SOCIALIST PARTY PLATFORM OF 1912
The representatives of the Socialist party, in National Convention at Indianapolis, declare that the capitalist system has outgrown its historical function, and has become utterly incapable of meeting the problems now confronting society. We denounce this outgrown system as incompetent and corrupt and the source of unspeakable misery and suffering to the whole working class.
Under this system the industrial equipment of the nation has passed into the absolute control of plutocracy, which exacts an annual tribute of hundreds of millions of dollars from the producers. Unafraid of any organized resistance, it stretches out its greedy hands over the still undeveloped resources of the nation — the land, the mines, the forests and. the waterpowers of every state in the Union.
In spite of the multiplication of labor-saving machines and ,improved methods in industry, which cheapen the cost of production, the share of the producers grows ever less, and the prices of all the necessities of life steadily increase. The boasted prosperity of this nation is for the owning class alone. To the rest it means only greater hardship and misery. The high cost of living is felt in every home. Millions of wage-workers have seen the purchasing power of their wages decrease until life has become a desperate battle for mere existence.
Multitudes of unemployed walk the streets of our cities or trudge from state to state awaiting the will of the masters to move the wheels of industry.
The farmers in every state are plundered by the increasing prices exacted for tools and machinery and by extortionate rent, freight rates and storage charges.
Capitalist concentration is mercilessly crushing the class of small business men and driving its members into the ranks of propertyless wage-workers. The overwhelming majority of the people of America are being forced under a yoke of bondage by this soulless industrial despotism.
It is this capitalist system that is responsible for the increasing burden of armaments, the poverty, slums, child labor, most of the insanity, crime and prostitution, and much of the disease that afflicts mankind.
Under this system the working class is exposed to poisonous conditions, to frightful and needless perils to life and limb, is walled around with court decisions, injunctions and unjust laws, and is preyed upon incessantly for the benefit of the controlling oligarchy of wealth. Under, it also, the children of the, working class are doomed to ignorance, drudging toil and darkened lives.
In the face of these I evils, so manifest that all thoughtful observers are appalled at them, the legislative representatives of the Republican and Democratic parties remain the faithful servants of the oppressors. Measures designed to secure to the wage earners of this nation as humane and just treatment as is already enjoyed by the wage earners of all other civilized nations have been smothered in committee without debate, and laws ostensibly designed to bring relief to the farmers and general consumers are juggled and transformed into instruments for the exaction of further tribute. The growing unrest under oppression has driven these two old parties to the enactment of a variety of regulative measures, none of which has limited in any appreciable degree the power, of the plutocracy, and some of them have been perverted into means for increasing that power. Anti-trust laws, railroad restrictions and regulations, with the prosecutions, indictments and investigations based upon such legislation, have proved to be utterly futile and ridiculous.
Nor has this plutocracy been seriously restrained or even threatened by any Republican or Democratic executive. It has continued to grow in power and insolence alike under the administrations of Cleveland, McKinley, Roosevelt and Taft.
In addition to this legislative juggling and this executive connivance, the courts of America have sanctioned and strengthened the hold of this plutocracy as the Dred Scott and other decisions strengthened the slave-power before the civil war. They have been used as instruments for the oppression of the working class and for the suppression of free speech and free assembly.
We declare, therefore, that the longer sufferance of these conditions is impossible, and we purpose to end them all. We declare them to be the product of the present system, in which industry is carried on for private greed, instead of for the welfare of society. We declare, furthermore, that for these evils there will be and can be no remedy and no substantial relief except through Socialism, under which industry will be carried on for the common good and every worker receive the full social value of the wealth he creates.
Society is divided into warring groups and classes, based upon material interests. Fundamentally, this struggle is a conflict between the two main classes, one of which, the capitalist class owns the means of production, and the other, the working class, must use these means of production on terms dictated by the owners.
The capitalist class, though few in numbers, absolutely controls the government — legislative, executive and judicial. This class owns the machinery of gathering and disseminating news through its organized press. It subsidizes seats of learning – the colleges and schools -and even religious and moral agencies. It has also the added prestige which established customs give to any order of society, right or wrong.
The working class, which includes all those who are forced to work for a living, whether by hand or brain, in shop, mine or on the soil, vastly outnumbers the capitalist class. Lacking effective organization and class solidarity, this class is unable to enforce its will. Given such class solidarity and effective organization, the workers will have the power to make all laws and control all industry in their own interest.
All political parties are the expression of economic class interests. All other parties than the Socialist party represent one or another group of the ruling capitalist class. Their political conflicts reflect merely superficial rivalries between competing capitalist groups. However they result, these conflicts have no issue of real value to the workers. Whether the Democrats or Republicans win politically, it is the capitalist class that is victorious economically.
