A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 20000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
He says:--


"There is justification for political action, and that is, to
control the forces of the capitalists that they use against us; to
be in a position to control the power of government so as to make
the work of the army ineffective.... That is the reason that you
want the power of government. That is the reason that you should
fully understand the power of the ballot.

"Now, there isn't any one, Socialist, S.L.P., Industrial Worker, or
any other working man or woman, no matter what society you belong
to, but what believes in the ballot. There are those--and I am one
of them--who refuse to have the ballot interpreted for them. I know
or think I know the power of it, and I know that the industrial
organization, as I have stated in the beginning, is its broadest
interpretation. I know, too, that when the workers are brought
together in a great organization they are not going to cease to
vote. That is when the workers will _begin_ to vote, to vote for
directors to operate the industries in which they are all
employed."


In the recent pamphlet, "Industrial Socialism," Mr. Haywood and Mr.
Frank Bonn develop the new unionism at greater length. Their conclusions
as to politics are directed, not against the Socialist Party, but
against its non-revolutionary elements:--


"The Socialist Party stands not merely for the POLITICAL supremacy
of labor. It stands for the INDUSTRIAL supremacy of labor. Its
purpose is not to secure old age pensions and free meals for school
children. Its mission is to help overthrow capitalism and establish
Socialism.

"The great purpose of the Socialist Party is to seize the powers of
government and thus prevent them from being used by the capitalists
against the workers. With Socialists in political offices the
workers can strike and not be shot. They can picket shops and not
be arrested and imprisoned.... To win the demands made on the
industrial field it is absolutely necessary to control the
government, as experience shows strikes to have been lost through
the interference of courts and militia. The same functions of
government, controlled by a class conscious working class, will be
used to inspire confidence and compel the wheels of industry to
move in spite of the devices and stumblingblocks of the
capitalists....

"Socialist government will concern itself entirely with the shop.
Socialism can demand nothing of the individual outside the shop....
It has no concern with the numberless social reforms which the
capitalists are now preaching in order to save their miserable
profit system.

"Old age pensions are not Socialism. The workers had much better
fight for higher wages and shorter hours. Old age pensions under
the present government are either charity doled out to paupers, or
bribes given to voters by politicians. Self-respecting workers
despise such means of support. Free meals or cent meals for
poverty-stricken school children are not Socialism. Industrial
freedom will enable parents to give their children solid food at
home. Free food to the workers cuts wages and kills the fighting
spirit."


The American "syndicalists" are not opposed to political action, but
they want to use it _exclusively_ for the purposes of industrial
democracy.

While Messrs. Haywood and Bohn by no means take an anarchistic position,
they show no enthusiasm for the capitalist-collectivist proposals that
_present governments_ should take control of industry. They are not
hostile to all government, but they think that democracy applied
directly to industry would be all the government required:--


"In the shop there must be government. In the school there must be
government. In the conduct of the great public services there must
be government. We have shown that Socialism will make government
democratic throughout. The basis of this freedom will be the
freedom of the individual to develop his powers. People will be
educated in freedom. They will work in freedom. They will live in
freedom....

"Socialism will establish democracy in the shop. Democracy in the
shop will free the working class. The working class, through
securing freedom for itself, will liberate the race."


Even the American "syndicalists," however, attach more importance to
economic than to political action. Hitherto revolutionary Socialists
have agreed that the only constructive work possible _under capitalism_
was that of education and organization. The "syndicalists" also agree
that nothing peculiarly socialistic can be done to-day by _political_
action, but they are reformists as to the immediate possibilities of
_economic_ action. Here they believe revolutionary principles can be
applied even under capitalism. Even the conservative and purely
businesslike effort to secure a little more wages by organized action,
they believe, can be converted here and now into a class struggle of
working class _vs._ capitalists. What is needed is only organization of
all the unions and a revolutionary policy. With the possibilities of a
revolutionary union policy when capitalism has largely exhausted its
program of political reforms and economic betterment and when Socialism
has become the political Opposition, I deal in following chapters. But
syndicalists, even in America, say revolutionary tactics can be applied
now--Mr. Haywood, for instance, feels that the only thing necessary for
a successful revolutionary and Socialistic general strike in France or
America to-day, is sufficient economic organization.

