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Bellamy/Nationalist Clubs last longer?

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Civil Rights Cowboy
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#1
So Edward Bellamy was the author of a Utopian Socialist book called Looking Backwards which inspired the creation of Bellamy/Nationalist Clubs which was based upon the idea of the state Nationalising the economy to remove Capitalism. Now whilst this seems a bit fanciful the Nationalist Clubs weren’t fools, with many helping out the Populist/People’s party in the 1890s and Bellamy himself pointed out that for Socialism to succeed in America it would have to be different than European Socialism.

So what if the Nationalist Clubs lasted longer, and managed to foster more of a partnership with the People’s Party. Maybe we’d get a People’s Party that is similar to the CCF in Canada but being formed in the 1890s instead. Also a slightly earlier creation of a Social Democratic style Party does mean it can gain stream during the more turbulent 1890s rather than the more stable 1900’s.

Hell the long term effects could mean that a number of folks who went Democrat in OTL could go People’s/Nationalist. There’s a lot to play with.
 

Time Enough

Civil Rights Cowboy
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#2
@Dan1988 you've mentioned some interest in this, what do you think the effect would be?

I could see any longer lasting Nationalist Party rapidly being dominated by folks like Rexford Tugwell or even horror of horrors Howard Scott since it seems like a natural home for a lot of the technocrats.
 

Time Enough

Civil Rights Cowboy
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#4
Not sure if the nature of these clubs would ever lend themselves well to mass organization.
Hmm, what if they became a more unified Fabians style organisation? Probably work better for them and I could see them practicing enteryism into the Republicans, Democrats and People’s Party.
 

Time Enough

Civil Rights Cowboy
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#6
Could also do lobbying of individual politicians rather than tie themselves into one party's machinery, maybe?
That could work, I suspect that the Nationalist Clubs could gain an ear and member even get there members elected as representatives for other parties. Enteryism at it’s finest.

On the side they’d probably do things like establishing ‘Socialist Colonies’ in places like Texas or what have you.
 

Time Enough

Civil Rights Cowboy
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#8
A nationally coordinated network of communes would be something fun to explore as a very alien development of the left in the US.
I would imagine the Federal Government freaking out rather quickly (hmm, Socialist Communes vs the Federal Government, sounds interesting).

But bizarrely for Nationalist Clubs to survive you would probably have to go down the National coordinated network of communes root who are different in politics but are united in a sense of Left Wing solidarity.
 

BClick

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#9
Not sure the Populists would be the best avenue for some kind of American Fabianism. It was an agrarian movement with its own ideological theorists and fairly specific goals (which involved monetary reform and cooperative crop warehousing / marketing infrastructure, not nationalization), and did not appeal either to the urban proletariat or to the type of intellectuals who became interested in the Fabians in Britain.

The Socialist Party or parts of the Progressive Era Dems and Republicans might be easier to sell on a technocratic planned economy.

On the side they’d probably do things like establishing ‘Socialist Colonies’ in places like Texas or what have you.
A nationally coordinated network of communes would be something fun to explore as a very alien development of the left in the US.
Utopian socialist colonies would be a more plausible and interesting path to explore. I'm not sure what POD you'd go for to make it happen - some intentional communities work out in reality, but most fail - but there is more precedent for Bellamyite communes than there is for Bellamyite entryism in a political party.

I have been trying to find out more information about it, but there was a town called Socialist Valley in the Oregon Coast Range around the turn of the 20th century that was founded by Bellamyites and paid annual community dues to the SPUSA. As with most of these ventures, though, it didn't last very long.
 

Nyvis

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#10
I would imagine the Federal Government freaking out rather quickly (hmm, Socialist Communes vs the Federal Government, sounds interesting).

