utopian dreams of warmed over marx

From Rebel America, The Story of Social Revolt in the United States, Lillian Symes and Travers Clement. page 206-207, 1934

The Road not traveled?

Meanwhile, from all the confused activities of socialistically inclined individuals outside the Socialist Labor Party Left- Wing Populists and Nationalists, Fabians, Christian Social- ists, even many pure Utopians with out-and-out colonizing schemes, a new socialistic movement was springing up. Its moving spirits at the outset were J. A. Way land, editor of the Coming Nation, and Colonel R. J. Hinton, who had a pet scheme to inaugurate socialism by capturing a western state through colonizing the nation’s socialists within its borders.  They brought into existence the Brotherhood of the Cooperative Commonwealth which attracted the attention of Debs.

Debs, while in Woodstock Prison as an outcome of his activities during the Pullman strike, had received a visit from the Milwaukee socialist leader, Victor Berger. Deeply impressed by Berger, he read the socialist literature which Berger sent him back from Milwaukee. While he did not become an enthusiastic convert overnight he supported Bryan in 1896 the more humanitarian aspects of the socialist philosophy made a strong appeal to his warm-hearted, emotional nature. The Pullman strike had practically smashed his American Railway Union, but now he decided to pull the  remnants of it together into some sort of political organization. Once out of jail, he welcomed the opportunity to join hands with the Brotherhood of the Cooperative Commonwealth. At Chicago, in June, 1897, the two organizations were welded together into a new party, the Social Democracy of America.

Colonizers, anarchists, trade unionists, a few clear-cut socialists, radicals of every description were represented at the Chicago convention. The colonizers were perhaps the dominant group and a committee was appointed which later endorsed a scheme to acquire 560 acres of land in the Cripple Creek region of Colorado. This was to be the site of a model cooperative commonwealth. But by the time the 1898 convention rolled around the more clear-headed socialists had gained in influence and numbers. They descended upon this second convention determined to capture it and to rule out all colonizing schemes. After a vigorous fight, in which they were
defeated, they bolted and established still another new party the Social Democratic Party of America. Its national executive board included Debs and Victor Berger.

I think all good socialists in this country (whatever that may be) who … I don’t know… see through the facade of politicos like Bernie Sanders? … ought brush up this colonizing a state idea, and try their hand at… New Hampshire.

For no other reason than to see if we can have a Socialist Versus Libertarian brush-fight with the libertarians of the  “Free Staters“.

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