Update 13-11: Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013.
"Where Do We Stand On the Woman Question?" by Theresa Malkiel [Aug. 1909] Former garment worker turned Socialist journalist Theresa Malkiel takes aim at Socialist Party weakness and inconsistency on the so-called "Woman Question," declaring that "in the heat of the battle for human freedom the proletarians seem to forget that the woman question is nothing more or less than a question of human rights." Malkiel hits Italian socialist Enrico Ferri and others of his mindset for their contention that equality of the sexes is an assertion which "cannot possibly be maintained." Rather, the backwards place of women in science and the arts is but a reflection of "woman's long subjection" which has stilted intellectual development among many, Malkiel argues. Working women find themselves between two fires, Malkiel indicates, capitalists intent on forestalling female emancipation on the one hand, male workers on the other, "utterly listless to the outcome of her struggle." As for the Socialist Party, Malkiel indicates that only 2,000 of 50,000 party members (4%) are female. "We will not achieve any considerable progress until our men will change their views as to woman's scope of activity in the movement," Malkiel insists.
"The Danger of Centralized Power," by W.J. Bell [Oct. 1909] A critique of the fundamental structure of the Socialist Party by Texas organizer W.J. Bell. Basing his argument on the axioms that "centralization spells autocracy" while "decentralization spells democracy," Bell argues that the history of the left wing labor movement has been marked by the damaging effects of centralization, particularly in the cases of the Socialist Labor Party and the Knights of Labor. Hearing from non-party members complaints of possible bureaucratic danger in the event of Socialist Party victory, Bell advises the neutralization of this critique by an immediate attack upon centralization in the structure of the Socialist Party itself. Bell advocates the SPA emulate the Republican Party in adjourning its National Committee and abolishing its National Executive Committee, leaving party affairs and the bulk of party dues payments in the hands of the autonomous state organizations, which he indicates utilize propaganda funds far more efficiently. Bell further argues that the Socialist Party should follow the example of the Cigar Makers' International Union by abolishing costly and inherently unrepresentative national conventions, replacing these with expanded membership referenda.
"Stories of an Agitator: Albert Parsons," by Ralph Korngold [May 11, 1910] Possibly apocryphal and certainly inadequately documented memoir of social revolutionist and Haymarket martyr Albert Parsons from his period in hiding following the 1886 bombing. The individual who gave verbal testimony to Socialist Party organizer Ralph Korngold claimed that Parsons had been a friend of his father "Charlie" and that Parsons had spent his time holed up in an upper floor room of the family's home on a Wisconsin farm. Parsons had decided to turn himself in over his disquiet over life in hiding and a desire to be with his comrades in distress at trial in Chicago -- despite having been warned by his benefactor Charlie that surrender would mean death. According to this account, Parsons had sought for Charlie to turn him in for the $5,000 reward offered so that he might pay off his mortgage and give financial aid to his children, but Charlie had flatly refused to participate in gaining such "blood money" and Parsons had turned himself in alone.
"Finns Have a Plan for Socialist Work: Difficulties of the Foreign-Speaking People Pointed Out and Remedy Suggested," by J. Louis Engdahl [May 11, 1910] Socialist journalist J. Louis Engdahl reviews the history of the Finnish-American socialist movement in anticipation of a Finnish proposal for structural reform of the Socialist Party of America at the party's forthcoming National Congress. Objection is made by the Finns to having to submit to organization along electoral district lines -- a form of organization which greatly impeded the organization of language groups, forcing many to participate in English-speaking locals rather than Finnish-speaking branches. Engdahl recounts the origins of the united Finnish-American socialist movement in 1904 and its launch in 1906 as the United States Finnish Socialist Organization (Yhdysvaltain Suomalainen Sosialistjärjestö). Following its establishment of a Translator's office at SPA national headquarters on Jan. 1, 1907, impressive growth had followed until in the summer of 1909 the Finnish organization claimed nearly 5,200 members.
"The Rise of Factory Agriculture and Other Current Trends: Draft Report of the Committee on Farms of the Socialist Party of America," by A.M. Simons [May 16, 1910] A.M. Simons was the leading agricultural expert in firmament of the Socialist Party during its first decade -- a figure roughly comparable to Harold Ware and later Lem Harris in the Communist Party in later decades. This is the working draft of a report to be made to the forthcoming 1910 "National Congress" of the Socialist Party. Simons emphatically sees no trend towards concentration in agricultural production, stating that average farm size appears smaller than ever. He does note at length, however, the growth of factory methods of production, based largely upon the expanded outlay of capital necessary for the purchase of agricultural machinery and artificial fertilizer -- components which he argues make the physical soil itself less important as a primary component. Similarly, Simons argues, perfection of livestock breeding and the science of meat production was lending itself to the increase of factory methods in animal husbandry. Simons notes that free lands had vanished and land prices begun to skyrocket, reducing the possibility of impoverished workers beginning a new life as farmers. He envisions a growth in both the quantity and potential for organization of agricultural laborers. Simons indicates that modern farm organizations such as the American Society of Equity and the Farmers' Union were taking a page from the playbook of organized labor and seeking to maintain higher prices for their products through a control of supply, dismissing the strategies employed in a previous generation by the Grange and Farmers' Alliance. He notes an objective connection between the interests of organized farmers and organized workers and the potential for close political cooperation. Included is the full Farmers' Program of the Socialist Party of Oklahoma, which Simons advocates as a model for national consideration and possible emulation, forged as it was through actual political practice rather than abstract theoretical contemplation.
The Liberator, vol. 1, no. 2 [April 1918] Large File. Graphic pdf of the complete April 1918 issue of The Liberator, edited by Max Eastman. CONTENTS: Editorials. Max Eastman: "China's Paintings." Vladimir Lossieff (trans.): "The Terrorist" (fiction). "Residents of Tulsa": "Tulsa, November 9th" (Anti-IWW violence). John Reed: "Red Russia." Poetry. Elmer L. Reizenstein: "A Diadem of Snow: A Play in One Act" (Re: Romanovs). Howard Brubaker: "April Fool!" (snippets). Charles T. Hallinan: "From Washington: Compulsory Military Training." Floyd Dell: Book Reviews. James Weldon Johnson: "Negro Poetry -- A Reply to the Editor." Dorothy Day: "A Coney Island Picture." Basic digitiization by Marty Goodman of Riazanov Library Digitization Project, reformatted to reduce file size and ease of home printing.