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still in favour of the use of the ballot for agitational purposes. Schwab's attitude prevailed at the convention and the political plank was rejected. On the other hand, with regard to the trade union question, the Chicago delegates defeated Schwab, who felt lukewarm toward trade unions. The convention strongly recommended the organisation of trade unions upon progressive principles and promised active support to such trade unions as were already in existence. The convention further endorsed the London Congress of the International Working People's Association, and declared itself in favour of societies which "stand ready to render armed resistance to encroachments upon the rights of the workingmen." 75 The new national organisation was christened the Revolutionary Socialist party, and was intended to be a loose federation of autonomous groups with an information bureau located in Chicago to serve as the connecting link. The latter was to have a corresponding secretary for each language, with expenses covered by voluntary contributions from the groups. Each constituent group was left absolute master over its own activities, except that it was not supposed to come into conflict with the general programme and the resolutions of the federation.
Before the referendum vote on the decisions of the convention had been completed, the Chicago group, as yet not entirely satisfied with the voting down of the political plank, decided to try political action once more, and took part in the municipal campaign of the spring of 1882. However, it went into the election with a strictly revolutionary platform and refused to cooperate with the regular section of the Socialist Labor party, which was now dominated by English-speaking people and which remained loyal to the National Executive Committee. The revolutionaries nominated George A. Schilling, who had changed factions since the election of 1880, as candidate for mayor. Neither of the socialist tickets received an appreciable number of votes, since greater efforts were made on both sides to defeat the rival candidates than to win voters from older parties.
The campaign proved fatal to the section of the Socialist Labor party, but the effect upon the revolutionary socialists
75 Chicago Vorbote, Oct. 29, 1881.
was merely to destroy their last vestige of faith even in the agitational usefulness of political campaigns. Already in February, 1882, during the progress of the political campaign they had ratified the decisions of the October convention and definitely reorganised upon the principle of autonomous groups. Socialists in any part of the city might organise an unlimited number of groups with not less than ten members each, to be united by a central committee. Representation was likewise to be granted to radical trade unions. The decisions of the central committee were to be valid only when not objected to by any group at its first succeeding meeting. The prerogatives of the central committee were further limited by a maximum expenditure of $20 for any one object. Larger expenditures could be incurred only when authorised by a referendum vote of the groups. Each member paid 10 cents per month, of which only one-tenth went to the central committee.76 The national information bureau, which the Chicago organisation was authorised by the convention to establish, was not organised until April, 1883, indicating the lack of cohesion among the revolutionary groups of the country. Indeed, the New York group, notwithstanding the fact that it had taken the lead in calling the convention of 1881, now hesitated to recognise the National Information Bureau. It became apparent therefore, that another national convention was required in order that the revolutionary movement in the country might become unified. A general vote of the groups designated such a convention to meet in Pittsburgh on October 19, 1883.
The delegates from Chicago at the Pittsburgh convention, Parsons, Spies, Meng, and Rau, represented the trade union wing of the social revolutionary movement in the country. Their ideas were shared in toto by the delegates from St. Louis, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Omaha, and from the West in general. The social revolutionists from the East had now shown themselves as pure anarchists and were represented by Johann Most, the only delegate from New York, who counted
76 Ibid., Feb. 10, 1888.
77 Johann Most was born in Augsburg, Germany, in 1846. After 8 cheerless childhood and boyhood he left Germany in 1864, and, in 1868, he settled in Vi enna. Two years later he was arrested
for revolutionary propaganda and sentenced to five years' imprisonment, but was released in 1871, after a general political amnesty. He was, however, expelled from Austria soon after his release and, in June, 1871, we find him editing a
among his followers the delegates from Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and other cities in the East.
Most's philosophy was decisively anarchistic. His ideal society was an agglomeration of loosely federated autonomous groups of producers. Each group followed one trade and owned its means of production. The groups directly interchanged products with the aid of paper money. Each group had the power to establish for itself either absolute communism or a system of wages for work done. No superior authority existed over the groups, the state and the church having been abolished. In the matter of tactics, Most was an ardent believer in the "propaganda by deed," that is, acts of violence against capitalists and officers of state and church. He denied that there could be even a temporary truce between anarchism and capitalism. His programme was, briefly, the execution of reactionaries and the confiscation of all capital by the people. Most did not believe in trade union action, as he did not believe in political action, but, while he opposed the latter with all the passion of his fiery nature, he was willing to make concessions regarding the former. His opposition to trade union action cost him the adherence of the revolutionary groups centering in Chicago, but, on the other hand, the social revolutionists in New York and other eastern cities became willing converts to his brand of anarchism, obviously for the reason that they had never before placed any emphasis upon economic organisation.
