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Lyman Abbott, whose advanced views I have
already referred to (see Part I, Chap. III). Notwithstanding his
advocacy of industrial democracy, his attack on the autocracy of
capitalism and the wages system, and his insistence that the distinction
between non-possessing and possessing classes must be abolished, Dr.
Abbott opposes a class struggle. Such phrases amount to nothing from the
Socialist standpoint, if all of these objects are held up merely as an
ideal, and if nothing is said of the rate at which they ought to be
attained or the means by which the _opposition_ of privileged classes is
to be overcome. No indorsement of any so-called Socialist theory or
reform is of practical moment unless it includes that theory which has
survived out of the struggles of the movement, and has been tested by
hard experience--a theory in which ways and means are not the last but
the first consideration,--namely, the class struggle.

Mr. Roosevelt and nearly all other popular leaders of the day denounce
"special privilege." But the denouncers of special privilege, aside from
the organized Socialists, are only too glad to associate themselves with
one or another of the classes that at present possess the economic and
political power. To the Socialists the only way to fight special
privilege is _to place the control of society in the hands of a
non-privileged majority. The practical experience of the movement_ has
taught the truth of what some of its early exponents saw at the outset,
that a majority _composed even in part_ of the privileged classes could
never be trusted or expected to abolish privileges. Neither Dr. Abbott,
Mr. Roosevelt, nor other opponents of the Socialist movement, are ready
to indorse this practical working theory. For its essence being that all
those who by their economic expressions or their acts stand for anything
less than equality of opportunity should be removed from positions of
power, it is directed against every anti-Socialist. Dr. Abbott, for
example, demands only "opportunity," instead of equal opportunity, and
Mr. Roosevelt wishes merely "to start all men in the race for life on a
_reasonable_ equality." (My italics.)[211]

Let us see what Marx and his successors say in explanation of their
belief that the "class struggle" must be fought out to an end. Certainly
they do not mean that each individual capitalist is to be regarded by
his working people as their private enemy. Nor, on the other hand, can
the expression "class struggle" be interpreted, as some Socialists have
asserted, to mean that there was no flesh and blood enemy to be
attacked, but only "the capitalist system." To Marx capitalism was
embodied not merely in institutions, which embrace all classes and
individuals alike, but also in the persons of the capitalist class. And
by waging a war against that class he meant to include each and every
member of it who remained in his class, and every one of its supporters.
To Marx the enemy was no abstraction. It was, as he said, "the person,
the living individual" that had to be contended with, but only as the
embodiment of a class. "It is not sufficient," he said, "to fight the
general conditions and the higher powers. The press must make up its
mind to oppose _this_ constable, _this_ attorney, _this_
councilor."[212] These individuals, moreover, he viewed not merely as
the servants or representatives of a system, but as part and parcel of a
class.

The struggle that Marx had in mind might be called _a latent civil
war_. It was not a mere preparation for revolution, since it was as real
and serious in times of peace as in those of revolution or civil war.
But it was a civil war in everything except the actual physical
fighting, and he was always ready to proceed to actual fighting when
necessary. Throughout his life Marx was a revolutionist. And when his
successors to-day speak of "the class struggle," they mean a conflict of
that depth and intensity that it may lead to revolution.

None of the classical Socialist writers, however, has failed to grasp
the absolute necessity to a successful social movement, and especially
to a revolutionary one, of making the class struggle broad, inclusive,
and democratic. In 1851 Marx wrote to the Socialists: "The forces
opposed to you have all the advantages of organization, discipline, and
habitual authority; unless you bring _strong odds_ against them you are
defeated and ruined." (The italics are mine.)

Edward Bernstein, while representing as a rule only the ultra-moderate
element of the Party, expresses on this question the views of the
majority as well. "Social Democracy," he says, "cannot further its work
better than by taking its stand unreservedly on the theory of
democracy." And he adds that in practice it has always favored
co÷peration with all the exploited, even if "its literary advocates have
often acted otherwise, and still often do so to-day."

