The New International Encyclopædia/Socialism
SOCIALISM (from social, from Lat. socialis, relating to companionship, or association, from socius, companion, associate, from sequi, to follow; connected with Lith. sekti, Gk. ἕπεσθαι, hepesthai, Skt. sac, to follow, and ultimately with Eng. see). As the term is now used, socialism is an ideal economic system in which industry is carried on under social direction and for the benefit of society as a whole. It is contrasted with the competitive regime of existing society. The word socialism has been used to convey a variety of meanings, and is only gradually assuming a definite significance, as a result of the careful analysis of generations of socialistic thinkers and their critics. Moreover, the ideal organization of socialism has to a great extent been influenced by actual industrial changes.
An earlier term by which socialism was known is communism (q.v.). Efforts to distinguish communism from socialism cannot be said to have been successful. Sometimes communism is used to refer to the voluntary organization of small bodies of men who have common property, and who carry on production in common, sharing among themselves the fruits of their toil, as a rule, in such a way as to give each one an equal allotment of economic goods, but not of honors and consideration.
In this sense communism may be distinguished from socialism in that the latter implies a thoroughgoing reconstruction of society through political action, while the former calls upon men to separate themselves from general society, and to form communal societies for themselves.
Socialism is sometimes called collectivism. Those who employ this term feel that their schemes of social reform are more likely to secure a hearing if called by some other name than socialism. For a time in the United States the term nationalism, introduced by Edward Bellamy in his book Looking Backward, was synonymous with socialism.
The origin of the word socialism has been the subject of much discussion. It has been claimed that it was first used in 1840 by a French writer, Louis Reybaud. in his Etudes sur les réformateurs contemporains ou socialistes modernes. The word, however, was used in the early thirties in England, and the publications of the followers of Robert Owen show that it had become current before 1840. John Spargo in the Comrade of March, 1903, traces the word socialism back to 1833.
In addition to the terms socialist and socialism, we have the terms social democrat and social democracy very commonly used as synonymous. It was long supposed that these words were of German origin, but at least as far back as 1838 they were coined by Bronterre O'Brien, an early socialist, who took part in the Chartist agitation. The words were used by O'Brien in opposition to any aristocratic socialist schemes and in advocacy of democratic socialism.
The constituent elements of socialism and its most essential characteristic must next be examined. The lack of scientific accuracy in popular writings concerning socialism shows that this complex concept is not generally understood, although its formulation has become clear and precise enough, so that it should not be difficult to grasp its essential elements. Socialism implies, in the first place, a changed attitude towards property. Our economic life is dominated at the present time by private property, and in all cases, even where public property is largest in amount, it appears as an exception to a general rule. The world's work is carried on under the domination of private property. Socialism means that this process is to be reversed and that the world's work will ultimately be dominated by public property.
Accumulated wealth is divided by modern economists and socialists alike into productive goods and enjoyment goods. Productive goods, as the term suggests, signifies those kinds of wealth which are not used for immediate enjoyment, but which are used in producing those things which are consumed and enjoyed. Enjoyment goods are those which yield immediate satisfaction, such as ordinary articles of consumption, dwelling houses, paintings, and books. We have also a further distinction between accumulated wealth and income wealth, the annual product of toil, which may be used up each year. Now, as understood to-day, socialism means that the instruments of production shall in the main be public or collective property. While the most conservative socialists do not insist upon public ownership of all land and capital, they consider it essential that the chief kinds of capital and the greater part of the land should be collective property. Socialists formerly held that all land should be owned by society, but lately the most conservative socialists have been inclined to make concessions to small landowners who cultivate their property and to concede to them private ownership so long as they find it desirable. On the other hand, modern socialism has emphasized strongly private property in income. It is on this account that socialists frequently deny most strenuously that they are opposed to private property, and claim that they wish to extend private property. They refer always to income. They wish each one to have his income, and to have that under his control.
The first constituent element of socialism may, therefore, be stated to be a substitution of collective property in the great material instruments of production in the place of private property to such an extent that public property shall dominate the world's work. The second constituent element is private property in income and private property in those goods which are used for the sake of enjoyment and not for the acquisition of an income by rent or hire to others.
Modern socialists desire to disturb existing arrangements as little as possible in attaining the main end of socialism: the abolition of the private receipt of rent and interest, the incomes from private property. Rent from land and interest from capital are the result of private ownership of these instruments of production. With collective ownership the income yielded by land and capital must also become collective. The purpose is the common enjoyment of the advantages yielded by land and capital, in order that there may be no income apart from personal effort, and that the income yielded by personal effort may be increased. The most advanced forms of capitalistic production are approved, and the extension of agricultural machinery and farming on a large scale are viewed with favor. The change which is advocated is a change in property, in order thereby to accomplish the great end which has just been described. The socialists desire to abolish what they call unearned income, meaning thereby personally unearned income, for the income which individuals receive from property they conceive to be unearned, and a deduction from the earnings due to personal effort. Socialists generally attempt to justify this view theoretically by the doctrine that all value is to be attributed to labor. The cruder forms of socialism have so emphasized manual labor as to imply an underestimation of intellectual services. With the rise of a higher class of socialistic thinkers, however, this crude view has lost its prominence. Socialists now generally fully understand that intellectual service is as important as manual labor, and they find a place for both in their plans for a future society.
Socialists and economists are alike agreed that production has become largely a social process, and that the socialization of production increases day by day. What the socialists complain of is that, while production is a social process, the control of production is in the hands of private owners. They discover an antithesis between social production and individual control, and demand accordingly that the socialization of production shall be accompanied by social or collective management. Modern socialism demands collective management of each industry, and it demands that all the industries should be associated together, in order thereby to secure perfect system, harmony, and unity of effort. Because individual producers do not act together, but act each one for himself, the socialists reproach present society with planlessness, which they say gives us industrial crises and stagnation — an argument less frequently advanced than formerly, owing to the formation of combinations and trusts which seem to overcome this weakness in the existing industrial order.
Finally, socialism means the distribution of income by some common authority. If organized society owns the instruments of production, and conducts production, necessarily the product of industry in the first instance falls to society, as it does now to the individual owners and managers. Society must then in some way divide up the income which results from our collective economic efforts, giving to each one his due share. Under socialism the great mass of men would be salaried functionaries of society, and the aim would be in one way or another so to adjust their salaries that in the aggregate they should equal the total wealth produced for consumption.
Formerly there was a greater inclination on the part of socialists than there is now to accomplish their ends by measures of compulsion. It was proposed that every one should be forced into the system of collective production and in return receive a subsistence. Modern socialism does not propose directly to force any one into the socialistic scheme. If any one is able to gain a livelihood by his private efforts, socialism is quite content that he should do so. He will not be able to gain an income from ownership of the chief instruments of production, as these will be public property. He may, however, own tools which he can use in production, if he can induce men to purchase his product. Socialism contemplates a public provision for education as at the present time, but it does not propose to throw any obstacles in the way of a man who desires to organize private schools. A public organization of medicine is contemplated by socialism, but the modern socialist does not see any reason why a physician who desires to engage in private practice should not do so, if he can find those who prefer his services to those of the public physicians. The modern socialist holds that most men will find it to their advantage to engage in public production, but does not insist upon absolute uniformity in this, or in other particulars.
Modern socialism is international and cosmopolitan. With the growth of the business unit and the cheapening of transportation, the economic ties binding men together have extended geographically until the whole world may be said to have become a single economic unit. It is natural that socialism, influenced by the development of economic society, should also have become international. A further reason for the international character of socialism is to be found in the fact that the leaders of socialistic thought, having called in question and having rejected the existing economic order, are also in the mood to call in question the advantages of the existing political order. They see few or no advantages coming to the workers from the national boundaries and arrangements which separate men. They desire fraternity among the toilers, but as a result of national differences they see the toilers fighting each other, and they make the claim that all wars take place at the expense of the laborer and for the advantage of a small military and industrial class, who derive therefrom on the one hand glory, and on the other pecuniary profit.
The internationalism of socialism was one of the leading thoughts of Karl Marx (q.v.). The first noteworthy result of this internationalism was the organization in 1864 of the International Workingmen's Association (see Internationale), which declared in the by-laws adopted in its first meeting that the emancipation of labor was a social problem, requiring the coöperation of the most advanced countries. Since 1889 the socialists have held international congresses once in three years, and in 1900 the International Bureau of Socialism was established at Brussels to serve as a common centre for socialism of all countries.
