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Commemorating the 

Fiftieth Anniversary of the 

Founding of the 

Socialist Labor Party 

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HE history ot the Socialist Labor Party 
is the history of workhig class develop- 
ment. — Thus wrote the author of a Social- \ 
ist Labor Party booklet published in 1907 
under the tide, ''American Industrial Evolution." 
The author of these lines expressed a truth greater 
and more significant than he probably realized. The 
statement is true in a twofold sense. First, in the 
sense that the Socialist Labor Party, since its incep- 
tion, has been flesh and bone, so to speak, of the 
WT)rking class of America : the struggles of the Amer- 
ican proletariat have been reflected in the history and 
activities of the Socialist Labor Party during the fifty 
years of its existence as a Marxian Socialist political 
organization, and each and every one of the assaults 
made upon the S.L>.P., from whatever quarter, has 
been an assault upon the premises from which the 
working class must necessarily and inescapably pro- 
ceed in order to achieve freedom. Secondly, in tlie 
sense that the intellectual development of the Social- 
ist Labor Party reflects the crystallization of Amer- 
ican labor as a class, with definite class interests, and 
with homogeneous class characteristics as distin- 
guished from the interests and characteristics of the 
property-OAvning, or exploiting, class. In the mea- 
sure that the economic mould of American industrial 
society has transformed American labor from its 
more primitive, individualized craft existence, into 
functioning as a highly coordinated, collectivized and 
thoroughly disciplined industrial body, in that same 
measure has the Socialist Labor Party grown and 
become transformed from the early uncertain, grop- 
ing beginnings to its present existence as a sound, sci- 

entific organization, definite as to purpose, certain as 
to means and measures, and as unvanquishable as the 
w^orking class itself. The observation quoted be- 
comes even more relevant if we include in the his- 
tory of the Socialist Labor Party those early begin- 
nings when it was know^i as the Socialistic Labor 
Party, though, as De Leon insisted, and as he might 
have phrased it, in the language of Shakespeare: 
The present S.L.P. is to its early forerunner as Hy- 
perion to a satyr! 

Actually the present S.L.P. dates its existence 
from 1890, which is why this year we are celebrating 
the Golden Jubilee of the Party. In 1900 De Leon 
wa-ote : 

"It is said, in a loose way, that the Socialist La- 
bor Party is tw'enty and even more years old. The 
statement is, however, essentially false. There was 
no Socialist Labor Party until the campaign of 1890. 
It is from then the Party dates. What was before 
w^as a debating society, stamped with the characteris- 
tics of one Alexander Jonas, poltroonish, ignorant, 
pretentious and thoroughly alien, hating the country 
and its people, unable, in short, to do anything. It 
is since 1890 that the Socialist Labor Party dates its 
actual existence." 

And again In 1903 De Leon repeated and ampli- 
fied as follow^s: 

''There was, before 1890, an organization by the 
name of Socialistic Labor Party. It w^ent off and on 
Into local elections. It w^as wholly controlled by the 
Volkszeitiing and some other 'old timers,' who used 



it to raise funds Avith from Tom Piatt. The thing 
went out of existence In 1890.'* 

De Leon should know, since he had personal 
knowledge of the individuals in control of the Social- 
istic Labor Party, and particularly of the worthless 
Alexander Jonas. Moreover, De Leon s judgment 
coincides with that of Frederick Engels, who spoke 
of the Jonas crowd in terms as contemptuous as 
these: ''With them [the V olkszeittmg crowd in con- 
trol of the Socialistic Labor Party] the movement is 
business, and 'business Is business.' " ! 

Llowever, though we agree with De Leon that 
as a Marxian organization the S.L.P. was born in 
1890, we may, perhaps, be permitted to stretch a 
point and say that the crude, primitive beginnings of 
the S.L.P. are to be sought in that earlier movement 
known as the Socialistic Labor Party, which was 
founded In the city of Newark on December 26, 
1877. It is true that that earlier movement was 
scarcely a party In anything but name, although those 
in control were political actlonists first, and trade 
unionists second, If at all, while the opposing element 
cared little or nothing about political action, but con- 
sidered trade unionism the only thing really worth 
while. Yet, if from the suffix "ic" we may Infer 
something apologetic — that is, that the Socialistic 
Labor Party wasn't really Socialist, or Marxist, but 
something aspiring to be such, or something that 
vaguely expressed the confused Utopian notions of 
the "radicals" of the day — If we so infer, and thus 
clearly acknowledge the fact of the crudeness of 
these early beginnings, I do not believe that In in- 
cluding these early beginnings as part of S.L.P. his- 
tory, w^e shall do serious violence to the otherwise 
legitimate claim that the true S.L.P. as we now knoAV 
it really is fifty, and not sixty-three years old this 

Let us, then, briefly review the period which Im- 
mediately preceded the nineties, and consider some 
of the events and struggles of this formative period 
In the history of the modern American Socialist 
movement. I do not Intend to recite the familiar 
facts already recorded, except in passing, here and 
there, but to bring out a few not so familiar facts, 
and to sketch roughly the background of the Party, 
using such material as may seem relevant, picked 
from the records of the time, or from the byways, 
so to speak, of the period preceding the nineties, 


The fact w^hlch stands out strikingly above all 
others Is that the Socialist Labor Party since 1890 
has been a characteristically native product, a typical 

American Institution, as American as pumpkin pie or 
corn on the cob ! One need not delve deeply into the 
past in order to verify this fact. It is stupid, to say 
the least, to maintain that Socialism is an importa- 
tion, that because Marx and Engels were Germans 
therefore Socialism is a German product, and so on- 
and so forth. It is true, of course, that Marx and 
Engels gave Socialism Its scientific basis. But, in 
the first place, If it had not been Marx and Engels 
it would have been some one else. All history at- 
tests that when social and economic development 
reaches certain heights, the needs that press for satis- 
faction are satisfied, and this applies to basic mate^ 
rial or economic needs, as well as purely intellectual 
or ideological cravings. The history of human so- 
ciety, and of the human race, establishes beyond per- 
adventure the fact of the oneness of the human 
mind, to use Morgan's phrase, or, as he put It, "the 
history of the human race is one In source, one in ex- 
perience, and one In progress." Inventions and dis- 
coveries, he said, "tend to show. . . .the uniformity 
of the operations of the human mind in similar con- 
ditions of society." 

And so, If Marx and Engels, or some other Eu- 
ropean thinker, had not discovered and laid bare the 
scientific principles underlying Socialism, It would 
have been an American who would have made these 
discoveries, and In the light of our present knowledge 
and understanding we are justified In saying that the 
discoverer would probably have been the immortal 
Daniel De Leon, a thinker as American as anyone 
can be If we Include the Americas In our concept of 

Secondly, the struggles fought, and the aspira- 
tions voiced by American Labor, and the utterances 
of the early pioneers in the labor movement, estab- 
lish the fact, as far as thought and language can do 
so, that the native American worker, once stirred into 
action, is as radical, as relentless, and as irreverent 
of traditions as any working class anywhere and at 
any time, if not more so. Long before Marx wrote 
and labored — indeed, while he was yet only a child — 
native-born American radicals voiced demands that 
today would send shivers up and dow^n the spines of 
our plutocracy and their loyal poodles. We all re- 
call the famous program formulated by Thomas 
Skidmore, and rationalized In his book published in 
1829.'^ I quote this brief, characteristic passage 
from Skidmore's book to emphasize the point: 

"Inasmuch as great wealth is an instrument 
Avhich Is uniformly used to extort from others their 
property, it ought to be taken away from its pos- 

*"The Rights of Man to Property, etc' 


sessors on the same principle that a sword or a pistol 
may be wrested from a robber, who shall undertake 
to accomplish the same effect in a different manner, . . 
''The steam-engine is not injurious to the poor, 
when they can have the benefit of it, and this, on sup- 
position, being always the case, instead of being 
looked upon as a curse would be hailed as a blessing. 
If, then, it is seen that the steam-engine [as private 
property] for example is likely gready to impoverish 
or destroy the poor, what have they to do, but to 
lay hold of it and make it their own? Let them ap- 
propriate also, in the same w^ay, the cotton factories, 
the iron foundries, the rolling mills, houses ...... 

ships, goods, steamboats, fields of agriculture, etc., 
etc., etc as is their right." 

Surely, nothing could be more radical, or, rather, 
revolutionary, than that, and anyone expressing such 
sacrilegious words today would surely be denounced 
by the church as an enemy of religion, of the family 
and of our morals, and by the plutocracy as an alien 
agitator who should at least be deported to the place 
whence he came ! 

Moreover, the history of the American labor 
movement, long before Marxian principles were 
known or understood, is a history of strikes, mostly 

violent; of rebellions against the State powers, and 
of contempt for laws il they stood in the way of the 
workers' achieving their objectives, Avhich, by the 
w^ay, were singularly modest as measured against 
present-day standards. Let us dismiss, then, this non- 
sense about Socialism and its demands being alien in 
origin and nature, and treat the subject In the manner 
of adults who are neither ashamed, nor yet too 
proud, of the childhood of our class and nation. 


The Civil War prepared the ground for the mocl- 
ern class struggle in America on a scale and in a 
manner unparalleled anywhere else. A predatory 
ruling class emerged, finding itself in possession of 
a continent, or at least found a continent ripe to be 
picked by it, with fabulous natural wealth, inexhaus- 
tible resources, and with a labor force at its command 
which, however transient, was forever replenished 
by the never-ending stream flowing into the country 
from Europe. Many, of course, continued west- 
w^ard, but hundreds of thousands settled in the east- 
ern cities — in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Bal- 
timore and so forth, and, in the Middle West, in 
Chicago, notably — most of these being German, 
Irish and, later, Jewish immigrants. It is an amus- 


"Puck's" Thanksgiving Dinner to the Destitute and Disappointed Politicians and Labor Agitators 

{Note Father McGlynn's dejection and Henry George's baleful expression. This and all other 
reproductions jrom ''Puck'* appearing in this issue are from *' Puck's" files for 1887.) 


ing commentary upon the Socialism-is-an-importation 
notion that the most unruly and, on the whole, the 
most lawless among these newcomers were the Irish, 
despite the fact that they w^ere more political-minded 
than the others, and despite the fact that so many of 
them later became minions of the law. As unruly 
rebels, and outstanding among those practising vio- 
lence, these Irish proletarians (practically all of 
them devout Roman Catholics) put the more placid, 
and supposedly Socialist-tainted Germans entirely in 
the shade. We have no time to cite examples, but 
the Molly Maguires is but one concrete example of 
this lawlessness among supposedly God-fearing, 
church-loving and authority-respecting people! 

It was in this environment, and largely among 
such elements, that the Socialistic Labor Party had 
to Avork. The movement w^as predominantly Ger- 
man, since many of the members were refugees from 
Germany, having fled from the persecutions of the 
Bismarck regime. At the head of the Socialistic La- 
bor Party, organized in Newark sixty-three years 
ago, there was nevertheless a native American, a 
Phillip Van Patten, the National Secretary and, ac- 
cording to Commons and Associates, an active Social- 
ist from 1876 to 1884. These eight years were 
among the stormiest in the formative period of the 
political movement of labor, ushering in the decade 
of violence and cruel repression of labor by the 
bloated, power-drunk and corrupt plutocracy that 
arose from the ruins of the Civil War. The Cleve- 

I Told You So! 

Puck: "German beer and Irish Whiskey will never mix!" 

