WISCONSIN: Marxist Mayor

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About the only step a city can take toward genuine Socialism is to acquire its public utilities. Milwaukee lags behind hundreds of other U. S. towns & cities in that respect. Its only ventures which even smack of Socialism are: 1) a 14-year-old co-operative housing project of 105 homes; 2) a municipal waterworks, sewage plant, stone quarry, harbor facilities and street lighting equipment; 3) a system of financing itself without banks by issuance of $1 to $100 scrip bonds. Socialist Mayor Hoan, lacking a Socialist administration, handicapped by an antiquated city charter, able to put over most of his reform measures only by enlisting public opinion through ceaseless campaigning, has only this year felt ready to demand that Milwaukee buy its city power system.

Kitchen Boy's Creed. Dan Hoan's father, son of Irish immigrants, was the blacksmith and town radical of Waukesha, Wis.—a Democrat turned Populist and then Socialist. He died when his son was 14. Young Dan went to work in the kitchen of a nearby resort hotel, drifted on through several hotel kitchens in Milwaukee and Chicago. At 19, he went to the University of Wisconsin at Madison to earn his way by cooking at hotels and fraternity houses, find out whether his father's Socialistic ideas were wrong. He hoped they were, since his elders had warned him that holding them would hinder his advancement in the world. Most of what he learned about them he had to dig up for himself; his professors seemed never to have heard of them. But after stumbling on the teachings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. he left the University convinced that his father had been right.

After a fling at running a restaurant on Chicago's State Street, Dan Hoan got a $6-per-week law clerkship, studied nights at Kent College of Law. In 1908, aged 27, he opened a Milwaukee law office. As counsel for the State Federation of Labor, a job he owed to Victor Berger, he led a winning fight for the first state Workmen's Compensation Act in the U. S. In 1910 Victor Berger pushed him into politics as Socialist candidate for city attorney.

When Dan Hoan gives Karl Marx the credit for his municipal success, he means about what Abraham Lincoln did when he said he owed everything to his mother, or what a pious tycoon means by declaring that he has made his way in the world by trying to solve his problems on Christian principles. Mayor Hoan has a good working knowledge of Marxist economics. But he bears about the same relation to the hair-splitting theorists of his clan that a modern medical missionary does to a medieval monk. More significant than his profession of faith in Karl Marx's teachings is his worship of Abraham Lincoln. He subscribes to Marxist doctrines because he thinks they are the ideal means to his ends in life. Meantime he works toward those ends as best he can under the current system. He has won office year after year, while other Socialists failed, not only because of his reputation for personal honesty and administrative ability but because he is a colorful campaigner. He talks his audiences' language, knows how to make them laugh and cheer, keeps them fascinated by the way he thumps a table, shakes his finger, wrinkles his face, hunches his shoulders, strides up & down, leaps in the air.

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