Mr. Debs admits the need of revolutionary tactics as well as
revolutionary principles and even says: "We could better succeed with
reactionary principles and revolutionary tactics than with revolutionary
principles and reactionary tactics." He admits also that Socialists and
revolutionary unionists are inspired with an entirely new attitude
towards society and government and indorses as _entirely sound_ certain
expressions from Haywood and Bohn's pamphlet which had been violently
attacked by reformist Socialists and conservative unionists. Mr. Debs
agrees with the former writers in their definition of the attitude of
the Socialist revolutionist's attitude towards property: "He retains
absolutely no respect for the property 'rights' of the profit takers. He
will use any weapon which will win his fight. He knows that the present
laws of property are made by and for the capitalists. Therefore he does
not hesitate to break them." But he does not agree that this new spirit
offers any positive contribution to Socialist tactics at the present
time. Just as Hervé has recently admitted that the superior political
and economic organization of the Germans were more important than all
the "sabotage" (violence) and "direct action" of the French though he
still favors the latter policies, so the foremost American revolutionary
opposes "direct action" and "sabotage" altogether under present
conditions. Both deny that revolutionary economic action under
capitalism is any more promising than revolutionary political action.
Even Hervé defends his more or less friendly attitude to "direct action"
wholly on the ground that it is good _practice_ for revolution, not on
Lagardelle's syndicalist ground that it means the beginning of
revolution itself (see below).

By much of their language Haywood and several industrial unionists of
this country would seem to class themselves rather with Lagardelle and
Labriola (see below) than with Hervé, Debs, and Mann. Haywood, for
example, has said that no Socialist can be a law-abiding citizen.
Haywood's very effective and law-abiding leadership in strikes at
Lawrence (1912) and elsewhere would suggest that he meant that
Socialists cannot be law-abiding by principle and under all
circumstances. But this statement as it was made, together with many
others, justifies the above classification. Debs, on the contrary,
claims that the American workers are law-abiding and must remain so, on
the whole, until the time of the revolution approaches. "As a
revolutionist," he writes, "I can have no respect for capitalist
property laws, nor the least scruple about violating them," but Debs
does not believe there can be any occasion to put this principle into
effect until the workers have been politically and economically
organized and educated, and then only if they are opposed by violence
(see the _International Socialist Review_, February, 1912).

The French and Italian advocates of revolutionary unionism also assign
to the party a very secondary part, though they are by no means, like
the anarchists, opposed to all political action. They do not as a rule
oppose the Socialist parties, but they protest against the view that
Socialist activities should be chiefly political. Their best-known
spokesman in Italy, Arturo Labriola, one of the most brilliant orators
in the country, and a professor in the University of Naples, writes:--


"The Social Democracy will prove to have been the last capitalistic
party to which the defense of capitalistic society will have been
intrusted. The syndicalists [revolutionary unionists] ought to get
that firmly into their heads and draw conclusions from it in their
_necessary_ relations with the official Socialist Party. _The
latter ought to resign itself to being no more than a simple party
of the legal demands of the proletariat [i.e. the unions,] on the
basis of existing society, and not an anti-capitalist party._"[262]


This is strong language and brings up some large questions. Far from
being displeased with the moderate and non-revolutionary character of
the Socialist Party, Labriola, himself a revolutionist, is so
indifferent to the party as a direct means to revolution, as to hope
that it will drop its revolutionary claims altogether and become a
humble and modest but more useful tool of the unions.



Pages: | Prev | | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | 43 | | 44 | | 45 | | 46 | | 47 | | 48 | | 49 | | 50 | | 51 | | 52 | | 53 | | 54 | | 55 | | 56 | | 57 | | 58 | | 59 | | 60 | | 61 | | 62 | | 63 | | 64 | | 65 | | 66 | | 67 | | 68 | | 69 | | 70 | | 71 | | 72 | | 73 | | 74 | | 75 | | 76 | | 77 | | 78 | | 79 | | 80 | | 81 | | 82 | | 83 | | 84 | | 85 | | 86 | | 87 | | 88 | | 89 | | 90 | | 91 | | 92 | | 93 | | 94 | | 95 | | 96 | | 97 | | 98 | | 99 | | 100 | | 101 | | 102 | | 103 | | 104 | | 105 | | 106 | | 107 | | 108 | | 109 | | 110 | | 111 | | 112 | | 113 | | Next |


Keywords: unions, applied, ballot, opposed, pensions, entirely, industry, children, school, labriola
N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.