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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/167

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Strike and Revolution

put them outside the bounds of law in the very beginning and before their blood was up.

"Moreover, the preventative repressive measures of capitalism, if one may use the expression, are made impossible by the legal form that the movement would adopt at the beginning. But little by little, this general strike, this strike of a whole class, will necessarily become a great social battle, a revolutionary combat. The spirit of the working people will be roused and their just anger inflamed by suffering, misery, and the inevitable conflicts that will bring capital and labour to grapple all along the line. Even that part of the proletariat that, before the strike was on, would have shrunk from a systematic use of force, will be gradually wrought up to the proper revolutionary heat by the fire of events, by the battle itself and the sufferings it entails. Then we can count on an explosion of the old order."

If we look at the essential points of the theory and the hope of a certain number of those who see in the general strike an instrument of revolution, we shall see that the above is a true representation of their attitude. In their minds the general strike is a method of revolutionary training applied to a proletariat too much of whose power would remain inert without the brutal excitement of events.

They do not any longer say to the wage-earner, "Take up your gun." But they think that the general strike, perfectly legal in its beginnings,