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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/171

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Strike and Revolution

eral strike can equal. A considerable proportion of the most useful part of the population, one million five hundred thousand men out of a population of twenty-five millions, are torn from the fields and workshops and thrown to the frontiers. Civil war is raging at the same time as foreign war. The Vendée, Brittany, the South, Lyons, are up and in flames. One half of France is in arms against the other half. A dry and very hot summer has brought a poor harvest. Wheat does not circulate easily, each district wishing to keep for itself as much grain as possible. Although Paris is not invested it is subjected to a real state of siege: the people have to stand in line at the door of the bakeshops, regular rations are established; bread is rare. The depreciation of paper money throws all transactions into confusion. But in spite of all these difficulties France keeps enough vital force, revolutionary society has enough spring left, first to defend itself and later to take up offensive tactics again. One can take a city by famine and by force; but a whole society is not captured by these means. It has to deliver itself.

In 1870-71 one third of France is occupied by the enemy; Paris is besieged; civil war follows upon foreign; a formidable indemnity is imposed on the nation, but notwithstanding all this the deep springs of life are not touched, and the moment peace is declared they gush forth again in marvellous abundance.