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The New York Communist The Party Congressional Platform for 1918 When we we come spirit By Bertram Wolfe Telialists cannot be made except by tenching can only note in passing that was process shall be Marx seemed to think that taxation under Capital Socialism. All that most non Socialists ever ism was no concern of the revolutionary proletariat.
undertaken as speedily as is consistent with public But since 1918 we know better!
see of Socialist doctrine is that which is contained order and security. that the Socialist based on credit, and in our Socialist platform, oflicial resumés of mands that the compensation, if any (we wonder if that should break down, Heaven help us!
Socialist doctrine, and interpretations of current is why the doubt. paid to the original owners is in us! the sues. It follows that upon the nature of our plat 110 case to exceed the original cost of the physical gram must needs concern itself with restoration of financial system might collapse; hence our proform depends very largely the type of our converts. property; and finally, we are so thoroughly bitten our shaky credit system, wherefore we elaborate a revolutionary platform will not attract the bour by the parliamentary bug of investigation commis plan upon which need not comment, except to note geoisie, and a petit bourgeois platforin will never sions which publishi reports, that when we come to that we have succeeded in finding a scheme whereby, attract the militant section of the working class.
the State ownership of electric power, our revolu under Capitalism, we can eliminate entirely the neNow the 1918 Congressional Platform of the American Socialist Party is the unadulterated work demenci Programust be quoled in full lest we splendid contribution to the saving of civilizaof expropriation culminates in a cessity of maintaining a gold reserve! Isn that a of its theoreticians, its leaders, ulempered by miss some of the inspiration it contains: tion, at a time when it is threatened by the overwithout a convention, adopted without a referen ment of a Federal Power Commission with adequate Capitalization of a pitifully inadequate gold supany suggestion from the rank and file. Written The Socialist Party demands inmediate appointdum, heralded by the Congressional candidates that representation of labor (Sammy Compers take no Upon the Non Partisan League platform, which ran on it for office, welcomed with fulsome praise tice to make an an exhauslive (and no doubt xhaust has found its way into the 1918 program under the by the petit bourgeois organs, The Nation, The ing) investigation into the subject, and to recom head of Agriculture, shall not dwell, except to ered in the People House under the direction of two comprehensive power developinent policy.
mend legislation to Congress which will quote our revolutionary demands for Public inbureaus of Socialist research surely this must surance against diseases of animals, diseases of REFORMS IN THE STRUCTURE OF COVERNMENT.
be a model platform for a Socialist party.
plants, insect pests, hail, flood, drought, storm and Before we examine its 57 planks, let us sum up Government. The to the heading, The Structure of fire; and to delay any further analysis until we we begin to to pick up hope. The come to the general subject of sops and palliathe conditions out of which it grew and into which present structure of government is totally inade tives.
a on of Natural form is dated 1916. We may presume that it writ. control.
Perhaps we have been husty in our judg: Resources in which we urge in place of tale!
ten in that year or the year previous. Internal evi ment; perhaps the program warns that none of manding for we modestly feel that we are not dence proves that it was written after the Russian the betinge can be necomplished oletet talose jitate experts in conservation as we are in high finance, tarian revolution. The program was launched in torship established. Let us examine the measures vice. There is a chapter on Criminology which the midst of a dying social order. 24. The proposed for the revolutionizing of the State. The seems to be a combination of Enrico Ferri and AuCapitalist systein was totteriing. In Russia, the system of checks and balances has destroyed effi gust Claessens, with the caption, Prisons. There proletariat had raised the standard of international ciency, we complain. Then, in the interests of de is a section on the Negro, which, peculiarly enough, revolution and called upon the workers of the world mocracy, we select the most inefficient branch of demands industrial citizenship for the Negro (we to unite around it. The war could only end in a the government Congress and demand that the vaguely wonder why the white wasn included. relapse into barbarism or a world revolution. Reresponsible to it. Why does the program want to give him political construction of the capitalist order was an im. Not content with that, the program sets out to show Capitalism how to perfect bourgeois democ mean by educational citizenship for the same op possibility.
citizenship, and exactly what do our leaders And the 1918 platform? What else could it be racy. Here follow a stariling series of demands; pressed Negro? If it is worth anything, we should but a summons to the proletariat to fulfill its his abolition of the Senate. democratization of Con like it too, if not, why wish it on the down.
toric mission? have looked in through its gresional procedure direct election of the Presi trodden black man?
We will not turn back to the one section which pages of 19. point type for a single niention of dent and ice President. etc. etc. culminating in Socialism. The word does not occur once.
The two super revolutionary measures that will make mentions the proletariat, enti led Labor Leg.
