12 THE CLASS STRUGGLE THE CLASS STRUGGLE 13 rels which will immediately be patched up the moment the toiling masses should show any sign of revolt the erstwhile enemies uniting their energies in an effort to crush the real common enemy.
The question as to which is the deeper and more fundamental division that along national lines or that along class lines lies at the basis of all our problems. It is here that the old Interational has failed in not laying the proper emphasis on the correct answer and therefore permitting confusion of thought, timidity of action, and attempts to serve two masters. The work of building the new International which will surely arise on the ruins of the old, like the work of speeding the termination of the great war and the establishment of a lasting peace, can only be done intelligently and with some prospect of success if it is based on a full understanding of this fundamental question, and a full realization that to compromise at this point means to invite a new disaster.
This conception of political action is false theoretically, and in practice leads ultimately to disaster. In itself it cannot develop the independence and aggressive action of the working class which are necessary in order that it may achieve its final emancipation. But, related to the general mass action of the proletariat, parliamentary action becomes a vital phase of Socialist activity.
This conception imposes the task of developing a new form of economic organization Industrial Unionism. Craft unionism, as typified in the American Federation of Labor, is an archaic form of organization. It is unresponsive to the industrial development of our day and to the revolutionary requirements of the coming crisis. The of L, has officially acquiesced to Burgfrieden in the coming war, has pledged its support to the government of the ruling class; moreover, it practices a form of Burgfrieden during peace, in its concept of the identity of interests between labor and capital a theory that, however much violated in the every day practice of the labor movement, exerts a potent influence in great crises, by narrowing the vision and weakening the fighting powers of the working class.
The class struggle is fundamental. It is the acid test of Socialist action. There is not and can be no Socialism that is not built solidly upon the basis of the class struggle. And the class struggle determines our course of action equally within the nation as well as in matters of international policy. The requirements of the class struggle compel the Socialist movement to adopt a policy of aggressive action against Capitalism. There can be no compromise in any shape or form with any party of the capitalist opposition.
The class struggle, moreover, excludes the narrow and deadening conception of political action as meaning merely the participation in elections and parliamentary legislative activity. In the vocabulary of Socialism, political action has a much deeper and broader meaning: it means the struggles and activities of the working class which have the overthrow of capitalism by the working class as their aim, and of which parliamentary activity is only a part. The conception of political action as parliamentary activity only leads to that parliamentary cretinism denounced by Marx, which produces the illusion that the whole world and its social process revolve about the parliament.
The Socialist Party itself cannot re organize and reconstruct the industrial organizations of the working class. That is the task of the economic organizations of the working class themselves. But the party may assist this process of re organization by a propaganda for industrial unionism as part of its general activities, and by co operation with the most progressive forces in the labor movement. It is our task to do the pioneer work of the working class, to clarify and express its gropings after better things. It is the mission of the Socialist movement to encourage and assist the proletariat to adopt newer and more effective forms of organization and to stir it into newer and more revolutionary modes of action.
These are indication of the forces that must be invoked in the re organization of the American Socialist movement. And the reconstruction of our own movement is the finest contribution that we can make to the general reconstruction of the Internationa Socialist movement.