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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/62

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Studies in Socialism

appear that Communism itself was grafted by the proletariat on to the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Thus the human rights proclaimed by the Revolution instantly took on a vaster and deeper meaning than that intended by the revolutionary bourgeoisie. That class was the upholder of rights still too oligarchical and restricted to cover the whole sphere of human rights: the bed of the river was larger than the river, and a new stream, the great proletarian and human flood, had to join it before the ideal of justice could be fulfilled at last.

Socialism alone can give its true meaning to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and realise the whole idea of human justice. The justice of the revolutionary bourgeoisie has freed humanity from many personal fetters: but in forcing each new generation to pay a tax to the capital accumulated by the generations that have preceded it, and in leaving to the minority the privilege of collecting this tax, it has in a sense mortgaged the personality of every living human being for the benefit of the past and of a single class.

We, on the contrary, maintain that human activity in all its forms should have free access to the means of production and of wealth accumulated by humanity, so that humanity as a whole may gain freedom as well as riches through the efforts of the past. According to us, every member of society has henceforth a legal right to the means of development that society has created.