{"Puck's'' comment on the expulsion of the "Socialistic" representa- 
tiz^s from the George-McGlynn ''United Labor party.'') 

land campaign of 1884, commencing this decade, 
was one of the high-lights in this period, the Hay- 
market tragedy of 1886 another. Grover Cleveland 
had become the darling of the middle and lower lay- 
ers of the capitalist class — the same Cleveland who 
in 1894 was to prove that a "liberal," even a "radi- 
caP' capitaHst President of the United States will re- 
spond as readily, if not more so, to the call of the 
plutocracy as to the demands of those who insured 
his election, whenever the interests of the capitalist 
class as a whole demand it. His promptness in send- 
ing troops into Chicago in 1894, over the protests of 
Governor Altgeld of Illinois, to crush the Pullman 
strike, proves the point. 

However, during the seventies and early eighties 
the Socialistic Labor Party was continually torn with 
factional fights, and the greatest looseness in respect 
to organizational matters prevailed. Decisions of the 
Party as a whole would be openly flouted, now by 
this, now by that group, and heated discussions went 
on almost uninterruptedly for and against political 
action, for and against trade union activities, for and 
against Greenbackism, for and against anarchism 
(which, of course, had raised Its ugly head), but no- 
where was the line-up definite, no one took a clear 
stand on any question. Secessions were frequent 
and, although the Party Executive made a show of 
preserving some sort of discipline, it was quite in- 
capable of enforcing decisions, if indeed it ever cared 
very much about doing so. A characteristic sidelight 
on this organizational looseness is given in the pro- 
ceedings of the Sixth National Convention of the So- 
cialistic: Labor Party held at Buffalo In September, 
1887. The convention adopted a resolution on Par- 
ty members' participating in the campaigns of other 
so-called labor parties, from which I quote: 

"Resolved, To recommend to the members wher- 
ever one or more labor parties are in the field, to 
support that party which is the most progressive; 
that is, the platform and principles of which comes 
[sic] nearest to ours, and at least recognizes the con- 
flict between capital and labor; but members shall 
not be permitted to participate in the founding of 
new parties, tvhen there is no well-founded reason to 
believe that the same shall fully recognize our prin- 
ciples J^ (Italics mine.) 

This resolution might correctly have been labeled 
"A Resolution Affirming the Political Bankruptcy of 
the Socialistic Labor Party"! As we see, it was ac- 
cepted quite as a matter of course that the members 
might support any other party they chose, just as 
long as they were satisfied that it was the "nearest 
to ours." In Buffalo "nearest" might be ten miles. 


in Chicago it might be a hundred niile^, while in, say, 
St. Louis, "nearest" might be a thousand miles or 
more to the party's platform and "principles." ! ! It 
is true that the resolution also provided that where 
a local Section had endorsed a certain "political 
movement," the members w^ere required to abide by 
the Section's decision, but we have no reason to sup- 
pose that the local Sections seriously attempted, or 
that they in fact were capable of compelling mem- 
bers, to abide by the Section's decisions in this respect. 
We note also wnth interest the innocuous phrase, 
"recognize the conflict between capital and labor," 
evidently intended as a veiled affirmation of the class 
struggle as the basis of the labor movement. But 
even this mild, and actually meaningless, phrase was 
challenged by a delegate w^ho w^anted to delete it. He 
finally withdrew^ his objection, apparently being as- 
sured that the phrase was intended to convey noth- 
ing that was not obvious on its face — that is, that 
there certainly were conflicts betw^een capital and 

Incidentally, this political bankruptcy of the So- 
cialistic Labor Party reminds one of the present sta- 
tus and attitude of the so-called Socialist party, which 
in recent years has gone around looking for "labor" 
parties where the hapless S.P. members might play 
political action more or less as they please. This is 
simply one more proof of the bankruptcy of the Nor- 
man Thomas party which thus, 52 years after the 
Socialistic Labor Party passed its resolution and af- 
ter all the experience made during these many years, 
is reverting to the primitive tactics of the eighties, 
thus rounding the circle of fusion, confusion and 
compromise ! But it is more than a proof of the bank- 
ruptcy of the reformistic and bourgeois Socialist 
party. It is proof also of the utter criminality of the 
attempt made forty years ago to destroy the Social- 
ist Labor Party, proof of the utter futility, and 
worse, of the entire career and activities of the so- 
called Socialist party. By each and every one of the 
standards acclaimed by the Socialist party to prove 
that it w^as right and De Leonism wa'ong, the direct 
opposite has been established. The Socialist party, 
in point of its ovv^n theories, is exactly w^here it was 
forty years ago, and from the view^point of numbers, 
and the material success it claimed during at least 
the first two decades of its existence, it constitutes a 
monument of complete failure. It is idle to speculate, 
but surely in view of all that has happened, it is not 
unreasonable to assume that If the Socialist Labor 
Party had not been faced wuth tremendous handi- 
caps during these many years of a bogus Socialist 
party, there might today be in this country a vastly 
better understanding of revolutionary Socialism and 


A Tough Job for the Atlas of the Labor World 

Henry George: 'Tf you fellows up there don't keep quiet^ 
I shall have to drop the whole thing!" 

(Pleased with the noisy dissension in the United Labor party 
*'Puck" ridicules the party and its leader.) 

a far greater, numerically speaking. Socialist Labor 
Party. From any viewpoint, however, De Leonism. 
has emerged as triumphantly as w^hat w-e might call 
Hillquitism has subsided ignominiously. The crime 
of the Social Democratic politicians is equal at least 
to the crime of the present-day Stalinist corrupters of 
working class thought, and both have contributed in 
equal measure to the disruption of the revolutionary 
elements in this country, and to the prevention of the 
rise of a numerically pow^erful revolutionary Marx- 
ian movement. 


But let us revert to the general situation as it 
prevailed in the eighties — that decade which by bour- 
geois waiters has been called the "elegant eighties/* 
but which more properly might be called the 
" 'elendig' eighties" — that is, the eighties of work- 
ing class misery and wretchedness. As we noted be- 
fore, In the great eastern cities there had settled a 
large immigrant element, chiefly Irish and German. 


The Irish were particularly audihle, partly because 
they had the backing, of course, of the Catholic 
Church, and partly because many of them achieved 
leadership in labor unions. Since the forties, as a 
direct result of the cruel maltreatment of the Irish 
peasantry at the hands of the brutal British ruling 
class, thousands upon thousands had departed from 
the "auld sod," taking with them bitter memories of 
a ruined land, strewn with hundreds of thousands of 
corpses, the victims of evictions and the potato crop 
failures. As one historian tells us : 

"In 1846 alone 50,000 families. . . .w^ere evicted 
for not paying their rents. Their huts were leveled 
to the earth and they w^ere left to die. During those 
hunger years there was bountiful food in sight of 
the famine victims. , . . [all of which was exported 
to England by the English absentee landlords]. The 
Irish peasants ate grass. They ate seaweed. They 
ate rotting potatoes. In the midst of plenty, at the 
door of the w^ealthiest nation in the w^orld, 729,033 
victims died. . . . each death was a preventable death. 
Each death w^as due to causes over which mankind 
has control." 

How familiar all this sounds. And nearly a 
hundred years later we witness a similar spectacle in 
this country, now *'the wTalthiest nation in the 
world." But the methods of the modern capitalist 
class are more refined. The ten million unemployed, 
and the millions partly employed, do not actually 
drop dead and rot in public sight. They do so quiet- 
ly, decently, and only occasionally do individual cases 
of particularly dramatic horror reach the front pages 
of our newspapers. 

However, as our historian points out, to the Eng- 
lish ruling class "the famine seemed the act of God, 
or else the purging of overburdened nature." And 
he quotes the London Times of the day as saying 
that Ireland "is being cleared quietly for the inter- 
ests and luxury of humanity" — by humanity we are 
to understand, of course, the brutal, cannibalistic 
ruling class of England ! 

It w^as this Ireland Avhich during the forties and 
succeeding decades furnished a vast portion of the 
immigration to the United States, and It w^as these, 
and their Immediate descendants, who, with their 
bitter memories, contributed so actively and vocally 
to the political ferment of the seventies and the 
eighties. As our Irish historian puts it: "It [i.e., 
"the agony of emigration"] transferred to the broad 
shoulders of the United States the burden of illiter- 
acy and technical backwardness which had been cre- 
ated by bad English government." (More correctly 
our historian might have said, in the slightly para- 

phrased language of Marx: which had been created 
through the ''wholesale expropriation of the agricul- 
tural population from the soil," the British landlord 
and plutocratic class conquering "the field for capi- 
talistic agriculture .... [making] the soil part and 
parcel of capital. . . . [creating for American] indus- 
tries the necessary supply of 'free' and outlawed pro- 

In view of the chaos and confusion in the Social- 
istic Labor Party, the ranting of the anarchists and 
the futility of Greenbackism and similar movements, 
together with the presence of a large group of im- 
migrants from a country where possession of land, 
however limited, was a passion; and backed as these 
latter were by a church reaching out for power, and 
determined to become one of the major forces in 
American public life — In view of all this, it is under- 
standable why the Henry George movement should 
have proved such an amazing political success In the 
eighties. Not that the church itself endorsed the 
Henry George Single Tax Idea — on the contrary, it 
was opposed by the hierarchy which naturally wanted 
to hold on to its already considerable land holdings 
which In time were to become vast — but many among 
the alert and articulate Irish immigrants, or the sec- 
ond generation, took to the idea, as did individual 
members of the Catholic clergy, notable among 
whom we find the famous Father McGlynn. (One of 
the most active members of the Irish Fenian move- 
ment, Michael Davitt, who visited America in 1878, 
became quickly converted to the Single Tax theory, 
and remained a friend and disciple of Henry 
George.) Henry George, however, was largely with- 
out an organization of his own. In August of 1886 
a conference of various labor groups (including the 
SocialistzV Labor Party) took place in New York 
City for the purpose of launching an independent 
campaign In behalf of labor. This movement was 
largely directed by the Central Labor Union. This 
body had been organized four years earlier as a re- 
sult of a mass meeting which, according to Commons / 
and Associates, had been called by one Robert Blis- 
sert, "a journeyman tailor and refugee from Ireland, 
'for the purpose of sending greetings to the workers 
of Ireland In their struggle against English landlord- 
ism.' " That mass meeting, presided over by Phillip 
Van Patten, National Secretary of the Socialistic La- 
bor Party, was dominated by the so-called Socialist 
element, and the declaration adopted followed the 
familiar pattern, and was, on the whole, remarkablv 
clear in Its pronouncements, viz., that "there can be 
no harmony between capital and labor under the 
present Industrial system," giving the usual Socialist 
reasons, though perhaps not in the very clear terms 



, imA4^ ^ ixK^t ys^^ J 

"Just You Wait!!" 

{With none of the contemporary awe for the Rmuan Catholic Church — and no illusions concerning 
its political character — "Puck" taunted it unutcrcijully.) 

of today. The resolution also urged unity oi labor, 
without affiliation with capitalist parties, and stressed 
the international character of the revolutionary labor 


It w'as this group, and affiliated bodies, which 
tour years later met to nominate a labor canclidatc 
on a labor ticket. Because of his prominence, his 
supposed radicalism and idealism, the man selected 
as labor's candidate for mayor was Henry George. 
To us today there is something incredibly lutlicrous 
in the thought that on a ticket of labor there could 
be placed as candidate this typically bourgeois pundit, 
this philistine w^hose crude, and often naive, notions 
of political economy might have fitted into an eight- 
eenth or early nineteenth century environment, but 
which certainly fitted least of all the United States! 
Marx, discussing George's nostrums, pointedly que- 
ried: 'iTow^ did it happen [George should have 
asked] that in the United States, W'hcre, relatively 
. . . .the land was accessible to the great mass of the 
people and to a certain degree (again relatively) 
still is [i.e., in 1881], capitalist economy and the cor- 

responding enslavement of the working class have 
developed more rapidly and shamelessly than in any 
other country !" 

