Anarchy and Anarchists_
Eighteen and Eighty Nine_
Michael J. Schaack_
Our Anarchy is of the German school, which is more nearly akin to Nihilism than to the doctrines taught in France. It is founded upon the teachings of Karl Marx and his disciples, and it aims directly at the complete destruction of all forms of government and religion. It offers no solution of the problems which will arise when society, as we understand it, shall disappear, but contents itself with declaring that the duty at hand is tearing down; that the work of building up must come later.
The Third of Chapters_
The Exodus to Chicago—Waiting for an Opportunity—A Political Party Formed—A Question of $600,000—The First Socialist Platform—Details of the Organization—Work at the Ballot-Box—Statistics of Socialist Progress—“The International Workingmen’s Party” and The “Workingmen’s Party of the United States”—The Eleven Commandments of Labor—How the Work was to be Done—A Curious Constitution—Beginnings of the Labor Press—The Union Congress—Criticising the Ballot-Box—The Executive Committee and its Powers—Annals of 1876—A Period of Preparation—The Great Railroad Strikes of 1877—The First Attack on Society—A Decisive Defeat—Trying Politics Again—The “Socialistic Party”—Its Leaders and its Aims—August Spies as an Editor—Buying the Arbeiter-Zeitung—How the Money was Raised—Anarchist Campaign Songs—The Group Organization—Plan of the Propaganda—Dynamite First Taught—“The Bureau of Information”—An Attack on Arbitration—No Compromise with Capital—Unity of the Internationalists and the Socialists.
After the enactment of the stringent Socialist law in Germany, and the determined opposition of Prince Bismarck to the creed of the Social Democrats, the exodus to America began, and Chicago, unfortunately for this city, was the Mecca to which the exiles came. At first but little attention was paid to the incoming people. It was thought that free air and free institutions would disarm them of their rancor against organized society, and but little attention was paid to the vaporings of the leaders. We had heard that sort of thing before,—especially in the years following 1848,—and it had come to nothing; and people generally, when they heard the mouthings of the apostles of disorder, told themselves that when these apostles had each bought a home, there would come naturally, and out of the logic of facts, a change in their convictions.
Hence, although there were some inflammatory speeches, and a pretense of Socialistic activity, it was not until the year 1873 that any serious attention was paid to the movement. Even then the interest it excited was that solely of a political novelty.
The period was one of general business depression, however, and additional impetus was given to the feelings of discontent by the labor troubles in New York, Boston, St. Louis and other large cities. In New York the labor demonstrations were particularly violent. The special object sought to be accomplished there was the introduction of the eight-hour system. Eastern Internationalists saw in this an opportunity to strengthen their foothold in America, and they were not slow in fomenting discord among the members of the different trades-unions which had inaugurated the movement. They even went so far as to proclaim that, if there was any interference with the eight-hour strike, the streets would run red with the blood of capitalists. The Communists of Chicago sympathized with their brethren in the East, but they lacked numbers and similar conditions of violent discontent to urge force and bloodshed in the attainment of the same object, which, however, had been for some time under discussion by the Trades Assembly of Chicago. They consequently contented themselves with wild attacks upon the prevailing system of labor and urged a severance from existing political parties and the formation of a party exclusively devoted to the amelioration of the condition of workingmen.
Toward the end of the year 1873, the leaders seem to have concluded that they had a sufficient number of adherents to form a party, and a committee was appointed to prepare and submit a plan of organization. On the 1st of January following, this committee reported. They suggested organization into societies according to nationalities, and that all societies thus organized should be directed by a central committee, to be appointed from the several sections. At the same time it was publicly announced that “the new organization did not seek the overthrow of the national, State or city government by violence,” but would work out its mission peaceably through the ballot-box.
While the formation of a party was under consideration, times were exceedingly dull in the city. Thousands were idle, and there was a general clamor among the unemployed for relief. This discontent was seized upon to influence the minds of the poor against capital, and the remedy was declared to lie only in Socialism. The Relief and Aid Society formed the first point of attack. The Socialist leaders loudly proclaimed that it had on hand over $600,000,—the charitable contributions of the world sent to Chicago after the fire for the benefit of the poor,—which sum was held, they claimed, for the enrichment of the managers of that society and the benefit of “rich paupers.” In the early part of December, 1873, a procession of the unemployed marched through the streets of the city and demanded assistance from the municipal authorities. They finally decided to appeal to the Relief Society, and, backed by hundreds in line, a committee attempted to wait upon the officials of that organization. They were excluded, however, on the ground that all deserving cases would be aided without the intervention of a committee.
The condition of labor now formed the pretext for many a diatribe against capital in general and the alleged favoritism of the Relief and Aid Society in particular; and many allied themselves with the Socialistic organization—not comprehending its meaning, but because it happened at the moment to appeal to their passions.
It was this state of affairs which spurred on the Socialist leaders to the formation of a party. Having accepted the general plan of organization as recommended by the committee, another meeting was held in January, 1874. A declaration of principles was then formulated. There were nine articles, which may be summarized as follows:
Abolition of all class legislation and repeal of all existing laws favoring monopolies.
All means of transportation, such as railroads, canals, telegraph, etc., to be controlled, managed and operated by the State.
Abolition of the prevailing system of letting out public work by contract, the State or municipality to have all work of a public nature done under its own supervision and control.
An amendment to the laws in regard to the recovery of wages, all suits brought for the recovery of wages to be decided within eight days.
The payment of wages by the month to be abolished, and weekly payments substituted.
A discontinuance of the hiring-out of prison labor to companies or individuals, prisoners to be employed by and for the benefit of the State only.
Adoption by the State of compulsory education of all children between the ages of seven and fourteen years; the hiring-out of children under fourteen to be prohibited.
All banking, both commercial and savings, to be done by the State.
All kinds of salary grabs to be discontinued; all public officers to be paid a fixed salary instead of fees.
Specifically stated, the organization was made to consist of sections and divisions and a central committee. Each section was made to consist of twenty-five members, and was entitled to one delegate to the conventions of the order, with one delegate for every additional one hundred members or fraction thereof. The central committee was to be composed of nine members, to be chosen by the delegates. The duties of the committee were fixed under such rules as might be adopted by the organization. Their term was from one general convention to another. Each delegate was allowed as many votes as there were members of the section he represented. Delegates from each section were obliged to assemble every week to report all party affairs, and, if necessary, were expected to make similar reports to the central committee. Sections and divisions elected officers for six months. Two-thirds of the members of each section were required to be wage-workers. Each member had to pay only five cents initiation fee and five cents monthly dues. One-half of the income from fees was given to the central committee for printing and general expenses. All in arrears for three months, barring sickness or want of employment, were expelled. Each section was given the power to dismiss such members as acted by word, writing or deed to the detriment of the party and its principles. The right of appeal to the central committee was given to any member in case three of his section favored it. Monthly reports to sections and quarterly reports to the central committee as to the condition of the organization and the treasury were required of the secretary. In the event that any officer lost the confidence of his section, he could be expelled before the expiration of his term by a majority vote.
Such were the principles and plans of the organization at the outset. There does not appear anywhere anything to show that the ulterior object of the party was to use violence to enforce its demands. On the contrary, at a subsequent general gathering a preamble to the platform expressly stated that the party was organized “to advocate and advance the political platform of the Workingmen’s Party, to acquire power in legislative bodies and to uphold the principles of the platform.” Subsequent mass-meetings, held in January, ratified the declaration of principles, and the various speakers urged that, inasmuch as the “other political parties were for the benefit of unprincipled scalawags,” their party had come into existence “pure and undefiled, to secure to workingmen their rights.” The prime movers in the party at this time were John McAuliff, L. Thorsmark, Carl Klings, Henry Stahl, August Arnold, J. Zimple, Leo Meilbeck, Prokup Hudek, O. A. Bishop, John Feltes, John Simmens, Jacob Winnen, J. Krueger, William Jeffers and Robert Mueller. The organization was styled “The Workingmen’s Party of Illinois.”
