Open main menu

Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/158

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
108
Studies in Socialism

no longer, then, a trade movement; it has become a class movement. And could such a movement be barren of important results, organised and carried through as it would be by the essentially productive class, that class for which no substitute can be found because none exists?

*********

But there must be no misunderstanding on this point. It must not be imagined that there is a magic virtue in the phrase "general strike," and that the strike itself is absolutely and unconditionally efficacious. A general strike is practical or chimerical, useful or disastrous, according to the conditions under which it takes place, the method it employs, and the end it proposes.

There are, according to my opinion, three indispensable conditions for the utility of a general strike. 1st. The working class must be deeply and truly convinced of the importance of the object for which it is declared. 2d. A large section of public opinion must be prepared to recognise the legitimacy of that object. 3d. The general strike must not seem like a disguise for violence, but simply the exercise of the legal right to strike, more systematic in method and vaster in scope than usual, it is true, and with a more clearly marked class character.

First, it is essential that the body of organised labour should attach very great importance to the object for which the strike is declared. Neither the decisions of trade-union congresses, nor the