As socialism has grown in strength and become a political power, a more conservative and rational attitude toward nationality has been developed. Patriotism is no longer execrated as a device for blinding the workers to the evils of exploitation. Militant socialism is still far from the glorification of patriotism and does not seek anywhere to cultivate it, but its attitude might be described as at least neutral. The fraternity of workers the world over is still the great dominant idea. In the attitude taken toward the nation there is, however, a line of cleavage among the socialists. In every country there is a conservative, or right wing, of socialists who favor active participation in the national life and efforts to bring about improvement even in coöperation with older political parties. The Fabian Socialists of England (see Fabian Society), the wing of the German Social Democracy, led by Eduard Bernstein (q.v.) of Berlin and G. H. von Vollmar (q.v.) of Munich, and the faction of the French Socialists, led by A. Millerand (q.v.), Minister of Commerce in the French Cabinet, and Jean Léon Jaurès (q.v.), are all representatives of this tendency and are the most conservative among all the active political socialists.
The attitude of socialism toward the State has, during the hundred years of its existence, undergone a development in which we may discover several distinct stages: (1) In the first stage we have as leaders of thought Robert Owen, Etienne Cabet, Count Henri de Saint-Simon, and Charles Fourier (qq.v.). These socialists, with the exception of Owen, did not call particularly upon the State for assistance in their efforts to achieve socialism, preferring generally coöperation based upon voluntary principles. They believed that by establishing communistic settlements they could demonstrate to the world the advantages of socialism, and that very soon all men would join communistic associations which would then, in one way or another, be federated together. (2) Louis Blanc (q.v.) in the middle of the nineteenth century may be regarded as the one who more than any other founded political socialism. He held that socialists should seek to gain control of political power, and he appealed directly to the State for aid in the establishment of socialism. He desired to found social workshops with subsidies from the State, which should gradually absorb private industries. Ferdinand Lassalle (q.v.) in Germany took a quite similar position, emphasizing most strongly the establishment of coöperative industrial undertakings with the aid of subsidies from the State. (3) A third stage is found in the attitude of the followers of Karl Marx and Liebknecht. These look askance upon existing governments, and the orthodox Marxist is strongly inclined to oppose Government ownership and operation of industries by the existing State, which is condemned for following capitalistic principles in the enterprises it manages. The German socialists have, then, no special enthusiasm for the State ownership and operation of the railroads in Prussia, and in the United States the municipal ownership and operation of public utilities is very frequently opposed by individual orthodox socialists, although this attitude of antagonism to municipalization has never received official indorsement, and as a matter of fact socialist officeholders are always instructed to vote for municipal ownership. The programme of the socialists is, first, the capture of the existing organs of government by the wage-earners, and then the inauguration of public ownership and operation of industries. The special point to be noticed is the insistence upon complete control of the machinery of government by the workers as the first step. The fourth stage is represented by the conservative or extreme right faction of the socialists, who are willing to coöperate with existing parties in reforms which are in general harmony with the socialist programme, such as municipal ownership of public utilities and Government ownership of railways. These socialists are called opportunists, and in France possibilists. The Fabian socialists are the best illustration, because they decide upon action in each case as it arises. We notice, then, that it is only as a concession on the part of the most conservative socialists that the extension of public ownership and management of industries is favored while the present State lasts. We notice also that democracy is an essential part of political socialism. Political socialism is not merely socialism, it is socialism plus democracy with an inclination to place democracy first. Democracy to the socialist does not mean the kind of government which we have in the United States, but the kind of government which is completely controlled by the workers. Direct legislation is favored, and the initiative and referendum as agencies of direct legislation are very generally advocated. As a rule, if not universally, the plan for the operation of industries is election of foremen, superintendents, and managers by the wage-earners.
Socialism in its first phase was not necessarily democratic. Owen and Saint-Simon both appealed to those now in control of political and economic power to take the leadership in reform. Philanthropy played a great rôle in socialism in this stage, and it was hoped that socialism would be introduced by the ruling classes. Saint-Simonians emphasized the natural inequality of men, and Saint-Simon appealed to royalty to assist in the noble work of social reform. He had a place for the King in his socialist State, and the King was to be called the ‘first industrial of his kingdom.’ Even Ferdinand Lassalle was monarchically inclined.
Socialists take a view of the State which in some respects suggests the position of Herbert Spencer and other individualists. They hold that under socialism the functions of the State along many lines will be greatly diminished. Crime, they think, will very nearly disappear, and pauperism will entirely cease. Standing armies will be abolished and a popular militia substituted therefor. The functions of the law courts will also disappear, they maintain, with the abolition of private property in the instruments of production, which is the fruitful cause of litigation. The chief function of government will be found in the administration of industries. They have, therefore, a conception of the State so different from that of the present State that they dislike the expression ‘the State,’ and abhor ‘State’ socialism. The word ‘official’ is also objected to because it suggests present bureaucratic governments. The attitude of the orthodox socialist toward the State finds clear expression in the work of the German socialist August Bebel, Die Frau und der Socialismus (27th ed., 1896).
During the evolution of socialist thought which has just been sketched anarchism has become separated from socialism. (See Anarchist.) Among early socialists there were variations of opinions concerning government, and some like William Godwin (q.v.) were inclined to take an attitude of radical antagonism to government as such. We thus find anarchistic tendencies in socialism along with tendencies of a very different and altogether antagonistic sort. The cleavage gradually became more pronounced. Pierre Joseph Proudhon (q.v.) is frequently spoken of as the founder of anarchism, and in him we find the doctrines of anarchy reaching such a development that probably more than any one else he is to be designated as the founder, although his views are not worked out so clearly and systematically as those of his followers. For the sake of convenience we may take Proudhon's book What is Property? and the date of its appearance, 1840, as the beginning of modern anarchism. The form of anarchism founded by Proudhon is that of complete individualism. This type of anarchism has had some development in the United States under the leadership of Benjamin R. Tucker, who for some years edited an organ called Liberty.
The anarchists of whom we hear most are of quite a different stripe, and their anarchism is, by way of distinction, known as anarchist communism. This school of anarchy was founded by Mikhail Bakunin (q.v.), and may be regarded as an outgrowth of the International Workingmen's Association, to which Bakunin belonged. Bakunin and Marx for a time worked together; they both regarded themselves as socialists, Marx calling himself a communist, and Bakunin describing himself as a collectivist. Socialism and anarchism were not at first recognized as antagonistic principles, but the differences between them developed continuously. The anarchist communists held to the doctrine of associated effort and considered themselves as true communists, and not as individualists. They are radically opposed to public authority and believe that with the abolition of the State men will spontaneously form coöperative associations which will voluntarily form federations for mutual aid. Like the socialists, the anarchists advocate a coöperative commonwealth, but they differ from the socialists with respect to the organization of that commonwealth, and more especially in the methods whereby it is to be reached. The question of tactics has been largely instrumental in the growth of hostility between socialists and anarchists. Anarchists deny that the State rests upon any ethical foundation, and consequently there can be no wrong in opposing government and seeking its overthrow. Government to the anarchist means force and nothing more, and the question of resisting it is one of expediency only. If the anarchists believe that they have a superior force, they must necessarily attempt to overthrow organized government. Socialists, on the other hand, take no such attitude of antagonism toward the State, although they may think and do think that the socialist State will be something different from the present State. They hold, moreover, that changes must come about by evolutionary processes, and are opposed to insurrectionary movements where other means are open. Marx and Engels condemned violent methods very early in their career, and as socialists have taken a part in the work of government in the various countries of the civilized world, they have increasingly favored the maintenance of law and order, believing that their ends can be achieved by legal means, and that if revolution does take place it will be brought about, not by them, but by their opponents. Some Socialists think that the adherents of the present social order, when they see the coming triumph of socialism by legal means, will themselves inaugurate a revolution, but the more conservative hold that all classes will gradually adjust themselves to the changes leading to socialism. The socialist to-day is the strongest opponent of anarchism. It was the socialists, not the German Government, who really drove Johann Most (q.v.), one of the leaders of communist anarchism, from Germany, and it is the German Social Democrats who practically extinguished anarchism in their country.
The attitude of socialism toward the family has varied, but now it has become a definite one of neutrality. Early socialists were inclined to assume a general position of radicalism with respect to all institutions of society, seeing more quickly and easily the disadvantages of any present social arrangement than its advantages. Moreover, the early socialists found the family to be the basis of the economic society which they attacked. Marriage in its present form seemed to them to carry with it the oppression of woman. It cannot be said that socialism ever had a distinct doctrine of the family, but until recent years it was inclined to what would be termed at least lax notions of the marriage tie, holding that the bond of union between man and woman should be love alone, and that when love disappeared, there disappeared with it the reciprocal obligations of marriage. Socialists of the present time do not see any reason why they should have a peculiar view of the family, and they are not in this particular distinguished from other people.
