Manifesto of the Socialist Propaganda League of America by fdh56iuoui


									                   Manifesto of the Socialist Propaganda League of America [Nov. 26, 1916]                 1

                          Manifesto of the
             Socialist Propaganda League of America:
           Adopted at a Meeting Held in the City of Boston, Nov. 26, 1916.

                  Published in The Internationalist: Weekly of the Left Wing Socialists [Boston],
                                v. 1, no. 1, Second Edition (Jan. 6, 1917), pg. 2.

        It is manifest to every thinking class-con-         if we would get more, we know the advice is a bit
scious worker that the present terrific struggle for         of special pleading in the interest of those who
world power is waged by the capitalist classes to           live without producing. When we are told that we
secure a greater share in the exploitation of labor.        need compulsory arbitration or anti-strike laws,
It is a matter of paramount importance that we, as          we know that such laws not only fail but are a
Socialists, apprehend the basic conditions under-           denial of the working class right to develop all its
lying the strife, and that we prepare to meet the           powers to gain emancipation. When we are told
consequences to the world’s workers that will is-           that we must be patriots, which, when interpreted
sue from it. This address to American Socialists            by the capitalist class, means readiness to serve in
and the working class generally is directed to such         wars to kill our fellow men and defend the prop-
an understanding.                                           erty interests of the owning class, as the President
        The war opens a new era of great conflicts,         of the United States has said, we know that the
impelled by the new form of absolutism — the                proletariat is a propertyless class with no country
rule of the monarchs of money and the subjuga-              to defend and no fatherland to fight for. This ad-
tion of a more or less independent class of small           vice from the President — servant of big capital
capitalists. It means also a more aggressive policy         — is not less erroneous and is certainly more dan-
towards labor. The proof of this appears in the             gerous, when given under the name of Socialism,
United States, where the action of government in            advocating a bourgeois citizens’ army or military
appropriating a larger portion of the public rev-           defense of capitalist interests. We strongly de-
enue to militaristic purposes than any other coun-          nounce all brands of social patriots and social im-
try, in a so-called time of peace, is accompanied           perialists as opposed to the interests of the work-
by the massing of material capitals amounting to            ing class. Instead of nationalism we must do all in
8 billions of dollars in a single Board, to “fight           our power to promote the true internationalism
labor.” War, with the American republic cooper-             of labor.
ating, thus becomes the highest form of exploita-                 To the thoughtful observer it must be ap-
tion by the capitalist class.                               parent that the elements of wealth production in
        In the confusion arising from false issues of       our present society have outgrown the bourgeois
the capitalist class, put forward to mislead the            forms of existing nations in which they are re-
workers, we must ever be on our guard against the           stricted. The centralization of production, as well
crafty apologists of wrong posing as friends of la-         as of capital and the monied interests, the close
bor. When we are told that we must produce more             relation of big business and trusts with finance
  2               Manifesto of the Socialist Propaganda League of America [Nov. 26, 1916]

