Update 12-09: Sunday, February 26, 2012.

"How I Came to Write Looking Backward," by Edward Bellamy [May 1889]  Short account of the literary process behind the writing of the seminal utopian novel Looking Backward, 2000-1887, by Edward Bellamy. Bellamy recalls that the first version of the book was set in Asheville, North Carolina in 3000 A.D. rather than Boston in Year 2000. As he worked, what had started as a "fairy tale of social perfection" was recast into "the vehicle of a definite scheme of industrial reorganization" based upon a shorter time frame, Bellamy states. Bellamy notes his use of the modern military system "not merely a rhetorical analogy for a national industrial service, but its prototype, furnishing at once a complete working model for its organization, an arsenal of patriotic and national motives and arguments for its animation, and the unanswerable demonstration of its feasibility drawn from the actual experience of whole nations organized and maneuvered as armies." As the project became more focused on creation of a social prescription, Bellamy indicates that he removed "a great deal of merely fanciful matter concerning the manners, customs, social and political institutions, mechanical contrivances, and so forth" of the future, "for fear of diverting the attention of readers from the main theme."

"Circular Letter to  Supporters of the Soviet Russia  Medical Relief Committee, Jan. 27, 1921."  Short direct mail letter noting the severance of the relationship between the Communist Party-backed Soviet Russian Medical Relief Committee from the former director of its Chicago office, Charles L. Drake. With the Chicago office consolidated out of existence by the New York-based SRMRC, Drake had decided to carry forward as a new Soviet relief organization called the "American Red Star League." The circular letter warns: "The name of the 'Red Star League' may mislead some of our supporters to the advantage of the League’s enterprise, which is entirely foreign to us and to the Soviet Russia Medical Relief work." The circular letter additionally cautions that the new American Red Star League had been falsely presenting itself as having been endorsed by the Ludwig Martens, official representative of the Soviet government in America. "This is a plain misrepresentation," the letter insists, adding that "Soviet Russia Medical Relief Committee is the only organization which has the endorsement of the Soviet Russia official representative, Mr. L. Martens, who renewed this endorsement in the most emphatic terms on the eve of his departure from this country."

"The New Age Anniversary: The Socialist Leader Says Support Labor Press that Opposed the War," by Eugene V. Debs [July 13, 1922]  Special piece written for the Buffalo, New York socialist weekly The New Age by recently released Indiana party leader Gene Debs. Debs declares that under but "Christian Capitalist Competitive System" the working class are slaves in a ruined world. World War I is deemed a conflict alongside which "all previous wars were crude and dismal failures in point of slaughter as a science and destruction as a fine art." In the wake of this carnage, a new international of workers is said to be emerging "will eliminate the weakness of the old and fortify itself in its impregnable position by the tragic experiences bought in the war at the price of the blood of its butchered victims." [Point of reference here is not the Third International, but a hoped for joint organization to emerge from recent negotiations for unity between the 2nd, 2-1/2, and 3rd Internationals, it should be noted.] New Age readers are urged to work to double the publication's circulation and to make the coming year "the most aggressive and fruitful one in history."


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