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In the
promotion of their plans they act always with the consciousness of
defending first of all the interest of the working class. The
working class only exists for them under this aspect of the
suffering class.

"But in accordance with the undeveloped state of the class struggle
and their social position, they consider themselves quite above
antagonism. They desire to ameliorate the material condition of
life for all the members of society, even the most privileged. As a
consequence, they do not cease to appeal to all society without
distinction, or rather they address themselves by preference to the
reigning class."[178]


Marx points out that the chief aim of these "reactionary Socialists" was
the transformation of the State into a mere organ for the administration
of industry in their interest, which is precisely what we mean to-day by
"State Socialism."

In contrast with this "reactionary Socialism," now prevalent in Great
Britain and Australia, the Socialist parties of every country of the
European Continent (where such parties are most developed), without
exception are striving for a social democracy and a government of the
non-privileged and not for a scheme of material benefits bestowed by an
all-powerful capitalist State. Professor Anton Menger, of the University
of Vienna, one of the most acute and sympathetic observers of the
movement, remarks correctly that--"in all countries, at all times, the
proletariat [working class] has rightly thought that the continuous
development of its _power_ is worth more than any _economic advantage_
that can be granted it."[179]

The late Paul Lafargue, perhaps the leading thinker of the French
Socialist movement, a son-in-law of Karl Marx, made a declaration at a
recent Party Congress which brings out still more clearly the prevailing
Socialist attitude. Denying that the Socialists are opposed to reforms,
he said: "On the contrary, we demand all reforms, even the most
bourgeois [capitalist] reforms like the income tax and the purchase of
the West [the Western railroad, lately purchased by the government]. It
matters little to us who proposes reforms, and I may add that the most
important of them all for the working class have not been presented by
Socialist deputies, but by the bourgeois [capitalists]. Free and
compulsory education was not proposed by Socialists." That is to say,
Lafargue believed that reforms extremely beneficial to the working class
might be enacted without any union of Socialists with non-Socialists,
without the Socialists gaining political power and without their even
constituting a menace to the rule of the anti-Socialist classes.
Capitalism of itself, in its own interest and without any reference to
Socialism or the Socialists, may go very far towards developing a
society which in turn develops an ever growing and developing working
class, though without increasing the actual political or economic powers
of this class when compared with its own.

In Germany especially, Marx's co-workers and successors developed marked
hostility to "State Socialism" from the moment when it was taken up by
Bismarck nearly a generation ago (1883). August Bebel's hostility to the
existing State goes so far that he predicts that it will expire "with
the expiration of the ruling class,"[180] while Engels contended that
the very phrase "the Socialist State" was valueless as a slogan in the
present propaganda of Socialism, and scientifically ineffective.[181]

Engels had even predicted, as long ago as 1880, that the coming of
monopolies would bring it about that the State, being "the official
representative of capitalistic society," would ultimately have to
undertake "the protection of production," and that this necessity would
first be felt in the case of the railways and the telegraphs. Later
events have shown that his prediction was so correct that even America
and England are approaching the nationalization of their railways, while
the proposal to nationalize monopolies is rapidly growing in popularity
in every country in the world, and among nearly all social classes.

Engels did not consider that such developments were necessarily in the
direction of Socialism any more than the nationalization of the railways
by the Czar or the Prussian government. On the contrary, he suggested
that it meant the strengthening of the capitalism.

"The modern State," he wrote in 1880, "no matter what its form, is
essentially a capitalistic machine, the State of the capitalists, the
ideal personification of the total national capital. The more it
proceeds to the taking over of productive forces, the more it actually
becomes the national capitalist, the more citizens does it exploit. The
workers remain wageworkers--proletarians. The capitalist relation is not
done away with. It is rather brought to a head."[182] Engels did not
think that State ownership necessarily meant Socialism; but he thought
that it might be utilized for the purposes of Socialism if the working
class was sufficiently numerous, organized, and educated to take charge
of the situation. "State ownership of the productive forces is not the
solution of the conflict, but concealed within it are the technical
conditions that give the elements of the solution."

