Stealing Capitalism: The Crime of the Century

It's been 105 years since a clandestine plot was hatched to purloin America's capitalist system and replace it with socialism. Most of us were unaware of what was taking place right under our naïve noses, but recent events have now made it clear. Here's how it happened:

Autumn of 1905 was chock-full of historic people and events. Teddy Roosevelt was president. His cousins Franklin and Eleanor were settling down as newlyweds in New York. Novelist Upton Sinclair had recently published his infamous novel The Jungle in serial form.

A young baseball player named Ty Cobb was enjoying his rookie year, and inventor Orville Wright was recovering from a recent airplane crash. The science community was atwitter with talk of new physics theories just published by a 26-year old nobody named Einstein.

The U.S. population was around 83 million people. Fifteen million of them had a bathtub; six million had a telephone, and fifty of them were about to embark on a plan to replace American capitalism with Marxist socialism.

On September 12, 1905, a group of community organizers assembled in the loft of Peck's restaurant in New York City. Among those in attendance were Upton Sinclair, Jack London, John Dewey, Clarence Darrow, Mary "Mother" Jones, and Walter Lippman.

They named their group the Intercollegiate Socialist Society (I.S.S.). Governing and membership rules were established. Officers were chosen and goals were identified:

1. Promote an intelligent interest in Socialism among college men and women [1];
2. Familiarize students with the inherent evils of American economic and social system based on laissez-faire policies [2];
3. Promote the establishment of a socialist order [2].

The I.S.S. determined to achieve its goals in three ways: organize I.S.S. chapters on college campuses; graduate socialist adherents into society; and permeate labor unions, schools, and government with their followers.

Initial efforts met with resistance, as socialism was despised in America at this time. But with persistence and occasional obfuscation, I.S.S. chapters were soon formed at Harvard, Columbia, and Princeton, and by 1917, there were 61 college campus chapters and twelve alumni groups.

At about the same time the Intercollegiate Socialist Society was organized, the Rand School of Social Science opened for business in New York City. The school was funded primarily by the British Fabians. Various Intercollegiate Socialist Society officers were also on the board of the Rand School, whose purpose aligned with that of the I.S.S.:

The school had a very definite object -- that of providing an auxiliary or specialized agency to serve the Socialist and Trade Union Movement of the United States in an educational capacity ... to offer training along the lines calculated to make them more efficient workers for the Cause.  [3]

As they were expanding their reach through college campuses and the Rand School, I.S.S. members were also busy building other organizations to advance their cause. The Industrial Workers of the World, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Civil Liberties Union, the New Republic magazine, and multiple teachers' unions were all founded by Society members. And in 1919, this tireless group launched yet another weapon against our economic system: The New School for Social Research.

Although their membership numbers were increasing, in 1921, the I.S.S. encountered a publicity problem. The recent Bolshevik Revolution had moved Russia from aristocracy to socialism, where it teetered briefly before falling into communism. Consequently, American sentiment toward socialism was increasingly hostile. It was time for the Intercollegiate Socialist Society to heed the advice that their comrade, ACLU founder Roger Baldwin, had once given:

Do steer away from making it look like a Socialist enterprise. ...We want also to look [like] patriots in everything we do. We want to get a good lot of flags, talk a good deal about the Constitution and what our forefathers wanted to make of this country, and to show that we are really the folks that really stand for the spirit of our institutions.

Consequently, they changed their name to the League for Industrial Democracy (L.I.D.) and articulated a new goal: "education for a new social order based on production for use and not for profit." The work of the L.I.D. moved forward, now with an emphasis on reaching the general public with their message.

Sixteen years of effort had by this time produced socialist sympathizers employed in all facets of society -- government in particular. Ironically, the more socialist thinking wormed its way into the economic policy, the more the economy was dragged down, making capitalism look like a flawed system. And the more capitalism looked like a flawed system, the more appealing the utopian vision of socialism became. With these factors in play and without organized resistance, rapid expansion of the socialist movement from 1921 to the present was almost inevitable; its tentacles were and are everywhere.

The drumbeat of capitalist criticism has now been going for over a century. This economic structure of opportunity has been repeatedly portrayed as a system which is oppressive, when in reality it is socialism that results in true oppression. This oppression appears to have been an ulterior motive of the movement all along, as evidenced by this revealing quote from an address given in 1903 by General Education Board President Frederick T. Gates:

In our dream, we have limitless resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand. The present educational conventions fade from our minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk [4].

Do Americans really want a system where the powers that be can "work their good will" on us? Do those who have unknowingly bought into to this century-old power-play comprehend the hoax being played on them? Unless we who see through this scheme can passionately persuade our fellow citizens about the merits of our maligned capitalist system and the underlying motives for eliminating it, our fight to sustain the Republic might be a losing effort.

Let me take you back to 1905 again and tell you the story of someone who did practice that kind of passionate persuasion. On February 5 of that year, Alisa Rosenbaum was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia. At the innocent age of 12, she witnessed the horrors of the Bolshevik Revolution, and her family experienced difficult communist persecution. In 1926, she left her homeland for the freedom of America.

After a brief stay in New York City, Ms. Rosenbaum moved to Hollywood, where she became a screenwriter, playwright, and novelist. This Russian woman went on to become one of America's staunchest opponents of socialism and outspoken advocates of capitalism, and her influence continues through her books and through a website dedicated to her work.

This is the kind of passionate persuasion for which we need to strive before it's too late. By the way, perhaps you know Ms. Rosenbaum better by her American name -- Atlas Shrugged author Ayn Rand.

[1] p. 1, The Turning of the Tides, 1962, Long House Publishing, Paul W. Shafer, John
Howland Snow
[2] The Life and Mind of John Dewey. Dykhuizen, George (1973). Carbondale: Southern Illinois
[3] The American Labor Year Book, 1916. New York: Rand School of Social Science,[1916]; pg. 151.
[4] The Country School of Tomorrow. The Board. Occasional Papers, No. 1
If you experience technical problems, please write to