Active agitation at once commenced in various parts of the city. Meetings were held wherever possible in the poorer sections of the North and West Divisions. In all speeches the prevalent distress was dwelt upon and the people were urged to combine against capital. Some of the points made at these gatherings may be judged from the remarks of the agitators at a meeting of the various sections of the party at No. 68 West Lake Street on the 1st of March, 1874. While the sentiments were somewhat rabid, there was no encouragement to deeds of violence. One of the speakers, Mr. Zimple, spoke of the object of the meeting as being “to devise means for marching on the bulwarks of aristocracy, and gain for the working classes that social position to which they were by right entitled.” Then followed an invective against capital and society. “All existing things must be torn down,” he continued, “and a new system of society built up.” Slaves even were allowed to live, but, as things were then, workingmen, who could work no longer, had to starve. If they stood together and elected good men to the Legislature next fall, this state of affairs would be changed. Legislators were too stupid to make a living by honest work, therefore they had to subsist by robbing the people. Mr. Thorsmark expressed confidence in the success of Socialism and said that if all workingmen would do their duty “the present state of society would be re-formed, not only for their benefit, but for the benefit of mankind.” Carl Klings could conceive of “nothing more inhuman, cruel and outrageous than the present state of society,” and it was for this reason, he said, that they had banded together to “strike a blow which would effect a change for all time to come.” The same tyrants, he argued, who had slaughtered their brethren in cold blood and oppressed them in France, could be found in Chicago. The workingmen of America had not accomplished anything as yet, because they were not yet fully prepared, but gradually they were becoming a great power, and soon would “no longer be compelled to drink the bitter poison from the cup of the aristocrats.” Mr. McAuliff touched on the wrongs of the existing state of society as he saw it and held that “they all had to unite in one common body and seek success at the ballot-box.”
To gain political power, the Socialists made their first attempt by placing a ticket in the field. A convention was held in Thieleman’s Theater, in the North Division of the city, on the 29th of March, 1874. Although there were general city officers to be elected the following month, the Socialists confined their efforts to making nominations only for the town offices of North Chicago, in which section their theories seemed, at that time, to have found the most fertile soil. Their ticket was made up as follows: Assessor, George F. Duffy; Collector, Philip Koerber; Supervisor, August Arnold; Town Clerk, Frederick Oest; Constable, James Jones.
At this convention an impetus was given to the new organ of the party, the Vorbote, which had just issued its initial number, and, although this journal was given a considerable circulation to boom the new-fledged candidates, the ticket only polled 950 votes.
But the leaders were not disheartened. They continued their political agitation, and at the approach of the fall campaign they decided to branch out more extensively, and to measure swords with the other political parties for all the offices in sight. On the 25th of October, 1874, a convention was held in Bohemian Turner Hall, on Taylor Street, near Canal, and Congressional, county and city tickets were put into the field. For Congress they selected, for the West Side, W. S. Le Grand; for the North Side, F. A. Hoffman, Jr. It was left an open question whom they should support on the South Side. Their candidates for the Legislature were: Madden, Rice, Hudek, Kranel, Thrane and Hymann; and for the Senate, Rowe, Bishop, Methua and Koellner. County Commissioners, Mueller, Bettetil, Bley and Maiewsky for the West Side, and German and Breitenstein for the North Side. Their candidate for Sheriff was E. Melchior, and for Coroner, Dr. Geiger. The aldermanic selections were: In the Second Ward, Wasika; in the Fourth, Tuer; in the Sixth, Grapsicsky; in the Seventh, Maj. Warnecke and E. A. Haller; in the Eighth, Leonhard; in the Ninth, George Heck; in the Tenth, Sticker; in the Eleventh, Urenharst; in the Twelfth, Zirbes; in the Fourteenth, Sirks; in the Fifteenth, Schwenn and Anderson; in the Sixteenth, Seilheimer; in the Seventeenth, H. Jensen; in the Eighteenth, Frey; and in the Twentieth, Otto F. Schalz. In the wards not given no nominations were made.
The strength of the ticket may be gathered by the fact that at the election, on November 5th, Melchior received only 378 votes, while his opponent, Agnew, Democrat, scored 28,549, and Bradley, Republican, 21,080. The Socialist candidate who polled the largest number of votes was Breitenstein, for County Commissioner—790.
The leaders now became convinced that a German morning daily was necessary to further the interests of their party. The Illinois Staats-Zeitungand the Freie Presse had almost neutralized their efforts on the stump, and they saw that they must have an organ to meet these papers and reach the masses. They had seen the effects of workingmen’s papers in Germany, where several representatives had been sent to the Reichstag, and as their party shibboleth then was “to secure power in legislative bodies” in Illinois, they determined to found a paper of their own. On the 13th of December, 1874, on Market Street, they held a secret meeting. The leading spirits in the proceedings were Mueller, Simmens and Klings. It was proposed that stock to the amount of $20,000 should be issued for a daily, but as no one seemed to be thoroughly posted in the matter of publishing a paper, it was decided to select a committee. Messrs. Klings, Helmerdeg, Simmens, Methua, Kelting, Winner and Finkensieber were so selected, but whether they made any progress, or submitted a report as to their conclusions, is not known. It is certain that no daily appeared to supplement the efforts of their weekly organ at that time, and it was not until four or five years later that such a paper finally made its appearance.
In the winter of 1874 and the spring of 1875 the Socialist agitators were not openly aggressive, but they nevertheless kept quietly at work sowing the seed of discontent. Finally, in October, 1875, they resumed open and active agitation. The only meeting they held that fall was at No. 529 Milwaukee Avenue, and their wrath was directed especially against the Republican and Democratic candidates for County Treasurer. The speakers were J. Webeking, John Feltis, Jacob Winnen, A. Zimmerman and John Simmens. The burden of their harangues was that “the workingmen should no longer believe the scoundrels” put up by the other parties. It was time, they urged, to “destroy the power of the robber band.” Workingmen must “organize, place laborers on the throne, and drive capitalists from power.”
In the election, held the following month, they took no active part, and this fact, together with the apparently quiescent condition of the organization, prompted the Tribune to remark:
No longer do they work openly (smarting under former failures), nor do they allow outsiders like Oelke, Gruenhut and others to get into their ranks. The Workingmen’s Party of Illinois, as the Communists of this city style themselves, no longer acts as an independent organization, but has placed itself under the protectorate of the society of the Internationalists, which has branches in every city in the world. The executive committee of this society, which formerly resided in Paris and Leipsic, has now its headquarters in New York, and its mandates are implicitly complied with by all the local organizations. The central committee believe that during the winter large numbers will be without employment, and hence a proper time will come to strike a blow. For months they have been organizing military companies and maturing plans to burn Chicago and other large cities in the United States and the Old World.
At about this time a secret meeting was held at No. 140 West Lake Street. Only members of the local committee of the Internationale and the executive committee of the Workingmen’s Party were present. It came to the surface that other than political measures were discussed. The Socialist leaders denied all intention of abandoning politics, but they did not hesitate to avow a belief that some startling blow would facilitate the success of their movement. What seemed to give a strong color of truth to reports about their incendiary intentions was the action they took with reference to Carl Klings. He had been one of the most active spirits in their organization. He was a fiery, impetuous speaker and carried the crowds with him in all his harangues. For some unknown reason, not explainable upon any other hypothesis than that some violent demonstration was contemplated as a change from their past policy, the party had decided to take no hand in the election of November, and yet, in spite of this decision, Klings had entered into it most bitterly and violently to accomplish the defeat of a candidate against whom he cherished the greatest enmity. It would seem that this, viewed from a Socialistic standpoint, ought to have commended him to his brethren, especially as the candidate was beaten in the election, but, on the representation that he had violated an order of the party, Klings was summarily expelled from the organization on the 13th of December, 1875. The fact that he had never secretly advocated violent means undoubtedly accounts for his expulsion.
