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Source: Social-Democrat
Source type: magazine
Document type: article
Document title: “Assassination a Fruit of Socialism”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 15 October 1901
Volume number: 5
Issue number: 10
Pagination: 310-12

“Assassination a Fruit of Socialism.” Social-Democrat 15 Oct. 1901 v5n10: pp. 310-12.
full text
anarchism (personal response); anarchism (compared with socialism); McKinley assassination (personal response); Emma Goldman; anarchism.
Named persons
Gracchus Babeuf [identified as Joseph Babœuf below]; Mikhail Bakunin; Jacques-Pierre Brissot de Warville; Leon Czolgosz; Friedrich Engels; Emma Goldman; Geoffrey Langtoft; Karl Marx; William McKinley; Johann Most; Pierre-Joseph Proudhon; Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Click here to view the Fortnightly Review article written about below.


Assassination a Fruit of Socialism

THE Fortnightly Review has an article on the above subject by Geoffrey Langtoft. The murder of President McKinley, he says, compels him to once more draw the attention of the public to the above subject. In the October number of 1900, he remarks, he wrote an article in the Fortnightly showing that the endeavour, so often made by apologists of democracy to discriminate between Socialism and Anarchism, however it may be sought to be justified on abstract and philosophical grounds, rests upon no solid logical basis, and is practically futile, inasmuch as Anarchism is found in actual affairs to be the natural and necessary fruit of Socialism, and almost invariably exists in association therewith; and, secondly, to demonstrate that these noxious political growths are the progeny of democracy itself, thus suggesting that the problem of effectually dealing with Anarchism may prove to be insoluble so long as democratic principles are permitted to formulate and dominate the policies of leading nations without adequate check from those higher and more stable elements of national life which are represented by proprietorship and intellect.
     “McKinley was neither an Oriental despot nor a constitutional monarch, but the elected ruler of a free Republic. Out of twenty assassinations, eleven,” the author states, “have been actually elected persons. Hence it is clear that Anarchists and Socialists are in revolt against authority per se, against all forms of authority, and not merely against such phases of it as are represented by absolutism: they are enemies of all law and of all order, they are foes of civilisation itself. In their insensate hate and fury they would, if they could, destroy all ordered and civilised society, and as they cannot do this they take their revenge by foully murdering the most eminent representatives of such society. Men and women who are thus at war with society should receive no quarter.”
     After a glowing description of the effect of Emma Goldman’s speeches upon Czolgosz and the execution of his crime, he says:—“What is to be said of rulers who with their eyes open sanction a propaganda of rapine and murder and allow it to be carried on under their very noses, not spasmodically or sporadically or secretly, but deliberately and openly and continuously by means of organisations, newspapers and other literature, and public meetings? This at least must be said of them, they are guilty not merely of the folly of placing their own lives in jeopardy, but of the crime of grossly betraying the most precious and sacred interests of their respective nations, of which interests they are put in trust. Their policy is suicidal. Nemesis is sure to dog their footsteps, and in the end he will deliver his blow. President McKinley’s assassination is in the nature of a retribution upon the people of the United States for their sins of omission in this matter. Take this Emma Goldman, for example. Ought such a woman to be at large? Her character is well known. For years she has been lecturing up and down the States, vehemently denouncing all laws, divine and human, and stirring up her hearers to deeds of violence and outrage. She specially singled out Mr. McKinley for attack, contemptuously referring to him as ‘Emperor McKinley,’ sneering at his supposed friendship for the Czar of Russia, with whom she has bracketed him as an oppressor of the workers. Eight years ago she was sent to prison for ten months for her revolutionary violence. Ten months! And then let loose again! What a farce! Now she has been [310][311] arrested again. . . . . No evidence, as if the incitements to violence with which her every lecture teems were not evidence enough.
     “But Emma Goldman does not stand alone. There is Johann Most, for example, who was sent to prison here for sixteen months for defending the murder of the Czar. . . . . This creature continues to carry on his infamous work though perfectly well known to the authorities.
