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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/214

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164
Studies in Socialism

of mystic abasement and mystic resurrection, the German proletarians, and Marx himself among them, were turning their eyes towards France, the great country where the honourable position of the proletariat in history was first realised. But is there anything strange in the fact that Marx, with his fundamental logical conception of history, should have given precedence to the tendency toward depression in capitalistic evolution? Is it astonishing that he should have written again in his Capital that "oppression, slavery, exploitation, and misery are increasing," and yet also have used the phrase, "the resistance of the labouring classes, continually growing in numbers and discipline, united and organised by the very mechanism of capitalistic production," here again balancing a force of depression that acts immediately and a force of resistance to oppression and of organisation that seems especially destined to prepare the future?

Engels, for his part, had so strict and rigid a conception of the inflexibility of the capitalist system, of its impotence to adapt itself to the least reform, that he made the gravest and most decisive mistakes in his interpretation of social movements. It is difficult to imagine grosser blunders than those that he committed on every page of his celebrated book on The Situation of the Working Classes in England. He saw everywhere inconsistencies, impossibilities, and insoluble contradictions, which could only be done