It is unquestionably true that at this time the Communists were beginning to think of more serious matters than politics, and gradually drifting away from their peaceful mission as avowed in their early party platform and public declarations, and it is not unwarranted to attribute their non-intervention in politics that fall to the efforts and influence of the Internationale. They proved in more ways than one that they had at heart revolutionary methods, and that they were only awaiting an opportune time to boldly proclaim their sentiments. Even if there could exist a doubt on this point, it was dissipated by the utterances of the Socialists at a mass-meeting held December 26, 1875, at West Twelfth Street Turner Hall, to protest against the treatment of Communist prisoners in New Caledonia by the French Government.
As already stated, the Socialists had established in 1874 an “International Workingmen’s Party of the State of Illinois,” and for some time they held meetings under that pretentious title, principally on Clybourn Avenue. The organization struggled along for awhile and finally was lost to sight. Subsequently a “Workingmen’s Party of the United States” appeared in the Socialistic world, and some of the leaders of the old local organization began to identify themselves with its establishment and success. They held frequent meetings on North Avenue. The declaration of principles of the new party was as follows:
The emancipation of the working classes must be achieved by the working classes themselves, independently of all political parties of the propertied class.
The struggle for the emancipation of the working classes means not a struggle for class privileges and monopolies, but for equal rights and duties, and the abolition of all class rule.
The economical subjection of the man of labor to the monopolizers of the means of labor, the sources of life, lies at the bottom of servitude in all its forms, of all social misery, mental degradation and political dependence.
The economical emancipation of the working classes is, therefore, the great end to which every political movement ought to be subordinate as a means.
All efforts aiming at that great end have hitherto failed from want of solidarity between the manifold divisions of labor in each country, and from the absence of concerted action between the workingmen of all countries.
The emancipation of labor is neither a local nor a national, but a social problem, embracing all countries in which modern society exists, and depending for its solution upon the practical and theoretical concurrence and coöperation of the most advanced countries.
For these reasons the Workingmen’s Party of the United States has been founded. It enters into proper relations and connections with the workingmen of other countries.
Whereas, political liberty without economical freedom is but an empty phrase; therefore, we will, in the first place, direct our efforts to the economical question. We repudiate entirely connection with all political parties of the propertied class without regard to their name. We demand that all the means of labor, land, machinery, railroads, telegraphs, canals, etc., become the common property of the whole people, for the purpose of abolishing the wage-system, and substituting in its place coöperative production with a just distribution of its rewards.
The political action of the party will be confined generally to obtaining legislative acts in the interest of the working class proper. It will not enter into a political campaign before being strong enough to exercise a perceptible influence, and then in the first place locally in the towns or cities, when demands of purely local character may be presented, provided they are not in conflict with the platform and principles of the party. We work for organization of the trades-unions upon a national and international basis, to ameliorate the condition of the working people and seek to spread therein the above principles. The Workingmen’s Party of the United States proposes to introduce the following measures as a means to improve the condition of the working classes:
1. Eight hours’ work for the present as a normal working day, and legal punishment for all violators.
2. Sanitary inspection of all conditions of labor, means of subsistence and dwellings included.
3. Establishment of bureaus of labor statistics in all States as well as by the National Government, the officers of these bureaus to be taken from the ranks of the labor organizations and elected by them.
4. Prohibition of the use of prison labor by private employers.
5. Prohibitory laws against the employment of children under fourteen years of age in industrial establishments.
6. Gratuitous instruction in all educational institutions.
7. Strict laws making employers liable for all accidents to the injury of their employes.
8. Gratuitous administration of justice in courts of law.
9. Abolition of all conspiracy laws.
10. Railroads, telegraphs and all means of transportation to be taken hold of and operated by the Government.
11. All industrial enterprises to be placed under the control of the Government as fast as practicable and operated by free coöperative trades-unions for the good of the whole people.
The Constitution of the “Workingmen’s Party of the United States” was as follows:
The affairs of the party shall be conducted by three bodies: 1. The Congress. 2. The Executive Committee. 3. The Board of Supervision.
Article I. The Congress. 1. At least every two years a Congress shall be held, composed of the delegates from the different sections that have been connected with the party at least two months previously and complied with all their duties. Sections of less than one hundred members shall be entitled to one delegate; from one hundred to two hundred, to two delegates; and one more delegate for each additional hundred.
2. No suspended section shall be admitted to a seat before the Congress has examined and passed judgment on the case. It shall, however, be the duty of every Congress to put such cases on the order of business and dispose of them immediately after the election of its officers.
3. The Congress defines and establishes the political position of the party, decides finally on all differences within the party, appoints time and place of next Congress and designates the seat of the Executive Committee and of the Board of Supervisors.
4. The entire expenses of Congress, as well as mileage and salaries of the delegates, shall be paid by the party and provided for by a special tax to be levied six weeks before the Congress meets before the year 1880; however, no mileage will be paid beyond the 36th degree of northern latitude, nor beyond the 59th degree of western longitude.
5. All propositions and motions to be considered and acted upon by Congress shall be communicated to all sections at least six weeks previously.
Article II. The Executive Committee. 1. The Executive Committee shall consist of seven members and shall appoint from its own midst one corresponding secretary, one recording secretary, one financial secretary and one treasurer. The Executive Committee shall be elected by the sections of the place designated as its seat, and vacancies shall be filled in the same way.
2. The Executive Committee shall hold office from one Congress to the ensuing one.
3. The duties of the Executive Committee shall be to execute all resolutions of Congress, and to see that they are strictly observed by all sections and members, to organize and centralize the propaganda, to represent the organization at home and abroad, to entertain and open relations with the workingmen’s parties of other countries, to make a quarterly report to the sections concerning the status of the organization and its financial position, to make all necessary preparations for the Congress as well as a detailed report on all party matters.
4. Right and Power of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee, with the concurrence of the Board of Supervision, may refuse to admit to the organization individuals and sections as well as suspend members and sections till the next Congress for injuring the party interests. In case of urgency the Executive Committee may make suitable propositions, which propositions shall become binding, if approved of by a majority of the members within two months. The Executive Committee has the right to establish rules and regulations for the policy to be observed by the party papers, to watch their course, and in cases of vacancies to appoint editors pro tempore. The Executive Committee may send the corresponding secretary as delegate to Congress; the delegate will have no vote and shall be prohibited from accepting any other credentials.
5. The salary of the party officers shall be fixed by the Executive Committee with the concurrence of the Board of Supervision.
6. The corresponding secretary shall copy all documents and writings issuing from the Executive Committee, place on file all communications received, and keep a correct record thereof. He shall receive a proper salary.
7. The financial secretary shall keep and make out the lists of sections and members, receive and record all money and hand the same over to the treasurer, taking his voucher therefore.
8. The treasurer shall receive all moneys from the financial secretary, pay bills and honor all orders of the Executive Committee, after they are countersigned by the corresponding secretary and one more member of the Executive Committee, make a correct report on the status of the treasury to the Executive Committee at every meeting and to the whole organization every three months, and give security in the amount fixed by the Executive Committee. The report of the treasurer must be examined at a regular session of the Executive Committee and indorsed by the same.
Article III. The Board of Supervision. 1. The Board of Supervision shall consist of five members, to hold office and be elected in the same way as the Executive Committee.
2. The duties of the Board of Supervision shall be to watch over the action of the Executive Committee and that of the whole party; to superintend the administration and the editorial management of the organs of the party, and to interfere in case of need; to adjust all differences occurring in the party within four weeks after receiving the necessary evidence, subject to the final decision of the Congress; to make a detailed report of its actions to Congress.
3. In case of any urgency the Board of Supervision may suspend officers and editors until the meeting of the next Congress, such suspension to be submitted at once to a general vote, the result of which shall be made known within four weeks thereafter.
4. The Board of Supervision is entitled to send one delegate to the Congress under the same conditions as the Executive Committee.
