20 THE WORKERS COUNCIL Am 15, 1921. ing of the principles of Socialism. Large sec tions of its membership and following were frequently found voting for Hearst an municipal ownershi one year, oosevelt and social justice the next, son and peace in 1916 and anything to beat Wilson in 1920.
Durin the war, the Socialist Party for a time moved de nitely toward the Left. It supported the Zimmerwald and Kienthal resolution condemmng the World War. At St. Louis in April. 1917, it adopted a ringing manifesto against America entrance into the war and called for mass opposition to it. The workers, dominated by fear of 8 power of the state, and sufiocated by the propaganda of the Church, the Press and the of however failed to follow the lead of the Socialist Party.
As the war progressed a ruthless campaign of terrorism against Socialists was inaugurated: The representatives of the part in Congress and in the New York Board of Al ermen failed uterly to maintain the declared position of the party. dissatisfaction long brewing because of the opportunist tactics of the ofiicialdom finall resulted in the organization of a Left Wing wit in the Party, which quickly secured control a majority of the membership. What followed is well known. The Nationa1 Executive Committee of the Part. followin an election which swept the old ofiicia out of o co, suspended and expelled many of the State and local organizations and langua e federations on the ground of fraud and violation of the Party Constitution. Its action was sustained at the September 1919 Chica Convention. Had a number of left delegates o refused to take their seats, sat in the Convention, the would have been relpudiated in spite of the suspensions, and they won have captured the convention.
Followin the convention, the Socialist move ment was le hopelessl divided into two comunist factions with a mem ership of 55, 000 and a, 80icialist Party of about 40, 000 members. In January 1920 began the government policy of wholesale raids of communist party members, the declaring of the communist party as an illegal organization and the consequent driving of the movement underground. The two Communist arties now began to ose greatly in membership. e inability or refusal of the leaders to uni the two parties no doubt contributed to this ine. The feeling that an underground movement could not hope to reach the masses with the message of Communism at the present time and dissatisfaction with the extremely milita form of organization adopted by the arty also he ped to reduce the membership. In ad ition the terrorism of the government officials played havoc with what remained. It must also be borne in mind that a great many Socialist Party members had been transfermd bodily into the Communist factions without really knowing that they had so been transferred.
In spite of the red raids, there were many unmistakable signs of a growin symapthy for Soviet Russia and revolutionary ocialism. There hegan a steady decrease in the membership of the Socialist Party due entirely to its failure to recognize the temper of the conscious elements among the workers. The decline was especially marked after the disgraceful surrender at Albany where the party leaders sought to capitalize the existing American. prejudices and illusions about Democracy and Re y, ublican Government and the sacredness of the»
Ballot. Instead of using the Albany ouster as a means of analyzing and exposin these notions the Party suddenly leaped forth as e defender of the Constitution, as the only party that stood for American liberties, The Eye ener. the official organ of the party, carried as a su head For a free.
press, free speech and free assemblage.
The process of Americanizing the Socialist Party went merrily onward at the Ma 1920 convention: only citizens were hereafter to entitled to hold oflice in the Party; the clause prohibiting Socialist elected ofiicials from voting for militarism was stricken out, and the party went out to teach the workers that it would make no effort to inaugurate a Socialist regime until it had attained a majority in every branch of the government and in every state legislature. It would be hard to find a similar declaration in any Socialist platform in any other country. Again there was a marked decline in membership. In July the New York State convention wiped out the constitutional clause calling for party control of elected officials. At the special elections in Se tember 1920, to fill the places of the five ousted3 Assemblymen, the campaign was made entirely on the basis of Americanism and Democrac.
Speeches of Hughes and Untermeyer and editori of the World were circulated widely. The climax of a policy of opportunism had been reached. The New York State Executive Committee was even moved to sound a note of warning at the conduct of this campaign.
The stands at present discredited in the eyes of the class conscious workers of America.
Like the of L, it has failed to analyze and expose without mercy the so called American sychology; to destroy the ing notions upon ich the workers have been On the contrarfy it has sought to utilize them, to build on them or temporary political victories, victories which have in every case proved to be harmful to the cause of Socialism.
Neither can a movement entirely separated from the mam of the workers and unable to bring its message to them at their shop meetings, in the ress and at the street corner, succeed in breaking own the wall of prejudice a ainst radicalism which the of has helped build up and perpetuate.
Such a movement is perforce handicapped in teaching the masses the doctrines of Marx and Engels.
America is the only important country without a powerful Socialist or Communist movement. The elements are resent, namely a highly developed capitalism an a proletariat unable to esca e from the class into which it is born. The ideas, e rinciples upon which a movement must be based ave been clearly enunciated by the revolutionary parties of the world meeting in the two congresses of the Third International.
