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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/166

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116
Studies in Socialism

tion. From that moment it will shrink back from an enterprise so vague and chimerical as one would shrink from an abyss.

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There is still another trick in the tactics proposed by the upholders of a revolutionary general strike. Some of them say: "Perhaps it would not be very easy to draw the proletariat into a deliberately violent movement. It has lost the habit of that sort of thing during the last thirty years, and might not throw itself in instantly, at a signal from the militant organisations. The strike, on the other hand, is a perfectly familiar practice of the working class, and the field of action of strikes is becoming more and more extended. It would therefore be an easy matter to get the working class to take part in a general strike. In the beginning, this would be only a simple extension of its ordinary habits of warfare. Besides,—and this is an important point,—it would be a perfectly legal movement. The law permits strikes; it does not and cannot assign any limit to their action. Consequently the proletariat, in declaring a general strike, would know that it was within its legal rights, and would go into the movement in the strength of that knowledge. Many workmen who would have been shocked at the premeditated use of force and at deliberate revolutionary action, would not hesitate to show their irritation with social injustice by a movement which would be a menace, but would not