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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/160

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Studies in Socialism

not enough for it to follow its own inner impulse if it has not also received a mandate from without. It must have demonstrated to a notable fraction of public opinion that its claims are legitimate and immediately realisable. Every general strike will necessarily bring about disorders in economic relations; it will upset many traditions and go counter to many interests. The opinion of the mass of the nation (and even of that very considerable portion of the wage-earning class who will not have taken part in the movement) will therefore be very emphatically ranged against those on whom rests the responsibility for a prolongation of the conflict. But this opinion will not fix the responsibility on the capitalist class and will not condemn it with any force, unless the justice of the strikers' claims and the possibility of satisfying them immediately have been clearly demonstrated by an ardent and serious propaganda. It will then express itself against the selfishness of the great owners, the routine or the selfishness of public authorities, and the general strike will result in a notable success. On the contrary, if the neutral masses have not been prepared beforehand and partly won over, they will decide against the strikers. And as no force, even a revolutionary one, can hold out against the public opinion of the whole of the nation, the working class will suffer a widespread defeat.

Finally, I say that if the general strike is con-