"Letter to C.W. Fitzgerald in Beverly, Massachusetts from N. Lenin [V.I. Ul'ianov] in Berne, Switzerland. [Written between Nov. 13 and Nov. 22, 1915.] Text of a letter from Lenin to the head of the fledgling "Socialist Propaganda League" approving of a recent letter which had been sent and outlining the position faced by the revolutionary socialist movement in the current international political environment. "We say and we prove that all bourgeois parties, all parties except the working-class revolutionary Party, are liars and hypocrites when they speak about reforms. We try to help the working class to get the smallest possible but real improvement (economic and political) in their situation and we add always that no reform can be durable, sincere, serious if not seconded by revolutionary methods of struggle of the masses," Lenin states, adding "We do not preach unity in the present (prevailing in the Second International) socialist parties. On the contrary we preach secession with the opportunists. The war is the best object-lesson. In all countries the opportunists, their leaders, their most influential dailies and reviews are for the war, in other words, they have in reality united with "their" national bourgeoisie (middle class, capitalists) against the proletarian masses.... And we are for secession with nationalistic opportunists and unity with international revolutionary Marxists and working-class parties." Lenin sends his best wishes for the success of the new organization.
"Manifesto of the Socialist Propaganda League of America." [Nov. 26, 1916] The "Left Wing" of the Socialist Party of America was a long-existing ideological trend, dating back to the 1901 origin of the SPA and before. It was not until the end of 1916, however, in the aftermath of the abject failure of the Second International to avert war and with the slogan of "Preparedness" sweeping America, that this radical fraction began the process of formal organization. The November 26, 1916, meeting in Boston which adopted this manifesto, established a dues-based membership organization, and initiated an official organ called The Internationalist may properly be regarded as the moment of origin of a formal "Left Wing Section of the Socialist Party" -- an evolving movement which would in 1918 begin publication of another Boston newspaper called The Revolutionary Age and set into motion the political process leading to the formal splitting of the Socialist Party into Social Democratic and revolutionary Socialist wings in 1919. The manifest states: "The time is passed when our national Socialist parties, bound by old forms and moved by old ideals, can proceed with its old propaganda within the conÞnes of capitalist legality and morals, and expect within these limits to advance the cause of industrial democracy. We are at the dawn of a new era; the day is big with the content of social eruptions, economic and political strikes, revolutions. It is an era in which the class conflict approaches its climax."
"Constitution of the Socialist Propaganda League of America." [January 1917] Organizational law of the Socialist Propaganda League of America, the Boston-based forerunner of the "Left Wing Section of the Socialist Party." According to the group's state objective, "The SPLA declares emphatically and will work uncompromisingly in the economic and political Þelds for industrial revolution to establish industrial democracy by the mass action of the working class." This constitution reveals the SPLA as a dues-based organization (5 cents per month for members affiliated with local "branches," 10 cents per month for at-large members). The organization was to be governed by a "National Committee" of seven, who would in turn elect a National Secretary and National Treasurer to handle the day-to-day operations of the group. Major policy matters were to be determined by referendum vote of the organization, with 3% of the organization sufficient to call a vote on any matter, irrespective of where those members were located.
"Manifesto of the Socialist Propaganda League of America." [January 1918] In the aftermath of the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Revolution, the Socialist Propaganda League of America issued a new organizational manifesto attempting to make general application of some of the forms and principles of the Bolsheviks. The SPLA advocated for the "dictatorship of the proletariat," calling "bourgeois democracy" a "fraud" by which "Imperialism promotes the most brutal interests of the ruling class." The manifesto stated that "the revolution of the proletariat annihilates the parliamentary regime and state," replacing it with "a new form of governmnet ... consisting of the industrially organized workers" in the form of workers' councils. The group called for "the unity of industrial action and Socialist politics" and stated that it was organized "to work in the Socialist Party as well as independently of the party." It called for the coordinated international action of the proletariant and the establishment of a new International of revolutionary socialist organization -- a call rewarded by inclusion of the Socialist Propaganda League by name in the first formal call for the establishment of a Third International in Moscow.