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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/150

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Studies in Socialism

property and its evolution toward a system broadly Communistic will be impossible as long as the peasant proprietors are not fully reassured. The adhesion of the peasant proprietors is the more necessary because in comparison with them the number of large rural proprietors is constantly decreasing. But their adhesion is not to be won by a sudden movement, whose effects they have not been able to calculate. They will only support a movement that has been fully discussed with them, and one that, by constantly raising their productive power and standard of life, will reassure them completely as to the end and object of Socialist action.

And this is not all. In 1789 the Revolution had only a negative work to perform in the domain of property, that is to say it abolished, it did not create. It did away with Church property, but the confiscated estates of the Church were put up for sale. It converted them directly into a known form of private property. And when feudal rights were abolished, what happened was that the property of the peasant was freed of a certain burden, but the fundamental characteristics were not altered. The peasant was simply more fully possessed of that which was already his in some degree. But the Revolution did not bring into being any new form of property. It did not imagine any new social type. Its work of liberty was limited to the breaking of fetters. It did not have to create, it did not have to or-