
had struck in the first instance to aid the dockers, and at the first
strike conference of the railway union officials, forty-one being
present, it was voted unanimously "that the union was determined not to
settle the dispute with the companies unless the lockout imposed upon
their co-workers because of their support of the railroad men at
Liverpool and elsewhere is removed and all the men reinstated."

There can be little doubt that the railway strike would neither have
taken place at the critical time it did, nor have gone as far as it
went, except for this new and concerted action which embraced even the
least skilled and least organized classes of labor.

Accompanying this movement toward common action, "solidarity" of labor,
and more and more general strikes, was the closely related reaction
against existing agreements--on the ground that they cripple the unions'
power of effective industrial warfare. For several years there had been
a simultaneous movement on the part of the "State Socialist" government
towards compulsory arbitration, and among the unions against any
interference on the part of a government over which they have little or
no control--the railway strike being directed, according to the
unionists, as much against the government as against the railways. For
many years the government, represented by Mr. Lloyd George or Mr.
Winston Churchill, had acted as arbitrator in every great industrial
conflict, and had secured many minor concessions for the unions. As long
as no critical conflict occurred that might materially weaken either the
government or the capitalist or employing classes as a whole, this
policy worked well. It was only by a railway strike, or perhaps by a
seamen's or miners' strike that it could be put to a real test. By the
settlement of the threatened railway strike of 1907 the employees had
gained very little, and had _voluntarily_ left the final power to decide
disputes in the hands of government arbitrators. A conservative
Labourite, Mr. J. R. MacDonald, writing late in 1910, said:--


     "We held at the time that the agreement which Mr. Bell accepted on
     behalf of the Railway Servants would not work. It was a surrender.
     The railway directors were consulted for days; they were allowed to
     alter the terms of agreement at their own sweet will, and when they
     agreed, the men's representatives were asked to go to the Board of
     Trade and were told that they could not alter a comma, could not
     sleep over the proposal, could not confer with any one about it,
     had to accept it there and then. In a moment of weakness they
     accepted. An agreement come to in such a way was not likely to be
     of any use to the men."[255]


Nevertheless, this extremely important settlement was accepted by the
union. Mr. Churchill did not know how to restrain his enthusiasm for
unions that were so good as to fall in so obediently with his political
plans. "They are not mere visionaries or dreamers," says Churchill,
"weaving airy Utopias out of tobacco smoke. They are not political
adventurers who are eager to remodel the world by rule of thumb, who are
proposing to make the infinite complexities of scientific civilization
and the multitudinous phenomena of great cities conform to a few
barbarous formulas which any moderately intelligent parrot could repeat
in a fortnight. The fortunes of trade unions are interwoven with the
industries they serve. The more highly organized trade unions are, the
more clearly they recognize their responsibilities."[256]

By 1911 the whole situation was completely reversed. Over less important
bodies of capitalists and employers than the railways, the government
had power and a will to exercise its power. The railways, however, are
practically a function of government--absolutely indispensable if it is
to retain its other powers _undiminished_. It was for this reason that
little if any governmental force was used against them, and the
agreement of 1907 came to be of even less value to the men than
agreements made in other industries. When the chorus of union complaints
continued to swell, and the men asked the government to bring pressure
on the railways, at least to meet their committee, it acknowledged
itself either unable or unwilling to take any effective action unless to
renew the offer to appoint another royal commission, essentially of the
same character as that of 1907 except that it should be smaller and
should act more speedily. This still meant that the third member of the
board was to be appointed by a government, in which experience had
taught the workers they could have no confidence--_at least in its
dealings with the powerful railways_.

In view of this inherent weakness of the government, or its hostility to
the new and aggressive unionism, or perhaps a combination of both, the
unions had no recourse other than a direct agreement or a strike. But
the refusal of the railways to meet the men left no alternative other
than the strike, and at the same time showed that they did not much fear
that the unions could strike with success. It was no longer a question
of the justice or injustice, truth or untruth, of the unions' claims.
The railways, in a perfectly practical and businesslike spirit,
questioned the power of the unions, by means of a strike, to cause them
sufficient damage to make it profitable even to meet their
representatives--without the presence of a government representative,
who, they had learned by experience, would in all probability take a
position with which they would be satisfied. Mr. Asquith's offer, then,
to submit the "correctness" of the unions' statements and the
"soundness" of their contentions to a tribunal, was entirely beside the
point. The representatives of the railways were sure to give such a
tribunal to understand, however diplomatically and insidiously, that the
unions were without that power, which alone, in the minds of "practical"
men, can justify any considerable demand, such as the settlement of all
questions through the representatives of the men (the recognition of the
union).

Doubtless the railways had refused to meet the union representatives
until they felt assured that the government's position would on the
whole be satisfactory to them. The government's real attitude was made
plain when, after the refusal of the unions practically to leave their
whole livelihood and future in its hands, as in 1907, it used this as a
pretext for taking sides against them--not by prohibiting the strike,
but by limiting more and more narrowly the scope it was to be allowed to
take.

The government loudly protested its impartiality, and gave very powerful
and plausible arguments for interference. But the laborers feel that the
right not to work is as essential as life itself, and all that
distinguishes them essentially from slaves, and that no argument
whatever is valid against it. Let us look at a few of the government
statements:--

The government, said the Premier, was perfectly impartial in regard to
the merits of the various points of dispute. The government had regard
exclusively for _the interests of the public_, and having regard for
those interests they could not allow the paralysis of the railway
systems throughout the country, and would have to take the necessary
steps to prevent such paralysis.

The representatives of the unions replied by a public statement, in
which they declared that this was an "unwarrantable threat" and an
attempt to put the responsibility for the suspension of work on the
unions:--


     "We consider the statement made in behalf of his Majesty's
     government, _an unwarrantable threat_ uttered against the railroad
     workers who for years have made repeated applications to the Board
     of Trade and also to Parliament to consider the advisability of
     amending the conciliation board scheme of 1907.... And further it
     shows a failure of the Board of Trade to amend its own scheme, and
     also of the railroad companies to give an impartial and fair
     interpretation of such schemes.... And inasmuch as this joint
     meeting has already urged the employers to meet us with a view to
     discussing the whole position and which, if agreed to by them,
     would in our opinion have settled the matter, _we therefore refuse
     to accept the responsibility the government has attempted to throw
     upon us_, and further respectfully but firmly ask his Majesty's
     government whether the responsibility of the railroad companies is
     in any degree less than that of other employers of labor."


In other words, there is and can be no law compelling men to labor, and
no matter what the consequences of their refusal to work, it is a matter
that concerns the workers themselves more than all other persons.

Mr. Winston Churchill made a more detailed statement. He said that "the
government was taking all necessary steps to make sure that the _food
supply as well as fuel and other essentials_ should not be interrupted
on the railways or at the ports."


     "All services vital to the community should be maintained, and the
     government would see to that, not because they were on the side
     either of the employers or the workmen, but because they were bound
     to protect the public from the danger that a general arrest of
     industry would entail." He continued:--

     "The means whereby the people of this land live are highly
     artificial, and a serious breakdown would lead to starvation among
     a great number of poorer people. Not the well-to-do would suffer,
     but the poor of the great cities and those dependent upon them, who
     would be quite helpless if the machinery by which they are fed--_on
     which they are dependent for wages_--was thrown out of gear.

     "The government believes that the arrangements made for working the
     lines of communication, and for the maintenance of order, will
     prove effective; but, if not, other measures of even larger scope
     will be taken promptly. It must be clearly understood that there is
     no escape from these facts, and, as they affect the supply of food
     for the people, and _the safety of the country, they are far more
     important than anything else_."


To this the railway workers answered that it is to protect their own
food that they strike, and that food is as important to them as to
others, that practically all those who are dependent on wages are
willing to undergo the last degree of suffering to preserve the right
to strike, that the means of livelihood of this majority are no whit
less important than the "safety" of the rest of the country. Moreover,
if the government is allowed to use military or other means to aid the
railways to transport food, fuel, and other things, more or less
essential, it prevents that very "paralysis" which is the necessary
object of every strike. Industrial warfare of this critical kind must
indeed be costly to the whole community, often endangering health and
even life itself, but the workers are almost unanimous in believing that
a few days or weeks of this, repeated only after years of interval,
costs far less in life and health than the low wages paid to labor year
after year and generation after generation. _They demand the right to
strike unhampered by any government in which capitalistic or other than
wage-earning classes predominate._ Only when the government falls into
the hands of a group of wholly non-capitalist classes--of which wage
earners form the majority--will they expect it to grant such rights and
conditions as are sufficient to compensate them for parting with any
element of the right to strike.

The great British strike, then, had a double significance. It showed the
tremendously increased strength of labor when every class of workers is
organized and all are united together, and it showed an increasing
unwillingness to allow separate agreements to stand in the way of
general strikes.


     The strength of the strikers in the British upheaval of 1911,
     however, has been grossly exaggerated on both sides. There is no
     doubt that the aggressive action came from the masses of the
     workers, as their leaders held them back in nearly every instance.
     There is no question that the various unions coöperated more than
     usual, that vast masses of the unskilled were for the first time
     organized, and that these features won the strikes. The advance was
     remarkable--but we can only measure the level reached if we realize
     the point from which the start was made. As a matter of fact, the
     unskilled labor of Great Britain until 1911 was probably worse paid
     and less organized than that of any great manufacturing
     country--and the advance made by no means brings it to the level of
     the United States.

