Update 12-01: Sunday, January 1, 2012.

"Resignation of Paul Grottkau" (Chicagoer Arbeiter Zeitung). [July 19, 1879]  Published resignation letter by Chicago Socialist Paul Grottkau, announcing that he is leaving the editorship of the Chicago Arbeiter Zeitung, the Fackel, and the Vorbote. Grottkau indicates that the cause of his discontent is an unnamed official of the Socialistic Publishing Society, publisher of these papers. This individual is said to have told Grottkau that he was incompetent, inefficient, the cause of financial ruin of the papers, and standing in the way of a more qualified candidate. Other officials of the Socialistic Publishing Society did not defend Grottkau from this "defamation," prompting his resignation. Translated from the original German by the Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey.

"Naujienos Observes Second Anniversary" (Naujienos). [March 20, 1916]  Self-congratulatory press account published in the Chicago Lithuanian-language Socialist daily, Naujienos [Lithuanian Daily News], marking a public celebration of the publication's second anniversary. While Dirk Hoerder's bibliography of the non-English labor press in America lists February 9, 1914 as the date of the first issue of the publication, this news account claims March 19 of that same year as the date of Naujienos's birth. A speech of founding editor Pijus Grigaitis is quoted, in which Grigaitis indicates that the publication's establishment by the Lithuanian Socialist Federation related to a trend towards Catholicism in the established Lithuanian press in America. The advent of World War I in August 1914 increased the demand for news from Europe among the Lithuanian community in Chicago and the share-selling publication moved to daily frequency in response, soon emerging as the largest Lithuanian-language newspaper in America. "The Naujienos is a progressive and revolutionary newspaper. It does not classify Lithuanians by religious creeds, but distinguishes them as workers or capitalists. And since practically all Lithuanians are workers, the Naujienos has the largest field in which to thrive," the article notes.

"Standing of the Lithuanian Socialists in Chicago" (Naujienos). [May 17, 1916] Cursory look at the structure of the local Chicago branches of the Lithuanian Socialist Federation from the pages of the LSF's Lithuanian-language daily. The article indicates a membership of approximately 200, spread across 7 Chicago branches -- an average of 28 members per branch, which is regarded as "very weak." Substantial time, energy, and money are spent on the activities of these atomized branches, it is indicated, with no city-level central authority extant to coordinate their activity. Branch meetings were held approximately monthly, generally in saloon halls, and were often limited to mundane operational detail -- with the result that organizational growth was stagnated. Establishment of a central authority is recommended as a means for gaining a dedicated meeting hall for the Lithuanian Socialist Federation, and for the maintenance of trained agitational speakers. Foundation of a Socialist school is also mentioned as an objective of the Chicago Lithuanian organization.

Krafft Begins 5-Year Prison Term: Socialist Victim of Legal Slip, Cheerful: Comrade Twice Candidate for Governor Reasserts His Innocence." (NY Call). [June 16. 1918]  Anti-Radical repression during World War I did not exclusively target syndicalist unionists and revolutionary socialists, but also swept up staid adherents of electoral politics, this article demonstrates. Fred Krafft, two time New Jersey gubernatorial candidate and an epitome of the Socialist Party's centrist leadership, was one of those so embroiled. Speaking on Aug. 9, 1917 on a street corner in Newark, Krafft was arrested for failure to produce a meeting permit. Krafft was subsequently charged with violation of the so-called Espionage Act for having spoken against the war. Despite the "conflicting and grossly inconsistent" testimony of five witnesses, Krafft was convicted of the same on Sept. 7, 1917 and sentenced to 5 years in prison and a $1,000 fine. On June 15, 1918, an appeal having failed, Krafft entered Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, joining Socialist leader Eugene Debs there. Krafft received a full pardon in 1919.

