Daniel De Leon was an American
, who's thought has been somewhat influencial in Marxism
in general. He was born Dec. 14, 1852 on the island of Curaco
. He studied law
at Columbia University
, where, after graduating and practicing law, he lectured on international law. Also, during this time he was practicing law, he married Sarah Lobo, and had a son named Solon. In 1886
, De Leon became less active in law (especially his teaching carrer, which he quit after recieving an offer to become a full professor), and began supporting the labor movement and, after actively supported Grover Cleveland's campaign for president in 1884, supporting Henry George's campaign for New York mayor. During his political career, De Leon became involved with Socialism
and Marxism. And after years of support for the Socialist movement, Daniel De Leon died at age 61 from subacute
, a disease which would today be cured with penicillin
As I understand it, and I could be wrong, Daniel De Leon never actually wrote any books (unlike most influencial Marxists). However, he did write a number of essays, especially in the Socialist Labor Party
's journal, The People
, which he edited. What is charicteristic of De Leon's thought is his theory of "Socialist Industrial Unionism", a theory which is somewhat similar to Syndicalism
. In his essay "Industrial Unionism," De Leon describes Socialist Industrial Unionism as:
"the socialist republic in the making; and, the goal once reached, the Industrial Union is the socialist republic in operation. Accordingly, the Industrial Union is at once the battering ram with which to pound down the fortress of capitalism, and the successor of the capitalist social structure itself."
The only major
difference De Leon's Industrial Unionism has with syndicalism, is essentially, that De Leon believed pure anarcho-syndicalism
would lead to the state attempting to use force against the large revolutionary labor movement (and if I recall correctly, at the time De Leon was alive, labor unions were considered illegal conspiracies against free trade). He therefore concluded that, since armed force against the state was not "civilized", it would be preferable to form political parties to ensure the legality of direct non-violent revolutionary action. He did believe, however, that once the Socialist Industrial Union had siezed control of all capital, that the state and the socialist party should be quickly disbanded (unlike Leninism
hich holds that revolution comes from an elite party violently siezing the state and maintaining such power, suppressing any counter-revolutionaries, and acting on the behalf of the working people, which is supposed to somehow lead to the withering away of the state).
Daniel De Leon's legacy includes co-founding, along with Eugene V. Debs
the Industrial Union known as the Industrial Workers of the World
. DeLeon, according to the IWW
, voluntarily left the union in 1908
. According to DeLeon, however, he was expelled from the organization, which was becoming increasingly anarchist (the organization removed his ideas on using political power to protect labor from it's constitution).
Daniel De Leon, like many Marxists, De Leon had a nasty authoritarian
streak. Under De Leon, the Socialist Labor Party was, unlike the ecumenical Socialist Party
, rather sectarian and intolerant of internal dissent. Because of this, many of the SLP's members left the party, and joined Eugene V. Deb's Socialist Party. And currently, the Socialist Labor Party, which to my knowledge does not actually have big enough of a supporting base to actually attempt any form of electoral action, is a self-described "DeLeonist" organization.