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leadership imperative. The lasting predominance of the "trade union" element was therefore far from being assured.

This came to light soon after the selection of a National Executive Committee, which, in accordance with the constitution, was made by the sections in Chicago, the Union Congress having chosen that city as the seat of the board. The New Haven sections, numbering about a hundred members, decided by a majority of two votes to petition the board for permission to nominate candidates for the legislature. The Labor Standard and the Vorbote opposed it, but through the efforts of the national secretary, Phillip Van Patten, permission was finally granted.5 Van Patten was a native American, coming from the middle class and was a leading figure in the socialist movement from 1876 to 1884. His sympathies from the very beginning were apparently with the political rather than with the trade union faction.

The outcome of the New Haven experiment was quite favourable, the ticket polling 640 votes. It naturally tended to encourage the political faction throughout the country, so that the question of immediate political action became the foremost one in the party and the party organs. The example was followed in February, 1877, by the Cincinnati sections." In Milwaukee, where Gustav Lyser, a former Lassallean, edited a paper, the sections formed a Social Democratic party with the object of taking part in the spring election. Even in Chicago, the centre of the trade union faction, the pressure in favour of participating in the next election became so strong that it could no longer be resisted.8

The political faction in Chicago was represented by former Lassalleans and by a group of English-speaking socialists. The former had their own organ, called first the Sozialist and later changed to the Chicagoer Volkszeitung. Knowing that the trade union faction, the Vorbote and its followers, would agree to enter politics only under extreme pressure, they called a mass meeting. This was attended by 600 or 700 people, and put through a resolution declaring for entry in the political campaign in the spring, irrespective of whether the national execu

5 New York Arbeiterstimme, Nov. 26, 1876. 6 Ibid.

7 Ibid., Feb. 25, 1877.

8 Chicago Vorbote, Mar. 10, 1877.

tive permitted it or not. Prominent in this action were Karl Klinge, Kraus, and Winnen (former Lassalleans), and Albert R. Parsons, who had recently joined the English-speaking section. The Vorbote group, or the trade union faction, desiring to avoid a split in the party, reluctantly gave in, and Parsons was nominated at a general meeting of the sections as candidate for alderman in the Fifteenth ward on a platform demanding municipal ownership of public utilities, the abolition of the contract system on city works, fair hours and fair wages for city employés, and similar measures. 10

The result of the election proved encouraging. Parsons polled one-sixth of the total vote cast in his ward.11 In Milwaukee the socialist ticket polled 1,500 votes and elected 2 aldermen, 2 supervisors, and 2 constables. 12 In Cincinnati the socialist vote reached 3,900, one-tenth of all the votes cast.

This success helped further to strengthen the political faction in its discontent with the restrictions imposed by the Union Congress. Already, in February, 1877, the German section in New York had requested the German section in Newark to support a proposal that a party convention should be called at an early date. The Newark section, which belonged to the trade union faction, flatly refused, declaring that the status established by the Union Congress needed no change.

The situation was described in the correspondence which appeared in April, 1877, in the Sozial-Demokrat, the central organ of the social democracy in Germany:


"The unification of both socialist factions in America, which was accomplished with enormous difficulty, is still in danger. . . . The Lassalleans, and with them the younger immigrants, who are yet novices in the labour movement, desire to enter the political arena so as to acquire influence, by means of universal suffrage, first in the municipality, then in the several states, and are consequently very much dissatisfied with the decision of the Union Congress, which prohibits the sections from participating in local elections before they can feel certain of success, and even then only on a platform of purely labour demands. The Internationalists and the older and more experienced immigrants, on the other hand, foresee nothing

• Ibid.

10 Ibid., Mar. 17 and 24, 1877.

11 Ibid., Apr. 14, 1877.

18 Ibid., Feb. 28, 1877.

14 Reprinted in the Chicago Vorbote, May 19, 1877.

12 New York, Arbeiterstimme, Apr. 15, 1877.

The former have

but calamity if political action is begun at once. small faith in trade unions and their efficacy; the latter expect salvation to come only from the trade unions. The former point to the example of the German socialists, the latter to that of the British trade unions. The former are represented in the Arbeiterstimme and in the German dailies of Chicago [the Volkszeitung] and Milwaukee [the Sozialist], as well as in the newly established English paper in Milwaukee [the Emancipator]; the latter in the Vorbote and Labor Standard. The former seek to get the small bourgeoisie interested in the party; the latter want to restrict it exclusively to wage-earners and expect only demoralisation to follow from a participation by still unproletarised small bourgeois. The former are seeking to change the party platform at another convention, the latter threaten to step out of the party should this