The Socialist party is the political expression of the economic interests of the workers. Its defeats have been their defeats and its victories their victories. It is a party founded on the science and laws of social development. It proposes that, since all social necessities today are socially produced, the means of their production and distribution shall be socially owned and democratically controlled.
In the face of the economic and political aggressions of the capitalist class the only reliance left the workers is that of their economic organizations and their political power. By the intelligent and class-conscious use of these, they may resist successfully the capitalist class, break the fetters of wage-slavery, and fit themselves for the future society, which is to displace the capitalist system. The Socialist party appreciates the full significance of class organization and urges the wage earners, the working farmers and all other useful workers everywhere to organize for economic and political action, and we’ pledge ourselves to support the toilers of the fields as well as those in the shops, factories and mines of the nation in their struggles for economic justice.
In the defeat or victory of the working class party in this new struggle for freedom lies the defeat or triumph of the common people of all economic groups, as well as the failure or the triumph of popular government. Thus the Socialist party is the party of the present day revolution, which marks the transition from economic individualism to Socialism, from wage-slavery to free co-operation, from capitalist oligarchy to industrial democracy.
As measures calculated to strengthen the working class, in its fight for the realization of its ultimate aim, the co-operative commonwealth, and to increase its power of resistance against capitalist oppression, we advocate and pledge ourselves and our elected officers to the following program:
1. The collective ownership and democratic management of railroads, wire and wireless telegraphs and telephones, express services, steamboat lines and all other social means of transportation and communication and of all large-scale industries.
2. The immediate acquirement by the municipalities, the states or the federal government of all grain elevators, stock yards, storage warehouses, and other distributing agencies, in order to reduce the present extortionate cost of living.
3. The extension of the public domain to include mines, quarries, oil wells, forests and water power.
4. The further conservation and development of natural resources for the use and benefit of all the people:
(a) By scientific forestation and timber protection.
(b) By the reclamation of arid and swamp tracts.
(c) By the storage of flood waters and the utilization of water power.
(d) By the stoppage of the present extravagant waste of the soil and of the products of mines and oil wells.
(e) By the development of highway and waterway systems.
5. The collective ownership of land wherever practicable, and in cases where such ownership is impracticable, the appropriation by taxation of the annual rental value of all land held for speculation or exploitation.
6. The collective ownership and democratic management of the banking and currency system.
The immediate government relief of the unemployed by the extension of all useful public works. All persons employed on such works. to be engaged directly by the government under a workday of not more than eight hours and at not less than the prevailing union wages. The government also to establish employment bureaus; to lend money to states and municipalities without interest for, the purpose of carrying on public works, and to take such other measures within its power as will lessen the widespread misery of the workers caused by the misrule of the capitalist class.
‘The conservation of human resources, particularly of the lives and well-being of the workers and their families:
1. By shortening the workday in keeping with the increased productiveness of machinery.
2. By securing to every worker a rest period of not less than a day and a half in each week.
3. By securing a more effective inspection of workshops, factories and mines.
4. By forbidding the employment of children under sixteen years of age.
5. By the co-operative organization of the industries in the federal penitentiaries for the benefit of the convicts and their dependents.
6. By forbidding the interstate transportation of the products of child labor, of convict labor and of all uninspected factories and mines.
7.. By abolishing the profit system in government work, and substituting either the direct hire of labor or the awarding of contracts to co-operative groups of workers.
8. By establishing minimum wage scales.
9. By abolishing official charity and substituting a non contributory system of old-age pensions, a general system of insurance by the state of all its members against unemployment and invalidism and a system of compulsory insurance by employers of their workers, without cost to the latter, against in diseases, accidents and death.
1. The absolute freedom of press, speech and assemblage.
2. The adoption of a graduated income tax, the increase of the rates of the present corporation tax and the extension of inheritance taxes, graduated in proportion to the value of the estate and to nearness of kin — the proceeds of these taxes to be employed in the socialization of industry.
3. The abolition of the monopoly ownership of patents and the substitution of collective ownership, with direct rewards to inventors by premiums or royalties.
4. Unrestricted and equal suffrage for men and women.
5. The adoption of the initiative, referendum and recall and of proportional representation, nationally as well as locally.
6. The abolition of the Senate and of the veto power of the President.
7. The election of the President and the Vice-President by direct vote of the people.
8. The abolition of the power usurped by the Supreme Court of the United States to pass upon the constitutionality of the legislation enacted by Congress. National laws to be repealed only by act of Congress or by a referendum vote of the whole people.
9. The abolition of the present restrictions upon the amendment of the constitution, so that instrument may be made amendable by a majority of the voters in the country.
10. The granting of the right of suffrage in the District of Columbia with representation in Congress and a democratic form of municipal government for purely local affairs.