In other words, here was a continent A^ith land 
aplenty, still a>^ailable, on pioneer terms, to anyone 
desiring it, thus fulfilling the condition demanded in 
George's naive theory, and therefore, according to 
Georgeism, presenting the de facto establishment of 
what George and his successors and followers call 
economic freedom. George, of course, did not uer- 
ceive the Haw in his reasoning, namelv, that although 
land obviously is basic, it is no more so than w^ater 
or air or the sun's powxM*. Therefore, for George 
to talk about land being the basic element made no 
more sense than if he had said that w^ater or air w^as 
basic. In the given social premises lanci atid the 
means of production are basic — the one useless with- 
out the other. Whence it foUoW'S that land as \^'ell 
as the socially needed tools of production must be 
owmed in common. If George had asked himself the 
questions posed by Marx, and pondered the possible 
answers, he might, granted the possession of the 
requisite intellect and ability to reason logically, have 

(Continued on page 41.) 



"WKen First We Met" 

By Bertha C. De Leon. 

/'^/V^Y meeting with De Leon was, seemingly, 
III the sheerest accident — or was it, as we 

I \ i hked to think, destiny, or a miracle, that 
led to the crossing of our paths, when so 
many probable occur- 
rences might have pre- 
vented the meeting? 

Early in 1891, the N. 
E.C. [of the Socialist La- 
bor Party] sent De Leon 
on a cross-country tour 
as National Organizer. 
Just before leaving for 
the trip he met a casual 
acquaintance on the 
street, who, upon learn- 
ing of the proposed tour, 
said: "Be sure to go to 
Independence, Kansas. I 
have a brother who was 
recently pastor of the 
t o w n's Congregational 
Church and there are a 
few radicals he knew who 
might become the nucleus 
of a Section. I'll give you 
some names." One was 
the name of a house- 
painter and the other was 
mine, a teacher in the 
public schools of the 

Kansas at this time, in 
common \mth the Middle 
West in particular, and 
the United States in gen- 
eral, w^as in an economic and political ferment, and 
seething with discontent and anger. Mary Elizabeth 
Lease was ranging the prairies, eloquently advising 
the farmers to "raise less corn and more hell," which 
w^as about all the Populists ever did do politically, 
and that was not really of a very high temperature, 
though the political fundamentalists thought it ex- 

*With the permission of Mrs. Bertha C. De Leon, we are publish- 
ing here for the first time the first instalment of her memoirs of her 
famous husband. The story by Mrs. De Leon brings not only a 
beautifully poignant and intimate glimpse of a very personal incident 
in the life of a great man, but also a glimpse into an age that now al- 
most seems as remote as that of the beginning of the country — an age 
?lso which happens to be the very beginning of the Socialist Labor 
Party's fifty years' history. To add more by way of introduction 
would constitute an intrusion. 

tremely hot and felt many misgivings about the "re- 

In Independence, an incongruous group, an early 
miniature "popular front," so to speak, led and 

taught by the minister 
mentioned before, had 
got a glimmer of Marx, 
or at least of the class 
struggle, which was such 
bitter medicine to many 
that they hesitated to 
take it. The ideas they 
found in the "Christian 
Socialist" magazine and 
Edward Bellamy's 
"Looking Backward," 
then being read by hun- 
dreds of thousands who 
were groping for light 
and hope, were more 
palatable to most of 

Whatever the weak- 
nesses of our "Christian 
Socialist" Club, most of 
its members thought it 
very radical indeed, and 
so did many others. Pol- 
iticians of the town and 
county, together with the 
comparatively wealthy, 
salary-paying members 
of the church, aided, 
abetted and driven by the 
orthodox and convention- 
al of the various^other 
churches in town before long had shoved the "bold" 
pastor out of his church and the vicinity, and it fol- 
lowed that by the spring of '91 our erstwhile "brave 
and radical" "Christian Sociahst" Club had breathed 
its last. 

De Leon crossed the country to San Francisco; 
he was returning and was in Kansas. A meeting at 
Lawrence having fallen through, he decided to visit 
Independence, though it was not on his schedule. 
Seeking the house-painter and finding that he was 
out of town, he reluctantly enough turned to the 
public school teacher who, he feared, would not be 
much of a Socialist. 

He reached my home late in the day. It was 


I I 

Thursday, April 23, a heavenly, lilac-scented eve- 
ning. I was in the garden when my young brother 
came out, calling, "Visitor to see you." 

I went in and as I entered the room and our eyes 
met in the instant before either could speak, each 
saici within, 'T am yours and you are mine." Self- 
introductions followed and I was surprised and de- 
lighted to meet the author of the "Voice of Madi- 
son," perhaps the one solid article that had appeared 
in "The Nationalist," but I had never heard of the 
much more important V\^EEKLY PEOPLE. 

We spent a pleasant hour and decided that the 
public meeting would have to be just the people I 
could get together in my home by personal invitation 
the coming Saturday evening. Twelve or fifteen 
people came and seemed very much interested, but 

no organization resulted. The class struggle, when 
pinned up boldly anci starkly, where all who run may 
read, was altogether too much for them. 

De Leon left town the next day, but not without 
a thrust at our early Kansas prohibition. He de- 
clared that the only difference between "wet" New 
York and ^'dry" Kansas was that in New York liquor 
was bought in a saloon, whereas in Kansas it w^as 
bought in a millinery store. 

A correspondence betw^een us followed and on 
June 10, 1892, we were married at the home of a for- 
mer schoolmate of mine in South Norw^alk, Connec- 
ticut, by the "radical" minister, and, the air being 
"rosy and full of violins," we began our song of 
songs that was to last until De Leon's untimely death 
nearly twenty-two years later. 




Satire, Weapon of Truth 

By Eric Hass. 

ATIRE is the exclusive weapon of truth. 
In the hands of Falsehood it is as useless 
as a gun with a rubber barrel. "Truth is 
quite beyond the reach of satire," wrote 
James Russell Lowell. "There Is so brave a simplicity 
in her, that she can no more be made ridiculous than 
an oak or a pine." Anci from the days of the Greek 
and Roman satirists, men of Truth have "winged 
their polished darts" at error, themselves immune to 
its sharp barb. Read the satires of Juvenal, Horace, 
of Persius — who struck the highest note in Roman 
satire — and you w^ill read the history of the errors 
of their age. 

Satirists have, it is true, indulged in rancorous 
attacks on Truth and in good-natured persiflage, but 
the former w^ere savorless even to their times, and 
the latter, history, in her discriminating wisdom, 
failed to record. 

The thrusts which are long remembered are not 
only those w^hich are aimed at error, but those aimed 
at error of consequence. For it is not enough that a 
thing be wrong to be subject for satire. It must also 
be important. 

"Satire's my weapon, but I'm too discreet 
To run amuck and tilt at all I meet" — 

sang the celebrated English poet, Alexander Pope. 

And when Horace said the mountain labored 
and brought forth a mouse, he did not mean that the 
mouse was important, but that it became so by the 
mighty expectations w^hich the pompous delivery oc- 
casioned. Moreover, a jest w^hich will not bear se- 
rious examination Is false wit. Gravity is the proper 
test of ridicule, said the Greek rhetorician, Gorgias. 
By the same token ridicule is the proper test of 
gravity; even as the test rule of addition is subtrac- 
tion, and subtraction of addition. 

How easily ridicule demolishes false argument 
is demonstrated by the story of an Oxford scholar, 
w^ho, on the occasion of a Christmas visit to his 
home, declaimed on the art of logic w^hich he defined 

as the art of making people believe whatever he 
pleased. To demonstrate, he pointed to two mince 
pies w^hlch had been placed on the table. "I avIU 
prove," said the scholar to his parents, "that there 
are three mince pies. Now^ you wull grant me this 
one," he continued pointing to the pie on the left. 
"Yes," replied his puzzled paternal parent half ex- 
pecting a feat of magic. "And this is two," said the 
scholar, pointing to the pie on the right. "No doubt," 
rejoined his parent. "Why, then," the young Plato 
triumphantly exclaimed, "if you put one and two to- 
gether, they make three!" "Wonderful!" cried the 
father. "You, my dear wife, shall take one pie, I 
another, and Tom shall have the third to encourage 
him in the pursuit of such excellent studies." 

Obviously, had the scholar contented himself 
w^ith proving that two pies and one made three, he 
might have defied all the ridicule of Rabelais. 

Thus, satirists have tilted at error, conscious of 
their power to aid Truth. The American humorist, 
Artemus Ward, Avho eagerly sought to aAvaken mirth 
and laughter, was profoundly conscious that he aimed 
beyond fleeting emotion, at the heart and the mind. 
Of the mission of the humorist he once soberly 
WM'Ote : 

"Humorous writers have ahvays done the most 
tow^ard helping virtue on its pilgrimage, and the 
truth has found more aid from them than from all 
the grave polemists and solid writers that have ever 
spoken or w^rltten. It was always so, and men have 
borne battle for the right, with its grave truth fully 
in mind, wnth an artillery of wit, that has silenced 
the heavy batteries of formal discussion. They have 
helped the truth along without encumbering it with 
themselves. They have put it boldly forAvard and 
stood behind it and hurled their fiery javelins at their 
opponents till they have either fled inglorlously or 
been entirely silenced. Rabelais — vile fellow as he 
w^as and revolting to modern propriety and taste — 
did immense w^ork for the reform that began con- 
temporaneously w^ith him, and from Rabelais down 

University of Texas 
Austin, Jem 


the shaft of ridicule has done more than the cloth- 
yard arrows of solid argument in defending the 
truth. Those who bolster up error and hate the 
truth are still men and slow; men with no warm 
blood; men who hate levity and the ebullitions of 
wit; w^ho deprecate a joke of any kind, and run mad 
at a pun. Like Dominie Sampson, they can fire 
pointblank charges, but the warfare of flying artil- 
lery annoys them. They can't wheel and charge and 
fire, anci the attack in flank anci rear by the light 
troops drives them to cover." 

And of his own *'(^bullitions of wit" he wrote: 
"... .1 have always meant the creatures of my 
J)urlesques should stab Error and give Right a 
friendly push." 

As the purveyer of Falsehood is denied the use 
of satire in his struggle with Truth, the exponent of 
Truth is constrained to reject the ignoble weapons 
of falsehood. He cannot lie, slander, distort or re- 
sort to sophistry. With facts he must bombard the 
enemy's position, and with logic undermine it. But 
deadly though his facts and logic are, they become 
even more lethal when accompanied by satire. 

What is more natural, then, than for Socialism, 
the synthesis of sociological and economic Truth, to 
utilize this weapon in its exposure of that compen- 
dium of evils, capitalism. And with satire it does 
more than expose — it holds capitalism and its apolo- 
gists up to dread derisive laughter and rouses in the 
breasts of the classconscious proletariat an invigorat- 
ing sense of exultation. 

The great American Socialist pathfinder, Daniel 
De Leon, whose biting wit rarely failed to arouse 
anger in the w^eak as it fired the strong, once an- 
swered a critic through the "Letter Box" of the 

"Satire is a powerful weapon. No movement 
may throw the weapon asicle without injury to its 
arsenal As satire has its strength in facts, other- 
wise concealed, that it brings home, only sound 
movements and thoughts can forge the weapon. It 
were folly to leave such a valuable weapon unused 
because of the lack of intelligence of some to appre- 
ciate it." 

