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if we add to these States the whole South, where the upper third or at
most the upper half of the population is in firm control, through the
disfranchisement of the majority of the non-capitalistic classes (white
and colored), we see that, even if the country were swept by a tide of
democratic opinion, it is most unlikely that it will ever control the
Senate. Moreover, if the capitalists (large and small) are ever in
danger of losing the Senate, they have only to annex Mexico to add half
a dozen or a dozen new States with limited franchises and undemocratic
constitutions.

Either the President, or the Senate, or the Supreme Court might prove
quite sufficient to prevent the execution of the will of the people, in
any important crisis--they would be especially effective when
revolutionary changes in property, and rapid shifting of economic and
political power into the hands of the people, are at stake, as
Socialists believe they will be. But to resist such a movement, still
another political weapon is available,--even if President, Senate, and
Supreme Court fell into the hands of the people (and it is highly
probable that the small capitalists, who themselves suffer under the
above-mentioned constitutional limitations, will force the larger
capitalists to fall back on this other weapon in the end),--namely, a
limitation of the suffrage.

The property and educational qualifications for voting which are
directed against the colored people in the Southern States are being
used to a considerable degree, both North and South, against the poorer
whites. While there is no likelihood that this process will continue
indefinitely, or that it will spread to all parts of the country, it is
already sufficient to throw the balance of political power in favor of
the capitalists in the national elections. If we put the total number of
voters in the country at 15,000,000, we can see how significant is the
fact that more than a million, black and white, have already been
directly disfranchised in the South alone.

In view of these numerous methods of thwarting democracy in this country
(and there are others) there is no reason why the capitalists should not
permit political leaders after a time to accept a number of radical and
even revolutionary reforms in political methods. The direct election of
senators, though it was bitterly opposed a few years ago, is already
widely accepted; the direct nomination of the President has become the
law in several States; Mr. Roosevelt threatens that the "entire system"
may have to be changed, that constitutions may be "thrown out of the
window," and the power of judges over legislation abolished, which, as
he notes, has already been advocated by the Socialist member of
Congress[40]; the Wisconsin legislature formally calls for a national
constitutional convention and proposes to make the constitution
amendable henceforth by the "initiative"; Governor Woodrow Wilson
suggests that _many_ of our existing evils may be remedied by national
constitutional amendments[41], and two such amendments are now nearing
adoption after forty years, during which it was thought that all
amendment had ceased indefinitely.

Whether it will be decided to take away the power of the Supreme Court
over legislation and make it directly responsible to Congress or the
people, or to call a constitutional convention, is doubtful. A
convention, as Senator Heyburn recently pointed out in the Senate, is
"bigger than the Constitution" and might conceivably amend what is
declared in that instrument not to be amendable, by providing that the
States should be represented in the Senate in proportion to population.
Even then the existing partial disfranchisement of the electors would
prevent a new constitution from going "too far" in a democratic
direction. It is also true, as the same senator said, that the habit of
amending the Constitution is a dangerous one (to capitalism), and that
it might some day put the capitalistic government's life at stake[42].
But this after all amounts only to saying that political evolution, like
all other kinds, is cumulative, and that its tempo is in the long run
constantly accelerated. Certainly each change leads to more change. None
of these proposed political reforms, however, even a constitutional
convention, _is in itself_ revolutionary, or promises to establish even
a political democracy. All could coexist, for example, with a still
greater restriction of the suffrage.

Nor do any of these measures _in themselves_ constitute the smallest
step in the direction of political democracy as long as a single
effective check is allowed to remain. If there is any doubt on the
matter, we have only to refer to other constitutions than ours which
accomplish the same object of checkmating democracy without a Supreme
Court, without an absolute executive veto, without an effective second
chamber, and in one important case without a written constitution
(England).

