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Berger himself has admitted; see Chapter VI).

In explanation of what he meant by the Bernstein doctrine, Mr. Berger
wrote in 1902: "Others condemn every reform which is to precede the
'Great Revolution.' ... Nothing can be more absurd.... Progress is not
attained by simply waiting for a majority of people, for the general
reconstruction, for the promised hour of deliverance.... We wicked
'opportunists' want action.... We want to reconstruct society, and we
must go to work without delay, and work ceaselessly for the co÷perative
Commonwealth, the ideal of the future. But we want to change conditions
now. We stand for scientific Socialism."[148]

It is quite true that there was a Socialist Party in this country before
1900, a large part of which ridiculed every reform that can come before
the expected revolution, but these "Impossibilists" are now a dwindling
handful. Nearly every Socialist now advocates all progressive reforms,
but different views obtain as to which of these reforms do, and which
of them do not, properly come within the Socialists' sphere of action.

Mr. Berger's opinion is that the Socialists should take the lead in
practically all immediate reform activities, and belittles all other
reformers. No sooner had Senator La Follette appeared on the political
horizon in 1904 than Mr. Berger classed him with Mr. Bryan, as
"visionary."[149] And after Senator La Follette had become recognized as
perhaps the most effective radical the country has produced, Mr. Berger
still persisted in referring to him as "personally honest, but
politically dishonest," and was quoted as saying, with particular
reference to the Senator and his ideas of reform, and to the great
satisfaction of the reactionary press: "An insurgent is 60 per cent of
old disgruntled politician, 30 per cent clear hypocrisy, 9 per cent
nothing, and 1 per cent Socialism. Put in a bottle and shake well before
using and you will have a so-called 'progressive.'"[150]

Let us see how the Socialist platform in Wisconsin differs from that of
the insurgent Republicans and Democrats. It begins with the statement
that the movement aims at "better food, better houses, sufficient sleep,
more leisure, more education, and more culture." All progressive and
honest reform movements stand for all these things and, as I have shown,
promise gradually to get them. Under capitalism per capita wealth and
income are increased rapidly and the capitalists can well afford to
grant to the workers more and more of all the things mentioned, not out
of fear of Socialism, but to provide in the future for that steady
increase of industrial efficiency which is destined to be the greatest
source of future profits.

The platform goes on to state that "the final aim of the
Social-Democratic Party is the emancipation of the producers and the
abolition of the capitalist system" and describes the list of reforms it
proposes as "mere palliatives, capable of being carried out even under
present conditions." But it also suggests that these measures are in
part, though not all, Socialistic, whereas a careful comparison with the
Democratic and Republican platforms, especially the latter, shows that
they are practically all adopted by the capitalist parties (not only in
Wisconsin, but in States where the Socialists have no representation
whatever). If the Social-Democrats of Wisconsin demand more government
ownership and labor legislation, the Republicans are somewhat more
insistent on certain extensions of political democracy--as in the demand
for less partisan primaries.

The New York Socialist platform makes very similar demands to that of
Wisconsin, but precedes them by the long explanation (see Chapter VI) of
the Socialist view of the class struggle, which the Wisconsin platform
barely mentions, while containing declarations that might be interpreted
as contradicting it. _The Wisconsin idea is that a Socialist minority in
the nation has actual power to obtain reforms that will advance us
towards Socialism and that would not otherwise be obtained. The New York
idea is that a Socialist minority can have no other reforming power than
any honest reform minority, unless Socialism has actually won or is
about to win a majority._

The legislature of Wisconsin has doubtless gone somewhat faster than
those of other "progressive" States, on account of the presence of the
"Social-Democrats." It has passed the latters' resolutions, for example,
calling for the government ownership of coal mines and of such railroad,
telegraph, telephone, and express companies as pass into the hands of
receivers, and also to apply incomes from natural resources to old-age
pensions as well as other resolutions already mentioned. But an
inspection of the resolutions of the legislatures of other States where
there are no Socialist legislators and only a relatively small per cent
of Socialists shows action almost if not quite as radical. This and the
fact that a very radical tendency appeared in Wisconsin when Mr. La
Follette was governor and before Socialism had any apparent power in
that State, suggests that the influence of the latter has been entirely

