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By the primary laws
of a number of States, anybody who for any reason has voted for
Socialist candidates may henceforth have a voice not only in selecting
candidates, but in forming the party organization, and in constructing
its platform. In some States even, any citizen may vote at any primary
he pleases. This makes it possible for capitalist politicians to direct
or disrupt the Socialist Party at any moment, until the time arrives
when it has secured a majority or a very large part of the electorate,
not only as Socialist voters, but as members of the Socialist
organization. As Socialists do not expect this to happen for some years
to come, or until the social revolution is at hand, it is evident that
this new legislation may destroy Socialist parties as they have been,
and necessitate the direction of Socialist politics by leagues or
political committees of Socialist labor unions--while the present
Socialist parties become Populist or Labor parties of the Australian
type. _This might create a revolution for the better in that it would
free the new Socialist organization from office seeking and other forms
of political corruption._ But it would at the same time mark the
complete abandonment of the present Socialist method, _i.e._ the strict
control of all persons elected to office by an independent organization
which in turn controls its conditions of admission to membership.

One of the most widely circulated of the leaflets issued from the
national headquarters of the American Socialist Party, entitled
"Socialist Methods" appeals for public support largely on the ground
that "in nominating candidates for public offices the Socialists require
the nominee to sign a resignation of the office with blank date, which
is placed in the hands of the local organization to be dated and
presented to the proper officer in case the candidate be elected and
fails to adhere to the platform, constitution, or mandates of the
membership."

The newer primary laws taken in connection with the recall, as practiced
in many American cities and several States, threaten this most valuable
of all Socialist methods and may even undermine the Socialist Party as
at present organized. The initiative in this process of disruption
comes, of course, from Socialist officeholders who owe either their
nomination or their election or both, in part at least, to declared
non-Socialists, and still more largely to voters who only partially or
occasionally support the Socialist Party and have no connection with the
organization.

Thus, Mayor Stitt Wilson of Berkeley, California, has refused to comply
with this custom of executing an undated resignation from office in
advance of election, and the local organization has defended his action
on the ground that the "Berkeley municipal charter, providing as it does
for the initiative, referendum, and recall, there is no necessity for
any official placing his resignation in the hands of the local,"
ignoring the fact that a handful of the least Socialistic of those who
had voted for Mr. Wilson in co÷peration with his opponents could defeat
a recall unanimously indorsed by the Socialist Party. According to this
principle a mere majority in the Socialist Party would be helpless
against a mayor who is allowed to make his appeal to the far more
numerous non-Socialist and anti-Socialist public.

As the custom of requiring signed resignations, by which alone the
Socialist Party controls its members in public office, is not yet
prescribed by the Party constitution, local and state organizations have
a large measure of autonomy, and the Berkeley case was dropped until the
next national convention (1912). But the action taken by the Socialists
of Lima, Ohio, indicates that the Party will not allow itself to be
destroyed in this manner. Mayor Shook, by his appointment to office of
non-Socialists, and even of a prominent anti-Socialist, caused the local
that elected him to present his signed resignation to the city council,
which the latter body ignored at the mayor's request. The mayor was
promptly expelled from the Party, and the Socialists of the country have
almost unanimously approved the expulsion.[202]

The comment of the _New York Call_ on this incident undoubtedly reflects
the feeling of the majority of the Socialist Party:--


"Owing to the multiplicity of elections we must go through, owing
to the peculiar division and subdivision of the administrative
authority in this country, this is a thing we shall have to face
with accumulating frequency. But that the Socialist Party is sound
on the theories of what it is after, and on its own rights as an
organization, are both demonstrated by the action taken by Local
Lima. The members permanently expelled the traitor. Now let him go
ahead and do what he can, personally gain what he can. He does it
as a non-Socialist, as a man who is held up to contempt by every
decent party member, and is probably held in the most absolute
contempt by those who were able to seduce him with such ease.

