Open main menu

Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/197

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
The Question of Method

sulted will of the majority of the citizens. And by force again, by the power of a dictator, it will commit its first "despotic infractions" of the rights of property that the Manifesto foresees.… But what does all this amount to? And supposing that the democracy is not ready for the Communist movement, will it not then take measures to annul the first dictatorial acts of the proletariat instead of carrying them out and extending their scope? But if, on the contrary, the democracy is prepared, if the proletariat can, by legal measures alone, induce it to develop the first revolutionary institutions in a communistic direction, we have in the legal conquest of the democracy the sovereign method of revolution. Every other method, I repeat, is nothing but the momentary expedient, possibly necessary for a moment, of a weak and ill-prepared class. And those modern Socialists who are still talking about "the impersonal dictatorship of the proletariat," or who expect a sudden seizure of power and the violation of democratic methods, are reverting to the time when the proletariat was still a feeble element, when it was reduced to adopt artificial means of obtaining a victory.

The tactics of the Manifesto consist in altering for the benefit of the proletariat the course of those movements that it lacked the strength to originate. These are the tactics of a bold force, increasing in strength but still subordinate, and as a matter of fact they have been instinctively