Page:Peter Alexeivitch Kropotkin - Expropriation.djvu/27

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Certainly it would be very desirable that all Europe should rise at once, that expropriation should be general, and that Communistic principles should inspire all and sundry. Such a universal rising would do much to simplify the task of our century.

But all the signs lead us to believe that it will not take place. That the Revolution will embrace Europe, we do not doubt. If one of the four great continental capitals—Paris, Vienna, Brussels or Berlin—rises in revolution and overturns its government, it is almost certain that the three others will follow its example within a few weeks' time. It is, moreover, highly probable that the Peninsulas and even London and St. Petersburg would not be long in following suit. But whether the revolution would have everywhere the same character is quite another question.

Though it is more than probable that expropriation will be everywhere carried into effect on a larger or smaller scale, and that this policy carried out by anyone of the great nations of Europe will influence all the lest, yet the beginnings of the Revolution will exhibit great local differences, and its course will vary in different countries. In 1789–1793, the French peasantry took four years to finally rid themselves of the redemption of feudal rights, and the bourgeois to overthrow royalty. Let us keep that in mind, therefore, and be prepared to see the Revolution develop itself somewhat gradually. Let us not be disheartened if here and there its steps should move less rapidly. Whether it would take an avowedly Socialist character in all European nations, at any rate at the beginning, is doubtful. Germany, be it remembered, is still realisiug its dream of a United Empire. Its advanced parties see visions of a Jacobin Republic like that of 1848, and of the organisation of labor according to Louis Blanc; while the French people, on the other hand, want above all things a free Commune, whether it be a Communist Commune or not.

That, when the coming Revolution takes place, Germany will go further than France, there is every reason to believe. The middle-class Revolution in France in the eighteenth century was an advance on the English Revolution of the seventeenth, abolishing as it did at once the power of the throne and of the landed aristocracy, whose influence still survives in England. But, if Germany goes further and does greater things than the France of 1848, there can be no doubt that the ideas which will foster the birth of the Revolution will be those of 1848, as the ideas which will inspire the Revolution in Russia will be those of 1789, modified somewhat by the intellectual movements of our own century.

Without, however, attaching to these forecasts a greater importance than they merit, we may safely conclude this much: the Revolution