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Large profits for the manufacturers mean starvation wages for
the workers; the princely revenues of the landlords are derived
from excessive rents of the tenants, and the billions of watered
stock and bonds crying for dividends and interest are a perpetual
mortgage upon the work and lives of the people of all generations
to come....

"_No political party can honestly serve all the people of the
state_--those who prey and those who toil; those who rob and those
who are robbed. _The parties as well as the voters of this state
must take their stand in the conflict of interests of the different
classes of society_--they must choose between the workers and their
despoilers.

"The Republican and Democratic Parties alike always have been the
tools of the dominating classes. They have been managed, supported,
and financed by the money powers of the State, and in turn they
have conducted the legislatures, courts, and executive offices of
the State as accessories to the business interests of those
classes.

"These vices of our government are not accidental, but are deeply
and firmly rooted in our industrial system. To maintain its
supremacy in this conflict the dominating class _must_ strive to
control our government and politics, and must influence and corrupt
our public officials.

"The two old parties _as well as the so-called reform parties of
the middle classes_, which spring up in New York politics from time
to time, all stand for the continuance of that system, hence they
are bound to perpetuate and to aggravate its inevitable evils...."


The New York Party had immediately before it the example of Mr. Hearst,
who has gone as far as the radicals of the old parties in Wisconsin, or
Kansas, Oklahoma, California, or Oregon in verbally indorsing radical
reform measures, and also of Mr. Roosevelt, who occasionally has gone
almost as far. Day after day the Hearst papers had sent out to their
millions of readers editorials which contain every element of Socialism
except its essence, the class struggle. The New York Party, like many in
other Socialist organizations, found itself _compelled by circumstances
to take a revolutionary stand_.

For when opportunistic reformers opposed to the Socialist movement go as
far as the Hearst papers in indorsing "State Socialist" reforms, what
hope would there be for Socialists to gain the public ear if they went
scarcely farther, either as regards the practical measures they propose
or the phrases they employ? If the "reformist" Socialists answer that
their _ultimate aim_ is to go farther, may they not be asked what
difference this makes in present-day affairs? And if they answer that
certain reforms must be forced through by Socialist threats, political
or revolutionary, will they not be told, first that it can be shown that
the whole "State Socialistic" reform program, if costly to many
individual capitalists, promises to prove _ultimately profitable_ to
the capitalist class, and second, that it is being carried out where
there is no present menace either of a Socialist revolution or even of a
more or less Socialistic political majority.

But the position of the politically ambitious among so-called "orthodox"
Socialists (I do not refer to personal or individual, but only to
partisan ambition) is often very similar at the bottom to that of the
"reformists"; while the latter contend that capitalism can grant few if
any reforms of any great benefit to the working people _without
Socialist aid_, some of the orthodox lay equal weight on Socialist
agitation for these same reforms, on the ground that they cannot be
accomplished by collaborating with capitalist reformers at all, but
_solely through the Socialist Party_.

"The revolutionary Marxists," says the French Socialist, Rappaport,
"test the gifts of capitalistic reform through its motives. And they
discover that these motives are not crystal clear. The reformistic
patchwork is meant to prop up and make firmer the rotten capitalistic
building. They test capitalistic reforms, moreover, by the means which
are necessary for their accomplishment. These means are either
altogether lacking or insufficient, and in any case they flow in
overwhelming proportion out of the pockets of the exploited
classes."[170]

We need not agree with Rappaport that capitalistic reforms bring no
possible benefit to labor, or that the capitalistic building is rotten
and about to fall to pieces. May it not be that it is strong and getting
stronger? May it not be that the control over the whole building, far
from passing into Socialist hands, is removed farther and farther from
their reach, so that the promise of obtaining, not reforms of more or
less importance, but a fair and satisfactory _share_ of progress
_without conquering capitalism_ is growing less?

