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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. They seek to separate off a
social reform wing from the revolutionary proletariat, and they
thereby divide and weaken the proletariat."[219]


In the last words Kautsky refers to the fact that although a large
number of "intellectuals" (meaning the educated classes) have come into
the Socialist Party and remain there, they constitute a separate wing of
the movement. We must remember, however, that this same wing embraces,
besides these "parlor Socialists," a great many trade unionists, and
that it has composed a very considerable portion of the German Party,
and a majority in some other countries of the Continent; and as Kautsky
himself admits that they succeed in "dividing the proletariat," they
cannot be very far removed politically from at least one of the
divisions they are said to have created. It is impossible to attribute
the kind of Socialism to which Kautsky objects to the adhesion of
certain educated classes to the movement (for reasons indicated in Part
II).

While many of the present spokesmen of Socialism are, like Kautsky,
somewhat skeptical as to the necessity of an alliance between the
working class and this section of the middle class, others accept it
without qualification. If, then, we consider at once the middle ground
taken by the former group of Socialists, and the very positive and
friendly attitude of the latter, it must be concluded that the Socialist
movement _as a whole_ is convinced that its success depends upon a
fusion of at least these two elements, the wage earners and "the new
middle class."

A few quotations from the well-known revolutionary Socialist, Anton
Pannekoek, will show the contrast between the narrower kind of
Socialism, which still survives in many quarters, and that of the
majority of the movement. He discriminates even against "the new middle
class," leaving nobody but the manual laborers as a fruitful soil for
real Socialism.


"To be sure, in the economic sense of the term, then, the new
middle class are proletarians; but they form a very special group
of wage workers, a group that is so sharply divided from the _real_
proletarians that they form a special class with a special position
in the class struggle.... Immediate need does not _compel_ them as
it does the real proletarians to attack the capitalist system.
Their position may arouse discontent, but that of the workers is
unendurable. For them Socialism has many advantages, for the
workers it is an _absolute_ necessity." (My italics.)[220]

The phrase "absolute necessity" is unintelligible. It is
comparatively rarely that need arises to the height of actual
compulsion, and when it does instances are certainly just as common
among clerks as they are among bricklayers.

Pannekoek introduces a variety of arguments to sustain his
position. For instance, that "the higher strata among the new
middle class have a definitely capitalistic character. The lower
ones are more proletarian, but there is no sharp dividing line."
This is true--but the high strata in every class are capitalistic.
The statement applies equally well to railway conductors, to
foremen, and to many classes of manual workers.

"And then, too," Pannekoek continues, "they, the new middle class,
have more to fear from the displeasure of their masters, and
dismissal for them is a much more serious matter. The worker stands
always on the verge of starvation, and so unemployment has few
terrors for him. The high-class employee, on the contrary, has
comparatively an easy life, and a new position is difficult to
find."

Now it is precisely the manual laborer who is most often
blacklisted by the large corporations and trusts; and the
brain-working employee is better able to adapt himself to some
slightly different employment than is the skilled worker in any of
the highly specialized trades.

"For the cause of Socialism we can count on this new middle
class," says Pannekoek, "even less than on the labor unions. For
one thing, they have been set over the workers, as superintendents,
overseers, bosses, etc. In these capacities they are supposed to
speed up the workers to get the utmost out of them."

Is it not even more common, we may ask, that one manual worker is
set over another than that a brain worker is set over a manual
laborer?

"They [the new middle class] are divided," writes Pannekoek, "into
numberless grades and ranks arranged one above the other; they do
not meet as comrades, and so cannot develop the spirit of
solidarity. Each individual does not make it a matter of personal
pride to improve the condition of his entire class; the important
thing is rather that he personally struggles up into the next
higher rank."

