Saturday, June 7, 1919 THE REVOLUTIONARY AGE The Counter revolution in the Party cialist Party has begun. It is comic in its ex plosiveness and impotence. It makes piercingly clear the tragedies averted by the quick success of the Lei , Wing movement within the party. the National Executive Committee came together May twenty fourth, at Chicago, and before two hours had gone by. without charges, hearing, or intelligent statement ol any kind. seven men expelled five thousand Socialists of the State of Michigan from the American Socialist Party. And that was only the beginning. When the true logic of this action reveals itself. as the business advances, the expulsion slaughter will quickly jump from the 5060 to 6000 of Michigan to the more than 60, 000 already clearly within the Left Wing within the insurgency which must be put down. It a: a Hillquit is not here. He is sick. His intellectual presence is evidenced by a communication outlining the stand of the on the issues before us, national and international. The proposed statement is of a sick mind. It faces no issue squarely; it is sheer nothingness: it is not even clever in its equivocations.
One example will suffice. 0n the issue of the two Intemationals, Hillquit is critical of the Berne Conference and opposed to the Communist International.
He wants reunion with Luxemhurg and Liebknecht dead. murdered under the auspices of opportunistic Socialism! Hillquit joins all Internationals and none.
Otherwise. aside from unprincipled statement of rinciples which can be considered after revision by Committee. Hillquit is advertised as being in favor ofa party split. Berger. too. is absent.
pieces here.
The expulsion of Mich was voted by Ship lacofi, OfNeal. Goebel, Kraifl t:l Stedman, Work, Hogan and Holt. The contrary votes were two, Wageriknecht and Katterfeld. The other absentees are Clark and Herman, in jail, and Niells of California.
The motion was made by Stedman, after recommendation of action by the Executive Secretary, Adolph. iermer. Stedman moves to destroy the votes which will put him off the and which will help defeat him for International Delegate. Work and Berger likewise need to escape the Michigan votes. Also Neal, Shiplacofi and Hillquit. in relation to international representatives.
Only John Work squirmed a bit under Wagenknecht descriptives of this method of winning an election. Work would have given Michigan hearing. but the amendment failing, he accepted Stedman motion.
Holt of Oklahoma thought the Committee might with :1 few days. The action of the Committee as explained by Stedman. was based on the adoption by the Michigan State ConventiOn of an amendment to the Stat e Constitution prohibiting advocacy of reforms in the propaganda of Socialism. This resolution of the Michigan Convention, everything else aside. had not yet been finally. acted u on by the Michigan membership. It appeared that e result of the Michigan referendum would be available within three or four days. Holt was willing to wait until the membership of Michigan had gone contrary to the national platform. but Stedman had a hunch that the vote would. be overwhelmingly in favor of the Convention resolution, and this settled the matter.
Katterfeld and Wagenknecht defended the Michigan stand against advocacy of reforms. Wagenknecht pointed out that other States, notably Wisconsin, had seen fit to omit our ultimate demands from their platforms. He might have added that it is only by casuistical argument from a chance phrase or two that one can discover any ultimate demands in the National platform of 1918. Wagenknecht impressed the vote stealing aspect of Stedman motion, and added good naturedly that it would only be a short time until we changed the national platform to conform to that of Michigan.
To which Hogan retorted that it would be just as well to dishand the party and this was the sum total of his pudgy wisdom in relation to this question. And Goebcl played the clown to perfection. Once before the writer saw the excitable, peevish Goebel in action. and that was at the meeting of the in Chicago when Goebel went into Wild raving against the party anti war stand. Now he is the most vociferous exponent of real Socialism!
Shiplacofl and. Neal indulged in evasive refinements and sophistries which simply revealed that they were acting somewhat under the whip and there was a tellowpresent by name of Gerber. from New York, a sort of Mephisto of small politics. presumably one of the coterie who planned this performance. Not that Shiplacoff and Neal were not against the Mich igm poriltlolli only they are the kind of men who THE counter revolution within. the American 50But he has several mouthBy Ferguson Report of the sessions a! Chicago must be driven into action with a whip.
Another tangent of the Michigan discussion was the stand of the Michigan Convention on the subject of religion. The Michigan position is that the subject, of religion should notbe under party taboo, but should be frankly presented according to the materialistic interpretation of history. Committeeman Krai ft of New Jersey was especially sarcastic on this point as a devia tion from party regularity, arguing that it was members of the Knights of Columbus who secured his release from Atlanta. where he was serving a term under the Espionage Act. The first time the word revolution happened to be mentioned in the discussion, this elderly gentleman from New Jersey raised both hands in derision. Perhaps he missed the whole record of world events during the past two years. Krafft is unquestionably a fine, worthy, idealistic gentleman. His presence on this Committee, and its accord with his political outlook, tells in a word the present status of the ofiicial control of the American Socialist Part.
The clown like. Xioebel hailed in this religious clause the cloven hoof the basis of organizing to fight the Socialist Party. The weightiness of Goebel learning about Socialism does not keep him anchored very long at a time. He is constantly jumping up.
walking around. pounding the table; and his talk is a squeakish whine about on: trigiality after anothe. It is a curious spectacle, this group of half dozen old men taking upon themselves the stemming of the oncoming waves of a re vitalized American Socialism.
It answers itself without a word from the outside.
So much for the first session. There will be several days of lifeless life to this conference, though the first act leaves no question of what is to follow. Il week ago a history making convention closed in Chicago with such a singing of the Internationale as was never heard in that city before. The words of a dozen languages merged in robust melody.
