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The editorial in the _Saturday Evening Post_ is
typical:--


"Theoretically Socialism is the most ambitious of political
programs, involving nothing short of a whole-nation-wide or
world-wide revolution; but, except a solitary Congressman and
seventeen members of State legislatures, Socialists so far have
been elected only to local offices, and those usually of an
_administrative_ rather than legislative nature--elected, that is,
not to bring in a brand-new, all-embracing revolutionary program,
but to work the lumbering old bourgeois machine in a little
honester, more intelligent, kindlier manner perhaps than some
Republican or Democrat would work it.

"Designing a new world is more fascinating than scrubbing off some
small particular dirt spot on the old one--but less practical." (My
italics.)[161]


Even where _revolutionary_ Socialists carry a municipality, as they did
recently in Newcastle, Pennsylvania, the benefit to the labor movement
is probably only temporary. There the Socialist administration dismissed
the whole police force and filled their places with Socialists. The
result will undoubtedly be that the State will either make the police
irremovable, except by some complicated process, or will still further
extend the functions of the State constabulary in times of strike. The
moral effect of the victory in Newcastle, like that in Schenectady,
after the bitter labor struggles of recent years, cannot be questioned,
and this, together with temporary relief from petty persecution by local
authorities, is doubtless worth all the efforts that have been put
forth--provided the Socialists have not promised themselves and their
supporters any larger or more lasting results.

It is in view of difficulties such as these, which exist to some degree
in all countries, that in proportion as Socialists gain experience in
municipal action, they subordinate it to other forms of activity. Only
such "reformists" as are ready to abandon the last vestiges of their
Socialism persist in emphasizing a form of action that has a constant
tendency to compel all those involved to give more and more of their
time and energy to serving capitalism. Among the first Socialist
municipalities were those of Lille and Roubaix in France--which fell a
number of years ago into the hands of Guesdists, the revolutionary or
orthodox wing of the party. Rappoport reports their present position on
this question as presented at the recent Congress at St. Quentin, 1911.

"Among the Guesdists there are no municipal theorists but a great many
practical municipal men, former or present mayors: Delory (Lille), Paul
Constans (Montucon), Compère-Morel, Hubert (Nîmes), only to mention
those present at the Congress. _Through experience they have learned
that what is called municipal Socialism, is good local government, but
in no sense Socialism._ Free meals for school children, weekly subsidies
for child-bearing women, etc., are useful to the working people; this is
not Socialism, but 'collective philanthropy' according to Compère-Morel.
Reforms are good, but the main thing is Socialism. The Guesdists are no
adherents of the doctrine, 'all or nothing,' but they are also no
admirers of the new doctrine of municipal Socialism."

There can be little doubt that a few years of experience in this country
will persuade those American Socialists who are now concentrating so
much of their attention on municipalities, to give more of their
energies to State legislatures and to Congress. The present efforts will
not be lost, as they can be easily turned into a new direction. And
whatever political reaction may seem to take place, after certain
illusions have been shattered, will be a seeming reaction only, and due
to the desertion from the ranks of the supporters of the Socialist
ticket of municipal reformers who never pretended to be Socialists, but
who voted for that Party merely because no equally reliable
non-Socialist reformers were in the field, or had so good a chance of
election. Such separation of the sheep from the goats will be specially
rapid when some variation of the so-called commission form of government
will have been gradually introduced, particularly where it is
accompanied by direct legislation and the recall. For then municipal
Socialists will be deprived of all opportunity of claiming this, that,
and the other reform as having some peculiar relation to Socialism. And
this day is near at hand.

All municipal reforms that interest property owners and non-property
owners alike will then be enacted with comparative ease and rapidity,
while all political parties, and all prolonged political struggles, will
center around the conflict between employers and employees. State and
national governments will see to it that no municipality in the hands of
the working class is allowed to retain any power that it could use to
injure or weaken capitalism. And this specific limitation of the powers
of municipalities that escape local capitalist control, will be so
frequent and open that all the world will see that Socialists are going
to achieve comparatively little by "capturing" local offices.

