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These are the active list, and they alone
hold office and vote. "The assistant list cannot hold office and cannot
vote," and the Party will "do active organizing work among wage earners
alone." This reminds one very much of the notorious division into active
and passive citizens at the early stages of the French Revolution, which
gave such a splendid opportunity to the Jacobines to organize a revolt
of the passive citizens and was one of the chief causes leading up to
the Reign of Terror and the Napoleonic reaction that followed. The
Washington plan, however, has been a complete failure. It has had no
imitators in the Socialist movement, nor is it likely to have.

On the other hand, the most influential representatives of the extreme
revolutionary wing of the movement, like Hervé in France, have
championed the non-wage-earning elements of the movement as fearlessly
as the reformists.


"In the ranks of our party," writes Hervé, "are to be found small
merchants, small employers, wretched, impoverished, educated
people, small peasant proprietors, none of whom on account of
occupation can enter into the general Federation of Labor, which
only admits those receiving wages and salaries. These are
revolutionary elements which cannot be neglected; these volunteers
of the Revolution who have often a beautiful revolutionary
temperament would be lost for the Revolution if our political
organization was not at hand to nourish their activity. Besides,
the General Federation of Labor is a somewhat heavy mass; it will
become more and more heavy as it comprises the majority of the
_working class which is by nature rather pacific at the bottom_."


While there is no sufficient reason for the accusation that the
Socialist movement neglects the brain workers of the salaried and
professional classes, there is somewhat more solid ground, in spite of
the above quoted declarations of Liebknecht and Hervé, for the
accusation that it antagonizes those sections of the middle classes
which are, even to a slight degree, small capitalists, as, for example,
especially the farmers.

"The unimaginative person," says Mr. H. G. Wells, "who owns some little
bit of property, an acre or so of freehold land, or a hundred pounds in
the savings bank, will no doubt be the most tenacious passive resister
to Socialist ideas; and such I fear we must reckon, together with the
insensitive rich, as our irreconcilable enemies, as irremovable pillars
of the present order."[221]

This view is widespread among Socialists, and is even sustained by
Kautsky. "Small merchants and innkeepers," he writes, "have despaired of
ever rising by their own exertions; they expect everything from above
and look only to the upper classes and to the government for
assistance," though they "find their customers only in laboring circles,
so that their existence is absolutely dependent upon the prosperity or
adversity of the laboring classes." The contradiction Kautsky finds goes
even further. He says, "Servility depends upon reaction--and furnishes
not only the willing supporters, but the fanatical advocates of the
monarchy, the church, and the nobility." With all this they (the
shopkeepers, etc.) remain democratic, since it is only through democracy
that they can obtain political influence. Kautsky calls them the
"reactionary democracy."[222] But if they are democratic and in part
economically dependent on the laboring classes, then why should not this
part cast its lot economically and politically with the working class?

Kautsky extends his criticism of the small capitalists very far and even
seems in doubt concerning the owners of small investments such as
savings bank deposits. "Well-meaning optimists," he says, "have seen in
this a means of decentralizing capital, so that after a while, in the
most peaceable manner, without any one noticing it, capital would be
transformed into social property. In fact, this movement really means
the transformation of all the money of the middle and lower classes,
which is not used by them for immediate consumption, into money capital,
and as such placing it at the disposal of the great financiers for the
buying out of industrial managers, and thereby assisting in the
concentration on industry in the hands of a few financiers."

The classes which have invested their capital directly or indirectly in
stocks or bonds through savings banks and through insurance companies
number many millions, and include the large majority of all sections of
the middle class, even of its most progressive part, salaried employees,
and the professional element. It is undoubtedly true, as Kautsky says,
that small investors are not obtaining any direct control over capital,
and that their funds are used in the way he points out, constituting one
of the striking and momentous tendencies of the time. But it does not
follow that they are destined to lose such investments altogether, as
the legislative reforms to protect banks may be extended to the
railroads and other forms of investments. The small investors will
scarcely be turned to favor capitalism by their investments, which bring
in small profit and allow them nothing to say in the management of
industry, but neither will the losses they sometimes suffer from this
source be sufficient in themselves to convert them into allies of the
working class.

