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That object it has pursued with ever increasing success. In spite of many handicaps, it has grown year by year. It began as a purely local institution, with a library and reading room and with evening and Sunday classes and lecture courses for residents of New York City who wished to spend in study such time as they could spare from their daily labor. This, which was at first the whole school, now continues as its Local Department.
A Book Store was soon added, which besides selling every year many thousands of books and pamphlets on social science and related subjects, has more recently published five valuable brochures and has others in contemplation.
In 1911 the Rand School inaugurated its Full-Time Course, for persons who could arrange to devote themselves wholly to intensive study for a term of six months. In the four years that have since gone by, sixty-one persons have entered this course. Thirty-eight men and eight women have completed it, while fifteen have withdrawn in mid-term on account of ill health, lack of funds, or for other reasons. The list of graduates includes residents of nineteen states and one Canadian province. About half were born in the United States, but there were also natives of Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Russia, Wales and China. Several are now holding positions of responsibility in the Party and trade-union organizations and the labor press, while others are doing good service in the rank and file of the movement.
In 1913, after some experimental attempts, the Rand School definitely launched its Correspondence Department, which met with a warm welcome. Up to the present time correspondence courses have been taken up by about 5,000 persons. The National Executive Committee of the Socialist Party has formally endorsed this work and advised locals to form study classes, and almost all of the State Secretaries have spoken in warm terms of the service rendered by such classes in strengthening the party organization.
In 1913 a permanent East Side Branch was established, with rooms in the building of the Jewish Daily Forward. This has been attended by about one thousand students yearly.
Not to mention many smaller, incidental, or occasional activities, the year 1915 added two important new features to the School's work.
One of these is the Department of Labor Research, whose function is, by original investigation and by collation of the work of other agencies, to bring together, verify, and arrange information useful to the working-class movement, to make it accessible to students, and especially to put it at the service of the Socialist Party, of the Trade Unions, and of Socialist lawmakers and public officials.
The other new departure is the collaboration of the Rand School in the work of the Interlocal Education Committee, charged by the six party locals in Greater New York with the duty of conducting study classes in all parts of the city. Thirty-five such classes were formed in 1915.
The Courses pursued at the School during the term 1915-16 covered a wide range. Beside the fundamental courses in Economics, Socialism, History, Science, Public Speaking, Methods of Socialist Party and Labor Union Organization, series of lectures and lessons were given on special industrial, social and political problems by many leading specialists. Special courses have at various times been given under the auspices of different labor unions for the benefit of their members.
Among the many teachers and lecturers connected with the school, have been Morris Hillquit, Algernon Lee, Charles A. Beard, Franklin H. Giddings, James H. Maurer, George R. Kirkpatrick, Allan L. Benson, Scott Nearing, John Spargo, Florence Kelley, Lucien Sanial, Anna A. Maley, Lester F. Ward, Helen L. Sumner, S. E. Beardsley, Max Schonberg, Charles F. Zueblin, Louis B. Boudin, Duncan MacDonald, Benjamin C. Gruenberg and August Claessens.
By the variety, the extent, and the quality of its activities the Rand School has earned the title of the Workers' University of America, and has taken its place beside Ruskin College in England, the Socialist Party School in Berlin, the new University of Brussels, and other great educational institutions of the international working-class movement.
10. SOCIALISM AND THE YOUTH.
I. The Socialist Sunday Schools.
The system of public instruction prevalent in this country glorifies the competitive idea as applied to industry, and all other walks of life. To prevent their children from being prejudiced against Socialism, to make their children realize the class struggle and their own part in that struggle, Socialists are beginning to supplement the work of the public schools.
In various locals, and branches of the Socialist Party, Sunday Schools for the instruction of children are maintained. Efforts in this direction have been spasmodic, and no accurate statistics of the number of schools, the number of teachers, etc., are available.
In New York State, Prof. Kendrick B. Shedd of Rochester had considerable success in conducting Sunday Schools.
The problems confronting the successful building up of an efficient Sunday School system are many, involving
primarily the formulation of a course of study that shall at once be adapted to very young children, and at the same time aim at a thorough understanding of the underlying principles of Socialism.
The Socialist Party of New York State has appointed a committee to make a study of Sunday Schools and to recommend improvements if any are needed.
II. The Young People's Socialist League, 1915-1916.
The Young People's Socialist League began its career as a National organization as a result of the action taken at the Socialist Party National Committee meeting of May, 1913. Previous to this there were a number of local organizations bearing the same name in various parts of the country. The step to formulate the national movement was taken at the request of the Chicago League. This branch claims, with some considerable validity, to be the first of its kind. It was organized in May, 1907, and though other organizations with similar aims and purposes may have existed at the earlier time, all evidence tends to give priority to the mid-western city.
The National Executive Committee of the Party in creating the Young People's Department at its meeting of October, 1913, instructed the head of this department to get in touch with all young socialist organizations in the country and to take steps to federate them into a national organization. This was done, prospective constitutions and plans for work were drawn up and submitted to the various organizations for their approval, various changes and amendments were made, and finally, in April, 1915, the present national constitution of the Y. P. S. L. 'was adopted by referendum vote.