Lenine look to his laurels, namely: the terms of islation.
of the class struggle nay the very word It is a compound of old Bismarckia class struggle is missing from its pages. SurCongressmen to begin soon aller election and formaluc long ago introduced into Germany, such sell government or the Districi of Columbia.
plus value not a suspicion of it. Historic mater.
as minimum wage, unemployment insurance and As write, out of the past comes an insistent echo the like. and this brings us to the subject ialism the program never heard of any such doc.
of сор rine. Historic materialism. class struggle, surplus of Marx thunderous denunciatione of the Gotha and palliatives in general.
value are these not the three aspects the trinity, platform: But the platform applies neither to the. have used the familiar division of reforma into the union of which is the Sucialist movement, its latter (revolutionary dictatorship, nor to the fu. sops and palliatives because in these two aim, its science, its tactics? What else is there to ture organization of communist society.
words are implied the nature and purpose of two Its Socialism? What is there of Socialism in anything old democratic litany known to all the world, uniforms handed down by the bourgeoisie organized political demands contain nothing but the distinct kinds of reforms. Palliatives are reelse?
Marx severely criticised the Gotha Program of per Columbias direct legislation (for the district as the ruling class, to make industry more bearable popular rights, protection of the in order that labor power may not thereby be imthe source of all wealth instead of saying the source people. et ise They are a mere echo of the middle paired. of such nature was the shortening of the of all value. He could not criticise the 1918 platday to prevent deterioration of form on that score, because it does not hint that ly ridiculous if addressed to the present reactionary of the early capitalist epoch.
labor is the source of anything.
bourgeois State. The outstanding feature of this bourgeois bill of rights is a demand that mob If a dog demands meat, and his demand becomes more and more insistent until he threatens to take violence be The Russian revolution was proving, the Paris federal government.
suppressed through the power of the it out of the calf of your leg, and you do not wish to most dangerous demand to Commune had proved in practise, what Marx and be made upon a reactionary government by a reye give him meat, you may dip a piece of bread in gravy and throw him that a sop.
Engels had taught in theory that the Bourgeois lutionary party which depends upon mob violence As the working class becomes more and more con(mass action as a necessary weapon to overthrow scious of its revolutionary aims, sops are thrown letarian State, the Dictatorship of the Proletariat the present State! Never fear, you needn demand more and more frequently, to divert the workers would die a natural death.
place and that the proletarian state that the government suppress mob violence! It from these same revolutionary aims. If the Socialsurely will, and American Noskes rallying around ist party, the most advanced section of the working The 1918 Platform assumes the eternity of the these very slogans of the 1918 platform will lead class, turns aside for these sops when the goal is the suppression.
bourgeois state. On the first page and in bold type, close at hand; if it goes further and issues a platTAXATION.
the 1918 Platform announces what it believes to be form declaring that it is fighting for these sops, and The next section deals with taxation. It contains neglects to mention anything but sops among its the greatest of all issues with which the world stands faced the state is dominating industry. Whoism, poor capitalism, is tottering as a result of the capitalism has in self defense handed down to ita heartrending preamble to the effect that capital demands; if finally, it pretends to have won what question depends the future of mankind.
State, no matter what is form, is essentially a capii the public debt and the ever menacing problem Engels has patiently explained that the modern and the 1918 platform to the rescue. we are going conserous revolution working class from its class of capitalism, falling for sop and palliative alike, of national capital. Yet the 1918 Platform does not thought inevitable under the present system in. Socialist Party. Which Marx foolishly produces the 1918 Congressional Platform of the see the difference between State Capitalist and So evitable and the inevitable cause of the Revolution. IN THE PLATFORM. INTERNATIONALISM cialist between Wilson Parcel Post To this end we favor for we are treading on measures, There remain two more things to consider: In banks and Lenin s, between government ownership through bourgeois dictatorship and ownership through the proletarian dictatorsh. nt Bround and therefore we no longer de. ternational Reconstruction and Conclusion, in an excess profits tax of approximately 100 which last we may perhaps expect to find a stateThe first step in the Social Revolution is the seizure ism. a progressive income tax; a progressive inper cent (a manifest impossibility under Capital ment of Socialist principles.
of the political by the proletariat. The 1918 heritance tax rising to 100 in large estates; taxaThe very title, reconstruction, is an index to platform doesn mention the first step, but dethe hourgeois character of the platform attitude.
mands that the present State take over the railtion of the unearned increment of land (is there Capitalism is on the verge of collapse. In Russia a roads, mines, power, natural resources, large industries and the like. Says Engels: The more it porations tax; will forbear to inquire what the The most truly advanced section of the working it authors of this great document meant by more ade class in other countries is preparing to tear it down (the present State) proceeds to the taking over by a comfortable productive forces, the more does it actually become which is not to be touched and secure livelihood section by section till the whole edifice is destroyed. by ploit. Engels merely says that the State will have approximately 100. But trust will be par into the American Socialist Party. seeing Capital to undertake the direction of indlustries, the 1918 Marx, who seemed to believe that? lapse of civilization; will reconstruct the shaky platform demands that it do it. Surely, its auare the foundation of the governmental maTaxes are thors are more revolutionary than Engels.
structure, will keep alive the dying order.
chinery and of nothing else. An income tax pre And so the Platform demands a League of NaSpace forbids an analysis of the revolution supposes the different sources of income of the dif tions. Of course, we call it a Federation of Peo.
ary methods by which the Socialist party de ferent social classes, hence capitalist society. Poor (Continued on page 8)
must take its of quale.