Not many years ago, it is true, there was still a great deal of talk in
Germany about the desirability of a "dictatorship of the proletariat,"
the term "proletariat" being used in its narrow sense. That is, as soon
as the working class (in this sense) became a political majority, it was
to make the government embody its will without reference to other
classes--it being assumed that the manual laborers will only demand
justice for all men alike, and that it was neither safe nor necessary to
consult any of the middle classes. And even to-day in France much is
said by the "syndicalists" and others as to the power of well-organized
and determined minorities in the time of revolution--it being assumed,
again, that such minorities will be successful only in so far as they
stand for a new social principle, to the ultimate interest of all (see
Chapter V). It cannot be questioned that in these schemes the majority
is not to be consulted. But they are far less widely prevalent than
they were a generation ago.

The pioneer of "reformist" Socialism in Germany (Bernstein) correctly
defines democracy, not as the rule of the majority, but as "an absence
of class government." "This negative definition has," he says, "the
advantage that it gives less room than the phrase 'government by the
people' to the idea of oppression of the individual by the majority,
which is absolutely repugnant to the modern mind. To-day we find the
oppression of the minority by the majority 'undemocratic,' although it
was originally held up to be quite consistent with government by the
people.... Democracy is in _principle_ the suppression of class
government, though it is not yet the _actual_ suppression of
classes."[213]

Democracy, as we have hitherto known it, opposes class _government_, but
countenances the existence of classes. Socialism insists that as long as
social classes exist, class government will continue. The aim of
Socialism, "the end of class struggles and class rule," is not only
democratic, but the only means of giving democracy any real meaning.

"It is only the proletariat" (wage earners), writes Kautsky, "that has
created a great social ideal, the consummation of which will leave only
one source of income, _i.e._ labor, will abolish rent and profit, will
put an end to class and other conflicts, and put in the place of the
class struggle the solidarity of man. This is the final aim and goal of
the class struggle by the Socialist Party. The political representatives
of the class interests of the proletariat thus become representative of
the highest and most general interests of humanity."[214]

It is expected that nearly all social classes, though separated into
several groups to-day, will ultimately be thrown together by economic
evolution and common interests into two large groups, the capitalists
and their allies on the one side, and the anti-capitalists on the other.
The final and complete victory of the latter, it is believed, can alone
put an end to this great conflict. But in the meanwhile, even before our
capitalist society is overthrown and class divisions ended, the very
fusing together of the several classes that compose the anti-capitalist
party is bringing about a degree of social harmony not seen before.

Already the Socialists have succeeded in this way in harmonizing a large
number of conflicting class interests. The skilled workingmen were
united for the first time with the unskilled when the latter, having
been either ignored or subordinated in the early trade unions, were
admitted on equal terms into the Socialist parties. Then the often
extremely discontented salaried and professional men of small incomes,
having been won by Socialist philosophy, laid aside their sense of
superiority to the wage earners and were absorbed in large numbers.
Later, many agricultural laborers and even agriculturists who did all
their own work, and whose small capital brought them no return, began to
conquer their suspicion of the city wage workers. And, finally, many of
those small business men and independent farmers, the _larger part_ of
whose income is to be set down as the direct result of their own labor
and not a result of their ownership of a small capital, or who feel that
they are being reduced to such a condition, are commencing in many
instances to look upon themselves as non-capitalists rather than
capitalists--and to work for equality of opportunity through the
Socialist movement.

The process of building up a truly democratic society has two parts:
first, the organization and union in a single movement of all classes
that stand for the abolition of classes, and class rule; and second, the
overthrow of those social elements that stand in the way of this natural
evolution, their destruction and dissolution _as classes_, and the
absorption of their members by the new society as individuals.

It becomes of the utmost importance in such a vast struggle, on the one
hand, that no classes that are needed in the new society shall be marked
for destruction, and on the other that the movement shall not lean too
heavily or exclusively on classes which have very little or too little
constructive or combative power.



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Keywords: socialism, individuals, equality, roosevelt, against, democratic, revolution, privilege, political, economic
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