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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/206

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156
Studies in Socialism

strength more. The different interests and varying conditions of life of the different grades of labour, within the ranks of the proletariat itself, are more and more equalised, in proportion as machinery obliterates all distinctions of labour, and reduces wages nearly everywhere to the same low level. The growing competition among the bourgeois, and the resulting commercial crises, make the wages of the workers constantly more fluctuating. The unceasing improvement of machinery, ever more rapidly developing, makes their livelihood more and more precarious; the collisions between individual workmen and individual bourgeois take on more and more the character of collisions between two classes. Thereupon the workers begin to form combinations (trades-unions) against the bourgeois; they club together in order to keep up the rate of wages; they found permanent associations in order to make provisions beforehand for these occasional revolts. Here and there the contest breaks out into riots.

"Now and then the workers are victorious, but only for a time. The real fruit of their battles lies, not in the immediate result, but in the ever-expanding union of the workers. This union is helped on by the improved means of communication that are created by modern industry and place the workers of different localities in contact with one another. It was just this contact that was needed to centralise the numerous local struggles, all of