THE REVOLUTIONARY AGE Saturday, February 8, 191 Manifesto and Program of the Left Introduction HE members of the Socialist Party of America are entitled to an explanation for the issuance of this pamphlet by the Left Wing Group.
First of all, be it understood, we are not a secessioa: movement, nor do we contemplate splitting the party. We are a very active and growing section of the Socialist Party which is attempting to reach the runk and file with our urgent message over the heads of the powers that be, who, through inertia or a lack.
of vision, cannot see the necessity for a critical analysis of the party policies and tactics.
The daily press is closed to us; therefore we cannot adöquately present our side of the case.
In the various discussions that arise wherever party members or delegates assemble, both sides grow too heated for calm, dispass. onate judgment.
Therefore we have decided to issue our Manifesto and Program in pamphlet form, so that the rank and roly read and judge our case on its merits.
ufmrades and this is addressed exclusively to Others of the party the situation is such that a eatul study of our position is absolutely imperative.
nate come to you, the court of last resort, for nment of Manifesto Prior to August, 1914, the nations of the world Ved on a volcano. Violent eruptions from time to me gave warning of the cataclysm to come, but the plomats and statesmen managed to localize the outeaks, and the masses, slightly aroused, sank back to their accustomed lethargy with doubts and misivings, and the subterranean fires continued to moulder. Surely, the people reasoned, no one would ot so mad as to precipitate a world war!
Besides, they trusted blindly some in their statesezen, some in the cohesive power of Christian. ty, their tuhon religion, and some in the growing strength the international Socialist movement. Had not the ierman Social Democracy exchanged dramatic telegrams with the French Socialist Party, each pledging self not to fight in case their governments declared ar on each other? general strike of workers led these determined Socialists would quickly bring e government to their snses. So the workers reasoned, until the thunder clap of rajevo and Austria ultimatun to Serbia. Then, ddenly, the storm broke. Mobilization everywhere.
xlarations of war. In three or four days Europe was in arms.
The present structure of society Capitalism with its pretensions to democracy on the one liand, and its commercial rivalries, armament rings and standing armies on the other, all based on the explotation of the working class and the division of the loot, was cast into the furnace of the war. Two things only could issue from the flames: either international capitalist control, through a League of Nations, or Social Revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Doth of these forms are today, contending for world power.
The Social Democracies of Europe, unable to ineet the crisis, were themselves hurled into the conflagration, to be tempered or consumed by it.
The collapse of the Second International At first the question which agitated Socialists minds all over the world was: wly have they failed? All sorts of extenuating circumstances were pleaded in their behalf defensive war, and a low type of civilization menaces a higher type, and Socialism must fight on the side of democracy. and Socialism not free from the virus of nationalisın. All these xcuses equally begged the question.
We know that great mass demonstrations were licid in every European country by Socialists protesting against their governments declarations of war, and mobilization for war. Anil we know ton that these demonstrations were suldenly rendered im;otent by the complete surrender of the Socialist parliamentary ad the official Socialist press. Why the sudden change of front? Why did the Socialist leaders in the parliaments. Ce future belligerents vote the war credits? Why is the official Socialist press in Germany, France, It? y, Belgium, etc. suddenly reverse its position and call for resistance to the invader? In short, why did the dominant Socialists supjort their governments?
We shall attempt to answer these questions.
The Development of Modern Socialism In the latter part of the nineteenth century, the Social Democracies of Europe set out to legislate Capitalism out of office. The class struggle was to be won in the capitalist legislatures. Step by step concessions were to be wrested from the state; the working class and the Soc alist parties were to be strengthened by means of cotistructive reforms and social legislation; each concession would act as a rung in the ladder of Social Revolution, upon which the workcrs could climb step by step, until finally, some bright sunny morning, the peoples would awake to find the Cooperative Commonwealth functioning without disorder, confusion or hitch on the ruins of the capitalist state.
But what happened? When a few legislative seats had been captured, the thunderous denunciations of the Socialist legislators suddenly ceased. No more were the parliaments used as platforms from which the challenge of militant Socialism was fiung to all corners of Europe. Another era had set in, the era of constructive social reform legislation. All powers to shape the policies and tactics of the Socialist parties were entrusted to the parliamentary leaders. And sight Social. sm original purpose; their goal became two fold constructis e reforms and Cabinet portfolios, of the means to an end they made an end in itself. Moderate Socialism, in the hands of these parliamentary leaders, was now ready to share responsibility with the bourgeoisie in the control of the capitalist state, even to the extent of defending the bourgcuisie against the working class as for instance during the first Briand Ministry in France, when the official party press was opened to a defense of the shooting of striking railway workers at the order of the Socialist Dourgeois Coalition Cabinet. Sausage Socialism This situation was brought about by mixing pure scientific Socialism with bourgeois reforms and the democratic cant of the eighteenth century. The result was what Rosa Luxemburg called sausage Socialism. The Socialist parliamentarians forgot that a chain is no stronger than its weakest link. They emphasized petty bourgeois social reformisin in order to attract tradesmen, shop keepers and members of the professions, and of course the latter flocked to the Socialist movenient in great numbers, seeking relief from the constant grinding between corporate capital and awakening labor.