And De Leon used this weapon for all it was 
worth, laughing pedantry, affectation, sophistry and 
error into the lowest degrees of contempt. In 
speeches, in editorials, in the "Letter Box" and in 
the gravest discussions, De Leon unlimbered his ar- 
tillery of wit. Examples are to be found in almost 
any of his published works but we shall mention one 
or two here. 

What American Socialist has not roared Avith 
laughter as he read the tale of Tom Watson, the 
Jeffersonian Democrat on the Socialist Gridiron, one 
of De Leon's most delightful, humorous and, with- 
al, profound polemics? It was an evil day for Tom 
Watson, editor of The Jeffersonian and fVatson's 
Jeffersonian Magazine, when, armed cap-a-pie, he 
strutted into the arena snorting all sorts of threats 
and challenges against Socialism. Never was error 
spitted more neatly and never did the apologist for 
capitalism beat a more ignominious retreat. But to 
appreciate this performance one must read it for 
himself, for the humor cannot be separated from 
De Leon's matchless Marxian logic. 

In the "Letter Box" of the PEOPLE De Leon 
let fly many a barbed shaft. His accuracy is best 
judged by the howls of impotent rage which ema- 
nated from the camp of the enemy whose boundless 
hate for De Leon is as great today as when that 
towering Marxist strung his bow. For when De 
Leon demolished their theories he, not infrequently, 
encroached upon their material interests, exposing 
the rackets and fake movements by which they lived. 

Examples of De Leon's wit as exhibited in the 
"Letter Box" are almost numberless. We content 
ourselves by reproducing only a few selected, more 
or less, at random. To a correspondent who was 
intrigued by the idea of sick and death benefits, he 
wrote : 

"Put your thinking cap on. Can aught be more 
grotesquely absurd than the expectation of a manly, 
revolutionary posture on the part of a man whose 
horizon is bounded by his coffin, and whose conduct 
is controlled by his anxiety to keep that coffin safe? 
The unions that set up coffin benefits produce such 

And in reply to a query concerning Max Hayes, 
whom De Leon continually referred to as "her" 
and "she," to the maddening discomfiture of that 
would-be socialist and faker, De Leon replied: 

"What answer Max Hayes made to the exposure 
of her false statement that wages had gone up? Let's 
think! — Oh, yes, she answered that De Leon had 
drownecl his grandmother, or something equally to 
the point, truthful and conclusive." 

And, Indeed, the creatures who did not reply to 
De Leon's logic with slander were few. But there 
were some who were willing to admit that De Leon 
was right, and that the PEOPLE was thoroughly 
Marxist, but who hated De Leon and the S.LP 

"An enemy of the S.L.P. may recognize the 




PEOPLE as 'a prime educator,' " wrote De Leon, 
'' — but he will never be educated by it. Were he 
capable of education he would not be an enemy. 
Such folks generally have a screw loose — they rec- 
ognize that 2 + 2 = 4; they admire the close reason- 
ing that proves it; — but they hold to the lingering 
hope that, after all, 2 + 2 may make 22 — in other 
words that sunbeams may proceed from cucumbers." 
And "such folks" usually returned to the lists, 
either with their old shoddy wares or new schemes 
with which to delude and confuse the workers. Some 
seemed as incapable of smarting under the volleys 
of wit w^hich riddled their arguments as they were 
of learning from facts, reason and logic. 

"No creature smarts so little as a fool. 
Destroy his fib or sophistry — in vain! 
The creature's at his dirty work again." 

Nowhere in all the literature of Sociahsm is wit 
appreciated by the student as much as in Marx's epic 
analysis of capitalist economics, "Capital." Here the 
founder of scientific Socialism meets sundry oppo- 
nents with their fetishisms and specious contentions — 
Senior's "last hour," the so-called "labor fund" theo- 
ory, the alleged "abstinence" of the capitalists, etc. — 
tearing their empiricisms to bits. So thorough is the 
job done that the most robust mind following the 
attack step by step feels the effects of mental exer- 
tion. But this fatigue is banished, the wearied mind 
exhilarated, by the rapier-like thrusts with which 
Marx delivers the coup de grace. 

The "economist," Nassau W. Senior, is the of- 
fender for whom Marx reserved his most ironic 
scorn. This vulgar doctrinaire had the doubtful 
honor of having fathered at Manchester both the 
strange contention that the profit of capital is the 
product of the last hour of the twelve-hour working 
day, and the sycophantic phrase, "abstinence," which 
was supposed to explain the disparate riches in the 
hands of the virtuous few. In dealing with this lat- 
ter argument, Marx exposes its fallaciousness with 
the following reductio ad absurdum : 

"All the conditions for carrying on the labor- 
process are suddenly converted into so many acts of 
abstinence on the part of the capitalist. If the corn 
is not all eaten, but part of it also sown — abstinence 
of the capitalist. If the wine gets time to mature — 

abstinence of the capitalist How the capitalists 

as a class are to perform that feat, is a secret that 
vulgar economy has hitherto obstinately refused to 

divulge. Enough, that the world still jogs on, solely 
through the self-chastisement of this modern penitent 
of Vishnu, the capitalist- Not only accumulation, but 
the 'simple conservation of capital requires a con- 
stant effort to resist the temptation of consuming it.' 
The simple dictates of humanity therefore plainly 
enjoin the release of the capitalist from this martyr- 
dom and temptation, in the same way that the Geor- 
gian slave-owner w^as lately delivered, by the aboli- 
tion of slavery, from the painful dilemma, w^hether 
to squander the surplus-product lashed out of his 
niggers, entirely in champagne, or whether to re- 
convert a part of it, into more niggers and more 

The limits of the present sketch forbid more ex- 
haustive exploration of Marx's works for additional 
examples of his wit. The Avritings of Frederick En- 
gels must also be passed over for a time, even though 
this brilliant Socialist and polemlst has left us, inter- 
spersed in his profound writings, a rich legacy of 
salty satire. But we cannot ignore the Frenchman, 
Paul Lafargue. Of those we have mentioned he 
alone merits the title, "Socialist satirist." Marx, 
Engels, De Leon, et al., capable though they were 
of devastating wit, used satire sparingly. Lafargue, 
on the contrary, has written satires^ i.e., w^hole works 
which intensify the incongruities of capitalism. No- 
table among these are his devastating "Religion of 
Capital" and the volume bearing the strange title: 
"For Sale: An Appetite." In the latter volume 
Lafargue ridicules the gluttony of the rich as no 
other author has ridiculed it, and yet between the 
lines one finds a true and accurate picture of a sys- 
tem almost cannibalistic in its class relationships — a 
system in which the insatiable appetite of the ruhng 
class feeds on the growing misery of the ruled. 

In this solemn hour, when the world is engulfed 
in the chaos capitalism has been steadily tending to- 
ward for decades, satire is more than ever useful to 
the cause which will ultimately restore order and 
peace. The motley mixture of reform aspirations — 
ideas many believed were swallowed in the past but 
which are now regurgitated by a dying social order — 
offer a multitude of targets both for the lightly 
feathered shafts of satire and grinning broadsides of 
wit. With writer's pen and caricaturist's crayon. So- 
cialism supplements its heavy artillery of logic and 
facts, conscious that its missiles smart and rout the 
enemy as they invigorate and attract the friend. 



A History in 

Selected Cartoons 

from the 













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The labor faker has no real 
ambition. He is a cynic. He 
does not seek to be what yoii 
S'O neatly say ^'if hut a fly on 
the fifth wheel of govern- 
ment/^ so that he may have 
some glory. Not he. Poltroon- 
ery, the poltroonery of the 
sow in quest of garbage, is his 
characteristic. He may know 
nothing of the laws of physics. 
Intuitively, however, his sow 
soul knows that the club of 
power is felt less heavily by 
him zvho is close to those who 
wield it. He therefore tries to 
get as close as he can to the 
capitalists, not in search of 
glory, but in search of sur- 
cease of blows for his wretch- 
ed carcass, 

-De Leon. 

The notion that pro-capi- 
talist unions can be '^cap- 
ture d'^ by ^'boring from 
within^' is chimerical. The 
pro-capitalist union is the 
labor faker^s private do- 
main. Either the ^^borers 
from within^' bore to a pur- 
pose and '^bore^^ their way 
out — or their ''boring'' con- 
sists of *^ snoring from with- 
in.'' Socialisls have no illii- 
sions. They agitate from 
within and zvithout for the 
demolition of pro-capitalist 
unionism and the establish- 
ment of Industrial Unions 
of, by and for the working 

— Eric Hass. 

The People, 1900 


The executive of the mod- 
ern State is but a committee 
for managing the common af- 
fairs of the whole bourgeoisie. 

— Communist Manifesto. 

Today only crass political 
ignorance can imagine that 
bourgeois life must be held to- 
gether by the State. The truth 
is that the State is held togeth- 
er by bourgeois life, 

— Karl Marx. 

Weekly People, May 10, 1917 

THE INNOCENT— '^What's it called the Capitol for?" 

THE WISE ONE : — ** 'Cause it's run for Capitalists^ of course." 



Weekly People, December 12, 1917 


. , . ,by 1929 the situa- 
tion had become such that, 
according to no fewer than 
six surveys by conservative 
economic agencies, three- ' 
fifths of the nation\s mate- 
rial wealth was owned by 
two percent of the citizens, 

— Ferdinand Lundberg 



Given the private ownership of combined elemenls of pro- 
duction, and the capitalist class will congest ever more into 
its ozvn hands the wealth of the land, zvhile the working class 
must sink to ever deeper depths of poverty and dependence, 
every mechanical improvement only giving fresh impetus to 
the exaltation of the capitalist class and to the degradation 
of the workingman. 

The issues between the tzvo classes is one of life and 
death; there are no two sides to it; there is no compromise 
possible. Obviously, it is in the interest of the working class 
that the issue be made and kept clear before the eyes of the 
rank and file, and that capitalism be held up to their view in 
all its revolting hideousness, 

— De Leon. 

Weekly People, September 19, 1914 


Weekly People, December 12. 1914 



Weekly People, March 24, 1917 


That after the most tremendous war of modern times the conquer- 
ing and the conquered hosts shoidd fraternize for the common massacre of 
the proletariat — this unparalleled event does indicate, not as Bismarck 
thinks, the final repression of a new society upheaving, but the crumbling 
into dust of bourgeois society. The highest heroic effort of which old so- 
ciety is still capable is national war; and this is now proved to be a mere 
governmental humbug, intended to defer the struggle of the classes, and to 
be thrown aside as soon as that class struggle bursts out in civil war. Class 
rule is no longer able to disguise itself in a national uniform; the national 
governments are one as against the proletariat! 

— Karl Marx. 

^^r// : ^y HONQR //AS 0£tN 

Weekly People, March 24, 1917 




Bourgeois democracy [i.s] a 

very limited^ a very hypocritical imtiUh 
Hon, a paradise for the rich and a trap 
and a delusion for the exploited and 

— Lenin. 

So long as the . . . .ruled class does not 
feel its historic mission to overthrow the 
ruling class throb in its veins, the veil of 
democracy is kept unlifted from the face 
of the riders. 

— De Leon. 

Weekly People, November 14, 1914 

Weekly People, May 6, 1916 



Weekly People, December 16, 1922 

// is no figure of speech, no 
fanciful thought, that the world 
today, is one broad slave-band, 
ruled over by one despot, whose 
name may vary according to dif- 
ference in language — ^^Mikado^^ 
in one place, and Capitalist 
Commerce in another — Abuse 
in all. 

— De Leon. 

