The Argosy of Pure Delight.

One of the Ism-ists

Yesterday coming into the subway I was greeted, or rather seized by, a large acquaintance of mine—one of those voluble and vivacious sisters who make a quiet man feel like a corpse.

“O, Comrade Eastman,” she exploded, “I’m so glad to see you! I was just wanting to talk to a party member! I——”

“Are you a party member?” I said. “Then I can’t talk to you. I’m sorry. I don’t talk to party members. It isn’t safe.”

“Why? What’s the matter? You’re not a Syndicalist, are you?”

“O, no!—no! no! no!”

“Direct Actionist?”

“O, my, no!”


“O, my God!”

“Well, what are you then—a Laborist?—Industrialist?—Anarchist?”

“I’m sure I don’t know.”

“A Syndicalist, you know, is a Possibilist Anarchist, just as a Socialist is a Possibilist Utopist, but a Syndicalist is an Impossibilist Socialist. The truth is, a Syndicalist is an Antistatist, whereas a Socialist is a Statist and Political Actionist, only an Antimilitarist and Pacificist. I’m a Collectivist Revisionist myself. Now, it’s a funny thing, but my brother claims to be a Hervéist, and says he’s a Possibilistical Sabotist, but at the same time an Extremist Communist and Political Actionist. I don’t think that’s a possible thing, do you?”

“I thought he was a Chiropodist,” I said.

“Well—what’s that got to do with it? I’m talking about what he believes in!”

“Oh, I see what you mean. He practices chiropody, but he believes in political action?”

“I guess you’re joking.”

“I think so—a little.”

“Well—I’m serious. I think things are getting awfully complicated these days. Sometimes I feel as if I just couldn’t tell what I do believe in! I feel like throwing over the whole business and going about my work.”

“Yes—that’s a good idea,” I said. “When you get that idea carried out, I’d like to talk to you. I’m sorry I must leave you now.”

“O, are you going?”

“Yes—I’m a Get-offist. That is, I’m going to get off at this station.”

——The Masses, March, 1913.