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Title: Socialism and Democracy in Europe

Author: Samuel P. Orth

Release Date: March 13, 2011 [EBook #35572]

Language: English

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Author of "Five American Politicians" "Centralization of
Administration in Ohio," etc.

Publisher's Mark


Copyright, 1913

Published January, 1913




It is becoming more and more evident that democracy has served only the first years of its apprenticeship. Political problems have served only to introduce popular government. The economic problems now rushing upon us will bring the real test of democracy.

The workingman has taken an advanced place in the struggle for the democratization of industry. He has done so, first, through the organization of labor unions; secondly, through the development of political parties—labor parties. The blend of politics and economics which he affects is loosely called Socialism. The term is as indefinite in meaning as it is potent in influence. It has spread its unctuous doctrines over every industrial land, and its representatives sit in every important parliament, including our Congress.

Such a movement requires careful consideration from every point of view.

It is the object of this volume to trace briefly the growth of the movement in four leading European countries, and to attempt to determine the relation of economic and political Socialism to democracy—a question of peculiar interest to the friends of the American Republic at this time.

In preparing this volume, the author has made extended visits to the countries studied. He has tried to catch the spirit of the movement by personal contact with the Socialist leaders and their antagonists, and by many interviews with laboring men, the rank and file in every[iv] country visited.

Everywhere he was received with the greatest cordiality, and he wishes here to express his appreciation of these many kindnesses.

He wishes especially to acknowledge his obligations to the following gentlemen: Mr. Graham Wallas of the University of London; Mr. W.G. Towler of the London Municipal Society; Mr. John Hobson of London, and Mr. J.S. Middleton, assistant secretary of the Labor Party; to Dr. Robert Herz and Prof. Charles Gide of the University of Paris; Dr. Albert Thomas and M. Adolphe Landry of the Chamber of Deputies; M. Jean Longuet, editor of L'Humanité; to Dr. Franz Oppenheimer of the University of Berlin; Dr. Südekum of the Reichstag; Dr. Hilferding, editor of Vorwärts; Prof. T.H. Norton, American Consul at Chemnitz; M. Camille Huysmans, secretary of the "International," Brussels; as well as to many American friends for providing letters of introduction which opened many useful and congenial doorways.


January, 1913.



I. Why Does Socialism Exist? 1
II. The Development of Socialism 17
III. The Political Awakening of Socialism—The Period of Revolution 42
IV. The Political Awakening of Socialism—The International 56
V. The Socialist Party of France 75
VI. The Belgian Labor Party 118
VII. The German Social Democracy 146
VIII. German Social Democracy and Labor Unions 171
IX. The English Labor Party 207
X. Conclusion 250
  Appendix 273
  Index 347





The answer to this question will bring us nearer to the core of the social movement than any attempted definition. The French Socialist program begins with the assertion, "Socialism is a question of class." Class distinction is the generator of Socialism.

The ordinary social triptych—upper, middle, and lower classes—will not suffice us in our inquiry. We must distinguish between the functions of the classes. The upper class is a remnant of the feudal days, of the manorial times, when land-holding brought with it social distinction and political prerogative. In this sense we have no upper class in America. The middle class is composed of the business and professional element, and the lower class of the wage-earning element.

There are two words, as yet quite unfamiliar to American readers, which are met with constantly in European works on Socialism and are heard on every hand in political discussions—proletariat and bourgeois. The proletariat are the wage-earning class, the [2]poor, the underlings. The bourgeois[1] are roughly the middle class. The French divide them into petits bourgeois and grands bourgeois. Werner Sombart divides them into lower middle class, the manual laborers who represent the guild system, and bourgeoisie, the representatives of the capitalistic system.[2]

It will thus be seen that these divisions have a historical basis. The upper class reflect the days of feudalism, of governmental prerogative and aristocracy. The middle class are the representatives of the guild and mercantile systems, when hand labor and later business acumen brought power and wealth to the craftsman and adventurer. The lower class are the homologues of the slaves, the serfs, the toilers, whose reward has constantly been measured by the standard of bare existence. Socialism arises consciously out of the efforts of this class to win for itself a share of the powers of the other classes. It is necessary to understand that while this class distinction is historic in origin it is essentially economic in fact. It is not "social"; a middle-class millionaire may be congenial to the social circles of the high-born. It is not political; a workingman may vote with any party he chooses. He may ally himself with the conservative Center as he sometimes does in Germany, or with the Liberal Party as he sometimes does in England, or with either of the old parties as he does in the United [3]States. On the other hand, a bourgeois may be a Socialist and vote with the proletarians. Indeed, many of the Socialist leaders belong to the well-to-do middle class.

This class distinction, then, is economic. It is a distinction of function, the function of the capitalist and the function of the wage-earner. Let us go one step further; it is a distinction in property. The possessor of private wealth can become a capitalist by investing his money in productive enterprise. He then becomes the employer of labor. There are all grades of capitalists, from the master wagon-maker who works by the side of his one or two workmen, to the "captain" of a vast industry that gives employment to thousands of men and turns out a wagon a minute.

The institution of private property is the basis of Socialism because it is the basis of capitalistic production. It places in one man's hands the power of owning raw material, machinery, land, factory, and finished product; and the power of hiring men to operate the machinery, and to convert the raw material into marketable wares. As long as this power was limited to hand industry the proletarian movement was abortive. When the industrial revolution linked the ingenuity of man to the power of nature it so multiplied the potency of the possessor that the proletarian movement by stress of circumstances became a great factor in industrial life.

While the possession either of wealth or family tradition was always the basis of class distinction, the industrial revolution brought with it the enormously multiplied power of capital and the glorification of riches. The proletarians multiplied rapidly in [4]number, and all the evils of sharp class distinction were heightened. In all lands where capitalistic production spread, the two classes grew farther apart, the distinction between possessor and wage-earner increased.

It is not the mere possession of wealth, however, which forms the animus of the Socialist movement. It is probably not even the abuse of this wealth, although this is a large factor in the problem. It is the psychological effect of the capitalist system that is the real enginery of Socialism. It is the class feeling, the consciousness of the workingman that he is contributing muscle and blood and sweat to the perfection of an article whose possession he does not share. This feeling is aroused by the contrasts of life that the worker constantly sees around him. He feels that his own life energy has contributed to the magnificent equipages and the palatial luxuries of his employer. He compares his own lot and that of his family with the lot of the capitalist. This feeling of envy is not blunted by the kaleidoscopic suddenness with which changes of fortune can take place in America to-day. By some stroke of luck or piece of ingenious planning, a receiver of wages to-day may be the giver of wages to-morrow.

Nor does the spread of education and intelligence dull the contrasts. It greatly heightens them. The workman can now begin to analyze the conditions under which he lives. He ponders over the distinctions that are actual and contrasts them with his imagined utopia. To him the differences between employer and employee are not natural. He does not attribute them to any fault or shortcoming or inferiority of his own, nor of his master, but to a [5]flaw in the organization of society. The social order is wrong.

The workingman has become the critic. Here you have the heart of Socialism. Whatever form its outward aspect may take, at heart it is a rebellion against things as they are. And whatever may be the syllogisms of its logic, or the formularies of its philosophy, they all begin with a grievance, that things as they are are wrong; and they all end in a hope for a better society of to-morrow where the inequalities shall somehow be made right.

In his struggle toward a new economic ideal, the proletarian has achieved a class homogeneity and self-consciousness. The individuality that is denied him in industry he has sought and found among his own brethren. In the great factory he loses even his name and becomes number so-and-so. In his union and in his party he asserts his individuality with a grim and impressive stubbornness. The gravitation of common ideals and common protests draws these forgotten particles of industrialism into a massed consciousness that is to-day one of the world's great potencies. The very fact that we call this body of workers "the masses" is significant. We speak of them as a geologist speaks of his "basement complex." We recognize unconsciously that they form the foundation of our economic life.

The class struggle, then, is between two clearly defined and self-conscious elements in modern industrial life that are the natural product of our machine industry. On the one hand is the business man pursuing with fevered energy the profits that are the goal of his activity; on the other hand are the workingmen who, more and more sullen in their discontent, [6]are clamoring louder each year for a greater share of the wealth they believe their toil creates.

There is some reason to believe that this class basis of Socialism is vanishing. In England J. Ramsay MacDonald denies its significance.[3] Revisionists and progressive Socialists, who are throwing aside the Marxian dogmas, are also preaching the universality of the Socialist conception. However, the economic factor based on class functions remains the essence of the social movement.[4]

What are the ideals of Socialism? They are not merely economic or social, they embrace all life. After one has taken the pains to read the more important mass of Socialist literature, books, pamphlets, and some current newspapers and magazines, and has listened to their orators and talked with their leaders, confusion still remains in the mind. The movement is so all-embracing that it has no clearly defined limits. The Socialists are feeling their way from protest into practice. Their heads are in the clouds; of this you are certain as you proceed through their books and listen to their speeches. But are their feet upon the earth?

For a literature of protest against "suffering, misery, and injustice," as Owen calls it, there is a wonderful buoyancy and hope in their words. It is one of the secrets of its power that Socialism is not the energy of despair. It is the demand for the right to live fully, joyfully, and in comfort. The Socialists [7]demand ozone in their air, nutrition in their food, heartiness in their laughter, ease in their homes, and their days must have hours of relaxation.

The awakening aspirations of the proletarian were expressed by one of their own number, William Weitling, a tailor of Magdeburg. He afterwards migrated to America and became one of our first Socialist agitators. His book is called Garantieen der Harmonie und Freiheit (Guaranties of Harmony and Liberty). The book is illogical, full of contradictions, and all of the errors of a child's reasoning. But it remains the workingman's classic philippic, one of the most trenchant recitals of social wrongs, because it blends, with the illogical terminology of sentimentalism, the assurance of hope. "Property," he says, "is the root of all evil." Gold is the symbol of this world of wrongs. "We have become as accustomed to our coppers as the devil to his hell." When the rule of gold shall cease, then "the teardrops which are the tokens of true brotherliness will return to the dry eyes of the selfish, the soul of the evildoer will be filled with noble and virtuous sentiments such as he had never known before, and the impious ones who have hitherto denied God will sing His praise." The humble tailor is assured that the reign of property will be terminated and the age of humanity begin, and he calls to the workingman, "Forward, brethren; with the curse of Mammon on our lips, let us await the hour of our emancipation, when our tears will be transmuted into pearls of dew, our earth transformed into a paradise, and all of mankind united into one happy family."[5] Nor is the closing cry of his book [8]without an element of prophecy. He addresses the "mighty ones of this earth," admonishing them that they may secure the fame of Alexander and Napoleon by the deeds of emancipation which lie in their power. "But if you compel us (the proletarians) to undertake the task alone with our raw material, then it will be accomplished only after weary toil and pain to us and to you."

Let us turn to Robert Owen, who was at an early age the most successful cotton spinner in England. He adapted an old philosophy to a new humanitarianism. He saw that a "gradual increase in the number of our paupers has accompanied our increasing wealth."[6] He began the series of experiments which made his name familiar in England and America and made him known in history as the greatest experimental communist. His experiments have failed. But his hopefulness persists. In his address delivered at the dedication of New Lanark, 1816, he said that he had found plenty of unhappiness and plenty of misery. "But from this day a change must take place; a new era must commence; the human intellect, through the whole extent of the earth, hitherto enveloped by the grossest ignorance and superstition, must begin to be released from its state of darkness; nor shall nourishment henceforth be given to the seeds of disunion and division among men. For the time has come when the means may be prepared to train all the nations of the world in that knowledge which shall impel them not only to love but to be actively kind to each other in the whole of their conduct, without a single exception."

Here is an all-inclusive hopefulness. Its [9]significance is not diminished by the fact that it was spoken of his own peculiar remedy by education and environment.

This faith and hope runs through all their books like a golden song. Excepting Marx, he was the great gloomy one. Even those who condemn modern society with the most scathing adjectives link with their denunciations the most sanguine sentences of hope.

The Christian Socialism of Kingsley is filled with optimism. "Look up, my brother Christians, open your eyes, the hour of a new crusade has struck."[7]

The song of the new crusade was sung by Robert Morris:

"Come, shoulder to shoulder ere the world grows older!
Help lies in naught but thee and me;
Hope is before us, the long years that bore us,
Bore leaders more than men may be.
"Let dead hearts tarry and trade and marry,
And trembling nurse their dreams of mirth,
While we, the living, our lives are giving
To bring the bright new world to birth."

This song of hope is sung to-day by thousands of marching Socialists. Their bitter experiences in parliaments and in strikes, and all the warfare of politics and trade, have not blighted their rosy hope. They are still looking forward to "the bright new world," in which a new social order shall reign.

Linked with this optimism is a certain prophetic tone, an elevation of spirit that lifts some of their books out of the commonplace. The sincerity of these prophets of Socialism contributes this quality more than does their originality of mind.

In their search for happiness the Socialists see a [10]great barrier in their way. The barrier is want, poverty. There are no greater contrasts, mental and temperamental, than between John Stuart Mill, the erudite economist and philosopher, and H.G. Wells, the romancer and sentimental critic of things as they are. Both begin their attacks upon the social order at the same point—the vulnerable spot, poverty. Mill places it first in his category of existing evils. He asks, "What proportion of the population in the most civilized countries of Europe enjoy, in their own person, anything worth naming of the benefits of property?" "Suffice it to say that the condition of numbers in civilized Europe, and even in England and France, is more wretched than that of most tribes of savages who are known to us."[8]

Wells bases his racy criticism in his popular book, New Worlds for Old, on the facts revealed in the reports of various charity organizations in Edinburgh, York, and London. To both the exacting economist and the popular expositor of Socialism, poverty is the glaring fault of our social system. To Wells poverty is an "atrocious failure in statesmanship."[9] To Mill it is "pro tanto a failure of the social arrangement."[10]

These examples are typical. Every school of Socialism finds in poverty the curse, in private property the cause, of human misery, and in a readjusted machinery of social production the hope of human betterment.

All Socialists, learned and unlearned, agree that poverty is the stumbling-block in the pathway to better social conditions. They all agree as to the causes of [11]poverty: first, private capitalistic production; second, competition. It is private capitalistic production that enables the employer to pocket all the profits; it is competition that enables him to buy labor in an open market at the lowest possible price, a price regulated by the necessities of bare existence. To the Socialist, competition is anarchy, an anarchy that leaves "every man free to ruin himself so that he may ruin another."[11]

To do away with private capital and to abolish competition means bringing about a tremendous change in society. All Socialists unhesitatingly and with boldness are ready, even eager, to make such a change. The problem is not insuperable to them.

The three theories that underlie Socialism permit the hope of the possibility of a social regeneration. These theories are, first, that God made the world good, hence all you need to do is to revert to this pristine goodness and the world is reformed. Second, that society is what it is through evolution. If this is true then it is only necessary to control by environment the factors of evolution and the product will be preordained. Third, that even if man is bad and has permitted pernicious institutions like private property to exist, he can remake society by a bold effort, i.e., by revolution, because all social power is vested in man and he can do as he likes. The ruling class can impose its social order upon all. When the Socialist becomes the ruling class his social system will be adopted.

This great change which the Socialist has in mind means the substitution of co-operation for competition and the placing of productive property in the care of [12]the state or of society, instead of letting it remain under the domination of individuals. To abolish private productive capital by making it public, to establish a communistic instead of a competitive society, that is the object.

In the Socialist's new order of society, where poverty will be unknown, there is to be a common bond. This bond is not possession, but work. With glowing exultation all the expositors and exhorters of the proletarian movement dwell upon the blessedness of toil. They glorify man, not through his inheritance of personality, certainly not through his possession of things, but through his achievements of toil.

When all members of society work at useful occupations, then all the necessary things can be done in a few hours. Six or four, or some even say two, hours a day will be sufficient to do all the drudgery and the essential things in a well-organized human beehive. There is to be nothing morose or despondent in this toil. It is all to be done to the melody of good cheer and willingness.

How is this great change to come about, and what is to be the exact organization of society under this regime of work and co-operation? Here unanimity ceases. As a criticism Socialism is unanimous, as a method it is divided, as a reconstructive process it is hopelessly at sea.

At first Socialists were utopians, then they became revolutionists. This was natural. Socialism was born in an air of revolution—the political revolutions of the bourgeois, and the infinitely greater industrial revolution. The tides of change and passion were rocking the foundations of state and industry. The evils in early industrialism were abhorrent. Small [13]children and their mothers were forced into factories, pauperism was thriving, the ugly machine-fed towns were replacing the quaint and cheerful villages, rulers were forgetting their duties in their greed for gain, and the state was persecuting men for their political and economic opinions. Every face was turned against the preachers of the new order, and they naturally thought that the change could be brought about only by violence and revolution. Louis Blanc said "a social revolution ought to be tried:

"Firstly, because the present social system is too full of iniquity, misery, and turpitude to exist much longer.

"Secondly, because there is no one who is not interested, whatever his position, rank, and fortune, in the inauguration of a new social system.

"Thirdly, and lastly, because this revolution, so necessary, is possible, even easy to accomplish peacefully."[12]

These are the naïve words of a young man of thirty-seven, the youngest member of the ill-fated revolutionary government of France in 1848. Not every one thought that the revolution could be peacefully accomplished, and, it must be admitted, few seemed to care.

In their "Communist Manifesto," the most noted of all Socialist broadsides, Marx and Engels know of no peaceful revolution. They close with these virile words: "The communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a communistic revolution. The proletarians have [14]nothing to lose but their chains. They have the world to win. Workingmen of all countries, unite!"

These words are often quoted even in these placid days of evolution that have replaced the red days of violence. The workingmen of all countries are uniting, as we shall see, not for bloody revolution nor for the violence of passion, but for the promulgation of peace. To-day the silent coercion of multitudes is taking the place of the eruptive methods of the '40's and the '70's.

As to the ultimate form of organized society, there is nothing but confusion to be found in the mass of literature that has grown up around the subject. The earliest writers were cocksure of themselves; the latest ones bridge over the question with wide-arching generalities. I have asked many of their leaders to give me some hint as to what form their Society of To-morrow will take. Every one dodged. "No one can tell. It will be humanitarian and co-operative."

If one could be assured of this!

Finally, all Socialists agree in the instrument of change. It lies at hand as the greatest co-operative achievement of our race, the state. It is the common possession of all, and it is the one power that can lay its hands upon property and compel its obedience. The power of the state is to be the dynamo of change. This state is naturally to be democratic. The people shall hold the reins of power in their own hands.

It must be remembered that every year sees a shifting in the Socialist's attitude. As he has left the sphere of mere fault-finding and of dreaming, and has entered politics, entered the labor war through unions, and the business war through co-operative [15]societies, he has been compelled to adapt himself to the necessities of things as they are.

I have tried briefly to show that Socialism originated as a class movement, a proletarian movement; that the classes, wage-earner and capitalist, are the natural outcome of machine production; that Socialism is one of the natural products of the antagonistic relations that these two classes at present occupy; that Socialism intends to eliminate this antagonism by eliminating the private employer. I have tried to show also that Socialism is a criticism of the present social order placing the blame for the miseries of society upon the shoulders of private property and competition; that it is optimistic in spirit, buoyant in hope; and that its program of reconstruction is confused and immature.

Stripped of its glamour, our society is in a neck-to-neck race for things, for property. Its hideousness has shocked the sensibilities of dreamers and humanitarians. Our machine industry has produced a civilization that is ugly. It is natural that the esthetic and philanthropic members of this society should raise their protest. Ruskin and Anatole France and Maeterlinck and Carlyle and Robert Morris and Emerson and Grierson are read with increasing satisfaction. It is natural that the participants in this death race should utter their cries of alternate despair and hope. Socialism is the cry of the toiler. It is not to be ignored. We in America have no conception of its potency. There are millions of hearts in Europe hanging upon its precepts for the hope that makes life worth the fight.

Their Utopia may be only a rainbow, a mirage in the mists on the horizon. But the energy which it [16]has inspired is a reality. It has organized the largest body of human beings that the world has known. Its international Socialist movement has but one rival for homogeneity and zeal, the Church, whose organization at one time embraced all kingdoms and enlisted the faithful service of princes and paupers.

It is this reality in its political form which I hope to set forth in the following pages. We will try to discover what the Socialist movement is doing in politics, how much of theory has been merged in political practice, what its everyday parliamentary drudgery is, and, if possible, to tell in what direction the movement is tending.

Before we do this it is necessary to state briefly the history of the underlying theories of the movement.


[1] "By bourgeoisie is meant the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production, and employers of wage-labor. By proletariat, the class of modern wage-laborers, who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labor power in order to live."—Frederick Engels, Notes on the Communist Manifesto, 1888.

[2] See Sombart, Socialism and the Social Movement, Introduction, for discussion of the class movement.

[3] The Socialist Movement, p. 147.

[4] The all-embracing character of Socialism was eloquently phrased by Millerand in 1896: "In its large synthesis Socialism embraces every manifestation of life, because nothing human is alien to it, because it alone offers to-day to our hunger for justice and happiness an ideal, purely human and apart from all dogma." See Ensor, Modern Socialism, p. 53.

[5] Garantieen der Harmonie und Freiheit, pp. 57-58, edition of 1845.

[6] Letter I, addressed to David Ricardo.

[7] Tract No. IV.

[8] Socialism, pp. 71-72.

[9] Wells, New Worlds for Old, p. 36.

[10] Mill, Socialism, p. 72.

[11] Louis Blanc, The Right to Labor, p. 63.

[12] Organization of Labor, p. 87, 1847.





Socialism began in France, that yeast-pot of civilization. It began while the Revolution was still filling men's minds with a turbulent optimism that knew no limit to human "progress."

Saint-Simon (Count Henri de) may be considered the founder of French Socialism. He was of noble lineage, born in 1760, and died in 1825. He took very little part in the French Revolution, but was a soldier in our Continental army, and always manifested a keen interest in American affairs. Possessed of an inquiring mind, an ambitious spirit, and a heart full of sympathy for the oppressed, he devoted himself to the study of society for the purpose of elaborating a scheme for universal human betterment.

Before he began his special studies he amassed a modest fortune in land speculation. Not that he loved money, he assures us, but because he wished independence and leisure to do his chosen work. This money was soon lost, through unfortunate experiments and an unfortunate marriage, and the most of his days were spent in penury.

He attracted to himself a number of the most brilliant young men in France, among them De Lesseps who subsequently carried out one of the plans of his master, the Suez Canal; and Auguste Comte, who [18]embodied in his positivism the philosophical teachings of Saint-Simon.

Saint-Simon believed that society needed to be entirely reorganized on a "scientific basis," and that "the whole of society ought to labor for the amelioration of the moral and physical condition of the poorest class. Society ought to organize itself in the manner the most suitable for the attainment of this great end."[1]

The two counteracting motives or spirits in society are the spirit of antagonism and the spirit of association. Hitherto the spirit of antagonism has prevailed, and misery has resulted. Let the spirit of association rule, and the evils will vanish.

Under the rule of antagonism, property has become the possession of the few, poverty and misery the lot of the many. Both property and poverty are inherited, therefore the state should abolish all laws of inheritance, take all property under its dominion, and let society be the sole proprietor of the instruments of labor and of the fund that labor creates.

Through the teachings of Saint-Simon runs a constant stream of religious fervor. In Christianity he found the moral doctrine that gave sanction to his social views. He sought the primitive Christianity, stripped of the dogmas and opinions of the centuries. In his principal work, Nouveau Christianisme (New Christianity), he subjects the teachings of Catholicism and Protestantism to ingenious criticism, and finds in the teachings of Christ the essential moral elements necessary for a society based on the spirit of association.

Saint-Simon was a humanitarian rather than a [19]systematic thinker. His analysis of society is ingenious rather than constructive. His teachings were elaborated by his followers, who organized themselves into a school called the "Sacred College of the Apostles," with Bazard and Enfantin as their leaders. They were accused, in the Chamber of Deputies, of promulgating communism of property and wives. Their defense, dated October, 1830, and issued as a booklet, is the best exposition of their views. They said that: "We demand that land, capital, and all the instruments of labor shall become common property, and be so managed that each one's portion shall correspond to his capacity, and his reward to his labors." "Like the early Christians, we demand that one man should be united to one woman, but we teach that the wife should be the equal of the husband."

On the question of marriage, however, the sect split soon after this defense was written. Enfantin became a defender of free love, and inaugurated a fantastic sacerdotalism which drove Bazard from the "Sacred College."[2]

The second French social philosopher of the Utopian school was François Marie Charles Fourier (1772-1837). He was a bourgeois, son of a draper, and brought as keen an intellect as did his noble fellow-countryman, Saint-Simon, to the analysis of society, and a much more practical experience. In his youth he had been employed in various business [20]enterprises. He recalls, in his works, several experiences which he never forgot. As a lad, he was reproached for telling a prospective customer the truth about some goods in his father's shop. When a young man of twenty-seven he was sent to Marseilles to superintend the destruction of great cargoes of rice that had been held for higher prices, during a period of scarcity of food when thousands of people were suffering from hunger. The rice had spoiled in the waiting. The event made so profound an impression upon his mind that he resolved to devote his life to the betterment of an economic system that allowed such wanton waste.

To his mind the problem of rebuilding society was practical, not metaphysical. But underlying his practical solution was a fantastic cosmogony and psychology. He reduced everything to a mathematical system, and even computed the number of years the world would spin on its axis. He believed that God created a good world, and that man has desecrated it; that the function of the social reformer is to understand the design of the Creator, and call mankind back to this original plan, back to the original impulses and passions, and primitive goodness.

This could be done only under ideal environment. Such an environment he proposed to create in huge caravansaries, which he called phalansteries. Each group, or phalange, was composed of 400 families, or 1,800 persons, living on a large square of land, where they could be self-contained and self-sufficient, like the manors in the feudal days. The phalanstery was built in the middle of the tract, and was merely a glorified apartment house. Every one chose to do the work he liked best. Agriculture and manufacture [21]were to be happily blended, and individual freedom given full sway. Each phalange was designed to be an ideal democracy, electing its officers and governing itself. The principle of freedom was to extend even to marriage and the relation of the sexes.

It was Fourier's belief that one such phalange once established would so impress the world with its superiority that society would be glad to imitate it. Ere long there would be groups of phalanges co-operating with each other, and ultimately the whole world would be brought into one vast federation of phalanges, with their chief center at Constantinople.

The general plan of this apartment-house utopia lent itself to all sorts of fantastic details. It gained adherents among the learned, the eager, and even the rich, and a number of experiments were tried. All of these have failed, I think, excepting only the community at Guise, founded by Jean Godin. Here, however, the fantasies have been eliminated, and the strong controlling force of the founder has made it prosperous. There is no agriculture connected with the Guise establishment.

A number of Fourier colonies, most of them modifications of his phalanstery idea, were started in the United States. Of thirty-four such experiments tried in America all have failed. The most famous of these attempts was Brook Farm.[3]

Robert Owen (1771-1858) was the great English utopian. He was the son of a small trader. Such was his business ability and tenacity of character that at nineteen years of age he was superintendent of a [22]cotton mill that employed 500 hands. His business acumen soon made him rich, his philanthropic impulses led him to study the conditions of the people who worked for him. In 1800 he took charge of the mills at New Lanark. There he had under him as pitiful and miserable a group of workmen as can be imagined. The factory system made wretchedness the common lot of the English workingman of this period. The hours of labor were intolerably long, the homes of the working people unutterably squalid, women and tiny children worked all day under the most unwholesome conditions; vice, drunkenness, and ignorance were everywhere.

Owen began as a practical philanthropist. He improved the sanitary conditions of his mills and town, was the first employer to reasonably shorten the hours of work, founded primary schools, proposed factory legislation, and founded the co-operative movement that has grown to great strength in England. He was one of the powerful men of the island at this period. He had the enthusiastic support of the queen, of many nobles, of clergy and scholars. But in a great public meeting in London he went out of his way to denounce the accepted forms of religion and declare his independence of all creeds, an offense that the English people never forgive.

By this time he had perfected his scheme for social reform. He proposed to establish communities of 1,000 to 1,200 persons on about 1,500 acres of land. They were to live in an enormous building in the form of a square, each family to have its own apartments, but kitchen and dining-room to be in common. Every advantage of work, education, and leisure was planned for the inmates.

[23]A number of Owenite communities were founded in England and America. The one at New Harmony, Ind., was the most pretentious, and in it Owen sank a large portion of his fortune. None of the experiments survived their founder.[4]

The Utopians were all optimists—the source of their optimism was the social philosophy that prevailed from the French Revolution to the middle of the last century. It was the philosophy of an unbounded faith in the goodness of human nature. A good God made a good world, and made man capable of attaining goodness and harmony in all his relations. The evil in the world was contrary to God's plan. It was introduced by the perversity of society. The source of misery is the lack of knowledge. If humankind knew the right way of living, knew the original plan of the Creator, then there would be no misery. You must find this knowledge, this science, and upon it build society. Hence they are all seeking a "scientific state of society," and call their system "scientific." From Rousseau to Hegel, the theory prevailed that evil is collective, good is individual; society is bad, man is pure.

Cabet expresses it clearly. "God is perfection, infinite, all-powerful, is justice and goodness. God is our father, and it follows that all men are brethren and all are equal, as in one all-embracing family." "It is evident that, to the fathers of the Church, Christianity was communism. Communism is nothing other than true Christianity...." "The regnancy of God, through Jesus, is the regnancy of perfection, of omniscience, of justice, of goodness, of paternal [24]love; and, it follows, of fraternity, equality, and liberty; of the unity of community interests, that is of communism (of the general common welfare), in place of the individual."[5]

This edenesque logic was dear to Fourier, who left more profound traces on modern thought than the fantastic Saint-Simonians.[6]

Fourier began with God. "On beholding this mechanism (the world and human society), or even in making an estimate of its properties, it will be comprehended that God has done well all that He has done."[7] Man has only to find "God's design" in order to find the true basis of society; and man's system of industrially parceling out the good things of life among a few favored ones, is the "antipodes of God's design." The finding of this design is the function of "exact science"; man, who has stifled the voice of nature, must now "vindicate the Creator."[8]

Saint-Simon's whole system rests on this principle: "God has said that men ought to act toward each other as brethren." This principle will regulate society, for "in accordance with this principle, which God has given to men for the rule of their conduct, they ought to organize society in the manner the most advantageous to the greatest number."[9]

The social philosophers at the end of the eighteenth century did not believe that this rightness should be brought about by violence. "What I should desire," [25]says Godwin, "is not by violence to change its institutions, but by discussion to change its ideas. I have no concern, if I would study merely the public good, with factions or intrigue; but simply to promulgate the truth, and to wait the tranquil progress of conviction. Let us anxiously refrain from violence."[10]

Owen, who lived a few decades later, came into contact with the theories of the succeeding school of thought. His utopianism remained, however, upon the older basis. He taught that the evils of society were not inherent in the nature of mankind. The natural state of the world and of man was good. But the evils "are all the necessary consequences of ignorance." Therefore, by education and environment he could "accomplish with ease and certainty the Herculean labor of forming a rational character in man, and that, too, chiefly before the child commences the ordinary course of education."[11]

The Utopians are hopefully seeking the universal law which will re-form society. This was a natural view of things fundamental, to be taken by men who had witnessed the political emancipation of the Third Estate and had seen "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" carved over every public portal in France, and the abstract principles of justice debated in parliaments. A feeling of naïve simplicity runs through all their writings. Just as civil liberty, they believed, had come by the application of an abstract principle of natural law, so social and economic freedom would come by the application of one universal abstract principle of human conduct. From this simplicity came a violent [26]reaction, which reached its climax in the anarchy of Proudhon.


The Utopian period of Socialism may be said to end, and the revolutionary era to begin, with the year 1830. The French Revolution was a bourgeois uprising. But behind it was the grim and resolute background of the proletarian mass. When the Third Estate achieved its victory, it proceeded to monopolize the governmental powers to the exclusion of its lowly allies. From 1830 to 1850 the ferment of democratic discontent spread over Europe and forced the demands of the workingman into the foreground. The first outbreak occurred in France, in 1831, when the workingmen of Lyons, during a period of distressing financial depression, marched under the banner, "Live working, or die fighting," demanding bread for their families and work for themselves. This second chapter of the development of Socialism begins with a red letter.

Louis Blanc (1813-82), the first philosopher of the new movement, struck out boldly for a democratic organization of the government. This differentiates him from Fourier and Saint-Simon, and links him with the leading Socialist writers of our day. He published his Organisation du Travail (Organization of Labor) in 1839. It immediately gave him an immense popularity with the working classes. It is a brilliant book, as fascinating in its phrases as it is forceful in its denunciation of existing society.

He said that it is vain to talk of improving mankind morally without improving them materially. This [27]improvement would not come from above, from the higher classes. It would come from below, from the working people themselves. Therefore, a prerequisite of social reform was democracy. The proletarian must possess the power of the state in order to emancipate himself from the economic bondage that holds him in its grasp.

This democratic state should then establish national workshops, or associations, which he called "social workshops," the capital to be provided by the state and the state to supervise their operation. He believed that, once established, they would soon become self-supporting and self-governing. The men would choose their own managers, dispose of their own profits, and take care that this beneficent system would spread to all communities.

He was careful to explain that "genius should assert its legitimate empire"—there must be a hierarchy of ability.

Louis Blanc believed in revolution as the method of social advancement. He was himself a leader in the abortive revolution of 1848, the revolt of the people against a weak and careless monarch. As a member of the provisional government, he may be called the first Socialist to hold cabinet honors. And, like his successors in modern cabinets, he accomplished very little towards the bringing in of a new social order. It is true that national workshops were built by the French government at his suggestion; but not according to his plans. His enemies saw to it that they served to bring discredit rather than honor to the system which he had so carefully elaborated.[12]

Louis Blanc did not entirely free himself of the [28]earlier utopian conception that man was created good and innocent. He blames society for allowing the individual to do evil. But he does take a step toward the Marxian materialistic conception when he affirms that man was created with certain endowments of strength and intellect and that these endowments should be spent in the welfare of society. The empire of service, not the "empire of tribute," should be the measure of man's greatness.

The doctrine of revolt was carried to its logical extreme by Proudhon (1809-65). He was the son of a cooper and a peasant maid, and he never forgot that he sprang from the proletariat. He was a precocious lad, was a theologian, philologist, and linguist before he undertook the study of political economy. In 1840 he brought out his notable work, Qu'est-ce que la Propriété? (What Is Property?), a novel question for that day, to which he gave an amazing answer, "Property is theft," ergo "property holders are thieves."

Proudhon was a man with the brain of a savant and the adjectives of a peasant. His startling phrases, however, are merely spotlights thrown on a theory of society which he permeated with a genuine good will. He was puritanic in moral principle, loyal to his friends, and a despiser of cant and formalism. But his love for paradoxes carried him beyond the confines of logic.

Property is theft, he says, because it reaps without sowing and consumes without producing. What right has a capitalist to charge me eight per cent.? None. This eight per cent. does not represent anything of time or labor value put into the article I am buying. It is therefore robbery. Private property, the [29]stronghold of the individualist, is then to be abolished and a universal communism established? By no means. Communism is as unnatural as property. Proudhon had only contempt for the phalanstery and national workshop of his predecessors. They were impossible, artificial, reduced life to a monotonous dead level, and encouraged immorality. Property is wrong because it is the exploitation of the weak by the strong; communism is equally wrong because it is the exploitation of the strong by the weak. To this ingenious juggler of paradoxes this was by no means a dilemma. He resorted to a formula that was later amplified into the most potent argument of Socialism by Marx. Service pays service, one day's work balances another day's work, time-labor is the just measure of value. Hour for hour, day for day, this should be the universal medium of exchange.

Proudhon was really directing his attacks against rent and profit rather than against property. He proposed, as a measure of reform, a national bank where every one could bring the product of his toil and receive a paper in exchange denoting the time value of his article. These slips of paper were to be the medium of exchange capable of purchasing equal time values. This glorified savage barter he even proposed to the Constituent Assembly, of which he was a member, and when it was rejected—only two votes were recorded for it—he tried to establish it upon private foundations. He failed to raise the necessary capital and his plan failed.

Proudhon is the father of modern Anarchy. His exaltation of individualism led him to the suppression of government. Government, he taught, is merely the dominance of one man over another, a form of [30]intolerable oppression. "The highest perfection of society is found in the union of order and anarchy."

For his bitter tirades against property he received the scorn of the bourgeois, for his attacks upon the government he served three years in prison, and some years later he escaped a second term for a similar cause by fleeing to Brussels.

The ultimate outcome of his individualism was equality, which he achieved in economics by his theory of time-labor and in politics by his theory of anarchy.

One cannot escape the conviction that the outcome of all his brilliant rhetorical legerdemain is man in a cage. Not man originally pure and good as the utopians would have him, but man wilful, egoistic, capable of enslaving his fellows, a very different being from the man of mercy and love crushed by the collective injustice of society. Proudhon frees this man from his oppressor and his oppressiveness by creating a condition of equality through the destruction of property and of government. But in destroying property he retains possessions, and in establishing anarchy he maintains order. "Free association, liberty—whose sole function is to maintain equality—in the means of production, and equivalence in exchanges, is the only possible, the only just, the only true form of society."

"The government of man by man (under whatever name it be disguised) is oppression. Society finds its highest perfection in the union of order and anarchy."[13]

Proudhon has had a large influence on modern Socialism. His trenchant invectives against property and society are widely copied. From his utterances [31]on government the Syndicalists of France, Italy, and Spain have drawn their doctrine. The general strike is the child of his paradoxes. He wrote as the motto for his most influential book, What Is Property?, "Destruam et aedificabo" (I will destroy and I will build again). But, while he pointed the way to destruction, he failed to reveal a new and better order.

The way to modern Socialism was paved in Germany. The teaching of Hegel cleared the way for the political unrest that spread over Europe in the '40's. Hegel was the proclaimer of the social revolution. He gave sanction to the tenets of destruction. Everything that exists is worth destroying, may be taken as the primary postulate at which the Young Hegelians arrived. Truth does not exist merely in a collection of institutions or dogmatic axioms that could be memorized like the alphabet; truth is in the process of being, of knowing, it has developed through the toilsome evolution of the race, it is found only in experience. Nothing is sacred merely because it exists. Existing institutions are only the prelude to other and better institutions that are to follow. This was roughly the formula that the radical Hegelians blocked out for themselves when they split from the orthodox conservatives in the '30's.

In 1843 appeared Feuerbach's Wesen des Christentums (Essence of Christianity), putting the seal of materialism upon the precepts of the Young Hegelians.[14] The God of the utopians was destroyed. [32]Things were not created in harmony and beauty and disordered by man. Things as they are, are the result of evolution, of growth; nothing was created as it is, and even "Religion is the dream of the human mind."[15]

Out of this atmosphere of philosophical, religious, and political rebellion sprang the prophet of modern Socialism, Karl Marx,[16] a man whose intellectual endowments place him in the first ranks among Socialists and link his name with other bold intellects of his age who have forced the current of human thought. There have been many books written on Marx, and every phase of his theories has been subjected to academic and popular scrutiny. His treatise, Capital, is the sacerdotal book of Socialists. It displays a mass of learning, a diligence of research, and acumen in the marshaling of ideas, and a completeness of literary expression that insures it a lasting place in the literature of social philosophy. Whatever may be said of the narrow dogmatism, of Marx, of his persistence in making the facts fit his preconceived notions, of his materialistic conception of history, or of the technical flaws in his political economy, he will always be quoted as the founder of modern scientific Socialism and the Socialist historian of the capitalistic régime.

I must content myself with a bare statement of his theories.

[33]The economic basis of Marx is his well-known "Theory of Surplus Value." It was not his theory in the sense that he originated it. Economists like Adam Smith and especially Ricardo, Socialists like the Owenites and the Chartists in England, and Proudhon in France, had enunciated it; and in Germany Rodbertus, a lawyer and scholar of great learning, had elaborated it in his first book, published in 1842. Marx, with German thoroughness, developed this theory in all its ramifications.

All economic goods, he said, have value. They have a physical value, and a value given them by the labor expended on them. Labor is the common factor of economic values. And the common denominator is the time that is consumed by the labor. Labor-time, therefore, is the universal measure of value, the common medium that determines values. But this labor is acquired in the open labor market by the capitalist at the lowest possible price, a price whose utmost limit is the bare cost of living. The reward for his labor is called a wage. This wage does not by any means measure the value of his services. What, then, becomes of the "surplus value," the value over and above wages? The capitalist appropriates it. Indeed, the great aim of the capitalist is to make this surplus value as big as possible. He measures his success by his profits.

"Surplus value," or profit, is, then, a species of robbery; it is ill-gotten gain, withholding from the workman that which by right of toil is his.

How did it come about that society was so organized as to permit this wholesale wrong upon the largest and most defenseless of its classes? It is in answer to this question that Marx makes his most notable [34]contribution to Socialistic theory. With great skill, and displaying a comprehensive knowledge of economic history, especially of English industrial history, he traces the development of modern industrial society. He follows the evolution of capital from the days of medieval paternalism through the period of commercial expansion when the voyages of discovery opened virgin fields of wealth to the trader, into the period of inventions when the industrial revolution changed the conditions of all classes and gave a sudden and princely power to capital, establishing the reign of "capitalistic production."

Always it was the man with capital who could take advantage of every new commercial and industrial opportunity, and the man without capital who was forced to succumb to the stress of new and cruel circumstances. In every stage of development it has been the constant aim of the capitalist to increase his profits and of the workingman to raise his standard of living.

Marx then declares that, in order to have a capitalist society, two classes are necessary: a capitalist and a non-capitalist class; a class that dominates, and one that succumbs. There have always been these two classes. Originally labor was slave, then it was serf, and now it is free. But free labor to-day differs from serf-labor and slave-labor only in that it has a legal right to contract. The economic results are the same as they always have been: the capitalist still appropriates the surplus value.

The method of production, however, is very different in our capitalistic era from the earlier eras. The industrial system herds the workmen into factories. Property and labor is no longer individualistic; it is [35]social, it is corporate. Marx calls it "social production and capitalistic appropriation." Here is the eternal antagonism between the classes, the large class of laborers and the small class of the "appropriators" of their common toil.

These factories, where labor is herded, spring up willy-nilly wherever there is a capitalist who desires to enter business. They flood the markets, not by mutual consent or regulation, but by individual ambitions. Each capitalist is ruled by self-interest; and self-interest impels him to make as many goods as he can and sell them at as big a profit as he can. Result, economic anarchy, called "over-production" or "under-consumption" by the economists. This leads to panics and all their attendant woes—woes that are further heaped upon the proletarian by the fact that he must compete with machinery, which, being more and more perfected, forces him out of the labor market into the street.

These crises have the tendency to concentrate industry in fewer and fewer hands; the weaker capitalist must succumb to the inevitable laws of struggle and survival. The survivors fatten on the corpses of their fallen competitors. Thus the factories grow larger and larger, the number of capitalists fewer and fewer; the number of proletarian dependents multiplies; the middle class is crushed out of existence; the rich become richer and fewer, the poor more numerous and poorer.

In this turmoil of social production, capitalistic appropriation, and anarchic distribution, there is discernible a reshaping of social potencies. The proletarian realizes the power of the state and sees how he may possess himself of that power and thereby [36]gain control of the economic forces and reshape them to fit the needs of a better society. This will mean the appropriation of the means of production and distribution by society. Private capital will vanish; surplus values will belong to the people who created them; the people will be master and servant, capitalist and laborer.

This is the Socialistic stage of society. It will be the result of the natural evolution of human industry. Its immediate coming will be the result of a social revolution. This revolution, this social cataclysm, is written in the nature of things. Man cannot prompt it, he cannot prevent it. He can only study the trend of things and "alleviate the birth-pangs" of the new time.

Of this new time, this society of to-morrow, Marx gives us no glimpse. His function is not to prophesy, but to analyze. He is the natural historian of capital. He described the development of economic society and sought to ascertain its trend. In the first chapter of Capital he says: "Let us imagine an association of free men, working with common means of production, and putting forth, consciously, their individual powers into one social labor power. The product of this association of laborers is a social product. A portion of this product serves in turn as a means of further production. It remains social property. The rest of this product is consumed by the members of the association as a means of living. It must consequently be distributed among them. The nature of this distribution will vary according to the particular nature of the organization of production and the corresponding grade of historical development of the producers."

[37]This is the only mention of the future made by Marx. It is a dim and uncertain ray of light cast upon a vast object.

The formulæ of this epoch-making study may be summarized as follows:

1. Labor gives value to all economic goods. The laboring class is the producing class, but it is deprived of its just share of the products of its labor by the capitalistic class, which appropriates the "surplus value."

2. This is possible because of the capitalistic method of production, wherein private capital controls the processes of production and distribution.

3. This system of private capitalism is the result of a long and laborious process of evolution, hastened precipitately by the industrial revolution.

4. This industrial age is characterized (a) by anarchy in distribution, (b) private production, (c) the gradual disappearance of the middle class, (d) the development of a two-class system—capitalist and producer, (e) the rich growing richer and the poor growing poorer.

5. This will not always continue. The producers are becoming fewer each year. Presently they will become so powerful as to be unendurable. Then society—the people—will appropriate private capital and all production and distribution will be socialized.

It is necessary to keep in mind the leading events in the life of this remarkable man in order to understand the genesis of his theories. Marx was born in Treves in 1818, of Jewish parentage. His mother was of Dutch descent, his father was German. When the lad was six years of age his parents embraced the [38]Christian faith. His father was a lawyer, but his ancestors for over two hundred years had been rabbis. The home was one of culture, where English and French as well as German literature and art were discussed by a circle of learned and congenial friends. Marx studied at the universities of Bonn and Berlin. He took his doctorate in the law to please his father, but followed philosophy by natural bent, intending to become a university professor.

The turmoil of revolution was in the air and in his blood. There was no curbing of his fiery temperament into the routine of scholastic life. In 1842 he joined the staff of the Rhenish Gazette at Cologne, an organ of extreme radicalism. His drastic editorials prompted the police to ask him to leave the country, and he went to Paris, where he met Frederick Engels, who became his firm friend, partner of his views, and sharer of his labors. The Prussian government demanded his removal from Paris, and for a time he settled in Brussels. He returned to Germany to participate in the revolution of 1848, and in 1849 he was driven to London, where, immune from Prussian persecutions, he made his home until his death, in 1883.

In 1842 he married Jennie von Westphalen, a lady of refinement, courage, and loyalty, whose family was prominent in Prussian politics. Her brother was at one time a minister in the Prussian cabinet.

Marx was an exile practically all his life, though he never gave up his German citizenship. He never forgot this fact. He concluded his preface to the first volume of Capital, written in 1873, with a bitter allusion to the "mushroom upstarts of the new, holy Prussian German Empire." He lived a life of [39]heroic fortitude and struggle against want and disease.

From his infancy he had been taught to take a world view, an international view, of human affairs. This gave him an immediate advantage over all other Socialist writers of that day. At Bonn he was caught in the current of heterodoxy that was then sweeping through the universities. This carried him far into the fields of materialism, whose philosophy of history he adopted and applied to the economic development of the race. He received not alone his philosophy from the "Young Hegelians," but his dialectics as well. It gave him a philosophy of evil which, blending with his bitter personal experiences, gave a melancholy bent to his reasoning, and revealed to him the misericordia of class war, the struggle of abject poverty contending with callous capital in a bloody social revolution.

There are four points which gave Marx an immense influence over the Socialistic movement. In the first place, he put the Socialistic movement on a historical basis; he made it inevitable. Think what this means, what hope and spirit it inspires in the bosom of the workingman. But he did more than this: he made the proletarian the instrument of destiny for the emancipation of the race from economic thraldom. This was to be accomplished by class war and social revolution. Marx imparts the zeal of fatalism to his Socialism when he links it to the necessities of nature. By natural law a bourgeoisie developed; by natural law it oppresses the proletarian; by natural law, by the compulsion of inexorable processes, the proletarians alone can attain their freedom. Capitalism becomes its own grave-digger. Liebknecht said in his [40]Erfurt speech (1891): "The capitalistic state of the present begets against its will the state of the future."

In the third place, Marx gave a formula to the Socialist movement. He defined Socialism in one sentence: "The social ownership of the means of production and distribution." This was necessary. From among the vague and incoherent mass of utopian and revolutionary literature he coined the sentence that could be repeated with gusto and the flavor of scientific terminology.

And finally, he refrained from detailing the new society. He laid down no program except war, he pointed to no utopia except co-operation. This offended no one and left Socialists of all schools free to construct their own details.

The Marxian system was no sooner enunciated than it was shown to be fallible as an economic generalization; and the passing of several decades has proved that the tendencies he deemed inevitable are not taking place. The refutation of his theory of value by the Austrian economist, Adolph Menger, is by economists considered complete and final. The materialistic conception of history, which is the soul of his work, lends itself more to the passion of a virile propaganda than to a sober interpretation of the facts. Further, the two practical results that flow from the use of his theory of surplus value and his materialism—namely, the ever-increasing volume of poverty and the ever-decreasing number of capitalists—are not borne out by the facts. The number of capitalists is constantly increasing, in spite of the development of enormous trusts; the middle class is constantly being recruited from the lower class; there is no apparent realization [41]of the two-class system. And finally, the method by revolution is being more and more discarded by Socialists, as they see that intolerable conditions are being more and more alleviated, that "man's inhumanity to man" is a constantly diminishing factor in the bitter struggle for existence.[17]


[1] New Christianity, p. 38, English edition, 1834.

[2] Saint-Simon's principal writings are: Lettres d'un Habitant de Genève, 1803; L'Organisateur, 1819; Du Système Industriel, 1821; Catéchisme des Industriels, 1823; Nouveau Christianisme, 1825. See A.J. Barth, Saint-Simon and Saint-Simonism, London, 1871; Reybaud, Études sur les Réformateurs Modernes, Paris, 1864; Janet, Saint-Simon et le Saint-Simonisme, Paris, 1878. New Christianity was translated into English by Rev. J.E. Smith, London, 1834.

[3] The best popular exposition of Fourierism is Gatti de Gammont's Fourier et Son Système. His most eminent commentator is Victor Considerant, whose Destinée Sociale is the most complete analysis of Fourier's System.

[4] It is interesting to note that the word "Socialism" first became current in the meetings of Owen's "Association of All Classes of All Nations," organized by him in 1835.

[5] Le Vrai Christianisme, Chap. XVIII, edition of 1846.

[6] An apt selection from the works of Fourier has been made by Prof. Charles Gide, prefaced by an illuminating Introduction on the life and work of Fourier. An English translation by Julia Franklin appeared in London, 1901.

[7] Le Nouveau Monde, Vol. I, p. 26.

[8] Thème de l'Unité Universelle, Vol. II, p. 128.

[9] New Christianity, p. 2, English edition, 1834.

[10] Political Justice, Vol. II, pp. 531, 537.

[11] Third Essay on a New View of Society, pp. 65, 82.

[12] See Émile Thomas, History of the National Workshops.

[13] What Is Property? Collected Works, Vol. I, p. 286.

[14] In 1845 Marx made this note on the work of Feuerbach: "The point of view of the old materialism is bourgeois society; the point of view of the new materialism is human society or the unclassed humanity (vergesellschaftete Menschheit).

"Philosophers have only differently interpreted the world, but the point is to alter the world." See Frederick Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach und der Ausgang der Klassischen Deutschen Philosophie, Stuttgart, 1903.

[15] Essence of Christianity, Preface, p. xiii.

[16] For a concise statement of the development of Marxian Socialism out of the German philosophy of that period, see Frederick Engels, Die Entwickelung des Sozialismus von der Utopie zur Wissenschaft, Berlin, 1891. It is the third chapter out of his Dühring, Umwälzung.

[17] For a criticism of the teachings of Marx, see Sombart, Socialism and the Social Movement, Chap. IV.




From the point of view of our inquiry the most significant event in the history of Socialism is its entrance into politics. This endows the workingman with a new power and a great power; a power that will bring him farther on his way toward the goal he seeks than any other he possesses. Because the modern state is democratic, and the democratic state bends in the direction of the mass. The revolutions attempted in the middle of the last century are child's play compared with the changes that can be wrought when constitutions and courts, parliaments and administrative systems, become the instruments of a determined, self-possessed, and united political consciousness.

Scarcely half a century elapsed between the French utopians and the time when the proletarians organized actual political parties, and arrayed themselves against the older orders in the struggle for political privilege. In the interval, revolution had its brief hour, and reaction its days of waiting.

The French Revolution was a necessary preliminary to the proletarian movement. It was the most powerful instrument for the propagation of those democratic ideas that were so attractively clothed by Rousseau and so terribly distorted by the revolutionists. While this revolution was a bourgeois movement, not a [43]proletarian uprising, not a revolution in the sense that Marx, for instance, uses the word, it must not be forgotten that the proletarians were in the revolution. The dark and sullen background of that tragedy was the mass of unspeakably poor. They were not machine workers whose abjectness came from factory conditions, like the workmen of England a few decades later. They were proletarians without a class consciousness, but with a class grievance; proletarians in the literal sense of the word, poor, ragged, hungry, wretched.

Such democracy as was achieved by the revolution was bourgeois. The powers of monarchy were transferred from the "privileged" classes to the middle class, who, in turn, became the privileged ones. The day of middle-class government had come. The class that had financed the fleets of adventurers to new and unexploited continents, and had backed the inventions of Arkwright and Hargreaves, were now in power in politics as well as in commerce and industry. A unity of purpose between industry and statecraft was thus achieved; new ideals became dominant. The patriarchal precepts of the feudal manors were forgotten. The people were no longer children of a great household with their king at the head. The king, when he was retained, was shorn of his universal fatherhood, and remained a mere remnant of ermine and velvet, a royal trader in social distinctions.

While the old ideal, the feudal ideal, prevailed, governing was the duty of a class. The newer ideal made governing an incident in the activities of a class whose dominating impulse was the making of profits. These ideals are at polar points; one deals with things, the other with men.

[44]The change in the form of government was wrought while the people were talking about the glittering abstractions of equality, liberty, justice, as if they were commodities to be exchanged in the political markets. The newer form of government marked an advance on the older. It represented a step forward in human political experience. A larger group of citizens was drawn into the widening circle of governmental activities. It was an inevitable step. The discovery of the New World and the invention of machinery were making a new earth—an unattractive earth, but nevertheless a new one. The balance of power was shifting from hereditary privilege to commercial privilege, and nations were fulfilling the law of human nature, that the power of the state reposes in the hands of the dominant class. The dominant class is actuated by its dominant idea. In the aristocratic class it is politics, in the middle class it is trade.

All this inevitably accentuated the proletarian's position in the state. Under the older régime, as historians of our economic development have clearly shown, the antagonisms and grievances were fewer. The trader and the craftsman were overshadowed by the lord and the bishop. Social, political, and economical values were distributed by custom and imposed by heredity, rather than by individual effort or individual capacity. When, therefore, this great change came over society, a change that would have been unthinkable in the days of Charlemagne or of Elizabeth,—a change that virtually destroyed the most powerful of the classes and put human beings onto a basis of competition rather than of birth, and shifted power from tradition to effort, and transferred values from prerogatives to gold,—then the whole class [45]problem changed, and entirely new antagonisms were created.

The first movements of the new proletarians were mob movements. Actuated more by a desire to revenge themselves than to better themselves, they gather in the dark hours of the night and move sullenly upon the factories, to destroy their enemies, the machines. They pillage the buildings and threaten the house of their employer, whom they consider the agent of their undoing. In France and Germany, and especially in England, these infuriated workmen try to undo by violence what has been achieved by invention.

When their first fury is abated and they see new machinery taking the place of that which they have destroyed, and new factories built on the foundations of those they have burned, they see the impotence of their actions. In England a new movement begins. They try to re-enact the Elizabethan statute of laborers, to bring back the days of handicrafts, of journeyman and apprentice. They soon learned that the old era had vanished, never to return. The workingman possessed neither the power nor the ingenuity to bring it back. He turned, next, to possess himself of the machinery of the state.

Political conditions paved the way. France, after her orgy, had fallen back into absolutism. Germany and Austria had remained feudal in the most distasteful sense of the word; the nobility retained their ancient privileges and forsook their ancient duties. The landlord class even retained jurisdiction over their tenants. The old industry had been destroyed by Napoleon's campaigns; the new machine industry did not establish itself until after the enactment of [46]protective tariffs and the creation "Zollverein," in 1818. This cemented the bourgeois interests. Manufacturers, traders, and bankers achieved a homogeneity of interest and ambition which was antagonistic to the spirit of the junker and the feudalist. The new bourgeoisie wanted laws favorable to trade expansion. They needed the law-making machinery to achieve this. By 1840 the upper middle class had become feverish for political power. They imbibed the doctrines of the literature of that period which preached a constitutional republicanism. Hegel gave the weighty sanction of philosophy to the overthrow of absolute monarchy.

The great mass of the people were, of course, workingmen, small traders, and shopkeepers, and the rural peasantry. The small trader was dependent upon the favors of the ruling class on the one hand, and of the banker and manufacturer on the other hand. When the interests of these two clashed he was alarmed, for he could neither remain neutral nor take sides. The peasants were abject subjects, little better than serfs. The laboring men, as we shall see presently, were achieving a mass consciousness.

In Germany Frederick William, the Romantic, was face to face with revolution. This was not an economic revolution. It was a political revolution. It was joined by the communists and the Socialists. Marx himself, was a leader in the revolt, and one of its most faithful chroniclers. In 1844 the weavers of Silesia rose in revolt. There was rioting and bloodshed. This was followed by bread riots in various parts of Germany. In 1848 the whole country was in the turmoil of revolution, a revolution led by the upper middle class, but prompted and fired by the zeal [47]of the proletarians, who, in some of the cities, notably Berlin, became the leading factor in the uprising. Marx says: "There was then no separate Republican party in Germany. People were either constitutional monarchists or more or less clearly defined Socialists or communists."[1]

In Austria conditions were even more reactionary than in Germany. Metternich, the powerful representative of the ancient order of things, had a haughty contempt for the demands of the constitutional party. With the hauteur of absolutism he not only retained political power in the feudal class, but suppressed literature, censored learning, and rigorously superintended religion. A greater power than caste and tradition was slowly eating its way into this country, which had attempted to isolate itself from the rest of the world. This was the power of machine industry. It brought with it, as in every other country, a new class, the manufacturers, who, as soon as their business began to expand, sought favorable laws. This led them into political activity, which, in turn, brought friction with the feudalists. Both sides took to the field. The revolution broke in Vienna, March 13, 1848, seventeen days after the revolutionists had driven Louis Philippe out of Paris, and five days before the Prussian king delivered himself into the hands of a Berlin mob.

It was in France that the revolution assumed its most virulent character. In Paris the revolution was "carried on between the mass of the working people on the one hand and all the other classes of the Parisian population, supported by the army, on the [48]other."[2] This Parisian proletarian uprising was the red signal of warning to Germany and Austria. The bourgeois were now as anxious to rid themselves of the Socialist contingent as they had been eager for its support when they began their struggle for political power. Compromises between feudalists and commercialists were effected, and a sort of constitutionalism became the basis of the reconstructed governments.

