Saturday, November 3, 2012
Boycott the Elections! - Leaflet of the Communist Party of America, 1920
It is the duty of every class-conscious worker in America to boycott the coming elections. A worker’s vote cast for any of the parties or their candidates standing for election — is a vote for reaction or reform! Whether it be the Republican Party and Harding or the Democratic Party and Cox — whether it be the Farm Labor Party and Christensen, the Socialist Party and Debs, or the Socialist Labor and Cox — a worker’s vote cast for any of these parties or their candidates IS A VOTE TO PERPETUATE THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM BASED UPON WAGE SLAVERY and the ROBBERY OF YOUR CLASS. IT IS A VOTE TO STRENGTHEN THE CAPITALIST GOVERNMENT — BY MEANS OF WHICH THE WORKING CLASS IS KEPT IN SUBJECTION BY LIES, FRAUD, DECEPTION, FORCE, AND VIOLENCE.
Do you workers want to perpetuate your own class slavery? Do you want to maintain and strengthen the capitalist government which has shown by its every act that it is nothing but the tool of the capitalist class and acts against the working class every time?
Then cast your vote in the coming elections! If you believe in capitalist wars in which the workers are called upon to lay down their lives for the profit of the master class — vote in the coming elections! If you believe in the high cost of living — vote in the coming elections! If you believe in being LOCKED OUT BY the BOSS — vote in the coming elections! If you believe in being clubbed and shot by the police and soldiers of the capitalist government — vote in the coming elections! If you believe in lynching — vote in the coming elections! If you believe in deportation of radical workers — vote in the coming elections! If you believe in NATIONWIDE RAIDS UPON REVOLUTIONARY WORKING CLASS ORGANIZATION — vote in the coming elections!
If you believe in DESTROYING SOVIET RUSSIA — vote in the coming elections!
If you believe in supporting REACTIONARY POLAND against the free workers and peasants’ government of Russia — vote in the coming elections! If you believe in sending arms, ammunition, and supplies to the enemies of Soviet Russia — vote in the coming elections!
If you believe in perpetuating prostitution, crime, child labor, and the thousand-and-one economic evils from which the masses in this country are suffering — vote in the coming elections!
A vote cast in the coming elections for any political party now in the field — is a vote in favor of the capitalist class and against the working class! The Republican and Democratic parties stand openly for the capitalist class — whose economic interests they represent. The Farm Labor Party stands for Government Ownership and Reform — which leads to State Capitalism — strengthens the capitalist system and keeps the working class chained in wage-slavery. The Socialist Party and the Socialist Labor Party pretend they are for the abolition of capitalism and the emancipation of the workers from wage-slavery, but actually, by adopting wrong tactics support the lies and deception of capitalist “democracy” and help to fasten these lies upon the workers — thus aiding the capitalist class in preventing the workers from taking independent class action for their own emancipation. These reform parties fool the workers by telling them that the capitalist system can be abolished PEACEFULLY. This is a lie! AN OUTRAGEOUS, DAMNABLE LIE! The capitalist system cannot be abolished peacefully — whether by the ballot box or any other method.
The present capitalist government is nothing but the concealed dictatorship of the capitalist class. Its army, navy, courts, police, bureaucracy, schools, press, church, etc. are the instruments through which the capitalist class perpetuate the lies of capitalist “democracy” and club and shoot you into submission when you wake up and attempt to resist their domination!
Every intelligent worker knows that so long as the capitalist class owns and controls the organs of publicity, of teaching and moulding the minds of the workers — the workers cannot free themselves.
Every intelligent worker also knows that no capitalist class ever gave up its power without a violent struggle. Look across at Europe and see how the ruling classes are striving by every possible means to keep the workers down! See how the German capitalist class combines with “yellow” Socialist to crush every uprising of the German workers! See how the Hungarian capitalist class, with the assistance of the “yellow” Socialist, destroys the workers organization, throws them into jails, places them against the wall to face firing squads, shoots, hangs, and slays without mercy!
