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What, then, is the leading principle by
which the two groups are to be made up and distinguished? Neither the
term "capitalist classes" nor the term "working classes" is entirely
clear or entirely satisfactory.

Mr. Roosevelt, for example, gives the common impression when he accuses
the Socialists of using the term "working class" in the narrow sense and
of taking the position that "all wealth is produced by manual workers,
that the entire product of labor should be handed over to the
laborer."[215] I shall show that Socialist writers and speakers, even
when they use the expression "working class," almost universally include
others than the manual laborers among those they expect to make up the
anti-capitalistic movement.

Kautsky's definition of the working class, for example, is: "Workers
who are divorced from their power of production to the extent that they
can produce nothing by their own efforts, and are therefore compelled in
order to escape starvation to sell the only commodity they
possess--their labor power." In present-day society, especially in a
rich country like America, it is as a rule not sheer "starvation" that
drives, but needs of other kinds that are almost as compelling. But the
point I am concerned with now is that this definition, widely accepted
by Socialists, draws no line whatever between manual and intellectual
workers. In another place Kautsky refers to the industrial working class
as being the recruiting ground for Socialism, which might seem to be
giving a preferred position to manual workers; but a few paragraphs
below he again qualifies his statement by adding that "to the working
class there belong, just as much as the wage earners, the members of the
new middle class," which I shall describe below.[216]

In other statements of their position, it is the context which makes the
Socialist meaning clear. The party Platform of Canada, for instance,
uses throughout the simple term "working class," without any
explanation, but it speaks of the struggle as taking place against the
"capitalists," and as it mentions no other classes, the reader is left
to divide all society between these two, which would evidently make it
necessary to classify many besides mere manual wage earners rather among
the anti-capitalist than among the capitalist forces.

The platform of the American Socialist Party in 1904 divided the
population between the "capitalists," and the "working or _producing
class_." "Between these two classes," says this platform, "there can be
no possible compromise ... except in the conscious and complete triumph
of the working class as the only class that has the right or _power_ to
be."

"By working people," said Liebknecht, "we do not understand merely the
manual workers, but _every one who does not live on the labor of
another_." His words should be memorized by all those who wish to
understand the first principles of Socialism:--


"Some maintain, it is true, that the wage-earning proletariat is
the only really revolutionary class, that it alone forms the
Socialist army, and that we ought to regard with suspicion all
adherents belonging to other classes or other conditions of life.
Fortunately these senseless ideas have never taken hold of the
German Social Democracy.

"The wage-earning class is most directly affected by capitalist
exploitation; it stands face to face with those who exploit it, and
it has the especial advantage of being concentrated in the
factories and yards, so that it is naturally led to think things
out more energetically and finds itself automatically organized
into 'battalions of workers.' This state of things gives it a
revolutionary character which no other part of society has to the
same degree. We must recognize this frankly.

"Every wage earner is either a Socialist already, or he is on the
high road to becoming one.

"We must not limit our conception of the term 'working class' too
narrowly. As we have explained in speeches, tracts, and articles,
we include in the working class all those who live exclusively _or
principally_ by means of their own labor, and who do not grow rich
from the work of others.

"Thus, besides the wage earners, we should include in the working
class the small farmers and small shop keepers, who tend more and
more to drop to the level of the proletariat--in other words, all
those who suffer from our present system of production on a large
scale." (My italics.)


The chief questions now confronting the Socialists are all connected,
directly or indirectly, with these producing middle classes, who, on the
whole, do not live on the labor of others and suffer from the present
system, yet often enjoy some modest social privilege.

While Liebknecht considered that the wage-earning class was more
revolutionary and Socialistic than any other, he did not allow this for
one moment to persuade him to give a subordinate position to other
classes in the movement, as he says:--


"The unhappy situation of the small farmers almost all over Germany
is as well known as that of the artisan movement. It is true that
both small farmers and small shopkeepers are still in the camp of
our adversaries, but only because they do not understand the
profound causes that underlie their deplorable condition; it is of
prime importance for our party to enlighten them and bring them
over to our side. _This is the vital question for our party,
because these two classes form the majority of the nation._... We
ought not to ask, 'Are you a wage earner?' but, 'Are you a
Socialist?'

