Puslapio vaizdai

intention of quitting the association. Then, in fear lest he should betray the secret, Netchaïeff and two other members, Pryoff and Nicolaïeff, though hitherto friends of Ivanoff, enticed him one evening into a quiet garden, under pretext of digging up a secret press, and then they shot him dead with a revolver and threw his body into a pond." 1

Socialism in our own country is daily winning adherents to its principles. Many of its ardent supporters, however, do not appropriate the name. Edward Bellamy, for example, prefers to be called a Nationalist; Helen Campbell, who unhesitatingly declared to the writer her belief in Socialism, is not known as a Socialist. These authors and writers are representative of a large number who are devoting their talents and their means to Socialistic propaganda while Socialism is rarely named in connection with their work.

Any accurate numerical estimate of Socialists in the United States is therefore impossible. About five years ago Professor R. T. Ely said, "There might be half a million adherents of the general principles of moderate and peaceful Socialism." 2 Since that time the movement has spread with a rapidity unparalleled in any other country or time. There are a dozen Socialists now where there was one then.

What we have prophesied of Nihilism in Russia and elsewhere has already taken place here. Many of the Nihilists and revolutionists of yesterday, as it were, are now peaceful Socialists. President Seelye of Amherst College, said about six years ago: "There are probably 100,000 men in the United States to-day whose animosity against all existing social institutions is hardly less than boundless." A large per cent of these 100,000 are now adherents of peaceful Socialism.

The International Workingmen's Association, minus its anarchy which is rapidly disappearing, will become Socialistic. They claim to number 25,000 men. Six years ago

1 "Socialism of To-day" (Laveleye), p. 207.
"The Labor Movement in America," p. 282.

Professor Ely estimated the adherents of the Socialistic Labor party in the United States as about 10,000.

The growth of Socialism may be inferred from the multiplication of labor organizations during the last few years. They have spread over the country and through all ranks of laborers with a rapidity that has constantly engaged public attention. Their members do not avow themselves Socialists, and some might object to being classified with them, but their aims and demands are thoroughly Socialistic. The "Knights of Labor" numbered at one time 800,000 members. Of their "Declaration of Principles" Professor Ely says it "means undoubtedly Socialism if one draws the logical conclusion of their statements." Yet he justly admits that some of them are violently opposed to the theory of Socialism.

We have, however, before noticed the significant fact that many who oppose Socialism are fighting manfully for its principles.

We shall show the growth of Socialistic ideas in different departments of the social organism. The numerical increase, great as it has been, is perhaps the least significant. We ought, however, to bear in mind the world-wide extent of this movement. It embraces nearly all lands and tongues. The meeting of the "International" in 1881 was attended by "fifty-four delegates, representing three hundred and twenty divisions' or groups composed of 600,000 members. The countries represented were France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Russia, Siberia, Bulgaria, Roumania, Turkey, Egypt, England, Mexico, and the United States." Probably no body of men was ever convened so representative of the race. No congress was ever more entitled to be called "the parliament of man, the federation of the world." It shows unmistakably that the dissatisfaction with the present industrial organization of society is not only increasing, but is universal and irrepressible. Is it wise in our zeal for individualism, or through prejudice against Socialism, or indifference to the wrongs of working men, to deny the significance of such a gathering and sneer at its results?


1 "The Labor Movement in America" (Ely), p. 253.

II. - Political Gains of Socialism.

"While schools are faithfully inculcating 'laissez-faire,' the interference of government in finance, education, railways, labor, has been steadily increasing for a generation. . Government cannot let alone, and the most difficult problem of the future economist is to place the proper limits to public economy."-- WILLIAM W. FOLWEL.

"Under the old civilization no one questioned the rich man's peaceful possession of his property but the king and the brigand. Under the new civilization, legislation tends toward the appropriation or the direction of the disposition of estates." - CHAUNCEY M. DEPEW.

Few people are aware of the progress Socialism is making in politics. Quietly and almost unconsciously the State is extending its authority in all social and industrial activities. It is not our purpose to trace the rise and history of any particular class of legislation respecting capital or labor, but rather to call attention to certain measures and movements that show unmistakably the Socialistic trend of political forces.