See how the French capitalist class tried to destroy the workers organizations! How they suppress the revolts of their soldiers who are called upon to fight in Russia, Siberia, and Africa and who refuse — see how they shoot the workers down in strikes or demonstrations! Look at bloody England! One hundred thousand troops, fully armed, are sent into Ireland to suppress the Irish revolt. Thousands of soldiers are busy shooting defenseless Indian natives whose only crime is that they desire freedom from the rule of Britain. In Arabia, Turkey, wherever English colonies are rising up against the merciless rule of England — the English capitalist class uses FORCE to crush them!
And when the English workers themselves, who are beginning to think, act, make up their minds to destroy the capitalist government, the English capitalist class will use its troops and machine guns against them no less readily than it uses them against the natives of the colonies.
In Japan, Italy, Finland, everywhere the same thing occurs. Do you American workers believe that the American capitalist class is more tenderhearted than the European capitalist class?
Forget it! The American capitalist class is the richest, most powerful and reactionary class in the world. Just look at the history of the class struggle in the United States. At every step in the struggle of the workers to better their conditions the capitalist class and its government met them with persecution, repression, and oppression unequaled in all history. Homestead — Ludlow — Calumet — West Virginia — Paterson — Lawrence — McKees Rock — Seattle — Butte — these are only a few of the tragic milestones that mark the struggle of the American working class for BREAD — JUST BREAD! Or take the Longshoremen Strike — the Coal Strike — the Steel Strike — with its injunction, martial law, raids, deportations, and arrests — does this look as if the American capitalist class will ever give up its power without a bitter and violent struggle?
FORGET THIS FOOLISH AND CRIMINAL IDEA OF A PEACEFUL CHANGE! AWAY WITH THESE REFORM PARTIES THAT PREACH SUCH RIDICULOUS IDEAS TO THE WORKERS!
IT IS TIME THAT YOU AMERICAN WORKERS WAKE UP TO THE REAL FACTS!
THE WORKERS AND PEASANTS OF RUSSIA ARE SHOWING THE WAY! THE EUROPEAN WORKERS ARE LEARNING FAST FROM SOVIET RUSSIA AND WILL SOON THROW THE WHOLE GANG OF ROBBERS WITH THEIR “YELLOW” Socialist apologists and their capitalist governments into the garbage-heap!
Learn from your Russian and European brothers! The Communist Party of America — the only revolutionary working class political party — is the only party that stands for the emancipation for the working class from wage slavery! The Communist Party advocates mass action of the armed workers in an armed insurrection and civil war as the ONLY means of conquering political power for the workers, destroying the capitalist government, and establishing a Workers’ Government — A Soviet Government — the dictatorship of the Proletariat — as the ONLY MEANS OF ABOLISHING the capitalist system and emancipating the working class from WAGE SLAVERY. In order to bring this message before the masses of the American working class the Communist Party will utilize every weapon at its disposal for propaganda and agitation. It accepts participation in election campaigns and parliamentary activity as one of these weapons — but for revolutionary propaganda and agitation only. The Communist Party, however, will abstain from parliamentary activity whenever conditions make such a course necessary.
The Communist Party will have to boycott the coming elections, for reasons which are familiar to every informed worker. The Communist Party has been outlawed by the capitalist government and declared illegal in capitalist courts. Its leaders are all under indictment or in jail. Thousands of its members are held for deportation or trial. Under such conditions the Communist Party could not participate in the coming election and carry its revolutionary propaganda and agitation directly to the workers at shop meetings and hall meetings or debates with the “yellow” Socialists before the workers and show them up as a bunch of vote-seeking reformers.
The Communist Party will have to carry on its propaganda through its underground leaflets, literature, and press until the workers of America become class-conscious and compel the capitalist government to keep its hands off it. Therefore, because the Communist Party is the only revolutionary political working class party — and because this party has boycotted the coming elections — WE, YOUR FELLOW WORKERS AND COMRADES of the COMMUNIST PARTY OF AMERICA CALL UPON YOU THE WORKERS OF AMERICA to boycott THE COMING ELECTIONS!
- The Communist Party of America.