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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/200

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Studies in Socialism

failed, dragging the proletariat down with it. Sometimes the successful revolutionary bourgeoisie has had the strength to restrain and overpower the proletarian movement. And besides, even supposing that a proletarian movement had been suddenly imposed by surprise on agitations of another nature and another origin, what would have been the final result? The strictly proletarian movement would have quickly degenerated by a series of compromises into a movement purely democratic in character. The very utmost outcome of a victorious Commune would have been a radical Republic.

To-day the predetermined form in which Marx, Engels, and Blanqui conceived of the proletarian revolution has been eliminated by history. In the first place, the proletariat in its increased strength has ceased to count on the favourable chance of a bourgeois revolution. By its own strength and in the name of its own ideas, it wishes to influence the democracy. It is not lying in wait for a bourgeois revolution in order to throw the bourgeoisie down from its revolution as one might throw a rider down so as to get possession of his horse. It has its own organisation and its own power. It has a growing economic power, through its trades-unions and co-operative societies. It has an indefinitely elastic legal power through universal suffrage and democratic institutions. It is not reduced to being an adventurous and violent parasite on bourgeois revolutions.