THE REVOLUTIONARY AGE Saturday, March 22, 1919 Manifesto of the Left Wing Section oi lE members of the Socialist Party are entitled to an explanation for the issuance of this pamphlet by the Left Wing Section. e are a very active and growing section of the Socialist Party who are attempting to reach the rank and file with our ttrgeut message over the heads of the powers that be, who, througlt inertia or a lack of vision, cannot see the necessity for a critical analysis of the party policies and tactics.
The oflieial Socialist Party press is in the main closed to us; therefore, we caiuiot adequately present our side of the case.
in the various discussions that arise wherever party members or delegates assemble, botlt sides grow too heated for calm distnssionate judgment.
Therefore we have decided to issue our Manifesto aiitl rogram in pamphlet form, so that the rank and file may read and judge ottr case on its merits.
Comrades and this is addressed to members of the party flit: situation is such that a carefttl study of ottr position is absolutely imperative.
MANIFESTO rior to August, I914, the nations of the world lived on a volcano. Violent eruptions front time to time gave warning of the cataclysm to come, btit the diplomats and statesmen managed to localize the outbreaks, and the masses, slightly aroused, sank back into their accustomed lethargy with doubts and misgivings, and the subterranean fires coutiutted to sniouldor. lany trusted blindly sonic in their statesmen, some in the cohesive power of Christianity, their common religion. attd some in the growing strength of the iiitcruational Socialist movement. llad not the German Swinl lkinocr v exchanged drain: it; telegrams with the French Soci ist arty, each pledging itself not to fight in case their governments declared war on each other. general strike of workers led by these determined Sin is would qtiickly bring the governments to their so. So the workers reasoned, until the thunder clap of Sarcjevo and Austria tiltiinatuin to Serbia. Then, suddenly. the storm broke. Mobilization everywhere.
Ft crytvliere declarations of war. it three or fottr days rope 35 ill anus. lic present structure of miety Capitalism with its pretensions to democracy on the one hand, aml its mmuercial rivalries, armaments rings and standing armies on the other. all based off the exploitation of the working class and the division of the loot, was cast into the urnacc of war. Two things onl could issue forth: either international capitalist contro. through a league of Nations, or Social Revolution and the Dictatorship of the roletariat. Both of these forces are to ilay contending for world power.
The Social Democracies of Europe. tmable or unwilling to meet the crisis, were themselves hurled into the contlagaration. to be tempered or consumed by it.
THE COLLAPSE OF THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL (ireat demonstrations were held in every European country by Socialists protesting against their governments declarations of war, and mobilizations for war. nd we know that these demonstrations were rendered impotent by the complete surrender of the Socialist Inirliamentary leaders and the ofliei ocialist press, with their justifications of defensive wars aml the safeguarding of democracy. hy the sudden change of front? Why did the Socialist leaders in the parliaments of the belligereuts vote the war credils? Why did not Moderate Socialism carry out the policy of the Basle Manifesto, namely: the converting of an imperialistic war into a civil war into a proletarian revolution? Why did it either openly favor the war or adopt a policy of pettybourgcois pacifisin?
THE DEVELOPMENT OF MODERATE SOCIALISM In the latter part of the nineteenth century, the Social Deriiocracies of Europe set out to legislate Capitalism out of office. The class struggle was to he won in the capitalist legislatures. Step by step cottccssious were to be arrested from the state; the working class and the Socialist parties were to be strengthened by means of constmctive reform and social legislation: each concession would act as a rung in the ladder of Social Revolution, upon which the workers could climb step by ste. until finally, some bright sunnv morning, the peop cs would awaken to find the Cooperative Commonwealth functioning without disorder,. confusion or hitch on the ruins of the capitalist state.
