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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/95

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45
After Fifty Years

themselves fit for political power, have just elapsed. What civil and international wars did Marx have in mind in 1850? What trials did he think the proletariat and Europe itself would have to pass through in order that the working class should reach its full political maturity?

Undoubtedly he included the struggle of Western Europe with Russia among the necessary external wars. Russia had just played the part of the great instrument of reaction in Europe, and it seemed to Marx that while the Imperial autocracy remained unbroken any revolution in Western Europe would be impossible. So when the Crimean war broke out he hailed it with rejoicing; in his letters on the Eastern Question he rails at and urges forward the Liberal Ministry in England, who were, according to him, too slow in beginning the fight. Russia was not crushed, and the European Social Revolution did not break out as a result of the Crimean war, as Marx, overtaken himself by that fever of impatience and illusion which in 1850 he had objected to in his colleagues of the London committee, had for a moment hoped. Nevertheless the Crimean war did shake the old system in Russia. In that direction the formidable obstacle that Marx feared is at least diminished if not destroyed. I think it extremely doubtful whether Russia could now interfere successfully as she did in 1848 and 1849 to crush a revolutionary movement, even if a Socialist revolution were to break out in all