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"One must understand how to manage
principles," he had said in 1900 at the very time he was making the
revolutionary declarations I shall quote (in favor of the general strike
and against the army). Two years later when he made his first speech in
the Chamber, the conservative "Temps" said that Briand was
"ministrable"; that is, that he was good material for some future
capitalistic ministry. Now Briand was making in this speech what
appeared to be a very vigorous attack against the government and
capitalism, but, like some prominent Socialists to-day, he had succeeded
in doing it in such a way that he allowed the more far-seeing of the
capitalistic enemy to understand clearly what his underlying principles
were.[101]

At his first opportunity he became connected with the government, and
justified this step on the ground of "his moral attitude," since he was
the proposer of the famous bill for separating the Church and the State.
He was immediately excluded from the party, since at the time of
Millerand's similar step a few years before the party had reached the
definite conclusion that Socialists should not be allowed to participate
in their opponent's administrations.

When Briand became minister, and later (in 1909) prime minister, he did
not fail at once to realize the worst fears of the Socialists, elevating
military men and naval officers to the highest positions, and promoting
that minister who had been most active in suppressing the post office
strike to the head of the department of justice. So-called collectivist
reforms that were introduced while he was minister, like the purchase of
the Western Railway, were carried through, according to conservative
Socialists like Jaurès, with a loss of 700,000,000 francs to the State.
So that now Jaurès, who had done so much to forward Millerandism and
Briandism felt obliged to propose a resolution condemning Briand and
Millerand and Viviani as traitors who had allowed themselves to be used
"for the purpose of 'capitalism.'"

"'Socialistic' ministers," says Rappoport, "have fallen below the level
of progressive capitalistic governments. No 'Socialistic' minister has
done near so much for democracy as honorable but narrow-minded democrats
like Combes. 'Socialistic' ministers have before anything else sought
the means of keeping themselves in office. In order to make people
forget their past, they are compelled to give continuously new proofs of
their zeal for the government."

In France, where strong radical, democratic, and "State Socialist"
parties already exist, ready to absorb those who put reform before
Socialism, the likelihood that such desertions will lead to any serious
division of the party seems small, especially since the Toulouse
Congress, when a platform was adopted unanimously. Of course, the
leading factor in this platform was Jaurès, who stands as strongly for
a policy of unity and conciliation within the party as he has for an
almost uninterrupted conciliation and coöperation with the more or less
radical forces outside of it.

If Jaurès was able to get the French Party to adopt this unanimous
program, it was because he is not the most extreme of reformists, and
because he has hitherto placed party loyalty before everything. In the
same way Bebel, voting on nearly every occasion with the revolutionists,
is able to hold the German Party together because he is occasionally on
the reformist side, as in a case to be mentioned below. Jaurès looks
forward, for instance, to a whole series of "successful general strikes
intervening at regular intervals," and even to the final use of a great
revolutionary general strike, whenever it looks as if the capitalists
can be finally overthrown and the government taken into Socialist
hands--though he certainly considers that the day for such a strike is
still many years off. Nor does he hesitate to extend the hand of
Socialist fellowship to the most revolutionary Socialists and labor
unionists of his country, though he says to them, "The more
revolutionary you are, the more you must try to bring into the united
movement not only a minority, but the whole working class." He says he
is not against revolution, or the general strike, but that he is against
"a caricature of the general strike and an abortive revolution."

It is only by actions, however, that men or parties may be judged, and
though Jaurès has occasionally been found with the revolutionists, in
most cases he acts with their rivals and opponents, the reformists, and
in fact is the most eminent Socialist reformer the world has produced.
No one will question that there are Socialists who are exclusively
interested in reform at the present period, not because they are opposed
to revolution, but because no greater movements are taking place at the
present moment or likely to take place in the immediate future--and
Jaurès may be one of these. But it is very difficult, even impossible,
to distinguish by any external signs, between such persons and those for
whom the idea of anything beyond the reforms of "State Socialism" is a
mere ideal, which concerns almost exclusively the next or some future
generation. Many of those who were formerly Jaurès's most intimate
associates, like the ministers Briand and Millerand, the recent
ministers Augagneur and Viviani, and many others, have deserted the
Party and are now proving to be its most dangerous opponents, while
several other deputies, who are still members like Brousse, recently
Mayor of Paris, are accused by a large part of the organization of
taking a very similar position. Surely this shows that, even if Jaurès
himself could be trusted and allowed to advocate principles and tactics
so agreeable to the rivals and enemies of Socialism, there are certainly
few other persons who can be safely left in such a compromising
position.

