Saturday, October 24, 2015

True Socialist Methods - Reform Movements Fail

One of the most fascinating things, I think, about the history of progressivism, is the convincing of Revolutionaries that rejecting the revolution and accepting Evolutionary Socialism is the better way forward. Tied in with this, is the timeline of when it all occurred. In 1910, in "A Talk with the Richest Socialist in America", the following was a part of the discussion:

True Socialist Methods

"What," I asked, "would be true Socialist methods?"

The millionaire who would abolish all those methods by which most millionaires have been created in this country opened his big eyes (which had for a long time, been closed), and smiled.

"The true Socialistic methods? Why to say to the present owners of the industries, as the American patriots said to King George and his favorites:

"'You have taxed us long enough, you have asserted the right of owner-ship long enough, now we repudiate these alleged rights utterly. From this date we will permit mine of our product to be diverted to you, for we have paid you, over and over again, for any service any of you have rendered in any capacity, We shall stop further payment from this date, You have been paid in full, We will forgive you for the wrongs which you have done to us; we will ask tits recompense from you for all the robberies you have inflicted on us; but, hereafter, we will use the money capital which we ourselves provided, and the buildings and machinery which we ourselves have made, and the tracks which our own hands have laid. An of us 'who have participated in the, creation of these necessary implements of labor have paid whatever debts we owed you (if we ever owed you any debt), long, long ago; these are now ours by right. You may keep your title deeds and your certificates of stock, but we will keep the premises.'"

Strange doctrines for a man of wealth, for an offshoot of a Knicker-bocker family?

Reform Movements Fail.

"Do the reform movements which are everywhere being heralded through-out the country help toward Social-ism?" I inquired.

"They fall short of satisfying me," was the astonishing young man's reply. "Honest administration of public affairs, honest use of city resources, financial and otherwise, for dealing with city employes - all these are necessary, but they might all be realized and leave us in a state far from ideal."

The progressive movement and the socialist movements would not become joined at the hip until the 20's/30's. Its also interesting to note the attempt to distort what was said to King George, And make it seem as if paychecks amount to some sort of payments for a debt when they don't. But most importantly, he isn't having reformism.

There's three major things(probably more) that made the socialists more interested in merging with the progressives:

1) The first Red Scare. It should never be forgotten that it was progressives who conducted the original red scare against communists and socialists.

2) Wilson's railroad nationalization. Since the progressives had moved so far as to be willing to accept full nationalization, why not merge with them?

3) The opening of the 1920's. By the 20's, the word socialism had become a dirty word. So if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. They had to go somewhere. Welcome to the new and improved progressivism.

Besides the revolution, what the progressives believed and what the socialists believed were virtually identical, only a small laundry list of differences was present. Why not join? There would also be some communists that had made their way into the movement, but they were still largely considered to be the crazy uncle in the attic, this was only a progressive and socialist movement at this time. Full scale merging with communism wouldn't happen until the 60's.

As an aside, I would note the tone of this article, even in 1910. I couldn't imagine the New York Times interviewing a Tea Partier with this much friendliness. An interview as such would be full of angst and loaded questions to distort all answers, before they were given and afterwards. Just goes to show you where the Times was at, even in 1910.

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