Of these revolutions Marx says: "In all cases the real fighting body of the insurgents, that body which first took up arms and gave battle to the troops, consisted of the working classes of the towns. A portion of the poorer country population, laborers and petty farmers, generally joined them after the outbreak of the conflict."[3]

They were not merely bourgeois uprisings. The Parisian revolution was virtually a proletarian rebellion. Here "the proletariat, because it dictated the Republic to the provisional government, and through the provisional government to the whole of France, stepped at once forth as an independent, self-contained party; and it at once arrayed the entire bourgeoisie of France against itself.... Marche, a workingman, dictated a decree wherein the newly formed provincial government pledged itself to secure the position of the workingman through work, to do away with bourgeois labor, etc. And as they seemed to forget this promise, a few days later 200,000 workingmen marched upon the Hôtel de Ville with the battle-cry, 'Organization of labor! Create a ministry of labor!' and after a prolonged debate the provisional government named a permanent special commission for the [49]purpose of finding the means for bettering the conditions of the working classes."[4]

It is evident that Marx considered the revolutions of 1848-50 as a compound of proletarian and bourgeois uprisings against feudal remnants in government. He is not always clear in his own mind as to the direction of these movements. But we now know that the direction was toward democracy.

The French, or Parisian, uprising was more "advanced" than the other Continental attempts. The Parisians had piled barricades before; they were experienced in the bloody business.

They tried again in 1871. This time the workingmen ruled Paris for two months. It was a bloody, turbulent period. Marx characterized it as "the glorious workingman's revolution of the 18th of March," and the Commune "as a lever for uprooting the economical foundations upon which rests the existence of classes, and therefore of class rule." Its acts of violence he extolled, its burning of public buildings was a "self-holocaust." This "workingman's Paris, with its Commune, will be forever celebrated as the glorious harbinger of a new society."[5]

[50]So the attempt to possess the state by revolution has been tried by the proletarian. The revolutions were all abortive. The Socialists say they were ill-timed. Writing in 1895, Frederick Engels, the companion of Marx, could see these uprisings in a different perspective. He acknowledged the mistake made by the Socialists in believing that they could by violence somehow become the deciding factor in the government, and therefore in the economic arrangement of society. "History has shown us our error," he says. "Time has made it clear that the status of economic development on the Continent was far from ripe for the setting aside of the capitalistic régime."[6]

These revolutions were not merely bourgeois, as is so often affirmed. There was everywhere a large element of Socialistic unrest. They were revolutions begun in the fever heat of youth—"Young Germany," "Young Austria," "Young Italy," were moved by "Young Hegelians" and "Young Communists." They embraced bourgeois tradesmen and proletarian workingmen, who, in their new-found delirium, thought that with "the overthrow of the reactionary governments, the kingdom of heaven would be realized on earth."[7] "They had no idea," continues Kautsky, who speaks on these questions with authority, "that the overthrow of these governments would not be the end, but the beginning of revolutions; that [51]the newly won bourgeois freedom would be the battleground for the great class war between proletarian and bourgeois; that liberty did not bring social freedom, but social warfare."

This is to-day the orthodox Socialist view. It believes that these revolutions taught the proletarians the folly of ill-timed violence; revealed to them their friends and their enemies; and, above all, gave them a class consciousness.

Let us turn, for a moment, to a proletarian movement of a somewhat different type, the Chartist movement in England. The flame of revolution that enveloped Europe crossed the Channel to England and Ireland. But here revolution took a different course. In Ireland it was the brilliant O'Connell's agitation against the Act of Union; in England it was the workingman's protest against his exclusion from the Reform Act of 1832, an act that itself had been born amidst the throes of mob violence and incipient revolution.

The Chartist movement was promulgated by the "Workingmen's Association." It was a workingman's protest. Its organizers were carpenters, its orators were tailors and blacksmiths and weavers, surprising themselves and their audiences with their new-found eloquence, and its writers were cotton spinners. The Reform Bill had been a bitter disappointment to them. It gave the right of suffrage to the middle class, but withheld it from the working class. A few radical members of Parliament met with representatives of the workingmen and drafted a bill. O'Connell, as he handed the measure to the secretary of the association, said: "There is your charter"—and the "People's Charter" it was called. Its "six points" were: Manhood suffrage, annual Parliaments, election [52]by ballot, abolition of property qualifications for election of members to Parliament, payment of members of Parliament, and equitably devised electoral districts. These are all political demands, all democratic. But economic conditions pressed them to the foreground. The "Bread Tax" was as much an issue as the ballot. They demanded the ballot so that they might remove the tax. "Misery and discontent were its strongest inspirations," says McCarthy.[8]

Carlyle saw the inwardness of the movement. "All along for the last five and twenty years it was curious to note how the internal discontent of England struggled to find vent for itself through any orifice; the poor patient, all sick from center to surface, complains now of this member, now of that: corn laws, currency laws, free trade, protection, want of free trade: the poor patient, tossing from side to side seeking a sound side to lie on, finds none."

One of its own crude and forceful orators said on Kersall Moor to 200,000 turbulent workingmen of Manchester: "Chartism, my friends, is no mere political movement, where the main point is your getting the ballot. Chartism is a knife and fork question. The charter means a good house, good food and drink, prosperity, and short working hours."[9]

[53]The protest of this discontent became the nearest approach to a revolution England had encountered since Charles I. Monster meetings, for the first time called "mass meetings," were held in every county, and evenings, after working hours, enormous parades were organized, each participant carrying a torch, hence they were called "torchlight parades." These two spectacular features were soon adopted by American campaigners. A wild and desperate feeling seized the masses. "You see yonder factory with its towering chimney," cried one of its orators. "Every brick in that factory is cemented with the blood of women and children." And again: "If the rights of the poor are trampled under foot, then down with the throne, down with aristocracy, down with the bishops, down with the clergy, burn the churches, down with all rank, all title, and all dignity."[10]

In their great petition to Parliament, signed by several million people, the agitators said: "The Reform Act has effected a transfer of power from one domineering faction to another and left the people as helpless as before." "We demand universal suffrage. The suffrage, to be exempt from the corruption of the wealthy and the violence of the powerful, must be secret." The whole movement had all the aspects of a modern, violent general strike. Its papers, The Poor Man's Guardian, The Destructive, and others, were full of tirades against wealth and privilege. When the agitation became an uprising in Wales, there was a conflict between the Chartists and the police in which a number were killed and wounded. In the industrial centers, soldiers were [54]present at the meetings, and the outcry against the use of the military was the same that is heard to-day. A number of the leaders were tried for sedition, and the courts became the objects of abuse as they are to-day. It was a labor war for political privilege; a class war for economic advantages.


These revolutions were political in that they were a protest against existing governmental forms. The revolutionary proletarian was found in all of them. He not only stood under the standard of Daniel Manin in Venice, when that patriot again proclaimed a republic in the ancient city, and shared with Mazzini his triumph in Rome, and fought with Kossuth for the liberty of Hungary; but he formed also the body of the revolutionary forces in Germany, Austria, and France.

In all the Continental countries the uprisings were directed against the arrogance and oppression of monarchism, and against the recrudescence of feudalistic ideals. In France Louis Philippe had attempted the part of a petty despot. He restricted the ballot to the propertied class, balanced his power on too narrow a base, and it became top-heavy.

While the workingmen of Germany and Austria were taking up arms under command of the middle class against the feudal remnants, the workingmen of France were sacking their capital because of an attempted revival of monarchic privilege, and the workmen of England were marching and counter-marching in monster torchlight parades in protest against middle-class domination.

[55]The panorama of Europe in these years of turmoil and blood thus exhibits every degree of revolt against governmental power, from the absolutism of Prussian Junkerdom and the oppression of the Hungarians by foreign tyranny, to the dominance of the aristocratic and middle-class alliance in Great Britain.

The bread-and-butter question was not wanting in any of these political uprisings. The unity of life makes their separation a myth. One is interwoven with the other. The social struggle is political, the political struggle is social.

Socialism is not merely an economic movement. It seeks to-day, and always has sought, the power of the state. The government is the only available instrument for effecting the change—the revolution—the Socialists preach, the transfer of productive enterprise from private to public ownership. "Political power our means, social happiness our end," was a Chartist motto. That is the duality of Socialism to-day.


[1] Marx, Revolution and Counter-Revolution in 1848.

[2] Marx, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, p. 70.

[3] Op. cit., pp. 123-124.

[4] Marx, Die Klassenkämpfe in Frankreich, pp. 26-28.

[5] See the third address issued by the International Workingmen's Association on the Franco-Prussian war, 1870-71.

The Italian Socialists in Milan, June, 1871, closed a rhetorical address to the Parisian Communards as follows: "To despotism they responded, We are free.

"To the cannon and chassepots of the leagued reactionists they offered their bared breasts.

"They fell, but fell like heroes.

"To-day the reaction calls them bandits, places them under the ban of the human race.

"Shall we permit it? No!

"Workingmen! At the time when our brothers in Paris are vanquished, hunted like fallow deer, are falling by hundreds under the blows of their murderers, let us say to them: Come to us, we are here; our houses are open to you. We will protect you, until the day of revenge, a day not far distant.

"Workingmen! the principles of the Commune of Paris are ours: we accept the responsibility of its acts. Long live the Social Republic!"

See Ed. Villetard, History of the International, p. 342. This sentiment was also expressed in London and other centers.

[6] Introduction to Die Klassenkämpfe in Frankreich, p. 8.

[7] Kautsky, Leben Friedrich Engels, p. 14, Berlin, 1895.

[8] The Epoch of Reform, p. 190.

[9] Engels, Condition of the Working Classes in 1844, p. 230. Engels, who came to England at this time and was employed in Manchester in his father's business, and was therefore in the heart of the movement, says that Chartism was, after the Anti-Corn Law League had been formed, "purely a workingman's cause." It was "the struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie." "The demands hitherto made by him (the laborer), the ten-hours' bill, protection of the worker against the capitalist, good wages, a guaranteed position, repeal of the new poor law—all of these things belong to Chartism quite as essentially as the 'Six Points.'"—Supra cit., pp. 229, 234, 235.

[10] R.G. Grummage, History of the Chartist Movement, 1837-54, p. 59, Newcastle, 1894.




With 1848 vanished, more or less rapidly, the revolutions of the old school. "The street fight and barricade, which up to 1848 was decisive, now grew antiquated," says Engels.[1] A new species of plotting and propaganda began. The exiled agitators and revolutionists met, naturally, in their cities of refuge for the discussion of their common grievances. They complained that "the proletarian has no fatherland," and internationalism became their patriotism.

In Paris a few of the ostracized Socialists, in 1836, founded "The League of the Just," a communistic secret society.[2] The group were compelled to leave Paris because they were implicated in a riot, and when some of them met in London they invited other refugees to join them. Among them was Marx, and his presence soon bore fruit. Their motto, "All men are brethren," was singularly paradoxical when contrasted with their methods of sinister conspiracy. Marx, with his superior intellect, at once began to reshape their ideas, a reorganization was effected called "The Communist League," and Marx and Engels were delegated to write a statement of principles for the League. [57]That statement, written in 1847, they called "The Communist Manifesto."

The "Manifesto" is the most influential of all Socialist documents. It is at once a firebrand and a formulary. Its formulæ are the well-known Marxian principles; its energy is the youthful vigor and zeal of ardent revolutionists. Nearly all the generalizations of Capital are found in the "Manifesto." This is important, for it gave the sanction of a social theory to the Socialist movement. Hitherto there had been only utopian generalizations and keen denunciations of the existing order. It was of the greatest importance that early in the development of the movement it was given an economic theory expressed in such lucid terms, with the gusto of youth, and in the terminology of science, that it remains to-day the best synopsis of Marx's "Scientific Socialism."

As a piece of campaign literature it is unexcelled. Combined with its clearness of statement, its economic reasoning, its terrific arraignment of modern industrial society, there is a lofty zeal and power that placed it in the front rank of propagandist literature.

Engels, the surviving partner of the Marxian movement, wrote in the preface of the edition of 1888:

"The 'Manifesto' being our joint production, I consider myself bound to say that the fundamental proposition which forms its nucleus belongs to Marx." That proposition embraced the materialistic theory of social evolution, that "the whole history of mankind has been a history of class struggles ... in which nowadays a stage has been reached where the exploited and oppressed classes—the proletariat—cannot attain their emancipation from the sway of the exploiting and ruling classes—the bourgeoisie—without [58]at the same time and once for all emancipating society at large from all exploitation, oppression, class distinctions, and class struggles."

This liberation was, of course, to be accomplished by revolution. The "Manifesto" closes with these spirited and oft-quoted words:

"The communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be obtained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling class tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains, they have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries, unite."

This was the language and the spirit of the times. The "Manifesto" was published only a few days before the February revolution of 1848. For a moment the ruling class did tremble; but the ill-timed uprisings were promptly suppressed and the days of reaction set in.

Soon the workingmen of different countries were busy with the stupendous development of industry which followed in the wake of the wars and revolutions that had harassed the Continent for over fifty years. The revival of industry brought a renewal of international trade. This was followed by a wider exchange of views and greater international intimacy. In 1862 the first International Exposition was held.

Before we proceed with the development of the "Old International," as it is now called, let us notice three points about the "Manifesto." First, it was not called the "Socialist Manifesto," although adopted by Socialists the world over. Engels, in his preface of 1888, tells us why. "When it was written we could not have called it a Socialist Manifesto. By [59]Socialist, in 1847, were understood, on the one hand, the adherents of the various Utopian systems; Owenites in England, Fourierists in France, both of them already reduced to the position of mere sects, and gradually dying out; on the other hand, the most multifarious social quacks who, by all manner of tinkering, professed to redress, without any danger to capital and profit, all sorts of social grievances; in both cases men outside the working-class movement, and looking rather to the 'educated' classes for support. Whatever portion of the working class had become convinced of the insufficiency of mere political revolutions, and had proclaimed the necessity of a total social change, that portion then called itself communist. It was a crude, rough-hewn, purely instinctive sort of communism; still it touched the cardinal point and was powerful enough amongst the working class to produce the utopian communism in France of Cabet, and in Germany of Weitling. This Socialism was, in 1847, a middle-class movement; communism a working-class movement. Socialism was, on the Continent at least, 'respectable'; communism was the very opposite."

It would be interesting to know how Engels would define Socialism to-day.

Second, it is important for us to know that the "Manifesto" recognized the necessity of using the government as the instrument for achieving the new society. "The immediate aim of the communists," it recites, "is the conquest of political power by the proletariat"; to "labor everywhere for the union and agreement of the democratic parties of all countries."

The governmental organization of the communists' state was to be democratic.

[60]Thirdly, a provisional program of such a politico-socio-democratic party is suggested in the "Manifesto." Its principal points are:

"1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

"2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

"3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

"4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

"5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.

"6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.

"7. Extension of factories and the instruments of production owned by the state: the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally, in accordance with a common plan.

"8. Equal liability of all labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

"9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition between town and country, by a more equable distribution of population over the country.

"10. Free education for all children in public schools, combination of education with industrial production," etc.

Though the "Manifesto" was written in 1848, neither Marx, who lived until 1882, nor Engels, who died in 1895, made any alteration in it, on the ground that it had become "a historical document which we have no longer any right to alter."[3]

"However much the state of things may have altered during the last twenty-five years, the general [61]principles laid down in this manifesto are, on the whole, as correct to-day as ever."[4]

On one very important point, however, they could not refrain from further comment. The revolutionary language in the original draft would be radically mollified if written at the time of the joint preface in 1872. The example of the Paris Commune was disheartening. It demonstrated that "the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery and wield it for its own purposes."[5]

These, then, were the principles of the international movement of which the "Manifesto" was the supreme expression. When labor had revived from its first stupor, after the hard blows it received in the years of revolution, the "Manifesto" was translated into several Continental languages. With the revival of internationalism, it has been translated into every language of the industrial world, and I am told a Japanese and a Turkish edition have been issued. This is a gauge of the spread of international Socialism.

In 1862 a number of French workingmen, visiting the International Exhibition in London, were entertained by the Socialist exiles, and the question of reviving an international movement was discussed. Two years later, in St. Martin's Hall, London, workingmen from various countries organized a meeting and selected Mazzini, the Italian patriot, to draw up a constitution. But the South European view of class war was out of accord with the German and French views, and Mazzini's proposals were rejected. Marx [62]then undertook the writing of the address. He succeeded remarkably well in avoiding the giving of offense to the four different elements present, namely, the trade unionists of England, who, being Englishmen, were averse to revolutions; the followers of Proudhon in France, who were then establishing free co-operative societies; the followers of Lassalle in Germany and Louis Blanc in France, who glorified state aid in co-operation; and the less easily satisfied contingent of Mazzini from Spain and Italy.

Marx's diplomacy and his international vocabulary stood him in good stead. He began the "Address" by a clever rhetorical parallelism. Gladstone, whose splendor then filled the political heavens, had just delivered a great speech in which he had gloried in the wonderful increase in Britain's trade and wealth. Marx contrasted this growth in riches with the misery and poverty and wretchedness of the English working classes. Gladstone's small army of rich bourgeois were adroitly compared with Marx's large army of miserably poor. The growth of wealth, he said, brought no amelioration to the needy. But in this picture of gloom were two points of hope: first, the ten-hour working day had been achieved through great struggles, and it showed what the proletarian can do if he persists in fighting for his rights. Second, Marx alluded to the co-operative achievements of France and Germany as a proof that the laboring man could organize and carry on great industries without the intervention of capitalists. With these two elements of hope before them, the laborers should be of good cheer. Marx admonished them that they had numbers on their side, and all that is necessary for complete victory is organization. In closing he repeats [63]the battle-cry of '48: "Workingmen of all lands, unite!"

The "statutes," or by-laws[6] were also drawn by Marx. The preamble is a second "Manifesto," in which he reiterates the necessity for international co-operation among workingmen, and concludes: "The First International Labor Congress declares that the International Workingmen's Association, and all societies and individuals belonging to it, recognize truth, right, and morality as the basis of their conduct towards one another and their fellowmen, without respect to color, creed, or nationality. This congress regards it as the duty of man to demand the rights of a man and citizen, not only for himself, but for every one who does his duty. No rights without duties, no duties without rights."

The "Address" and the "Statutes" were adopted by the association at its first congress, held in Geneva in September, 1866, where sixty delegates represented the new movement. With the vicissitudes of Marx's International we are not especially concerned here. It met annually in various cities until 1873, when its last meeting was held at Geneva.

Marx had successfully avoided offense to the various elements in his masterly address and preamble. But the organization contained irreconcilable elements more or less jealous of one another. The two extremes were the Anarchists, led by the Russian Bakunin, and the English labor unions. The [64]Anarchists believed in overthrowing everything, the English laborists abhorred violence. Between these two extremes stood Marx's doctrine of evolutionary revolution, as distasteful to the English as it was despised by the Anarchists.

When the congress met at The Hague, in September, 1872, Marx was one of the sixty-five delegates. He had hitherto held himself aloof from the meetings. But here even his magnetic presence could not prevent the breach with Bakunin.[7] There were stormy scenes. The Anarchists were expelled, and the seat of the general council was transferred to New York, where it could die an unobserved death.

Before the final adjournment a meeting was held in Amsterdam. Here Marx delivered a powerful speech characterized by all the arts of expression of which he was master. He compared these humble "assizes of labor" with the royal conferences of "kings and potentates" who in centuries past had been wont to meet at The Hague "to discuss the interests of their dynasties." He admitted that in England, the United States, and maybe in Holland, "the workmen might attain their goal by peaceful means. But in most European countries force must be the lever of revolution, and to force they must appeal when the time comes."

These were his last personal words to his International, the crystallization of his lifelong endeavor to lead the workingmen's cause. There was one more meeting at Geneva, in 1873; then it perished.

[65]Bakunin's following, renamed the International Alliance of Social Democracy, meanwhile went the way of all violent revolutionists. They took part in the uprisings in Spain in 1873; the rebellion was promptly suppressed, and the alliance came to an end.

During its brief existence the International was the red bogey-man of European courts. The most violent and bloodthirsty ambitions were ascribed to it. Such conservative and careful newspapers as the London Times indulged in the most extreme editorials and news items about the sinister organization that was soon to "bathe the thrones of Europe in blood" and "despoil property of its rights" and "human society of its blessings."

In the light of history, these fears appear ridiculous. The poor, struggling organization that could summon scarcely one hundred members to an international convention was powerful only in the possession of an idea, the conviction of international solidarity. Its plotting handful of Anarchists were a great hindrance to it, and the events of the Commune put the stamp of veracity on the dire things the public press had foretold of its ambitions.

The programs discussed at the various meetings are of more importance to us because they reveal whatever was practical in Marx's organization. For the second meeting, 1866, the following outline was sent out by the general council from London. It was unquestionably prepared by Marx himself.

"1. Organization of the International Association; its ends; its means of action.

"2. Workingmen's societies—their past, present, and future: stoppage, strikes—means of remedying them; primary and professional instruction.

[66]"3. Work of women and children in factories, from a moral and sanitary point of view.

"4. Reduction of working hours—its end, bearing, and moral consequences; obligation of labor for all.

"5. Association—its principle, its application; co-operation as distinguished from association proper.

"6. Relation of capital and labor; foreign competition; commercial treaties.

"7. Direct and indirect taxes.

"8. International institutions—mutual credit, paper money, weights, measures, coins, and language.

"9. Necessity of abolishing the Russian influence in Europe by the application of the principle of the right of the people to govern themselves; and the reconstitution of Poland upon a democratic and social basis.

"10. Standing armies and their relation to production.

"11. Religious ideas—their influence upon the social, political, and intellectual movements.

"12. Establishment of a society for mutual help; aid, moral and material, given to the orphans of the association."

This reads more like the agenda of a sophomore debating society than the outline of work for an international congress of workingmen. The discussions of the congress were desultory, quite impractical, and often tinged with the factional spirit that ultimately ruptured the association. At its first meeting the discussion of the eight-hour day, the limitation of work for women and children, and the establishing of better free schools took a modern turn. But the French delegates brought forward a proposal to confine the membership in the association to "hand workers." This was to get rid of Marx and Engels, who were "brain workers." Socialism was evidently no more clearly defined then than it is to-day.

Occasionally practical subjects were debated, as the acquiring by the state of all the means of [67]transportation, of mines, forests, and land. But their time was largely taken up in the discussion of general principles, such as "Labor must have its full rights and entire rewards." Or they resolved, as at Brussels in 1868, that producers could gain control of machines and factories only through an indefinite extension of co-operative societies and a system of mutual credit; or, as at Basle the following year, that society had a right to abolish private property in land.

It is apparent to any one who reads the reports of their meetings that very little practical advance had been made since the "Manifesto." Socialism was still in the vapor of speculation. It had absorbed some practical aspects from the English unions. These were at first interested in the International, and at their national conference in Sheffield, 1868, they even urged the local unions to join it. This interest waned rapidly as they saw the Continental contingent veer towards the Commune.

However, the beginnings of a new movement, a "new Socialism," were distinctly seen in the questions that the English element introduced: the length of the working day, factory legislation, work of women and children. These had been the subject of rigid governmental inquiry. Marx was thoroughly familiar with these parliamentary findings. They are no small part of the fortifications he built around his theory of social development. But his German training inclined him to the Continental, not the Anglo-Saxon, view of social progress and of politics.

The "Old International," then, was an attempt to spread Marxian doctrines into all lands. As such an attempt it is noteworthy. The Marxian modus, however, did not fit the world. Some Socialist writers [68]attribute its failure to the fact that the time was not ripe for Marx's methods. The time will never be ripe for the Marxian method. Marx tried to move everything from one center. He was a German dogmatist. His council was a centralized autocracy, issuing mandates like a general to an army. This is an impossible method of international organization. The center must be supported by the periphery, not the periphery by the center. There could be no proletarian internationalism until there was an organized proletarian nationalism.

Its conceptions of its detailed duties were even cruder than its machinery. The discussions were a blending of pedantic declamation and phosphoric denunciation. Its programs were a mixture of English trade-union realities and Continental vagaries. Such a movement had neither wings nor legs.

But it had an influence, nevertheless, and a very important one. It was the means of bringing the new generation of leaders together, the men who were to make Socialism a practical political force. Even the fact that an international laboring men's society could meet was important. It realized the central idea of Marx, that the labor problem is international. That is the important point. Human solidarity is not ethnic, but inter-ethnic. The "Old International" was a faltering step toward that solidarity of humanity that has been advanced so rapidly by inventions, by international arbitrations, by treaties of commerce, and every other movement that makes international hostilities every year more difficult.

On Socialism the "International" had at least one beneficial effect. It cleared its atmosphere of the anarchistic thunder clouds and prepared the way for [69]the present more practical movement. This was largely due to the influence of the English trade unions. They were not inclined toward philosophical dissertations like the Germans, nor brilliant speculative vagaries like the French. Their stolid forms were always on the earth. That Marx was anxious for their support is apparent, and he drove them out of the movement by his indiscreet utterances on the Parisian Commune of 1871.

The "Old International" was a revival of the "Society of the Just," tempered with English trade-unionism and tinged with Anarchism; it was also a connecting link between the old and the new Socialism.

The characteristics of the "New Socialism" cropped out at the first meeting of the "New International," as it is called. In the first place, the co-operative movement and the trade-union movement were both amply represented at the Paris meetings, where the "New International" was formed in 1889. This is indicative of the new direction that the economic phase of Socialism has since taken. In the second place, the Socialist congress split into two parties, ostensibly over the question of the credentials of certain delegates, but really over the question that divides Socialists in all countries to-day: Shall Socialists co-operate with other political parties or remain isolated? The Marxian dogmatists believed in isolation; the opportunists or Possibilists believed in co-operating with other parties. There were two congresses. The Marxian congress had 221 French delegates and about 175 from other countries. The Possibilist convention was composed of 91 foreign and 521 French delegates. It was virtually a labor union convention, for over 225 unions were represented. It [70]is of great significance that these two meetings, which divided on a question of political policy, discussed virtually the same questions. They were against war, believed in collectivism, demanded international labor legislation, the eight-hour day, the "day of rest," etc.[8]

Liebknecht, the distinguished German Socialist, who was one of the chairmen of the Marxian convention, wrote in his preface to the German edition of the Proceedings that the Paris meeting began a new era, "and indicated a break with the past." He told the delegates at the convention, "the Old International lives in us to-day." There was a continuity of proletarian ambition. In this respect the old movement was resurrected in the new. But in every other respect the old movement was dead. The abstractions about property and the rights of individuals did not interest the new generation. They were more concerned with wages than wage theories, and in the purchasing power of their wages than in a theory of values. Even the spirit of the class consciousness had changed. Marx's organization was the source of the old; national consciousness was the source of the new. [71]The present internationalism is the result of nationalism. The delegates at Paris were representatives; they represented nationalities. One of the rules of the Marxian congress was that votes should be counted "by the head," unless a delegation from any country should unanimously demand "voting by nationalities."

In the twenty years that had elapsed since Bakunin and his conspiracy-loving following had disrupted the "Old International" by their preaching of violence against nationalism, labor had increased with the rapid strides of the increasing industry and commerce of the world. This labor had organized itself into unions and all manner of co-operative and protective associations. It had done this by natural compulsion from within, not by a superimposed force from without. They had thereby found their national homogeneity, and were ready to go forward into a great and universal international homogeneity.

The International Workingmen's Association now embraces the labor movement of all the leading countries of the world. At the last congress, held in Copenhagen, 1910, reports were received from the following organizations: the British Labor Party, the Fabian Society, the Social Democratic Federation of England, the Social Democratic Party of Germany, the Social Democratic Labor Party of Austria, the Commission of Trade Unions of Austria, the Social Democratic Labor Party of Bohemia, the Social Democratic Party of Hungary, the Socialist Party of France, the Socialist Party of Italy, the Revolutionary Socialist Party of Russia, the Social Democratic Party of Lettland, the Social Democratic Party of Finland, the Socialist Party of Norway, the Social Democratic Labor Party of Sweden, the Danish Social Democracy, the [72]Social Democratic Party of Holland, the Belgian Labor Party, the Socialist Labor Party of the United States, the Social Democratic Party of Servia, and the Bulgarian Laborers' Social Democratic Party.[9] These names indicate the threefold nature of the modern movement. It is a labor movement, it is democratic, and it is Socialistic. And the list of countries shows that it is international.

At Brussels a permanent International Socialist Bureau is maintained, with a permanent secretary, who is in constant touch with the movement in all countries.

There are two directions in which this remarkable co-operation of millions of workingmen of all lands may have a practical effect on international affairs.

In the first place, there is an effort being made to internationalize labor unions. In Europe this has been done, to some extent, among the transportation workers. They have an international committee of their own, and keep each other informed of labor conditions and movements. The great railway strike in England, in the summer of 1911, was planned on the Continent, as well as in London and Liverpool, and there was a sympathetic restlessness with the strikers in various countries adjacent to the Channel that threatened to break out in violence. During the post-office strike in France the strikers attempted to persuade English and Belgian railway employees to refuse to handle French mail. The Syndicalists confidently look forward to the day when an international labor organization will be able to compel a universal general strike.

In the second place, the new international [73]organization will have a far-reaching influence on militarism. This is due to two causes: first, the recruit himself is filled with the discontent of the Socialist before he dons the uniform. In France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, and other countries the anti-military virus has been long at work. But more potent than this is the feeling of international solidarity that binds these recruits into a brotherhood of labor who are unwilling to fight each other for purposes that do not appeal to the Socialist heart. Warfare, to the laboring man, is merely one phase of the exploitation of the poor for the benefit of the capitalist, and patriotism an excuse to hide the real purposes of war. At St. Quentin, in 1911, the French Socialists denounced the war in Morocco as an exploitation of human lives for the purposes of capitalistic gain. The German Social Democracy has always opposed the colonial policy of the chancellors on the same ground, and the Belgian Labor Party has been the severest censor of the Belgian Congo campaigns.

During the summer of 1911 the Morocco incident threatened a war between France and Germany, with England involved, and the other great powers more than interested. In August and September the situation became so acute that England and Germany were popularly said to have been "within two weeks of war." A profound sense of danger and an intense restlessness possessed the people. During this period of excitement the French Socialists held anti-war demonstrations. The German Social Democrats met in their annual convention at Jena and passed a resolution condemning the German Morocco policy, and Herr Bebel made a notable speech, detailing the horrors of war with grim exactness, and arraigning a civilization [74]that would resort to the "monstrous miseries" of war for gaining a few acres of land. This speech was quoted at length by the great European dailies, and made a deep impression upon the people. In England the leaders of the Labor Party admonished the government that, while they were patriots and believed in national solidarity, the English workingman would never cease to consider the German and the French workingman as a fellow-laborer and brother. The International Socialist Bureau met in Zurich to discuss the situation and to consider how the organizations of labor might make their protests against war most effective.

It is difficult to measure the influence of such an international protest against the powers of governments and of armies. That the protest was made, that it was sincere, rational and free from the hyperbola of passion, is the significant fact. Forty years ago such action on the part of labor would have been ridiculed. To-day it is respected.

Disarmament, when it comes, will be due to the influences exerted by the recruit rather than to the benevolent impulses of governments and commanders.


[1] Introduction to Klassenkämpfe, p. 13.

[2] See Engels, Introduction to Marx's Enthüllungen über den Kommunisten Process zu Köln.

[3] Joint-preface of edition of 1872.

[4] Ibid.

[5] See "Address of the General Council of the Workingmen's Association on the Civil War in France."

[6] Many of the original documents, and extensive excerpts from others are given in Dr. Eugen Jäger's Der Moderne Socialismus, Berlin, 1873, and in Dr. R. Meyer's Der Emancipations-Kampf des Vierten Standes, 2nd edition, Vol. I, Berlin, 1882. Both of these works give a fairly detailed account of the development of the International and of its annual meetings.

[7] See Ein Complot gegen die International Arbeiter Association, a compilation of documents and descriptions of Bakunin's organization. The work was first issued in French and translated into German by S. Koksky.

[8] The Possibilists declared for an eight-hour day; a day of rest each week; abolition of night work; abolition of work for women and children; special protection for children 14-18 years of age; workshop inspectors elected by the workmen; equal wages for foreign and domestic labor; a fixed minimum wage; compulsory education; repeal of the laws against the International.

The Marxian program included: an eight-hour day; children under 14 years forbidden to work, and work confined to six hours a day for youth 14-18 years of age, except in certain cases; prohibition of work for women dangerous to their health; 36 hours of continuous rest each week; abolition of "payment in kind"; abolition of employment bureaus; inspectors of workshops to be selected by workmen; equal pay for both sexes; absolute liberty of association.

For the first meeting of the "New International," see Weil, Histoire Internationale de France, pp. 262 et seq.

[9] See Appendix, p. 340. for list of countries that maintain Socialist organizations and the political strength of same.





The Commune abruptly put an end to Socialism in France. The caldron boiled over and put out the fire. Thiers, in his last official message as president, claimed that Socialism, living and thriving in Germany, was absolutely dead in France. It was, however, to be revived in a newer and more vital form.

The exiled communards, in England and elsewhere, came in contact with Marxianism, and in 1880, when a general amnesty was declared, they brought to Paris a new and virile propaganda. The leader of the new Marxian movement was Jules Guesde, a tireless zealot, burning with the fire that kindles enthusiasm.

The "affaire Boulanger" absorbed attention at this time, and Guesde, in his newspapers, La Révolution Française and Égalité, supported the Republic. But he was also insisting upon "Le minimum d'état et la maximum de liberté" (a minimum of government and a maximum of liberty). This may be taken as the political maxim of the Socialists at that time, although it leads them into the embarrassing anomaly of using their own slave as their master.

Meantime a political labor party had arisen. In Paris, in 1878, a workingman became a candidate for the municipal council, and he headed his program with the words "Parti Ouvrier"—Labor Party. This is [76]the first time the words were used with a political significance.[1] It was a small beginning, his votes were few, and the newspaper that espoused the workingman's cause, Le Prolétaire, was constantly on the verge of bankruptcy for want of proletarian support. In other cities the political labor movement began, and in 1879 a labor conference was held in Marseilles.

The two movements, labor and Socialist, drew together in 1880 at a general conference of workingmen at Havre. Here there were three groups which found it impossible to coalesce: the Anarchists, under Blanqui, formed the "Parti Socialiste Révolutionnaire"—the Revolutionary Socialist Party; the co-operativists, calling themselves the Republican Socialist Alliance, included the opportunist element of the Socialists; and the Guesdists, who were in the majority, organized the "Parti Ouvrier Français"—the French Labor Party—and adopted a Marxian program.

The Guesdists entered the campaign with characteristic zeal. They polled only 15,000 votes in Paris and 25,000 in the Departments for their municipal tickets, and 50,000 in the entire country for their legislative ticket.

From the first the Socialists in France have been rent by petty factions. We will hastily review these constantly shifting groups before proceeding to the larger inquiry.

In 1882 the Guesdists split, and Brousse formed the "Fédération des Travailleurs Socialistes de France"—the Federation of Socialist Workingmen of France. In 1885 Malon formed a group for the study of the social problems, "Société d'Économie [77]Sociale"—Society of Social Economics—which rapidly developed into the important group of Independent Socialists—"Parti Socialiste Indépendent." The labor movement was stimulated by the act of 1884, and in 1886 the "Fédération des Syndicats"—Federation of Labor Unions—was organized at Lyons, and in 1887 the Paris Labor Exchange—"Bourse du Travail"—was opened.

In 1882 Allemane seceded from the Broussists to found a faction of his own, the Revolutionary Socialist Labor Party of France—"Parti Ouvrier Socialiste Révolutionnaire Français." In 1893 the first confederation of the labor exchanges (bourses) was held, and the first conspicuous victory at the polls achieved.

In 1899 an effort was made to unify the warring factions, and a committee representing every shade of Socialistic faith was appointed. It was called the General Committee—"Comité Général Socialiste." Within the year the Guesdists withdrew on account of the rigorous quelling of the strike riots by the government at Châlons-sur-Saône. In 1901 the Blanquists withdrew and, coalescing with the Guesdists, formed the Socialist Party of France—"Parti Socialiste de France." This movement was soon followed by the uniting of the Jaurèsites and the Independents, who called themselves the French Socialist Party—"Parti Socialiste Français."

After the expulsion of Millerand, the two parties united in 1905 at Rouen. This unity was achieved at the suggestion of the International Congress held at Amsterdam, 1904. The "United Party" is officially known as the French Section of the International Workingmen's Association—"Section Française de l'Internationale Ouvrière."

[78]The United Party, after its years of ridiculous factionalism, is the most compact and disciplined group in the Chamber of Deputies, and this in spite of the fact that the Guesdists and Jaurèsites have not forgotten their ancient differences. The French people are not amenable to discipline and party rigor as are the Germans and the Anglo-Saxons. At the last election (1910) the United Party elected 76 deputies in a chamber of 590 members.

There are to-day two other groups that are more or less Socialistic but are not in "the Party." The Independent Socialists, numbering thirty-four members in the Chamber, are men who, either because of their intellectualism or because of their political ambitions, have a repugnance to hard and fast organization. This group includes a number of college professors and journalists; also Briand, Viviani, and Millerand, former ministers. They are not committed to any definite political program, take a leading part in all social reform measures, and are accused by the "united ones" of using the name Socialist merely as a bait for votes.

The other group is the Socialist-Radical Party, numbering about 250 members in the Chamber. In most countries their radicalism would be called Socialism. But in France they are only the connecting link between Socialists and liberal Republicans.[2]


The "social questions" were slow in entering parliament. In 1876 a Bonapartist deputy, known for his [79]charities, interpolated the government, asking what inquiries were being made toward securing the moral and material betterment of "the greatest number," and amidst the cheers of his followers the Prime Minister replied that the government's duty was comprehended in securing to the country "liberty, security, and education." This was the old idea of the functions of government. The new social movement had not yet gathered momentum.

With the development of the workingman's political party, interest and sympathy for his problems suddenly increased. In 1880 the Republicans adopted a resolution in favor of freedom of association. At this time labor unions were illegal. In 1881 the government removed the restrictions that had been placed on the press. In the following year it extended the primary schools into every commune, and Gambetta did everything in his power to promulgate what he termed "an alliance of the proletariat and the bourgeois." Social science, he said, was the solvent of social ills. The Socialists, however, believed that politics, not "social science," was the solvent.

It was not until 1884, while Waldeck-Rousseau was Minister of the Interior, that labor was given the legal right to organize. Immediately unions—called syndicats by the French—sprang up everywhere. Article 3 of the act declared that these unions had for their exclusive object "the study and the promulgation of their interests, economic, industrial, commercial, and agricultural." They were not given the liberal legal powers that English and American unions have.

The social movement now invaded French politics in full battle array. A government commission was intrusted with the study of the co-operative [80]movement. In 1885 several deputies, calling themselves Socialists, began to interpellate the ministry on the labor questions. The government brought in two proposals, one pertaining to communal and industrial organizations, the other to the arbitration of industrial disputes. Both were tabled.

In 1887 a man appeared in the Chamber ready to debate the social questions with the keenest and the ablest. This was Jean Jaurès, a professor of philosophy, whose profound knowledge and superb oratory immediately commanded attention. He was joined by another new deputy, M. Millerand, scarcely less proficient in debate, and even more extreme in his convictions. Both were considered members of the radical party. But they soon formed the nucleus of a new group, the Independent Socialists, that grew rapidly in influence and power.

The social question was forced on the public from yet another direction. The Anarchists, who had been expelled from the Havre conference, remained passive until the organization of trade unions. They then began to promulgate the doctrine of the general strike. The unionists began not only to compel their employers to accede to their demands, but to coerce workingmen to join the unions. It was during this agitation that the government established an elaborate system of labor exchanges—"Bourse du Travail."

From the labor unions the doctrine of the general strike was insinuated into Socialist circles. In 1890 it was proposed as a practical measure for enforcing the demand for an eight-hour day among the miners. In 1892 the Departmental Congress of Workingmen at Tours passed a resolution favoring the general strike, and it was discussed a few days later in a [81]general convention of the unions, at the suggestion of Aristide Briand, a Socialist who was destined to play an important rôle in the development of the theory and practice of general strikes.

The government could no longer dodge the social question. Millerand announced his conversion to Socialism and became the leader of a small parliamentary coterie who pressed the issue daily. In a signed statement to the unions they said: "The Republic has given the ballot into your hand, now give the Republic your instructions."[3] The parliamentary entente of the liberal Socialists with the Radical Left dates from this time. The campaign spread with surprising fervor. Labor unions and parliamentary Socialists joined their forces. In 1893 they elected forty Socialists to the Chamber of Deputies. Among them were Jaurès, who now espoused the cause of the Socialist opportunists; Millerand, conspicuous as leader of the independent group; Guesde, the vehement Marxian; and Vaillant, a communard and Socialist of the older type.

Now began the actual parliamentary Socialism in France. Jaurès, in introducing the group—they were scarcely a party—to the Chamber, affirmed their allegiance to the Republic and their devotion to the cause of humanity. The misery of the people had awakened, he said, after right of association had been granted. Labor had, through strikes, gained certain minor improvements. It was now prepared to conquer public authority. But so much of their time was spent in quarreling with each other, and debating whether they should vote with the Radicals, that very little substantial work was accomplished by the Socialists.

[82]Finally, encouraged by their unusual success in the municipal elections of 1896, the leaders of the various factions met at Saint-Mandé to celebrate their victory. They were tiring of their quarrels and were ready to unite. At least they agreed that each group could name its own candidate for the first ballot; on the second ballot they should all support the Socialist who polled the most votes on the first ballot.[4]

But who is a Socialist? Here for the first time a political definition was attempted. Millerand, a Parisian lawyer who, we have seen, made his political début with Jaurès, as a member of the Radical Left, attempted the answer. It was made in the presence of Guesde, Vaillant, and Jaurès, and many local leaders from various parts of France. So, for the moment and for the occasion of rejoicing, there was a united Socialism. And it gave assent, with varying enthusiasm, to the general definition and program outlined by Millerand. He defined the ground to be covered as follows:

"Is not the Socialistic idea completely summed up in the earnest desire to secure for every being in the bosom of society the unimpaired development of his personality? That implies two necessary conditions of which one is a factor of the other: first, individual appropriation of things necessary for the security and development of the individual, i.e., property; secondly, liberty, which is only a sounding and hollow word if it is not based on and safeguarded by property."

He then accepted in toto the Marxian theory that capitalistic society bears within itself the enginery [83]of its own doom. "Men do not and will not set up collectivism; it is setting itself up daily; it is, if I may be allowed the phrase, being secreted by the capitalistic régime. Here I seem to have my finger on the characteristic feature of the Socialist program. In my view, whoever does not admit the necessary and progressive replacement of capitalistic property by social property is not a Socialist."

Millerand was not satisfied with merely including banking, railroads, and mining in the list of "socialized" property. He believed that as industries become "ripe" they should be taken over by the state, and cites sugar refining as an example of a monopoly that is "incontestably ripe." Millerand also laid great stress on municipal activities, and hastened to guarantee to the small property owner his modest possessions. All this taking over by the state was to be done gradually. "No Socialist ever dreamed of transforming the capitalistic régime instantaneously by magic wand." The method of this gradual absorption by the state must be constitutional. "We appeal only to universal suffrage. To realize the immediate reforms capable of relieving the lot of the working class, and thus fitting it to win its own freedom, and to begin, as conditioned by the nature of things, the socialization of the means of production, it is necessary and sufficient for the Socialist party to endeavor to capture the government through universal suffrage."[5]

This mild formulary, which places the "socialized society" far into the dim future, was accepted as [84]long as it was rhetorical. But when Millerand himself became a member of the cabinet in the Waldeck-Rousseau coalition, and began to translate his words into deeds, a rupture followed.

In the meantime occurred the Dreyfus affair, which shifted all the political forces of the Republic. At first the Guesdists remained indifferent, while Jaurès, with great energy, threw himself into the contest in behalf of Dreyfus. But when the affair took an anti-Republican turn and democracy was threatened, then all the Socialists united, with no lack of energy and zeal, in the defense of the Republic. On June 13, 1898, Millerand was spokesman in the Chamber of Deputies for the Socialist group, which now held the balance of power. With threats of violence against the Republic in the air, he assured the deputies that his comrades were united for "the honor, the splendor, and the safety of the Fatherland" (l'honneur, la grandeur, et la sécurité de la Patrie). And this was part of the price of their adhesion: old-age pensions, a fixed eight-hour day, factory legislation protecting the life and health of the workman, military service reduced to two years, and an income tax. The Radical Left adopted this "minimum program" of the Socialists, and the famous "Bloc" was formed. Jaurès was made vice-president of the Chamber and soon proved himself master of the coalition. Now for the first time in history the Socialists were in political power, and what occurred is of the greatest interest to us.


And now for the first time a Socialist becomes a cabinet member. In 1899 Waldeck-Rousseau [85]appointed Millerand Minister of Commerce, to the consternation of the Conservatives and the division of the Socialists. Jaurès congratulated his colleague on his courage in assuming responsibility. But while the Independents were jubilant over the elevation of one of their number, the Guesdists and Blanquists withdrew from the "Bloc." They issued a manifesto setting forth their reasons. They did not wish further alliances with a "pretended Socialist." They were tired of "compromises and deviations," which for too long a time had been forced on them as "a substitute for the class war, for revolution, and the socialism of the militant proletariat."[6]

To them the war of the classes forbade their entrance into a bourgeois ministry; and the conquest of political power did not imply collaboration with a government whose duty it was to defend property. Jaurès proposed to put the question up to the party congress, and in 1899 at Paris a bilateral compromise resolution was adopted. Guesde, however, restless and dissatisfied, compelled the congress to vote first upon the question, "Does the war of the classes permit the entrance of a Socialist into a bourgeois government?" The answer was 818 "no," 634 "yes." Jaurès' compromise was then adopted, 1,140 to 240.[7]

The international congress held in Paris, September, 1900, adopted Kautsky's resolution declaring that the acceptance of office by a single Socialist in a bourgeois government "could not be deemed the normal commencement of the conquest for political [86]power, but only an expedient called forth by transitory and exceptional conditions."

At the Bordeaux congress, April, 1903, the whole time was given over to this perplexing question. The congress was composed largely of friends of Millerand and Jaurès. By this time the Socialist minister had had three years' experience in the cabinet. The Waldeck-Rousseau premiership had given way to Combes, who was also dependent upon the Socialists for his power.

Millerand had especially offended the Socialists by voting against his party on three separate occasions: first, on a resolution abolishing state support for public worship; second, on a resolution to prosecute certain anti-militarists for publishing a book that tended to destroy military discipline; and, third, on a resolution asking the Minister of Foreign Affairs to invite proposals for international disarmament. He had further offended the Socialists by officially receiving the Czar on his visit to Paris.

The debate, then, was disciplinary rather than doctrinal. But it was political discipline, evidence therefore that a party consciousness of some sort had been achieved. This meeting is significant because it tried to fix definite limits for Socialistic action and committed Jaurès to the narrowing, not to the expanding, policy of the party.

M. Sarrante expressed the Millerand idea when he told the delegates that they were to judge "an entire policy," the policy of "democratic Socialism, which gains ground daily on the revolutionary Socialism, a policy which Citizen Millerand did not start, which he has merely developed and defined, and which forces itself upon us more and more in our republican [87]country." The test of Socialism, he said, was just this "contact of theory with facts."

Jaurès found himself in logical difficulty when he endeavored to reconcile both sides for the sake of party unity. He said that Sarrante was wrong "when he thinks it enough to lay down the principle of democracy in order to resolve, in a sort of automatic fashion, the antagonisms of society.... The enthronement of political democracy and universal suffrage by no means suppresses the profound antagonism of classes.... Sarrante errs in positing democracy without noting that it is modified, adulterated, thwarted by the antagonism of classes and the economic preponderance of one class. Just as Guesde errs in positing the class war apart from democracy."

To Jaurès the problem was to "penetrate" this democracy with the ideas of Socialism until the "proletarian and Socialistic state has replaced the oligarchic and bourgeois state." This can be brought about, he said, by "a policy which consists in at once collaborating with all democrats, yet vigorously distinguishing one's self from them."

Jaurès acknowledged the awkwardness of this policy, which required a superhuman legerdemain never yet accomplished by any party in the history of politics.

Guesde's motion to oust Millerand from the party was lost. And a compromise offered by Jaurès censuring him for his votes, but permitting him to remain in the party fold, was adopted by 109 to 89 votes, fifteen delegates abstaining from voting. This was a very close margin, and in spite of Millerand's promise that he would in the future be more careful of his party allegiance he was expelled the following [88]year from the Federation of the Seine. The stumbling-block was removed.[8]

More important than the party discipline is the question of the economic measures attempted by Millerand. In general he followed the outlines laid down in his Saint-Mandé program.[9] His experience carried him farther away from the Guesdists every year until he repudiated the class war and adhered to social solidarity; substituted the method by evolution for the method by revolution, still espoused by Guesde; and placed the national interests upon as high a plane of duty as the international and the personal. His program of labor legislation was comprehensive, and he succeeded in getting some of it passed into law. These were his leading proposals:

1. Regulating the hours of labor and creating a normal working day of ten hours. He began the reduction at eleven hours, reducing it to ten and a half, and then to ten within three years. In the public works of his own department he reduced the working day at once to eight hours.

2. In public contracts he introduced clauses favorable to workingmen. These clauses embraced the number of hours in a normal work day, the minimum wage for every class of workmen, prohibition of piece-work, guarantee of no work on Sunday, and the per cent. of foreign workmen allowed on the job. He arranged that the workingmen should unite with the employer in fixing the wages and the hours of labor before the contract was signed. In these contracts, [89]furthermore, the state reserved the right to indemnify the workmen out of the funds due to the contractor.

3. An accident insurance law.

4. The abolition of private employment agencies, with their many abuses, and replacing them with communal labor bureaus free to all. The voluntary federations of the trade unions were put on a similar footing with the communal labor exchanges, and were encouraged to co-operate with them. Millerand took great care to perfect the organization of trade unions. He introduced amendments to the old law of 1884, giving greater scope and elasticity to the unions, granting them greater corporate powers, and making the dismissal of a workman because he belonged to a union ground for a civil suit for damages. He began a movement to secure the co-operation between the unions and the state workshop inspectors. There had been a great deal of abuse in the operation of the inspection laws by the employers. An attempt was now made to define strictly the rights and duties of the inspectors.

5. His pet scheme was the establishing of labor councils (conseils du travail). On these councils labor and employer were to have equal representation. The duty of the councils embraced the adjudication of all disputes arising between employer and employee, suggesting improvements, and keeping vigilance over all local labor conditions. In 1891 a supreme labor council had been established. To this Millerand added lay and official members and greatly increased its efficiency. He tried to make it a central vigilance bureau, keeping in close touch with local conditions all over the land.

6. He elaborated a plan for regulating industrial [90]disputes. This was to be effected by a permanent organization in each establishment employing more than fifty men, a sort of committee of grievance to which all matters of dispute might be referred. In case of failure to settle their difficulties an appeal to the local labor council was provided. By this democratic representative machinery Millerand hoped to solve the labor problem.

It will be seen that Millerand's plan was an attempt, by law, to project the working class, not into politics but into the capitalist class. He would do this by compelling the employer to share the responsibility of ownership with his employees. This would mark the beginning of a revolution very different from the revolution ordinarily preached by propagandists, because this revolution would substitute class peace in place of our present incessant economic class war.

The Socialists made it plain that Millerand's procedure was not Socialism. When Millerand was first asked to take a cabinet portfolio his friend Jaurès told him to accept. When he had perfected his practical procedure, and the bulk of the proletarians evinced their disappointment and chagrin that the elevation of a Socialist had not brought utopia, Jaurès gradually slipped away from his former alliance and finally left the reformist group.

Jaurès also had his day of power. The Dreyfus affair presented the issue in tangible form—the old traditions, religious, political, social, against the new ideas of society, property, and government. It was the heroic period of modern French Socialism. Red and black flags were borne by enthusiastic multitudes through the streets of Paris. The "Université [91]Populaire" was inaugurated by students for the purpose of instructing the common people in the issues that were at stake. The flame of eager anticipation spread over the Republic.

As master of the "Bloc" in the Chamber, Jaurès became the first real head in the first French democracy. Two great reforms were undertaken: the disestablishment of the Church, carrying with it the secularization of education and the reorganization of the army. The old Royalist families had continued to send their sons into the army and navy. Many of the officers were suspected of royalist sympathies. An elaborate system of espionage was instituted, and the suspects weeded out. The last vestige of the old monarchy has now disappeared from French officialdom. France has a bourgeois army, a bourgeois school system, a bourgeois bureaucracy, thanks to the power of the proletarian Socialists led by Jaurès in the days of the Republic's danger.

Jaurès remained orthodox; Millerand became heretic. The Millerand episode left a deep impression on the public mind. The first Socialist minister shaped not only a program but an entire policy. In 1906, when a new cabinet was formed, Millerand declined a portfolio, but two other Socialists accepted cabinet honors; Viviani, a well-known Parisian lawyer, held the newly created ministry of labor and social prevision (prévoyance sociale), and Aristide Briand became Minister of Public Instruction and Worship, and later Minister of Justice.

The public regarded the elevation of two Socialists to the cabinet as a matter of course. Millerand's activity had taken the fear out of their hearts. Even the Marxian Socialists failed to notice the event. [92]They had written into their party by-laws that no Socialist could accept office, so the new ministers, by their own acts, ceased to be "Socialists."

Clémenceau, the new Premier, ushered in the next period of social adventure by a brilliant debate in the Chamber with Jaurès in which the philosophical basis of individualism was reviewed with great skill and some of the social questions discussed.[10]

Jaurès claimed for the Socialists a dominant share in the great victory won by the friends of the Republic during the Dreyfus turmoil, and made much of the multitudes of workingmen to whom the Republic was now under great obligation. These workingmen, the proletariat, were the force now to be dealt with. "If you really wish society to evolve, if you wish it really to be transformed, there is the force you must deal with, and that you must neither repress nor rebuff." The parliamentary experience of Socialism Jaurès passed over lightly; it added nothing new, he thought, to the theory or the arguments of the Socialists.

His opponent, however, in a single sentence laid bare the weakness of the Socialist's logic: "The truth is that it is necessary to distinguish between two different elements of the social organization, between the man and the system." Clémenceau read the Socialists' program upon which they had won their victory. It embraced: the eight-hour day, giving state employees the right to form unions, sickness and unemployment insurance; a progressive income tax; ballot reform (scrutin de liste) and proportional representation, and "restoration to the nation of the monopolies in which capital has its strongest fortress."

[93]"What a terribly bourgeois program!" exclaimed Clémenceau. "M. Jaurès, after expounding his program, challenged me to produce my own. I had very great difficulty in restraining the temptation to reply: 'You know my program very well. You have it in your pocket. You stole it from me.'"

This debate was significant, not in what was said, but in the fact that it was possible to enlist the Prime Minister, the cleverest of French statesmen, and Jaurès, the greatest of French orators, in a discussion of Socialism from the tribune of the Chamber of Deputies. The whole country listened. During this brilliant tilt Clémenceau taunted Jaurès that his Socialism was impractical, a dream. "You are a visionary, I am a realist; you have dreams, I have facts." Jaurès replied with great fervor that he would prove to the people of France that Socialism is not impracticable and that within a year he would produce a plan for the new social order. The "Unified" Socialist Party, built up largely on Jaurès' abandonment of his former colleague and his earlier liberal convictions, may be considered a part of the fulfilment of this promise. The other part, the plans and specifications for the new society, is not yet before the world. Its introduction, properly its prelude, is the volume published by Jaurès in 1911, L'Armée Nouvelle, containing suggestions for reorganizing the state defense along lines of voluntary militia and cadets.[11]



Clémenceau's régime was destined to test the Socialist policy in a new direction. The law of 1884 gave state employees the right to form associations, but not to federate or organize syndicats. A great many organizations were formed, especially among the postal employees and teachers. They were mutual benefit societies, "friendly" associations, and the government recognized them to the extent of discussing their grievances and questions of mutual interest with them.

Among the workmen in the navy yards and the national match, tobacco, and porcelain works similar organizations existed. The Syndicalists would not let the matter rest there. They demanded that these organizations become members of the C.G.T. (General Confederation of Workingmen). The government objected because that would give the men the right to strike, a dangerous anomaly giving to the state's servants the right to make government nugatory. This extreme doctrine found ready advocates in the Chamber among the Socialists.

In March, 1909, the post-office clerks and telegraph operators went out on strike. The government promptly discharged thirty-eight of the ringleaders and arrested eight of the strikers in Paris on the charge of resisting the police. In the course of a few days over 800 out of 15,000 employees were discharged. Soldiers were introduced into the service, [95]and with the help of local chambers of commerce and other civic bodies the postal service was renewed. The strikers were then willing to make terms. They stipulated that the dismissed employees be reinstated and that M. Simyan, the Under-Secretary of Posts and Telegraphs, be dismissed. The first request was conceded, the second was denied. The ostensible cause of the strike had been the attitude of the under-secretary; the men asserted that he was arbitrary and had imposed petty political exactions upon them. The government refused to allow the men to dictate its affairs, the under-secretary remained, and the men went back to work.

The Socialists censured the government for not being considerate with the men, and placed the entire blame upon the ministry for refusing the national employees a right to organize as other workmen. To this Simyan replied: "We are in the presence of an organized revolutionary agitation ... this is blackmail by strike." The Minister of Public Works said: "Over our heads these officials have revolted against you and against the entire nation. These are serious hours when the government needs perfect facilities of communication with its ambassadors and consuls [the Balkan question was in the pot], and in such hours a strike is an attack upon the national sovereignty. In these circumstances I cannot re-enter into negotiations with the general postal association. If I did so that would mean abdication."[12] The Socialist deputies voted against the government's resolution "not to tolerate strikes of functionaries."

The general strike committee was not discharged when the men returned to work. When it became [96]evident that the government did not intend to ask the under-secretary for his resignation the post-office employees organized a trade union, unauthorized by law. The government refused to meet representatives of this union, on the ground that state employees had organized for one purpose only, namely, to have the right to strike, and the government would not concede that right.

On May 12 a second general post-office strike was called. The government immediately dismissed over two hundred of the strikers. The Socialists in the Chamber began a demonstration against the government. One of their number started the "Internationale," the Socialist war-song. After the first blush of indignation had passed, the whole Chamber sprang to its feet, there were shouts of protest, a Republican started the Marseillaise, and the two revolutionary hymns, bourgeois and proletarian, were blended for the first time in a parliamentary chamber.

Now the general confederation of labor (C.G.T.) took charge of the strike, and soon plots began to be carried out in various parts of the country. There were indications of violence everywhere. The general committee of the C.G.T. declared a general strike. The situation threatened to become serious, but the soldiers distributed over the affected territory had a tranquilizing effect. Men in other trades were reluctant to follow the orders of the committee. A few electric workers succeeded in cutting some wires in Paris, leaving the city in darkness a few hours. There were desultory acts of sabotage, but there was more terror than enthusiasm, and in two days the general strike was over.[13]

[97]Here was an attempt to place the 800,000 French state employees into the revolutionary current of the C.G.T. The real question at issue was this: Is striking an act of mutiny? Barthou, a member of the ministry, said in the Chamber of Deputies that "the more solemnly you denounce the strike as a crime against the state, the greater the victory of the Syndicalists." The Syndicalist journal, Le Voix du Peuple, the day after the first strike was settled proclaimed "the victory which our comrades of the postal proletariat have won over their employer the state." This, they said, showed that the state conceded the main contention of Syndicalism—that it is not different from a private employer. And the Syndicalists gloried in the fact that the government, instead of treating the strikers as mutineers, parleyed with them and reinstated them.

