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Bebel's
meaning is clear if we remember that we do not move towards Socialism
unless the reforms when taken together are sufficient both _to
counteract governmental changes and the automatic movement of society in
the opposite direction_.

Frank tried to make out that his action and that of his companions in
allying themselves with a progressive capitalist government was similar
to that taken by the Socialists in other countries. He mentioned
Denmark, England, and Austria, and one of the governments of Switzerland
(Berne), and also claimed that the Belgians would probably support a
Liberal government in case they and the Liberals gained a majority. All
these statements except one (that concerning England) Bebel denied. We
do not need to take his interpretation of the Austrian situation,
however, any more than Frank's, for an Austrian delegate, Schrammel, was
present and explained the position of his party. "If we voted for the
immediate consideration of the budget, we voted only for taking up the
question and not for the budget itself.... I declare on this occasion
that the comrades can rest assured as to our conduct in the Austrian
Parliament, that we would under no circumstances vote for a budget
without having the consent of our comrades in the realm. We will not act
independently, but will always submit ourselves to the decisions of the
majority taken for that particular occasion." It would seem from this
that the Austrians are considering the possibility of voting for the
budget under certain circumstances. But the Germans would also do this
much, and it is uncertain whether the cases in which the Austrians would
take this action would be any more frequent.

As to the English attitude, Bebel said: "The English cannot serve us as
a model for all things, first because England has quite other
conditions, and secondly, because there is no great Social-Democratic
Party there at the present moment. Marx would no longer point to trade
unions there as the champions of the European proletariat. From 1871
Marx showed the German Social-Democracy that it was its duty to take the
lead. We have done this, and we will continue to do it, if we are
sensible." As to Denmark, Bebel said that he was assured by one of the
most prominent representatives of the Danish movement that even if the
Socialists and Radicals had secured a majority in the recent elections,
that the former would not have become a part of the administration.
France had also been mentioned by some of the speakers, since Jaurès and
his wing of the French Party had at one time favored the policy of
supporting a progressive capitalist government. But Bebel reminded the
Congress that Jaurès had expressly declared that he had not been
persuaded to vote against the budget by the resolution to that effect
passed at the International Congress of Amsterdam, but that, after a
long hesitation, he did it "out of his own free conviction."

Bebel did not hesitate to condemn roundly those who were responsible for
this latest effort to lead the party to abandon its principles. He did
not deny that a majority of the organization in Baden and also in Hesse
agreed with its representatives. But he attributed this partly to the
fact that the revisionists controlled the Baden party newspapers, which
he accused of being partisan and of not giving full information, and
partly to the regrettable influence of "leaders." Similar conditions
occur internationally, and Bebel's words, like so much that was said and
done at this Congress, have the highest international significance.

"The peoples cannot at all grasp why one still supports a government
which one would prefer to set aside to-day rather than to-morrow," he
said. "A part of our leaders no longer understand, and no longer know
what the masses have to suffer. You have estranged yourselves too much
from the masses.

"Formerly it was said that the consuls should take care that the state
suffers no harm. _To-day one must say, let the masses take care that the
leaders prepare no harm. Democratic distrust against everybody, even
against me, is necessary. Attend to your editors._" These expressions,
like the others I have quoted, received the greatest applause from the
Congress.

It was almost unanimously agreed that, although the Socialist members of
the Baden legislature had acted against the decision of the previous
Nuremburg Congress, it was neither wise nor necessary to proceed so far
as expulsion, and Bebel especially was in favor of acting as leniently
as possible, but this does not mean that he found the slightest excuse
for the minority or that he failed to let them understand that he would
fight them to the end, if they did not yield in the future to the
radical majority.