The attitude of socialism toward religion has undergone a similar change. The Church as one of the institutions of existing society long appeared to the socialist to be a bulwark of oppression. Modern socialism, however, has separated the economic question from the religious question, and now everywhere regards religion as a ‘private matter.’ The position of socialists toward religion the world over is much like that which finds expression in the constitutional system of the United States. Anything like a Church State, or public support of religion, is denounced, but it is not proposed to interfere with any individuals who may desire to maintain by their own voluntary contributions any church organization or religious sect.
Readers of current socialistic literature frequently find a sharp distinction drawn between what is termed Utopian socialism and scientific socialism. Socialism before the ascendency of Marx was very largely Utopian in character. The early socialist looked upon society as an artificial product and thought it possible to develop a scheme of society which, if introduced, would bring with it a real earthly paradise. It was thought that the very nature of man could be changed by a wisely devised scheme of socialism. Owen's most fundamental social doctrine was that circumstances form the character of man, and that right circumstances would give us right-minded and right-acting human beings. In the latter part of the eighteenth century the idea of society as a growth with laws of its own had not been clearly grasped, and adherents of private property, as well as communists, believed in the possibility of the most fundamental changes by means of a revolution which could take place over night. The result of this attitude was the elaboration of all sorts of fantastic schemes. Owen planned his communistic villages of two or three thousand, but the highest development of purely artificial plans is found in Fourierism (q.v.), with its phalanxes and phalansteries. The modern socialist plumes himself upon his science, and has a lofty scorn for all Utopian socialism. He may admit that it had its historical meaning, and have a certain toleration for it as something belonging to the past, but when he meets it at the present time he views it with even more contempt than does the ordinary economist. The modern socialist studies the laws of society, and is a careful student of English blue books and the statistical publications of the United States Census Office. He despises sentimentalism and desires to replace appeals to philanthropy with historical researches and carefully elaborated deductive reasoning.
An adequate treatment of the character of this alleged science which underlies socialism requires at least a brief examination of the socio-economic philosophy of Karl Marx, since it occupies a central position in the economics of socialism. The doctrines of Marx are still held in the main by the great body of socialists, and they underlie the platforms of socialist parties throughout the world. The variations in socialist doctrines appear as departures from Marx. Some of these variations are radical, but still they bear relation to Marx.
Marx opens his work on Capital with an explanation of value. He finds that the element in economic goods which gives and measures value is labor. Labor has its exchange value, and this is governed by the cost of labor, and the cost of labor is determined by the subsistence of the laborer in accordance with his standard of life. The employer of labor pays in wages the cost of labor, but the laborer, according to Marx, produces more than this cost, and the difference between what the laborer produces and the wages of labor he designates as surplus value. This surplus value Marx regards as the source of all rent, interest, and profits. All value, according to the doctrines of Marx, is produced by labor and belongs to labor. Labor receiving, however, only subsistence wages, Marx holds that it is robbed of surplus value, which, through the processes of production and exchange, is transferred to the non-wage-earning classes. Marx maintains that it is only through socialism that labor can receive the full value which it produces, so that surplus value will disappear. This doctrine, while still accepted by perhaps the majority of socialists, is rejected by some, and generally receives less emphasis than formerly.
The theory of Marx which just now is much more discussed is that commonly designated as ‘the materialistic interpretation of history.’ According to this theory, history is made up of successive stages, in each of which the social organization is determined by the methods of production and exchange. The ideal factors in history, such as religion and ethics, are a mere reflection of the underlying economic phenomena. Socialists themselves have been inclined to qualify, and have qualified in all their agitation this doctrine in such a way as to give a large place to the will of man. They hold that the development of society takes place in accordance with evolutionary laws, but that man himself is a part of the evolution and helps determine it. There is always, however, a marked distinction between this so-called scientific socialism and Utopian socialism, inasmuch as scientific socialism asserts that the will and desires of men can be effective only in so far as they act in harmony with the general tendencies of evolution.
It is important to notice, however, that, in accordance with the teachings of Marx, the evolution of society is such as to lead inevitably to monopoly. Marx believed that large-scale production has an advantage over small production; consequently that the large producers sooner or later must crush out the small producers, until each branch of production falls under monopolistic control. In the meantime the wage-earners are brought together in ever-increasingly large numbers; they are, to use his own words, “schooled, united, and disciplined by the mechanism of the capitalistic processes of production.” The inevitable result, he held, would be such a concentration of productive wealth, and such great solidarity of the working classes, that the system would break down of its own weight, and the laborers would gain possession of the means of production.
It is to be observed that each stage in economic development has its own place. Feudalism was once a suitable social organization, but in time it had to make way for capitalistic production. Capitalistic production has performed a service which Marx recognized as clearly as a modern economist, but Marx held that capitalistic production has very nearly run its course, and that it has rendered the chief services of which it is capable. Marx held that “along with each decrease in the number of magnates of capitalism there goes an increasing mass of misery and degradation.” Belief in the increasing misery of the masses was an essential part of socialistic doctrine a generation ago; but it has to a great extent been abandoned, some socialists, like Bernstein, going so far as to claim that with capitalism there has been an increase in the economic well-being of the masses. Intelligent socialists now clearly see that from the masses of men sunk in misery there can come no able and vigorous recruits for socialism. An important practical consequence is that socialists now are more favorably inclined to take measures which elevate the masses, even while the present social order continues, because they hold that thereby men will become better prepared for socialism.
Another theory of Marx finds expression in what is now termed class-consciousness. It was, according to him, necessary that the wage-earners should become conscious of themselves as a class in the community having interests of their own, and that they should rely upon self-help and not upon the help of other classes for their emancipation. Class-consciousness is now the chief test, as it is the great rallying cry of organized socialism. Socialists frequently make a distinction now between socialism as a system and socialism as a principle of action. This is a distinction made by Sidney Webb (q.v.), the intellectual leader of the Fabian socialists, and also by Edmond Kelly. Kelly regards socialism, or, to use his own term, collectivism, as the method of attainment of justice rather than as a condition of society in which justice has been attained. He has little concern with collectivism as “an ideally perfect state of society,” but he looks upon collectivism as a principle of action, pointing out a general line of growth which seems to him desirable, and which he believes can be aided by intelligent effort. In other words, socialism in the sense in which it has been defined forms a goal which we may not succeed in reaching, but it does point out a line of action.
Let us now turn to the criticism of socialism by economists. First of all, it should be noticed that no professional economist is a socialist unless it be the Italian economist Loria. Socialists claim that the opposition of all economists does not signify anything as to the correctness of socialism. They maintain that economists are generally blinded by their self-interest, their professional interests requiring them to keep aloof from socialism. The economists, on the other hand, maintain that the rejection of socialism by economists signifies its rejection by science truly conceived.
Economists are not generally inclined to deny the evils in the existing economic order, but they believe that there is better prospect of improvement under this order than under socialism. They are social reformers, not socialists. They hold, first, that there is no law of evolution carrying us inevitably to socialism; secondly, that the prospects of social reform are sufficiently promising to warrant us in the maintenance of private property in the instruments of production and private management of production; and, thirdly, that socialism carries with it dangers and disadvantages sufficiently grave to warrant us in opposing it until it is clearly seen that great improvements are not compatible with the present social order.
In its details the reasoning of economists against socialism is as varied as the reasoning of socialists in its support. To Marx's labor theory of value, economists oppose theories of value which differ in detail, but which agree in placing other forms of cost in coördination with labor in the determination of value. (See Value.) To the theory of class-consciousness and class-action on the part of wage-earners as the only means of reform, economists oppose what may be called a doctrine of social solidarity. They uniformly hold that all classes in society must work together for social improvement, and they do not believe that there is any such necessary antagonism of interests among classes as this theory of class-consciousness implies.
Modern economists recognize the evolutionary theory of society, and recently they have given generous recognition to Marx for his services in the formulation of this doctrine of evolution. Very few economists, however, hold that economic causes alone underlie all social development, and that the political and intellectual history of nations is a mere expression of a social organization resulting from the prevailing mode of economic production and exchange.
Socialism implies unified control of production, and economists believe that the disadvantages of such control outweigh the advantages. Economic theory still rests upon the assumption that competition is a principle of progress, and that the advantages which it brings to a society far outweigh the disadvantages. Economists seek to point out means for the elevation of competition to higher planes and the removal of the evils which it carries with it, while retaining the principle itself.
The difficulties in the way of the socialization of agriculture are emphasized in opposition to socialism. The economists claim that socialists have pointed out no method whereby agriculture can be advantageously carried on, except by private initiative and private effort. There can be little doubt that when agriculture is mentioned one of the weakest points in socialism is brought to our attention. Even should manufacturing industries, commerce, and transportation be carried on as public enterprises, so long as agriculture remains private industry, based upon private property, society must still be something very different from socialism.