"Foreign Federation in the Socialist Party," by Alexander Bilan [July 20, 1918]  A brief overview of the history of language federations in the Socialist Party of America by Federationist and future Communist Labor Party NEC member Alexander Bilan. Bilan provides the following dates of entry of the various language groups into the SPA: Latvian Federation (1906), Finnish Federation (1907), Polish Federation (1908) South Slavic Federation (1910), Bohemian [Czech] Federation (1910). Bilan intimates the federations were the sources of nationalism and calls for their dissolution in the interest unification of party discipline and simplification of dues collection. The foreign-language press would continue to be held by private holding companies, Bilan indicates, while "A press bureau could be established in the National Office to take care of language publications in one printing plant owned by the party, thus eliminating the enormous expense entailed in the conduct of various individual enterprises, and the propaganda could be successfully carried on by the National Office, assisted by the foreign language branches of the local organizations." Bilan declares: "The time has arrived when we must concentrate our efforts in putting through our program. This demands unity of action in the party through its centralized body. The first step to the achievement of this purpose is the abolition of Federations."

"A Class Struggle Problem," by Alexander Bilan [November 16, 1918]  Marxist theory from future Communist Labor Party leader Alexander Bilan. Bilan attempts to make sense of the post-World War I political situation, declaring that events had clearly demonstrated a disproportion between the strength of world imperialism on the one hand and the weakness of the workers movement on the other. The bulk of the working class had lacked the "moral force" necessary to oppose the war, Bilan states, with only a small, active minority carrying on the fight. Yet while imperialism was "creating conditions that make for Socialism," this "cannot be achieved by a small group of men independent of the participation of the masses." The ruling class was strongly organized and exerted "mental superiority" by virtue of its possession of "knowledge and science," Bilan indicates, and used "the schools, the churches, and the press" as a mechanism for "enslaving the thought and senses of the masses." The ruling minority also had in its arsenal the physical power of the state, Bilan says, including the legal system, the police, and the army. Moreover, the Socialist movement was attempting to operate under an illusion, in Bilan's view: "We have been nursing the illusion that the struggle with the capitalist class was to attain power for the direction of the present state institutions, which are regulated through existing laws. Because of this interpretation of the class struggle we have been conducting a reform movement, thinking that through the capture of governmental offices we will eventually arrive at Socialism. Experience proves that Socialists have been powerless to even obtain recognition of their views in any capitalist government." Bilan asserts that "the uprising class can conquer power only when it is stronger than its opponents," and states that this can happen only through the "growth of working class forces" and their moral strengthening through education in the nature of imperialism and the necessary of revolutionary struggle to overthrow it.

"The Lithuanian Socialist Federation," by Alex Ambrose [circa June 1937]  Brief account of the LIthuanian Socialist Federation (LSF), probably written sometime late in the spring of 1937 for the edification of the Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey. Ambrose notes the roots of the Lithuanian Socialist movement in the rationalist movement, with their organization specifically in the Lithuanian Freethinkers Association. The LIthuanian Federation was founded in 1905, Ambrose notes, with 12 Lithuanian branches ultimately established in Chicago, comprising District 8 of the LSF. Branches hosted picnics and social events, sold literature, maintained libraries, and sponsored public speakers and choral performances, Ambrose notes, adding that sometimes the street meetings conducted by Socialist speakers were "attacked by the Socialists’ enemies with rotten eggs and stones." The 8th District LSF was the organization behind the publication of the Chicago Lithuanian-language daily newspaper, Naujienos (News), which triumphed over religious (Katalikas -- The Catholic) and nationalist (Lietuva -- Lithuania) Lithuanian dailes. The federation remained strong until 1921, Ambrose notes, but "with the spread of the Communistic wave, the Lithuanian Socialist Federation was torn to pieces." Only 10 branches of the LSF nationwide remained at the time of Ambrose's writing, he indicates.

"The Lithuanian Workers Literature Society of America," by Alex Ambrose [June 2, 1937]  Thumbnail history of the main book publishing arm of the LIthuanian radical movement in America, written for the edification of the Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey. Ambrose notes the establishment of the Lithuanian Workers Literature Society under Socialist auspices in 1915, aimed "to publish books and to spread enlightenment and mutual understanding among the workers." With the split of the Lithuanian Socialist Federation into Socialist and Communist wings in 1920, the Literature Society was also split, with the main (and surviving) wing held under Communist Party control. The Society published its own newspaper, Sviesa (Light), and was responsible for publication of more than 40 books in the Lithuanian language on Marxist themes, Ambrose notes. The Lithuanian Workers Literature Society at the time of Ambrose's writing still held a membership of 6,000, he indicates.


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