P The New York Commit!
Why Political Democracy Must Go ODERATE Socialism Menaheviam Right Wingism is based largely on the the ory that the class struggle will be won by captur ing the political power through the ballot box tbat through a process of gradual, orderly progress, the election of candidates to oliice and the parsage of social reform legislation, capitalism will grow weaker and weaker, and the Constitution will be amended into a charter of the Coopnative Commonwealth, or be peaceably abolished.
The modem capitalist state, in the words of Marx, is nothing less than a machine or the oppression of one class by another, and that not less to in a democratic republic than under a monarchy.
This proposition was the rock upon which the second International split at tlie beginning of the European war. The dominant Moderate Socialists of ell countries sooner or later embraced the formula that political democracy is better than outocracy. In Germany the Majority Social Democratic leaders told their followers, Russia threaten: rec Germany. We mus! mobilize against Tsorism. In France England and Italy, they said De end Democracy agairut autocracy. German militarism threaten: us. This it the too: that will end tour.
The class conscious proletariat of all lands was ripe for mass opposition to the War. The workers knew instinctively that this War had nothing whatever tr. do with democracy or autocracy but was merely an intense form of competition be tween two groups of world grasping imperialistic Powers. struggling for control of markets which had been made necessary through the gigantic development of Financolmperialism.
Especially in America was this fact clear. Not by the remotest stretch of the Rooseveltian imag.
ination could the people be convinced that we were threatened by any autocrscy except indus trial numeracy, which had already captured the country. The United States declared war afta three years of European conflict had brought home to the understanding of the class conscious workers of neutral countries, with sickening clearness, the falcity of the Wilsonian formula, To make the world safe for democracy.
In entering the War. the ruling class of the United States played the part of a banker who has heavily financed one of the two huge competing trusts, and who, to defend his investment, must throw in all his resources to get rid of the compailor.
lines the St. Louis Resolution of the American Socialist Party the mandate of the rank and file of the Party to the Party leaders. which was disregarded by them again and again as they surrendaed, little by little, their opposition to the War.
The formation of the Left Wing, and its sharp call to the Socialist movement to abolish the socialreform planks in Party platforms, has posed with cutting distinctneas the question of whether or not we shall try to win Socialism by means of political danocracy, making use of the capitalist State maflimsy.
ll. Lot III for the moment examine the character of Amadeus political democracy.
luthiscountrynsinill modan democratic countries, there gre two sides to government palm cal and econunic. Thepolieiu of modern democratic countries are dictated by the capitalist items. As Woodrow Wilson has pointed outinhia Nmtrudun, the gout smut ot rhis By John Rood country is in the hands of the great aggregation of capital.
This process of concentration of wealth into the hands of the few began during the Civil War, what the manufacturers of munitions of war, the purveyors of provisions, and the speculators piled up colossal fortunes. This was the period when Morgan laid the foundations of his riches by selling defectiie rifle; to the Government, and John Wanamaker by providing shoddy uniforms for the Union troops. The floating of Government War Loam, also, brought into the hands of a few bankers an immense financial power. Immediately after the War. the looting of the South, the expansion of industry, the girdling of the continent with railroads, the spoliation of natural resources, and the speculation in land. assumed vast proportions, and became glaringly apparent to the petit bourgeoisie the small property holders.
This Class then consisted largely of farmers. The rest of the population, when hard pressed, could always leave the cities and go out on the measureless free lands of the West 50 the first revolt of the small property holders was against landlooting, and culminated with partial success in the Homestead Law.
But the farmer was at the mercy of all the great interests. They controlled the railroads, the rnarkets, the banks, the price of tools. In spite of the high prices paid for produce during the War, the farmer was badly in debt. He had not been able to purchase Government securities, but he had hem forced to pay ruinous taxes, whose imposition was supported by the manufacturers in the towns, because they actually stimulated business.
The new money kings were manipulning the currency so that the Government would redeem the depreciated securities held by them, and throw the burden on the backs of the workers and the small property holders. This led to the beginnings of revolt against the great interests, in which the foundation was Cheap Money Greenbackism, Populism, and later, Bryan Free Silver campaigns of twenty five years ago.