Two other points only in the arguments against socialism can be considered in this place. The first is the danger to liberty. It is maintained by defenders of our present economic society that private property and private enterprise are necessary bulwarks of liberty, and that with these removed or impaired to the extent that they would be, even by the most conservative socialism, those having control of the agencies of production would be given such vast power that liberty would be seriously threatened, and, indeed, overthrown by tyranny. A certain control of production would have to be exercised by individuals; and however these might be selected, they would have almost unlimited power in their hands over the destinies of other human beings. There seems to be strong ground for the belief that liberty is better protected in a society having the dualism which we know now, in accordance with which private property and private production on the one hand, and public authority with limited public production on the other, are reciprocal checks and restraints.
Finally, it is urged that under socialism there would be revolutionary discontent. In a world like ours men must necessarily be discontented with what they receive as an outcome of economic production and with the treatment accorded to them in the processes of economic production. At the present time this discontent is directed toward a great many different persons and bodies. On the other hand, socialism means public ownership and public production, and those having control would be blamed for all mistakes and also for misfortunes, even provided we assume that they should do their best, and provided also that that best should be much better than anything we know at the present time. Government would be blamed, and this concentrated discontent, it is held, would be revolutionary in character.
So much has been said about Christian socialism, that this article should not be concluded without at least a brief reference to it. Christian socialism has had many different meanings. Where the leaders of socialism have been irreligious, Christian socialism has sometimes simply signified socialism plus religion. Now that socialists have come to place religion among private matters in which they are not directly concerned, less is heard than formerly about Christian socialism. Christian socialism has sometimes signified simply a recognition of the principle of social solidarity, and a generous sympathy with those classes in society which are the least fortunately situated, more specifically with the wage-earning classes. About the middle of the nineteenth century a body of Christian socialists existed in England and attracted wide attention. They were led by men like Thomas Hughes, Charles Kingsley, James Ludlow, F. D. Maurice, and E. Vansittart Neale. Theoretically they opposed the principle of competition as a source of evil, and did so with great vehemence, and agitated in favor of coöperation in production and exchange. They attempted to organize society on a coöperative basis, and succeeded in establishing a number of coöperative undertakings which enjoyed only a temporary prosperity, and finally disappeared. They entered, however, into the coöperative movement in England, which had been theretofore largely supported by men acting under the influence of Owen, and they contributed very much to the success of English coöperation. The high character and the intellectual power of these men were such that they have been able to exercise a profound influence upon English thought, and to a less extent upon the thought of other countries. The outcome of their efforts is seen in the multiform attempts to improve social conditions.
Socialism of the chair, or professorial socialism, is frequently mentioned, but this also is something as indefinite as Christian socialism. It is not socialism at all, but simply a recognition of grave evils in existing society, a determination to remove these evils, and the conviction that the power of the State must be used to bring about desirable changes. The term socialism of the chair originated in Germany, and was applied in ridicule to the progressive economists who expressed sympathy with the aspirations of the wage-earning classes. Among the leaders may be mentioned Professors Adolph Wagner and Gustav Schmoller, now both of Berlin. These held that economics is an ethical science, and opposed the doctrines of the so-called Manchester school, which looked with little favor upon State action. The changes which have taken place among economists have been such as to lessen the differences among them with respect to economic improvement. Generally speaking, those who twenty years ago were most inclined to call upon the State for help have become somewhat more conservative, while at the same time those who most strongly antagonized public action have qualified their opposition thereto. The course of events has convinced practically all economists of the importance of labor legislation and of the necessity of state intervention at many points. Professorial socialism, then, never was socialism, and at the present time it can hardly be said that it indicates a line of cleavage among economists.
Literature. The principal writers on socialism have been mentioned in the text, and their writings are mentioned in the articles dealing with them. The Communist Manifesto (London, 1848) is perhaps the most important single document in the history of socialism, and Marx, Das Kapital (3 vols., Hamburg, 1862, 1865, 1894), is possibly the most important single work. The works of Rodbertus and Lassalle are important historically. Fabian Essays in Socialism (London, 1889) is the best work presenting the conservative, opportunist socialism. One of the Fabians, Sidney Webb, has written a work entitled Socialism in England (2d ed., London, 1893), which best describes the advances of English socialism, as seen by a Fabian. Kelly, Government or Human Evolution vol. i., on Justice, London, 1900; vol. ii., on Individualism and Collectivism, London, 1901), gives the best presentation by an American author of socialism as a principle of action rather than as a system. Hyndman, Economics of Socialism (London, 1896), is regarded as one of the best explanations of the economics of the Marxist school. Laveleye, Socialism Today (Eng. trans. London, 1885), gives a sympathetic account of socialism by a progressive economist. Rae, Contemporary Socialism (new ed., London and New York, 1901), is a more critical account of socialism, and, like the preceding, has much historical material. Kirkup, History of Socialism (new ed., London, 1900), is a more recent work than Laveleye's, and perhaps even more sympathetic, going so far as to advocate a very conservative sort of socialism. Ely's Socialism and Social Reform (New York and London, 1894) is an attempt to analyze socialism carefully, to examine its strong and its weak features, and to present, as opposed to socialism, a programme of social reform. It has a bibliography of several hundred titles. The same author's French and German Socialism (New York, 1883) is a brief historical presentation of socialism in these two countries. Consult also Woolsey, Communism and Socialism, Their History and Theory (New York, 1880).
Politically organized socialism or social democracy is a movement which is coextensive with modern industrialism. Wherever a system of production is found which is perhaps somewhat loosely termed capitalistic, we find a Social Democratic Party. In this article, however, attention will chiefly be given to the Social Democratic Party of Germany, since in Germany that party is more highly developed and far more powerful than in any other country, and has a position of intellectual leadership. Influences from the Social Democratic Party of Germany, both with respect to theory and tactics, radiate throughout the entire industrial world. Social democracy is not a German movement, but a world movement, which has, however, its highest development in Germany.
Several reasons may be adduced to explain the preëminence of German social democracy. Wage-earners in that country did not begin to share in political power until after the middle of the nineteenth century, and so, having formed no political affiliations, were more easily induced to attach themselves to socialism, which had already been eloquently presented to them by Ferdinand Lassalle. Again, the hostility of the Government to labor organizations had the effect of turning toward political action the energy that might otherwise have been expended in labor agitation. The third reason for the leadership of Germany is found in the fact that the great intellectual leaders of socialism have been Germans. Marx and Lassalle have already been mentioned, and we may also mention Rodbertus (q.v.), a man who belonged to the landowning class of Germany, and who did not take part in socialist agitation.
German social democracy represents an amalgamation of two movements, one starting from Ferdinand Lassalle, the other from Marx and Friedrich Engels (q.v.). Before the time of Marx and Lassalle, Wilhelm Weitling (q.v.) had exercised a certain influence in Switzerland, Germany, and the United States, but the socialism which he advocated was of the French Utopian character, and had little permanent influence.
The activity of Marx began in the forties, and was continuous from that time until his death. In 1846 Marx belonged to a secret international communistic society called the Kommunistenbund. It was for this society that, with Engels, he prepared the Communist Manifesto. In 1848 Marx was active in Germany, where a number of labor unions had been established which, united into a federation, came under socialistic influence. The chief field of his activity was the Rhine Province, and it was there that Marx conducted his celebrated New Rhenish Gazette (Neue Rheinische Zeitung). The reaction soon triumphed, and Marx finally found his way to England, where he made himself, in 1850, the head of a German communistic society, which, however, was short-lived.
