« ForrigeFortsæt »
whelming vote of the other twenty-two countries, and there was no thought of a compromise. Comrade Hillquit makes out the semblance of a compromise by simply misstating the position of the other comrades, including my own, on the subject. Not only that he even misstates the meaning of our own resolution, although it is his own handiwork and he ought to know it. According to Comrade Hillquit (in the Worker) our resolution is not opposed to "involuntary" or "natural" labor migration, but merely to the "importation" of foreign labor. It follows of necessity that those who were opposed to this resolution must have been in favor of such importation. And Comrade Hillquit is not slow to draw this conclusion: so he states in one place that the "extreme left" at the Congress "stood for absolutely free labor migration without any restriction or even safeguard," (whatever that may mean). And in another: "even among the delegates of our own party, there were those who were opposed to all restrictions." This statement evidently referring to myself. The compromise, according to him, consisted in the congress expressing itself for the exclusion of "contract-labor."
A mere recapitulation of the facts as Comrade Hillquit would have us understand them shows that he must be mistaken somewhere. For, the following very pertinent questions naturally suggest themselves: Ist. How is it possible that at a gathering of socialists there should be even an "extreme left" that should be opposed to the prohibition of the importation of contractlabor? And if by some chance such "enemies of labor" and "reactionaries" smuggled themselves into the Congress and got representation on the Immigration Commission, is it likely that it would have taken the commission two days hard fighting to dispose of them? 2nd. If Comrade Hillquit's statement as to the meaning of our resolution be true, then our resolution was actually adopted. Why, then, does he call it a compromise in one place and a defeat in another? Why does Comrade Hillquit complain that "we were beaten, hopelessly beaten." Why does Comrade Berger accuse Comrade Hillquit of being derelict in his duty, instead of hailing him victor? How account for the deluded ones who intimated that our delegation should have bolted the Congress for adopting our resolution? And how does it all harmonize with the statement that "on the particular point in issue" we knocked up against the solid wall of practically all of the socialists of the rest of the world?
The truth of the matter is as follows: There was no such "extreme left" at Stuttgart that anybody, but Comrade Hillquit could see. Certainly there were none among our party's delegates at Stuttgart who were opposed to legislation excluding "imported" immigrants. And there was no compromise at Stuttgart on the immigration question, either, for there was nobody
to compromise with except the supporters of our resolution, and they were "hopelessly beaten." The demand for the exclusion of imported contract labor contained in the Stuttgart resolution was not inserted therein as a concession to those in favor of the restriction of immigration, for all those who opposed "restriction" in general were in favor of this particular restriction. There were really no two opinions on the question. This was not the "point in issue," nor any part of it. That lay at another point. Let us see what it was.
Our resolution is drawn in such a way that it not only does violence to all logic, but is extremely treacherous. At first glance it looks innocent enough, and the worst that could be said about it is that it is meaningless. At least one member of our National Executive Committee is known to have been deceived by its innocent-looking meaninglessness into voting for it. How many more members of our National Executive Committee and National Committee were so deceived I have no means of telling. Our European Comrades, however, were not deceived, nor were all our delegates. They detected the "nigger in the woodpile," and that raised the issue between our delegation and the rest of the world, the debate over which lasted in committee for two whole days, and ended in our being "hopelessly beaten.” Yes, ignominiously beaten. It was the attempt of our resolution to establish the principle of dividing immigrants along racial lines into "organizable" and "unorganizable," and to lay down as a rule of socialist policy, based on such principle of division, the demand for the exclusion of the so-called "unorganizable races." On this issue our resolution met with the solid opposition of the socialists of the world with the exception of a few trade-unions. And there was no compromise: the resolution is as emphatic on this point as it could possibly be made. Not, however, because our European comrades have no careful regard for the fate of the American workingmen or their indifference to the fortunes of the socialist movement in America. But from a conviction, fully justified, that the principles and demands formulated in our resolution are a snare and a delusion, and cannot possibly result in any permanent good to the workingclass of this country or of the world. These principles and demands are unsocialistic, that is to say, they are repugnant to the permanent and lasting interests of the workingclass.
That this is so, and that Comrade Hillquit saw it in that light at Stuttgart, is proven by the fact that Comrade Hillquit was finally moved to make a speech in favor of the resolution as adopted by the committee. To be frank about it: I was at first surprised to hear Comrade Hillquit speak in favor of the resolution reported by the committee, particularly in view of the fact that nobody opposed it. But as I stood there listening to his
speech I saw the reason for it. Comrade Hillquit saw that the introduction of the resolution sadly damaged the reputation of our movement in the eyes of the socialist world, exposing us to the suspicion of utopianism on the one hand and sordidness of motive and egoism on the other, and he attempted to retrieve what was lost by arguing that we were really not as bad as we were painted, and that there really is not much difference between our resolution and the resolution adopted by the committee. The latter was, of course, no truer when stated at Stuttgart than when it is stated here. But there was an excuse for it at Stuttgart which is absent here, which makes the statement here absolutely indefensible. When Comrade Hillquit made the statement at Stuttgart he was engaged in the laudable effort of rehabilitating us in the opinion of our comrades, and the means adopted were at least harmless. Here, however, the situation is different: There is no reason for hiding the truth. With the better light that Comrade Hillquit has seen at Stuttgart, he ought to be showing the comrades who still abide in darkness the error of their ways, instead of telling them that our resolution was all right, but that we must submit, etc. Of course, Comrade Hillquit is right when he says that as good socialists we have to abide by the decision of the majority. But it is hardly worth while wasting much effort on this subject; there is no danger of our refusing to abide by the decision of the International ConBut there is danger of some of us retaining our false notions on the subject-matter itself to the great detriment of our movement. I shall therefore next take up the question upon its merits, as Comrade Hillquit should have done long ago.
