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This vote showed the very highest number that could be
obtained from other sections to sympathize with the South Germans; for
the resolution in its finally accepted form was certainly a very sharp
one, and Richard Fisher, a member of the Reichstag from Berlin, and
others for the first time took a stand with the minority. It is
doubtful, however, whether the total support the South Germans secured
at any and all points together with their own numbers reached as high a
figure as 120 or one third of the Congress. In the matter of their right
openly to disobey the majority, the Baden Party could not even secure
this vote, but was only able to bring together against the majority
(consisting of 301) seventy-one delegates, nearly all South Germans.

It appears, then, that the overwhelming majority of the German Party is
unalterably opposed to "reformism," "revisionism," opportunism,
compromise, or any policy other than that of revolutionary Socialism.
For not only the question of supporting capitalist governments, but all
similar policies, were condemned by these decisive majorities.

How much this means may be gathered from the fact that "revisionists" as
the "reformists" are called in Germany, practically propose that the
Socialist Party should resolve itself for an indefinite period into an
ordinary democratic reform party in close alliance with other
non-Socialist parties.

"The weightiest step on the road to power," wrote the revisionist
Maurenbrecher, "is that we should succeed in the coming Reichstag in
shaping the Liberal and Social-Democratic majority (formed) for defense
against the conservatives, into a positive and effective working
majority." In discussing the support of the budget by the
Social-Democrats of Baden, Quessel explained definitely what kind of
positive and effective work such an alliance would be expected to
undertake; namely, "To fight personal government [of the Kaiser], to
protect earnestly the interest of the consumers against the exploiting
agrarian politicians, to undertake limitations of armaments on the basis
of international treaties, to introduce a new division of the election
districts [which has not been done since 1871], and to bring about a
legal limitation of the hours of labor to ten at the most." Already the
radical parties now united, favor all these measures except the
limitation of armaments, which from the analogy with peace movements in
other countries, and certain indications even in Germany, they may favor
within a very few years. Quessel's program is that of the non-Socialist
reformers, and a step, not towards Socialism, but towards collectivist

Karl Kautsky has dealt with the immediate bearing in German Socialism of
what he calls "the Baden rebellion," at some length, in answer to
Maurenbrecher, Quessel, and others. "The idea of an alliance from
Bassermann [the National Liberal leader] to Bebel appears at the first
glance to be quite reasonable," he writes, for "divided we are nothing,
united we are a power. And the immediate interest of the Liberals and of
the Social-Democrats is the same: 'the transformation of Germany from a
bureaucratic feudal state into a constitutional, parliamentary, Liberal,
and industrial State.'" Kautsky, however, combats the proposed alliance,
from the standpoint of the Social-Democratic Party, along three
different lines. First, he shows that the purposes of the Liberals in
entering into such a combination are entirely at variance with those of
the Socialists; second, that the Liberals are discredited before the
German people and are not likely to have the principle or the capacity
even to obtain those limited reforms which they have set on their
program, and, third, that even if the two former reasons did not hold,
the Socialists would necessarily have everything to lose by such common

The second argument seems to prove too much. Kautsky reasons that
neither the Radical not the Liberal parties can be relied upon even to
carry out their own platforms:--

"The masses now trust the Social Democracy exclusively because it
is the only party which stands in irreconcilable hostility to the
reigning régime, which does not treat with it, which does not sell
principles for offices; the only one which swings into the field
energetically against militarism, personal government, the
three-class election system, the hunger tyranny [the protective
tariff]. On this depends the tremendous efficiency which our party
has to-day. On this depends the great results which it promises
us.... The whole effect of the Great Alliance policy [the proposed
alliance of Socialists with the Radicals and National Liberals], if
ever it became possible in the nation, at the best would be this:
that we would serve to the Liberals as the step on which they would
climb up into the government crib, in order to continue the same
reactionary policies which are now being carried on, with a few
unimportant variations: imperialism, the naval policy, increase of
the army, the increase of officials, the continuation of the
protective tariff policy, and the postponement of Prussian
electoral reforms."

