Early American Marxism: Document Download Page by Year: 1916

Early American Marxism

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“Socialist Presidential Referendum Now On, Arouses Intense Interest.” (Editorial from the Appeal to Reason)[Jan. 22, 1916] In 1916 the Socialist Party of America did not hold a typical quadrennial convention to nominate its candidates for President and Vice President of the United States, instead making use of a party referendum to select its nominees. This “Socialist experiment” is here hailed by the weekly Appeal to Reason as a “great success” and an example to be followed in the future by the Democratic and Republican parties. Three had been nominated for President: Appeal columnist Allan L. Benson of New York, Pennsylvania AFL leader James H. Maurer, and North Dakota Socialist leader Arthur LeSeur of Kansas. “A big vote on the Presidential referendum will be an inspiring beginning for the next big national contest between the forces of capitalism and Socialism,” the editorial declares.

“The Truth About ‘Preparedness,’” by John Spargo [Jan. 8, 1916] The content of this article by John Spargo is largely forgettable, save as a curiosity—conspiracy-theory alleging mutual manipulations of an owned press by the armaments makers of the main European antagonists. The national trusts of guns and iron are said to each and all have planted hostile stories abroad against their own nationality in order to fan the flames of patriotic hatred at home, generating lucrative military contracts in the process. Points for originality, I suppose. What is more striking is the extent to which John Spargo “flipped” on the question of militarism in little more than a year’s time, he becoming a lead propagandist and cheerleader for Woodrow Wilson’s War as well as the administration’s token Socialist for foreign missions. Unintended irony drips from Spargo’s words: “The great war in Europe has caused many people to fear the astonishingly efficient military organization of Germany.... And the capitalist ‘patriots’ have capitalized that fear. They have made it the basis of the most hysterical campaign in our history. They have even swept some of our best-beloved comrades from the moorings of their faith. Socialists who but yesterday thrilled us by their revolutionary ardor now join in the hysterical cry ‘Prepare against War! Prepare against War!’ Let us not be deceived. The United States is more assured against attack from any quarter in the world today than at any time within the past hundred years. Nowhere in the world is there the interest, the disposition, or the power to make war upon this nation.”


“Publishing Statements: Letter to the Editor of The American Socialist,” by I.T. Barron [Jan. 8, 1916] This letter to the editor of the Socialist Party’s official organ from a long-time New Hampshire rank-and-filer calls on editor Louis Engdahl to publish more verbatim statements by leading party figures, so that the party membership may be better informed. “William D. Haywood was recalled from the National Executive Committee [in 1912] and it’s a cinch that not 1 in 25 who voted to recall him knew what he said or that he actually said anything. I voted to recall him but do not know to this day whether I was justified in doing so,” Barron writes. A similar controversy surrounds the purported statements of Charles Edward Russell in Philadelphia on Nov. 29, 1915, Barron believes. Russell was alleged to have at that time come out for the Wilson regime’s program of American militarization (so-called “preparedness”); party members again remained in the dark about the actual statement made. “Let us get at the facts before we act. If Comrade Russell lacks class consciousness to the extent that he advocates principles to which the Socialist Party is unanimously opposed he is not fit to be a candidate for President or a member of the Socialist Party. Let’s fire him,” declares Barron, adding that there are three absolutely sacrosanct principles of the SPA: Collective Ownership, Democracy, and Anti-Militarism.


“Executive Secretary Candidates in Party Referendum Voice Views on Militarism and Preparedness.” [Jan. 15, 1916] “Do You Favor the Policy of Military Preparedness?” Asking early 20th Century American Socialists this question is about as provocative as asking early 21st century Democrats whether they favor a woman’s right to reproductive choice or Republicans of the same era whether they favor lower income taxes. Virtually all members of the Socialist Party—Left, Right, and Center—were vehemently opposed to the European war and Woodrow Wilson’s campaign to militarize America under the slogan of “Preparedness.” One can read personal ideology through shadings of position statements, however. The 4 candidates for SP Executive Secretary make their positions heard. At the far Left is Washington State Secretary Ludwig Katterfeld, who states “The capitalist system is rotten ripe for revolution. It will collapse as quick as we are ready. Let us prepare. Stop frittering away our strength on ‘reforms.’ Educate and organize for the purpose of revolution.” A radical Center-Left position is staked out by Adolph Germer, who indicates that if the American public insists upon military preparedness, it should take the form of universal military training for all able bodied men between ages 18-45 in lieu of a standing army, complete with democratic election of officers, guarantees against the militia being used against strikes or in wars of aggression, and a provision that individuals are to keep their rifles and at least 200 rounds of ammunition (all provided by the government) at home—a de facto arming of the proletariat with obvious albeit unstated revolutionary implications. At the Center, current Executive Secretary Walter Lanfersiek seems demoralized and resigned to electoral defeat, his position reading in toto: “I am opposed to military preparedness.” To the SP Right is Carl D. Thompson, who emphasizes a positive program consisting of “a federation of nations, a sort of United States of the World with an international congress and court, universal disarmament, and the erection of the World International.”


