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Both the economic and political
revolutionists are, on such grounds, often tempted to agree with the
reformists of the party and of the labor unions, in leveling their guns
exclusively against the private capitalism of to-day--I might almost say
the capitalism of the past--instead of concentrating their attack on the
evils that will remain undiminished under the State capitalism of the
future. The reformists do this consistently, for they see in the
constructive side of "State Socialism," not a mere continuation of
capitalism, but a large installment of Socialism itself, and have
nothing more to ask for beyond a continuation of such reforms.
Revolutionary Socialists are inconsistent, because they may admit that
the conditions of the working people under "State Socialism" may be far
better than they are to-day, without invalidating their central position
that the greater evils of to-day will remain, and that there will be no
progress towards Socialism, no matter what reforms are enacted, until
the Socialists are either actually or practically in power.

When the Socialists have become so numerous as to be on the verge of
securing control of the government (by whatever means), it is unlikely
that the privileged classes will permit peaceful political or
constitutional procedures to continue and put them completely at the
mercy of the non-privileged. In all probability they will then resort to
military violence under pretext of military necessity (see Part III,
Chapter VIII). _If when this time arrives, the Socialists have not only
a large political majority, but also the physical power to back it up_,
or seem about to secure this majority and this power, then indeed,
though not before that time, the capitalists may, possibly, begin to
make concessions which involve a weakening of their position in society,
_i.e._ which necessitate more and more concessions until their power is
destroyed. The revolutionary reformers, if we may apply this term to
Kautsky and his associates, are then only somewhat premature in their
belief that the Socialist Party is _now_, or will _very shortly_ become,
a real menace to capitalism; whereas the political reformers are under
the permanent illusion that capitalism will retreat before paper
ballots.

Moreover, Kautsky and the revolutionary reformers, in order to make
_their_ (physical) menace effective, must continually teach the people
to look forward and prepare to use all the means in their power for
their advance. They are thus thoroughly in accord with the non-reformist
revolutionists who, however much they may welcome certain capitalist
reforms, do not agree that they will be very materially hastened by
anything the Socialists can do. The non-reformist revolutionists assume
that Socialists will vote for every form of progress, including the most
thoroughly capitalistic, and acknowledge that _if they fail in their
duty in this respect, these reforms might be materially retarded_. But
they are willing to let the capitalists take the lead in such reform
work, giving them the whole credit for what benefits it brings, and
placing on their shoulders the whole responsibility for its
limitations. Their criticism of capitalist reform is leveled not against
what it does, but against what it leaves undone.

Revolutions in machinery and business organization under capitalism,
with which Socialists certainly have nothing to do, they regard also as
not only important, but of vast significance, since it is by their aid
alone that Socialism is becoming a possibility. And now a new period is
coming in, during which the capitalists, on grounds that have no
connection whatever with Socialism or the Socialist movement, will
effect another equally indispensable revolution, in the organization of
labor and business by _governmental means_. Revolutionary Socialists are
ready to give the fullest credit to capitalism for what it has done,
what it is doing, and what it is about to do--for, however vast the
changes now in process of execution, they feel that the task that lies
before the Socialists is vaster still. The capitalists, to take one
point by way of illustration, develop such individuals and such latent
powers in every individual, as they can utilize for increasing the
private income of the capitalists as a class, or of governments which
are wholly or very largely in their control. _The Socialists propose to
develop the latent abilities of all individuals in proportion to their
power to serve the community._ The collectivist capitalists will
continue to extend opportunity to more and more members of the
community, but always leaving the numbers of the privileged undiminished
and always providing for all their children first--admitting only the
cream of the masses to the better positions, and this after all of the
ruling classes, including the most worthless, have been provided for.
The Socialists propose, the moment they secure a majority, to make
opportunity, not more equal, but equal.