Article IV. Sections. Ten persons speaking the same language and being wage-workers shall be entitled to form a section, provided they acknowledge the principles, statutes and Congress resolutions and belong to no political party of the propertied classes. They shall demand admission from the Executive Committee by transmitting the dues for the current month, and their list of members, their letter to contain the names, residences and trade of members, and to show their conditions as wage-laborers. At least three-fourths of the members of a section must be wage-laborers. There shall be no more than one section of the same language in one place, which meet at different parts of the town or city for the purpose of an active propaganda. Business meetings shall be held once a month. Each section is responsible for the integrity of its members. Each section is required to make a monthly report to the Executive Committee concerning its activity, membership and financial situation, to entertain friendly relations with the trades-unions and to promote their formation, to hold regular meetings at least once every week, and to direct its efforts exclusively to the organization, enlightening and emancipating the working classes. No section shall take part in political movements without the consent of the Executive Committee. Five sections of different localities shall be entitled to call for the convention of an extraordinary Congress, such Congress to be convened if a majority of the sections decides in its favor.
Article V. Dues and Contributions. A monthly due of five cents for each member shall be transmitted to the Executive Committee to meet the expenses of the propaganda and administration. In case of need, and with the consent of the Board of Supervision, the Executive Committee is empowered to levy an extraordinary tax.
Article VI. General Regulations. All officers, committees, boards, etc., shall be chosen by a majority vote. No member of the organization shall hold more than one office at the same time. All officers, authorities, committees, boards, etc., of the organization, may be dismissed or removed at any time by a general vote of their constituencies, and such general vote shall be taken within one month from the date of the motion to this effect; provided, however, that said motion be seconded by not less than one-third of the respective constituents. Expulsion from one section shall be valid for the whole organization if approved by the Executive Committee and the Board of Supervision.
All members of the organization, by the adoption of this constitution, take upon themselves the duty to assist each other morally and materially in case of need.
The Congress alone has the right of amending, altering or adding to this constitution, subject to a general vote of all sections, the result of which is to be communicated to the Executive Committee within four weeks.
Article VII. Local Statutes. Each section shall chose from its ranks one organizer, one corresponding and recording secretary, one financial secretary, one treasurer and two members of an auditing committee. All these officers shall be elected for six months, and the Executive Committee shall take timely measures to make the election of newly formed sections correspond with the general election of the whole party. The organizer conducts the local propaganda and is responsible to the section.
The organizers of the various sections of one locality shall be in constant communication with each other in order to secure concerted action. The secretary is charged with the minutes and the correspondence. The financial secretary shall keep and make out the list of members, sign the cards of membership, collect the dues, hand them over to the treasurer and correctly enter them. The treasurer shall receive all moneys from the financial secretary and hold them subject to the order of the section. The auditing committee shall superintend all books and the general management of the affairs, and audit bills. All officers shall make monthly reports to the section. A chairman is elected in every meeting for maintaining the usual parliamentary order.
The monthly dues of each member shall be no less than ten cents, five cents of which shall be paid to the Executive Committee. Members being in arrears for three consecutive months shall be suspended until fulfilling their duties, always excepted those who are sick or out of work. Persons not belonging to the wages-class can only be admitted in a regular business meeting by a two-thirds vote. The result of every election within the section must be at once communicated to the Executive Committee.
Regulations concerning the Press of the Workingmen’s Party of the United States.—The Labor Standard of New York, the Arbeiter-Stimme of New York and the Vorbote of Chicago are recognized as the organs and property of the party. The organs of the party shall represent the interest of labor, awaken and arouse class feelings amongst the workingmen, promote their organization as well as the trades-union movement, and spread economical knowledge amongst them. The editorial management of each one of the papers of the party shall be intrusted to an editor appointed by Congress or by the Executive Committee and the Board of Supervision jointly, the editor to receive an appropriate salary. Whenever needed, assistant editors shall be appointed by the Executive Committee with the advice and consent of the chief editor. The chief editor is responsible for the contents of the paper and is to be guided in matters of principle by the declarations of principles of the party; in technical and formal matters by the regulations of the Executive Committee. Whenever refusing to insert a communication from a member of the organization, the editor is to make it known to the writer thereof, directly or by an editorial notice, when an appeal can be taken to the Executive Committee. The editor shall observe strict neutrality toward differences arising within the party till the Board of Supervision and the Congress have given their decision. For each one of the three party papers there shall be elected at their respective places of publication a council of administration of five members, who, jointly with the Executive Committee, shall appoint and remove the business manager and his assistants. The council of administration shall be chosen for one year in the first week of August of each year. The council of administration shall establish rules for the business management, superintend the same, investigate all complaints concerning the business management, redress all grievances, pay their weekly salaries to the editors and managers, and make a full report of the status of the paper every three months to all sections by a circular. The manager is bound to mail punctually and address correctly the papers; he shall receive all moneys, book them and hand them over to the treasurer of the council of administration, and he shall keep the office of the paper in good order; his salary shall be fixed by the Congress or by the Executive Committee. All sums over and above the amount of the security shall be deposited in a bank by the council of administration. The receipts of all moneys from without shall be published in the paper.
The treasurer of the council of administration and the manager shall give security to the council of administration in the amount fixed by the Executive Committee. The chief editor’s salary shall be from $15 to $20 per week. All complaints against the editorial management shall in the first place be put before the Executive Committee, in the second place before the Board of Supervision. All complaints against the business management shall be first referred to the council of administration, in the second place to the Board of Supervision. The sections are responsible for the financial liabilities of the newspaper agents appointed by them. The Congress alone can alter, amend or add to these regulations.
The spring of 1876 found the local party in a quiescent state as regards active participation in politics, but they did not abandon their meetings. The First Regiment of the National Guard at this period had assumed goodly proportions, and it naturally came in for a good deal of attention at the hands of the speakers. They never failed to denounce it; but, to cover their own sinister designs and lull others to a sense of security, they invariably declared that the Communists intended no war. They continued their “vacant-lot” oratory and in every way sought to increase the number of their party adherents.
Toward the end of July, 1876, a Union Congress was held in Philadelphia, and these new declarations of principles were formulated:
The Union Congress of the Workingmen’s Party of the United States declares: The emancipation of labor is a social problem concerning the whole human race and embracing all sexes. The emancipation of women will be accomplished with the emancipation of men, and the so-called woman’s rights question will be solved with the labor question. All evils and wrongs of the present society can be abolished only when economical freedom is gained for men as well as for women. It is the duty, therefore, of the wives and daughters of the workingmen to organize themselves and take their places within the ranks of struggling labor. To aid and support them in this work is the duty of men. By uniting their efforts they will succeed in breaking the economical fetters, and a new and free race of men and women will arise, recognizing each other as peers. We acknowledge the perfect equality of rights of both sexes, and in the Workingmen’s Party of the United States this equality of rights is a principle and is strictly observed.
The Ballot-box.—Considering that the economical emancipation of the working classes is the great end, to which every political movement ought to be subordinate as a means; considering that the Workingmen’s Party of the United States in the first place directs its efforts to the economical struggle; considering that only in the economical arena the combatants for the Workingmen’s Party can be trained and disciplined; considering that in this country the ballot-box has long ago ceased to record the popular will, and only serves to falsify the same in the hands of professional politicians; considering that the organization of the working people is not yet far enough developed to overthrow at once this state of corruption; considering that this middle class republic has produced an enormous amount of small reformers and quacks, the intruding of whom will only be facilitated by a political movement of the Workingmen’s Party of the United States and considering that the corruption and misapplication of the ballot-box, as well as the silly reform movements, flourish most in years of Presidential elections, at such times greatly endangering the organization of workingmen: For these reasons the Union Congress, meeting at Philadelphia in July, 1876, resolves:
The sections of this party as well as all workingmen in general are earnestly invited to abstain from all political movements for the present and to turn their back on the ballot-box. The workingmen will thus save themselves bitter disappointments, and their time and efforts will be directed far better towards their own organization, which is frequently destroyed and always injured by a hasty political movement.
Let us bide our time! It will come.
Party Government.—Chicago shall be the seat of the Executive Committee for the ensuing term; New Haven, the seat of the Board of Supervision.
