line and a contempt for the ever developing sensibility of their rank
However, the radical variants of working-class socialism were clearly
expelled from American society in a nakedly shameful fashion. Their
defeat came at a time when they had neither lost their vitality nor compromised their integrity. As the most promising of socialist variants,
they offered an outlook on both revolution and reform which could have
served a growing movement well. Their surgical removal from the
American polity is the single satisfying explanation of their failure.
To be sure, within the more formalized Marxist circles of left-wing
socialism, a perspective did arise which facilitated the subjugation of
radical socialism to Stalinism and failure. In its earlier forms, as found
in the writings of Louis Boudin, it appeared as an intellectual complement to the more emotive insights of Debs. In the writings of Louis
Fraina, however, it took complicating turns which had tragic implications. It is to these theoretical endeavors that we now turn.
Melvyn Dubofsky, We Shall Be All: A History of the Industrial Workers of the World ( Chicago: Quadrangle, 1969), p. 147.
Frank Bohn and
William D. Haywood, Industrial Socialism ( Chicago: Kerr, 1910), pp. 5-6.
William Haywood, "Pick and Shovel Pointers," International Socialist
Review [ISR] 11 ( February 1911):458.
Dubofsky, We Shall Be All, p. 152.
Bohn and Haywood, Industrial Socialism, p. 9.
Eugene V. Debs, "Outlook for Socialism in the U.S.," ISR 1 ( September 1900):135.
Despite his consistently left position, all shades of socialists tended to
claim Debs as one of their own. To Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, the Wobbly turned
Communist, he was the "American Bolshevik"; Emma Goldman once exclaimed, "Why Mr. Debs, you are an anarchist!"; and Lincoln Steffens dubbed
him the "keeper of the socialist heaven." In Debs, ed.
Ronald Radosh (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1971), pp. 103, 105, 115.
Eugene V. Debs, "How I Became a Socialist," N.Y. Comrade, April 1902.
Philip S. Foner, History of the Labor Movement in the United States,