     Since the great dock strike of 1886, led by John Burns and Tom
     Mann, unskilled labor has tried in vain to organize effectively
     unions like those of the seamen and railway servants, the majority
     of whose members were neither of the least skilled nor of the most
     skilled classes, had an uphill fight, and were only able to
     organize a part of the workers. Five dollars a week was considered
     such a high and satisfactory wage by the wholly unskilled (dockers,
     etc.) that it was often made the basis of their demands. The Board
     of Trade Report shows that 400,000 railwaymen, including the most
     skilled, had from 1899 to 1909 an average weekly wage varying from
     $6.35 to $6.60 per week. The railway union found that of a quarter
     of a million men 39 per cent got less than $5 a week, and 89 per
     cent less than $7.50. Seamen at Liverpool received from $20 to
     $32.50 a month.

     If then the Liverpool sailors received an increase of $2.50 a
     month, while the wages of other strikers were raised on the average
     about 20 per cent, what must we conclude? Undoubtedly the gain was
     worth all the labor and sacrifice it cost. But it must be
     remembered, first, that these wages are still markedly inferior to
     those of this country in spite of its hordes of foreign labor; and
     second, that the increase is little if any above the rise in the
     cost of living in recent years, and will undoubtedly soon be
     overtaken by a further rise. The great steamship lines increased
     their rates on account of the strike almost the same week that it
     was concluded, and the railway companies gave in only when the
     government consented that they should raise their rates. But the
     larger part of the consumers are workingmen, and their cost of
     living is thus rising more rapidly than ever _on account of the
     strikes_. Finally, the unions of the unskilled are as a rule not
     yet recognized by their employers, while the railway union is
     probably as completely at the mercy of the government as ever.

     In a word, _the point reached_ is by no means very advanced; on the
     other hand, _the material gain made_ in view of the former
     backwardness of the railwaymen, seamen, and dockers is highly
     important for England, while the methods employed, the movement
     having originated from below, and having been sustained against
     conservative leaders (only a few radicals like Tom Mann and Ben
     Tillett being trusted), is of world-wide significance. The unions
     as well as their common organizations, the Trade Union Congress,
     the Labour Party, and the General Federation of Trade Unions are
     drawing closer together, while the Socialists and revolutionary
     unionists are everywhere taking the lead--as evidenced, for
     example, by the election of the most radical Socialist member of
     Parliament, Mr. Will Thorne, to be President of the 1912 Trade
     Union Congress.

     The success of the new movement as against the older Labour Party
     and trade union tactics may also be seen from the disturbed state
     of mind of the older leaders. Take, for example, the attack of the
     Chairman of the Labour Party, Mr. J. R. MacDonald:--

     "The new revolution which Syndicalism and its advocates of the
     Industrial Workers of the World contemplate has avoided none of the
     errors or the pitfalls of the old, but it has added to them a whole
     series of its own. It has never considered the problems which it
     has to meet. It is, as expressed in the _Outlook_ of this month, a
     mere escapade of the nursery mind. It is the product of the
     creative intelligence of the man who is impatient because it takes
     the earth twenty-four hours to wheel around the sun (sic).... The
     hospitality which the Socialist movement has offered so generously
     to all kinds of cranks and scoundrels because they professed to be
     in revolt against the existing order has already done our movement
     much harm. Let it not add Syndicalism to the already too numerous
     vipers which, in the kindness of its heart, it is warming on its
     hearthstones."[257] [258]


The new revolutionary unionism takes different forms in Great Britain,
France, and America. In France it has expressed itself through agitation
for the general strike and against the army, the only thing that a
general strike movement has to fear. The agitation has completely
captured the national federation of unions, has a well-developed
literature, a daily paper (_La Bataille Syndicaliste_--The Union
Battle,--established in 1911), and has put its principles into effect in
many ways, especially by more numerous and widespread strikes and by
attacks on military discipline. But there has been no strike so nearly
general as the recent British one, and both the efforts in this
direction and those directed against the army have a future rather than
a present importance and will be considered in succeeding chapters (Part
III, Chapters VI and VII).

In America the new movement first appeared several years ago in the very
radical proposal indorsed at the time by Debs, Haywood, and many
prominent Socialists, to replace the older unions by a new set built on
entirely different principles, including organizations of the least
skilled, and the solid union of all unions for fighting purposes. This
movement took concrete form in a new organization, the Industrial
Workers of the World, which was launched with some promise, but soon
divided into factions and was abandoned by Debs and others of its
organizers. It has grown in strength in some localities, having
conducted the remarkable struggles at McKees Rocks (Pa.) and Lawrence
(Mass.), but is not at present a national factor--which is in part due,
perhaps, to the fact that the older unions are tending, though
gradually, towards somewhat similar principles.

Not only is Socialism spreading rapidly in all the unions, but along
with it is spreading this new unionism. For many years the Western
Federation of Miners, famous as the central figure in all the labor wars
in the Rocky Mountain States, was the most powerful union in this
country that was representative both of revolutionary Socialism and of
revolutionary unionism. But it was not a part of the American
Federation of Labor. When it became closely united with the Coal Miners,
and the latter union forced its admission into the American Federation
of Labor (in 1911), it at once began a campaign for its principles
inside this organization. It now stands for two proposals, the first of
which would solidly unite all the unions, and the second of which would
cut all bonds between labor and capital. Neither is likely to be adopted
this year, but both seem sure of a growing popularity and will in all
probability result in some radical and effective action within a very
few years.

In its Convention of July, 1911, the Western Federation of Miners
decided to demand of the Federation of Labor the free exchange of
membership cards among all its constituent unions. Thus the unions would
preserve their autonomy, but every member would be free, when he changed
his employer, to pass from one to the other without cost. The result
would be that quarrels between the unions over members would lessen
automatically, and also admission fees, dues, and benefits would tend
towards a level. Thus all the things that keep the unions apart and
prevent common action against the employer would be gradually removed,
and the tendency of certain unions to ignore the interests of others
reduced to a minimum. The plan is practical, because it has already been
in successful operation for many years in France.

Another new policy--which should be regarded as a supplementary means
for bringing about the same result--would be to so strengthen and
democratize the general Federation as to allow great power to be placed
in the hands of the executive, and at the same time subject it to the
direct control of the combined rank and file of all the unions. If, for
example, national Federation officials were elected, instructed, and
recalled by a vote of all the unionists in the country, the latter would
probably be willing to place in the hands of such an executive power to
call out the unions in strike in such combinations as would make the
resistance of employers most difficult, and power to control national
strike funds collected from all the unions for these contests. Unions
with a specially strong strategic situation in industry and a favored
situation in the Federation are not yet ready to forego their privileges
for this form of direct democracy, but the tendency is in this
direction. (Since these lines were first written the Federation has
taken steps towards the adoption of this plan of direct election of its
officials by national referendum.)

Indeed, when the Western Miners' second proposal, the refusal to sign
agreements for any fixed period, is adopted, this simultaneous
centralization and democratization of the Federation may proceed apace.
As long as the various unions are bound to the employers by an entirely
separate and independent agreement terminable at different dates, it is
impossible to arrange strikes in common, especially when the more
fortunate unions adopt an entirely different plan of organization and an
entirely different policy from the rest. The Western Miners now propose
that all agreements be done away with, a practice they had followed long
and successfully themselves--with the single tacit exception of the
employees of the Smelter Trust (Guggenheim's). This exception they have
now done away with. Their fundamental idea is that as long as the
capitalist reserves his right to close down his works whenever he
believes his interests or those of capital require it, every union
should reserve its right to stop work at any moment when the interests
of the union or of labor require it. Temporary arrangements are entered
into which are binding as to all other matters except the cessation of
work. That this cessation would not occur in any well-organized union
over trifles goes without saying--strikes are tremendously costly to
labor. The agreement binds in a way perfectly familiar to the business
world in the call loan or the tenancy at will.

President Moyer of the Western Federation (one of those Mr. Roosevelt
called an "undesirable citizen" at the time when he was on trial in
Idaho, accused of being an accomplice in the murder of Governor
Steunenburg) explained that his union knew that agreements might bring
certain momentary advantages which it would otherwise lose, that it had
often been in a position to win higher wages through an agreement, and
in three cases even to gain a seven-hour day. But by such action, he
declared the union would have surrendered its freedom. It would have
been tied hand and foot, whereas now it was free to fight whenever it
wanted to. If working people want to be united and effective, he
concluded, they must have the fullest freedom of action. This would
always pay in the end.

In view of the great advance in the organization and fighting spirit of
labor secured by this new kind of industrial warfare, some
revolutionary unionists even expect it to do more to bring about
Socialism than the Socialist parties themselves. Indeed, a few have gone
so far as to regard these parties as almost superfluous. Many of the new
revolutionary unionists, though Socialists by conviction, attach so
little importance to political action that they have formed no
connection with the Socialist parties, and do not propose to do so.
Others feel the necessity of some political support, and contend that
any kind of an exclusively labor union party, even if it represents
anti-revolutionary unions like most of those of the Federation of Labor,
would serve this purpose better than the Socialist Party, which belongs
less exclusively to the unionists.

