xt7fxp6txs0f https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt7fxp6txs0f/data/mets.xml Walling, William English, 1877-1936. 1913  books b96-5-34068520 English Macmillan, : New York : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Socialism. Larger aspects of socialism  / by William English Walling. text Larger aspects of socialism  / by William English Walling. 1913 2002 true xt7fxp6txs0f section xt7fxp6txs0f 










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   Socialism can be approached equally well from
two opposite directions. It may be treated either as a
social movement that aims to build up a new civiliza-
tion, or as a new civilization that is gradually being
embodied in a social movement. In my "Socialism As
It Is" I followed the first method and discussed the
economic and political features of Socialism exclusively;
in the present volume I shall proceed in the reverse direc-
tion and deal exclusively with its larger aspects, its intel-
lectual anrd spiritual side.
  As the two books were conceived and written together,
they are parts of a single whole; but they are built on
entirely independent foundations. In dealing with the
economic and political movement I followed the inductive
method; taking the activities of the movement itself
as my point of departure, I concluded with its generaliza-
tions. In discussing the cultural movement I have fol-
lowed the deductive method. Taking as my point of
departure the philosophy of modern science, which I
show to be wholly Socialistic in its bearings, and wholly
dependent upon Socialism for its practical applications,
I have first shown what results are reached by approach-
ing each of the subjects I have discussed from this new
standpoint, and I have then pointed out how the Socialist
movement is, as a matter of fact, moving along the same
line. This philosophy I have called pragmatism, because
I believe pragmatism is Socialism, if taken in what seems


to me to be its most able and consistent interpretation,
that of Professor John Dewey.
   From the point of view of its basic assumptions, then,
I might have called the present volume 'The Philosophy
of Socialism"; from the point of view of its conclu-
sions it might be entitled "The Sociology of Socialism."
I conceive of all the intermediate subjects covered as
being related equally to these two poles of my problem.
But as many readers have not been in the habit of con-
sidering all these subjects in connection either with phil-
osophy or with sociology, either one of the above titles
or even a combination of the two would have appeared
to such readers as too narrow.
  In view of the variety of the matters discussed, it is
scarcely necessary to call the reader's attention to the
fact that the work consists of Socialist criticismi and
not of my individual views. I have used every effort to
fi1(1 a pragmatic or Socialist writer at every point, and
offer my individual opinions only where such writers are
either lacking or do not exist to my knowledge. Such
instances are, however, relatively few, and I hope to
convince my readers that the general standpoint I have
presented is that of the philosophy of modern science and
of the Socialist movement.

Cedarhurst, Long Island, March 15, 1913.






  "Socialism is not only a doctrine, a system, a method. It is all
this and more; it is a civilization."
                         -Canalejas, late Premier of Spain.

  WILHELM    LIEBKNECHT held that Socialism   includes
"all the life, all the feelings and thoughts of man'; the
eminent Austrian publicist, Anton Menger, says that
the Socialist movement does not consist merely in a
propagation of an economic doctrine, but that "the
whole domain of mental life must be filled with the
Socialist spirit: philosophy, law, morals, art and liter-
ature";' while in the opinion of Jaures "all the great
human forces, labor, thought, science, art, even religion
and humanity's conquest of the universe, await on So-
cialism for regeneration and further development." 2
  "Socialism," writes H. G. WVels, "is a great initiation
of construction, organization. science and education,"
which contains an "immense creative element." In the
final chapter of his "New    W\ orlds for Old," Wells
points out that the advance of Socialism must take three
forms. The first of these in point of time is the propa-
ganda, but the first in importance is the development of
Socialism itself:
  "First logically, and most important, is the primary
intellectual process, the elaboration, criticism, discussion,
enrichment and enlargement of the project of Socialism.



