Lapas attēli

The dictatorship of the proletariat

then it will along with these conditions have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonism and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class. In place of the old bourgeois society with its classes and class antagonisms we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all." In other words, the ultimate aim of the communists was not the domination of the capitalist state by the class-conscious proletariat, but the destruction of class consciousness and the transformation of the competitive state into the cooperative commonwealth. The struggle of classes was to end in universal peace by the annihilation of the capitalists. This idea of the state is repeated in the New Communist Manifesto of 1919, promulgated at Moscow by the leaders of the Third International. Under the heading, "Democracy and Dictatorship," it declares that: "The proletarian State, like every State, is an organ of suppression, but it arrays itself against the opposition of the despoilers of labor, who are using every means in a desperate effort to stifle the revolution in blood and to make impossible further opposition. The dictatorship of the proletariat, which gives it a favored position in the community, is only a provisional institution. As the opposition of the bourgeoisie is broken, as it is expropriated and gradually absorbed into the working groups, the proletarian dictatorship disappears, until finally the State dies and there are no more class distinctions.

"Democracy so-called-that is, bourgeois democracy— is nothing more nor less than veiled dictatorship by the bourgeoisie. The much-vaunted 'popular will' exists as little as a unified people. In reality there are the classes, with antagonistic irreconcilable purposes. However, since the bourgeoisie is only a small minority, it needs this fiction of the 'popular will' as a flourish of fine sounding

words to reinforce its rule over the working classes and to impose its own class will upon the people. The proletariat, on the contrary, as the overwhelming majority of the people, openly exercises its class power by means of its mass organization and through its Soviets, in order to wipe out the privileges of the bourgeoisie and to secure the transition, rather the transformation, into a class-less Communist Commonwealth.”


First Inter

The purpose of the Marxian revolutionists was in the The first instance, however, the establishment of state socialism national through the dictatorship of the proletariat. This purpose they failed to accomplish in 1848. The revolutionary nationalists were somewhat more successful. They overthrew the monarchy in France, temporarily established a republic, and permanently established manhood suffrage. In Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy, as has been pointed out, they scored some temporary successes, and laid the foundation for more substantial progress later. But, on the whole, the revolutionary year of 1848 was a disappointment to the enemies of the established order. French, Germans, and Italians made trivial gains; Magyars, Czechs, Poles, and other Slavic peoples none at all. Marxians had perhaps not much more reason to be discouraged than the others. In the period of reaction which followed, all kinds of revolutionary propaganda were driven under cover. Nationalism raised its head again in Italy in 1859. The dramatic exploits of Garibaldi stimulated the nationalists everywhere, especially the Germans, Poles, and Magyars. Conditions became more favorable

1 From the New Communist Manifesto, issued by authority of the First Congress of the Communist International, held at Moscow, March 2-6, 1919, and signed by N. Lenin, G. Zinoviev, and L. Trotsky for the Russian Communist Party, C. Rakovsky for the Balkan Socialist Federation, and F. Platten for the Swiss Socialist Party. Printed in Raymond W. Postgate, he Bolshevik Theory, New York, 1920, Appendix II.

The problem of tactics

for revolutionary enterprises of all kinds. In 1864 the Marxians joined with other proletarian agitators to organize the International Workingmen's Association or simply, the International, as it has been called. The program of the dominant faction in this first International seems to have been that of the Communist Manifesto. In 1871 its leaders thought they saw their opportunity to seize power in connection with the insurrection in the capital of France, known to history as the Paris Commune. But that rising failed. And its failure brought about not only the collapse of the First International, but also the revision of the communists' political strategy.

The failure of the Commune demonstrated, Marx and Engels confessed in the preface to a new German edition of the Communist Manifesto, published in the following year, that "the working class can not simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery and wield it for its own purpose," The proletariat would need machinery constructed with special reference to their revolutionary purpose. In order to be able to rely upon it, they must construct it themselves. Such a process involved careful preparation and deliberate action. It would take a longer time than they had originally expected. Meanwhile, the fateful operation of economic forces would be steadily converting the growing masses of wage earners to class consciousness. Such converts would form a surer foundation for the "revolution" than the impulsive followings of energetic agitators hastily improvised in the heat of active insurrection. Eventually, when the time should be ripe, power would fall into the hands of the wholly class-conscious proletariat with little, if any, violent struggle on their part. As the significance of the failure of the Commune came to be generally appreciated by the communists, the belief in the feasibility of an immediate revolution by physical force and violence waned. "Revolutionary"

tactics gave way to "evolutionary," and, the better to distinguish the new and more moderate policy from the old, the name "communist" was quietly dropped in favor of the less offensive term "socialist." How far Marx lent his authority to the new departure has been bitterly disputed among the socialists and communists of later years. Revolutionary action of every kind, except for Russian Nihilism, was at low ebb in the later years of his life, and the socialist movement reached its nadir. The organization of the British Fabian Society in 1883, the very year of Marx's death in his obscure London retreat, signalized the radical repudiation of the original Marxian propaganda.


The new departure in the socialist movement was The favored by the partial success which the nationalist move- Interment had attained. The Second International, organized national at the Paris World's Fair of 1889, was led by French and German socialists who enjoyed political opportunities. denied to the revolutionists of 1848, nationalists and socialists alike. Manhood suffrage had been established for national elections. The secret ballot made possible a free vote. Socialists could be elected from working-class districts to the French Chamber of Deputies and to the German Imperial Assembly. There they could openly conduct their propaganda, enjoying the freedom of speech and immunity against arbitrary arrest possessed by all members of representative bodies in nationalist states. If in most of the other countries on the continent of Europe their immediate opportunities were stricted, they might hope for the eventual triumph of democracy throughout Europe. Thereafter, if the Marxian social philosophy were sound, they ought inevitably to win by the ballot the political power which was for the present unattainable by the bullet. Thus socialism would ultimately prevail. Socialists might still talk about


Socialism and democracy


and inter

the "revolution," but they now generally meant a revolution to be brought about by the power of class-conscious majorities in democratic elections. Nationalism by its alliance with democracy had become a tremendous force. Socialism should profit by a similar policy. The Second International proposed as its immediate aim the adoption of democratic political reforms in all capitalist states. As the democratization of the capitalist state proceeded, the gradual establishment of the co-operative commonwealth would be accomplished by constitutional methods. Thus the Second International became the organized expression of social democracy.

The new departure was favored also by the failures of nationalism nationalism. The alliance of nationalism and democracy had done much for those nations which were in the best position to form national states of their own or to dominate the states of which they happened to form a part. But less favorably situated national groups lost some of their affection for that particular alliance, when they discovered what indignities could be visited upon them in the name of democracy in national states dominated by rival nations. Some of the European nationalists, whose aspirations remained unsatisfied, continued to advocate revolution by physical force and violence. But the progress of the art of war in modern times was making the task of the leaders of insurrections ever more difficult. The alliance of socialism and democracy in those states in which the triumph of nationalism had meant for the minor national groups not liberation but merely a change of masters, promised protection for such groups at least against oppression by the dominant nations. Nationalism did not exhaust the possibilities of democracy. Indeed, in certain respects, as the event proved after the Great War, it frustrated them. There was need for other forces to complete the transformation of the decrepit territorial

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