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also the saner and more far-seeing section of the capitalist class proper. Thus The Nation, the weekly edition of the New York, Evening Post, in a recent editorial calls a halt on the police, and points out that England's immunity from revolutionary violence is largely due to the fact that the English authorities have permitted the fullest measure of free speech. A national campaign is on, and open air meetings are, apart from the circulation of literature, our most effective form of propaganda. Let us insist on the right to hold them.
Immigrants, Desirable and Undesirable. After all, does not the question of the desirability of an immigrant turn on the question of who it is that does the desiring? We are moved to this reflection by the contrast between the article by Comrade Boudin in the February Review and that by Comrade King in this issue. Boudin is a cosmopolitan living in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the Socialist movement of New York City. King is a Californian, in close touch with the union laborers of San Francisco who have thus far maintained a pretty high standard of living by dint of hard fighting, and who fear that the next move of the capitalists may be to glut the labor market of the coast with Asiatic labor. Each writer voices the natural desires and feelings of a definite group, and the attitude of each is perfectly intelligible and rational. We in the convention must realize this and not become unduly indignant over each other's views. But when it comes to deciding the policy of the party, it is pretty certain that the Californian opinion will be overwhelmingly in the majority. The Socialist Party of America is the party of the working class, standing at all times for the interest of American wage-workers. If these wage workers believe that the exclusion of Japanese laborers will enable them to maintain or raise their standard of living, even for a while, it is the function of the Socialist Party of America to back them in this fight with all the strength it has. As for universal brotherhood, that will come in the future as a result of the triumph of the working class, but we can not hasten its coming by acting in a way to divide the working class here and now. The capitalists are day by day giving the workers object lessons in the need of a political party of their own; it remains for us socialists to show that ours is the party that they want.
Japan. It is to be hoped that the Japanese enjoy their newly acquired occidentalism. They have surely taken on the most modern and acute form. In fact they are just now involved in the same difficulty which grips the governments of England, France and Germany. To make a showing against the Socialists these governments have felt obliged to institute paternalistic reforms - most of them very expensive. On the other hand the necessity of finding foreign markets has led to an unheard-of increase in armies and navies. It has not been sufficiently emphasized that the principal governments of Europe are confronted by an entirely new situation. In the midst of prosperity bankruptcy stares them in the face. The novelty of the situation lies in the fact that our statesmen recognize this condition as permanent; they give not the least prospect of relief. In the nature of things expenses must steadily increase, and all sources of revenue which ingenuity can discover have been drained to the limit.
And now, with changes of names, the recent history of Japan might be substituted for that of England, France or Germany. Before the Russo-Japanese war her annual budget amounted to $130,000,000: now it is more than $300,000,000. The national debt has increased to about $700,000,000. The government is feverishly taking over and mismanaging one monopoly after another. It now controls the railroads and the salt, tobacco and camphor industries. At that the people, most of them miserably poor, are taxed at the rate of four dollars a head. "Under these circumstances," remarks the correspondent of the New York Evening Post, "it is small wonder that Socialism of the rabid sort is on the increase."
In colonial affairs, too, the Japanese are rapidly becoming civilized: no doubt some almond-eyed Kipling will soon be upon us with "The Yellow Man's Burden." The Coreans have seen their telegraph and post office systems taken over by their benevolent superiors. Thousands of them have been driven from their homes by Japanese officials or marauders. American missionaries, who naturally sympathize with the "backward" race, are afraid to say a word in protest. For with their other modern acquirements the Japanese have learned to smother public opinion. American papers furnish ample evidence of this. No sooner does a true report of the internal or colonial affairs of the Flower Kingdom see the light in our public prints than there follows an official denial. So do modern morals follow modern economics.
England. . The retirement of Sir Campbell-Bannerman and the reorganization of the government under Mr. Herbert Asquith is of
small importance. Mr. Asquith has virtually been premier for weeks past. His personal character will merely tend to hasten the downfall of the present Liberal combinations. Whereas Sir Campbell-Bannerman was an accomplished compromiser unembarrassed by principles the new Premier is a sharp lawyer of the rasping, grasping Puritan type. Less of a publicist than his predecessor, he may be said to represent "the interests" rather more directly. So he is hardly the man to hold the radicals in line for long. It is significant that the cabinet was reorganized so as to occasion the minimum number of bye-elections (there are to be but four). Nothing could show more clearly that the Liberals are afraid to take their record to the people for judgment. It is worth noting, moreover, that matters have been so arranged that the chief opponents of the House of Lords have been given seats in that august body. This probably indicates the end of the Liberal Anti-Lords campaign.
An American is struck by the evangelical energy which characterizes the Socialist propaganda in England: it would be hard to match it on the continent or in this country. This is probably due to the fact that the English movement has reached a crucial point already past in most European countries and not yet attained on this side the water. All of a sudden it has been recognized as one of the great forces in the land: on the platform and in the press the challenge is flung down to it. And the manner in which the Socialists give account of themselves is an object-lesson to their comrades in other lands. The party papers have set themselves to raise 20,000 shillings for a campaign throughout the country. Already the red vans representing the cause are carrying speakers from town to town, and are received everywhere with enthusiasm. The Clarion has organized a chain of cycling clubs which make frequent runs to hold meetings or distribute literature. Various party locals have organized choirs which furnish music at public meetings. But the chief weapon of the English proletarian is argument. There was probably never before in the world such an epidemic of debating as rages now in the British Isles. Before clubs and into public gatherings the Socialist is sent by his organization to defend his faith; and the results are not far to seek. Meantime the party papers give a constant moving picture of English economic conditions. The horrors of unemployment, underfeeding, lack of housing and other atrocities are revealed in articles that leave little to desire in the way of detailed information and vigorous statement. There is disagreement within the ranks in England, even as here. But internal dissension is not allowed to turn the attack from the capitalist system.