11. The extension of democratic government to all United States territory.
12. The enactment of further measures for general education and particularly for vocational education in useful pursuits. The Bureau of Education to be made a department.
13. The enactment of further measures for the conservation of health. The creation of an independent bureau of health, with such restrictions as will secure full liberty to all schools of practice.
14. The separation of the present Bureau of Labor from the Department of Commerce and Labor and its elevation to the rank of a department.
15. Abolition of all federal district courts and the United States Circuit Courts of Appeals. State courts to have jurisdiction in all cases arising between citizens of the several states and foreign corporations. The election of all judges for short terms.
16. The immediate curbing of the power of the courts to issue injunctions.
17. The free administration of the law.
18. The calling of a convention for the revision of the constitution of the United States.
Such measures of relief as we may be able to force from capitalism are but a preparation of the workers to seize the whole powers of government, in order that they may thereby lay hold of the. whole system of socialized industry and thus come to their rightful inheritance.
RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY THE NATIONAL CONVENTION OF THE SOCIALIST PARTY, MAY, 1912.
Ettor and Giovanetti.
Whereas, Joseph J. Ettor and Arthur Giovanetti, representatives of the textile workers of Lawrence, Mass., are charged with being accessories before the fact, to the murder of Anna LaPezzi, an Italian woman striker, which occurred during an assault made on a peaceful body of strikers on January 29th, by armed police and thugs of the Woolen Trust; and
Whereas, The testimony of a score of eyewitnesses before the examining magistrate showed conclusively that Anna LaPezzi was shot by a policeman, who was identified by eyewitnesses at the preliminary hearing; and
Whereas, The prosecution admits that neither Ettor nor Giovanetti were present at the scene of the provoked riot, but claim that they by their speeches, incited, counseled and commanded violence and rioting, and as a result a homicide took place, thus seeking to establish a precedent which is vicious and infamous; and
Whereas, Ettor and Giovanetti loyally fought the Woolen Trust, bringing a substantial increase in wages to over a quarter of a million of textile workers, thereby causing a loss of revenue of $15,000,000 per year to the mill owners of New England; therefore be it
Resolved, By the Socialist party in National Convention assembled, that the indictment and trial of Ettor and Giovanetti is an outrageous and inhuman attempt on the part of the Woolen Trust plutocracy and their hirelings, in retaliation for the successful revolt of the mill slaves of New England, to destroy the right to strike and the right of free speech and assembly of wage earners and to establish a precedent base in its conception, vicious in its enforcement, and detrimental to the entire working class of America and destructive to fundamental civil rights; and further
Resolved, That the National Executive Committee be instructed to appropriate immediately $500 for the defense of Ettor and Giovanetti, and that we call upon the locals of the Socialist party to form defense funds for this purpose to be forwarded through the National Headquarters.
CONDITIONS ON PACIFIC COAST.
Whereas, The railways and the various commercial associations of the Pacific coast, by false advertisements, have induced workingmen to come west, thereby creating a large army of the unemployed; be it
Resolved, That we request that the greatest publicity be given to this matter through the Socialist press and party organizations, as a warning to the workers of the Eastern and Central States to stay away from the Pacific coast, since labor conditions there are intolerable.
ADMINISTRATION BY MUNICIPAL EMPLOYES.
Whereas, The party has during the past year secured control of a number of cities, thus becoming the employer of many workers;
Where as, The party realizes that, intelligent administration of government involves the organization of the workers in all departments;
Whereas, The object of the Socialist party is to secure for all workers not only the full product of their labor but a voice in determining their conditions of work, therefore be it
Resolved, That the party adopt as a policy to be observed by its representatives in office the organization of workers in all departments under Socialist control so that each department may obtain an organized expression of the workers’ point of view on administrative methods and conditions of work.
PROPAGANDA IN THE ARMY AND NAVY.
Whereas, In the class struggle the military is often the first and always the last resort of the ruling class; and
Whereas, The army, the navy, the militia and the police offer a fertile field for the dissemination of Socialist teachings; and
Whereas, The growth of Socialist thought among the armed defenders of capitalism tends to reduce the power of the ruling class to rule and outrage the working class, and thus to end the oppression and violence that labor suffers,
Be it Resolved, That the N. E. Committee be instructed to secure the services of such a comrade or comrades as have made a special study of war and militarism, and that such comrade or comrades prepare special appropriate leaflets to distribute among soldiers, sailors, militia and police.
Resolved, That the N. E. Committee publish such leaflets and pamphlets and offer for sale through the usual channels, and that in addition an organized effort be made for the distribution of such leaflets among all the armed defenders of capitalist-class rule and among all military organizations and all government homes for disabled soldiers and sailors.
YOUNG PEOPLE’S SOCIALIST ORGANIZATIONS.