The Next Congress.—The Executive Committee, in connection with the Board of Supervision, shall select a place for holding the next Congress in the following named cities: Chicago, Ill.; Newark, N. J.; Boston, Mass. The end of August shall be the time for the meeting of the next Congress, and the Executive Committee jointly with the Board of Supervision shall decide whether the next Congress shall be held in 1877 or 1878.
The Party Press.—As editor of the Labor Standard, J. P. McDonnell is appointed at a salary of $15 per week; at least one member of Typographical Union No. 6 shall be employed as a compositor. As editor of the Arbeiter-Stimme Dr. A. Otto Walster is appointed at a salary of $18 per week; the paper is to be enlarged in a proper way in October next. As editor of the Vorbote C. Conzett is appointed at a salary of $18 per week. In consideration of the claim of C. Conzett upon the paper for past services it is resolved that after a thorough investigation of the books the Executive Committee shall give to C. Conzett a promissory note for an amount not exceeding the sum of $1,430; for payment of this note two-thirds of the net gains made by party festivities in Chicago and the whole of the gain resulting from a general New Year’s festivity in the year 1876 shall be appropriated. Stock and assets to pass into the hands of the party. A coöperative printing association like the one in New York shall be formed in Chicago, which shall publish the Vorbote at cost price, adding the usual percentage of wear and tear, and which shall buy the stock for not less than $600. A diminution of the size of the Vorbote is proposed, and Conzett is empowered to act in this matter with due regard to the interests of the party. Dr. A. Douai is appointed assistant editor of all three papers. It is also resolved to employ the late editor of the English paper as assistant editor for numbers 18 and 19 of the Labor Standard and pay him his usual salary of $12 per week for two weeks more. It is resolved to levy an extraordinary tax of ten cents per member, and to continue said extraordinary tax every three months until all liabilities of the party shall be paid. All sections are invited to hold festivities in honor of the Union, now accomplished, and to devote the proceeds of these festivities to aid the press of the party and to pay the extraordinary taxes.
It was further resolved that “no local paper shall be founded without the consent of the Executive Committee and the Board of Supervision.” It was resolved to place the agencies of all foreign publications in the hands of the party. After having come to an understanding with the various publishers of labor papers in other countries, a central depot was to be established. The two councils of administration of the party organs in New York were charged with making the necessary preparations for opening the central depot on the first day of October in New York. It was also recommended to the party authorities to publish labor pamphlets adapted to the conditions of this country.
Decisions of the Executive Committee.—In order to insure the collection of the extra tax of ten cents per quarter, levied by the Congress, the moneys sent in for dues will be credited to the extra tax account for the preceding quarter year, should such delinquencies occur. Any section in arrears for three months will be notified, and if within one month thereafter the section has not restored its good standing, it will be declared defunct. Where sections cannot appoint their own newspaper agent from among the members, they may appoint any person as their agent, but such agent must be personally responsible. Where sections fail to report gain or loss of members, they will be charged for dues and extra tax, according to the number of members enrolled at the last report. Every section shall be judge of its own members, but no expulsion from the whole party can be effected except as provided for by the constitution. No person can be a member of two sections at the same time.
Amendments to the Constitution.—Paragraph 3, division 4, under “Sections.” First amendment, adopted December 16th by a general election: In addition to one section (composed of men of each language of any locality) there may also be organized one section of women under the same regulations as the others. Second amendment, adopted July 15: Article 1, paragraph 4, is amended to read: “For the Congress to be held in the year 1887, the expenses of each delegate will be borne by the section or sections represented by him.”
During the winter of 1876 the excitement on the possible outcome of the national election prostrated business throughout the country. There were even rumors and threats of bloody conflict. Capital naturally hesitated, and investments were confined to projects in which there was no element of chance and for which the returns were measurably certain. The Socialists of Chicago sought in every possible way to make the most of the situation by inflaming the minds of the unemployed against capital, and labored to secure proselytes by urging that such a state of affairs could never exist under Socialism. Meetings were held wherever either a hall or a vacant lot could be secured. A. R. Parsons, Philip Van Patten, George A. Schilling, T. J. Morgan and Ben Sibley, who had hitherto figured only before small street crowds, now became prominent as speakers at large gatherings, and their harangues proved that they were apt students in the Socialistic school, and ready expounders of the proposed new social system.
The Legislature of Illinois was in session at the time under review, and in March, 1877, the Socialist leaders entered into a discussion of the necessity of forcing that body to pass the bills then pending before it with reference to the establishment of a bureau of statistics on wages and earnings, cost and manner of living, fatal accidents in each branch of labor and their causes, coöperation, hours of labor, etc., and for the collection of wages. They urged that the laboring classes should demand these measures and insisted that the “boss classes, the capitalistic classes, the aristocrats, who lived in riot and luxury on the fruit which labor had tilled and ought to enjoy,” should not stand in the way of their passage. Time and again they rang the various changes on the “iniquity and inequalities of the present social system,” and fairly howled themselves hoarse in declaring that “the Labor party was organized not only to destroy that system, but to secure a division of property, which Socialism demanded and was determined to have.”
Early in July, 1877, the firemen and brakemen of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad began a strike at Baltimore against a reduction of wages. This strike soon reached Martinsburg, W. Va., and caused an immense blockade of freight traffic. The strikers finally grew so riotous that the local authorities were powerless, and President Hayes, being appealed to by the Governor of Maryland, issued a proclamation. United States troops were at the same time dispatched from Washington and Fort McHenry to the scene of disturbances, and order was finally brought out of chaos.
Following close upon the heels of this strike came one on the Pennsylvania Railroad at Pittsburg, against an order doubling up trains and thus dispensing with a large number of employés. The railroad people, in explanation of their action, showed that during June preceding not only had there been a great depreciation of railroad stocks, but a shrinkage in the value of railroad property from 20 to 70 per cent., caused by a great falling-off in business. It is needless for the purpose of this chapter to recount the wild scenes of riot and bloodshed that ensued at Pittsburg, when troops numbering two thousand, sent from Philadelphia, engaged in deadly conflict with the unbridled mob and when millions of dollars’ worth of property was destroyed by the incendiary torch.
While this carnival of fire, death and bloodshed still startled the world, a strike broke out in Chicago among railroad men. While the strikers here sought to contend in an orderly manner against their employers, the same element which had inspired and carried out deeds of violence in the East—the Communists—were not slow to seize upon the opportunity in Chicago to widen the breach between capital and labor. Threats and riotous demonstrations were their weapons. They virtually took possession of all the large manufacturing establishments in the city, and by intimidation and force compelled men willing to work and satisfied with their wages to join their howling mobs. Not alone did they succeed in stopping freight traffic, but they clogged the wheels of industry in the principal factories and shops of the city. The leaders were active during the day directing the riotous movements of their followers, and at night they assembled to devise methods to increase the general turmoil. Their headquarters were at No. 131 Milwaukee Avenue, and here all-night sessions were sometimes held. Proclamations were frequently sent out to workingmen, urging them to stand firmly in defense of their rights.
The leading spirits at this time were Philip Van Patten, now of Cincinnati, J. H. White, J. Paulsen and Charles Erickson, who constituted the executive committee of the Workingmen’s Party, and A. R. Parsons and George Schilling.
Some of the meetings referred to were quite stormy in character. Threats were made to “clean out” the police, and some speakers advised attacks on the guardians of the peace with stones, bricks and revolvers. The leaders were too cautious, however, to advise anything of the kind in their public declarations. Violence was reserved for the mobs on the inspiration of the moment, or at the instigation of trusted adherents at the proper time.
That such were their intentions is apparent from a statement of one of the members, who said:
“To-morrow Chicago will see a big day, and no one can predict what will be the end of this contest.”
Sure enough, on the day following—the 25th of July—a conflict ensued between the police and strong mobs at the Halsted Street Viaduct and elsewhere, in which several of the rioters were injured. On the day following, the riots reached their culminating point, and between the police, infantry and cavalry the Communistic element were driven to their holes with many killed and wounded. That effectually terminated the reign of riot, and the city resumed its normal condition. The trouble in the East also subsided about the same time.