There is no such thing as pa- 
triotism in the heart of capital- 
ism; ^^patriotism,^^ with capital- 
ists, is a swindle, and when work- 
ingmen are caught by the trick, 
it is a case of ignorance with 
them, not patriotism. 

— De Leon. 


bosh!!! whydomt m^ 


i?SS^> OF^ VICTORS ;?" 

Weekly People, December 16, 1922 



Weekly People, September 16, 1933 


The true conservative seeks to protect the sys- 
tem of private property and free enterprise by 
correcting such injustices and inequalities as 

arise from it ^*The voice of great events is 

proclaiming to us — reform if you would pre- 


— Franklin Delano Roosevelt. 

Give us a truce zvith your ''Reforms.'' There 
is a sickening air of moral mediocrity in all such 
petty movements of petty, childish aspirations 
at times like these, when gigantic man-issues are 
thundering at every door for admission and so- 

— De Leon, 



The modern labo7'er^ . . 
rising with the progress of industry, sinks 
deeper and deeper below the conditions of 
existence of his own class. He becomes a 
pauper J and pauperism develops more rap- 
idly than population and wealth. And here 
it becomes evident that the bourgeoisie is 
unfit any longer to be the ruling class in 
society and to impose its existence upon so- 
ciety as an over-riding law. It is unfit to 
rule because it is incompetent to assure an 
existence to its slave within his slavery, be- 
cause it cannot help letting him sink into 
such a state that it has to feed him instead 
of being fed by him. 

— Communist Manifesto. 

To say that the interests of capital and 
the interests of the workers are identical 
signifies only this, that capital and wage- 
labor are two sides of one and the same 
relation. The one conditions the other in 
the same way that the usurer and the bor- 
rower condition each other. 

— Karl Marx. 

instead of 

Weekly People, December 24, 1932 



Weekly Pdqple, Octcber 2S, 103.^ 



The problem of unemployment reflects itself in 
confusion in the minds of the capitalist class, fFe 
have, for example , this gem from the would-be phi- 
losopher of Dearborn^ Michigan, Henry Ford: ^^The 
only way to hire more men/^ said Ford, ^Hs to create 
more markets. The men with new jobs will furnish 
new markets. The difficulty as far as industry is con- 
cerned is finding a place to employ the men before 
the market exists to make their employment profit- 
able,^^ One can only ask, ''Which comes first, the 
chicken or the eggT* and remember Marx^s classic 
observation, that ''on the level plains simple mounds 
look like hills, and the imbecile flatness of our pres- 
ent bourgeoisie is to be measured by the altitude of 
its great intellects/' 

— Eric Hass. 

Weekly People, December 1, 1934 




f ;-3 


Meanwhile, each succeeding winter brings 
up afresh the great question, "what to do 
with the unemployed^' ; but while the number 
of unemployed keeps swelling from year to 
year, there is nobody to answer that question; 
and we can almost calculate the moment when 
the unemployed, losing patience, will take 
their own fate into their own hands. Surely, 
at such a moment, the voice ought to be heard 
of a man whose whole theory is the result of 
a lifelong study of the economic history and 
condition of England, and whom that study 
led to the conclusion that, at least in Europe^ 
England [and by parity of reasoning the 
United States^ is the only country where the 
inevitable social revolution might be effected 
entirely by peaceful and legal means. He cer- 
tainly never forgot to add that he hardly ex- 
pected the English ruling classes to submit, 
without a "pro-slavery rebellion,^' to this 
peaceful and legal revolution. 

— Frederick Engels. 

UeeKly People, January 31, 1931 






The Communist party 'Opposes with 
all its power and will help to crush by 
democratic means any clique^ group, fac- 
tion, circle or party — from within or 
without — which acts to undermine, over^ 
throw or subvert any democratic institu- 
tion of the American people, 

— Earl Browder. 

It zvas without a compeer among 
swindles. It was perfect, it was rounded, 
symmetrical, complete, colossal. 

— Mark Twain. 

Weekly People, September 7, 1935 



Weekly People, May 6, 1939 













lJ/."//°'^*"""'' """^ FORWARDS 
'N««Br5 AND, DIALS OF Roo^mn- 



-T Te,/f/f^f-^s^J<-. 



The governing classes do 
not really want war; but 
they do want to keep up a 
continual menace of war. 
They want the peril to be 
always averted^ but always 
present. They do not want 
the camion to be fired j but 
they do want it to be always 
loaded. Those who per- 
petually spread abroad ru- 
mors and alarms of war 
only half believe them^ or 
more often do not believe 
them at all^ but they see 
great advantages to them- 
selves in inducing the people 
to believe them. You know^ 
comrades^ zvhat those advan- 
tages are. They are politi- 
cal and financial. A people 
living under the perpetual 
menace of war and invasion 
is very easy to govern. It 
demands no social reforms. 
It does not haggle over ex- 
penditures on armaments 
and military equipment. It 
pays without discussion^ it 
ruins itself, and that is an 
excellent thing for the syn- 
dicates of financiers and 
manufacturers for whom 
patriotic terrors are an 
abundant source of gain. 

— Anatole France. 

Weekly People, December 17, 1938 

The Communist party of the U.S.A. for the 
first time in its existence has come to the conclu- 
sion that it is necessary to take a positive attitude 
toward armaments. 

— Earl Browder. 

(Speaking at the 15th anniversary of Lenin's death.) 

The attitude of the Socialist Labor Party to- 
ward anti-militarism is — ^'Organize the working 
class integrally-industriallyf^* Only then can the 
revolt against militarism result in a Waterloo to 
the [^parasitic capitalist] class of sponge^ instead 
of a massacre to the class of labor. 

— De Leon. 

Weekly People, March 18, 1939 




Weekly People, September 2, 1939 

The common designation of ^^Labor^^ 
that clings to the labor leader^ and 
which he is zealous to cultivate^ does 
for the labor leader what the common 
designation of ^^plebeian^^ did for the 
plebs leader: it covers him, along with 
the toiling and fleeced wage slaves in 
the shops, mills and yards, placing him 
before these in the light of ^^fellow 
workingman/^ In this instance, as in 
that of the plebs leaders, the people — 
capitalists as well as proletarians — gen- 
erally fall victim to the delusion, a de- 
lusion that, just as in the instance of 
the plebs leader, the labor leader alone 
remains free from. Accordingly, in 
this instance, as in that of the plebs 
leader, the common delusion arms the 
labor leader with the club wherewith 
to wrench from the capitalist class 
safety for HIMSELF, 

— De Leon. 

Weekly People, March 11, 1939 




By the Grace of Capital. 
The keynote of Labor 
Day speeches by clergymen^ 
politicians, labor lieutenants 
of the capitalist class is ever 
the same. It is the biggest 
Lie of the Age, the lie that 
wealth is the joint product 
of Brother Capital and 
Brother Labor, that is, of 
the capitalist class and the 
working class; that the in- 
terests of both are identical, 
that the two can and should 
live in harmony, peace and 
brotherhood, and that 
the aim of the Labor 
Movement is to maintain 
that harmonious equilibrium 
and thus perpetuate the 
capitalist wage system by 
securing for the workers *^a 
fair day* s wage for a fair 
day*s work*' by means of an 
'^equitable division'* of that 
^^ joint product of Brother 
Capital and Brother La- 

— Eric Hass 

Weekly People, September 2, 1939 


But the submerged ^Hhird 
of a nation** haven* t been 
raised in ten years. 

'^Given the private own- 
ership of combined ele- 
ments of production, and 
the capitalist class will con- 
gest ever more into its own 
hands the wealth of the 
land, while the working 
class must sink to ever deep- 
er depths of poverty and 
dependence, every mechani- 
cal improvement only giv- 
ing fresh impetus to the ex- 
altation of the capitalist 
class and to the degradation 
of the zvorkingman.** 

— De Leon. 

Weekly People, June 10, 1939 



. . . .for the hinocenl victims. . . .the 
Holy See is more than ever sorry, zvhile 
it sends words of moderation and piety 
to lessen as much as possible the horrors 
of zvar, 

—Pius XL 

Lifting up our heart to the Lord zve 
give sincere thanks with Your Excellency 
for Spain^s desired Catholic victory. 

— Pius XII to Franco. 

To the victorious Generalissimo the 
newly appointed American Ambassador 
transmitted, on June 15, 1939, Presi- 
dent Roosevelfs ^^ assurance of his high 
esteem and best wishes for the personal 
happiness of your excellency and the 
welfare of the Spanish people.^' 

Weekly People, April 9, 1938 

Weekly People, April 22, 1939 




Fascism^ Nazism repre- 
sent capitalism degenerate^ 
with the modification logical 
to the European setting. 
Accordingly^ they represent 
also, in effect, an aborted 
social revolution. Where a 
social revohitton is aborted, 
the ^'man on horseback^^ is 
the logical answer. But the 
*^man on horseback^' neces- 
sarily must represent the 
dominant reactionary inter- 
ests — i.e.^ the interests of 
Industrial Feudalism — and, 
therefore, constitute the al- 
ternative to, and negation 
of, the Proletarian Revolu- 
tion, which everywhere pre- 
sents itself as the dreaded 
specter, the supreme judge 
and ^* executioner^^ of capi- 
talism, and the capitalist 
class as such. Precisely for 
this reason the ^^democratic 
powers,^^ the ^Jree na- 
tions,^^ fear the Marxian 
Socialist movement infinitely 
more than they fear Fas- 
cis7n. They would much 
rather tvitness the Nazi he- 
gemony of Europe than the 
triumph of the Proletarian 
Revolution. However much 
they dread war, they dread 
Marxian Socialism even 
more. Of the Fascist powers 
the same thing may be said, 
though perhaps in reverse 
order: However much they 
dread or hate Marxian So- 
cialism, they dread war even 
more if that war threatens 
to become a universal war. 
For, like their ^^democratic'^ 
rivals, they know that a 
world zvar means their fin- 
ish, with the prospect of the 
triumph of the Proletarian 

— Arnold Petersen. 

Weekly People, March 11, 1939 






Weekly People, June 3, 1939 


Here the cat is all out, 
from whiskered nose to tas- 
seled tail. Commercialism 
deals in war as it deals in 
potatoes, mm, bibles, etc. It 
matters not that the effect 
of owning a navy is to ren- 
der a nation readier for 
war; what of it? War feeds 
commerce, commerce feeds 
war, and the end of the 
song is larger wealth for 
those to luxuriate in who 
neither bleed on the battle- 
fields nor swelter on the in- 
dustrial fields of toil. 

Capitalism means war; 
one plank of capitalism 
means the whole of capital- 
ism. To oppose one plank 
only is to leave all others 
standing, and thus render 
abortive all seeming success 
against the monster. 

— De Leon. 

Weekly People, November 4, 1939 


By and large, war seems to be regaining the 
biologic function once claimed for it, of tending 
to eliminate in considerable numbers those ele- 
ments of the population least adapted to con- 
temporary culture. It is a drastic and horrible 
method of slum clearance, but it looks as if it 
is a method, 

— Toronto Saturday Night, May 7, 1938. 

The Nation that the land^ s Plutocracy is foe 
to, and is arming against, is our own Nation^ s 
vitals — its Working Class. 

— De Leon. 

Weekly People, September 23, 1939 



h may be theoretically possible that 
unemployment some day may no longer 
have a place in our economic picture. 
But that day won^t happen in your life- 
time or mine .... there is no use quarrel- 
ing zvith the facts. 

— Harry Hopkins. 

Ten million potential zv-orkers and a 
total of possibly 30,000,000 people are 
outside the circle of ivork, production 
and income. They are not only a burden 
— they are an economic loss — to speak 
with grim realism, the country would be 
relatively prosperous, if they were anni- 

— Ma(jaztne of Wall Street. 

