Honoring the Socialist Mary Marcy

Ruff, Allen
Date Written:  2015-03-01
Publisher:  Against the Current
Year Published:  2015
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20923

Withe the centenary of World War I underway, it does us well to recall the remarkable socialist militant, Mary Marcy (1877-1922).



Marcy joined the Socialist Party (SP) in 1903. Her muckraking exposé of the meatpacking industry, "Letters of a Pork Packer's Stenographer," serialized in 1904 in the monthly International Socialist Review (ISR) published by Chicago’s Charles H. Kerr & Co., first brought her to the attention of the national movement.

In 1909, she became the ISR's managing editor and worked to transform it from a dry theoretical Marxist journal into a lively "fighting magazine of socialism," "of, by and for the working class." Initially an ISR series, her Marxist primer Shop Talks on Economics (1911), translated into six languages, introduced hundreds of thousands of readers to Marxist principles.

Following the start of the War in 1914, Marcy, as the ISR's main editorialist, assayed both the imperialist causes of the conflagration and the Second International's abandonment of working-class internationalism and failure to resist the nationalist war frenzy. Attributing the movement’s collapse to a culture of "habit" and "discipline," of deference to the established leadership of the International’s parties, she became steadfast in her calls for rank-and-file "rebelliousness," "disobedience" and opposition to nationalism by "the one class without a country."
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