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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/133

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"To Expand, Not to Contract"

ditions of his life, and as soon as he thinks he becomes a Socialist.

"But if the wage-earner suffers more directly and visibly under the system of capitalist exploitation, the small farmers and shopkeepers are as truly affected by it, although in a less direct and obvious manner.

"The unhappy situation of the small farmers almost all over Germany is as well known as 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 a vital question for our party, because these two classes form the majority of the nation. It would be both stupid and ingenuous to exact that we should have a majority sealed and ready in our pockets before we began to apply our principles. But it would be still more ingenuous to imagine that we could put our principles into practice against the will of the immense majority of the nation.

"This is a fatal error for which the French Socialists have paid dear.

"Is it possible to put up a more heroic fight than did the workmen of Paris and Lyons? And has not every struggle ended in a bloody defeat, the most horrible reprisals on the part of the victors, and a long period of exhaustion for the