UcckK I'copk, Ociubcr U, 1939 

Weekly People, June 


You are correct in believing our desires to be 
first of all to serve the cause of the Allies, and 
at the same time the commercial interests of our 
own country, these two objects being, in our 
judgment, supplementary to each other. 

— Thomas W. Lamont. 

(Of J. p. Morgan & Co., to a Paris partner, Jan. 29, 1917.) 

Perhaps our going to war is the only zvay in 
zvhich our present preeminent trade position can 
be maintained and a panic averted, 

— Walter Hines Page. 

(Ambassador to England, to Woodrow Wilson, Alarch 5, 1917.) 

.... the state of war between the United 
States and the Imperial German Government 
zvhich has been thrust upon the United States is 
hereby formally declared. 

— U.S. Congress. 

(Joint Resolution, April 6, 1917.) 



This social system of to- 
day^ kept in constant fer- 
ment to defend itself 
against the disorders that 
rise out of its own lap, is 
compelled perpetually to 
strengthen force against 
force; in this century of un- 
limited competition and 
over-production^ there is 
also competition among ar- 
mies and an over-production 
of militarism; industry itself 
being a battle^ war becomes 
the leading, the most fever- 
ish of all industries. 

— Jean Jaures. 

Weekly People, December 30, 1939 

In time of war, great dis- 
cretionary powers are con- 
stantly given to the execu- 
tive magistrate. Constant 
apprehension of war has the 
same tendency to render the 
head too large for the body, 
A standing military force 
with an overgrown execu- 
tive will not long be safe 
companions to liberty. The 
means of defense against a 
foreign danger have ever 
been the instruments of 
tyranny at home. Among 
the Romans it was a stand- 
ing maxim to excite a war, 
whenever a revolt was ap- 

— James Madison. 

:nber 18, 1939 




The bona fide Movement 
of Labor may not ^'adopf^ the 
methods of the capitalist class 
in the class war. The Labor 
Movement must, on the con- 
trary ^ place itself on the high- 
est plane civilization has 
reached. It must insist upon 
the enforcement of civilized 
methods, and it must do so in 
the way that civilized man 

— De Leon. 




Socialism cannot be imposed by force 
from without, and least of all upon a coun- 
try not ready for it, or unwilling to accept 
it. It can no more be done than one can 
force Socialism ^^down the throat'^ of a per- 
son unwilling to accept it. In either case re- 
vulsion against Socialism is the result, and 
thereby great harm is done to the cause of 
Socialism, .... The liberation of a nation^ s 
oppressed class must proceed from within. 
Each nation^ s proletariat must settle its ac- 
counts with its own ruling class. The eman- 
cipation of the working class must be, even- 
tually will be, through the classconscious 
efforts of the workers themselves. 

— Arnold Petersen. 

\\'eekly People, January 20, 1940 



When Bryan attacks 
^^militansm^^ and yet up- 
holds the capitalist system, 
he is fighting an effect while 
defending the cause. He and 
all others of his kind in at- 
tacking ^^militarism^^ merely 
imitate the farmer who 
knowingly planted cockle 
seed and then complained at 
the nature of the crop. 

— De Leon. 

Weekly People, October 7, 1939 



President Roosevelt pleads with belligerents 

not to bomb women and children 

— News Item. 

Punchinello-like the political heads of the 
Capitalist Class move as their masters, the Capi- 
talist Class, pull the strings. According as the 
strings are pulled, Presidents and Kings, Con- 
gresses and Parliaments, shut their eyes to in- 
fractions of the lazv, or rattle their sabres. Obe- 
dient to capitalist dictation laws are superseded, 
or passed; and war clouds are pulled upon the 
scene, or pulled ofj . 

— De Leon. 

W'llLIn Pcopk, September 16, 1939 




A foreign war ever has been the refuge of ty- 
rants from the danger of turbulent elements at 
home. To simply massacre these^ and thus get 
rid of them, is no easy task^ however absolute 
the power of the tyrant. Local and isolated mas- 
sacres may be indulged in and may not shock 
the public conscience; but they are inadequate. 
A foreign zvar meets all the requirements of the 
case. By means of a generous healing of the 
drum patriotic the very domestic elements con- 
sidered dangerous at home are lured into the 
army; war^ once engaged in^ the carnage among 
these is looked upon as an incident of war; and, 
whatever the issue of the war the tyrant that 
brought it on zvins his real point : the turbulent 
elements that alarmed him are decimated . . . . 
Just such mo lives as these are back of the war 
wave zve are now experiencing, and they it is 
that give it the persistence it has. 

— De Leon. 

Weekly People, September 23, 1939 


But the greater the effort of the government 
and the bourgeoisie of all countries to disunite 
the workers and pit them against one another, 
the more ferociously they use for this lofty pur- 
pose a system of martial law and military cen- 
sorship {which measures, even now, in time of 
war, are more success f id against the ^* enemy 
within^^ than against the enemy without)^ the 
more urgent is the duty of the classconscious 
proletariat to defend its class solidarity, ils in- 
ternationalism, its Socialist convictions against 
the orgy of chauvinism of the ^^ patriotic'* bour- 
geois cliques of all countries. 

— Eric Hass. 

Weekly People, September 16, 1939 



UNS t 



Weekly People, March 16, 1940 


Thus^ while the hoiirgeois declaim peace^ yet manufacture 
war; zvhile clericalists pray with lip-service devotion for hu- 
man brotherhood^ yet bless the weapons of fratricidal strife; 
while the revived spirit of Napoleon III — who proclaimed 
^^The Empire means peace/' yet raided Italy and Mexico — 
has been reincarnated in a Big-Stick Roosevelt, who declares 
^^The Progressive party is peace'^ \_or Franklin Delano 
Roosevelt who declares, ^^we are all for peace /^ yet strains 
to equip the belligerents with money and guns^; — while, in 
short, at one side of the line Hypocrisy reigns supreme, 
Slaughter being promoted under the pretenses of peace, it is 
on the other side of the line, in the Socialist camp only, that 
peace is a cardinal principle, a religion, a goal earnestly, sin- 
cerely and devoutly pursued with all the intelligence at the 
command of the race, 

— De Leon. 



-NO— NO— r///5 WAY!" 

Weekly People, February 24, 1940 

Pius XII 

.... the great political conflict that is coming to a 
head is wiping out all intermediary political expres- 
sions and is bound to leave extant just two — the two 
types of the two opposing forces — the Socialist po- 
litical body as the type of the forces that make for 
progress^ hence freedom; and the Roman Catholic 
equally political body as the type of the forces that 
make for retrogression, hence slavery. These two 
political bodies will attract, each its own affinities, 

— De Leon. 






Soil and Roots of the Socialist Labor Party 


perceived the absurd naivete of his Single Tax no- 

George did not ask these questions, his intellect 
and understanding of the problem being what they 
were. However, he was nominated for mayor on 
the Labor ticket in 1886. We are familiar with the 
circumstances which brought Daniel De Leon into 
this campaign as an active supporter of Henry 
George. Commons, in his work, "History of Labor 
in the United States," has an illuminating account of 
what he calls "the memorable campaign [of 1886],'* 
and from it I quote this brief passage: 

"On October i a mass meeting was held in Chick- 
ering Hall of several thousand radical middle-class 
and professional people to ratify George's candidacy. 
Among those who took part in its debates were Pro- 
fessor Daniel De Leon and Father McGlynn." 

The Democratic party, then as now divided into 
Tammanyites and anti-Tammanyites, sank their dif- 
ferences and nominated a wealthy iron manufacturer, 
Abram S. Hewitt, while the Republican party (vig- 
orously waving "the bloody shirt" — i.e., the dead 
Civil War issues) nominated a young upstart who 
then was even more of a windbag and phrasemonger 
than he became later, to wit, none other than Teddy 
Roosevelt I! Hewitt, of course, was elected. The 
total vote cast was in round numbers 220,000, of 
which George (running second, with T. R. a poor 
third) received about 70,000 votes. In passing it 
is of interest to note that the comic weekly, Puck. 
published and supported by a group that w^as vio- 
lently anti-George, and contemptuous of the Repub- 
lican corruptionists, or spoilsmen, as the paper called 
them — this Puck printed a cartoon shortly after the 
campaign, depicting the Republican politicians (In- 
cluding young Teddy I, Depew, Cabot Lodge, and 
others) busily engaged in putting a huge suit of ar- 
mor on a puny-looking Roosevelt, the title of the car- 
toon being: 

"Little Roosevelt!!!— The Grand Old Partv 

The cartoon was accompanied with this jingle: 

"The old belated party knights 
Equip their hero for the fray — 

Yes, they who fought for equal rights. 
Through all the nation's darkest day/^ 

Their earliest steps would now retrace, 
And bring the spoilsmen's slavery back^ 

Their only objects pay and place — 
Their champion — a jumping-jack." 

These are harsh words about the terrible Teddy, 
he who later foully slandered the noble Tom Paine 
by referring to him as "a dirty little Atheist." Puck 
also referred to Teddy I as one who "was quite will- 
ing [in 1886] to incur the risk of delivering the city 
over to the hands of the anarchists and socialists." 
In view of subsequent history, Piick^ s horoscope of 
the "guileless" Teddy (who is described as "inno- 
cent, simple and confiding in character") is interest- 
ing: "You are not [said Puck to Roosevelt] the tim- 
ber of which Presidents are made, even if you were 
not, at present, disqualified from the office by the 
harsh law which decrees that the beautiful bloom of 
adolescence must be brushed from the cheek of man- 
hood ere the doors of the White House open to the 
aspirant." Actually, as we know, Puck guessed 
wrong, although it could hardly have been expected 
of the paper to foresee that the assassination of a 
President was to catapult the "jumping-jack" into the 
Presidential chair some thirteen years later! 

If the 1886 campaign was virulent, the 1887 
campaign was even more so. Following the defeat 
of 1886, Henry George and his allies set to work to 
repair fences, and to strengthen their movement. 
Tentative arrangements for a permanent party were 
made, the name selected being the United Labor 
Party. "^ A county convention Avas called for January 
6, 1887, At this convention of 340 delegates (of 
which 320 Avere wage earners), there were present 
among the delegates Daniel De Leon, Lucien Sanlal 
and ITugo Vogt, all of whom were to play significant 
parts in the post-1890 Socialist Labor Party. 

These three were placed on the important com- 
mittee on organization. The platform and party 
name, United Labor Party, previously agreed upon 
tentatively, were reaffirmed, and it was stipulated 
that none should be eligible to membership unless he 
had "severed all connections with all other political 
parties, organizations and clubs." (Quoted by Com- 
mons from the New York Leader, January 22, 
1887.) On May 5, 1887, a joint call was issued for 
a state convention at Syracuse on August 17, the 

*The Civil War. 

*In part I have drawn upon Commons's work for certain data 
presented here. 



three issues stressed in the call being taxation of land 
values (George's Single Tax), currency reform, and 
government ownership of railways. The "planks" 
of the Socialist?^ Labor Party were completely ig- 
nored, which led to a rumpus, culminating in the ex- 
pulsion of the "Socialistic" representatives in the 
United Labor Party on the ground that they were 
members of another political party — that is, the So- 
cialistf<: Labor Party! As if George & Co. did not 
know this from the very beginning! 