An American revolutionary unionist and Socialist, the late Louis Duchez,
like many of his school, not only placed his faith chiefly in the
unskilled workers, either excluding the skilled manual laborers and the
brain workers, or relegating them to a secondary position, but wanted
the new organizations to rely almost entirely on their economic efforts
and entirely to subordinate political action. The hours of labor are to
be reduced, child labor is to be abolished, and everything is to be done
that will tend to diminish competition between one workingman and
another, he argued, with the idea of securing early control of the labor
market. Through labor's restriction of output, production is to be cut
down and the unemployed are to be absorbed. Thus, he declared, "_a
partial expropriation of capital is taking place_" and "_this
constructive program is followed until the workers get all they
produce_."[259]

Here is an invaluable insight into the underlying standpoint of some of
these anti-political "syndicalists," to use a term that has come to us
from France. Nothing could possibly be more alien to the whole spirit of
revolutionary Socialism than these conclusions. The very reason for the
existence of Socialism is that Socialists believe that the unions cannot
control the labor market in present society. The Socialists' chief hope,
moreover, is that economic evolution will make possible and almost
inevitable the transformation of a capitalist into a Socialist society;
it is then to their interest not to retard the development of industry
by the restriction of output, but to advance it. Indeed, Mr. Duchez's
philosophy is not that of Socialist labor unionism, but of anarchist
labor unionism, and there have been strong tendencies in many
countries, not only in France and Italy, but also in the United States,
especially among the more conservative unions, to be guided by such a
policy. It is the essence of Mr. Gompers's program, as I have shown, to
claim that "a partial expropriation of capital" is taking place through
the unions, and that by this means, _without any government action_, and
_without any revolutionary general strike_ the workers will gradually
"get all they produce." According to the Socialist view, such a gradual
expropriation can only _begin_ after a _political and economic_
revolution, or when, on its near approach, capitalists prefer to make
vital concessions rather than to engage in such a conflict.

The leading Socialist monthly in America, the _International Socialist
Review_, which has indorsed the new unionism, has even found it
necessary recently to remind its readers that the Socialist Party does
after all play a certain rôle and a more or less important one, in the
revolutionary movement. "Representative revolutionary unionists, like
Lagardelle of France and Tom Mann of Australia," said the _Review_,
"point out the immense value of a political party _as an auxiliary_ to
the unions. A revolutionary union without the backing of a revolutionary
party will be tied up by injunctions. Its officers will be kidnapped.
Its members, if they defy the courts, will be corralled in bull pens or
mowed down by Gatling guns.

"A revolutionary party, on the other hand, if it pins its hopes mainly
to the passing of laws, tends always to degenerate into a reform party.
Its 'leaders' become hungry for office and eager for votes, even if the
votes must be secured by concessions to the middle class. In the pursuit
of such votes it wastes its propaganda on immediate demands."

The _Review_ adds, however, that a non-political menace of revolution
does ten times as much for reforms as any political activity; which can
only mean that in its estimation revolutionary strikes, boycotts,
demonstrations, etc., are of ten times higher present value than the
ballot.

Mr. Tom Mann seems also to subordinate political to labor union action:
"Experience in all countries shows most conclusively that industrial
organization, intelligently conducted, is of much more moment than
political action, for, entirely irrespective as to which school of
politicians is in power, capable and courageous industrial activity
forces from the politicians proportionate concessions.... Indeed, it is
obvious that a growing proportion of the intelligent pioneers of
economic changes are expressing more and more dissatisfaction with
Parliament and all its works, and look forward to the time when
Parliaments, as we know them, will be superseded by the people managing
their own affairs by means of the Initiative and the Referendum."[260]
The last sentence shows that Mr. Mann had somewhat modified his aversion
to politics, for the Initiative and Referendum is a political and not an
economic device. His objection to politics in the form of
parliamentarism (that is, trusting everything to elected persons, or
_representatives_) as distinguished from direct democracy, would
probably meet the views of the majority of Socialists everywhere (except
in Great Britain).

A later declaration of Mr. Mann after his return from Australia to
England shows that he now occupies the same ground as Debs and Haywood
in America--favoring a revolutionary party as well as revolutionary
unions:--


     "The present-day degradation of so large a percentage of the
     workers is directly due to their economic enslavement; and it is
     economic freedom that is demanded.

     "Now Parliamentary action is at all times useful, in proportion as
     it makes for economic emancipation of the workers. But Socialists
     and Labour men in Parliament can only do effective work there in
     proportion to the intelligence and economic organization of the
     rank and file....

     "Certainly nothing very striking in the way of constructive work
     could reasonably be expected from the minorities of the Socialists
     and Labour men hitherto elected. But the most moderate and
     fair-minded are compelled to declare that, not in one country but
     in all, a proportion of those comrades who, prior to being
     returned, were unquestionably revolutionary, are no longer so after
     a few years in Parliament. They are revolutionary neither in their
     attitude towards existing society nor in respect of present-day
     institutions. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that many seem
     to have constituted themselves apologists for existing society,
     showing a degree of studied respect for bourgeois conditions, and a
     toleration of bourgeois methods, that destroys the probability of
     their doing any real work of a revolutionary character.

     "I shall not here attempt to juggle with the quibble of 'Revolution
     or Evolution,'--or to meet the contention of some of those under
     consideration that it is not Revolution that is wanted. 'You cannot
     change the world and yet not change the world.' _Revolution is the
     means of, not the alternative to, Evolution._ I simply state that a
     working-class movement that is not revolutionary in character, is
     not of the slightest use to the working class."[261]


If Mr. Mann later resigned from the British Social Democratic Party,
this was in part due to the special conditions in Great Britain, as he
said at the time, and partly to his Australian experience of the
demoralizing effects of office seeking on the Labour Party there. Mann
stands with Hervé in the French Party and Debs and Haywood in the
American. The reasons given for his withdrawal from the British Party
embody the universal complaint of revolutionary unionists against what
is everywhere a strong tendency of Socialist parties to become
demoralized like other political organizations. Mr. Mann, in his letter
of resignation, said:--


     "After the most careful reflection I am driven to the belief that
     the real reason why the trade unionist movement of this country is
     in such a deplorable state of inefficiency is to be found in the
     fictitious importance which the workers have been encouraged to
     attach to parliamentary action.

     "I find nearly all the serious-minded young men in the Labour and
     Socialist movement have their minds centered upon obtaining some
     position in public life, such as local, municipal, or county
     councilorship, or filling some governmental office, or aspiring to
     become a member of Parliament.

     "I am driven to the belief that this is entirely wrong, and that
     economic liberty will never be realized by such means. So I declare
     in favor of Direct Industrial Organization, not as _a_ means but as
     _the_ means whereby the workers can ultimately overthrow the
     capitalist system and become the actual controllers of their own
     industrial and social destiny."


There is little disagreement among Socialists that "Direct Industrial
Organization" is likely to prove the most important means by which "the
workers can ultimately overthrow the capitalist system." This, the
"industrial unionism" of Debs and Haywood and Mann, is to be sharply
distinguished from French "syndicalism" which undermines all Socialist
political action and all revolutionary economic action as well, by
teaching that even to-day by direct industrial organization--without a
political program or political support, and without a revolution--"a
partial expropriation of capital is taking place."

The advocates of revolutionary labor unionism in America for the most
part are not allowing the new idea to draw away their energies from the
Socialist Party; it merely serves to emphasize their hostility to the
present unaggressive policy of the Executive American Federation of
Labor and some of the unions that compose it.

Mr. Haywood (another of Mr. Roosevelt's "undesirable citizens") urges
the working class to "become so organized on the economic field that
they can take and hold the industries in which they are employed." This
view might seem to obviate the need of a political party, but Mr.
Haywood does not regard it in that light. He says:--


     "There is justification for political action, and that is, to
     control the forces of the capitalists that they use against us; to
     be in a position to control the power of government so as to make
     the work of the army ineffective.... That is the reason that you
     want the power of government. That is the reason that you should
     fully understand the power of the ballot.

     "Now, there isn't any one, Socialist, S.L.P., Industrial Worker, or
     any other working man or woman, no matter what society you belong
     to, but what believes in the ballot. There are those--and I am one
     of them--who refuse to have the ballot interpreted for them. I know
     or think I know the power of it, and I know that the industrial
     organization, as I have stated in the beginning, is its broadest
     interpretation. I know, too, that when the workers are brought
     together in a great organization they are not going to cease to
     vote. That is when the workers will _begin_ to vote, to vote for
     directors to operate the industries in which they are all
     employed."


In the recent pamphlet, "Industrial Socialism," Mr. Haywood and Mr.
Frank Bonn develop the new unionism at greater length. Their conclusions
as to politics are directed, not against the Socialist Party, but
against its non-revolutionary elements:--


     "The Socialist Party stands not merely for the POLITICAL supremacy
     of labor. It stands for the INDUSTRIAL supremacy of labor. Its
     purpose is not to secure old age pensions and free meals for school
     children. Its mission is to help overthrow capitalism and establish
     Socialism.

     "The great purpose of the Socialist Party is to seize the powers of
     government and thus prevent them from being used by the capitalists
     against the workers. With Socialists in political offices the
     workers can strike and not be shot. They can picket shops and not
     be arrested and imprisoned.... To win the demands made on the
     industrial field it is absolutely necessary to control the
     government, as experience shows strikes to have been lost through
     the interference of courts and militia. The same functions of
     government, controlled by a class conscious working class, will be
     used to inspire confidence and compel the wheels of industry to
     move in spite of the devices and stumblingblocks of the
     capitalists....

