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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/61

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Socialism and Life

the law of the whole under compulsion or by force of habit, and not from reason alone, there human nature is degraded and mutilated. It is therefore only by the abolition of the reign of capital and the establishment of Socialism that humanity can come into the fulness of its heritage.

I am perfectly aware that the bourgeoisie managed to infuse an oligarchical tone and the spirit of a single class into the Declaration of the Rights of Man. I am aware that it tried to embody in that Declaration, and so consecrate for ever, the bourgeois forms of property holding, and that even in the political world it began by refusing the right of suffrage to millions of poor, who would thus have become passive citizens. But I know also that the democrats immediately made use of the theory of the Rights of Man, of all men, to demand and to conquer the right of universal suffrage. I know that they immediately based even their economic demands on that same theory. I know that the working class, although in 1789 its existence as a self-conscious class was only rudimentary, did not hesitate to apply, and to enlarge, the Rights of Man in a proletarian direction. After 1792 it proclaimed that the ownership of our own lives is our greatest possession and that the right over this sovereign form of property should have precedence of all the others. Now let this word "life" be boldly expanded; let its meaning comprise not bare subsistence only, but all life, all the development of human faculties, and it will