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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/235

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177
Moonlight

suffering. It ought to be the war waged by all mankind united against inanimate things, against the fatalities of nature and the difficulties of life; it is the war of man with man. Men spend their days struggling to take from one another the joys of life by fraud, by the arts of bitter greed, the oppression of the weak, and all the violent methods of unlimited competition. Even among those who are called happy there are few who are really happy, because the brutal conditions of life hold them in their grip; they hardly have the right to be just and kind under pain of ruin. In the universal warfare, some are the slaves of their fortune as others are the slaves of their poverty. Yes, above and below, our present social order produces nothing but slaves, because those men are not free who have neither the time nor the strength to follow the noblest instincts of their minds and their souls.

"And if you look at the lower grades, what poverty you see, I don't say in the means of life, but in life itself! Look at the millions of labourers; they work in the factories and in the workshops, yet they have no right whatever in those factories and workshops; they can be turned out to-morrow. Neither have they any right over the machine they tend, no share of ownership in the immense tool that humanity has bit by bit created for itself; they are strangers in the organised power of the world; they are almost strangers in the civilisation of the world.