     "Socialist government will concern itself entirely with the shop.
     Socialism can demand nothing of the individual outside the shop....
     It has no concern with the numberless social reforms which the
     capitalists are now preaching in order to save their miserable
     profit system.

     "Old age pensions are not Socialism. The workers had much better
     fight for higher wages and shorter hours. Old age pensions under
     the present government are either charity doled out to paupers, or
     bribes given to voters by politicians. Self-respecting workers
     despise such means of support. Free meals or cent meals for
     poverty-stricken school children are not Socialism. Industrial
     freedom will enable parents to give their children solid food at
     home. Free food to the workers cuts wages and kills the fighting
     spirit."


The American "syndicalists" are not opposed to political action, but
they want to use it _exclusively_ for the purposes of industrial
democracy.

While Messrs. Haywood and Bohn by no means take an anarchistic position,
they show no enthusiasm for the capitalist-collectivist proposals that
_present governments_ should take control of industry. They are not
hostile to all government, but they think that democracy applied
directly to industry would be all the government required:--


     "In the shop there must be government. In the school there must be
     government. In the conduct of the great public services there must
     be government. We have shown that Socialism will make government
     democratic throughout. The basis of this freedom will be the
     freedom of the individual to develop his powers. People will be
     educated in freedom. They will work in freedom. They will live in
     freedom....

     "Socialism will establish democracy in the shop. Democracy in the
     shop will free the working class. The working class, through
     securing freedom for itself, will liberate the race."


Even the American "syndicalists," however, attach more importance to
economic than to political action. Hitherto revolutionary Socialists
have agreed that the only constructive work possible _under capitalism_
was that of education and organization. The "syndicalists" also agree
that nothing peculiarly socialistic can be done to-day by _political_
action, but they are reformists as to the immediate possibilities of
_economic_ action. Here they believe revolutionary principles can be
applied even under capitalism. Even the conservative and purely
businesslike effort to secure a little more wages by organized action,
they believe, can be converted here and now into a class struggle of
working class _vs._ capitalists. What is needed is only organization of
all the unions and a revolutionary policy. With the possibilities of a
revolutionary union policy when capitalism has largely exhausted its
program of political reforms and economic betterment and when Socialism
has become the political Opposition, I deal in following chapters. But
syndicalists, even in America, say revolutionary tactics can be applied
now--Mr. Haywood, for instance, feels that the only thing necessary for
a successful revolutionary and Socialistic general strike in France or
America to-day, is sufficient economic organization.

Mr. Debs admits the need of revolutionary tactics as well as
revolutionary principles and even says: "We could better succeed with
reactionary principles and revolutionary tactics than with revolutionary
principles and reactionary tactics." He admits also that Socialists and
revolutionary unionists are inspired with an entirely new attitude
towards society and government and indorses as _entirely sound_ certain
expressions from Haywood and Bohn's pamphlet which had been violently
attacked by reformist Socialists and conservative unionists. Mr. Debs
agrees with the former writers in their definition of the attitude of
the Socialist revolutionist's attitude towards property: "He retains
absolutely no respect for the property 'rights' of the profit takers. He
will use any weapon which will win his fight. He knows that the present
laws of property are made by and for the capitalists. Therefore he does
not hesitate to break them." But he does not agree that this new spirit
offers any positive contribution to Socialist tactics at the present
time. Just as Hervé has recently admitted that the superior political
and economic organization of the Germans were more important than all
the "sabotage" (violence) and "direct action" of the French though he
still favors the latter policies, so the foremost American revolutionary
opposes "direct action" and "sabotage" altogether under present
conditions. Both deny that revolutionary economic action under
capitalism is any more promising than revolutionary political action.
Even Hervé defends his more or less friendly attitude to "direct action"
wholly on the ground that it is good _practice_ for revolution, not on
Lagardelle's syndicalist ground that it means the beginning of
revolution itself (see below).

By much of their language Haywood and several industrial unionists of
this country would seem to class themselves rather with Lagardelle and
Labriola (see below) than with Hervé, Debs, and Mann. Haywood, for
example, has said that no Socialist can be a law-abiding citizen.
Haywood's very effective and law-abiding leadership in strikes at
Lawrence (1912) and elsewhere would suggest that he meant that
Socialists cannot be law-abiding by principle and under all
circumstances. But this statement as it was made, together with many
others, justifies the above classification. Debs, on the contrary,
claims that the American workers are law-abiding and must remain so, on
the whole, until the time of the revolution approaches. "As a
revolutionist," he writes, "I can have no respect for capitalist
property laws, nor the least scruple about violating them," but Debs
does not believe there can be any occasion to put this principle into
effect until the workers have been politically and economically
organized and educated, and then only if they are opposed by violence
(see the _International Socialist Review_, February, 1912).

The French and Italian advocates of revolutionary unionism also assign
to the party a very secondary part, though they are by no means, like
the anarchists, opposed to all political action. They do not as a rule
oppose the Socialist parties, but they protest against the view that
Socialist activities should be chiefly political. Their best-known
spokesman in Italy, Arturo Labriola, one of the most brilliant orators
in the country, and a professor in the University of Naples, writes:--


     "The Social Democracy will prove to have been the last capitalistic
     party to which the defense of capitalistic society will have been
     intrusted. The syndicalists [revolutionary unionists] ought to get
     that firmly into their heads and draw conclusions from it in their
     _necessary_ relations with the official Socialist Party. _The
     latter ought to resign itself to being no more than a simple party
     of the legal demands of the proletariat [i.e. the unions,] on the
     basis of existing society, and not an anti-capitalist party._"[262]


This is strong language and brings up some large questions. Far from
being displeased with the moderate and non-revolutionary character of
the Socialist Party, Labriola, himself a revolutionist, is so
indifferent to the party as a direct means to revolution, as to hope
that it will drop its revolutionary claims altogether and become a
humble and modest but more useful tool of the unions. He even admitted
in conversation with the writer that, attaching no value to political
advance as such, he was not even anxious at this time that the
illiterate South Italians should be given a vote, since they would long
remain under the tutelage of the Catholic Church.

One of the founders of the present French movement, its earliest and
chief theorist, Pelloutier, who has many followers among the present
officials of the French Federation of Labor, went even further, denying
to the government, and therefore to all political parties, any vital
function whatever. To Pelloutier the State is built exclusively upon
"superfluous and obnoxious political interests." The unions are expected
to work towards a Socialist society without much, if any, political
support. They are to use non-political means: "The general strike as a
purely economic means that _excludes the coöperation_ of parliamentary
Socialists and demands only labor union activity would necessarily suit
the labor union groups."[263]

The leading "syndicalist" writer to-day, Hubert Lagardelle, feels not
only that a Socialist Party is not likely to bring about a Socialist
society, but that any steps that it might try to take in this direction
to-day would necessarily be along the wrong lines, since it would
establish reforms by law rather than as a natural upgrowth out of
economic conditions and the activities of labor unions, with the result
that such reforms would necessarily go no farther than "State
Socialism."[264]

Lagardelle speaks of the "State Socialistic" reform tendency as
synonymous with "modern democracy." Because it supposes that there are
"general problems common to all classes," says Lagardelle, democracy
refuses to take into account the real difference between men, which is
that they are divided into economic classes. Here we see the central
principle of Socialism exaggerated to an absurdity. Few Socialists, even
the most revolutionary, would deny that there are some problems "common
to all classes." Indeed, the existence and importance of such problems
is the very reason why "State Socialism," of benefit to the masses, but
still more to the interest of the capitalists, is being so easily and
rapidly introduced. Lagardelle would be right, from the Socialist
standpoint, if he demanded that it should oppose mere political
democracy, or "State Socialism" in proportion as these forces have
succeeded in reorganizing the capitalist State--or rather after they
have been assimilated by it. But to obstruct their present work is
merely to stand against the normal and necessary course of economic and
political evolution, as recognized by the Socialists themselves, a
similar mistake to that made by the Populists and their successors, who
think they can prevent normal economic evolution by dissolving the new
industrial combinations and returning to competition. Just as Socialists
cannot oppose the formation of trusts under normal circumstances,
neither can they oppose the extension of the modern State into the field
of industry or democratic reform, even though the result is
_temporarily_ to strengthen capitalism and to decrease the economic and
political power of the working people. One of the fundamental
differences between the Socialist and other political philosophies is
that it recognizes ceaseless political evolution and acts accordingly.
It teaches that we shall probably pass on to social democracy through a
period of monopoly rule, "State Socialism," and political reforms that
in themselves promise no relative advance, economic or political, to the
working class.

In a recent congress of the French Party, Jaurès protested against a
statement of Lagardelle's that Socialism was opposed to democracy.
"Democracy," Lagardelle answered, "corresponds to an historical movement
which has come to an end; syndicalism is an anti-democratic movement to
the extent that it is post-democratic. Syndicalism comes after
democracy; it perfects the life which democracy was powerless to
organize." It is difficult to understand why Lagardelle persists in
saying that a movement which thus supplements democracy, which does what
democracy was claiming to do, and which is expected to supersede it,
should on this account be considered as "anti-democratic." Socialism
fights the "State Socialists" and opposes those whose democracy is
merely political, but it is attacking not their democracy or their
"State Socialism," but their capitalism.