capital — all these developments put great capital     als, and expect within these limits to advance the
not only at the head of industry and production,       cause of industrial democracy. We are at the dawn
as the dominating power, but also in controlling       of a new era; the day is big with the content of
influence over the political life and activities of    social eruptions, economic and political strikes,
the people. All groups and classes of the people in    revolutions. It is an era in which the class conflict
every so-called civilized nation are dependent upon    approaches its climax. The struggle, in all its varia-
the all powerful financial interests of each nation.    tions, develops and intensifies from the new poli-
There is no difference in this respect between         cies of imperialism; that is, from the encroach-
“darkest” Russia, with its autocratic form of gov-     ments of the capitalist class using the mailed fist
ernment, and “enlightened” United States, with         of political governments.
its “democratic” institutions that are distinguished         In the class war, all constitutional rights and
by the denial of free speech and organization and      prerogatives of the people are ignored or abolished
shooting by militia and “company thugs,” for ex-       and the capitalist class, abominating Liberty and
amples of which we do not forget Calumet and           supported by guns, meets the working class with
Ludlow.                                                the armed power of the capitalist state. When the
      In the demoniac chase for markets where na-      workers seek shelter in constitutional guarantees
tional capital may be invested, for the acquisition    and essay to use these rights for the betterment of
or retention of colonies and the expansion of          their conditions, they too often find that rights
spheres of influence, capitalist power divides the     and guarantees are mere “scraps of paper.” The
universe for exploitation among a few groups of        capitalist class, with political governments and
nations, and these are bent on world-control, even     judicial courts conniving, will tolerate no inter-
at the cost of exterminating each other, as well as    ference with their class schemes for world domi-
their smaller and dependent associates in crime.       nation. Meanwhile the condition of the working
      It is this higher phase of capitalist develop-   class becomes steadily worse and the future less
ment — making futile the policies of free trade,       secure. With the cost of essential necessaries of life
free competition, and the hopes of social reform-      rising to higher and prohibitive levels, the average
ers — that compels the governments of the larger       workman is in constant fear of hunger, and with
nations to provide military resources of increasing    sickness and disease ever haunting him, has now
magnitude to fight for a leading position in the        reached the stage of habitual privation.
world scramble for supremacy. In this race for
world leadership we see Germany and England,                 Reaction and Revolutionary Ideals.
France and Italy, Austro-Hungary and Russia, the
United States and Japan. The triumph of neither               The years immediately behind us are marked
of them can be achieved without the destruction,       by inaction in the Socialist Party. A true revolu-
immediate or impending, of them all.                   tionary spirit and action has neve been less in evi-
                                                       dence among the party leaders than during the
            The Dawn of a New Era.                     period of the war. But before that calamity befell
                                                       us we were subjected to a flood of reformistic
       Comrades and Fellow Workers:                    phrase-mongering, muddling municipalism, bor-
       The time is passed when our national So-        ing trade unions from within, captivating the
cialist parties, bound by old forms and moved by       American Federation of Labor, cramming the capi-
old ideals, can proceed with its old propaganda        talist moral code down the necks of revolutionists
within the confines of capitalist legality and mor-     to get middle-class votes, instead of staying on our
                   Manifesto of the Socialist Propaganda League of America [Nov. 26, 1916]              3

