Comrade Frank Mabie was a founding member, and later State Organizer, of the Montana Socialist Party, leading it at the time of its greatest influence. A lather by trade, he was also president of the Butte Workingmen’s Union, and a the designer and builder of the Butte Socialist Hall in 1916, still extant.
‘Class Pride’ by J.F. Mabie from The International Socialist Review. Vol. 14 No. 5. November, 1913.
THE most necessary thing today in the working class movement is class pride. Without that all else is as nothing —with that all else will come. Class pride is the cohesive force that binds the workers together in a solid body and holds them true to course of the revolution.
The ideas of the ruling class are so bred into us that it is difficult to entirely eradicate our bourgeois ideas of worth and morality that are based on property rights. It is hard for us to measure success or worth by any standard except the dollar rule. We have been taught by our bourgeois teachers that it is our own fault if we are poor and so it is hard for us to not feel a little ashamed of our poverty. Even among our socialist comrades we find those who are much concerned about the “respectability” of the party. They endeavor to get in some of the prominent business or professional men of the town to add prestige to the movement and I know some locals where a successful, respectable exploiter is more welcome as a member than a poorly dressed proletarian who has been exploited until he is broken in health and spirit and unable to maintain an appearance of respectability.
Class Pride! How often do we hear working men and women betray a lack of this most necessary element in the class struggle.
Did you ever hear a working man tell with some degree of pride that he came from the same town as Theodore Roosevelt or William H. Taft or Morgan or Jim Hill or some other exploiter as if it reflected some credit on a wage slave to come from the same town as some prominent member of the master class.
(I wonder if the black slave ever used to pride himself on the fact that he was raised on a big plantation by a master who owned a hundred slaves and look down on the slave whose master never owned but two).
Did you ever notice how often a workingman, in speaking of a brother or a father or some other relative in Boston or Chicago or some other city will tell you that he is a banker or lawyer or merchant or doctor? And he is generally a prominent banker or successful lawyer or big merchant or leading physician. And did you ever notice that if the aforesaid relative happens to be a hod-carrier or scavenger or dishwasher or brick layer no reference is made to his occupation no matter how big or successful he may be at his trade? Did you ever notice how deferentially some members of the working class speak to the banker or merchant or doctor or lawyer in their own town and how pleased they are at the patronizing recognition they get from some prominent or wealthy parasite? And did you ever notice how many there are that are always looking for a chance to jump into the parasitic class,
Now what can you expect in the class struggle from a man who despises his class? Can you expect a soldier to put up a good fight when he is not conscious of the justice of his cause and is all the time looking for a chance to desert and go over to the enemy? Can you expect a soldier in this class struggle to dig in with all his might to destroy the capitalist class and end class struggles when he is all the time hoping to jump into that class and benefit from the continuance of classes?
Away with all this bourgeois ethics. Let us foster the new ethics based on socially useful labor —that despises all parasites however big or successful —that comes from the consciousness of the worker of the historic mission of his class and that visions the future society “where work and worth go hand in hand.”
And with this ideal there will be no need to teach class hate for with it will come all the necessary hatred of capitalism and all its ethics and institutions.
The International Socialist Review (ISR) was published monthly in Chicago from 1900 until 1918 by Charles H. Kerr and critically loyal to the Socialist Party of America. It is one of the essential publications in U.S. left history. During the editorship of A.M. Simons it was largely theoretical and moderate. In 1908, Charles H. Kerr took over as editor with strong influence from Mary E Marcy. The magazine became the foremost proponent of the SP’s left wing growing to tens of thousands of subscribers. It remained revolutionary in outlook and anti-militarist during World War One. It liberally used photographs and images, with news, theory, arts and organizing in its pages. It articles, reports and essays are an invaluable record of the U.S. class struggle and the development of Marxism in the decades before the Soviet experience. It was closed down in government repression in 1918.
PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/isr/v14n05-nov-1913-ISR-riaz-ocr.pdf