‘New York Socialists Celebrate the Twentieth Anniversary of the Paris Commune’ from Workmen’s Advocate. Vol. 7 No. 21. March 21, 1891.

‘New York Socialists Celebrate the Twentieth Anniversary of the Paris Commune’ from Workmen’s Advocate. Vol. 7 No. 21. March 21, 1891.

The twentieth anniversary of the Paris Commune was celebrated by the Socialists of New York at Webster Hall last Saturday evening, March 14. The elaborate programme which had been arranged by the committee was successfully carried out. The attendance was very large. Handsome red banners decorated the galleries, and on the rear wall of the platform was a large picture of the Communists pulling down the Vendome column. Addresses were delivered by L. Sanial and Alexander Jonas. Letters and telegrams were read, among which the following, from the Social Democratic Federation of England:

‘London, March 2, 1891.

‘To our American comrades assembled on the twentieth anniversary of the proclamation of the Paris Commune:

‘We on behalf of the Social Democrats of Great Britain, send you our sincere and fraternal greetings. Each anniversary of the establishment of the Paris Commune brings the Socialist parties of all countries into a closer bond of international union. For the Commune of Paris represented no uprising for national independence against a foreign yoke; it was a conscious attempt on the part of the proletariat of Paris to emancipate themselves from their worst enemies, the exploiters of their own nationality, it proclaimed the class war which is manifest in every land where the capitalist system of production prevails.

‘The condition of Paris, too. During the short time of the Commune’s existence, will always be an unanswerable reply to all who may question the ability of the workers to manage their own affair. Never was Paris letter managed than under that proletarian administration, in spite of enemies both without and within. And when the fall of that Commune came, the Comrades of Paris proved their devotion to their cause the cause which is ours to-day as it was theirs twenty years ago by the noble sacrifice of their lives. Their memory, abused, vilified and calumniated as it has been, is more truly appreciated each year. It urges us to dare and do all things to secure for the workers of the world that peace, happiness and contentment which through international Socialism alone can lie realized.

‘On behalf of the General Council of the Social Democratic Federation, H.W. Lee, S c’y.’

The concert included instrumental music by the Carl Sahm Club, and choral music by the Socialistic Liedertafel, the Teutonia and the Liedertafel Egalite. After the concert a grand hall took place, which lasted until the dawn of day.

The Lower East Side’s Webster Hall, 119 E. 11th St. was a center of radical activity for generations. Here striking garment workers meet in 1911. It is still an active concert venue.

The Workmen’s Advocate replaced the Bulletin of the Social Labor Movement and the English-language paper of the Socialist Labor Party originally published by the New Haven Trades Council, it became the official organ of SLP in November 1886 until absorbed into The People in 1891. The Bulletin of the Social Labor Movement, published in Detroit and New York City between 1879 and 1883, was one of several early attempts of the Socialist Labor Party to establish a regular English-language press by the largely German-speaking organization. Founded in the tumultuous year of 1877, the SLP emerged from the Workingmen’s Party of the United States, itself a product of a merger between trade union oriented Marxists and electorally oriented Lassalleans. Philip Van Patten, an English-speaking, US-born member was chosen the Corresponding Secretary as way to appeal outside of the world of German Socialism. The early 1880s saw a new wave of political German refugees, this time from Bismark’s Anti-Socialist Laws. The 1880s also saw the anarchist split from the SLP of Albert Parsons and those that would form the Revolutionary Socialist Labor Party, and be martyred in the Haymarket Affair. It was in this period of decline, with only around 2000 members as a high estimate, that the party’s English-language organ, Bulletin of the Social Labor Movement, appeared monthly from Detroit. After it collapsed in 1883, it was not until 1886 that the SLP had another English press, the Workingmen’s Advocate. It wasn’t until the establishment of The People in 1891 that the SLP, nearly 15 years after its founding, would have a stable, regular English-language paper.

PDF of issue: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90065027/1891-03-21/ed-1/seq-1/

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