own job with a consistent propaganda for revolu-         Must Change With the Times — Or Perish.
tionary ideals. The four years of reformistic preach-
ing and preparation for chronicling the rise of “so-           What, then, can be the duty of present-day
cialist” votes to millions in 1916 have proven abor-    Socialists, except to recognize the collapse of the
tive, while almost none of the rosy predictions of      old and resolutely set to work building the new
political leaders have materialized. Still, with a      alongside the industrial evolution and complying
strange fatuity, they cling to old forms and dis-       with the requirements of the modern and
credited methods, blind to the fact: First, That the    intensified class struggle? It is high time for So-
organization we have is not adapted to develop          cialists to abolish obsolete tactics, abandon middle-
political power and the principal function of the       class ideals, put away the will-o’-the-wisps of re-
Socialist movement is to participate in the class       form, and proclaim a working class program con-
struggle in such a way that the workers are edu-        forming with and equal to the demands of indus-
cated to realize that their industrial power must       trial and commercial development. The times
back up a political or general class fight, in which     change; we must change with them — or perish.
the masses are to gain such a degree of organiza-              The new aggressive policy of the capitalist
tion and understanding that they can disorganize        class, which we call imperialism, has for its pri-
the political supremacy of capitalism and substi-       mary object the appropriation of a bigger share of
tute the organization of the working class, by the      the general surplus values. Under the operation of
exercise of their own influence on uncompromis-         this feature of capitalist industry the possessing
ing Socialist principles. Is it not high time for a     class appropriates increasing wealth while the pro-
thorough reorganization of the party?                   ducing mass can not, with the wages received, pro-
       Our Socialist parties still fix their hopes on    vide for themselves and their dependents the nec-
winning seats in congresses and parliaments, al-        essaries of life. Therefore, we urge the workers, in
though the real and fixed location of government         America and all other countries, to organize in their
has been transferred to money exchanges and bank-       respective industries in such a manner as to en-
ing institutions of the money kings. Sacrificing         sure for themselves a material reduction in their
principles of international brotherhood, they are       working time, a corresponding increase in their
fighting in wars not for the solidarity and inde-        share of the social wealth, the expansion of their
pendence of the workers of all nations, but for the     class power, in order that they become efficient
aggrandizement of their respective national capi-       workers for the final overthrow of capitalism and
tals.                                                   the organization of a cooperative commonwealth.
       Failing to give support to the mass action of    Finally, we adopt and recommend:
the workers in the industrial field, as evinced at              1. Instead of a form of labor organization on
Lawrence, McKees Rocks, the Mesaba Range, and           the economic field that conserves the interests of
elsewhere in the United States, and similarly in        capitalist exploiters and of industrial democracy,
Germany, England, and Belgium, the reformers            INDUSTRIAL UNIONISM, i.e., MASS ORGA-
have also failed by constant appeals to legality to     NIZATION AND ACTION ON THE INDUS-
crystallize the revolutionary sentiment on the po-      TRIAL FIELD.
litical field.                                                  2. Instead of pure and simple electioneering
                                                        for getting votes and bourgeois parliamentary re-
                                                        form, RECOGNITION OF PARLIAMENTARY
                                                        ACTION AS A PART OF THE GENERAL
                                                        MASS ACTION, IN WHICH ELECTED REP-
  4               Manifesto of the Socialist Propaganda League of America [Nov. 26, 1916]

RESENTATIVES SUPPORT THIS ACTION                                maintain capitalism, holding public meetings and
BY ADVOCATING FREE SPEECH AND THE                               demonstrations, and opposing all capitalist class
RIGHT TO ORGANIZE AND BY ACTING AS                              means of repressing the rise of industrial democ-
SPOKESMEN OF THE WORKING CLASS,                                 racy. In mass action we see the only means for the
UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE WORK-                                  development of a new form of organized democ-
ING CLASS ORGANIZATION, AGAINST                                 racy in which the rank and file will control.
THE PLUTOCRATIC GOVERNMENT AND                                        6. The Socialist Propaganda League of
CAPITALIST REPRESENTATIVES.                                     America endorses the position of the Left Wing
      3. Instead of a divided struggle of the work-             Socialists of Europe and pledges itself to work in
ers on the industrial and political fields, coopera-             harmony with them for the upbuilding of the
tion leading to UNDIVIDED MASS ACTION                           Third International, and in the United States for
ON BOTH, TO ADVANCE REVOLUTION-                                 reorganization of the Socialist Party of this coun-
ARY PRINCIPLES BY EDUCATION, AND                                try.
PRESSION OF WORKING CLASS SOLIDAR-                                                   Fraternally submitted,
SUCH PRINCIPLES.                                                     SOCIALIST PROPAGANDA LEAGUE
      4. Instead of surrendering to imperialism,                              OF AMERICA
ERS TO OPPOSE MILITARISM, OFFENSIVE                                            C.W. Fitzgerald, Secretary.
OR DEFENSIVE, AND PROMOTE THE IN-                                              A. S. Edwards, Asst. Sec’y.
TERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF LA-                                               Office: 2107 Washington Street
BOR.                                                                           Roxbury Station, Box 23.
      5. By mass action we mean: Action by the
workers in collective organization for protest and              Second Edition — Revised.
demand on both the economic and political fields,
for exercising the power of the strike, opposing                Boston, Mass., Jan. 1, 1917.
anti-strike legislation, refusing military service to

                                      Edited by Tim Davenport.
 Published by 1000 Flowers Publishing, Corvallis, OR, 2005. • Free reproduction permitted.

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