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This declaration by the Chicago branch of the Socialistic Labor Party reaffirms the principles adopted at the party's national congress in Newark, New Jersey, in December, 1877, the winter after the railroad strike. At the congress, what had been the Working-Men's Party adopted this new name. The declaration of principles calls for a more democratic society without extremes of rich and poor, in which labor, "the creator of all wealth," is honored and rewarded.
Describing the current order in which the economy was privately controlled "by a few irresponsible persons" as profoundly inequitable, the declaration sees the corrupt system itself as the source of dishonesty, intemperance, and crime that cannot be rooted out until monopoly capitalism is ended. Among the several planks in the platform is a demand for the eight-hour day on all county work. The party backs up its assertions with a table of statistics on the right-hand side of the page listing the average income and cost of living of an adult worker.
Albert Parsons made his fullest attempt at working within the existing political system through the Socialistic Labor Party. Party nominee Frank Stauber was elected alderman from the Fourteenth Ward in 1878, and Parsons himself lost by a narrow margin in the Fifteenth. At the national convention in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, in 1879, Parsons turned down the party's presidential nomination on the grounds that he was not yet thirty-five years old.
The Socialistic Labor Party went into rapid decline at the end of the decade, however, as a result of improved economic conditions and disagreements among its leadership. Several of its members had lost their faith in the electoral process, partly because Stauber's reelection was undone by the kind of fraud many assumed was widespread. Although Stauber was finally seated after he successfully filed suit, Parsons and several others no longer believed that reform within the system was possible. They joined with others in working for social revolution, not merely reform.