     “American Anarchists are mostly foreign immigrants, Italians and German Jews being specially prominent, and their headquarters are now at Spring Valley, Illinois, whence emanates their journal, L’Aurora, an organ of revolution. . . . . According to L’Aurora of April 27 of this year the Anarchist programme is as follows:—
     “‘Free work.
     “‘Free use of things.
     “‘Communal possession of all the means of social wealth, and the machinery of production, of ways and communication, of land, of mines, of water, &c.
     “‘The abolition of all private property.
     “‘The doing away with government, with class, with militarism, with judges, with the nobility and bureaucracy. Social emancipation.
     “This programme bears a close family resemblance to all the Socialist programmes which have been issued during the last thirty years, from that of Gotha down to those of the present year. This Gotha programme, issued in 1875, after enunciating the familiar Socialist principles, said: ‘Starting from these principles, the Socialist Labour Party of Germany seeks by all lawful means to establish a Free State and a Socialist society,’ &c. The same ideas, and almost the very same words as those in L’Aurora of April last. . . . . It is highly significant that in programmes subsequently issued by the German Socialists in connection with conferences at Wyden and Halle, the phrase by lawful means in the second section of the Gotha programme was omitted. This fact indicates that Socialism, as is abundantly proved by other evidence, has entirely changed its character of late years. It has degenerated into a propaganda of violence and terrorism, seeking to effect its end by revolution. There is nothing surprising in this development. It has grown naturally out of the germ of Socialism. Joseph Babœuf, ‘the father of modern Socialism,’ who was guillotined in 1797, set himself to propagate the ideas of Rousseau and Brissot. Proudhon laid down as a principle that ‘property is robbery.’ Bakunin, who was a friend both of Proudhon and Marx, was a dangerous revolutionist and conspirator, and after being expelled from various continental countries settled down in London to carry on his infamous work. The same thing is true of Marx, who is styled ‘the father of scientific Socialism,’ and who was the chief founder of the International.
     “In 1848 Marx and Engels wrote a manifesto for the International Socialists, which was, and is, regarded as a sort of confession of faith.
     “This document declared:—
     “‘The Communists do not seek to conceal their views and aims. They declare openly that their purpose can only be obtained by a violent overthrow of all existing arrangements of society. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution. The proletariat have nothing to lose in it but their chains: they have a world to win. Proletarians of all countries, unite!’
     “This need not be pursued further. Enough has been said to prove [311][312] the point which I wish to drive home, which is, that there is no essential difference between the teachings of Anarchists and Socialists. Both are in antagonism to existing social order, both propose to overthrow all the institutions of society by violence, both mark out rich men and rulers as enemies who are to be destroyed, and both deliberately use outrage and murder to accomplish their ends. The harvest which we are now reaping has grown from seed which was sown during the French Revolution, of which Socialism in its modern manifestation is the offspring. The Reign of Terror has in a sense never ended; it has but assumed a different form and spread to other countries.”
     The author then gives a list of twenty monarchs and rulers who were murdered during the nineteenth century, which, he says, teaches a serious lesson, that lesson being that as the principles of Democracy and Socialism spread so do assassinations multiply. “Democracy has brought us to rapine and outrage and violence; to murder—murder organised, systematised, cold-blooded.”
     The writer concludes: “My space is filled. Upon the discussion of a cure for this lamentable state of things I cannot now enter. It must suffice to repeat with emphasis my deep and settled conviction that the root cause of the evil under consideration is Socialism, of which Anarchism is but the effect. Wise peoples and rulers will deal directly with the cause and leave the effects to look after themselves. As things stand at present almost everybody is using the word Anarchism where they ought to use the word Socialism; they are mistaking the effect for the cause.”
     The author quite misunderstands or wilfully [sic] misrepresents the doctrines of Social-Democracy. Socialism and Anarchism are as opposite as the two poles, both in principles and in tactics. He would stigmatise Socialists as holding principles inimical to State government. Anarchists, on the other hand, declaim against us as upholders of State tyranny. Probably the writer knows this as well as we. What excites his wrath is that the capitalist system of exploitation is menaced by both Anarchists and Socialists.



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