“Election of Party Officials: Letter to the Editor of The American Socialist in Support of Santeri Nuorteva for SPA NEC,” by J.F. Maki [Jan. 22, 1916] Translator-Secretary of the Finnish Socialist Federation J.F. Maki here endorses Santeri Nuorteva of Massachusetts in the coming election for the 5 members of the SPA’s governing National Executive Committee. He provides a fine short biography of Nuorteva, noting that the young Nuorteva had spent two years in Germany as an office worker before touring the world as a fireman aboard a steamer. Maki says that Nuorteva was elected to the Finnish Diet 3 times and served as editor of party publications there, drawing the ire of the Tsarist censorship, “who indicted him at least 20 times for articles he wrote to the party press.” Nuorteva had served one 7 month term in prison and was under the cloud of another sentence for a 2 year term in his native Finland. In America, Nuorteva “has made several lecture tours over the country, translated several works on socialism, and at the present time is editor of one of our dailies,” Maki notes.


“Adolph Germer for Executive Secretary: Letter to the Editor of The American Socialist,” by U. Solomon [Jan. 29, 1916] While the campaign for NEC of the Socialist Party was polite, the battle for the Executive Secretary position got a bit nasty, with proxies for the 4 candidates (and candidates themselves) chipping at one another. New York State Secretary U. Solomon here goes after Rev. Carl Thompson, who had previously went after sitting Executive Secretary Walter Lanfersiek, a man who was also attacked by the 4th candidate, future CLP/UCP/CPA leader Ludwig Katterfeld, Washington State Secretary. Solomon accuses Thompson of taking credit for the work of others, engaging in factionalism in Nebraska and Minnesota, and feathering his own nest as head of the SPA’s Speakers’ Bureau. “If a change is necessary, and it seems that one is because of friction in the National Office, in which Thompson is by no manner of means a disinterested person, then let us have a real change. Keep out of the National Office all those who either started dissensions or were participants in the same. A real change will take place if we elect Adolph Germer.” Germer, it should be noted, was a well-known figure in the SP milieu, the leading vote-getter in the National Committee’s balloting for NEC in 1915 and a fairly frequent contributor to the party press on labor issues. Regardless, this letter provides an excellent illustration of the idea that factional struggle often had at its root a struggle for jobs and was often powered by personal animosity. Further, this sort of behavior has been typical of human political organizations for hundreds of years and did not suddenly spring from nothing in the American Communist movement in 1919.


“Russell and His War Views: Letter to the Editor of The American Socialist,” by Eugene V. Debs [Jan. 29, 1916] In November 1915, Socialist Party touring organizer Charles Edward Russell came out for Woodrow Wilson’s program of military “Preparedness.” A storm of discontent erupted among the Party faithful over this flagrant departure from Socialist principles, including calls for Russell’s immediate expulsion. This prompted widely respected party orator Gene Debs to write this letter to the SPA’s official organ in Russell’s defense. Debs expresses his belief that though he disagrees fundamentally with Russell’s pro-militarist orientation “I honor the man for having the courage of his convictions and I want to say that it requires moral courage of the highest order to take the position he has taken and fearlessly and frankly express himself in the face of a hostile and overwhelming opposition.” This frankness had cost Russell the probable nomination of his party for the Presidency, Debs believes, noting that such courageous statements of conscience are “ all too rare in the world.” Debs states that the charge levied against Russell that he was guilty of party treason was not applicable: “There is not a drop of traitorous blood in Russell’s veins. He is simply mistaken and it is our duty as his comrades to seek to convince him of his error. “



