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Its philosophy is being studied by the
greatest minds of the world, and it deserves study because it promises a
better, a safer, and a fairer life to the masses. But as yet it is only
a theory, a hypothesis. It has never been tried _in toto_.... It has
succeeded only where it has allied itself with liberal and opportunist
rather than radical policies."[4]

As the Socialist movement has nowhere achieved political power,
obviously it can neither claim political success or be accused of
political failure. Nor does this fact leave Socialism as a mere theory,
in view of its admitted and highly significant success in organizing and
educating the masses in many countries and animating them with the
purpose of controlling industry and government.

Mr. John Graham Brooks, in the _Atlantic Monthly_, gives us another
equally typical variation of the same fundamental misunderstanding.
"Never a theory of social reconstruction was spun in the gray mists of
the mind," says Mr. Brooks, "that was not profoundly modified when
applied to life. Socialism as a theory is already touching life at a
hundred points, and among many peoples--Socialism has been a faith. It
is slowly becoming scientific, in a sense and to the extent that it
submits its claims to the comparative tests of experience."[5]

Undoubtedly Socialist theories have been spun both within and without
the movement, and to many Socialism has been a faith. But neither faith
nor theory has had much to do with the great reality that is now
overshadowing all others in the public mind; namely, the existence of a
Socialist movement. The Socialism of this movement has never consisted
in ready-made formulas which were later subjected to "the comparative
test of experience"; it has always grown out of the experience of the
movement in the first instance.

Another typical article, in _Collier's Weekly_, admits that Socialism
is now a movement. But as the writer, like so many others, conceives of
Socialism as having been, in its inception, a "theory," a "doctrine"
promoted by "Utopian dreaming," "incendiary rhetoric," an "anti-civic
jargon," he naturally views it with little real sympathy and
understanding even in its present form. The same Socialism that was
accused of all this narrowness is suddenly and completely transformed
into a movement of such breadth that it has neither a new message nor
even a separate existence.

"It is merely a new offshoot of a very old faith indeed," we are now
told, "the ideal of the altruistic dreamers of all ages, an awakened
sense of brotherhood in men. Stripped of all its husks, Socialism stands
for no other aim than that. All its other teachings, the public
ownership of the land, for example, the nationalization of the means of
production and distribution, the economic emancipation of woman, have
only program values, as they lead to that one end. Whether, so stripped,
it ceases to be Socialism and becomes merely the advance guard of the
world-wide liberal movement is not, of course, a question of more than
academic interest."[6]

The moment it can no longer be denied that Socialism is a movement, it
is at once confused with other movements to which it is fundamentally
and irreconcilably opposed. Surely this is no mere mental error, but a
deep-seated and irrepressible aversion to what is to many a disagreeable
truth,--the rapid growth and development, in many countries, of
political parties and labor organizations more and more seriously
determined to annihilate the power of private property over industry and

The radical misconceptions above quoted, almost universal where
Socialism is still young, are by no means confined to non-Socialists.
Many writers who are supposed, in some degree at least, to voice the
movement, are as guilty as those who wholly repudiate it. Mr. H. G.
Wells, for instance, says that Socialism is a "system of ideas," and
that "Socialism and the Socialist movement are two different things."[7]
If Socialism is indeed no more than a "growing realization of
constructive needs in every man's mind," and if every man is more or
less a Socialist, then there is certainly no need for that antagonism to
employers and property owners of which Mr. Wells complains.

Mr. Wells himself gives the true Socialist standpoint when he goes on to
write that political parties must be held together "by interests and
habits, not ideas." "Every party," he continues, "stands essentially for
the interests and mental usages of some definite class or group of
classes in the existing community.... No class will abolish itself,
materially alter its way or life, or drastically reconstruct itself,
albeit no class is indisposed to co÷perate in the unlimited
socialization of any other class. In that capacity of aggression upon
the other classes lies the essential driving force of modern

The habits and interests of a large and growing part of the population
in every modern country are developing a capacity for effective
aggression against the class which controls industry and government. As
this class will not socialize or abolish itself, the rest of the people,
Socialists predict, will undertake the task. And the abolition of
capitalism, they believe, will be a social revolution the like of which
mankind has hitherto neither known nor been able to imagine.


