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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/218

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Studies in Socialism

which the revolutionary proletariat can mount and ride to victory, and in the economic world no cataclysm which will set up in a single day the class domination of the Communist proletariat, and a new system of production on the ruins of overthrown capitalism. These hypotheses have not, however, been altogether vain. If the proletariat has been unable to seize the control of a single one of the bourgeois revolutions, it has nevertheless in a hundred and twenty years forced its way into all the agitations of the revolutionary bourgeoisie; and it will continue to profit by the inevitable internal conflicts of the bourgeoisie. If there has not been a complete and revolutionary reaction of the instinct of self-preservation under the pressure of a complete capitalist catastrophe, there have nevertheless been innumerable crises, that, showing as they do the essential disorder of capitalist production, have naturally incited the proletarians to prepare a new order. But they commit a serious error who expect the letter of the prophecy to be fulfilled, who look for the sudden downfall of capitalism, and the sudden accession of the proletariat to power as the result either of a great political collapse of bourgeois society, or a great economic collapse of bourgeois production.

It is not by an unexpected counter-stroke of political agitation that the proletariat will gain supreme power, but by the methodical and legal organisation of its own forces under the law of