“State Convention Passes Upon Many Important Questions: Finnish Difficulties Satisfactorily Settled --Many Constitutional Changes.” [events of Feb. 26-28, 1916] This unsigned article from the Minneapolis Socialist weekly New Times, edited by Alex Georgian, reviews the changes made at the 1916 Minnesota State Convention of the Socialist Party. The conflict within the Finnish Socialist Federation in 1914-15 had taken a serious toll on the party’s membership, as had the discouragement and economic downturn which followed the eruption of war in Europe in the summer of 1914. From a high of 5,600, the paid membership of the Socialist Party of Minnesota had fallen to 3,547, it was reported to the convention. The convention determined to issue charters to five locals loyal to the (conservative) national Finnish Socialist Federation while at the same time implementing constitutional changes that would make it more difficult for the State Executive Board to arbitrarily suspend locals. Henceforth, charges would have to first be published in the official state newspaper and seconds for the proposed suspension gathered from 6 locals in no fewer than 5 counties. Former Christian Socialist and future Communist Jeremy Bentall was nominated to head the Socialist Party’s ticket as its candidate for Governor.


“The Duluth Convention,” by John Gabriel Soltis [events of Feb. 26-28, 1916] This upbeat report of the recently completed Minnesota State Convention of the Socialist Party of America hails the termination of the bitter feud within the Finnish Socialist Federation as the greatest achievement of the gathering. “It can be said to the credit of Leo Laukki, the brilliant Finnish thinker and leader of the ‘Reds,’ that he himself engineered and supported the much desired rapprochement between the two Finnish factions,” Soltis writes. He adds: “It was clear to all that the Finns of both sides desired unity. After all they came to realize that their differences of opinion concerning tactics did not justify a wide split, so they united. As a result the organization is now much stronger. This act of unity confirms the theory that socialists can always unite if they have the will to do so.” Soltis also indicates that the creation of a new county level of organization in the Minnesota party will go far in curbing the “anarchical” actions of individual locals. He also lauds the choice of Jeremy Bentall as the party’s candidate for Governor, noting that Bentall is “an able speaker in two languages, and a clean student of the revolutionary movement.”


“The State Convention,” by Alex Georgian [events of February 26-28, 1916] Recap of the 1916 Minnesota State Convention of the Socialist Party by New Times editor Alex Georgian. Georgian concurs with other analysts that the chief accomplishment of the 1916 Minnesota convention was the liquidation of the split within the Finnish Socialist Federation in the state, revealing details of the backstory. According to Georgian, the pro-syndicalist Left Wingers of the Finnish Federation, expelled from the national federation for their support of the Left Wing daily Sosialisti,retained their charters from the Minnesota State Executive Board and blocked the efforts of moderates loyal to the national Finnish Federation from forming their own locals. Composition of the Minnesota Executive was determined in advance by the Left Wing Finns and their anglophonic allies, who elected a full slate, thus maintaining the status quo. The 1916 convention seems to have brokered an agreement allowing the moderate Finns to establish their own locals in exchange for legitimacy of the Left Wingers and their paper -- support of which had been deemed to be a party crime by the moderate Finnish Federation leadership, based in the Eastern District. Georgian, later a prominent member of the early American Communist movement, reveals his sympathies to be with the Finnish moderates rather than the pro-syndicalist Left Wingers.


“What the Convention Accomplished,” by Sigmond N. Slonim [events of February 26-28, 1916] This analysis of the 1916 Minnesota State Convention of the Socialist Party reiterates the steps towards reunification of the so-called “Reds” and “Yellows” into which the Finnish Socialist Federation was divided. The two factions had “instead of fighting for the abolition of capitalism and the establishment of socialism, began to spend their time, money, and energy in fighting each other” and a split of the federation itself had resulted. The decision of the convention to allow the excluded Finns to establish locals had laid the groundwork for real unity of the two factions, Slonim believes. “I hope that the time is not very far off when the two factions of our party will soon realize the importance of having harmony in the party and they will join hands not only by holding membership in the party, but by doing away with their animosities and hatreds against each other and will then put up a solid front in their struggle against capitalism until the time will come when the toilers of the world will be emancipated from wage slavery.”