But bizarrely for Nationalist Clubs to survive you would probably have to go down the National coordinated network of communes root who are different in politics but are united in a sense of Left Wing solidarity.
Well, at some point it'll be clear nationalizations aren't happening on the scale needed to kill capitalism so I think the clubs will shift their lobbying efforts towards backing their communes. So you could have non socialist politicians defending the communes' right to exist because the clubs will make sure they get the votes from the people in them, for example? And they wouldn't be revolutionary if it works.

Of course, capital doesn't like losing markets or having ideological competition, but it'll be a lot less provocative than, say, a good old strike.

Though overlap with the labour movement is also possible.

Utopian socialist colonies would be a more plausible and interesting path to explore. I'm not sure what POD you'd go for to make it happen - some intentional communities work out in reality, but most fail - but there is more precedent for Bellamyite communes than there is for Bellamyite entryism in a political party.

I have been trying to find out more information about it, but there was a town called Socialist Valley in the Oregon Coast Range around the turn of the 20th century that was founded by Bellamyites and paid annual community dues to the SPUSA. As with most of these ventures, though, it didn't last very long.
Much more likely to succeed with nation wide coordination and sympathizers in cities, so I think that's one thing you need to think about.

Maybe the clubs try the nationalization path but realize there isn't enough political will for it, and turn to funneling resources and support to community building?
 

Time Enough

Civil Rights Cowboy
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#11
Of course, capital doesn't like losing markets or having ideological competition, but it'll be a lot less provocative than, say, a good old strike.

Though overlap with the labour movement is also possible.
If successful I could see it as a slow drain as Capital slowly realises what’s happening and what would be the Otl 1920s would probably try and stop any further development. Of course I suspect that the Communes would rather like there autonomy so things go from there. I could see the Nationalists working with the Labour movement if persay they get started with community building in the late 1890s and during that period meet Eugene Debs. Debs was considering doing colony building and so I could see the Nationalists using his connections to expand his vision whilst he works with them to establish communes.
Maybe the clubs try the nationalization path but realize there isn't enough political will for it, and turn to funneling resources and support to community building?
I could see that, maybe with a shift from ‘Nationalism on a large scale’ to ‘Nationalism on a small scale’ which a commune owns all the resources and stuff. Also if they manage to establish a successful commune they’d probably get support from non-Nationalist folks like other Socialists, Syndicalists etc.

Bizarre you could see American Socialism having more of a solid base if they’re successful Utopia Socialist communes knocking about.
 

Nyvis

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#12
If successful I could see it as a slow drain as Capital slowly realises what’s happening and what would be the Otl 1920s would probably try and stop any further development. Of course I suspect that the Communes would rather like there autonomy so things go from there. I could see the Nationalists working with the Labour movement if persay they get started with community building in the late 1890s and during that period meet Eugene Debs. Debs was considering doing colony building and so I could see the Nationalists using his connections to expand his vision whilst he works with them to establish communes.
I doubt the communes by themselves are enough to oppose capital if things get serious. But they form a bit of a base for leftist movements to fall back on and develop support if they work out, while also extending in areas with less of an established proletariat. Combined with workers in extractive industry, that could be a solid base in some of the least populated states, which would make enforcement against them pretty hard. If they develop their own local industries, that could also significantly change demography in places.

As OTL, WW1 is likely to be what makes or breaks the socialist movement though. The first red scare did a lot of damage.

I could see that, maybe with a shift from ‘Nationalism on a large scale’ to ‘Nationalism on a small scale’ which a commune owns all the resources and stuff. Also if they manage to establish a successful commune they’d probably get support from non-Nationalist folks like other Socialists, Syndicalists etc.

Bizarre you could see American Socialism having more of a solid base if they’re successful Utopia Socialist communes knocking about.
Once you have enough communes in a network, you could start thinking about credit unions and building up their own projects, in the same way social democratic movements did. Though that's likely to create friction with capitalists over resources.
 