We must now turn our attention to Ferdinand Lassalle, who is to be regarded as the real founder of the Social Democratic Party, although it soon passed under the influence of Marx and Engels. The agitation of Lassalle began in 1862. In 1863, under his influence, the Universal German Laborers' Union (Der allgemeine deutsche Arbeiterverein) was founded in Leipzig. The membership was small, and the chief demand was for universal and equal suffrage, although it soon became plain that this was demanded simply as a step toward socialism. Lassalle's chief practical economic demand was for Government subsidies to aid in the establishment of productive coöperative associations. Theoretically his arguments centred about the so-called iron law of wages: that wages under the capitalistic system of production naturally fall to a minimum, which barely supports the life of the laborer and his family. The practical demand and the theoretical argument of Lassalle have been rejected by the German Social Democrats, but his eloquence was instrumental in laying the foundation of the party. After the death of Lassalle, in 1864, the International Labor Association (Internationale Arbeiterassociation) was established in accordance with the principles of Marx, and the Social Democratic Labor Party (Socialdemokratische Arbeiterpartei) was founded in the same year. This party, under the leadership of Wilhelm Liebknecht and August Bebel (qq.v.), entered into opposition to the party established by Lassalle. The Social Democratic Labor Party met in Eisenach in 1869 and became known as the Eisenach Party. At the election for the Reichstag in 1874, when about 340,000 votes were cast, these were divided with approximate equality between the followers of Lassalle and those of Marx. In 1875 the two parties united and established what is known as the Gotha programme, which was a compromise. The year 1878 witnessed two attacks upon the life of the German Emperor, and then followed the Anti-Socialist Law, which repressed the public agitation of socialism. While the law was in force German socialist congresses were held on foreign soil, and their literature was largely printed in Switzerland. The party increased in power, however, the chief result of governmental repression being the welding together of the different factions into a compact party. The Anti-Socialist Law (Ausnahmegesetz) expired on October 1, 1890. A certain tendency to violence seems to have developed during this period, for at one of the congresses the expression to struggle for the attainment of ends “with all legal means” was changed to “all means.” The first public congress of the German Social Democracy, after the expiration of the Law of Exception, was held in Halle, October 12-18, 1890. Liebknecht and Bebel dominated the congress and worked for a revision of the Social Democratic platform. This bore fruit the following year at the Erfurt congress, where the Erfurt Programme was adopted. The peculiar ideas of Lassalle were entirely expunged, and the doctrines of Marx gained a complete triumph. The Erfurt Programme is at the present day the most important official utterance of social democracy, and has a world-wide significance, serving as a fundamental basis for every social democratic platform since adopted throughout the world. This programme reads as follows:
“The economic development of industrial society tends inevitably to the ruin of small industries which are based upon the workman's private ownership of the means of production. It separates him from these means of production, and converts him into a destitute member of the proletariat, while a comparatively small number of capitalists and great land-owners obtain a monopoly of the means of production.
“Hand in hand with the growing monopoly goes the crushing out of existence of these shattered small industries by industries of colossal growth, the development of the tool into the machine, and a gigantic increase in the productiveness of human labor. But all the advantages of this revolution are monopolized by the capitalists and great land-owners. To the proletariat and to the rapidly sinking middle classes, the small tradesmen of the towns, and the peasant proprietors (Bauern), it brings an increasing uncertainty of existence, increasing misery, oppression, servitude, degradation, and exploitation (Ausbeutung). Ever greater grows the mass of the proletariat, ever vaster the army of the unemployed, ever sharper the contrast between oppressors and oppressed, ever fiercer that war of classes between bourgeoisie and proletariat which divides modern society into two hostile camps, and is the common characteristic of every industrial country. The gulf between the propertied classes and the destitute is widened by the crises arising from capitalist production, which becomes daily more comprehensive and omnipotent.
“Private ownership of the means of production, formerly the means of securing his product to the producer, has now become the means of expropriating the peasant proprietors, the artisans, and the small tradesmen, and placing the non-producers, the capitalists, and large landowners in possession of the products of labor. Nothing but the conversion of capitalist private ownership of the means of production — the earth and its fruits, mines, and quarries, raw material, tools, machines, means of exchange — into social ownership, and the substitution of socialist production, carried on by and for society in the place of the present production of commodities for exchange, can effect such a revolution that, instead of large industries and the steadily growing capacities of common production being, as hitherto, a source of misery and oppression to the classes whom they have despoiled, they may become a source of the highest well-being and of the most perfect and comprehensive harmony.
“This social revolution involves the emancipation, not merely of the proletariat, but of the whole human race, which is suffering under existing conditions. But this emancipation can be achieved by the working class alone, because all other classes, in spite of their mutual strife of interests, take their stand upon the principle of private ownership of the means of production, and have a common interest in maintaining the existing social order.
“The struggle of the working classes against capitalist exploitation must of necessity be a political struggle. The working classes can neither carry on their economic struggle nor develop their economic organization without political rights. They cannot effect the transfer of the means of production to the community without being first invested with political power.
“It must be the aim of social democracy to give conscious unanimity to this struggle of the working classes, and to indicate the inevitable goal.
“The interests of the working classes are identical in all lands governed by capitalist methods of production. The extension of the world's commerce and production for the world's markets make the position of the workman in any one country daily more dependent upon that of the workman in other countries. Therefore, the emancipation of labor is a task in which the workmen of all civilized lands have a share.
“The German Social Democrats are not, therefore, fighting for new class privileges and rights, but for the abolition of class government, and even of classes themselves, and for universal equality in rights and duties without distinction of sex or rank. Holding these views, they are not merely fighting against the exploitation and oppression of the wage-earners in the existing social order, but against every kind of exploitation and oppression, whether directed against class, party, sex, or race.
“Starting from these principles, the German Social Democrats demand, to begin with (i.e. of the present State):
“(1) Universal, equal, and direct suffrage by ballot, in all elections, for all subjects of the Empire over twenty years of age, without distinction of sex; proportional representation, and, until this system has been introduced, fresh division of electoral districts by law after each census; two years' duration of the legislature; holding of elections on a legal day of rest; payment of the representatives elected; removal of all restrictions upon political rights, except in the case of persons under age.
“(2) Direct legislation by the people by means of the right of initiative and of veto; self-government by the people in Empire, State, province, and commune; election of magistrates by the people, with the right of holding them responsible; annual vote of the taxes.
“(3) Universal military education; substitution of militia for a standing army; decision by the popular representatives of questions of peace and war; decision of all international disputes by arbitration.
“(4) Abolition of laws which restrict or suppress free expression of opinion and the right of meeting or association.
“(5) Abolition of all laws which place the woman, whether in a private or a public capacity, at a disadvantage as compared with the man.
“(6) Declaration that religion is a private matter; abolition of all appropriations from public funds for ecclesiastical and religious objects; ecclesiastical and religious bodies are to be regarded as private associations which order their affairs independently.
“(7) Secularization of education; compulsory attendance at public national schools; free education, free supply of educational apparatus, and free maintenance to children in schools, and to such pupils, male and female, in higher educational institutions, as are judged to be fitted for further education.
“(8) Free administration of the law and free legal assistance; administration of the law by judges elected by the people; appeal in criminal cases; compensation to persons accused, imprisoned, or condemned unjustly; abolition of capital punishment.
“(9) Free medical assistance, and free supply of remedies; free burial of the dead.
“(10) A graduated income and property tax to meet all public expenses which are to be raised by taxation; self-assessment; succession duties, graduated according to the extent of the inheritance and the degree of relationship; abolition of all indirect taxation, customs duties, and other economic measures which sacrifice the interests of the community to the interests of a privileged minority.
“For the protection of labor, the German Social Democrats also demand, to begin with:
“(1) An effective national and international system of protective legislation on the following principles:
“(a) The fixing of a normal working day, which shall not exceed eight hours.
“(b) Prohibition of the employment of children under fourteen.
“(c) Prohibition of night work, except in those branches of industry which, from their nature and for technical reasons or for reasons of public welfare, require night work.
“(d) An unbroken rest of at least thirty-six hours for every workman every week.
“(e) Prohibition of the truck system.
“(2) Supervision of all industrial establishments, together with the investigation and regulation of the conditions of labor in the town and country by an Imperial labor department, district labor bureaus, and chambers of labor; a thorough system of industrial sanitary regulation.
“(3) Legal equality of agricultural laborers and domestic servants with industrial laborers; repeal of the laws concerning masters and servants.
“(4) Confirmation of the rights of association.
“(5) The taking over by the Imperial Government of the whole system of workmen's insurance, though giving the workmen a certain share in its administration.”
This is printed in the annual reports of the Proceedings of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, office of the Vorwärts, Berlin. The present translation is taken from the ‘Blue Book,’ giving the report of the Royal Commission on Labor in Germany, published in London, 1893. For the sake of greater accuracy, however, a few changes have been made by the author.
It is possible to state in a very few words the most essential facts in the history of social democracy in Germany, since the adoption of the Erfurt Programme. One of the main subjects which have agitated the party has been the attitude toward the peasant proprietors, the small farmers, and this same question has agitated social democracy in France and the United States. The support of the small proprietor is essential to the success of social democracy. A programme of confiscation of all land would arouse the hostility of the small farmer. The most conservative wing of the party, therefore, advocates concessions to small farmers, proposing to permit them to hold landed property even under socialism. G. H. von Vollmar, member of the Reichstag and a leader among the Bavarian Social Democrats, is foremost among those who advocate concessions of this sort. This conservative programme, however, has never been officially adopted. Eduard Bernstein, who has already been mentioned as a leader of the conservative Socialists, was elected to the Reichstag from Breslau in February, 1902.