The Socialist organizations actively competed for votes, on the basis of social reforms, with the bourgeois liberal political parties. And so they catered to the ignorance and prejudices of the workers, trading promises of immediate reforms for votes.
Dominant moderate Socialism forgot the teachings of the founders of scientific Socialism, forgot its function as a proletarian movement the most resolute and adcanced section of the working class fartics. and permitic: the bourgeois and self secking tradc union clement to shape its policies and tactics.
This was the condition in which the Social Democracies of Europe found themselves at the outbreak of war in 1914. Demoralized and confused by the cross currents within their own parties, vacillating and compromising with the bourgeois state, they fell an casy prey to social patriotism and nationalism.
This is the explanation of the failure of the Socialist movements of Europe in the crisis of 1914.
Sparticides and Bolsheviki Dut revolutionary Socialisin was not destined to lie inert for long. In Germany, Karl Liebknecht, Franz Mehring, Rosa Luxemburg and Clara Zetkin organized the Spartacus Group. But their voices were drowned in the roar of cannon and the shrieks of the dying and the maimed.
Russia, however, was to be the first battle groun: where moderate and revolutionary Socialismi cun to grips for the mastery of the state. The break. of the corrupt, bureaucratic Czarist regine open the flood gates of Revolution. Centuries of oppressio had paved the way.
Three main contending parties attempted to rid ilito power on the revolutionary tide: the Cadets, thi. moderate Socialists. Mensheviki and Social Rev olutionists and the revolutionary Socialists th Bolsheviki. The Cadets were first to be swept intc power; but they tried to stem the still rising for with a few abstract political ideals, and were soul carried away. The soldiers, workers and peasant could no longer be fooled by phrases. The Men she viki and Social Revolutionaries succeeded the Ca And now came the crucial test; would they, in acı with Marxian teachings make themselves the ru.
class and sweep away the old conditions of product and thus prepare the way for the Cooperative con nionwealth? Or would they tinker with the old ma chinery and try to foist it on the inasses as somethin just as good?
They did the latter, and proved for all time tha moderate Socialism cannot be trusted.
The Socialists began to understand why dom moderate Socialism had broken down. Modera Soc. alism was not prepared to seize the power for the workers during a revolution. Moderate Soci.
ism had a rigid formula. Constructive social reform legislation within the capitalist state; an to that formula it. clung. It believed that bourgens democracy could be used as a means of construit the Socialist order; therefore it must wait until.
fieople, through a Constituent Assembly, shock!
Socialism into existence. And in the meantin:e, lield that there must be established a Governinent Coalition with the enemy, the bourgeoisie. As il with all the means of controlling public opinion in th hands of the bourgeoisie, a Constituent Assa could or would ever vote the Socialists into pesier Revolutionary Socialists hold, with the founders scientific Socialism, that there are two dornina classes in society the bourgeoisie and t! ie proletaria that between these two classes a struggl: must go o until the working class, through the seizure of t1 instruments of oduction and distribution, the ab lition of the capitalist state, and the establishmen!
the dictatorship of the proletariat, creates a Sociali order, Revolutionary Socialists do not propose wait until ajority of the people vote the into power; but, if the proletariat during its strugg terith the bourgeoisie is compelled, by force of circu.
stances, to organise itself as a class: if, by meals.
a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and such sweeps away by force the old conditions of pri auction, then it will, along toith these condition. linswept away the conditions for the existence of clas.
antagonisms, and of classes generall. and will there by have abol shed its owun supremacy as a class.
Marx and Engels clearly explain the funtion or the Socialist movement. It is the molcrate Socialists, through intellectual gymnastics, evasions, mis quotations and the tearing of sentences and phrase: from the context, who make Marx and Engels spun sors for their perverted version of Socialism.
vast Problems of American Socialism At the present moment the Socialist Party of An rica is agitated by several cross currents, some loca in their character, and some a reflex of cleveages ir in the European Socialist movements. Many sce ir internal dissension merely an unimportant cliffc of opinion, or at most, dissatisfaction with the co of the party, and the desire to replace those who misused it with better men.
We, however, maintain that there is a fundar