This includes all sorts of sociological and economic re-
search, the critical literature of Socialism, and every pos-
sible wav-the drama, poetry, painting, music-of ex-
pressing and refining its spirits, its attitude and concep-
tions. It includes, too, all sorts of experiments in living
and association. In its widest sense it includes all science,
literature and invention." 3

   Third in point of time, and as yet least important,
comes that phase of Socialism which the general public,
unfortunately, often supposes to be the whole, namely
the political side, "the actual changing of practical
things in the direction of the coming Socialized State,
the actual Socialization."  Wells is at great pains to
make his readers seize the fact that this is the least
pressing part of the Socialist activities: "Socialism is
a moral and intellectual process, let me in conclusion
reiterate that.  Only secondarily and incidentally does
it sway the world of politics."
  Another Englishman, the economist and publicist John
A. Hobson, though a collectivist and opposed to So-
cialism, has stated in a few words just what those con-
ditions are that force all the more far-sighted and repre-
sentative Socialists to the broader conception of the
task that lies before them:
  "The history, the political economy, the literature and
the biology taught in schools and colleges under the con-
trol of persons whose training and character are molded
by 'class' influences will inevitably be anti-democratic.
They will continue to construct and propagate, as they
have always done, a politics and an economics designed
to ward off assaults upon the vested interests of which
they are the intellectual mercenaries.  Since the real
power of the people rests not in the possession of votes,
but in the capacity to use them, the real struggle for de-
mocracy centers around the struggle for free education,




free alike from the financial, political, and moral control
of the classes. Educational democracy is an essential con-
dition of political and industrial democracy."

   The American who has come nearest, perhaps, to an
adequate expression of the larger Socialism is Walt
Whitman. For Whitman realized that his ideals were
not to be reached by a struggle against nature alone, or
against social inertia an(l disorganization, ignorance and
poverty, but declare(l war also against social forces and
classes hostile to democratic progress. He says, almost
in so many words, that political democracy can becomne
social democracy and build tip a new society only through
an actual conflict of the new civilization with the old:
  "For   feudalism, caste, the ecclesiastic traditions,
though palpably retreating from   political institutions,
still hold essentially, by their spirit, even in this country,
entire possession of the more important fields, indeed the
very sub-soil, of education, and of social standards and
  "I say that democracy can never prove itself beyond
cavil until it founds and luxuriantly grows its own forms
of art, poems, schools, theology, displacing all that exists,
or that has becn produced anywhcreL  in the past, nndcr
opposite inftluences."  (Italics mine. ) 4

  Fundamentally Socialism means, not merely a political
and economic revolution, nor even a revolution in his-
tory, science, literature and art, but both of these to-
gether.  The conflict is between two classes and the
whole of the two civilizations they represent.
  The present-day culture, like that of every period of
the past, is the culture of the ruling class. Represent-
ing the interests and views of a class which is still
maintained in power largely by coercive means, it is
necessarily based in large part on the military concep-




tion of command and obedience, in other words on the
idea of authority. Then it is a leisure class culture, for
the ruling classes have always enough surplus power to
support a certain amount of inert parasitism in their
midst as well as the active parasitism of the beast-of-
prey variety. This aspect of our culture is very near to
what is commonly called aristocracy, when the word is
used in the social rather than in the political sense. And
finally, our culture has been competitive, not only in com-
merce, but throughout. Indeed it has been competitive
almost as long and continuously as it has been a ruling
class or a leisure class culture; for the periods since the
beginning of written history when the merchants and
capitalists were not a dominating factor in society have
been relatively few. And, finally, another system of class
rule, the regime of status and hereditary caste of which
Spencer speaks, however contradictory it may seem to
the competitive system, has often existed alongside of it
or in combination with it. Competition for property
and power among the members of the governing classes,
under the limitations the welfare of these classes sug-
gests, has co-existed with status and caste since the days
when Hammurabi ruled Babylon some 2,IOO years B. C.
  Every element of culture is shaped by the social system
or civilization of which it is a part; this applies alike to
philosophy, to science, to history, to sociology, to psy-
chology, to morality, to religion, to literature. and to
art. The Socialist who appeals to a cultured audience
in the name of the new civilization which is struggling
against the old is forced in some measure to touch upon
all these subjects. But it is only figurative to say that
two civilizations, two social systems, or two cultural
systems are struggling against one another. As a mat-
ter of fact it is two bodies of men that are in conflict.
And the fact that it is a class struggle (to employ a