Clémenceau brought in a bill designed to relieve the situation by fixing the status of the state employees. The men were to be given the right of association for "professional" purposes only,—i.e., for improving their efficiency,—but were absolutely prohibited from striking and from joining other unions. A comprehensive civil-service reform was embodied in the bill, aimed to prevent the men from becoming victims of political abuse.

Before the bill could be thoroughly considered the Clémenceau ministry fell and a new Prime Minister was called to the helm. This was none other than Aristide Briand, the first Socialist Prime Minister in [98]European history. His former comrades had long before this disowned him, and he was soon to participate in events that would forever alienate them. He had been a furious Socialist, an anti-militarist, and defender of the general strike. In the Socialist congress at Paris, 1899, he said: "The general strike has the seductive advantage that it is nothing but the practice of an intangible right. It is a revolution which arises within the law. The workingman refuses to carry the yoke of misery any farther and begins the revolution in the field of his legal rights. The illegality must begin with the capitalist class, if it allows itself to be provoked into destroying a right which they themselves have professed to be holy." At the same meeting he expressed himself on the soldiery as follows: "If the command to fire is given, if the officers are stubborn enough to try to force the soldiers against their will, then the guns might be fired, but perhaps not in the direction the officers thought." Briand repeated these sentiments at the Amsterdam congress in 1903.

This was the man whom destiny had chosen to lead the French government against the organized revolt of government employees.

On assuming the premiership he announced his program:

1. Parliamentary and electoral reform, he said, were of the first necessity, but he deemed it best to experiment with the new methods of balloting locally before adopting a national system of reform.

2. A graduated income tax.

3. Fixing the legal status of state servants.

4. Old-age pension.

[99]October 10, 1910, the men employed on the Northern Railway went out on strike. Before they did so they had a conference with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Works, Millerand, requesting that they try to arrange a meeting between the men and the officials of the railway. The ministry offered its services to the railway directors, but they refused to meet the strikers, although Briand had volunteered to preside at such a meeting. The Prime Minister told the men firmly that the government could not tolerate a suspension of railway service, that it would exert its authority to prevent it, and that it relied on the common sense and patriotism of the men to prevent it.

However, the strike spread to other lines, including the state railway. The men's demands were three: 1. A minimum wage of five francs a day. 2. A revision of the railway pension act making the pensions retroactive. 3. A weekly day of rest—the men had been excluded from the "rest day" act when it was passed.

Briand at once characterized the strike as political in motive and revolutionary in character. In his mind the strike ceased to be merely a question of the right to strike, but was a criminal outbreak, an act of rebellion planned by a few revolutionary leaders and submitted to by the rank and file without their even voting on the question. He was greatly incensed at the sudden calling out of the men after the government had received their representatives, and especially since the railway companies had granted their request for a minimum wage and had taken under advisement the other demands of the men.

Five of the ringleaders were promptly arrested under dramatic circumstances. They were attending [100]a meeting in the office of L'Humanité,[14] attended by Jaurès and Vaillant and other leaders of the party. They were arrested under color of Sections 17 and 18 of the law of 1845 dealing with railway traffic.[15]

This law proved a powerful factor in checking the strike. Arrests were made far and near. The energetic Prime Minister did not wait for acts of violence; he anticipated them. Briand called out the reserves (militia), and nearly all of the strikers were compelled to put on the uniform. If they refused they were guilty of a serious offense; if they obeyed they could no longer strike.

The railways were run as in times of war, under military rigor. In spite of these precautions acts of violence occurred, and sabotage was reported from various railway centers.[16]

In one week the soldiery, under the determined minister, had done its work. The strike was over. The government refused to reinstate about 2,000 men employed on the state railway.

The strike committee issued a manifesto excusing the failure of the strike, assuming the full responsibility for calling it, and affirming that the government had "lowered itself to the level of the most barbarous employer."

[101]The strike was hastily conceived, never had the sympathy of the public, and the destruction of property was deplored even by the labor unions, which, when it was all over, passed resolutions condemning sabotage. The leaders of the Syndicalists, the plotters of the strike, no doubt believed that the time was opportune. The Prime Minister and two of his cabinet, Viviani and Millerand, were Socialists, and a third member, Barthou, was a Radical who had as a private member of the Chamber, a short time before his appointment to the cabinet, vigorously defended the railway men's "right to strike." But official responsibility had its usual effect.[17]

Now began a series of dramatic events in the Chamber. The united Socialists maintained that the men had a legal right to strike and that the government had denied to French citizens their legal privileges. Briand replied (October 25) that the strike had nothing to do with the labor problem. The government, had been confronted with "an enterprise designed to ruin the country, an anarchistic movement with civil war for its aim, and violence and organized destruction for its method"; and he had treated it as a rebellion, not as a strike. The government, he said, had evidence of a well-laid plot for sabotage; and the Syndicalist idea of liberty he characterized as a "hideous figure of license."

Millerand (October 27) characterized the strike as a "criminal enterprise," and the saboteurs as "criminals" guilty of "a revolutionary mobilization with a [102]political object." For the Socialists Bouveri, a miner, replied. He defended bomb-throwing and sabotage; asked the Minister of War if, in case of invasion by a foreign foe, he would not blow up the bridges; and said the strikers were engaged in a social war and had the same excuse for destroying property.

The climax of the debate came October 29, when Briand, turning to the Socialists, said: "I am going to tell you something that will make you jump (que vous faire bondir). If the government had not found in the law that which enabled it to remain master of the frontiers of France and master of its railways, which are the indispensable instruments of the national defense; if, in a word, the government had found it necessary to resort to illegality, it would have done so."

No words can describe the disorder of the scene that followed this challenge. Cries of "Dictator!" "Resign!" were mingled with catcalls and hisses. Finally Jaurès was heard in bitter rebuke of his former comrade. Viviani answered Jaurès; they had fought together the battles of the workingman and would do so still "if Socialism had not adopted the methods of sabotage, of anti-patriotism, and of anarchy."

A few weeks later Briand and his cabinet resigned, although sustained by a majority of the Chamber. But President Fallières immediately requested the dauntless Prime Minister to form a new cabinet. In his new program he included measures that would greatly strengthen the arms of the government in times of strikes, punishing sabotage by heavy fines and penalties, penalizing the public railway servant for striking, and contemplating an elaborate system of conciliation boards patterned after Millerand's plan.

[103]These rigorous suggestions increased the flame of hatred against him, and his life was threatened. Nothing daunted, he proceeded in his warfare against the C.G.T., which he denounced as a handful of plotters exercising a wicked tyranny over Socialists and workingmen. Finally, February 27, 1911, he resigned, refusing to hold office by the sufferance of the reactionary Right. The Socialists voted with their enemies to dethrone their first Premier, whom they considered a traitor to the course.[18]

So ended one of the most significant episodes of modern political history. Every government, especially every democratic government, will within the next few decades be compelled to meet the railway problem and the question of the relation of the government to its state servants.

Two important details in the Briand affair are of especial interest.

First, the Prime Minister's attempt to project the authority of the state into the contract relations of the railway employees and the companies. Instead of hostility, Briand's plan might well have deserved the support of the Socialists. For he was expanding the functions of the state, was enlisting the power of society in behalf of a contract that is of universal interest.

Secondly, Briand's bill making it unlawful for a railway servant to strike was quite as revolutionary as the C.G.T.'s contention that the state had no [104]right to interfere. Here, too, Briand was the Socialist and the Socialists were the individualists; the one recognized the paramount interests of society, the other saw only the interests of the individual worker. Put to this test, French Socialism failed as signally in theory as the violence, sabotage, and insubordination of the C.G.T. failed in practice.[19]


Who were these revolutionary labor leaders, this small handful of plotters to whom Briand constantly alluded?[20] In order to understand the Socialist movement in any country, both politically and industrially, it is necessary to understand the organization of labor. Socialism began as a class movement, and in every country it is endeavoring to capture the labor organizations.[21]

[105]In no two countries are the relations quite the same. In the United States the unions have traditionally kept out of politics altogether. In Great Britain they refused to be busied with politics until a few years ago, when the Labor Party was organized. Since then a number of union men have identified themselves rather loosely with Socialism. In Germany there is the closest co-operation between the party and the unions, but not any organic unity. In Belgium the political and economic organizations are virtually merged.

In France the most interesting development has taken place. From the Revolution until 1864 no labor organizations were allowed. The National Assembly abolished all the trade guilds and corporations. The Loi le Chappelier forbade unions of workers and of masters, and the Code Napoléon imposed a penalty of imprisonment on those engaging in unlawful combinations. In 1864 the criminal laws were revised, and unions of twenty members were allowed. The law of 1884 left the way untrammeled for their development.[22]

Within a few years unions were formed everywhere.[23] In 1886 the Guesdists organized the National Federation of Trade Unions, a Socialist body of workers subordinated to the Workingman's Party. Soon thereafter the Municipal Socialists, the Broussists, founded the Paris Labor Exchange, built a large clubhouse for if, and succeeded in getting an appropriation of 20,000 francs a year from the city for [106]its maintenance. Within ten years about fifty of these exchanges were formed in as many cities, and about seventy per cent. of the union members belonged to them. The object of these exchanges was educational and benevolent. But they were soon made the hotbeds of Socialistic politics. In 1892 they were all federated in the Federation of Labor Exchanges (Fédération du Bourse du Travail).

In 1895 Guesde's political adjunct, the National Federation of Trade Unions, became extinct. The Blanquists then organized a new federation, the notorious General Confederation of Labor (Confédération Générale du Travail), commonly called the C.G.T. These two bodies were bitter rivals, after the French fashion, until, in 1902, they amalgamated, retaining the name C.G.T.[24] The organization is dual, retaining the benevolent activities of the local exchanges and the trade activities of the local unions. These activities are federated into national councils. The union of these councils forms the central governing body of C.G.T. The organization allows a great deal of local autonomy, but the central control is none the less effective. In 1907 the C.G.T. claimed 350,000 members, in 1911 it reported 600,000.

This body of workmen is known for its violence. Within its ranks has spread the doctrine known as revolutionary Syndicalism, a resurrection of the spirit of Proudhonism in the body of labor unionism. Briefly stated, it is class war in its most violent form [107]without the aid of parliaments and politics; with the enginery of the general strike, and the spirit of universal upheaval and anarchy. It is the most effective outbreak of Anarchism since the days of Bakunin.

The intellectual revival of the doctrine of violence may be dated from the appearance of Georges Sorel's book, The Socialist Future of Trade Unions, in 1897, and the culmination of the tide in his volume Reflections upon Violence, in 1908.

For a movement so young Syndicalism has had a peculiarly expansive literature, written by professors and journalists of the bourgeois class, who live on respectable streets, receive you in comfortable drawing-rooms, and from their upholstered ease display a fine zeal for the oppressed proletariat.[25]

It is not easy to classify Syndicalism, for it refuses to be called Anarchism, repudiates the leadership of Socialism, and scorns to be merely trade-unionism. The following are its principal characteristics:

1. It is disheartened with Socialism because, it says, Socialists have lost their ideals in the race for political power. Law-making is useless, because no laws can emancipate the workingmen. It therefore despises governments and abjures parliaments. But its ideals are Socialistic; it believes "in reorganizing society on a communistic basis, so that, with a minimum of productive effort, the maximum of well-being will be obtained."[26]

[108]2. But repudiating governments and parliaments, they say, does not make them Anarchists. Syndicalists believe in local or communal government. Their state is a glorified trade union whose activities are confined to economic functions, their nation is a collection of federated communal trade societies. When I went among them they were especially solicitous that they should not be regarded as "mere Anarchists."

3. Syndicalism is not trade-unionism pure and simple, because its method is violence and its ideal the industrial unit, not the trade or craft unit. The weapon of Syndicalism is the general strike. A circular issued by the executive committee in 1898 defined the general strike as "the cessation of work, which would place the country in the rigor of death, whose terrible and incalculable consequences would force the government to capitulate at once. If it refused, the proletariat, in revolt from one end of France to the other, would be able to compel it." Sorel says that "revolutionary Syndicalism nourishes in the masses the desire to strike, and it can thrive only in places where great strikes, occupied with acts of violence, have taken place."[27] The strike committee of the C.G.T. in 1899 proclaimed the general strike as "the only practical method through which the working class can fully liberate itself from the capitalistic and governmental yoke." The general strike includes the boycott, sabotage, and all kindred forms of violence.[28]

4. Syndicalism revives the old revolutionary methods of conspiracy, of a dominant minority swinging [109]the masses into line; "a conscious minority, which, through its example, sets the masses in motion and drives them on."[29] There are plots, underground manœuvers, and sudden outbursts. An air of mystery pervades their spectacular uprisings. In order to accomplish their purpose there must be a solidarity of labor. But this unity is the result of the energy of the "conscious few," not of the assertive many.

5. Finally, Syndicalism proclaims that democracy is a "fraud" perpetrated upon the workingmen by the property-owning bourgeois; representative government and majority rule is to them merely a polite form of tyranny, and patriotism a farce. Potaud says: "Patriotism can only be explained by the fact that all patriots without distinction own a part of the social property, and nothing is more absurd than a patriot without a patrimony."

"We workingmen will have none of these little fatherlands! Our country is the international world!" cried Yvetot to the post-office strikers in Paris.

They regard the soldiers with enmity. At the national congress at Amiens, 1906, they resolved that the "anti-military and anti-patriotic propaganda should be promulgated with the greatest zeal and audacity."[30]

Syndicalism is the extreme pessimism of the laboring class. It reached its height about 1907-1908. [110]Portions of France were terrorized, more by its extravagant language than by its overt acts. There was no limit to their superlatives. "Rip up the bourgeois!" "Turn your rifles on your officers!" "Cut buttonholes in the skins of the bourgeois!" were familiar battle-cries. There was so much talk about putting vitriol into coffee, ground glass into bread, pulling the fire-plug out of engines, that finally language came to mean nothing.

The "new commune" thought it was coming into reality with the post-office and railway strikes. We have seen how these outbreaks were met by a Radical government. Since then their ardor has cooled, and their adjectives grown flabby. They are now devoting themselves to organization.

Anti-militarism does not mean merely opposition to standing armies. All Socialists are opposed to the maintenance of armaments. Anti-militarism is opposition to all force used by the state to assert its sovereignty. This includes the police and constabulary as well as the army, and courts and parliaments as well as the navy. Since soldiers and policemen are servants of the state, and since the state is the expression of nationalism, the anti-militarist concludes that his supreme enemy is the nation, the master of the soldier. Anti-militarism is the forerunner of anti-patriotism.

In 1906 this doctrine was so rampant that, on May Day, an uprising was feared in Paris. A prophet had arisen, proclaiming the most extreme doctrines of anti-patriotism. This was Gustave Hervé, a teacher of history from Auxerre. He had spoken the suitable word, and became famous overnight: "The French flag arose from dirt!"; and to the [111]peasantry he shouted, "Plant your country's flag in the barnyard dung-heaps!" He came to Paris and started a daily paper, La Guerre Sociale. Syndicalists and Socialists flocked to his standard, and even Jaurès was compelled to acknowledge his influence.[31]

Hervé has a simple remedy for militarism: "The way to stop war is to refuse to fight." He exhorts his fellow-Socialists to join the army, but fire on their commanders, not on their comrades. He was arrested several times for these utterances and the overt acts that they aroused. Some years ago a Parisian workingman was arrested for an offense against public morals. He protested his innocence and, when released, in revenge killed a policeman. He was promptly executed. Hervé used the occasion for an onslaught upon the government in his paper. He said: "If the working class would display one-tenth of the energy that this workman displayed, the social revolution would not be long in coming." For his imprudence he was imprisoned for a term of four years.[32] [112]His influence is waning, but the words he and his following have planted in the hearts of the conscripts may bear some strange fruit.[33]


While the French Socialists have been prolific in the developing of factions and theories, they have been slow at achieving practical results. As early as 1887 they acquired considerable power in Paris. They contented themselves with establishing a labor exchange and extending a few municipal charities.

The local program, as outlined at Lyons, included: the feeding of school children; an eight-hour day and a fixed minimum wage for municipal employees; the abolition of the "octroi"; sanitary regulations for workshops and factories; abolition of private employment bureaus; establishment of homes for the aged; maternity hospitals; free medical attendance for the poor; free public baths; sanitaria for children of workmen; free legal advice for workingmen; pensions for municipal employees; and the publication of a municipal bulletin giving record of all the votes cast by the councilors.[34]

In 1892 a number of important cities were won by the Socialists, and in September of that year the first convention of Socialist municipal councilors was held at Saint-Ouen. The discussions were filled with revolutionary phraseology. In a few years the ideas of violence were discarded for more practical issues. In 1895, when the municipal convention met at Paris, [113]the time was largely given over to the question of organizing the municipal public service, public hygiene, etc.

In Lille the Socialists began their administration of local affairs by raising the budget from 740,000 francs in 1897 to 1,019,000 francs in 1899. Free industrial education was established for the working people; a municipal theater was opened; school children were fed and clothed; and an attempt was made to regulate the length of the working day and fix a minimum wage for municipal employees. At Dijon the feeding and clothing of school children was regulated by the amount of wages earned by the parents. Free medical aid was provided, and a drug-store was induced to sell medicines to the poor at reduced cost. The local labor exchange was voted an appropriation from public funds.

These illustrations show the general trend of municipal Socialism in France. The results are not numerous. But the French Socialists justify their meager practical results by pointing to the centralized system of administration which enables the prefect and other administrative officers to veto many of the acts of the municipal councils. The first thing that the Socialists attempted to do in their towns was the readjustment of the finances for the benefit of the working classes. Their acts were vetoed on the ground that they were ultra vires. The attempt to fix a minimum wage for municipal employees met the same fate. Then the municipalities petitioned the central government for greater financial autonomy. This was denied. In Roubaix the opening of a municipal drug-store was disallowed by the prefect on the ground that the corporations act does not grant that [114]power to municipalities. Municipal bakeries met the same fate. During the last few years, however, the rigor of the central administration has relaxed and the towns are allowed greater liberty in municipal affairs.

Under the circumstances it is perhaps little wonder that French municipal Socialism is a poor housekeeper. You look in vain for the high ideals of the Socialist evangelist. If you visit the towns where Socialism abounds you will be told that the Socialists have spent more money on the poor than their predecessors. You will find better nurseries for the babies of the working mothers, meals and stockings doled out to school children of the poor, here and there a physician or a lawyer retained by the town to render free service to the working people. On inquiry you will find that the soldiers are drawing increased pensions, the widows and orphans of the workingmen are especially provided for, and that bread is delivered to the needy at the door so they need not go ask for it, need not be beggars.

You are impressed that these proletarian town governments are trying to destroy poverty. Their ideal is noble, but some of their efforts are very crude.

The French Socialists are not by any means a unit on the municipal question. In 1911 it was the principal question discussed at their national convention at Saint-Quentin. Professor Millhaud of the University of Geneva, in a very clear and able speech, pointed out the merits of municipalization, citing the ownership of street railways, gas, waterworks, garbage plants, and other public utilities of European and American cities. He included municipal drug-stores, the feeding and clothing of school children, the [115]establishing of playgrounds, and many other municipal activities familiar to American practice, in his local Socialistic program.

His exposition met with the approval of the Jaurès faction. But the Guesdists were not satisfied. "Who would benefit by cheap municipal gas?" cried a delegate from the rear of the hall. "The rich man, for he needs a great deal of gas to light up his big house. But what laboring man needs gas? When has he time to read? In the evening he is too tired, and he gives no receptions." Guesde maintained with great vehemence that municipal ownership and state ownership are not Socialism; they may be a step toward Socialism, but often result in substituting the tyranny of the state for the tyranny of the private employer.

The convention adopted a municipal program after a prolonged discussion that brought out clearly the fact that the Guesdists are not devoted to state or municipal ownership as a principle, but only as a means to a greater end.

During the last few years a very important movement has been taking place among the peasantry of southern France. Under the leadership of Compère-Morel, a gardener and member of the Chamber of Deputies, Socialism is spreading rapidly among these small and independent landowners. There are several million of these thrifty peasants in France, and their acquisition to Socialism will mean, not only a great increase in political power, but a modification of their theory of property. The Socialists are luring the small land-holder by telling him that they are with him in his fight against the large estates. They assure the peasant that they have no designs upon his small [116]holdings. It is the great property, not merely property, that is the object of their hostility.[35]

There are other evidences that French Socialism is mellowing. Most of its leaders are bourgeois. Of the seventy-six united Socialists in the present Chamber, only thirty are workingmen, or trade-union officials; eight are professors in the University or secondary schools; seven are journalists; seven are barristers; seven are farmers; six are physicians; three are school teachers; and two are engineers. This does not suggest class war.

Socialism is a power in French politics. An observer who moves among the middle class wonders how much of a power it is in French life. The Radical Party would be considered Socialistic in England or the United States; half of it calls itself Socialist-Radical. It rules the Republic from the Chamber of Deputies. Everywhere you hear the people talking about collectivism, the nationalization of railways, of mines, of vineyards, of docks, and ultimately of wheat-fields and market-gardens.

But the French are a nation of small farmers and shopkeepers who cling to their property while they argue and vote for their radicalism and Socialism. This is the duality of their temperament; they love possessions and they love philosophical speculation. They keep their fields and their little shops, and speculate about the new to-morrow. They vote and debate with imaginative fervor; they pay taxes with stolid commonplace silence. In measuring the strength of French Socialism it is necessary to keep this in [117]mind. Not that the Frenchman does not take Socialism seriously. He takes it as seriously as he takes monarchism or republicanism, and much more seriously than he takes religion. There is only one thing he takes more seriously—his property.

That is why the Socialists number among their adherents all classes and all conditions of men, from Anatole France, most fastidious of literary aristocrats, to gaunt and hungry proletarians who infest the cellars and garrets of ancient Paris.

The French are, after all, the greatest of realists. They speculate in dreams and delicate theories; but they never lose their grip on their little farms and their little shops and the gold bonds of Russia.


[1] Georges Weil, Histoire du Mouvement Socialiste en France, Paris, 1904, p. 220.

[2] Other groups—the word party is hardly applicable in the French Chamber of Deputies—are the reactionary Right; the republican Conservatives, or Center; the Radical Left, or Liberals.

[3] Weil, supra cit., p. 276.

[4] In France, when any one candidate for the Chamber of Deputies fails to receive a majority of the votes cast, a second ballot is taken, for the two receiving the highest number of votes

[5] Quoted by Ensor, Modern Socialism, pp. 48-55. See also a collection of Millerand's speeches, Le Socialisme Réformiste Français, Paris, 1903.

[6] See "Manifeste 14 Juillet," 1899.

[7] See Vme Congrès Général des Organisations Socialistes Français tenu à Paris du 3 au 8 Décembre. Compte-rendu sténographique officiel, 1900, p. 154 ff.

[8] A partial report of the debate of the Bordeaux congress is given in Ensor's Modern Socialism, pp. 163-184.

[9] See A. Lavy, L'Œuvre de Millerand, Paris, 1902, a sympathetic account of his work; contains also extracts from his speeches and state papers.

[10] See the Contemporary Review, August, 1906, for a brief abstract of this debate.

[11] One of the first laws passed with the aid of the Socialist vote was the "day of rest" law, commanding one day of the week as a day of rest. It met the obstinate opposition of the Conservatives. The operation of the law is of interest, and instructive. The workmen naturally rejoiced over this increased leisure. The employers, on the other hand, found themselves paying wages for hours in which no service was rendered. They lowered the wages; the workmen resisted. Finally the law was so amended as virtually to annul its effect, in certain trades. The Socialists became irritated to the verge of breaking their entente with the Radicals.

[12] Proceedings Chamber of Deputies, March 19, 1909.

[13] During this agitation the teachers of the public schools, who had formed a great number of associations, joined in the demand of the Syndicalists. One of their number who had signed a vitriolic circular was dismissed by M. Briand, the Minister of Education, and for a time a strike of schoolmasters was threatened, but it did not materialize.

[14] L'Humanité is the leading Socialist daily of Paris. Briand had written editorials for it in his "red" days.

[15] These sections declare that the employment, or abetting or instigating the employment, of any means of stopping or impeding railway traffic is a crime; and if it has been planned at a seditious meeting, the instigators are as liable to punishment as the authors of the crime, even if they did not intend to provoke the destruction of railway property. The penalties imposed are very severe.

[16] Placards displayed the bitterness of the men. "For our vengeance Briand will suffice" was read on the walls under flaming posters that quoted fiery sentences from Briand's earlier speeches.

[17] Viviani, Minister of Justice, resigned soon after the close of the strike. He did not agree with Briand in his efforts to pass a law making all railway strikes illegal. He said as long as railways were private property men had the right to strike, but not to destroy property.

[18] Before his resignation, the old-age pension bill had passed the Senate and thus became a law. The Socialists supported the bill; but Guesde voted against it in spite of his party's instructions, because labor was charged with contributing to the fund. The syndicalists were also violently opposed to it because they believe the amount of the pension is too small.

[19] When in January, 1912, M. Poincaré was appointed Prime Minister, he promptly invited Briand into his cabinet as vice-president and Millerand as Minister of War.

[20] The co-operative movement is spreading gradually throughout France. There are two kinds of societies—the Socialist and the independent. In 1896 there were 202 co-operative productive societies. In 1907 there were 362. The following figures show the increase in the number of co-operative stores: 1902—1,641; 1903—1,683; 1906—1,994; 1907—2,166.

[21] The following table, compiled from the reports of the Minister of Labor, shows the growth of the labor-union movement:

Year   Number of Unions   Number of Members
1885   221   — —
1886   280   — —
1887   501   — —
1888   725   — —
1889   821   — —
1890   1,006   139,692
1891   1,250   205,152
1892   1,589   288,770
1893   1,926   402,125
1894   2,178   403,430
1895   2,163   419,781
1896   2,243   422,777
1898   2,324   437,739
1899   2,361   419,761
1900   2,685   491,647
1901   3,287   588,832
1902   3,679   614,173
1903   3,934   643,757
1904   4,227   715,576
1905   4,625   781,344
1906   4,857   836,134
1907   5,322   896,012
1908   5,524   957,102

[22] See Journal of Political Economy, March, 1909, for a comprehensive article on French labor unions by O.D. Skelton.

[23] From the beginning there were two kinds of unions, named after the color of their membership cards. The "yellows" are those pursuing a policy of peace, and the "reds" are the militants.

[24] The following figures show the increase of strikes since the organization of the C.G.T.:

Years Average Number
of Strikes
Average Number
of Strikers
Average Number
of Days Idle
1890-1898 379   71,961 1,163,478
1899-1907 855 214,660 3,992,976

[25] The doctrines of Syndicalism may be found in the writings of Georges Sorel. Also in the following: Pouget, Les Bases du Syndicalisme; Griffuelhs, L'Action Syndicaliste, and Syndicalisme et Socialisme; Pouget, La Parti du Travail; Potaud and Pouget, Comment nous ferons la Révolution; Paul Louis, Syndicalisme contre l'État.

[26] Pouget, The Basis of Trade Unionism, a pamphlet issued in 1908.

[27] Réflexions sur la Violence.

[28] See Yvetot, A B C du Syndicalisme, Chap. V. This pamphlet is issued by the C.G.T.

[29] Statement of Strike Committee C.G.T., 1899.

[30] "In every state, the army is for the property owner; in every European conflict, the working class is duped and sacrificed for the benefit of the governing class, the bourgeoisie, and the parasites. Therefore the XVth Congress approves and extols every action the anti-military and anti-patriotic propaganda, even though it only compromises the situation of all classes and all political parties." See Yvetot, A B C du Syndicalisme, p. 84.

[31] Hervé has written a history of France that has had considerable vogue as a text-book in the public schools. He begins with the significant year 1789; glorifies the violence, and praises the Socialistic manifestations and the heroism of the revolutionists, that have made the past century one of turmoil and perpetual commotion. This book is a sample of the reading given into the hands of the children of the Republic. I was told, upon careful inquiry, that a large number of the primary and secondary school teachers are Socialists. Thiers, before he became President, while still a functionary of monarchy, objected to the establishment of government schools in every village, because, he said, he did not want "a red priest of Socialism in every town." To-day he would find these "red priests" everywhere. They have even organized syndicats and joined the C.G.T.

[32] When I called upon him in the Prison Santé he told me that he was as sincerely opposed to military measures as ever; but that it would be a long time before the people would regard all mankind, rather than a single ethnic group, as the object of their patriotism. Pointing to the grim walls of his prison, he said, "Vive la République! Vive la Liberté!"

[33] Syndicalism and anti-militarism have spread to Spain and Italy. But they have not found favor among the phlegmatic North-European countries.

[34] See Stehelin, Essais de Socialisme Municipal, 1901.

[35] See Les Paysans et le Socialisme, a speech delivered by Compère-Morel, in the Chamber of Deputies, December 6, 1909. Also published in pamphlet form by the Socialist Party.





In Belgium the physical, political, and economic environment is suited to a symmetrical development of Socialism. It is a small country, "at the meeting-point of the three great European civilizations," Vandervelde, the leader of the Belgian Socialists, has pointed out. And his boast is true that the Belgian Socialists have absorbed the leading characteristics of the social movement in each of these countries. "From England Belgian Socialists have learned self-help, and have copied their free and independent organizations, principally in the form of co-operative societies. From Germany they have adopted the political tactics and the fundamental doctrines which were expressed for the first time in the 'Communist Manifesto.' From France they have taken their idealistic tendencies, and the integral conception of Socialism, considered as an extension of the revolutionary philosophy and as a new religion, an extension and a realization of Christianity."

This threefold growth would have been impossible if the environment had not been favorable. The Belgian population is congested into industrial towns that are thickly strewn over the country, like the suburbs of one vast manufacturing community. These working people have always been miserably housed and [119]poorly fed. In 1903-05 a public inquiry into housing conditions was instituted in Brussels. In the most congested portions of the city, 564 households, comprising 2,224 persons, lived in one-room tenements. The houses were in miserable condition.

The commission appointed after the riots of 1886 describes conditions that are little better than those that prevailed in England in 1830. Even as late as 1902, out of 750,000 working men and women one-tenth only worked less than ten hours a day; the rest worked from ten to twelve hours. One-fourth of these working people had a wage of 2 francs (40 cents) a day, another fourth had 2 to 3 francs (40 to 60 cents) a day, and the upper section only 3.50 to 4.50 francs (70 cents to 90 cents) a day. The government inquiry in 1896 disclosed the following rate of wages:

170,000 persons received less than 2 fr. (40c.) a day.
172,000 persons received less than 2-3 fr. (40-60c.) a day.
160,000 persons received less than 3-4 fr. (60-80c.) a day.
102,000 persons received more than 4 fr. (80c.) a day.[1]

In the low countries where agriculture is the leading occupation, conditions are no better. The peasant is poor; the conditions of tenancy hard, though recent legislation has modified them somewhat in the tenant's favor; and the holdings small. Agricultural wages are very low. The men in the Flemish district receive an average of 1.63 francs (33 cents) a day, without board, or about .90 francs (18 cents) with board. The women receive 1.06 francs (21 cents) without board and .64 francs (12½ cents) with board.[2]

[120]Here, then, is a population of industrial and peasant workers who are barely able to make a living, who have little time and less opportunity for education and general development. The percentage of illiteracy is very great; and is equaled only by the most backward countries of southern Europe. In 1902, out of every 1,000 militiamen, 101 were entirely illiterate; in France, 46; in England, 37; in Holland, 23; in Switzerland, 20; in Denmark, .08; in Germany, .07. In 1909 Rowntree estimated the illiteracy in the four largest Belgian cities to be 11.75 per cent.; in the Flemish communes, 34.69 per cent.; and in the Walloon communes (excepting Liège), 17.34 per cent.

Outward circumstances have not been wanting to arouse this teeming population into violent discontent. The government for years paid no heed to their misery, and the Church, which is very powerful in Belgium, was content to distribute charity and consolation, and to admonish the employer to patriarchal care for his men.

The national status of the country is guaranteed by the powers; there is no fear of invasion and no need for the intolerable military burdens that weigh down the great countries of Europe. There have been no international complications. This little country, with its clusters of thriving towns, its mines, farms, and seaports, could settle down contentedly to its daily tasks like a large family.

The great manufacturers and industrial leaders took even less interest in the welfare of the working people than the state or the Church. No one seemed to care how the worker fared, and when he himself learned to care the first reactions were violent.

[121]We will limit ourselves, in this inquiry, to the political development of the labor movement.

Belgium is a constitutional monarchy. The Constitution, provides for a parliament composed of the Senate and the Chamber of Representatives, both elected by the people, the Representatives by direct, the Senators by indirect, elections. The King has the veto power and the power to prorogue parliament. A general election follows prorogation, in which the whole membership of Senate and House are elected. The communes are governed by elective communal councils.

From the establishment of the constitution, in 1831, there have been two leading political parties—the Clerical or Catholic, and the Liberal. The Clerical Party has been not merely conservative, it has been reactionary. It clings not only to monarchic prerogatives, but to ecclesiastical supremacy. This medieval policy it imposed upon school and government and Church. The party has until very recently been in the majority. It is strongest in the low counties, among the agricultural Flemings. When the activity of the Socialists and Radicals forced the question upon the country, a "left" wing of the party began to interest itself in the laboring man, through the traditional methods of the Church, rather than by means of state interference.

The Liberal Party is a protest, not only against the predominant influence of the Church in political affairs, but also against the financial policies of the Conservatives. The Liberals early espoused the cause of free schools, modified tariffs, greater local autonomy, and liberal election laws.

The election laws confined the electorate to the [122]few property-holders and professional men of the country. In 1890, out of 1,800,000 male citizens, 133,000 were qualified electors.


These were the conditions that prevailed when the Socialists quite suddenly appeared on the scene. There had been a Socialist propaganda for years in Belgium. Brussels was a city of refuge to many fleeing revolutionists of 1848. In 1857 a labor union was organized among the spinners and weavers of Ghent. The same year Colin published his book, What Is Social Science? This volume prepared the way for the remarkable collectivist movement, which was stimulated into modern activity by Anselee, a workingman of Ghent and organizer of the Vooruit Co-operative Society. Cæsar de Paepe, a disciple of Colin and a man of remarkable intellectual endowments, tried to bring unity to the Belgian movement. But the factionalism was not cast aside until 1885, when the Belgian Labor Party (Parti Ouvrier Belge) was organized.

Now Socialists of all factions were drawn together. But, unlike Socialists in other countries, they did not expend their energies on political action. The Belgian labor movement had a threefold origin—the co-operative movement of Colin, the labor-union movement, and the Socialistic or political movement of de Paepe. These three activities, united in the Labor Party, have continued to develop, until they are a model for Socialists in all countries.

The organization of the party is simple. The various organizations are federated into large groups, e.g., [123]the co-operative group, each with a separate organization. The provinces and communes have their local committees for each separate activity. Over the entire party sits a general council (conseil général). An executive committee of nine is chosen from this council, and this committee has practical control of the party. The annual convention is the supreme authority. It elects the general council and decides, in democratic fashion, all important questions of policy and activity. Every constituent organization, such as the co-operative societies, etc., contributes from its funds to the support of the party. The party is therefore a federation of many societies with various activities, not a vast group of individual voters, as the German Social Democracy. Its solidarity is not individual, but federal.

The organization of the Labor Party proved a stimulus to all the constituent societies. From 1885 to 1895 over 400 co-operative societies were formed, and within a few years 7,000 mutual aid societies were organized. The membership of the labor unions increased from less than 50,000 in 1880 to 62,350 in 1889, and nearly 150,000 in 1905.

The Socialist movement had now achieved solidarity, and was prepared to enter into a conflict for power. Its issues were two: universal suffrage and free secular education. The second was necessarily included in the first; for without parliamentary power it would be impossible to secure liberal educational laws, and without a liberal franchise it would be impossible to get parliamentary power. All their political energies were therefore devoted to the reform of the election laws.

It is in this activity that the Belgian movement forms [124]for our purpose one of the most instructive chapters of European Socialism. Here is a proletarian horde deprived of participation in government in a constitutional monarchy, struggling toward political recognition. It is armed with all the weapons of militant Socialism: a revolutionary tradition; a national history rich in mob violence, street brawls, and conflicts with police and soldiers; possessed of a well-organized party, a class solidarity, and capable and courageous leaders who are willing to go, and do go, to the extreme of the general strike and violence in order to achieve their goal.

In short, here we have the Socialist political ideal working itself from theory into reality through class struggle. But there is the usual important modification of the Marxian conditions; viz., the liberal bourgeois prove a potent ally to the Socialists in the press and on the floor of the Chamber of Representatives. While the Socialists were surging in vehement earnestness around the Parliament House, the Liberals were as earnestly pleading their cause within.

The definite fight for universal suffrage began a few years before the organization of the Labor Party. In 1866 a group of workingmen issued an appeal to their fellows to begin the battle for the ballot. In 1879 the Socialists issued a manifesto which stated the case as follows: "'All powers are derived from the nation; all Belgians are equal before the law,' says the Constitution of 1831.

"In reality all powers are derived from a small number of privileged ones, and all the Belgians are divided into two classes—those who are rich and have rights, and those who are poor and have burdens.

"We wish to see this inequality vanish, at least [125]before the ballot-box. For the most numerous class of society ought to be represented in the Chamber of Representatives, because the people whose daily bread depends upon the prosperity of the country should have the power to participate in public affairs.

"Constitutions are not immutable, and what was solemnly promulgated on one occasion may, without revolution, be altered on another."[3]

The proclamation then proceeded to call a meeting at Brussels for the following January (1880). At this meeting it was decided to circulate a monster petition asking Parliament to pass a liberal election law and to organize a demonstration to be held in Brussels the following summer. In this, the first of a long series of demonstrations, about 6,000 persons from various parts of the kingdom paraded the streets of the capital. There was a clash with the police, and a number of arrests were made. From 1881 to 1885 the Liberals tried to persuade the Clericals to agree upon a constitutional revision; and the Socialists brought to bear upon them all the pressure of the streets. But the Clericals were firm. Then the Socialists tried another manœuver. They issued a manifesto "to the people of Belgium," complaining of the dominion of the Church over education, the dominion of a few families over the nation, and the failure of the government to grant liberty to the people. "The hour has come for all citizens to rally under the republican flag."

Instead of a republican uprising, something more significant and potent occurred; the Labor Party was organized, welding together all the forces of [126]discontent and unifying their demands into a protest so strong that the government was finally compelled to yield. Not, however, until it had exhausted almost every resource of resistance.

The party was organized just in the crux of time. A financial crisis was beginning to increase the hardships of the industrial classes. The unrest was intensified by an ingenious piece of propagandist literature, a Workingman's Catechism (Catechism du Peuple), written by a workingman. Two hundred thousand copies in French and 60,000 in Flemish were scattered among the discontented people. Its influence was wonderful. A few questions will indicate the power that lay behind its simple questions and answers.

Question. "Who are you?"
Answer. "I am a slave."
Q. "Are you not a man?"
A. "From the point of view of humanity I am a man, but in relation to society I am a slave."
Q. "What is the 25th article of the Constitution?"
A. "The 25th article of the Constitution says: 'All power is derived from the nation.'"
Q. "Is this true?"
A. "It is a falsehood."
Q. "Why?"
A. "Because the nation is composed of 5,720,807 inhabitants, about 6,000,000, and of this 6,000,000 only 117,000 are consulted in the making of laws."

And so through every grievance, social, economic, and political. Every workman learned his catechism. Those who could not read gathered in groups around their more fortunate comrades and listened to the effective questions and answers.

By the beginning of 1886 the little land was a [127]seething caldron of political and economic unrest. The strike movement began at Liège and soon spread to Charleroi and other industrial centers. There was enough destruction of property and clashing with police and soldiery to create a panic in the country. In Brussels business was at a standstill for days. The Socialist Party, in a circular issued to the people, said: "The country is visited by a terrible crisis. The disinherited classes are suffering. Strikes are multiplying, riots are provoked by the misery. The constantly decreasing wages are spreading consternation everywhere."

The disorder aroused a number of Anarchists in Brussels. They posted anonymous placards inciting the people to violence. The Socialists repudiated the Anarchists, and one of their orators said: "Do not let yourselves be carried away by violence; that will only benefit your adversaries."

A mass demonstration was planned, but the mayor of Brussels prohibited it. The Labor Party, however, were allowed to hold their annual convention and to march under their red flag, the government merely requesting that the demonstrants refrain from shouting, "Vive la République!" Thirty thousand laboring men joined in the demonstration. The Liberals and Radicals refused to take part in it because they claimed it was only a workingman's movement, and the Anarchists refused because "elections lead to nothing." This demonstration was so serious and imposing that it made a deep impression upon the people, and was not without effect upon the government.

The crisis finally passed over. A great many rioters were imprisoned in spite of the popular clamor for [128]universal amnesty. The general strike brought no immediate advantage to the workmen.

The next few years the Socialists devoted to organization. They were determined not to enter upon extended strikes again without thorough preparation. In the meantime the Liberal Party split. The Radicals, or Progressists, at their first congress in 1877 declared themselves in favor of the separation of Church and state, military reform, compulsory education, social and electoral reform. They were, however, not yet prepared to commit themselves to universal suffrage. They favored rather an educational test for voters. This, however, they abandoned in 1890, and virtually placed themselves upon the Socialist platform.

On August 10, 1890, another great demonstration in favor of universal suffrage took place in Brussels. Over 40,000 men joined in the parade. The Progressists did not take part in the marching, but they were stationed along the route to cheer the men in line. Before they dispersed, all the participants united in taking a solemn oath that they would not give up the fight "until the Belgian people, through universal suffrage, should regain their fatherland." This is the famous "Oath of August 10."

After this demonstration the Progressists joined with the Socialists in a conference for discussing ways and means for securing universal suffrage.[4] This conference is notable because it drew Radicals, Progressists, and Socialists into a united campaign for suffrage reform. The conference resolved to organize [129]demonstrations in every corner of the kingdom and to memorialize Parliament. This was to be a final peaceful appeal. If it remained unheeded a general strike would follow. The bourgeois Progressists assented to this ultimatum.

A few days before the Socialist-Progressist conference met, a clerical social congress had convened at Liège. The agitation of the Labor Party had at last aroused the Conservatives. The resolutions of this conference were pervaded by the traditional apostolic paternalistic spirit of the Church. It demanded social reform, amelioration of harsh conditions, state arbitration, industrial insurance; but it set its face against universal suffrage. On the wings of an awakened conservatism it tried to ride the whirlwind of Socialism.

But no halfway measures would now placate the agitators. The great mass of Belgian workmen were aroused, and nothing but the ballot would satisfy them.

A propaganda was begun in the army. The enlistment laws were favorable to the rich, who could purchase freedom from military service. The poor conscripts were especially susceptible to the Socialist propaganda.

In the autumn of 1890 at the Labor Party's annual convention it was suggested that, inasmuch as the parliament of the Few had not heeded the wishes of the nation, a parliament of the People should be called, to be composed of as many members as the existing parliament, but chosen by universal suffrage. Even a program was proposed for this fancied parliament.

By this time the petitions prepared by the suffrage congress were ready. In every arrondissement there [130]were demonstrations. In Brussels 8,000 men marched to the city hall and handed the mayor their petition protesting against the privileged election laws and demanding universal suffrage. From every village in the kingdom protests were brought to the government demanding universal suffrage.

Finally on November 27, 1890, a Liberal member in the Chamber of Representatives proposed a change in the Constitution enlarging the electoral franchise. He explained the injustice of the limited franchise, dwelt on the dangers of strikes and riots, and said that he believed the Belgian workmen as capable of exercising the rights of citizenship as those of neighboring countries. All parties agreed to discuss the amendment. The debate held popular excitement in abeyance. But as it became more and more evident that nothing would be done the workingman became restive. Early in 1892 riots broke out in various cities. The situation became acute. Socialists and Radicals organized a popular referendum on the question. It was not an official referendum, and its results were not binding. But it was an effective method of propaganda, and in many of the communes the councils gave it their sanction, thereby lending it the color of legality.

Five propositions were submitted to the voters: (1) manhood suffrage at twenty-one years; (2) manhood suffrage at twenty-five years; (3) exclusion of illiterates and persons in receipt of public or private charity; (4) household suffrage and mental capacity defined by law; (5) the exclusion of all who have not passed an elementary educational standard. As a rule the Clericals refused to participate in the referendum.

[131]In Brussels, out of 72,465 entitled to vote only 38,217 voted, with the following results: manhood suffrage at twenty-one years, 29,949; manhood suffrage at twenty-five years, 5,253; all other propositions together, 3,015. In Huy, out of 3,513 voters only 1,800 voted, and 1,700 of these were in favor of universal suffrage. In Antwerp, where Liberals and Clericals are about evenly divided, only forty-three per cent. of the electors voted, and of 18,701 votes cast, 15,704 were for universal suffrage.

This referendum, and all the demonstrations, had very little effect upon parliament. The deputies were in favor of revision, but could not agree upon a plan. The Radicals were in favor of universal suffrage, the Clericals unalterably opposed to it, and the Liberals only sympathetic towards it.

Finally, in April, all the proposals were voted down by the Chamber of Representatives. The Socialists immediately ordered a general strike.

It began in the coal mines of Hainault, spread to the weavers and spinners of Ghent, to the glass and iron works of the Walloon districts, to the printers and pressmen of Brussels, and to the docks at Antwerp. Two hundred thousand men stopped work in the course of a few days. While the mills and mines were idle the police and soldiers were busy. Six men were killed at Joliment, six killed and twelve wounded at Mons. In Brussels the mob pried up the paving-stones for weapons; the city guards patrolled the city, meetings were forbidden, the streets were cleared of people, and the mayor was wounded in a mêlée. A band of "communists" threw a barricade across Rue des Eperonniers, the last of the barricades. The troops made short work of it. Scores of arrests were made [132]in the various cities and the offenders received sentences varying from six years' imprisonment to a fine of fifty francs.

In the height of the excitement the Chamber of Representatives convened and agreed upon a franchise amendment. Immediately the general council of the Labor Party met and declared the strike off. It sent out this pronouncement: "The Labor Party through its general council records the insertion of manhood suffrage in the Constitution. It declares that this first victory of the party has been won under pressure of a general strike. It is resolved to persist in the work of propaganda until it has won universal political equality and has suppressed the plural voting privilege."

The new electoral law (1893) was a compromise suggested by Professor Albert Nyssens of the University of Louvain. It recognized the three principal demands of the three parliamentary factions: universal suffrage of the Radicals, property qualifications of the Clericals, and educational qualifications of the Liberals. Universal suffrage was granted to all male citizens twenty-five years of age. But this was modified in favor of property and education by the granting of additional votes. One additional vote was give (1) to every voter thirty-five years of age who was the head of a family and paid a direct tax of 5 francs (one dollar); (2) to every owner of real property valued at 2,000 francs ($400.00), or who had an annual income of 200 francs ($40.00) derived from investments in the Belgian public funds. Two additional votes were given to the holders of diplomas from the higher schools, to those who were or had been in public office, and to those who practised a [133]profession for which a higher education was necessary. No one was allowed more than three votes.

Whatever may be said of this fancy franchise, it is at least ingenious. It satisfied the first popular hunger after the ballot. The workmen could vote. The conditions imposed for the casting of two votes seem very liberal and the majority of American voters could qualify under them. But in Belgium, the land of low wages and congested populations, they were real barricades. Nearly two-thirds of the voters failed to reach even this low standard.

Voting made compulsory. Election was by scrutin de liste.[5]


Under these conditions the Socialists went into battle. There were 1,370,687 electors; 855,628 with one vote 293,678 with two votes, 223,380 with three votes. The Socialists polled 346,000 votes, the Clericals 927,000, the Liberals 530,000. The new parliament was composed as follows: Chamber of Representatives—Clericals, 104; Liberals, 19; Socialists, 29; Senate—Clericals 71; Liberals, 21; Socialists, 2.[6]

From the first the Socialists in Belgium have not been reluctant in making election arrangements with other parties. In this their first election they united with the Progressists. In Brussels on the second ballot they proposed terms to the Liberals, which were [134]refused. The Socialists, however, instructed their followers to vote against the Clericals in every instance. Wherever there were no Radical or Socialists lists they supported the Liberals.[7]

The same widespread alarm that the first Socialist parliamentary accessions aroused everywhere, was caused by these twenty-nine Belgian Socialist representatives, especially as some of their number were promoted from prison to parliament, and one striker was given his liberty for the time being so that he could attend the session. Vandervelde allayed popular apprehension when he announced the program of his party, which combined with the usual labor legislation the demand for the state purchase of coal mines, state monopoly of the liquor business, and communal election reforms. The proposals of the Belgian Socialists in parliament have invariably been practical, not revolutionary or visionary. One of the first bills introduced by them provided for the reduction of the stamp tax and the tax on the transfer of property and leases. This tax was extremely high, nearly seven per cent., and worked a peculiar hardship on the small tenant. The bill failed of passage. But the government was so impressed by the facts presented in debate that it brought in a law reducing the tax on transfers for all small estates.

It is by this indirect method, by their presence in the Chamber, and by their powers in debate that the Belgian Socialists have achieved many practical [135]reforms. They have not the hauteur and aloofness of the German Social Democrat, nor the fiery passion for idealistic propaganda of the French; they are more sensible than either. Since their entrance into parliament a Secretary of Labor has been added to the cabinet, and every department of labor legislation has felt their influence. The delegation is in constant touch with the party in the various districts. An old-age pension act has been passed, great reductions have been made in military expenditure, the conscript laws have been modified, and the Socialists led in the opposition to the Belgian policy in the Congo.

Their two main contentions have been over the educational laws and the electoral laws. A school law was passed by the Clericals in 1895. It was regarded as reactionary by the Socialists, and stormy scenes accompanied its enactment. Its provisions are still the source of constant agitation among Socialists and Liberals. They protest especially against the teaching of religion in the communal schools. It is true that any parent may have his child excused from attending such instruction for reasons of conscience on written application to the proper authorities. But they insist that this subjects the objecting parent to harsh treatment in Clerical communities.[8]

The provincial and communal election laws were less favorable to the Socialists than the national law. In 1895 the government brought in a new local [136]election bill which fixed the voting age at thirty, required three years' residence in a commune, and strengthened the plural voting system by giving a fourth vote to the large land-holders. The Socialists and Radicals united in contesting 507 of the communes (about one-fourth of the whole number). They won a majority in eighty and a considerable minority in 180 of these communal councils. Necessity had cemented the alliance of Radicals and Socialists. The Radicals were now called "Chèvre-choutiers" because they tried to carry the goat and the cabbage, Liberals and Socialists, across the stream in the same boat.

In 1899 the government brought in its new election bill in which it proposed to concede to the demand for proportional representation. But only the large constituencies were to be included in the change, leaving the smaller districts, mostly in the Flemish section, to the Clerical majorities that prevailed there. The measure was unpopular. The people organized protests against it in every city in the land. In Brussels a mob gathered in front of the Chamber of Deputies. Paving-stones were ripped up and hurled through the windows, and there was charging and counter-charging between police and populace. Inside the Chamber the scene was not less tumultuous. The Socialists tried to prevent business by mob tactics. Desk-lids were banged, there was shouting and singing, one deputy had provided himself with a horn. The government was compelled to adjourn the session. All that night (June 28) there was rioting in Brussels. When the Chamber met the following day the wild scenes were re-enacted, when a Clerical deputy moved that any member causing a disturbance be expelled. In the debate that followed the government declared itself [137]willing to adjourn and study the various proposals of the opposition. This cooled the crowd waiting outside the Chamber, and at Vandervelde's suggestion the mob quietly dispersed.

In the meantime the mayors of Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, and Liège waited on the King and told him they would no longer be responsible for the maintenance of order in their cities if the minister did not withdraw the obnoxious electoral bill. The Liberals now joined the Socialists and Radicals in their processions in every town, singing their war-songs and carrying placards and banners of protest.

All this had its effect on the government. A committee representing all the groups in the Chamber was appointed to consider all the proposals that had been introduced. Vandervelde, in supporting the committee, said that he "spoke for the country that had so effectively demonstrated its power and achieved a victory." Soon after this the reactionary ministry fell, and the new government brought in a bill providing uniform proportional representation for all the districts. This bill was promptly enacted into law.

The first general election under this law resulted as follows:

Total vote cast 2,105,270  
Socialists 467,326 electing 32 deputies.
Clericals 995,056 electing 85 deputies.
Liberals 449,521 electing 31 deputies.
Radicals 47,783 electing 3 deputies.
Christian Democrats 55,737 electing 1 deputies.

The Clerical majority was cut from seventy to eighteen and at last the Liberal elements were hopeful of gaining the government and effecting universal suffrage "pure and simple."

[138]We have now seen how popular agitation wrested, first, a law permitting plural voting; second, a law permitting proportional representation, from an unwilling government. The contest for universal suffrage "pure and simple" has continued to the present day. In 1901 the Labor Party at its congress at Liège decided to renew the agitation in favor of universal suffrage, "even to the extent of the general strike, and agitation in the streets, and not to cease until after the conquest of political equality." Vandervelde introduced a bill into the Chamber providing for "one man, one vote," and it was defeated by a vote of 92 to 43. Immediately Vandervelde and the Radical leader proposed a revision of the Constitution. The debate on this motion continued until the spring of 1902. All the old spirit of unrest and violence broke out anew. To the violence of protesting mobs was added the coercive force of the general strike. Three hundred thousand men stopped work and began demonstrating. Troops were called out to guard the government buildings in Brussels and to hold the crowds at bay in the provinces. In Louvain eight strikers were killed by the soldiers, and in other localities there was bloodshed and destruction of property.

Finally the Chamber of Representatives voted to close the debate and dismiss the question entirely for the session. The strike was declared off and quiet restored.

In the elections the following May the Socialists lost three seats. This had its effect. A meeting of the party was called and it was decided not to resort to further violence. A delegate from Charleroi, the seat of the most tumultuous element in the party, expressed regret that the Labor Party had compromised [139]with the bourgeois parties in calling off the strike. Vandervelde defended the action of the council on the ground that the continuance of the strike threatened internal dissensions because of the misery of the strikers and the violence of the government.

The party organ, Le Peuple, said on June 5, 1902: "We are no longer in 1848. The days of barricades have gone by. The narrow little streets of former years have expanded into wide avenues. The soldiers are armed with Albinis and Mausers. Even if all the people were armed it would only be necessary to plant a few cannon at strategic places in the city to put down an insurrection in spite of the greatest heroism of the insurgents."[9]

Van Overbergh, in his history of the strike, says: "The period of romantic Socialism in Belgium is past; the days of realism have commenced."[10] And Bertrand, the historian, adds the reason: "Its [the general strike's] effect was to keep down the vote. Even in the elections of 1904 and 1906 the vote has remained quite stationary."[11]

Whether this means the apotheosis of the general strike in Belgium will depend no doubt upon circumstances, it is significant that the words were uttered, and still more significant that political coalition has taken the place of industrial warfare. The Liberals and Radicals now plan with the Socialists. They no longer stand aside and let the Socialists march, but they join step with them and carry banners.

The greatest of all Belgian demonstrations for universal suffrage and free schools took place in August, [140]1911. In spite of the extreme heat, nearly 200,000 Radicals, Liberals, and Socialists gathered in the capital, "not so much to impress the government," a Socialist leader said to me, "but to impress the people that we are in earnest, and then to prepare for the coming elections."


It must not be inferred from this rapid survey of its warfare for political privilege that Belgian Socialism has forgotten the co-operative movement and all the various activities that were blended in the making of the Labor Party. Belgian Socialism is primarily economic. This makes it unique. It has succeeded in becoming economic, in building dairies and bake-shops, in running dry-goods stores and grocery stores and butcher shops, in the present dispensation; and it has succeeded in doing so by accommodating itself to the present conditions. It adopts the eight-hour day when it can, but it is not averse to ten hours when necessary. It pays its employees the highest wage it can, but it recognizes talent and ability like the bourgeois shopkeeper across the street. It has insurance funds that draw interest at the same rate that is paid by bourgeois banks, and it has no scruples about putting the latest approved machinery into its workshops and bakeries.

In all this, their activities have remained Socialistic. They compete with the bourgeois, but co-operate among themselves. The profits of their activities go to the members of their societies and to the party. Their competition has brought ruin to the door of many a shopkeeper who finds his customers flocking to [141]their own shop. Government commissions have inquired into the movement at the nervous requests of merchants and tradesmen, but only to find every co-operative enterprise carefully conducted and thriving.

The Belgian Socialist leaders all emphasize the importance of this unity of economic and political activity, and the priority of the economic over the political. It has been a splendid stimulant for the Belgian workman. It has aroused him out of the lethargy that has been his greatest enemy for years. It has taught him to work with others, the value of mass movement, the futility of separateness. It has schooled him, not only in reading and arithmetic, in the night classes established everywhere; but in business, in weights and measures; in percentage, in profit and loss; and most of all, in the real hardships that meet tradespeople and commercial men everywhere in their endeavor to get on. Workingmen often think that a business man is a necromancer juggling profits out of other people's necessities. The Belgian co-operativist has found out that trading is a commonplace and tedious task which requires constant alertness and is merely the drudgery of detail. This experience has taught him, moreover, the futility of laws and the utility of effort. In Belgium I was impressed most of all by the nonchalance, almost contempt, that the workman displays toward mere legislation. "Why should I toy with words when I have this?" And he points proudly to his co-operative store.

The Belgian workman has been taught through his co-operative experience the value of patient toil and frugality. Slowly he has built up these institutions out of his own savings. When he thought his scant wages were barely enough for bread, he discovered means [142]somehow to pay his dues in the "Mutualité." As an instance of his thrift, he saves every year a little fund which is used by the family for an annual holiday, usually a short excursion to a neighboring place of interest. Every member of the family contributes to this fund, and, no matter how poor, they look forward to their yearly holiday.

The Belgian Socialist has also been successful in another field. While in other countries the Socialists have tried usually in vain to lure the peasant and small farmer, the Belgians have made constant progress in this direction. The agrarian movement began with the organizing of the Labor Party.[12]

Vandervelde and Hector Dennis, a Professor of Economics in the University at Brussels, have been constant in their zeal for the agrarian interests. Again, the lure is not Socialism in the abstract, nor the gospel of discontent. It is practical, business co-operation. Dairies, stores, markets are proving powerful propagandists, even in the Catholic lowlands. Dr. Steffens-Frauenweiler quotes from a conservative newspaper: "From different sides we have heard the remark that Socialism would never penetrate into the country. In contradiction to this opinion we must observe that those who express this view, and presume to laugh away the Socialistic movement among the peasants and farmers, are either not well informed or are submitting themselves to illusions. Only a serious attempt to fight Socialism through positive reforms will prove a lasting check upon the ambitions of Socialists."[13]

[143]In Belgium the general strike has been used as an aid in the warfare for political power. We have seen how the first strike was premature, the second effective, and the third proved a boomerang in its reaction upon the Labor Party.

Vandervelde distinguishes between the general strike as a means toward social revolution, and the general strike as a political weapon used for securing a definite object.[14] He says: "The revolutionary general strike is itself the revolution. The reformist general strike, on the contrary, is the attempt of the proletariat to secure partial concessions from the government without questioning the existence of the government, and especially the administration that represents the government." To effect this, it is not essential that all the workmen go out, but only enough to interrupt "the normal course of business, even if the majority of the workers remain at work."[15]

The political general strike has its example, then, in the Belgian movement for the electoral franchise. Whether it would succeed in wresting other political privileges from the state, is conjecture; that it would not succeed except under the most favorable conditions, is certain.