And what happened? When a few legislative seats had been secured, the thunderous denunciations of the Socialist legislators suddenly ceased. No more were the parliaments used as platforms from which the challenge of revolutionary Socialism was flung to all O I LWORD The Manifesto and Program of the Left Wing. Section of the Greater New York locals of the Socialist Party, printed in Th. Revolutionary Ag of February was amended at a convention of the ft Wing held in New York City February i6. It was a mass convention of the membership. with fraternal delegates from Local lloston and other locals. The final version of the Manifesto is printed herewith.
The convention also adopted two resolutions. One was a tt soluliml endorsing The Revolutionary Age, which follows. Resolved. lic Rt volnlimtarv Ago be endorsed by the Left Wing Section of New York. and that our Executive Committee take up the details of co opcrntion with the management of The Rfl ofllffoufllv Age.
The other resolution was on the Amnesty onventinn which is to meet May it We denounce the action of the party National Executive Committee in issuinga call for a so called amnesty convention in May. as a substitute for an emergency national convention and to baffle the will of the membership. This atuucstv convention is to he held by the party together with reactionary hourgt nis liberal nrganiratimts but this issue. and all other issues. must be acted upon an the basis of the Socialist class struggle. An emergency national couveutinn nf the party is necessary.
promsed niuncsty conventioThis manifesto has already been accepted by a number of locals of the Socialist Party. Communications should he sent to the Futevutive Serrctarv. Maximilian Cohen. 43 West 2r; Street. New York, We repudiate the the centers of Enron: Another era had set in, the a of constructi ocial reform legislation. Dottitt Moderate Socialism accepted the bourgeois state the basis of its action aiul strengthened that state. ll power to shape the policies and ties of the Soialist parties was entrusted to the parliamentary leaders. And these lost sight of Socialism original purpo e; their goal became constructive reforms and. htnet portfolios the cooperation of classes, the policy of openly or tacitly declaring that the coming of Socialism was a concern of all the classes. instead of emphasizing the Marxian policy that the construction of the Socialist system is the task of the revoltitionary proletariat alone. Moderate Socialism in the hands of these parliamentary leaders, was now ready to share resposihility with the bourgeoisie in the control of the capitalist state, even to the extent of defending the bourgeoisie against the working class as iii the first Briand Ministry in France, when the ollicial party press was opened to a defense of the shooting of striking railway workers at the order of the Soci: st Bourgeois Coalition Cabinet. SAUSAGE SOCIALISM This situation was brought about by mixing the democratic cent of the eighteenth century with scientific Socialism. the result was what Rosa Luxemburg called sausage Socialism. The Moderates emphasized 1mtty bourgcois social refortnisin in order to at tract tradesmen, shop keepers and members of the prof essions, and, of course, the latter flocked to the Socialist movement 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. nd so they catered to the ignorance and prejudices of the work rs, trading pr miscs of immediate reforms for votes.
otninaut Moderate Socialism forgot the achings of the founders of scientific Socialism, forgntfi its function as a. prolctarian movement the most resulttte and advanced section of the working cl tss tarties and permitted the bourgeois and selt. citing trade union cleitients to shape its policies and tactics.
This as the condition in which the Social Demo: cracies of Europe found themselves til the outbreak of war in i914. Dcmoralized and confused by the cross currents within their own parties. vaci. ttiug aml compromising with the bourgeois state, they fell a prey to social intriotism and nationalism.
SPARTICIDES AND. BOLSHEVIKI But revolutionary Socialism was not destined to lie inert for long. In Germany, Karl Liebknccht, Franz Mchring, Rosa Luxemburg and Otto Ruble organized the Spartacus Group. But their voices were drowned in the roar of cannon and the shriek of the dying and the maimed.
Russia. however, was to be the first battle ground where moderate and revolutionary Socialism should come to grips for the mastery of the state. The breakdown of the corrupt. bureaucratic Curist regime opened the flood gates of Revolution.
Three main contending parties attempted to ride into power on the revolutionary tide; the Cadets. the moderate Socialists. lensheviki and Social Revolutionists. and the revolutionary Socialists the Bolsheviki. The Cadets were first to be swept into power: but they tried to stem the still rising flood with a few abstract political ideals, and were soon carried away.
