Mary E. Marcy

Can a Socialist Serve
All the People?

(September 1911)

The International Socialist Review, Vol. 12. No. 3, September 1911, pp. 150–151.
Transcribed by Matthew Siegfried.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

OCCASIONALLY we hear some Socialist elected to office declaring that he intends to “serve all the people.” Such a man or woman should be regarded with great Suspicion because nobody can serve capitalism and the working class at the same time.

If socialists in office seek to shorten the working hours of the workers, it is at the expense of the Capitalist Class. If they aid in lengthening the workday it is at the expense of the workers. Higher wages for workers mean lower profits for those who employ them. Better schools mean better education for the children of workingmen at the expense of the tax-payers who are the property owners and not of the propertyless wage slaves – that is, if the worker’s children are not working in the factory.

Every benefit for one class must be made at the expense of the other class. From this antagonism existing between Capitalists and Wage-workers arises the Class Struggle which is a part of the socialist philosophy embodied in the application for membership in the Socialist Party and which every socialist is compelled to sign before he can become a member of that organization.

The man who claims to serve Capitalists and wage-workers is either unacquainted with the aims and teachings of socialism and needs a good course in revolutionary socialism, or he is a hopeless utopian who will, if permitted, lead the party into the camp of Compromise and the Enemy.

The Socialist Party is the party of wage earners, organized for the overthrow of the Wage System. It is OF, BY and FOR the working class alone and it ceases to be a Socialist party the very moment it pretends to represent the members of ANY OTHER CLASS.

Occasionally there arise in the Socialist Party men or women of the type of mind of old party politicians. They try to gain the support of all classes of society by promising to serve and trying to serve them all at the same time. Remember that the interests of wage-workers and capitalists are absolutely opposed. When one class is helped it is to the detriment of the other class.

You and I are not at all interested in benefiting the capitalist class. The capitalist class has already helped itself by appropriating the product of our hands and brains. If you are a coat-maker, or a molder or carpenter you know that the man you work for KEEPS EVERY THING YOU MAKE. The capitalist helped HIMSELF. He always does help himself, by taking everything we make for his own property. This is why we are revolutionists. We don’t like it. We want to stop being the Easy Marks that the Bosses get rich on.

For this reason, we will not permit avowed Socialists whom we elect to office to SERVE US and OUR CLASS to promise to serve our enemy, the Capitalist Class. We put men in office to do all in their power, by any and every means FOR the WORKING CLASS. Every man who re fuses to so serve us is a traitor to the Cause ‘he is supposed to represent.

When a man proves himself disloyal to the working class by promising to serve “all the people” (including our capitalist enemies) we MUST NEVER FORGET that he is an enemy to socialism, the revolution and the working class. We must never trust him again.

Socialists are just like other folks. Some of them stand by their friends and some of them try to make friends with the Enemy, thus delivering their friends into the hands of the Enemy. But once we begin by re fusing ever to trust a man or woman who flirts with those who exploit us and by electing men among us who have proven themselves loyal to the interests of the working class, the POLITICAL TRIMMER AND COMPROMISER WILL FIND NO PLACE IN the SOCIALIST PARTY.

I once heard a striker speaking of another striker in terms which I would not care to reproduce here.

“Look out for him,” he said, “I SAW HIM TREATIN’ a COP TO A DRINK!” Whenever we find a Socialist in office treating the capitalist to the promise of some benefits or service – LOOK OUT FOR HIM and put him down and out at your earliest opportunity.


In the words of William Liebknecht:

“The enemy who comes to us with open visor we face with a smile; to set our foot upon his neck is mere play for us. The stupidly brutal acts of violence of police politicians, the outrages of anti-socialist laws, the anti-revolution laws, penitentiary bills – these only arouse feelings of pitying contempt; the enemy, however, that reaches out the hand to us for a political alliance, and intrudes himself upon us as a friend and brother, -him and him alone have we to fear. Our fortress can withstand every assault – it cannot be stormed nor taken from us by siege – it can only fall when we ourselves open the doors to the enemy and take him into our ranks as a fellow comrade. Growing out of the class struggle, our party rests upon the class struggle as a condition of its existence. Through and with that struggle the party is unconquerable; without it the party is lost, for it will have lost the source of its strength.

“On the ground of the class struggle we are invincible; if we leave it, we are lost, because we are no longer Socialists. The strength and power of Socialism rests in the fact that we are leading a class struggle; that the laboring class is exploited and op pressed by the capitalist class, and that within capitalist society effectual reforms. which will put an end to class government and class exploitation, are impossible.”

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