The American Fund for Public Service: Charles Garland and Radical Philanthropy, 1922-1941

By Gloria Garrett Samson | Go to book overview

21
"Negro Work"

In September 1925, Foster left for a seven-month stay in Russia, while Nearing, his marriage ended, left to study education there. Nearing had applied for membership in the Workers Party after discussions with Harold Ware and was subjected to especially close scrutiny by the party. As a highly individualistic, nonproletarian, Nearing had to agree to accept party approval of his writing and public remarks and to respond to a set of questions. "They were wary of me and my turn of mind," he said. 1

In his statement to the party, Nearing argued that capitalism was entering its final, imperialistic stage. Workers could respond through pacifism, class collaboration, or the proletarian dictatorship, which was the sole alternative to fascism. Workers must simultaneously take control of the state and the economic machinery. Prospects for a proletarian revolution seemed brighter in Europe than in America, he believed, where the ruling class, which lacked organized opposition, remained in a strong position. While most workers hoped to climb out of the working class, war or hard times might ignite class consciousness. Until then, the communist movement in America could not become a mass movement, remaining instead only a propaganda movement.

The party's present work, he said, should be devoted to organizing the unorganized, to "useful activities within the unions," and to propaganda through literature, workers' schools, mass meetings, and demonstrations. He believed that the party should set an example of behavior by cultivating "the highest standards of personal integrity," including "sound health and clean living; trained, vigorous, and courageous thinking; honest, straightforward dealing." The party should "maintain in its internal life a standard of generosity and mutual aid that will make the party, on a small scale the kind of cooperative fellowship that we are seeking to establish on a world scale." 2 Nearing did not note in his application that the party was singularly lacking in internal generosity and cooperative fellowship or that the leadership struggles and conspiracies continued unabated.

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The American Fund for Public Service: Charles Garland and Radical Philanthropy, 1922-1941
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Labor Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • 1 - An Inheritance Rejected 1
  • Notes 3
  • 2 - From Progressivism to Radicalism 5
  • Notes 12
  • 3 - The Aclu and a New Social Order 15
  • Notes 18
  • 4 - Free from the Bonds of Old Institutions 19
  • Notes 24
  • 5 - Workers Will Lay Down Their Tools 27
  • Notes 31
  • 6 - To Promote the Well-Being of Mankind 33
  • Notes 38
  • 7 - Pacifists as Radicals 41
  • Notes 46
  • 8 - It Takes Warm Hearts 49
  • Notes 56
  • 9 - Chosen to Box the Left Compass 59
  • Notes 63
  • 10 - A Sane Enough Radicalism 65
  • Notes 68
  • 11 - Spend It Here and Now 69
  • Notes 73
  • 12 - Scientific, Pragmatic, Efficient 75
  • Notes 81
  • 13 - Emancipation of Their Class in Every Sphere 83
  • Notes 90
  • 14 - Bolsheviks in Patriots' Clothing 93
  • Notes 100
  • 15 - Tempers Flare 103
  • Notes 109
  • 16 - The Rebel Girl Comes Aboard 111
  • Notes 115
  • 17 - Surveying the Left 117
  • Notes 122
  • 18 - Enemies on the Left 125
  • Notes 131
  • 19 - Education and Culture 133
  • Notes 139
  • 20 - Recipient Testimonials 141
  • Notes 147
  • 21 - Negro Work"" 149
  • Notes 155
  • 22 - Passaic 157
  • Notes 162
  • 23 - Vanguard Press 165
  • Notes 169
  • 24 - Friction Within and Without 171
  • Notes 177
  • 25 - Little Left to Repress 179
  • Notes 190
  • 26 - The Manifold Discriminations That Beset Him"" 193
  • Notes 201
  • 27 - Shift to Low Gear 205
  • Notes 216
  • 28 - We Did Quite a Lot of Good 219
  • Notes 224
  • Bibliography 227
  • Index 253
  • About the Author 265
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