"Political society," says Lagardelle, "being the organization of the
coercive power of the State, that is to say, of authority and the
hierarchy, corresponds to an economic régime which has authority and the
hierarchy as its base."[265] This proposition (the truth of which all
Socialists would recognize in so far as it applies to political society
in its present form) seems sufficient to Lagardelle to justify his
conclusion that we can no more expect Socialist results through the
State, than we could by association with capitalism. He does not agree
with the Socialist majority that, while capitalism embodies a ruling
class whose services may be dispensed with, the State is rather a
machine or a system which corresponds not so much to capitalism, as to
the system and machinery of industry which capitalism controls.

Another and closely related idea of the syndicalists is that all
political parties, as well as governments, necessarily become the tools
of their leaders, that they always become "machines," bureaucratically
organized like governments. Lagardelle adopts Rousseau's view that the
essence of representative government (all existing governments that are
not autocratic being representative) is "the inactivity of the citizen"
and urges that political parties, like society in general, are divided
between the governing and the governed. While there is much truth in
this analysis,--this being the situation which it is sought to correct
both in government and within political parties by such means as direct
legislation and the recall,--Lagardelle does not seem to see that
exactly the same problem exists also in the labor unions. For among the
most revolutionary as among the most conservative of labor organizations
the leaders tend to acquire the same relative and irresponsible power as
they do in political parties. The difficulty of making democracy work
inheres in all organizations. It must be met and overcome; it cannot be
avoided.

Lagardelle's distrust of political democracy goes even further than a
mere criticism of representative government. He thinks the citizen
to-day unable to judge general political questions at all,--so that in
his view even direct democracy would be useless. It is for this reason,
he says, that parties have it as an aim to act and to think in the
citizen's place. Lagardelle's remedy is not the establishment of direct
democracy in government or in parties, but the organization of the
people to act together on "the concrete things of life"; that is, on
questions of hours, wages, and other conditions closely associated with
their daily life and in his view adapted to their understanding. He does
not seem to see that such questions lead almost immediately, not only to
such larger issues as are already presented by the leading political
parties, but also to the still larger ones proposed by the Socialists.

Others of the syndicalists' criticisms, if taken literally, would
undoubtedly bring them in the end to the position occupied by
non-Socialist and anti-Socialist labor unionists. Lagardelle frankly
places labor union action not only above political action, which
Socialists, under many circumstances, may justify, but above Socialism
itself. "Even if the dreams of the future of syndicalistic Socialism
should never be realized,--none of us has the secret of history,--it
would suffice for me to give it my full support, to know that it is at
the moment I am speaking the essential agent of civilization in the
world." Here is a labor union partisanship which is certainly not
equaled by the average conservative labor leader, who has the modesty to
realize that there are other powerful forces making for progress aside
from the movement to which he happens to belong.

The syndicalists, or those who act along similar lines in other
countries, have brought new life into the Socialist movement; their
criticism has forced it to consider some neglected questions, and has
contributed new ideas which are winning acceptance. The basis of their
view is that the working people cannot win by mere numbers or
intelligence, but must have a practical power to organize along
radically new lines and an ability to create new social institutions
independently of capitalist opposition or aid.


     Lagardelle writes: "There is nothing in syndicalism which can
     recall the dogmatism of orthodox Socialism. The latter has summed
     up its wisdom in certain abstract immovable formulas which it
     intends willy-nilly to impose on life.... Syndicalism, on the
     contrary, depends on the continually renewed and spontaneous
     creations of life itself, on the perpetual renewing of ideas, which
     cannot become fixed into dogmas as long as they are not detached
     from their trunk. We are not dealing with a body of intellectuals,
     with a Socialist clergy charged to think for the working class, but
     with the working class itself, which through its own experience is
     incessantly discovering new horizons, unseen perspectives,
     unsuspected methods,--in a word, new sources of rejuvenation."[266]


Here, at least, is a valuable warning to Socialism against what its most
revolutionary and enthusiastic adherents have always felt is its chief
danger.

The fact that lends force to Lagardelle's argument is that the average
workingman has a much more important, necessary, and continuous function
to fill as a member of the labor unions than as a member of the
Socialist parties. It still remains a problem of the first magnitude to
every Socialist party to give to its members an equally powerful daily
interest in that work. On the other hand, it must be said in all
fairness that the lack of active participation by the rank and file is
very common in the labor unions also, a handful of men often governing
and directing, sometimes even at the most critical moments.

It is the boast of the syndicalists that in their plan of revolutionary
unionism, practice and theory become one, that actions become
revolutionary as well as words--"Men are classed," says Lagardelle,
"according to their acts and not according to their labels. The
revolutionary spirit comes down from heaven onto the earth, becomes
flesh, manifests itself by institutions, and identifies itself with
life. The daily act takes on a revolutionary value, and social
transformation, if it comes some day, will only be the generalization of
this act." It is true that Lagardelle's "direct action" tends towards
revolution, but does it tend towards Socialism? His answer is that it
does. But his answer itself indicates the tendency of syndicalism to
drift back into conservative unionism and the mere demand for somewhat
more wages. Socialist organizations, he says, "must necessarily be
trained in _actions_ of no great revolutionary moment, since these are
the only kind of _actions_ now possible, and in agitation; that is, the
conversion or the wakening of the will of the working people to desire
and to demand an entirely different life, which their intelligence has
shown them to be possible, and which they feel they are able to obtain
through their organizations."[267] (My italics.)

Not all members of the French "syndicats" (labor unions) are theoretical
syndicalists of the dogmatic kind, like Lagardelle. Yet even men like
Guerard, recently head of the railway union, and Niel of the printers,
recently secretary of the Federation of Labor, both belonging to the
less radical faction, are in favor of the use of the general strike
under several contingencies, and stand for a union policy directed
towards the ultimate abolition of employers. But this does not mean that
they believe the unions can succeed in either of these efforts if acting
alone, or even if assisted in Parliament by a party which represents
only the unions, acts as their tool, and therefore brings them no
outside assistance. Such men, together with others more radical, like
André and the Guesdists in the Federation, realize that a larger and
more democratic movement is needed in connection with the unions before
there is any possibility of accomplishing the great social changes at
which, as Socialists, they aim. (As evidence, see the proceedings of any
recent convention of the Confederation Generale de Travail.)

Lagardelle, however, is a member of the Socialist Party and was recently
even a candidate for the French Chamber of Deputies. Other prominent
members of the Party as revolutionary as he and as enthusiastic
partisans of the Confederation de Travail (Federation of Labor) are
stronger in their allegiance to the Party. And there are signs that even
in France syndicalism is losing its anti-political tendency. Hervé, who
demanded at the beginning of 1909 that the "directors of the Socialist
Party cure themselves of 'Parliamentary idiocy'" (his New Year's wish),
expressed at the beginning of 1910 the wish that "certain of the
dignitaries of the Federation of Labor should cure themselves of a
syndicalist and laborite idiocy, a form of idiocy not less dangerous or
clownish than the other."

In fact, it may soon be necessary to distinguish a new school of
political syndicalism, which is well represented by Paul Louis in his
"Syndicalism against the State" (Le Syndicalisme contre l'État).


     "Syndicalism is at the bottom," says Louis, "only a powerful
     expression of that destructive and constructive effort which for
     years has been shaking the old political and social régime, and is
     undermining slowly the ancient system of property. It points
     necessarily to collectivism and communism. It represents Socialism
     in action, in daily and continuous action....

     "Now the abolition of the State ... is the object of modern
     Socialism. What distinguishes this modern Socialism from Utopian
     Socialism which culminated towards 1848, whose best-known
     publicists were Cabet, Pecqueur, Louis Blanc, Vidal, is precisely
     that it no longer attributes to the State the power to transform,
     the capacity to revolutionize, the rôle of magic regeneration,
     which the writers in this dangerous phase of enthusiasm assigned to
     it. For the Utopians all the machinery of a bureaucracy could be
     put at the service of all the classes, fraternally reconciled in
     view of the coming social regeneration. For contemporary Socialists
     since Karl Marx ... this bureaucratic machinery, whose function is
     to protect the existing system and to maintain an administrative,
     economic, financial, political, and military guardianship must
     finally be disintegrated. The new society can only be born at this
     price.

     "There still exist in all countries groups of men or isolated
     individuals who stand for collectivism, who claim to want the
     complete emancipation of all workers, but who nevertheless adhere
     to paternalism. These are called revisionists in Germany,
     reformists in France, Italy, and Switzerland.... They go back,
     without knowing it, to those theories of enlightened despotism
     which flourished at the end of the eighteenth century in the courts
     of Vienna, St. Petersburg, Madrid and Lisbon, the ridiculous
     inanity of which was sufficiently well demonstrated by events....

     "But these Utopians of the present moment, these champions of a
     limitless adaptation to circumstances, are destined to lose ground
     more and more, according as Syndicalism expresses better and better
     the independent action of the organized proletariat.

