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Like the British strikes of 1911, it may not cost the
capitalist class as a whole one-hundredth part of one per cent of its
income. And it might be possible to repress, within a short time and at
no greater expense, a movement many times more menacing. Provided it
serves to put the supporters of capitalism on their feet, whatever they
do as a result, whether in the way of repression or of reform, will be
but to carry out long-cherished plans for advancing their own interests,
plans that would have been the same even though there had been no shadow
of a "revolutionary" movement on the horizon. The only difference is
that such pseudo-revolutionary or semi-revolutionary disturbances serve
as stimuli to put the more inert of the capitalist forces in motion,
and, until the disturbances become truly menacing, strengthen the
capitalist position.

The use of revolutionary phrases does not then, of itself, demonstrate
an approach to the revolutionary position, though we may assume, on
other grounds, that the majority of the reformist Socialists, who take a
revolutionary position as regards certain _future_ contingencies, are in
earnest. But this indicates nothing as to the character of their
Socialism to-day. The important question is, how far their revolutionary
philosophy goes when directed, not at a hypothetical future situation
but to questions of the present moment.

In all the leading countries of the world, except Great Britain, the
majority of Socialists expect a revolutionary crisis in the future,
because they recognize, with that able student of the movement,
Professor Sombart, that "history knows of no case where a class has
freely given up the rights which it regarded as belonging to
itself."[189] This does not mean that Socialists suppose that all
progress must await a revolutionary period. Engels insisted that he and
his associates were profiting more by lawful than by unlawful and
revolutionary action. It means that Socialists do not believe that the
capitalists will allow such action to remain lawful long enough
materially to increase the income of the working class and its economic
and political power as compared with their own.

Jaurès's position as to present politics is based on the very opposite
view. "You will have to lead millions of men to the borders of an
impassable gulf," he says to the revolutionists, "but the gulf will not
be easier for the millions of men to pass over than it was for a hundred
thousand. What we wish is to try to diminish the width of the gulf which
separates the exploited in present-day society from their situation in
the new society."[190] The revolutionaries assert, on the contrary, that
nothing Socialists can do at the present time can moderate the class
war, or lessen the power of capitalism to maintain and increase the
distance between itself and the masses. In direct disagreement with
Jaurès, they say that when a sufficient numerical majority has been
acquired, especially in this day when the masses are educated, it will
be able to overcome any obstacle whatever, even what Jaurès calls the
impassable gulf--whether in the meanwhile that gulf will have become
narrower or wider than it is to-day, and they believe that the day of
this triumph would be delayed rather than brought nearer if the workers
were to divert their energies from revolutionary propaganda and
organization, to political trading in the interest of reforms that bring
no greater gains to the workers than to their exploiters. The
revolutionary majority believes that the best that can be done at
present is for the workers to train and organize themselves, and always
to devise and study and prepare the means by which capitalism can be
most successfully and economically assaulted when sufficient numbers are
once aroused for successful revolt.

When revolutionary Socialism is not pure speculation, it takes the form
of the present-day "class struggle" against capitalism. The view that
existing society can be _gradually_ transformed into a social democratic
one, Kautsky believes to be merely an inheritance of the past, of a
period "when it was generally believed that further development would
take place exclusively on the _economic_ field, without the necessity of
any kind of change in the relative distribution of _political_
institutions." (Italics mine.)[191]

"Neither a railroad [that is, its administration] nor a ministry can be
changed gradually, but only at a single stroke," says Kautsky, to
illustrate the sort of a change Socialists expect. The need of such a
complete change does not decrease on account of any reforms that are
introduced before such a change takes place. "There are some
politicians," he says, "who assert that only _despotic_ class rule
necessitates revolution; that revolution is rendered superfluous by
_democracy_. It is claimed that we have to-day sufficient democracy in
all civilized countries to make possible a peaceable revolutionless
development." (My italics.) As means by which these politicians hope to
achieve such a revolutionless development, Kautsky mentions the gradual
increase of the power of the trade unions, the penetration of Socialists
into local governments, and finally the growing power of Socialist
minorities in parliaments where they are supposed to be gaining
increasing influence, pushing through one reform after another,
restricting the power of the capitalists by labor legislation and
extending the functions of the government. "So by the exercise of
democratic rights upon existing grounds, the capitalist society is
[according to these opportunists] gradually and without any shock
growing into Socialism."[192]

