Socialism in USA can be traced to the days of the arrival of German immigrants and during the formation of Marxian Socialist Union. Socialism was considered as the belief and hope that men could be rescued from their helplessness and depression by use of government power. The Socialist Party in the USA was founded by Eugene Debs, and it thrived under his charismatic leadership. The party sought to tackle the American problems in an American manner (Socialism 1).
We will write a custom Research Paper on 20th Century Socialism specifically for you
301 certified writers online
During his radical speeches, Debs acknowledged that there was only one general labor problem and there was no Negro problem. He expressed optimism that racial prejudice would evaporate. Consequently, in one of his articles, Debs mentioned that the socialist party had nothing special or specific to offer the Negroes, and that it was impossible to appease all the races.
According to Debs, the Socialist Party was to be the party of the working class irrespective of the race and color. The failure of the Socialist Party to deal with the Negro problem was due to its perspective of the racial prejudice problem and Debs acceptance of the racial supremacy notion in his political thoughts. Debs acknowledged that there was no Negro problem but general labor problem.
Philip Randolph was an American activist who served as the leader of both the Negro Civil Rights Movement and the Labor Movement in the USA. Randolph led a match to the Washington, which was aimed at pressurizing President Franklyn Roosevelt to desegregate all production plants dealing with military supplies during the World War II.
Consequently, Randolph inspired the freedom budget that sought to ameliorate the economic problems of the Negro in general and workers and the unemployed, in particular. Randolph was a vocal agitator and an advocate for the civil rights of the Afro-American community. His match to Washington was aimed at ending discrimination in factories.
It is through the efforts of Randolph that the President promulgated the Fair Employment Act as a measure to address the grievances of Randolph. Consequently, Randolph led a demonstration at the Madison Square to advocate for equal opportunities in all spheres of employment from the government, labor union and military to war industries.
This allowed the government to incorporate the Negroes into employment that was earlier preserved for the white employees. The renewed efforts of Randolph aimed at ending racial discrimination in the military led to the formation of a committee which was later dubbed Civil Disobedience.
This forced the president of the USA Harry Truman to end racial segregation in the military by applying an executive order. Consequently, Randolph emerged as an advocate for ending immigration restrictions (Socialism 1).
During the new deal, the communists contributed more on matters job creation than the socialists and democrats. This is because the communists advocated for welfare capitalism which emasculated radicalism so such an extent that they could not be called socialists. Democrats estranged radicalism but they never win any support elsewhere (Laslett 40).
Philip Randolph was a black man and a founder of the magazine the messenger which was provocative and radical. He was described as the most dangerous Negro by President Woodrow Wilson. Besides organizing worker strikes, he joint hands with the progressives and the communists to form the National Negro Congress.
He considered socialism as the only way of uniting the blacks and he worked for the emancipation of the whites through Labor unions. He was instrumental in creating the consciousness which led to the establishment of the Civil Rights Movement (Randolph 7).
In the advent of the Southern Civil Rights Movement, there were various realignments and changes in party position. The Democratic Party embraced radical liberalism. The passage of civil rights acts during the period of 1960s enabled parties to switch positions on civil rights matters.
Democratic Party supported civil rights positions and this position was in consonant with that of the grassroots activists. This was after the New Deal coalition of southern democrats and the northern liberals which was considered to be a successful alignment.
Big Bill Haywood was an American radical who established and led the Industrial Workers of the World. Haywood was also an executive committee member of the Socialist Party of America. It was in his capacities in the above organizations that he organized various strikes and labor battles.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Haywood was considered as an advocate of Industrial Unionism, which advocated for the organization of all industry workers into one umbrella union. It was because of his radicalism that he was arrested and prosecuted on several occasions.
Haywood was dismissed from the Socialist Party in 1912 due to his advocacy for direct action in contrast to a political tactic that was considered the position of the party. Haywood represented the interests of the working class in the labor struggles. He occupied the second top most position in the Women Federation of Miners.
The Wobblies or the Industrial Workers of the World was an international union that represented the interest of the workers and was formed by socialists. Wobblies promoted industrial unionism as opposed to craft unionism advocated by other unions.
The Wobblies broke out of the Socialist Party due to its policy stand since it argued for political action contrary to arbitration and political affiliation, which were the stand of the Socialist Party. The Wobblies advocated and appealed to the working-class and the Negroes. The government ultimately capitalized on the instabilities of the World War I to crush down on the activities of the Wobblies (Socialism 1).
Lack of socialism in USA implies advanced capitalist practices. U.S. lacks social-democratic presences with a working class that lack class consciousness. According to Lipset, there is no socialism in USA due to the nature of its society.