I have already mentioned in a general way the position of the Milwaukee
Socialists in the Wisconsin legislature. Let me return now to their
representative in Congress. Mr. Berger had differentiated himself from
previous trade union Congressmen largely by proposing a series of
radical _political_ reforms: the abolition of the Senate, of the
President's veto, and of the power of the Supreme Court over the
legislation of Congress, and a call for a national constitutional
convention. Radical as they are, it is probable that these reforms are
only a foreshadowing of the position rapidly being assumed by a large
part of the collectivist but anti-Socialist "insurgents," and
"progressives." Even Mr. Roosevelt and Justice Harlan, it will be
recalled, protest in the strongest terms against the power of the
Supreme Court over legislation, and the Wisconsin legislature, by no
means under Socialist control, has initiated a call for a national
constitutional convention.

In proposing his "old-age pension" bill, Mr. Berger appended a clause
which asserted that the measure should not be subject to the
interpretation of the Supreme Court, and showed that Congress had added
a similar clause to its Reconstruction Act in 1868 and that it had later
been recognized by the Supreme Court. Later the _Outlook_ suggested that
this was a remedy less radical than the widely popular recall of judges,
and remarked that it would only be to follow the constitution of most
other countries.[162] Also Senator Owen, on the same day on which Mr.
Berger introduced his bill, spoke for the recall of federal judges on
the floor of the United States Senate. It is impossible, then, to make
any important distinction between Mr. Berger's proposed _political_
reforms, sweeping as they are, and those of other radicals of the day.

The attitude of many of the "Insurgents" and "Progressives" of the
West, is also about all that mere trade unionists could ask for. A large
majority of this element in both parties favors the repeal of the
Sherman law as applied to labor union boycotts, and Senator La Follette
and others stand even for the right of government employees to organize
labor unions. The adoption of the recall of judges, owing largely to
non-Socialist efforts in Oregon, California, and Arizona, will make
anti-union injunctions in strikes and boycotts improbable in the courts
of those States, and the widely accepted proposal for the direct
election of the federal judiciary would have a similar effect in the
federal courts. It may be many years before these measures become
general or effective, but there can be no question that they are
demanded by a large, sincere, and well-organized body of opinion outside
of the Socialist Party. The Wisconsin legislature and most other
progressive bodies have so far failed to limit injunctions. But this has
been done in the constitution of Oklahoma, and I have suggested reasons
for believing that this prohibition may soon be favored by
"Progressives" generally.

In the first Socialist speech ever made in Congress, Mr. Berger laid
bare his economic philosophy and program. The subject was the reduction
of the tariff on wool and its manufactures, and Mr. Berger defined his
position on the tariff as well as still larger issues. He declared
himself practically a free trader, though of course he did not consider
free trade as a panacea, and his speech, according to the Socialist as
well as other reports, was received with a storm of
applause--especially, of course, from free-trade Democrats.

He pointed out that the manufacturer, having thoroughly mastered the
home market, had found that tariff wars were shutting him out from the
foreign markets he now needs. He might have added, as evidenced by the
nature of the proposed reciprocity treaty with Canada, that many
manufacturers are more interested in cheap raw material and cheap food
for their workers (cheap food making low wages possible, as in
free-trade Great Britain) than they are in a high tariff, and this even
in some instances where they have a certain need for protection for the
finished product and where no great export trade is in view.

Mr. Berger forgot England when he said that the tariff falls on the poor
man's head, for England has shown that the abolition of the tariff does
not benefit the poor man in the slightest degree. Poverty is far more
widespread there than here. He pointed to the fact that the importation
of goods into the United States was restricted, while that of labor was
not. He forgot that where both are restricted, as in Australia, the
workers are no better off than here.

The arguments employed in Mr. Berger's speech, in so far as they
referred to the tariff, were for the most part not to be distinguished
from those used by the Democrats in behalf of important capitalistic
elements of the population, and hence the welcome with which they were
received by the Democratic Congress and press.



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Keywords: efforts, legislation, states, federal, progressives, wisconsin, speech, legislature, government, national
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