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party will be likely to leave the sinking ship and join the Socialist Party. On the other hand, if the Socialist Labor Party is willing to accept the principles of majority rule and work with us basis, this will be pretty good proof that the misgivings of some of our own members are unfounded.
The Wave of Prohibition. On another page is a report of a set of resolutions presented by the socialist aldermen of Milwaukee in response to a movement on the part of the capitalists to place new restrictions on saloons. In the same temper is an article by H. Quelch in the January number of the London Social Democrat, who lashes most artistically the hypocrisy of the Temperance Reformers, who propose to prevent the workingman from spending his money for drink, so that he can live more cheaply and thus work for lower wages. On the other hand, an address delivered by Comrade E. Wurm at the last national convention of the Social-Democratic Party of Germany, which is being circulated as a propaganda pamphlet by our German comrades, and which we expect to publish in next month's Review, explains the evils of alcoholism as forcibly as the prohibitionists and much more logically, and advocates practical measures. The question is up for discussion. The old-time prohibition movement was a matter of sentiment and emotion; the new prohibition crusade is a matter of business. In the days that are gone a laborer could get drunk once in a while with no particular injury except to his own family if he had one, and in a very slight degree to his employer. If he missed too many days the employer would hire some one in his place, having lost only the surplus-value he might have extracted from the drinker's own labor-power. Things are different now. The laborer now is a cog in a great wheel of a great machine, and if one particular cog is missing at a given moment the whole machine is more or less out of joint. Three or four workmen by absenting themselves from their posts on a Monday morning may cause a hundred to stand around idle and unpaid, waiting for the machine to be in working order again. If their loss of wages were the only loss, we should not hear so much of the matter, but what is far more important in the eyes of all "good" people, the capitalist loses not only what he might have made from the labor of the four convivial spirits, but also what he might have made from the labor of the ninety and six that went not astray. As the capitalist runs the government he proposes to do something about it. Hence the wave of prohibition which is sweeping over the United States and England. What position shall we as socialists take? The question is too big to settle in a paragraph. But it is up for discussion and we shall have to take a stand on it before long..
Economics and the Negro. A few months ago we published a translation of a notable article by Paul Lafargue entitled "Marx's Historical Method". Lafargue pointed out the folly of socialists who waste their time in long-winded discussions of Marx's method, instead of using the method in a practical way. We are glad that an American socialist of scholarship and ability has followed Lafargue's good advice, and we congratulate our readers on the series of studies, beginning in this month's Review. on the economic aspects of the negro problem. This seems a good time to put in a word of defense for the Marxian theory against a sort of criticism which we expect from capitalist editors but which seems annoyingly stupid when, as sometimes happens, it is brought forward by members of our own party. When we explain changes in ideas as held by masses of men
and in social institutions by changes in the mode of production, they claim that we are overlooking people's affections, or their artistic impulses, or their religion, or their inborn depravity, or some such considerations. What they seem unable to see is that we can not explain a motion by a rest, a variation by something that remains constant. Comrade Robbins will show in these articles that the negro was at one time left in his native freedom by the proud AngloSaxon, later reduced to slavery, then given nominal freedom but exploited like other laborers. Now the white men who treated him in these various ways were all more or less affectionate, artistic, religious or depraved according to the point of view of the reasoner, but, as our writer will show, the men of each successive epoch differed from the others in the way in which they produced and circulated goods. And these changes in the mode of production, rightly understood, explain what has happened to the negro. Moreover they may throw some light on the present interests and the future action of both the negro and those who come into direct relation with him. These articles will repay close study, and it is to be hoped that American socialists will now rapidly apply the same method to other problems.
