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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/93

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V

AFTER FIFTY YEARS

 

When the revolution of 1848 had been crushed everywhere, in France, in Germany, in Italy, in Austria, and in Hungary, when the proletariat had been beaten by the bourgeoisie and the liberal bourgeoisie by the reaction, the Communist and working-class party, having lost the liberty of the press and the right to hold meetings, in other words all the legal means of gaining its ends, was forced to enter on subterranean methods and to organise itself in secret societies.

In this way a German Communist society was organised, whose central committee, in 1850, sat at London. Naturally, in these obscure and enthusiastic little societies, embittered as they were by defeat, hot for revenge, and unbalanced by the very absence of the steadying contact of ordinary life, puerile plans of conspiracy were abundant. Defeat, however, had not deprived Marx, who was a member of the central committee, of his lucidity and his large view of life in its complications and its evolution. He opposed childish plans and calmed ebullitions of excitement. But the day

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