Time Enough

Civil Rights Cowboy
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#13
As OTL, WW1 is likely to be what makes or breaks the socialist movement though. The first red scare did a lot of damage.
Yeah, overall given the fact that many early American Socialists were Pacifists or against 'Imperialistic' Wars and also combined with the strong German inspiration of American Socialism I could see a situation where most Communes refuse to join the war effort. As a result this, combined with simmering Labour tensions could be the cavity needed for the Federal Government to hammer down the communes (how succesful that would be is up to debate).
Once you have enough communes in a network, you could start thinking about credit unions and building up their own projects, in the same way social democratic movements did. Though that's likely to create friction with capitalists over resources.
I could see Capitalists getting into scraps with the Communes, which could get violent. But the Socialists if they pool there resources, coordinate and with help from wealthy benefactors could survive long enough for things to get interesting.
 

Nyvis

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#14
Yeah, overall given the fact that many early American Socialists were Pacifists or against 'Imperialistic' Wars and also combined with the strong German inspiration of American Socialism I could see a situation where most Communes refuse to join the war effort. As a result this, combined with simmering Labour tensions could be the cavity needed for the Federal Government to hammer down the communes (how succesful that would be is up to debate).
Yeah that's very possible. At least if the US enters the war at all. We haven't charted how this affects internal politics. More realistic politicians could see the threat and decide not to risk it. Though the US was heavily involved with the entente financially and loathe to see their investments vanish if they lost.

I wonder if maybe they can manage to do a little bit of entryism in 1916 to get a non interventionist in office. If so, that would delay conflict and let them build up longer, potentially until a great depression equivalent.

There was quite a bit of divide over Hughes as the republican nominee in 1916. Maybe the more entryist nationalist clubs could swing the nomination to Hiram Johnson? He's progressive and anti war so I could see it being convincing enough to swing the growing socialist movement behind him for the election.

I could see Capitalists getting into scraps with the Communes, which could get violent. But the Socialists if they pool there resources, coordinate and with help from wealthy benefactors could survive long enough for things to get interesting.
Not sure how long they'd keep wealthy benefactors once it goes from ideological book clubs to actually working against capitalism on the ground. Working with other non utopian socialists and with the labour movement is likely to close that door.
 

Time Enough

Civil Rights Cowboy
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#15
There was quite a bit of divide over Hughes as the republican nominee in 1916. Maybe the more entryist nationalist clubs could swing the nomination to Hiram Johnson? He's progressive and anti war so I could see it being convincing enough to swing the growing socialist movement behind him for the election.
Maybe, I could see a divide though amongst the Communes over whether or not to get involved in politics or not since a lot of the communes were created as reactions to Socialist Parties problems of viability during the 1890s. I could see a kind of quid pro quo situation in which communes support certain politicians in return to being left alone by the Government. Maybe Socialist support for Hiram is used as a way to allow the continued existence of the communes (many Progressives weren't fond of Socialists though some saw them as common allies so they would be mixed on this).
Not sure how long they'd keep wealthy benefactors once it goes from ideological book clubs to actually working against capitalism on the ground. Working with other non utopian socialists and with the labour movement is likely to close that door.
Yeah, I could see a slow turning away from wealthy benefactors towards folks on the ground as it were. Though I could see some East Coast Progressives bank rolling the beginning as an experiment and to help out various colleagues and stuff.
 

Nyvis

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#16
Maybe, I could see a divide though amongst the Communes over whether or not to get involved in politics or not since a lot of the communes were created as reactions to Socialist Parties problems of viability during the 1890s. I could see a kind of quid pro quo situation in which communes support certain politicians in return to being left alone by the Government. Maybe Socialist support for Hiram is used as a way to allow the continued existence of the communes (many Progressives weren't fond of Socialists though some saw them as common allies so they would be mixed on this).
The socialists are pretty different here, building their own communes rather than being a direct challenge, so I could see progressives agreeing to that. Keeping the more radical labour movement on board is going to be a bit harder, but if you have someone like Debs seeing the necessity of a deal, that could work, and if he's convinced the current build up of socialist grassroot organization is more important to protect than having an independent campaign, that could probably happen.