This is the real American ancestry of American Socialism, upon which were grafted the theories of Marxian and predominantly Lasalleon Socialism brought from Europe by the Germans who emigrated me; 1343; and the Fourierism introduced by Albert Brisbane and Horace Greeley.
The next revolt of the ctit bourgeoisie in America was the Progressive Movement. This alto occurred after a war in this case, a frankly lmperialittic war which marked the formal entrance of American capitalism into the period of Capitalist lmperialism. The whole period was summed up in the emergence of the great trusts during the administration of McKinley and Mark Hanna, the open advocacy of high tariffs, no longer to protect infant industries, or to increase wages, but as a basis for the great monopolies of the means of production and distribution in the United States, and a weapon in the international war of Capitalist Imperialism Dollar Diplomacy.
The Prograsive Movement properly Io called, was a reform movement to reshape the Republican Party othatitwonldnotboamashodbythe growing hostility of the amt prom holder, made desperate by the ruthluuiau of Big Business. hadvocatedallsortsofchecksnpontho power of Big Businessi reform of the olden laws, so as to give the small property holders a voice in the government (initiative and reformdum, recall, direct election oi Salton, Woman Simian. low tarifl (e am of modified Fros Trade. and many other measurn of relief, which were expressed with all their significance and all their short sightednesa in the various Anti Trust Acts, Interstate Commerce Commissions, do.
La Follette wire the strongest and most uncompromising leader of thp Progressive Movut; he awakened, first, the small property holden of his State, and then of the entire country. The great capitalists :who at first fought Progreuivism. finallsr realized the futility of open battle, and resort to their time honored tactics of capturing the movement. Men like George Perkins, of the United States Steel Corporation «me of the mod powerful of the Hurts financed the Progrusiva Party and became one of its leaders. To speak plainly, be bought it. Roosevelt, when in the White House, at first fought the Progressives. Be ing a shrewd politician, however, he soon saw that Progressivism was going to win, and took nvnr most of the weapons in the Progressive armory, flourishing them aloft in the sight of all men, and emitting loud cries. The fight of Progressiviam against the trusts assumed such proportions that it blocked the Morgan interests in their plans for consolidating the steel industry of the country in one huge, profitable and invincible trust. Whereupon, the Morgan interests unleashed the panic of 1907, and the Government gave in.
This was not the end; however. The Movement under La Follene assumed great proportions. More and more openly, with an ever greater and greater following, La Follette attacked Big Businus. The plutocracy was frightened lt agmta, Perkins and.
others, attempted in vain to check the growth of petit bourgeois revolt. Roosevelt, returning from Africa, was making a, triumphal tour of Europe, among other things reviewing the Prussian Guard at the side of the Kaiser. Emissariea of Perkins went to meet him, and secret plans were laid by which La Follette was to be displaced.
The opportunity arrived. La Follette, Prograsivism Pmidential candidate, was invited to the Publishers Dinner in Philadelphia. There, with characteristic frankness, he told the editors and publishas of America that the pres: war controlled byBiansineu which mediltoenennindethe petit bourgeoisie.
This was the signal for Big Btuineas to attack.
The artillery of the great press, which had ken conciliating its subscribes the majority of whom were Imall property holders by cementing favorably upon Progressivism, now turned upon La Follette and blasted him with contqnpt and ridicule. And at the same time Perkins and the other leaders came out for Roosevelt as Progressive candidate.
The Republican Party, willing to lose the than to adopt the la Follsttism with which the rank and file of the patit bourgeoisie was inflamed, insolently suppressed the small propaty holders in the Chicago Convention in 1912. The Progressives made a fight, but it was a losing fight, and they knew it, and so did the small property holders all over the country, who, despairing of the RepublicanParty, threwmoatoftheirsupporttotlu DemonstrBig Basin knew that the small Wklm would probably elect the President and Co.
gran, but they also realised that. gloat Inna (W