If we remember the more favorable hours and conditions under which
the brain workers are employed, the fact that they are not so
exhausted physically and that they have education, we may see that
they have perhaps even greater chances "to develop their
solidarity" and to understand their class interests than have the
manual workers. It is true that they are more divided at the
present time, but there is a tendency throughout all the highly
organized industries to divide the manual laborers in the same way
and to secure more work from them by a similar system of
promotions.

Pannekoek accuses the brain workers of having something to lose,
again forgetting that there are innumerable groups of more or less
privileged manual laborers who are in the same position. And
finally, he contends that their superior schooling and education is
a disadvantage when compared to the lack of education of the manual
laborers:--

"They have great notions of their own education and refinement,
feel themselves above the masses; it naturally never occurs to them
that the ideals of these masses may be scientifically correct and
that the 'science' of their professors may be false. As theorizers
seeing the world always with their minds, knowing little or nothing
of material activities, they are fairly convinced that mind
controls the world."

On the contrary, nearly all influential Socialist thinkers agree
that present-day science, _poorly as it is taught_, is not only an
aid to Socialism, but the very best basis for it.

Pannekoek is right, for instance, when he says that most of the
brain workers in the Socialist movement come from the circles of
the small capitalists and bring an anti-Socialist prejudice with
them, but he forgets that, on the other side, the overwhelming
majority of the world's working people are the children of farmers,
peasants, or of absolutely unskilled and illiterate workers, whose
views of life were even more prejudiced and whose minds were
perhaps even more filled up with the ideas that the ruling classes
have placed there.


The arguments of the American Socialist, Thomas Sladden, representing
as they do the views of _many thousands of revolutionary workingmen in
this country_, are also worthy of note. His bitterness, it will be seen,
is leveled less against capitalism itself than against what he considers
to be intrusion of certain middle-class elements into Socialist ranks.


"We find in the United States to-day," writes Sladden, "that we
have created several new religions, one of the most interesting of
which is called Socialism, and is the religion of a decadent middle
class. This fake Socialism or middle-class religion can readily be
distinguished from the real Socialist movement, which is simply the
wage working class in revolt on both the industrial and political
fields against present conditions.... Yesterday I was a bad
capitalist--to-day I am a good Socialist, but I pay my wage slaves
the same wages to-day as I did yesterday.... They never take the
answer of Bernard Shaw, who, when asked by a capitalist what he
could do, saying that he could not help being a capitalist, was
answered in this manner: You can go and crack rock if you want to;
no one forces you to be a capitalist, but you are a capitalist
because you want to be. No one forces Hillquit to be a lawyer; he
could get a job in a lumber yard. There is no more excuse for a man
being a capitalist or a lawyer than there is for him being a
Pinkerton detective. He is either by his own free will and accord.
The system,--they acclaim in one breath,--the system makes us do
what we do not wish to do. The system does nothing of the kind; the
system gives a man the choice between honest labor and dishonest
labor skinning, and a labor skinner is a labor skinner because he
wishes to be, just the same as some men are pickpockets because
they wish to be."


It can readily be realized that such arguments will always have great
weight with the embittered elements of the working class. Nor do the
most representative Socialists altogether disagree with Sladden. They,
too, feel that if the war is not levied against individuals, neither is
it levied against a mere abstract system, but against a ruling class.
However, they make exceptions for such capitalists as the late Paul
Singer, who definitely abandon their class and throw in their lot with
the Socialist movement, while Sladden would admit neither Singer, nor
those other millions mentioned by Liebknecht (see above), for he demands
that the Socialist Party must declare that "no one not eligible to the
labor unions of the United States is eligible to the Socialist Party."

The high-water mark of this brand of revolutionism was reached in the
State of Washington, when these revolutionary elements in the Socialist
Party withdrew to form a new workingmen's party, the chief novelty of
which was a plank dividing the organization into "an active list and an
assistant list, only wage workers being admitted to the active list."
The wage workers were defined as the class of modern wage laborers who,
having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their
labor power in order to live.



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Keywords: proletarians, always, between, special, divided, present, arguments, socialists, majority, dividing
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