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For a time, the Arbeiterstimme of New York, edited by Dr. Otto Walster, tried to occupy a neutral position. It opened its columns to both sides and accepted articles from John Schäfer, of the political faction, as well as from Adolph Strasser, who, notwithstanding his brief sojourn in the camp of the Lassalleans, was above all an advocate of trade unions. Finally, in May, 1877, it unequivocally put itself among the ranks of the political socialists. 15 "We consider that the trade-union movement in itself is sufficiently harmless but we also maintain that those trade unionists are extremely harmful who believe that this weapon [the trade union] is not a mere palliative, but possesses sufficient strength to bring about the abolition of the poverty, exploitation and oppression of the organised as well as of the unorganised labouring masses." McDonnell, the editor of the Labor Standard and the leader of the English-speaking socialists in the East, went to the opposite extreme. While favouring legislation, he declared that " as long as there are working people starving, it is utterly wrong to spend money on objects which bring no immediate relief to the toiler," and, further, that "political action must be of a practical character. To convince the masses that we are in earnest, we must always act for the material interests of the whole working class, never indulge in mere speculations. A mere canvass for some members of our own party will fail to attract the support that politi

15 New York Arbeiterstimme, May 20, 1877.

cal [legislative] action on our part for some great measure such as the reduction of the hours of labor would bring.

" 16

The Vorbote in Chicago fully agreed with the Labor Standard on the supreme importance of trade unions, but was more lenient with respect to immediate political action.17 This difference of opinion readily lends itself to explanation when we recall that in Chicago the trade union socialists had been forced to compromise with their "political" brethren and to take up political action. The National Executive Committee, influenced by Van Patten, was strongly in sympathy with the political faction. It despatched P. J. McGuire on an extended tour over the country, during which he made an effective agitation for political action. It was also zealous in supporting the Arbeiterstimme, while it was only lukewarm toward the Labor Standard. The American section in New York even went as far as to accuse Van Patten of intriguing to replace the Labor Standard by the "political" Milwaukee Emancipator as the official English organ of the party.

In the beginning of May, the controversy reached a critical stage. The Labor Standard suspended publication for a week, and reappeared with the consent of the National Board of Control. 18 It was still the official organ of the party but its ownership was transferred from the party to a private publishing association of which McDonnell was director. This caused a tempest in the camp of the political faction. The business manager of the Arbeiterstimme, who also acted as business manager for the Labor Standard, refused to deliver the books to the new association. The National Executive Committee felt incensed over the unconstitutional interference by the National Board of Control and retaliated in an equally unconstitutional manner by setting aside the Board which had its seat in Newark and by calling upon the New Haven sections to elect its successor. At the same time the National Executive Committee submitted to a referendum vote, with its favourable recommendation, a call for a new party convention made 19 by the political faction.

Adolph Douai attempted to arbitrate between the quarrelling

16 Labor Standard, Mar. 24, 1877. 17 Chicago Vorbote, Aug. 11, 1877.

18 Labor Standard, June 2, 1877.

19 New York Arbeiterstimme, June 3, 1877.

factions. At a general meeting of the New York sections, called for that purpose, he admitted that trade unions on the British pattern were imperfect, but he pointed out that, on the other hand, it was utterly impossible to adopt the tactics of the German Social Democracy, for "should we adopt immediate political action, our party would be in peril of being overrun by nonproletarian elements." 20 Douai's mission proved unsuccessful, for the opponents charged him with viewing matters too much through Sorge's spectacles.21

Meanwhile, a new factor, far more powerful than the arguments on either side, came to determine which element should have the upper hand in the party. The great strike of July, 1877, broke out and spread over the country. The Workingmen's party was taken completely unaware, but in numerous cities socialist sections or individual socialists made good use of this spontaneous outburst. In St. Louis, when the general excitement caused the shutting down of factories and slaughter houses, the socialists called a mass meeting and elected an executive committee to look after the interests of the workingmen. The panic of the authorities was so great that this committee, about whose membership nobody really knew anything, was able to hold undisputed sway over the city for more than a week. In Chicago, the socialist masses were the hardest sufferers. There the police did not wait for the rioting to begin, but broke into the hall where cabinet makers on strike were holding a mass meeting and unmercifully attacked the assembly, with the result that there were dead and wounded on both sides.22 This unnecessary use of violence on the part of the police was remembered for many years afterwards and was partly responsible for the tactics of violence that the Chicago movement adopted at a later date.

The National Executive Committee ordered the sections to call mass meetings and to offer resolutions for an eight-hour law throughout the union, for the abolition of all conspiracy laws and for the purchase by the Federal Government of the railway and telegraph lines. 23 In Chicago, a mass meeting of 15,000 to 20,000 people had adopted a similar resolution.24 In Brook

20 Ibid., June 17, 1877.

21 Ibid.

22 Chicago Vorbote, Aug. 4, 1877.

23 New York Arbeiterstimme, Sept. 2, 1877.

24 Chicago Vorbote, July 28, 1877.

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