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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/169

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119
Strike and Revolution

also fall on the side of inertia. Now, the dice-box cannot be held in the hand for long, or the game begun again an indefinite number of times. At all events it is possible that there will be a great deal of haziness, confusion, and contradiction in this movement, the leaders of which will have counted more on the unconscious and obscure force of events than on the resolute force of individual consciousness. At one point, the conflict may, as expected, result in a revolutionary movement; at another it will keep its legal form and be extinguished in inaction. The revolutionary movement, lacking that basis and solid foundation which the deliberate free-will of men alone can give, will be delivered into the power of local events, and the machinery of revolution will not take hold everywhere in the same way. Hence will come discord, discouragement, and defeat. It is perfectly true historically that events which were at first limited in scope and harmless in appearance have resulted in vast and unforeseen conclusions. But it is utterly impossible to rely on this growth, and there is no known process, not even the general strike, which can inevitably produce the Revolution as an outcome of a movement whose beginnings were legal.

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Moreover,—and this is an especial illusion of many militant Socialists,—it has not been proved at all that the general strike, even if it does take on a revolutionary character, will force the