Those Socialists, then, who expect that reforms of importance to wage
earners are to be secured to-day exclusively by the menace either of a
political overturn or of a Socialist revolution, and those who imagine
that the Socialist hosts are going to be strengthened by recruits
attracted by the rôle Socialists are playing in obtaining such immediate
reforms, make a triple error. They credit Socialism with a power it has
nowhere yet achieved and cannot expect until a revolutionary period is
immediately at hand; that is, they grossly exaggerate the present powers
of the Socialist movement and grossly underestimate the task that lies
before it. They are seemingly blind to the possibilities of
transformation and progress that still inhere in capitalism--the
increased unity and power it will gain through "State capitalism," and
the increased wealth that will come through a beneficent and scientific
policy of producing, through wholesale reforms and improvements, more
efficient and profitable laborers. They fail to see that the strength of
the enemy will lie henceforth more frequently in deception than in
repression. But even this is not their most fatal blunder. In attacking
individualistic and reactionary rather than collectivistic and
progressive capitalism, these Socialists are not only wasting their
energies by assaulting a moribund power, but are training their forces
to use weapons and to practice evolutions that will soon be obsolete and
useless. They are doing the work and filling the function of the small
capitalists. The large capitalists organized industry; the small
capitalists will nationalize it; in so far at least as it has been or
will have been organized. Socialists gain from both processes, approve
of both, and aid them in every way within their power. But their chief
function is to overthrow capitalism. And as the larger part of this task
lies off some distance in the future, it is the capitalism of the future
and not that of the past with which Socialists are primarily concerned.
Evidently but a few years will elapse before State capitalism will
everywhere dominate. In the meanwhile, to attribute its progress to the
_menace_ of the advance of Socialism, is to abandon the Socialist
standpoint just as completely as do the reformist Socialists in
regarding capitalist-collectivist reforms as installments of Socialism,
to be achieved only with Socialist _aid_.

For Socialists will be judged by what they are doing rather than by what
they promise to do. If political reformists and revolutionary reformists
are both directing their chief attention to promoting the reforms of
"State Socialism," it will make little difference whether the first
argue that these beneficial measures are a part of Socialism and a
guarantee of the whole; or the second claim that, though such reforms
are no part of Socialism, the superiority of the movement is shown
chiefly by the fact that they could not have been brought about except
through its efforts. Mankind will rightly conclude that the things that
absorb the chief Socialist activities are those that are also forming
the character of the movement. In direct proportion as reforming
Socialists spend their energies in doing the same things as reforming
capitalists do, they tend inevitably to become more and more alike. Only
in proportion as Socialists can differentiate themselves from
non-Socialists _in their present activities_ will the movement have any
distinctive meaning of its own.

FOOTNOTES:

[169] W. J. Ghent, "Socialism and Success," p. 47.

[170] Rappaport, "Der Kongress von Nimes," _Die Neue Zeit_, 1910, p.
821.

[171] _Die Neue Zeit_, Oct. 27, 1911.

[172] "Parlamentarismus und Demokratie," edition of 1911, p. 121.

[173] "Parlamentarismus und Demokratie," edition of 1911, pp. 132-133.

[174] "Parlamentarismus und Demokratie," edition of 1911, pp. 131-134.

[175] "Parlamentarismus und Demokratie," edition of 1911, pp. 131-134.

[176] "Le Syndicalisme contre L'État," pp. 223-235, 239-242.

[177] "Parlamentarismus und Demokratie," p. 114.




CHAPTER VI

REVOLUTIONARY POLITICS


In the most famous document of international Socialism, the "Communist
Manifesto" (published by Marx and Engels in 1847), there is a
fulmination against "reactionary Socialism," which it will be seen is
approximately what we now call "State Socialism." After describing the
Utopian Socialism of Fourier, of Saint-Simon and of Owen, the
"Manifesto" says:--


"A second form of Socialism, less systematic but more practical,
tried to disgust the working people with every revolutionary
movement, by demonstrating to them that it is not such and such a
political advantage, but only a transformation of the relations of
material life and of economic conditions that could profit them.
Let it be noted that by transformation of the material relations of
society this Socialism does not mean the abolition of capitalist
relations of production, but only administrative reforms brought
out precisely on the basis of capitalist production, and which
consequently do not affect the relation of capital and wage labor,
but in the best case only diminish the expenses and simplify the
administrative labor of a capitalist government....



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Keywords: become, credit, transformation, to-day, revolutionists, people, relations, future, proportion, majority
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