“The Finnish Amendment,” by Sophie Carlson [May 6, 1916] The author of this letter to the Minneapolis Socialist Party weekly was a moderate member of the Finnish Federation whose local lost its charter as part of the faction fight in the Finnish Socialist Federation -- a particularly bitter battle in the state of Minnesota. Carlson describes the sequence of events, in which her Chisholm, MN local expelled a handful of pro-IWW dissidents for two years under Article II, Section 6 of the Socialist Party’s national constitution. Under the Socialist Party’s federative system, final say over such matters in the state was held by the elected officials of the state party in each state; and the Minnesota State Executive Board overturned the decision of Local Chisholm and ordered the expelled syndicalists reinstated by Local Chisholm. This the local refused to do, which the Minnesota SEB met by pulling the charter of Local Chisholm for violation of party discipline and issuing a new charter to the pro-syndicalist dissidents. When the moderate majority faction reapplied for admission to the Socialist Party of Minnesota, the SEB declined, stating there was already a Finnish branch in Chisholm. The moderate majority sought to align itself with the national Finnish Socialist Federation (which had itself conducted mass expulsions of its pro-IWW Left Wing) and refused to join the chartered local and a stalemate ensued. Carlson is not hopeful of rapprochement between the two factions: “We have had meetings and hot debates, and at present are trying to compromise but it seems impossible,” she writes.


“A Necessary Protest: Letter to the Editor of The American Socialist, May 6, 1916,” by Ludwig Lore Translator-Secretary Lore of the German Federation of the Socialist Party protests against what he sees as a coordinated effort to fan the flames of prejudice against the Language Federations and to “attach the “American” Socialists to the Thompson bandwagon.” The German Federation was fully justified in making its non-binding recommendations on party affairs, Lore states. Further, he indicates that Thompson supporters, in addition to practicing dirty politics and being incorrect were also hypocrites: “In the East, George Goebel, a member of the National Executive Committee and A.W. Ricker, whose party activity...are acting as campaign managers for Thompson & Co. We say Thompson & Co. because it is generally known that the same comrades who are so “righteously” indignant over the ‘arrogance’ of the German Language Group, agreed on and supported a slate of 5 comrades—not 2—for the National Executive Committee.” Baited by the Thompson supporters to explain why Thompson was less than suitable as Executive Secretary, Lore pulls no punches: “We believe that Carl D. Thompson’s election as National Secretary would be detrimental to the movement, because in our opinion, the chief officer of a workingmen’s party should be neither a Prohibitionist nor a Christian Socialist, nor a mere reformer. What the Socialist Party needs today, more than ever before, is an Executive officer—a man who, as a class-conscious Socialist—knows and understands the needs of the working class and will keep in touch with the working class movement. Such a man is Adolph Germer and not the prohibitionist, ‘Christian’ Socialist Carl D. Thompson.”


“Fair Play: Joint Letter to the Editor of The American Socialist, May 6, 1916,” by the Translator-Secretaries of 10 Socialist Party Language Federations Ten of the 15 Translator-Secretaries of the Socialist Party of America join in a protest of the Milwaukee Leader’s allegation that the federations made use of the unit rule and cast their ballots unanimously in party referenda—unlike the SPA’s English language locals and branches. Unfair electoral tactics against the Leader’s favorite for Executive Secretary, Rev. Carl D. Thompson, is thus alleged. “If that charge were true the foreign branches would make the referendum a ridiculous farce. But it is not true. It was obviously invented to create a prejudice against foreign speaking branches,” the letter by the 10 asserts. The Leader refused to print the denial and refused to retract its assertion, however, thus forcing the 10 Translator-Secretaries to take their case to the party’s official organ.


“Russell and Teddy Agree: Letter to the Editor of The American Socialist,” by Alfred Wagenknecht [May 20, 1916] This letter from Left Wing Socialist Alfred Wagenknecht—home again in Ohio after the better part of a decade as a leading member of the radical Washington state organization—takes a shot at Victor Berger by linking him with the “Preparedness” campaign bally-hooed by Theodore Roosevelt and endorsed by Right Wing Socialist Charles Edward Russell (soon to leave the party). In Wagenknecht’s view, both Russell and “Teddy the Terrible” agree that “eventually and ultimately we must come to a system of universal military service patterned after the Swiss and Australian plans. Both claim, and so does Victor Berger, that these plans of compulsory service further true democracy.” Russell may be excused for bringing intellectual baggage of his past into the socialist movement, Wagenknecht states, “but how about veteran Berger? Shall we excuse him on the assumption that his brain still contains vestigial impressions of the savage state of society?”