The Communists, after this severe lesson, remained dormant for some months. Evidently they saw that the time had not arrived for the commencement of that revolution which they had at heart. In the fall of 1877 they seem to have reached the conclusion that they would exchange the art of war for arts political. Accordingly, in October they were again to be found on the campaign stump—for the first time since 1874. There were then four parties in the field,—Democrats, Republicans, Industrials and Greenbackers,—and this situation may have suggested a chance for the success of their ticket or an opportunity to secure concessions from the dominant parties that would result to their advantage. C. J. Dixon was then chairman of the “Industrial Party.” This party claimed to seek redress for the grievances of workingmen without resorting to destruction of society or government, and if it had denied affiliation with the Socialists it might have become a factor in politics. It may be stated that for a time after the election Dixon held to his principles, but a few years later became a representative in the Legislature of the Communistic element.
The outcome of the political agitation of the Socialists that fall was the nomination of the following ticket: For County Treasurer, Frank A. Stauber; County Clerk, A. R. Parsons; Probate Clerk, Philip Van Patten; Clerk of the Criminal Court, Tim O’Meara; Superintendent of Schools, John McAuliff; County Commissioners, W. A. Barr, Samuel Goldwater, T. J. Morgan, Max Nisler and L. Thorsmark. For Judge, John A. Jameson, then on the bench, was indorsed, and Julius Rosenthal—not a Socialist—was nominated for Judge of the Probate Court. The election held on the 8th of November showed some gains for the party. Omitting the “Industrials” which were swallowed up by the other parties in the way of “election trades,” the Socialists secured a vote of 6,592 in the contest for the County Treasurership, while McCrea, Republican, polled a vote of 22,423; Lynch, Democrat, 18,388, and Hammond, Greenbacker, 769.
In 1878 a session of the Congress was again held, and then it was decided to change the name of the “Workingmen’s Party of the United States” to the “Socialistic Labor Party,” and it was also resolved to “use the ballot-box as a means for the elevation of working people” and for “electing men from their own ranks to the halls of legislation and to the municipal government.”
The different wards of Chicago were subsequently organized into ward clubs, each with a captain and secretary as permanent officers for a year. It was made the duty of the captain of a ward to find halls for public meetings and to report to the central committee. He was to open the meetings in his ward and see that a chairman was chosen from among those attending. The duty of the secretary was to issue cards of membership to new members, to collect monthly dues of ten cents from each member, and to receipt for the same on the back of the cards; he was also to keep minutes of the meetings and have them published in the party papers. The captain was authorized to appoint a precinct captain for every precinct in his ward, whose duty it was to control the distribution of tickets at elections. The precinct captain was also directed to appoint lieutenants in his precinct, one for each block if possible, to assist him in the work of agitation and the distribution of tickets.
Under the plans formulated by the Socialistic Congress a central committee was again organized in the city of Chicago. It was composed of a chairman, a secretary and a treasurer, who were elected by a joint meeting of the different sections every six months. In 1878 there were four sections in Chicago—one German, one English, one French and one Scandinavian. The German section had the largest number of members, between three and four hundred, and was steadily gaining. The English section numbered only about one hundred and fifty. The Scandinavian branch had about an equal number. The French only mustered fifty members. During a campaign the ward captains were made members of the central committee. They were charged with the duty of reporting the progress of the ward clubs, notifying the committee where halls had been rented and indicating what speakers were needed. It was the duty of the central committee to advertise all club meetings, pay for the halls rented when the clubs could not pay, and settle all bills and expenses incident to an election. The committee was the only body authorized to order the printing of tickets, and for all their acts they were held responsible to the “Socialistic Labor Party.” The money needed to defray expenses was raised mostly through subscriptions and collections in the various clubs. The meetings of the committee were conducted openly. Representatives of the press were permitted to be present if at any prior meeting they had not purposely distorted the proceedings. During the years 1878 and 1879 the meetings of the committee were generally held in a hall on the second floor of No. 7 South Clark Street.
With an organization thus perfected under the plan of the Socialistic Congress, the Socialists felt themselves in condition to cope with the other parties. They saw in the vote of 1877 a chance for seating some of their members in the City Council, and set out to talk politics at all their gatherings for the spring of 1878. On the 15th of March of that year they held a convention at No. 45 North Clark Street, and put up a ticket for Aldermen in all the wards except the Eleventh and Eighteenth, and for the various town offices in the three divisions of Chicago. Inasmuch as the “old timber” was worked over for these various offices, it is needless to repeat names. Their platform reiterated the demands made in the first declaration of principles, and, in addition, asked for the establishment of public baths in each division of the city; extension of the school system; annulment of the gas and street-car companies’ charters, the same to be operated by the city after payment to the owners of principal and interest on moneys actually invested, out of the profits; prompt payment of taxes, and employment for all residents of the city that needed it.
During the campaign incident to the election, Paul Grottkau, then a recent arrival from Berlin, proved a conspicuous figure and made a number of stirring appeals. He expounded the principles of Socialism and invariably wound up by characterizing the members of the Democratic and Republican parties as “liars and horse-thieves.” Through his active participation in the Socialistic movement in Chicago Grottkau became editor of the Arbeiter-Zeitung, but, fortunately for himself, was displaced in 1880 by August Spies.
The election of April, 1878, resulted in placing one member in the City Council—Stauber, from the Fourteenth Ward.
This was the first political victory the Socialists had achieved in the city, and, having noticed a small but steady increase in their voting force, they proceeded to organize and agitate more diligently than ever before in a political way. Meanwhile they saw the growing strength of the State militia, and as an offset to the organization of the various military companies in Chicago they determined to raise and equip companies from their own ranks. They had begun in a quiet way to start the nucleus of military companies some time after the First Regiment had been organized, but it was not until 1878 that it became generally known that they had men armed and drilled in military tactics, to be marshaled against society upon a favorable opportunity. In the early part of 1878 the very flower and strength of their military was the Lehr und Wehr Verein, composed of picked men and veterans who had been baptized with fire on European battlefields. Its strength was variously estimated at from four to six thousand, but it never exceeded four hundred members. The “Jaeger Verein,” the “Bohemian Sharpshooters” and the “Labor Guard of the Fifth Ward,” each with no more than fifty members, were auxiliary organizations and composed mainly of raw recruits. Their instruction in the manual of arms was mainly given by Major Presser, a trained and skilled European tactician.
Meantime the party had been greatly strengthened by the aid of newspapers printed in its interest. In 1874, Die Volks-Zeitung had been started by a stock company called the Social-Democratic Printing Association. This paper was published at No. 94 South Market Street, with Mr. Brucker as editor. Shortly thereafter, the Vorbote, a weekly paper, was started under the auspices of the Workingmen’s Party at the same number. C. Conzett, formerly a resident of Berne, Switzerland, became its editor. He subsequently bought out the Volks-Zeitung and thereafter published a tri-weekly paper under the name of the Arbeiter-Zeitung, which became a private enterprise in the interest of workingmen. His assistant editor was Gustav Leiser. They made the paper an advocate of revolutionary methods and urged the organization of trades-unions. They encouraged strikes and held that only through such means could workingmen secure their rights. They published without charge all grievances of laboring men on the score of non-payment of wages and abuses of manufacturing concerns, but each article had the full name of the writer. At first the editors did not favor a resort to the ballot-box to remedy grievances. It was not until after the great railroad strike of July, 1877, that they advocated an organized fight in elections independently of the old parties. The workingmen, they urged, must elect men of their own in order to secure favorable legislation.
In 1878 an English weekly called the Socialist was started under the auspices of the main section of the Socialistic Labor Party of Chicago. This main section was composed of the German, English, Scandinavian and French sections, and they employed Frank Hirth as editor at a salary of $15 per week and A. R. Parsons as assistant at a salary of $12 per week. This paper was made the organ in the English language of the Socialistic Labor Party, and, while it made some headway at the start, it succumbed within a year, owing to jealousies and differences of opinion between the German and English sections.