Section New York of the Socialistic Labor Party 
held a meeting, declaring that they were really not a 
political party at all — that is, that the party was a 
political party only in a very strict Pickwickian sense ! 
That argument smells of Alexander Jonas and the 
Volkszeitung crew — definitely! Well, it didn't work 
• — the "Socialistic" gentlemen were excluded at the 
Syracuse state convention, August 17, 1887. The 
spokesmen for the "Socialists" included one Sergius 
E. Schevitsch, a Russian reputed to be of noble birth, 
and one of those eciitors of the Volkszeitung of 
whom Frederick Engels spoke so contemptuously."^ 
The "Socialists" countered by organizing another 
"Labor" party, the Progressive Labor Party, which 
in fact w^as simply the Socialist/c Labor Party under 
another name, and which was quietly laid on the 
shelf a few months later. The Henry George group 
adopted a Single Tax platform, nominated George 
for Secretary of State, and the political battle was on. 


Earlier in the year of 1887 Father McGlynn, 
who had defied the Catholic hierarchy (not in 
matters of religion, but in matters entirely politi- 

*iSchevitsch had married a Countess Helena von Racowitza, who, 
as Helena von Doenniges, played such an important role in the life 
of Ferdinand Lassalle, being, in fact, the cause of his untimely death. 
Schevitsch returned to Europe in 190il, eventually arriving in Ger- 
many where he planned to settle. Someone started a rumor that 
Schevitsch was a (Russian spy, and apparently the German Social- 
Democrats believed that he was one, though the facts as to his guilt 
or mnocence do not ever seem to have been fully established. The 
late Morris Hillquit claims to have secured the adoption of a resolu- 
tion at "a general party meefing" in New York in which the inno- 
cence and good character of , Schevitsch were certified. There is 
something peculiar about Hillquit's reference to his part in this af- 
fair. He said that it fell to him, "a mere youngster," to take the 
initiative in clearing Schevitsch. Since the incident took place in 
190il or later, it means that Hillquit was then a "mere youngster" of 
32 years ! Moreover, the "general party meeting" must have been a 
meeting of the then recently organized Socialist party, which officially 
could have had no knowledge of Schevitsch's record while a member 
of the Socialist Labor Party, and therefore was no more competent 
to pass on the case than any other group of whatever political com- 
plexion, Hillquit also says that the charges against Schevitsch 
(originally published in the German party organ, Vonvuerts) "were 
practically withdrawn [by the editor of the Vonmerts]" Now, the 
phrase "practically withdrawn," especially employed by a lawyer, and 
above all by such a lawyer as Hillquit, can only mean that the 
charges were in fact not withdrawn. Be this as it may, the career of 
Schevifsch as a Socialist was finished in Germany even as it had 
been previously finished in the United States. It is reported that he 
and his wife died in a mutual suicide pact in the year 1912. 

cal and economic), had organized what he called 
the Anti-Poverty Society, based generally on the Sin- 
gle Tax theory, with a quasi-religious aclmixture. Its 
large membership was composed mainly of Father 
McGlynn' s Irish co-religionists who, when McGlynn 
was excommunicated following his second refusal to 
go to Rome to explain himself, organized a protest 
parade in which it is reported 25,000 took part, 
overwhelmingly Irish Catholic wage workers. The 
Catholic hierarchy raged and raved in unison with 
the rest of the propertied elements who thought 
themselves menaced by the McGlynn-George eco- 
nomic heresies — fatuous delusions we would call 

The pages of Ptick, the comic weekly (it was at 
that time really a political journal, and only inciden- 
tally a comic paper), are revealing in the light they 
throw on that turbulent campaign of 1887, and also 
because of the utter contempt for, and refreshing 
disrespect shown to, the Catholic hierarchy, includ- 
ing the Pope. If a bourgeois journal of today would 
dare to manifest one-tenth the contempt for the Ul- 
tramontane machine which Puck displayed, its days 
Avould be numbered. Certainly the arrogance and 
insolent anti-American propaganda of a Coughlin 
would in the eighties have called forth the strongest 
rebuffs, if they would not have provoked physical 
violence against the howling clerical demagogue. 

It is one of the characteristics of the Roman 
Catholic political machine, particularly in the United 
States today, that while it will, and does, attack any- 
thing or anyone conceived by it to be undesirable, re- 
gardless of the truth or all the facts in the case, a 
terrific howl is instantly raised if but one timid ques- 
tion is asked concerning the church or its priesthood 
— a question relating to political or economic mat- 
ters, of course — and whining complaints are made 
about attacking religion and the holy church ! Well, 
the spirit of the eighties was different, and that fact, 
among others, measures the change that has taken 
place in matters libertarian during the past fifty-odd 
years. One of the reasons for the boldness of the 
press of that period in this respect was, of course, 
that the Roman Catholic Church as yet was relatively 
weak in the United States, unable to apply that ter- 
rific pressure in political and economic matters which 
is one of the commonplaces of our times. 

Ptickj as stated, represented the typical capitalist 
viewpoint of its day — anti-plutocratic, anti-labor 
(specifically, and with violent emphasis, anti-labor 
union), anti-Henry George, and anti-Catholic hier- 
archy. In a series of brilliant and powerful car- 
toons, and in pithy editorial paragraphs, the maga- 
zine's bias Avas presented on all these questions. 



Looking at these cartoons today, still breathing, It 
seems, with full life, one feels as if suddenly the cur- 
tain of the past is drawn aside, and that one again 
walks the streets of New York of the eighties, and 
that one hears the many battle-cries and w^atches the 
great and near-great personages tripping along the 
streets, or debating hotly in the halls, of that, rela- 
tively, "little, old New York/' 

As I said, during the particular year of 1887 
this thoroughly representative bourgeois magazine 
had three chief ''pet aversions." It was violent on all 
three. The argument against labor unions is the 
classic one — by joining a union the worker becomes 
a slave and a dthe-payer to the union bosses. As 
one of the paper's rhymesters said: 

"For I am one of the Bosses — 

Work not with my hands, but my jaws; 

Thrive best on the workmen's losses — 
When he strikes, my fnoney I drawJ^ 

By joining the union the worker loses his indivi- 
dual liberty (which capitalism, of course, carefully 
guards and maintains for him!), and his social and 
economic advancement, it is argued, depends entirely 
upon his Individual efforts. In a day when Saturday 
half-holidays were a startling, almost incredible idea, 
Puck argued that half-day on Saturday would, of 
course, mean that the worker would get paid only 
five and a half days, and It belabored the point with 
that would-be scientific aslnlnlty which characterizes 
all discourses on capital and labor by bourgeois com- 

A double-page, colored cartoon, entitled "The 
New Ally of the Knights of Labor — Does the Cath- 
olic Church Sanction Mob Law?" shows a crowd of 
w^orkers armed Avith bricks, which they are hurling 
at a noble-looking worklngman who lies bleeding on 
the ground, his tools scattered about him. He Is a 
scab. In the center of the street a group of priests, 
headed by the then Archbishop, later Cardinal, Gib- 
bons, marches along, Gibbons wnth arms outstretched 
in the posture of blessing the striking workers who 
are stoning the scab. The workers carry such signs 
and banners as: "The Injury of one is the concern 
of all," "Death to the scab," "Knights of Labor," 
with a saloon, of course, in the background to con- 
vey the suggestion of drunkenness, etc., on the part 
of the strikers, as contrasted with the sobriety, thrift 
and general, all-around nobility of the scab. Edito- 
rially the magazine accuses the Catholic Church of 
bidding for the "labor vote," and chides Gibbons for 
his endorsement of the Knights of Labor. Referring 
to Cardinal Manning of England, Puck observed: 

"But Cardinal Manning, not having the knowl- 

edge of 'practical politics' of his American coadjutor, 
has frankly stated, in his missive, that he wants the 
Knights of Labor to help him in spreading the power 
of the Romish church In America." ! 

Another cartoon shows Father McGlynn and 
Archbishop Corrlgan engaged In a pugilistic bout 
with Pope Leo XIII (made to look like a scare- 
crow) seated on the right, looking apprehensive lest 
his man (Corrlgan) lose, and holding a bottle la- 
beled "St. Peter's Tonic," while Henry George, In 
clerical robes, stands on the left, equally apprehen- 
sive for his man, McGlynn, and also holding a bottle, 
labeled "Anti-Poverty Elixir." Still another cartoon 
shows Pope Leo XIII in a rage, his tiara rolling on 
the ground, while he brandishes one of his slippers 
at McGlynn (who is comfortably seated on a book 
titled "H. George's Theories"), the slipper bearing 
the legend "Excommunication." Still another de- 
picts the struggle between the Georgeites and the 
"Socialists," the "Socialists" being personified In a 
bewhiskered beer barrel in front of "Socialist Head- 
quarters" which flies a flag wuth the lettering: "Mc- 
Glynn Is ausgesplelt," while McGlynn, portrayed as 
a whisky bottle, Is shown swinging a stick at Mr, 
Beerbarrel. The whisky bottle torso of McGlynn 
bears the label: "Irish Whisky, McGlynn" Brand," 
and the whole thing is captioned: "I told you so — 
German Beer and Irish Whisky will never mix!" 
Well, that's one way of explaining the historic strug- 
gle of 1 886-1 887, to which the serious historians. 
Commons and Associates, devote many pages ! And 
numerous other cartoons show Henry George offer- 
ing his "Anti-poverty" quack medicine, while others 
convey suggestions for exterminating violently all 
Socialists, anarchists, single taxers and labor leaders ! 
Finally, to vary the monotony perhaps, we note 
two cartoons which serve to remind us that in cer- 
tain essentials it is the same old capitalist w^orld, 
though fifty years have gone by, and two whole gen- 
erations have sunk Into their graves. One shows the 
British lion sprawling all over the map, Avith Presi- 
dent Grover Cleveland holding back the beast by its 
tail, nobly supported by an army of American capi- 
talists, w^hlle a rather lean-looking eagle (dressed as 
the traditional Uncle Sam) Is carrying a bundle la- 
beled "Commerce," and trying to get ahead of the 
outraged lion ! Yet another, sardonically reminiscent 
of the present, shows Bismarck as the full moon la- 
beled "Peace," shining on the troubled European 
waters, with predatory beasts on all sides ready to 
jump on a wee mouse, the beasts being designated 
Italy, Austria, Germany, France and Russia, the 
mouse representing Bulgaria which, the throne hav- 
ing become vacant, at that time was the prey being 



stalked by the predatory European governmental 

The political cartoons of a given period faith- 
fully reflect the thoughts and mores of the age, and 
are a powerful aid to a later generation in recon- 
structing the period. It is so in this case, and having 
dwelt long and intimately with this subject, and the 
period of 60 or 70 years ago, through the records 
and pictorial presentation of the struggles of that 
time, one is apt to become possessed of the uncanny 
feeling that one has just stepped out of these dusty 
tomes to join the ghostly throng, and to fight the old 
battles over again with them. 


The decade of the eighties also witnessed the rise 
of the American Federation of Labor, and the emer- 
gence out of obscurity of the foxy and utterly un- 
scrupulous Samuel Gompers. Like a mole, Gompers 
seems mostly to have tunneled underground during 
this period, for there is comparatively little mention 
of him. Sammy was biding his time, meanwhile 
blowing not too hot this way, nor yet too cold that 
way. Some of his utterances of this early period 
have a "Socialistic" ring. De Leon used to say that 
no man in a public cause starts out with corrupt in- 
tent, but that circumstances and persistence in error 
affect the character and lead to corruption. It w^as 

even so with Gompers, said De Leon. In the precise 
language of De Leon: 

"There is that in errors of conduct that inevitably 
affects the character of him who indulges in them. 
How^ever sincere he may be at first, bound he is to 
become crooked." 