The soldiers, workers and peasants could no longer be fooled by phrases. The Meusheviki and Social Revolu.
tionaries succeeded the Cadets. And now came the crucial test: wold they, in accord with Marxian teachings, make themselves the ruling class and sweep the old conditions of production, and tlins prepare the way for the Cooperative Commonwealth? Ur uold they tinker with the old machinery and try ltr ttlisl it on the masses as something just as good:They did the latter and proved for all little lllztt moderate Socialism cannot be trusted. Moderate Socialism was not prepared to seize tilt!
power for the workers during a revolution. loderatc Socialism had a rigid formula constructivo social reform legislation within the capitalist state and to that formula it clung. lt believed that bourgeois democracy could be used as a means of constructing the Socialist system; therefore, it must wait until the people, through a Constituent Assembly, should vote Socialism into existence. And in the meantime, it held that there must be established a Government oi Coalition with the enemy, the bourgeoisie. if, with all the means of controlling public opinion in the hands of the bourgeoisie, a Constituent Assembly could or would ever vote the Socialists into power!
Revolutionary Socialists hold, with the founders of scientific Socmialism, that there are two doinin tnt classes in society the bourgeoisie and the proletariat; that between these two classes a struggle must go on. until the working class. through the sciltll of the instruments of production and distribution. the abolition of the capitalist state. and the est: lishincnt of llll dictatorship of the proletariat. cr lk a Socialist svs nx.
Revolutionary Socialists do not believe that tln) can be voted into power. They struggle for the conquest of power by the revolutionary proletariat. Then comes the transition period from Capitalism to Socialism. of which. larx speaks iii his Critique of flft (inf I mgrtuu when he ys: lictwceu the capitalistic society am the connuutus ic, lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. This corresponds to a political transition period. in which the state cannot be anything else but the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Marx and Engels clearly explained the function of the Socialist movement. It is the moderate Socialists through intellectual gymnastics. evasious. misquotations and the tearing of sentences and phrases from their context, who make Marx aml Engels sponsor for their perverted version of Socialism.
PROBLEMS OF AMERICAN SOCIALISM At the present moment, the Socialist artv at America is agitated by several cross currents, ume local in their character, and some a reflex of cleavages within the European Socialist movements. lauy see iii this internal dissentiou merely an unimportant difference of opinion. or at most, dissatisfaction with the control of the party, and the desire to replace those who have misused it with better men.
We, however, maintain that there is a fundamental distinction in views concerning party policies and taciics. And we believe that this difference is so vast that rom ottr standpoint a radical change in party policies and tactics is necessary.
This essential task is being slirikcd by our party leaders atid oflicial generally.
Already there is formidable industrial unrest. a seething ferment of discontent. evidenced by inarticulate rumblings which prcsage striking occurrences. The tr isforntatiou of industry from a war to a peace has thomnghly disorganized the economic struc ltousands upon thousands of worker o being thrown otit of work. Dcuiobilizod soldier ors find themselves a drug upon the labor in: unless they act as seal intl strike breakers. llcd mcch tics. fig ting dc. crately to maintain their warwage aml their indust status, are forced to strike.
Women, who during the war have been welcomed into industries hitherto closed to them, are struggling to keep their jobs. And to cap the climax. the capitalists.
throt tgh their Chambers of Commerce and their Merchants and Manufacturers Associations. ha resolved to take advantage of the situation to break down even the inadequate organizations labor has built up through generations of painful struggle.
The temper of the workers and soldiers. after the sacrifices they have made iii the war. is such that they will not endure the reactionary labor conditions so openly advocated by the master class. series of labor struggles is bound to follow indeed. is beginning now.
Shall the Socialist Party continue to feed the workers with social reform legislation at this critical period?
Shall it approach the whole question from the standpoint of votes and the election of representatives to the legislatures? Shall it emphasize the consumers point of view, when Socialist principles teach that the worker is robbed at the point of production? Shall it talk about «at i 3,