When did what begin? When did the move toward Socialism and the gravitation away from Republicanism and Free Market Capitalism begin in America? Intricately interlaced in the gravitation toward Socialism are the tendencies of anarchists, communists, democratic socialists, Marxists, Marxist-Leninists, social democrats, Trotskyists, and utopian socialists. This flawed philosophy needs the views of many varied anti-republic views to survive and America is not immune.
Our founders understood the dangers and attempted to provide us with a system of government that would prevent the rise of any system that would erode our sound foundations. Sadly, we have allowed politicians to become drunk on power and the desire for power and usurp our constitutional guidelines and protections. They, like the proverbial drip on a rock, have slowly weakened our constitutional fabric and the apathy and/or resolve of many has facilitated that erosion. In short, we did it to ourselves.
Many believe that this rise of the embracing of socialism has its roots in the utopian communities of the early 19th century. That causes me to believe that our founders were acutely aware of the dangers and sought to place roadblocks to destruction in the Constitution and the system they devised. Their efforts would be adequate were it not for judicial activism and the public was content to allow the politicians to watch over the politics of the nation. We enjoyed the prosperity and success too much to be bothered with our responsibilities as the owners and overseers of government. In short, we did it to ourselves.
A name that most are unfamiliar with includes Josiah Warren, an activist visionary whose inspiration was Charles Fourier was a prominent figure in the movement. Labor activists largely British, German, or Jewish immigrants founded the Socialist Labor Party in 1877. The Socialist Party of America was birthed in 1901. The Socialist Party declined in the 1920s and was largely replaced by the Communist Party USA in the 1930s. That element merged with the Trotskyist who comprised the Socialist Workers Party in the 1950s.
The Democratic Party began their link to the Socialists in the Kennedy administration and expanded under Johnson and the ‘War on Poverty’ and ‘Great Society.’ The Civil Rights Movement embraced the socialists, or the socialists embraced the Civil Rights Movement for political purposes, and it has expanded and grown in strength since.
Utopian Socialism was the first definable attempt to advance socialism in America. They attempted to create and develop socialist communities hoping to demonstrate that their views were superior to capitalism. They all failed, but the philosophy lingered and over time has become stronger than ever. They have found a willing partner to become their vehicle to prominence in the Democratic Party of America. Most of the efforts can be traced to the Fabian Socialist.
These movements were visible as early as 1825 when Robert Owen, a wealthy Welsh Industrialist embraced socialism. He created a communitarian colony called New Harmony in Indiana. The group disintegrated around 1829 due to conflict between utopian ideologues and non-ideological participants. They were followed by transcendentalist utopians in 1841 and erected Brook Farm based on Charles Fourier’s brand of socialism. Nathaniel Hawthorne was a member, but socialist Ralph Waldo Emerson declined to join the movement. They lasted until about 1856 when a fire ravaged the complex and with the already visible decline of the community it could not survive.
Marxism also made inroads in the 1840s fueled by German Marxist immigrants. John Weydemeyer, a colleague of Karl Marx established the first Marxist journal in America. It was called the ‘Die Revolution’ but could not survive beyond two issues. In 1852, not to be deterred, he established the ‘Proletarierbund’, which became the American Workers’ League notably the first Marxist organization in America. The National Labor Union, the Socialist Labor Party of America, and the American Federation of Labor were birthed to advance the ideas of communism, socialism, and Marxism.
The ties to labor are unmistakable and sadly for the laborers what they embraced was extremely detrimental to their freedom and future. However, deception and proper packaging of utopian ideas always find an audience. We see that on the college and university campuses in America. We see that in the Labor Unions, and we are seeing it prolifically in the Democratic Party and their political platform.
As has been the history of many flawed philosophies, a panic of economic disaster opened the door for the Socialists and Marxists to find sympathetic ears in labor. That occurred in 1907. That produced a virtual war between corporations and labor and America endured some incredibly violent and brutal situations in strikes and strike-breaking efforts.
Anarchism is not new to America and one of the prominent leaders and proponents of that view was Benjamin Tucker who advocated “Anarchistic-Socialism.” We had the Haymarket anarchists who were incredibly violent. Joseph Labadie, an American labor organizer, and individualist anarchist forged an alliance with Samuel Gompers in Michigan.
From 1900 to 1920 we saw a renewed rise in this view. In 1910 Victor L. Berger ran for Congress in Wisconsin’s 5th District and became the first Socialist to serve in the U.S. Congress. He sought to eliminate the presidential veto and advocated the socialization of major industries. He introduced the ‘old-age pension bill’.
In 1920, the Anarchists bombed Wall Street and sent mail-bombs to prominent businessmen and government officials. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, a Wilsonian Democrat had a bomb explode outside his house and created a new division of the Justice Department The General Intelligence Division led by J. Edgar Hoover.
In the 1930s and 1940’s it gained a major foothold in the New Deal. In the 1950’s we had the second Red Scare and Americans resisted Socialism and Marxism. Then in the 1960s and 1970’s the New Left produced the Progressive Labor Party and the Communist Party USA and the Socialist Workers Party. In the 1980s and 1990s, we saw the New Communist Movement. Today we have Occupy and Occupy Wall Street along with ANTIFA and BLM whose leaders embrace Marxism. Bernie Sanders and a growing cadre of people in Congress have embraced this view.
Today it is difficult to distinguish the Democratic Party from the Marxists, Socialists, Communists Movements. Those movements have been attempting to gain a foothold in America almost since our inception as a nation. I realize that I have given a long treatise on the evolution of the Democratic Party and America’s gravitation toward Socialism. Sadly, America, we have done this to ourselves and we will discover as have every other nation and culture that those failed philosophies will continue to fail. I keep praying for God to cause us to awaken and take the definitive actions required to nip this plague in the bud.
God bless you and God bless America!