     "In its totality the Socialism of the world is as anti-governmental
     as Syndicalism, and in this is shown the identity of the two
     movements, for it is difficult to distinguish the field of action
     of the one from that of the other."[268]


We see here that the central idea of syndicalism, which is undoubtedly,
as Louis says, a revolutionary action against existing governments, is
not on this account anti-political; the foundation of this point of view
is that labor union action is bound sooner or later to evolve into
syndicalism, which in its essence is an effort to put industry in the
immediate control of the non-propertied working classes, without regard
to the attitude taken towards this movement by governments;--


     "Those who have long imagined that some kind of coördination would
     be brought about between old economic and social institutions and
     the union organizations which would then be tolerated, those who
     thought they could incorporate these industrial groups in the
     mechanism of production and political society, were guilty of the
     most stupefying of errors. They were ignorant both of the nature of
     the State and of the essence of unionism; they were attempting the
     squaring of the circle or perpetual motion; they had not analyzed
     the process of disintegration which humanity is undergoing, which,
     accelerated by the stream of industrialism, has given origin to
     hostile classes subordinated to one another, incapable of
     coexisting in a lasting equilibrium."[269]


We see here a complete agreement with the position of the revolutionary
majority among the Socialists. If syndicalism differs in any way from
other tendencies in the Socialist movement, it does so through a
difference of emphasis rather than a difference of kind. It undoubtedly
exaggerates the possibilities of economic action, and underestimates
those of political action. Louis, for example, says that the working
people are the subjects of capital, but the masters of production, that
they cannot live without suffering in the factory, but that society
cannot live without their labor. This, of course, is only true if stated
in the most unqualified form. Society is able to dispense with all labor
for a short time, and with very many classes of labor for long periods.
Moreover, the forcing of labor at the point of the rifle is by no means
so impracticable during brief emergencies as is sometimes supposed.

Syndicalism may, perhaps, be most usefully viewed as a reaction against
the tendency towards "parliamentarism" or undue emphasis on political
action, which has existed even among revolutionary Socialists in Germany
and elsewhere (see Part II, Chapter V). Among the "revisionist"
Socialists of that country a great friendliness to labor union action
existed, in view of the comparative conservatism of the unions. For this
same reason the revolutionaries became rather cold, though never
hostile, towards this form of action, and concentrated their attention
on politics. In a word, syndicalism is only to be understood in the
light of the criticisms of revolutionary Socialism as presented by
Kautsky, just as the standpoint of the latter can only be comprehended
after it is subjected to the syndicalist criticism--and doubtless both
positions, however one-sided they appear elsewhere, were fairly
justified by the economic and political situations in France and Germany
respectively. "Only as a _political_ party," says Kautsky, "can the
working class as a whole come to a firm and lasting union." He then
proceeds to argue that purely economic struggles are always limited
either to a locality, a town, or a province, or else to a given trade or
industry--the directly opposite view to that of the syndicalists, whose
one object is also, undeniably, to bring about a unity of the working
class, though they claim that this can be accomplished _only by economic
action_, while from their point of view it is political action that
always divides the working class by nation, section, and class.

"The pure and simple unionist," says Kautsky, "is conservative, even
when he behaves in a radical manner; on the other hand, every true and
independent political party [Kautsky is speaking here of workingmen's
organizations exclusively] is always revolutionary by its very nature,
even when, according to its action, or even according to the
consciousness of its members, it is still moderate." This again is the
exact opposite of the syndicalists' position. They would say that a
labor party unconnected with revolutionary economic action would
necessarily be conservative, no matter how revolutionary it seemed. The
truth from the broader revolutionary standpoint is doubtless that
neither political nor economic action in isolation can long continue to
be revolutionary. Exclusively economic action soon leads to exclusive
emphasis on material and immediate gains, without reference to the
relative position of the working class or its future; exclusively
political action leads inevitably to concentration on securing
democratic political machinery and reforms which by no means guarantee
that labor is gaining on capital in the race for power.

To Kautsky a labor party, it would seem, might be sufficient in itself,
even if economic action should, for any reason, become temporarily
impossible:--


     "The formation and the activity of a special labor party which
     wants to win political power for the working class already
     presupposes in a part of the laboring class a highly developed
     class consciousness. But the activity of this labor party is the
     most powerful means to awaken and to further class consciousness in
     the masses of labor, also. It knows only objects and tasks which
     have to do with the whole proletariat; the trade narrowness, the
     jealousies of single and separate organizations, find no place in
     it."[270]


It is easy to see how an equally strong case might be made out for the
educative, unifying, and revolutionary effect of an aggressive labor
union movement without any political features. The truth would seem to
be that any form of organization that honestly represents the working
class and is at the same time militant--and no other--advances
Socialism. The objections to action exclusively political hold also
against action exclusively economic. Both trade union action as such,
which inevitably spends a large part of its energies in trying to
improve economic conditions in our _present_ society by trade agreements
and other combinations with the capitalists, and political action as
such, which is always drawn more or less into capitalistic efforts to
improve present society by political means is fundamentally
conservative. What Socialism requires is not a political party in the
ordinary sense, but political organization and a political program; not
labor unions, as the term has been understood, but aggressive and
effective economic organization, available also for the most
far-reaching economic and political ends.

It seems probable that the anti-political element in the new
revolutionary unionism will soon be outgrown. When this happens, it will
meet the revolutionary majority of the Socialists on an identical
platform. For this revolutionary majority is steadily laying on more
weight on economic organization.

FOOTNOTES:

[253] The _New York Call_, Nov. 13, 1911.

[254] Edmond Kelly, "Twentieth-Century Socialism," p. 152.

[255] The _Socialist Review_ (London), September, 1910.

[256] Winston Churchill, _op. cit._, p. 73.

[257] The _Socialist Review_ (London), October, 1911.

[258] The profound opposition between the "State Socialism" of the
Labour Party and the revolutionary aims and methods of genuine Socialism
and the new labor unionism appeared more clearly in the coal strike of
1912 than it had in the railway strike of the previous year. As Mr.
Lloyd George very truthfully remarked in Parliament, no leaders of the
Labour Party had committed themselves to syndicalism, while syndicalism
and socialism [_i.e._ the socialism of the Labour Party] were mutually
destructive. "We can console ourselves with the fact," said Mr. Lloyd
George, "that the best policeman for the syndicalists is the socialist
[_i.e._ the Labourite]."

The conduct of many of the Labour Party leaders during this strike, as
during the railway strike, fully justified the confidence of the
Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr. MacDonald, for example, spoke of
syndicalism in much the same terms as those used by Mr. Lloyd George. He
viewed it as evil, to be obviated by greater friendliness and
consideration on the part of employers towards employees, a position
fully endorsed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the other Radicals
of the British Cabinet.

The coal strike throughout was, indeed, almost a repetition of the
railway strike. What I have said of the one applies, with comparatively
slight changes, to the other. Even the so-called Minimum Wage Law is
essentially identical with the methods adopted to determine the wages of
railway employees.

[259] The _New York Call_, April 17, 1910.

[260] The _International Socialist Review_, June, 1911.

[261] The _Industrial Syndicalist_ (London), July and September, 1910.

[262] _Le Mouvement Socialiste_ (Paris), 1909, article entitled,
"Plechanoff contre les Syndicalistes."

[263] "Le Federation des Bourses de Travail de France," p. 67.

[264] Hubert Lagardelle, Le Socialisme Ouvrier (Paris), 1911.

[265] _Le Mouvement Socialiste_, 1909, article entitled, "Classe Sociale
et Parti Politique."

[266] Hubert Lagardelle, "Syndicalisme et Socialisme" (Paris), p. 52.

[267] Hubert Lagardelle, "Syndicalisme et Socialisme" (Paris), p. 50.

[268] Paul Louis, "Le Syndicalisme contre l'État," pp. 4-7.

[269] Paul Louis, "Le Syndicalisme contre l'État," p. 244.

[270] Karl Kautsky, "Parlamentarismus und Demokratie," pp. 136 and 137.



CHAPTER VI

THE "GENERAL STRIKE"


Nearly all strikes are more or less justified in Socialist eyes. But
those that involve neither a large proportion of the working class nor
any broad social or political question are held to be of secondary
importance. On the other hand, the "sympathetic" and "general" strikes,
which are on such a scale as to become great public issues, and are
decided by the attitude of public opinion and the government rather than
by the employers and employees involved, are viewed as a most essential
part of the class struggle, especially when in their relation to
probable future contingencies.

The social significance of such sympathetic or general strikes is indeed
recognized as clearly by non-Socialists as by Socialists--even in
America, since the great railroad strike of 1894. The general strike of
1910 in Philadelphia, for instance, was seen both in Philadelphia and in
the country at large as being a part of a great social conflict. "The
American nation has been brought face to face for the first time with a
strike," said the _Philadelphia North American_, "not merely against the
control of an industry or a group of allied industries, but _a strike of
class against class, with the lines sharply drawn_.... And it is this
antagonism, this class war, intangible and immeasurable, that
constitutes the largest and most lamentable hurt to the city. It is,
moreover, felt beyond the city and throughout the entire nation." (My
italics). It goes without saying that all organs of non-Socialist
opinion feel that such threatening disturbances are lamentable, for they
certainly may lead towards a revolutionary situation. Both in this
country and Great Britain the great railway strike of 1911 was almost
universally regarded in this light.

The availability of a general strike on a national scale as a means of
assaulting capitalism at some future crisis or as a present means of
defending the ballot or the rights of labor organizations or of
preventing a foreign war, has for the past decade been the center of
discussion at many European Socialist congresses. The recent Prime
Minister of France, Briand, was long one of the leading partisans of
this method of which he said only a few years before he became Premier:
"It has the seductive quality that it is after all the exercise of an
incontestable right. It is a revolution which commences with legality.
In refusing the yoke of misery, the workingman revolts in the fullness
of his rights; illegality is committed by the capitalist class when it
becomes a provocator by trying to violate a right which it has itself
consecrated." That Briand meant what he said is indicated by the advice
he gave to soldiers who might be ordered to fire against the strikers in
such a crisis. "If the order to fire should persist," said Briand, "if
the tenacious officer should wish to constrain the will of the soldiers
in spite of all.... Oh, no doubt the guns might go off, but it might not
be in the direction ordered"--and the universal assumption of all public
opinion at that time and since was that he was advising the soldiers
that under these circumstances they would be justified in shooting their
officers.