Yeah, I could see a slow turning away from wealthy benefactors towards folks on the ground as it were. Though I could see some East Coast Progressives bank rolling the beginning as an experiment and to help out various colleagues and stuff.
Hmm, maybe, especially if the communes are happening away from them. Though maybe there could also be room in rural places in the east like Vermont or Maine?
 

Time Enough

Civil Rights Cowboy
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#17
The socialists are pretty different here, building their own communes rather than being a direct challenge, so I could see progressives agreeing to that. Keeping the more radical labour movement on board is going to be a bit harder, but if you have someone like Debs seeing the necessity of a deal, that could work, and if he's convinced the current build up of socialist grassroot organization is more important to protect than having an independent campaign, that could probably happen.
Well given how Debs in real life proposed creating a Cooperative Colony in the MidWest before creating a Party, I could see him if he went down this route being a powerful voice for the Socialist potential of Communes. I could see him and others across America creating deals with Progressive/Populist Democrats and Republicans in exchange for freedom. I could see the Progressives agreeing mainly as a way to brush the radicals aside and allowing them to deal with the normal population.
Hmm, maybe, especially if the communes are happening away from them. Though maybe there could also be room in rural places in the east like Vermont or Maine?
Yeah, I know Vermont has always had a bit of a history of Left Libertarianism so it wouldn't surprise me if a number of communes pop up there (though probably of a smaller size compared to the ones out West in which there's more land that could be potentially used as a space for a larger commune).
 

Nyvis

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#18
Well given how Debs in real life proposed creating a Cooperative Colony in the MidWest before creating a Party, I could see him if he went down this route being a powerful voice for the Socialist potential of Communes. I could see him and others across America creating deals with Progressive/Populist Democrats and Republicans in exchange for freedom. I could see the Progressives agreeing mainly as a way to brush the radicals aside and allowing them to deal with the normal population.
The big question is always the labour movement here, because they wouldn't be satisfied with utopian dreams of far off communes. Though maybe mainstream candidates who look to their interests somewhat would help too.

If communes can swing some of the less populated states and make their local governments helpful, that probably goes a long way.
 

Time Enough

Civil Rights Cowboy
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#19
The big question is always the labour movement here, because they wouldn't be satisfied with utopian dreams of far off communes. Though maybe mainstream candidates who look to their interests somewhat would help too.
Eugene Debs would probably peg that hole since he was both a Labour man but also had aspirations of Utopia Communes at one point. Much later down the line you probably get folks like Upton Sinclair been thrown in the mix. This scenario would also likely lead to Georgism surviving as a major political ideology though probably on Communes.
If communes can swing some of the less populated states and make their local governments helpful, that probably goes a long way.
I could see that, if the Communes in places like Colorado or Texas help workers and help implement a friendly government then that would help a long way too. Also if the Communes decide to shelter Trade Unionists wanted by Capital and there Security that would help.
 

Nyvis

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#20
Eugene Debs would probably peg that hole since he was both a Labour man but also had aspirations of Utopia Communes at one point. Much later down the line you probably get folks like Upton Sinclair been thrown in the mix. This scenario would also likely lead to Georgism surviving as a major political ideology though probably on Communes.
Georgism is more a reform movement than something that would fit in communes with a more radical model. But maybe it's something that would fit the state governments where this odd coalition ends up in power?

Maybe collectively managed land avoids the dust bowl down the line.

I could see that, if the Communes in places like Colorado or Texas help workers and help implement a friendly government then that would help a long way too. Also if the Communes decide to shelter Trade Unionists wanted by Capital and there Security that would help.
Colorado would be a good target, it's rural and mines at the time, I think? Rural socialist communes sheltering radical miners would work.

I think the north plains would also be a great place with the large amount of European immigration. I could easily see the movement having a strong German wing and being welcoming to immigrants keeping their language and culture alive. Either without WW1 or with a break over it, German Americans are likely to stay more distinct.