The movement which is to succeed in leadin the working class of America must afiirm its fait in Revolutionary Socialism, in the class struggle, in proletarian dictatorship, and in a form of government based on Workers Councils. It must comcling to Area. 15, 1921.
THE WORKERS COUNCIL 21 pletely abandon reformism and the notion of growing into Socialism; it must organize its propagan da so as to reach every element of the population; the farmer, the Unions, the arm. the co operatives, etc. And the organization itsel must be a centralized one, with control over the various units, the press, the elected officials, etc, and at the same time subject to the control of the membership. Only such an organization can rally to its support the intelligent and class conscious workers of America.
The battle that is bein waged by the organized clothing manufacturers over the East and the Middle West against the Amalgamated Clothing Workers has been an object lesson well worth the. closer attention of organized labor. That it has, in the main, been foug out before the courts, because the manufacturers hoped to exhaust the financial stren of the organization by expensive legal procee ings, serves only to add to its significance. No piece of radical literature, no inflametory speech could demonstrate more clearly the hopelessness of the workingmen position in present day societ. could show with more brutal frankness that all e powers of the state, from the meanest policeman on his rounds, to the highest courts in e country stand in a solid phalanx to protect the interests of the capitalist class.
But of all the decismns rendered against the Amalgamated in the last few weeks and months, none deserves more credit for frankness than that of Judge James van Siclen of the Brooklyn Sugreme Court. In granting an injunction against Amalgamated to the firm of Schwartz alfee, Inc.
the judge leaves nothing to the imagination. Indeed were it not signed his Honor name, portions of his statement, we car, would be suflicient to land some unfortunate communist in jail. Surely one can hardly ask for a more masterly and more convincing exposition on the existence of a bitter classstruggle in the United States than that here given. The issue between the arties, sa Jud e van Siclen, is. nothing more an the ol conflict beween capital and labor. The swing of the pendulum is influenced almost entirely by the law of supply and demand, and neither capital nor labor at any time is satisfied to be governed by the len or sweep to and fro. When capital has e upper hand it will continue to grind down labor, and when labor is in the ascendant it will in turn continue to harass, cheat and seek to either control or destroy capital. Neither at any time is willing to give the quid pro quo, and the never ceasing conflict goes on.
There is nothing new in the foregoing sentences to be sure, nothing that has not been said over an over again by every socialist writer and speaker since the time when Marx and Engels first based their messages to the working class u on that same fundamental theory of the class war. ew, however, is the oflicial recognition of this class war by an American Court of Justice. Hitherto it has been the established custom of all courts where conflicts between capital and labor were brought to trial to e old fiction that all men in this regublic iclen Marx he are free and equal before the law. Jud van acorns such shallow pretense. With recognizes the existence of a class strug 1e, of a never ceasing conflict. With Karl Marx e recognizes that no man can hope to do justice to both Sides, that the courts cannot find the balancing cint by boxmg the compass of judicial opinion rom extreme radicalim to ultra conservatism. He openly admits that in a conflict between labor and capital The courts must stand at all times as the representatives of capital, of captains of industry, devoted to the principle of individual initiative, protect property and persons from violence and destruction, strongly o posed to all schemes for the natimwlizatlon of 12 why, and yet some labor from oppression, and cmfliatoiy toward the removal of the workers just grievances.
In other words, Judge van Siclen realizing that there can be no neutrality no understanding, no justice between ca ital and labor, places the judicia of the country our square u on the side of ca itg, proclaiming to the world the dictatorship o the ruling class, upheld and perpetuated by the courts in the name of democracy.
We who have em; a lifetime in the vain endeavor to bring this truth home to the American working class, owe Judge van Siclen a vote of thanks. When once these representatives of justice have shown to a disillusioned working class that the courts are but the servants, the lackeys, of their oppressors, when labor loses its blind reverence for the impartial sacredness of our courts and of our laws and institutions, when it learns, like Judge van Siclen, to take sides in the class war, our work is almost done.
To the advanced proletariat and to sociallyminded, thinkin men and women of America generally it is a truism that the American Constitution is, as it was intended to be by its authors, a bulwark of private propert. a uarantee of the perpetuation of the class e of property owning classes.
So, while it is not surprising to us that the Appellate Division of the Sn reme Court in affirming the conviction of Ben Gitlow declared the anarchy law passed in the excitement following the assassination of President McKinle to be in full accord with the Constitution, this wi be a healthy shock to the many sincerely liberal Americans who have been accustomed to regard the Constitution as an instrument of democratic rule and a safeguard of popular liberties.
To prove that Gitlow feloniously advocated, advised and taught the duty, necessity, and propriety of overthromng and overturning or zed Government by force, violence and unlaw means, it was merely necessary for Justice Laughlin to point to the criminal doctrines contained in the Left