The Federation of Labor of France has long adopted the idea of the
general strike as appropriate for certain future contingencies, as has
also the French Socialist Party--"To realize the proposed plan," the
Federation declares, "it will be necessary first of all to put the
locomotives in a condition where they can do no harm, to stop the
circulation of the railways, to encourage the soldiers to ground their
arms."

As thus conceived by Briand and the Federation, few will question the
revolutionary character of the proposed general strike. But in what
circumstances do the Socialists expect to be able to make use of this
weapon? The Socialists of many countries have given the question careful
consideration in hundreds of writings and thousands of meetings,
including national and international congresses. Through the gradual
evolution of the plans of action developed in all these conferences and
discussions, they have come to distinguish sharply between a really
general strike, _e.g._ a nation-wide railroad strike, when used for
revolutionary purposes, and other species of widespread strikes which
have merely a tendency in a revolutionary direction, such as the
Philadelphia trouble I have mentioned, and they have decided from these
deliberations, as well as considerable actual experience, just what
forms of general strike are most promising and under what contingencies
each form is most appropriate. Henriette Roland-Holst has summed up the
whole discussion and its conclusions in an able monograph (indorsed by
Kautsky and others) from which I shall resume a few of the leading
points.[271] She concludes that railroad strikes for higher wages,
unless for some modest advance approved by a large part of the public,
like the recent British strike (which, in view of the rising cost of
living, was literally to maintain "a living wage"), can only lead to a
ferocious repression. For a nation-wide railroad strike is paid for by
the whole nation, and its benefits must be nation-wide if it is to
secure the support of that part of the public without which it is
foredoomed to failure. Otherwise, says Roland-Holst, "the greater has
been the success of the working people at the beginning, the greater has
been the terror of the middle classes," and as a consequence the
measures of repression in the end have been proportionately desperate.
But this applies only when such strikes are for aggressive ends, like
that of 1910 in France, and promise nothing to any element of society
except the employees immediately involved.

If a nation-wide railroad strike or a prolonged coal strike is
aggressive, it will inevitably be lost unless it has a definite public
object. And the only aggressive political aim that would justify, in the
minds of any but those immediately involved, all the suffering and
disorder a railroad strike of any duration would entail, would be a
social revolution to effect the capture of government and industry. The
only other circumstances in which such a strike might be employed with
that support of a part at least of the public which is essential to its
success would be as a last resort, when some great social injustice was
about to be perpetrated, like a declaration of war, or an effort to
destroy the Socialist Party or the labor unions. Jaurès says rightly,
that even then it would be "a last and desperate means less suited to
save one's self than to injure the enemy."

These conclusions as to the possibilities and limitations of the general
strike are based on a careful study of the military and other powers of
the existing governments. "The power of the modern State," says
Roland-Holst, "is superior to that of the working class in all its
_material_ bases either of a political or of an economic character. The
fact of political strikes can change this in no way. The working class
can no more conquer economically, through starvation, than it can
through the use of powers of the same kind which the State employs,
that is, through force. In only one point is the working class
altogether superior to the ruling class--in purpose.... Governmental and
working class organizations are of entirely different dimensions. The
first is a coercive, the second a voluntary, organization. The power of
the first rests primarily on its means of physical force; that of the
latter, which lacks these means, can break the physical superiority of
the State only by its moral superiority." It is almost needless to add
that by "moral superiority" Roland-Holst means something quite concrete,
the willingness of the working people to perform tasks and make
sacrifices for the Socialist cause that they would not make for the
State even under compulsion. It is only through advantages of this kind,
which it is expected will greatly increase with the future growth of the
movement, that Socialists believe that, supported by an overwhelming
majority of the people, a time may arrive when they can make a
successful use of the nation-wide general strike. It is hoped that the
support of the masses of the population will then make it impossible for
governments to operate the railroads by military means, as they have
hitherto done in Russia, Hungary, France, and other countries. It is
thought by many that the general strike of 1905 in Russia, for example,
might have attained far greater and more lasting results if the peasants
had been sufficiently aroused and intelligent to destroy the bridges and
tracks, and it is not doubted that a Socialist agricultural population
consisting largely of laborers (see Chapter II) would do this in such a
crisis.

Here, then, are the two conditions under which it is thought by
Roland-Holst and the majority of Socialists that the general strike may
some day prove the chief means of bringing about a revolution: the
active support of the majority of the people, and the superior
organization and methods and the revolutionary purpose of the working
classes.

In the preparation of the working people to bring about a general strike
when the proper time arrives, lies a limitless field for immediate
Socialist activity. Both Jaurès and Bebel feel that it is even likely
that the general strike will also have to be used on a somewhat smaller
scale even before the supreme crisis comes. Jaurès thinks that it will
be needed to bring about essential reforms or to prevent war, and Bebel
believes that it will very likely have to be used to defend existing
political and economic rights of the working class; in other words, to
protect the Party and the unions from destruction. At the Congress at
Jena in 1905 the conservative trade union official, von Elm, together
with a majority of the speakers, argued that it was possible that an
attempt would be made to take away from the German working people the
right of suffrage, the freedom of the press and assemblage and the right
of organization. In such a case he and others advocate a general strike,
though he said he fully realized it would be a bloody one. "We must
reckon with this," he said. "As a matter of course, we wish to shed no
blood, but our enemies drive us into the situation.... The moment comes
when you must be ready to give up your blood and your property [here he
was interrupted by stormy applause]. Prepare yourselves for this
possibility. Our youths must be brought up so that among the soldiers
here and there will be a man who will think twice before he shoots at
his father and mother [as Kaiser Wilhelm publicly insists he must], and
at the same time at freedom." The reception of von Elm's speech showed
that his words represented the feeling of the whole German movement.
Bebel spoke with the same decision, advocating the use of the general
strike under the same conditions as did von Elm, while at the next
congress at Mannheim he declared that it would also be justified, under
certain circumstances, not only for protecting existing rights, but for
extending them, _e.g._ for the purpose of obtaining universal and equal
suffrage in Prussia. Bebel did not think that the party or the unions
were strong enough at that moment to use the general strike for other
than defensive purposes, but he said that, if they were able to double
their strength,--and it now seems they will have accomplished this
within a very few years,--then the time would doubtless arrive when it
would be worth while to risk the employment of this rather desperate
measure for aggressive purposes also.

While Socialism is thus traveling steadily in the direction of a
revolutionary general strike, capitalist governments are coming to
regard every strike of the first importance as a sort of rebellion. In
discussing the Socialist possibilities of a national railroad strike,
Roland-Holst, representing the usual Socialist view, says that it makes
very little difference whether the roads are nationally or privately
owned; in either case such a strike is likely to be considered by
capitalistic governments as something like rebellion.

But while this applies only to the employees of the most important
services like railroads, when privately operated, it applies practically
to _all_ government employees; there is an almost universal tendency to
regard strikes against the government as being mutiny--an evidence of
the profoundly capitalistic character of government ownership and "State
Socialism" which propose to multiply the number of such employees. Here,
too, the probable governmental attitude towards a future general strike
is daily indicated.

President Nicholas Murray Butler, of Columbia University, has written
that any strike of "servants of the State, in any capacity--military,
naval, or civil," should be considered both treason and mutiny.


     "In my judgment loyalty and _treason_," he writes, "ought to mean
     the same thing in the civil service that they do in military and
     naval services. The door to get out is always open if one does not
     wish to serve the public on these terms. Indeed, I am not sure that
     as civilization progresses loyalty and _treason_ in the civil
     services will not become more important and more vital than loyalty
     and _treason_ in the military and naval services. The happiness and
     the prosperity of a community might be more easily wrecked by the
     paralysis of its postal and telegraph services, for example, than
     by a mutiny on shipboard.... President Roosevelt's attitude on all
     this was at times very sound, but he wabbled a good deal in dealing
     with specific cases. In the celebrated Miller Case at the
     Government Printing Office he laid down in his published letter
     what I conceive to be the sound doctrine in regard to this matter.
     It was then made plain to the printers that to leave their work
     under pretense of striking was to resign, in effect, the places
     which they held in the public service, and that if those places
     were vacated they would be filled in accordance with the provisions
     of the civil service act, and not by reappointment of the old
     employees after parley and compromise.... To me the situation which
     this problem presents is, beyond comparison, the most serious and
     the most far-reaching which the modern democracies have to face."
     Dr. Butler concludes that this question "will wreck every
     democratic government in the world unless it is faced sturdily and
     bravely now, and settled on righteous lines." (My italics.)[272]


Our Ex-President, however, has ceased apparently to "wabble." In Mr.
Roosevelt's medium, the _Outlook_, an editorial on the strike of the
municipal street cleaners of New York City reads in part as follows:--


     _Men who are employed by the public cannot strike. They can, and
     sometimes they do, mutiny. When they should be treated not as
     strikers but as mutineers._

     This issue was presented by the refusal of the men to do what they
     were ordered to do. _When soldiers do that in warfare they are
     given short shrift._ Of course, in combating accumulating dirt and
     its potent ally, disease, an army of street cleaners is not face to
     face with any such acute public dangers as those confronting a
     military force; and therefore insubordination among street cleaners
     does not call for any such severity as that which is absolutely
     necessary in war times; _but the principle in the one case is the
     same as that in the other--those who disrupt the forces of public
     defense range themselves on the side of the public enemy_. They are
     not in any respect on the same basis as the employees of a private
     employer. _They are wage earners only in the sense that soldiers
     are wage earners._[273]


When Senator La Follette indorsed the right of railway mail clerks to
organize, President Taft said (May 14, 1911):--


     "This presents a very serious question, and one which, if decided
     in favor of the right of government employees to strike and use the
     boycott, will be full of danger to the government and to the
     republic.

