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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/207

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157
The Question of Method

the same character, into one national struggle between classes. But every class struggle is a political struggle. And that union, for the attainment of which the burghers of the Middle Ages with their miserable highways required centuries, the modern proletarians, thanks to railways, achieve in a few years.

"This organisation of the proletarians into a class, and consequently into a political party, is continually being upset again by the competition between the workers themselves. But it always rises up again, stronger, firmer, and mightier. It compels legislative recognition of particular interests of the workers, by taking advantage of the internal dissensions in the bourgeoisie. Thus the ten hours' bill in England was carried."[1]

If I have reproduced this pleasant picture of the modern labour-movement, it is not with the object of discussing it in detail. It would be necessary to make many reservations on several points, especially that of the levelling of salaries. But I wished the reader to put to himself to some purpose the question I ask myself now: "How far did Marx admit that the economic and political organisation of the proletarians would check

the tendency to pauperisation that is, according

  1. I have used the English translation of the Communist Manifesto authorised by Engels and published as a tract by the Social Democratic Federation. In a few minor instances I have altered the phraseology when clearness seemed to demand it.—Translator.