Thus many orthodox and revolutionary Socialists even, to say nothing of
"reformists," become mere political partisans, make almost instinctive
efforts to credit all political progress to the Socialist Parties,
contradict their own revolutionary principles. All reforms that happen
to be of any benefit to labor, they claim, are due to the pressure of
the working classes within Parliaments or outside of them; which amounts
to conceding that the Socialists are already sharing in the power of
government or industry, a proposition that the revolutionaries always
most strenuously deny. For if Socialists are practically sharing in
government and industry to-day, the orthodox and revolutionists will
have difficulty in meeting the argument of the "reformists" that it is
only necessary to continue the present pressure in order to obtain more
and more, without any serious conflicts, until all Socialism is
gradually accomplished.

Kautsky makes much of the capitalists' present fear of the working
classes, though in his opinion this fear makes not only for
"concessions" but also for reactions, as in the world-wide revival of
imperialism. Foreign conquests, he believes, are the only alternative
the governing classes are able to offer to the glowing promises of the
Socialists. It is for this reason, he believes, that the capitalists are
relying more and more on imperialism, even though they know that the
conquest of colonies is no longer possible to the extent it was before,
and realize that the cost of maintaining armaments is rapidly becoming
greater than colonial profits. But this also is to underestimate the
resources of capitalism and its capacity for a certain form of progress.
If the capitalists are not to be forced to concessions, neither are they
to be forced, unless in a very great crisis, to reactionary measures
that in themselves bring no profit. The progressive "State Socialist"
program is, as a rule, a far more promising road to popularity from
their standpoint than is reactionary imperialism.

In Kautsky's view the bourgeoisie is driven by the fear of Socialism, in
a country like Germany to reaction, and in one like England to _attempt_
reform. In neither case will it actually proceed to reforms of any
considerable benefit to labor, apparently because Kautsky believes that
all such reforms would inevitably strengthen labor relatively to
capital, and will therefore not be allowed. Similarly, he feels that the
capitalists will refuse all concessions to political democracy (on the
same erroneous supposition, that they will inevitably aid labor more
than capital).

For example, the British Liberals have abolished the veto of the House
of Lords, but only to increase the power of other capitalists against
landowners, while the Conservatives have proposed the Referendum, but
only to protect the Lords. From 1884 to 1911 neither Party had
introduced any measure to democratize the House of Commons and so to
increase the representation of labor. Kautsky reminds us of the plural
voting, unequal electoral districts, and absence of primary and
secondary elections. This he believes is evidence that the capitalists
fear to extend political democracy farther. They even fear the purely
economic reforms that are being enacted, he claims, and at every
concession made to labor desert the Liberals to join the Conservatives.
Land reform, taxation reform, the eight-hour day, are being carried out,
however. But when it comes to such matters as an extended suffrage, the
capitalists will balk. His conclusion is that if economic reforms are to
continue, if, for example, the unemployed are to be set to work by the
government, or if political reforms are to be resumed, the Labourites
have to free themselves from the tutelage of the Liberal Party. And if
they do this, they can play so effectively on capitalist fears as to
force an extension of the suffrage and even change the British
Parliament into a "tool for the dictatorship of the working class." As
in Germany, all political advance of value to labor must be obtained
through playing on capitalist fears--only in England the process may be
more gradual and results easier to obtain.

"Every extension of the suffrage to the working class must be fought for
to-day," says Kautsky, "and it is only thanks to the _fear_ of the
working class that it is not abolished where it exists." By a strange
coincidence Kautsky renewed the prediction that the capitalistic Radical
government of England would never extend the ballot except when forced
by Labor only a few days before Prime Minister Asquith officially,
without any special pressure from Labor, pledged it to equal and
universal (manhood) suffrage. The passage follows:--


"In England the suffrage is still limited to-day, and capitalistic
Radicalism, in spite of its fine phrases, has no idea of enlarging
it. The poorest part of the population is excluded from the ballot.
In all Great Britain (in 1906) only 16.64 per cent possessed,
against 22 per cent in Germany. If England had the German Reichstag
suffrage law, 9,600,000 would be enfranchised, instead of
7,300,000, _i.e._ 2,300,000 more."[171]


Kautsky's view that capitalists cannot bend a more or less democratic
government to their purposes and therefore will not institute such a
government, unless forced to do so, is undoubtedly based on German
conditions.



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Keywords: present, people, concessions, reformists, capitalism, socialism, imperialism, either, neither, germany
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