Socialist Party Elections. The present method of electing the National Executive Committee of the Socialist Party of America has in practice been proved to have certain defects which under circumstances that might arise hereafter would be a source of danger. Every local and member at large is now allowed to nominate seven candidates, and the names of all who accept are placed alphabetically on an Australian ballot which is used by all party members in voting. The seven who receive the highest vote are declared elected. One result of this method is that many comrades are voted on whose names are entirely unknown outside their own state, often even outside their own local. Those who vote for these "favorite sons" seem to forget that in this way their votes have nothing at all to do with determining the make-up of the committee. Again, the multitude of names (there are 133 on this year's ballot), is bewildering and confusing to the average member; there is scarcely any intelligent discussion as to the stand on party questions taken by the various comrades who really stand a chance of election, and many members mark the names of candidates simply because they have seen them mentioned in papers or have heard them speak from the soap-box. Finally, with a large share of the vote split up among a lot of candidates who have no chance of election, the successful ones are usually the choice of a minority, and often of a very small minority. This would make it possible for a compact and well organized faction to elect, under our present constitution, a majority of the National Executive Committee, even if two thirds of the membership were opposed to the tactics favored by those candidates. A second ballot would solve the difficulty, but so much of labor and expense is involved in taking a ballot that some other remedy should be found if possible, and the best suggestion yet made is that no name be placed on the ballot to be used by voters unless placed in nomination by at least ten locals. This would probably keep the number of candidates within reasonable limits and would be a step toward majority rule.
England. The English Parliament, which reassembled on Jan. 25th, will doubtless drag out its governmental comedy as long as possible. The present ministry has carried out practically none of its promises. Now it is under pledge to introduce a new education bill, a "licensing” bill, an old-age pension bill, and an eight-hour law for miners. No one supposes it will be able to force through the House of Lords any measure really worth while, but it may manage to remain in office for some time, and that seems to be the main point.
Meanwhile our Socialist comrades are making the most of their opportunity. The miserable failure of all the regular English halfway measures gives them a magnificent opening. The Irish peasants are up in arms, "driving" cattle from the landed estates and in other ways protesting against the present regime. One fifth of the population of London is subsisting on charities—and at that, so poorly are the provisions of Parliament carried out that starvation is not uncommon. Municipal ownership has finally been shown up as the most ludicrous sort of a fiasco. Meantime news comes from Hull that on Jan. 22nd the Laborites definitely decided to make Socialism the objective of their party. 1500 meetings are being held every week, and the mutton-chop Conservatives and Liberals are scared into a veritable frenzy.
In the colonies matters are quite as lively as on the "tight little island." Now it is particularly the Indian revolutionists who are making themselves disagreeable. Led by the famous Tilak, they created such a division in the recent provincial congress at Surat that the government felt obliged to intervene, and the deliberations came to nought. The English are making a desperate attempt to keep the "moderate" natives loyal to the imperial government, but the breach between races seems to be widening and home-rule comes on apace.
In the Transvaal history is repeating itself in the most ironic fashion. A few years ago the English clubbed the Boers into giving what was called "fair play" to the Uitlanders. In this noble enterprise the Indian troops of his Majesty assisted eagerly. Now about 10,000 peaceable, harmless Hindus, for some time settled in the country, are beginning to get an economic foothold. And the "fairplay" English, strange to say, join with the Boers to make life unendurable for these new Uitlanders. The Englishman loves to "civilize" the Hindu in his own country where he is a native to be exploited. But let the Hindu use "Civilized" methods? Let him do the exploiting? That is a horse of another color. One wonders what will be the effect of these latest developments on Indian loyalty.
France. The situation among the wine-growers of central France is rapidly clearing itself. Formerly a good many workingmen were deceived by the identical-interest-of-capital-and-labor argument. In consequence of large sales of spurious wines the prices of the real article fell off and production decreased by nearly forty per cent. Hundreds of workers were discharged; others had their pay reduced or their hours lengthened. As a result of this in 1905 about forty labor unions sent representatives to the Congress of Beziers and took part in the organization of the Confederation Viticole. This organization was controlled by capitalists, and its purpose was to prevent the fraudulent production of wine. The proletarian members of it were denounced by their fellows, but maintained that through this organization they saw their only way to regaining the means of livelihood. But the cloven hoof of capital was not long concealed: the workingmen are still looking for their share of the benefits of combined action. Meantime union organizers have been active among them. The Congress of Agricultural Workers held at Beziers the 3rd and 4th of last November passed a clear resolution in favor of an anticapitalistic propaganda. Since then the straggling union men have gradually been coming back into line, and it is safe to say that we shall never again be treated to the strange spectacle of slaves and masters marching side by side through the streets of French cities.