1. Political progress in Germany.

At the present time the gaze of Europe and America is fixed upon Germany and its emperor. The latter has made the following remarkable declaration: "It is the duty of the State to so regulate the duration and nature of labor as to insure the health, the morality, and the supply of all the economic wants of the working man." Whatever be the motive that prompted this utterance, or however it may be interpreted, it involves the whole of Socialism pure and simple. It is the most staggering blow the doctrine of laissez-faire has yet received.

Like a thunder-bolt from Zeus it has shaken to its centre the institution of capitalism.

Thus the young emperor signalizes his accession to the imperial throne by becoming the champion of Socialism. With a keen appreciation of the wrongs which capitalism is inflicting upon laborers, he not only called upon his state councillors to investigate the labor question, but boldly invited the nations of Europe to meet in congress to consult upon measures for the relief of laborers.

Accordingly in March, 1890, a great labor congress was held in Berlin, at which distinguished representatives from Great Britain, France, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Denmark were present. For two weeks the congress was in session, and the result was a series of resolutions in the interest of labor.

The congress recommended that women and children be not allowed to work in mines or at night; that women should not work per day for a longer period than eleven hours, or children under fourteen more than six; that the latter should not work at all in dangerous or unhealthy trades, and that all unnecessary work on Sunday should be prohibited.

Thus the great powers of Europe have united in a protest against certain forms of capitalistic oppression.

Capitalistic public opinion of course speaks respectfully and even commendatorily of this congress and its resolutions, but it greatly underestimates its importance. No deliverance by any body of men was ever more significant. It shows unmistakably the trend of social forces; it deals a deadly blow at laissez-faire; it recognizes the wrongs of labor, the abuses of capital, and points to the coming crisis when radical changes will be necessary to meet the new social conditions.

William II. believes in state control of industries so far as necessary to secure social justice. This as we have said is Socialism.

It doubtless is true that his Socialism is imperial rather than democratic, that is, that he would do everything for the people rather than by them. His imperialism, however, is temporary. It was to be expected; it is both hereditary. and traditional, but it will decrease, while democracy will increase. The progress of republican ideas in Europe is a sure pledge of ultimate triumph. No people in the world are more capable of or riper for democracy than the Germans.

The election which followed the Emperor's rescripts resulted in a great victory for the social democratic party.

[ocr errors]

Sixty socialists were elected to the Reichstag, which is more than one-seventh of that entire body. This result following the rejection of the anti-Socialist bill shows the increasing importance of Socialism as a political issue.

This is the more extraordinary in view of the fact that for more than a decade the government has sought by controlling the press, prohibiting freedom of speech, and banishment, to suppress Socialism.

In the following election, however, it was the burning question in the contest, and the result was a Socialistic vote more than twice as large as ever before cast. Observe the political gains of Socialism in Germany.

"Since the organization of the German Empire, the social democratic votes for members of the Imperial Parliament (Reichstag) have numbered as follows: 1871, 123,975; 1874, 351,952; 1877, 493,288; 1878, 437,158. The entire number of votes cast in 1877 was 5,401,021. The social democratic votes numbered over one-eleventh of all the voters in that year."1 In 1884 the Socialists cast 700,000 votes, of which Berlin alone polled 68,000. But in 1890 the total Socialistic vote went up to 1,500,000. The most rapid progress has been made during the last three years, and the Socialists doubled their vote in the recent election. Nearly one-sixth of all the voters were Socialists. In Berlin they increased their vote by 33,000. These voters represent the political sentiments of a much larger part of the population than the mere number of votes would indicate, as the men become Socialists in sympathy and sentiment before they are willing to give political expression to their views. It is to be noted also that, while the German government has sought to suppress the social democrats, it has in its own way boldly espoused the cause of Socialism. Bismarck himself proposed several measures, notably the Accident Insurance Bill for the relief of laborers, and formally declared that the State should take better care of its poorer members.

The Socialism of the emperor is imperial, while that of the people is democratic, and this explains the cause of the

1 "French and German Socialism" (Ely), p. 213.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »