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And that will be a good
thing, because otherwise we might not be able to keep in. We're in;
let us stay in.

"If the capitalists had designed the very best way in which to
perpetuate their power, they could not have hit upon anything
better for themselves than this. It keeps the working class
occupied, it diverts their minds from the real questions that
pertain to their condition; it appeals to their sporting instincts;
we want to win, we want to cheer our own victory, we want to stay
in; this is the way to these results. And meantime the capitalists
rake off the profits and are happy. We are infinitely better off in
the United States. The Labor Party of Australia has killed the pure
proletarian movement there. At least we have the beginnings of one
here. If there had been no Labor Party, there would now be in
Australia a promising working-class movement headed towards
industrial emancipation. Having a Labor Party, there is no such
movement in sight....

"You say: Surely it was something gained in New Zealand to secure
limited hours of employment, to have sanitary factories, clean
luncheon rooms, old-age pensions, workingmen's compensation. Surely
all these things represented progress and an advance toward the
true ideal.

"Yes. But every one of these things has been magnified, distorted
and exaggerated for the purpose and with the result of keeping the
workingman quiet about more vital things. How say you to that?
Every pretended release from his chains has been in fact a new form
of tether on his limbs. What about that? I should think meanly of
myself if I did not rejoice every time a workingman's hours are
reduced or the place wherein he is condemned to toil is made more
nearly tolerable. But what shall we conclude when these things are
deliberately employed to distract his thoughts from fundamental
conditions and when all this state of stagnation is wrought by the
alluring game of politics?

"I cannot help thinking that all this has or ought to have a lesson
for the Socialist movement in America. If it be desired to kill
that movement, the most effective way would be to get it entangled
in some form of practical politics. Then the real and true aim of
the movement can at once be lost sight of and this party can go the
way of every other proletarian party down to the pit. I should not
think that was a very good way to go.

"When we come to reason of it calmly, what can be gained by
electing any human being to any office beneath the skies? To get in
and keep in does not seem any sort of an object to any one that
will contemplate the possibilities of the Co÷perative Commonwealth.
How shall it profit the working class to have Mr. Smith made
sheriff or Mr. Jones become the coroner? Something else surely is
the goal of this magnificent inspiration. In England the radicals
have all gone mad on the subject of a successful parliamentary
party, the winning of the government, the filling of offices, and
the like. I am told that the leaders of the coalition movement have
already picked out their prime minister against the day when they
shall carry the country and be in. In the meantime they, too, must
play this game carefully, being constantly on their guard against
doing anything that would alarm or antagonize the bourgeoisie and
sacred businesses and telling the workers to wait until we get in.
I do not see that all this relieves the situation in Whitechapel or
that any fewer men and women live in misery because we have a
prospect of getting in.

"Furthermore, to speak quite frankly, I do not see where there is a
particle of inspiration for Americans in any of these
English-speaking countries. So far as I can make out the whole of
mankind that dwells under the British flag is more or less mad
about political success, Parliament and getting in. They say in New
Zealand that the government can make a conservative of any radical,
if he threatens to become dangerous, by giving him some tin-horn
honor or a place in the upper chamber. In England we have seen too
often that the same kind of influences can silence a radical by
inviting him to the king's garden party or allowing him to shake
hands with a lord. I do not believe we have anything to learn from
these countries except what to avoid."


FOOTNOTES:

[108] Quoted by John Graham Brooks, in article above cited.

[109] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Society," p. 60.

[110] Philip Snowden, "A Socialist Budget."

[111] Speech in Carnegie Hall, New York, Jan. 13, 1909.

[112] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Society," p. 36.

[113] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Government," Vol. I, p. 1.

[114] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Society," p. 114.

[115] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Society," p. 116.

[116] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Government," Vol. II, p. 130.

[117] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Government," Vol. I, p. 91.

[118] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Government," Vol. II, p. 4.

[119] Report on Fabian Policy, p. 13.

[120] The _Socialist Review_, January, 1909, p. 888.

[121] John A. Hobson, "The Crisis of Liberalism," p. 46.

[122] John A. Hobson, "The Crisis of Liberalism," p. 6.

[123] J. R. MacDonald, "Socialism and Society," p. 133.