He argued that America is a new society which lacks class stratification as well as a feudal system. The ideological emphasis which stresses on equality, liberty and egalitarianism make it difficult to persuade the Americans to embrace socialism.
U.S. already believes in the principal of equal opportunity for all. Consequently, internal factors in US radicalism make it hard for socialism to thrive. These factors include diversity in cultures and languages and racial divide and strong economic growth.
The nature of America’s society prohibits the emergence of class based political ideologies, which subscribe to the European model. Class feeling that is typical of European societies is absent in America. The mass American politics and the American culture of consumption developed long before it happened in Europe.
The prevalence of socialism in Europe is due to the fact that Europe was catching up with the stage that America was several years ago, and it was experiencing an economic and political process which had been already experienced in the USA. The presence of democratic parties in the United States of America has been considered as the best instruments for social-democratic movements (Foner 57).
The riddle of socialism in the USA had puzzled Marx and Engels. To them, capitalism was ripe in the USA, and also it was ripe for social revolutions, but they argued that it was the absence of an entrenched feudal system and tradition that hindered the development of socialism.
It is the varied definition of socialism that made it difficult to comprehend whether there was or no socialism in the USA. The absence of revolutionary or labor movement in the USA is one of the factors that explained the absence of socialism.
The USA does not have a large social-democratic party like the ones that exist in the European countries like the Labor Party in Britain or the Federalist Party in France or the Communist Party of Italy, which have the capacity to capitalize on mass socialism consciousness.
Consequently, it is explained that its nature of advanced capitalism and as a country that lacks strong social-democratic presence with social class that lacks class consciousness also explain the absence of socialism in the USA. It is worth mentioning that the three factors which are recipes for socialism are ideology, politics and class structure.
Consequently, people must be united by a common course in order to keep socialism alive since in ancient Europe it was the militancy in factories that was often reflected in the class politics of socialism. The American form of socialism was the only workplace oriented as opposed to creating their presence in the workplace and the rejuvenation of Labor and Socialist parties in the period of 1820 were short-lived because they ran out of ideologies, and they failed to create a presence between industrial relations and American political practice (Foner 58).
Socialism failed in the USA due to the class conflation and the features of the American society and politics which come with unfortunate consequences. The absence of a powerful social-democratic party can be used to explain why socialism could not thrive in US. The American society is also static.
This implies that their political ideology, limited mobility and limited understanding, and the tradition of American radicalism could not allow socialism to flourish. According to Hart, socialism is an inherited practice which is traced to the feudal past and from society with class stratification. He argued that minus feudal tradition and class oppression in society, socialism becomes dormant. Since socialism advocated for a classless society, America had already reached that kind of society.
Emigrants from Germany and France created the fear that the country was being occupied by a majority Catholic population, and they injected a new dimension into the slavery debate which they constantly opposed. Majority of them joined the Republican Party in 1860 elections due to the fact that the party advocated for an end to slavery and equality for all.
The Germany immigrants were running away after an unsuccessful revolution in 1848. They were pleased with the abolitionist policy of the Republican Party and the party’s policy of free soil. Germany’s support for Union during the American civil war also attracted the German immigrants to the Republican Party (Foner 69).
Red republicanism in the USA was rebranded to democratic republicanism, which was understood to combine democracy, which was the voice of the people and republicanism which was the spirit that unified the Americans as a state. The U.S. socialist party was similar to the ones formed in Europe since it was aimed at helping the peasant and the lower-class population.
Socialist parties emerged as instruments for advocacy and with the main task of destabilizing the status quo that only benefited the minority at the expense of the majority. Socialist parties were instrumental in shaping the modern-day politics. Socialism was instrumental in ameliorating the existent labor conditions all over the world.
Lincoln was a red Republican. He became the first present to be elected on the Republican ticket. Red Republican was the party which was formed to abolish all forms of slavery. Republican is considered a radical democratic party due to its positions on several issues.
This was imminent immediately after it assumed government; the party oversaw various radical changes, which were aimed at saving the union which included the abolition of slavery, and it advocated for equal rights of all men following the American civil war.
The radical picture of the red Republican was manifested in its support for capitalism and commerce where it pressed for an increase in wages and pension for veterans of the union. Red Republicans also supported the annexation of Hawaii. The party’s position against the US joining the League of Nations was by itself radical (Foner 75).
Foner, Eric. “Why is there no Socialism in the United States?” History Workshop Journal 1.1 (n.d.): 57-80.
Randolph, Philip. Black Macho and black Feminism. Radical America 14.2 (1980):1-70. Print.
Laslett, John. Failure of a dream?: essays in the history of American socialism. 1984. University of California Press. Print.
Socialism. “Socialism in America.” U.S. History, n.d. Web. https://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1669.html