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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/203

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153
The Question of Method

face with the impossibility of living, and has suspended payment? That again was a revolutionary perspective opened by Marx. To establish the class dictatorship of the proletariat, he depended both on the revolutionary political ascendency of the bourgeoisie and on its economic downfall. Capitalism was one day to succumb of its own accord, under the increasingly intense and frequent action of the crises for which it was responsible, and the exhaustion of misery to which it would have reduced the exploited. It cannot be seriously doubted that this was the thought of Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto:

"Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism of oppressed and oppressing classes. But that a class may be oppressed, certain conditions must be assured under which it can at least continue to drag on its slavish existence. Under the feudal yoke, the serf, in spite of his serfdom, did manage to raise himself to membership in the commune (or village organisation) and the member of the middle class managed to develop into a bourgeois. The modern labourer, instead of bettering himself with the progress of industry, sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. The workman becomes a pauper, and pauperism increases even more rapidly than either population or wealth. It is therefore perfectly clear that the bourgeoisie is unfit to be any longer