     "The government employees of France resorted to it and took the
     government by the throat. The executive was entirely dependent upon
     these employees for its continuance.

     "When those in executive authority refused to acquiesce in the
     demands, the government employees struck, and then with the
     helplessness of the government and the destruction of all authority
     and the choking of government activities it was seen that to allow
     government employees the use of such an instrument was to recognize
     revolution as a lawful means of securing an increase in
     compensation for one class, and that a _privileged class_, at the
     expense of all the public....

     "The government employees are a privileged class whose work is
     necessary to carry on the government and upon whose entry into the
     government service it is entirely reasonable to impose conditions
     that should not be and ought not to be imposed upon those who serve
     private employers."


Here the Socialists join issue squarely with the almost universally
prevalent non-Socialist opinion. They do not consider government
employment a "privilege" nor any strike whatever as "mutiny," "treason,"
or "rebellion." Socialists believe that the only possible means of
maintaining democracy at all in this age when government employees are
beginning to increase in numbers more rapidly than those of private
industry, is that they should be allowed to maintain their right to
organize _and to strike_--no matter how great difficulties it may
involve. To decide the question as President Butler wishes, or as
President Taft implies it should be decided, Socialists believe, would
mean to turn every government into a military organization. The time is
not far distant when in all the leading nations a very large part and in
some cases a majority of the population will be in government
employment. If even the present limited rights of organization are done
away with, and the military laws of subordination are applied,
Socialists ask, shall we not have exactly that military and autocratic
bureaucracy, that "State Socialism" which Spencer so rightly feared? The
fact that these perfectly legal and necessary strikes may some day lead
to revolution is capitalism's misfortune, which society will not permit
it to cure by turning the clock back to absolutism. The question of the
organization of government employees, one of the most important to-day,
will, as President Butler says, be the crucial question of the near
future.

It is in France that the question has come to the first test, not
because the French bureaucracy is more numerous than that of Prussia and
some other Continental countries, but because of the powerful democratic
and Socialist tendency that has grown up along with this bureaucracy and
is now directed against it. Especially interesting is the fact that
Briand, who not long ago advocated the Socialist general strike and
certainly realized its danger to present government as well as its
possibilities for Socialism, has, as Premier, evolved measures of
repression against organizations of State employees more stringent than
have been introduced in any country making the slightest pretension to
democratic or semi-democratic government.

The world first became aware of the importance of this issue at the time
of the organization and the strike of the French telegraphers and post
office employees in the early part of 1909, and again in the railway
strike in 1910. As early as 1906 the organized postal employees had been
definitely refused the right to strike, and it became manifest that if
they attempted to use this weapon to correct the very serious grievances
under which they suffered, it would be looked upon as "a kind of treason
against the State." At the end of 1908, however, after having discussed
the matter for many years, a congress of all the employees of the State
was held. More than twenty different associations participated and
decided unanimously to claim the full rights of other labor
organizations. Finally, when these organizations appealed to the
General Federation of Labor to help them, there came the strike of 1909.
Unfortunately for the postmen, the French railway and miners' unions
were at the moment still in relatively conservative hands, and the
majority of their members were as yet by no means anxious to aid in the
general strike movement. After a brilliant success in their first
effort, a second strike a few weeks later proved a total failure.

The government then began to make it clear that public employees were to
be allowed no right to strike, and Jaurès pointed out that it was trying
to carry this new repressive legislation by accompanying it by new
pension laws and other concessions to the State employees,--a repetition
of the old policy of more bread and less power, which is likely to play
a more and more important rôle every year as we enter into the State
capitalistic period.

The character of the organizations allowed for government employees,
under the new laws, would remind one of Prussia or Russia rather than
France. While certain forms of association are permitted, the right to
strike is precluded, and the various associations of government
employees are forbidden either to form any kind of federation or to
unite with other unions outside of government employments. "Councils of
discipline are created where the employees are represented," but "in the
case of a collected or concerted cessation of work all disciplinary
penalties may be inflicted without the intervention of the councils of
discipline; courts may order the dissolution of any union at the request
of the ministry," which means that at any moment a police war may be
instituted against these organizations, in the true Russian style.

The reply of the postmen's organization to this kind of legislation is,
that the administration of the post office is an industrial and
commercial administration; that it is a vast enterprise of general
utility; that the notion of loyalty or treason is entirely misplaced in
this field. They have declared that the new legislation is wrong
"because it perpetuates the bureaucratic tradition; because with a
contempt for all the necessities of modern life it discountenances
organization of labor; because it has constituted a repressive legal
condition for wage earners; and because it is an act of authority which
has nothing in common with free contract."

Here we see the public employees, supported by the Socialists,
insisting on industrial and commercial considerations, on the rights of
individuals and on free contract, as against the capitalists and
governing classes, who claim to defend these very principles from
supposed Socialist attacks, but abandon them the moment they threaten
capitalist profits and capitalist rule. This attitude of the French
Socialist shows the very heart of the Socialist situation. In fact, it
is only as private capitalism becomes State capitalism, or "State
Socialism," that Socialists will be able to show what their position
really is. It is only then that the coercive aspect of capitalism, which
is now partly latent and partly obscured by certain functions that it
has still to fill in the development of society, will become visible to
all eyes.

The French railroad strike of October, 1910, brought the question of
organizations of government employees still more into international
prominence. Until the recent British upheaval it was, perhaps, the
greatest and most menacing strike in modern history. It is true that its
apparent object was only a few just, and relatively insignificant
economic concessions--which were granted for the most part immediately
after the struggle. But behind these, as every one realized, lay the
question of the right of government employees to organize and to strike
and the determination of the French Socialists and labor unionists to
use the opportunity to take a step towards the "general strike."

Never has the issue between capitalism and Socialism been more sharply
defined than in Premier Briand's impulsively frank declaration after the
strike (though it was later retracted): "I say emphatically, if the laws
have not given the government the means of keeping the country master of
its railways and the national defense, it would not have hesitated to
take recourse to illegality."

This is almost the exact declaration of Ex-President Roosevelt in his
Decoration Day speech in 1911, when he said that really revolutionary
men dreaded and hated him because they knew that _he wouldn't let the
Constitution stand in the way of punishing them if they did wrong_.

Milder but no less positive expressions of an intention to use illegal
means to coerce labor, if it does not act as present authorities
dictate, were to be heard from responsible sources both in England and
America after the recent British railway strike. The non-Socialist press
then came almost unanimously to the conclusion that an attempt must be
made to take away the sole weapon by which labor is able to protect
itself or advance its position as soon as "the public" is damaged by its
use--which amounts to reducing wage earners to the status of children,
soldiers, or other wards of the community. "If railroad and telegraph
strikes are many and violent," said _Collier's Weekly_, "they will
encourage government ownership without unionization."[274]

The _Outlook_ stopped short of government ownership, but announced a
similar principle: "The railways are public highways; they must be
controlled by the nation for the public good; the operation of the
railways must not be stopped because of disputes; and, as a corollary to
this last law of necessity, the government must furnish an adequate and
just method of settling railway disputes."[275] Every step in government
control is to be accompanied by a step in the control of labor, and
restriction of the power of labor unions. The right of employees to
protect themselves by leaving their work in a body is to be taken away
completely, while the right to discharge or punish is to remain intact
in persons over whom the employees can have little or no control.

Governments are evidently ready to proceed to illegality for the sake of
self-preservation--even from a perfectly legal attack, if it threatens
to destroy them or to transfer the government into the hands of the
non-capitalist classes. Of course a capitalist government can pass
"laws," _e.g._ martial law, under which anything it chooses to do
against its opponents becomes "legal" and anything effective its
opponents do becomes illegal. In the present age of general
enlightenment, however, this method does not even deceive Russian
peasants. But the French government is now turning to this device.
Briand explained away his sensational declaration above quoted, and then
proposed a law by which striking on a railway becomes a crime and almost
a felony. This met universal approval in the capitalistic press and
universal denunciation in that of the Socialists and labor unions. The
_Boston Herald_, for example, said: "The Executive must be armed with
greater authority than he now possesses. No Premier must be forced to
say, as M. Briand did recently, that, with or without law, national
supremacy will be preserved in case it is challenged by allied workers
for the State, as well as by other toilers." Here there is no effort to
disguise the fact that the new legal form is the _exact equivalent_ of
the illegal force formerly proposed.

Now the peasants and the lower middle classes of France, as well as the
working people (land and opportunities being more and more difficult to
obtain), are becoming extremely radical. Though they do not send
Socialist deputies to the Chamber, they send repr