France. If the history of the world labor movement is ever written it will reveal some curious anomalies. At the present moment, for example, the French Bourses du travail are passing through a crisis that an American workingman might find it hard to understand. Since 1890, when these organizations were first formed, many of them have depended for their existence upon government support: radical municipal authorities have held the labor vote by furnishing headquarters for union activities and making annual contributions to union treasuries. In return the Federation des Bourses du Travail has helped the government out of more than one tight place-notably through the good offices of its employment bureau in times of industrial unrest.
But the moment the working-class became self-conscious and began the inevitable battle against its exploiters this beautiful arrangement came to an end. First the unions were required to give account
of their expenditures; then many were driven from their quarters, and their official incomes soon reached the vanishing point. Now they face the problem of self-support. The Federation has an elaborate establishment at Paris, but most of the individual unions are poorly provided for. The acquisition of property is more difficult in France than in America, and French workingmen are much less able to tax themselves than their American comrades. So the problem is really a colossal one.
Germany. More than ever attention is centered on electoral reform. The Prussian Landtag election has been set for June. The three-class system was especially designed to save the poor from the dangers of political power; so the Socialists have little to hope fornot more than the gaining of six or eight seats at most. Their papers are filled with discussions as to whether such slender possible representation is worth fighting for, whether even the heaviest proletarian vote would have any effect on the government. In a recent number of Die Neue Zeit Eugen Prager argues in favor of the use of extra-parliamentary measures. He insists upon the advantages of the general strike, passive resistance and concerted abstinence from consumption of articles of luxury like beer or brandy. In Socialistische Monatshefte Wolfgang Heine makes an elaborate reply. To him all extra-parliamentary weapons seem childishly inadequate; for, in his opinion, the poor would suffer from them more than the rich. The weight of public opinion seems to be with Heine rather than Prager. The great cry is to arouse public sentiment. Important elements in the population. it is argued, can be won over at least to the support of a secret-ballot measure. The professional classes and small tradespeople especially, are said to favor reform. Therefore most of the Socialists place their main reliance on vigorous agitation and a large vote.
For a long time the imperial government has felt the need of a uniform association law, and now it is in a fair way to get one. A commission constiuted by the Reichstag is now at work upon the first draft of such a measure. In addition to prescribing purposes and methods of forming organizations this law is to limit the right of holding public meetings. It is the latter feature that especially interests our German comrades. It is proposed, among other things, to limit the right of public meeting to German citizens and to prohibit discussion in any language but German. Even citizens using their mother-tongue, however, are not to hold public gatherings except under strict police regulation. Meetings or other demonstrations in the open air are to be held only with consent of the authorities. Other gatherings may be forbidden or dispersed if it appears that they are subversive of "public order." No person under eighteen years of age is to be allowed to take part in public discussion. The efforts of the Socialists are bent upon making the law as definite as possible. It is felt that any ambiguity will furnish the government a means of further shutting off free speech.
Russia. The temporary defeat of the revolution in Russia is signalized by the reappearance of the Russian papers formerly printed at Geneva. The explanations and forecasts furnished by these journals are of deep interest to the outside world. As was to be expected, the views of the "Revolutionary" Socialists and the Social Democrats are diametrically opposed. The former, represented by the Proletarij, maintain that the present reaction includes only the great land-owners, the capitalists and the bureaucrats, less than five
per cent of the population; while on the other side are lined up the great majority, the proletarians and farmers, merely waiting for the word to overturn the tyrannic hierarchy. Just how five per cent of the population is able to maintain itself against ninety-five per cent is left to our imagination. The Golos Sozialdemokrata represents the Social Democrats. With brutal frankness this journal acknowledges the defeat of the Socialist forces. The different classes, it reports, are rallying about separate centers; various unions and clubs are forming nuclei for renewed revolutionary organization; but the Socialist party, as a party, has well nigh ceased to function.
Fortunately enough the first volume of a thorough-going study of Russian economic conditions, The Agrarian Question in Russia, by M. Masslow, has just been translated into German, and thus a wide circle of readers has come into possession of the material necessary to an understanding of the situation. It is evident that Russian industry has not reached the point at which successful revolution is possible. It should be borne in mind that the recent disturbances were due as much to bourgeois as to proletarian initiative. In the greater part of Russia there is no industrial population and in most districts small farmers still predominate. Under such circumstances a proletarian revolution could come almost only in the imagination of the Utopian dreamer.
Italy. The Italian railway employés have finally turned their backs on pure and simple tactics. They met in convention at Rome near the close of January and since then the Italian press has been boiling over with discussion of their action. Readers of the Review may remember an account in these columns of the unfortunate results of the great railway strike last October: a large faction of the railway workers felt they had not been supported by the Socialist party and so declared for independent action-with the strike as the only weapon. This faction has now been definitely defeated. By a vote of 32 to 12 the recent convention accepted a straight revolutionary program: the purpose of the union organization is, it declared, the preparation of the workers to take over the railways and operate them in the interest of society.
The most significant resolution proposed, however, was one which proclaimed that the workers would bind themselves to no one line of tactics. This form of statement, which represented the Socialist program, was accepted by a vote of 36 to 25. This means that the Socialist party and the railway workers will continue to act together. Since the Italian railways are owned and run by the state, the government is watching developments with a good deal of uneasiness and the bourgeois papers have been plunged into a most undignified state of excitement.