Open main menu

Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/164

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
114
Studies in Socialism

attainment of remote and vaguely understood ends. They need something solid to work for: they demand a clearly defined, specific issue.

The most practical representatives of the theory of the general strike are perfectly aware of this. They propose to rouse the working class to action in the first place by certain definite claims. And they hope that this movement, when it has become revolutionary in character, as it is certain to do, will expand naturally into a complete Communism.

But precisely here lies the essential viciousness of this policy. It is a trick to entrap the working classes. It proposes to drag them in by an irresistible mechanical action, far deeper than the original programme would have given them any reason to suspect. By the attraction of certain concrete, definite, immediate reforms they are to be led to decide on the great operation of a universal strike, and it is supposed that once they have become involved in the network of the machine they will be conveyed almost automatically to the Communist Revolution.

Now I maintain that in a democracy this is contrary to the whole spirit of the Revolution. I say that there can only be a Revolution where there is self-consciousness, and that those who construct an elaborate mechanical contrivance to convey the proletariat to the Revolution, almost without its being aware of what is happening, and fancy that they can lead it to the point desired by