The Belgian movement has displayed great absorptive powers and facility of adaptation. It has absorbed all the labor activities of the Radical and Socialist workmen. It has adapted itself to the necessities of the hour, giving up the daydreams of intangible things. In all this, it has displayed a saneness, in [144]spite of its revolutionary traditions and anarchistic blood.[16] It has the most "modern" program of the European Socialist parties, and the most worldly efficiency.

In visiting one of the large workingmen's clubhouses found in the cities, the visitor is impressed with the beehive qualities of the Belgian movement. At the "Maison du Peuple" in Brussels—that was built by these underpaid workmen at a cost of 1,000,000 francs—you find activity everywhere. The savings-bank department is swarming with women and children, come to conduct the business of the family. The café, the headquarters of the party, the offices of the co-operative societies, all are busy. In the evening there are debates, gymnasium contests, moving-picture shows, classes for instruction in the elementary branches, in art, and literature.[17] A temperance movement, started by the workmen some years ago, has attained a great deal of influence. Placards are on the walls of the clubhouses, setting forth the evils of the drink habit.

Or you visit a co-operative bakery or butcher-shop or grocery store, and the same spirit of diligence, thrift, and reasonableness is there. And you are quite [145]convinced that here is Socialism approximating somewhere near its ultimate form. If the Belgian Labor Party should secure control of the government to-morrow it would be more competent to assume the actual obligations of power than would the Socialists in any other European country. For they have not built a structure in mid-air, with merely an underpinning of more or less indifferent theories.


[1] L'Enquête Gouvernementale, Vol. XVIII.

[2] L'Annuaire Statistique.

[3] Bertrand, Histoire de la Démocratie et du Socialisme en Belgique depuis 1830, Vol II, p. 331.

[4] This conference sent the following telegram to the King: "You have asked what is the watchword of the country; the watchword is universal suffrage."

[5] The candidates are arranged in groups or "lists," and the voter votes the list as well as for the individual names on the list. Any 100 electors may prepare such a list. The successful candidate must receive a majority. This often necessitates a second ballot between the two receiving the highest number of votes.

[6] Bertrand, Histoire, Vol. II, p. 552.

[7] One of the significant incidents of this election was the contest against Frère Orban, for thirty years a parliamentary leader and one of the greatest politicians of his day. His seat was contested by an obscure workingman, and the distinguished parliamentarian was compelled to submit to the ordeal of a second ballot.

[8] The Clerical forces are gradually retreating before the repeated onslaughts of Liberals and Socialists. But the loyalty to the Church remains undiminished. On May 17, 1901, a Clerical deputy remarked in the Chamber that he would like to see the temporal power of the pope restored. The Socialists immediately started an uproar which ended in their singing their "Marseillaise" and the adjournment of the sitting.

[9] Bertrand, Histoire, II, p. 590.

[10] La Grève Générale Belge d'Avril, 1902, Brussels, 1902.

[11] Histoire, II, p. 592.

[12] See Dr. Steffens-Frauenweiler, Der Agrar-Sozialismus in Belge.

[13] Op. cit., p. 37.

[14] See an article by E. Vandervelde, "Der General Streik," in Archiv für Sozial-wissenschaft und Sozial-Politik, Tübingen, May, 1908. The same article was published, same date, in Revue du Mois, Paris.

[15] Supra cit., p. 541.

[16] Bakunin had a large following in Belgium during the days of the "Old International," and Anarchists have never entirely ceased their activities in the large cities.

[17] On the walls of the "Maison du Peuple" you will find noble paintings. Here labored Constantine Meunier, the sculptor, on his notable "Monument au Travail." Three remarkable sections of this monument, "La Mine," "L'Industrie," "La Glèbe," can be seen in the Gallery of Modern Art, in Brussels. There are evidences everywhere of the art interest of these alert working people. One of them, with sincere indignation, pointed out to me the large pile of stone that surmounts the heights of the city, the Palace of Justice, completed in 1883, and said its "bourgeois Babylonian hideousness is the high-water mark of bourgeois taste in art and bourgeois power in politics."





It is the constant complaint of the German Democrats that there is no Liberal Party in Germany. The wars that repeatedly devastated the country during past centuries drove property owners to seek the protection of a strong, centralized government. This habit has survived the centuries. Whenever the middle classes show signs of breaking away from the conservatism of the "Regierung," the Prince always finds a way of bringing them back. The Period of Revolution—1850—ended in a compromise that ignored the workingmen and virtually left absolutism on the throne. When the new era dawned, and Bismarck, like a young giant, shaped the highways of empire, he used the Liberals so adroitly that, when his national legerdemain was accomplished, they were a broken and impotent faction, lost in the conservative reaction of the hour.

Universal suffrage for the Reichstag elections was written into the Constitution of the new empire, not because the Chancellor and his Prince loved democracy, but because the smaller states insisted upon this safeguard against Prussian omnipotence.

Democracy and Liberalism have never been strong enough to break the fetters of national habit; and nearly all the democracy, certainly all the [147]workingman's democracy, in Germany to-day is found in the Social Democratic Party.

In order to understand the development of Social Democracy in Germany, it is necessary to bear in mind the bureaucratic, autocratic, paternalistic character of the German government.[1]

It is the German governmental policy to do everything for the welfare of its citizens that can be done; and, in return, it expects the people to let the government alone. The medieval conception of class responsibility survives. It is the attitude of a self-righteous parent toward ignorant and wilful children. The government assumes the right, and possesses the power, to regulate every phase of the citizen's life, in domestic, industrial, educational, moral, and political affairs. It is a regal survival of the theory that government is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.

Germany is a made-to-order country that clings to medieval conservatism in government; a country that is thoroughly modern in industry and distinctly middle-age in caste; where the workingman has always been treated with patronizing condescension and his political acts watched with jealousy; and where he has, against great odds, determined to work out his own salvation. Surrounded by preordained and rigid conditions, he has perfected an organization that is the most remarkable example of proletarian achievement found anywhere in history. To the development and description of this organization we will now address ourselves.

German Social Democracy, while Marxian in theory, owes its active existence to Ferdinand Lassalle, one [148]of those brilliant and daring geniuses who flash, in an hour of adventure, across the prosaic days of history.[2] He was pronounced a Wunderkind by William von Humboldt; dashed his way through university routine; attracted the friendship of poets, philosophers, and politicians; was lionized by society; became a revolutionist in 1848, and was, at the age of twenty-three, indicted for inciting a mob of Düsseldorf workingmen to acts of violence. He defended himself in a brilliant speech which launched him fully into the campaign of the workingman.[3]

Early in his career he volunteered to defend the cause of the Countess Hatzfeldt, whose unfaithful husband was squandering his estates and suffering her to live in want. Lassalle fought the case through thirty-six courts for nine years, and won an ample fortune for the countess, who became the main financial support of Lassalle's campaigns.

After his first arrest, Lassalle was kept under vigilance by the government. But finally, through the interposition of distinguished friends, he was allowed to return to Berlin. There, in 1862, he delivered a series of addresses that soon brought him into [149]conflict with the police. His defense in the court was published later under the title, Science and the Workingman. This he followed with a letter, Might and Right,[4] sent broadcast over the land.

In these two publications he succinctly enunciated his theory of democracy: "With Democracy alone dwells right, and in Democracy alone will might be found. No person in the Prussian state to-day has the right to speak of 'rights,' except the Democracy, the old and true Democracy. For Democracy alone has constantly clung to the right, and has never lowered herself by compromising with might."[5]

In the political turmoil of that period, when new forces were awakening to their power and feudalism, conservatism, Cobdenism, and democracy were all contending for supremacy, there were three predominating currents of thought. The first was naturally the feudal, the absolutist that would put down by the police power, and failing in that by the soldiery, every attempt at changing the organization of the government. This was embodied in the reactionary, or Conservative Party, which held then, as it still does, the high places in army and government. Bismarck was its leader. It had ample nationalist aims, and was called the "Great German Party" ("Gross Deutschland"); Austria was included in its ambitions, and monarchic supremacy was the token of its power. It comprised the landowners, the nobles, and the agrarians.

The second tendency was commercial, bourgeois. It found expression in the National Liberal Party, which was liberal in name only. It was the "Small [150]German" ("Klein Deutschland") Party, preferring the ascendency of Prussia. It comprised the enterprising traders, manufacturers, and bankers, and was strongest in the cities. It was attached to monarchy, cared little for military or political glory, except as it affected trade and taxes.

The third tendency had nothing in common with the other two. It was the revolt of the proletarians, led by men of great ability. It was the democratic movement. It abhorred both the idea of feudal prerogative in government, as expressed by king and noble, and the vulgar trade patriotism, as expressed by the National Liberals, the bourgeoisie. It took its inspiration from France and its example from England. From France came the political platitudes of equality and liberty with which we are familiar in America; from England, the example of strongly organized trade unions. In Germany these two movements, economic and political, were blended into one.

Not that the workingman's movement was a unity. Schultze-Delitsch, the founder of the German co-operative movement, contended that labor should keep out of politics and devote itself to economic activities alone. Rodbertus, the distinguished economist, who was potent in shaping economic and political thought in Germany, wrote Lassalle, when he was entreated to join the brilliant agitator's propaganda, that he could "tolerate no political agitation which would excite the working classes against the existing executive power."[6]

There was no unity in the theories of the workingman's movement. The first organizations, the "Workingmen's Associations," were founded soon after 1848, [151]as soon as the laws gave a limited right of association to the working class. The government looked with suspicion on every political act of labor, and especially upon organizations for political purposes. The ban of the law was put upon those organizations in July, 1854, and the right of public meeting was greatly restricted; police autonomy increased, giving them arbitrary power to stop meetings; and the right of free press was virtually denied. Democracy became a movement of silent intrigue and occasional rough outbreak.

At this juncture a new political party was organized, to absorb what was "legal" in the democratic workingman's movement and what was truly liberal in the National Liberal Party. The new party was called Progressist ("Fortschrittler"). It was a German party, devoted to the Manchester doctrine: Free commerce, free trade, free press, free speech; freedom of expression in every phase of human activity. It was laissez-faire to the uttermost plunged into the reactionary mass of German politics. The economic issue became freedom of contract versus feudal status; the political issue, freedom of ballot versus hereditary prerogative.

The new party began to appeal for the workingman's support. Their lure of free speech and freedom of organization was not without effect. The older workingmen, who were not familiar with the teachings of Marx and Engels, and who had not even read Weitling's communistic idealizations, were brought, in some numbers, into the new party.

The younger and more radical element in the workingmen's clubs were restless. In 1862 some of them had visited the International Exposition in London [152]and had talked with Marx. The fire of the "International" was kindled. A movement for calling a national workingman's convention was started among these radicals. The Progressists tried to check the agitation, saying that every effort should be directed toward establishing a new Constitution. But it was in vain. In Leipsic a group of radicals seceded from the Workingman's Union (Arbeiter Bildungs-Verein), and formed a new organization, which they called "Vorwärts" (Progress). These now invited Lassalle to address them on his views of the labor situation.

The movement was opportune, and Lassalle's answer is the basic document of present-day Social Democracy.[7]

There is no salvation for the workingman except through "political freedom," he says. This freedom demands laws, and to secure laws united action is essential. They must be powerful enough to get laws to their liking. This power they will not get by being an appendix to the Progressists, for they are dominated by a trade doctrine, not by altruistic ideals for the oppressed.

With a clearness that has not been excelled, he showed the dependence of economic upon political power and influence. His economic program was none other than Louis Blanc's state-subsidized workshops. It made no great impression and soon faded away. But his bold plan of a workingman's party fighting fiercely for democracy, and for the betterment of the "normal conditions of the entire [153]working classes," has been developed to surprising perfection.

The state, he says, must be the instrument of their power, not the object of their striving. They are in politics, not as politicians, but as proletarians. "The state is nothing but the great organization, the all-embracing association of the working classes." No "sustaining and helping hand" will be their guide. Political supremacy is the "only way out of the desert." And how win the state? There is only one way: through universal suffrage, democracy. "Universal suffrage is not only your political but also your social foundation principle, the condition precedent of all social help. It is the only means for bettering the material conditions of the working classes."

Cut loose from Rodbertus economically, and from the Progressists politically, Lassalle was invited to take the leadership of the new movement, which from the start was political rather than economic. He aimed to organize the German workingmen into a great national party, so powerful that it could control governments, make laws, and demand obedience. But it was slow work, and to the fiery spirit of Lassalle its snail's pace was exasperating. It provoked him into violence of speech which led him everywhere into the courts and into constant altercations with the Crown's solicitors.

His powerful personality and unusually active mind made a profound impression everywhere. At the last conference of his association which he attended he claimed the Bishop of Mayence and the King of Prussia as converts. The Bishop, Baron von Ketteler, was indeed turning toward Socialism, but not Lassalle's political Socialism. He was the founder of that [154]Christian Socialism which has made the Catholic Church in South Germany and the Rhineland a potent factor in the labor movement. The King, whose conversion Lassalle boldly announced, had only received a delegation of Silesian weavers who laid their grievances before him and were promised the royal sympathy.

However, Lassalle and Bismarck had formed a general liking for each other, and the great minister received from the brilliant agitator many suggestions which he later embodied in his state insurance laws. Both Bismarck and Lassalle believed in the power of the state for the amelioration of social conditions. They met several times at the Chancellor's solicitation, and Bismarck disclosed their conversations to the Reichstag, on the insistence of Bebel, when the insurance bills were under discussion. The Chancellor expressed his admiration for the virility of the Socialist's mind and said he believed Lassalle perfectly sincere in his purpose.[8]

Lassalle did not live to see his General Workingmen's Association ("Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeitsverein") attain political power. He was killed in a duel over a love affair August 31, 1864. His brilliant campaign for democracy had resulted in a petty organization of 4,610 members.

Lassalle's influence is increasing every year. His death-day is celebrated by the German Socialists (Lassalle Feier). The present-day German movement is Lassallian rather than Marxian.[9]

[155]In a letter to Rodbertus, February, 1864, Lassalle says that he aimed to show the workingman "how identical the economic and the political forces are. Every separation of them is an abstraction, and I believe that uniting the two is the principal potency which I can give to the cause."


The little handful was soon rent by internal strife and threatened with utter extinction, both by police aggression and by Marxian competition. The year Lassalle died the International Workingman's Association was organized and agitation began in Germany under the leadership of William Liebknecht, a friend and disciple of Marx. Liebknecht was the scholar of the early Social Democratic group. He possessed a university education, was a revolutionist in 1848, a fugitive in Switzerland and England until 1862. His foreign sojourn did not mellow his natural dogmatism; on the contrary, his long intercourse with Marx in London hardened his orthodoxy. He was a powerful polemist. However, alone he could not have organized a national movement. He did not possess the personal traits that lure. He made a notable convert when he won August Bebel, a Saxon woodturner, to his cause. "I was Saul and became Paul," Bebel said to me. The words are not inapt: his power is Pauline. Lie has been persecuted and imprisoned, has written speeches and epistles, has made [156]many missionary journeys, and kept constantly in intimate touch with every local phase of his propaganda. His imprisonments have undermined his health, but they have not diminished his mental vigor; and more than once the Iron Chancellor winced under his ferocious assaults.

Liebknecht and Bebel were more advanced than the Workingmen's Association, which now had fallen under the leadership of Schweitzer, an able but dissolute disciple of Lassalle. The two organizations fought each other as rivals. The international wing, under Liebknecht and Bebel, in 1869, organized the Democratic Workingmen's Party at Eisenach, and were called "Eisenachers." Their program is of great importance. It stated that the first object of the new party was the attaining of the free state (Freier Volkstaat). This state Liebknecht explained at his trial in 1872: "The idea of a free state is interpreted by a majority of our party to mean a republic; but does this necessarily imply that it is to be forcibly introduced? No one has expressed an opinion as to how it is to be introduced. Let a majority of the people be won for our opinions, and the state is of our opinions, for the people are the state. A state without a king is conceivable, but not a state without a people. The government is the servant of the people."

This free state, the program continues, can be won only by political freedom, and political freedom is the forerunner of economic freedom. Demand is therefore made for universal, equal, direct suffrage, with secret ballot, for all men twenty years of age, in both parliamentary and municipal elections. Other leading demands were: direct legislation; the abolition [157]of all privileges, whether of birth, wealth, or religion; the establishment of militia in place of standing armies; the separation of Church and state; the secularizing of education; the extension of free schools and compulsory education; reform of the courts and extension of the jury system; abolition of all laws restricting freedom of speech, of press, and of association; the establishment of a normal workday; the restriction of female, and abolition of child, labor; the abolition of indirect taxes; the establishment of an income and inheritance tax; the extension of state credit for co-operative enterprises.

This program sounds very modern and moderate. But its expositors were not restrained to moderation, and when the congress met at Dresden in 1871 it adopted a resolution extolling the French Commune. A great deal of popular sympathy was lost through this action.

Meanwhile the Lassalle party was slowly gaining ground. In 1875 the two parties united at Gotha. There were 9,000 members in the Liebknecht party and 15,000 members in the Lassalle party. Here was adopted the first program of the united German Social Democracy. Its economics are thoroughly Marxian in theory and are only slightly tinged by the teachings of Lassalle and Schultze-Delitsch in practice. Labor, it affirmed, was the source of all wealth and was held under duress by the capitalistic class. Its only emancipation could come from the social ownership of the means of production. The way to this goal could be found through productive copartnership with state aid. The political part of the program embraced the demands made at Eisenach.

With its unity, a new vigor took possession of the [158]party. Its organization was perfected; 145 agitators were in the field; its twenty-three newspapers had over 100,000 subscribers. This meant increased police vigilance. All the leaders served terms in prison, newspapers were suppressed, organizations dissolved, houses searched, agitators ordered to leave the country. The government did everything in its power to suppress the movement. Every act of oppression popularized the Democracy among the proletarians. The blood of the martyrs bore the usual harvest.

The new empire had been launched amidst the greatest enthusiasm, shared by every one except the discontented workingmen who had so stoutly fought for entire political freedom. The new imperial parliament was thrown open to them because Bismarck had found it necessary to include universal suffrage in the constitution of the Reichstag. In 1871 the Socialists elected two members, and the feudal lords beheld the novel sight of workingmen sitting with them in the imperial Diet. The voting strength of the party was 124,665. This was increased to 351,952 in 1874, when nine members were elected. In 1877 the party cast 493,288 votes, electing twelve members. This was cause for alarm. The party had now reached fifth place in point of votes among the fourteen parties or factions that contended for power in Germany, and eighth place in point of members elected. But in point of agitation, of perfervid speech and pointed interpellation, it ranked easily first. Its delegation in 1877 included Bebel and Liebknecht, now out of jail, and Most, afterwards the notorious Anarchist in America, and Hasselman and Bracke, who were not modest in the expression of their opinions. These representatives of democracy let no [159]occasion pass to embarrass the government with peppery questions.

Bismarck was slowly evolving a scheme for checking the Socialist growth and satisfying the demands of labor for better conditions. Both revolved around the pivot of patriarchal omnipotence. The suppression was to be accomplished by force; the gratification, by paternal rigor.


He addressed himself first to repression. He entreated the governments of Europe in 1871 to unite in stamping out Socialism, but he received no encouragement. In 1872 Spain, exasperated by the revolutionary outbreaks, addressed a circular to the Powers, asking their co-operation to check the growth of the revolutionary element. Bismarck was ready. But Lord Granville, for England, said the traditions of his country were favorable to an unrestricted right of residence for foreigners as long as they violated no law of their host. This ended the international attempt. Next (in 1874) Bismarck attempted to tighten the gag on the press, but the Reichstag refused to sanction his proposals. Then he fell back on existing legislation and with great vigor enforced the statutes against revolutionary activity. The police were given wide latitude in interpreting these laws.

Several acts of wanton violence now occurred which brought about a sudden change of temper in the people. On May 11, 1878, while driving in Unter den Linden, Emperor William was shot at by a young man. The Emperor was not struck by the bullets, but the shots [160]were none the less effective in rousing public indignation. Popular condemnation was turned against the Social Democrats because photographs of Liebknecht and Bebel were found on the person of the intended assassin. Two days later Bismarck introduced the anti-Socialist laws. They were debated in the Reichstag, while Most was being tried for libeling the clergy. But the Reichstag was not ready to go to the lengths of the Chancellor's desire, and by a vote of 251 to 57 rejected his bill. Here the matter would have rested had not a second attempt been made on the life of the aged Emperor. This occurred on June 2, and this time the Emperor was seriously wounded.

Naturally the indignation of the nation was thoroughly aroused. In the midst of the excitement, a general election was held, and Bismarck won. His own peculiar Conservatives increased their delegation from 40 to 59, the Free Conservatives from 38 to 57; the National Liberals reduced their number from 128 to 99, the Liberals from 13 to 10, the Progressists from 35 to 26. The Socialists retained nine seats, losing three; their vote fell from 493,288 to 437,158.

Immediately a repressive law was introduced. It was called "a law against the publicly dangerous activities of the Social Democracy" (Gesetz gegen die gemein-gefährlichen Bestrebungen der Sozial-Demokratie).[10]

Bismarck prefaced his law with a very clever prologue (Begründung). In simple language he arraigned the Social Democracy as being, first, anti-social, because it aims at the modern system of production, and [161]does so, not through "humanitarian motives," but through revolution; second, as anti-patriotic, because it makes "the most odious attacks" on the German Empire. "The law of preservation therefore compels the state and society to oppose the Social Democratic movement with decision.... True, thought cannot be repressed by external compulsion; the movements of minds can only be overcome in intellectual combat. But when movements take wrong pathways and threaten destruction, the means for their growth can and should be taken away by legal means. The Socialist agitation, as carried on for years, is a continual appeal to violence and to the passions of the multitudes, for the purpose of subverting the social order. The state can check such a movement by depriving Social Democracy of its principal means of propaganda, and by destroying its organization; and it must do so unless it is willing to surrender its existence, and unless the conviction is to spread amongst the people that either the state is impossible or the aims of Social Democracy are justifiable.[11]

The law was passed against the vehement protest of the Socialists. They disclaimed any connection with the dastardly attempts on the life of the aged Emperor. Bebel, in an impressive speech, declared that while Socialists do "wish to abolish the present form of private property in the factors of production, labor, and land," they had never been guilty of destroying a penny's worth of property. Nor did they aim to do so. It was the system of private ownership of great properties, that enabled a few to oppress the many, that they were fighting. And here they were [162]in good company: Rodbertus, Rosher, Wagner, Schaeffle, Brentano, Schmoller, and a host of other scholars and economists, Bebel affirmed, were Socialistic in their tendencies.

Bismarck was unyielding. He said he would welcome any real effort to alleviate harsh conditions. But the Socialists were a party of destruction and were enemies to mankind.

The leader of the Progressists said, "I fear Social Democracy more under this law than without it." The vote of 221 to 149 in favor of the law showed the grim Chancellor's sway over the assembly.

The law made clean work of it. It forbade all organizations which promulgated views controvening the existing social and political order. It prohibited the collecting of money for campaign purposes; put the ban on meetings, processions, and demonstrations; on publications of all kinds, confiscating the existing stock of prohibited books; and created a status akin to martial law by endowing the police authorities with the power of declaring a locality in a "minor state of siege," and exercising arbitrary authority for one year.

A commission was appointed by the Chancellor to carry out these inquisitions, and the war between Socialistic democracy and medieval autocracy was on. Its events are instructive to every government; its sequel a warning to all nations.[12]

The government organized its commission; the Socialists met at Hamburg to consider the situation. They determined to perfect their organization, to [163]promulgate a secret propaganda, and to use the tribune in the Reichstag as the one open pulpit whence they could proclaim their wrongs.

The government promptly declared Berlin in a "minor state of siege." In the course of a few months about fifty agitators were expelled, bales of literature confiscated, organizations dissolved, meetings dismissed, gatherings prohibited, and the Socialist agitation pushed into cellars and back rooms.

But there was one tribune which the Chancellor could not close—the Reichstag tribune. Here Bebel and Liebknecht talked to the nation, and their speeches were given circulation through the records of debate. Prince Bismarck, in his extremity, tried to muzzle the Socialist members and expunge their words from the records; but the members of the Reichstag refused this extreme measure. Then Bismarck asked permission to imprison Hasselman and expel Fritzche from Berlin. These two deputies had been especially vituperative in their attacks upon the law. The Chancellor claimed that the famous Section 28 of the anti-Socialist law authorizing the minor state of siege extended to members of the Reichstag. But the House, under the vehement leadership of Professor Gneist, the distinguished constitutional lawyer, refused to sanction this dangerous measure on the ground that the thirty-first article of the federal Constitution exempted members of the Reichstag from arrest.

Bismarck soon had another plan for ridding himself of the Socialist nettles in the Reichstag. He introduced a bill creating a parliamentary court chosen by the House, who should have the power to punish any member guilty of parliamentary indiscretion. The bill also empowered the House to prevent the publication [164]of any of its proceedings if it desired. The Reichstag also refused to sanction this measure.

The assassination of Czar Alexander of Russia in March, 1881, gave Bismarck the opportunity to renew his efforts to quell Socialism and Anarchism by international concert. He asked Russia to take the initiative, and a conference was called at Brussels to which all the leading states were invited. Germany and Austria eagerly accepted, France made her participation dependent on England's action, and England refused to participate. Bismarck next tried to form an Eastern league, but Austria failed him and he had to content himself with an extradition treaty with Russia.

Bismarck now fell back on his Socialist law. He enforced it with vigor, extending the minor state of siege to Altona, Leipsic, Hamburg, and Harburg. His commission reported yearly. Its words were not reassuring. In 1882 it said: "The situation of the Social Democratic movement in Germany and other civilized countries is unfortunately not such as to encourage the hope that it is being suppressed or weakened." The Minister of the Interior said to the Reichstag: "It is beyond doubt that it has not been possible by means of the law of October, 1878, to wipe Social Democracy from the face of the earth, or even to strike it to the center."[13]

The duration of the law had been fixed at two years. At the end of each term it was renewed, each time with diminishing majorities. Meanwhile the rigor of the law was not diminished. The minor state of siege was extended to other centers, including Stettin and [165]Offenbach. Meetings were suppressed everywhere, and dismissed often for the most trivial reasons. The police were given the widest powers and exercised them in the narrowest spirit.[14] "A hateful system of persecution, espionage, and aggravation was established, and its victims were the classes most susceptible to disaffection."[15]

On the unique index expurgatorius of the government were over a thousand titles, including the works of the high priests of the party, the poetry of Herwegh, the romances of Von Schweitzer, the photographs of the favorite Socialist saints, over eighty newspapers and sixty foreign journals. Bales of interdicted literature were smuggled in from Switzerland to feed the morose and disaffected mind of the German workingman.

I can find no record of how many arrests were made. Bebel reported to the party convention in 1890 that 1,400 publications of all kinds had been interdicted and that 1,500 persons had been imprisoned, serving an aggregate of over one thousand years.[16] Every trial was a scattering of the seeds, and every imprisoned [166]or exiled comrade became a hero. The awkwardness of the government was matched against the adroitness of the propagandists. A good deal of terror was spread among the people, stories of sudden uprisings and bloody revolutions were told. Even the National Liberals lost their heads at times. But Bebel was always superbly cool. This woodturner developed into one of the ablest political generals of his time.

Persecuted and pressed into underground channels of activity the party persisted in growing. In 1880 it rid itself of the violent revolutionary faction led by Most and Hasselman.

In the elections of 1881 the Socialists gained three deputies, but their popular vote was reduced over 125,000. In the next election, 1884, they won twenty-four seats and polled 549,990 votes; two out of six seats in Berlin were won, and one-tenth of the voters in the land were rallied under the red flag. The police were alarmed and the law was enforced with renewed energy.

With this powerful backing Liebknecht asked the repeal of the "Explosives Act." A violent debate took place. Liebknecht said: "I will tell you this: we do not appeal to you for sympathy. The result is all the same to us, for we shall win one way or another. Do your worst, for it will be only to our advantage, and the more madly you carry on the sooner you will come to an end. The pitcher goes to the well until it breaks."[17]

Bebel roused all the fury of Bismarck when he warned him that if Russian methods were imported there would be murder. In July of this year (1886) [167]at Freiburg occurred the memorable trial of nine Socialist leaders, including Bebel, Dietz, Von Vollmar, Auer, Frohme, and Viereck, charged with participating in an illegal organization. All were sentenced to imprisonment for terms varying from six to nine months.

Preceding the election of 1887 the Reichstag had been dissolved on the army bill. The patriotic issue, always effective, was made the universal appeal by the government. In spite of this the Social Democrats polled 763,128 votes, a gain of 213,128. Saxony had succeeded in holding down the vote to 150,000; but in Prussia the result was startling; in Berlin forty per cent. of the voters were Social Democrats. With all their voting strength the party elected only eleven members to the Reichstag. With proportional representation they would have elected forty. The Bismarck Conservatives returned forty-one members with fewer votes than the Socialists.

Finally in 1890 came the end of this farce. It was also the end of the chancellorship of Bismarck. His old Emperor had died, and a young and daring hand was at the helm. Bismarck proposed to embody the anti-Socialist laws permanently in the penal code. This might have passed; but he also proposed to exile offenders, not merely from the territory under minor siege, but from the Fatherland. This expatriation the Assembly would not brook and the Reichstag was prorogued.

The Socialists left parliament with eleven members, they returned with thirty-five; they left with 760,000 mandates, they returned with 1,500,000, more votes than any other party could claim, and on a proportional basis eighty-five seats would have been theirs. [168]Bebel was justified in saying in the Reichstag, "The Chancellor thought he had us, but we have him."

When midnight sounded on the last day of the existence of the oppressive law, great throngs of workingmen gathered in the streets of the larger cities, to sing their Marseillaise, cheer their victory, and wave their red flag. Now they could breathe again.

For the first time in thirteen years they met in national convention on German soil. The veteran Liebknecht, recounting their hardships and sacrifices, raised his voice in jubilant phrase: "Our opponents did not spare us, and we, too proud and too strong to prove cowardly, struck blow for blow, and so we have conquered the odious law."[18]


During the enforcement of the anti-Socialist law Bismarck began the second part of his policy. He would repress with one hand, with the other he would placate. In 1883 he introduced his sickness insurance bill, followed in 1884-85 by his accident insurance, and in 1889 by his old-age pension act.[19]

It is not unnatural that these measures were opposed by the Social Democrats. They had no love for the Chancellor. The Dresden congress decided to "reject state Socialism unconditionally so long as it is inaugurated by Prince Bismarck and is designed to support the government system." Bismarck "had [169]sown too much wind not to reap a whirlwind."[20] He had planted hatred in the hearts of the workingmen; he could not hope to reap respect and affection.

Bismarck believed that Socialism existed because the laboring man was not sufficiently interested in the state. He had no property, and was not enlightened enough to appreciate the intangible benefits of sovereignty. In 1880 German trade had reached a low ebb. Agriculture had fallen into decay. German peasants and workingmen were emigrating to America by the tens of thousands. Bismarck promulgated his industrial insurance, first, to placate the workingman; second, to restore prosperity to German industry.

As a result of his policy Germany is to-day the most "socialized" state in Europe. Here a workingman may begin life attended by a physician paid by the state; he is christened by a state clergyman; he is taught the rudiments of learning and his handicraft by the state. He begins work under the watchful eye of a state inspector, who sees that the safeguards to health and limb are strictly observed. He is drafted by the state into the army, and returns from the rigor of this discipline to his work. The state gives him license to marry, registers his place of residence, follows him from place to place, and registers the birth of his children. If he falls ill, his suffering is assuaged by the knowledge that his wife and children are cared for and that his expenses will be paid during illness; and he may spend his convalescent days in a luxurious state hospital. If he falls victim to an accident the dread of worklessness is removed by the ample [170]insurance commanded by the state even if his injury permanently incapacitates him. If he should unfortunately become that most pitiful of all men, the man out of work, the state and the city will do all in their power to find employment for him. If he wanders from town to town in search of work the city has its shelter (Herberge) to welcome him; if he wishes to move to another part of his town the municipal bureau will be glad to help him find a suitable house, or may even loan him money for building a house of his own. If he is in difficulty the city places a lawyer at his disposal. If he is in a dispute with his employer the government provides a court of arbitration. If he is sued or wishes to sue his employer, he does so in the workingmen's court (Gewerbe Gericht). If he wishes recreation, there is the city garden; if he wishes entertainment let him go to the public concert; if he wishes to improve his mind there are libraries and free lectures. And if by rare chance, through the grace of the state's strict sanitary regulations and by thrift and care, he reaches the age of seventy, he will find the closing days of his long life eased by a pension, small, very small, to be sure, but yet enough to make him more welcome to the relatives or friends who are charged with administering to his wants.[21]


[1] For a comprehensive description of the German government, see Dawson, Germany and the Germans, Vol. I.

[2] Liebknecht said, in the Breslau congress of the Social-Democratic party: "Lassalle is the man in whom the modern organized German labor movement had its origin."—"Sozial-Demokratische Partei-Tag," Protokoll, 1895, p. 66.

[3] For sketch of Lassalle and his work see Kirkup, History of Socialism, pp. 72 et seq.; Ely, French and German Socialism of Modern Times, p. 189; Rae, Contemporary Socialism, pp. 93 ff. For an extended account, see Dawson, German Socialism and Ferdinand Lassalle, London, 1888. Georg Brandes, Ferdinand Lassalle, originally in Danish, has been translated into German, 1877, and into English, 1911. Also see Franz Mehring. Die Deutsche Sozial-Demokratie: Ihre Geschichte und ihre Lehre; Bernhard Becker, Geschichte der Arbeiter Agitation Ferdinand Lassalles, Brunswick, 1874: this volume contains a good detailed account of Lassalle's work.

[4] Published in Zürich, 1863: Macht und Recht.

[5] Macht und Recht, p. 13.

[6] Letter dated April 22, 1863.

[7] "Öffentliches Antwort-schreiben an das Zentral Committee zur Berufung eines Allgemeinen Deutschen Arbeiter Congress zu Leipzig," first published in Zurich, 1863.

[8] In the Reichstag, September 16, 1878.

[9] When Bernstein collected Lassalle's works he wrote a sketch of the agitator's life as a preface. A number of years later, 1904, he published his second sketch, Ferdinand Lassalle and His Significance to the Working Classes, in which he shifted his position and assumed a Lassallian tone. This change of mind is typical of the Social Democratic movement toward the Lassallian idea.

[10] The law is reprinted in Mehring, Die Deutsche Sozial-Demokratie.

[11] See Dawson, German Socialism and Ferdinand Lassalle, pp. 251 ff., for a discussion of this law.

[12] A good description of the working of this law is found in Dawson, Germany and the Germans, Vol. II, Chap. XXXVII.

[13] December 14, 1882.

[14] "At a large Berlin meeting a speaker innocently used the word commune (parish), whereupon the police officer in control, thinking only of the Paris Commune, at once dismissed the assembly, and a thousand persons had to disperse into the streets disappointed and embittered.... 'Militarism is a terrible mistake,' said a speaker at an election meeting, which legally should have been beyond police power, and at these words, further proceedings were forbidden and several persons were arrested. The Socialist deputy Bebel, in addressing some workingmen on economical questions, said that 'In the textile industry it happens that while the wife is working at the loom, the husband sits at home and cooks dinner,' and the meeting was dismissed immediately."—Dawson, Germany and the Germans, Vol. II, pp. 190-1.

[15] Dawson, supra cit., p. 192.

[16] Protokoll des Partei-Tages, 1890, p. 30.

[17] Reichstag debates, April 2, 1886.

[18] Protokoll des Partei-Tages, 1890, pp. 11-12.

[19] For discussion of German industrial insurance, see W.H. Dawson, Bismarck and State Socialism, also J. Ellis Barker, Modern Germany.

[20] R. Meyer, Der Emancipations-Kampf des Vierten Standes, p. 475.

[21] See Appendix for table showing cost of industrial insurance.

In Germany the state owns railways, canals, river transportation, harbors, telephones, telegraph, and parcels post. Banks, insurance, savings banks, and pawnshops are conducted by the state. Municipalities are landlords of vast estates, they are capitalists owning street cars, gas plants, electric light plants, theaters, markets, warehouses. They have hospitals for the sick, shelters for the homeless, soup-houses for the hungry, asylums for the weak and unfortunate, nurseries for the babies, homes for the aged, and cemeteries for the dead.





Before we proceed to describe the present organization of the Social Democratic Party it will be necessary to say a few words about the organization of labor in Germany.[1] There are four kinds of labor unions: the Social Democrat or free unions, the Hirsch-Duncker or radical unions, the Christian or Roman Catholic unions, and the Independent unions. All except the last group have special political significance; and only the Independents confine themselves purely to economic activity. The Socialist unions are called "Reds," the Independents "Yellow," the Christians "Black."

The Hirsch-Duncker unions were the first in the field. They were organized in 1868 by Dr. Hirsch and Herr Franz Duncker, for the purpose of winning the labor vote for the Progressists. Dr. Hirsch went to England for his model, but the political bias he imparted to the unions was very un-English. They have grown less political and more neutral in every aspect, probably because political radicalism has [172]dwindled, and because they contain a great many of the most skilled of German workmen, the machinists. They are a sort of aristocracy of labor, prefer peace to war, and hesitate long before striking.

The Christian unions are strongest in the Rhine valley and the Westphalian mining districts. They are the offspring of Bishop Kettler's workingmen's associations, organized to keep the laborer in harmony with the Roman Catholic Church. They have undergone a great deal of change since the days of the distinguished bishop, and are now modeled after strict trade-union principles. They retain their connection with the Church and the Center Party (the Roman Catholic group in the Reichstag). For some years there has been a restlessness among these unions. The more militant members are protesting against the influence of the clergy in union affairs, and demand that laborers lead labor.

The "Yellow" unions stand in bad repute among the others. They are for peace at any price. Their membership is largely composed of the engineering trades; and they are usually under contract not to strike, but settle their differences by arbitration. The employing firms contribute liberally to their union funds.

By far the largest unions are the Social Democratic or "Free" unions. They embrace over eighty per cent. of all organized labor. Their growth has been very rapid during the last twenty years. In 1890, when the Socialist law was lifted, they numbered a little over 250,000; in 1910 they numbered nearly 2,000,000.

As organizations, the Social Democratic unions possess all the perfection of detail and painstaking [173]craftsmanship for which the Germans are justly celebrated.[2] Not the minutest detail is omitted; everything is done to contribute to the solidarity of the working classes. The theory of the German labor movement is, that physical environment is the first desideratum. A well-housed, well-groomed, well-fed workman is a better fighter than a hungry, ragged man; and it is for fighting that the unions exist. The bed-rock of the German workingman's theory is the maxim: "First, be a good craftsman, and all other things will be added unto you."

These unions strive to do everything within their power to make, first, a good workman; second, a comfortable workman. This naturally, without artificial stimulants, brings the solidarity, the class patriotism, which is the source of the zeal and energy of these great fighting machines. In all of the larger towns they own clubhouses (Gewerkschaftshäuser), which are the centers of incessant activity. They contain assembly halls, restaurants, committee rooms, and lodgings for journeymen and apprentices (Wander-bursche) seeking work. There are night classes, public lectures, educational excursions, and circulating libraries. In Berlin the workingmen have organized a theater.[3]

[174]The workingman has a genuine sympathy for his union. It enlists his loyalty as much as his country enlists his patriotism. He finds social and intellectual intercourse, sympathy and responsiveness in his union. He saves from his frugal wages to support the union and to swell the funds in its war-chest. He is never allowed to forget that he is first a workingman, and owes his primary duties to his family and his union.[4]

This vast and perfect organization of labor has a complete understanding with the Social Democratic party, but it is not an integral part of the party. When the unions began to revive, after the repeal of the anti-Socialist law, there was a short and severe struggle between the party and the unions for control. The victory of the unions for complete autonomy was decisive. Since then good feeling and harmony have prevailed. The governing committees of the two bodies meet for consultation, the powerful press of the party fights the union's battles, and often party headquarters are in the union's clubhouse. They are virtually two independent branches of the same movement.

In the national triennial convention of the Social Democratic unions at Hamburg, 1908, a speaker said: [175]"We can say with truth that to-day there are no differences of a fundamental nature between the two great branches [the Social Democratic unions and the Social Democratic Party] of the labor movement."[5]

Bebel has said of the relation between the unions and the party: "Every workingman should belong to the union, and should be a party man; not merely as a laboring man, but as a class-conscious (Classenbewustsein) laboring man; as a member of a governmental and a social organization which treats and maltreats him as a laboring man."[6] This is the class spirit of Socialism, carried into practical effect.

In Germany, then, the vast bulk of organized labor is co-operating voluntarily with the Social Democratic Party.


And what is the present organization of the Social Democratic Party? It is the most perfect party machine in the world. It is organized with the most scrupulous regard for details and oiled with the exuberance of a class spirit that is emerging from its narrowness and is finding room for its expanding powers in the practical affairs of national and municipal life. The only approach to it is the faultless, silently moving, highly polished mechanism devised by the English gentry to control the political destinies of the British Empire. Our American parties are crude compared with the noiseless efficacy of the [176]English machine, or the remorseless yet enthusiastic and entirely effective operation of the German Social Democracy.

Every detail of the workingman's life is embraced in this remarkable political organization. Every village and commune has its party vigilance committee. A juvenile department brings up the youth in the principles of the Social Democracy. The party press includes seventy-six daily papers, some of them brilliantly edited, a humorous weekly, and several monthly magazines. This press co-operates with the trade journals. Some of these—notably the masons' journal and the ironworkers' journal—have a vast circulation, numbering many hundred thousand subscribers.

The party propaganda is stupendous. In 1910 over 14,000 meetings were held, and over 33,000,000 circulars and 2,800,000 brochures were distributed. Every workingman, every voter, was personally solicited during the campaign just closed (January, 1912). Committees and sub-committees were everywhere in this national beehive of workers. Women and children were enlisted in the work.

The national party is controlled by an executive committee, elected by the national convention, who govern its many activities with the gravity of a college faculty, the astuteness of a lawyer, and the frugality of a tradesman. They issue annual reports, as full of statistics and involved analyses as a government report. And they have no patience for party stars who are ambitious to move in the orbit of their own individual greatness.

Because the keynote of the party is solidarity, which is a synonym for discipline, "We have no factions, [177]we are one. Personally any Social Democrat may believe as he pleases and do as he pleases. But when it comes to political activity, we insist that he act with the party." These are the words in which one of the younger leaders of the party explained their unity to me.

In 1890, when the Bavarian rebels were under discussion in the national congress, Bebel told the delegates that "a fighting party such as our Social Democracy can only achieve its aims when every member observes the strictest discipline."[7]

Evidences of party discipline are not lacking. The Prussian temperament is rough, dogmatic, implacable; the South German is mellow, yielding, kind. The two temperaments often clash. The one loves individual action; the other, military unity. The southern Socialist votes for his local budgets in town council and diet, and he receives the chastisement of the northern disciplinarian with mellow good-nature. But solidarity there is, whatever the price; and a class-consciousness, a brotherhood: they call each other "Comrades."[8]

The membership of the party includes all those who pay party dues and will oblige themselves to party fealty, to do any drudgery demanded of them.[9] In six parliamentary districts the membership equals thirty per cent. of the Social Democratic vote cast; in twenty-four other districts there is a membership of over 10,000 per district.[10] It is difficult to say what [178]proportion of the members of the union are members of the party. The vast bulk of the party members are laboring men, and no doubt the majority of them are members of the union.

In the last imperial elections (January, 1912) this party cast 4,250,000 votes, almost one-fourth of the entire federal electorate, and elected 110 members to the Reichstag, over one-fourth of the entire membership.[11] In nineteen state legislatures the Social Democrats have 186 members, in 396 city councils 1,813 members, and in 2,009 communal councils 5,720 members.[12]

The supreme authority of the party is the annual national convention, called "congress." Here detailed reports are made by the various committees; and the parliamentary delegation make an elaborate statement, detailing every official act of the group in the Reichstag. Everything is discussed by everybody; the speeches made by the members in the Reichstag, the opinions of the party editors in their daily editorials, the party finances, everything is freely criticised. The most insignificant member has the same privilege of criticism as the party czars; and the criticism often becomes naïvely personal. No doubt the party patriotism is largely fed by this frank, fearless, aboveboard airing of grievances, this freedom from "boss rule." Every one has his opportunity, and this robs the plotter and backbiter of his venom.

Having listened to the faultfinder, they vote; and having voted, they rarely relent. When a decision is reached, the members are expected to abide by it [179]faithfully and cheerfully. They make short work of traitors.[13]

Every year a detailed report on the imperial budget is read, showing how the money is spent on armaments, on police, on courts, and every other department of the empire; and how the money is raised. The convention resolves itself into a school of public finance. This analysis is sent broadcast, as a campaign document. So yearly a report is read of the number of arrests made and the fines and penalties ensuing, on account of lèse-majesté and other laws infringing upon the liberty of the press and of speech. Also, every year the central committee report, in great detail, every party activity in every corner of the empire. A well-knit hegemony of party interest is created. The mass is willing to listen to the individual, to bend to the needs of the smallest commune.

Throughout their frank discussions and involved debates there runs a certain polysyllabic flavor that is characteristically German. They often choose, a year in advance, some important national question, such as the tariff, mining laws, the agrarian situation, and discuss it in great detail, more like an academy of universal knowledge than a political party. The learned blend their involved phraseology and store of facts with the refreshing frankness and ignorance of the unlearned.


We will now return to the present activities of this party that was born in revolution and nurtured by [180]persecution. In order to understand this activity, it is necessary to review the present attitude of the government toward democracy and Socialism. The repeal of the anti-Socialist law could not suddenly alter the spirit of opposition. It merely changed the outward aspect of the opposition.

The government indicates in many ways its distrust of Social Democrats. No member of the party has ever been invited by the government to a place of public honor and responsibility. Indeed, to be a Social Democrat effectively closes the door against promotion in civil life.[14] This silent hostility is not confined to political offices and the civil service; it extends into the professions. Judges and public physicians, pastors in the state church, teachers in the public schools, professors in the great universities are included in the ban. A pastor may be a "Christian Socialist," a professor may nourish his "Socialism of the chair," and a judge or a government engineer may be inclined toward far-reaching social experiment. But with Social Democracy they must have absolutely nothing to do.[15]

The government's attitude is based on the theory that the Social Democrats are enemies of the monarchy, and are designing to overthrow it and declare a republic the moment they get into power. The Kaiser, on several public occasions, has expressed his distrust and disapproval for this vast multitude of his [181]subjects. A number of years ago he is reported to have said that "the Social Democrats are a band of persons who are unworthy of their fatherland" ("Eine Bande von Menschen die ihres Vaterlands nicht würdig sind"). And more recently: "The Social Democrats are a crowd of upstarts without a fatherland" ("Vaterlandslose Gesellen"). The Kaiser joined in the public rejoicing over the check that had apparently been administered to the growth of the Social Democracy by the elections of 1907, and in a speech delivered to a throng of citizens gathered for jubilation in the palace yard in Berlin, he said that the "Socialists have been ridden down" ("niedergeritten"), a military figure of speech.

Retaliation is not unnatural. The pictures of the Hohenzollerns and the high functionaries of state and army do not adorn the walls of the homes of the Social Democrats. There are seen the portraits of Marx and Lassalle, Liebknecht and Bebel. The members of the party never join in a public display of confidence in the government. They exercise a petty tyranny over their neighbors. Instances are told of shopkeepers who were compelled to yield to the boycott instituted against them because they voted against the Social Democrats, and of workmen coerced into joining the union.

This feeling of bitterness is most clearly marked in Prussia. In southern Germany a feeling of good will and co-operation is becoming more marked every year. The King of Bavaria is not afraid to shake hands with Von Vollmar. Some years ago a Bavarian railway employee was elected to the Diet on the Social Democratic ticket, and his employer, the state, gave him leave of absence to attend to his [182]legislative duties. In Baden the leader of the Social Democratic Party called at the palace to present the felicitations of his comrades to the royal family on the occasion of the birth of an heir.

The principal immediate issue of the Social Democrats in Germany is electoral reform. None of the states or provinces are on a genuinely democratic electoral basis. In Saxony a new electoral law was passed in 1909 which typifies the spirit of the entire country.[16] The electorate is divided into four classes according to their income. The result of the first election under this law in the city of Leipsic was as follows: There were 172,800 votes cast by 79,928 voters.

32,576 voters in the one-vote class cast 32,576 votes
20,323 voters in the two-vote class cast 40,646 votes
  8,538 voters in the three-vote class cast 25,614 votes
18,491 voters in the four-vote class cast 73,964 votes

There are ninety-one members in the Saxon Diet. The law provided that only forty-three of these should be elected from the cities. The three leading cities of Saxony, Chemnitz, Dresden, Leipsic, are strongholds of Social Democracy, while the country districts are Conservative. The Social Democrats feel that the property qualifications and the distribution of the districts impose an unfair handicap against them. In spite of these obstacles they elected so many deputies that they were offered the vice-presidency of the Chamber of Deputies. The offer, however, was conditioned upon their attending the annual reception given by the King to the representatives. They had [183]hitherto refused to attend these royal functions and were not willing to surrender for the sake of office.[17]

The ancient free cities—Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck—have election laws as ancient and antiquated as their charters. In Lübeck a large majority of the legislative body is elected by electors having an income of over 2,000 marks a year. In Hamburg the nobles, higher officials, etc., elect 40 representatives, the householders elect 40, the large landholders elect 8, those citizens having an income of over 2,500 marks a year elect 48, those who have an income from 1,200 to 2,500 marks a year elect 24, those who have an income of less than 1,200 marks have no vote. In Bremen the various groups or kinds of property are represented in the law-making body. Property, not the person, is represented.

Prussia is the special grievance of the Social Democrats. Here the three-class system of voting prevails. The taxpayers are divided into three classes, according to the amount of taxes paid, each class paying one-third of the taxes. Each class chooses one-third of the electors who name the members of the Prussian Diet. By this arrangement the large property class virtually controls the elections.[18] By this system the [184]Social Democratic representation is held down to 6 in a membership of 420. In 1909 the party polled 23 9/10 per cent. of the entire Prussian vote. Here again the districts are so arranged that the majority of the members are elected from the Conservative rural districts, while the cities, which are strongholds of Social Democracy, must content themselves with a minority, although nearly 60 per cent. of the population of Prussia is urban. These examples are sufficient to indicate the general nature of franchise legislation in Germany.[19] For the past several years universal suffrage demonstrations have been held throughout the empire. The general strike has not been used as a method of political coercion. It is doubtful whether the German temperament is adapted to that kind of warfare. Mass-meetings, however, and street demonstrations are the favorite means of the propaganda. Sometimes there are conflicts with the police, but these are diminishing in number every year. The government has not diminished its vigilance, and its jealous eyes are never averted from these demonstrations.[20]

[185]An incident occurred in March, 1910, which illustrates the temper of the people and the government. A gigantic demonstration was announced, to be held in Treptow Park, Berlin. The Police-president forbade the meeting and had every street leading to the park carefully guarded. One hundred and fifty thousand demonstrants met in the Thiergarten, in the very heart of the city, and so secretly had the word been given, so quietly was it executed, and so orderly was this vast throng of workingman, that the police knew nothing of it until the meeting was well under way. Permission for the Treptow meeting was not again refused.

The immediate issue, then, of the German Social Democracy is universal suffrage. Lassalle's cry is more piercing to-day than when that brilliant and erratic agitator uttered it: "Democracy, the universal ballot, is the laboring man's hope." The name of the party is significant. The accent has shifted from the first to the second part of the compound—from the Marxian to the Lassallian word.

The German Social Democrats have never had a Millerand or a Briand or a John Burns; their participation in imperial and provincial affairs has been strictly limited to parliamentary criticism. Even in local government, in the communes and cities, they have been allowed only a small share in actual constructive work. But in spite of these facts the party has undergone a most remarkable change of creed and tone.



We will concern ourselves only with the most significant changes. These follow two general lines: (1) the attitude of the party towards legislation and practical parliamentary participation; (2) the internal changes in the party. We will follow these changes through the official reports of the annual party conventions.

First we will briefly see what change has taken place in their attitude toward parliamentary activity. The Social Democrats began as revolutionists and violent anti-parliamentarians. They entered parliament, not to make laws, but to make trouble. In 1890 they changed their name from the Socialist Labor Party to the Social Democratic Party; and when some of the older members thought that this was a compromise with their enemies, one of the leaders replied that "a Socialist party must eo ipse be a democratic party."[21] In 1890 Liebknecht said: "Formerly we had an entirely different tactic. Tactics and principles are two different things. In 1869 in a speech in Berlin I condemned parliamentary activity. That was then. Political conditions were entirely different."[22] Gradually tactics and principles have coalesced until their line of cleavage is obscured.

The earlier reports of the parliamentary delegation are tinged with apology—they are in parliament as protestors, as propagandists, not as legislators. They seem to say: "Fellow-partisans, excuse us for being in the Reichstag. We don't believe in the bourgeois [187]law-making devices. But since we are here, we purpose to do what we can for the cause. We will not betray you, nor the glorious Socialistic state of society that we are all working for."

From the first, Social Democrats have voted against the imperial budget, have opposed all tariffs, indirect taxes, extension of the police power, increase in naval and military expenditure, and colonial exploitation. They took no part at first in law-making, held themselves disdainfully aloof from practical parliamentary efforts, and especially avoided every appearance of coalition with other parties.

But gradually a change came over them. In 1895 they nominated one of their number for secretary of the Reichstag.[23]

Gingerly they dipped their fingers into the pottage of reality. Soon they began to introduce bills. In 1901 they proposed a measure that increased the allowance of the private soldier. Their bill became a law. In the next national convention, when they were called to task for their worldliness, they excused themselves by saying that ninety per cent. of the private soldiers were proletarians and their parents were too poor to supply them with the money necessary for army sundries, and the allowance of the state had been inadequate. This was therefore a law that actually benefited the poor.

In 1906 and 1908 they were compelled to face the practical question of an inheritance tax. The [188]delegation supported the measure, after prolonged deliberation over what action to take. This action precipitated a heated discussion in the party congress; the veterans feared the party was surrendering its principles. They were assured by Bebel that the vote was orthodox.[24]

In 1906 the party instructed its delegation to introduce bills for redistricting the empire for Reichstag elections; to reduce the legislative period from five to three years; to revise the laws relating to sailors and provide for better inspection of ships and shipping. These instructions mark a revolution in German Social Democracy, a change that can best be illustrated by the shift in its attitude on state insurance. In 1892 the party resolved: "So-called state Socialism, in so far as it concerns itself with bettering the conditions of the working people, is a system of half-reforms whose origin is in the fear of Social Democracy. It aims, through all kinds of palliatives and little concessions, to estrange the working people from Social Democracy and to cripple the party.

"The Social Democracy have never disdained to ask for such governmental regulations, or, if proposed by the opposition, to approve of those measures which could better the conditions of labor under the present industrial system. But Social Democrats view such regulations as only little payments on account, which in nowise confuse the Social Democracy in its striving for a new organization of society."[25]

They are now not above collecting even small sums on account. In 1910 their convention declares that state insurance is "the object of constant agitation. [189]For what we have thus far secured by no means approaches what the laborer demands."[26]

The committee on parliamentary action reported, a few years ago, that "no opportunity was lost for entering the lists in behalf of political and cultural progress. In the discussion of all bills and other business matters, the members of the delegation took an active part in committee as well as in plenum."[27] There is no longer half-abashed juvenile reluctance at legislative participation. The reports boast of the work done by the party in behalf of the workingman, the peasant, small tradesman, small farmer, and humbler government employees. Eleven bills were introduced by the delegation in 1909-10, relating to factory and mine inspection, amending the state insurance laws, the tariff laws, the redistricting of the empire for Reichstag elections—i.e., all pertaining to labor, politics, and finance. Twenty resolutions were moved by the delegation, and many interpellations called.

Interpellation, however, is not very satisfactory in a government where the ministry is not responsible to parliament. In 1909 the Social Democrats introduced a bill to make the Chancellor and his cabinet responsible to the Reichstag. Ledebour, who made the leading speech for the Social Democrats, gave a clear exposition of his party's contention. He wanted a government "wherein the people, in the final analysis, decided the fate of the government. For, in such a government, only those men come into power who represent a program, represent conviction and character; not any one who has succeeded, for the moment, in pleasing the fancy and becoming the favorite [190]of the determining kamarilla." If the election should turn on this issue, "whether there shall be a perpetuation of the sham-constitutional, junker bureaucracy, or the establishing of a democratic parliamentary authority," the parliamentary party would win. "The will of the people should be the highest law."[28]

In January, 1912, this party of isolation entered the Reichstag as the strongest group: 110 members acknowledge the leadership of Bebel. By co-operating with the Radicals and National Liberals, the progressive elements had a majority over the Conservative and Clerical reactionaries for the first time in the history of the empire. Here Bebel consented to become a candidate for president of the Chamber. He received 175 votes; the candidate of the Conservatives, Dr. Spahn, leader of the Clerical Center, received 196. Enough National Liberals had wavered to throw the balance in favor of Conservatism. A Socialist was elected first vice-president, and a National Liberal second vice-president. The President-elect refused to act with a Socialist vice-president and resigned. The Radical member from Berlin, Herr Kaempf, was then elected President.[29] Thereupon the National Liberal second vice-president also resigned, and a Radical was chosen in his stead. The Social Democrats and the Radicals were made responsible for the leadership of the new Reichstag.

[191]It is customary for the President and the vice-president of the Chamber to announce to the Kaiser when the Reichstag is organized and ready for business. The Kaiser let it be known that he did not care to receive the Radical officers. The Socialist first vice-president refused to join in the proposed official visit. The Prussian temper is slow to change.

These illustrations clearly indicate the trend of Social Democratic legislative and political policy. It is the universal story—ambition brings power, power brings responsibility, responsibility sobers the senses.


The second development that we are to trace relates to the program, or platform, of the party. The official program has not undergone any change, but the interpretation, the spirit, has mellowed. The Erfurter program of 1891 is still their party pledge. The program is in two parts; the first an elaborate exposition of Marxian economics, the second a series of practical demands differing only slightly from the Gotha program.

Only one speech was made in the national convention on the adoption of this bifurcated platform, that attempted to link Marxian theory to Lassallian realism. This speech was made by Liebknecht, friend of Marx, who elaborately explained his friend's theory of value, doctrine of class war and social evolution. The program was adopted en bloc. The chairman ignored a few protesting "noes" when the vote was called, and declared it unanimously adopted. These few voices of protest soon swelled to considerable volume. [192]Within one year after the repeal of the Socialist law the party had entered upon the difficult task of being both critic and parliamentarian, constructive and destructive, under rigid military discipline.

To the few protesters at Erfurt, it seemed as though the party had entered the lifeboat, manned the oars, and neglected to untie the painter.

