Update 11-17: Sunday, December 25, 2011.

"A Dream No Longer," by Abraham Cahan [May 17, 1918]  This short piece by Jewish Daily Forward patriarch Abraham Cahan, published both in Yiddish in the Forward and in English translation in the New York Call, is a remarkable testament to the universal approval with which the Bolshevik Revolution was greeted by the Socialist movement in America. Later one of the leading anti-Communist voices in the American social democracy, Cahan waxes enthusiastic for the new Soviet regime: "The First of May festival was combined in Moscow with the celebration of Karl Marx’s 100th birthday. It was the Socialist government of Russia that celebrated the two events. A national holiday was made of it. Workingmen marched through the streets, and with them the ministers and all other officials now residing in Moscow. Ah, what a joy it would have been for us comrades of New York to participate in that pageant! Truly, it reads like a story of the coming of the Messiah. How, then, can one bear the Bolsheviki a grudge? How can one experience anything like a hostile feeling against them? We have criticized them; some of their utterances often irritate us; but who can help rejoicing in their triumph? Who can help going into ecstasy over the Socialist spirit which they have enthroned in the country, which they now rule."

"The New Americanism," by James Oneal [May 19, 1918]  The future leader of the anti-Communist Center-Right alliance in the Socialist Party of America, James Oneal, takes to the pages of Ludwig Lore's radical journal The Class Struggle with this aggressive piece against the conservative movement's drive to advance the ideology of Americanism, which he relates to a similar right wing "Know Nothingism" movement of the 1850s. Oneal draws attention to what he believes is a direct correlation between a high immigrant population and political liberalism. He declares: "Anyone acquainted with the United States knows that the states with a large mixture of the foreign-born in their populations are the progressive states. They do not stand still. In invention, agriculture, education, industry, transportation, literature, and in the number of Socialist votes polled they lead the South. The pure American states of the South are known as the most backward in all these fields and there are those who claim that the old American stock is so degenerating that the Negro becomes more vigorous and the prospect of his probable future control of Southern capitalism enrages the ruling whites and fosters the lynching spirit." Oneal identifies the Southern bourgeoisie as showing less intelligence and enterprise than its northern counterpart and proclaims the "Americanized" South to be "the leader of every phase of modern reaction and a consistent opponent of progress. It leads in illiteracy and is the last in education."

"Spargo on Marxian Socialism: A Review of John Spargo’s Social Democracy Explained," by James Oneal [May 19, 1918]  Book review from the weekend magazine section of the Socialist Party's New York Call by one of the ideological leaders of the party's dominant Center-Right faction dealing with new work by a leading figure of the dissident Social-Patriotic Right. Oneal emphasizes the "pre-war" nature of the content, stating there is "little that is new in the book, and much that is contained in other books by the same writer, yet it is interesting to Socialists because it expresses the views of one who left the Socialist Party." Oneal emphasizes Spargo's recent flip-flop on fundamentals between material in this new book and his recent comments in the press, such as the book's contention that "the Marxian synthesis is on the whole sound," while lately stating in the New York Times that "Marxism has reached the end of its rope." Oneal accuses Spargo of having "'readjusted' himself to his new-found bourgeois friends."

"Where Do We Stand?" by C.E. Ruthenberg [May 25,1918]  This article from Cleveland's Socialist Party weekly marks the first known use of the pseudonym "David Damon" by future Communist Party Executive Secretary C.E. Ruthenberg. Writing from jail, where he was serving a one year term for conviction under the so-called Espionage Act, Ruthenberg comes to the defense of the Socialist Party's St. Louis Resolution on War, of which he was a primary author. Ruthenberg argues that the rise of the Bolshevik government in Russia and its necessary war of defense against German territorial incursion was dubious reason for a reversal of the Socialist Party's anti-militarist line. "The goal of the Socialist Party is Socialism, not a reformed capitalism. Its tactics must be those that will bring about Socialism. If those who are advocating reversion can show that these proposals will help to establish Socialism, and are not merely personal views and predilections in regard to the war, which have no relation to a Socialist policy, then the party should be ready to listen to them," Ruthenberg declares. "If they can not show that then their advice deserves no consideration."

"Jury Finds Rose P. Stokes Guilty: Socialist Faces 60 Years Jail Sentence: Mrs. Stokes Convicted on Three Counts Under Espionage Act" (NY Call). [May 25, 1918] This news account from the Socialist Party's New York City daily details the conviction of Rose Pastor Stokes of three counts of violation of the so-called Espionage Act. Stokes was convicted in federal court with having attempted to "cause insubordination in the United States military forces," to cause an "obstruction of recruiting" and to have conveyed "false reports interfering with either branch of the military service" -- each of these convictions bearing a possible penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. Stokes was denounced by the prosecutor as "the most subtle, vicious German propagandist in America," who, while not necessarily paid agent of the Kaiser was "a frenzied fanatic of Socialism."

"Poverty and Brains Made a Socialist of Rose Pastor Stokes," by Pippa [May 26, 1918] Conviction for three violations of the so-called Espionage Act made anti-war activist Rose Pastor Stokes, wife of pro-war millionaire Socialist Graham Phelps Stokes, a cause célèbre in the American radical movement. This short biography of her appeared in the pages of the SPA's New York City daily, the New York Call, emphasizing Stokes' proletarian origins as a largely self-educated cigar roller turned left wing newspaper reporter.

"Mrs. Stokes Sentenced to 10-Year Term: Socialist Wife of Millionaire Ordered Imprisoned Under Sedition Act: New Trial is Denied; She is Free on Bail" (NY Call). [June 1, 1918] Socialist news report on the sentencing of Rose Pastor Stokes on her May 1918 conviction of three counts of having violated the so-called Espionage Act by agitating against World War I. Stokes was sentenced in federal court on June 1, 1918 to 10 years in the state penitentiary for her offense but was promptly released on $10,000 bail pending her appeal. Judge Van Valkenburgh stated his belief that Stokes's activity was "part of a systematic program to create discontent with the war" conducted by "various irresponsible or visionary elements in this country." Van Valkenburgh indicates his belief that "to justify the stand taken, logic, reason, and human sympathy are speciously invoked, but no standards of such are recognized, except those of the objectors themselves. Such opposition amounts to fanaticism and continues after debate has been closed by final action on the part of the constitutional authorities.... Therefore Congress enacted this law and the President approved it. It was designed to meet a war danger. Its comparative importance in the minds of Congress is made manifest by the penalty provided -- nearly, if not quite, double that for any other offense defined, except murder, treason, and analogous crimes.”


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