[1] John Spargo, "Karl Marx," pp. 312, 331.

[2] John Spargo, _op. cit._, p. 116.

[3] John Spargo, _op. cit._, p. 73.

[4] The _Independent_ (New York), commenting on the Socialist victory in
the Milwaukee municipal elections of April, 1910.

[5] "Recent Socialist Literature," by John Graham Brooks, _Atlantic
Monthly_, 1910. Page 283.

[6] _Collier's Weekly_, July 30, 1910.

[7] H. G. Wells, "Socialism and the Family."

[8] H. G. Wells, "The New Macchiavelli."






Only that statesman, writer, or sociologist has the hearing of the
public to-day who can bind all his proposed reforms together into some
large and far-sighted plan.

Mr. Roosevelt, in this new spirit, has spoken of the "social
reorganization of the United States," while an article in one of the
first numbers of _La Follette's Weekly_ protested against any program of
reform "which fails to deal with society as a whole, which proposes to
remedy certain abuses but admits its incapacity to reach and remove the
roots of the other perhaps more glaring social disorders."

Some of those who have best expressed the need of a general and complete
social reorganization have done so in the name of Socialism. Mr. J. R.
MacDonald, recently chairman of the British Labour Party, for example
writes that the problem set up by the Socialists is that of
"co-ordinating the forces making for a reconstruction of society and of
giving them rational coherence and unity,"[9] while the organ of the
middle-class Socialists of England says that their purpose is "to compel
legislators to organize industry."[10]

Indeed, the necessity and practicability of an orderly and systematic
reorganization in industrial society has been the central idea of
British Socialists from the beginning, while they have been its chief
exponents in the international Socialist movement. But the idea is
equally widespread outside of Socialist circles. It will be hard for
British Socialists to lay an exclusive claim to this conception when
comrades of such international prominence as Edward Bernstein, who holds
the British view of Socialism, assert that Socialism itself is nothing
more than "organizing Liberalism."[11]

Whether Socialists were the first to promote the new political
philosophy or not, it is undeniable that the Radicals and Liberals of
Great Britain and other countries have now taken it up and are making it
their own. Mr. Winston Churchill, while Chairman of the Board of Trade,
and Mr. Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer, members of the
British Cabinet, leaders of the Liberal Party, recognize that the
movement among governments towards a conscious _reorganization of
industry_ is general and demands that Great Britain should keep up with
other countries.

"Look at our neighbor and friendly rival, Germany," said Mr. Churchill
recently. "I see that great State organized for peace and organized for
war, to a degree to which we cannot pretend.... A more scientific, a
more elaborate, a more comprehensive social organization is
indispensable to our country if we are to surmount the trials and
stresses which the future years will bring. It is this organization that
the policy of the Budget will create."[12]

Advanced and radical reformers of the new type all over the world, those
who put forward a general plan of reform and wish to go to the common
roots of our social evils, demand, first of all, _reorganization_. But
how is such a reorganization to be worked out? The general programs have
in every country many features in common. To see what this common basis
is, let us look at the generalizations of some of the leading reformers.

One of the most scientific and "constructive" is Mr. Sidney Webb. No one
has so thoroughly mastered the history of trade unionism, and no one has
done more to promote "municipal Socialism" in England, both in theory
and in practice, for he has been one of the leaders of the energetic and
progressive London County council from the beginning of the present
reform period. He has also been one of the chief organizers of the more
or less Socialistic Fabian Society, which has done more towards
popularizing social reform in England than any other single educative
force, besides sending into all the corners of the world a new and
rounded theory of social reform--the work for the most part of Sidney
Webb, Bernard Shaw, and a few others.

Mr. Webb has given us several excellent phrases which will aid us to sum
up the typical social reformers' philosophy in a few words. He insists
that what every country requires, and especially Great Britain, is to
center its attention on the promotion of the "national efficiency." This
refers largely to securing a businesslike and economic administration
of the existing government functions.

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Keywords: scientific, program, spargo, england, experience, typical, indeed, brooks, common, others
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