When the elections of 1897 recorded a severe setback for the party the progressives were told to keep the eyes of faith on the "ultimate goal" of Socialism. One of the réformistes replied: "The whole idea of an ultimate goal is distasteful to me. There is no ultimate goal; for beyond your ultimate goal is another world of striving."[30] And another critic said: "Nothing wears threadbare so rapidly by constant use as words of faith. Constantly spoken or heard, they become stereotyped into phrases, and the inspired prophet creates the same offensive impression as a priest who has nothing else to offer but words." The interest of the workingman "finds its expression in the practicalness of the second part of the Erfurter program, and the wholly practical work of the party."[31] It was at this time that Edward Bernstein, friend and literary heir of Engel, published a series of critical papers in the party journal, Die Neue Zeit, attacking especially the catastrophic and revolutionary postulates and saying "the movement is everything, the goal is nothing." Kautsky, the dogmatist of the party, replied to these articles and a feverish discussion followed in all the party press.[32]

[193]In the party conventions of 1898 and 1899 this controversy was waged with considerable energy. Von Vollmar made merry over Kautsky's "inquisition" and called the debate "a noisy cackling over nothing." The mass of the party, he said, did not trouble their heads about theories, but plodded along unmindful of hairsplitting.[33] Bebel made a herculean effort to reconcile both elements. To the revisionists he said, "We are in a constant state of intellectual moulting,"[34] to the orthodox he said, "We remain what we have always been."[35]

It was at Dresden, 1903, that the revisionist tempest reached its height in the party teapot. The Germans' love for polysyllabic phrase-making, for which Jaurès taunted them at the Amsterdam congress, was here given full play. Von Vollmar repeated that nobody except a few dull theorists read Kautsky's or Bernstein's views; the mass of voters cared for practical results, and "revisionists and anti-revisionists are nothing but a bugbear."[36]

Here the matter rested until the elections of 1907 opened the eyes of the party high priests. They gained only 248,249 votes and lost one-half of their seats in the Reichstag. A number of the leading Socialists promptly began to attack the dogmas of the party program as illusions and pitfalls. The class war, the revolutionary method, the theory of an ever-increasing proletariat and decreasing bourgeoisie were attacked as [194]unscientific, and illusory. "The Erfurt program recites a vagary, it repels the intellect, it must be changed;" that was the opinion of the advanced thinkers of the party.

No party congresses, no priestly pronunciamentos have been able to check the spread of revolt. As long as Kautsky and Bebel live the program will probably not be re-phrased. But even Kautsky is mellowing under the ripeness of years and circumstances; and Bebel, shrewd politician, knows the campaigning value of appearing at the same time orthodox and progressive.[37]

To-day one hears very little of Marx and a great deal of legislation. The last election, with its brilliant victory for Social Democracy, was not won on the general issues of the Erfurter program but on the particular issue of the arrogance of the bureaucracy, and ballot reform. A large mass of voters cast their ballots for Social Democratic candidates as a protest against existing governmental conditions, not as an affirmation of their assent to the Marxian dogmas. The truth is, Marx is a tradition, democracy is an issue.[38]

Another indication of the notable changes that have [195]come over Social Democracy is seen in the Socialists' relation to other parties. Here their dogmatic aloofness is the most tenacious. During the years of their bitter persecution by the government they found their excuse in an isolation that was forced upon them. Von Vollmar told his colleagues, immediately after the repeal of the anti-Socialist law, that the South Germans were ready to co-operate with every one who would be willing to give them an inch. In reply to this Bebel introduced a resolution affirming that "the primary necessity of attaining political power" could not be "the work of a moment," but was attained only by gradual growth. During the period of growth the Social Democrats should not work for mere "concessions from the ruling classes," but "have only the ultimate and complete aim of the party in mind." The Bebelian theory linked the ultimate goal with ultimate power, both to be attained by waiting until the flood tide.

This question became practical when the Social Democratic members of the provincial legislatures voted with other parties for the state budget. The national party claimed authority over the local party, a claim which was resented by the Bavarians and other South German delegations.[39]

In 1894 the South Germans were chastised by a vote of 164 to 64 for voting for their state budget. They [196]were rebuked again in 1901 and in 1908. In the latter year Bebel told them "three times is enough," indicating that there would be a split in the party if they insisted on voting for their local budgets. The South Germans defended their action by saying that they had always agitated for more pay for state employees, and that they were willing to vote the funds that would make this possible. A new champion appeared for the réformistes—Dr. Frank of Mannheim, a brilliant speaker who is called by his following a "second Lassalle." He made a withering attack on the Marxian school, but Bebel's censure was carried by 256 to 119.

Finally at Magdeburg, 1910, the budget question reached its climax. Bebel boasted that his policy of negation had wrought great changes in Germany. "I say it without boasting, in the whole world there is no Social Democracy that has accomplished as much positive good as the German Social Democracy."[40] He claimed the insurance laws, factory laws, and the repeal of special and oppressive legislation as the fruits of his policy. Bebel then warned the Badensians that this is the last time they will be forgiven; one other offense, and they will be put out of the party.

Dr. Frank made an elaborate reply. He said that there was a working agreement between the Social Democrats and Liberals whereby they co-operated against the Conservatives. In the state legislature they had a "bloc" with the Liberals and had elected a vice-president and secretary and important chairmanships by means of this coalition. They had, moreover, reformed the public school system, secured factory legislation, and had secured direct elections in all towns [197]of 4,000 or over. The réformistes' principles are so clearly stated in this speech that I quote several paragraphs:

"I tell you, comrades, if you think that under all the circumstances you can win only small concessions; with such a message of hopelessness you will not conquer the world, not even the smallest election district. [Great commotion and disturbance.] But what would be the meaning of this admission that small concessions can be secured? In tearing down a building dramatic effects are possible. But the erection of a building is accomplished only by an accumulation of small concessions. Behold the labor unions, that are so often spoken of, how they struggle for months, how they suffer hunger for months, in order to win a concession of a few pennies. Often one can see that a small concession contains enormous future possibilities, and in twenty or thirty years will become a vital force in the shaping of the society that is to come."

"Nor will I examine the question whether in parliamentary activity only small concessions can be won. Is it not possible, through parliamentary action, to take high tariffs and business speculations from the necks of the workingmen? Is it not possible to modify police administration, and the legislative conditions that profane Prussia to-day? Are these conditions necessary concomitants of the modern class-state (Klassenstaat)? Is it not possible to create out of Prussia and Germany a modern state, where our workingmen, even as their brethren in Western Europe, can fight their great battles upon the field of democratic equality and citizenship? If you wish to view all that as 'small concessions' you are at liberty to do so. I view it as a tremendous revolution, if it succeeds, to secure, through [198]such a struggle, liberty for the Prussian working class."[41]

The censure was carried, the Baden delegation left the hall during the voting. On the following day it returned to declare its loyalty to the party, but with the proviso that they would by no means promise how they would vote on their state budget in the future.

Events are shaping themselves rapidly in Germany. Ministerial responsibility cannot much longer be denied. The elections of 1912 should serve as a plain portent to the reactionaries. That Bebel is willing to be a candidate for President of the Reichstag is a significant concession; that the Radicals and many National Liberals are willing to vote for him, would have been deemed impossible ten years ago.

Such conditions as prevail between the government and the Radicals and Social Democrats cannot long continue. The break with the past must come, sooner or later. The pressure of Radical and Democratic votes will become so powerful, that not even the strong traditions of the empire can wholly withstand it.

In May, 1911, I visited the Reichstag on an eventful occasion. The Social Democrats had voted with the government for a new Constitution for Alsace-Lorraine containing universal manhood suffrage. Herr Bebel was jubilant. He said: "It marks a new epoch. We have voted with the government. Not that we have capitulated. But the government have come to our convictions, they have granted universal suffrage to Alsace, now they cannot long deny that right to Prussia and the other states."[42]

[199]We have now seen that politically a great change has come over the German Socialists; that they are participating in legislation, and are especially solicitous about all acts that pertain to labor and political liberty; that they are gradually moving toward co-operation with other parties; that they are gradually sloughing off the inflexible Marxian armor, and are assuming the pliable dress of modernism.

All this is to be expected of a party that began as a vigorous, narrow, autocratic party of revolution and protest, and is emerging from its hard experiences, a self-styled "cultural party" ("Kultur Partei"). Dr. Südekum, editor of Communal Praxis, in his report of the parliamentary group, in 1907, wrote: "We have in the Reichstag two kinds of duties; first, the propaganda of our ideas and program; second, practical work, i.e., to enhance, not alone the interests of the working class, but the entire complex, so-called cultural interests. The problems that the Social Democratic party as a 'cultural party' has to solve, which are assigned to it as the representative of cultural progress in every realm of human activity, must increase in the same proportion that the bourgeois parties allow themselves to be captured by the government and neglect these problems."[43]

It is a far cry from "class war" to "human cultural activities." Such an expansion of purpose requires a [200]greatly enlarged electorate. The majority of the workingmen are already in the party, where will the increase come from?

There are two directions in which the party can hope to gain new recruits—the small farmer and the small tradesman. The small farmer is peculiarly hard to reach. He is well guarded—the Church on the one side, the landlord and junker on the other. To step in and steal his heart is a very difficult task. The work is pushed steadily, with tenacity, but results are slow in coming.

Among the tradespeople and business men, there is more rapid progress, especially in southern Germany. In Munich a great many tradespeople vote for Von Vollmar.[44]

Primarily it will always be a workingman's party. Its soul is the labor movement. Its political aim is democracy, and its hope is the power of sheer preponderance of numbers. What it will do when it has that power is a speculation that does not lure the prosaic Teutonic mind. "We will find plenty to do," one of them said, "when we have the government. We have plenty to do now, that we haven't the government." This is wisdom learned of France.

This means that the party have given up their "splendid isolation"—what Von Vollmar called their "policy of sterility and despair"[45]—a policy which they [201]acknowledged by words long after they had abandoned it in fact. They abandoned it the moment they championed labor legislation, and sought the sanitation of cities and the opening of parks, in their municipal councils.

The pressure of things as they are has been too powerful for even the German Social Democracy, with its dogmatic temper and strength of millions. Revolution has, even here, been replaced by a slow and orderly development.

The rapidity with which the medieval empire will be democratized will depend upon the formation of a genuine liberal party that will enlist those citizens who are inclined toward modernism but cannot be enticed into the Social Democratic or Radical parties. When such a party is formed, and an alliance made with the Social Democrats, then the transformations will be rapid.[46] Among the most significant accessions to the Social Democracy are many professional men: lawyers, physicians, engineers, etc. This augurs a change in party spirit and method. Dr. Frank of Mannheim told me that he considered the extent to which the party could lure the intellectual element the measure of the party greatness and power.


A word should be added upon the attitude of the Social Democrats toward militarism. The standing army and the increasing navy of Germany are a heavy [202]tax upon the people. The Germans for centuries have been military in ambition, soldiers by instinct.

The Social Democrats, in common with all Socialists, are opposed to war. But the German is a patriot. In the International Congress at Stuttgart, the French and Russian delegations imposed an extreme anti-military resolution upon the Socialists, against the protest of the Germans. Bebel called their anti-patriotic utterances "silly word-juggling."[47]

The Berlin congress, 1892, adopted the following resolution, in view of the added military burdens proposed by the Reichstag: "The prevailing military system, not being able to guarantee the country against foreign invasion, is a continual threat to international peace and serves the capitalistic class-government, whose aim is the industrial exploitation and suppression of the working classes, as an instrument of oppression against the masses.

"The party convention therefore demands, in consonance with the program of the Social Democratic platform, the establishment of a system of defense based upon a general militia, trained and armed. The congress declares that the Social Democratic members of the Reichstag are in complete accord with the party and with the politically organized working classes of Germany, when they vote against every measure of the government aimed at perpetuating the present military system."[48]

During a debate in the Reichstag in 1907, Bebel declared, in the defense of the Fatherland, if it were invaded, even he in his old age would "shoulder a musket." He demanded military drill for youths [203]as a preliminary to the shortening of military service in the standing army; if this were not done the defense of the country would be weakened whenever the service shall be reduced to one year.

The Chancellor had on this occasion introduced a bill making all military service uniformly two years, and abolishing the privileges that had been granted to a few favored classes.

For this action they were severely criticised in the next party convention. Bebel replied: "I said, if the Fatherland really must be defended, then we will defend it. Because it is our Fatherland. It is the land in which we live, whose language we speak, whose culture we possess. Because we wish to make this, our Fatherland, more beautiful and more complete than any other land on earth. We defend it, therefore, not for you but against you."[49] This patriotic declamation was received with "tremendous applause."

Von Vollmar, himself a soldier of distinction, said, in the Bavarian Diet, a few years ago:

"If the necessity should arise for the protection of the realm against foreign invasion, then it will become evident that the Social Democrats love their Fatherland no less than do their neighbors; that they will as gladly and heroically offer themselves to its defense. On the other hand, if the foolish notion should ever arise to use the army for the support of a warring class prerogative, for the defense of indefeasible demands, and for the crushing of those just ambitions which are the product of our times, and a necessary concomitant of our economic and political development,—then we are of the firm conviction that [204]the day will come when the army will remember that it sprang from the people, and that its own interests are those of the masses."

This makes their position very clear.


The party that for years held itself in disdainful aloofness, was so defiant of co-operation, in the national parliament, is ductile, neighborly, and eager to help in the municipal and communal councils. It has a communal program of practical details, and no small part of the splendid progress in municipal administration in Germany is due to the Social Democrats. Everywhere you hear praise from officials and from political rivals for the careful work of the Social Democratic members of municipal bodies.

Owing to the unfavorable election laws, the Social Democrats do not elect a large number of members to local councils. In no important city do they preponderate. If universal manhood suffrage were enacted, they would control the majority of the local legislative bodies. As it is, they are an active minority, and guard jealously the interests of the working classes.

Munich may be taken as the type of city in which the Social Democrats are active.[50]

In 1907 there were 130,000 qualified electors for the Reichstag election in Munich, in 1905 there were only 31,252 qualified electors for the municipal elections. [205]This shows the restrictive influence of property qualifications for local elections.

In a city council of 60 members, the Social Democrats elected only 9. And of 20 elected members of the chamber of magistrates they elected only 3.

This minority is an active committee of scrutiny. It carefully and minutely scrutinizes all the acts of the municipal authorities, especially pertaining to labor, to contracts for public work, and to the conditions of city employees. They vote consistently in favor of the enlargement of municipal powers; e.g., the extension of parks, of street-car lines, the building of larger markets. For a number of years the Social Democrats of Munich have urged the utilizing of the water power of the Isar, which rushes through the city. And the municipality is now utilizing some of this power.

The Social Democrats also favor every facility for the extension of the art and culture for which Munich is justly celebrated. They take no narrow, provincial views of such questions, and set an example that might with profit be followed by parties who claim for themselves the prerogative of culture. They are constantly working for better public educational facilities, and are especially hostile to the encroachments of the Church upon the domain of public education.

They are in favor of increased public expenditures; opposed to all indirect taxes, especially those that tend to raise the price of food.

Their special grievance is the property qualification required for voting. They say that a law which allows only one-fifteenth of the citizens (30,000 out of over 500,000) a right to vote is "shameful," and they are bending every effort to change the law.

What is true in Munich is true in other cities: [206]democratic election laws are denied them. But they are active everywhere, and do not despise the doing of small details, doing them well and with zest. It is obvious that Socialism in Germany cannot be put to a constructive test until the election laws are democratized and the higher administrative offices are opened to them. That will bring the real test of this colossal movement.

We may sum it all up by saying that Social Democracy in Germany is first of all a struggle for democracy. The accent is on the second part of the compound. It is, secondly, a struggle for the self-betterment of the working classes; and it is, thirdly, a protest against certain conditions that the present organization of society imposes upon mankind.

An American sojourning among the German people must be impressed with the painstaking organization of the empire. Every detail of life is carefully ordered to avoid waste and to secure efficiency, even at the cost of individual initiative. This military empire, of infinite discipline, is now undergoing a political metamorphosis. The force that is bringing about the change is being generated at the bottom of the social strata, not at the top. This signifies that a change is sure to come.


[1] See Meyer, Emancipations-Kampf des Vierten Standes, Chap. V; also J. Schmoele, Die Sozial-Demokratische Gewerkschaften in Deutschland, seit dem Erlasse des Sozialistischen Gesetzes, Jena, 1896, et seq.

[2] The following table compiled from Statistisches Jahrbuch shows their growth in recent years:

Year Members  
1902 733,206  
1903 887,698  
1904 1,052,108  
1905 1,344,803  
1906 1,689,709  
1907 1,865,506  
1908 1,831,731  
1909 1,892,568  

In 1909 their income was 50,529,114 marks, their expenditure 46,264,031 marks. See Appendix, p. 295, for membership of all the unions.

[3] When I visited the Berlin Gewerkschaftshaus, a model three-room dwelling—living room, kitchen, and bedroom—had been furnished and decorated in simple, durable, and artistic fashion. This exhibit was thronged with workingmen, their wives and daughters.

Some years ago it was discovered that the youth of the working people were reading cheap and unworthy literature. The Central Committee of the Unions now issues cheap editions of the choicest literature for children and young people.

These two incidents show the vigilance of the unions, in looking after all the wants of their people.

[4] The number of strikes in recent years are given as follows: 1902, 1,106; 1903, 1,444; 1904, 1,990; 1905, 2,657; 1906, 3,626; 1907, 2,512; 1908, 1,524.—From Statistisches Jahrbuch für das Deutsche Reich.

[5] Protokoll: Sozial-Demokratische Partei-Tag, 1908, p. 14.

[6] See Bebel, Gewerksbewegung und Politische Parteien: Preface.

[7] See Protokoll des Partei-Tages, 1890, pp. 156-7.

[8] "Genossen": the word really means "brethren."

[9] Party membership has grown as follows: 1906, 384,527; 1907, 530,466; 1908, 587,336; 1909, 633,309; 1910, 720,038; 1911, 836,562.

[10] Bericht des Partei-Vorstandes, 1909-10.

[11] See Appendix, p. 296, for complete election returns.

[12] Bericht des Partei-Vorstandes, 1909-10.

[13] In 1891-2 the "Berliner Opposition" threatened a revolt. They were given every opportunity of explaining their grievances, were told what to do, and, disobeying, were promptly shown the door.

[14] "It has been truthfully said that in Germany a Social Democrat cannot even become a night-watchman."—Prof. Bernhard Harms (University of Kiel), Ferdinand Lassalle und Seine Bedeutung für die Sozial-Demokratie, 1909, p. 103.

[15] "Do you enjoy freedom from political interference?" I asked a high official in the civil service. "Absolutely. We think as we please, talk as we please, and do as we please. But we must let the Social Democrats alone."

[16] See Appendix, p. 293, for synopsis of this law.

[17] The vote for the Saxon legislature at this time was as follows:

Party Voters Votes
Social Democrats 341,396 492,522
Conservatives 103,517 281,804
National Liberal 125,157 236,541
Independents (Freisinnige) 41,857 100,804
Anti-Semites 20,248 55,502

The Social Democrats included over one-half of the voters, cast about one-third of the votes, and elected only one-fourth of the members.

[18] Some curious instances of inequality appear in the cities. In Berlin in one precinct one man paid one-third of the taxes and consequently possessed one-third of the legislative influence in that precinct. In another precinct the president of a large bank paid one-third of the taxes, and two of his associates paid another third. These three men named the member of the Diet from that precinct.

[19] For the struggle for ballot reform in Bavaria, see Der Kampf um die Wahlreform in Bayern, issued in 1905 by the Bavarian Social Democratic Party Executive Committee.

[20] February 13, 1910, was set aside as a day for suffrage demonstration throughout the empire. In Berlin alone forty-two meetings were announced. These provoked the following edict: "Notice! The 'right to the streets' is hereby proclaimed. The streets serve primarily for traffic. Resistance to state authority will be met by the force of arms. I warn the curious. Berlin, February 13, 1910. Police-president, Von Iagow." The Social Democratic papers called attention to the fact that these notices were printed on the same forms that the Police-president often used to announce that the streets would be closed to all traffic on account of military parades.

[21] Protokoll, 1890, pp. 119-120.

[22] Protokoll, 1890, pp. 96-7.

[23] There are eight secretaries elected. They are distributed, by custom, among the parties, according to their voting strength. The Social Democrats had always refrained from taking part in any of the elections; now they enter the lists, abstaining from voting for any candidate except their own—who, in turn, received no other votes.

[24] Bebel was not present in the Reichstag at the time this vote was taken, but he told the convention that, had he been present, he should have supported the Tax Bill. Protokoll, 1908, p. 364.

[25] Protokoll, 1892, p. 173.

[26] Protokoll, 1910, p. 469.

[27] Protokoll, 1910, p. 95.

[28] Reichstag Debates, December 2, 1908.

[29] In the election of January, 1912, the Social Democrats carried every district in Berlin excepting the one in which the Kaiser's palace is situated. Here a spirited contest took place. A second ballot was made necessary between the Radicals and Social Democrats, and the Conservatives, throwing all their forces on to the Radical side, succeeded in keeping this last stronghold from their enemies. But Herr Kaempf's majority was only 6 votes.

[30] Protokoll, 1898, p. 89.

[31] Supra cit., p. 90.

[32] This controversy is known as the "revisionist movement." The revisionists' position is set forth in Bernstein's book, Die Voraussetzung des Sozialismus und die Aufgaben der Sozial-Demokratie. The Marxian position is set forth in Kautsky's reply, Bernstein und die Sozial-Demokratie. An English edition of Bernstein's book has been published in the Labor Party series in London.

[33] Protokoll, 1899.

[34] Supra cit., p. 94.

[35] Supra cit., p. 127.

[36] Protokoll, 1903, pp. 321-45.

[37] In the congress of 1907 Bebel tried to dispel the gloom by a long and optimistic speech in which he declared that their success was not to be measured by the number of seats they won, but by the number of voters. He closed by saying, "We are the coming ones, ours is the future in spite of all things and everything."—Protokoll, 1907, p. 323.

[38] One of the veteran party leaders answered my question as to the present-day influence of Marx as follows: "The bulk of our party have never read Marx. It takes a well-trained mind to understand him. Conditions have entirely changed since his day, and we are busy with questions of which Marx never dreamed and of which he could not foretell. He laid the philosophical basis for our party, but our party is practical, not philosophical."

[39] In 1900 Bebel proposed the necessity of a working coalition with other parties in Prussia to gain electoral reform. He said: "We cannot stand alone. We must attempt to go hand in hand with certain elements in the bourgeois parties—without, however, endangering our identity." But the party was not willing to go as far as the veteran, and a resolution was adopted limiting such co-operation strictly to Prussia and giving the central committee full power to veto the acts any electoral district might take in this direction.

[40] Protokoll, 1910, p. 249.

[41] Protokoll, 1910, p. 272.

[42] In November, 1911, Berlin's new city hall was dedicated. The members of the city council were invited to be present. The Social Democrats cast a large majority of all the votes in Berlin. But the Social Democrats refused to attend the ceremonies. The program, as published, called for a "Hoch!" to the Kaiser, and the Social Democrats never joined in public approval of the government. Vorwärts, the leading Social Democratic daily, said that Social Democrats have nothing to do with such a display of "Byzantinism." "If any one thought it necessary to shout 'Hoch!' he could shout 'Hoch!' to the working population of Berlin."

[43] Protokoll, 1907, pp. 227-8.

[44] Amongst the business people of Mannheim, Munich, and other cities in Baden, Bavaria, and Hesse, there are many who support the Social Democratic candidates, because, they say, there is no genuinely liberal party. It should, however, be borne in mind that the Social Democrats of these southern districts are liberal and progressive, not the unbending, orthodox variety of Prussia.

[45] Von Vollmar, Über die Aufgaben der Deutschen Social-Demokratie.

[46] The Hansa Bund (Hanseatic League), organized a few years ago, may be the nucleus of such a party. It is composed of smaller manufacturers and business men opposed to tariffs and the trusts, and in favor of a more liberal government.

[47] Protokoll, Social Democratic Party, 1907, p. 228.

[48] Protokoll, 1892, p. 132.

[49] Protokoll, 1907, p. 255.

[50] See Die Sozial-Demokratie im Münchener Rathaus, issued by the Bavarian party executive committee, 1908. Also Die Sozial-Demokratie im Bayerischen Landtag, 1888-1905, 3 vols., issued by the Party Press in Munich; and E. Auer, Arbeiterpolitik im Bayerischen Landtag.





We come now to the land of the industrial revolution—that colossal upheaval which changed the face of society, as the vast continental uplifts of past geological epochs changed the face of the earth. And just as the continents were centuries in settling themselves to their new conditions, so human society is now slowly adjusting itself to the conditions wrought by this violent change. One of the evidences of this gradual readjustment is Socialism. For to Socialism machine industry is a condition precedent. In this sense England has produced modern Socialism.

There is no blacker picture than the England of 1780 to 1840, and no drearier contrast than the quaint villages and their household industries of the earlier period and the "spreading of the hideous town," after Arkwright and Hargreaves and Watt. These inhuman conditions are faithfully and dispassionately revealed in the reports of the various Royal Commissions of Inquiry: statistical mines where Marx and Engels found abundant material for their philosophy of gloom. And from these dull and depressing government folios Charles Kingsley drew his indignant invectives, and Carlyle his trenchant indictments against a society that would imprison its eight-year-old [208]children, its mothers, and its grandmothers in dingy factories fourteen hours a day for the sake of profits, and then release them at night only to find lodgings in the most miserable hovels and rickety tenements. It is almost surprising to one familiar with the details of this gruesome record that a social revolution did not follow immediately in the wake of the industrial revolution.

There were riots at first, and machines were smashed. But the hand of the worker was impotent against the arm of steel. The workman soon resigned himself to his fate and his misery. The poor laws did not help, they only multiplied the burdens upon the state without taking the load from the poor. The laborer was too helpless to help himself, and the state and society were apathetic. The rapid expansion of industry found an ample outlet in the growing commerce to every corner of the world. England was making money. She was gradually shifting control from the traditional landowner to the new factory owner. The landed gentry had inherited a fine sense of patriarchal responsibility. The factory owner had no traditions. He was a parvenu. His interests were machinery and ships, not politics and humanity. He acquiesced in the poor laws as the easiest way out of a miserable mess; he let private charity take its feeble and intermittent course, paying his rates and giving his donations with self-satisfied sanctity.

All this time labor was abundant. The markets of the world were hungry for the goods of English mills. Then came suddenly the Chartist Movement.[1] The flame of discontent spread and a revolution seemed [209]impending. This first great outbreak of English labor was a political movement, fed by economic causes. The repeal of the corn laws and the passage of the factory acts modified economic conditions and mollified labor for the time. The repeal of the corn laws brought cheaper food; the factory acts brought better conditions of labor.

Meanwhile individualism was evolving an economic creed. The Manchester doctrine was the logical outcome of England's insular position and her driving individualistic manufactures. But it was laissez-faire in industrialism, not in unionism. The laboring men were now beginning to organize, and Cobden himself proposed the act that made unionism ineffective as a political force. However, indirectly, free trade stimulated labor, because it brought great prosperity, made work abundant, and employers sanguine. Unions now rapidly multiplied, but they were local, isolated. Their federation into a great national body came later.

Socialism, or unionism, or any other general movement cannot develop in England with the rapidity and enthusiasm that is shown for "movements" on the Continent. The traditions of the English people are constitutional. Socialism can thrive among them only if it is "constitutional," and the Fabians are to-day talking about "constitutional Socialism" with judicial solemnity. All the training of the English people is contrary to the theory of progress through violence. They have had few revolutions accompanied by bloodshed, they have had a great many accompanied by prayers and Parliamentary oratory—"constitutional" methods. They have, moreover, a real reverence for property. The poor who have none are taught to [210]respect the rich who have. The Church, the common law, the statute law, the customs, all the sources of tradition and habit, have emphasized the sanctity of property. Only within the last few decades, as will be seen presently, has a radical change, a veritable revolution, come over the people in this respect.

The British temperament is not given to nerves. This stolid, phlegmatic, self-contained individualist has no inflammable material in his heart. Ruskin failed to arouse him, he wove too much artistry into his appeal; and Carlyle could not move him, his epigrams were too rhapsodical. Such temperaments are not given to rapid propagandism. And finally, the Englishman is too practical to be a utopist. He concerns himself with the duties of to-day rather than the vagaries of to-morrow. Utopianism made no impression on him. Owen, the great Utopian, was a Welshman. The Celt has imagination. Nor do intricate theories or involved philosophies touch the mind of the Briton. The splendor that enraptures the Frenchman, the abstruse reasoning that delights the German, are alike boredom to this practical inventor of machinery and builder of ships.

In spite of these characteristics there is no country in Europe where there is more agitation about Socialism than there is in England to-day. It is discussed everywhere. Almost the entire time of Parliament during the past few years has been taken up with more or less "Socialistic" legislation. The public mind is steeped in it.

There is more actually being done in England toward the "socialization" of property, and the state, than in any other European country. And less being said about the theory of value, the class war, [211]capitalistic production, proletariat and bourgeois, and the other Continental pet phrases of Socialism.

Marx, who lived among the English for many years, but whose heart was never with them, would not call this rapid social movement Socialistic, because it does not avowedly "aim" at "socializing capitalistic production." The doings of the English are certainly not accomplished in the spirit of his orthodoxy. But the current toward state control, toward pure democracy, land nationalization, nationalization of railways and mines, has set in with the swiftness of a mill-race and is grinding grist with an amazing rapidity.

As I write these words, London and the whole country are wrought up over Lloyd George's Insurance Bill and the projected ballot reform bill. Meetings everywhere, fervid Parliamentary debate, the papers filled with letters from everybody; every organization, debating society, and board of directors of great industries passing resolutions. Even the Labor Party is divided over the paternalistic measure that aims to bring relief to the sick and disabled working man and woman. Amidst all this discussion, noise, and party zeal is discerned the drift of the nation toward a new and unexpected goal.

Nowhere is it so difficult to define a Socialist, or to mark boundaries to the movement. But why mark shore-lines? The flood is on. I will here take the position that whatever extends the functions of the state (community) over property, or into activities formerly left to individuals or to the home, is an indication of the Socialistic trend. Old-fashioned Socialists like Keir Hardie are constantly warning the people that what is now going on in England is only social reform, [212]not Socialism. The Fabians, on the other hand, are exerting every effort to add to the swiftness of the present movement.

To a student of democracy things now passing into law, and events now shaping into history, in England, are of peculiar significance. Such events, transpiring in a country so long abandoned to a rampant individualism, are portents of a newer time. They are signals of approaching changes to America, to us who have inherited the common law, the governmental traditions, the democratic ideals of liberty, if not the substantial stolidity of temperament and self-complacent egoism of the Briton.

All parties, Socialists and Conservatives, will admit this: that all this turmoil, these rapidly succeeding general elections, these public discussions, these new laws, indicate that a new social ideal is being formed. That in itself is worthy of consideration. For the ideal will shape the destiny.


Present-day Socialism in England seems to have risen to sudden magnitude from vacuity, to have permeated this cautious island over night. For over a generation all Socialism had disappeared from view. The elaborate schemes of Owen, the altruistic propaganda under the gentle Kingsley and his noble companion Maurice, the artistic revolt against the ugliness of commercialism led by Ruskin, who even shared the toil of the breakers of stones to prove his sincerity—all these movements seem suddenly to have disappeared from the face of the island, like a glacial [213]current dropping suddenly, without warning, into the depths of the Moulin.

England was given over to a highly prosperous industrialism. The Manchester doctrine was enthroned. Commercialism and a glittering pseudo-humanitarian internationalism found expression in the alternating victories of the astute Disraeli and the grandiloquent Gladstone.

Meanwhile poverty and misery infested the underplaces of the land, a poverty and misery that was appalling. Every protester was proudly pointed to the repeal of the corn laws, the revision of the poor laws, the reform act of 1832, and the factory acts.

When Sir Henry Vane had ascended the scaffold which his sacrifice made historic, he said: "The people of England have long been asleep; when they awake they will be hungry." When the England of to-day awoke it was to a greater hunger than the politically starved Roundhead or Cavalier ever endured.

It is no figure of speech to speak of hungry England. Its brilliant industrialism has always had a drab background of want. Chiozza Money says of the present position of labor: "The aggregate income of the 44,500,000 people in the United Kingdom in 1908-9 was approximately £1,844,000,000; 1,400,000 persons took £634,000,000; 4,100,000 persons took £275,000,000; 39,000,000 persons took £935,000,000."[2] And he sums up the condition as follows: "The position of the manual workers in relation to the general wealth of the country has not improved. They formed, with those dependent upon them, the greater part of the nation in 1867, and they enjoyed but about forty per [214]cent. of the national income, according to the careful estimate of Dudley Baxter. To-day, with their army of dependents, they still form the greater part of the nation, although not quite so great a part, and, according to the best information available, they take less than forty per cent. of the entire income of the nation." Although during this time the national income had increased much faster than the rate of population, "the Board of Trade, after a careful examination of the question of unemployment in 1904, arrived at the general conclusion that 'the average level of employment during the last 4 years has been almost exactly the same as the average of the preceding 40 years.'"[3]

While the general level of wage-earners has been maintained, and while wealth has greatly increased, the poverty of the kingdom has shown little tendency to diminish. "As for pauperism, it is difficult to congratulate ourselves upon improvement since 1867, when we remember that in England and Wales alone 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 persons are in receipt of relief in the course of a single year. This means one person in every 20 has recourse to the poor-law guardians during a single year."

"If our national income had but increased at the same rate as our population since 1867, it would in 1908 have amounted to but about £1,200,000,000. As we have seen, it is now about £1,840,000,000. Yet the Error in Distribution remains so great, that, while the total population in 1867 was 30,000,000, we have to-day a nation of 30,000,000 poor people in our rich country, and many millions of these are living under conditions of degrading poverty. Of those above the [215]line of primary poverty, millions are tied down by the conditions of their labor to live in surroundings which preclude the proper enjoyment of life or the proper raising of children."[4]

An event occurred in 1889 that aroused public opinion on the question of labor conditions. The dockers along the great wharves in London went out on strike, and forced public attention upon the misery of these most wretched of British workmen,[5] whose wages were so low that they could not buy bread for their families and their employment was so irregular that they were idle half of the time. John Burns came into prominence first during this strike. He raised over $200,000 by public appeals to support the strikers. General sympathy was with the men; and the arbitrators to whom their grievances were submitted awarded most of their demands.

The effect of this strike was far-reaching. All over the kingdom unskilled labor was roused to its power, and a new era in labor organization began.


In no country has the labor-union movement achieved a greater degree of organization than in England.[6] The movement has been economic, turning to politics only in recent years; it concerned itself with wages and conditions of labor, not with party programs and Parliamentary candidates.

[216]The characteristic feature of English trade-unionism is collective bargaining, long since introduced into America, but unknown in most European countries. The English unions also organized insurance societies called "Friendly Societies."[7]

For many years the laws regulating labor unions had been liberally construed by the courts, and the unions had done very much as they pleased. Two decisions have been rendered during the last decade that threatened the unions' existence both as a political and economic force.

In 1900 the Taff Vale Railway Company brought suit against the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, charging the men with conspiring to induce the workmen to break their contracts with the company. The court enjoined the union from picketing and from interfering with the men in their contractual relations with the employing company, and assessed the damages at $100,000 against the offending union. The House of Lords, sitting in final appeal, affirmed the judgment of the trial court. This virtually meant the stopping of strikes, for strikes without pickets and vigilance would usually be unavailing. It also meant financial bankruptcy.

[217]A second far-reaching decision was made by the House of Lords in December, 1909, when the "Osborne Judgment" was affirmed, granting to one Osborne, a member of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, an injunction restraining the union from making a levy on its members, and from using any of its funds for the purpose of maintaining any of its members, or any other person, in Parliament. The unions had taken it for granted that they had the legal right to contribute out of their funds to political campaigns, and to pay the labor members of Parliament a salary out of the union treasury.[8] The court held such payments were illegal, on the ground that they were ultra vires. The charter of the unions did not sanction it.[9]

The English workman has not only had the trade union for a training school in practical affairs, but the co-operative movement began here; and here it flourishes, not as widely spread among the poorer workmen as in Belgium, but among the better-paid workers it is very popular.

It is singular that the only practical result left of Owen's stupendous plans was the little co-operative shop, opened in 1844 at Rochdale, with a capital of $140 and a gross weekly income of $10. Owen did not start this shop, but a handful of his followers were the promoters of the tiny enterprise. The co-operative union to-day embraces wholesale, retail, [218]productive, and special societies, with nearly 3,000,000 members, increasing at the rate of 70,000 a year, and doing $550,000,000 worth of business annually.

There is also a rapidly growing co-partnership movement, especially in the building of "garden suburbs" and tenements. In 1903 there were two such companies, with $200,000 worth of property. In 1909 they had increased to 15 associations, with over $3,085,000 worth of property. The membership is not confined to workingmen, but they form the bulk.[10]

From the beginning of the modern labor movement we see that the British workmen have shown a strong tendency to organize. Their organizations included at first only the skilled workers. There was a gulf between the trained worker and the unskilled worker. The latter, forming the substratum of poverty, were too abject for organizing.

These two great bodies of workers, skilled and unskilled, have been gradually brought together and their interests united. The Taff Vale and Osborne judgments have forced them into politics. The unskilled have been given the benefit of the experience of the skilled, and a fair degree of homogeneity and group ambition has been reached.

To enter politics a new form of organization was necessary. We will see how one was prepared for them.


We will now turn to the Socialist organizations. They are more numerous than in the other countries [219]we have studied, and more varied in color. But not any of them are as strong as the French or German organizations.

In 1880 William Morris and H.M. Hyndman, a personal friend of Marx, organized the "Democratic Federation." For a few years it was the only Socialist organization. It split on the question of revolution. Morris and his friends, many of them inclined toward Anarchy, founded the "Socialist League." This league has long since vanished. Hyndman and his followers renamed their society the "Social Democratic Federation." It still persists, under the name Social Democratic Party (popularly "S.D.P."), and remains the only organized trace of militant, reactionary Marxianism in England. For a long time it refrained from politics, advocated violence, and was the faithful imitator of the Guesdist party in France. These are doctrines and methods that repel the English mind, and the Federation never has been strong. It has a weekly paper, Justice, and a monthly paper, The Social Democrat; claims one member in Parliament, elected however by the Labor Party, and (in 1907) 124 members of various local governing bodies. Its aged leader, Hyndman, clings tenaciously to the dogmas of Marx, and all the changes that have come over the Socialist movement during the last decades have not altered his views or methods.[11] The Federation's affiliations and sympathy have been with the International rather than the British movement, and until a few years ago it monopolized British representation on the International Executive Committee.

Soon after Morris left the Federation a new and [220]novel Socialist society was formed in London. Two Americans gave the impulse that started the movement—Henry George, through his works on Single Tax, and Thomas Davidson of New York, a gentle dreamer of the New To-morrow. Henry George's books had been read by a group of young men in London, and when Dr. Davidson went there to lecture he found these young men ready to listen to his utopian generalizations. Soon these men organized the Fabian Society. They were not sure of their ground, and took for their motto: "For the right moment you must wait as Fabius did when warring against Hannibal, though many censured his delays; but when the time comes you must strike hard, as Fabius did, or your waiting will be in vain and fruitless."

A number of brilliant young men soon joined the Fabians, and their "tracts" have become famous. Among their members they include Sidney Webb, the sociologist; George Bernard Shaw, the playwright and cynic; Chiozza Money, statistician and member of Parliament; Rev. R.J. Campbell of the City Temple; Rev. Stewart Headlam, leader in the Church Socialist Movement; and a horde of others, famous in letters, the professions, and the arts.

It is difficult to estimate the influence of this unique group of personages, and it is very easy to underestimate it. From the first they committed themselves to the policy of "permeation," instead of aggressive propaganda. They would transform the world by intellectual osmosis. They have, thus, not only contributed by far the most brilliant literature to modern Socialism, but have touched some of the inner springs of political and social power. Prime ministers and borough councilmen, poor-law guardians and [221]chancellors of the exchequer, have been influenced by the propulsion of their ideas. But it has all been done so noiselessly and so well disguised, that to the Social Democratic Federation the Fabians are "mere academicians," and to the Independent Labor Party they are forerunners of "tyrannical bureaucracy."

Eleven Fabians are in Parliament, and they are not silent onlookers. For years the Fabians have dominated the London County Council. Its brilliant "missionaries" attract large audiences, and "Fabian Essays" have passed through many editions. Each member of this society is the creator of his own dogma. The Marxian formulas, especially the theory of surplus value, are not reverenced by them.

England is the only country in Europe where there is a strong Church Socialist Movement. In 1889 the Christian Social Union was formed by members of the Church of England. It is not a Socialist organization, but it has enlisted a wide practical interest in the labor movement. It was the outgrowth of the Pan-Anglican Congress, which met at Lambeth in 1888. At this conference a committee on Socialism made a noteworthy report, recommending the bringing together of capital and labor through the agency of co-operation and association.[12]

[222]In 1906 "The Church Socialist League" was organized. "It seeks to convert the christened people of England to Socialism. Its members are committed to the definite economic Socialism of accredited Socialist bodies. The League is growing rapidly. Branches are springing up all over the country. Its members have addressed thousands of meetings on behalf of both Socialist and labor candidates at Parliamentary and principal elections.... The members of the League are Socialists. They seek to establish a commonwealth in which the people shall own the land and industrial capital collectively and administer the same collectively."[13]

The influence of the Church Socialist League and the Fabians has spread to the universities, especially to Oxford and Cambridge. A number of distinguished professors are active Socialists.

The movement thus gained ground more rapidly among the intellectuals than among the workingmen. It was not until 1893 that a Socialist Labor Party was organized. The Social Democratic Federation was too dogmatic, hard, and bitter to draw the English laboring man; the Fabians and the Church Socialists were avowedly not partisan. In 1893 a group of labor delegates met at Bradford and, under the leadership of Keir Hardie, organized the Independent Labor Party (I.L.P.). This definite step had been preceded by many local political organizations among [223]labor unionists. The necessity for political activity had been felt in many places. The Bradford convention was merely the coalescing of many local movements. The I.L.P. is a Socialist body, but it is not dogmatically, not obnoxiously so. It forms, rather, a connecting link between Socialism and labor unions.

It entered politics at once, but with discouraging results. Its 29 candidates polled only 63,000 votes; only 5 were elected. A closer alliance with the labor unions was necessary. This was accomplished when the unions, in 1899, appointed a Labor Representative Committee, whose duty it was, as the name implies, to increase labor's representation in Parliament.[14] This committee had first to determine its relation to the other political parties. The Liberals and Conservatives among the laborites were outvoted, and the committee determined upon a new course. Representatives from the Socialist bodies—the I.L.P., S.D.F., and Fabians—were asked to join the unions in an alliance that should use its united strength in electing members to Parliament. All agreed, but the S.D.F. soon withdrew.

In 1906 the name of the committee was changed to the Labor Party. It is founded upon the broadest basis of co-operation, so that neither Socialist, no matter how radical, nor non-Socialist should find it impossible to work with the party. Its constitution defines this coalition: "The Labor Party is a federation consisting of Trade Unions, Trade Councils, Socialist Societies, and Local Labor Parties." "Co-operative Societies are also eligible," as are "national [224]organizations of women accepting the basis of this constitution and the policy of the party."

The object of the party is "to secure the election of candidates to Parliament and to organize and maintain a Labor Party with its own whips and policy."

Party rigor is carefully prescribed: "Candidates and members must accept this constitution and agree to abide by the decisions of the Parliamentary party in carrying out the aims of this constitution; appear before their constituents under the title of labor candidates; abstain strictly from identifying themselves with or promoting the interests of any Parliamentary party not affiliated, or its candidates; and they must not oppose any candidate recognized by the national executive of the party." "Before a candidate can be regarded as adopted for a constituency, his candidature must be sanctioned by the national executive."

The party, thus centrally controlled, is well organized in every part of the kingdom. It maintains a fund for paying the election expenses of its members.[15] The Osborne judgment has been a serious setback to the party, especially in local elections. The payment of members was voted in 1911 by Parliament as a partial remedy, and the government has promised a reform election bill that will impose the burden of all necessary election expenses upon the state.

The party membership has grown from 375,000 in 1900 to nearly 1,500,000 in 1912. Such leading members of the party as J. Ramsay MacDonald, Keir Hardie, Philip Snowden, and over one-half of the Parliamentary group, are Socialists. The party refused to [225]commit itself to Socialistic principles until 1907, when it declared itself in favor of the following resolution: "The socialization of the means of production, distribution, and exchange to be controlled in a democratic state in the interests of the entire community, and the complete emancipation of labor from the domination of capitalism and landlordism, with the establishment of social and economic equality between the sexes."[16]

In 1908 the party had 26 members in county councils, 262 in town councils, 168 in urban district councils, 27 in rural district councils, 124 in parish councils, 145 on poor-law boards, 23 on school boards. There are (1910) about 1,500 labor men and Socialist members on the various local governing bodies in Great Britain.[17]



We see, then, that Socialism and trades-unionism in England coalesced. But a more important confluence of political ideals was soon to occur.

The elections of 1906 indicated to the people of England that a new force had entered the domain of political power, which had so long been assigned to the gentry and men of wealth. A careful observer of political events, and a member of Parliament, described the results as follows: "When the present House of Commons (1907) was completed in January last, and it was discerned that 50 labor members had been elected, a cry of wonder went up from press and public. People wrote and spoke as if these 50 members were the forerunners of a political and social revolution; as if the old party divisions were completely worn out, and as if power were about to pass to a new political party that would represent the masses as opposed to the classes. These fears or hopes were reflected in the House of Commons itself. During the early months of the session the Labor Party received from all quarters of the House an amount of deference that would have been described as sycophantic if it had been directed towards an aristocratic instead of towards a democratic group."[18] The tidal wave of reaction following the Boer war had swept the Liberal Party into power, and had given fifty seats to the Labor Party. The effect was nothing short of revolutionary.

Disraeli, in his Sibyl, spoke of "two nations," two Englands, the England of the gentry and the [227]England of the working classes. The elections since the Boer war have given this "other England" its chance. The gentry, the Whigs and Tories, will never again fight their political jousts with the "other England" looking contentedly on. This "mass mind of organized labor" has become the "new controlling force in progressive politics."[19]

The "transformed England" began to see evidences of the change. The first bill brought in by the Labor Party provided for the feeding of school children, from the homes of the poor, out of public funds. "The business in life of my colleagues and myself is to impress upon this House the importance of the poverty problem," said the spokesman of the Labor Party in an important debate.[20]

England had awakened hungry.

Now occurred the most significant political event in the history of modern England. The Liberal Party took over the immediate program of the Labor Party. This is significant because it swept England away from her industrial moorings of individualistic laissez-faire, and extended the functions of the state into activities that had hitherto been left to individual initiative. A complete revolution had taken place since Cobden's day. The state acknowledged new social and economic obligations. In the Parliamentary struggle that followed hereditary prerogative in property was [228]undermined and hereditary prerogative in government virtually destroyed, and the principles of democracy enormously extended.[21]

In England the question of co-operation between Socialists and other parties has been more important than in any other European country: because in a democratic parliament concessions are always made to large portions of the electorate by the parties in power, and because the practical temperamental qualities of the British discard the fine-drawn distinctions between groups and sub-groups that are so assiduously maintained in France and Germany.

In the Amsterdam Congress of The International the question was discussed whether Socialists should act with other parties. Jaurès and his bloc were the occasion of the debate. Kautsky said that in times of national crises like war it might be necessary for Socialists to co-operate with the government to insure national safety. No such extraordinary standard has ever existed among practical Englishmen, who usually know what they want, and are not particular about the means of getting it.

[229]William Morris, uncompromising dogmatist, inveighed against the Whigs in 1886 as "the Harlequins of Reaction." Democracy was his ideal of government, and he was not entirely averse to political action on the part of Socialists. "To capture Parliament, and turn it into a popular but constitutional assembly, is, I must conclude, the aspiration of the genuine democrats wherever they may be found."

But he was wary of compromise. "Some democrats take up actual pieces of Socialism, the nationalization of land, or of railways, or cumulative taxation of incomes, or limiting the right of inheritance, or new patent laws, or the restriction by law of the day's labor.... All this I admit and say is a hopeful sign, and yet once again I say there is a snare in it.... A snake lies lurking in the grass." "Those who think they can deal with our present system in this piecemeal way very much underrate the strength of the tremendous organization under which we live, and which appoints to each of us his place, and, if we do not choose to fit it, grinds us down until we do."[22]

Morris' advice, "Beware the Whigs," was uttered at a time when the leader of that party, Gladstone, was beginning to see that the chief event of the century would be the merging of the social question with politics. The "piecemeal" method that Morris decried became the actual method of Parliamentary activity as soon as a new party, a third party, arose and drew its inspiration from the working classes.

Such a party was anticipated. Lord Rosebery said [230]in 1894: "I am certain there is a party in this country, unnamed as yet, that is disconnected with any existing political organization—a party that is inclined to say, 'A plague on both your houses, a plague on all your politics, a plague on all your unending discussions that yield so little fruit.'"[23] And the same year John (now Lord) Morley prophesied: "Now I dare say the time may come, it may come sooner than some think, when the Liberal Party will be transformed or superseded by some new party."[24] And Professor Dicey, over a decade ago, spoke of the waning orthodoxy of Liberalism and its rapid merging into Socialism.

The "piecemeal" party of Morris, the "transformed" party of Morley, the radicalized party of Dicey, is the Liberal Party of to-day. The "unnamed" party of Rosebery is the Labor Party, which not only says, "A plague upon all your discussions," but, "A plague upon all your fine-spun theories of class war—it's results we want."

Before detailing some of the significant acts of this new democratic coalition, it should be added that the motive of the Liberal Party has not been unmixed with politics. The Labor Party possesses not only the 30 or 40 votes in the House of Commons; there are hundreds of thousands of labor votes outside. This background of silent, vigilant voters forms the greatest force of the Labor Party. Many Liberal members hold their seats by its favor.

There are in both the great parties men with strong sympathies for the labor ideal. In fact, a number of Socialists are sitting with the Liberals. There is no [231]clear demarcation. It is only a difference of the degree of infusion.

The Labor Party has had a strong influence upon the House of Commons. For many years the "Government" has ruled quite arbitrarily. When there are only two parties this is possible. But when an influential third party appears on the scene, government by the "front benchers" must be moderated.[25]

The "cross benchers" have wrested a good deal of power from the leaders. This is necessary in a democracy which is kept alive only by contact with the people. There is more government by the Commons, and less government by the ministry. This entente can degenerate into Parliamentary tyranny if it wishes. It can demand the clôture, as well as open the valves of useless debate. But an arbitrary act unsanctioned by the cross benchers would be likely to bring destruction upon the government that perpetrated it.


A review of the Acts of Parliament since the Liberal-Labor coalition and a perusal of the debates are convincing proof of the character of the new legislation and the opinions that prompt it. We must confine ourselves to a few types of this legislation, enough to show the actual changes now in process.

[232]The first bill introduced by the Labor Party, and enacted into law, authorized the providing of meals for poor children in the schools. It does not make this compulsory, but under its sanction in 1909 over $670,000 were spent in providing over 16,000,000 meals. Nearly half of these were in London.[26] This law is especially assailed by the anti-Socialists. They claim its administration has been too lenient, not discriminating between the needy and those capable of self-help. It is only the entering wedge of Socialism, they say; it is only a step from feeding the child to clothing him, and from feeding and clothing the child to caring for the parent. They recall that Sidney Webb has often said that if the city furnishes water free to its citizens it should be able to furnish milk as well.

The second bill introduced by the Labor Party was the Trades Dispute Act. This was framed to annul the Taff Vale decision, making the unions immune from suits for tortious acts and providing an elaborate system of arbitrating labor disputes. The provisions of this act were tested by two railway crises. In 1907 the railway employees threatened to go out on strike. Lloyd George, then president of the Board of Trade, averted the strike by enlisting all the power of the government in persuading the companies and the men to agree to a scheme of arbitration. This was to last a stipulated term of years, but before the time had elapsed the men actually struck (1911), and for a week the country was in a panic. Lloyd George, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, again used all the power of the government to bring peace, and a commission was appointed to investigate the grievances of the [233]men, who had agreed to abide by its decision. In this way the government has become the most active force in settling labor disputes—a subject that was formerly left to the two parties of the labor contract.

A Workman's Compensation Act and an Old-Age Pension Act soon followed. The latter provides a pension for all workmen who are 70 years old. Unlike the German act, the government provides all the funds. In 1909 the Labor Exchange Act empowered the Board of Trade to establish labor exchanges. These have been established in every city. At first there was some friction with the unions because "blacklegs" were assigned to places. But since union men have been invited to sit on the local governing committees, things are running smoother.

There are three laws which show the trend of the changing relation of the state to property.

The Development Act of 1909 provides for the appointment of five commissioners, upon whose recommendation the Treasury advances money to any governmental department or public authority or university or association of persons for the purpose of aiding agriculture and rural industries of all sorts; the reclamation of drainage lands and of forests; the general improvement of rural transportation, including the building of "light railways"; the construction and improvement of harbors; the improvement of inland navigation, including the building of canals; and the development and improvement of fisheries. This law endows the government with the necessary authority for the absorption of virtually all the internal means of communication except the trunk railways, and extends the paternal arm of the government over agriculture [234]and the fisheries and subsidiary industries.[27] The first report of the commission, 1910-11, indicates that work under this law has begun in earnest. A comprehensive plan of regeneration, embracing the entire kingdom and based on adequate surveys, is outlined. One of the interesting features of the plan is the proposal to do as much of the work as possible by direct labor rather than by competitive bidding. The commission wants to make sure "that the funds shall not go into the pockets of private individuals."[28] Under an enthusiastic commission there will be practically no limit to the influence of this law.

Two other acts are closely allied with this scheme: the Small Holdings Act of 1908, and the Housing and Town Planning Act of 1909. The Small Holdings Act gives authority to county councils to "provide small holdings for persons who desire to buy or lease and will themselves cultivate the holdings." This provision is extended to borough, urban, district, and parish councils. These authorities may purchase such lands "whether situate within or without their county."

The Town Planning Act gives cities and towns the power to purchase land and allot it, to tear down undesirable buildings, to co-operate with any workingman's association for improving and erecting dwellings, and to buy the necessary land for making improvements of all kinds. John Burns, who stood sponsor for this bill, explained that it gave complete authority to local governing bodies "to make a city healthful and a city beautiful."

Following the British habit, work has very [235]cautiously begun under these acts. Up to December, 1910, about 28,000 acres were purchased or leased under the allotment act, and sublet to 100,498 individual tenants. "Town planning" has progressed rapidly, and the regeneration of the British slums, the most dismal in the world, may be not far distant.[29]

Under the Small Holdings Act there were, up to December, 1910, nearly 31,000 applicants, asking for over 500,000 acres. Only one-fifth of this amount was acquired, for 7,000 holders. Thirty per cent. of the applicants are agricultural laborers, and the majority of the others are drawn from the rural population who have some small business or trade in the villages and wish a plot of land for a garden. This "often makes the difference between a bare subsistence and comparative prosperity."[30]

These laws show the drift of the current. The question of the nationalization of railways has been the subject of Parliamentary inquiry, and the great railway strike of 1911 emphasized the matter profoundly. The state in 1911 completed the taking over of all the telephone lines; it conducts an extensive postal savings bank and a parcels post.

In local affairs some British cities are models of municipal enterprise. Even London, that amorphous mass of human misery and opulence, is changing its aspect. Since the granting of municipal home rule it has built a vast system of street railways, cleaned out acres of slums, opened breathing spaces, built tenements, and in many other ways displayed evidences of an awakening civic consciousness.

Three other pieces of legislation must be described [236]more in detail, because they are more revolutionary, far-reaching, and democratic than anything attempted by the British nation since the days of the Reform Bill.

First is the famous "Budget" of Lloyd George. When this virile Welshman became Chancellor of the Exchequer he cast his budget in the mold of his social theories. He said: "Personally, I look on the Budget as a part only of a comprehensive scheme of fiscal and social reform: the setting up of a great insurance scheme for the unemployed and for the sick and infirm, and the creation, through the development bill, of the machinery for the regeneration of rural life."[31]

The land system of England is feudal. Tenure still legally exists. There still clings the flavor of social and political distinction to fee simple. This the landowners have fortified against all the changes that industrialism has wrought. There has been no general land appraisement since the Pilgrims landed at the new Plymouth. The "land monopoly" successfully resisted every attack until the famous budget of 1908. Chiozza Money quotes John Bateman's analysis of the "New Domesday Book," fixing the ownership of land in England and Wales as follows:[32]

[237]In 1883, in the United Kingdom, there was a total area of 77,000,000 acres; of this 40,426,000 acres were owned by 2,500 persons. "While the total income of the nation is £1,840,000,000, the landowners take £106,000,000 as land rent."[33] England is a great industrial and commercial nation living on leased land.

The development of the industrial towns has enormously multiplied the value of some of these vast estates.[34]

The new budget proposed, first, to tax the land values; not a fictitious sum, or the value of the land with improvements, but the site value—the increment value with which the land is endowed because of its favorable location. Second, to this was added a 10 per cent. reversion duty. Third, a tax was levied on undeveloped land held for speculative purposes. And, fourth, a 5 per cent. tax on mineral rights was assessed on the owners of the land that contained the mines.

These proposals raised a storm. They aimed at the traditional stronghold of English aristocracy. The budget passed the House of Commons by a large majority; the Lords rejected it. The government promptly prorogued Parliament and went before the people. And what was at first only an attack upon hereditary rights in land became an attack also upon hereditary rights in politics. The House of Lords became an issue as well as the budget. After a fiery [238]and furious campaign, in which Socialists and Laborites joined Radicals and Liberals, the budget won by a safe majority.[35] The Lords passed the measure. But this resistance cost them dear. One of the first prerogatives established by the House of Commons was the right to control the purse-strings of the kingdom. Custom has given the sanction of constitutionality to this prerogative. And the Lords, in first denying and then delaying the budget, laid themselves open to the charge of "hereditary arrogance" and "unconstitutionalism."

After the passage of the budget there followed six months of conference between the two front benches, to find a basis of reform for the House of Lords upon which all could unite. When it became evident that this was impossible, the government again prorogued Parliament and went to the people for a mandate on the question of "reforming the Lords." The Liberals and their allies were, for a third time, returned to power, and in February, 1911, the Prime Minister, Mr. Asquith, introduced his "Parliament Bill," taking from the House of Lords the power to amend a money bill so as to change its character. If any other bill passed by the Commons is rejected by the Lords, the Commons can pass it over their veto; and if this is done in three consecutive sessions of the same Parliament—provided two years elapse between the introduction of the bill and its third rejection by the [239]Lords—it becomes a law. The law is intended as a preliminary measure. The preamble states that it is the intention of the government to provide for a second chamber "constituted on a popular instead of hereditary basis." The bill was so amended by the Lords as to change its character and returned to the Commons. The Prime Minister then informed the leaders of the opposition that the King, "upon the advice of his ministers," had consented to create enough peers to insure the passage of the bill in its original form. Rather than have their house encumbered by 400 new peers, the Lords gave a reluctant consent to the measure that virtually destroyed the bicameral system in England.

