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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/96

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Studies in Socialism

Western Europe, if the proletariat were for a moment master of the situation in Paris, Vienna, Rome, Berlin, and Brussels, as the democracy had been in 1848. I do not know whether the union of the Russian students and the Russian Socialist workmen will be strong enough to force a liberal constitution on the Imperial autocracy for a long time to come. But the autocracy, annoyed by all sorts of internal opposition and undoubtedly preoccupied in strengthening itself within, could not bring to bear on Europe the power that it had at its command a half-century ago.

At all events everything that the Russian autocracy wished to prevent in 1848 has been accomplished, or very nearly so. Russia wished to keep Italy divided, subjugated under the yoke of the foreigner; she has freed herself from Austria and from the Papacy, And the working class is becoming one of the principal vital forces in the restored nation. Russia wished to prevent the establishment of the democracy in France, even under the Napoleonic form. Well, it is a republican democracy that is firmly planted in France, and that is henceforth invincible. The political and economic action of the organised working class there grows slowly but surely. In Belgium, the constitution inclines more and more toward democracy, and the proletariat almost grasps universal suffrage. In Germany, by one of those extraordinary ironical turns of history