"If a few among us should be mad enough," he said, "to think of a
split, I know it is not coming. The masses will have nothing to do
with it, and if a small body should follow, it would not take three
months until we would have them again in our armies. Our friends in
South Germany who are against our resolution ought to ask
themselves if, since the Nuremburg Congress, there has not appeared
a noteworthy reversal of sentiment. Now to-day North Bavaria is
thoroughly against the granting of the budget. Nuremburg is
decidedly against it. Stuttgarters and others who spoke at that
time occupied an entirely different standpoint to-day. The Hessian
minority against the granting of the budget was never as strong as
it is to-day. In Hanover voices are to be heard which expressed
themselves very differently before, but are now also against it. If
anybody thinks that he can easily escape from all these phenomena,
then he is mightily mistaken. I guarantee that I could draw out
quite another sentiment in Baden." "Try once!" it was called out
from the audience, and Bebel answered: "Yes, we are ready to do
this if we must. The proletarians of Baden would have to be no
proletarians at all if it were otherwise."


The principal resolution on the question, signed by a large minority of
the Congress, proposed that any persons who voted for a budget by that
very act automatically "stood outside the party." Bebel said that this
was not the customary method of the organization, and pointed out that
no means were provided in the constitution of the party for throwing out
a whole group, that the constitution had been drawn up only for
individuals, and provided that any one to be expelled should receive a
very thorough trial. As opposed to this resolution, he offered a report
in the name of the executive committee of the party, which stated,
however, that there was no fundamental difference of opinion between the
executive and the signers of the resolution above mentioned, but only a
difference as to method.

This report declared: "We are of the opinion that in case the resolution
of the party executive is passed, and notwithstanding this the
resolution is not respected, that then the conditions are present for a
trial for exclusion according to Article 23 of the organization
statutes." This article says: "No one can belong to the party who is
guilty of gross misconduct against the party program or of a
dishonorable action. Exclusion of a member may also take place if his
persistent acts against the resolutions of his party organization or of
the party congress damage the interests of the party."

The passage of Bebel's resolution, by a vote of 289 to 80, was an
emphatic repudiation of reformism. In the minority, besides the South
Germans, were to be found a considerable proportion of the delegates
from a very few of the many important cities of North Germany, namely,
Hanover, Dresden, Breslau, and Magdeburg, together with an insignificant
minority from Berlin and Hamburg.

The South Germans claimed to be fairly well satisfied with the somewhat
conciliatory resolution of Bebel in spite of his strong talk. But, as
has been the case for many years, they were very aggressive and, in
closing the debate, Frank made some declarations which brought the
Congress to take even a stronger stand than Bebel had proposed.


"To-day I say to you in the name of the South Germans," said Frank,
"that we have the very greatest interest in union and harmony in
the party. We will do our duty in this direction, but no one of us
can declare to you to-day what will happen in the budget votings of
the next few years. That is a question of conditions." This remark
caused a great disturbance and was taken by the majority as a
defiance and a warning that the South Germans intended to support
capitalistic governments in the future. In fact, other remarks by
Frank left no doubt of this. "In Nuremburg," he said "we rested our
case on the contents of certain points of the budget, namely, the
increase of the wages of laborers, and the salaries of officials.
This time we gave the political situation as a ground. These are,
as Bebel will concede, different things."... Frank went on to say
that he and his associates would obey the resolution of the
Congress not to vote for the budget _under the particular
conditions_ proscribed at Nuremburg or at Magdeburg. "But," he
said, "do you believe that there ever exists a situation in the
world which is exactly like another? Do you believe that a budget
vote to-day must absolutely be like a budget vote two years from
now?"


That is to say, Frank openly and defiantly announced that the South
Germans might easily find some new reason for doing what they wanted to
do in the future, in spite of the clear will of the Congress.

A new resolution was then brought in by the majority to this effect: "In
view of the declaration of Comrade Frank in his conclusion that he and
his friends must take exception to the position taken in the resolution
of the Congress, we move that the following sentence from the
declaration of Comrade Bebel in support of the motion of the party
executive should be raised to the position of a resolution; namely, 'We
are of the opinion that in case the resolution of the party executive is
passed, and notwithstanding the resolution is disrespected, that then
the conditions are present for a trial for exclusion according to
article 23 of the organization statutes.'"

When this motion was put, Frank and the South Germans left the room, and
it was carried by 228 to 64, the minority this time consisting mostly of
North Germans.



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Keywords: position, leaders, future, question, exclusion, namely, longer, passed, opinion, article
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