About the time the Socialist was established another paper was put in the field by the Scandinavian section. It was called Den Nye Tid, and was edited by Mr. Peterson.
In 1878 the proprietor of the Arbeiter-Zeitung signified a willingness to sell his paper to the Socialistic Labor Party, and, in order to consummate the transfer, the main section held a meeting in May of that year at Steinmueller’s Hall, No. 45 North Clark Street. Plans were then and there matured for its purchase. It was decided to borrow the money and issue notes at 6 per cent. interest, payable as soon as the treasury had secured enough from collections and other sources to take them up. Collectors were appointed for each division of the city, and they were directed to collect money from workingmen and storekeepers. On the evening of June 29, 1878, a meeting was held at No. 7 South Clark Street, and the reports showed that enough money had been raised to purchase the Arbeiter-Zeitung. Subsequently a general meeting was held and a society was organized called the “Socialistische Druckgesellschaft.” A board of trustees was chosen, and they applied to the Secretary of State for a charter. That official declined to issue the charter because the name of the society was in German. Another meeting was held at No. 54 West Lake Street, and the name was changed to the “Socialistic Publishing Company,” after which the charter was readily secured. The paper was then transferred by Herr Conzett to the new company, and subsequently the managers added a Sunday edition called Die Fackel. Paul Grottkau, formerly editor of the Berlin Freie Presse, was appointed editor under the new management at a salary of $15 per week, and F. J. Pfeiffer, of Chicago, was made assistant editor. The society which now had charge of the paper was composed of bona fide members of the German section. Their meetings were conducted in the same manner as those of the Socialistic Labor Party. The price of the Arbeiter-Zeitungwas reduced, and all money realized from its sale over and above expenses was applied for purposes of agitation. While the paper was reported in a prospering condition, it was decided to take steps to pay off its indebtednes as represented by the outstanding notes, and to this end a grand festival was to be held, the proceeds of which should be devoted to the press fund. Some trouble was experienced in getting a hall large enough for the purpose. The Exposition Building was finally decided upon, and it was secured without much delay, with results as noted further along in this chapter.
Soon after the Socialist had expired, the members of the Workingmen’s Party felt the need of an English organ, and, having meanwhile come to a better understanding, they decided that they would make another effort to put one before the people. The result of several conferences was a monster picnic at Wright’s Grove on the 16th of June, 1878. The procession formed to make the occasion imposing numbered about three thousand, and side by side with the American flag was borne the red banner of Anarchy. This emblem, although it finally crowded out the “stars and stripes,” had hitherto been reserved in public demonstrations for a minor place. Some of the mottoes displayed on this occasion ran as follows: “No Rich, no Poor—All Alike.” “No Monopolies—All for One and One for All.” “Land belongs to Society,” and “No Masters, no Slaves.”
The result of the picnic was that the Alarm was established, and A. R. Parsons became its editor on a weekly allowance of $5, subsequently raised to $8.
In the fall campaign of 1878 we find the Socialists again in the field with a full ticket for Congressmen, the Legislature and local offices. Former party platforms were reaffirmed, and mass-meetings to fire the hearts of workingmen were frequently held. At these gatherings capitalists were denounced as usual, and the police came in for some attention. The campaign song was also introduced, and the chorus of one, rendered by an untamed troubadour named W. B. Creech, and referring to the police, ran after this style, to the air of “Peeler and Goat”:
Then raise your voices, workingmen,
Against such cowardly hirelings, O!
Go to the polls and slaughter them
With ballots, instead of bullets, O!
One Dr. McIntosh could always be depended on for grinding out any quantity of doggerel of this kind for any occasion. The Socialists claimed that they would poll on the day of election—Nov. 5th—from 9,000 to 13,000 votes. Their calculations, like their utterances, were wild and wide off the mark, however, as their candidate for Sheriff, Ryan, only secured 5,980 votes, while Hoffman, Republican, had 16,592; Kern, Democrat, 16,586, and Dixon, Greenbacker, 4,491. They secured, however, a member of the State Senate, Sylvester Artley, and three members of the lower house of the Legislature—Leo Meilbeck, Charles Ehrhardt and Christian Meier.
This gave them great confidence, and they pushed with greater vigor than ever their political work. Meetings were kept up throughout the winter, and, among other things, they discussed measures which they demanded from the Legislature in the interest of labor. These demands included reducing the hours of labor; the establishment of a bureau of labor statistics; abolishment of convict labor; sanitary inspection of food, dwellings, factories, work-shops and mines; abolition of child labor; liability of employers for all accidents to employés through the employers’ neglect, and priority of demands for wages over all other claims. They found time also to give their attention to their brethren in Europe, and at a meeting held Sunday, January 19, 1879, they adopted resolutions denouncing Bismarck for persecutions of workingmen in Germany. The pretext for these persecutions, they claimed, grew out of the attempts on the life of Emperor William by Hoedel and Dr. Nobiling. The would-be assassins, they confessed, had once been Socialists, but at the time of the attack had had nothing in common with the order. Hoedel, they said, had been expelled, and had subsequently joined the “Christian Socialistic Party,” which they asserted had the favor of the Government, and at the head of which was a Government official. They claimed that Hoedel had been instigated to the deed by the German court, and they even doubted that he had been beheaded in expiation of his crime. Hoedel, they said, had been simply an instrument in the hands of Bismarck, who wanted a pretext to persecute the Socialists and secure the passage of a bill in the Reichstag for their suppression. Under the provisions of that bill, they asserted, men, women and children were thrown into dungeons without trial, and they insisted that the Congress of the United States should voice their protest against such persecutions.
At nearly every large meeting held during the winter in question, Creech was to the front with new songs, among one the chorus of which ran thus:
Raise aloft the crimson banner, emblem of the free;
Mighty tyrants now are trembling, here and o’er the sea.
On the evening of March 22, 1879, they held the celebration in the Exposition Building already referred to. This was ostensibly in commemoration of the establishment of the Paris Commune in 1848 and again in 1871. The real purpose, however, was to obtain funds to defray the expenses incident to the coming spring campaign and to aid in making a daily out of their tri-weekly organ, the Arbeiter-Zeitung. There were from 20,000 to 25,000 people in the building, and the amount reported realized reached $4,500. There was speech-making by Dr. Ernst Schmidt, A. R. Parsons, Paul Grottkau, and lesser lights, and the various military companies of the organization strutted about in their uniforms, with belts, cartridge-boxes, bayonet scabbards and breech-loading Remingtons.
With part of the proceeds of this celebration, the Socialists fitted up campaign headquarters in a top-story room on the northeast corner of Madison and La Salle Streets, in the very heart of the business center. Their ticket covered all the offices from Mayor lo Aldermen. The only new names that figured on this ticket were those of N. H. Jorgensen, J. J. Alpeter, Robert Buck, Henry Johnson, Max Selle, George Brown, R. Lorenz, James Lynn and R. Van Deventer. The election occurred on the 1st of April, 1879, and their candidate for Mayor, Dr. Schmidt, secured 11,829 votes, while Carter H. Harrison, Democrat, scored 25,685, and A. M. Wright, Republican, 20,496. They elected three Aldermen, however—Alpeter from the Sixth Ward, Lorenz from the Fourteenth, and Meier, then in the Legislature, from the Sixteenth, which made, with Stauber, four representatives in the City Council.
With the inauguration of Carter Harrison’s administration, a good deal of attention was given to the Socialists by him as well as by his Democratic co-laborers. Some of their men were given employment in the departments of the city. Although they still continued their agitation, these appointments and other favors had the effect of undermining their political strength.
In the next Mayoralty election they made a show of keeping up their organization and nominated George Schilling for Mayor and Frank Stauber for City Treasurer. But in the election held April 5th, 1881, the former only polled 240 votes, and Stauber 1,999, thus demonstrating an almost complete collapse of the party.
This virtually took them out of politics. Thenceforward the Socialists seem to have decided to abandon the ballot-box, and to rely on force only for the attainment of their objects. Accordingly their harangues were directed to the dissemination of the doctrines of revolution. They endeavored still, it is true, to maintain a representation in the City Council, but in 1884 the Socialistic element was entirely eliminated from that body.
