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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/176

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Studies in Socialism

together all phases of their life. Division is a return to feudalism. The stoppage of transportation proposed by the supporters of the general strike would force society to revert to the conditions of an inferior civilisation.

We should see isolated groups gathered passively about the oligarchical owners and dependent on them for their supply of the accumulated means of subsistence. The rich would be temporary kings, social chiefs, and feudal lords in many country districts and small towns. And little by little, all these small sovereignties and tiny oligarchies would co-ordinate their strength to surround and crush the motionless and shame-faced Revolution, that, thinking to deprive the Government of all means of communication, would have succeeded only in isolating and breaking up its own forces.

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It is, then, perfectly chimerical to hope that the revolutionary tactics of a general strike would enable even a bold, self-conscious, and active proletarian minority to quicken the march of events by force. No trick, no machinery of surprise, can free Socialism from the necessity of winning over the majority of the nation by propaganda and legal methods.

Does this mean that the idea of a general strike is useless, that it is a negligible quantity in the vast social movement? Not for a moment. In the first place, I have already shown under what