Mary E. Marcy takes Emma Goldman to task over her criticisms of the early Soviet experience. It is safe to say there was no love lost between the two, with this hardly the first time they sparred. Transcribed for the first time here.
‘Emma Goldman and the Soviets’ by Mary E. Marcy from Truth (Duluth). Vol. 3 No. 27. July 2, 1920.
From more than one source it has reached our ears that Emma Goldman is not at all satisfied with Soviet Russia and that she yearns for the good old days in America before the war when bored society ladies derived a thrill from hearing her discuss sex problems and advocate “Free love” with the Lid off. In those affluent times a lady who disliked to soil her hands with the drudgery of honest toil could always be assured of a group of gushing satellites who were willing to pay for the privilege of being entertained.
We knew perfectly well when Emma was deported to Russia that she was not going to like it there. For she never did understand the laws underlying historical progress, nor the economic structure of society, nor the evolutionary trend of society. And she had about as much real use for the working class as John D. Rockefeller or Judge Gary. She does not understand what has happened during the past five years nor what is transpiring in the world to-day.
She does not really want a workers’ revolution, and she says that, industrial communism is tyranny. The conditions of everybody are 100 levelled up, as it were. In fact, after seeing Soviet Russia during war-time, when the Russian people are compelled to sacrifice personal comfort and leisure and the Arts, in order to protect themselves from the armies of the capitalist countries of the whole world, her thoughts turn hbck longingly to the “good old days” that are never coming back, anywhere, anymore.
Emma Goldman does not know that we have had ANARCHY in production for the past seventy-five years and that all the conditions of hunger war, despair, failures of the credit system, financial disasters are hut the full fruits and blossoms of the sort of thing she prefers to Communism.
For many years in all the modern anarchistic, or capitalistic, countries we have had production begin and production cease solely at the dictates of a few owners of industry whose only thought was NOT of the needs of society, but of whether industry yielded a sufficient quota of profits for their own personal appropriation. Shops opened and closed; railroads were built and operated or were permitted to fall into disuse, solely on the basis of whether or not they yielded sufficient profits to the capitalists.
And this anarchy in Industry, in production and distribution, brought about the great war; killed off ten million; young men and maimed ten million more; ravaged nations and it is this anarchy, planlessness, individualism-run-mad that is to-day causing the collapse of the world’s credit system; causing inflation and rising prices, that is choking off industry. It is anarchy or capitalism which is to-day unwillingly digging its own grave, destroying the foundation of the existing system and making revolution as inevitable as the stars in their courses.
It was anarchy in production and distribution and in finance that caused the collapse of the Czar’s regime and that is causing the disintegration of the civilized world today- unbridled, capitalist anarchy.
But Emma does not know that industry and production are anarchistic in Europe and in the United States nor that the credit system has failed nor how the workers are exploited. She does not care that world-Capitalism is warring upon Russia and that in the face of the collapse of the old system the Russian workers have not had time to rebuild in peace but are forced to carry on their educational work and their great plans for socialized industry in the face of the combined capitalist armies of the world.
All that she seems to be interested in is the fact that in Russia people have lost their old time liberty of being able to graft off the ignorance of the people and that she Is in a land where it is necessary to become a useful citizen or to go hungry.
There are several kinds of freedom that nobody is able to enjoy in Russia to-day and this is precisely what has made Soviet Russia the target of all the reactionaries all over the world, from the millionaire owners of industry to the petty grafters who prey on society. To-day, provided you are a healthy man or woman, you eat according to the work you do according to the service you perform.
Everybody who is a useful member of society Is allowed his share in the food and clothing and pay in Russia. But nobody any longer is free to live off the labor of others or by the exploitation of men and women in any manner whatsoever.
The coming days may be rather difficult for the social parasites who do not understand the events of the times. They do not realize that CAPITALISM, or anarchy in production, has failed, and is bound to succumb in chaos and utter route because of its own contractions.
We are going to have world revolution not because of the aims of any class, but because, through the failure of the capitalist credit system, capitalism is becoming unable to carry on production. The same money is deposited over and over again in the banks, and the bank deposits are increasing more than twenty times as fast as the gold supply. So that the banks are in a constant state of insolvency. They are no longer able to lend sufficient money to carry on business enterprises, to maintain industry. They are compelled to curtail credit when the United States, for example, needs hundreds of millions of dollars to be expended in extending and rebuilding and improving the railroads alone. They need either to print more unbacked paper money or to put more and more money in the banks to partially protect their despositors.
Industry in being CHOKED OFF by Capitalism, not by the revolutionists, and every student of history knows that when production ceases, the inevitable result is revolution in self-preservation for the’ mass of the people.
And when Anarchy, or Capitalism, brings CHAOS, nothing on earth will lift society out of the disaster but SOCIALIZED production and SOCIALIZED PLANNING. When it actually becomes impossible to produce for PROFITS, men and women will either have to starve to death or RESUME PRODUCTION on the basis of HUMAN USE AND HUMAN NEEDS.
And so the socialism of Marx and Engels is on its way. No matter whether you are glad or sorry, no matter whether you may be working for it, or die trying to prevent its coming, it is as certain as the approach of spring.
We are bound to have a socialized world, socialized production and distribution—not because we do or do not want it, but because Capitalism is going to leave the whole world high and dry in utter chaos. There is only ONE WAY OUT!
Truth emerged from the The Duluth Labor Leader, a weekly English language publication of the Scandinavian local of the Socialist Party in Duluth, Minnesota and began on May Day, 1917 as a Left Wing alternative to the Duluth Labor World. The paper was aligned to both the SP and the I.W.W. leading to the paper being closed down in the first big anti-I.W.W. raids in September, 1917. The paper was reborn as Truth, with the Duluth Scandinavian Socialists joining the Communist Labor Party of America in 1919. Shortly after the editor, Jack Carney, was arrested and convicted of espionage in 1920. Truth continued to publish with a new editor J.O. Bentall until 1923 as an unofficial paper of the C.P.
PDF of full issue: https://www.mnhs.org/newspapers/lccn/sn89081142/1920-07-02/ed-1/seq-1