[124] Editorial in the _Socialist Review_ (London), May, 1910.

[125] "Socialism and Government," Vol. II, p. 12.

[126] Andrew Carnegie, "Problems of To-day," pp. 123 ff.

[127] The _New Age_, Nov. 4, 1909.

[128] "Fabian Essays," p. 180.

[129] "Fabian Essays," p. 187.

[130] "Fabian Essays," p. 184.

[131] "Fabianism and the Empire," p. 5.

[132] H. G. Wells, "New Worlds for Old," pp. 268-275.

[133] H. G. Wells, "New Worlds for Old," pp. 268-275.

[134] John A. Hobson, "The Crisis of Liberalism," pp. 116, 132.

[135] H. G. Wells, "First and Last Things," p. 242.

[136] The _New Age_ (London), June 23, 1910.

[137] The _New Age_, June 2, 1910.

[138] The _New Age_, Dec. 23, 1909.

[139] The _New Age_, Jan. 4, 1908.

[140] The _New Age_, June 23, 1910.

[141] The _New York Call_, Oct. 22 and 29, 1911.

[142] The _New Age_, March 26, 1910.

[143] The _New York Call_, Oct. 22, 1911.




CHAPTER IV

"REFORMISM" IN THE UNITED STATES


Because of our greater European immigration and more advanced economic
development, the Socialist movement in this country, as has been
remarked by many of those who have studied it, is more closely
affiliated with that of the continent of Europe than with that of Great
Britain.

The American public has been grievously misinformed as to the
development of revolutionary Socialism in this country. A typical
example is the widely noticed article by Prof. Robert F. Hoxie,
entitled, "The Rising Tide of Socialism."

After analyzing the Socialist vote into several contradictory elements,
Professor Hoxie concludes:--


"There seems to be a definite law of the development of Socialism
which applies both to the individual and to the group. The law is
this: The creedalism and immoderateness of Socialism, other things
being equal, vary inversely with its age and responsibility. The
average Socialist recruit begins as a theoretical impossibilist and
develops gradually into a constructive opportunist. Add a taste of
real responsibility and he is hard to distinguish from a liberal
reformer."[144]


On the contrary, the "theoretical impossibilists," however obstructive,
have never been more than a handful, and the revolutionists, in spite of
the very considerable and steady influx of reformers into the movement,
have increased still more rapidly. That is, revolutionary Socialism is
growing in this country--as elsewhere--and a very large and increasing
number of the Socialists are become more and more revolutionary. From
the beginning the American movement has been radical and the
"reformists" have been heavily outvoted in every Congress of the present
Party--in 1901, 1904, 1908, and 1910, while the most prominent
revolutionist, Eugene V. Debs, has been its nominee for President at
each Presidential election, since its foundation (1900, 1904, and
1908).[145]

Aside from a brief experience with the so-called municipal Socialism in
Massachusetts in 1900 and 1902, the national movement gave little
attention to the effort to secure the actual enactment of immediate
reforms until the success of the Milwaukee Socialists (in 1910) in
capturing the city government and electing one of its two Congressmen.
There had always been a program of reforms indorsed by the Socialists.
But this program had been misnamed "Immediate Demands," as the Party had
concentrated its attention _almost exclusively_ on its one great demand,
the overthrow of capitalist government.

In the fall elections of 1910 it was observed for the first time that
certain Socialist candidates in various parts of the country ran far
ahead of the rest of the Socialist ticket, and that some of those
elected to legislatures and local offices owed their election to this
fact. This appeared to indicate that these candidates had bid for and
obtained a large share of the non-Socialist vote. A cry of alarm was
thereupon raised by many American Socialists. The statement issued by
Mr. Eugene V. Debs on this occasion, entitled "Danger Ahead," was
undoubtedly representative of the views of the majority. As Mr. Debs has
been, on three occasions, the unanimous choice of the Socialist Party of
the United States as its candidate for the Presidency, he remains
unquestionably the most influential member of the Party. I, therefore,
quote his statement at length, as the most competent estimate obtainable
of the present situation as regards reformism in the American Socialist
movement:--


"The danger I see ahead," wrote Mr.



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