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Socialism in the Natural State: Hot Springs Clarion

Late 19th and early 20th century Hot Springs, Arkansas was a breeding ground for corruption. A police department controlled by the wealthy collected debts for the powerful families that ran the city, Al Capone visited the Arlington Hotel regularly, and firefights in the street were a common occurrence. Poverty was rampant and brutal.

Amid this chaotic backdrop, the Socialist Party of Hot Springs began publishing a socialist newspaper called Clarion.

What follows are excerpts and clippings from the only issue available – published May 17, 1913 – in the Arkansas state archives.

Hot Springs Clarion

Published every Saturday by the Socialist Co-Operative Publishing Company.

Editor… T.W. Bryan
Secretary & Treasurer… D.G. Sleeper

Local Hot Springs

Meets every Saturday night at 8:?? at Gower and Williams store [unintelligible] ▮


Why has the laboring class always got the worst of it? Because they always thought they wanted leaders. Of course, the leader came first in control of things and presently had all the real estate and goods in sight. Let us build a democracy. Join the Socialist Party and attend every meeting, then you will have YOUR say about running first the party and then the whole country. Learn to govern yourselves collectively. ▮

Socialist Party Members in the Professions

An effort is being made by the Information Department to collect the names of the members of the Socialist Party who belong to the professions. There is a two fold object in this effort – first, to show the proportion of educated and especially trained men in the Socialist Party, and, second, (and what is very much more important) to enlist the technically trained comrades in the constructive work which the party must do. More and more the comrades everywhere are realising their need of technical information that can be relied upon to help them in their tasks as members of city councils, school boards and state legislatures. Already a number of consulting engineers, scientists, special students and others are assisting the party thru this department. It is hoped that this list may be greatly lengthened and strengthened.

Comrades who themselves have some technical training in any particular line, or who know of comrades who have such attainments, should send the information to this department and correspondence will be opened with them. ▮

Notes from our local papers

Under a co-operative government there would be nothing of value with which to bribe a public officer. As mining stock and railway stock would be like stock in a post office or public road. Everyone would have all they could use, but wouldn’t walk a city block for some other fellows share. Money can never be a true measure of value, for it is a product of labor and creature of law, and is no truer or nearer correct than watched or baled hay would be. There are those who are tired of measuring their own value of their happiness and the welfare of their posterity, by so changeable a standard as money. –McAlester

Comrade May Walden was with us three days this week. She is woman’s correspondent for the state of Illinois, and is doing special work among the women. The cry now is “A 50 percent woman membership in the Socialist Party.” A very interesting meeting was held at the Unitarian church in which Comrade Walden impressed upon the ladies the importance of Socialism to the women. –Moline

We notice that in the Sunday issue of the Arkansas Gazette, an entire page of the magazine section was devoted to the exposure of the Krupp Gun Works in Germany, by the socialist leader, Dr. Leibnecht. He charges that the Krupps were responsible for the semi-annual German-France war scare that consumes so large an amount of space in the Capitalist dailies has been fully substantiated, the Krupps admitting that they bought French newspapers for the purpose of fanning the hatred supposed to exist between the two nations for the purpose of selling armor/plate and guns to the government. Some day when the facts are brought to light we will find the Steel Trust is behind the anti-Japanese agitation in this country, and in the light of recent developments, that anti-Jap [sic] act of the California legislature is significant. This much is certain – even though murder machine manufacturers are able to buy newspapers to fan the flame of international hatred, if the workers of the world will refuse to furnish the corpses there will be no more wars. ▮

What We Stand For

For a world without a master,
a world without a slave.
Where none shall kneel and ask permit
to work, or favor crave.

Where thrones and kings and priests and snobs,
and creed and greed are past.
For human brotherhood is law,
And love’s enthroned at last.

A world where right and reason rule,
and law supreme of love,
As Jesus said when here on earth,
The Kingdom from above.

Rev. Geo. D. Coleman

Socialism the Way Out

In the place of the present capitalist system Socialism proposes the new social order – the collective ownership and the democratic operation of the natural resources and social utilities upon which the coming of life and labor of the people depend for the common good of all.
This, the Socialist movement declares to be the supreme issue – the only possible solution – the only [?] relief – the only program worth while.
Compared to this, everything else is unimportant. Without this, everything else is useless.
Henceforth Socialism is the supreme issue – the only way out.
However while holding firmly and steadily to the final goal the Socialist party nevertheless offers a constructive program for immediate action, formulates measures that will aid in bringing about the new socialist order, and leads the way in the struggle for the higher civilization. –Socialist Campaign [unintelligible]

Want more Arkansas socialist history? See all articles in the Socialism in the Natural State project.


Note that Arkansas Worker does not necessarily condone the theoretical positions in the publications highlighted for this series.

Photo credit: Yinan Chen on WikiMedia Commons (CC0 Public Domain).

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