Daniel De Leon
Daniel De Leon was born on December 14, 1852, in Curacao, an island off the coast of Venezuela, and educated in Europe. He returned to America in 1872, and graduated from Columbia Law School in New York City in 1878. He held the position of lecturer in that college for six years. In 1886 he took an active part in the Henry George campaign, and severed, in consequence, his connection with the law school. Four years later he joined the Socialist Labour Party, and in 1892 became editor of its official organ, The People, and leading theorist in the Socialist movement of America. He held his editorial position until his death, on May 11, 1914.
De Leon was noted for his bitter and often outrageously unjust attacks on Anarchism. The lawyer in him degraded his Socialist pen. But the trend of his work was to reconcile Anarchism and Marxism. He was always paying tribute to Marx for the latter's analysis of capitalist production. But he supplemented Marx's work with an even more important contribution to the philosophy of the workers' struggle, a definite application of Socialist knowledge to the purpose of evolving the new social order. De Leon proclaimed that Socialism was incomplete unless it adopted a negative programme on the political field and a positive programme on the industrial. This was his conception of social revolution, of Marxism, Communism, or Socialism. And it is the true and only conception.
De Leon saw and taught that the system of government based on territorial lines has outlived its function: that economic development has reached a point where the Political State cannot even appear to serve the workers as an instrument of industrial emancipation. Accumulated wealth, concentrated in a few hands, controls all political government. No franchise permits the democracy to control accumulated wealth.
Once he had found his stride, De Leon devoted himself to this definition of Socialism as the Industrial Republic. He did so, not as an Utopian, dreaming vainly and speculating gloriously, but as a scientist and a thinker, seeking earnestly and penetrating with analysis.
Adapting Kautsky's Socialist Republic in 1894, De Leon wrote, on this theme, as follows:--
"Few things are more childish than to demand of the Socialist that he draw a picture of the Commonwealth he labours for. The demand is so childish that it would not deserve much attention, were it not for the circumstance that, childish though it be, it is the one objection against Socialism which its adversaries raise with the soberest mien. The other objections are, if anything, still more childish, but in making them the adversaries of Socialism are not half so serious.
"Never yet in the history of mankind has it happened that a revolutionary party was able to foresee, let alone determine, what the