CARTER H. HARRISON.
At the session of the Congress of the International Workingmen’s Association held at Pittsburg from the 14th to the 16th of October, 1883, there was a large delegation of Chicago Anarchists. A question arose as to the use of the ballot for remedying the wrongs of the laboring people. The delegates from Baltimore insisted that recourse should be had to the ballot-box, but those from Pittsburg were of another mind, and favored something stronger. This suggestion gave the Anarchist contingent from Chicago an opportunity to come to the front, and, while some of these did not hold to extreme measures, they all agreed that the ballot-box only served to keep capitalistic representatives in office. The radical Chicago element went still further, holding that the theory of Karl Marx, the use of force, was the correct one, and that that force should be dynamite. But here a split occurred in their own delegation, the milder ones holding to the theory of Lassalle, that they should first give the ballot a thorough trial and use force only in the event of failure. The sentiment of the convention predominated in favor of force, and the conservative Anarchists ceased to be members.
The controversy thus begun was carried back to Chicago, and the radicals set themselves strenuously to work to bring their disaffected associates to the advocacy of dynamite. The members of the Lehr und Wehr Verein were particularly opposed to the use of the bomb. They had equipped themselves and drilled in the use of guns so as to be able to meet the police and militia after failure at the polls, and they contended that men carrying bombs would be apt, through lack of experience, to hurt themselves as much as their opponents. Men thoroughly drilled in the handling of a gun, they argued, could accomplish something, and to that end every one should be instructed in military tactics. The radicals of the various “groups” did not believe in guns, however, and held that, inasmuch as they had experimented with dynamite with some success, they should adopt it as a means of warfare. They finally brought all to their ideas, and from that time to the present they have given the subject of dynamite and explosives a great deal of study.
As indicating the sense of the Pittsburg Congress their plan of organization and resolutions are here given:
The name of the organization shall be “International Workingmen’s Association.”
1. The organization shall consist of federal groups which recognize the principles laid down in the manifesto and consider themselves bound by them.
2. Five persons shall have the right to form a group.
3. Each group shall have complete independence (autonomy) and shall further have the right to conduct the propaganda in accordance with its own judgment, but the same must not collide with the fundamental principles of the organization.
4. Each group may call itself by the name of its location. When there is more than one group, they shall be numbered.
5. In places where there is more than one group it is recommended that a general committee be formed to secure united action. Such committees shall, however, have no executive power.
6. A Bureau of Information shall be created at Chicago and shall consist of a secretary of each of the groups of different languages. It is the duty of such bureau to keep an exact list of all the groups belonging to the organization and to keep up correspondence with and between the domestic and foreign groups.
7. Groups intending to join the organization must, after they have recognized its principles, send their application and list of members to the groups located nearest to them, whose duty it is then to forward such application to the Bureau of Information. The groups shall send a report of the situation to the Bureau of Information at least every three months.
8. A Congress can be called at any time by a majority of the groups.
9. All the necessary expenses of the Bureau of Information shall be met by voluntary contributions of the groups.
Plan for the Propaganda.—The organization of North America shall be divided into nine districts of agitation, as follows: 1. Canada. 2. District of Columbia. 3. The Eastern States (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland). 4. The Middle States (Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois). 5. The Western States (Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Dakota, Kansas, Indian Territory and New Mexico). 6. The Rocky Mountain States (Colorado, Montana, Idaho Territory, Utah and Nevada). 7. The Pacific Coast States. 8. The Southern States (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.) 9. Mexico.
It is recommended to the several districts to organize general district committees for the purpose of more effective and united action. It is the duty of these general committees to provide that whenever practicable agitators shall be sent forth. If there is a lack of proper agitators in a district the general committee shall inform the Bureau of Information. This shall be done also when there is a surplus of workers, so that the bureau shall be able to bring about an equal distribution of the working elements.
The expenses of the traveling agitators shall be paid by local groups, or, when these are without means, by the general organization.
Resolutions.—The following resolutions were offered by A. R. Parsons:
“In consideration that the protection capitalists are men who, by excluding the cheap products of labor of competing countries, intend to make enormous profits, while the free-trade capitalists intend to make just as large profits by the sale of the cheap products of labor of other countries; and
“In consideration that the only difference between the two is this: That the one wants to import the products of cheap foreign labor, while the others consider it of greater advantage to import the cheap labor itself of other countries; and
“In consideration that it is a great injustice to tax by a protective tariff a whole people for the benefit of a few privileged capitalists or of branches of industry: Be it, therefore,
“Resolved, That we, the International Workingmen’s Association, consider the protective tariff and free trade questions capitalistic questions, which have not the least interest for wage-workers—questions which are intended to confuse and mislead the workingman. The fight on both sides is only one for the possession of the robbed products of labor. The question whether there should be a protective tariff or free trade are political questions, which for some time past have divided governments and nations into opposing factions, but which, as already said, do not contribute toward the solution of social questions. The adage, Polvere negli occhi (throwing dust in the eyes), expresses the intentions of both parties.
“In consideration that we see in trades-unions advocating progressive principles the abolishment of the wage system—the corner-stone of a better and more just system of society than the present; and
“In consideration, further, that these trades-unions consist of an army of robbed and disinherited fellow-sufferers and brothers, called to overthrow the economic establishments of the present time for the purpose of general and free coöperation: Be it, therefore,
“Resolved, That we, the I. W. M. A., proffer the hand of fellowship to them, and give them our sympathy and help in their fight against the ever-growing despotism of private capital; and
“Resolved, That while we give such progressive trades-unions our fullest sympathy and assure them of every assistance in our power, we are, on the other hand, determined to fight and, if possible, to annihilate every organization given to reactionary principles, as these are the enemies of the emancipation of the workingmen, as well as of humanity and of progress.
“In consideration that the courts of arbitration for settlement of differences between the workingmen and their employers, without the fundamental condition of free and independent action on both sides, are simply contrary to reason; and
“In consideration that a free settlement between the rich and the poor is impossible since the wage-worker has but the choice to obey or to starve; and
“In consideration that arbitration is possible and just only in case both parties are so situated that they can accept or refuse an offer entirely of their own free will: Be it, therefore,
“Resolved, That arbitration between capital and labor is to be condemned. Wage-workers ought never to resort to it.”
After expressions of sympathy for the striking coal-miners in Dubois, Pa., who were advised to arm themselves for defense against the bandits of order, the resolutions proceed:
“In consideration that our brothers and fellow combatants in the Old World are engaged in a terrible struggle against our common foe, the crowned and uncrowned despots of the world, the church and priestcraft, and thousands of them are languishing in prison and in Siberia and are suffering in exile: Be it, therefore,
“Resolved, That we tender these heroic martyrs our sympathies, encouragement and aid.
“In consideration that there is no material difference existing between the aims of the I. W. M. A. and the Socialistic Labor Party: Be it, therefore,
“Resolved, That we invite the members of the S. L. P. to unite with us on the basis of the principles laid down in our manifesto for the purpose of a common and effective propaganda.”
Issued by order of the Pittsburg Congress of the International Workingmen’s Association. For further information apply to the undersigned “Bureau of Information.”
Secretary of the English language, Aug. Spies. Secretary of the German language, Paul Grottkau. Secretary of the French language, Wm. Medow. Secretary of the Bohemian language, J. Mikolanda.
No. 107 Fifth Avenue, Chicago.
In accordance with pre-arranged plans, therefore, when the street-car riots occurred on the West Division Railroad in the summer of 1885, the Anarchists and Socialists of Chicago took a prominent part and did everything in their power to create a bloody conflict between the police and the strikers. In 1886, when the laboring classes of Chicago had decided to strike on the 1st of May for eight hours as a day’s work, they came forward and resolved to strike a blow which would terrorize the community and inaugurate the rule of the Commune. How they went to work in that direction and how they succeeded is fully shown in succeeding chapters.