So large a party must participate in practical politics in order to live, and must, therefore, have reforms to urge for the immediate future. We have thus, along with the statement of general principles, the so-called immediate demands. This separation of the social democratic platforms is found in all countries.
Considerable emphasis has been given to the immediate demands, but it is a mistake to suppose that the ultimate goal of complete socialism has been at any time lost sight of. All the leaders have this in mind, but doubtless there are many acting with the Social Democratic Party in Germany, as elsewhere, who are chiefly interested in immediate demands.
The vote of the Social Democratic Party, and the number of members elected to the Reichstag since the foundation of the German Empire up to the present time, are given in the following table, taken from Braun, Die Parteien des Deutschen Reichstages (Stuttgart, 1893):
|Total number of
|*In the by-election in the 22d district of Saxony, held in 1892, a thirty-sixth member was elected.|
|†Later elections to supply vacancies gave the Social Democrats two additional members, making 58 in all.|
One or two comments upon the vote cast are needed. The vote fell off in 1881, owing to the severe repressive measures following the Anti-Socialist Law. In 1890 the Social Democratic Party became the largest in the German Empire, casting about 20 per cent. of the votes. With some fifteen parties in Germany, this is less significant than in a country with two great parties, but, nevertheless, it means a great deal. Another point to be considered is that the Socialists do not have a number of representatives in the Reichstag corresponding with the number of votes cast. This is due to the way the electoral districts are arranged, whereby the Conservatives (largely made up of landed proprietors and other favored classes) and Agrarians elect a much larger number of members relatively.
The official organ of the Social Democratic Party is the daily Vorwärts of Berlin, of which also a weekly edition, called the Socialdemokrat, is published. Die neue Zeit, a weekly magazine published at Stuttgart, is the so-called scientific organ of German social democracy, discussing questions of principles. Both these organs represent the dominant Marxian socialism. The more conservative opportunism is represented by the Socialistische Monatshefte, published in Berlin. Special mention may be made also of two illustrated comic papers, which advocate social democracy, namely Der wahre Jacob and Der süddeutsche Postilion. In 1903 there were fifty-two daily papers, nine appearing three times a week, three semi-weekly, and seven weekly papers all advocating socialism.
Austria. In Austria we find a very different condition of things from that which exists in Germany. Social democracy was later in gaining a foothold in Austria, and its growth has been far slower. Of late, however, the party has largely increased in numbers under the leadership of Dr. Victor Adler, who is a Marxian Socialist. The chief organ is the daily Wiener Arbeiter Zeitung, which claims a circulation of 40,000. There are in addition over twenty Socialist organs in the Empire. In 1903 the Socialists had ten seats in the Reichsrath.
Hungary. A labor party strongly influenced by the followers of Lassalle was formed in Hungary in 1868. The Marxians gained the upper hand during the following decade, however, but during the eighties the anarchists were a disturbing factor. They have, however, been reduced to insignificance, and social democracy is making advances in this kingdom as elsewhere. During the last decade of the nineteenth century the agitation was extended to the agricultural classes.
Denmark. In Denmark the influence of the social democracy is comparable to that of the same party in Germany, but owing to the minor role of Denmark in world politics, the party has attracted little attention. The social-democratic agitation began in the early seventies, but it was under dishonest leadership and the result was a collapse and temporary reaction. During the past ten years, however, there has been a very rapid growth of social democracy under Marxist leaders. In 1898 the Social Democrats polled approximately 32,000 votes, electing twelve Deputies. At the election in 1903, the Socialists elected sixteen members, polled 55,479 votes, and almost wiped the Conservative Party out of existence. The daily organ in Copenhagen, called the Social Demokraten, claims a circulation of 45,000, which is said to be larger than the circulation of any other paper in Denmark. One of the notable features of social democracy in Denmark is its participation in the trades union and coöperative movements, the latter of which has made very rapid progress.
Norway. The social-democratic agitation in Norway has made slow progress, and it has not as yet played a prominent part in political life. In 1901 the Socialist Party polled some 7000 votes in the Storthing elections. In the same year the Socialists claimed 150 organizations with nearly 11,000 members. Their chief political successes have been achieved in municipal elections.
Sweden. In Sweden social democracy has made considerable progress in recent years and has exercised marked influence upon the labor movement. Owing to a property qualification for the suffrage, however, they have succeeded in electing only one member of the national Parliament. The Social Democratic Party was formally organized in Sweden in 1899. The programme was Marxist in character and closely resembled that of the German Social Democracy.
Switzerland. In Switzerland, owing to the success of political and social reforms, the social democratic agitation has found a barren field. In 1902 the Social Democrats elected six members of the National Council, and a few Social Democratic members have been elected to the cantonal legislatures and municipal councils. The Social Democrats have, however, exercised considerable influence upon other political parties.
Italy. The poverty and ignorance of the masses of the Italian population and the impulsiveness of their character seemed to favor at first the growth of anarchism rather than of socialism. Under the influence of Bakunin, an anarchistic agitation was started in 1872.
The social democratic agitation began in the seventies, but it became powerful only during the last decade of the nineteenth century, having gradually succeeded, with the help of the Government, in superseding anarchism, which is still a troublesome factor. The socialistic vote rose from 76,400 in 1890 to 175,000 in 1900, and the number of Deputies from 5 in 1893 to 33 in the last year mentioned. The Socialist press consists of one daily newspaper, Avanti, and a large number of periodicals appearing less frequently. A monthly, La critica sociale, and a fortnightly, Il socialismo, are among the most prominent of these periodicals.
In Italy, as in so many other countries, we find two tendencies among the Socialists: the opportunist tendency, favoring compromise measures and seeking cooperation of non-socialists, and the orthodox Marxian tendency, uncompromising, pursuing the ultimate goal, and with little faith in reform measures which imply the continued existence of the present industrial society.
Spain. Social democracy effected an organization in 1882. During the past ten years the Social Democratic Labor Party has made progress and it has advanced, while anarchism, which first gained a foothold in Spain about 1870, has on the whole receded. The number of votes increased between 1891 and 1901 from approximately 5000 to over 25.000. No Socialists have as yet been elected to the Cortes, but in several cities they have succeeded in placing adherents in the municipal councils, achieving their greatest success in Bilboa. Their principal effort in recent years seems to have been to gain control of the labor organizations, and in this they have met with a considerable measure of success.
Holland. The early Socialist agitators in Holland came from Belgium and founded a section of the International Workingmen's Association in 1868. The present Socialist activity is directly connected with the agitation begun in 1879 by Ferdinand Domela-Nieuwenhuis, who founded a socialist society, which soon fell under anarchist influence and showed a strong inclination to favor extreme and violent measures.
The more conservative Socialists organized a Social Democratic Party upon a Marxian basis in 1894, and this party has gradually gained a dominant position among Socialists, the old organization led by Domela-Nieuwenhuis having dwindled to insignificance; the anarchistic element has been practically extinguished.
The Socialists elected 7 members of Parliament in 1901. The Socialist vote was 39,000. A considerable number of Socialists have been elected to membership in municipal councils. The Social Democratic Party controls the radical and progressive elements in Holland, both in city and in country.
Belgium. A socialistic association was founded in 1806, and a labor party with a mixed socialistic and anarchistic programme was established in 1808. The International Workingmen's Association had sections in Belgium, but in 1872, when the schism between the Socialists and anarchists took place, the Belgian sections joined the anarchists under Bakunin. The modern social-democratic movement in Belgium may be said to date from 1876, when party groups were organized under a physician, Dr. DePaepe, who was a convert from anarchism. The present party, called Parti Ouvrier Belge, was formally established in 1885. In 1893 great socialist demonstrations took place, and a general strike was inaugurated with the purpose of securing universal suffrage. This effort was successful; and universal, but unequal, suffrage was granted to all males over twenty-five. Some of the voters, on account of educational or property qualifications, now have two or three votes. In the election which took place in 1894 the Socialists polled 335,000 votes and elected 32 members of the national Parliament. In 1902 the number of Socialist votes cast was, in round numbers, 476,000 and the number of Deputies elected 34. Another general strike was inaugurated under Socialist auspices in April, 1902, in order to coerce the Government to grant, not only universal, but equal suffrage. The demonstrations and strike were unsuccessful.
