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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/159

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109
Strike and Revolution

orders of workmen's committees would be strong enough to drag the workers into a struggle always formidable, but especially so under these conditions. To brave privation and misery, even with the object of escaping from the situation in which one is sunk, requires great energy. Such energy cannot be roused in an entire class without the influence of really passionate feeling. And this in its turn is not aroused in men's souls to the degree when it becomes a working and fighting force, except by an interest both very close and very overwhelming, by a very important aim that can be immediately realised.

For instance, it is easy to understand how the best organised, the most self-conscious trades, educated by a definite and widespread propaganda on the subject, may come to be passionately interested in the eight-hour day, in pensions for old age and accidents, and effective insurance against non-employment. One can imagine that, if the authorities refused to face these questions or opposed the workmen's solution, enough energy and fervour might be accumulated to bring about the declaration of a great and persevering strike. The working class is willing to fight for definite and great ends, for positive, extended, and immediately practicable reforms. Under conditions such as these, but under no others, the signal given by the labour organisations will be obeyed.

But even if the proletariat is really roused and passionately in earnest, that is not enough. It is