Germany. The tasks confronting the German ministry seem insuperable. The imperial debt has increased to about $1,000,000,000, and the deficit in the present budget is $30,000,000, Despite these facts Heligoland is to be fortified, the navy is to be increased and $100,000,000 has been asked for to dispossess Polish landowners. Meantime prices of food-stuffs increase, new taxes fail to produce the necessary revenue, and the government fears the voting of a direct tax would give the Social Democrats too great an advantage. In the face of such conditions it is doubtful whether Chancellor Von Buelow can hold his slender majority for long.
On Jan. 10th. there culminated in Berlin the first act of a drama which has been a long time preparing. For many months Socialists all over Germany have been holding meetings in support of the movement for manhood suffrage in Prussia. Since soon after the Revolution of 1848 Prussia has suffered under a three-class electoral system. According to this system the voters are divided into three classes according to the amount of property upon which they pay taxes: these classes have equal voice in the choice of members of the Landtag. In the first class are a few of the very rich, in the second, a somewhat larger number of the middle-class proprietors, and in the third, the great mass of the proletarians. The first two classes always vote together-so the workingmen may as well stay at home. And that is just what most of them do. They have never had a representative in the Landtag. In the last election twelve per cent of the people elected 803 out of 943 representatives.
As was to be expected the manhood suffrage bill, supported by the Social Democrats, received scant courtesy from both government and Landtag. The Chancellor remarked disdainfully that the ministry had some changes in mind, but would report about them when it got ready; and the proposed law was voted down without a division.
Immediately 50,000 people crowded about the imperial palace and for a time really threatened to disturb the peace of their benevolent protector. But the police bore down on the manifestants, wounding
many and imprisoning many more. Now the matter has been brought before the Reichstag, where the Social Democrats have a voice in affairs, and the end is not yet. Unless the government yields, which is unlikely, it is hard to see how the affairs can end without serious violence. It is plainly a case in which violence would be justified.
For two months the German press has been much wrought up over a report that evidence had been discovered connecting the German Socialists with a Russian terrorist plot. Near the close of November the Berlin police reported the breaking up of a meeting of Russian Anarchists. Most important among the treasures discovered in the meeting-place was a consignment of paper said to have been ordered by a book-keeper of the company which publishes Vorwaerts, the Socialist organ. With no more evidence than this the bourgeois papers raised a mighty howl. The editors of Vorwaerts maintain that they know nothing of the matter, and that even if their book-keeper did order the paper that does not implicate them or the party leaders.
Austria. Statistics recently published by the Austrian Department of Commerce show a significant increase in the activities of labor unions. In 1905 there occurred in Austria 686 strikes; in 1906, 1083. In 1905 the men called out numbered 99,591; in 1906, 153,688. 22.3 per cent of the strikes called during the latter year were entirely successful, 47.4 per cent, patially successful, and only 30.3 per cent failed completely.
Italy. In Italy the Socialist party and the trades unions are passing through a crisis which is not without its lessons for the American movement. At the congress which met in Florence early in October a common progrom was agreed upon by the Socialist party, the confederation of labor unions and the parliamentary group. The day after the last session of the congress there occurred an event which set the Italian labor world in an uproar. A trainload of strikebreakers, who had been sent into Milan to break up a strike of gasfitters, were being deported. At one point they were received by a crowd of strikers; it is reported that some stones were thrown, but none of the scabs were injured. The soldiers sent to protect the train fired into the crowd, wounding ten strikers and killing one. The railroad employees of Milan immediately declared a sympathetic strike. In this they were not supported by their central council or by the Socialist party. The strike was called off, but in a spirit of intense bitterness the strikers accused the central authorities of trying to make themselves solid with the bourgeois element. Malcontents to the number of 200.000 finally sent delegates to a convention which met at Parma on November 3rd. Ringing resolutions were past denouncing the pacivist Socialist leaders and declaring for an open fight to the finish against the capitalist system. Just what will come of the new movement started at Parma it is difficult to tell at this distance; it is impossible for one not on the ground to see through the shower of charges and counter charges. Probably the whole disturbance is merely a sign of healthful growth. But even if it is, it shows the dangers which result from lack of mutual understanding among different wings of the movement.
Spain. The central organization of the Spanish trades union movement has recently purchased the famous palace of the dukes of Bejar and is rapidly remodeling its apartments into offices, school