Whereas, A fertile and promising field for Socialist education is found among the young people, both because it reaches persons with unprejudiced and unbiased minds, and because it yields the most valuable recruits for the Socialist movement; and,
Whereas, If we can gain the ear of a majority of the youth of our country, the future will be ours, with the passing of the present generation, Therefore, be it
Resolved, That we recommend and urge our Locals to form, encourage and assist Young Socialist Leagues and Young People’s Clubs for the purpose of educating our youth in the principles of Socialism, and that this education be combined with social pleasures’ and athletic exercises; and further
Resolved, That we recommend to the National Executive Committee to give such aid and encouragement to this work as may seem to it best calculated to further the spread of Socialism among the youth of the United States.
NOMINATING WOMEN COMRADES.
Whereas, An increasing number of women are taking ‘part in, industrial activity, so that they are today an important factor in economics and social life, and are thereby qualifying themselves for participation in political administration; therefore be it
Resolved, That the Socialist party deems women entitled equally with men to be nominated for and elected to public office, so that they may help manage our common affairs.
MILITARY EDUCATION OF CHILDREN.
Whereas, The capitalist class is making determined and persistent efforts to use the public schools for the military training of children and for the inculcation of the military spirit; therefore be it
Resolved, That we are opposed to all efforts to introduce military training into the public schools, and that we recommend the introduction into our public school system of a thorough and progressive course in physical culture, and
Resolved, That we request the National Executive Committee to suggest plans and programs along this line and furnish these to the party membership,. together with such advice in the matter as may be helpful to the party membership in introducing such a system into our public schools.
The manufacture and sale for profit of intoxicating and adulterated liquors leads directly to many serious social evils. Intemperance in the use of alcoholic liquors weakens the physical, mental. and moral powers.
We hold, therefore, that any excessive indulgence in intoxicating liquors by members of the working class is a serious obstacle to the triumph of our class since it impairs the vigor of the fighters in the political and economic struggle, and we urge the members of the working class to avoid any indulgence which might impair their ability to wage a successful political and economic struggle, and so hinder the progress of the movement for their emancipation.
We do not believe that the evils of alcoholism can be eradicated by repressive measures or any extension of the police powers of the capitalist state — alcoholism is a disease of which capitalism is the chief cause. Poverty, overwork and overworry necessarily result. To abolish It in intemperance on the part of the victim the wage system with all its evils is the surest way to eliminate the evils of alcoholism and the traffic in intoxicating liquor.
THE DILLINGHAM BILL.
Whereas, The Dillingham bill passed by the United States Senate would bar from this country many political refugees under a hollow distinction that some political crimes involve “moral turpitude”; and,
Whereas, Such distinctions would destroy the political ‘asylum, heretofore maintained in this country for revolutionists of all lands, as the officials of one country cannot sit in judgment over the methods of political strife and civil war in another country; and,
Whereas, Senator Root’s amendment providing for deportation without trial of “any alien who shall take advantage of his residence in the United States to conspire with others for the violent over throw of a foreign government, recognized by the United States seeks passed by the United States Senate without a dissenting vote seeks to establish in this country a passport system for aliens, thus destroying at once the principle that it is the right of every people to overthrow by force, if necessary, a despotic government, declared in the Declaration of Independence, and the principle of individual freedom from police supervision, heretofore held sacred in this country; therefore, be it
Resolved, By the Socialist party at Indianapolis, Ind., on the 16th day of May, 1912, in National Convention assembled, that we protest against this attempt of the United States Senate to turn the government of this country into a detective agency for foreign governments in their persecution of men and women fighting for the freedom of their native lands; be it further
Resolved, That we demand that the United States shall remain, as heretofore, an asylum for political refugees from all countries, without any distinction as to political crimes or supervision of political refugees; and be it further
Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be forwarded to the President of the United States. Speaker of the House of Representatives and to every member of the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization.
RESTRICTIONS ON CITIZENSHIP.
Whereas, The courts in charge of naturalization have shown a disposition to enlarge the interpretation of the rule which prohibits the naturalization of avowed anarchists, so that anyone who disbelieves in the present system of society has been held to be ineligible to become an American citizen; and,
Whereas, This tendency found a most aggravated expression in the revocation of the citizenship of Leonard Olsson, a Socialist, at Tacoma, Washington, by judge Cornelius Hanford; therefore be it
Resolved, That the Socialist party in convention assembled enters its most emphatic protest against such procedure and points out that the denial of the right of citizenship to foreign born applicants not anarchists because they hold progressive I ideas inevitably forces those now voters into the ranks of those who believe in force and violence; and be it further
Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the, Secretary of Commerce and Labor, and that we demand of him that an order be issued to the effect that this rule in naturalization cases shall be strictly interpreted and not enlarged to include persons who simply hold Socialistic or progressive social ideas.