At this meeting one could not escape consciousness of the unsung dirgeful accompaniment. The old time religion; the good old time religion, the old time religion is good enpugh for us. 3 Session. of May 26. All on a Monday morning the half dozen elder statesmen of the Socialist Party are going to dispose of the Left Wing movement. That is the special order of business. It is like the Senate Judiciary Committee getting rid of Bolshevism by orders of excommunication via imprisonment. It is lucky for many of us that the Socialist Party National Executive Committee has no prison at its disposal and no power of deportation.
The boast of these elder statesmen is the ancient vintage of their statemanship. Constantly they repeat the number of years which separates the present from the time they acquired the Socialist consciousness. They do not seem remotely to suspect that there might he need for a new kind of Socialist consciousness in a new epoch of hisiory.
The Committee proceeds with its task. The method, the method, the meth that is the constant complaint. supported by sweeping generalities and accusations based on most petty items of detail. uncorroborated and not open to answer. One would never suspect that there is anything involved in this flood of righteous indignation other than the accumulation of details of unconstitutionality.
Out with the, elections that was the wholesale order for this morning. The Federations will be on the carpet tonight. Elections aside pending invest igation for irregularities the mathematical prob lem is how to regulate the further expulsion so as to insure a safe Convention.
Because of this cancellation of elections until the Convention meets. the Committee itself calls a Special Convention. Goebel. Work. Hogan. go on record that the election issue is the only emergency. Shiplacoff realizes that there is an emergency aside from the elections. Wagenknecht and Katterfeld agree to the Special Convention except as to the election matter.
The discussion opened with a statement by Goebel that the initiation of the referendums now before the party were deliberately fraudulent. because they came from delegate bodies, instead of from membership bodies. He said that the method of carrying on the elections was the open shameless method of slates. accompanied with misleading commen.
He complained that the official side was without papers. though the Milwaukee Leader. so far as this district is concerned. pleaded for the re election of Berger, Stedman and Work. He indigu antly charged that the Foreign Federations have banded together to capture the party. He failed to add for what purpose.
Julius Gerber was given the floor to report for the New York State Executive Committee as to the New York situation. The report was a speech, made up of accusations against the Left Ving, with semral specications of unconstitutionality, and a general justification of everything done by the New York Executive Committee. Gerber answered a joint Fede eration protest against expulsions in New York of.
certain foreign branches. This protest came before the Committee directly after Gerber. was on the ground.
Gerber contention was that Local New York insists upon its right to compel all branches to adhere to the regular party platforms, and that the Left Wing platform was adopted by the rebel branches wilfully in violation of the party law. The petty sarcasms of Gerber, and the whistling astonishment of the vanerable delegate from New Jersey, and the equally profound comments of the other elder statesmen. are not worth dwelling upon, though it is of this stufl that party history is being made. Gerber sarcasm about Left Wing work within the party councils as showing no interest in work against the capitalist system is indicative of the grasp of issues here paraded as the acme of Socialist wisdom.
Referring to an application of a Russian branch for a charter in New York. which was refused. tier ber explained that Russian branches were ennugh for New York. The writer is informed that there are 60, 000 Russians in New York. Even Chicago has Russian branches, of which some are already unwieldy.
Without an item outside of the Gerber speech to the it was made evident that the Executive Committee of Local New York and. of New York State had substituted their control for that of the party membershi. This seems to be the precedent upon which the. is proceeding.
One gem of the discussion was that the New York Local does not expell anybody. It simply reorganizes, according to Shiplacofl. a mere urn tality.
Germer added the item of the mysterious disappearance of 19. 000 ballots. It was all very. nerv mysterious, until Wagenknecht did a little questioning and developed the facts that this was a computation hasell on weighing ballots, making no allowances for differ»
ences in weight of different kinds of print paper.
Krafft challenged the opposition to make answer. to Which Katterfeld responded. If there was any bal lot box stuffing, it ought to be investigated e lint the voting of slates. which was so much protesn tlflms been usual within the party. That was nrecisrly the way Germer became National Secretary, by organized Federation slating. After reviewing the details of the discussion. Katterfeld went on to say that he took all the actions of the majority of the Committee serenely and expressed his assurance that they could not do enough to prevent victory within the party for revolutionary Socialism. He concluded thatait was up to the majority of the Committee to prove their loyalty to the Socialist movement by handing over the power to the majority of the membership. if they want it. in stead of wrecking the party to save their power.
With the elections and referendums temporarih in»validated. the Special Convention was moved by Work and unanimously carried. though Goehel pro»
tested the expense.
Then came the question of investigating the elm»tions and the motion prevailed. that the committee. all be appointed outside the Waeenluu cht amended: fromboth sides. Neal. in high tlimlity. The party does not recognize the Left Wing!
Goebel, aside to Wagenknecht: Both sides will he represented. Amendment defeated. to Next: Constitution interpreted tn lIlVilllll lft. Left Wing candidacies for International IJelegat (Reed and Ferguson. It must have int nut to :elude those not members three yea rs. The logic for the year rule is excellent. The fact is thal u iw Ihers have already acted under a (buntilllllnli llitll does not prohibit these candidnt ies. tineht ulna Ir has insisted that there is no personal element in thew elections;that this is. for once. a vote on issues. This belated interpretation helps to register Ih. lulu nu issues.
Wagenknecht amended that this ruling In not up.
plied to an election aheady completed. hrn it um: apparent that there was knowledge or fear ul it ll Wing success. Amendment defeated.
Shiplacnfi made the complacent :ntstunptinn that those not in the party three years could not knun anything about Socialism. He was just as charitable to the membership which supported these candidates.
He is a personal gainer bv this elimination of con; testants. Continued on Iago six)