As early as 1892 Karl Kautsky, at the present moment perhaps the
greatest living Socialist editor and economist, wrote that the system of
laissez-faire, for which "State Socialism" offers itself as a remedy,
had long ago lost whatever influence it once had on the capitalist
class--which was never very great. If, then, the theory that "that
government is best which governs least" had been abandoned by the
capitalists themselves, there was no ground why Socialists should devote
their time to the advocacy of a view ("State Socialism") that was merely
a reaction against an outworn standpoint. The theory of collectivism,
that the functions of the State ought to be widely extended, had long
been popular among the capitalists themselves.

"It has already been seen," wrote Kautsky, "that economic and political
development has made necessary and inevitable the taking over of certain
economic functions by the State.... It can by no means be said that
every nationalization of an economic function or of an economic
enterprise is a step towards Socialistic co÷peration and that the latter
would grow out of the general nationalization of all economic
enterprises without making a fundamental change in the nature of the
State."[183] In other words, Kautsky denies that partial nationalization
or collectivism is necessarily even a step towards Socialism, and
asserts that it may be a step in the other direction. The German
Socialists acted on this principle when they opposed the nationalization
of the Reichsbank, and it has often guided other Socialist parties.

Kautsky feels that it is often a mistake to transfer the power over
industry, _e.g._ the ownership of the land, into the hands of the State
as now constituted, since this puts a tremendous part of the national
wealth at the disposal of capitalist governments, one of whose prime
functions is to prevent the increase of the political and economic power
of the working people. And, although the State employees would probably
receive a somewhat better treatment than they had while the industry was
privately owned, they would simply form a sort of aristocracy of labor
opposed in general to the interests of the working people.


"Like every State," says Kautsky, "the modern State is in the first
place a tool for the protection of the general interests of the
ruling classes. It changes its nature in no way if it takes over
functions of general utility which aim at advancing the interests
not only of the ruling classes, but also of those of society as a
whole _and_ of the ruling classes, and on no condition does it take
care of these functions in a way which might threaten the general
interests of the ruling classes or their domination.... If the
present-day State nationalizes certain industries and functions, it
does this, not to put limitations on capitalistic exploitation, but
to protect and to strengthen the capitalistic mode of production,
or in order itself to take a share in this exploitation, to
increase its income in this way, and to lessen the payments that
the capitalist class must obtain for its own support in the way of
taxes. And as an exploiter, the State has this advantage over
private capitalists: that it has at its disposal to be used against
the exploited not only the economic powers of the capitalists, but
the political force of the State." (My italics.)


As an illustration of Kautsky's reference to the lessening of taxes
through the profits of government ownership, it may be pointed out that
the German Socialists fear the further nationalization of industries in
Germany on account of the danger that with this increased income the
State would no longer depend on the annual grants of the Reichstag and
would then be in a position to govern without that body. The king of
Prussia and the Emperor of Germany could in that event rule the country
much as the present Czar rules Russia.

As a rule, outside of Great Britain, the advocates of the collectivist
program are also aware that their "Socialism" is not that of the
Socialist movement. In an article in the _Atlantic Monthly_, Mr. John
Martin, for example, indicates the "State Socialist" tendency of
present-day reform measures in America, and at the same time shows that
they are removed as far as possible from that anti-capitalist trend
which is held by most Socialist Party leaders to be the essence of their
movement. Mr. Martin points to the irrigation projects, the conservation
of national resources, the railway policy of the national
administration, the expansion of the Federal government, and the
tendency towards compulsory arbitration since the interference of
President Roosevelt in the coal strike of 1902, as being "Socialistic"
and yet in no sense class movements.



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Keywords: germany, interest, necessarily, opposed, itself, parties, social, country, industry, present
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