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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/172

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Studies in Socialism

And even supposing that a general revolutionary strike does succeed in closing all ports, in immobilising all locomotives, in destroying railroads, even in occupying as sovereign certain regions that are especially given over to the labouring class, and in menacing and reducing the food-supply of certain great cities and of the capital; in spite of all this, necessity, so ingenious in the face of difficulties, will bring innumerable new resources to light. Consumption and the social life of the community will if necessary be enormously reduced, and human nature will accommodate itself to tragic privations, just as at the end of a siege it accommodates itself to a régime the bare idea of which, a few months before, would have made the bravest man tremble. And if bourgeois society and private property will not give way, if the great majority of citizens is opposed to the new social order that the general strike wishes to install by a coup de surprise, then bourgeois society and private property will find a way to live, to defend themselves, and gradually to rally the forces of conservatism and reaction, even in the confusion and disorder of economic life.

Some imagine, it is true, that the general strike, breaking out at many points simultaneously, would oblige the capitalist and proprietary government to spread its armed force over such a large area that it would be practically absorbed by the Revolution. This conception is extremely