"This idyl becomes true," Kautsky says, "only if we grant that but one
side of the opposed forces [the proletariat] is growing and increasing
in strength, while the other side [the capitalists] remains immovably
fixed to the same spot." But he believes that the very contrary is the
case, that the capitalists are gaining in strength all the time, and
that the advance of the working class merely goads the capitalists on
"_to develop new powers and to discover and apply new methods of
resistance and repression_."[193]

Kautsky says that the present form of democracy, though it is to the
Socialist movement what light and air are to the organism, hinders in no
way the development of capitalism, the organization and economic powers
of which improve and increase faster than those of the working people.
"To be sure, the unions are growing," say Kautsky, "but simultaneously
and faster grows the concentration of capital and its organization into
gigantic monopolies. To be sure, the Socialist press is growing, but
simultaneously grows the partyless and characterless press that poisons
and unnerves even wider circles of people. To be sure, wages are rising,
but still faster rise the accumulations of profits. Certainly the
number of Socialist representatives in Parliament grows, but still more
rapidly sinks the significance and efficiency of this institution, while
at the same time parliamentary majorities, like the government, fall
into ever greater dependence on the powers of high finance." (Possibly
events of the past year or two mark the beginning of the waning of the
powers of monopolists, and of the partial transfer of those powers to a
capitalistic middle class; but exploitation of _the working class_
continues under such new masters no less vigorously than before.)

A recent discussion between Kautsky and the reformist leader,
Maurenbrecher, brought out some of these points very sharply.[194]
Maurenbrecher said, "In Parliament we wish to do practical work, to
secure funds for social reforms--so that step by step we may go on
toward the transformation of our class government." Kautsky replied that
while the revolutionaries wish also to do practical work in Parliament,
they can "see beyond"; and he says of Maurenbrecher's view: "This would
all be very fine, if we were alone in the world, if we could arrange our
fields of battle and our tactics to suit our taste. But we have to do
with opponents who venture everything to prevent the triumph of the
proletariat. Comrade Maurenbrecher will acknowledge, I suppose, that the
victory of the proletariat will mean the end of capitalist exploitation.
Does he expect the exploiters to look on good-naturedly while we take
one position after another and make ready for their expropriation? If
so, he lives under a mighty illusion. Imagine for a moment that our
parliamentary activity were to assume forms which threatened the
supremacy of the capitalists. What would happen? The capitalists would
try to put an end to parliamentary forms of government. In particular
they would rather do away with the universal, direct, and secret ballot
than quietly capitulate to the proletariat." As Premier von Buelow
declared while in office that he would not hesitate to take the measure
that Kautsky anticipates, we have every reason to believe that this very
_coup d'état_ is still contemplated in Germany--and we have equally good
reason to believe that if the Socialists were about to obtain a majority
in the governments of France, Great Britain, or the United States, the
capitalist class, yet in control, would be ready to abolish, not only
universal suffrage and various constitutional rights, but any and all
rights of the people that stood in the way of the maintenance of
capitalistic rule. Declarations of Briand and Roosevelt quoted in later
chapters (Part III, Chapters VI and VII) are illustrations of what might
be expected.

The same position taken by Kautsky in Germany is taken by Otto Bauer,
who seems destined to succeed Victor Adler (upon the latter's death or
retirement) as the most representative and influential spokesman of the
Austrian Party. Reviewing the political situation after the Vienna food
riots of 1911, Dr. Bauer writes:--


"The illusion that, once having won equal suffrage, we might
peacefully and gradually raise up the working class, proceeding
from one 'positive result' to another, has been completely
destroyed.



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Keywords: sufficient, situation, socialism, to-day, democracy, future, parliamentary, parliament, itself, expect
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