“Result of Referendum: Germer is Chosen National Secretary; Berger, Hillquit, Maley, Work, and Spargo Members of National Executive Committee.” [May 27, 1916] Complete state-by-state returns for the run-off election for 3 open slots on the Socialist Party’s NEC and for the position of Executive Secretary. In the all-important Executive Secretary race, Adolph Germer won a bitter election over Carl D. Thompson, 14,486 (54.9%) to 11,900 (45.1%). Thompson won majorities in 25 of the 48 states and territories participating, but lost the race due to strong Language Federation voting in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New York, which delivered decisive majorities for Germer. In the race for the 3 remaining seats on the governing National Executive Committee—Morris Hillquit and Victor Berger having already won impressive majorities in the first round of balloting in March—Anna Maley (17,585), John Work (14,057), and John Spargo (13,413) received majorities of votes cast in the run off and were elected. Maley garnered strong support across the country, picking up the highest number of votes cast in 28 of the 48 participating states. Founding member Work received similar broadly spread support, while Spargo was put over the top by a decisive total in New York State. Losing candidates in the run-off were founding member Algie Simons, Oklahoma favorite H.G. Creel, and sitting NEC member Walter LeSeuer.


“Hold Fast to Real Patriotism!” by Robert M. LaFollette [May 1916] Victor L. Berger was not the only US Senator from Wisconsin with his own political periodical—senior Senator Robert M. LaFollette had a monthly journal of his own, LaFollette’s Magazine, published in Madison. The 1924 independent Presidential candidate LaFollette, a progressive Republican, contributed editorials and the text of Senate speeches to each issue. This front page editorial from May 1916 attacks the militarism beginning to be unleashed by the interventionist and nationalist Right Wing in America. “Our liberty is not threatened by a foreign foe. In crucial times in our nation’s history, the American people have not failed,” LaFollette declares. “Lack of readiness is not our peril. Our immediate danger lies in the possibility that we may be swept from our moorings by the tide of sentiment that, under the guise of patriotism, is actually based on commercial greed.” LaFollette is extremely critical of the “new doctrine” that “the flag follows business,” that American military force is to be asserted abroad in defense of the profits of empire-builders. “It is a prostitution of patriotism that would tax the people of a nation hundreds of millions of dollars and send our soldiers to sacrifice their lives for the purpose of insuring exorbitant profits for speculators in foreign investments and foreign loans,” LaFollette insists. America was at a fundamental turning point, in LaFollette’s view, and if the tide toward militarism could be resisted, an inestimable service would be provided by America. It would be thus demonstrated that “national security is not dependent on military superiority” and that “the European system of rival armaments for preserving peace is a delusion.”


“Chicago ‘Prepares’ to Live; Fights ‘Preparedness’ to Die,” by J. Louis Engdahl [June 10, 1916] On Saturday, June 3, 1916, Chicago’s employers declared a paid holiday so that their workers could march in an official “Preparedness” parade through the city’s streets, patterned after an earlier event held in New York City. The Chicago Association of Commerce, primary organizer of the event, claimed that over 130,000 participated. This article appeared in the Socialist Party’s official organ the following week. The use of economic compulsion and “conscription” on the party of nationalistic employers is charged, and anecdotes related about workers who refused participation. Secretary of the Chicago Federation of Labor Edward Nockels is quoted as saying “”We are not in sympathy with the parade.... The men at the head of it are all enemies of organized labor.” American Socialist Editor Engdahl characterized the parade as primarily an event of big business and in support of the Presidential candidacy of Theodore Roosevelt, and only secondarily as a real “preparedness” event. An ineffectual counter-effort was made by the two outnumbered Socialist aldermen on the Chicago City Council, who unveiled a three part “program of social preparedness” for the city, calling for the formation of committees given the task of drawing up concrete legislation to take before the next session of the Illinois legislature on the issues of housing, unemployment, and for municipal ownership. The first of these proposals was passed by the council, the second two referred to committee, where they presumably died.


