Update 13-03: Sunday, June 9, 2013.

Letter to J. Stitt Wilson, member of the NEC of  the Socialist Party of America from Frans Bostrom in Tacoma, WA, Feb. 15, 1915.
  The governing National Executive Committee elected by the Socialist Party in 1914 was among the most moderate in the organization's history. The group immediately took an interest in the ongoing political feud by the minority Center-Right and the majority Left Wing in the state of Washington, appointing a subcommittee headed by Christian Socialist and former mayor of Berkeley, California J. Stitt Wilson to investigate the situation. This February 1915 open letter to Wilson was sent by the radical State Secretary of the Socialist Party of Washington, Frans Bostrom. Bostrom takes an impossibilist line, declaring the root of the party's problems lay in its "incongruous, confused, inconsistent platform declarations in favor of every populistic reform ever conceived." Emphasizing the "uselessness" of such reforms, Bostrom argues that in a heterogeneous party the only way to ensure unity was to limit the party program to Socialists' lowest common denominator, the thing upon which all could agree: a "single demand" for "the conquest of the powers of government for the purpose of introduction of the cooperative commonwealth, i.e., the revolution."

"The Question of Party Tactics: A Joint Discussion of Party Affairs between C.W. Barzee of Portland, Former State Secretary of the Socialist Party of Oregon and  Frans Bostrom of Tacoma, Former State Secretary  of the Socialist Party of Washington." [March 25, 1915]  The factional war within the Socialist Party of Washington was in 1915 one of the most greatest battles within the Socialist Party of America between its "constructive socialist" center-right and its "revolutionary socialist" left. This published debate between the center-right former State Secretary of the Socialist Party of Oregon and the radical former State Secretary of the Socialist Party of Washington delineates the difference in perspectives. Oregonian Barzee argues for the use of immediate demands to help win broad support for a program of socialist change, arguing for a commonality of interests between the working class and the rest of society for the establishment of a just society. Washingtonian Bostrom scoffs at Barzee's apparent rejection of the idea of the class struggle. "Appeals to the fair mindedness and generosity of the governing class has never given results," Bostrom declares, adding that the programmatic "sops" offered to the middle class as planks in the national SPA platform were a direct violation of the constitution of that organization, based upon acceptance of the class struggle. "To appeal to any class for fairness, justice, generosity, or mercy is utopian. To appeal to anyone for votes for Socialism under any other pretext than of absolute overthrow of capitalism is opportunism, which is a polite name for humbug," Bostrom asserts, adding that "force alone rules, now and always."

"The Uninteresting War," by Max Eastman [September 1915]  Lengthy impressionistic perspective on the war by the editor of The Masses following a trip to Europe. Rather than accepting a crude Marxist perspective that the European bloodbath was the result of a battle for colonial possessions and export markets, Eastman indicates the likelihood of a multiplicity of causes, with nationalism in the first place and German militarism and the actions of its war party the most culpable. Eastman expresses a great fondness for French culture but argues against absolutes in the conflict; German victory would not result in the end of culture but rather would only be a nominal result, since in the long run "the civilization of France would conquer that of Germany, whether she was defeated in arms or not, because of the greater degree of happiness and human fun there is in it." Eastman sees the war as a mass industrial slaughterhouse, the "regular businesslike killing and salting down of the younger men of each country involved — 20,000 a day, perhaps, all told." He tells of little popular taste for the bloodshed, devoid of recognizable battles or achievements, and expresses profound doubt "whether the plain folks of Russia and France and England have enough enthusiasm for this war to do much more than fight to a draw with Germany."


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