When the Knights of Labor declined, and with 
the overthrow (which De Leon effected), of its 
leader, so-called master workman, Terence Powder- 
ly, the organization virtually ceased to exist. As 
Commons says, when Pow^derly passed out of the 
picture he w^as succeeded (in 1893) by a farmer edi- 
tor from Iowa, one James R. Sovereign (also elimi- 
nated later by De Leon's efforts), and with the elec- 
tion of this farmer editor "the national organization 
of the Knights took the final step away from the 
wage-earners' movement." Thereafter the evil days 
of Gompers and Gompersism began in earnest. How- 
ever, In the eighties the position of Sam Gompers, 
In so far as he had at all active participation In pub- 
lic affairs, Avas, as Commons put It, "that of a sym- 
pathizing outsider" — sympathizing, that is, to both 
sides until he knew which way the cat w^ould jump. 
On the issues projected by the George movement, 
during the fight in 1887, he cautiously spoke as fol- 
lows : 

"The labor movement, to succeed politically, 

It's a Very Pretty Quarrel As It Stand® — Protestants Can Afford to Smile Whoever Is the Victor 

(Father McGlynn and Archbishop Corrigan do battle while Henry George and Pope Leo XIII 
egg ihem on — to ''Puck's*' boundless delight.) 



must work for present and tangible results. While were beasts of burden who, if they did "ot pul n 

keeping in view a lofty ideal, we must advance to- harness with brother capital (which means, tha they 

ward it through practical steps, taken with intelligent were carrying "brother capital on their backs as 

regard for pressing needs. I believe with the most part of the load) , would be rounded up in a corral, 

advanced thinkers as to ultimate ends including the President Roosevelt, who delivered a dedication ad- 

abolition of the wage-system." (Italics mine.) dress in 1933 when a monument to the memory ot 

,, the sainted Sammy was unveiled in Washington, 
This wicked heresy of abolishing the wage- £, (3 ^ ^^jj this spirited tribute to the old labor faker 
system" was quickly abandoned by Gompers, who .^ j.gj.og„ition of his abihties to herd the "labor cat- 
later accepted, as the "lofty ideal" of the labor ^^^„ ^^^ ^^^ shambles. I quote from Mr. Roose- 
movement, "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work, ^HHrP« • 

and who solemnly protested that capital and labor , • r/- » n 

were, or should be, brothers, and that one just could ''But more than that, it was his [Gompers s] pa- 

not get along without the other. The crafty fox soon triotic leadership lor the unanimous mobilization of 

had no end of exits and entrances from and to his the workers in every part ot the union which supple- 

fox's lair. He was the perfect ideal of the capitalist mented the mobilization of the men who went to the 

labor lieutenant who, as the plutocratic Herald Trib- front." 

fine recently pointed out, must be, and is, a politician ]s^Iy Roosevelt might have added that Sam Gom- 

in order to be a good "labor leader," because (the p^i-^ went even further, in that he took an active 

plutocratic Herald Tribune says) "labor is so large- p^rt as a recruiting sergeant for the military forces, 

ly under bureaucratic control" of the political gov- persuading thousands of his misled dupes that it was 

ernment — that is, labor is now virtually in a state of ^heJi- duty to slaughter or get slaughtered, in order 

economic serfdom. We know that what the pluto- ^j^^t the Gompers brand of democracy might be made 

cratic journal says about the labor fakers being politi- safe ! 

cians Is true; that it has been true since the rise of Through the twenty-four years of his activities 

the labor faker (the modern plebs leader), and that i^ the Socialist Labor Party, De Leon fought this 

it is true today, as a review of that illustrious row of crafty labor faker and his plutocratic masters, earn- 

labor lieutenants attest — Green, Lewis, Dubinsky, \^g the hatred of Gompers — a hatred that knew no 

Hillman, Schlossberg, and the smaller fry — all of l[mit — venomous, unscrupulous, unending. But that 

them serving the interests of capitalism faithfully, is another story. 

all of them attempting, and as yet largely succeed- 
ing, in keeping down the revolutionary spirit of the 
exploited workers, and all of them deep in capitalist 

Another active, and at times influential, force in 
the seventies and eighties was the anarchist move- 
nient — if one can describe as organic that which is 
LiLs. essentially amorphous. The outstanding representa- 
And Sammy Gompers, though he protested "no tives of the anarchist gospel were A. R. Parson, Au- 
politlcs in the union" until he was blue In the face, gust Spies, and the questionable Johann Most, an ar- 
plunged himself and his American Federation of La- rival from Germany, of whom Bebel said (in his 
bor into capitalist politics up to its neck — indeed, it "Memoirs") that although Most started out right 
was frequendy completely submerged In the murky ''he went astray. . . .and finally. . . .ended in the 
waters of capitalist politics. Whenever the capital- United States as a drunkard. ..." There was also 
ist class needed the herding of labor for purposes the "philosophical anarchist,'' Benjamin Tucker, 
other than, or, rather, in addition to, those directly born in Massachusetts of Yankee stock. The an- 
relating to craft union activities, Sammy was on the archists were dealt a crushing blow in the Haymarket 
job. No less important personages than two Presi- tragedy, which, of course, also caused a set-back to 
dents of the United States have enthusiastically cer- the labor movement and in time gave impetus to the 
tified to this fact. Paying a glowing tribute to the rise of labor fakers and unscrupulous "labor" pohtl- 
"patrlotic courage" of Gompers, and to his "states- clans. We know now that those hanged at Chicago 
man-like sense of what has to be done," President were innocent of the crimes of which they w^ere con- 
Wilson in November, 19 17, said: "The horses that victed; Ave know that a desperate ruling class, seeing 
kick over the traces will have to be put in a corral." a splendid chance to crush the rising, rebellious labor 
The workers have been called many names, and to movement, seized this chance, and made the most of 
be likened to horses may not have been the biggest it. But we also know that several of those hanged, 
insult offered them, and yet, one wonders. Cer- In their anarchist folly, did everything possible to aid 
tainly, Wilson made no secret of his belief that they the capitalist class in achieving Its end In this respect. 




The New Ally of the Knights of Labor — Does the Catholic Church Sanction Mob Law? 

What Cardinal Gibbons calls "Taking the part of the weaker" — 
the Knights of Labor — "against the stronger" — the Scab. 

("Puck," representing the reactionary, but anti-clerical, capitalists, glorifies the scab.) 

Parson and Spies were particularly violent in their 
avowals of anarchist theories of physical force, and 
in their expressions of contempt for the ballot, the 
peaceful means of settling the social conflict. 

Benjamin Tucker, the "philosophical anarchist," 
whatever that may be, has been quoted as asserting 
that "every group of individuals has the right to op- 
press all mankind, if it has the power to do so." This 
is the good old philosophy of power politics, the es- 
sence of which is that might makes right. Thus an- 
archism proves itself the obverse, as capitalism is the 
reverse, of the same base coin of class rule and class 
exploitation. And that men should have died simply 
to prove that once more is the real tragedy of the 
"Haymarket affair." 


Such was the scene, and these were the actors, in 
this drama preceding the founding of the scientific 
Socialist Labor Party, which for fifty years has up- 
held the banner of working class emancipation, dur- 
ing half of which period it was directly guided by the 
great De Leon, w^hile during the latter half it has 
been guided and inspired by his mighty spirit and 

noble example. This was the soil of the modern 
American labor movement, and these the roots of 
that movement. It is not the purpose, nor is there 
space, to tell the story of the S.L.P. itself since 1890, 
nor the detailed activities of Daniel De Leon in the 
Party. That has been well done by others, even 
though the subject aAvaits thorough and coordinated 
treatment by those Avho not only understand and ac- 
cept the principles of De Leonism, but who may be 
expected to have gained a better perspective of the 
battles, events and achievements ot the S.L.P. and 
of De Leon than one might reasonably expect to find 
in those who fought side by side with De Leon, and 
who themselves participated in these achievements, 
or temporary defeats, as the case might be. The 
record is there for all to read, and it is a record of 
which to be proud. 

Out of chaos, De Leon and the S.L.P. created 
order; out of contusion, De Leon and the S.L.P. 
forged coherency, direction, and clearly outlined 
goal. The goal and methods having been clearly 
defined (the integrated Industrial Union Republic 
of Labor and classconscious, revolutionary political 
and economic organizations of the workers), and 



this goal and these methods having been found to 
check with every requirement of the modern emanci- 
pation movement, it remains for us to carry on the 
fight to reach through the wall of opposition to the 
workers themselves. It can be done ; it must be 
done; it WILL be done. If we are few in numbers, 
that is no proof that we are wrong. On the con- 
trary, the fact that we are as yet few in numbers, 
considering all the past and present factors and cir- 
cumstances, is an assurance that we are holding to 
the correct line. For if we were to abandon or com- 
promise our principles, Ave would soon attract in 
large numbers those who thrive only on compromises 
and temporizing. But if we were to do that, there 
would be no reason or excuse for our continued ex- 
istence. Pursuing our great task along the true and 
tested line, we cannot fail. We know we are right — 
w^e know the workers will eventually come to an un- 
derstanding of their class interests, and when that 
day comes (and it cannot be far off now), they will 
accept the program of the S.L.P. and translate it 
into requisite organizations, and in the spirit of De 

Leonism electrify the organizations into action, lead- 
ing to the sublime goal, the crowning glory of man- 
kind, the Socialist Commonwealth. 

Meanwhile, fcAV or many, having paused for a 
moment at the fiftieth milestone of our Party's exis- 
tence, we tighten our belts, and prepare for the 
fifty-first year, and as many thereafter as may follow. 
It is, as the American poet said, a case of — 

'^ . , .the obedient sphere 

By bravery's simple gravitation drawn." 

And so, the Party rallies its forces to renewed battle, 
enjoining each militant in the land to — 

Be the first to join the onset 

Though you traverse flood and fire; 
Smite relentless every foeman 

That would foil your heart's desire. 
Knightly faith, and Roman courage. 

Live and hold the vantage still; 
Valor wins the victor's garland — 

Yoii can conquer if you will. 


At Last! 

A determined effort to break England's hold on the commerce of the world^ and givG America a chance. 

{Freetraders, the editors of ''Puck" rejoice at lower tariffs.) 

50 cents 


Daniel De Leon Frontispiece 

Reproduced from a painting by Fred Free lit 

The Soil and Roots of the Socialist Labor Party, 

by Arnold Petersen ^ 

"When First We Met," 

by Bertha C. De Leon lo 

Satire, Weapon of Truth, 

by Eric Hass 12 

A History in Caricature, 

Selected Cartoons from the fFeekly People i ^ 

S.L.P. Stamps and Seals ij i 

Published 1940 by the 

61 Cliff Street, New York, N.Y. 

(Printed in the United States of America.) 

^^.^^t' ^OU HAVE HOTHj^^L^S 




oF the Iwenliebh cenbur/. 

SOClALlSn AL^n* c\- *^c•_ s- 

LdDOr IS , 

it musl 


.-. AG I TATI N FU N D .«. 

Labor. Party 

^^*^ Agitation 

rocidlism is 

\ federal industrial 
J S^vernment. 

/Capitalism is 

private ownership 


of induslr 

Labor Party 



^:--.4; :.;-.., Cy •,.-;■ s:^< 

Examples of S.L.P. Seals and Agitation Stamps. 

The first group of six stamps, originally printed in three colors, were design of 1929, by Sidney Armer), 1930, 1931, 1932 and 1933, these lat- 

issued as agitation stamps during the National Campaign of 1916. The ter designed by Walter Steinhilber, and all originally printed in two 

others (with the exception of the Weekly People Club stamp) represent colors on colored stock. 
Christmas Seals for the years (beginning with the Christmas Candle