There are several peculiarities in the socialist agitation in Belgium which render this country one of the most interesting and important in the history of modern social democracy. First may be mentioned the close connection with the trades union movement. This, however, is not such a distinguishing feature of Belgian social democracy as is its connection with the coöperative movement. The Socialists in Belgium have started numerous coöperative establishments which have achieved a remarkable success. More than 200 of these are now affiliated with the Socialist Party, thus bringing it into connection with the daily economic life of the masses. The two chief coöperative establishments are the Maison du Peuple of Brussels and the Vooruit in Ghent. The Maison has a membership of 25,000 and property exceeding in value 2,000,000 francs. These are great retail establishments, resembling the modern department store. The masses show that they are closely attached to these coöperative stores, through which the Socialist agitation is actively carried on.
There are several strong Socialist periodicals in Belgium having a large circulation. The official paper in Brussels, Le Peuple, claims a circulation of 70,000. L'Echo du Peuple, an evening issue from the office of Le Peuple, is also an official organ. A monthly review called L'Avenir Social is published.
France. The Socialist Party in France did not gain any considerable following until after 1890. Its late appearance is doubtless due to the frequent revolutions in that country and its disordered and unsettled condition, which rendered it more favorable for anarchistic and revolutionary movements. With the firm establishment of the Republic and the lapse of a generation since the last revolution, the relatively ordered and legal means of modern social democracy have found a more fruitful soil, and anarchistic tendencies have been pressed into the background. The early Utopian socialism was practically dead in 1860. The International Workingmen's Association gained some influence in France during the uprising of the Paris Commune, which, however, was only partially socialistic. The International Association did not, however, exercise any considerable influence and soon disappeared. So far as it continued to exist, it fell under anarchist influences under the leadership of anarchists like Elisée Reclus and Prince Krapotkin. A Socialist paper published by a group of students made its appearance in 1876, and three years later Jules Guesde, who formerly had been anarchistically inclined, founded a Socialist Labor Party in France. He was soon joined by a former comrade in anarchy, Dr. Paul Brousse. In 1889 the total Socialist vote was only 91,000 in round numbers out of a total of 6,847,000 votes; two years later the vote rose to 549,000, or nearly 9 per cent. of the total vote cast. This vote includes those who voted for the so-called Socialist Radicals, who, while having strongly socialistic leanings and generally acting with the Socialists, may not be regarded as full socialists, inasmuch as they do not accept the entire socialist programme. In 1893 the Socialists increased their strength in the French Assembly threefold, the number of Deputies rising from fifteen to fifty. It thus became in that year a great political party.
The next great event in the history of French socialism was the appointment of A. Millerand to a Cabinet position as Minister of Commerce under Waldeck-Rousseau in June, 1899. This was the first time in the world's history that a socialist had attained such a prominent position in government. The acceptance by Millerand of this position gave rise to fierce dissensions within the Socialist ranks. His opponents held that he had placed himself outside the control of the party by participating in the actual administration of a capitalistic government. Millerand's position, however, was sustained by Jean Léon Jaurès (q.v.). It is noteworthy that the proposal to censure Millerand for his acceptance of a Cabinet position has not been indorsed by the Socialists in their convention.
There are four or five factions among the French Socialists. We have, first, the Ministerialists or independents led by Jaurès and Millerand; next, the Marxists under the leadership of Jules Guesde. The latter form the party called Parti Ouvrier Français. They constitute the two chief divisions and the other factions may be grouped about them in their tendencies. We have also a group called the Allemanists from their chief, Jean Allemane, taking, like the Ministerialists, a position of opportunism. There is, besides, a small group called the Blanquists, of a more revolutionary character. We have also the Socialist Radicals already mentioned, who act with the Socialists. The principal Socialist publication of France is La Petite République, a daily with an enormous circulation. It is an organ of that wing of the party led by Millerand and Jaurès, and aims to harmonize and unite the various Socialist groups. There is also a daily paper, L'Action, Socialist, anti-Ministerialist, and violently anticlerical. It has a large circulation. A monthly called La Revue Socialiste seeks to do an educational and scientific work among the French Socialists like that which Die neue Zeit aims to accomplish in Germany. Le Socialiste, the weekly organ of the Parti Ouvrier Français, and Le Mouvement Socialiste, are also important periodicals.
Russia. For a half century most radical and revolutionary agitation of one kind or another has been carried on in Russia, and the two most familiar names among the international leaders of anarchism, Mikhail Bakunin and Peter Krapotkin, are those of Russian exiles. Early in the second half of the nineteenth century this agitation took the name of Nihilism (q.v.), which was a kind of political anarchism rather than economic anarchism. One aim which has in the past been prominent in Russia among radical economic reformers is to connect social and economic reconstruction with the Ruissian agricultural village called the mir (q.v.). It has been hoped by these leaders that Russia could pass directly from the early stage of economic development into socialism, without passing through modern capitalism as an intermediate stage. During the past few years, under the leadership of George Plekhanoff, a resident of Switzerland, Marxian socialism has made some progress. The Socialists, having no field for political activity, turn their attention to labor agitation, and it is said by them with apparent truth that the great strikes in Russia during the past ten years have to no inconsiderable degree been an outcome of modern social democracy.
The entire Socialist activity is secret and no names of Russians living in Russia can be mentioned. The agitation in large part proceeds from foreign countries, and the socialist literature is smuggled into Russia and secretly circulated. Russia is regularly represented at the International Socialist Congress.
England. While Socialist ideas probably have as much influence in England as in any country, and possibly even a greater influence, they find expression rather in a molding of the thought of other political parties than in any distinct socialist party. The chief power of socialism has been seen in the social reforms which have been accomplished in England during the past twenty years. There are at present three organizations in England which may be regarded as at once political and Socialist. There is first the Fabian Society (q.v.), whose members aim, not only to carry on a propaganda for socialist thought, but to promote the election of Socialists in any way which may seem most feasible at the proper time and place. It is essentially an opportunist organization in its practical tactics. There is next the Independent Labor Party, formed in January, 1893, the object of which is “the collective ownership and control of the means of production, distribution, and exchange.” Finally, there is the Social Democratic Federation, among whose adherents H. M. Hyndman (q.v.) and H. Quelch are prominent. This latter organization represents Marxist socialism in England and is the oldest body, dating from 1881. In this connection special mention must be made of the Labor Representation Committee, which seeks to promote “the representation of the interests of labor in the House of Commons.”
The Socialists claim that they had about 50,000 votes in 1900. Keir Hardie represents the Socialists in Parliament and there are three other members with Socialist affiliations. In local elections, Socialists have frequently been successful, and for some time the London County Council has been to a very appreciable extent under the influence of Socialists. It may be said that the greatest trade unions have to some extent been brought under the influence of socialism. This is seen in the adoption by the Trade Union Congress at Belfast in 1893 of a resolution demanding collective ownership and operation of industries; in other words, pure socialism. This can be interpreted to mean more than it really does. It indicates a disappearance of avowed hostility to socialism on the part of trade unionists; it shows that the name socialism is no longer feared, and that it meets with a certain sympathy. The trade union movement has in England become in the main indifferent to active socialism, but may be described as having mild Socialist inclinations.
Hyndman and Quelch have been mentioned as leaders of the Social Democratic Federation. E. Belfort Bax may also be mentioned as prominent in this group. The Social Democrat, a monthly journal, and Justice, a weekly, edited by Quelch, are organs of the Social Democratic Federation.
Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Webb, G. Bernard Shaw (q.v.), and Edward R. Pease are leading members of the Fabian Society, the last named being its secretary. The organ is the Fabian News. Keir Hardie and J. Ramsay MacDonald are prominent members of the Independent Labor Party, the organ of which is the Independent Labor Party News, which, like the Fabian News, is a monthly periodical. Robert Blatchford, the editor of the Clarion, is a popular socialist writer without special affiliations for any one of these three groups.
Japan. A Japanese by the name of Tarui attempted to organize a Socialist party in 1882; in 1892 the Eastern Liberal Party, which manifested an interest in labor problems, was founded, but these early attempts at socialistic organization were of little importance. The Socialist Association was organized in 1900, taking as its model the English Fabian Society. This association founded a social democratic party, which issued its manifesto April 20, 1901, but was suppressed by the Government the same day. Fabian and opportunist socialism seem to have a stronger hold in Japan than Marxian socialism.
Canada. A Canadian Socialist League, organized in 1901, is the chief representative of socialism in the Dominion. There are also in Canada several branches of the Socialist Labor Party of the United States. The Socialist movement, in general, in Canada, is closely connected with the trade union movement, over which it appears to be exercising increasing influence. The Socialists claim a vote of about 5000.
