alternative vision. It would be a mass-based party, uniting workers, farmers, middle-class idealists, and others seeking a better world. There would be only a small, subjectively socialist presence in the party; this would perform the role of "leader and teacher" to the whole. 82 In his mind, ideological bickering had been the ruin of a potentially successful movement, and humanity could ill afford the divisive luxury of maintaining and perpetuating even a correct philosophy. "Our hope of being anything more than a Marxian sect," he cautioned his comrades, "lies in an emphasis on unity of action for immediate measures reaching toward a socialist goal." 83 Not believing in the development of socialist consciousness through struggle, and fearful that a sustained pedagogic effort would inhibit the ability of a movement to organize for reform, Thomas opted for a muddling-through approach. This approach might create the structures of a socialistic world but--even in his own analysis--it would do little for socialist understanding. 84
Under the leadership of Norman Thomas, the non-Communist left developed into a vanguard of reform liberalism. It championed a host of seemingly unrelated progressive causes, independent of a single party or organizational framework, often leaving unstated the essence of its philosophy. Thomas never abandoned the socialist label, but that was of little importance. From the early Thirties until his death, to be a socialist meant only to ally oneself with those causes which Norman Thomas fought for.