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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/187

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137
The Question of Method

ever, it could and did do. First, it tried its strength, and increased it, by joining in all the revolutionary movements; it took advantage of the dangers that the new order had to face, threatened as it was by all the reactionary elements, to become a power whose support was necessary to that order. In the second place, when it had grown in power and importance, when hope and ambition were stirring in the hearts of the proletariat, when the different revolutionary factions of the bourgeoisie were exhausted or discredited by their internal dissensions, the working class tried to take possession of the revolution and turn it to its own uses, by a sort of coup de surprise. Thus, in the French Revolution in 1793, the Parisian proletariat made itself felt in the Convention by means of the Commune, and sometimes even exercised a sort of dictatorship. Thus, a little later, Babeuf and his friends tried to seize the revolutionary power by a sudden and unexpected move for the benefit of the working class. Thus again after 1830 the French proletariat, after having played in the July Revolution the great part noted by Armand Carrel, tried to urge on the victorious bourgeoisie and by and by to outstrip it.

It was this rhythm of revolution that at first captured the imagination of Marx. Certainly he knew very well, when in November, 1847, he wrote the Communist Manifesto with Engels, that the proletariat had grown; he looked upon it as the true