In view of these great betrayals on the part of Jaurès's associates, the
mere fact that his own position towards the Party has usually been
correct in the end--after the majority have shown him just how far he
can go--and will doubtless remain technically correct, becomes of
entirely secondary importance. He has openly and repeatedly encouraged
and aided those individuals and parties which later became the chief
obstacles in the way of Socialist advance, as other Socialists had
predicted. The result is, not that the Socialist Party has ceased to
grow, but that a large part of the enthusiasm for Socialism, largely
created by the party, has gone to elect so-called "Independent
Socialists" to the Chamber and to elevate to the control of the
government men like Briand, who, it was agreed by Socialists and
anti-Socialists alike, was the most formidable enemy the Socialists have
had for many years.

The program unanimously adopted by the French at the Congress of
Toulouse must be viewed in the light of this internal situation. "The
Socialist Party, the party of the working class and of the Social
Revolution," it begins, "seeks the conquest of political power for the
emancipation of the proletariat [working class] by the destruction of
the capitalist régime and the suppression of classes." The goal of
Socialism could not be more succinctly expressed than in these words:
"The destruction of the capitalist régime and the suppression of
classes." Any party that lives up to this preamble in letter and spirit
can scarcely stray from the Socialist road.

"It is the party which is most essentially, most actively reformist,"
continues another section, "the only one which can push its action on to
total reform; the only one which can give full effect to each working
class demand; the only one which can make of each reform, of each
victory, the starting point and basis of more extended demands and
bolder conquests...." Here we have the plank on which Jaurès
undoubtedly laid the greatest weight, and it was supported unanimously
partly because of the necessity of party unity. For this is as much as
to say that no reform will ever be brought to a point that wholly
satisfies the working people except through a working class government.
But it cannot be denied that there are certain changes of very great
importance to the working people, like those mentioned in previous
chapters, which are at the same time even more valuable to the
capitalists, and would be carried out to the end even if there were no
Socialists in existence. If the revolutionary wing of the French Party
once conceded to capitalism itself this possibility of bringing about
certain reforms, they would be in a position effectively to oppose the
reformist tactics of Jaurès within the Party. By giving full credit to
the semi-democratic and semi-capitalistic reform parties for certain
measures, they would go as far as he does in the direction of
conciliation and common sense in politics; by denying the possibility of
the slightest coöperation with non-Socialists on other and _still more
important questions_, they could constantly intensify the political
conflict, and since Jaurès is a perpetual compromiser, put him in the
minority in every contested vote within the party. By attacking the
capitalists blindly and on all occasions they have created the necessity
of a conciliator--the rôle that Jaurès so ably and effectively fills.

But, however friendly the Toulouse program may have seemed to Jaurès's
reform tactics, it is not on that account any less explicit in its
indorsement of revolutionary methods whenever the moment happens to be
propitious. It states that the Socialist Party "continually reminds the
proletariat [working class] by its propaganda that they will find
salvation and entire freedom only in a collectivist and communist
régime"; that "it carries on this propaganda in all places in order to
raise everywhere the spirit of demand and of combat," and that "the
Socialists not only indorse the general strike for use in economic
struggles, but also for the purpose of finally absorbing capitalism."

"Like all exploited classes throughout history," it concludes, "the
proletariat affirms its right to take recourse at certain moments to
insurrectionary violence."

The Toulouse Congress showed, not the present position of the French
Party or of the International, but the points on which Socialist
revolutionists and reformers, everywhere else at sword's point, can
agree.



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Keywords: principles, reforms, conciliation, present, unanimously, congress, reformist, proletariat, classes, 'socialistic'
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