But if the Liberals and Radicals refuse to carry out their own pledges,
the conclusion would seem to be, not Kautsky's revolutionary one, but
that the Socialists, far from stopping with a mere alliance, must take
up the Liberals' or the Radicals' functions, as the "reformists" desire.
However, there are strong grounds for believing that the Liberals in
Germany will at last rise to the level of their own opportunities, as
they have done in other countries. Already, the last Reichstag passed a
resolution demanding that the Kaiser should be held responsible to that
body, which means an end to personal rule; already the Radicals are in
favor of Prussian electoral reform, and would undertake sweeping, if not
satisfactory, changes in the tariff; and already the agitation against
militarism is sincere and profound among those powerful elements of the
capitalists whose interests are damaged by it, as well as among the "new
middle-class." If the present tendencies continue, why may not the
Radicals go farther? Is it not probable even that the Reichstag election
districts will be equalized, and possible that equal suffrage in Prussia
will be established by their support? For if the Radicals recognized,
like those of other countries, that equal suffrage would render the
reforms of capitalist collectivism feasible, they could considerably
increase their vote by means of these reforms and hold the balance of
power for a considerable period; the Socialists would be far from a
majority, as they would thus lose those supporters who have voted with
them solely because for the moment the Socialists were advancing the
Radical program more effectively than the Radicals.

The chief Socialist argument against any political alliance with
capitalist parties is, however, of a more general character. Referring
to the elections of 1912, Kautsky said:--

"How far they will bring us an increase in seats cannot be
determined to-day.... But an increase of votes is certain--if we
remain what we have been, the deadly enemy of the existing social
and political condition, which is oppressing the masses more
cruelly all the time, and for the overthrow of which they are all
the time more ardently longing. If, on the other hand, we go into
the electoral struggle arm in arm with the Freethinkers (Radicals)
or even with the National Liberals, if we make ourselves their
_accomplices_, if we declare ourselves ready for the same miserable
behavior which the Freethinkers made themselves guilty of by
entering into an alliance with von Buelow, we may disillusion the
masses; we may push them from us and kill political life. If the
Social Democracy ceases to be an opposition party, if even this
party is ready to betray its friends as soon as it becomes by such
means "capable of governing," those who are oppressed by
present-day conditions will lose all confidence in progress by
political struggle; then we shall be sowing on the one side the
seeds of political indifference and on the other those of an
anarchistical labor unionism." (Italics mine.)[199]

Here is the generally accepted reason for the Socialist's radical
attitude. In most countries Socialists are unwilling to make themselves
_accomplices_ in what they consider to be the political crimes of all
existing governments. Especially do they feel that no reform to which
the capitalists would conceivably consent would justify any alliance.
The inevitable logic of Kautsky's own position is that, _even if the
liberals in Germany and elsewhere do undertake a broad program of
reform_, including all those Kautsky mentions as improbable, no
sufficient ground for an alliance is at hand.

Kautsky himself now admits that there seems to be a revival of genuine
capitalistic Liberalism in Germany, which may lead the Liberal parties
to become more and more radical and even ultimately to democratize that
country--with the powerful aid, of course, of the Social-Democrats.
Evidence of this possibility he saw both in the support given by
Liberals of all shades to Socialist candidates in many of the second
ballots (in the election of 1912) and the fact that Bebel secured the
overwhelming majority of Liberal votes as temporary President, while
another revolutionary Socialist, Scheidemann, was actually elected by
their aid as first temporary Vice President of the Reichstag.

Kautsky asserts cautiously that this denotes a _possible_ revolution in
German Liberalism. He again mentions Imperialism as the great issue that
forbids even temporary coöperation between Socialists and the most
advanced of the Radicals. But he admits that the rapid development of
China and other Eastern countries will probably check the profits to be
made by Europe and America from their economic development.

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Keywords: possible, personal, government, temporary, capitalist, germans, socialism, revolutionary, should, second
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