Page:Jean Jaurès socialist and humanitarian 1917.djvu/89

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SOCIALIST METHODS

of opinion had arisen out of the desire of some Socialists to adapt themselves as they thought to modern conditions, while others, even at the end of the nineteenth century, still held fast to methods conceived fifty years before. So he went back to Marx and Engels, and noted that they, writing when the power of the worker was as yet much less developed than it is now, saw hope for the future in the idea that the lot of the workers was becoming worse and worse, and that this would go on until they were driven to a revolutionary rising by which power would pass into their hands. Jaurès saw this to have been a complete mistake. [1]"It was not from absolute destitution that absolute liberation could come." If it were so the Socialists at the beginning of the twentieth century would have cause to feel hopeless indeed. For to Jaurès the "one undoubted fact which transcends all others" is the growth in numbers, in solidarity, in self-consciousness of the workers. They have gained the vote, they are organised in trade unions, and in co-operative societies, they have shorter hours and better pay, they are immensely better educated and have more weight than ever before. Many of them now have an ideal of a new social order founded on a different principle altogether from the present one. Whereas in the first third of the nineteenth century Labour straggled and

  1. Studies in Socialism. Trans. by M. Minturn.