This profound constitutional change, that practically makes England a representative democracy pure and simple, was unaccompanied by any of those popular and spectacular demonstrations one naturally expects to see on such occasions. The debate in both houses rarely touched the pinnacle of excitement, its fervor was partisan rather than patriotic.[36]

In 1832, when the hereditary peers stood in the way of the Reform Bill, which had passed the Commons by only one majority, the populace rose en masse, surged through the streets of the capital, and threatened the King and his Iron Duke,—whose statue now adorns every available square in the city,—and made it known that their wishes must be respected. To-day the people, secure in the knowledge of their supremacy, scarcely notice the efforts of the opposition, in its [240]attempts to bolster the falling walls of hereditary prerogative in representative government. So far has England assumed the air of democracy.

The third piece of legislation, to which allusion has been made, indicates the direction that this democracy is taking. It is the Insurance Bill, also introduced by Lloyd George, and passed in December, 1911. It insures the working population against "sickness and breakdown." It is planned to follow up the law with insurance against non-employment. The law is of especial interest to Americans, because it adapts the principle of the German system to the Anglo-Saxon's traditional aversion to state bureaucracy. It commands a compulsory contribution from employer and employee, supplemented by state grants. These funds are not administered by the state, but by "Friendly Societies" (insurance orders organized by the unions) and other benevolent organizations of workingmen now in existence. These are democratic, voluntary organizations. Where no such organizations exist, the post-office administers the fund.

The keynote of this law is the prevention of invalidity. Its details are largely based upon the reports of the Royal Poor Law Commissioners, 1905-9. The commission made two voluminous reports; Mrs. Sidney Webb, a member of the commission, prepared the minority report.[37]

The Labor Party, in all of these measures, voted with the Liberals. The Insurance Bill was denounced by the most radical Laborites on the ground that labor was charged with contributing to the fund, and [241]that the bill was inadequate. But the majority of the delegation voted for the measure.


Enough has now been said to indicate the changes in economic and social legislation that are being brought about in England by the coalition of Socialists and Liberals.[38] The causes for this change cannot be laid to Socialism alone. Socialism is an effect quite as much as a cause; it is the result of industrial conditions, as well as the prompter of changes. The permeation of the working classes with the principles of state aid; the spread of discontent; the lure of better days; all deepened and emphasized by the poverty of the Island, are the sources of this Social Democratic current. This has led, first, to the unification of the several Socialist groups; secondly, to the coalescing of labor union and Socialist ambitions into the Labor Party; thirdly, to an effective co-operation between the Labor Party and the Liberal-Radicals.

[242]Sagacious Socialists saw this trend long ago. In 1888 Sidney Webb appealed to the Liberals to espouse the cause of labor. He pointed out the inevitable, and it has happened.[39]

Two questions naturally arise: First, how far will this movement toward Social Democracy go? Second, how long will the Labor Party hold together and prompt the action of the Liberals and Radicals in social legislation?

The first question is not merely conjectural. The Reform Bill now (1912) prepared by the government will destroy the last vestige of property qualifications for voting. It will destroy plural voting, which now allows a freeholder to vote in every district where he holds land. In some districts the absentee voters hold the balance of power.[40] Votes for women are also promised. This increased electorate will not be conservative in its convictions. Along with this will come the abolishing of the custom that compels candidates to bear the election expenses; the payment of members of Parliament has already begun; the lure of office is no longer a will-o'-the-wisp to the poor with ambition.

The new Liberalism is, then, devoted first of all to real democracy, in which the King's prerogatives retain their sickly place. As to the functions of the state, it will "probably retain its distinction from Socialism in taking for its chief test of policy the freedom of the individual citizen rather than the strength of the state, though the antagonism of the two standpoints [243]may tend to disappear in the light of progressive experience."[41]

As to property, it will probably continue to make unearned increments and incomes bear the burden of social reform; create a business democracy for running the public utilities, leaving more or less unhampered the fields of legitimate industrial opportunity. "Property is not an absolute right of the individual owner which the state is bound to maintain at his behest. On the contrary, the state on its side is justified in examining the rights which he may claim, and criticising them; seeing it is by the force of the state and at its expense that all such rights are maintained."[42] This, the well-considered opinion of a well-known scholar, may be properly taken as the gauge of present-day English Radical sentiment on the inviolability of property rights.

As to the second question: How long will the coalition hang together? the Socialists are now (1912) showing signs of restiveness. The old question, that has rent all Socialists in all countries, and always will, because Socialism is a wide-spreading and vague generalization, has arisen among these practical Englishmen. In the convention of the I.L.P., 1910, there was a prolonged discussion on the policy of the party in its relation to other parties. "The Labor Party should stand for labor, not for Liberalism," was the complaint. Keir Hardie suggested that they were not in Parliament to keep governments in office or to turn them out, but "to organize the working classes into a great independent political power, to fight for the [244]coming of Socialism."[43] A resolution objecting to members of the party "appearing on platforms alongside Liberal and Tory capitalists and landlords," was defeated by a large majority.[44]

In the House of Commons clashes are not infrequent between the Laborites and the Liberals. Annually the labor members move an amendment to the Address of the Crown, asking for a bill "to establish the right to work by placing upon the state the responsibility of directly providing employment or maintenance for the genuinely unemployed."[45] John Burns opposed their amendment in 1911, in a brilliant and vehement speech, not so much because the government was opposed to the principle, but for the political reason that the government was not ready to bring in a bill of its own, which should be a part of its comprehensive system of social reform.[46]

The great strike of transportation workers, in the summer of 1911, widened the breach between Laborites and Liberals, and between the extreme and moderate Socialists. This strike spread from the dockers of [245]Liverpool to London, from the dockers to the railway workers, and then to the teamsters and drivers of the larger cities, until a general tie-up of transportation was threatened. It came very near being a model general strike. Its violence was met with a call for the troops. The labor members in Parliament protested earnestly against the use of soldiers. But the government was prompt and firm in its suppression of disorder. A bitter debate took place between the government and the labor leaders.[47]

How much of this give and take must be attributed to the play of politics, it is impossible to declare. But this great strike clearly revealed the difference between violent Socialism and moderate radicalism. The one is willing to effect revolutions through law and order, the other to effect them through violence and disruption.

The moderate Socialists seem willing to take a middle course between these extremes. The following quotation from a speech delivered by Ramsay MacDonald, leader of the Labor Party, at a convention of the I.L.P., clearly illustrates the moderate view:

"We can cut off kings' heads after a few battles, we can change a monarchy into a republic, we can deprive [246]people of their titles, and we can make similar superficial alterations by force; but nobody who understands the power of habit and of custom in human conduct, who appreciates the fact that by far and away the greater amount of an action is begun, controlled, and specified by the system of social interrelationship in which we live, move, and have our being; and still more, nobody who understands the delicate and intricate complexity of production and exchange which keeps modern society going, will dream for a single moment of changing it by any act of violence. As soon as that act is committed, every vital force in society will tend to re-establish the relationship which we have been trying to end, and what is more, these vital forces will conquer us in the form of a violent reaction, a counter revolution. When we cut off a newt's tail, a newt's tail will grow on again.

"I want the" I.L.P.'s action "to be determined by our numbers, our relative strength, the state of public opinion, the character of the question before the country. I appeal to it that it take into account all the facts and circumstances, and not, for the sake of satisfying its soul and sentiment, go gaily on, listening to the enunciation of policies and cheering phrases which obviously do not take into account some of the most important and at the same time most difficult problems which representation in Parliament presents to it."[48] In another place MacDonald has detailed the steps in the progress of Parliamentary Socialism. He begins with "palliatives," such as factory inspection, old-age pensions, feeding of school children; next, the state engages in constructive legislation, "municipalization [247]and nationalization in every shape and form, from milk supplies to telephones," and finally insists on the taxing of unearned increment and a general redistribution of the burdens of the state.[49]

Not all the members of the I.L.P. are agreed upon this moderate statement. Keir Hardie and his immediate followers still cling to the "larger hope" of a socialized society, to which commonplace legislation is only a crude preliminary.

Bernard Shaw has confessed the orthodoxy of the new Social Democracy. "Nobody now considers Socialism as a destructive insurrection ending, if successful, in millennial absurdities," and of the budget he said: "If not a surrender of the capitalist citadel, it is at all events letting down the drawbridge."[50] The public utterances of the Radical leaders are often less restrained than those of the Socialists,[51] so that it becomes increasingly difficult to tell the difference.

Professor Hobhouse, in his analysis of the difference between Liberal-Radicalism and Socialism, says: "I venture to conclude that the differences between a true and consistent public-spirited liberalism and a rational collectivism, ought, with a genuine effort at mutual understanding, to disappear. The two parties are called on to make common cause against the growing power of wealth, which, by its control of the press and of the means of political organization, is more and more a menace to the healthy working of popular government."[52]

And Brougham Villiers stated, a year before the [248]Liberals gained control of the government, that the hope of the country lay in an "alliance, won by persistent, intelligent helpfulness on the part of the Liberals, with the alienated artisans, for the betterment of the conditions of the poorest, so as to give at once hope and life and better leisure for thought."[53]

So we see Socialism and Liberalism united in accomplishing changes in legislation and ancient institutions—changes that are revolutionary in character and will be far-reaching in results. It is not the red revolutionary Socialism of Marx; it is the practical British Socialism of amelioration. "This practical, constitutional, evolutionary Socialism," a chronicler of the Fabians calls it.[54] It would have to be practical to appeal to the British voter, constitutional to lure the British statesman, and evolutionary to satisfy the British philosopher.

In the troublous days of 1888-90 there were a great many young Socialists who believed the social revolution was waiting around the next corner and would soon sweep over London in gory reality. Many of these young men are sober Fabians now, or staid Conservatives or Liberals. To-day they think they were mistaken. They were not. There was a revolution around the next corner. It has already captured the high places. Society, government, is rapidly encroaching upon private property through the powers of taxation, of police supervision, and all manner of constitutional instrumentalities. Ownership, even in land, is now only an incident, the rights of the [249]community are in the ascendant. Democracy has conquered hereditary privilege. And the revolution is still advancing. England is showing the world that "The way to make Socialism safe is to make democracy real."[55]


[1] See supra, p. 51.

[2] See Chiozza Money, Riches and Poverty, first page, edition 1911.

[3] Op. cit., p. 337.

[4] Op. cit., pp. 337-8.

[5] See V. Nash and H.L. Smith, The Story of the Dockers' Strike, London, 1890.

[6] See Sidney and Beatrice Webb, History of Trades Unionism, London, 1911.

[7] There are about 650,000 members in those unions that pay out-of-work benefits. The following table gives some conception of the magnitude of the out-of-work problem in England. It shows the sums expended by the unions for out-of-work relief:

Year Amount  
1898 £234,000  
1899 185,000  
1900 261,000  
1901 325,000  
1902 429,000  
1903 516,000  
1904 655,000  
1905 523,000  
1906 424,000  
1907 466,000  

Out of a body of 15,000,000 workmen, Chiozza Money estimates that 500,000 are always out of work. Opus cit., p. 122.

[8] Members of Parliament received no pay until 1911, when the Radical-Liberal government passed a law giving each member a salary of $2,000 a year.

[9] A discussion of this case from the Fabian point of view is found in the Preface to Webb's History of Trades Unionism, edition of 1911. The labor unions and the Labor Party have issued pamphlets on these two decisions. The legal points are fully discussed in the official reports of the cases.

[10] There are 15,000,000 working men and women in Great Britain; 3,000,000 belong to co-operative enterprises, 2,500,000 to trade unions.

[11] See H.M. Hyndman, Autobiography, London, 1911.

[12] Dr. Wescott, Bishop of Durham, was the founder of the Christian Social Union. His pamphlet, Socialism, is a real contribution to the literature on the Church and its relation to labor. The present attitude of the Union may be gleaned from the following quotation taken from the letter written by Dr. Gore, Bishop of Birmingham, to his diocese, on the occasion of his transfer to the bishopric of Oxford. The letter was written during the railway and dockers' strike, in September, 1911: "There is a profound sense of unrest and dissatisfaction among workers recently. I cannot but believe that this profound discontent is justified, though some particular exhibitions of it are not. As Christians we are not justified in tolerating the conditions of life and labor under which the vast mass of our population is living. We have no right to say that these conditions are not remediable. Preventable lack of equipment for life among young, and later the insecurity of employment and inadequacy of remuneration, and consequent destitution and semi-destitution among so many people, ought to inspire in all Christians a determination to reform our industrial system."

[13] From Statement of Principles of the League.

[14] Even at this time the conservatism of the unions was hard to break. The vote to take this step was 546,000 to 434,000 in favor of appointing the committee.

[15] Election expenses are borne by the candidates, not by the state. They frequently are over $3,000, and it obviously is impossible for a workingman to conduct such a campaign at his own expense.

[16] Proceedings of Labor Party, Annual Congress, 1907.

[17] See Socialists in Great Britain, a compilation published by the London Times, p. 24.

The following table shows the membership of the Labor Party since its formation in 1900, from the annual report of the party executive, 1911:

  Trade Unions Trades Councils and Local Labor Parties Socialist Societies
  No. Membership No. No. Membership Total
1900-1     41 353,070      7 3 22,861 375,931
1901-2     65 455,450   21 2 13,861 469,311
1902-3 127 847,315   49 2 13,835 861,150
1903-4 165 956,025   76 2 13,775 969,800
1904-5 158 885,270   73 2 14,730 900,000
1905-6 158 904,496   73 2 16,784 921,280
1906-7 176 975,182   83 2 20,885 998,338[1]
1907 181 1,049,673   92 2 22,267 1,072,413[2]
1908 176 1,127,035 133 2 27,465 1,158,565[3]
1909 172 1,450,648 155 2 30,982 1,486,308[4]
1910 137 1,306,473 125 2 31,377 1,342,610[5]
[1] This total includes 2,271 Co-operators. [2] Includes 472 Co-operators. [3] Includes 565 Co-operators, and 3,500 members of the Women's Labor League. [4] Includes 678 Co-operators, and 4,000 members of the Women's Labor League. [5] Includes 760 Co-operators, and 4,000 members of the Women's Labor League.

The decrease in membership during the last year is ascribed to the Osborne judgment.

[18] Harold Cox, Socialism in the House of Commons, p. 1.

[19] See J.A. Hobson, The Crisis of Liberalism, for a discussion of the new party alignments.

Émile Boutmy, philosophical critic of the English, says that England, "transformed in all outward seeming, ... has just begun a new history." See his The English People: A Study in Their Political Psychology, London, 1904, for a keen analysis of English political proclivities.

[20] Parliamentary Debates, 5th series, vol. 21, p. 649. Speech by G. Lansbury.

[21] The new Liberal government invited John Burns into the cabinet. He is the first workingman in English history to occupy a cabinet position. The more restless Socialists are inclined to call him a Liberal because responsibility has taught him caution. But he still persists that he is a Socialist. He is a Fabian, and boasts of the three times that he was imprisoned for participating in labor agitations. About twenty years before his elevation he said in the Old Bailey, where he had been arraigned for "sedition and conspiracy" in conducting a strike: "I may tell you, my lord, that I went to work in a factory at the early age of ten years and toiled there until five months ago, when I left my workshop to stand as Parliamentary candidate for the western division of Nottingham."

It must be kept in mind that many of the Conservatives are committed to social legislation. They are not, however, in favor of the indefinite expansion of democracy, and are opposed to the adult suffrage bill as proposed by the Liberals.

[22] William Morris, Signs of Change, p. 4.

[23] Speech delivered in St. James' Hall, March 21, 1894.

[24] Speech delivered at Newcastle, May 21, 1894.

[25] In the British House of Commons the ministry and the opposition leaders sit in the front benches on opposite sides of the House facing each other. A "front bencher" always commands a hearing, owing to his high position in the party. The members of the party sit behind their leaders and are called "back benchers." The minor groups, the Labor Party and the Irish Party, sit in the cross benches at the lower end of the chamber and are called "cross benchers."

[26] See Annual Report Board of Education, 1909-1910.

[27] Keir Hardie, the dean of the Socialist group in Parliament, fathered this law. Sidney Webb, the distinguished Fabian, was made a member of the commission.

[28] See First Annual Report of the Commission.

[29] See Annual Report Home Office, 1909-1910.

[30] Ibid.

[31] The money for these things he proposed to raise by taxes, and especially by a tax on land values.

[32] Chiozza Money, Riches and Poverty, p. 82.

No. of Owners Class of Owners Acres owned
400 Peers and peeresses 5,729,927
1,288 Great landowners 8,497,699
2,529 Squires† 4,319,271
9,589 Greater yeomen† 4,782,627
24,412 Lesser yeomen† 4,144,272
217,049 Small proprietors 3,931,806
703,289 Cottagers 151,148
14,459 Public bodies 1,443,548
  Waste lands 1,524,624
973,015   34,524,922
† This classification is purely arbitrary.

[33] Op. cit., p. 91.

[34] The leaseholder is burdened with "rack-rent" and "premiums"; when the lease expires the improvements revert to the landlord. There has been, for years, a well-organized Single-Tax movement in England that points to the evils of this land system as conclusive proof of the validity of Henry George's theory.

[35] One of the choruses popular with the great throngs that paraded the streets in that eager campaign is full of significance. It was sung to the tune of "Marching through Georgia."

"The land, the land, 'twas God who gave the land;
The land, the land, the ground on which we stand;
Why should we be beggars, with the ballot in our hand?
God gave the land to the people."

[36] During the debate on the second reading in the House of Commons, the writer one day counted twenty members on the benches, and a labor member called the attention of the Speaker to the fact that "in this hour of constitutional crisis only twenty brave men are found willing to defend the prerogatives of the realm!"

[37] Some of the Fabians, nevertheless, fought the bill, and their champion, Bernard Shaw, called Lloyd George's effort "The premature attempt of a sentimental amateur."

[38] In 1909 the Labor Party claimed credit for the following measures passed during the Parliamentary session of that year:

"(1) The grant of an additional £200,000 ($1,000,000) for the unemployed, and the extraction of a promise that, if it was insufficient, 'more would be forthcoming.'

"(2) The passing of the Trades Boards Bill—the first effective step against 'sweating.'

"(3) The smashing of the bill authorizing the amalgamation of three great railways.

"(4) A discussion, protest, and vote against the visit of Bloody Nicholas, the Tsar. The Labor Party's amendments secured 70 supporters, whilst only 187 members of the British Parliament were dirty enough to support the Tsar's visit.

"(5) The introduction of the Shop Hours Bill and the extortion of a promise that it shall be adopted by the government and passed."—From a campaign pamphlet, The Labor Party in Parliament, p. 20.

[39] See Wanted—A Program: An Appeal to the Liberal Party. S. Webb, London, 1888.

[40] See article by Professor Hobhouse, on "Democracy in England," Atlantic Monthly, February, 1912.

[41] J.A. Hobson, The Crisis of Liberalism, p. 93.

[42] L.T. Hobhouse, Democracy and Reaction, p. 230.

[43] See "Report Eighteenth Annual Conference, I.L.P.," 1910, p. 59.

[44] Supra cit., p. 71.

Some of the I.L.P. members are Continental in their views. The president of the party used these words in his address, 1910: "All this jiggery-pokery of party government played like a game for ascendency and power is no use to us" (supra cit., p. 35). The discipline of the Labor Party was unable to keep half a dozen of its ablest debaters from fighting the Insurance Bill. The reversion of the radical Socialist element to the I.L.P. is by some observers considered not unlikely. Then the liberal or réformiste element will become either a faction of the Liberal-Radical party or melt entirely away as the Chartists did in 1844.

[45] This was the language used in the amendment moved in January, 1911.

[46] See Parliamentary Debates, 5th series, vol. 21, February 10, 1911.

[47] The Socialist workmen always resent the activity of the police and soldiers during strikes. In 1888 F. Engels wrote to an American friend: "The police brutalities in Trafalgar Square have done wonders in helping to widen the gap between the workingmen Radicals and the middle-class Liberals and Radicals." (See Briefe und Auszüge aus Briefen von Fr. Engels u. A., Stuttgart, 1906.)

One of the incidents of the debate over the railway strike in the House of Commons was a clash between Lloyd George, the Liberal leader, and Keir Hardie, the Socialist. Keir Hardie had made inflammatory speeches to striking workmen, and for this the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave him a terrific and unmerciful flaying. (See Parliamentary Debates, 5th series, vol. 29, Aug. 22, 1911.)

[48] J. Ramsay MacDonald: speech delivered at Edinburgh, 1909.

[49] See J. Ramsay MacDonald, The Socialist Movement, pp. 150-7.

[50] G.B. Shaw, Preface to "Fabian Tracts."

[51] See Lloyd George's famous "Limehouse Speech."

[52] L.T. Hobhouse, Democracy and Reaction, p. 237.

[53] Brougham Villiers, The Opportunity of Liberalism, Preface.

[54] See article by Secretary Pease, of the Fabians, on the Fabian Society, T.P.'s Magazine, February, 1911.

[55] J.A. Hobson, The Crisis of Liberalism, p. 156.




We have now concluded our survey of the political activities of Socialism in the four countries that present the most characteristic features of this movement of the working classes. It is peculiarly difficult to draw general conclusions from the study of a movement so protean. Democracy is young; Socialism is in its early infancy.

Is there a rational trend in Socialism? Or is it only a passing whim of the masses? Is it a crude theory, an earnest protest, a powerful propaganda? Or is it a current of human conviction so strong, so deep-flowing that it will be resistless?

It is futile to deny the power of the Socialist movement. The greatest proof of its virility is its ability to break away from Marxian dogma and from the fantasies of the utopists, and acknowledge mundane ways and means. In spite of this earthiness, it still has its fanciful abstractions. Some of its prophets are still glibly proclaiming a new order,—as if society were artificial, like a house, and could be torn down piecemeal or by dynamite, and then rebuilt to suit the vagaries of a new owner.

On the other hand, a portion of the Socialists are learning that society is a living thing that can be shaped only by training, like the mind of a child. Socialism, as a whole, is metamorphosing. Some of its vicious eccentricities, like the ravings against religion [251]and the espousal of free love, have already vanished. It is learning that institutions are the product of ages, not of movements, and cannot be changed at the fancy of every new and disgruntled social prophet.

The best school for Socialism has been the school of parliamentary activity. Here the hot-blooded protesters become sober artisans of statecraft. We have seen how the early utopian ideas, with their edenesque theory of the guilelessness of man, were abruptly exchanged for the theory of violence, based on the materialistic conception of the universe and of man. Neither the soft humanities of the utopists nor the blood and thunder of revolution overturned the existing state. But when the workingmen appeared in parliaments, then things began to change.

In every country where the Socialists have entered parliament, they appeared suddenly, in considerable numbers. So in France, Germany, England, Belgium, Austria. And they always produced a flutter, often a scare, among the conservatives. They were an untried force. Their preachings of violence and their antagonism to property made them an unknown quantity, to be feared, and not to be lightly handled—a bomb of political dynamite that might explode any moment and scatter the product of ages into fragments!

But no explosion came. And one more example of the persistence of human nature was added to the long annals of history.

In every country the parliamentary experience has been the same: the liberal and radical element, attracted by the legislative demands of the labor party, coalesced, for specific issues, with the Socialists, and a new era of economic and social legislation was [252]ushered in. Even in Germany, with its unmodern conditions in government, all the powers of feudal autocracy failed to crush the rising forces of the new political consciousness.

In France and England we have seen Socialists take their places in the cabinet, to the chagrin of that portion of the Socialists who still regard social classes as natural enemies, and consider social co-operation among all the elements of society impossible.

In brief, Socialism has entered politics and has become mundane. You need a microscope to tell a Socialist from a Socialist-Radical in France, and a Laborite from a Radical-Liberal in England. Briand and Millerand may be voted out of the Socialist Party, and John Burns may be spurned by the I.L.P. But these men are teaching a double lesson: first, that there are no new ways to human betterment; second, that the old way is worth traveling, because it does lead to happier and easier conditions of toil. Socialists the world over will soon be compelled to realize that the political force which shrinks from the responsibility of daily political drudgery will never be a permanent factor in life. A political party that is afraid to assume the obligations of government for fear that it will lose its ideal, is too fragile for this world.

The Socialist Party wherever it exists is a labor party, with a labor program that is based on conditions which need to be remedied. Their practical demands as a rule are of such a nature that all of society would benefit by their enactment into law. The mystery has all gone out of the movement. It is not necromancy, it is plain parliamentary humdrum which you see. The threatened witchery is all [253]words; the doing is intensely human, of the earth earthy.

The Socialist movement tends toward the latest phase of democracy, which is social democracy; the democracy that has ceased to toy with Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, and the other tinsel abstractions of the bourgeois revolutions; the democracy that sees poverty and suffering increase as wealth and ease increase. It is the democracy of the human heart, that cares for the babe in the slums, the lad in the factory, the mother at the cradle, and the father in his old age. Against all these helpless ones society has sinned. And it is to a universal, sincere, social penance that the new democracy calls the rich, the powerful, and the comfortable.

Socialism is merging rapidly into this new democracy. In doing so it is abandoning its two great illusions. The first illusion is that the interests of the worker are somehow different from the interests of the rest of the community. Class war has been a resonant battle-cry, and has served its purpose. It is folly for any class to magnify its needs above those of the rest of society. Civilization and culture embrace the artisan and the artist, the poor and the powerful. Any class interest that clashes with the welfare of society as a whole cannot survive. Socialism is abandoning the tyranny of class war, is being mellowed by class co-operation. Socialists are now claiming that their interests are the interests of society. The social complexion of the party in the countries of its greatest advancement is an indication of this. Many of the party leaders are of middle-class origin. Some of them are rich. You call at their homes and servants open the door and receive your card on a [254]silver tray. Multitudes of lawyers, physicians, journalists, and professors are in the movement. Dr. Frank of Mannheim, the leader of the Badensian Socialists, said to me that the degree to which Socialism can gain the support of the intellectual element is the measure of success of the movement. All this indicates that Socialism is breaking the bonds of self-limited class egoism. The peasant landowner, the small shopkeeper, the intellectualist, and occasionally a man or two of wealth and high social position are being drawn into this new democracy.

The question is now being seriously asked: Can there be a social co-operation? Must there always be industrial war? Von Vollmar, Millerand, Vandervelde, MacDonald proclaim the possibility of rational co-operation. MacDonald says: "The defense for democracy which is far and away the weightiest is that progress must spring, not from the generosity or enlightenment of a class, but from the common intelligence." "It must be pointed out that the labor legislation now being asked for is very much more than a sequel to that passed under the influence of Lord Shaftesbury. This differs from that as the working of the moral conscience differs from the motives of the first brute man who shaped his conduct under a contract of mutual defense with a friendly neighbor. To use the arm of the law to abolish crying evils, to put an end to an ever-present injustice, is one thing; to use that arm to promote justice and to keep open the road to moral advancement, to bring down from their throne in the ideal into a place in the world certain conceptions of distributive justice, is quite another thing. And yet this latter is now being attempted, and was certain to be attempted as soon as democracy came [255]into power. When society is enfranchised, the social question becomes the political question."[1]

"The state is not the interest of a class, but the organ of society."[2] There can be no broader foundation for political action than this. All progress springs from the "common intelligence" to which every one contributes his quota.

The second great illusion of Socialism is the social revolution. No one except a few extremists any longer thinks of the revolution by blood. Engels, the friend of Marx, shows that everywhere violence is giving way to political methods. "Even in the Romance countries we see the old tactics revised. Everywhere the German example of using the ballots is being followed. Even in France the Socialists see more and more that no lasting victory is to be theirs unless they win beforehand the great masses of the people. The slow work of propaganda and parliamentary activity is here also recognized as the next step in party development."[3] Engels shows how Socialists have entered the parliaments of Belgium, Italy, Denmark, Bulgaria, Roumania, as well as the parliaments of the great powers. And he indicates that the revolution of the Socialist must come as a revolution by majorities—which is democracy.

Engels still believed that violence would follow the accession of democratic power. If he had lived another decade he would have discarded this last remnant of the theory of violence. In Germany the bourgeois are more frightened over the legal than over [256]the illegal acts of the Socialist. They fear the results of elections more than rebellion. Violence they can suppress with a bayonet, but laws—they must be obeyed.

This is true in every country. The power of the ballot is infinitely greater than the power of the bullet, provided it is followed up with common sense and energy.

The theory of violence, then, has almost disappeared. The Syndicalist, in his reversion to anarchy, attempts to revive the forsaken theory. He does this by a general strike. But the general strike is not to be confused with the social revolution. The general strike, wherever it has been tried as an economic forcing valve, has failed. But whenever it has been used as a political uprising, demanding political rights, it has been more or less successful. In Belgium we have seen how it brought results. In Sweden a few years ago there was a general strike that not only shut every factory, but stopped the street cars and all transportation lines, closed the gas-works, and even the newspapers were suspended. It was a powerful political protest, but the number of striking workmen did not equal the non-strikers.

In Italy in 1904 a general strike was called to protest against the arbitrary attitude of the government toward the labor movement. In some of the cities all work ceased, even the gondoliers of Venice joined the strikers. In Russia in 1904-5 the transportation lines and post and telegraph lines were tied up while the workingmen demonstrated for their political liberty.

The violence of Socialism to-day is political; the violence of trade unionism is economic. As the democratic consciousness spreads, there may be such a [257]coalescing of interests that violence will cease. But a human society without warfare and contention is still a tax upon the imagination. Strikes are increasing in number and bitterness and all the arbitrations and devices of democracies seem helpless in the turmoil of economic strife.

I am not unmindful that behind all this parliamentary activity there is the dim background of hope in the hearts of many Socialists that somehow the wage system will vanish, that competition will cease, that the primary activities of production and distribution will be assumed by society, and that economic extremes will become impossible. In a people of fitful temper and ebullient spirit the doctrine of overturning remains a constant menace. Socialism in Spain and Italy wears a scarlet coat, in Germany a drab, and in England a black. The danger to civilization lurks, not in the survival of the doctrines of the older Socialism, but in the temper of the people who espouse them.

The Socialist movement has accomplished three notable things. First, it has spread democracy. The bourgeois revolutions established democracy; Socialism extends it. We have seen how in Belgium it compelled the governing powers to give labor the ballot; how in Germany, hard set and dogmatic, it is shaping events that will surely lead to ministerial responsibility and to universal suffrage; and how in England it is resulting in universal manhood suffrage and probably "votes for women." Socialism is spreading the obligations of government upon all shoulders. It is not, however, democratizing the machinery of administration. In France the centralized autocracy of Napoleon's empire remains almost untouched. In [258]England the ancient traditions of administration are slow to change. In Germany the civil service will be the last barrier to give way.

Secondly, Socialism has forced the labor question upon the lawmakers. This is a great achievement. The neglected and forgotten portions of the human family are now the objects of state solicitude. The record of this revolution is written in the statute books. Turn the leaves of the table of contents of a modern parliamentary journal, and compare it with the same work of thirty years ago. Almost the entire time is now taken up with questions that may be called humanitarian rather than financial or political. Grave ministers of state make long speeches on the death-rate of babies in the cities, on the cost of living in factory towns, on the causes of that most heartbreaking of modern woes, non-employment. Budgets are now concerned with the feeding of school children as well as the building of warships, and with the training of boys as well as the drilling of soldiers.

Nowhere has this radical change taken place without a labor party. The laboring man forced the issue. He bent kings and cabinets and parliaments to his demands. The time was ripe, society had reached that stage of its development when it was ready to take up these questions. But it did not do so of its own free will. When labor parties sprang like magic into puissance, a decade ago, the social conscience was ready to hear their plea. Bismarck foresaw their demands. But he was too obsessed of feudalism to realize their motives. Therefore his state socialism failed to silence the Socialists. The workman had his heart in the cause, not merely his tongue.

And the third great achievement is the natural [259]result of the other two. When democracy is potent enough to force its demands on parliament, then the power of the state is ready to fulfil its demands. So we find in every country where Social Democracy has gained a foothold a constant increase of the functions of the state. What shall the state do? That is now the great question. One hundred years ago it was, What sort of a state shall we have? That is answered: a democratic state; at least, a state democratic in spirit. The state is no longer merely judge, soldier, lawmaker, and governor. It is physician, forester, bookkeeper, schoolmaster, undertaker, and a thousand other things. Society has grown complex, and the state, which is only another name for society, has developed a surprising precocity.

We have seen that in England especially the trend of legislation is to deprive the individual, one by one, of those prerogatives which gave him dominion over property. A man owning land in the city of London, for instance, has not the liberty to build as he likes or what he likes. He must build as the state permits him, and the exactions are manifold. He can be compelled to build a certain distance from the street,—that is, the city demands a strip of his land for common use. He can build only a certain height,—the community wants the sunlight. If his older buildings are dilapidated, the city tears them down. If the streets through his allotment are too narrow, the city widens them. In short, he may have title in fee simple, but the community has a title superior. Even his income from this parcel of land is not all his own. The state now takes a goodly slice in taxes. If he is inclined to resent this, and does not improve his property, the state taxes him on the unearned [260]increment, and if he refuses to submit to this "socialism," the constable seizes the whole parcel, and he can have what is left after the community has satisfied its demands.

The taxes that he pays are distributed over a vast variety of activities. They go to feed school children, to pension aged workmen, to send inspectors into the factories, to keep up hospitals, as well as to light and pave the streets and pay policemen. Other taxes that he pays on other forms of property go to the improvement of agriculture, to the payment of boards of arbitration, and so on. In short, ownership is becoming more and more only an incident; it is not merely a badge of ease, but a symbol of social responsibility.

The burden of the law is shifting from property to persons, from protecting things to protecting humanity. This change from the Roman law is almost revolutionary. Even Blackstone, our halfway-mark in the evolution of the common law, is busy with postulates protecting property.

Where is this encroachment of the state on private "rights" going to end? There are some things which the state (society) can do better than the individual; like the marshaling of an army or conducting a post-office, and things that are done to counteract the selfishness of individuals, like factory inspection. But there are other things which society cannot do; things that depend on individual effort, like art, literature, and invention. The two fields of state and individual activity merge into each other. Each nation marks its own distinctions. But this is certain: in a democracy the state will do the things which the people want it to do. And in a Social Democracy these things are numerous.

[261]Social Democracy strikes a balance between individual duty and collective energy. It brings the power of government (collective power), not to the few who are rich, therefore ignoring oligarchy; nor to the few who are clever, thereby ignoring tyranny; nor to the few who are well-born, thus discarding aristocracy; but it brings all the power of the government to all the people. It attempts to coalesce the cleverness of the tyrant, the experience of the aristocrat, the wealth of the industrial nabob, and the aggregate momentum of the mass, into a humanitarian power. It attempts to use the gifts of all for the benefit of all.

Social Democracy is the resultant of two forces meeting from opposite directions: the forces of industrialism, and Socialism, of collectivism and individualism. No one can draw the exact direction of this resultant. It attempts to avoid the tyranny and selfishness of the few, and the tyranny and greed of the many.

Our study of the operation of governments under the sway of Social Democracy has shown the sort of legislation that is demanded. It is not necessary to repeat here the details of these laws. But it is necessary to bear in mind that there are two industrial questions which have absolutely refused to bend to the power of government: the question of the length of the workday and the question of wages. The vast majority of strikes are due to differences over these two questions. The eight-hour day and the minimum wage have been successful only in a limited government service.[4] Nor has any machinery set up by governments to avoid industrial collisions between workmen and [262]employers been successful in avoiding differences over hours and wages. The elaborate system of Germany, for instance, is nothing more than the good will of the state offered to the warring industrial elements in the interests of peace. The questions of hours and wages are so fundamental that they embrace the right of private property. Any power that divests an individual of the right to dispose of his time or substance by contract virtually deprives him of the right of ownership.

The limits to the possibilities of Social Democracy are the limits of private ownership. This brings us at once to the verge of the eternal question of government—the finding of a just ratio between individual and collective responsibility: a ratio that varies with varying nationalities, and that will vary with the passing years. Each generation in every land will have to fix the limitations for itself.

The new Social Democracy has acquired certain characteristics which will help us in determining the trend of its movements. In the first place it is an educated Social Democracy. The taunt of ignorance applied to the old Socialism of passion cannot be applied to the new Socialism of practice. The nations of Europe no longer debate the suitability of universal education. That question happily was settled for the United States with the landing of the Pilgrims. It took one hundred years for Europe to understand the Ordinance of 1787, that "schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged." Not all of the European nations have touched the heights of this ideal, but Social Democracy is struggling towards it, and schools, more or less efficient, are open to the workmen's children. This education is extended to [263]adults by the press and by self-imposed studies. The eagerness with which men and women flock to lectures and night classes is a great omen. In Paris the École Socialiste and Université Populaire, in Germany and Belgium the night classes in the labor union clubhouses, the debates and the lecture courses, are evidences of intellectual eagerness.

In the second place it is a drilled democracy. It is organized into vast co-operative societies and trade unions. Here it learns the lesson of constant watchfulness over details. This training in the infinite little things of business is a good sedative. Socialists bargain and sell and learn the lessons of competition; do banking and learn discount; engage in manufacture and learn the problem of the employer.

They are, moreover, drilled in parliaments, in city and county councils, in communal offices. They learn the advantages of give and take, are skilled in compromise, and feel the friction of opposition.

All this has wrought a wonderful change in Socialism. To a Belgian co-operativist running a butcher-shop, the eight-hour day is a practical problem; and to a Bavarian member of a city council the question of opening communal dwellings ceases to be only a subject for debate. Nothing has brought these people to earth so suddenly as the infusion of earthly experience into their blood. And this transfusion has given them life. It has rid them of their many adjectives and given them a few verbs. It has robbed them in large measure of their mob spirit.[5] Every year the [264]arbitrary governments of Europe are finding police coercion more and more unnecessary. The Socialist crowd is growing orderly, is achieving that self-control which alone entitles a people to self-government.

It is not unnatural that this movement has made leaders. Of these, Herr August Bebel is the most remarkable example. This woodturner, turned party autocrat and statesman, is a never-ending wonder to the German aristocracy. His speeches are read as eagerly as those of the Chancellor, and his opinions are quoted as widely as the Kaiser's. When in 1911 he made his great speech on the Morocco Question in the Social Democratic Convention, it was reported by the column in all of the great Continental and English dailies. Bebel is an example of what the open door of opportunity will do, and he had to force the door himself. A few years ago, in a moment of reminiscent confidence, he confessed that he used to cherish as an ideal the time when he could, for once, have all the bread and butter he could eat. In America we are accustomed to this rising into power of obscure and untried men. But in Europe it is rare. European Social Democracy is an expression of the desire on the part of the people for the open highways of opportunity.

In the third place, Social Democracy is self-conscious. I have not used the word class-conscious, because it is more than the consciousness of an economic group. History is replete with instances that reveal the irresistible power generated by mass consciousness. This [265]is the psychology of nationalism. The dynamo that generates the mysterious voltage of patriotism, of tribal loyalty, is the heart. Socialism has replaced tribal and national ideals and welded its devotees into a self-conscious international unity. Whatever danger there may be in Socialism is the danger of the zealot. The ideal may be impracticable and discarded, but the devotion to it may be blind and destructive.

As a rule, Socialist leaders and writers maintain that this drawing together of Socialism and democracy is only transitory, and that beyond this lies the promised land of social production. Jaurès has explained this clearly: "Democracy, under the impetus given it by organized labor, is evolving irresistibly toward Socialism, and Socialism toward a form of property which will deliver man from his exploitation by man, and bring to an end the régime of class government. The Radicals flatter themselves that they can put a stop to this movement by promising the working classes some reforms, and by proclaiming themselves the guardians of private property. They hope to hold a large part of the proletariat in check by a few reforming laws expressing a sentiment of social solidarity, and by their policy of defending private property to rouse the conservative forces, the petty bourgeoisie, the middle classes, and the small peasant proprietors to oppose Socialism."[6]

So we see that in spite of their experiences Socialists still draw a clear distinction between their Socialism and democracy. The Socialist is willing to ignore the experiences of the past twenty years in his ecstasy of vision. He claims that whatever has been done is [266]mere reform. He affects to belittle it, the Marxian scorns it. To the Socialist, democracy is only the halfway house on the road to the economic paradise. He has his gaze fixed on the New Jerusalem of "co-operative production" and "distributive justice." Whether this New City, with its streets paved with the gold of altruism and its gates garnished with the pearls of good will and benevolence, will be brought from the fleecy clouds of ecstatic imagination to our sordid earth remains a question of speculation to that vast body of sincere and practical citizens who have not scaled the heights of the Socialistic Patmos.

European Socialism has been transplanted to America. But its growth until quite recently has been very slow, and confined largely to immigrants. There is no political spur to hasten the movement. Here democracy has been achieved. The universal ballot, free speech, free press, free association are accomplished. Many of the economic policies espoused by the Social Democratic parties of Europe are written into the platforms of our political parties. There will be no independent labor party of any strength until the old parties have aroused the distrust of the great body of laboring men, and until the labor unions cut loose from their traditional aloofness and enter politics. How socialistic such a party will be must depend upon the circumstances attending its organization. The two third-party movements which have flourished since the Civil War, the Greenback movement of the '70's and the Populist movement of the '90's, were virtually "class" parties, restricted to the agricultural population of the Middle and Far West; and both of them feared Socialism as much as they hated capitalism. [267]Neither of these parties outlived a decade. Economic prosperity abruptly ended both.[7]

The stress of political exclusiveness and the harsh hand of government will not produce a reactionary movement among the workingmen of America. But economic circumstances may do so. We are still a young country full of the hope of youth. The ranks of every walk of life are filled with those who have worked their way to success from humble origin. Most of our famous men struggled with poverty in their youth. Their lives are constantly held up to the children of the nation as examples of American pluck, enterprise, and opportunity. A nation that lures its clerks toward proprietorship and its artisans toward independence offers barren soil for the doctrines of discontent. We have no stereotyped poverty in the European sense. Our farmers own their acreage, and many of the urban poor are able to buy a cottage in the outskirts of the city.

But there are signs that these conditions are undergoing profound changes. Unlimited competition has led to limitless consolidation of industries, and the financial destinies of the Republic repose in the hands of comparatively few men. So much of the Marxian proposition is fulfilled, at the moment, in America. This concentrated wealth has not been unmindful of politics. Governmental power and money power are closely identified in the public mind. Our cities are overflowing with a new population from the excitable portions of southern Europe, a population that is proletarian in every sense of the word. Panics follow one another in rapid succession. The uneasiness [268]of business is fed by the turmoil of politics. Unrest is everywhere. Labor and business are engaged in constant struggles that affect all members of society. The cost of living has increased alarmingly in the last ten years. We are becoming rapidly a manufacturing nation; the balance of power is shifting from the farm to the city.[8]

European Socialists are taking a keen interest in American affairs. Bebel said to me: "You are getting ready for the appropriation of the great productive enterprises and the railways. Your trusts make the problem easy." John Burns prophesied that violence and bloodshed alone would check us in our mad career for wealth. Jaurès asked how long it would take before our poverty would be worse than that of Europe. At a distance they see us plunging headlong into a Socialist régime.

[269]Professor Brentano of Munich knows us better. He said to me, "Conservation will be your Socialism."[9] If the fundamental principles of conservation can be embodied in constitutional laws, then there will be an almost indefinite extension of the power of the state over industry. It will embrace mines, forests, irrigated deserts; it will extend to the sources of all water supply and water power; the means of transportation may ultimately be included. So that without radical legal and institutional changes it will be possible for many of the sources of our raw materials to be placed under governmental surveillance, leaving the processes of manufacture and exchange in the hands of private individuals.

There are at present many indications that this will be our general process of "socialization." The people appear to want it; and in a democracy the will of the people must prevail.

Before we have advanced far along the new road of conservation we will find it necessary to reconstruct our whole system of administration. The haphazard of politics must be foreign to public business. Everywhere in Europe, especially in Germany and England, the people, including the Socialists, appear satisfied with the efficiency of their administrative machinery. Who would intrust the running of a railroad to our Federal or State governments?

We have reached the extreme of rampant laissez-faire. Our youthful vigor and material wealth have [270]kept us buoyant. Politically we will become more radical, economically less individualistic, in the next cycle of our development. There is no magic that saves a people except the magic of opportunity. In a democracy especially it is necessary to constantly purge society by free-moving currents of talent and virtue. This replenishing stream has its sources in the sturdy, healthy workers of the nation. The movement is from the depths upward. It is the supreme function of the state to keep these sources unclogged.


[1] J. Ramsay MacDonald, Ethical Democracy, pp. 61-71.

[2] J. Ramsay MacDonald, Socialism and Government, Vol. II, p. 117.

[3] Frederick Engels' Introduction to Marx' Klassenkampf, pp. 16-17, 1895.

[4] The coal strike in England in March, 1912, brought the question of a legalized minimum wage before the people.

[5] On November 28, 1905, a vast army of working men and women, estimated at 300,000 by the anti-Socialist papers, marched under the red flag through the streets of Vienna as a protest against the existing franchise laws. They were given the right of way and walked in silence through the streets of the capital. Their orderliness was more impressive than their vast numbers. It was an object-lesson that the government did not forget.

[6] Jean Jaurès, Studies in Socialism, Eng. ed., p. 25.

[7] What the so-called Progressive Party will accomplish, in this direction, remains to be seen.

[8] The Socialist vote in the United States is as follows:

1892 21,164  
1896 36,274  
1900 87,814  
1904 402,283  
1908 402,464  
1910 607,674  
1911 1,500,000 (estimated)

The vast increase shown in 1911 was made in municipal and other local elections. On January 1, 1912, 377 villages, towns, and cities in 36 States had some Socialist officers. Several important cities have been under Socialist rule, notably Milwaukee and Schenectady, where the Socialists captured the entire city machinery. In 1912 the Socialists lost control of Milwaukee, although their vote increased 3,000. Their overthrow was accomplished by the coalescing of the old parties into a Citizens' Party, a line-up between radicalism and conservatism that will probably become the rule in American local politics.

The party is organized along the lines of the German Social Democracy. Its membership has grown as follows:

1903 15,975
1904 20,764
1905 23,327
1906 26,784
1907 29,270
1908 41,751
1909 41,479
1910 48,011
1911 84,716
1912 (May) 142,000

[9] In this statement, Professor Brentano re-enforces the opinions of the American economist to whose teachings and writings the "progressive" movement in American economics and politics, and especially the movement for conservation of natural resources, must be traced. For many years Professor Richard T. Ely has been pointing the way to this conservative "socialization" of our natural wealth.







The following list of the principal works consulted in the preparation of this volume may serve also as a bibliography on the subject. There are very few American books in the list, because the object of this volume is to summarize the European situation.

For the spirit of the movement the student must consult the contemporary literature of Socialism—the newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets, and the campaign documents that flow in a constant stream from the Socialist press. These are, of course, too numerous and too fluctuating in character to be catalogued. Lists of these publications can be secured at the following addresses:

The Fabian Society, 3 Clements Inn, Strand, London, W.C.

The Labor Party, 28 Victoria Street, Westminster, London, S.W.

The Independent Labor Party, 23 Bride Lane, Fleet Street, London, E.C.

German Social Democracy, Verlags-Buchhandlung Vorwärts, 68 Lindenstrasse, Berlin, S.W.

Belgian Labor Party, Le Peuple, 33-35 rue de Sable, Brussels.

French Socialist Party, La Parti Socialiste, 16 rue de la Corderie, Paris.


Blanc, Louis: Socialism. An English edition was published in 1848.

—— Organization of Labor. English edition in 1848.

Booth: Saint-Simon and Saint-Simonism.

Cabet, Étienne: Le Vrai Christianisme, 1846.

Feuerbach, Friedrich: Die Religion der Zukunft, 1843-5.

—— Essence of Christianity. An English translation, 1881, in the "English and Foreign Philosophical Library."

Fourier, F.C.M.: Œuvres Complètes. 6 vols. 1841-5.

Gammond, Gatti de: Fourier and His System, 1842.

Gide, Charles: Selections from Fourier. An English translation by Julien Franklin, 1901.

Godwin, William: An Inquiry Concerning Political Justice, 1796.

Kingsley: Cheap Clothes and Nasty, 1851.

Morrell, J.R.: Life of Fourier, 1849.

Morris, William: Works of; Chants for Socialists, 1885.

Owen, Robert: An Address, etc., 1813.[274]

—— Addresses, etc., 1816.

—— An Explanation of the Distress, etc., 1823.

—— Book of the New Moral World, etc., 1836.

Proudhon, Pierre Joseph: The Works of. English translation by Tucker, American edition, 1876.

Saint-Simon: New Christianity. An English translation by Rev. J.E. Smith. 1834.

Weil, G.: L'École Saint-Simonisme—son Histoire, etc., 1896.

Weitling, William: Garantieen der Harmonie und Freiheit, 1845.


Bebel, A.: Woman, in the Past, Present, and Future. An English translation appeared in London in 1890.

Bernstein, Edward: Responsibility and Solidarity in the Labor Struggle, 1900.

Brooks, J.G.: The Social Unrest, 1903.

Ely, R.T.: French and German Socialism, 1883.

Ensor, R.C.K.: Modern Socialism. A useful collection of Socialist documents, speeches, programs, etc.

Graham, W.: Socialism New and Old, 1890.

Guthrie, W.B.: Socialism Before the French Revolution, 1907.

Guyot, Y.: The Tyranny of Socialism, 1894.

Jaurès, J.: Studies in Socialism, 1906.

Kautsky, K.: The Social Revolution. An English translation by J.B. Askew. The best Continental view of modern Marxianism, and the most widely read.

Kelly, Edmond: Twentieth Century Socialism, 1910. The most noteworthy of recent American contributions to Socialist thought.

Kirkup: A History of Socialism, 1909. A concise and authoritative narrative.

Koigen, D.: Die Kultur-ausschauung des Sozialismus, 1903.

Levy, J.H.: The Outcome of Individualism, 1890.

MacDonald, J.R.: Socialism and Society, 1905. MacDonald is not only the leader of the British Labor Party, but his writings comprise a comprehensive exposition of the views of labor democracy.

—— Character and Democracy, 1906.

—— Socialism, 1907.

—— Socialism and Government, 1909.

Mill, J.S.: Socialism, 1891. A collection of essays, etc., from the writings of John Stuart Mill touching on Socialism.

Rae, J.: Contemporary Socialism, 1908. A standard work.

Richter: Pictures of the Socialist Future, 1893.

Schaeffle: The Impossibility of Social-Democracy, 1892.

—— The Quintessence of Socialism, 1898. Probably the most [275]authoritative and concise refutation of the Socialist dogmas.

Sombart, Werner: Socialism and the Social Movement, 1909. Widely read, both in the original and in the English translation. Contains an interesting critique of Marxianism.

Spencer, Herbert: The Coming Slavery, 1884. A reprint from The Contemporary Review.

Stoddard, Jane: The New Socialism, 1909. A convenient compilation.

Tugan-Baranovsky, M.I.: Modern Socialism, 1910. A systematic and scholarly résumé of the doctrines of Socialism.

Warschauer, O.: Zur Entwickelungsgeschichte des Sozialismus, 1909.

Wells, H.G.: New Worlds for Old, 1909. One of the most popular expositions of Socialism.


Aveling, E.B.: The Student's Marx. A handy compilation. 1902.

Boehm-Bawerk: Karl Marx and the Close of His System. An English translation was made in 1898.

Engels, Friedrich: Die Entwickelung des Socialismus von der Utopie zur Wissenschaft, 1891.

—— Socialism—Utopian and Scientific, 1892.

—— L. Feuerbach und der Ausgang der Klassischen Deutschen Philosophie, 1903.

—— Briefe und Auszüge von Briefen, 1906.

—— Friedrich Engels, Sein Leben, Sein Wirken und Seine Schriften, 1895.

Marx and Engels: The Communist Manifesto. There have been many editions; that of 1888 is probably the widest known for its historical Introduction.

Marx, Karl: The Poverty of Philosophy. An answer to Proudhon's La Philosophie de la Misère. An English translation was made by H. Quelch, 1900.

—— Enthüllungen über den Kommunisten Process zu Köln, 1875. Engels' Preface gives an account of the origin of the "Society of the Just."

—— Die Klassenkämpfe in Frankreich, 1848-50.

—— Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Germany in 1848. An English translation appeared in 1896.

—— Capital, 1896.

—— The International Workingmen's Association. Two addresses on the Franco-Prussian War, 1870.

—— The international Workingmen's Association—The Civil War in France. An address to the General Council of the International, 1871.


Dave, V.: Michel Bakunin et Karl Marx, 1900.

Engels, F.: The International Workingmen's Association, 1891.

Froebel, J.: Ein Lebenslauf—for an account of Marx vs. Bakunin.

Guillaume, J.: L'Internationale: Documents et Souvenirs, 1905.

Jaeckh, Gustav: L'Internationale. An English translation was published in 1904.

Jaeger, E.: Karl Marx und die Internationale Arbeiter Association, 1873.

Maurice, C.E.: Revolutionary Movements of 1848-9, 1887.

Testut, O.: L'Internationale—son origine, son but, son principes, son organisation, etc. Third edition, 1871. A German edition translated by Paul Frohberg, Leipsic, 1872.

—— Le Livre Bleu de l'Internationale, 1871.

Villetard: History of the International. Translated by Susan M. Day, New Haven, 1874.

Ein Complot gegen die Internationale Arbeiter Association, 1874, gives a careful version of the Marxian side of the Bakunin controversy.

"International Workingmen's Association"—"Procès-verbaux, Congrès à Lausanne," 1867.

Troisième Congrès de l'Association Internationale des Travailleurs, Brussels, 1868.

Manifeste aux Travailleurs des Campagnes. Paris, 1870.

Manifeste addressé à toutes les associations ouvrières, etc. Paris, 1874.

International Arbeiter Association Protokoll. A German edition of the Proceedings of the Paris Congress, 1890, with a valuable Introduction by W. Liebknecht.


Jaeger, Eugen: Geschichte der Socialen Bewegung und des Socialismus in Frankreich, 1890.

Jaurès, Jean: L'Armée Nouvelle—L'Organisation Socialiste de la France, 1911. The initial installment of the long-promised account of the Socialist state.

Lavy, A.: L'Œuvre de Millerand, 1902. An appreciative history of Millerand's work. Contains many documents, speeches, etc.

Peixotto, J.: The French Revolution and Modern Socialism, 1901.

Von Stein, Lorenz: Der Sozialismus und Communismus des Heutigen Frankreichs, 1848.

Weil, Georges: Histoire du Mouvement Socialiste en France, 1904.


Bertrand, Louis: Histoire de la Démocratie et Socialisme en Belgique depuis 1830, 1906. Introduction by Vandervelde.

—— Histoire de la Coopération en Belgique, 1902.

Bertrand, Louis, et al.: 75 Années de Domination Bourgeois, 1905.

Destrée et Vandervelde: Le Socialisme en Belgique.

Langerock, H.: Le Socialisme Agraire, 1895.

Steffens-Frauweiler, H. von: Der Agrar Sozialismus in Belgien, Munich, 1893.

Vandervelde, Émile: Histoire de la Coopération en Belgique, 1902.

—— Essais sur la Question Agraire en Belgique, 1902.

—— Article on the General Strike in Archiv für Sozial Wissenschaft, May, 1908.


Bebel, August: Die Social-Demokratie im Deutschen Reichstag. A series of brochures detailing the activity of the Social Democrats—1871-1893. Of course from a partisan point of view.

—— Aus Meinem Leben, 1910. An intimate recital of the development of Social Democracy in Germany.

Bernstein, Edward: Ferdinand Lassalle und Seine Bedeutung für die Arbeiter Klasse, 1904.

Brandes, Georg: Ferdinand Lassalle: Ein Literarisches Charakter-Bild. Berlin, 1877. An English translation was published in 1911. This is a brilliant biography.

Dawson, W.H.: German Socialism and Ferdinand Lassalle, 1888.

—— Bismarck and State Socialism, 1890.

—— The German Workman, 1906.

—— The Evolution of Modern Germany, 1908.

Eisner, K.: Liebknecht—Sein Leben und Wirken, 1900. A brief sketch of the veteran Social Democrat.

Frank, Dr. Ludwig: Die Bürgerlichen Parteien des Deutschen Reichstags, 1911. A Socialist's account of the rise of German political parties.

Harms, B.: Ferdinand Lassalle und Seine Bedeutung für die Deutsche Sozial-Demokratie, 1909.

—— Sozialismus und die Sozial-Demokratie in Deutschland.

Hooper, E.G.: The German State Insurance System, 1908.

Kampfmeyer, P.: Geschichte der Modernen Polizei im Zusammenhang mit der Allgemeinen Kulturbewegung, 1897. A Socialist's recital of the use of police.

—— Geschichte der Modernen Gesellschafts-klassen in Deutschland, 1896. From a Socialist standpoint.

Kohut, A.: Ferdinand Lassalle—Sein Leben und Wirken, 1889.[278]

Lassalle, Ferdinand: Offenes Antwortschreiben an das Central-Comité zur Berufung eines Allgemeinen Deutschen Arbeiter Congress zu Leipzig, 1863.

—— Die Wissenschaft und die Arbeiter, 1863.

—— Macht und Recht, 1863. A complete edition of Lassalle's works was published in 1899, under the title "Gesamte Werke Ferdinand Lassalles."

Lowe, C.: Prince Bismarck: An Historical Biography, 1885. A sympathetic description of Bismarck's attempt to solve the social problem.

Mehring, F.: Die Deutsche Sozial-Demokratie—Ihre Geschichte und Ihre Lehre, 1879. Third edition. A compact narrative.

Meyer, R.: Emancipationskampf des Vierten Standes, 1882.

Naumann, Friedrich: Die Politischen Parteien, 1911. History of German political parties. A Radical account.

Schmoele, J.: Die Sozial-Demokratische Gewerkschaften in Deutschland seit dem Erlasse des Sozialisten Gesetzes, 1896, etc.

Sozial-Demokratische Partei-Tag-Protokoll. Annual reports of the party conventions.

Documente des Sozialismus. An annual publication edited by Bernstein.


Arnold-Foster, H.: English Socialism of To-day, 1908.

Barker, J.E.: British Socialism, 1908. A collection of quotations.

Bibby, F.: Trades Unionism and Socialism, 1907.

Blatchford, R.: Merrie England, 1895.

Churchill, Winston: Liberalism and the Social Problem, 1909.

Engels, F.: The Condition of the Working Classes in England in 1844, 1892.

Fay, C.R.: Co-operation at Home and Abroad, 1908.

Gammage, R.G.: History of the Chartist Movement, 1894.

Hardie, Keir: From Serfdom, to Socialism, 1907.

Hobhouse, L.T.: The Labor Movement, 1898.

—— Liberalism, 1911.

—— Democracy and Reaction, 1904.

Hobson, J.A.: The Crisis in Liberalism, 1909.

Holyoake: History of Cooperation, 1906.

Knott, Y.: Conservative Socialism, 1909.

Lecky, W.E.H.: Democracy and Liberty, 1899.

MacDonald, J.R.: The People in Power, 1900.

—— Socialism To-day, 1909.

Masterman, C.F.G.: The Condition of England, 1909.

McCarthy, J.: The Epoch of Reform, 1882. For Chartism and the reform movements of the nineteenth century democracy.

Money, Chiozza: Riches and Poverty, 1911.

Nicholson, J.S.: History, Progress and Ideals of Socialism. A criticism of the Socialist viewpoint.[279]

Noel, Conrad: The Labor Party. A criticism of the attitude of Liberals and Conservatives toward the social problems. From the Labor Party viewpoint.

Snowden, P.: The Socialist Budget, 1907.

Towler, W.G.: Municipal Socialism. The anti-Socialist viewpoint.

