Daniel De Leon

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Daniel De Leon

Daniel De Leon (December 14, 1852May 11, 1914) was a Curaçao-born American socialist and Syndicalism-influenced trade unionist of Spanish Jewish origin. He would later become the most influential leader of America's first socialist political party, the Socialist Labor Party (SLP).


  • Capitalism attacks and destroys all the finer sentiments of the human heart; it ruthlessly sweeps away old traditions and ideas opposed to its progress, and it exploits and corrupts those things once held sacred.
  • As a poodle may have his hair cut long or his hair cut short, as he may be trimmed with pink ribbons or with blue ribbons, yet he remains the same old poodle, so capitalism may be trimmed with factory laws, tenement laws, divorce laws and gambling laws, but it remains the same old capitalism. These “humanitarian parts” are only trimming the poodle. Socialism, one and inseparable with its “antirent and anticapital parts,” means to get rid of the poodle.

Reform or Revolution (1896)[edit]

  • It has become an axiom that, to accomplish results organization is requisite. Nevertheless, there is "organization" and "organization."That this is so appears clearly from the fact that the pure and simmplers have been going about saying to the workers: "Organize! Organize!"and after they have been saying that, and have been organizing"and "organizing" for the past thirty or forty years, we find that they are virtually where they started, if not worse off; that their "organization" parttakes of the nature of the lizard, whose tail destroys what his foreparts build up.
    • Organization
  • We Socialists are not reformers; we are revolutionaries. We Socialists do not propose change forms. We care nothing for forms. We want a change of the inside of the mechanism of society, let the form take care of itself.
    • Revolution
  • Socialism rejects the premises and the conclusions of anarchy upon the State and upon government. What socialism says is "Away with the economic system that alters the beneficent functions of the central direction authority from an aid to production into a means of oppression." And it proceeds to show that, when the instruments of production shall be owned no longer by the minority, but shall be restored to the Commonwealth; that when, as a results of this, no longer the minority or any portion of the people shall be in poverty and classes, class distinctions and class rule shall, as they necessarily must, have vanished, that then the central directing authority will lose all its repressive functions and is bound to reassume the functions it had in the old communities of our ancestors, become against a necessary aid, and assist in production.
    • Revolution
  • Our system of production is in the nature of an orchestra. No one man, no one town, no one state, can be said any longer to be independent of the other; the whole people of the United States, every individual therein, is dependent and interdependent upon all the others. The nature of the machinery of production; the subdivision of labor, which aids cooperation and which cooperation fosters, and which is necessary to the plentifulnesss of production that civilization requires, compel a harmonious working together of all departments of labor, and thence complete the establishment of a central directing authority, of an orchestral director, so to speak, of the orchestra of the cooperative commonwealth.
    • Government-The State
  • Socialism knows that revolutionary upheavals and transformations proceed from the rock bed of material needs. With a full appreciation of and veneration for moral impulses that are balanced with scientific knowledge, it eschews, looks with just suspicion upon and gives a wide berth to balloon morality, or be it those malarial fevers that reformers love to dignify with the name of "moral feelings"
    • Materialism-Morality

What Means This Strike? (1898)[edit]

  • These “directors,” and the capitalist class in general, may perform some “work,” they do perform some “work,” but that “work” is not of a sort that directly or indirectly aids production, any more than the intense mental strain and activity of the “work” done by the pickpocket is directly or indirectly productive.
    • Whence do wages come, and whence profits?

Two Pages From Roman History (1902)[edit]

  • If a law or an election, distasteful to the ruling class, was forced through; if, for any one of the thousand and one causes, apt to arise whenever actual oligarchic power is draped in the drapery of democratic forms, the Ruling Class of Rome found it prudent to yield in Forum and Senate Hall;-- in such cases the Colleges of Priests would conveniently discover some flaw in the auspices, some defect in the sacrifices. That annulled the election or the law, as "condemned by the gods."

Socialist Reconstruction of Society (1905)[edit]

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