New York, November 22, 1907.
L. B. BOUDIN.
(Note by the Editor. We are informed that this article was offered for publication in The Worker of New York and was rejected. In view of the importance of the subject, the REVIEW will gladly print brief communications either for or against the Stuttgart resolutions.)
To the Readers of the Review. The new editor hardly needs to introduce himself, since he has been in touch with you for years through the Publishers' Department. But he takes pleasure in introducing his associates. John Spargo, whose article on "Woman and the Socialist Movement" opens our present issue, and who also edits the department of book reviews, is one of the ablest and most popular writers in the Socialist Party of America, and is an active and trusted member of the party in New York. He has had a wide and varied experience as manual laborer, preacher, editor, writer and lecturer, and has a sympathetic understanding of the necessary ways of thinking of all sorts and conditions of men, along with a clear grasp of the Marxian philosophy. Ernest Untermann, from whose pen an article entitled, "Pause and Consider", on the proposed union of the two socialist parties, will appear next month, has been a frequent contributor to the Review for years, and his books are sufficient proof that he combines a phenomenal scholarship with a distinctively proletarian way of thinking. He is at present living in Idaho, many miles from a railroad, and where mail communications are slow and uncertain, so that it is impossible for him just now to be as active as he would like to be, either on the Review or in the general work of the party, but he promises all the help in his power. Robert Rives LaMonte, who contributes this month the article on "Methods of Propaganda", is well known from his translations, his resent book "Socialism Positive and Negative" and his articles contributed to these pages in the past, and we feel sure that every Review reader will be glad of his promised co-operation. Max S. Hayes, editor of the Cleveland Citizen and one of the most influential members of the Typographical Union, will continue to edit the department of labor news.
What the Review Stands For. The Review will as before treat all subjects from the view-point of international socialism, and will support its principles. The editor is a member of the Socialist Party of America, and believes that all socialists in the United States can make their work for socialism count most effectively by working with the party. The Review however will open its pages to competent writers from all points of view, no matter whether the are inside or outside the Socialist Party, no matter whether they are for socialism or against it. We reserve the right to criticise all articles, but the absence of criticism does not necessarily imply that the editor agrees with all the views expressed. Indeed, the views expressed in every issue of the Review will usually be so various that no one with the
least sense of logic could agree with all of them. We regard clear thinking as essential to a healthy socialist movement, but clear thinking can not be attained by the Socialist Party's passing any set of resolutions; it can not be attained by trying to exclude from the membership of the party either opportunists or impossibilists, either Christians or materialists. It can best be attained by free, critical, logical discussion. And to afford a field for such discussion is the function of the International Socialist Review. It is sometimes objected that the Review, and a large proportion of the books issued by the same publishing house, are not good to "make socialists". The objection is perfectly well taken, but it shows a misunderstanding of one of the things that needs to be done. There are plenty of propaganda papers to bring socialism to the attention of the unconverted; the Review does not compete with these. Such papers very properly exclude from their colums any full discussions of questions on which socialists differ among themselves. Yet it is necessary that such questions be discussed if they are ever to be solved rationally, and the Review is the place for such dicsussions.
Socialist Unity. The National Executive Committee of the Socialist Labor Party adopted on Jan. 7 a preamble and resolutions setting forth the desirability of a consolidation of the two socialist parties, and electing a committee of seven to confer with a similar committee to be elected by the Socialist Party. Algernon Lee, member of the National Committee of the Socialist Party from New York State, has introduced a resolution on which the National Committee is voting as we go to press. It provides that the incoming National Executive Committee be designated as a committee of seven from the Socialist Party to meet with the committee from the S. L. P. to discuss terms of union. This motion has already received the endorsement of the New York State Committee of the Socialist Party. This action is exactly in line with the views of the present editor of the Review, as outlined by him in a signed article published in the December number. We do not, however, fail to realize the complexity of the question and the many objections that may fairly be urged. A thoughtful statement of these objections is embodied in the article by Ernest Untermann referred to above, and we regret that the length of the article and the late hour at which it was received made it impossible to publish it in this month's Review. It will appear in the March number, and meanwhile we will neither summarize Comrade Untermann's arguments nor answer them, since it is only fair to let him speak for himself. The Social Democratic Herald and the Christian Socialist have both come out emphatically against union with the Socialist Labor Party on any terms. But to our mind, if the Socialist Party were to vote down Comrade Lee's motion it would put itself in a false position before the socialists of other countries and the unorganized socialist sympathizers of the United States. If our party refuses to negotiate, it will fairly be held responsible for the failure to unite. The rational course seems to be to go into the conference, and then stand for the right of the membership as a whole to run the affairs of the consolidated party in accordance with the will of the majority. Roughly estimated, the membership of the Socialist Party is rather more than 30,000, while that of the Socialist Labor Party is rather less than 3,000. If the 3,000 will not unite unless the 30,000 will reverse their tactics and methods in some such way as was suggested by Local Redlands, California, then the responsibility for the failure of union will rest on the Socialist Labor Party, and the more desirable members of that