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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/215

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165
The Question of Method

away with by revolution. In 1845 he announced as imminent and absolutely inevitable in England, a labour and Communist revolution, which was to be the bloodiest in history. The poor would butcher the rich and burn their castles. No doubt was possible on that score. "It is nowhere easier to prophesy than in England, because here all social developments are extremely well-defined and acute. The revolution must come, it is already too late to propose a pacific solution." Strange conception of that England, always so expert in compromise and evolutionary changes! He carried his dogmatism in social questions to such a pitch that he ended by adopting toward the specific problems of the time the same tone as that of the most obstinate conservatives. All social and political progress under the present system seemed to him as impossible as it did to them. According to him the Chartists had got England into a corner whence the only issues were destruction on the one hand, or the complete Communist Revolution on the other. They demanded universal suffrage, but this was irreconcilable with monarchy; they demanded a ten-hour day, but this was irreconcilable with the emergencies of production under the capitalist system, and its effect, excellent indeed, would be to force England to adopt the new methods under the penalty of financial ruin. "The political-economy arguments of the manufacturers," wrote Engels, "that the ten-hour law would raise the cost of