Update 12-02: Sunday, January 8, 2012.

"Three Socialists Free Again." (Cleveland Socialist) [Events of Dec. 2, 1918]  Short news article from The Cleveland Socialist detailing the release from Canton, Ohio prison workhouse of imprisoned party leaders C.E. Ruthenberg, Alfred Wagenknecht, and Charles Baker, where they had served a ten month term for anti-war speeches delivered at a public rally in May 1917. At the time of his conviction, C.E. Ruthenberg had declared in his last statement to the judge, "I am not conscious of having committed any crime. The thing I tried to do was to inspire higher ideals and better lives. If that is a crime in the eyes of the government, then I am proud to have committed that crime.” The article indicates the use of food deprivation and stress position torture had been used in the workhouse against Wagenknecht and Ruthenberg over their refusal to work in the prison laundry. During this time their their hands cuffed together and padlocked to a ring over their heads for 10 hours each day, the article indicates. Upon their release Ruthenberg and Wagenknecht issued a public statement, declaring "We will take up our work where we left off last January. Our 10 months in prison has merely made us more certain that our cause is just and confirmed in us the determination to continue our part of the struggle until it triumphs."

"After the War - What?" by C.E. Ruthenberg [serialized Dec. 7, 1918 to Feb. 22, 1919] *NEW EDITION* Serialized over a 10 week period in The Cleveland Socialist, this article represents the longest single work written by Cleveland Left Wing Socialist leader C.E. Ruthenberg -- rightfully remembered by history as a skilled organizational administrator rather than a theoretician. Ruthenberg argues that "the halo of capitalism has been smashed by the war" and the de facto socialist organization of key industries by government due to wartime expedience had shattered the myth of the economic structure's permanence and unchangeability. A widespread  working class demand had emerged for a fundamental retooling of American economic society in the immediate postwar period, in Ruthenberg's view. Ruthenberg outlines at length the instability, inefficiency, and injustice of the old capitalist form of organization and contrasts the efficiency of wartime collectivism, to which Ruthenberg proposes the addition of democratic social control. Ruthenberg declares that the government's own behavior during wartime had demonstrated the correctness of the Left Wing Socialist declaration that "When we get ready to take over the industries, we'll just take them." Whether the former owners of industry were compensated with Liberty bonds to be taxed out of existence in 10 years or industry was to be expropriated without compensation was a matter of little import to Ruthenberg. He asserts: "Industry must no longer be conducted as a private business for profit, but must become a coordinated, collective process for the purpose of supplying human needs and comforts. Such a transformation can only be accomplished by taking the ownership of the national resources and means of production and distribution out of the hands of the present owners and vesting the ownership in the people collectively." Ruthenberg soft-pedals his belief in the ultimate necessity of revolution as opposed to parliamentarism to achieve the fundamental reorganization of the economy, only noting in his final installment that "the idea that Socialism would be established through a series of legislative acts extending possibly over a decade or two, has been shown to be an illusion. Socialism will not be legislated into existence but will be established by a mass movement of the workers in the industries."

"A Manifesto to the Members of the Socialist Party," Issued by the National Action Committee, Appeal Association of the Socialist Party, August 1937.  Massively long analysis of the internal political situation within the Socialist Party of America by the Trotskyist faction which entered the party as part of the so-called "French Turn" on 1936.  The Trotskyists, writing in the first issue of their new factional organ, The Socialist Appeal, declare that the Socialist Party is "engulfed in a crisis" as a result of the expulsion of 100 of their comrades by the New York Socialist Party organization. The Trotskyist charge that a SP "Right," headed by militant faction leader Jack Altman, presidential candidate Norman Thomas, and the Massachusetts and Wisconsin state organizations, was pushing an immediate split with the Trotskyist Left with the aid of the "Centrist" Clarity group. The Trotskyists summarize their own political agenda as follows: "defense of the Spanish proletarian revolution, solidarity with the revolutionary workers of Spain, irrevocable opposition to the traitors and assassins of the Popular Front and their defenders throughout the world; defense of the heritage of the October Revolution, and unshakable opposition to the Stalinist hangmen; the forging of the new revolutionary international, the summation of the Marxist answer to the problems of our epoch; the defense and advance of independent working class politics, altogether clear of every class collaborationist tangle." If the Left Wing is defeated, "the Socialist Party will simply drop apart, like the one horse shay that has outlived its time," the Trotskyists predict.


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