much abused phrase) means that the whole personality
of the members of each class is involved and that every
feature of present-day life is affected. \Whatever the
ruling classes as a whole stand for may rightly be called
a part of present civilization, and whatever a sufficient
majority of representative Socialists stand for, whether
in philosophy, science. or literature, is an indication of
what the Socialist civlization will probably be.
  It is in vain that, for the purpose of immediate polit-
ical gains, Socialist parties sometimes pass "self-denying
ordinances," like the Parliament of the British Com-
monwealth under Cromwell, pledging themselves to ab-
stain from exerting any special influence on these
larger aspects of life or from taking into considera-
tion their effect on practical political and economic
activities.  Such an effort is not only vain but mis-
taken, as the movement can lose nothing in the long run
by building on the broadest possible foundations. Marx
and the other most representative Socialists, therefore,
never described Socialism as a purely political and
economic doctrine and never failed to point out its larger
  The principle that asserts the absolute interdependence
of the cultural and the economic and political sides of
civilization and human progress is the most basic of the
whole Socialist philosophy and policy. It is the essence
of what is called "the materialist interpretation of his-
tory." Unfortunately, in the discussion of this principle
attention has been centered almost entirely on the ad-
jective "materialist" and it has been repeatedly explained
by eminent Socialists that this word is not used in the
ordinary sense. \NVhat is more important is to under-
stand that the word "history" refers not to the past so
much as to present-day society and civilization.
  I have pointed out in a previous volume that the only




definition of Socialism is the Socialist movement. But
when we come to deal with the larger aspects of Social-
ism this definition is no longer sufficient. Organized
Socialism often attempts to confine itself to political and
economic activities; when we get beyond this sphere we
no longer have the movement as a whole to guide us,
and we come against the difficulty that the Socialist Con-
gresses have decided that Socialism can have no official
position on questions outside the political and economic
struggle. WVhen, however, the overwhelming majority
of Socialists do have ascertainable and common opinions
on some of these broader issues, and these opinions are
clearly outlined in the official party press and litera-
ture, we can still direct ourselves by the movement-
though we can no longer say that it has fought out
such opinions or that it has tested them in practical
life or that it is ready to stake its existence upon them,
as we can of its political and economic principles.
  This does not necessarily mean that the movement
considers these larger aspects of Socialism less funda-
mental, but that it regards it as less necessary to con-
centrate immediate attention on them. Indeed Socialist
writers and thinkers are expected by the movement to
confront and handle every issue and to discuss every
subject from the Socialist standpoint, though each So-
cialist writer is forced, in the lack of any official formu-
lation on these broader questions, to restate the Social-
ist philosophy as he sees it. And he always begins, nat-
urally, with those Socialist principles that are most ac-
cepted, that is its economic and political philosophy,
which is the method I have pursued. What, then, is this
economic and political philosophy-very briefly, since
this is not the main subject of the present volume 
  In my "Socialism As It Is," I dealt with Socialism
purely as an economic and political movement.     I




showed that this movement was not a struggle for any
fixed program of reforms but a struggle for the control
of industry and government by the non-privileged. As
an effort to increase the relative power of the masses at
the expense of the ruling classes until the latter are
abolished, this movement can have a fixed program only
for the time after class rule will have been overthrown.
  It is customary for Socialist writers, in spite of these
admitted facts, to define the Socialist movement as being
mainly a class-struggle of working people against cap-
italists and then to proceed to qualify this definition.
This procedure is not in accord with the present meth-
ods of science, which demand, instead of a rigid defini-
tion with an unlimited number of (qualifications, a (lefini-
tion broad and loose enough so that it does not need
to be qualified. From this standpoint perhaps the near-
est we can come to a definition is to say that Socialism
is a inozvenient of the non-privileged to ovcrthrow the
rule of the privilcged in industry and govcrwniient. It is
true that this definition draws no sharp line between the
classes in conflict, but no sharp line exists.  It may
be admitted even that it is no real definition at all. But
some such tentative statement or working hypothesis,
then, is a better way to approach the subject, more ac-
curate and less misleading than any dogmatic defini-
tion could be. In other words, Socialismn is a struggle of
those who have less, against those wcho have more, than
equal opportutnity would afford.
  Many of the non-privileged who are not working-
men are by no means nearer to privilege than the work-
ingmen are.   Privilege is a matter of income, hours,
leisure, place of living, associations and opportunity,
rather than of mere occupation.   The phrase, "class-
struggle," is a survival from the middle ages. Class di-
vision by occupation was a medieval condition, when the