As in the case of the farmers and small shopkeepers, everything here
depends upon the economic and political program which the working class
develops and offers in competition with the "State Socialism" of the
capitalists. If it were true that the ownership of the smallest amount
of property brings it about that Socialism is no longer desired, not a
small minority of the population will be found aligned with the
capitalists, but all the four million owners of farms, and the other
millions with a thousand dollars or so invested in a building and loan
association, an insurance policy or a savings bank deposit, a total
numbering almost half of the occupied population. A bare majority, it is
true, might still be without any stake in the community even of this
modest character. But neither in the United States nor elsewhere is
there any hope that a majority of the absolutely propertyless, even if
it becomes a large one, will become sufficiently large within a
generation, or perhaps even within a century, to enable it to overthrow
the capitalists, unless it draws over to its side certain elements at
least, of the middle classes, who, though weaker in some respects are
better educated, better placed, and politically stronger than itself.
The revolutionary spokesmen of the international Socialist movement now
recognize this as clearly as do the most conservative observers.

The outcome of the great social struggle depends on the relative success
of employers and employed in gaining the support of those classes which,
either on account of their ownership of some slight property, or because
they receive salaries or fees sufficiently large, must be placed in the
middle class, but who cannot be classified _primarily_ as small
capitalists That this is the crux of the situation is recognized on all
sides. Mr. Winston Churchill, for instance, demands that everything be
done to strengthen and increase numerically this middle class, composed
of millions of persons whom he claims "would certainly lose by anything
like a general overturn, and ... are everywhere the strongest and the
best organized millions," and his "State Socialism" is directed chiefly
to that end. He believes that these millions, once become completely
converted into small capitalists, would certainly prevent by an
overwhelming resistance any effort on the part of the rest of the people
to gain what he curiously calls, "a selfish advantage."

Mr. Churchill says that "_the masses of the people should not use the
fact that they are in a majority as a means to advance their relative
position in society_." There could not be a sharper contrast between
"State Socialism" and Socialism. To Socialists the whole duty of man as
a social being is to persuade the masses to "use the fact that they are
in a majority as a means to advance their relative position in society."
Mr. Churchill seems to feel that as long as everybody shares _more or
less_ in the general increase of prosperity from generation to
generation, and, as he says, as long as there is "an ever increasing
volume of production and an increasing wide diffusion of profit," there
is no ground for complaint--whether the relative division of wealth and
opportunity between the many and the few becomes more equal or not. But
he realizes that his moral suasion is not likely to be heeded and is
wise in putting his trust in the middle-class millions. For these are
the bone of contention between capitalism and Socialism.

While the new middle class (that is, the lower salaried classes,
corporation employees, professional men, etc.) is increasing numerically
more rapidly than any other, large numbers within it are being deprived
of any hope of rising into the wealthy or privileged class. As a
consequence they are everywhere crowding into the Socialist ranks--by
the hundred thousand in countries where the movement is oldest. Even in
the organized Socialist parties these middle-class elements everywhere
form a considerable proportion of the whole. Practically a third of the
American Party according to a recent reckoning were engaged either in
farming (15 per cent) or in commercial (9 per cent) or professional
pursuits (5 per cent).

It is plain that certain sections of the so-called middle class are not
only welcomed by Socialist parties, but constitute their most dependable
and indispensable elements. Indeed, the majority of the Socialists agree
with Kautsky that the danger lies in the opposite direction, that an
unreliable small capitalist element has been admitted that will make
trouble until it leaves the movement, in other words, that Socialist
friendship for these classes has gone to the point of risking the
existence of their organization.



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Keywords: through, people, everywhere, depends, churchill, salaried, laboring, everything, active, revolution
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