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Mr. William English Walling gave a very interesting lecture on "Progressivism and After" at the first open meeting of the Socialist Club in Emerson D yesterday afternoon: Mr. Walling prefaced his remarks by saying that he intended to speak on what Progressivism leads to rather than what it is now.
The tendency of the world today is toward the condition which ex-President Roosevelt calls "Partial collectivism." Mr. Walling quoted from the New York Times to show that the subjects to be discussed by the next congress are collectivistic in nature. Some of these questions are "Government Ownership of a Government-built Railroad in Alaska," "Government Ownership of Telephones", "Government Ownership of Mines and Oil Refineries for the Navy," "Federal Regulations for Dealing in Cotton Futures." The agitation over industrial interstate commerce laws, and over the Panama Canal regulations, whether carried on by Roosevelt, Bryan, or Wilson, show the tendency towards "partial collectivism" which, however, is sharply distinguished from Socialism.
Various Examples of "Progressivism."
The tendency in municipalities to control the ice supply, the slaughter houses, and even in some cities the bakeries, show the same condition of collectivity commonly known as "Progressivism." Mr. Walling then showed that the minimum wage law and the recall if carried through would not produce a condition of Socialism. These reforms would prepare the road, but they are only a step. Political democracy which would be produced by them may still exist along with a privileged majority which is contrary to the socialistic theory.
If large inheritances were abolished, a more nearly equal distribution of wealth would be secured, but Socialism would not be reached because advantages in education would still exist.
Large Fortunes No Longer in Jeopardy
Mr. Walling defined Socialism as the conditions in which everyone is given equal economic opportunity. This means the abolition of the higher privileged classes. It was commonly held by our ancestors that three generations were required from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves. From this they argued that while large fortunes were amassed they were soon dissipated and thus wealth was kept uniformly distributed. This reasoning could not apply today for with the existing banking and brokerage systems a fortune once made is kept practically intact for years.
The second requirement of Socialism is free competition among individuals, competition which is not influenced by capital. This condition does not exist now.
Mr. Walling then spoke of the Socialists position towards society. It is the aim of Socialism to abolish class rule to destroy 'hierarchical government, and to establish a condition where there are no superimposed classes. The means of accomplishing this are partly political and partly financial; political, through strikes.
Peculiar Position of Socialist Party
Mr. Walling spoke of the condition in the German Reichstag as showing the position of Socialism at the present time. In this body, the Socialists possess nearly one-third of the votes but can excert little influence because they are situated outside the other parties. A third party to old the balance of power must be situated between the others, and this is not the case with Socialism, Mr. Walling concluded his remarks by stating the position Socialism. Mr. Walling concluded his remarks by stating the position Socialists should take. As they cannot at present expect to exert any material influence themselves, they should support the Progressive party, which represents more nearly than the others the tendency towards a socialistic state. When the condition of "partial collectivism" advocated by the Progressives has been reached it will be time to set themselves up as an independent power
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