The Times: The Socialist Movement in Great Britain, 1909. A reprint of a series of carefully prepared articles in The Times.

Villiers, B.: The Opportunity of Liberalism, 1904.

—— The Socialist Movement in England, 1908.

Webb, S.: Wanted—A Program: An Appeal to the Liberal Party, 1888.

—— Socialism in England, 1890.

Webb, B. and S.: Industrial Democracy, 1902.

—— The History of Trade Unionism, 1911.




Yves Guyot, the distinguished French publicist, told the writer that there was only one compact, disciplined political party in France, the United Socialists. Other than the Socialists, there is no well-organized group in the Chamber of Deputies. The Right, Center, and Left coalesce almost insensibly into each other. Party platforms and party loyalty are replaced by a political individualism that to an American politician would seem like political anarchy.

The Chamber of Deputies is supreme—the ministry stands or falls upon its majority's behest. This gives to the deputy a peculiar personal power. He is only loosely affiliated with his group, is a powerful factor in the government of the Republic, and is directly dependent upon his constituents for his tenure in office. The result is a personal, rather then a party, system of politics.

This remarkably decentralized system of representative governance is counterbalanced by a highly efficient and completely centralized system of administration, which is based on civil service, and outlives all the mutations of ministries and shifting of deputies. The ministry, naturally, has theoretical control over the administrative officials. During the campaign for reorganizing the army and navy, and the disestablishment of the Church, under the Radical-Socialist bloc, a few years ago, General André, acting for the ministry, resorted to a comprehensive system of espionage to ferret out the undesirable officers. Every commune has its official scrutinizer, who reports the doings of the employees to the government.

This, in turn, has created a clientilism. The deputy is needed by the ministry, the deputy needs the votes of his constituency, the local officials need the good will of the deputy. The result is a fawning favoritism that has taken the place of party servitude as we know it in America.

The Socialists have precipitated a serious problem in this relation of the government employee to the state: Can the state employees form a union? There are nearly 1,000,000 state employees. This includes not only all the functionaries, but all the workmen in the match factories, the mint, the national porcelain factory and tobacco plants, and the navy yards. In 1885 and again in 1902 the Court of Cassation decided that "the right of forming a union (syndicat) is confined to those who, whether as employers or as workmen or employed, are engaged in [281]industry, agriculture, or commerce, to the exclusion of all other persons and all other occupations."

The government has, however, countenanced some infringements. A few syndicates of municipal and departmental employees are allowed; but they are mostly workmen, not strictly functionaries. There are several syndicates of elementary school teachers. But they have not been allowed to federate their unions. At Lyons the teachers formed a union and, according to law, filed their rules and regulations with the proper official, who turned them over to the Minister of Justice, and after a cabinet consultation it was decided that the union was illegal, but would be ignored. They then joined the local Bourse du Travail (federation of labor), and Briand, then Minister of Education, vetoed their action. Then a number of branches in the public service, including post-office and customs-house employees, teachers, etc., united in forming a committee "pour la défense du droit syndical des salaries de l'état, des départements et du commerce." This "Committee of Defense" petitioned Clémenceau on the right to organize, and intimated that the great and only difference between the state and the private employer is that the former adds political to economic oppression. This is pure Syndicalism. Under the individual political jugglery that takes the place of the party system in France, the problem is not made any the easier.


I.—Declaration of Principles

Socialism proceeds simultaneously from the movement of democracy and from the new forms of production. In history, from the very morrow of the French Revolution, the proletarians perceived that the Declaration of the Rights of Man would remain an illusion unless society transformed ownership.

How, indeed, could freedom, ownership, security, be guaranteed to all, in a society where millions of workers have no property but their muscles, and are obliged, in order to live, to sell their power of work to the propertied minority?

To extend, therefore, to every citizen the guarantees inscribed in the Declaration of Rights, our great Babeuf demanded ownership in common, as a guarantee of welfare in common. Communism was for the boldest proletarians the supreme expression of the Revolution.

Between the political régime, the outcome of the revolutionary movement, and the economic régime of society, there is an intolerable contradiction.

In the political order democracy is realized: all citizens share [282]equally, at least by right, in the sovereignty; universal suffrage is communism in political power.

In the economic order, on the other hand, a minority is sovereign. It is the oligarchy of capital which possesses, directs, administers, and exploits.

Proletarians are acknowledged fit as citizens to manage the milliards of the national and communal budgets; as laborers, in the workshop, they are only a passive multitude, which has no share in the direction of enterprises, and they endure the domination of a class which makes them pay dearly for a tutelage whose utility ceases and whose prolongation is arbitrary.

The irresistible tendency of the proletarians, therefore, is to transfer into the economic order the democracy partially realized in the political order. Just as all the citizens have and handle in common, democratically, the political power, so they must have and handle in common the economic power, the means of production.

They must themselves appoint the heads of work in the workshops, as they appoint the heads of government in the city, and reserve for those who work, for the community, the whole product of work.

This tendency of political democracy to enlarge itself into social democracy has been strengthened and defined by the whole economic evolution.

In proportion as the capitalistic régime developed its effects, the proletariat became conscious of the irreducible opposition between its essential interests and the interests of the class dominant in society, and to the bourgeois form of democracy it opposed more and more the complete and thorough communistic democracy.

All hope of universalizing ownership and independence by multiplying small autonomous producers has disappeared. The great industry is more and more the rule in modern production.

By the enlargement of the world's markets, by the growing facility of transport, by the division of labor, by the increasing application of machinery, by the concentration of capitals, immense concentrated production is gradually ruining or subordinating the small or middling producers.

Even where the number of small craftsmen, small traders, small peasant proprietors, does not diminish, their relative importance in the totality of production grows less unceasingly. They fall under the sway of the great capitalists.

Even the peasant proprietors, who seem to have retained a little independence, are more and more exposed to the crushing forces of the universal market, which capitalism directs without their concurrence and against their interests.

For the sale of their wheat, wine, beetroot, and milk, they are more and more at the mercy of great middlemen or great industries of milling, distilling, and sugar-refining, which dominate and despoil peasant labor.

The industrial proletarians, having lost nearly all chance of [283]individually rising to be employers, and being thus doomed to eternal dependence, are further subject to incessant crises of unemployment and misery, let loose by the unregulated competition of the great capitalist forces.

The immense progress of production and wealth, largely usurped by parasitic classes, has not led to an equivalent progress in well-being and security for the workers, the proletarians. Whole categories of wage-earners are abruptly thrown into extreme misery by the constant introduction of new mechanisms and by the abrupt movements and transformations of industry.

Capitalism itself admits the disorder of the present régime of production, since it tries to regulate it for its gain by capitalistic syndicates, by trusts.

Even if it succeeded in actually disciplining all the forces of production, it would only do so while consummating the domination and the monopoly of capital.

There is only one way of assuring the continued order and progress of production, the freedom of every individual, and the growing well-being of the workers; it is to transfer to the collectivity, to the social community, the ownership of the capitalistic means of production.

The proletariat, daily more numerous, ever better prepared for combined action by the great industry itself, understands that in collectiveness or communism lie the necessary means of salvation for it.

As an oppressed and exploited class, it opposes all the forces of oppression and exploitation, the whole system of ownership, which debases it to be a mere instrument. It does not expect its emancipation from the good will of rulers or the spontaneous generosity of the propertied classes, but from the continual and methodical pressure which it exerts upon the privileged class and the government.

It sets before itself as its final aim, not a partial amelioration, but the total transformation of society. And since it acknowledges no right as belonging to capitalistic ownership, it feels bound to it by no contract. It is determined to fight it, thoroughly, and to the end; and it is in this sense that the proletariat, even while using the legal means which democracy puts into its hands, is and must remain a revolutionary class.

Already by winning universal suffrage, by winning and exercising the right of combining to strike and of forming trade-unions, by the first laws regulating labor and causing society to insure its members, the proletariat has begun to react against the fatal effects of capitalism; it will continue this great and unceasing effort, but it will only end the struggle when all capitalist property has been reabsorbed by the community, and when the antagonism of classes has been ended by the disappearance of the classes themselves, reconciled, or rather made one, in common production and common ownership.

How will be accomplished the supreme transformation of the capitalist régime into the collectivist or communist? The human [284]mind cannot determine beforehand the mode in which history will be accomplished.

The democratic and bourgeois revolution, which originated in the great movement of France in 1789, has come about in different countries in the most different ways. The old feudal system has yielded in one case to force, in another to peaceful and slow evolution. The revolutionary bourgeoisie has at one place and time proceeded to brutal expropriation without compensation, at another to the buying out of feudal servitudes.

No one can know in what way the capitalist servitude will be abolished. The essential thing is that the proletariat should be always ready for the most vigorous and effective action. It would be dangerous to dismiss the possibility of revolutionary events occasioned either by the resistance or by the criminal aggression of the privileged class.

It would be fatal, trusting in the one word revolution, to neglect the great forces which the conscious, organized proletariat can employ within democracy.

These legal means, often won by revolution, represent an accumulation of revolutionary force, a revolutionary capital, of which it would be madness not to take advantage.

Too often the workers neglect to profit by the means of action which democracy and the Republic put into their hands. They do not demand from trade-unionist action, co-operative action, or universal suffrage, all that those forms of action can give.

No formula, no machinery, can enable the working-class to dispense with the constant effort of organization and education.

The idea of the general strike, of general strikes, is invincibly suggested to proletarians by the growing magnitude of working-class organization. They do not desire violence, which is very often the result of an insufficient organization and a rudimentary education of the proletariat; but they would make a great mistake if they did not employ the powerful means of action, which co-ordinates working-class forces to subserve the great interests of the workers or of society; they must group and organize themselves to be in a position to make the privileged class more and more emphatically aware of the gulf which may suddenly be cleft open in the economic life of societies by the abrupt stoppage of the worn-out and interminably exploited workers. They can thereby snatch from the selfishness of the privileged class great reforms interesting the working-class in general, and hasten the complete transformation of an unjust society. But the formula of the general strike, like the partial strike, like political action, is only valuable through the progress of the education, the thought, and the will of the working-class.

The Socialist party defends the Republic as a necessary means of liberation and education. Socialism is essentially republican. It might be even said to be the Republic itself, since it is the extension of the Republic to the régime of property and labor.

[285]The Socialist party needs, to organize the new world, free minds, emancipated from superstitions and prejudices. It asks for and guarantees every human being, every individual, absolute freedom of thinking, and writing, and affirming their beliefs. Over against all religions, dogmas, and churches, as well as over against the class conception of the bourgeoisie, it sets the unlimited right of free thought, the scientific conception of the universe, and a system of public education based exclusively on science and reason.

Thus accustomed to free thought and reflection, citizens will be protected against the sophistries of the capitalistic and clerical reaction. The small craftsmen, small traders, and small peasant proprietors will cease to think that it is Socialism which wishes to expropriate them. The Socialist party will hasten the hour when these small peasant proprietors, ruined by the underselling of their produce, riddled with mortgage debts, and always liable to judicial expropriation, will eventually understand the advantages of generalized and systematized association, and will claim themselves, as a benefit, the socialization of their plots of land.

But it would be useless to prepare inside each nation an organization of justice and peace, if the relations of the nations to one another remained exposed to every enterprise of force, every suggestion of capitalist greed.

The Socialist party desires peace among nations; it condemns every policy of aggression and war, whether continental or colonial. It constantly keeps on the order of the day for civilized countries simultaneous disarmament. While waiting for the day of definite peace among nations, it combats the militarist spirit by doing its utmost to approximate the system of permanent armies to that of national militias. It wishes to protect the territory and the independence of the nation against any surprise; but every offensive policy and offensive weapon is utterly condemned by it.

The close understanding of the workers, of the proletarians of every country, is necessary as well to beat back the forces of aggression and war as to prepare by a concerted action the general triumph of Socialism. The international agreement of the militant proletarians of every country will prepare the triumph of a free humanity, where the differences of classes will have disappeared, and the difference of nations, instead of being a principle of strife and hatred, will be a principle of brotherly emulation in the universal progress of mankind.

It is in this sense and for these reasons that the Socialist party has formulated in its congresses the rule and aim of its action—international understanding of the workers; political and economic organization of the proletariat as a class party for the conquest of government and the socialization of the means of production and exchange; that is to say, the transformation of capitalist society into a collectivist or communist society.

[286]II.—Program of Reforms

The Socialist party, rejecting the policy of all or nothing, has a program of reforms whose realization it pursues forthwith.

(1) Democratization of Public Authorities

1. Universal direct suffrage, without distinction of sex, in every election.

2. Reduction of time of residence. Votes to be cast for lists, with proportional representation, in every election.

3. Legislative measures to secure the freedom and secrecy of the vote.

4. Popular right of initiative and referendum.

5. Abolition of the Senate and Presidency of the Republic. The powers at present belonging to the President of the Republic and the Cabinet to devolve on an executive council appointed by the Parliament.

6. Legal regulation of the legislator's mandate, to be revocable by the vote of any absolute majority of his constituents on the register.

7. Admission of women to all public functions.

8. Absolute freedom of the press, and of assembly guaranteed only by the common law. Abrogation of all exceptional laws on the press. Freedom of civil associations.

9. Full administrative autonomy of the departments and communes, under no reservations but that of the laws guaranteeing the republican, democratic, and secular character of the State.

(2) Complete Secularization of the State

1. Separation of the Churches and the State; abolition of the Budget of Public Worship; freedom of public worship; prohibition of the political and collective action of the Churches against the civil laws and republican liberties.

2. Abolition of the congregations; nationalization of the property in mortmain, of every kind, belonging to them, and appropriation of it for works of social insurance and solidarity; in the interval, all industrial, agricultural, and commercial undertakings are to be forbidden to the congregations.

(3) Democratic and Humane Organization of Justice

1. Substitution for all the present courts, whether civil or criminal, of courts composed of a jury taken from the electoral register and judges elected under guarantees of competence; the jury to be formed by drawing lots from lists drawn up by universal suffrage.

2. Justice to be without fee. Transformation of ministerial [287]offices into public functions. Abolition of the monopoly of the bar.

3. Examination from opposite sides at every stage and on every point.

4. Substitution for the vindictive character of the present punishments, of a system for the safe keeping and the amelioration of convicts.

5. Abolition of the death penalty.

6. Abolition of the military and naval courts.

(4) Constitution of the Family in conformity with Individual Rights

1. Abrogation of every law establishing the civil inferiority of women and natural or adulterine children.

2. Most liberal legislation on divorce. A law sanctioning inquiry into paternity.

(5) Civic and Technical Education

1. Education to be free of charge at every stage.

2. Maintenance of the children in elementary schools at the expense of the public bodies.

3. For secondary and higher education, the community to pay for those of the children who on examination are pronounced fit usefully to continue their studies.

4. Creation of a popular higher education.

5. State monopoly of education at the three stages; as a means towards this, all members of the regular and secular clergy to be forbidden to open and teach in a school.

(6) General recasting of the System of Taxation upon Principles of Social Solidarity

1. Abolition of every tax on articles of consumption which are primary necessaries, and of the four direct contributions;[1] accessorily, relief from taxation of all small plots of land and small professional businesses.[2]

2. Progressive income-tax, levied on each person's income as a whole, in all cases where it exceeds 3,000 francs (£120).

3. Progressive tax on inheritances, the scale of progression being calculated with reference both to the amount of the inheritance and the degree of remoteness of the relationship.

4. The State to be empowered to seek a part of the revenue which it requires from certain monopolies.

[288](7) Legal Protection and Regulation of Labor in Industry, Commerce, and Agriculture

1. One day's rest per week, or prohibition of employers to exact work more than six days in seven.

2. Limitation of the working-day to eight hours; as a means towards this, vote of every regulation diminishing the length of the working-day.

3. Prohibition of the employment of children under fourteen; half-time system for young persons, productive labor being combined with instruction and education.

4. Prohibition of night-work for women and young persons. Prohibition of night-work for adult workers of all categories and in all industries where night-work is not absolutely necessary.

5. Legislation to protect home-workers.

6. Prohibition of piece-work and of truck. Legal recognition of blacklisting.

7. Scales of rates forming a minimum wage to be fixed by agreement between municipalities and the working-class corporations of industry, commerce, and agriculture.

8. Employers to be forbidden to make deductions from wages, as fines or otherwise. Workers to assist in framing special rules for workshops.

9. Inspection of workshops, mills, factories, mines, yards, public services, shops, etc., shall be carried out with reference to the conditions of work, hygiene, and safety, by inspectors elected by the workmen's unions, in concurrence with the State inspectors.

10. Extension of the industrial arbitration courts to all wage-workers of industry, commerce, and agriculture.

11. Convict labor to be treated as a State monopoly; the charge for all work done shall be the wage normally paid to trade-unionist workers.

12. Women to be forbidden by law to work for six weeks before confinement and for six weeks after.

(8) Social Insurance against all Natural and Economic Risks

1. Organization by the nation of a system of social insurance, applying to the whole mass of industrial, commercial, and agricultural workers, against the risks of sickness, accident, disability, old age, and unemployment.

2. The insurance funds to be found without drawing on wages; as a means towards this, limitation of the contribution drawn from the wage-workers to a third of the total contribution, the two other thirds to be provided by the State and the employers.

3. The law on workmen's accidents to be improved and applied without distinction or nationality.

4. The workers to take part in the control and administration of the insurance system.

[289](9) Extension of the Domain and Public Services, Industrial and Agricultural, of State, Department, and Commune

1. Nationalization of railways, mines, the Bank of France, insurance, the sugar refineries and sugar factories, the distilleries, and the great milling establishments.

2. Organization of public employment registries for the workers, with the assistance of the Bourses du Travail and the workmen's organizations: and abolition of the private registries.

3. State organization of agricultural banks.

4. Grants to rural communes to assist them to purchase agricultural machinery collectively, to acquire communal domains, worked under the control of the communes by unions of rural laborers, and to establish depôts and entrepôts.

5. Organization of communal services for lighting, water, common transport, construction, and public management of cheap dwellings.

6. Democratic administration of the public services, national and communal; organizations of workers to take part in their administration and control; all wage-earners in all public services to have the right of forming trade-unions.

7. National and communal service of public health, and strengthening of the laws which protect it—those on unhealthy dwellings, etc.

(10) Policy of International Peace and Adaptation of the Military Organization to the Defense of the Country

1. Substitution of a militia for the standing Army, and adoption of every measure, such as reductions of military service, leading up to it.

2. Remodeling and mitigation of the military penal code; abolition of disciplinary corps, and prohibition of the prolongation of military service by way of penalty.

3. Renunciation of all offensive war, no matter what its pretext.

4. Renunciation of every alliance not aimed exclusively at the maintenance of peace.

5. Renunciation of Colonial military expeditions; and in the present Colonies or Protectorates, withdrawn from the influence of missionaries and the military régime, development of institutions to protect the natives.


Adopted January 13, 1905

The representatives of the various Socialistic organizations of France: the revolutionary Socialist Labor Party, the Socialist [290]Party of France, the French Socialist Party, the independent federations of Bouches-du-Rhône, of Bretagne, of Hérault, of the Somme, and of l'Yonne, commanded by their respective parties and federations to form a union upon the basis indicated by the International Congress of Amsterdam, declare that the action of a unified party should be based upon the principles established by the International Congress, especially those held in France in 1900 and Amsterdam in 1904.

The divergence of views and the various interpretations of the tactics of the Socialists which have prevailed up to the present moment have been due to circumstances peculiar to France and to the absence of a general party organization.

The delegates declare their common desire to form a party based upon the class war which, at the same time, will utilize to its profit the struggles of the laboring classes and unite their action with that of a political party organized for the defense of the rights of the proletariat, whose interests will always rest in a party fundamentally and irreconcilably opposed to all the bourgeois classes and to the state which is their instrument.

Therefore the delegates declare that their respective organizations are prepared to collaborate immediately in this work of the unification of all the Socialistic forces in France, upon the following basis, unanimously adopted:

1. The Socialist Party is a class party which has for its aim the socialization of the means of production and exchange, that is to say, to transform the present capitalistic society into a collective or communistic society by means of the political and economic organization of the proletariat. By its aims, by its ideals, by the power which it employs, the Socialist Party, always seeking to realize the immediate reforms demanded by the working class, is not a party of reforms, but a party of class war and revolution.

2. The members of Parliament elected by the party form a unique group opposed to all the factions of the bourgeois parties. The Socialist group in Parliament must refuse to sustain all of those means which assure the domination of the bourgeoisie in government and their maintenance in power: must therefore refuse to vote for military appropriations, appropriations for colonial conquest, secret funds, and the budget.

Even in the most exceptional circumstances the Socialist members must not pledge the party without its consent.

In Parliament the Socialist group must consecrate itself to defending and extending the political liberties and rights of the working classes and to the realization of those reforms which ameliorate the conditions of life in the struggle for existence of the working class.

The deputies should always hold themselves at the disposition of the party, giving themselves to the general propaganda, the organization of the proletariat, and constantly working toward the ultimate goal of Socialism.

3. Every member of the legislature individually, as well as [291]each militant Socialist, is subject to the control of his federation; all of the officials in all of the groups are subject to the central organization. In every case the national congress has the final jurisdiction over all party matters.

4. There shall be complete freedom of discussion in the press concerning questions of principle and policy, but the conduct of all the Socialist publications must be strictly in accord with the decisions of the national congress as interpreted by the executive committee of the party. Journals which are or may become the property of the party, either of the national party or of the federations, will naturally be placed under the management of authorities permanently established for that purpose by the party or the federations. Journals which are not the property of the party, but proclaim themselves as Socialistic, must conform strictly to the resolutions of the congress as interpreted by the proper party authorities, and they should insert all the official communications of the party and party notices, as they may be requested to do. The central committee of the party may remind such journals of the policies of the party, and if they are recalcitrant may propose to the congress that all intercourse between them and the party be broken.

5. Members of Parliament shall not be appointed members of the central committee, but they shall be represented on the central committee by a committee equal to one-tenth of the number of delegates, and in no case shall their representation be less than five. The Federation shall not appoint as delegates to the Central Committee "militants" who reside within the limits of the Federation.

6. The party will take measures for insuring, on the part of the officials, respect for the mandates of the party, and will fix the amount of their assessment.

7. A congress charged with the definite organization of the party will be convened as soon as possible upon the basis of proportional representation fixed, first upon the number of members paying dues, and second upon the number of votes cast in the general elections of 1902.




There are a great many "fractions" in German politics. But, following the Continental custom, they are all grouped into three divisions, the Left or Radical, Right or Conservative, and the Center. In Germany the Center is the Catholic or Clerical Party. The leading groups are as follows:

1. Conservative.—The "German Conservatives" are the old tories; the "Free Conservatives" profess, but rarely show, a tendency toward liberal ideas, although they have, at intervals, opposed ministerial measures. The Conservatives are for the Government (Regierung) first, last, and all the time. They were a powerful factor under Bismarck and docile in his hands. Since his day they have suffered many defeats because of their reactionary policy. But the group still is the Kaiser's party, the stronghold of modern medievalism, opposed to radical reforms, and adhering to "the grace of God" policy of monarchism. Economically they are junker and "big business." The anti-Socialist laws were the expression of their ideas as to Socialism and the way to quench it.

2. National Liberal.—This party is not liberal, in the sense that England or America knows liberalism. It is really only a less conservative party than the extreme Right, although it began as the brilliant Progressist Party of the early '60's. It was triumphant in the Prussian Diet until Bismarck shattered it on his war policy. In the first Reichstag it had 116 members, nearly one-third of the whole. But Bismarck needed it, got it, and left it quite as conservative as he wished. It voted for the anti-Socialist laws and for state insurance.

3. Progressive (Freisinnige, literally, "free-minded").—This faction is a cession from the old Progressist Party of which Lassalle was a member for a few months. They are Radicals of a very moderate type, and are opposed to the junker bureaucracy. There are two wings—the People's Party (Freisinnige Volkspartei) and the Progressive Union (Freisinnige Vereinigung). It is a constitutional party, and has counted in its ranks such eminent scholars as Professor Virchow and Professor Theodor Mommsen. They are in favor of ministerial responsibility, are free traders of the Manchester type, opposed to state intervention and state insurance, but favor factory inspection, sanitation, and other social legislation. They are in favor of freedom in religion, trade, and education, and espouse ballot reform. They have a well-organized party, but do not [293]seem effective in winning elections. They share, to some degree, with the Social Democrats the prejudice of the religious folk against free-thinking and religious latitudinarianism. It is the middle-class party of protest against bureaucracy.

4. The Center, or Catholic Party, is a homogeneous, isolated, well-disciplined, inflexible group, dominated by loyalty to their religion. Whenever they have co-operated with the government it has been in return for favors shown. The ranks of this party were closed by the Culturkampf, which resulted in the expulsion of the Jesuit orders and the separation of the elementary schools from the Church. The party is reactionary in politics and economics.

5. Anti-Semitic.—The name discloses the ideals of a party inspired by dread and hatred of an element that comprises less than 1.5 per cent. of the population, and whose political disabilities were not all removed until 1850 in Prussia and 1869 in Mecklenburg. This party was formed in 1880, largely through the agitation of the Court Chaplain, Pastor Stöcker, whose diatribes were peculiarly effective in Berlin, where some very disgraceful scenes were enacted by members of this party.

6. Independent groups are formed by the various nationalities that are under subjection to German dominance. These are the Danish, Hannoverian, Alsace-Lorraine, and Polish groups. They usually are grouped with the Center.

7. There are also a number of independent members in the Reichstag. They adhere loosely to the larger groups, but as a rule merit the name given them—Wilden, "wild ones."

The accompanying table (p. 297) shows the distribution of seats in the Reichstag, for the past thirty years.


Analysis of the New Election Law of Saxony

A. One vote—every male 25 years of age.

B. Two votes, every male, as follows:

1. Those who have an annual income of over 1,600 marks ($400).

2. Those who hold public office or a permanent private position with an annual income of over 1,400 marks ($350).

3. Those who are eligible to vote for Landskulturrat (Agricultural Board) or Gewerbskammer (Chamber of Commerce) and from their business have an income of over 1,400 marks. (This includes merchants, landowners, and manufacturers.)

4. Those who are owners or beneficiaries of property in the kingdom from which they have an income of 1,250 marks ($312.50) a year, and upon which at least 100 tax units are assessed.

[294]5. Those who own, or are beneficiaries of, land in the kingdom, to the extent of at least 2 hectares, devoted to agriculture, or forestry, or horticulture, or more than one-half hectare devoted to gardening or wine culture.

6. Those who have conducted such professional studies as entitle them to the one-year volunteer military service.

C. The following have three votes:

1. Those who have an income of over 2,200 marks ($550).

2. Those in division B, 2 and 3, who have an income from office or position of over 1,900 marks ($475).

3. Those who are not in private or public service and have a professional income of over 1,900 marks. (This includes lawyers, physicians, artists, engineers, publicists, authors, professors.)

4. Those in B, 4, whose income is over 1,600 marks ($400).

5. Those in B, 5, with 4 hectares devoted to agriculture, etc., and 1 hectare to gardening or wine culture.

D. The following have four votes:

1. Those who have an income of 2,800 marks ($700).

2. Those in B, 2 and 3, or in C, 3, with an income over 2,500 marks ($625).

3. Those in B, 4, with an annual income of over 2,200 marks ($550).

4. Those in B, 5, with 8 hectares devoted to agriculture or 2 hectares devoted to gardening or wine culture.

E. Voters over 50 years old have an extra vote (Alters-stimme), but no voter is allowed over four votes.

Sachsen-Altenburg, in 1908-9, modified its election laws as follows: The legislature is composed of 9 representatives elected by the cities; 12 by the rural districts; 7 by the highest taxpayers; one each by the Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Agriculture, the Craft guilds (Handwerks-kammer), and the Labor Council (Arbeiter-kammer). The vigorous protest of the Social Democrats did not avail against the passage of this law.

Saxe-Weimar recently modified its election law as follows: All citizens of communes were given the right to vote. The great feudal estates (165 persons in 1909) elect 5 representatives to the Diet; the rest of the highest taxpayers, i.e., those who have a taxable income of over 3,000 marks, elect 5. The University of Jena elects 1 member, the Chamber of Commerce 1, the Handwerks-kammer (Craft Guilds) 1, Landwirthschaftkammer (Agricultural Board) 1, the Arbeitskammer (Labor Council) 1. There are 38 members in the Diet: the remaining 23 are elected at large.



Industrial Insurance in Germany, 1908.

Sick benefits: Number insured 13,189,599  
  Men 9,880,541  
  Women 3,309,058  
  Income 365,994,000 marks
  Outlay 331,049,900 marks
Accident Insurance: Number insured 23,674,000  
  Men 14,795,400  
  Women 8,878,600  
  Income 207,550,500 marks
  Outlay 157,884,700 marks
Old-Age Pensions: Number insured 15,226,000  
  Men 10,554,000  
  Women 4,672,000  
  Income 285,882,000 marks
  Outlay 181,476,800 marks

From 1885 to 1908 a total of 9,791,376,100 marks ($2,447,844,025) was paid out in industrial insurance. (Compiled from Statistisches Jahrbuch des Deutschen Reiches.)


Name of Union Membership No. of Unions Amount in Treasury—Marks
  1908 1909 1908 1909 1908 1909
Social Democratic 1,831,731 1,892,568 11,024 11,725 40,839,791 43,743,793
Hirsh-Duncker 105,633 108,028 2,095 2,102 4,210,413 4,372,495
Christian 264,519 280,061 3,212 3,856 4,513,409 5,365,338
Patriotic 16,507 9,957 69 91 57,786 24,858
"Yellow" 47,532 53,849 79 85 386,305 437,602
Independent* 615,873 654,240     1,357,802 1,655,325
* This is a nondescript group of local organizations, containing (1909) 56,183 Poles, as well as the organization of railwaymen, telegraph operators, postal employees, all in the government service, and organized as friendly societies rather than as fighting bodies. Government employees are not supposed to participate in "Unionism." Compiled from Statistisches Jahrbuch des Deutschen Reiches.


Election Year 1871 1874 1877 1878 1881 1884 1887 1890 1893 1898 1903 1907 1912
Population of Empire 40,997,000 42,004,000 43,610,000 44,129,000 45,428,000 46,336,000 47,630,000 49,241,000 50,757,000 54,406,000 58,629,000 61,983,000 65,407,000
Number of voters 7,656,000 8,523,000 8,943,000 9,128,000 9,090,000 9,383,000 9,770,000 10,146,000 10,628,000 11,441,000 12,531,000 13,353,000 14,442,000
Number who voted 3,885,000 5,190,000 5,401,000 5,761,000 5,098,000 5,663,000 7,541,000 7,229,000 7,674,000 7,753,000 9,496,000 11,304,000 12,207,000
Per cent. of vote cast 51.0 61.2 60.6 63.3 56.3 60.6 77.5 71.6 72.2 68.1 75.8 84.7 84.5
Conservative 549,000 360,000 526,000 749,000 831,000 861,000 1,147,000 895,000 1,038,000 859,000 935,000 1,099,000 1,126,000
Imperial Conservative 346,000 376,000 427,000 786,000 379,000 388,000 736,000 482,000 438,000 344,000 333,000 494,000 383,000
Anti-Semites 12,000 48,000 264,000 284,000 249,000 261,000
Other Conservative Groups 66,000 250,000 250,000 230,000 272,000 424,000
Center 724,000 1,446,000 1,341,000 1,328,000 1,183,000 1,282,000 1,516,000 1,342,000 1,469,000 1,455,000 1,866,000 2,159,000 1,991,000
Guelphs 73,000 72,000 86,000 107,000 87,000 96,000 113,000 113,000 106,000 109,000 101,000 94,000 91,000
Danes 21,000 20,000 17,000 16,000 14,000 14,000 12,000 14,000 14,000 15,000 15,000 15,000 17,000
Poles 176,000 209,000 216,000 216,000 201,000 203,000 220,000 247,000 230,000 252,000 354,000 458,000 448,000
Alsatians 190,000 149,000 130,000 147,000 166,000 234,000 101,000 115,000 107,000 127,000 107,000 157,000
National Liberal 1,171,000 1,499,000 1,470,000 1,331,000 747,000 997,000 1,678,000 1,179,000 997,000 984,000 1,338,000 1,696,000 1,723,000
Other Liberal groups 281,000 98,000 89,000 69,000 429,000 258,000 235,000 285,000 435,000
Progressist or Radical 361,000 469,000 403,000 388,000 649,000 997,000 973,000 1,160,000 666,000 558,000 538,000 744,000
People's Party 50,000 39,000 49,000 69,000 108,000 96,000 89,000 148,000 167,000 109,000 92,000 139,000
Social Democrats 124,000 352,000 493,000 437,000 312,000 550,000 763,000 1,427,000 1,787,000 2,107,000 3,011,000 3,259,000 4,250,000
* In round numbers. From Kürschner's Deutscher Reichstag, p. 24.


The Years are those of General Elections—Excepting 1911

  Party or Faction. 1881 1884 1887 1890 1893 1898 1900 1903 1906 1907 1911 1912
Conservatives 50 76 80 72 67 53 51 52 52 58 59 43
German or Imperial Conservatives 27 28 41 20 28 22 20 19 22 22 25 14
"Wild" Conservatives 1 2 1 5 4 7 6 1 4 2 2
Anti-Semites 1 5 16 14 13 11 14 20
League of Landowners 5 4 3 4 7
Bavarian Land League 4 5 3 3 3 1 2
Center 98 99 98 106 96 102 102 100 100 104 103 90
Poles 18 16 13 16 19 15 14 16 16 20 20 18
Guelphs 10 11 4 11 7 9 7 7 7 2 3 5
Alsatians 15 15 15 10 8 10 10 10 10 8 7 9
Danes 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
"Wild" Clericals 2 1 1 1
National Liberals 45 51 98 41 53 48 53 50 51 54 51 45
United Progressives (Radicals)
14 13 15 9 10 14
Other Progressive groups (Radicals) 59 23 29 28 21 20 28
People's Party 8 7 10 11 8 7 6 6 7    
"Wild" Liberals 3 3 3 5 1 3 3 2 4 4 2
  Social Democrats* 12 24 11 35 44 56 58 81 79 43 53 110
* They form the extreme Radical Left.
(These groups are those given in Kürchner's Deutscher Reichstag, p. 398.)


Adopted at Erfurt, 1891

The economic development of bourgeois society leads by natural necessity to the downfall of the small industry, whose foundation is formed by the worker's private ownership of his means of production. It separates the worker from his means of production, and converts him into a propertyless proletarian, while the means of production become the monopoly of a relatively small number of capitalists and large landowners.

Hand-in-hand with this monopolization of the means of production goes the displacement of the dispersed small industries by colossal great industries, the development of the tool into the machine, and a gigantic growth in the productivity of human labor. But all the advantages of this transformation are monopolized by capitalists and large landowners. For the proletariat and the declining intermediate classes—petty bourgoisie and peasants—it means a growing augmentation of the insecurity of their existence, of misery, oppression, enslavement, debasement, and exploitation.

Ever greater grows the number of proletarians, ever more enormous the army of surplus workers, ever sharper the opposition between exploiters and exploited, ever bitterer the class-war between bourgeoisie and proletariat, which divides modern society into two hostile camps, and is the common hall-mark of all industrial countries.

The gulf between the propertied and the propertyless is further widened through the crises, founded in the essence of the capitalistic method of production, which constantly become more comprehensive and more devastating, which elevate general insecurity to the normal condition of society, and which prove that the powers of production of contemporary society have grown beyond measure, and that private ownership of the means of production has become incompatible with their application to their objects and their full development.

Private ownership of the means of production, which was formerly the means of securing to the producer the ownership of his product, has to-day become the means of expropriating peasants, manual workers, and small traders, and enabling the non-workers—capitalists and large landowners—to own the product of the workers. Only the transformation of capitalistic private ownership of the means of production—the soil, mines, raw materials, tools, machines, and means of transport—into social ownership and the transformation of production of goods for sale into Socialistic production managed for and through society, can bring it about, that the great industry and the steadily growing productive capacity of social labor shall for the hitherto exploited classes be changed from a source of [299]misery and oppression to a source of the highest welfare and of all-round harmonious perfection.

This social transformation means the emancipation not only of the proletariat, but of the whole human race which suffers under the conditions of to-day. But it can only be the work of the working-class, because all the other classes, in spite of mutually conflicting interests, take their stand on the basis of private ownership of the means of production, and have as their common object the preservation of the principles of contemporary society.

The battle of the working-class against capitalistic exploitation is necessarily a political battle. The working-class cannot carry on its economic battles or develop its economic organization without political rights. It cannot effect the passing of the means of production into the ownership of the community without acquiring political power.

To shape this battle of the working-class into a conscious and united effort, and to show it its naturally necessary end, is the object of the Social Democratic Party.

The interests of the working-class are the same in all lands with capitalistic methods of production. With the expansion of world-transport and production for the world-market the state of the workers in any one country becomes constantly more dependent on the state of the workers in other countries. The emancipation of the working-class is thus a task in which the workers of all civilized countries are concerned in a like degree. Conscious of this, the Social Democratic Party of Germany feels and declares itself one with the class-conscious workers of all other lands.

The Social Democratic Party of Germany fights thus not for new class-privileges and exceptional rights, but for the abolition of class-domination and of the classes themselves, and for the equal rights and equal obligations of all, without distinction of sex and parentage. Setting out from these views, it combats in contemporary society not merely the exploitation and oppression of the wage-workers, but every kind of exploitation and oppression, whether directed against a class, a party, a sex, or a race.

Setting out from these principles the Social Democratic Party of Germany demands immediately—

1. Universal equal direct suffrage and franchise, with direct ballot, for all members of the Empire over twenty years of age, without distinction of sex, for all elections and acts of voting. Proportional representation; and until this is introduced, re-division of the constituencies by law according to the numbers of population. A new Legislature every two years. Fixing of elections and acts of voting for a legal holiday. Indemnity for the elected representatives. Removal of every curtailment of political rights except in case of tutelage.

2. Direct legislation by the people by means of the initiative and referendum. Self-determination and self-government of the [300]people in empire, state, province, and commune. Authorities to be elected by the people; to be responsible and bound. Taxes to be voted annually.

3. Education of all to be capable of bearing arms. Armed nation instead of standing army. Decision of war and peace by the representatives of the people. Settlement of all international disputes by the method of arbitration.

4. Abolition of all laws which curtail or suppress the free expression of opinion and the right of association and assembly.

5. Abolition of all laws which are prejudicial to women in their relations to men in public or private law.

6. Declaration that religion is a private matter. Abolition of all contributions from public funds to ecclesiastical and religious objects. Ecclesiastical and religious communities are to be treated as private associations, which manage their affairs quite independently.

7. Secularization of education. Compulsory attendance of public primary schools. No charges to be made for instruction, school requisites, and maintenance, in the public primary schools; nor in the higher educational institutions for those students, male and female, who in virtue of their capacities are considered fit for further training.

8. No charge to be made for the administration of the law, or for legal assistance. Judgment by popularly elected judges. Appeal in criminal cases. Indemnification of innocent persons prosecuted, arrested, or condemned. Abolition of the death-penalty.

9. No charges to be made for medical attendance, including midwifery and medicine. No charges to be made for death certificates.

10. Graduated taxes on income and property, to meet all public expenses as far as these are to be covered by taxation. Obligatory self-assessment. A tax on inheritance, graduated according to the size of the inheritance and the degree of kinship. Abolition of all indirect taxes, customs, and other politico-economic measures which sacrifice the interests of the whole community to the interests of a favored minority.

For the protection of the working-class the Social Democratic Party of Germany demands immediately—

1. An effective national and international legislation for the protection of workmen on the following basis:

(a) Fixing of a normal working-day with a maximum of eight hours.

(b) Prohibition of industrial work for children under fourteen years.

(c) Prohibition of night-work, except for such branches of industry as, in accordance with their nature, require night-work, for technical reasons, or reasons of public welfare.

(d) An uninterrupted rest of at least thirty-six hours in every week for every worker.

(e) Prohibition of the truck system.

[301]2. Inspection of all industrial businesses, investigation and regulation of labor relations in town and country by an Imperial Department of Labor, district labor departments, and chambers of labor. Thorough industrial hygiene.

3. Legal equalization of agricultural laborers and domestic servants with industrial workers; removal of the special regulations affecting servants.

4. Assurance of the right of combination.

5. Workmen's insurance to be taken over bodily by the Empire; and the workers to have an influential share in its administration.

6. Separation of the Churches and the State.

(a) Suppression of the grant for public worship.

(b) Philosophic or religious associations to be civil persons at law.

7. Revision of sections in the Civil Code concerning marriage and the paternal authority.

(a) Civil equality of the sexes, and of children, whether natural or legitimate.

(b) Revision of the divorce laws, maintaining the husband's liability to support the wife or the children.

(c) Inquiry into paternity to be legalized.

(d) Protective measures in favor of children materially or morally abandoned.


Inasmuch as our communes are hindered in the fulfilment of their economic and political duties by reactionary laws, we demand:

A.—Of the State:

1. A change of the municipal code, granting genuine local autonomy. A single representative chamber, a four-year term of office, one-half retiring every two years. Universal adult suffrage, secret ballot, the franchise not to be denied to those receiving public aid.

2. Radical tax reform, through the establishing of a uniform, progressive income and property tax, collected by the communes; local taxes to be assessed upon increment value; and prohibition of all taxes upon the necessaries of life.

3. A common-school law providing universal public education free from all religious bias, compulsory up to fourteen years of age. Obligatory secondary schools, the inclusion of social and political economy in their curricula; the defraying of expenses of pupils by the state. Substitution of professional supervision of schools for clerical supervision.

4. Enactment of a domiciliary law, in place of the present [302]inadequate laws, providing for all the necessary sanitary and socio-political demands. Extending the municipalities' right of condemnation to the extent that towns may erect houses and schools, open streets, and make all necessary public improvements demanded by the public welfare.

5. Passage of a sanitary code. Regulation of sanitation in the public interests. Free medical attendance at births. Public nurseries.

6. The administration of public charities by the local authorities.

B.—Of the Commune We Demand:

1. Abolishing all taxes upon the rights of citizenship and of residence. Granting of full franchise rights after one year's residence.

2. Elections to be held on a holiday or on Sunday.

3. Pensions for communal employees.

4. The cost of local administration to be borne by local property or from additions to the direct state taxes. Abolishing of all indirect taxes. Denial of all public aid to the Church.

5. All public services to be conducted by the commune; these to be considered as public conveniences and necessities, and not to serve a mere pecuniary interest, but to be run as the public welfare demands. Rational development of existing water-power, means of communication, etc.

6. Stipulating, in every contract for municipal work, the wages to be paid, and other conditions of labor, such arrangements to be made with the labor organizations; the right to organize into unions not to be denied to laborers and municipal employees and officers. Abolishing of strike clause in contracts for public works. Prohibition, of the sub-contractor system. Securing wages of workmen by bonds. Forbidding municipal officers participating in any business that will bring them into contract relations with the municipality.

7. Development of a public school system which shall be non-sectarian and free to all. Restricting the number of pupils in the classes as far as practical. Furnishing free meals and clothing to needy school children; such service not to be counted as public charity. Establishing continuation schools for both sexes, and schools for backward children. Establishing of public reading-rooms and free public libraries.

8. The advancement of public housing plans. The purchasing of large land areas by the municipality, to prevent speculation in building lots. Simplification of the procedure in examination of building plans, and the granting of building permits. Simplifying the regulations pertaining to the building of cottages and small residences. Municipal aid in the building of workingmen's homes. Providing cheaper homes in municipal houses and tenements. Providing loans of public moneys to building associations and agricultural associations. Leasing of land by the [303]municipality. Municipal inspection of dwellings and of all buildings, the municipality to keep close scrutiny on all real estate developments. Establishment of a public bureau of homes, where information and aid can be secured, and where proper statistics can be gathered concerning building conditions.

9. Providing for cheap and wholesome food through the regulation and supervision of its importation and inspection.

10. Extension of sanitation. Conducting hospitals according to modern medical science. Establishing municipal lying-in hospitals. Free burials.

11. Public care for the poor and orphans. The bettering of the economic condition of women. The granting of aid out of public funds. Public inspection and control of all orphanages, hospitals for children, and nurseries.

12. The establishment of public labor bureaus, which are to act as employment agencies, information bureaus, gather labor statistics, and supervise the sociological activities of the municipality.

Providing work for those in need of employment, on the public works of the commune. Provision for the support of those out of work in co-operation, with the labor unions' efforts in the same direction. The extension of municipal factory inspection and labor laws, as far as the general laws permit. Appointment of laborers as building inspectors. The development of the industrial and commercial courts. Sunday as a day of rest.

13. Liberal wages to be paid workmen employed on public works. Fixing a minimum wage in accordance with the rules of the labor unions; formation of public loan and credit system; eight-hour day. Insuring public employees against sickness, accident, and old age. Making provision for widows and orphans of public employees. Right to organize not to be denied all municipal employees and officials. Recognition of the unions. Annual vacation, on full pay, to every municipal employee and official. Municipal employees to be given their wages during their attendance on military manœuvers, and the payment of the difference between their wages and their sick-benefits in case of illness.

14. Formation of a union of communes or towns, when isolated municipalities find themselves impotent in securing these demands.


On the 12th of January, 1912, the general election for the Reichstag takes place. Rarely have the voters been called upon to participate in a more consequential election. This election will determine whether, in the succeeding years, the policy of [304]oppression and plundering shall be carried still farther, or whether the German people shall finally achieve their rights.

In the Reichstag elections of 1907 the voters were deceived by the government and the so-called national parties: many millions of voters allowed themselves to be deluded. The Reichstag of the "National" bloc from Heydebrand down to Weimar and Nauman has made nugatory the laws pertaining to the rights of coalition; has restricted the use of the non-Germanic languages in public meetings; has virtually robbed the youth of the right of coalition, and has favored every measure for the increase of the army, navy, and colonial exploitation.

The result of their reactionaryism is an enormous increase of the burdens of taxation. In spite of the fact that in 1906 over 200,000,000 marks increase was voted, in stamp tax, tobacco tax, etc., in spite of the sacred promise of the government, through its official organ, that no new taxes were being contemplated, the government has, through its "financial reforms," increased our burden over five hundred millions.

Liberals and Conservatives were unanimous in declaring that four-fifths of this enormous sum should be raised through an increase in indirect taxes, the greater part of which is collected from laborers, clerks, shopkeepers, artisans, and farmers. Inasmuch as the parties to the Bülow-bloc could not agree upon the distribution of the property tax and the excise tax, the bloc was dissolved and a new coalition appeared—an alliance between the holy ones and the knights (Block der Ritter und der Heiligen). This new bloc rescued the distiller from the obligations of an excise tax, defeated the inheritance tax, which would have fallen upon the wealthy, and placed upon the shoulders of the working people a tax of hundreds of millions, which is paid through the consumption of beer, whiskey, tobacco, cigars, coffee, tea—yea, even of matches. This Conservative-Clerical bloc further showed its contempt for the working people in the way it amended the state insurance laws. It robbed the workingman of his rights and denied to mothers and their babes necessary protection and adequate care.

In this manner the gullibility of the voters who were responsible for the Hottentot elections of 1907 was revenged. Since that date every by-election for the Reichstag, as well as for the provincial legislatures and municipal councils, has shown remarkable gains in the Social Democratic vote. The reactionaries were consequently frightened, and now they resort to the usual election trick of diverting the attention of the voters from internal affairs to international conditions, and appeal to them under the guise of nationalism.

The Morocco incident gave welcome opportunity for this ruse. At home and abroad the capitalistic war interests and the nationalistic jingoes stirred the animosities of the peoples. They drove their dangerous play so far that even the Chancellor found himself forced to reprimand his junker colleagues for [305]using their patriotism for partisan purposes. But the attempt to bolster up the interests of the reactionary parties with our international complications continues in spite of this.

Voters, be on your guard! Remember that on election day you have in your hand the power to choose between peace or war.

The outcome of this election is no less important in its bearing upon internal affairs.

Count Bülow declared, before the election of 1907, "the fewer the Social Democrats, the greater the social reforms." The opposite is true. The last few years conclusively demonstrate this. The socio-political mills have rattled, but they have produced very little flour.

In order to capture their votes for the "national" candidates, the state employees and officials were promised an increase in their pay. To the high-salaried officials the new Reichstag doled out the increase with spades, to the poorly paid humble employees with spoons. And this increase in pay was counterbalanced by an increase in taxes and the rising cost of living.

To the people the government refused to give any aid, in spite of their repeated requests for some relief against the constantly increasing prices of the necessities of life. And, while the Chancellor profoundly maintained that the press exaggerated the actual conditions of the rise in prices, the so-called saviors of the middle class—the Center, the Conservatives, the anti-Semites and their following—rejected every proposal of the Social Democrats for relieving the situation, and actually laid the blame for the rise in prices upon their own middle-class tradesmen and manufacturers.

New taxes, high cost of living, denial of justice, increasing danger of war—that is what the Reichstag of 1907, which was ushered in with such high-sounding "national" tom-toms, has brought you. And the day of reckoning is at hand. Voters of Germany, elect a different majority! The stronger you make the Social Democratic representation in the Reichstag, the firmer you anchor the world's peace and your country's welfare!

The Social Democracy seeks the conquest of political power, which is now in the hands of the property classes, and is mis-used by them to the detriment of the masses. They denounce us as "revolutionists." Foolish phraseology! The bourgeois-capitalistic society is no more eternal than have been the earlier forms of the state and preceding social orders. The present order will be replaced by a higher order, the Socialistic order, for which the Social Democracy is constantly striving. Then the solidarity of all peoples will be accomplished and life will be made more humane for all. The pathway to this new social order is being paved by our capitalistic development, which contains all the germs of the New Order within itself.

For us the duty is prescribed to use every means at hand for [306]the amelioration of existing evils, and to create conditions that will raise the standard of living of the masses.

Therefore we demand:

1. The democratizing of the state in all of its activities. An open pathway to opportunity. A chance for every one to develop his aptitudes. Special privileges to none. The right person in the right place.

2. Universal, direct, equal, secret ballot for all persons twenty years of age without distinction of sex, and for all representative legislative bodies. Referendum for setting aside the present unjust election district apportionment and its attendant electoral abuses.

3. A parliamentary government. Responsible ministry. Establishment of a department for the control of foreign affairs. Giving the people's representatives in the Reichstag the power to declare war or maintain peace. Consent of the Reichstag to all state appropriations.

4. Organization of the national defense along democratic lines. Militia service for all able-bodied men. Reducing service in the standing army to the lowest terms consistent with safety. Training youth in the use of arms. Abolition of the privilege of one-year volunteer service. Abolition of all unnecessary expense for uniforms in army and navy.

5. Abolition of "class-justice" and of administrative injustice. Reform of the penal code, along lines of modern culture and jurisprudence. Abolition of all privileges pertaining to the administration of justice.

6. Security to all workingmen, employees, and officials in their right to combine, to meet, and to organize.

7. Establishment of a national Department of Labor, officials of this Department to be elected by the interests represented upon the basis of universal and equal suffrage. Extension of factory inspection by the participation of workingmen and workingwomen in the same. Legalized universal eight-hour day, shortening the hours of labor in industries that are detrimental to health.

8. Reform of industrial insurance, exemption of farm laborers and domestic servants from contributing to insurance funds. Direct election of representatives in the administration of the insurance funds; enlarging the representation of labor on the board of directors; increasing the amounts paid workingmen; lowering age for old-age pensions from 70 to 65 years; aid to expectant mothers; and free medical attendance.

9. Complete religious freedom. Separation of Church and State, and of school and Church. No support of any kind, from public funds, for religious purposes.

10. Universal, free schools as the basis of all education. Free text-books. Freedom for art and science.

11. Diminution and ultimate abolition of all indirect taxes, and abolition of all taxes on the necessities of life. Abolition of duties on foodstuffs. Limiting the restrictions upon the [307]importation of cattle, fowl, and meat to the necessary sanitary measures. Reduction in the tariff, especially in those schedules which encourage the development of syndicates and pools, thereby enabling products of German manufacture to be sold cheaper abroad than at home.

12. The support of all measures that tend to develop commerce and trade. Abolition of tax on railway tickets. A stamp tax on bills of lading.

13. A graduated income, property, and inheritance tax; inasmuch as this is the most effective way of dampening the ardor of the rich for a constantly increasing army and navy.

14. Internal improvements and colonization; the transformation of great estates into communal holdings, thereby making possible a greater food supply and a corresponding lowering of prices. The establishment of public farms and agricultural schools. The reclamation of swamp-lands, moors, and dunes. The cessation of foreign colonization now done for the purpose of exploiting foreign peoples for the sake of gain.

Voters of Germany! New naval and military appropriations await you; these will increase the burdens of your taxes by hundreds of millions. As on former occasions, so now the ruling class will attempt to roll these heavy burdens upon the shoulders of the humble, and thereby increase the burden of existence of the family.

Therefore, let the women, upon whom the burden of the household primarily rests, and who are to-day without political rights, take active part in this work of emancipation and join themselves with determination to our cause, which is also their cause.

Voters of Germany! If you are in accord with these principles, then give your votes on the 12th of January to the Social Democratic Party. Help prepare the foundations for a new and better state whose motto shall be:

Death to Want and Idleness! Work, Bread, and Justice for all!

Let your battle-cry on election day resound: Long live the Social Democracy!

Executive Committee of the Social Democratic
Representation in the Reichstag.

Berlin, December 5, 1911.


[1] Personal tax; tax on movables; tax on land; door and window tax.

[2] A license to trade is required for many businesses in France.




The Catholic Church essayed to organize in Belgium a "Christian Socialist" movement, patterned after Bishop Kettler's movement in the Rhine provinces. The movement was called "Fédération des Sociétés Ouvriers Catholiques" and grew to considerable power. The federation soon, however, developed democratic tendencies that separated it from the Clerical Party, and the Abbé Daens, their first deputy in the Chamber of Representatives, provoked the hostility of the ecclesiastical authorities and was deprived of his clerical prerogatives.

The Catholic labor unions, which did not join in this democratic movement, have in the last few years developed some strength, and have now about 20,000 members.

The Progressists or Radicals have from the first been favorable to labor and have in their ranks many workmen from the industries "de luxe," such as bronze workers, jewelers, art craftsmen, etc.

The Liberals have a trades-union organization which does not flourish. It has about 2,000 members. The Liberals have, however, together with the Progressists, some influence over the independent unions, with their 32,000 members.

The Socialist labor unions are the largest and most powerful. Their average yearly membership in the years 1885-90 was 40,234; in 1899 it was 61,451; in 1909 it had increased to 103,451.


Table Showing the Development of Co-operative Societies in Belgium

Year No. of Societies Sales—Francs Profits—Francs No. of Members No. of Employees Value of Realty Francs Paid-up Capital Francs
1904 168 26,936,873 3,140,210 103,349 1785 10,302,059 1,146,651
1905 161 28,174,563 3,035,941 119,581 1752 12,091,300 1,655,061
1906 162 33,569,359 3,493,586 126,993 1809 12,844,976 1,694,878
1907 166 39,103,673 3,843,568 134,694 2093 14,280,955 1,940,175
1908 175 40,655,359 3,855,444 140,730 2128 14,837,114 1,942,266
1909 199 43,288,867 4,678,559 148,042 2223 15,850,158 1,893,616

Table Showing the Growth of the Wholesale Co-operative Movement in
Belgium from the Date of Its Beginning in 1901[309]

Year Amount of Business Done—Francs
1901    760,356
1902 1,211,439
1903 1,485,573
1904 1,608,475
1905 2,219,842
1906 2,416,372
1907 2,796,196
1908 2,995,615
1909 3,221,849
1910 4,489,996


Adopted at Brussels in 1893

Declaration of Principles

1. The constituents of wealth in general, and in particular the means of production, are either natural agencies or the fruit of the labor—manual and mental—of previous generations besides the present; consequently they must be considered the common heritage of mankind.

2. The right of individuals or groups to enjoy this heritage can be based only on social utility, and aimed only at securing for every human being the greatest possible sum of freedom and well-being.

3. The realization of this ideal is incompatible with the maintenance of the capitalistic régime, which divides society into two necessarily antagonistic classes—the one able to enjoy property without working, the other obliged to relinquish a part of its product to the possessing class.

4. The workers can only expect their complete emancipation from the suppression of classes and a radical transformation of existing society.

This transformation will be in favor, not only of the proletariat, but of mankind as a whole; nevertheless, as it is contrary to the immediate interests of the possessing class, the emancipation of the workers will be essentially the work of the workers themselves.

5. In economic matters their aim must be to secure the free use, without charge, of all the means of production. This result can only be attained, in a society where collective labor is more and more replacing individual labor, by the collective appropriation of natural agencies and the instruments of labor.

6. The transformation of the capitalistic régime into a collectivist régime must necessarily be accompanied by correlative transformations—

[310](a) In morals, by the development of altruistic feelings and the practice of solidarity.

(b) In politics, by the transformation of the State into a business management (administration des choses).

7. Socialism must, therefore, pursue simultaneously the economic, moral, and political emancipation of the proletariat. Nevertheless, the economic point of view must be paramount, for the concentration of capital in the hands of a single class forms the basis of all the other forms of its domination.

To realize its principles the Labor Party declares—

(1) That it considers itself as the representative, not only of the working-class, but of all the oppressed, without distinction of nationality, worship, race, or sex.

(2) That the Socialists of all countries must make common cause (être solidaires), the emancipation of the workers being not a national, but an international work.

(3) That in their struggle against the capitalist class the workers must fight by every means in their power, and particularly by political action, by the development of free associations, and by the ceaseless propagation of Socialistic principles.

I.—Political Program

1. Electoral reform.

(a) Universal suffrage without distinction of sex for all ranks (age-limit, twenty-one; residence, six months).

(b) Proportional representation.

(c) Election expenses to be charged on the public authorities.

(d) Payment of elected persons.

(e) Elected persons to be bound by pledges, according to law.

(f) Electorates to have the right of unseating elected persons.

2. Decentralization of political power.

(a) Suppression of the Senate.

(b) Creation of Legislative Councils, representing the different functions of society (industry, commerce, agriculture, education, etc.); such Councils to be autonomous, within the limits of their competence and excepting the veto of Parliament; such Councils to be federated, for the study and defense of their common interests.

3. Communal autonomy.

(a) Mayors to be appointed by the electorate.

(b) Small communes to be fused or federated.

(c) Creation of elected committees corresponding to the different branches of communal administration.

4. Direct legislation.

Right of popular initiative and referendum in legislative, provincial, and communal matters.

5. Reform of education.

(a) Primary, all-round, free, secular, compulsory instruction [311]at the expense of the State. Maintenance of children attending the schools by the public authorities. Intermediate and higher instruction to be free, secular, and at the expense of the State.

(b) Administration of the schools by the public authorities, under the control of School Committees elected by universal suffrage of both sexes, with representatives of the teaching staff and the State.

(c) Assimilation of communal teachers to the State's educational officials.

(d) Creation of a Superior Council of Education, elected by the School Committees, who are to organize the inspection and control of free schools and of official schools.

(e) Organization of trade education, and obligation of all children to learn manual work.

(f) Autonomy of the State Universities, and legal recognition of the Free Universities. University Extension to be organized at the expense of the public authorities.

6. Separation of the Churches and the State.

(a) Suppression of the grant for public worship.

(b) Philosophic or religious associations to be civil persons at law.