The _Social-Democratic Herald_ complains significantly, at a later date,
of "the cowardly and hypocritical Socialistic platforms of the two older
parties," while Mr. Berger was lately predicting that Senator La
Follette would be "told to get out" of the Republican Party. The
reformer who was so recently "retrogressive" had now become a rival in
reform. Mr. Berger, however, claims that he does not object when
reformers "steal the Socialist thunder." If both are striving after the
"immediately attainable," how indeed could there be any lasting
conflict, or serious difference of opinion? Or if there is to be any
difference at all between Socialists and "Insurgents," is it not clear
that the Socialists must reject, absolutely, Berger's principles, and
follow Bebel's advice (quoted below), _i.e. concentrate their attention
exclusively on "thunder" which the enemy will not and cannot steal_?

But perhaps an even more striking indication of the nature of Milwaukee
Socialism is shown by the very general welcome it has received among
capitalist organs of all parties, from the _Outlook, Collier's Weekly_,
the _Saturday Evening Post_, and the _American Magazine_, to the _New
York Journal_, the _New York World_, the _Chicago Tribune_, the
_Milwaukee Journal_, and other capitalist papers all over the country.
The _New York Journal_ stated editorially after the municipal election
of 1910, that won Milwaukee for the Socialists of the Berger School,
that the men of Milwaukee who have accumulated millions show no signs of
fear and that "before the election many of the biggest Milwaukee
business men (including at least two of the brewers) had expressed
themselves privately in admiration of Mr. Berger and his character _and
his purposes_." (My italics.)[151]

_La Follette's Weekly_ on this occasion quoted from an editorial of Mr.
Berger in which he had written: "We must show the people of Milwaukee
that the philosophy of international Socialism can be applied and will
be applied to the local situation, and that it can be applied with
advantage to any American city of the present day.... It is our duty to
give this city the best kind of an administration that _a modern city
can get under the present system, and the present laws_." (My italics.)
La Follette's repeats the phrase in italics and adds that this policy
contains "nothing to arouse fear on the part of the business interests
that is tangible enough to be felt or genuine enough to be contagious,"
that the people want "new blood in the city offices," "had confidence in
the Socialist candidates," and "are not afraid of a name."

I have mentioned Liebknecht's remark that the enemy's praise is a sign
of failure. Debs in this country is reported as saying, "When the
political or economic leaders of the wage worker are recommended for
their good sense and wise action by capitalists, it is proof that they
have become misleaders and cannot be trusted."

It may be imagined that the revolutionary Socialists have never approved
these tactics of Mr. Berger's and do so less to-day than ever. His
anti-immigration proposals were defeated by a large majority at the last
Socialist congress and some of the best-known Socialists and organs of
Socialist opinion have definitely repudiated his policy. Mr. J. G.
Phelps Stokes, formerly a member of the National Executive Committee,
declared publicly, after the Milwaukee victory of 1910, that the
Milwaukee Socialists "had compromised with capitalism" by their campaign
utterances, and in certain instances had acted as "mere reformers, not
as Socialists at all." It is not surprising that the anti-Socialist
reform press thereupon took up the cudgels in behalf of Mr. Berger,
including the _New York World_, the _Chicago Tribune_, and _Milwaukee
Journal_. The last-named paper very curiously claimed that, wherever
Socialists "have been intrusted with the powers of the government," they
have taken a similar course to that of Mr. Berger. This is that very
obvious truth of which I have spoken in preceding chapters, namely, that
when Socialists have allowed themselves to be saddled with the
responsibilities of some department or local branch of government,
_without having the sovereign power_ needed to apply _Socialist
principles_, they have frequently found themselves in an untenable
situation. The Socialists have been the first to recognize this, and for
this reason oppose any entrance of Socialists into capitalist
governments, _i.e._ their acceptance of minority positions in national
cabinets or councils of State. (See Chapters II, VI, and VII.)

Expressing the belief of the overwhelming majority of those who are
watching the progress of affairs in Milwaukee, the _Journal_ of that
city stated, "What they [the Socialists] are doing [in Milwaukee] is not
essentially Socialistic, though some of the reforms they propose are
Socialistic in tendency." This need not be taken to mean that the
Milwaukee reforms are supposed to tend to Socialism as Socialists in
general understand it, but rather to that capitalistic collectivism to
which Mr.

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Keywords: parties, radical, honest, quoted, progressive, states, berger's, political, opinion, mentioned
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