Or, we can turn to France, Switzerland, or New Zealand, where the
suffrage is universal and political democracy is already approximated
but rendered meaningless to the non-capitalist masses by the existence
of a majority composed of small capitalists. And in countries like the
United States, where the small capitalists and their immediate
dependents are nearly as numerous as the other classes, a temporary
majority may also be formed that may soon make full democracy as "safe"
for a considerable period as it is in Switzerland or New Zealand.[43]

As soon as "State Socialism" reaches its point of most rapid
development, and as long as it continues to reach ever new classes with
its immediate benefits, it will doubtless receive the support of a
majority, not only of the voters, but also of the whole population.
_During this period_ the "Socialistic" capitalists will be tempted to
popularize and strengthen their movement not only by uncompleted
political reforms, that are abortive and futile as far as the masses are
concerned, but also by the most thoroughgoing democracy. For radical
democracy will not only be without danger, but useful and invaluable in
the struggle of the progressive and collectivist capitalists against the
retrogressive and individualist capitalists. As long as there is a
majority composed of large and small capitalists and their dependents,
together with those of the salaried and professional classes who are
satisfied with the capitalistic kind of collectivism (_i.e._ while its
progress is most brilliant), it is only necessary for the progressives
to hold the balance of power in order to have everything their own way
both against Socialism and reaction. The powerful Socialist and
revolutionary minority created in industrial communities by equal
suffrage and a democratic form of government, _as long as it remains
distinctly a minority_, is unable to injure the combined forces of
capitalism, while it furnishes a useful and invaluable club by which the
progressive capitalists can threaten and overwhelm the reactionaries.

In Great Britain, for example, the new collectivist movement of Messrs.
Churchill and Lloyd George, basing itself primarily on the support of
the small capitalist class, which there as elsewhere constitutes a very
large part (over a third) of the population, seeks also the support of a
part of the non-propertied classes. It cannot make them any plausible or
honest promise of any equitable redistribution of income or of political
power, but it can promise an increase of well-paid government
employment, and it can guarantee that it will develop the industrial
efficiency of all classes and allow them a certain share, if a lesser
one, in the benefits of this policy.

If then "State Socialism," like the benevolent despotisms and
oligarchies of history, sometimes offers the purely _material_ benefits
which it brings in some measure to all classes, as a _substitute_ for
democratic government, it also favors democracy in those places where
the small capitalists and related classes form a majority of the
community. The purpose of the democratic policy, where it is adopted, is
to stimulate new political interest in the "State Socialistic" program,
and by increasing cautiously the political weight of the
non-capitalists--without going far enough to give them any real or
independent power--to check the reactionary element among the
capitalists that tries to hold back the industrial and governmental
organization the progressives have in view. It was in order to shift the
political balance of power that the reactionary Bismarck introduced
universal suffrage in Germany, and the same motive is leading Premier
Asquith, who is not radical, to add considerably to the political weight
of the working classes in England, _i.e._ not to the point where they
have any power whatever for their own purposes, but only to that point
where their weight, added to that of the Liberals, counterbalances the
Tories, and so automatically aids the former party.

The Liberals are giving Labor this almost valueless installment of
democracy, just as they had previously granted instead such immediate
and material benefits as we see in the recent British budgets, _as if_
they were concessions, only hiding the fact that _they would soon have
conferred these benefits on the workers through their own self-interest,
whether the workers had given them their political support or not_.

Mr. Lloyd George has said:--


"The workingman is no fool. He knows that a great party like ours
can, with his help, do things for him he could not hope to
accomplish for himself without its aid. It brings to his assistance
the potent influences drawn from the great middle classes of this
country, which would be frightened into positive hostility by a
_purely class organization_ to which they do not belong. No party
could ever hope for success in this country which does not win the
confidence of a _large portion_ of this middle class....

"You are not going to make Socialists in a hurry out of farmers and
traders and professional men of this country, but you may scare
them into reaction....



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Keywords: effective, balance, national, industrial, reforms, radical, movement, weight, government, constitutions
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