"If it is limited to the wage earners, Socialism cannot conquer. If
it included all the workers and the moral and intellectual Úlite of
the nation, its victory is certain.... Not to contract, but to
expand, ought to be our motto. The circle of Socialism should
widen more and more, _until we have converted most of our
adversaries to being our friends_, or at least disarm their
opposition.

"And the indifferent mass, that in peaceful days has no weight in
the political balance, but becomes the decisive force in times of
agitation, ought to be so fully enlightened as to the aims and the
essential ideas of our party, that it would cease to fear us and
can be no longer used as a weapon against us."[217] (My italics.)


Karl Kautsky, though he takes a less broad view, also says that the
Socialist Party is "the only anti-capitalist party,"[218] and contends
in his recent pamphlet, "The Road to Power," that its recruiting ground
in Germany includes three fourths of the nation, and probably even more,
which (even in Germany) would include a considerable part of those
ordinarily listed with the middle class.

Kautsky's is probably the prevailing opinion among German Socialists.
Let us see how he proposes to compose a Socialist majority. Of course
his first reliance is on the manual laborers, skilled and unskilled.
Next come the professional classes, the salaried corporation employees,
and a large part of the office workers, which together constitute what
Kautsky and the other Continental Socialists call the _new_ middle
class. "Among these," Kautsky says, "a continually increasing sympathy
for the proletariat is evident, because they have no special class
interest, and owing to their professional, scientific point of view, are
easiest won for our party through scientific considerations. The
theoretical bankruptcy of bourgeois economics, and the theoretical
superiority of Socialism, must become clear to them. Through their
training, also, they must discover that the other social classes
continuously strive to debase art and science. Many others are impressed
by the fact of the irresistible advance of the Social Democracy. So it
is that friendship for labor becomes popular among the cultured classes,
until there is scarcely a parlor in which one does not stumble over one
or more 'Socialists.'"

It is difficult to understand how it can be said that these classes have
no special "class interest," unless it is meant that their interest is
neither that of the capitalists nor precisely that of the industrial
wage-earning class. And this, indeed, is Kautsky's meaning, for he seems
to minimize their value to the Socialists, because _as a class_ they
cannot be relied upon.


"Heretofore, as long as Socialism was branded among all cultured
classes as criminal or insane, capitalist elements could be brought
into the Socialist movement only by a complete break with the
whole capitalist world. Whoever came into the Socialist movement at
that time from the capitalist element had need of great energy,
revolutionary passion, and strong proletarian convictions. It was
just this element which ordinarily constituted the most radical and
revolutionary wing of the Socialist movement.

"It is wholly different to-day, since Socialism has become a fad.
It no longer demands any special energy, or any break with
capitalist society to assume the name of Socialist. It is no
wonder, then, that more and more these new Socialists remain
entangled in their previous manner of thought and feeling.

"The fighting tactics of the intellectuals are at any rate wholly
different from those of the proletariat. To wealth and power of
arms the latter opposes its overwhelming numbers and its thorough
organization. The intellectuals are an ever diminishing minority,
with no class organization whatever. Their only weapon is
persuasion through speaking and writing, the battle with
'intellectual weapons' and 'moral superiority,' and these 'parlor
Socialists' would settle the proletarian class struggle also with
these weapons. They declare themselves ready to grant the party
their moral support, but only on condition that it renounces the
idea of the application of force, and this not simply where force
is hopeless,--there the proletariat has already renounced it,--but
also in those places where it is still full of possibilities.
Accordingly they seek to throw discredit on the idea of revolution,
and to represent it as a useless means.



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Keywords: almost, capitalists, special, farmers, through, nation, interest, platform, kautsky's, germany
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