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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/83

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Radicals and Private Property

political world should give their best effort to the abolition and not to the maintenance of this class property.

But let the Radicals note this fact. If their social formula, "maintenance of private property," has become void and meaningless, this result has not been brought about by the example of the past only, or even by the irresistible tendency of new forces to break the capitalistic mould. In bourgeois society itself, in the bourgeois code,[1] private property appears in such an incomplete form, is so hampered, restricted, and broken up, that even now and from the point of view of the bourgeoisie itself, one must grant that it is either childishness or an anachronism to speak about "the maintenance of private property."

And we Socialists, when we undertake to break up or gradually absorb capitalist property, will often find that we can direct the social movement toward the collectivist form by simply developing certain practices of bourgeois society, interpreting generously certain articles of its code, and hastening the forward march of our legislation in the paths along which it has already begun to move. But those who constitute themselves the guardians of private property not only deny the society of the future; they misunderstand the society of the present.

  1. The "Code Napoléon."