The United States. Although communism (q.v.) gained an early foothold in the United States, it exercised practically no influence upon the movement now represented by the Socialist parties. American socialism proper begins with the German influence. As a result of the political disorders of 1848 many men of learning and character came to this country from Germany as refugees. There were radicals among them who took the leadership in the establishment of communism of a new type in this country. Among them we may mention Wilhelm Weitling (q.v.), a German tailor, who started a German newspaper called Die Republik der Arbeiter, and organized an Arbeiter Bund. He was essentially a Utopian socialist, and had plans for the establishment of a communistic settlement, and was for a time connected with one in Iowa. Nevertheless, his thought was more in line with modern socialism. Weitling lived until 1871, and was at the last somewhat interested in the Internationale of Marx. Next, mention may be made of the German gymnastic unions (Turnvereine), which, in the early days, were avowedly Socialist. The first Socialist Turnverein was established in New York in 1850. The Turnvereine formed an organization called the Socialist Gymnastic Union (Socialistische Turner Bund), and in 1850 the name Socialist Gymnastic Union was adopted. Since the Civil War the socialistic character of the Turnvereine has very largely but not entirely disappeared.
In 1857 a club of communists was formed. In 1868 the followers of Lassalle held a meeting, the purpose of which was to establish a Social Democratic Party, and an organization was effected in New York City. In 1869 the party became affiliated with the International Workingmen's Association. Several sections of the Internationale were formed in this country, and in 1872 the seat of the Internationale was transferred to New York City. Scattering sections existed here and there for a few years. The National Labor Union formed a party called the Labor Reform Party in 1868, and the Socialists supported this, but its life was of short duration. The Socialists formed a Social Democratic Workingmen's Party at a convention held in Philadelphia in 1874, and in 1877, at a convention in New Jersey, they adopted the name Socialist Labor Party, which is still preserved. The party for a long time had much trouble with the anarchists. The convention of the Socialist Labor Party in 1881, in New York City, witnessed a rebellion of the anarchists against the party, and one of the anarchist leaders, Justus Schwab, started a paper called The Anarchist. Johann Most came to this country in 1882 from London, having previously been expelled from the Social Democratic Party of Germany. The agitation of Most produced a crisis, and in 1883, in the convention at Baltimore, the Socialists decided not to connect themselves in any way with the anarchists, who had effected an organization at Pittsburg in the same year.
The next important events in the history of the Socialist Labor Party are connected with the candidacy of Henry George in 1886 for the Mayoralty of New York City, and in 1887 for the Governorship of New York. George was nominated by what was called the United Labor Party and ran against Abram S. Hewitt and Theodore Roosevelt. The votes received by the three candidates were as follows: Hewitt, 90,552; George, 68,110; Roosevelt, 60,435. The Syracuse Convention of the Union Labor Party, 1887, when George was nominated for the Governorship of New York, repudiated socialism. This formed an epoch in the history of American socialism, and in 1888 the Socialist Labor Party decided to have no affiliations thereafter with any other party, but to nominate an independent ticket and vote for that without compromise and without any bargains with other parties or factions of parties. It is from this time that organized political socialism has made progress in the United States.
We must next take up the introduction of distinctively American influences into political socialism in the United States. Dr. Daniel De Leon has long been one of the most influential factors in the Socialist Labor Party. Although not an American by birth, he was trained at Columbia University. Laurence Gronlund (q.v.), a Dane by birth, but naturalized in this country, wrote his Coöperative Commonwealth in 1884, and this helped spread socialism among native-born Americans. Edward Bellamy (q.v.), of long American ancestry, wrote Looking Backward in 1888. Bellamy's socialism was, as has already been stated, called nationalism, and the clubs organized were called nationalist clubs. As a distinctive factor nationalism soon ceased to exist. The specific work which Bellamy accomplished was the Americanization of socialism, in the sense that he helped the American people to understand its significance, and won over a great many to its support. In 1893 the Coming Nation was established at Greensburg, Ind., by J. H. Wayland. Wayland was for a time influenced by the older so-called Utopian socialism, and helped establish Ruskin, in Tennessee, a short-lived communistic settlement. Later he moved to Kansas, and there established the Appeal to Reason. It is now published at Girard, in that State, claiming a circulation of half a million. The establishment of the American Railway Union in 1893, and the Pullman strike in the following year, are epoch-making in the history of American socialism. Early in 1897 Eugene V. Debs announced his conversion to socialism, and he and Victor L. Berger, of Milwaukee, were largely instrumental in establishing the Social Democratic Party. After 1899 there were dissensions in the Socialist Labor Party, terminating in a serious split. The socialists who left the old party joined forces with the rival party, and formed what is now known as the Socialist Party, except in Wisconsin and New York State, where, for legal reasons connected with the laws concerning the ballot, it is still called the Social Democratic Party. Recently there has been organized by Pennsylvania socialists a new Socialist Labor Party, which hopes to effect a union of all Socialist parties.
It is interesting to trace the vote received by Socialist parties beginning with 1888, when an independent ticket was nominated in New York City and the resolution was adopted to form no alliances with other parties. In this election the vote received was 2068. In 1890 in New York State alone the party received 13,331 votes. In 1892 the socialistic vote of Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York was 21,159. In 1894 the party extended its influence to the Middle States, and in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island received 33,133 votes. In 1896 the number of votes was 36,564. In 1898, in eighteen States, the Socialist Labor Party received 82,204 votes, and the Social Democratic Party, which was organized in 1897, 9545 votes, largely in Massachusetts, making a total of 91,749. In the Presidential elections of 1900 the Socialist Party received 97,730 votes and the Socialist Labor Party 33,450, making a total of 131,180. In 1902 State and Congressional elections the Socialist Party received 229,762, and the Socialist Labor Party received 53,763, making a total of 283,525.
The Socialists have not succeeded in electing any member of Congress. They have, however, met with some success in State and local elections, in 1898 electing John C. Chase Mayor of Haverhill, Mass., and James T. Carey and Louis M. Scates to seats in the Massachusetts Legislature. In 1903 three representatives of the Socialist Party were members of the Massachusetts Legislature. In the same year the Mayor of Haverhill, Mass., Parkman B. Flanders, and several of the municipal officers were Socialists. In Brockton, Mass., Charles F. Coulter was reëlected Mayor. The greatest victories of the Socialists were won in the April local elections of 1903. Socialists were elected to office in at least twenty cities; in five, mayors were elected; in several a considerable proportion of the other municipal officers. The city of Anaconda, Mont., was carried by the Socialists.
It may be mentioned that W. D. P. Bliss established an American Fabian Society at Boston in 1895. This society published the American Fabian, which continued to exist for several years, but has disappeared. The ‘Society of Christian Socialists,’ also under the leadership of Bliss more than any other man, was organized in Boston, April 15, 1889. The tendency in recent years has been for the Socialist Party to absorb all these minor organizations. Recently there has been organized a Collectivist Society in New York City. The aim of this society is evidently to do a work like that of the Fabian Society in England.
It is noteworthy that American socialism is probably more Marxian than the socialism of the other great countries of the world. There is also a tendency to lay less emphasis upon the ‘immediate demands’ or the reforms which can be accomplished while the framework of the existing order is retained. The ‘immediate demands’ were dropped altogether from the platform of the Socialist Labor Party at the convention held in New York City in June, 1900.
Political socialism has little influence upon organized labor in the United States, but here also the influence is growing rapidly. The Knights of Labor (q.v.) were in so far socialistically inclined that some of the planks in their platform were in general line with socialist thought. So far as there was socialism in the rank and file of the Knights of Labor it was sentimental and impulsive rather than the result of deliberate thought. Doubtless, however, the agitation which the Knights of Labor have conducted helped to prepare the soil in this country for socialism.
Most significant is the attitude of the American Labor Union (q.v.), which is avowedly and unreservedly committed to political socialism.
The Socialists have the support of a large and increasing number of periodicals. The number in June, 1903, was probably about one hundred. The Socialist Labor Party press consists chiefly of the daily, weekly, and monthly People, of New York City. The newly organized Pennsylvania branch of the Socialist Labor Party has as its organ the Socialist Standard of Pittsburg. The principal newspapers supporting the Socialist Party are The Worker, The Comrade, and the Volkzeitung of New York City; the Cleveland Citizen, of Cleveland, Ohio; the American Labor Union Journal, of Butte, Mont.; the Social Democratic Herald, of Milwaukee, Wis.; the Coming Nation, of Rich Hill, Mo.; the Appeal to Reason, of Girard, Kan.; and the Chicago Socialist. Especially noteworthy is the International Socialist Review, which is the organ of scientific socialism in this country.
Literature. The information concerning the socialist parties of the world must be sought in the periodical press representing these parties, and this has already received mention. Especially noteworthy as sources of authority are the Socialistische Monatshefte, of Berlin; the International Socialist Review, of Chicago; and L'Avenir Social, of Brussels, in which the international secretary has each month a review of the ‘labor movement and international socialism.’