"At the present state of our development, it is easy for a
plausible adventurer to take advantage of the Socialist movement
and to use it to a certain point. Where such an adventurer falls
down never to rise again, is when he tries 'to deliver the goods'
to those whom he serves....

"That he did not possess even rudimentary honesty is shown by the
fact that he prevented his letter of resignation from being
received by the City Council. This manner of resignation is not and
never has been with the Socialists a mere formality. It is a
vital, necessary thing, and should be insisted upon at all times
and in all places. No man should go on the ticket unless he has
signed the resignation, and no man, unless he is a scoundrel, will
sign it unless he intends to live up to it.

"There may be other Shooks in the party, but they should be
searched out before nominations, instead of being permitted to
reveal themselves after nomination."[203]


"The Socialist Party must conform to the conditions imposed upon other
parties," says Mr. J. R. MacDonald in agreement with Mr. Wilson's
position.[204] On the contrary, no Socialist Party could possibly
survive such an attitude. It is only the refusal to conform that assures
their continued existence.

There is no possibility that the Socialist parties of Continental Europe
would for a moment allow the State to prescribe their form of
organization. Kautsky thus describes the German and the French methods
of control:--


"A class is only sure that its interests in Parliament will always
be furthered by its representatives in the most decisive and for
the time being most effective manner, if it is not content with
electing them to Parliament, but always oversees and directs their
Parliamentary activities."


Kautsky illustrates this principle of controlling elected persons by
referring to the methods of labor unions, and proceeds:--


"The same mass action, the same discipline, the same 'tyranny'
which characterize the economic organizations of labor is also
suitable to labor parties, and this discipline applies not only to
the masses, it also applies to those who represent them before the
public, to its leaders. No one of these, no matter in what position
he may be, can undertake any kind of political action against the
will or _even without the consent of his comrades_. The Social
Democratic representative is no free man in _this capacity_, as
burdensome as that may sound, but the delegate of his party. If his
views come into conflict with theirs, then he must cease to be
their representative.

"The present-day Member of Parliament ... is not the delegate of
his election district, but, as a matter of fact, if not legally,
the delegate of his party. But this is not true of any party to
such an extent as it is of the Social Democracy. And while the
party discipline of the bourgeois parties is, in truth, the
discipline of a small clique which stands above the separated
masses of voters, with the Social Democracy it is the discipline of
an organization which embraces the whole mass of the aggressive and
intelligent part of the proletariat, and which is stretching
itself more and more to embrace the whole of the working class."
(My italics.)[205]


In the introduction to the same booklet, Kautsky sums up for us in a few
words the methods in use in France:--


"Our French comrades have created for the solution of this
difficulty a body between the Party Congress and the Party
Executive like our Committee of Control, but different from the
latter in that it counts more members who are elected not by the
Congress, but directly by the comrades of the various districts
which they represent. A right to elect five members to the Party
Congress gives the right to elect one member to the National
Council.

"The National Council elects from the twenty-two members of the
permanent Executive Committee the five party secretaries, whose
functions are paid. It conducts the general propaganda, oversees
the execution of party decisions, prepares for the Congresses,
oversees the party press and the group in Parliament, and has the
right to undertake all measures which the situation at the moment
demands."[206]


We see that the Socialist members of the national legislatures, both in
Germany and France, are under the most rigid control, and we cannot
doubt that if such control becomes impossible on account of legislation
enacted by hostile governments, an entirely new form of organization
will be devised by which the members of the Socialist Party can regain
this power. Either this will be done, or the "Socialist" Party which
continues to exist in a form dictated by its enemies, will be Socialist
in name only, and Socialists will reorganize--probably along the lines I
have suggested.

It would seem, then, that neither by an attack from without or from
within is the revolutionary character of Socialism or the essential
unity of the Socialist organization to be destroyed.

The departure from the Party of individuals or factions that had not
recognized its true nature, and were only there by some misunderstanding
or by local or temporary circumstances is a necessary part of the
process of growth.



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Keywords: should, candidates, manner, moment, political, oversees, delegate, primary, berkeley, unless
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