“The Party Finances: Report of the Executive Secretary of the Socialist Party,” by Walter Lanfersiek [June 17, 1916] Final report of outgoing National Secretary of the SPA Walter Lanfersiek, of Kentucky. Though soundly defeated in his bid for reelection in 1916, Lanfersiek takes pride in having righted the Socialist Party’s financial affairs over the past three years. The party’s leftover debt from 1912 had been more or less liquidated, and the party’s net worth had increased by some $25,000, despite having had 3 costly annual meetings of the National Committee and undertaken a greatly expanded payroll in the form of 11 Translator-Secretaries. Actually paid party membership stood at 94,378 (including dual members and exemptions) for the previous 3 months, Lanfersiek states. “There is no doubt that the past 3 years have been the hardest years the party has had, or perhaps ever will have. The membership has not been as large as all have desired, which fact reduced the income. The war and unemployment in 1914 and 1915 had a great influence on keeping the party back, and our present position, with close to 100,000 members, and with the finances in an excellent condition, will make it possible for the party to go ahead with its work.” Lanfersiek makes no apologies and indicates that history will show him to have been “a faithful and conscientious servant of the party.”


“Politicians and Preachers,” by Eugene V. Debs [June 24, 1916] This brief election year article by SPA orator Gene Debs written for the party’s official organ remains timely in an election year 90 years later: “The politicians and preachers of capitalism are set up as the shepherds of the flock, the politicians holding aloft the banner of patriotism and the preachers arrayed in the livery of religion. These are the real betrayers of the people, the hypocrites that Christ denounced and for which he was crucified; the slimy, oil-tongued deceivers of their ignorant, trusting followers, who traffic in the slavery and misery of their fellow-beings that they may tread the paths of ease and bask in the favors of their masters.... Beware of the liveried hypocrites of the landlords, the usurers, the money-changers, the stock-gamblers, the exploiters, the enslavers and despoilers of the people; beware of the ruling class politicians and preachers and mercenary menials in every form who are so profoundly concerned about your ‘patriotism’ and your ‘religion’ and who receive their 30 pieces for warning you against socialism because it will endanger your morality and interfere with your salvation.”



“Eugene V. Debs, Interviewed for Appeal, Sees Bright Chance for His Election to the United States Congress: ‘Voters Sure to Come to Us,’ Says Veteran Champion of the Working Class–Comrades Throughout the Country Support the Campaign with Silver Ballots–Fifth Indiana District Being Flooded with Socialist Literature,” by Emanuel Julius [July 1, 1916] In 1916, 4 time Socialist Party Presidential standard bearer Eugene V. Debs decided not to run for chief executive, but to instead pursue election to US Congress in the Indiana 5th District. Appeal to Reason writer Emanuel Haldeman-Julius paid a visit to Debs at his home in Terre Haute to report on the high profile campaign for the tens of thousands of readers of the Kansas Socialist weekly. “I have every reason to believe that the campaign if properly constructed (and I am sure it will be) will bring the vote to us. The preparedness issue will do it. I have confidence that the situation is going to become more and more responsive to the appeal of Socialism,” Debs told Julius. Debs expresses disdain for President Woodrow Wilson’s reversal on the issue of stopping the trusts and his flip-flopping on militarization: “Mr. Wilson, who had all his life been opposed to militarism, has now become the avowed champion of plutocratic preparedness, and today he stands before the country pleading in the name of Wall Street and its interests for the largest standing army and the most powerful navy in the world,” Debs declared. Debs was upbeat about party unity in 1916: “I’ve been in all campaigns since our party was organized in 1900,” said Debs, “and never have I been in a campaign like this one, never have I seen such harmony.”



“Manifesto of the Socialist Propaganda League of America.” [Nov. 26, 1916] The “Left Wing” of the Socialist Party of America was a long-existing ideological trend, dating back to the 1901 origin of the SPA and before. It was not until the end of 1916, however, in the aftermath of the abject failure of the Second International to avert war and with the slogan of “Preparedness” sweeping America, that this radical fraction began the process of formal organization. The November 26, 1916, meeting in Boston which adopted this manifesto, established a dues-based membership organization, and initiated an official organ called The Internationalist may properly be regarded as the moment of origin of a formal “Left Wing Section of the Socialist Party”—an evolving movement which would in 1918 begin publication of another Boston newspaper called The Revolutionary Age and set into motion the political process leading to the formal splitting of the Socialist Party into Social Democratic and revolutionary Socialist wings in 1919. The manifest states: “The time is passed when our national Socialist parties, bound by old forms and moved by old ideals, can proceed with its old propaganda within the conÞnes of capitalist legality and morals, and expect within these limits to advance the cause of industrial democracy. We are at the dawn of a new era; the day is big with the content of social eruptions, economic and political strikes, revolutions. It is an era in which the class conflict approaches its climax.”.