7. Revision of Sections in the Civil Code concerning marriage and the paternal authority.

(a) Civil equality of the sexes, and of children, whether natural or legitimate.

(b) Revision of the divorce laws, maintaining the husband's liability to support the wife or the children.

(c) Inquiry into paternity to be legalized.

(d) Protective measures in favor of children materially or morally abandoned.

8. Extension of liberties.

Suppression of measures restricting any of the liberties.

9. Judicial reform.

(a) Application of the elective principle to all jurisdictions. Reduction of the number of magistrates.

(b) Justice without fees; State-payment of advocates and officials of the Courts.

(c) Magisterial examination in penal cases to be public. Persons prosecuted to be medically examined. Victims of judicial errors to be indemnified.

10. Suppression of armies.

Provisionally; organization of a national militia.

11. Suppression of hereditary offices, and establishment of a Republic.

II.—Economic Program

A.—General Measures

1. Organization of statistics.

(a) Creation of a Ministry of Labor.

[312](b) Pecuniary aid from the public authorities for the organization of labor secretariates by workmen and employers.

2. Legal recognition of associations, especially—

(a) Legal recognition of trade-unions.

(b) Reform of the law on friendly societies and co-operative societies and subsidy from the public authorities.

(c) Repression of infringements of the right of combination.

3. Legal regulation of the contract of employment.

Extension of laws protecting labor to all industries, and especially to agriculture, shipping, and fishing. Fixing of a minimum wage and maximum of hours of labor for workers, industrial or agricultural, employed by the State, the Communes, the Provinces, or the contractors for public works.

Intervention of workers, and especially of workers' unions, in the framing of rules. Suppression of fines. Suppression of savings-banks and benefit clubs in workshops. Fixing of a maximum of 6,000 francs for public servants and managers.

4. Transformation of public charity into a general insurance of all citizens—

(a) against unemployment;

(b) against disablement (sickness, accident, old age);

(c) against death (widows and orphans).

5. Reorganization of public finances.

(a) Abolition of indirect taxes, especially taxes on food and customs tariffs.

(b) Monopoly of alcohol and tobacco.

(c) Progressive income-tax. Taxes on legacies and gifts between the living (excepting gifts to works of public utility).

(d) Suppression of intestate succession, except in the direct line and within limits to be determined by law.

6. Progressive extension of public property.

The State to take over the National Bank. Social organization of loans, at interest to cover costs only, to individuals and to associations of workers.

i. Industrial property.

Abolition, on grounds of public utility, of private ownership in mines, quarries, the subsoil generally, and of the great means of production and transport.

ii. Agricultural property.

(a) Nationalization of forests.

(b) Reconstruction or development of common lands.

(c) Progressive taking over of the land by the State or the communes.

7. Autonomy of public services.

(a) Administration of the public services by special autonomous commissions, under the control of the State.

(b) Creation of committees elected by the workmen and employees of the public services to debate with the central administration the conditions of the remuneration and organization of labor.

[313]B.—Particular Measures for Industrial Workers

1. Abolition of all laws restricting the right of combination.

2. Regulation of industrial labor.

(a) Prohibition of employment of children under fourteen.

(b) Half-time system between the ages of fourteen and eighteen.

(c) Prohibition of employment of women in all industries where it is incompatible with morals or health.

(d) Reduction of working-day to a maximum of eight hours for adults of both sexes, and minimum wage.

(e) Prohibition of night-work for all categories of workers and in all industries, where this mode of working is not absolutely necessary.

(f) One day's rest per week, so far as possible on Sunday.

(g) Responsibility of employers in case of accidents, and appointment of doctors to attend persons wounded.

(h) Workmen's memorandum-books and certificates to be abolished, and their use prohibited.

3. Inspection of work.

(a) Employment of paid medical authorities, in the interests of labor hygiene.

(b) Appointment of inspectors by the Councils of Industry and Labor.

4. Reorganization of the Industrial Tribunals (Conseils de Prud'hommes) and the Councils of Industry and Labor.

(a) Working women to have votes and be eligible.

(b) Submission to the Courts to be compulsory.

5. Regulation of work in prisons and convents.

C.—Particular Measures for Agricultural Workers

1. Reorganization of the Agricultural Courts.

(a) Nomination of delegates in equal numbers by the landowners, farmers, and laborers.

(b) Intervention of the Chambers in individual or collective disputes between landowners, farmers, and agricultural workers.

(c) Fixing of a minimum wage by the public authorities on the proposition of the Agricultural Courts.

2. Regulation of contracts to pay farm-rents.

(a) Fixing of the rate of farm-rents by Committees of Arbitration or by the reformed Agricultural Courts.

(b) Compensation to the outgoing farmer for enhanced value of property.

(c) Participation of landowners, to a wider extent than that fixed by the Civil Code, in losses incurred by farmers.

(d) Suppression of the landowner's privilege.

3. Insurance by the provinces, and reinsurance by the State, against epizootic diseases, diseases of plants, hail, floods, and other agricultural risks.

[314]4. Organization by the public authorities of a free agricultural education.

Creation or development of experimental fields, model farms, agricultural laboratories.

5. Purchase by the communes of agricultural implements to be at the disposal of their inhabitants.

Assignment of common lands to groups of laborers engaging not to employ wage labor.

6. Organization of a free medical service in the country.

7. Reform of the Game Laws.

(a) Suppression of gun licenses.

(b) Suppression of game preserves.

(c) Right of cultivators to destroy all the year round animals which injure crops.

8. Intervention of public authorities in the creation of agricultural co-operative societies—

(a) For buying seed and manure.

(b) For making butter.

(c) For the purchase and use in common of agricultural machines.

(d) For the sale of produce.

(e) For the working of land by groups.

9. Organization of agricultural credit.

III.—Communal Program

1. Educational reforms.

(a) Free scientific instruction for children up to fourteen. Special courses for older children and adults.

(b) Organization of education in trades and industries, in co-operation with workmen's organizations.

(c) Maintenance of children; except where the public authorities intervene to do so.

(d) Institution of school refreshment-rooms. Periodical distribution of boots and clothing.

(e) Orphanages. Establishments for children abandoned or cruelly ill-treated.

2. Judicial reforms.

Office for consultations free of charge in cases coming before the law-courts, the industrial courts, etc.

3. Regulation of work.

(a) Minimum wage and maximum working-day to be made a clause in contracts for communal works.

(b) Intervention of trade associations in the fixing of rates of wages, and general regulation of industry. The Echevin of Public Works to supervise the execution of these clauses in contracts.

(c) Appointment by the workmen's associations of inspectors to supervise the clauses in contracts.

(d) Rigorous application of the principle of tenders open to [315]all, for all services which, during a transition-period, are not managed directly.

(e) Permission to trade-unions to tender, and abolition of security-deposit.

(f) Creation of Bourses du Travail, or at least offices for the demand and supply of employment, whose administration shall be entrusted to trade-unions or labor associations.

(g) Fixing of a minimum wage for the workmen and employees of a commune.

4. Public charity.

(a) Admission of workmen to the administration of the councils of hospitals and of public charity.

(b) Transformation of public charity and the hospitals into a system of insurance against old age. Organization of a medical service and drug supply. Establishment of public free baths and wash-houses.

(c) Establishment of refuges for the aged and disabled. Night-shelter and food-distribution for workmen wandering in search of work.

5. Complete neutrality of all communal services from the philosophical point of view.

6. Finance.

(a) Saving to be effected on present cost of administration. Maximum allowance of 6,000 francs for mayors and other officials. Costs of entertainment for mayors who must incur certain private expenses.

(b) Income tax.

(c) Special tax on sites not built over and houses not let.

7. Public services.

(a) The commune, or a federation of communes composing one agglomeration, is to work the means of transport—tramways, omnibuses, cabs, district railways, etc.

(b) The commune, or federation of communes, is to work directly the services of general interest at present conceded to companies—lighting, water-supply, markets, highways, heating, security, health.

(c) Compulsory insurance of the inhabitants against fire; except where the State intervenes to do so.

(d) Construction of cheap dwellings by the commune, the hospices, and the charity offices.




In 1885 the Earl of Wemyss made a speech in the House of Lords deploring the advancement of state interference in business and giving a résumé of the Acts of Parliament that showed how "Socialism" invaded St. Stephens from 1870 to 1885.

His speech is interesting, not because it voices the ultra-Conservative's apprehensions but because the Earl had really discovered the legal basis of the new Social Democratic advance, which had come unheralded. The Earl reviewed the bills that Parliament had sanctioned, which dealt with state "interference." Twelve bills referred to lands and houses. "All of these measures assume the right of the state to regulate the management of, or to confiscate real property"—steps in the direction of substituting "land nationalization" for individual ownership. Five laws dealt with corporations, "confiscating property of water companies," etc.; nine dealt with ships: "all of them assertions by the Board of Trade of its right to regulate private enterprise and individual management in the mercantile marine;" six with mines, "prompting a fallacious confidence in government inspection;" six with railways, "all encroachments upon self-government of private enterprise in railways—successive steps in the direction of state railways." Nine had to do with manufactures and trades, "invasions by the state of the self-government of the various interests of the country, and curtailment of the freedom of contract between employers and employed." "The Pawnbrokers' Act of 1872 was the thin edge of the wedge for reducing the business of the 'poor man's banks' to a state monopoly." Twenty laws dealt with liquor, "all attempts on the part of the state to regulate the dealings and habits of buyers and sellers of alcoholic drinks." Sixteen dealt with dwellings of the working class, "all embodying the principle that it is the duty of the state to provide dwellings, private gardens, and other conveniences for the working classes, and assume its right to appropriate land for these purposes." There were nine education acts, "all based on the assumption that it is the duty of the state to act in loco parentis." Four laws dealt with recreation, "whereby the state, having educated the people in common school rooms, proceeds to provide them with common reading-rooms, and afterwards turns them out at stated times into the streets for common holidays."

[317]Of local government and improvement acts, there were passed "a vast mass of local legislation ... containing interferences in every conceivable particular with liberty and property."

The Earl quotes Lord Palmerston as saying in 1865, "Tenant right is landlord wrong," and Lord Sherbrooke, in 1866, "Happily there is an oasis upon which all men, without distinction of party, can take common stand, and that is the good ground of political economy." And the noble lord concludes by predicting, "The general social results of such Socialistic legislation may be summed up in 'dynamite,' 'detectives,' and 'general demoralization.'"[1]

In 1887 the Earl again turned his guns upon the radical advance, but only seven peers were on the benches to listen. In 1890 he made a third résumé under a more liberal patronage of listeners; this time the factory laws and inspection measures came in for his especial criticism. He said: "Now, my lords, what is the character of all this legislation? It is to substitute state help for self help, to regulate and control men in their dealings with one another with regard to land or anything else. The state now forbids contracts, breaks contracts, makes contracts. The whole tendency is to substitute the state or the municipality for the free action of the individual."[2]


The earlier attitude of the Marxian Socialists of London toward participating in elections is shown in the following broadside, dated July, 1895:

"We, revolutionary Social Democrats, disdain to conceal our principles. We proclaim the class war. We hold that the lot of the worker cannot to any appreciable extent be improved except by a complete overthrow of this present capitalist system of society. The time for social tinkering has gone past. Government statistics show that the number of unemployed is slowly but surely increasing, and that the decreases in wages greatly preponderate over the increases, and everything points to the fact that the condition of your class is getting worse and worse.

"Refuse once for all to allow your backs to be made the stepping stones to obtain that power which they (the politicians) know only too well how to use against you.

"Scoff at their patronizing airs and claim your rights like men. Refuse to give them that which they want, i.e., your vote. Give them no opportunity of saying that they are your representatives. Refuse to be a party to the fraud of present-day politics, and

"Abstain from Voting."


(From Chiozza Money—"Riches and Poverty," p. 56)

Name of Institution Number of Members Funds—£
Building Societies 623,047 73,289,229
Ordinary Friendly Societies 3,418,869 19,346,567
Friendly Societies having branches 2,710,437 25,610,365
Collecting Friendly Societies 9,010,574 9,946,447
Benevolent Societies 29,716 337,393
Workingmen's Clubs 272,847 381,463
Specially Authorized Societies 70,980 532,717
Specially Authorized Loan Societies 141,850 897,784
Medical Societies 313,755 65,513
Cattle Insurance Settlers 4,029 8,570
Shop Clubs 12,207 1,349
Total 15,983,264 57,128,168
Co-operative Societies, industry and trade 2,461,028 53,788,917
Business Co-operative Societies 108,550 984,680
Land Co-operative Societies 18,631 1,619,716
Total 2,588,209 56,393,313
Trade Unions 1,973,560 6,424,176
Workmen's Compensation Schemes 99,371 164,560
Friends of Labor Loan Societies 33,576 260,905
Grand Total of Registered Provident Societies 21,301,027 193,660,351
Railway Savings Banks 64,126* 5,865,351@
Trustee Savings Banks 1,780,214* 61,729,588@
Post Office Savings Banks 10,692,555* 178,033,974@
Bank Total 12,536,895 245,628,634
Grand Total 33,837,922 439,388,985
  * Depositions @ Deposits
In this table allowance must be made for those belonging to more than one society, and, of course, not all the depositors or members are workingmen, especially in the savings banks and building-societies.


Standing Orders (1911)


Affiliation Fees and Parliamentary Fund Contributions must be paid by December 31st each year.

[319]Annual Conference

1. The Annual Conference shall meet during the month of January.

2. Affiliated Societies may send one delegate for every thousand or part of a thousand members paid for.

3. Affiliated Trades Councils and Local Labor Parties may send one delegate if their affiliation fee has been 15s., and two delegates if the fee has been 30s.

4. Persons eligible as delegates must be paying bona fide members or paid permanent officials of the organizations sending them.

5. A fee of 5s. per delegate will be charged.

6. The National Executive will ballot for the places to be allotted to the delegates.

7. Voting at the Conference shall be by show of hands, but on a division being challenged, delegates shall vote by cards, which shall be issued on the basis of one card for each thousand members, or fraction of a thousand, paid for by the Society represented.

Conference Agenda

1. Resolutions for the Agenda and Amendments to the Constitution must be sent in by November 1st each year.

2. Amendments to Resolutions must be sent in by December 15th each year.

Nominations for National Executive and Secretaryship

1. Nominations for the National Executive and the Secretaryship must be sent in by December 15th.

2. No member of the Parliamentary Committee of the Trade Union Congress or of the Management Committee of the General Federation of Trade Unions is eligible for nomination to the National Executive.


(As revised under the authority of the Newport Conference, 1910)


I. Affiliation.

1. The Labor Party is a Federation consisting of Trade Unions, Trades Councils, Socialist Societies, and Local Labor Parties.

2. A Local Labor Party in any constituency is eligible for affiliation, provided it accepts the Constitution and policy of the Party, and that there is no affiliated Trades Council covering the constituency, or that, if there be such Council, it has been consulted in the first instance.

[320]3. Co-operative Societies are also eligible.

4. A National Organization of Women, accepting the basis of this Constitution, and the policy of the Party, and formed for the purpose of assisting the Party, shall be eligible for affiliation as though it were a Trades Council.

II. Object.

To secure the election of Candidates to Parliament and organize and maintain a Parliamentary Labor Party, with its own whips and policy.

III. Candidates and Members.

1. Candidates and Members must accept this Constitution; agree to abide by the decisions of the Parliamentary Party in carrying out the aims of this Constitution; appear before their constituencies under the title of Labor Candidates only; abstain strictly from identifying themselves with or promoting the interests of any Parliamentary Party not affiliated, or its Candidates; and they must not oppose any Candidate recognized by the National Executive of the Party.

2. Candidates must undertake to join the Parliamentary Labor Party, if elected.

IV. Candidatures.

1. A Candidate must be promoted by an affiliated Society which makes itself responsible for his election expenses.

2. A Candidate must be selected for a constituency by a regularly convened Labor Party Conference in the constituency. [The Hull Conference accepted the following as the interpretation of what a "Regularly Convened Labor Party Conference" is:—All branches of affiliated organizations within a constituency or divided borough covered by a proposal to run a Labor Candidate must be invited to send delegates to the Conference, and the local organization responsible for calling the Conference may, if it thinks fit, invite representatives from branches of organizations not affiliated but eligible for affiliation.]

3. Before a Candidate can be regarded as adopted for a constituency, his candidature must be sanctioned by the National Executive; and where at the time of a by-election no Candidate has been so sanctioned, the National Executive shall have power to withhold its sanction.

V. The National Executive.

The National Executive shall consist of fifteen members, eleven representing the Trade Unions, one the Trades Councils, Women's Organizations, and Local Labor Parties, and three the Socialist Societies, and shall be elected by ballot at the Annual Conference by their respective sections.

VI. Duties of the National Executive.

The National Executive Committee shall

1. Appoint a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Treasurer, and shall transact the general business of the Party;

2. Issue a list of its Candidates from time to time, and recommend them for the support of the electors;

3. Report to the affiliated organization concerned any Labor [321]Member, Candidate, or Chief Official who opposes a Candidate of the Party, or who acts contrary to the spirit of the Constitution;

4. And its members shall strictly abstain from identifying themselves with or promoting the interests of any Parliamentary Party not affiliated, or its Candidates.

VII. The Secretary.

The Secretary shall be elected by the Annual Conference, and shall be under the direction of the National Executive.

VIII. Affiliation Fees and Delegates.

1. Trade Unions and Socialist Societies shall pay 15s. per annum for every thousand members or fraction thereof, and may send to the Annual Conference one delegate for each thousand members.

2. Trades Councils and Local Labor Parties with 5,000 members or under shall be affiliated on an annual payment of 15s.; similar organizations with a membership of over 5,000 shall pay £1 10s., the former Councils to be entitled to send one delegate with one vote to the Annual Conference, the latter to be entitled to send two delegates and have two votes.

3. In addition to these payments a delegate's fee to the Annual Conference may be charged.

IX. Annual Conference.

The National Executive shall convene a Conference of its affiliated Societies in the month of January each year.

Notice of resolutions for the Conference and all amendments to the Constitution shall be sent to the Secretary by November 1st, and shall be forthwith forwarded to all affiliated organizations.

Notice of amendments and nominations for Secretary and National Executive shall be sent to the Secretary by December 15th, and shall be printed on the Agenda.

X. Voting at Annual Conference.

There shall be issued to affiliated Societies represented at the Annual Conference voting cards as follows:

1. Trade Unions and Socialist Societies shall receive one voting card for each thousand members, or fraction thereof paid for.

2. Trades Councils and Local Labor Parties shall receive one card for each delegate they are entitled to send.

Any delegate may claim to have a vote taken by card.


I. Object.

To assist in paying the election expenses of Candidates adopted in accordance with this Constitution, in maintaining them when elected; and to provide the salary and expenses of a National Party Agent.

II. Amount of Contribution.

1. Affiliated Societies, except Trades Councils, and Local Labor Parties shall pay a contribution to this fund at the rate of 2d. [322]per member per annum, not later than the last day of each financial year.

2. On all matters affecting the financial side of the Parliamentary Fund only contributing Societies shall be allowed to vote at the Annual Conference.

III. Trustees.

The National Executive of the Party shall, from its number, select three to act as Trustees, any two of whom, with the Secretary, shall sign checks.

IV. Expenditure.

1. Maintenance.—All Members elected under this Constitution shall be paid from the Fund equal sums not to exceed £200 per annum, provided that this payment shall only be made to Members whose Candidatures have been promoted by one or more Societies which have contributed to this Fund; provided further that no payment from this Fund shall be made to a Member or Candidate of any Society which has not contributed to this Fund for one year, and that any Society over three months in arrears shall forfeit all claim to the Fund on behalf of its Members or Candidates, for twelve months from the date of payment.

2. Returning Officers' Expenses.—Twenty-five per cent. of the Returning Officers' net expenses shall be paid to the Candidates, subject to the provisions of the preceding clause, so long as the total sum so expended does not exceed twenty-five per cent. of the Fund.

3. Administration.—Five per cent. of the Annual Income of the Fund shall be transferred to the General Funds of the Party, to pay for administrative expenses of the Fund.



The Independent Labor Party.


Open to all Socialists who indorse the principles and policy of the Party, are not members of either the Liberal or Conservative Party, and whose application for membership is accepted by a Branch.

Any member expelled from membership of a Branch of the I.L.P. shall not be eligible for membership of any other branch without having first submitted his or her case for adjudication of the N.A.C.


The Object of the Party is to establish the Socialist State, when land and capital will be held by the community and used [323]for the well-being of the community, and when the exchange of commodities will be organized also by the community, so as to secure the highest possible standard of life for the individual. In giving effect to this object it shall work as part of the International Socialist Movement.


The Party, to secure its objects, adopts—

1. Educational Methods, including the publication of Socialist literature, the holding of meetings, etc.

2. Political Methods, including the election of its members to local and national administrative and legislative bodies.


The true object of industry being the production of the requirements of life, the responsibility should rest with the community collectively, therefore:—

The land being the storehouse of all the necessaries of life should be declared and treated as public property.

The capital necessary for the industrial operations should be owned and used collectively.

Work, and wealth resulting therefrom, should be equitably distributed over the population.

As a means to this end, we demand the enactment of the following measures:—

1. A maximum of 48 hours' working week, with the retention of all existing holidays, and Labor Day, May 1st, secured by law.

2. The provision of work to all capable adult applicants at recognized Trade Union rates, with a statutory minimum of 6d. per hour.

In order to remuneratively employ the applicants, Parish, District, Borough, and County Councils to be invested with powers to:—

(a) Organize and undertake such industries as they may consider desirable.

(b) Compulsorily acquire land; purchase, erect, or manufacture buildings, stock, or other articles for carrying on such industries.

(c) Levy rates on the rental values of the district, and borrow money on the security of such rates for any of the above purposes.

3. State pension for every person over 50 years of age, and adequate provision for all widows, orphans, sick and disabled workers.

4. Free, secular, moral, primary, secondary, and university education, with free maintenance while at school or university.

5. The raising of the age of child labor, with a view to its ultimate extinction.

[324]6. Municipalization and public control of the Drink Traffic.

7. Municipalization and public control of all hospitals and infirmaries.

8. Abolition of indirect taxation and the gradual transference of all public burdens on to unearned incomes with a view to their ultimate extinction.

The Independent Labor Party is in favor of adult suffrage, with full political rights and privileges for women, and the immediate extension of the franchise to women on the same terms as granted to men; also triennial Parliaments and second ballot.



1. Chairman and Treasurer.

2. A National Administrative Council.—To be composed of fourteen representatives, in addition to the two officers.

3. No member shall occupy the office of Chairman of the Party for a longer consecutive period than three years, and he shall not be eligible for re-election for the same office for at least twelve months after he has vacated the chair.

4. Election of N.A.C.—Four members of the N.A.C. shall be elected by ballot at the Annual Conference, and ten by the votes of members in ten divisional areas.

5. Duties of N.A.C.

(a) To meet at least three times a year to transact business relative to the Party.

(b) To exercise a determining voice in the selection of Parliamentary candidates, and, where no branch exists, to choose such candidates when necessary.

(c) To raise and disburse funds for General and By-Elections, and for other objects of the Party.

(d) To deal with such matters of local dispute between branches and members which may be referred to its decision by the parties interested.

(e) To appoint General Secretary and Officials, and exercise a supervising control over their work.

(f) To engage organizers and lecturers when convenient, either permanently or for varying periods, at proper wages, and to direct and superintend their work.

(g) To present to the Annual Conference a report on the previous year's work and progress of the Party.

(h) To appoint when necessary sub-committees to deal with special branches of its work, and to appoint a committee to deal with each Conference Agenda. Such Committee to revise and classify the resolutions sent in by branches and to place resolutions dealing with important matters on the Agenda.

(i) It shall not initiate any new departure or policy between Conferences without first obtaining the sanction of the majority of the branches.

[325](k) Matters arising between Conferences not provided for by the Constitution, shall be dealt with by the N.A.C.

(l) A full report of all the meetings of the N.A.C. as held shall be forwarded to each branch.

6. Auditor.—A Chartered or Incorporated Accountant shall be employed to audit the accounts of the Party.


1. Branch.—An Association which indorses the objects and policy of the Party, and affiliates in the prescribed manner.

2. Local Autonomy.—Subject to the general constitution of the Party, each Branch shall be perfectly autonomous.


1. Branches shall pay one penny per member per month to the N.A.C.

2. The N.A.C. may strike off the list of branches any branch which is more than 6 months in arrears with its payments.

3. The N.A.C. may receive donations or subscriptions to the funds of the Party. It shall not receive moneys which are contributed upon terms which interfere in any way with its freedom of action as to their disbursement.

4. The financial year of the Party shall begin on March 1st, and end on the last day of February next succeeding.


1. The Annual Conference is the ultimate authority of the Party, to which all final appeals shall be made.

2. Date.—It shall be held at Easter.

3. Special Conferences.—A Special Conference shall always be called prior to a General Election, for the purpose of determining the policy of the Party during the election. Other Special Conferences may be called by two-thirds of the whole of the members of the N.A.C, or by one-third of the branches of the Party.

4. Conference Fee.—A Conference Fee per delegate (the amount to be fixed by the N.A.C.) shall be paid by all branches desiring representation, on or before the last day of February in each year.

5. No branch shall be represented which was not in existence on the December 31st immediately preceding the date of the Annual Conference.

6. Branches of the Party may send one delegate to Conference for each fifty members, or part thereof. Branches may appoint one delegate to represent their full voting strength. Should there be two or more branches which are unable separately to send delegates to Conference, they may jointly do so.

7. Delegates must have been members of the branch they [326]represent from December 31st immediately preceding the date of the Conference.

8. Notices respecting resolutions shall be posted to branches not later than January 3d. Resolutions for the Agenda, and nominations for officers and N.A.C. shall be in the hands of the General Secretary eight weeks before the date of the Annual Conference, and issued to the branches a fortnight later. Amendments to resolutions on the Agenda and additional nominations may be sent to the Secretary four weeks before Conference, and they shall be arranged on the final Agenda, which shall be issued to branches two weeks before Conference. A balance sheet shall be issued to branches two weeks before the Conference, showing the receipts and expenditure of the Party for the year, also the number of branches affiliated and the amount each branch has paid in affiliation fees during the year.

9. The Chairman of the Party for the preceding year shall preside over the Conference.

10. Conference Officials.—The first business of the Conference shall be the appointment of tellers. It shall next elect a Standing Orders Committee, with power to examine the credentials of delegates, and to deal with special business which may be delegated to it by the Conference.

11. In case any vacancy occurs on the N.A.C. between Conferences, the unsuccessful candidate receiving the largest number of votes at the preceding election shall fill the vacancy. Vacancies in the list of officers shall be filled up by the vote of the branches.

12. The principle of the second ballot shall be observed in all elections.

13. The Conference shall choose in which Divisional Area the next Conference shall be held.


1. The N.A.C. shall keep a list of members of the Party from which candidates may be selected by branches.

2. Any Branch at any time may nominate any eligible member of the Party to be placed upon that list.

3. The N.A.C. itself may place names on the list.

4. No person shall be placed upon this list unless he has been a member of the Party for at least twelve months.

5. Branches desiring to place a candidate in their constituencies must in the first instance communicate with the N.A.C., and have the candidate selected at a properly convened conference of representatives of the local branches of all societies affiliated with the Labor Party, so that the candidate may be chosen in accordance with the constitution of the Labor Party. The N.A.C. shall have power to suspend this clause where local or other circumstances appear to justify such a course.

6. Before the N.A.C. sanctions any candidature it shall be entitled to secure guarantees of adequate local financial support.

[327]7. No Branch shall take any action which affects prejudicially the position or prospects of a Parliamentary candidate, who has received the credentials of the Labor Party, without first laying the case before the N.A.C.

8. Each candidate must undertake that he will run his election in accordance with the principles and policy of the Party, and that if elected he will support the Party on all questions coming within the scope of the principles of the I.L.P.

The Constitution shall not be altered or amended except every third year, unless upon the requisition of two-thirds of the N.A.C. or one-third of the branches of the Party, when the proposed alterations or amendments shall be considered at the following Conference.—Resolution, Edinburgh, 1909.


The Fabian Society consists of Socialists.

It therefore aims at the re-organization of society by the emancipation of land and industrial capital from individual and class ownership, and the vesting of them in the community for the general benefit. In this way only can the natural and acquired advantages of the country be equitably shared by the whole people.

The Society accordingly works for the extinction of private property in land and of the consequent individual appropriation, in the form of rent, of the price paid for permission to use the earth, as well as for the advantages of superior soils and sites.

The Society, further, works for the transfer to the community of the administration of such industrial capital as can conveniently be managed socially. For, owing to the monopoly of the means of production in the past, industrial inventions and the transformation of surplus income into capital have mainly enriched the proprietary class, the worker being now dependent on that class for leave to earn a living.

If these measures be carried out, without compensation (though not without such relief to expropriated individuals as may seem fit to the community), rent and interest will be added to the reward of labor, the idle class now living on the labor of others will necessarily disappear, and practical equality of opportunity will be maintained by the spontaneous action of economic forces with much less interference with personal liberty than the present system entails.

For the attainment of these ends the Fabian Society looks to the spread of Socialist opinions, and the social and political changes consequent thereon. It seeks to promote these by the general dissemination of knowledge as to the relation between the individual and society in its economic, ethical, and political aspects.

[328]The following questions are addressed to Parliamentary candidates by the Fabians:

Will you press at the first opportunity for the following reforms:—

I.—A Labor Program

1. The extension of the Workmen's Compensation Act to seamen, and to all other classes of wage earners?

2. Compulsory arbitration, as in New Zealand, to prevent strikes and lockouts?

3. A statutory minimum wage, as in Victoria, especially for sweated trades?

4. The fixing of "an eight-hours' day" as the maximum for all public servants; and the abolition, wherever possible, of overtime?

5. An Eight-Hours' Bill, without an option clause, for miners; and, for railway servants, a forty-eight-hours' week?

6. The drastic amendment of the Factory Acts, to secure (a) a safe and healthy work-place for every worker, (b) the prevention of overwork for all women and young persons, (c) the abolition of all wage-labor by children under 14, (d) compulsory technical instruction by extension of the half-time arrangements to all workers under 18?

7. The direct employment of labor by all public authorities whenever possible; and, whenever it is not possible, employment only of fair houses, prohibition of sub-contracting, and payment of trade-union rates of wages?

8. The amendment of the Merchant Shipping Acts so as (a) to secure healthy sleeping and living accommodation, (b) to protect the seaman against withholding of his wages or return passage, (c) to insure him against loss by shipwreck?

II.—A Democratic Budget

9. The further taxation of unearned incomes by means of a graduated and differentiated income-tax?

10. The abolition of all duties on tea, cocoa, coffee, currants, and other dried fruits?

11. An increase of the scale of graduation of the death duties, so as to fall more heavily on large inheritances?

12. The appropriation of the unearned increment by the taxation and rating of ground values?

13. The nationalization of mining rents and royalties?

14. Transfer of the railways to the State under the Act of 1844?

III.—Social Reform in Town and Country

15. The extension of full powers to parish, town, and county councils for the collective organization of the (a) water, (b) gas and (c) electric lighting supplies, (d) hydraulic power, (e) [329]tramways and light railways, (f) public slaughter-houses, (g) pawnshops, (h) sale of milk, (i) bread, (j) coal, and such other public services as may be desired by the inhabitants?

16. Reform of the drink traffic by (a) reduction of the number of licenses to a proper ratio to the population of each locality, (b) transfer to public purposes of the special value of licenses, created by the existing monopoly, by means of high license or a license rate, (c) grant of power to local authorities to carry on municipal public houses, directly or on the Gothenburg system?

17. Amendment of the Housing of the Working Classes Act by (a) extension of period of loans to one hundred years, treatment of land as an asset, and removal of statutory limitation of borrowing powers for housing, (b) removal of restrictions on rural district councils in adopting Part III. of the Act, (c) grant of power to parish councils to adopt Part III. of the Act, (d) power to all local authorities to buy land compulsorily under the allotments clauses of the Local Government Act, 1894, or in any other effective manner?

18. The grant of power to all local bodies to retain the free-hold of any land that may come into their possession, without obligation to sell, or to use for particular purposes?

19. The relief of the existing taxpayer by (a) imposing, for local purposes, a municipal death duty on local real estate, collected in the same way as the existing death duties, (b) collecting rates from the owners of empty houses and vacant land, (c) power to assess land and houses at four per cent. on the capital value, (d) securing special contributions by way of "betterment" from the owners of property benefited by public improvements?

20. The further equalization of the rates in London?

21. The compulsory provision by every local authority of adequate hospital accommodation for all diseases and accidents?

IV.—The Children and the Poor

22. The prohibition of the industrial or wage-earning employment of children during school terms prior to the age of 14?

23. The provision of meals, out of public funds, for necessitous children in public elementary schools?

24. The training of teachers under public control and free from sectarian influences?

25. The creation of a complete system of public secondary education genuinely available to the children of the poor?

26. State pensions for the support of the aged or chronically infirm?

V.—Democratic Political Machinery

27. An amendment of the registration laws, with the aim of giving every adult man a vote, and no one more than one vote?

[330]28. A redistribution of seats in accordance with population?

29. The grant of the franchise to women on the same terms as to men?

30. The admission of women to seats in the House of Commons and on borough and county councils?

31. The second ballot at Parliamentary and other elections?

32. The payment of all members of Parliament and of Parliamentary election expenses, out of public funds?

33. Triennial Parliaments?

34. All Parliamentary elections to be held on the same day?



The Socialization of the Means of Production, Distribution, and Exchange, to be controlled by a Democratic State in the interests of the entire community, and the complete Emancipation of Labor from the Domination of Capitalism and Landlordism, with the establishment of Social and Economic Equality between the Sexes.

The economic development of modern society is characterized by the more or less complete domination of the capitalistic mode of production over all branches of human labor.

The capitalistic mode of production, because it has the creation of profit for its sole object, therefore favors the larger capital, and is based upon the divorcement of the majority of the people from the instruments of production and the concentration of these instruments in the hands of a minority. Society is thus divided into two opposite classes: one, the capitalists and their sleeping partners, the landlords and loanmongers, holding in their hands the means of production, distribution, and exchange, and being, therefore, able to command the labor of others; the other, the working-class, the wage-earners, the proletariat, possessing nothing but their labor-power, and being consequently forced by necessity to work for the former.

The social division thus produced becomes wider and deeper with every new advance in the application of labor-saving machinery. It is most clearly recognizable, however, in the times of industrial and commercial crises, when, in consequence of the present chaotic conditions of carrying on national and international industry, production periodically comes to a standstill, and a number of the few remaining independent producers are thrown into the ranks of the proletariat. Thus, while on one hand there is incessantly going on an accumulation of capital, wealth, and power into a steadily diminishing number of hands, there is, on the other hand, a constantly growing insecurity of livelihood for the mass of wage-earners, an increasing disparity between human wants and the opportunity [331]of acquiring the means for their satisfaction, and a steady physical and mental deterioration among the more poverty-stricken of the population.

But the more this social division widens, the stronger grows the revolt—more conscious abroad than here—of the proletariat against the capitalist system of society in which this division and all that accompanies it have originated, and find such fruitful soil. The capitalist mode of production, by massing the workers in large factories, and creating an interdependence, not only between various trades and branches of industries, but even national industries, prepares the ground and furnishes material for a universal class war. That class war may at first—as in this country—be directed against the abuses of the system, and not against the system itself; but sooner or later the workers must come to recognize that nothing short of the expropriation of the capitalist class, the ownership by the community of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, can put an end to their abject economic condition; and then the class war will become conscious instead of unconscious on the part of the working-classes, and they will have for their ultimate object the overthrow of the capitalist system. At the same time, since the capitalist class holds and uses the power of the State to safeguard its position and beat off any attack, the class war must assume a political character, and become a struggle on the part of the workers for the possession of the political machinery.

It is this struggle for the conquest of the political power of the State, in order to effect a social transformation, which International Social Democracy carries on in the name and on behalf of the working-class. Social Democracy, therefore, is the only possible political party of the proletariat. The Social Democratic Federation is a part of this International Social Democracy. It, therefore, takes its stand on the above principles, and believes—

1. That the emancipation of the working-class can only be achieved through the socialization of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, and their subsequent control by the organized community in the interests of the whole people.

2. That, as the proletariat is the last class to achieve freedom, its emancipation will mean the emancipation of the whole of mankind, without distinction of race, nationality, creed, or sex.

3. That this emancipation can only be the work of the working-class itself, organized nationally and internationally into a distinct political party, consciously striving after the realization of its ideals; and, finally,

4. That, in order to insure greater material and moral facilities for the working-class to organize itself and to carry on the class war, the following reforms must immediately be carried through:—

Immediate Reforms[332]


Abolition of the Monarchy.

Democratization of the Governmental machinery, viz., abolition of the House of Lords, payment of members of legislative and administrative bodies, payment of official expenses of elections out of the public funds, adult suffrage, proportional representation, triennial parliaments, second ballot, initiative and referendum. Foreigners to be granted rights of citizenship after two years' residence in the country, without any fees. Canvassing to be made illegal. All elections to take place on one day, such day to be made a legal holiday, and all premises licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquors to be closed.

Legislation by the people in such wise that no legislative proposal shall become law until ratified by the majority of the people.

Legislative and administrative independence for all parts of the Empire.

Financial and Fiscal

Repudiation of the National Debt.

Abolition of all indirect taxation and the institution of a cumulative tax on all incomes and inheritance exceeding £300.


Extension of the principle of local self-government.

Systematization and co-ordination of the local administrative bodies.

Election of all administrators and administrative bodies by equal direct adult suffrage.


Elementary education to be free, secular, industrial, and compulsory for all classes. The age of obligatory school attendance to be raised to 16.

Unification and systematization of intermediate and higher education, both general and technical, and all such education to be free.

State maintenance for all attending State schools.

Abolition of school rates; the cost of education in all State schools to be borne by the National Exchequer.

Public Monopolies and Services

Nationalization of the land and the organization of labor in agriculture and industry under public ownership and control on co-operative principles.

[333]Nationalization of the trusts.

Nationalization of railways, docks, and canals, and all great means of transit.

Public ownership and control of gas, electric light, and water supplies, as well as of tramway, omnibus, and other locomotive services.

Public ownership and control of the food and coal supply.

The establishment of State and municipal banks and pawnshops and public restaurants.

Public ownership and control of the lifeboat service.

Public ownership and control of hospitals, dispensaries, cemeteries, and crematoria.

Public ownership and control of the drink traffic.


A legislative eight-hour working-day, or 48 hours per week, to be the maximum for all trades and industries. Imprisonment to be indicted on employers for any infringement of the law.

Absolute freedom of combination for all workers, with legal guarantee against any action, private or public, which tends to curtail or infringe it.

No child to be employed in any trade or occupation until 16 years of age, and imprisonment to be inflicted on employers, parents, and guardians who infringe this law.

Public provision of useful work at not less than trade-union rates of wages for the unemployed.

Free State insurance against sickness and accident, and free and adequate State pensions or provision for aged and disabled workers. Public assistance not to entail any forfeiture of political rights.

The legislative enactment of a minimum wage of 30s. for all workers. Equal pay for both sexes for the performance of equal work.


Abolition of the present workhouse system, and reformed administration of the Poor Law on a basis of national co-operation.

Compulsory construction by public bodies of healthy dwellings for the people; such dwellings to be let at rents to cover the cost of construction and maintenance alone, and not to cover the cost of the land.

The administration of justice and legal advice to be free to all; justice to be administered by judges chosen by the people; appeal in criminal cases; compensation for those innocently accused, condemned, and imprisoned; abolition of imprisonment for contempt of court in relation to non-payment of debt in the case of workers earning less than £2 per week; abolition of capital punishment.


The disestablishment and disendowment of all State churches.

The abolition of standing armies, and the establishment of national citizen forces. The people to decide on peace and war.

The establishment of international courts of arbitration.

The abolition of courts-martial; all offenses against discipline to be transferred to the jurisdiction of civil courts.


[At the beginning of every session of Parliament, the Labor Party members agree on a program of procedure to which they adhere for that session. They stick to the bills, in the order chosen, until they are either passed or defeated. The following is the list for 1911.]

Bills to be balloted for in order named:

1. Trade Union Amendment Bill.
2. Unemployed Workmen Bill.
3. Education (Administrative Provisions) Bill.
4. Electoral Reform Bill.
5. Eight-Hour Day Bill.
6. Bill to Provide against Eviction of Workmen during Trade Disputes.
7. Railway Nationalization Bill.

Motions to be balloted for in order named:

1. Militarism and Foreign Policy: (on lines of Resolution passed by the Special Conference at Leicester).
2. Defect in Sheriffs' Courts Bill (Scotland) relating to power of Eviction during Trade Disputes.
3. General 30s. Minimum Wage.

Other Motions from which selection may be made after the three foregoing subjects have been dealt with:

Saturday to Monday Stop.
Eviction of Workmen during Trade Disputes.
Extension of Particulars Clause to Docks, etc.
Nationalization of Hospitals.
Adult Suffrage.
Commission of Inquiry into Older Universities.
Workmen's Compensation Amendment.
Atmosphere and Dust in Textile Factories.
System of Fines in Textile and Other Trades.
Inclusion of Clerks in Factory Acts.
Eight-Hour Day.
Electoral Reform.
Inquiry into Industrial Assurance.
Poor Law Reform.
[335] Truck.
Railway and Mining Accidents.
Labor Exchanges Administration.
Labor Ministry.
Veto Conference.
Day Training Classes.
School Clinics.
Indian Factory Laws.
Hours in Bakehouses.
House-letting in Scotland.


[The following is an election broadside issued for the municipal election of London, soon after the establishment of municipal home rule for the metropolis, by the organization of the London County Council. It discloses the practical nature of the earlier Fabian political activities.]

County Council Election: Address of Mr. Sidney Webb, LL.B. (London University), (Progressive and Labor Candidate)

Central Committee Rooms,
484, New Cross Road, S.E.

Electors of Deptford,

On the nomination of a Joint Committee of Delegates of the Liberal and Radical Association, the Women's Liberal Association, the Working Men's Clubs, and leading Trade Unionists and Social Reformers in Deptford, I come forward as a Candidate for the County Council Election. I shall seek to lift the contest above any narrow partisan lines, and I ask for the support of all who are interested in the well-being of the people.

The Point at Issue

For much is at stake for London at this Election. Notwithstanding the creation of the County Council, the ratepayers of the Metropolis are still deprived of the ordinary powers of municipal self-government. They have to bear needlessly heavy burdens for a very defective management of their public affairs. The result is seen in the poverty, the misery, and the intemperance that disgrace our city. A really Progressive County Council can do much (as the present Council has shown), both immediately to benefit the people of London, and also to win for them genuine self-government. Do you wish your County Council to attempt nothing more for London than the old Metropolitan Board of Works? This is, in effect, the Reactionary, or so-called "Moderate," program. Or shall we make our County [336]Council a mighty instrument of the people's will for the social regeneration of this great city, and the "Government of London by London for London?" That is what I stand for.

Relief of the Taxpayer

But the crushing burden of the occupier's rates must be reduced, not increased. Even with the strictest economy the administration of a growing city must be a heavy burden. The County Council should have power to tax the ground landlord, who now pays no rates at all directly. Moreover, the rates must be equalized throughout London. Why should the Deptford ratepayer have to pay nearly two shillings in the pound more than the inhabitant of St. George's, Hanover Square? And we must get at the unearned increment for the benefit of the people of London, who create it.

A Labor Program

I am in favor of Trade Union wages and an eight-hours day for all persons employed by the Council. I am dead against sub-contracting, and would like to see the Council itself the direct employer of all labor.


At present London pays an utterly unnecessary annual tribute, because, unlike other towns, it leaves its water supply, its gas-works, its tramways, its markets, and its docks in the hands of private speculators. I am in favor of replacing private by Democratic public ownership and management, as soon and as far as safely possible. It is especially urgent to secure public control of the water supply, the tramways, and the docks. Moreover, London ought to manage its own police, and all its open spaces.

The Condition of the Poor

But the main object of all our endeavors must be to raise the standard of life of our poorer fellow-citizens, now crushed by the competitive struggle. As one of the most urgent social reforms, especially in the interests of Temperance, I urge the better housing of the people; the provision, by the Council itself, of improved dwellings and common lodging-houses of the best possible types, and a strict enforcement of the sanitary laws against the owners of slum property.

Local Questions

I believe in local attention to local grievances, and I should deem it my duty, if elected, to look closely after Deptford [337]interests, especially with regard to the need for more open spaces, and the early completion of the new Thames tunnel.

A more detailed account of my views may be found in my book, "The London Programme," and other writings. I am a Londoner born and bred, and have made London questions the chief study of my life. I have had thirteen years' administrative experience in a Government office, a position which I have resigned in order to give my whole time to London's service. With regard to my general opinions, it will be enough to say that I have long been an active member of the Fabian Society, and of the Executive Committee of the London Liberal and Radical Union.

Sidney Webb.

4, Park Village East, Regent's Park, N.W.

The following meetings have already been arranged. Others will be announced shortly.

February 11.—Lecture Hall, High Street, at 8 P.M.
February 25.—Lecture Hall High Street, at 8 P.M.
March 3.—New Cross Hall, Lewisham High Road, at 8 P.M.


[The Fabians and other Socialists broke into London municipal politics under the name "Progressives." The following is one of their earliest election dodgers.]

County Council Election

Saturday, March 5, 1892

Part of the

Rates.—Reduce the Occupiers' Rates one-half, by charging that portion upon the great Landlords, whose ground values are increased by every improvement, and are now untaxed; and by a Municipal Death Duty.

Gas and Water.—Reduce the cost and improve the quality and quantity by new sources of supply, if the present Companies will not come to terms favorable to the Taxpayer.

City Companies.—Apply their whole Income of, say £500,000 (on leave obtained from the new Parliament), for the benefit of London. The Royal Commission of 1884 stated that this income is virtually Public Property. About £300,000 is now squandered each year among the members and their friends.

Homes for the Poor.—The Poor can all be comfortably housed, as in the Municipal Dwellings of Glasgow and Liverpool, without extra cost to the Taxpayer, and the "Doss-houses" abolished.

[338]Cheap Food.—By doing away with the Market Monopolies of the City Corporation and other private owners, Food can be lowered in price. Good food, especially fish, is now often destroyed or sold for manure to keep up the price.

Poor Man's Vote.—One-third of your Votes are lost. The Registration Laws must be thoroughly altered.


[1] Debates, House of Lords, July, 31, 1885. The speech was privately printed.

[2] Debates, May 19, 1890. This speech was also given private circulation.




"This word, invented by Colins, came into common use toward the end of the Empire. Bakunin used it in the congress at Berne in 1868, to oppose it to the communistic régime of Cabet. An economist in 1869 designated, under this name, the system under which production will be confined to communes or parishes. The Socialists who opposed authority, disciples of Bakunin, used the word for a long time to designate their doctrine. The section of Locle was one of the first to employ it. But by and by, about 1878, the Marxists, partisans of the proletarian reign, used the word 'collectivism' to distinguish their 'scientific Socialism,' of which term they were fond, from the communistic utopias of the older school, which they discovered. And they gave to Bakunins the name Anarchists. These accepted the name, taking care to write it with a hyphen, an-archie, as their master Proudhon had done. They soon dropped the hyphen and accepted the word anarchy as a declaration of war against all things as they are."[1]


(Compiled from Report of Secretary of the International, 1910)

Country No. Socialist Votes Total No. Seats in Parliament No. Seats Held by Socialists Per cent. of Socialists Seats
Great Britain (1910) 505,690 670 40 5.97
Germany (1912) 4,250,000 397 110 38.81
Luxemburg (1909) 48 10 20.8
Austria (1907) 1,041,948 516 88 17.06
France (1910) 1,106,047 584 76 13.01
Italy (1909) 338,885 508 42 8.26
Spain (1910) 40,000 404 1 0.25
Russia 442 17 3.82
Finland (1910) 316,951 200 86 43.00
Norway (1907) 90,000 123 11 8.94
Sweden (1909) 75,000 165 36 21.81
Denmark (1910) 98,721 114 24 21.06
Holland (1909) 82,494 100 7 7.00
Belgium (1910) 483,241 166 35 21.08
Switzerland (1908) 100,000 170 7 4.11
Turkey (1908) 196 6 3.06
Servia (1908) 3,056 160 1 0.62
U.S.A. (1910) 1

In 1910 the Socialists Held the Following Number of Local Officers, According to the Report of the International Secretary[340]

Great Britain 1126 Finland 351
Germany 7729 Norway 873
Austria-Bohemia 2896 Sweden 125
Hungary 96 Denmark 1000
France 3800 Belgium 850
Bulgaria 7 Servia 22


(Compiled from Reports of the Secretary of the International, 1909-10)

  1907 1908 1909
Country Local Groups Members Local Groups Members Local Groups Members
Great Britain, L.P. 275 1,072,412 307 1,152,786 318 1,481,368
Great Britain, J.L.P. 600 35,000 765 50,000 900 60,000
Great Britain, S.D.F. 202 14,500 250 16,000 17,000
Great Britain, Fabians 10 1,207 27 2,015 39 2,462
Germany 2704 530,466 3120 587,336 3281 633,309
    (10,943)   (29,458)   (62,259)
Austria 126,000
Bohemia 2462 156,000
Hungary 130,000 102,054 769 85,266
France 48,237 49,328 2500 51,692
Italy 43,000 30,000
Russia* 8 16,000 8 5,000 8 3,000
Poland-Prussian 10 400 40 1,500
Poland-Russian 22,700 3,500
Finland 1156 80,328 1127 71,266
    (18,873)   (16,826)    
Norway 499 23,000 602 27,500 637 26,500
    (1,800)   (2,000)   (2,500)
Sweden 296 112,693 338 60,183
Denmark 360 47,000
Holland 167 7,471 176 8,411 211 9,289
Belgium 803 161,239 183,997 906 185,318
Switzerland 23 21,132
Servia 615 1,950
Bulgaria 71 2,658 80 2,886 109 4,287
U.S.A. 1900 26,784 3200 53,375
* Province of Lettland.
Figures in parenthesis indicate number of women members.


[Adopted by National Convention May, 1908, and by Membership Referendum August 8th, 1908. Amended by Referendum September 7th, 1909.]


Human life depends upon food, clothing, and shelter. Only with these assured are freedom, culture, and higher human development possible. To produce food, clothing, or shelter, land and machinery are needed. Land alone does not satisfy human needs. Human labor creates machinery and applies it to the land for the production of raw materials and food. Whoever has control of land and machinery controls human labor, and with it human life and liberty.

To-day the machinery and the land used for industrial purposes are owned by a rapidly decreasing minority. So long as machinery is simple and easily handled by one man, its owner cannot dominate the sources of life of others. But when machinery becomes more complex and expensive, and requires for its effective operation the organized effort of many workers, its influence reaches over wide circles of life. The owners of such machinery become the dominant class.

In proportion as the number of such machine owners compared to all other classes decreases, their power in the nation and in the world increases. They bring ever larger masses of working people under their control, reducing them to the point where muscle and brain are their only productive property. Millions of formerly self-employing workers thus become the helpless wage slaves of the industrial masters.

As the economic power of the ruling class grows it becomes less useful in the life of the nation. All the useful work of the nation falls upon the shoulders of the class whose only property is its manual and mental labor power—the wage worker—or of the class who have but little land and little effective machinery outside of their labor power—the small traders and small farmers. The ruling minority is steadily becoming useless and parasitic.

A bitter struggle over the division of the products of labor is waged between the exploiting propertied classes on the one hand and the exploited propertyless class on the other. In this struggle the wage-working class cannot expect adequate relief from any reform of the present order at the hands of the dominant class.

The wage workers are therefore the most determined and irreconcilable antagonists of the ruling class. They suffer most from the curse of class rule. The fact that a few capitalists are permitted to control all the country's industrial resources and social tools for their individual profit, and to make the [342]production of the necessaries of life the object of competitive private enterprise and speculation is at the bottom of all the social evils of our time.

In spite of the organization of trusts, pools, and combinations, the capitalists are powerless to regulate production for social ends. Industries are largely conducted in a planless manner. Through periods of feverish activity the strength and health of the workers are mercilessly used up, and during periods of enforced idleness the workers are frequently reduced to starvation.

The climaxes of this system of production are the regularly recurring industrial depressions and crises which paralyze the nation every fifteen or twenty years.

The capitalist class, in its mad race for profits, is bound to exploit the workers to the very limit of their endurance and to sacrifice their physical, moral, and mental welfare to its own insatiable greed. Capitalism keeps the masses of workingmen in poverty, destitution, physical exhaustion, and ignorance. It drags their wives from their homes to the mill and factory. It snatches their children from the playgrounds and schools and grinds their slender bodies and unformed minds into cold dollars. It disfigures, maims, and kills hundreds of thousands of workingmen annually in mines, on railroads, and in factories. It drives millions of workers into the ranks of the unemployed and forces large numbers of them into beggary, vagrancy, and all forms of crime and vice.

To maintain their rule over their fellow-men, the capitalists must keep in their pay all organs of the public powers, public mind, and public conscience. They control the dominant parties and, through them, the elected public officials. They select the executives, bribe the legislatures, and corrupt the courts of justice. They own and censor the press. They dominate the educational institutions. They own the nation politically and intellectually just as they own it industrially.

The struggle between wage workers and capitalists grows ever fiercer, and has now become the only vital issue before the American people. The wage-working class, therefore, has the most direct interest in abolishing the capitalist system. But in abolishing the present system, the workingmen will free not only their own class, but also all other classes of modern society. The small farmer, who is to-day exploited by large capital more indirectly but not less effectively than is the wage laborer; the small manufacturer and trader, who is engaged in a desperate and losing struggle for economic independence in the face of the all-conquering power of concentrated capital; and even the capitalist himself, who is the slave of his wealth rather than its master. The struggle of the working class against the capitalist class, while it is a class struggle, is thus at the same time a struggle for the abolition of all classes and class privileges.

The private ownership of the land and means of production used for exploitation, is the rock upon which class rule is built; [343]political government is its indispensable instrument. The wage-workers cannot be freed from exploitation without conquering the political power and substituting collective for private ownership of the land and means of production used for exploitation.

The basis for such transformation is rapidly developing within present capitalist society. The factory system, with its complex machinery and minute division of labor, is rapidly destroying all vestiges of individual production in manufacture. Modern production is already very largely a collective and social process. The great trusts and monopolies which have sprung up in recent years have organized the work and management of the principal industries on a national scale, and have fitted them for collective use and operation.

There can be no absolute private title to land. All private titles, whether called fee simple or otherwise, are and must be subordinate to the public title. The Socialist Party strives to prevent land from being used for the purpose of exploitation and speculation. It demands the collective possession, control, or management of land to whatever extent may be necessary to attain that end. It is not opposed to the occupation and possession of land by those using it in a useful and bona fide manner without exploitation.

The Socialist Party is primarily an economic and political movement. It is not concerned with matters of religious belief.

In the struggle for freedom the interests of all modern workers are identical. The struggle is not only national but international. It embraces the world and will be carried to ultimate victory by the united workers of the world.

To unite the workers of the nation and their allies and sympathizers of all other classes to this end, is the mission of the Socialist Party. In this battle for freedom the Socialist Party does not strive to substitute working class rule for capitalist class rule, but by working class victory, to free all humanity from class rule and to realize the international brotherhood of man.


As measures calculated to strengthen the working class in its fight for the realization of this ultimate aim, and to increase its power of resistance against capitalist oppression, we advocate and pledge ourselves and our elected officers to the following program:

General Demands

1. The immediate government relief for the unemployed workers by building schools, by reforesting of cut-over and waste lands, by reclamation of arid tracts, and the building of canals, and by extending all other useful public works. All persons employed on such works shall be employed directly by the government under an eight-hour work-day and at the prevailing [344]union wages. The government shall also loan money to states and municipalities without interest for the purpose of carrying on public works. It shall contribute to the funds of labor organizations for the purpose of assisting their unemployed members, and shall take such other measures within its power as will lessen the widespread misery of the workers caused by the misrule of the capitalist class.

2. The collective ownership of railroads, telegraphs, telephones, steamboat lines, and all other means of social transportation and communication.

3. The collective ownership of all industries which are organized on a national scale and in which competition has virtually ceased to exist.

4. The extension of the public domain to include mines, quarries, oil wells, forests, and water power.

5. The scientific reforestation of timber lands, and the reclamation of swamp lands. The land so reforested or reclaimed to be permanently retained as a part of the public domain.

6. The absolute freedom of press, speech, and assemblage.

Industrial Demands

7. The improvement of the industrial condition of the workers.

(a) By shortening the workday in keeping with the increased productiveness of machinery.

(b) By securing to every worker a rest period of not less than a day and a half in each week.

(c) By securing a more effective inspection of workshops and factories.

(d) By forbidding the employment of children under sixteen years of age.

(e) By forbidding the interstate transportation of the products of child labor, of convict labor, and of all uninspected factories.

(f) By abolishing official charity and substituting in its place compulsory insurance against unemployment, illness, accidents, invalidism, old age, and death.

Political Demands

8. The extension of inheritance taxes, graduated in proportion to the amount of the bequests and to the nearness of kin.

9. A graduated income tax.

10. Unrestricted and equal suffrage for men and women, and we pledge ourselves to engage in an active campaign in that direction.

11. The initiative and referendum, proportional representation, and the right of recall.

12. The abolition of the senate.

13. The abolition of the power usurped by the supreme court of the United States to pass upon the constitutionality of legislation enacted by Congress. National laws to be repealed or [345]abrogated only by act of Congress or by a referendum of the whole people.

14. That the Constitution be made amendable by majority vote.

15. The enactment of further measures for general education and for the conservation of health. The bureau of education to be made a department. The creation of a department of public health.

16. The separation of the present bureau of labor from the department of commerce and labor, and the establishment of a department of labor.

17. That all judges be elected by the people for short terms, and that the power to issue injunctions shall be curbed by immediate legislation.

18. The free administration of justice.

Such measures of relief as we may be able to force from capitalism are but a preparation of the workers to seize the whole power of government, in order that they may thereby lay hold of the whole system of industry and thus come to their rightful inheritance.


[1] Georges Weil, Histoire du Mouvement Social en France, p. 208.





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Typographical errors corrected in text:

Page   32:  (FN 14) Deutscher replaced with Deutschen
Page   32:  (FN 16) Dürung replaced with Dühring
Page 103:  "will within the next few decades he compelled" replaced with "will within the next few decades be compelled"
Page 147:  beaureaucratic replaced with bureaucratic
Page 171:  (FN 1) "Die Sozial-Demokratische Gewerkschaften in Deutschland, seit dem Erlasse des Sozialistischen Gesets" replaced with "Die Sozial-Demokratische Gewerkschaften in Deutschland, seit dem Erlasse des Sozialistischen Gesetzes"
Page 194:  compaigning replaced with campaigning
Page 255:  (FN 3) Classenkampf replaced with Klassenkampf
Page 267:  fullfilled replaced with fulfilled
Page 274:  Schæffle replaced with Schaeffle
Page 276:  Jaegèr replaced with Jaeger
Page 295:  (table note) sevice replaced with service
Page 347:  Broussé replaced with Brousse

The reader should note that on page 216, in referring to damages assessed (in England) at $100,000, one assumes £ is meant rather than $, yet the image does have $.

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