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01 01 05 06 1917 26
01 01 05 06 1917 26 black white

46 THE CLASS STRUGGLE American war. The center and the radicals could agree on the attitude towards the war in America, but not on a declaration of principles.
That IS to say, if the issues had been made and kept clear, and people were honest with themselves and with others. But then that would be against all the rules of politics. What is the use of having astute diplomats and clever politicians if not for the purpose of making combinations where no unanimity of opinion exists, and so muddle the issues by the use of judicious but meaningless phrases, as to catch the unwary? And so the politicians and diplomats in the convention set about making combinations, and their ink splashers set about patching up a document which should make as much noise and say as little as possible.
The results were surprising to those who have never seen these things at work. When the Committee on War and Militarism opened its sessions it was decided to begin with a general discussion of principles. During this discussion Berger, Harriman and Hogan expressed views similar to those of Spargo, Berger going to the extent of expressing a desire that Spargo should be entrusted with the drawing up of the statement of principles, as he was sure Spargo could express his views better than himself. But in the end all three were found among those who signed the majority report, while Spargoseemingly stood alone in the committee with his views. During the same dis cussion Berger called the members of the cmnrnittee who did not agree with his views on nationalism anarchists and declared that he did not care to belong to the same party with them. Their statements to the effect that they had no nation to defend elicit from him an angry declaration that they were mere brutes who would not defend their wives and daughters, and that they there fore deserved not to have a nation, wife or daughter, etc. in his well known jingoistic style. But in the end, he and some of the ultra radicals were found to belong to the same majority, and signing a document which purported to condemn all defensive warfare.
The result of diplomacy used between the opening session of the committee and its final session was that a committee which THE CLASS STRUGGLE 47 seemed to stand with «reference to the three groups above mentioned, as six five our «tumed out to stand three eleven one. The diplomacy which was so efficacious in committee was not less so in the plenum of the convention. Instead of di viding 75 75 50, which was the approximate strength of the three groups, it divided, at the crucial moment, into 31 140 Of course there were no conversions. Berger did not change his well known views, which made him applaud Germany invasion of Serbia and demand our own invasion of Mexico. Nor did Harriman and Hogan or any of their followers become radical intemationalists between the opening of the convention and the adoption of the majority report.
What happened was this: The pro war element were given to understand that the political exigencies of the hour within the Socialist party demanded that the center and the right should combine to beat the common enemy, to wit: the uncompro mising radicals. This they could do without any real loss of position, as they could alWays send out a statement of their own to be voted on by the membership. It is true that that involved the rather absurd situation of the members of a majority sending out a minority proposition after the majority proposition for which they voted had been adopted. But then, politics is politics.
At the same time the mjofitydraft for now that the combination was made it had a majority behind it «was so doctored up as to catch some unwary radicals, thereby making the majority more impressive. And some radicals about one half of those present and voting were caught by the false sound of the majority draft and the promise held out to them that they would be permitted to improve it by amendment. promise, by the way, which was not kept The radicals soon discovered their mistake and raised a fuss, but it was too late.
The divisions caused by the attempts of the radicals, when they woke up to the situation, to amend the majority draft showed that more than one third of the delegates were seriously dissatisfied with the draft because it did not express their radical posi tion. The pro war substituted sent out by the Spargo Benson group contains the signatures of nearly one third more of the