Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ido and the Socialists

A must-read!
After yesterday’s post about the early Socialist and promoter of Esperanto, I don’t want to leave you with the idea that all Socialists were Esperantists.[1] Some left-wing people favored Ido instead. The Ido Schism cut across political lines. Some ardent Idists were politically conservative.[2]

Though the Ido Schism is now forgotten by everyone except Esperantists and Idists, when it happened, it was in the news. Newspapers actually ran articles about the conflicts between the two. In the early twentieth century, many simply assumed that Esperanto would keep growing as it had. Sure, there were naysayers, but even in 1910 when the Esperanto movement was wondering about their failure to make a stronger showing in the United States after five years, scientists and diplomats were seeing a universal auxiliary language as both necessary and inevitable.

As I’ve noted, this worked into a variety of progressive movements, including socialism. However, an item in the Montana News of Lewiston, Montana, on October 29, 1908, showed that some socialists went for Ido.

The Progressive Journal of Education, the new socialist monthly, made its appearance Thursday, October 15. Among the article which the first number will contain will be the following: “Teachers’ Work and Teachers’ Wages,” by Prof. Gruenberg of New York; “Origin of the Free Public Schools,” by A. M. Simons; “The Night University,” by Prof. Ebersole of St. Louis; “Industrial Evolution Leads to Socialism,” by Prof. Dwight of the University of Minnesota; “Science and Education,” by Arthur M. Lewis; “Vocational Education,” by May Wood-Simons, and a poem on “War,” by H. E. Hooever.

Another feature will be a department on “Internacia Linguo,” the new simplified Esperanto, which will be presided over by Howison E. Hoover of Knoxville, Tenn. “Internacia Linguo” is Esperanto with the improvements made by the international committee.

The Progressive Journal of Education is published at 180 Washington street, Chicago.
“Internacia Linguo” (note the “u”) isn’t Esperanto, it’s Ido, though initially, the committee viewed their created as the “new” normative Esperanto (classic definition of a schism; both sides claiming to be the real thing). In the end, the “Esperanto with the improvements made by the international committee” became referred as “Ido,” a name that still irritated some anti-reformists, as it means “descendant.”[3] Of course, it didn’t soothe tempers that the Idists called Esperanto “primitive Esperanto.” “International language” in Esperanto is internacia lingvo (note the “v”). One letter different, but it makes all the difference.

The Montana News should have written “a poem on war, by H. E. Hoover.” This is undoubtably the same same Mr. Hoover as is the correspondent for the Internacia Linguo. His poem is titled “The Sons of Mars,” and though it is but twenty-five lines long, just the first of its five stanzas should suffice.[4]
Ye are the sons on bloody Mars,
But Peace on me hath claim;
Yours are the struggles, strifes and wars,
Mine is the strife without acclaim—
Peace and her grander cosmic aim.
Smug little piece, isn’t it? The other four stanzas are just like that. “You like war; you stink. I like peace; I’m cool.” Not in those words, obviously. Who was this guy, anyway?

At the time he was promoting Ido in the pages of the Progressive Journal of Education, Howison Hoover was a thirty-one year old clerk in the U.S. Pension Office, in Knoxville, Tennessee. Neither he, nor his brother (Samuel, seven years older) were from the area. They were from Maryland. Mr. Hoover graduated from college in 1896, and by 1903, he was working in the Knoxville pension office[5] By 1920, he had moved to Washington, D.C. By 1940, he had moved back to Maryland, where he lived near two of his sisters.[6] He died in 1951. He does not seem to have ever married.

Mr. Hoover published several poems in the first year of the Progressive Journal of Education, in addition to his work teaching Ido. The Ido lessons consisted of two lessons and an essay on why “simplified Esperanto” was preferable to “primitive Esperanto.” He does not seem to have contributed anything to the second year of the magazine.

Despite his publication in a 1908 Socialist magazine, Mr. Hoover didn’t seem to have much of an impact on either Ido or Socialism. About a decade later, another Hoover would come to prominence, and J. Edgar Hoover (apparently no relation) would have quite an effect on socialists, and other groups that drew the scorn of the Director of the FBI.[7]

  1. Although I was sent a comment about another early-twentieth century progressive politician who was also an Esperantists.  ↩
  2. Louis de Beaufront, who (likely) created Ido was a conservative.  ↩
  3. Perhaps those Esperantists would have preferred uzurpanto, “usurper.”  ↩
  4. If you truly thirst for more of Mr. Hoover’s poem, it can be found with a search on Google Books.  ↩
  5. I haven’t figured out his whereabouts between 1896 and 1903, nor am I likely to expend the effort. Sorry.  ↩
  6. The census taker doesn’t actually note the addresses surveyed, however, Howison owned his resident, Haven rented, and Louise owned.  ↩
  7. Here’s a good example which documents that in 1971, the FBI created fake flyers for the Young Socialist Alliance in San Diego stating that they were actively seeking gay members (the group had stopped banning gay members). Quoting the FBI report: “It is hopeful this action will have desired effect of dissuading would-be new recruits from membership in YSA.”  ↩

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