The organization now embraces over one hundred and fifty circles with more than four thousand members. In five States, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, there are state organizations in the field, and these greatly increase the value and stability of the leagues within their respective territories. Each organized State is represented on the National Committee of the Y. P. S. L. and the best of relations prevail between all the various divisions of the movement.
Close connection is maintained between the Y. P. S. L. and the Socialist Party Organization. The National Secretary of the League also serves as Director of the Young People's Department of the Party's National Office, for which position he is nominated by the Socialist Party N. E. C., and to which he is elected by the Y. P. S. L. membership. In all cases where the Y. P. S. L. owes its original existence to the aid and co-operation of the Party organization the best of
relationship prevails. The Y. P. S. L. members assist in propaganda and educational work, raise funds, and in general do a great deal to raise the standard of work and comradeship among even the older comrades. Some of our hard workers and able officers owe much of their present efficiency to the training received in the young socialist movement, and as time goes on this tendency will be more and more marked. Through the national organization we are affiliated with the "Internationale Verbindung Sozialistischer Jugendorganizationen," of which Wilhelm Munzenberg, of Zurich, Switzerland, is the present International Secretary. It is to be said to the credit of the young socialists of Europe that they have shown as fine an anti-militarist spirit as have any European socialists in either warring or neutral countries. Two international conferences, one in April, 1915, the other in February, 1916, were held for the purpose of keeping intact the international affiliations.
The work of the Y. P. S. L. may be said to fall chiefly under two heads, Educational and Social. Studv classes, reading circles. lectures. etc.. make up the first, under which head comes also the discipline and training offered by the every-day routine of conducting a great national movement. Party members coming from the ranks of the Y. P. S. L. are certainly the better equipped for their apprenticeship in the young movement. On the social field almost every interest vital to the hearts and spirits of the young is catered to." Athletics, entertainments. and all forms of social intercourse are provided for. thus effecting the development of a spirit of comradeship that enhances every member's value to the movement in general.
Prospects for the League's further progress are unlimited. Older socialists are taking an ever increasing interest in the young movement, and as the great need and value of the Y. P. S. L. is being recognized, its boundaries are being pushed further and further forward. In the stirring times that are sure to follow the cessation of the world war the youth of the world, organized as it is today but on a vastly greater scale, is sure to play an important part in reconstructing the International on a more stable footing than that so ruthlessly swept away by the events of August, 1914.
In the Y. P. S. L. is combined the idealism of youth and the bed-rock practicability of good organization methods. The result will mean a step forward in the movement of both the old and the young socialists. Every step in the progress of the Young People's Socialist League is a gain for the International that is to be.
The Intercollegiate Socialist Society.
(Report by Harry W. Laidler, Organizing Secretary.)
The Intercollegiate Socialist Society was organized September 12, 1905, in New York City, for the purpose of promoting an intelligent interest in Socialism among college men and women. The following call for the organization was made by several publicists, including Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Jack London, Oscar Lovell Triggs, B. O. Flower, Clarence Darrow, J. G. Phelps Stokes, Wm. English Walling and Leonard D. Abbott:
"In the opinion of the undersigned the recent remarkable increase in the Socialist vote in America should serve as an indication to the educated men and women in the country, that Socialism is a thing concerning which it is no longer wise to be indifferent.
"The undersigned, regarding its aims and fundamental principles with sympathy, and believing that in them will ultimately be found the remedy for many far-reaching economic evils, propose organizing an association, to be known as the Intercollegiate Socialist Society, for the purpose of promoting an intelligent interest in Socialism among college men, graduate and undergraduate, through the formation of study clubs in the colleges and universities, and the encouraging of all legitimate endeavors to awaken an interest in Socialism among the educated men and women of the country."
Jack London was elected first president, Upton Sinclair, 1st vice-president; J. G. Phelps Stokes, 2nd vice-president; Owen R. Lovejoy, treasurer; Miss M. R. Holbrook, secretary, and Morris Hillquit, Robert Hunter, Geo. H. Strobell, Mrs. Darwin J. Meserole, Geo. Willis Cooke and Harry W. Laidler, additional members of the Executive Committee. George R. Kirkpatrick was organizer for more than two years, and Fred. F. Merrick also served in that capacity for a few months.
The society is primarily a study, not a political propagandist organization. By the Spring of 1916 it had established Chapters for the study of Socialism in about 70 colleges and universities East and West, and Alumni Chapters in 17 centers of population. The undergraduate organizations hold study meetings on various phases of Socialism and public lectures. In 1915-16, John Spargo, Rose Pastor Stokes and Harry W. Laidler spoke in 120 colleges before over 30,000 students and 12,000 others. They addressed some 80 economics and other classes and spoke before over a score of entire college bodies.
The Society issues a quarterly magazine (25c a year) and publishes a number of research pamphlets in connection with this periodical, study courses, book lists, etc. It holds annual conventions during the Christmas holidays in New York City, and summer conferences. The summer conference of 1916 will be held at Sherwood Forest, near Baltimore, from September 18th to September 25th. The headquarters of the