The work accomplished by the Pittsburgh congress was a compromise between the followers of Most and the Chicago faction. A resolution proposed by Spies was passed, which re
paper in Chemnitz, Germany. He then belonged to the most radical wing of the Eisenacher (Marxian) party. During 1873, he again spent eight months in jail, and having gained his freedom he was elected to the Reichstag. He was arrested also in 1877 and again in 1878, this time in connection with the attempt made upon the life of William I. Upon his release he was compelled to leave Germany, and in December, 1878, he went to London, where he began publishing a weekly called Die Freiheit. His views were so extreme and violent that Liebknecht felt obliged to repudiate Die Freiheit on behalf of the Social Democratic party. Most became
converted to anarchism in the same year, owing to the influence of a friend, an old Bakuninist, and was formally expelled from the German Social Democratic party at the party convention of 1880. In March, 1881, when Alexander II of Russia was assassinated, he wrote an editorial praising the deed, for which he was sentenced in London to a sixteen months' term in jail. He was released in October, 1882, and arrived in New York on December 12. The revolutionary faction of the socialists received him with open arms, and, after an agitational tour over the country, he settled down in New York to renew the publication of Die Freiheit.
ferred to trade unions fighting for the abolition of the wage system as the foundation of the future society. On the other hand, the manifesto which the congress issued To the Workingmen of America, was framed entirely in the spirit of Most's philosophy and contained no mention of trade union action. The manifesto, known as the Pittsburgh Manifesto of the International Working People's Association, started with a passionate review, very largely borrowed from the Communist Manifesto, of the miserable condition of the workers under capitalism. It condemned the state, the church, and even the present day-school system as barriers to their emancipation, affirming that these institutions would fall with the overthrow of capitalism. The struggle for reforms is futile:
"We could show by scores of illustrations that all attempts in the past to reform this monstrous system by peaceable means, such as the ballot, have been futile, and all such efforts in the future must necessarily be so. . . . The political institutions of our time are the agencies of the propertied class; their mission is the upholding of the privileges of their masters; any reform in your own behalf would curtail these privileges. That they will not resign these privileges voluntarily we know. . . . Since we must then rely upon the kindness of our masters for whatever redress we have, and knowing that from them no good may be expected, there remains but one recourse FORCE!.
"By force have our ancestors liberated themselves from political oppression, by force their children will have to liberate themselves from economic bondage. 'It is, therefore, your right, it is your duty,' says Jefferson to arms!"
"What we would achieve is, therefore, plainly and simply:
"First: Destruction of the existing class rule, by all means, i.e., by energetic, relentless, revolutionary and international action. "Second: Establishment of a free society based upon co-operative organisation of production.
"Third:- Free exchange of equivalent products by and between the productive organizations without commerce and profit-mongery.
"Fourth: - Organisation of education on a secular, scientific and equal basis for both sexes.
"Fifth:- Equal rights for all without distinction of sex or race. "Sixth: Regulation of all public affairs by free contracts between the autonomous (independent) communes and associations, resting on a federalistic basis." 78
78 The Alarm, Oct. 4, 1884.
The Pittsburgh manifesto became the most important landmark in the history of American anarchism, for, long after the organisation perfected at Pittsburgh had ceased to exist, it continued to be generally accepted by anarchists as the clearest statement of their creed.
The national federation established at Pittsburgh under the name of the International Working People's Association, or Black International, for short, became for a time, particularly after the Haymarket catastrophe, a veritable "bugaboo" of the terrified public. It took for its basis the autonomous group with a national information bureau as the connecting link. The Chicago pattern of local organisation was fully indorsed. Chicago was also authorised to elect the Information Bureau, which it did three weeks afterwards, naming August Spies as the English secretary, and Paul Grottkau, William Medon, and J. Micalonda as the German, French, and Bohemian secretaries respectively. The movement radiating from New York City, where Johann Most lived, was generally considered to express the official doctrines of the Black International. Chicago, however, was the largest centre of the Black International, and also the place where, as pointed out above, the blending of anarchism and trade unionism produced a kind of a "syndicalism" which was not dissimilar from the French "syndicalism" of to-day. Its principles can best be seen in its representatives, August Spies and Albert R. Parsons, who, from 1883 to 1886, propagated in the Vorbote and The Alarm 79 the views which they had reached in 1883 of ideal society, trade union action (or direct action), political action, and the use of violence in strikes. Their ideal of future society was voluntary association. "No constitutions, laws or regulations are necessary to unite the people. Nor were unions ever produced by such things, they are brought in after the union is effected to pre
79 The first issue of The Alarm appeared on Oct. 4, 1884. Prior to 1884 a very prominent position in the Chicago movement was occupied by Paul Grottkau, an extremely radical refugee from the German anti-socialist law. He was an influential speaker at meetings and a prominent contributor to the Arbeiter-Zeitung, where he advocated abstention from poli. tics and energetic trade union action. However, he parted company with Spies
and Parsons after the Pittsburgh congress, when they changed from collectivistic socialism into communistic anarchism. After a brief struggle he left for Milwaukee, where he became editor of a German paper, and managed in May, 1886, to become arrested as one of the authors of the notorious Bay View riot. He was declared guilty by the jury, but was let off by the judge with a mere nominal penalty.