sorn followed in the father's footsteps; now the worker in
each class can put his children in a thousand occupa-
tions-the only limitation is the social level on which
he lives. Before the period of large scale industry, cor-
porations, and trusts, the lower level was chiefly filled
with employees of private industry; later, numerous offi-
cial and professional elements were gradually added to
it; and now, as the government takes on more and more
industrial functions, government employees promise
within a few years to become the most numerous of all.
To classifyA an individual economically, especially in
modern society, wve must then consider not only his occu-
pation, as some Marxists seem to imply, but we must at-
tach an equal weight to his income level. The question
is not only howv an individual makes his living, but how
much of a living he makes.
  The conflict of Socialism with present society is not in
reality a class-struggle. It is not a struggle between two
social classes or even two groups of social classes. It is
a class struggle only on one side. The ruling class or
ruling classes are more or less unified; Socialism rep-
resents the opposition of all the rest of the population,
but not of a class. It is not a struggle between classes;
it is a struggle of the ruling class against the rest of
the human race.
  To describe this great conflict of civilizations as a
struggle between classes is to place the most useful of
phrases in the hands of the enemy. Anti-Socialists can
and do say: On both sides is a class, each is selfish,
each wishes to rule, and in either case one class or the
other will be conquered. Then the only way to end the
struggle is for both the classes to stop struggling and
cultivate mutual understanding. The easiest way to put
an end to this talk is to drop the old misleading phrase,
and to reply: There is only one class, the class that



                     INTRODUCTION                   Xiii

wants to rule humanity and must be conquered by hu-
manity, and the only way to do this is to fight relent-
lessly to deprive that class, and each and every member
of that class, of their privileges and power. Both the
phrases, "class struggle" and "class-consciousness,"
may legitimately be used, then, to mean exactly the op-
posite of what the majority of Socialists intend them
to mean. When a Socialist says that the exploited should
be "class-conscious" he means, strange to say, that
there must be no exploited class. It is answered most
plausibly, that to be class-conscious can only mean to
want to advance the interests of one class as a class. On
the contrary, true Socialists must be ready, within rea-
sonable limits, to give up an opportunity of advancing
either themselves or their class every time they believe
such a sacrifice brings nearer the abolition of their class
and of all other classes.
  A "class-conscious" worker enigaged in a "class strug-
gle" to advance the. interests of his class, without ally
further aim, is exactly the opposite to a Socialist; hie is
a reactionary doing all in his power to restore the rrgine
of status or class. History is full of the struggles of
one class to conquer another class. The present conflict,
being the first effort of the whole population outside of
the ruling class not only to conquer that class but to put
an end to all classes, is not a class struggle like its prede-
cessors, but an anti-class struggle. But the phrase has
served a useful purpose in the past, and we must remem-
ber what it has come to mean to those who use it most,
as well as what it actually says. Only it must always
be remembered also that it is used by Socialists in a
special and technical sense and does not mean exactly
what it says.
  What part then of the theoretical formulations of
the Socialism of the past remains wholly unobjection-



able from the modern pragmatic standpoint Only this,
that all truth must come from social activity, that not
only sociology but all the culture and civilization of the
future must come from the actual struggles of that so-
cial movement which represents the future as against
the past, the movement which is preparing the new so-
ciety. The magnitude of this truth is so great that even
the leading Socialist writers have barely touched upon it
from time to time, only to step down again to the semi-
dogmatic and partial truths of "the materialist concep-
tion of history" and "the class-struggle."  The larger
and deeper truth is so generally accepted, so fundamental
and so pervasive within the Socialist movement that it
is taken as a matter of course, has become sub-conscious
and is rarely discussed or formulated.
  All the leading Socialist writers have seen this truth
and stated it; for example, take a recent article by the
ultra-revolutionary Marxist Anton Pannekoek:

  "Scientific Socialism, as established by Marx and En-
gels, combined into a harmonious unity two things,
which from the bourgeois point of view, appeared to be
irreconcilable opposites: on the one hand dispassionate
objectivity, science indifferent to ideals, and on the other
hand the passionately sought subjective ideal of a better
society. Those who do not take the point of view of
scientific Socialism belie-e that an ideal, that is to say,
something which we desire, can never be a subject matter
of science, and that. conversely, passionate desire must
be a hindrance to objective truth. To the alleged ob-
jective science of society they give the name of sociol-
ogy; and the sterility, the lack of results which is every-
where in evidence in the countless books of these 'sociol-
ogists,' furnishes the best refutation of their contention
that social truth is born of dry book-learning, rather than
of participation in the social struggles." 5




  "Social truth is born in social struggles."  What a
pity that this momentous revolutionary concept should
lie buried among so many lesser and more partial truths!
This truth and this alone is the essence of all Socialism
from Marx to modern pragmatism. And this truth in
itself is a sufficient basis for a comnplete revolution in
every phase of our present class culture.
  All other Socialist teachings serve to tie the movement
down almost as much as they serve it. Only the truth,
that this is the only movement that challenges the old
society to mortal combat, and that it is recognized by
all in authority as being the one movement they have
to fear, opens out ever new horizons and possibilities.
Only the struggle of the new society against the old
guides us either as to our ultimate aims or our tactics.
W'here we meet the most resistance, there we know our
efforts promiiise to bring the greatest fruits.
  Up to this point I have spoken only of what the larger
Socialism is; far more important is the inquiry as to
what it is becoming, what it is going to be. If Socialism
is the philosophy and policy of the Socialist movement
it must evidently be in a state of constant evolution, for
it would be difficult for the most belated Socialist to
deny that fundamental changes are occurring in the
movement. Not only is it growing in mere size, but it
is evolving in the fullest sense of the word; that is, like
every living thing, it is taking on characters that could
not have been predicted even by omniscience, to say noth-
ing of the merely human powers of foresight of its early
formulators.  Indeed the evolution of the Socialist
movement and of the policies and philosophy that grow
out of it is becoming so rapid to-day that it amounts
practically to a revolution. The revolution in policy in-
volved in the turning about of the movement to face
"State Socialism" instead of private capitalism, I have




dealt with in a previous volume. The change that is
taking place in the philosophy and the other larger as-
pects of the movement, which is no less revolutionary,
is the subject of the present work.
  As Socialism first appeared at a time when even the
most radical ideas were formulated in a dogmatic man-
ner, it could be no exception to the rule, however ad-
vancecl its early thinkers may have been. As a conse-
quence, all their successors who took their point of
departure, not from the living and growing reality,
namely the movement itself, but from those older the-
ories were also more or less dogmatic, whether their
dogmatism consisted in trying to reverse the spirit of
Mlarx's teachings, or in attempting the impossible task of
making them more revolutionary.   Bernstein and the
Revisionists in Germany, Jaures and the Reformists in
France, the Fabian Society and the Independent Labor
Party in Great Britain, attempted to tone Marxism down
by a counter dogmatism which they usually regarded as
"criticism" either of Marx's data, or of his political
economy. The Syndicalists in France and Italy, while
declaring themselves Marxists (as did the French and
Germans just mentioned, though not the English), en-
deavored to make their Marxism more revolutionary,
either by incorporating some points of the Anarchist
philosophers or through attempting to apply some new
metaphysics, as that of Bergson.
  The revisionists of Marxism, whether right revision-
ists or left revisionists (to employ the Continental
terms), that is whether their purpose was to make the
movement less revolutionary or more revolutionary,
based their reasoning not upon the movement itself but
mainly on its early theories. What is actually happen-
ing, then, as a result of all these tendencies, or rather
in spite of them, is that the older theory is neither being



                     INTRODUCTION                  xvii

merely revised nor wholly repudiated but that it is
being completely revolutionized.  WRithout endeavoring
to settle any of the older questions put by the revision-
ists, revolutionary Socialists are beginning to formulate
their opposition to present society in the terms of a
philosophy and science which have grown up altogether
since the time of Marx and Darwin (the patron saint
of the English Fabians).
  The tendency of the newer Socialist thought is not
to struggle against the old, nor to turn the movement
to the right or to the left, but to enable it to go inore
rapidly ahead-in the same revolutionary direction in
which it originally started and, on the whole, has been
traveling ever since. And in order to go more rapidly
ahead the great need is not to patch up theories of i85o
for the purpose, but to employ such new principles and
methods as most adequately express the present (lay
movement and the present period generally. The older
theories, as I have said, nay be taken not only as having
been satisfactory for the time in which they were formu-
lated, but as still having, beyond doubt, a very consid-
erable value to-day. But it is not necessary, in order to
save what is of value, to Fry to adapt these older theories
to present need, for whatever was vital and of last-
ing worth has long ago been embodied in the movement
itself, at least wherever it has reached an advanced state,
as for example in Germany.    By basing our theory
henceforth on the movement (where it is mature), in-
stead of following the opposite method of trying to
base the movement on a theory, we not only have the
best possible form of Marxism and a policy in accord
with modern thought, but we are gaining from the
movement something which is vastly more important
than all its theories, namely its actual experience-in
which is incorporated not only a whole phase of modern



civilization and a large part of the history of our gen-
eration but some of the deepest subconscious strivings,
which are as yet not capable even of the most tentative
formulation. If wve study the Socialist press and period-
icals, the tactics of the leading Socialist Congresses and
the writings of the most representative Socialist writers
(when they are not dealing with theoretical qluestions),
we not only gain a more profound insight into Social-
ism than by anx other method, hut wve are laying the
only possible authentic foundation for Socialist political
and economic policy as Nvell as Socialist culture and
  Nearly all the difficulties of Socialism in the past have
come from the efforts of this or that theorist or faction
to narrow it to suit their purpose. But there is now an
opposite an(1 equally dangerous tendency, since the move-
ment has begun to grow so rapidly, to make Socialism
too broad.  I have given many reasons why we should
take the broader view of Socialism, but wve cannot iden-
tify it with the universe or with all progress, for it
would then have no definite meaning at all. \Ve cannot
agree with H. G. Wells, for example. that "scientific
progress, medical organization, the advancement of edu-
cational method, artistic production an(l literature are
all aspects of Socialism."'  This, 'to use a phrase em-
ployed by Wells himself in another connection (only
a few lines below ). is to do "sheer violence to language."
And what is worse, it confuses Socialism With the stage
of society which is preceding it, and against wvhich So-
cialism  is undoubtedly chiefly to he directed, namely
"State Socialism."  As we are now in a transition period
between private or individualist capitalism and the so-
called "State Socialism," much of the progress of the
present must still be accredited to the first mentioned
form of capitalism, while another part of present prog-




ress, and undoubtedly the larger part of the progress
of the immediate future, sill have to be accredited to
"State Socialism," which is clearly what \Wells means
by Socialism in this passage.
   Because of this confusion with collectivism or "State
 Socialism," many of the efforts to define Socialism,
 though of a purely practical character, and intended
 to be based on the movement, are as misleading as any
 dogma. The best known example is the statement that
 Socialism  means (lemocratic collectivism  or industrial
 democracy, a formula that can easily be limited to the
 progressive reforms of individualist capitalism and of
 "State Socialism."  The practical or political and eco-
 nIOIic prol)lem of Socialism is neither how much of in-
 dustry the goxernment controls (the probleem of collect-
 ivism), nor the form  of government (the problem of
 democracy), nor even how much of industry a demo-
 cratic form of government controls (the problem of dem-
 ocratic collectivism), but this-Does a class, or group of
 classes, control the government
 It is evident that collectivism, government ownership
 of monopolies, the appropriation of the land rent by the
 state, and the placing of labor on the level of maximum
 efficiency, are not Socialism.
 "State Socialism" seeks merely to rearrange insti-
 tutions; Socialism seeks to bring new social forces into
 a position of power, which is the same as to create new
 forces as far as practical results are concerned.  One
 of the chief spokesmen of British "State Socialism" (J.
 R. MacDonald) says that "Socialism is not a tour de
 force of the creative intelligence." This holds true only
 of that "State Socialism." for which this writer speaks.
 Nor is genuine Socialism the product of the creative in-
telligence of a single person or of any limited number
of persons, but it certainly is the product of creative in-




telligence of humanity. MacDonald exp